Thursday, January 28, 2010

Former DC Catholic Schools Seeking Identity

From the Washington Post:

St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in the District's Petworth neighborhood and the Center City Public Charter School next door share a parking lot and the shade of some trees. Until a year-and-a-half ago, they also shared a faith.

But the Archdiocese of Washington gave up control of seven of its financially struggling inner-city schools, stripping down crucifixes and turning the facilities into secular charter schools in three months. Dozens of teachers and hundreds of students departed; 1,000 new students signed up.

To read more, go here.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know, the French Revolution was not able to do to Paris without bloodshed what Wuerl did to Pittsburgh with such ease. At this hour, a brass beer still sits on the altar of a historic Catholic church in Pittsburgh. It is surrounded by numerous tables, to accommodate diners who apparently don't feel creepy about dining relatively luxuriantly in an abandoned church. It's now called the Church Brew Works & Restaurant. This sight would not have been possible without Donald Wuerl.

I remember sitting there, years ago, in Pittsburgh, hearing a lady give her plans on acquiring the church near the famous Heinz 57 plant and turning that church into yet another restaurant. Then there was the offer of Penn DOT to rescue from highway construction an extremely noble and historic church. However, Wuerl said "Burn baby, burn" to that church. The examples go on and on and on.

I don't understand why Wuerl didn't amass a campaign to gather corporate donations for those sevens schools. He simply dropped those schools like sand bags out of a balloon.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how Wuerl ends up in dioceses (archdioceses) that ever so coincidentally run out of money as soon as he takes over. He said that Pittsburgh ran out of money, so churches had to be axed left and right. However, there was a Slovak parish (left over from the immigrant steel mill days of Pittsburgh) that was operating in the black. It was completely solvent. Wuerl closed it.

Down the street, in the same town, Wuerl closed the Croatian parish that was canonically attached to the same Franciscan province which operated St. James in Medjugorje.
That church is now being operated by a born-again Christian type of sect called, "Dominion of God Full Gospel Church" or something like that.

In that same town was the Italian parish, called Christ the King. He closed that one, and today, some type of Coptic Church sect operates the church buildings that once had May Crownings and Rosary Processions.

These sales (or sell outs) would constitute the sin of latitudinarian indifferentism --- the heresy which claims that all religions are as good as any other one.

Wuerl even closed the German parish in Carnegie PA (near the Pittsburgh airport) and Wuerl is a German American. This type of church closing in Pittsburgh had a name attached to it. It was called, "Wuerl's Ethnic Cleansing."

Being that Wuerl's D.C. is turning out to be a clone of Wuerl's Pittsburgh, Wuerl was just earned the title:

The Black Widow Bishop

TJ D'Agostino said...

Good post, I blogged on this story too!

To anonymous, based on your final comments. The Archdiocese did actually attempt a major fund-raising and restructuring effort for a large group of schools in D.C., called the Center City Consortium. It was a noble effort led by Bishop Lori, then auxiliary in D.C. They raised many millions of dollars, but there were a variety of problems that persisted.

The biggest concern I have heard from some experts is that these schools were not taking full advantage of the voucher program. This program gave vouchers at the cost of tuition, but the D.C. schools were charging well under the cost to educate each child, effectively meaning they were losing money even when students were on "full" public vouchers.

Things may get a lot worse in D.C., with the remaining urban Catholic schools, if Congress succeeds in killing the Opportunity Scholarship Program. For though it was under-utilized, it is still keeping a number of the current schools afloat.

Anonymous said...

You should have highlighted the fact that Wuerl put those schools up for rent, at the price of $2.3 million a year.

That is the reason why Wuerl didn't go on a corporate fund raising spree for the seven schools.

Once again, Wuerl's bottom line is proven to be money. Why doesn't he resign from the archdiocese and become a banker? Is his bible missing the pages that state that a person can not serve God and Mammon --- that the person will hate one and love the other?

As far as goes Wuerl, he has not yet been shown to hate Mammon. Therefore, ... do the math.

Anonymous said...

