Parish Schools – Separate from Diocese or Not?


Commentary by Susan Matthews

In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, parishes are separate and distinct entities . The pastor is the ultimate decision-maker for the parish and parish school. However, those pastors take a vow of obedience to their Bishop. It’s confusing and very convenient for Archdiocesan finances, their legal team and the Office for Catholic Education.

Parishes and their schools are completely separate from one another and the archdiocese if you’re an elementary school teacher and you want to seek unionization. They are also separate if you’d like to hold the archdiocese accountable for negligence of its elementary school students in regard to child sex abuse.

But if you’re a pastor or a teacher whose school is closing, you must follow the rules of the Archdiocesan Office for Catholic education. Not so separate now. Hmm. See if you can figure it out based on the communications below:

1) “In all of the newly formed elementary schools the pastors will still be the employers, not the Archdiocese. That arrangement does not change even if we’re talking about a regional school that involves a number of parishes.  The ultimate decision-making regarding employment would be done by the pastors. The governance model for each regional school is to be decided upon by all of the pastors involved. It would ultimately be their decision in each unique school as to how hiring takes place. The pastors would also identify who is responsible for making hiring decisions at the local level.” – statement from the Archdiocesan Office for Communication.

2) “The Office of Catholic Education (the Archdiocese) is not doing any of the interviewing or hiring of the teachers.” The Principals may apply to any school.  The staff in the Office of Catholic Education will do the first round of interviews for those principals who have submitted their information for consideration. Pastors are not hiring principals now since we have not submitted any information to them and will not do this until the appeals have been heard and the Archbishop provides the final listing of school configurations.

The teachers are asked to apply to the newly formed regional school that will be born out of the current school they are in.  Teachers are not free to apply to any school within these affected schools.  The teacher interviews will begin once the new principal is in place.” – from an Office for Catholic Education email.

3) “What happens to the teacher (application) packets that are brought by the principals to the Transition Meetings?

OCE will simply store them until the new administrator has been selected for the regional school and then the packets will be turned over to the administrators for the interview/hiring process which will be done by the pastors and administrator.” – from an Office for Catholic Eduation Q&A communication.

So are parish schools separate or do they fall under the Archdiocesan Office for Catholic Education? Seems like the Archdiocese is having it both ways. Let’s hear from some lawyers. What do you think? From a civil vs. criminal standpoint, how does this impact victims whose abuse happened on parish or school grounds?

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47 Responses to “Parish Schools – Separate from Diocese or Not?”

  1. Dear Susan,
    You did fine research on your good article. Of course I’m not a lawyer and it doesn’t take “A Philladelphia Lawyer” to figure out what the rcc is doing and has been doing for millenium(s). They confuse “every issue” so that eventually you are NOT in charge of anything , they are.

    When will the people in this institution understand the “wiles of the devil”? He is the “author of lies and deciet and the “prince of this world” and leads
    “the rcc like a stupid donkey. (sorry donkey!)It’s got to get to the people before their lives are ruined by staying with this “entity”

  2. I’d ask attorneys who comment on this posting, what laws obtain in PA when a diocesan Corporate Sole divests itself of parishes that are then incorporated under PA law?

    From a legal point of view, who owns what? Who has legal management responsibility over what?

    What are the tax consequences?

  3. May I say that the rcc is a tax exemp entity? Do they paytaxes? I didn’t think they did, as a church. I doubt there are any consequences for a “non profit org”. Maybe I’m wrong. Please explain . Thanks. Maybe it will take a “Philladelphia Lawyer” to explain. Maybe that’s where we need to”get them” in their non profit status?

  4. Who’s on first?
    What’s on second…..

    I am not a lawyer, nor do I play on online, but I’ve been thru mergers of parishes and schools and been involved in Development Committees and have seen the run around that happens, similar to what you posted above.

    Bottom line is that the land and the buildings, church and school, belong to the AD. The pastors have that vow of obedience to the AB, so when push comes to shove, they know what they are supposed to do.

    My understanding when it comes to teachers’ union is that they cannot have a union in the grade schools because the grade schools are on church property. High schools can have unions because they are not on church property. I don’t know what the law is behind that, but that is what we were told by the Powers That Be. Civil law? Canon law? Murphy’s Law?

    Such a tangled web.

