Massive Catholic School Closings across the Nation

By Nancy Houser
Digital Journal
January 23, 2012


Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has been ordered to close a massive numbers of Catholic schools, privately recommended to him against his wishes. But Philadelphia is just one city that is being forced to close Catholic schools for many reasons.

As head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for only three months, Archbishop Chaput had requested permission from the priest's council to put off the large number of Catholic school closings that had been assigned to him.

"So I took the question to the priests' council," Chaput said in an interview after Friday's news conference that unveiled the closings, "and I asked them if we should postpone it for a year." His advisory body of senior priests answered no, Chaput said. "They told me, 'Don't postpone. We have to do this now.' So I'm taking the advice of the priests' council," reported

According to, "the prospect of more tough decisions awaits the archbishop - still so new here he called it 'the Denver archdiocese' at the start of Friday's news conference, a reference to his previous position." What he is referring to are a gradual parish closings and consolidations in Philadelphia during the next year-and-a-half, in addition to the Catholic school closings.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, the predecessor to Archbishop Chaput, had appointed a "blue-ribbon panel" a year ago, calling for the closing of 45 Catholic elementary schools and four Catholic high schools. Catholic commission chairman, John L. Quindlen, says that even though the move would save the Philadelphia Catholic Church approximately $10 million annually, about 200 teachers would be laid off.

"We want to do all we can to find them a place" in the archdiocesan school system, he said. "If not, we'll help them adjust."

"I'm very accessible," he said, "but not everyone can visit me in my office." Parents and others eager for his intervention should go through their pastors and principals. "It will come to me, I assure you," he said.

Catholic schools in Omaha, Nebraska

Six Catholic school closings are being proposed in Omaha, Nebraska, according to the Omaha World Herald. Strategic planning efforts were launched last summer by the Omaha Archdiocese. " 'Officials shared the draft Tuesday and Wednesday nights with representatives of Omaha Catholic schools,' said Deacon Tim McNeil, the archdiocese's chancellor."

A first draft of a plan for Catholic schools mostly east of 72nd Street proposes closing six elementary schools and placing a half-dozen mostly southeast Omaha schools in a system with a common school board and executive director. Under the draft, All Saints, Holy Ghost, St. Joan of Arc, Sts. Peter and Paul and St. Stanislaus schools would close by 2013, McNeil said.








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