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"This is a nice school. You got insurance? It'd be a shame if anything bad was to happen to it..."

In the case of the Our Lady Of Presentation School in Brighton, MA, there might be a happy ending after all. (Previous coverage here and here.)

To recap: the Boston Archdiocese announced the school would be closed and re-open as a home for the church's tribunal, where matters of church law would be settled -- such as marriage annulments and punishing pedophile priests. A group of parents and parishioners protested, and raised the money to buy the school and run it themselves. The church rejected their offer, then suddenly closed the school two days early, locking the doors in the middle of the night (supposedly to head off a rumored sit-in). After a huge PR stink, the archbishop met with the parents and parishioners to discuss the matter.

Well, the archbishop has finally seen the writing on the wall. He's given them 60 days to come up with the money and a plan to run the school.

Which is exactly what the people asked for when he first announced the closing of the school.

So congratulations to Archbishop O'Malley for finally doing the right thing. If he'd only done that months ago, he might have avoided alienating a large number of his flock and giving the Boston church yet another black eye in the PR department.

Comments (9)

Just two small quibbles, al... (Below threshold)

Just two small quibbles, although IMO, they invalidate your whole position on this controversy:

1) The families had over a year's warning to come up with a proposal and figure out the funding. They did not. While it's possible with the new impetus and media attention they may be able to secure it - I'd bet a steak dinner that the school doesn't actually come together.

2) The last week of school, someone applied for a permit to protest across the street, and there were reports of in-school sit-in being planned. So, the Archdiocese made a decision to put the children's actual safety (you've probably never seen some of these protests - they can get ugly) ahead of either PR concerns or the "graduation" celebrations, which, as I remember from my school days, were pretty lukewarm and uninteresting.

You are right in that they could have moved them somewhere for graduation, you're not right in that they didn't do an arguably right thing given the information they had.

For instance, if the protests had gone as planned, the Globe would be reporting (and you would be echoing) dozens of teary-eyed children, with a storyline about the emotional distrubance the Archdiocese put these children in by making them witness such controversy, compounded by the thought of their school going away.

I really would encourage you to avoid taking MSM's storyline on such things uncritically. It's like taking the NYT's editorials as gospel truth about the Bush administration. It's not that the NYT doesn't frequently have a point - but at the same time, they mislead.

Jay Tea wrote: A group o... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea wrote: A group of parents and parishioners protested, and raised the money to buy the school and run it themselves.

jrp wrote: The families had over a year's warning to come up with a proposal and figure out the funding. They did not.

So, jrp, what you're saying is that J's statement above is untrue.

I trust you can support this with more than just your word.

WTF does the title of the p... (Below threshold)

WTF does the title of the post have to do with what transpired?

God, are we back to this? ... (Below threshold)

God, are we back to this? What black eye? Allocate scarce resources, time, and attention to where it is needed the most. Close a school, open another. Nothing to see here.

The Church made a decision ... (Below threshold)

The Church made a decision that some of its members didn't like. That's a black eye? More like par for the course.

The idea that Priests and t... (Below threshold)

The idea that Priests and the Church are to indulgents for the ever changing whims of human sociailist desires is tiresome. At least the suggestions of that.

I don't know if there was any "advance warning" as to the ultimate ending of a church school that was not being adequately funded (by parishoners, no less) but I tend to think that anyone would have easily heard and seen warning signs about the problem long earlier than the decision was reached to close the place.

Parishes and dioceses are communities. Comprised of individuals. It's a responsibility of communities to maintain their infrastructure and more, such that, deprived communities result when too many individuals go unresponsive to needs and conditions.

I am thinking that the church involved is probably the tip of the iceberg, but a very expensive tip that many involved may have anticipated "someone else" would be paying for.

Priests can only do so much, but ultimately, what takes place is the responsibility of the members of any dioceses and particularly, parish. When they go wanting, it's not difficult to see who is responsible.

The thing about the "sixty ... (Below threshold)

The thing about the "sixty days" deadline is an indication to perhaps detached-from-reality (and thus, responsibility) parish members that taxes, utilities and other operating costs have to be regularly and routinely paid inorder for anything to be maintained. A school is an expensive thing and unless it's funded by taxpayer dollars (and, therefore, public), a private school is funded by indivdual contributions.

Members were outraged at the idea of closure but if it's not being adequately funded, then what? The costs of insurance and liabilities, I add, are also an important aspect of maintaining any school, any business, for that matter. Employee theft and criminal behavior is a liability. A bad one, yes, but a liability of maintaining any operation.

(Damn site ate my comment..... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

(Damn site ate my comment...)

jrp, a group led by MA Secretary of State put forth such a plan a while go, and the church rejected it. They now have 60 days (well, 58 or so) to put that back together, and hope nobody has changed their mind or found another use for their money.

ICall, I was playing on the old Mafia shakedown for protection money. Maybe I should have said "Youse got insurance?" to make it a smidgen clearer.

Sean, McCain, (gee, that sounds oddly familiar), when the church closed down the school two days early, in the middle of the night, with no warning, they got a LOT of bad media coverage. And worse, they gave Boston's Mayor Menino a chance to come across as a hero. THAT is virtually unforgivable in and of itself, besides being almost inconceivable.


Like duh......WTF does that... (Below threshold)

Like duh......WTF does that have to do with what transpired? They're not threatening the parishioners with destruction of their property they're telling them they won't continue to support the school. They're not extorting them - that would be if you don't double the tuition payment and have a considerable fundraising drive we'll destroy the school. Explain to me how offering to turn the school over to the parishioners is shaking them down?






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