Nice try Your Excellency. Here is another date for you, Monday January 8, 2007. Remember the little article in the Post published on that date? "Radical Changes Pay Off For D.C. Catholic Schools." Jay Mathews of the Post told us about all the wonderful things that were happening as a result of the Center City Consortium. Well, just nine months later, everything collapsed. We will continue to press you Your Excellency until you tell the truth. How much money will you get from Center City Public Charter Schools four years from now? How much will you get five years from now? We will not stop asking until you come clean. We will not only ask you for the truth, we will ask others. You have plenty to worry about. Could it be that we already have asked others? That's the two point four million dollar question.

Anonymous said...

Placing the fund raising matter into the hands of an auxiliary bishop was the act of testing the waters, to see what could emerge. This whole matter looks a lot like an investment hedging scenario, especially in light of the $2.3 million rent income revelation.

It wasn't like selling seven daughters to prostitution, but it was like requiring seven daughters to work as maids after school and to then give a cut from their wages at the end of the week. Something like that.

In Pittsburgh, the quintessential football town, there was a common phrase used to describe a guy taking it easy during training camp drills. We'd say, "That guy's dogging it." Now, would it be honest or not to say that, when it comes to D.C.'s black inner-city, Wuerl's dogging it? Or did Wuerl give the 110% that was demanded of football players throughout the Pittsburgh area which, incidentally, included Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Mike Ditka, Curtis Martin, Tony Dorsett, Jimbo Covert and numerous other guys?

The Pittsburgh media, to its embarassment, made Wuerl look like a Hall of Famer. We have seen in the past fews years that he is not. He was nothing but the recipient of unchallenged propaganda. Things got so oppressive in Pittsburgh that there was a sarcastic phrase thrown out in the airwaves known as, "Radio Free Pittsburgh."

The Donald Wuerl propaganda machine was a heavy lead weight. May you Catholics in D.C. never fall under it.

Anonymous said...

Let's confirm something here.

It was posted on this comment board that the archdiocese:

"did actually attempt a major fund-raising and restructuring effort for a large group of schools in D.C., called the Center City Consortium."

Question: Did this "large group of schools in D.C." include the seven inner-city sisters that Wuerl turned into $2.3 million dollars of secular rent income? Or were those seven schools targeted to be abandoned from Stage 1?

When Wuerl is being defended online or in speech, there is always the use of semantics that either confuses readers or entirely deceives them.

We need specific line item answers to a number of questions. The answers need to be to the point. No more of the Pea & Shell Game Semantics.

The Pea & Shell Game Semantics ploys wore out Catholics in Pittsburgh during the second wave of Church Closings. Here is an example:

Concerning that previously mentioned Croatian parish that was attached to the Medjugorje Franciscans, Wuerl promised to keep that parish open. That promise caused all of the parishioners let their guard up. Then, Wuerl closed the parish nuns' convent house, located literally on the other side of the church parking lot. He also replaced the Croatian Franciscans with diocesan priests in what Wuerl called a Cluster Parish. The physical building stayed open for one or two masses per week, for a while, but without the Franciscan and Croatian Catholic identity attached to it.

Today, a born-again christian southern baptist type of religion operates in the church that Wuerl promised to keep open.

Wuerl was not honest in that case. He deceived people into thinking that their parish would operate as it did from its beginning. Wuerl only meant that the physical church building would remain open for a token number of hours per week. The pastor of that parish didn't even live in the church's rectory.

The bottomline here is to scrupulously watch for semantic game playing in anything said in the name of Donald Wuerl.

So, we go back to the question:

Was Lori trying to save the seven sister schools, or was he performing accountant duties for entirely different schools?

Anonymous said...

It was wrong for Wuerl to target the seven schools for millions of dollars in rent income. But what was worse is that once he got the money, nobody could figure out what he did with it. Some have even suggested that he will soon find his little money supply from this venture will dry up very fast. It will be practically as if it never existed in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Does the archdiocese publicly disclose its financial condition in the form of a balance sheet, an income & loss statement, or something similar? Is there a type of State of the Archdiocese Address published once a year?

If the answer is yes to any of the aforementioned questions, can anyone photocopy such things and post them online? Are they already posted somewhere?

Other questions:

Is Wuerl as publicly accessible in the D.C. media as he was in the Pittsburgh media? Is he getting a share of photo ops, local TV appearances, and spots in D.C. newspapers? Or does he seem to be a bit of a recluse these days?

