A Blog for Everything Else Philadelphia and Catholic…

The Philly Catholic Post has been created for readers and comment givers who wanted to tackle broader issues.  The site will serve as an independent news source and forum for all things Philadelphia and Catholic. Please visit and share your thoughts.

Catholics4Change.com will remain committed to protecting children and offering solidarity to victims of clergy sex abuse.

104 thoughts on “A Blog for Everything Else Philadelphia and Catholic…

  1. This new site is exactly what Catholics of the Phila. Archdiocese need. Thank you, Susan, for starting it. Since this year could turn out to be quite eventful for local Catholics, I’m sure there will be much interest for reading about what develops. We need a little healthy competition for The Catholic Standard & Times, and people need to know they are not alone in how they feel about issues. Thanks again, and I look forward to reading the column every day as well as the lively discussions and comments that surely will follow.

  2. Fr Tom Doyle’s review of the US Bishops John Jay/ Karen Terry May 2011 Voice from the Desert needs considering, coming from the perpective of a clergyman himself.
    Then we have the statement of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to his audience at Marquette University Milwaukee that with perhaps “two exceptions”, he has “not encounted a real and unconditional admission of guilt and responsiblity of priest offenders” in his diocese. What makes one think clergy would be different elsewhere, with their sense of grandiosity and narcissism backed up with the certitude bishops would be covering up for them. The message has to be, that it will no longer apply, having to face the full force of the law. This too is not quite the trek of the more recent John Jay report.
    The bishops should be held accountable, as adults members of society.

  3. Thank you for starting this new blog Susan. As someone who has taught in 3 of the elementary schools in the archdiocese and has seen first hand the benefits of such an education, esp to children in the city, I have been heartsick at the thought of massive closings. Yet, as one of those families who have been disgusted by the lack of leadership re. the sexual abuse scandals, we like many others began to cut back drastically on our donations as a means of protest, only giving the minimum required for our daughter to attend our parish school, So the expected closings are not surprising but your opening reference in your new blog to Saint John Neumann echoes what I was trying to express to family and friends this past weekend. The fact that, as you wrote, this great saint’s feast day is Thursday makes the announcement of massive closings on Friday strangely ironic and all the more sad. What would St. John Neumann say to our current bishops, this little man who rode on horseback across his diocese which back then covered most of Pennsylvania? Unlike our current leadership, he was known for his frugality, having only one pair of boots from the time he came to America. When he received new vestments he would give them away to the newest ordained priest in the diocese. He no doubt worked himself to an early death, collapsing and dying from a stroke on a city street while running errands at the age of 48. His example puts our current bishops and many of our parish priests to shame.

  4. “In general, fiscal transparency could help Catholics better understand the decision-making process.”

    For the past several years, I have attempted, quite unsuccessfully, to communicate with members of the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. One gentleman, Stephen Cohen, who is no longer a member of the council, had been kind enough to correspond and speak with me regarding a variety of concerns, both financial and abuse-related. He had been a long-time member of the Board and was a dedicated supporter of archdiocesan leadership.

    All of my other inquiries to finance council members were met with no response. The only information I found available on the Internet was a 2003 Financial Report for the Archdiocese that listed the members at that time. There have been a number of issues and concerns, financial in nature, that have arisen over the past several years that warrant disclosure, facts and investigative results to be shared with the parishioners of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    My recent efforts have been directed at finding out who is the Chairman of the Finance Council of the Archdiocese. Despite repeated phone calls to any number of offices down there at 222 N.17th St., I have been unable to retrieve this singular piece of information. Office staff have declined, refused and/or been unwilling to divulge the name of the Chairman to this writer. Does anyone in this forum know the name of the Chairman of the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia?

  5. So much for transparency and all the other words that come from their mouths, that speak any but TRUTH.

    Why bother.? Why not just move on and do all you can to end this evil regime. That’s the beginning, if you leave.Then be the advocate God wants you to be to all the children of God.No matter where they live, or go to church, school or playground, you be there for them as God’s hands, feet and mouth.

    1. I wouldn’t leave, why should we. They’re the ones who should, bringing disrepute to the faith we embrace, whether by choice or from the cradle.
      At the moment it’s like a bad marriage with no respect for family law.

  6. A few years ago, I read Goodbye Father: The Celibate Male Priesthood and the Future of the Catholic Church. Since then, it has dictated my thinking on celibacy and, the real villain, patriarchy.

    Celibacy is intended to act as a sacred shield for patriarchy. It provides a sacred veneer for father-rule. It consecrates male dominance. When patriarchy is made sacred by celibacy (because priesthood, while sacred, isn’t sacred enough), it reaps a kind of blind and unquestionable reverence.

