I was tempted to address Cardinal Dolan in my headline but I´m not yet sure how responsible he is for the decision to put two Staten Island schools on the "at risk" list for closure. I met the affable Cardinal at the 125th anniversary of Immaculate Conception Church but that didn´t stop its inner-city school from being targeted. Clearly the archdiocese has abandoned its educational mission for the needy which was established hundreds of years ago. Instead the economic bottom line seems to count more than educating minority children in the neighborhoods with poor performing public schools and few alternatives.
Well, you can hardly blame the Catholic Church for closing schools when people send their kids there for the education but don´t want the Catholic religion at the same time. The mission of the Catholic School was to produce educated Catholics, not to provide another secular alternative to failing public schools.
My son, raised in the Catholic Church, has been visiting other Christian denominations. What he has found fascinating is that here in MA, nothing is really a sin in the Catholic Church. Everything is in shades of gray. If you commit what used to be called a sin (Ten Commandments stuff)it is immediately forgiven and you don´t even have to make the attempt to stop sinning! Or do any penance. Or even really acknowledge that you did anything wrong. Quite an eye opener and maybe the reason that Mass has barely any attendants and the schools, along with the churches, are being sold off.
Sorry but non Catholics are taught Catholic doctrine at these inner city schools regardless. Muslim children are taught Christianity but do not have to receive sacraments. The parents are fully aware of these conditions.
This article is long on warm memories and short on specifics. How is it Cardinal Dolan to blame for the "economic shortfall of the lesser parishes"?
There are fewer Catholics supporting fewer parishes, one man can´t turn that around in just a year or so. Without parishoner support, tuitition must increase or the school must close. It´s basic economics, not shame.
Dolan approved of Pathways to Excellence which was a trap for troubled schools. the ones that opted out agreed to fund their own shortfalls and would not be closed. The ones that opted in were supposed to have shortfalls covered by archdiocese. this was just a clever way to close needy schools and balance books. Why not close schools in wealthier areas that had alternatives. These schools do not
I hope the Church gets another wealthy charitable atheist or something to come up with the money to keep these schools going. It just proves that you can´t buy some things with money - dedication is needed. A fortune is flowing through public schools and no voucher programs are allowed to permit good schools to thrive. Where virtue was needed in the past heroic virtue is now needed to support these schools. The wealthy donor will be stigmatized as "rich" for doing the right thing by Obama who controls far more money, does all in his power to close off all independent charity to aid his union cronies, while being idolized as the one who really cares.
Unfortunate confluence that highlights what happens when government intrudes where it no longer belongs: education and charity. The church has some adjustments to make, but government must be out of the way.
Interesting that billions are poured into public education with little or no, maybe even negative, results, and not even a small amount of federal dollars, in the form of vouchers, are directed towards these highly successful schools. Could it be that democrat politicians want as many poorly educated people as possible in order to swell their voter base? Nah.
I think that Alicia know full well about economics facing the church but the point she is making is that its priority should still be educating the poor and needy. That was the original mission which it has forgotten. It is showing a lack of faith and delegating business to bureaucrats who never knew what the mission was.
Alicia is one of the most down-to-earth and honest writers around. No showing off, just the facts presented from the perspective of a perceptive, grateful and talented person. I will make a donation to the schools she lists in honor of the educators who gave me--a poor kid like Alicia-- a virtually free Catholic education. The church has failed to realize the schools feed the church as much as the church feeds the schools. Keeping schools open should be the #1 priority. Cardinal Dolan is called by Jesus to "Suffer the little children to come unto me."
I would suggest as time is short that we call the archdiocese-212-371-1000 and ask for more time to raise funds to save school. I would not send the archdiocese any donations but would contact the pastors directly and tell them to open an account for direct donations. Maybe paypal. Immaculate is the school with mostly minority students-that number is 718-447-7018. St. Joseph-718-816-0047
My brother and I received exceptinal educations for 12 years of Catholic schools when our families could not afford tuition. I will donate to these schools on Staten Island. I hope more will do the same.
Challenge the Catholic people, Cardinal Dolan, and we will respond by the millions. A telethon is a brilliant idea.
And thanks to Alicia Colon, too. It´s not marketing: it´s mission.
The northeast gave up on God years ago. It´s not just the Catholic Church, but all Christian churches, that are slowly being killed by the secularist onslaught in that part of the country.
Down here in the southern states, churches are packed every Sunday. I have attended mass with some of my Catholic friends on numerous occasions, and the priests here are not shy about talking about sin in no uncertain terms down in this part of the country. God knows my Southern Baptist preacher hasn´t slowed down on his brimstone and fire sermons, and he never will!
