Sunday, April 02, 2006

Cardianl Maida's Flight from Detroit

So here's an article about all, ALL, the Catholic schools in the city of Detroit closing, with the exception of the two Jesuit high schools, which operate independently of the archdiocese. Three dozen schools.

Next, Cardinal Maida is going to close all the parishes in the city, "consolidating" them into the megaparishes of the suburbs.

The two people I talked to like Cardinal Maida. They say he's a nice man. They also say that he's surrounded by some not-so-nice advisors whispering in his ear.

I heard some awful stories about how it went down: principals summoned with just hours' notice to a meeting room, called in one by one before a panel to be told that the school would close in June, that an inventory would be completed by a certain date, that the building would have to be vacated by a certain date. They discover later that the school itself had already been sold. This is all part of the Together in Faith campaign, initiated to follow shifting demographics. And by "shifting demographics" we mean the Archdiocese is following the collection plates.

So what about the inner city Catholics, the largely African American Catholic community in the city? Tough shit for them. The Cardinal is leaving them behind. That's how they're feeling, at least.

No money for schools and parishes? Not entirely true; there's plenty of money for the schools in the white suburbs. And there is money for a cathedral renovation; a new rehab facility for priests, nuns, and monks; and a huge committment to the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington DC.

Who knows, mabye all of these moves are necessary, maybe I don't see the whole picture. But how are the African American Catholics in the city supposed to feel, Cardinal Maida? Because you're closeing the schools and parishes, and it sure looks like you're leaving them behind.

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