    I am a woman (regardless of what some of you think). Sacralized patriarchy suffocates my personhood and dignity. It wreaks havoc on my faith journey. It deprives me of my baptismal right to hold positions of leadership in the Church. It contaminates my view of the clergy. It taints the theology of my Church. It is antithetical to the values I teach my children. It fosters the serious problem of the global oppression of women and girls. It is anti-intellectual. It is repugnant and immoral.

      1. You know Had it, I want to take another shot at this….your comments are very insightful, and my first reaction is Wow!

        But, then the feminist in me…said (after I had posted), wait a minute….I don’t want to give these guys that kind of power, over me, my faith journey, and since I don’t want Church leadership positions, (been there done some of that and turned some down), or really just about anything else from them.

        I do agree that patriarchy taints theology, may well influence one’s perception of the clergy, and can be globally oppressive.

        But, when the Church is truly goofy, I just look to other systems that behave responsibly. In my state, I have worked with womens groups and initiated and got passed into law, sexual harassment legislation, I have worked with multiple religious groups statewide on poverty issues, et al. I helped start a statewide poverty lobby.

        Actually, it’s been my professional experience that these other groups are far more reasonable, and easier to work with.

        And my theological take would definitely suggest a very strong commitment to poverty issues, abuse issues, etc. AS to faith journey…I am a great fan of Merton, Rohr, those guys and when institutional church behaves horribly, it’s actually an incentive to prayer.

      2. Joan – I’m with you; but if we’re working for what you would like to see come about, it will be for the generations that are to come. We will not see it in our lifetimes.

        The globally oppressive structure of the RCC is hard enough to change in first world countries, such as ours (about 5% of the world’s RC population) and those of Europe. In the third world countries of Latin America and Africa I don’t see the change that we’re talking about coming before the 22nd century.

        When I was in seminary in the 90’s, we read that nuns were being raped by African priests, because they believed they were the only women that didn’t have AIDS. We also read that JPII was aware of it and did nothing, except hid it. Someone may be interested in researching this issue.

      3. drwho13, thanks!

        At 73, I don’t expect to see the globally repressive situation alter in my lifetime! That doesn’t mean, I won’t try to help, with the time allotted to me.

        The very fact that we are having this discussion on a blog, that only God knows who reads. The fact that you can provide a link that is horrifying but bears out what I have heard…including clergy impregnated nuns forced to have abortions, in Africa…and my favorite piece of that one….that Rome knows, but it is only occurring in certain ‘geographical areas’ as if that’s a defense????!!!!

        All of this causes me to thank God for the Internet, the 24/7 news cycle, the media, and C4C. And to ponder a thought that a religious I know in Africa was telling me that there is no landline infrastructure so folks are using cell phones a lot….which says to me that they can access info faster, better and it’s good news information dissemination wise.

        This same guy told me that part of the African situation is that the culture promotes these abuses. Women are not valued but rather seen as ‘useful’ that it is apparently understood that men, clergy included have a ‘right’ to this criminal behavior, and of course, the Church is complicit.

        It’s appalling, but at this very moment, WE are giving it some exposure, small but important steps, I think!

      4. Joan,

        I don’t perceive patriarchy to be a feminist issue. I consider it to be a justice issue.

        You and I have our computers, our educations, our Western culture, our civil rights, our support systems, alternative systems, etc. We use them to put a middle finger up to our patriarchal Church. We say, “nice try, Goofs. See you later…” But there are eons of women in the world who lack the resources that empower you and I to be bold and independent. When I lived in Sierra Leone two years ago, women had NOTHING but the patriarchal systems of Islam and Catholicism. They acted as divine permission for men to enslave and oppress them. I’m not comfortable ignoring patriarchy just because I’m in a position to blow off the Goofs, nor, I suspect, are you.

      5. Well, Had it, actually your description of the evils of patriarchy, did evoke a feminist response from me when I thought of them as they might impact me locally! I am NOT defined by patriarchy.

        Do I think feminism is an issue in Sierra Leone? I don’t, but actually I think SNAP might think so.

        They had a big fundraiser a few months ago in LA, sponsored by NOW. NOW is working world wide and sees the sexual abuse situation in the third world, as very much a women’s issue, and for that reason is supporting SNAP. I think Ms Magazine has done articles etc.

        Do I think patriarchy is a problem and a justice issue, absolutely …especially in third world countries. I also think that endemic famines, tribal warfare, and international economic politics play a part.

        There is no way I would ignore Church patriarchy, but I would probably factor it in with other considerations.

