Part Five: The Four Pillars of Catholic Schools.
In this section, he reviews the four pillars: Catholic Integrity, Academic Excellence, Accessibility and Affordability.
Catholic Integrity is simply that our schools, while welcoming those of other faiths, must be Catholic.
Academic Excellence is to be expected.
Accessibility is where we once again find an interesting passage:
A goal of our archdiocesan-wide strategy is toe ensure that the geographic placement of Catholic schools throughout the archdiocese, within the resources available, so as many Catholic students as possible are withing a reasonable distance of a Catholic school. The concept of accessibility is important since the distribution of limited funds to support Catholic schools must take into consideration where our schools need to be so they are accessible to students. The number and placement of schools will be a serious factor when parishes find it necessary to consider the consolidation of schools t achieve and sustain financial stability.
If this does not sound like the closing of schools, I don’t know what is.
In the section on Affordability, the Archbishop once again calls on all of us to be active in the support of our schools and describes the various efforts the Archdiocese has taken to assist parents and schools.
Part Five continues with the Government Support for Families. Once again, the Archbishop talks about the some of the programs that have been touted for a number of years but they are not enough to sustain the schools and really do not get to the heart of the matter: WE NEED VOUCHERS.
He also talks about the Maryland Catholic Conference (MCC). In my humble opinion, the MCC has failed the Church in the area of funding for education. They are ineffective. To talk about how they are a central part is only setting us up once again for failure. The MCC is infected with the Cardinal McCarrick view of politicians: Don’t do anything to upset them, since we may need them for something else.
The Next Steps or the Conclusion
Although the process is underway, the Archbishop says that he does not anticipate what the conclusion of the work will be or what the consultation process might yield but he keeps writing about the consolidation of schools throughout this letter.
He states that the initial recommendations will be submitted for consultations to the following: Priest Council, Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, Archdiocesan Board of Education and the College of Consultors. (The College of Conultors is a diocesan board made up of a small number of priests chosen by he Archbishop, whom he consults before making certain decisions.)
However, he will implement this vision for the 2009-2010 academic year. Since we are already at the end of September, I believe he will do what he did with the Consortium: Announce it so late in the year, that parents and parishes who wish to fight it will have so little time to put up $$ or a good defense.
The Archbishop knows that given only a short period of time, parents cannot rally to fight to save their schools.