Sunday, March 2, 2008

Columnist: Bishop Brushed Aside Parents 2 Years Ago

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has an apologist for Bishop Matthew Clark on its payroll who has just come out with his second defense of the bishop's decision to close 13 Monroe County Catholic Schools.

In an opinion piece published today columnist Mark Hare writes that “downsizing the school system by more than 50 percent ... is necessary.” He then parrots back a bunch of financial and enrollment data lifted from DOR press releases that supposedly demonstrates that the MCCS system costs too much and benefits too few – and this from a man who wrote only 5 weeks ago that he hoped people would “stop interpreting the decision as proof that nothing matters but money – even in the church” [emphasis in the original]. An interesting reversal, to say the least.

Hare then goes on to cite a Nazareth College professor to make the point that “the population of upstate New York has been declining,” with the inference being that the number of Catholics in the diocese is declining as well. However, Hare knows for a fact – since I informed him of it in an email follow-up to his previous column – that US Census Bureau data shows that the overall population of the 12 counties that comprise DOR has remained essentially unchanged for at least the last 7 years. I'm sure I'm not the only one who believes that one who uses a quote from someone else to perpetuate what one knows to be a myth is guilty of dishonesty.

But by far the most interesting portion of Hare's column is the part about Noelle D'Amico and other parents who two years ago recognized the impending financial crisis in Catholic education and “tried to organize parents from around the county to plan for the future.” However, their letters to the diocese seeking permission for their efforts were met with stony silence.

The truth finally seems to be coming to light. Matthew Clark had already made up his mind some time ago about what needed to be done with the Catholic schools and he wasn't about to let a bunch of meddlesome parents stand in his way. All he needed to bring his plan to fruition was another year or two of declining financial and enrollment data and the appointment of a hand-picked committee of tame experts who would then dispassionately discern the only “reasonable” solution to the problem.

Shame on you, Matthew Clark.

3 comments:

SJR SOS said...

Thank you for all of your posts and especially this one.

Mike can you contact me at savesjr@gmail.com I would like to ask you some questions and get your help on some things. You haven't posted your contact information. I am a parent of a child that goes to St John of Rochester, and it seems we think alike on a number of issues.


The parents of St. John of Rochester School did a presentation for the Diocese. We had been told of the declining population story several times, but when we went to the Census website, we were shocked.
Monroe County did not have this mass exodus that many priests have been saying.
The Diocese has a data base that each parish uses to record parishioner statistics. The supplied us with some of this information. Why are these figures not shared with the laity? Such as the regular Sunday attendance locally vs the number of registered baptized catholics. Are they not coming because the Church was silent on Global Warming until Bishop Clark's most recent campaign or is it that they are teaching error.

Mike can you contact me at savesjr@gmail.com I would like to ask you some questions and get your help on some things. You haven't posted your contact information. I am a parent of a child that goes to St John of Rochester, and it seems we think alike on a number of issues.

Rich Leonardi said...

Mike,

You need to submit an LTE to the Democrat & Chronicle copying Hare's editor as soon as possible. And I linked to your post on my site just now.

Mike said...

Rich,

We must think alike. The LTE went out last night.

- Mike