    1. It’s probably true, when clergy resort to writing deep anguished anonymous letters on behalf of their child, it certainly makes sense.
      Dear …..
      as the charity of Christ urges you, in the name of St Francis,, “I’l Poverello”, help the little poor one in your district.
      Peace & Goodness

    2. WOW! I couldn’t have said it better. You go girl! I love reading your blogs, had it. You always nail it. It feels great as a survivor to have such intelligent and caring people who really “get it.” The phila. archdiocese wouldn’t need to close schools because of low attendence if they had done the “right thing” back in 2002 and the dallas charter. If they had followed the teachings of Christ enrollment now would be high. They operate with their own interests at heart, let us not forget the blind obedience to the bishop that the people who make up the church are left without direction or hope. It is time to turn inward and find your God and develop a relationship just with the Divine> I believe that was the true teaching of christ.

      1. you are misguided or misfocused on the facts. the closing of schools has nothing to do with doing ‘the “right thing” in 2002’ or the dallas charter. to what bishop does who have “blind obedience” to? are you implying that the ad schools do not follow the teachings of Christ? what are you talking about? it is a real disappointment to find the SPIN on school closings on this supposed forum for justice. or maybe you just misunderstand the reasons for the closings.

      2. Catholic school closings are due to a variety of reasons. Factors in the closings that cannot be overlooked are low enrollment, projected catholic children attending and the handling of funds to date.

        Those factors are directly linked to this sexual abuse scandal.

      3. While demographic changes are cited as the number one reason for school closings, these factors, all relating to the sexual abuse crisis, play roles as well:

        1. negative publicity
        2. reduced monetary contributions from existing Church members
        3. reduced membership in the Church
        4. increased expenses from sexual abuse settlements
        5. litigation expenses
        6. reduced tuition revenues as parents remove their children from Catholic schools

      4. For folks who are concerned about church closings, abuse costs and church finance, Jason Berry’s, Render Unto Rome, iOS both timely and instructive. You might want to give it a try.

      5. Let me suggest the book written by Thomas J. Reece sj, A Flock of Shepherds.
        Chapter six in particular, google it, I think you can read excerpts.

  7. When I first heard of the plight by religious sisters in Africa on NCR, who had to leave community life when carrying a child of a clergyman, the terminations that were incurred especially where one was botched, the sister died and the fr/father, conducted the funeral service, committing HER to Gods mercy I actually located Sr Marie McDonald who was reported on NCR, to confirm it was true. The sisters were coerced into sexual activities, one reason because of Aids, being safe targets due to the fear of being infected by prostitutes.
    Sometime ago, Rome gave thanks to the “Wives of Christ”: ” for the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church”. I’m sure our Lord wouldn’t excpect them [or anyone else] to be a doormat literally or casually.
    They apparently do.

    1. I’m having my own range of emotions as an outsider to Philly watching everyone come to grips with the news of all the school closings.
      I couldn’t help but think for a second, “Hmmm, want to know what it feels like to have the rug ripped out from under you? Join the club. “ My humanness is so ugly sometimes.

      Then as I read the pain, sadness in each of the posts on the “Blog for Everything Else” site…I couldn’t help but feel compassion for those who are feeling the ache of something they’ve cherished. I know the feeling well.
      So, on this sad day for so many Philly Catholics I only have 2 words that everyone needs to hear when they are experiencing the ache of loss,…“I’m sorry.”

      1. Thank you survivors wife,so kind of you when you have so often not heard those words yourself. We have been a little distracted the past few days as all of this is unraveling. We set up the other site because we really want to leave C4C focusing on victims and children. However the issues locally of the school closings,finacial transparency etc..need to be addressed.
        My high school was among those listed on the closing list. As much as I expected it,I cried when I saw the news. I was upset again today watching the news and the interviews with the students who were so upset,hugging eachother and crying. The kids,why do these problems within the church always end up involving the children…..a sad day

  8. With regard to the Blue Ribbon Committee announcement about the closing and consoladation of Catholic School — may I suggset that everybody visit the web site — http://www.faithinthefuture.org to obtain more information about the individual schools involved. Also it is important for those who do not agree with the decision to gather informaiton, FACTS, and contact Archbishop Chaput’s office — he has invited further dicsussion so he can be made aware of an factual errors in the commission recommendation to him. If you do not agree, don’t spend time crying and complaining, get FACTS and got to work to show an incorrect decision was made about the closing.

    1. Thank you for this information. I have been to that site. It’s valuable information.

      I’m not sure incorrect decisions were made.

      I will be interested in what “further discussion” will look like with Archbishop Chaput. He can’t be everywhere at all times, and he will have a difficult time answering all questions coming into that office. Even with a team of people paid to help, it will not change the outcome.

      But, it’s best to be informed and that site provides it.

      1. Sorry, the site you have linked isn’t the one I was referring to.

        I was referring to the one by the AD. The one linked took me to something else.

    2. One of the things I am interested in is commentary on the various “boards and committees” that are to oversee the schools once they are restructured. Who will choose the people who make up the “boards and committees,” and how? Can the AD ultimately overrule the efforts and decisions made by the various “boards and committees”? While I’ve read that the people on the various “boards and committees” will possess “expertise” to bring to the table, will they also be people inclined to be AD puppets?

