Monday, April 21, 2008

Sr. Janice Gets the Message - Sort of

It looks like Sr. Janice Morgan finally understands just what the Pope was trying to tell her and about 400 other Catholic educators last Thursday. Instead of finding ways to get the parents of Catholic school children – or the parents of potential Catholic school children - to be more willing to come up with tuition money (see here). Sr. Morgan now understands that His Holiness was really pointing out that what we have here is “a highly commendable opportunity for the entire Catholic community to contribute generously to the financial needs of our institutions.

As Sr. Morgan is now quoted as saying, “We have to help people who want to give financially.

Now wait just a minute here. Didn't Bishop Clark just two months ago dismiss out of hand sound financial plans offered by at least five different parish-based groups in an attempt to keep their schools open?

Were not there literally hundreds of people willing to collectively commit millions of dollars of their treasure – to say nothing of their time and their talent – to these same Catholic schools?

And were not each of these Catholic schools to be operated at absolutely no financial risk to the diocese?

None of these people needed to be "helped" to give. They were ready, willing and able to donate without any prompting from Buffalo Rd.

What Sr. Morgan really seems to be saying is that the diocese needs to find a way to convince all those good people just so cavalierly dismissed by the Bishop to buy into a school system that has been nothing but an administrative and financial failure ever since its inception.

This latest incarnation of the MCCS System was conceived by a committee of the well-off and the well-connected, meeting in secret and with absolutely no input from parents, teachers and building staff. It makes no attempt to draw new children into the system, while forcing others to leave due to transportation and handicapped-accessibility issues. Finally, this system is about to try to cram up to 30 children into each of its classrooms, at least some of which are in schools with inadequate physical plants.

And Sr. Morgan wants us to commit our treasure to that?

She must think we're idiots.


Anonymous said...

You'd think after the Holy Father's rather blunt suggestion that the diocese would finally say "You know, we were wrong, we're going to actually listen to these people with the business proposals." But no, that would mean swallowing their pride, and we can't have that, can we?

Mike said...

Cpt Tom-

When the diocese created the MCCS system it violated the principle of subsidiarity, taking all meaningful decisions about Catholic schooling out of the hands of the parents who have the right - and the moral obligation - to make those decisions themselves.

Undoubtedly the diocese would say that subsidiarity had to yield to the greater good. Here that greater good would be more children educated than would have been possible with the then-existing system of parish schools.

However, the diocese has proven time and time again that it is incapable of achieving that greater good. Its administrative blunders over the years have driven thousands of children out of the system.

This has now become, IMHO, a simple question of morality. Since the diocese has proven itself incompetent in this area, and since the principle of subsidiarity is to be upheld whenever possible, the diocese is under a moral obligation to return the control of their schools to those parishes that want it.

Those parishes that do not want it can continue to allow the MCCS System to rearrange the deck chairs on their Titanic to their hearts' content, but that iceberg of total collapse seems to be looming on the horizon.

But I fear you are right in your analysis. The diocese, in its misplaced pride, will insist that all sink together.

Anonymous said...


I wish I was wrong, but I have seen this too much where no matter how bad something goes wrong, the diocese keeps heading down the road to destruction.

I agree with you...even more so now after in light of the Holy Father's imperative about Catholic Education, the most moral thing the Bishop could do at this point is let those parishes with schools that are targeted to be closed have the freedom to make their own funding arrangements. I fear that our Bishop too much from pride and I don't see him doing a Mea Culpa any time soon. And his minions aren't going to lift a finger with out his nod.

What a sad, sad state of affairs. I do believe that the Diocese (and our Bishop for that matter) really don't understand Orthodoxy and Catholic Education anymore.

In the Army they have an expression that fits the current status of things with the schools: "Lead, Follow, or get the h*ll out the way!" I wish our Dear Pope would either invite Bishop Clark to Rome for "reassignment" or appoint a co-adjudicator to clean up the mess. Otherwise, there won't be anything left of our schools, or the diocese in 3 years.

Mike said...

Cpt Tom -

Along with misplaced pride, I have to offer the possibility of simple insanity.

I read somewhere that a good working definition of insanity is repeating an action you've done many times in the past and this time expecting a different result.

The diocese's continual reorganization of the MCCS System would seem to fit this definition. Every few years the diocese has closed schools, or merged schools, or instituted new tuition plans, or whatever, and each time the action was supposed to improve the system.

Each time, however, a greater number of children were driven out of the system. None of these actions can be sanely called an improvement, as the results all prove they were failures.

Now that we have been presented with the Mother of All Reorganizations, the diocese wonders why we are all not jumping up and down for joy.

Could it be because we're sane and they are not?