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Cardinal DiNardo, Silent On Many Questions Of Social Justice, Shuts Schools in Poor Areas And Opens Schools In More Wealthy Areas

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, silent on so many questions of social justice, is shutting down four schools in poor urban areas and is looking at opening new schools in more affluent sections of the region including The Woodlands.  

From the Houston Chronicle article on the subject

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will close four elementary schools in low-income areas by summer, but will be building schools in fast-growing suburbs, diocesan officials announced Friday. The diocese is urging about 450 students at the schools that will be closed to transfer to nearby Catholic schools. “We do have limited resources like everyone in the world,” said diocesan superintendent Sister Kevina Keating. “Our Catholic schools are here to stay.” Closing will be: • • Holy Name, just north of downtown• • St. Philip Neri in the Sunnyside-South Park area• • St. Charles Borromeo on Tidwell• • Our Mother of Mercy in the Fifth Ward just northeast of downtown.

 Some parents and officials at soon-to-be-shuttered schools decried the diocese’s decision. The diocese, they said, will cater to the needs of affluent parishes but is giving up on a mission to help children in some disadvantaged neighborhoods. The median annual household income in neighborhoods surrounding the four schools range from $22,000 to $33,000, according to the latest Census figures available. The schools are in mostly Hispanic and black neighborhoods. …The diocese hired Meitler Consultants of Hales Corners, Wisc., to study its current and future demographics and revenue stream. The consultants recommended which schools should close and which areas needed schools. New schools the diocese is opening are generally being built in suburbs. St. Theresa parish in Sugar Land opened a school while the diocese was studying the closing issue. …Catholic officials are considering opening a high school in Spring or The Woodlands….”

Please get with the program Cardinal DiNardo. Your voice is needed speaking out about the drastic cuts at the U. of  Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, the urgent need for greater resources for hurricane recovery, the large number of people without health insurance around here, and the ever-widening gap between rich and poor in the region served by the Archdiocese.  

Yet instead of your clear and consistent voice on these questions, what we get are these school closings. Why would anyone look to you for leadership on questions of social justice when you close schools in poor areas in order to serve the more affluent? 

Would St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (drawing above), the Patron Saint of Catholic Schools, have followed this course?  St Elizabeth, who was the first American born saint, cared for all. From a description of her life— 

The extraordinary manner in which Elizabeth lived an ordinary life flowed from the centrality of the Word of God and the Eucharist in her life. These strengthened her enabling her to be a loving person toward God, her family, her neighbor, and all of creation. She undertook works of mercy and justice. Not only did she and her Sisters of Charity care for orphans, widows, and poor families, but they also addressed unmet needs among persons oppressed by multiple forms of poverty. Elizabeth had a special concern for children who lacked educational opportunities, especially for religious instruction in the faith.”

No–St. Elizabeth would not have followed the path that Cardinal DiNardo is following.

February 8, 2009 Posted by | Galveston, Houston | , , , , , , | Leave a comment