      Does anyone know anything about this aspect of the school restructuring?

      Thank you.

      1. I am so sorry that parents, kids, and teachers have to go through this major ‘reshuffle.’

        I am wondering if ‘overcrowding’ is going to be an issue in this amalgamation, and also what has been the impact of the closures on inner city, low income areas?

      2. Pastor said at mass today the pastors at the affected parish schools will pick the committee from existing teachers in their two catholic schools, some parishoners that are teachers outside the catholic system, principle, pastors and a few parish members.

      3. My pastor said he and the principle were contacted by phone wed. by AD but were not allowed to tell their teachers and that the pastors in no way were consulted or involved in the final decision making. He also talked about the sacrafices the teachers had made in the past to be catholic school teachers and that it will be very difficult for many to find jobs in this economy if they don’t get rehired. He mentioned it affects teacher aids, secretaries and janitors which many papers don’t mention. He was very through which I appreciate and talked about the difficulties for the kids too. As he knows more he will keep us informed.

  9. Another thing I am interested in is what the “climate” was is parish churches, today, as people congregated for Sunday Mass in the wake of the school restructuring news that came down on Friday. Also, what role did the parish priests play in the “climate”?

    Thank you.

  10. had it, I am not sure about the climate with the priests but the climate among the laity is something I have never before witnessed. As Joe referenced it is important to not just react emotionally,and people are well beyond emotion and have begun asking tough questions about the Archdiocese. Questions about finances,past decisions,sharing info about how they feel they were mislead in the past on a parish or Archdiocesan level. For those scrambling to save their schools,they aren’t just politely asking to be reconsidered-they are going full barrell with info about the AD itself and asking the tough questions -publicly.

    1. Very encouraging report, Kathy.

      The response of Philly’s lay Catholics is a real testimony to the “great awakening” that all lay Catholics are undergoing, and how courage, knowledge and wisdom are guiding them through it.

      Behind all of you, all the way!

    2. Kathy, I am glad folks are asking tough questions! They should. Were parents included in the Blue Ribbon process, or was it a pyramid power deal where the ‘truth’ was delivered from the mountain top…a typically catholic process. And one of Haddit’s questions was also one of mine…are these “boards and committees” merely fundraising, or do they have access to fiscal data and some decision making power? Are they appointed by the AD or elected by the parents and staff, or both?

      And last but not least….what is the impact on the inner city kids in low income areas?

      1. I keep asking about the impact of these school closings on children living in the inner city. If these kids can be accommodated in the ‘pairing’ process, well and good.

        But, I am reminded of the recent DC situation where Cardinal Hickey to his everlasting credit, in my view, was very determined to keep open his inner city schools and after a valiant set of efforts finally turned them into a very creative form of charter schools. See link http://www.setonpartners.org/Seton_DC_Case_Study_FINAL.pdf

        I can’t help but wonder what will happen to the 45 closed school facilities?

    1. Kathy,

      I had to watch Susan’s video twice because, the first time through, I was like, wow, that’s Susan, that’s what she looks like in person, those are her mannerisms, that is her kind of composure… the content of what she was saying totally escaped me.

      Excellent work, Susan!

  11. We are so lucky to have Susan as our spokeperson here in Philadelphia. With her past employment with the Archdiocese, as well as her “on air” experience in front of millions of people with her other past employment, -it is an unbelievable combination that benefits all who have not had a voice.

    1. I think it was Susan herself who said awhile back, that she had a sense that none of this C4C business was happening ‘by chance’….so having her here, and you too, Kathy is no accident!

  12. I was reading some comments and merging Bonner and Prendie in the Bonner building and using the old covent and friars house and Prendie building for the Seminarians and selling the Seminary is an awesome idea. The main prendie building is huge, has a beautiful and I mean beautiful chapel and beautiful archetecture all around. It’s like one big mansion as it use to be an orphange.The building is set on Drexel Hill as in Mother Catherine Drexe who especially held the Native American Indians and Africian Americans in her heart. You can see center city from that hill which makes it very special. That building stands as a source of hope and the idealism of catholic youth.

    1. Mother Catherine Drexel will not be happy with me if I don’t fix that “L” in the above blog:)

      1. Holy Ghost high School in Bensalem use to be a seminary where Mother Catherine Drexel would recruit many of her missionary Fathers in fact her shrine is right up the street from the school. If the seminary could become a high school I don’t see why a high school like Prendie can’t be made into a seminary……..it might actually take us back to our simpler catholic roots.