  5. Most dioceses have been madly divesting themselves of parish properties in an effort to get them out of reach of the civil suits filed by abuse survivors. Before that, they were madly pulling formerly parishioner-owned parishes into the diocesean holdings in order to assert control. Some very visible battles within main-line Protestant (particularly Anglican) churches
    caused the ability of the parishioners to take parish assets and depart en masse prompted fears that it could happen to the Roman Catholic church as well. So control of property was consolidated. (It was this very sort of thing that led to the strange saga of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish in St. Louis. Where, in the end, the parishioners did indeed take the property and depart the Church of Rome en masse, rather than sign it over to the Archbishop. There are shades of gray even there, where the bishop sought to gain control of the assets without actually owning them, the ideal situation.)

    Those who want to say that the bishops want it both ways are right. They want absolute control, just as they have always had. At the same time, they don’t want to risk loss of assets to lawsuits.

    • The question is, gbullough, when the diocese divests itself of a parish, does the parish incorporate as a non profit corporation, and does it apply for 501c3 status? Does the parish then require that whole array of insurance coverage? Is the parish, in effect, a separate legal entity?What staffing decision making then ensues? Whose responsibility is it?

      Are there corporate directors, do they have official meetings, keep minutes, accounting reports to the state, and Feds as well. Are they liable, civilly and criminally under PA law?

      What about civil and criminal suits? One of the criminal molestation cases coming up soon involves a catholic school teacher. If civil suits are filed, and they may already have been filed, who is the defendant, AD or individual parish? Whose liability insurance is involved, the parishes or the AD’s. Who pays the damages, should they occur?

      These are some of the adult questions that adult folks have a right to know, relative to their parish!

      • And a bit more on this issue, I have been a corporate bd member of for profit and non profit boards (3statewide boards).

        Board members have serious fiduciary responsibility. There was very expensive D and O insurance ( Directors and Officers liability insurance) which after getting burned once, I determined that I would never serve again on a board that didn’t have it.

        If I was a corporate board member of a parish facing abuse claims, frankly I would be very concerned.

      • The Diocese of Tuscon incorporated its parishes, and gave a detailed explanation of the very questions I keep asking, including Ipmulogans ‘corporate veil’ issue…The composition of the parish Bd was 2 parishioners, 3 clerics and canon law triumphed.

        What I found especially interesting was the discussion of parishes experiencing lawsuits…they are on their own, see pasted details

        Lawsuits

        How will litigation be handled?
        All tort litigation will be sent to the insurance company for handling. For contract litigation, the Diocese will aid the parish in obtaining counsel.

        Who will represent the parish if a lawsuit comes against the parish?
        For tort cases, the parishes will be represented by attorneys hired and paid for by the insurance company. For contract cases, the parish will be represented by counsel of the parish’s own choosing.

        What resources do the parishes have for legal advice or help?
        In the first instance, the parishes may seek legal advice from the Diocesan attorney. If he cannot provide the legal help necessary to address the issue, he will aid the parish in obtaining counsel to advise and help the parish.

        The parishes pay insurance premiums to protect themselves from liability but in case of a lawsuit who will pay the legal fees and if the parish has no money what happens if they loose, who will pay?
        In those cases where the defense of a suit is handled by an insurance company, the insurance company will pay for the parish’s defense. The insurance company will pay up to its limits to indemnify the parish from loss. If the parish is not insured for a given loss, it will have to pay for its own defense, and for whatever loss it sustains as a result of the lawsuit.

        Does each parish have its own lawyer?
        Each parish may consult with the Diocesan attorney. Each parish may also hire its own attorney as it sees fit.

        If a lawsuit is brought against a parish, what are we to do? Will a parish have to stand alone against the suit?
        First, the parish should advise the Diocese of the suit. The Diocese, through the Diocesan attorney, will notify the insurance company of the suit to obtain representation for the parish. Each parish, being a separate entity, will stand on its own in the suit.

      • I realize that the cardinals death has captured everyone’s attention, but I am still back thinking about the School/Diocese issue that Susan proposed for this blog.

        I think she asks some really good questions that have far reaching consequences, so I am adding the link to the entire Tuscon Diocese Q & A discussion of parish incorporation. It’s a long piece, but it is really a good one and along with identifying the fact that parishes are in many ways on their own, liability wise, that actually while Tuscon A D ISINT in love with 5013cs they are possible….there’s lots in this link that I think Philly Catholics might very well be interested in.

        here’s the link: http://www.diocesetucson.org/parishincorpqna.html

      • Appreciating the fact that the above referenced link on Q&A about parish incorporation comes from an Arizona diocese, and that PA law on non profit corporations may differ, there are still some interesting hypotheticals that might apply in the AD.

