Monday, January 16, 2006

Bishop knows best?

A post-Katrina success story may be facing closure, according to the Chicago Tribune: St. Clare Elementary School in the diocese of Biloxi reopened for class on Halloween in military-style tents, primarily through the efforts of an Alaska businessman and volunteers from Old St. Patrick Church in Chicago. Biloxi's bishop, Thomas Rodi, however, is considering closing the school after reassigning its popular pastor, and parents are crying foul, especially since the school's beachfront location could be a huge financial windfall for the diocese.

"I feel so violated that we have to go through this," said Mary Beth Martina, whose son attends the school. "This is the one place where we should feel reassured and calm. We are fighting the insurance companies, the muck. And to have to fight to save our church, our school." You said it, sister.

The diocese says rebuilding in the current location would leave the school vulnerable to another hurricane, which may be true, but the problem is the decision-making process. Catholic families--who, after all, foot the bill for the entire operation anyway--deserve better than some decision made from on high, even if it's a good one.

But there's the rub: Until lay folks demand more financial oversight and decision-making authority, bishops will continue to be able to dispose of parish and school property pretty much as they please--and they have both civil and canon law backing them up.

Just so everyone knows: The answer to the question, "Who owns my parish?" is easy: the bishop--at least until we get some substantial reform in our church, although after a $1 billion sex-abuse tab, you'd think we'd have it by now.


At 8:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the Catholic Church's priests, bishops, and so on, have a policy of "My way or the highway". Hmmm let's all take the highway and see how they do by themselves!!!


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