  13. I just watched the 10 o’clock news and they highlighted various protests and vigils that took place today throughout the Archdiocese. One parish allowed cameras into their church and the priest’s homily was shown on the news. He said that their school was vibrant,bills were paid,they were fine ,yet were told to close. He said “why are the people who are not the ones paying the bills making the decisions for us? Why are we not deciding about our school -he was very passionate.Also added that the Archdiocese does not contribute one dime towards the cost of running their school.

    1. A passionate priestly voice on behalf of the people!

      Another piece of very encouraging news!

      Thank you, Kathy.

    2. I know of another school saying the same thing as that parish. They are finicial stable so dont understand the need to merge.

    3. So, there’s a priest that’s willing to speak against an Archbishop about a school merging, but not sexual abuse of children?

      I’d love to know if that priest is going to be “reprimanded” for that homily and if not, then he should be speaking out on other important topics. I’d like to know his name.

      Do parents see the correlations between what’s happening with school mergings (church closings are on the horizon) and the sex abuse scandal? What made parents/parish priests ever believe they had a say in any of this? I don’t mean that in a cruel way. I’m sincerely asking why they think they do.

      1. I was thinking the same thing. I am even hearring people say dont put money in basket put in note about not having say in school closings. Why did these people not do the same thing for the victims?

      2. Survivors Wife, Thank you, my sentiments exactley! I see tears on everyone faces, yet I have not yet seen one tear shed for those of us that suffered torture at the hands of a catholic priest. How interesting when something hits home it has such impact. Many survivors reading and seeing all this uproar about losing your school and nothing from the people in the pews all these years, silence, pure silence. How sad for so many of us that continue to suffer the remants of rape, where are our tears?

      3. Beth, literally months ago, on a C4C blog, I told the story of a friend who kept a whole lot of little preprinted slips of paper in her purse and tore one off and put it in every collection plate.

        They said, ” I cannot financially support a church that molests children, knowingly passes on predator priests, and does not hold bishops accountable. I am contributing my normal Sunday contribution to groups that help prevent abuse and protect innocent children.”

        While THAT message is one, I support a LOT, and is my first concern, I am not sorry to hear that AD folks are using the same technique to state their frustration about ” not having a ‘say’ in school closings” because what I think this is all about is the laity speaking up, with their checkbooks and their ‘little printed papers’, and of course, their money.

        It has been noted often and in many places that the Church is NOT a democratic entity. That, however, does not excuse the Church from not ‘listening and learning’ from the laity…a Vatican 2 concept ….AND it does not excuse the laity from being a mature player in this game, who places it’s marbles, printed messages, car keys, checkbook and religious allegiance in an appropriate place!

      4. Joan,
        I hear you and you are right. I think many laity are realizing to their shock how the AD and hierarchy works for the first time….it is a monarchy not a democracy. It seems the hierarchy listens to hand picked committees with out it being balanced out by the “commoners” (lay public)input, ideas or creatvity.

    4. 293 Seminarians on 77 acres ? That is what I found online.Can anyone confirm this. Can we sell some of that land? Interesting fact the first Bishop held the seminary in his house. Also why does the Seminary have an Eakins picture collection still? I understand the portraits were done by him many years ago but I am really having trouble with this……..I know they don’t take a vow of poverty but with everyone talking about St. Neuman and his old boots this seems contradictory.I know you can’t keep selling off property you need schools to support themselves but if foundations etc are organized with the money we can become more self sufficient. Everyone says we are a family so not just laity schools should be looked at. I think in closing down catholic high schools vocations might go down even lower.

      1. Beth, I heard it was only 135 seminarians. Do you have a link?
        Survivors wife,I am going to write something for the C4c site in a few days about some of the things you referenced. There have been a few things happening that I have wondered the same thing.

      2. Beth and Kathy…could not find the link, but I recently read that your seminary is used by seminarians from other dioceses and only 39 (?) seminarians of the 150 plus are slated for the AD. The AB recently mentioned that in Denver, about a third (?) the size of the AD, there were around 80 seminarians.

    5. Our Church is a monarchy. In terms of opening or closing any school the bishop has complete control. The fact that the Archdiocese does not contribute one dime towards the cost of running a school makes no difference. The AD still has absolute authority.

      No, I don’t agree with that policy, so I’m out of the RCC, informally anyway. I have not publicly denounced my RC faith yet, but I’m close!

      1. drwho13,

        Reflect back on the day you entered the seminary. In your wildest imagination, could you ever have imagined that you’d be “that close” to denouncing your faith, today?

        Your story has always moved me.

    6. Jason Berry cited similar remarks made by priests in other parts of the country, relative to Church closings (not school closings,) ie the given church was fiscally viable, no problems, sat on valuable land and was slated to close.

      It was often an issue of the value of the land that the ADs wanted to sell. See ‘Render Unto Rome.’