        If the 279 AD parishes are incorporated as non profit organizations and if their corporate boards are ‘stacked’ with 3 clerics and 2 laymen, that leaves approximately 558 laymen who serve on these boards.

        If as in Arizona, the diocese carries D&O insurance for these parish corporate board members, it is good to remember that the function of the insurance (when I was involved with it) primarily covers litigation costs of board members, when operating under the ‘prudent person rule’, if a suit is made against the parish. D&O did NOT cover actual judgement costs should they occur.

        Indeed, the Tuscon diocese indicates that their diocesan insurance will pay ‘up to their limits’ (what are they?) to indemnify the parish from loss, but it would appear that the parish should also carry liability insurance, “if the parish is not insured for a given loss, it will have to pay for whatever loss it sustains as a result of the lawsuit”

        And the most compelling quote, “Each parish, being a separate entity, will stand on its own.”

        If I were one of those 558 laymen serving on a parish corporate board in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I would want to see a similar to Tuscons Q&A explanation of all these points. Then, I might well want to confer with my own insurance carrier and legal counsel.

      • And speaking of each parish standing on its own…in today’s N Y Times Feb, 3, in an article entitled, ‘Archdiocese Angers Many by Contesting Abuse Claims’ the story of the 550 folks who have filed abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Millwaukee, is told.

        Apparently thr Archdiocese is trying to dismiss 95% of the cases.

        The diocesan spokesman is quoted as saying, relative to accused laymen, “Our parishes are separately incorporated, always have been, and someone who’s a layperson employed by X-Y-Z parish is not an employee of the archdiocese.

        I repeat, if I were a layman and corporate officer of the parish as non profit corporation, I would be chatting with my insurance carrier and lawyer.

  6. I am not a Philadelphia lawyer or even a PA lawyer but I am a lawyer & am married to the most beautiful girl ever born in PA (sorry Susan), whose dad was a PA attorney, now deceased. How’s that for qualifications to keep my mouth shut? Moreover, I was a civil litigator before retiring some years ago, & these Qs are better answered by someone who has a transactional law practice, on the civil side, or does criminal law on the criminal side, & both sides in PA. But I do remember from law school long ago that there is in the body of law connected w/ corporations a “doctrine” under the rubric “piercing the corporate vail”, & I even had a tangential role in a case which went all the way to the US Supreme Court, under the name Best Foods which dealt w/ that doctrine. And, given the circumstances Susan describes, it would be my guess that a court of law would likely apply it to get to the “real party in interest”, to use another term of art.

    • Back to Susan’s questions relating to highly ambiguous messages from the AD relating to school management issues, I really would like to know who has decision making power with a ‘Corporate Sole ‘ AD and legally, under PA laws, incorporated parishes, (assumably incorporated as non profit PA corporations.

      I don’t think that question has been answered yet. HELP!

  7. What a ‘shell game’ the AD has created, all of those properties were paid for by the faithful not chaput, regali, belivaqua or kroll however they decide how the funds are disbursed. The rcc and the pope has a better angle than any PONZI scheme and its legal !

  8. In that regard, I would say there are far more pressing concerns regarding a Catholic education which parents need to come to terms with that have some very disturbing implications for their children.
    Some prominent figures within the RC “church”, most notably Bill Donahue of the Catholic League & Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Second in Command, have maintained that homosexuals are the very cause of the present RC Clergy Abuse Scandal. I refer the readers to: Article: ‘Bill Donohue’s Ad in NYT’ / Source: AMERICA / April 11, 2011 & the Article: ‘Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone blames homosexuality – not celibacy – for child abuse sex scandal’ / Source: New York Daily News / Tuesday, April 13, 2010.
    In a 2001 survey Dean Hoge found that 55 percent of priests said that there clearly or probably was a homosexual subculture among priests. Father Donald Cozzens, author of “The Changing Face of the Priesthood” has estimated a relatively high proportion of gay men in seminaries tend to form a disruptive subculture (up to …50 percent). “According to a news story in the New York Times (Sept. 15, 2005), Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., the former Editor-in-chief of America, said that “with the shortage of priests, the church can hardly afford to dismiss gay seminarians.”
    Psychotherapist Richard Sipe, a former Catholic priest who has written and spoken widely on the priesthood, says 15 percent of homosexual priests are sexually active. If all homosexual clergy were to leave the U.S. Catholic Church now, the church would lose one-third of its bishops as well.