Does he have a weekly column in the archdiocesan newspaper? He published a weekly article in the Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper throughout the year, except for the Summer months.

More importantly:

Has Wuerl been visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve, yet?

Anonymous said...

The Vatican made one huge logistical error in assigning Wuerl to D.C. It has to do with cultural demographics. You see, McCarrick came to D.C. after having been in Newark. So, he had some element of exposure to the black community. Wuerl spent 18 years in one of the most Eastern European cities America has to offer. Wuerl was exposed to second & third generation Slovaks, Croatians, Poles, Serbs, Slovenians, and the such, but there was very little of the black Catholic presence there.

Wuerl didn't have the first hand insight on the black experience. Wuerl didn't feel the black community's pain, and he surely didn't live their pain, being that he has been spending decade after decade living quite comfortably.

The other thing is that Wuerl has a history of viciousness, in permitting retaliations, in intimidating people, in taking over parish assets amidst the emotional pain of many parishioners. The Donald Wuerl we knew was as blatantly heartless as he was seemingly vain, in that glitzy Hollywoodish glamour type of a way. The black community suffered more than enough in America. The last thing that it needs in any subsection of it is a Donald Wuerl.

What Wuerl did to the seven D.C. sisters is not unbelievable, even though it literally made local history in never having been done before.

What Wuerl did is typical.

Anonymous said...

Are you aware that Wuerl is charging $900.19 rent per day per school? (Referring to the Seven D.C. Sister Schools, of course.) This includes Sunday rent.

The monthly rate, therefore, is $27,380.95 per school. That would be $191,666.66 for all seven schools per month.

Just out of curiosity, what is the average D.C. rent price for a building complex as large as the schools Wuerl put up for rent? Is $27,000 a month the going rate?

Is this all tax free income, in the sense of 501c non-profit corporation income?

Anonymous said...

Look at it this way:

Donald Wuerl had the crucifixes taken down from seven black inner city schools and had dollar bill signs put up in their place.

Anonymous said...

Wuerl might not have been visited by three ghosts yet, but he might well be afraid of a visit from one auditor.

Anonymous said...

Auditor? Seriously? Does anyone reading this know what that previous comment referred to? Was that comment the product of wishful thinking or was there foundation for that quasi-cryptic comment? What if it turns out to be easier to find secrets in the Egyptian pyramids than in Wuerl's filing cabinets?

Anonymous said...

In the spirit of a citizen's right to know, the following web page is brought to your attention. It's topic is one of the educational programs that Wuerl promoted while he was in Pittsburgh.

The article reads like the grassroots version of a 60 Minutes script. It contains footnotes, and that aids to the content's credibility. It is brought to us by Mother's Watch dot net. This means that it is the product of at least one concerned mom, and as was previously suggested, the article is as credible as is its footnotes.

Here is the web address:

http://www.motherswatch.net/content/view/13/15/

One note about the article:

"Parish Share" refers to the diocesan church tax. Wuerl never called it the church tax. He called it the Parish Share Program, as in "each parish pays its share."

He was permitted, under canon law, to give the church tax an euphemistic name. However, parishioners thought it was a yearly charity fund raising drive for underprivileged parishes, and priests made it appear that way from the pulpit. Wuerl would even write about it as if it were a charity drive.

That part of the church tax program was quite deceptive. Wuerl was never clear when he communicated in Pittsburgh. It was easier to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics than a Wuerl program. Plus, parishioners didn't know what to except next from Wuerl. That's why the middle aged ladies in the diocese occasionally called him Whirly Bird. Those were the years when nobody knew where the fickled finger of fate would next land.

Once again, here's that Mother's Watch article:

http://www.motherswatch.net/content/view/13/15/

Anonymous said...

Due to archdiocesan cut backs, only the Ghost of Christmas Future can visit Wuerl next Christmas.

Anonymous said...

To answer a few questions. Wuerl is not that accessible to the media here. He does publish a weekly column in the Catholic Standard. McCarrick was accessible to the media much more than Wuerl has been. You can charge a million dollars rent if you want to, but that does not mean that you are going to actually collect even one cent. We suspect that Wuerl does not have anything in his filing cabinets. That is, nothing of monetary value.