      1. I think that is the case with Bonner and Prendie it is a scenic location and I thought a college might buy it for a satelite branch.

      2. I was listening to BRC and it said the parish schools are owned by the parish and the high schools by the Archdiocese and that some money from the high school land will be put back into education but he did not say ALL. Archbishop Chaput did say pastors decide whether to dispose of parish school property but did not say what would be done with that money if they are sold but later the BRC member said that pastors have to remember to allocate space to CCD education (Prep kids). So if the pastor has to sell the school land where is he suppose to have CCD?

      3. Beth and Kathy…what happened to the Corporate Sole ownership of all diocesan property by the AB? Did parishes separately incorporate…where is Jerry when we need him?

      4. Beth and Kathy, what is this parish ownership stuff?

        What happened to the AB as Corporate Sole, owning ALL diocesan property? Pretty standard in the US Church….Or have these guys been up to some interesting rearrangements?

        Could parishes be separately incorporated?

      5. Joan I don’t know the answer to your questions. I had thought the archdioscese owned everything. I just was listening to the BRC on the website BRC website as well as Archbishop and I just repeated what they said in my blog.

      6. Joan if that was the case would that protect the Archdioscese in lawsuits in some way? or/ and prevent the sale of parishes in the case they needed access to money for payouts to victims? I am just wondering what you were thinking? I don’t know how things work. Maybe we can get some answers,

    1. Joan reporter asks about parish property sales around 51:18 minutes during the video so you can fast forward it if you want.

      1. SW, at risk of having you a bit unglued…

        Your Future Church link brought me to a PA discussion in the NCR that had some Vatican ‘give’ on church closings. The NCR article is excellent and relevant and listed below.


        A footnote on this. The hero in the ultimate Vatican ‘give’ is a hugely talented guy in Boston, named Peter Borre, who took the potential closing of his church to Rome, a number of times (he had been raised in Rome, spoke fluent Italian, was able to make serious Vatican connections. It was ultimately discovered by Rome’s highest tribunal that the closed church could not be put to “profane” use….ie selling it

        Peter Borre is one of the heroes of Jason Berry’s, Render Unto Rome, a very timely read for Philly folks!

      2. Joan,
        I already knew about the appeal processes that were made through the site I linked. It’s disturbing.

        I think I need more than some adhesive to hold me together.

        I’m so impressed how you can find the information you do.

      3. SW I once had a boss who said I never took no for an answer…I had done some research that disproved a position he was about to present to 12 bishops.

        I like research, Google, and information that helps folks to understand what is really happening.

        I have learned so much from you and other folks on C4C about the horrors you all have experienced that I am very motivated to help in any way I can….and getting info out, particularly to folks in the pew…is my way of helping.

    2. Beth, thanks for the ‘links’ I got a bit lost in them….but to revisit the question of parish ownership of property, why not just ask the pastor if the parish is individually incorporated? As opposed to diocesan owned?

      Many years ago, when Boston was blowing up, there was a Wall Street Journal piece describing various ADs that were busy protecting themselves from fiscal liability with a number of ‘incorporations’ of their various properties, trusts et al. hence my question about those empty parish schools, and probably some church closings as well.

      1. Beth, I finally got connected with your links and thank you for the heads up on 51:18….Apparently the parishes own the property.

        Also, there apparently is a committee studying Church closures.

        One wonders what happens to an incorporated parish that has closed both it’s school and it’s church? I would imagine that the resulting funds would devolve to the AD?

        I heard one mention of Charter schools in the press conference, and think the DC catholic school/charter story in DC is worth revisiting……here is the link for folks…http://www.setonpartners.org/Seton_DC_Case_Study_FINAL.pdf

      2. There is a pattern of parish school closings,in various parts of the nation, where the parish then rents the school to a Charter school. Am wondering if that is an unstated part of the AD strategy?

      3. Joan the parishes own the property and the pastors have the decison making over school closures…it is getting really interesting with some pastors reportedly sending letters that they have no intention to follow the ‘recommendation” to close the school. Also canon law plays a part in all of this also. This is turning onto chaos in Philly with an appeals process where decisions will be announced in February and the “new naming” of the merged and consolidated schools in March. Also some pastors are not willing to take on a new name for the school if they are merging with another – want to mainatain the old name if the merged school will be at their parish. Has anyone thought about the enormous cost involved with changing the names of all of these schools? And some parish closures to be announced in March. That’s all for now….

      4. Kathy,
        I heard everything you have said. My daughter recently asked me how are they going to take the school logo and initials out of the gyms new wood floor. Many parishes just got those very expensive signs that post upcoming events. Uniform changes are expensive too. I dont know how the archdiocese can enforce this if they dont own the school property and the school is self sufficient. The pastors should have been consulted. My pastor said he was not involved in the final decision making. It really should have been optional for the schools involved to follow the reccomendations. Parishoners will back their priests on this one I am sure.

