This article is a qualitative study of the practice of leadership in Catholic schools in Australia. Within an interpretivist framework, a multiple case study of six lay principals was employed. Findings suggest that successful leadership in Catholic schools is highly influenced by the cultural and spiritual capital that a principal brings to a school, signifying a fundamental importance of appointing principals who are not only professionally competent, but who are spiritually competent as well. The relationship between the lay Catholic principal in the parish and the parish priest emerged as a challenging issue in many contexts. Indeed, it was highly problematic for some principals.

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