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"Jesus loves the little children," but we think they're whiny pains in the...

It looks like the sorry saga of the Boston Archdiocese of the Catholic Church's closing of the Our Lady of the Presentation School in Brighton, Massachusetts (previously covered here). Here's a quick recap of what's happened since then:

* The students, accompanied by police escort, were given their graduation ceremony in Boston's Faneuil Hall (giving Boston's twit of a mayor a chance to ask them if this was better than one at the school), with numerous Massachusetts notable being sure to get their faces shown.

* According to at least one report, the principal of the school (a nun) was forbidden to attend the ceremony.

* Yesterday, under guards' watchful eyes, students and selected teachers (and no others) were allowed to retreive personal items from the now-closed school.

* And yesterday, Boston's archbishop, Sean P. O'Malley, met with concerned parents of (now former) students and other community leaders to revisit their plan to buy the school and keep it running.

One would think that a church in such dire straits as the Boston archdiocese, suffering under the burdens of declining rolls, dwindling offerings, enormous liabilities from past, present, and future litigation, and a humongous black eye for the decades of child-abuse scandal would at least stop offering the back of their hand to the Faithful, and instead offer an open hand. That might be what's behind the tentative agreement to let the parents buy the school.

It's just a damned shame it took putting those kids through a wringer and several days of horrendous publicity to get them to do what should have been a no-brainer.

I know I'm no Biblical scholar, especially compared to Archbishop O'Malley, but I don't think this is quite what Jesus meant when he said "suffer the little children."


Comments (15)

Hey Jay, you could have men... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Hey Jay, you could have mentioned also that the Archbishop apologized to the parents for the misunderstandings and his reactions to the rumored sit-in that was being planned. And also, that most parents were happy with he had to say.

I have no problem with what the Archbishop did. Closing up schools and churches is an unfortunate part of this whole scandal in the Boston Archdiocese. Dealing with parishners unlawful sit-ins as protests is another unfortunate problem. And it seemed that another sit-in was being planned to either force the bishop to have the protesters arrested or close the school like he did. Either way, he comes out looking bad.

What I wonder is, if the Bo... (Below threshold)
mantis:

What I wonder is, if the Boston Archdiocese is hurting for cash after all this, why doesn't the Vatican step in with some financial assistance to keep the churches and schools open? I find it hard to believe they don't have the money. What would Jebus do?

It may surprise you mantis,... (Below threshold)
meep:

It may surprise you mantis, but no - the Vatican really doesn't have that much money. And if it did, it wouldn't be sending the money to take care of a parochial school in Boston. The Vatican is rich in real, not paper, assets. And they're not about to sell off the Sistine Chapel to cover operating expenses.

Each diocese is supposed to take care of itself. Some richer dioceses/parishes do send excess money to other ones (for example, my mother's Raleigh parish sends money to a Mexican sister parish.) The parochial schools have long been subsidized by parishoners -- but if there are fewer parishoners (or if they're ponying up less), there will not be the cash flow.

That said, I don't see why the diocese can't sell the school to the parents after it closes its own involvement in the school. The diocese doesn't have to keep every parochial school open, but it does seem reasonable to let others take over the mission -- just as if the Church can't continue to operate a hospital, it should sell it to someone else to keep medical care going.

I can understand that the diocese would be concerned over the school being a competitor for students and resources, but that's what educational competition is about. I'm not amused when I hear these complaints against charter schools, and I don't see why the Church can get away with this reasoning, too. Deal with the competition. Provide a better education.

Just to keep everybody off-... (Below threshold)

Just to keep everybody off-guard, I'm going to offer Mantis a serious answer to ...why doesn't the Vatican step in with some financial assistance to keep the churches and schools open? I find it hard to believe they don't have the money.

Even the Vatican's resources are finite, while the needs of churches and schools around the world -- of which the Boston diocese is only one case -- are not.

The only infinite salvation the church teaches or believes in, is God's grace. Neither the Vatican nor the federal government are up to that standard.

Your last comment reminded ... (Below threshold)
Literally Retarded:

Your last comment reminded me of something my Dad used to say to us when things weren't going our way:

"Remember," he said, "Jesus said 'suffer the little children.'"

Maybe the lawyers who colle... (Below threshold)
Palmateer:

Maybe the lawyers who collected those big fees in the priest molestation cases would like to contribute something?

meep and McGehee explain th... (Below threshold)
-S-:

meep and McGehee explain this from varying perspectives, but I'll add here that each diocese is self supporting.

This will be lost on the marxists and socialists who visit here, but I'll try to put it as simply as I can: the Catholic Church is not a marxist state, a communist, communal state. There is no "big, final keep" of funds and/or resources that then showers down to every parish and each diocese the world over.

And, any individual member of any indivdual parish is not (also/either) otherwise showered with an income from their parish because they are a member there.

