Changing demographics, declining enrollments, tightened household budgets, a tough economy and the advent of charter schools aren’t the only factors that led to last week’s heart-wrenching announcement by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that it will close 45 area elementary schools and five area high schools — including St. Hubert — after the current semester ends in June.
The news is devastating, regrettable and shocking, but it ought not be terribly surprising to anybody brave enough to acknowledge reality.
For Catholics and non-Catholics alike, the handwriting was probably on the wall long before Cardinal Dougherty and Northeast Catholic high schools closed two years ago and a handful of elementary schools shut down a few years before that.
The beginning of the financial woes facing the archdiocese can be traced back decades, when priests began behaving badly.
Had it not been for the sins of the Roman Catholic Church’s perverted fathers, the many millions of dollars that the archdiocese has paid in settlements to abuse victims, their lawyers and the archdiocese’s own lawyers surely could have been used to keep some, if not all, of the targeted schools open — at least for several years, long enough to phase out the schools and allow students to complete their education at those schools without suffering the trauma of transferring to other institutions.
To those Catholics who have ever looked the other way or otherwise failed to notify police when they were made aware that their friendly neighborhood parish priest was molesting kids, you have nobody to blame but yourselves.
Your silence was deafening, and it is partly the reason so many good, decent people who cherish the value of a Catholic education will have to find another school next fall. ••
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