The adjective often has a sexual connotation in a relationship. I’m not sure it doesn’t apply to perhaps two parish situations I’ve heard about recently.
In one, a liturgy/music colleague in another diocese reports that though the parish position is “part-time,” the job duties more often surpass forty hours a week. This parish, so the report goes, while not a very large one, is large enough to support a school. I spoke to my friend about the tithing principle of thirty families supporting a full-time minister (20 families giving 5% of income) plus supporting the church infrastructure (personnel should generally be positioned at 2/3rds of a church budget). Seven-hundred families–with three weekend Masses–is easily large enough to support a professional music and liturgy effort.
My colleague didn’t ask me for advice, but informed me that the job wasn’t going to be filled for much longer. I don’t know if my colleague is one of those good-hearted people who always say “How high?” when Father says “Jump!” It’s been a long time since I’ve had a part-time position in a parish. I do know that with a family and other life responsibilities, I would be very clear with a pastor about expectations. In the Church, if you have a salaried position, as I do, you do what it takes. Short of craziness, of course. If the Church employs someone for twenty hours, then you work twenty hours. If a parish employs someone part-time (to pay less and avoid giving benefits) and expects the individual to regularly work full-time hours, then I would say the pastor or supervisor is on the moral level of a prostitute. I could use the cruder word, and it might be more accurate.
In another parish, I heard second-hand that a full-time employee was reduced to part-time, but later let go due to an “attitude problem.”
A normal attitude would have the employee informing supervisors that a limited budget for payroll means a limited budget of time to accomplish work. Sure, I can easily imagine a person thinking, “Well, I really need some of this job. So maybe I can curb my resentment.” Only later to find an inner simmer supervisors don’t like.
If an employer thinks they can reduce a person’s salary and not invest in some sort of damage control, I can’t condone that kind of wishful thinking.
While the pope and his handlers might be more concerned with clown masses or even the valid abuses of pragmatists and enthusiasts, I have to think a more common problem is the unjust expectations often placed on those who deliver artistic leadership in parishes. While I applaud Neil and others promoting a scholarly widened view of worship, I have to wonder if a more basic commandment is being missed. Don’t steal from employees: either their time or their money.