Guest column: Archdiocese hit for secret balance sheet

Daily Times

Times Guest Columnist

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced that it is going to close 45 grade schools and four high schools. Delaware County has already lost grade schools and will lose two more high schools next September. It has already started the “planning” to close a number of parishes, the total number of which it has not revealed. In the northwest section of Philadelphia five of the nine parishes are on the contemplated closure list.

We are told that the goal is to save “up to $10 million.” To do this, the archdiocese is apparently willing to shut down high schools cold turkey, without letting classes stay together until they graduate – a bad way to treat young people in their vital formative years. Also, they have apparently lost interest in the mission to underprivileged kids who thrive in the Catholic schools.

The elephant in the living room here is the magnitude of the assets of the archdiocese. What fraction of the total net worth is this $10 million? If the people of the archdiocese who put up the money in the first place could see the true balance sheet that would list all assets, including those listed in names other than the archdiocese, they would have a basis on which to judge this issue.

The problem is that this balance sheet is a closely guarded secret. The people are expected to take on blind faith the word of the archdiocese that it cannot afford to keep the schools and parishes open. After the repeated deceptions over the past decade about priests who molested children, how much blind faith is left?

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