Look at the percentage of people in New York City that voted for NØbama in the last election. It was close to 90%. That alone should be proof that they have chosen a new messiah there, and have no faith in God any more.
Pray for them, but, even more importantly, don´t allow the secularists and our own government to destroy our faith in the parts of the country that are still strong in the love of God!!!!!
I dont believe the Church had a mission to educate the needy. They had a mission to educate Catholic children, especially post civil war, when there was strong anti catholic bias, and millions of Catholic immigrants came to America in what is known as the second wave of immigration. Those second wave immigrants were mostly eastern european/italian, and the Catholic schools taught their children in English as well as their native language. (My brother and sister each flunked first grade because their polish was sub standard.)(Catholic parishes tended to be ethnically based.) The Church was able to offer free education because Catholic nuns worked for free, and becoming a nun was a rational vocation for many young women. This tradition continued until Vatican II, when many nuns wanted to be social workers instead of teachers. And Catholic schools had to pay their teachers, for the first time. (Nuns take a vow of poverty - lay teachers do not.)
Reply 21 - Posted by:
Fiesta del sol, 1/17/2013 10:29:26 AM (No. 9121933)
There is a diocese in Nebraska (I think Lincoln,NE) that provides free Catholic tuition to all students. The Catholic Church has got to figure out a way to serve, minister and educate these inner city kids. They need it! These poor black kids are stuck in failing public schools, and could really benefit from a Christ centered education.
I don´t know what Pathways to Excellence is, #9, but I think the Catholic schools need to stay away from federal education guidelines, testing, etc. Catholic schools need to focus on a classics based education rooted in Catholic teaching.
Reply 23 - Posted by:
hot coffee, 1/17/2013 10:32:44 AM (No. 9121942)
As someone who was educated in Catholic schools and currently serves on the finance committee of a Catholic parish that runs an elementary school, all I can say is that the author and many of the posters here have no idea of what they´re talking about.
#8, interesting comment, but it lacks a little context.
The latest statistic by the National Council of Churches does show a .44% decline in Catholic membership.
Unfortunately, the overall membership decline of the top 25 churches is three times that much (led by the northeast).
By the way, anyone who thinks Catholicism is about a beautiful ceremony obviously either does not know a thing about Catholicism or was poorly catecheted. But don´t let that stop you from commenting on it anyway.
This has been happening here in Omaha for more than 20 years. In the eastern part of the city of Omaha (which admittedly is not the entire Archdiocese), 5 Catholic graqde schools were "consolidated" into 2 schools in 1989. These 5 parishes and their schools served the working poor and recent arrivals to our community. Now there is only one Catholic Grade School still open of those. Holy Name High School (inner city) was closed 25 years ago. Cathedral High School (inner city) was closed 20 years ago. Meanwhile a brand new shiny up to date Catholic HS was opened way out in West Omaha, to serve the children of the more affluent. I might add that the Christian Brothers, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Notre Dame continue to run Catholic high schools in the "inner city" and somehow atre able to keep operating. It is an abandonment of our mission to the poor to educate their children. But the bottom line must balance.
Can we stipulate that no organization has done so much for education of not only the poor, but people of all social strata, as has the Catholic Church over several hundreds of years? The dedication and scholarship of the Jesuits, for example, is unparalleled in history.
The heart of the Catholic education, whatever the tumult of economics or secularism that engulfs it, is the spiritual core of the institution and its adherents. That is the central essence of Catholic education that is most under assault. Secularism has always had inordinate fear angst in the presence of people of faith. The secular Left’s celebrated endorsement of diversity does not apply to matters of faith or faithlessness.
The Democrat party, in obeisance to the teacher’s unions, has engaged in a campaign of marginalization and economic strangulation against parochial schools on the alleged defense of separation of church and state. The notion that the constitution forbids support of parochial education because that constitutes constitutionally prohibited establishment of a religion has always been a stretch.
The unforgivable offense of the modern Democrat party secularists is the denial of education for inner city poor. An institution with centuries of service in providing first class education to the poor is brazenly thwarted by Democrats, the party of the poor and underprivileged. Humanity would dictate that all means available would be brought to bear on such a critical need, but politics, unfortunately, trumps humanity.
I don´t know where #3 lives and perhaps attends mass but what she describes is the opposite of what happens at my local parish. Sins, penance and the sacraments are all taken VERY seriously and our church is SRO at all 7 masses each weekend. We built a new and much larger church about 20 years ago and were almost immediately bursting at the seams. We need to build again but, given the economy, we can´t pull the funding together. And our area Catholic schools have waiting lists.