    It would seem to follow then that without a thorough cleansing of the temple of homosexual priests and bishops, one can only conclude that the abuse of children will continue unabated!
    – continued

    • June,

      Then the child sex abuse of girls was attributable to heterosexuality. Please eliminate that from your life.

  9. Charles, We are in complete agreement that ALL rape is about power. JuneAnnette’s comments are in line with Church teaching – rather than doctrine. Someone correct me, if I’m wrong. I allowed her comments because they highlight the utter hypocrisy of some clergy. Many do in fact lead a double life and preach the opposite of what they practice. Regardless of one’s feelings or thoughts about homosexuality or celibacy, this is a fact. I have absolutely no concerns regarding homosexuality or celibacy, but I have a ton regarding hypocrisy.

  10. Charles -not all comments go into moderation meaning sometimes we are seeing a comment for the first time . Some comments are held in moderation for length,if they contain multiple links ,maybe a certain word or phrase etc..there are a few reasons.
    I believe rape is power not sex and as you stated most abusers are heterosexual men abusing family members (children) I read an interesting article that delineated between a pedophile and a child molester. A pedohile will focus on a victim and try to arrange situations to be alone. A child molestor often acts impulsivey when given a situation to abuse -both speak to what you pointed out as priests having more access to boys because of situations such as altar servers,sports etc….
    As for C4C having a position -we are a forum, not a dues paying group with a list of beliefs. My opinion could not be more different from June. A point she does bring up concerning homosexual men being priests is interesting to me only because it again speaks to the hypocrisy of preaching one thing while doing another ,which is a common theme discussed many times about many situations on this site .
    Charles you made a comment the other day which also was a blanket statement, something about the certain order of religous nuns and the priest says Mass from behind a screeen so he can’t rape people. I don’t like blanket statements about ANY groups of people. So to answer your question,I do not agree with June’s comment and I also try to remember to not make blanket statements myself.

  11. Susan, The Catechism is Doctrine.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05075b.html

  12. I appreciate the fact that this topic is being discussed and if Susan had chosen it for a blog discussion (which I seriously doubt would have ever been the case) then we could have all ‘pitched in’ or NOT.

    But Susan chose an entirely different subject, ‘Parish Schools–, Separate from the Diocese or Not?

    With all due respect to everyone, could we possibly get back to that very timely subject?

    • I posted my hope to return to the blog topic, at the same time Charles posted those two beautiful quotes from James Martin and Michael Loughlin…I concede defeat…those postings definitely deserve discussion, and in my mind are beautiful.

  13. June,

    You cite Bill Donahue, his Catholic League and Cardinal Bertone as having attributed the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church to homosexuality in the priesthood. They are incorrect. In order to protect the hierarchy, its culture, its modus operandi, and the reputation of Mother Church, they are willing to erroneously place the blame on homosexuality in the priesthood. Shockingly and irresponsibly, they are protecting the very causes of the crisis. There is nothing they would like better than for you to believe them. Their erroneous accusations seriously jeopardize the well being and future of our Church. The future of our Church depends on facts and truths. Words and accusations fueled by ignorance, denial, fanaticism and cronyism will destroy it.

    When you quote Hoge, Cozzens, Reese and Sipe, nothing in what they say, nothing, states or infers that homosexuality in the priesthood is the cause of the sexual abuse crisis. You have taken their words out of context.

    What IS true is the fact that anywhere from 38%-70% of the priesthood is homosexual. We don’t know, exactly, because reliable statistics are unavailable to us thanks to the priesthood’s failure to be “good responders” to studies and polls intended to measure the prevalence of homosexuality in its ranks.

    I believe the hypocrisy Susan speaks of has to do with the discrepancy between the Church’s position on homosexuality and the prevalence of homosexual priests. It may also have to do with the discrepancy between a celibate priesthood that, at any given time, is only 50% celibate (including homosexual and heterosexual priests).