      5. So, Kathy….the parish owns the property and the priests ( and hopefully parishioners) have decision making over school closures, and some priests are reportedly indicating that they are not ‘accepting’ the BRC’ s ‘recommendations’ relative to school closing? Right?

        Meanwhile when asked in the Press Conference about the report, the AB indicated that he accepted the report.

        And somehow canon law factors in here.

        Very confusing. What are the canon law issues? What does ownership of a parish facility really mean in terms of decision making, is it a dodge to avoid fiscal liability? When were these parishes incorporated?

        Am confused.

      6. So Kathy, am not quite so confused, went looking for some answers and found on the Detroit AD website who had just in corporate their parishes, the following:
        How will parishes be incorporated?
        Incorporation in Michigan is a simple process. Articles of incorporation are recorded with the State of Michigan. Corporations also adopt bylaws regulating governance of the corporation. The articles of incorporation and bylaws will be drafted by archdiocesan legal counsel, and will be the same for all parishes. The initial articles of incorporation will be filed by the Archdiocese.
        Will there be a corporate board of directors? Will laity be involved? What is the role of the Pastor and the Archbishop?

        The plan is to create a Board of Directors consisting of four persons: the Vicar General/Moderator of the Archdiocesan Curia, the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, the Pastor and a parish lay representative (either the chairperson of the parish pastoral council or finance council). The Pastor will be the president of the corporation, with the same powers and duties that he has currently. The real and personal property of the parish will be transferred by the Archbishop (who presently holds title to such property in trust) to the parish corporation. The Archbishop will have certain reserved powers over matters identical to our current practice and in accord with canon law (e.g. approval of sale or purchase of real estate, leases, etc.)

        The Archbishop will have certain reserved powers over matters identical to our current practice and in accord with canon law (e.g. approval of sale or purchase of real estate, leases, etc.)
        Sounds like a incorporation without operative power. “

      7. http://futurechurch.org/sopc/parishwatch/

        I posted this on the other site.

        I don’t know if it’s helpful or not.

        I will come unglued (can only imagine how a victim will feel)…if a pastor bucks the AD over a school merging.

        Let’s be clear…ultimately the AD determines what happens. A priest will be not be obedient to his bishop if he doesn’t go along.

      8. Joan… the Board you describe consists of two AD people, the parish priest, and a lay person from a parish council.

        The parish council lay person is chosen by the parish priest. He or she is always a puppet to the priest. The parish priest is a puppet to the two AD people. And the two AD people are puppets to the AD and the bishop.

        What a joke.

        (Do you have any idea how much you could be making with your research skills??!! Thank you for what you bring to this site.)

      9. SW….my ‘unglued’ remarks are not under your comment as I wished them to be…but ‘above’ ….not heaven

        And Haddit, I did realize that the parish board was ‘stuffed’ it was my response to the language of the Press Conference which intimated that parishes were the ‘decision makers’. Relative to school closures! You are, of course right, it’s a thoroughly rigged game! ( and such as they are, you are welcome to my research efforts…I do it because I want the folks in the pew to understand the situation, as well as you do!)

  14. Who was involved in the selection process,certainly not parents or parrishioners. How was ST. GEORGES picked over M.D.G. ,both small parrishes with about the same enrollment. Is this because the archdiocse accessment on money raised by MDG ‘s carnival festival is over 80%, .This year as well as past years has seen over 100,000 dollars in money raised. was this part of the factors on deciding who closes. Is this all about give backs to the archdiocese? BOYCOTT ALL CATHOLIC EDUCATION FUNDRAISERS,COLLECTION PLATES, NO VOICE NO DOLLARS…………..

      1. Beth…I listened to a NPR radio dialogue today in Philly, dealing with the school closings and apparently, according to a commenter, if you want to appeal an AD school closing decision one of the conditions is that a parish must come up with..in the next few weeks …whatever the school indebtedness is…In one case it was cited as 1 million.

        Don’t know if this makes any sense, as ‘facts’ not money were the stated considerations, for reconsideration.

      2. Beth the link for the radio piece is


        It’s a long piece, the first segment is the BRC explanation, then there is a teacher union person, discussing impact on teachers, and a Seton Partners segment on schools funding et al.