We know very well the financial burdens the church has but the criteria should not be about enrollments, demographics or other excuses. It should be based on 1. if the schools are educating these children. Look at their grades. 2. Are there other catholic schools nearby and 3, Are the public schools in area any good. Closing Immaculate Conception leaves parents of large families nowhere to go. Only choice for them is home schooling or leave New York City. Why not bring the tuition in Catholic schools in affluent areas up to the same level as private schools. Have philanthropists adopt these schools-after all it´s a tax writeoff.
Here in Wisconsin, school choice vouchers were offered to low income families in Milwaukee about 20 years ago. That saved many failing, inner- city parochial schools. Two years ago, the income cap was raised to include middle-class families and is now available in the Racine area too. It is saving many struggling Catholic and Lutheran schools. Thank you, Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature. This should spread nation-wide.
Only when poor children vote and/or contribute to the offering box, will the Diocese listen to their cries for education. Until they can be squeezed, don´t bother the lavish lifestyles of the leaders in the diocese or cut back on their contributions to the DNC.
I live in the Northeast. My Irish parish merged with the Slovak parish which then merged with the Polish parish, and then the Diocese just changed the name to the name of a saint I never even heard of. Each of these parishes had thriving elementary schools not so very long ago, which also merged into one now tiny school.I gave up when the church became an intended magnet for illegal Mexican aliens. (Of course we were not supposed to call them "illegal aliens").All of us old-timers were supposed to just shut up. We stopped going. End of story.
Both myself and the Timber Kiing greatly benefited from 12 years of Catholic schools, and the centuries of tradition that built them. Whatever the problems within the Catholic Church, the financial running of a diocese, or parishes, schools and hospitals, it is obvious that Christianity is under attack by the secularists. So what is else is new?
The immediate problem Alicia brings to us is the closure of these two fine schools. I´m sending a donation to each of them. I humbly ask you all do the same, and send this article and request on to your email lists. Its time for the Church Militant to live up to our name.
I believe vouchers the answer here. The Catholic Church has educated millions of kids - it IS part of their mission or how else do you ensure the younger generations continue our Faith?
We were taught our religion in every subject as well as in Catechism class. We diagrammed sentences like, "Mary gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem."
That non-Catholics go to these schools by choice, let them subsidize the tuition of those not able to pay. There are very creative ways to pay tuition, like, if their parents had a job in this awful economy. When the prez decided that kids in DC couldn´t receive vouchers in their city, that tells us all we need to know about his commitment to parochial education.
No wonder values and morals are so low, crime high when kids are not taught well. This huggy-feely stuff with idolizing the environment has no long-term depth or value.
Our nuns were dedicated teachers and the brothers and priests were even stricter disciplinarians. Our parents were our first teachers.
BTW, if a muzzie goes to a Catholic school, they are NOT allowed to receive the sacraments.
Vibrant parishes are needed as part of the solution.
#32, agree with you about consolidation of parishes. People used to identify where they lived by the name of their parish. I gave up on donating to the Bishop´s Appeal when I noticed that almost every charity they listed was in support of illegal aliens.
Alicia Colon deserves utmost praise and appreciation for the awareness she is bringing to the sad and misguided decision by the Archdiocese of New York to put ‘at risk’ those two exceptional schools.
A few decades ago, parishioners in Detroit, Michigan begged their Archbishop not to close several inner-city parish churches and schools. The schools, like the ones on Staten Island, were successful and extraordinary. Archdiocesan spokesmen told parishioners that their parish buildings were too old and too costly to maintain. At the time of the proposed closings, the parish congregations consisted of elderly whites and blacks and younger blacks and other minorities, all poor but all willing to do anything – anything – to save their parish churches and schools, the churches and schools that the elderly among them had built and lovingly maintained for generations. They frantically offered to purchase the buildings from the Archdiocese and to keep them open and maintained by themselves. Those church and school buildings were the only havens of faith, learning, recreation, and safety that those people and their children had left in their deteriorated and crime-ridden neighborhoods. All of their requests were denied.
After the purging was done, the Cardinal overseeing the evisceration was rewarded with a job in the Vatican. He is now retired from the Vatican financial services sector and has returned to Michigan, but is not living in Detroit but rather in a comfortable suburb. He is a widely respected and beloved man. But as I look at the desolate and devastated city of Detroit now, I can only wonder, what if….
"Whatever you neglected to do unto one of these least of my brethren, you neglected to do unto Me". Matthew 25:40
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