  14. According to wikipedia, 33% of priests are homosexuals. The Catholic church is doing something called “deflecting”, trying to tell everyone not to be a homosexual because they can’t deal with their own issues. Catholic priests are also the least qualified people in the world to discuss sex, having decided at age 17 that they would not have a normal sexual life.

    However, most people don’t care if priests are homosexuals. They care about preventing these priests from raping children.

    • Charles,

      re: your post concerning the Church’s obsession with controlling the sexual lives of everyone except heterosexual men…

      In my opinion, this is your best post to ever. My thoughts exactly. Thanks.

    • Charles…thanks for more, dare I say, it input

      One of the many things that seriously bugs me about the Church is while their concerns are so ‘bedroom oriented’ the poor are suffering.

      JimWallis did a great piece in his book, ‘God’s Politics, Why the Right is Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It,’ about a little project he and a fellow seminarian engaged in. They took nail scissors to a bible and carefully trimmed out every reference they could find to gay issues ( if memory serves it was 17).

      Then they clipped out all old and new testament references to helping the poor. It was in so many thousands I lost track AND when you held up this ‘trimmed’ bible the pages of both books were lace like!

      Thought you might like that one!

  15. Charles, it was my pleasure ( once I d given up on the blog topic).

    Serious thanks for your input…I learn a lot on this blog!

    My warmest regards, Joan

  16. While all the above are great comments and appreciated, we’ve gotten off the blog topic. Please feel free to submit new blog posts via the contact page. That way people searching the site by topic can find it all quickly. Thanks.

    • busted… by our favorite Mother Superior.

    • Charles this is what you posted;

      Better yet, go to the Pink Sisters at their convent on 22nd and Green – the priest is behind a scrim – no contact with the people; no chance of raping anyone.

      Okay do you want the truth? I have felt offended my some of your comments but have chosen to not speak on it . If you want me to speak on it everytime -I will. The other day you posted about people sending their children to Catholic school. I invite you to drive with me to drop off my daughter at school and see the middle age Moms -all lay staff that teach at her school -not child rapists,not putting her in harms way as a parent. I am a mother and I would never put my child in harms way -so yes I was very offended at your remark the other day.Now you keep asking Susan this doctrine question,. I do not know what you want -we are a forum -people express a wide variety of opinions ,some I agree with,others I don’t. I am sure that is the case for many who visit this site. And as for making the comment that Susan would remove your post -why? Why accuse her of that? Censoring your comments because they are not doctrine. I really don’t know what you want from us Charles. We are trying to protect kids and provide a place for people to share info,thoughts . We aren’t the bad guy although boy does it seem at times that is what you want to make us out to be.

      • Kathy-your point about middle aged moms is well taken. Every time I read a comment on a Catholic blog where the writer pines for the glory days when we had mostly priests and nuns teaching in the schools-or thinks the lay teachers have brought “secular” viewpoints into the classroom-I thank God that there are mostly married laywomen teaching in our schools, women who have themselves raised families and truly care about the children they teach. I cannot say enough about the wonderful women who have taught our child in our parish school.

      • Charles, This conversation is not relevant to the initial blog post. If I only participated where I was “welcomed,” I wouldn’t get very far. If you would like to discuss whether or not you belong on this forum in regard to our thoughts on homosexuality, please use the “contact us” email. Children have no voice. You, as an adult do now, and can create your own forum. I do understand your pain and I’m not trying to diminish it, but this forum has a very specific goal. As for your question – the Catholic Cathechism also contains Sacred Tradition. There is a distinction between that and dogma or doctrine. I’m not going to enter a theological debate here. I know what I believe and you know what you believe. They are likely the same. God loves his creation.

  17. To get back a little closer to the blog topic I mentioned this before on Philly Catholic Post so forgive me if I am repeating myself. Most people do not realize that OCE/ the AD has a file on every elementary teacher in the AD but a teacher is considered to be hired by the individual parish, not the AD-even though you must pass through the screening process of the AD to be placed on an approved hiring list. Since most parishes only have a small number of full-time employees this has been a way for the AD to not have to follow the Family Leave Act for the elementary teachers. A parish must have 50 or more full-time employees to have to comply with Family Leave. I taught in one of the largest schools in the AD and at the time we had 48 employees-so the parish was exempt from awarding this benefit. It may be a legal loophole but it sure doesn’t correspond with the numerous encyclicals from our bishops regarding just wages/benefits in the workplace.