Anonymous said...

The people commenting on here have so much misinformation. Like rent -that's been reported on in article after article - it goes to Catholic education and the parishes. This blog seems more about spreading bad info than anything else.

A WASHINGTONDC CATHOLIC said...

To the last Anon:

It is my policy,on this blog, to allow people to comment as freely as they can. It is always a judgement call on what to allow to be posted or not.

I do not know if the information in the comments are true or false, since I do not verify comments. That is not my job.

If you feel that these postings are mis-information (rather than opinion), please feel free to post your comments about what exactly is correct/incorrect about the comments.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It is not just seven inner city schools closing. Same thing is happening in PG County. St. Bernard's school in Riverdale was rented out as a charter school a few years ago and parishioners there told me when I mentioned that St. Hughs in Greenbelt was being closed that I shouldn't worry--now they had money to fix their church roof.

Actually two more schools are being closed or "merged" as the Archdiocese puts it at the end of this year: St. Mark's in Hyattsville and St. Hughs in Greenbelt. Go here to read all they're telling us:
http://www.cathstan.org/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=21

It looks to me like setting up a cascade of closing dominoes. First you hear about the studies, etc. etc.

My view is that the faithful Catholics are all home schooling anyway because they can't afford the tuition and probably wouldn't consider the education Catholic anyway.

The people who patronize my parish school are single parents w/one child or families of at most three children. They are generally sending to "Catholic" school because they feel local public schools give them no choice.

Parents concerned about fostering faith in their children (like father of four who has recently sold his soul to parish priest to get tuition assistance--you can bet he and his wife will be having no more children) are very disappointed in the "catholic" aspect of the education.

Anonymous said...

It is not just seven inner city schools closing. Same thing is happening in PG County. St. Bernard's school in Riverdale was rented out as a charter school a few years ago and parishioners there told me when I mentioned that St. Hughs in Greenbelt was being closed that I shouldn't worry--now they had money to fix their church roof.

Actually two more schools are being closed or "merged" as the Archdiocese puts it at the end of this year: St. Mark's in Hyattsville and St. Hughs in Greenbelt. Go here to read all they're telling us:
http://www.cathstan.org/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=21

It looks to me like setting up a cascade of closing dominoes. First you hear about the studies, etc. etc.

My view is that the faithful Catholics are all home schooling anyway because they can't afford the tuition and probably wouldn't consider the education Catholic anyway.

The people who patronize my parish school are single parents w/one child or families of at most three children. They are generally sending to "Catholic" school because they feel local public schools give them no choice.

Parents concerned about fostering faith in their children (like father of four who has recently sold his soul to parish priest to get tuition assistance--you can bet he and his wife will be having no more children) are very disappointed in the "catholic" aspect of the education.

Anonymous said...

When people are accused of being misinformational liars, those people have a right to be defended. Let us proceed:

The main feature on this comment board is NOT misinformation. It was posted as fact by the media that those seven schools were rented at $2.3 million per year.

All the Pittsburgh allegations are definitely true. Go and google the Church Brew Works & Restaurant. It actually exists. The other parishes mentioned check out, too. The Croatian parish was Holy Trinity and the Slovak parish mentioned was Divine Redeemer. Divine Redeemer School was closed, too, and then it was rented out.

Some comments here are questions. A question is not misinformation. Other comments are general comments. Two comments are even clever jokes, about the Ghost of Christmas Future and dollar bill signs replacing crucifixes. However ...

One message seems suspect, as it is cryptic, with no further information. If that is misinformation, then it means that this comment board is NOT filled with wall to wall misinformation. It means that it has one piece of potential misinformation in it.

One comment mentioned that the money just vanished. That's a common phrase spoken in households trying to make ends meet. If the $2.3 million went into a large archdiocesan fund, then it got absorbed to the point of appearing vanished. The commentator was perhaps saying that it was not worth the sacrifice to give up those schools for an amount of rent money that wasn't significant.