The Church exists by individual offering, gift and works of faith and community. But it is not a motherloading purse from whence all individuals are "taken care of" in the course of normal life or in crises.

God's the source, after all. Not the "state," not a "state church" personality/function/figurehead. When any one individual as with parish as with diocese encounters financial troubles, they first rely on their own resources and abilities. Sometimes there are worldwide and/or entire Church efforts (such as Catholic Charities and special collections for a purpose declared by the Pope) that each parish and respective dioceses contribute by way of individual donation(s), but the idea is to give as gift and not to anticipate being doled out to.

The Church isn't an international bank or people's party, regardless of how many Coppola editions of The Godfather you've seen, nor ideas from the mind of Olive Stone.

There's nothing AT ALL unusual about any church and/or diocese selling property to meet expenses. And, a lot of Catholics are of the opinion that the Church should not be in the school business anyway, as a tangential point, such that in some areas, the involvements by the Church in private schools is being fazed out or at least reduced.

When a person runs short, they sell what they can to meet a financial crises instead of anticipating someone to take care of their money crunch for them and/or without looking for "public" assistance in that regard. Same thing with the Church as to not looking toward the Vatican for a "dole." The idea is to give, not to take. And to be self sufficient, not to be taken care of.

Some friends of mine who ar... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Some friends of mine who are in a Catholic order sold a few of their vacation homes inorder to pay increased taxes on a few healthcare facilities and related facility expenses. And then bought a few trailers for their vacation/retreats and parked them in the woods on some property someone provided a long-term lease for.

The vacation homes were on choice beachfront property in Malibu (the choices in Malibu, actually) that they'd come to own years before the area was as pricey as it later became, and they loved the area (still do) but you do what you have to do to do what you need to do.

That same order provides most if not all the annual laboratory work for one of L.A. county's only free healthcare clinics, such that every day of every year the uninsured families can get what lab tests are needed, paid for silently and privately by that same Catholic religious order.

Who sold a few properties to balance their books...so needy people could get chest xrays, blood tests, vaccinations and urinalysis as needed, among other things.

Typo (^^): should have wri... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Typo (^^): should have written, "...the choicest in Malibu..."

Hmmm.The avenue fo... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

The avenue for redemption and reconstruction of the Catholic Church in America is through charter schools. I'm curious why the Catholic Church doesn't push charter schools harder than they do now.

Boy, if this is suffering, ... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Boy, if this is suffering, we have no wisdom. The hand-wringing that continues over this one school is puzzling and laughable. Oh yeah, I forgot it is a Catholic school. Nevermind. Just some wild speculation here, but somehow I think these kids will make their next baseball game, pizza party, and muster up a smile from the depths of their broken hearts.

In 1929, there were 238,000 public schools. Now there are around 87,000. Oh the outrage. Those poor little children. Poor me, poor you, and poor everyone else. We shall never be the same with the memory of a school closing seered, seered into our souls.


Here are some Catholic school statistics for 04-05 which add some depth:

7,799 Catholic schools: 6,574 elementary; 1,225 secondary.
37 new schools opened; 173 consolidated or closed.

http://db.cbconf.org/cbc.nsf/pages/E7A6920174097DDC86256FC6004C12F0

whocares, this school is an... (Below threshold)
McCain:

whocares, this school is an ELEMENTARY school, not a high school, college, or even middle-school. If 5th grade graduation is going to be "one of those symbolic and memorable high points" in the lives of these kids, I suggest that they should have been held back for more reading and arithmetic. Let's be serious... this is just another fun way for intolerant people to criticize the Catholic church without being too obvious about it. Nothing more, nothing less.

How would you feel if someo... (Below threshold)
Hepzi:

How would you feel if someone made you buy your house not once, but twice? You'd be mad as a wet hen.

That's how these situations work. Usually the same folks (parishioners who have been tithing for years) have to turn around and buy the church/school AGAIN--and in this case from the PERPS. Not to mention the fact that the parishioneers did not have the clergy hire/fire rights of Protestant Church laity.

This scenario happened when the Southern Baptists split, and its being grappled with by Episcopal congregations as they consider a split. The tithing congregation will have to buy back the very church they paid for once, from the denomination. What a bitter pill.

The whole thing is a sad, sad story. I can only hope that the Catholic Church will emerge like a pheonix with an empowered laity, once all the housecleaning is done.

McCain you are one hard hearted chap.

So, instead of a ceremony i... (Below threshold)
kma:

So, instead of a ceremony in the smelly school gym, they held it in Faneuil Hall? Quick call Amnesty International! Children are being abused!

I'll feel sorry for the Cat... (Below threshold)
PTG:

I'll feel sorry for the Catholic Church's financial jam when I see pieces of the Sistine ceiling on E-Bay.




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