To the editor:
Once again, the American Catholic Church is failing to recognize a crisis — the closing of Catholic schools and the very future of the Catholic Church. Bishops and priests look at our school enrollment problem as a bookkeeping and financing problem, not the future of our Church. Their closed society misses the whole point of how Catholic Schools have generated vocations to religious orders, and the very commitment and dedication to our parishes that is needed under their failing leadership.
I am a Cardinal Mooney graduate and totally sympathize with the parents that worked hard to keep their Catholic school open only to find out they are being closed without consulting with parents. Merging schools is not the answer. Small Catholic churches or parishes are very similar to U.S. Army units. Their members are totally loyal and dedicated to their Church and work hard to make it the best it can be. When you lose a parish school, you lose the future, the young people who will repopulate the pews as the population ages. Most of these parents of closing/merging schools will not send their kids several more miles away to another Catholic school that they have no loyalty to. Instead, they will be fed up and send their children to a closer public school.
If you go and visit any Catholic school and talk to the very dedicated lay teachers and administrators, you will find that almost all of them are the product of Catholic schools themselves. Their experience motivated them to work at seriously low wages because they believe in what they are doing. How many times have you recently seen diocesan officials writing newspaper articles, being interviewed on television, etc., trying everything in their might to tout how great our Catholic schools are?
Michael R. Sayers
Sayers wrote this letter while at home on leave from his Army base in Germany.
To read Bishop Clark’s letter to parents and other materials explaining the reasons for the schools announcement, visit the Catholic Schools section at www.dor.org.