Furthermore, Wuerl ratified retaliatory conduct while he was in Pittsburgh. That part is true. The jpeg photocopies are online to prove it. A Supreme Court docket number relating this was posted online, too; (01-10392, filed in 2002.) In fact, there is the tape recording of a harassment, concerning that case, and it was copied several times. Maybe someone would want to post it on YouTube, to add further proof that Wuerl ratified retaliatory conduct and that this comment board is not filled with misinformation.

Then there was the retaliation that Wuerl approved to be imposed upon certain parents of a former Pittsburgh school. The school was Risen Lord Parish School. That fact made its way into the media. Those parents protested the school's closing in front KDKA news cameras. Patrice King Brown was the news anchor reporting on that protest which resulted in a Corruption of Blood policy being imposed against those parents.

Don't call people liars if they are not.

Anonymous said...

You know what? It seems (not scientifically proven) that whenever that Mother's Watch article is mentioned, someone cries, "misinformation, misinformation."

More specifically, whenever the subject matter appearing in that article is referred to, it seems that someone either mocks it as delusional "black helicopter paranoia" or "wall to wall misinformation."

Think about it: Less than flattering comments have been posted here for days. Yet, no one objected for days. Then came disclosure of the existence of that Mother's Watch article yesterday. And presto. Today came this comment alleging misinformation.

Also came someone quasi-answering a question or two. But, none of the more pertinent ones were answered.

Well, adaptability is the order of the day.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion would be that Wuerl have some type of ongoing Dominican type (Louis of Montfort type) of mission in the D.C. inner city. Invite religious orders still engaged in that type of practice. That would make up for a lot.

If there already is something there, then ratchet it up to a level similar to the missions operated by Louis of Montfort. He is an incorruptible canonized saint, you know. So, his way had to have been the right way.

Anonymous said...

The big question is why didn't Wuerl make himself the front man for this project? Why didn't he make himself the poster boy of it? Why did he put it in Lori's hands, as if he were busy with something that he regarded as more important? ... as if something were ...

In Pittsburgh, he found enough corporate donations to keep four black inner city schools opened there. No repeat performance in D.C.? Is it that there isn't the accessibility to corporations in D.C. (for school donations) as there is in Pittsburgh? No tax incentives in D.C. as there is in PA?

Anonymous said...

What a minute. That Feb 1, 10:33 AM anonymous commentator said that the $2.3 million is being used for Catholic Education and the parishes. So this would mean that, in order to procure Catholic education at the nation's capital, you have to deny Catholic education to the African American student body of seven inner city schools.

This would mean that, in order to make sure that somebody gets something in the Archdiocese of Washington, you have to make sure that a whole bunch of somebody elses don't get to have it.

By the way, has any white school been abandoned and turned into a publicly funded charter school recently? Or was it only the seven schools? Is any of that money going to black parishes?

One more thing: To the Accusing Anon of Feb 1, 10:33 AM, you say that there is so much misinformation here. Okay then, prove it. Produce the evidence. If not, then you owe an apology.

Anonymous said...

As far as spreading bad information is concerned, consider this. The Catholic Standard recently reported that"1,700 children were currently enrolled in the Opportunity Scholarship Program." The operative word here being "currently." Actually that figure represents the number of children in the program the prior school year, not this school year. Currently, there are 1,300 children in the program, 400 less then last year. The Standard reported that aproximately 700 students use the scholarships to attend Catholic schools this school year. The point is you could use that 1,700 figure in ten articles if you wanted to, but that would not make it correct. You could also engage in all sorts of speculation as to why the Standard got it wrong if you wanted to, but perhaps it was just a simple mistake. After all, it was the correct figure for the prior year, but not the correct number for this year.

Anonymous said...

I was just curious as to people's opinion on this question--when the ADW makes a decision to close a school, to revise policies, etc., how much of that is coming from the Archbishop versus coming from ADW lay employees? This doesn't mean the Archbishop is not ultimately responsible for any decisions made, but the decision may be reflective of his strengths and weaknesses as a boss, rather than his own personal motivations.

Just as an example, the ADW came out with a policy recently to do away with multi-child discounts at Catholic schools so that the money could instead be used for "people who really need it." I think there was some wisespread revolt and many parish schools will be ignoring that policy. My question is who came up with this ill-advised and (frankly anti-family) policy? The Archbishop or the School Superintendent?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this can suffice as a reasonable answer to the Anonymous poster of February 1, 2010 8:55 PM who asked:

When the ADW makes a decision, how much is coming from the Archbishop versus coming from ADW lay employees?