        I think the commenter who indicated that AD appeals needed to be accompanied by money to even get to the table, was in the section segment, but am not sure…this is NOT the precision with which you gave me a media reference recently! Sorry…Joan

  15. http://michaelbaumann.wordpress.com/tag/thomas-r-caltagirone/

    both parties have a history of blocking SOL. Need to let both parties that we believe that the issues of child abuse is important. Don’t know if a change in leadership is the answer if the alternative won’t support us. We need to make sure all of our representatives know how important this issue is

    On the other issues, Cardinal Krontrol was responsible for loss of teaching religious as he Allowed the Sisters of Saint Joseph to leave and had religious priests whose mission was to staff schools staff parishes with little training. Religious received little compensation and struggled to pay bills and support those who retired. Still remember the trips to Chestnut Hill with the nuns so that they could continue their education. They had to beg parents for a ride and my father had a station wagon in the 60’s.So much that happened in the 70’s and 80’s affected what happened now. Not addressing the abuse at that time definitely affected vocations to those considering religious teaching life.

    They expect parents to pay high tuition rates, teacher’s families to live in poverty and members of parishes with low incomes to support an uncaring hierarchy. I feel for the parents and children who need the schools yet must support the church that offends them with the sexual abuse.They will suffer because of the poor leadership skills and financial planning Also, pray for those who have spent their lives teaching in your schools, including members of my family who spent decades teaching in the Catholic School system

  16. Rumors abound that some pastors have rejected the decisions. This school the first to publicly state they are rejecting the recommendations. It is interesting because there is an appeal process set up however it seems under canon law,pastors have the right to close or keep a school open -not the Archdiocese decision.http://www.phillyburbs.com/my_town/palisades/st-john-s-in-ottville-we-are-not-closing/article_6708d292-3227-5b9f-8d72-0e452600fbf9.html

    1. Kathy, Rita Schwartz, Teachers Union, said on NPR today, that schools who want to appeal the decisions must come up with the deficit that the school owes, to be considered in the appeal process, she said that in one case it was over a million dollars. Her comments are about 30 minutes into this program http://whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/

      And on a different note, I went looking for some understanding of an ‘incorporated’ parishes decision making ability,(see comments, above) found the Detroit AD’s operating style, ie pastor and some AD officials are the committee that has the parish decision making power, in effect a rigged deal, so I am wondering how the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is organized in terms of parish decision making power.

      In Detroit, and I am pasting off the posting cited above

      “The Archbishop will have certain reserved powers over matters identical to our current practice and in accord with canon law (e.g. approval of sale or purchase of real estate, leases, etc.)”

      I know that dioceses are individual fiefdoms and what plays in Detroit, may not play in Philly, but canon law applied presumably everywhere and that last quote,” approval of sale or purchase of real estate, leases, etc” seems inclusive and raises questions about church closings and school closings, does it not.

  17. Kathy,

    I’m a little confused. The article also states, “The final word will come from Archbishop Chaput.”

    I bet Chaput is the type of person that will ‘mop the floor with any priest who dares to defy him.’ What do you think?

  18. There were several church closings in our area. Years ago a priest did some financial maneuverings with a church. The priest has long since passed and when the diocese went to close the church, they essentially couldn’t sell it off. There is money in trusts and “tied” to that church alone. IF anything is sold, the money is then inherited by the priest’s descendents and some people in Italy.

    I don’t know the particulars, but that priest essentially tied the hands of the diocese. It’s now a shrine with no official masses or priests assigned. It has to be maintained by the money held in those trusts.

    They have prayer vigils there…and the diocese can’t officially “close” it. Something tells me that priest knew about the underbelly of the rcc all those years ago. The priest has been deceased for over 30 years. What a legacy!!!!

    1. SW, when I read your post, I kept thinking about Jason Berry’s, Render Unto Rome, it’s a book I think you would like, a LOT!

  19. Lot of questions and few answers. There are wills, deed restrictions and other considerations. Some properties have restrictions applied to them. Girard, Northwood and Disston come to mind. What happens to these buildings? Need to keep them in repair or they will need to be razed. Charter schools do rent, think PACS rented from Holy Family and the Jewish Center.Some parishes have sold buildings to funeral homes. At least renting will pay for maintanance issues, selling could help balance the parish budget.These costs should be a consideration as they will affect the parish and neighborhood.

    Don’t know about the important issues such as transportation – many schools will cross major roads and may make some students eligible for transportation. With issues like that parents can contact Educational Law Center. What tuition will be charged at the new schools? What Church will be in charge? With multiple Churches involved, what happens to those who get behind in their tuition and what will be their mission? Hated working in those multiple parish situations where I would have to suspend for lack of payment then argue with pastors who wanted my head. What happens to act 195 and act 90 funds? How will they use services like those offered from CORA. Kids who get speech twice a week may only get it once a week at a new school. Will the new schools hire the least expensive teachers or the ones with the ability to teach.

    Vouchers would be nice, but trying to get that might be harder to get than SOL reform. Maybe we can make a deal, AD open their records of abusive priests so we can spend more time fighting for vouchers and saving our schools and not worrying about the safety of our kids.

    1. Ed, that was an amazingly inclusive comment…from an insider, I trust.

      It deserves a lot of attention.

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