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Learning English - Words in the News
22 December, 2008 - Published 14:51 GMT
Clocking in to Vatican
The Vatican

The Vatican has reintroduced a system of clocking in, nearly fifty years after it was last phased out. Now, even senior clerics have to swipe plastic cards when entering and leaving, all in a drive to improve efficiency. From Rome here's Duncan Kennedy:

Listen to the story

It was Pope John 23rd, fondly known as the Good Pope, who phased out clocking machines in the early 1960s. Now the Vatican has brought back a high-tech version.

Around 2,000 lay and ecclesiastical staff working in the tiny city state are using electronic swipe cards. The cards have been issued to everyone, from the lowest office staff to the heads of departments, even if they're priests and archbishops, though there's been no mention if the Pope carries one.

According to some reports, elder clerics in the Vatican have complained clocking in and out is a headache, especially when they have to leave on pastoral duty.

It's all part of a drive to increase efficiency and to make the Vatican more meritocratic. Next year there are plans to introduce performance related pay.

Duncan Kennedy, BBC News, Rome

Listen to the words

phased out
gradually removed

belonging to or involved with a church while not being a priest

ecclesiastical staff
people belonging to or connected with the Christian religion, priests

swipe cards
a swipe card is a plastic card with magnetically stored data that is read by an electronic device as the card is passed through

elder clerics
senior priests

clocking in and out
recording the time of coming in to and leaving work

a headache
something that causes difficulties or complications

on pastoral duty
doing what is required of them as priests - but not in church

focussed on people's (here, staff's) abilities and achievements

to introduce performance related pay
to start paying more money to staff who achieve more at work or work better/harder

To take away:
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