The answer is this: A tree is known by its fruits. Look at what Wuerl did to Pittsburgh. How many present ADW employees worked for Wuerl in Pittsburgh?

The polite commentator mentioned that there is a type of revolt going on in DC, concerning the revoking of multi-child discounts. The spirit of revolt was in Pittsburgh, too, until the church closings ended. This means that 21st Century Washington is becoming the Parallel Universe of 1990s Pittsburgh.

Oh yeah, in order to prevent someone else claiming that these comments are misinformational, there is definitive proof that the Pittsburgh revolt spirit existed during Wuerl's tenure. It was the lawsuits filed against him by parishoners, as well as letters sent to Church authorities, in bitter complaint of Wuerl.

It got to the point in Pittsburgh when it was said by someone, "Does Wuerl know this is going on? Did anyone tell him?" Apparently, that frame of thought is what provoked the polite commentator's question. The question actually is, "Can a bishop really be like this, in this discriminating selectiveness that leaves sum totals of people out in the cold?"

Just look at Pittsburgh, Washington's Parallel Universe of the Past.

Anonymous said...

I know at least one person who worked for Wuerl in Pittsburgh and is now working for him here. That person would be the infamous and deplorable Thomas Duffy.

Anonymous said...

Everything hasn't been written yet that needs to be written about this topic. With this being the case ...

Under the brutal oppression of Cromwell, Catholicism in Ireland was faced with extinction. Despite this deadly invasion, the Irish kept its Catholic education going. And they did it against all odds.

Irish Catholics had no government funding at the time. They only had hedges and hedgemasters. However, they had something that is hard to find amongst the modern American hierarchy, and that something is heroism. Most importantly, the Irish did something that made the preservation of the faith on that often invaded island happen. They cared. All you got to do is care, and then things fall into place.

This stylish and mod Vatican II church needs a few bishops with a just bit of creativity and a lot of adaptability. They need to have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C; not just a tunnel visioned view. Look at what John Bosco did with the little he had. Look at the opposition that faced Mother Cabrini. And then there was Mother Jeanne Fontbonne's concern for orphans in Lyons that resulted in schools being operated even in America by this religious order that used to be known as the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

"They" quickly made the television affordable for the common man. Why can't "they" make Catholic education affordable for the common family? "They" can do better than this.

Lawrence Phelps said...

Wuerl is a thief and effete Bad Shepherd.

Lawrence Phelps said...

See my comment of his influence in making the Monastery a moneymaker. 6000.00 limited to 4 hours to rent an old pilgrimage hall is an outrage. But his buds there go along with it. I speculate that eventually the Monastery will be sold to a heritage hotel chain, the Friar's cloister converted to hotel rooms and the church into a museum. Would be a huge windfall to the few Franciscans left and to Old Moneybags down at the Archdiocese complex.

Lawrence Phelps said...

A riot! Yeah. The money schemes at the Monastery are not paying off. When the Monastery stated that the American Rose Society would have to pay 250.00 to meet in one small conference room they stopped meeting there. American Rose Society wanted to hold their annual rose show there but Monastery quoted 2000.00. Rose Society went elsewhere. The annual plant sale revenues are being syphoned off to the Monastery budget.

Lawrence Phelps said...

Actually the comments here are exposing the truth from those "on the ground"...a novelty in the Archdiocese of Washington. Cuts through the baloney and pharaseeical nonsense. You must work for the Archdiocese.

Lawrence Phelps said...

Studies were a ruse to make parishioners think it was legitimate. Decisions were already made.

Lawrence Phelps said...

I think you believe that Wuerl cares?

Lawrence Phelps said...

After Wuerl scammed my former parish, St Hugh with Forward in Faith and turned around and closed its great neighborhood school, I switched to the Archdiocese of Baltimore. I also attend Mass and talks at St John the Beloved in the Archdiocese of Arlington. The Archdiocese of Washington offers nothing except to attempt to empty my pockets and provide me with bizarre theology.