    So as Susan seems to be trying to make the case-if the AD can maintain ultimate control and yet throw everything back on the parishes re. the teacher’s salary and benefits-should we be surprised that they employ similar tactics in dealing with abuse victims? Please let me restate again I in NO WAY compare the treatment of teachers to the unjust treatment of child sexual abuse victims and their families-teachers know what they are signing up for -the child victims had no control in what happened to them and what happened to them was heinous-I am just trying to point out shady, albeit legal practices. Just because something is technically legal does not make it moral. I strongly suspect there was initially a request for teachers to resign but the AD received such immediate backlash that they were forced to say someone misspoke in the press conference on Jan 6th. What if they would receive the same immediate backlash re. the victims of abuse? Perhaps the upcoming trial with shake up those who haven’t spoken up yet.

  18. Please google the 2005 federal govt. study of sexual abuse in the public school system. Hofstra university was the lead researcher. Dr. Carol Shakeshaft, the lead researcher, in a summary of the study said, and I quote: “think the Catholic Church has a problem?” she said. “The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.” This well funded federal study then goes on for pages and pages to document the findings. This does not make the Catholic church any less guilty, however, it does raise the serious question of why this study is not common knowledge….why has the media so sparingly reported on this. sd

    • John, the debate here isn’t where child sex abuse happens. It happens everywhere – most frequently in the home by a relative. The issue is the cover up of child sex abuse. This also happens everywhere – Penn State for example. However, as a Catholic, I think our Church should be on the forefront of child protection rather than participants in a global problem. The media gave a tremendous amount of coverage to non-clergy sex abuse these past few months.

  19. June, you have a perfect right to your point of view, but the topic of our discussion is Parish Schools and their relationship to the diocese.

  20. June, I’ve removed your post as it does not conform with the guidelines of this site. We are focusing on parish schools and child sex abuse.

  21. There was an old priest named Shapoo
    Who shuttered and closed all our schools
    We awoke in the night
    With a terrible fright
    And found out that it was quite true

    • Kids have been hurt a LOT
      By men so evil, they’ll rot

      Who stayed in place
      Cause none would face

      The pain and horror they brought

  22. I guess I’m getting to the point where i don’t want to “pussy foot” around any more, incase I say the wrong thing. The “Wrong Thing is : The Roman Catholic Church” , no matter how you slice it, say it ,or regurgitate it…I’t’s the same evil place, inhabited by demons of the first kind that ………
    Christ would say “be gone
    satan” to them all. .

    The fact that you have to be in the” right category ” for you to approve it to go on line, is rediculous, when it all pertains to the same evil of the rcc.

    When I write , I have asked the Lord to give me the proper words that fit the evil that is going on and I feel HE has, up to this point. What say you? Do you ask HIM to help you say the right things to enlighten people of the evils going on by men and women of the cloth?

  23. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that, after the deadline of last Wednesday to file school appeals, the AD refused to divulge how many appeals were filed. The Inquirer did its own investigative work in order to come up with a ball park figure. But c’mon! Why aren’t the number of appeals public knowledge? Why can’t a person ask the AD a reasonable question, and get the answer? The constant lack of transparency, on all levels, is sickening. It does nothing but fuel alienation and mistrust among the faithful.

    • hadit, I thought the same. Just a basic question and it would not be answered. it reminds me of when the priests were suspended last March and the names were not given. we had to rely on the media and it became a day into evening wait until the media tracked down the names to publish. It certainly is creating a bond between many area Catholics and the media .

  24. Based on the titleof this article I hoped it would cover whether or not catholic schools should seek separation from the diocese and how such a separation would be achieved. My husband teaches at a catholic high school that is financially solvent yet our bishop has mandated a 5 year pay freeze in violation of teacher contracts so he can use monies that had been earmarked for teacher salaries for other things ranging from helping failing diocesan elementary schools to settling lawsuits. The job market is tough but all of the best teachers at the school have found jobs elsewhere or are actively looking. At some point to hire and retain qualified faculty, the diocese is going to have to stop meddling in the money and since the bishop seems disinclined to do so, my question is how can schools break away from the diocese without permanently damaging their relationship with the church? How can individuals broach the subject of separation without risking their job or appearing to attack the church? I fear that without separation, the only remaining diocesan high school in our area will ultimately close as quality of education suffers and enrollment plummets.

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