Archdiocese of Philadelphia Unveils New Model for Education

Something I wrote for the Register this week:

PHILADELPHIA — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is turning the management of its 17 high schools and four special-education schools over to the Faith in the Future Foundation.

The archdiocese’s groundbreaking agreement with Faith in the Future announced today creates the first independently managed Catholic secondary-school system in the U.S. and the largest independently managed system in the nation.

The foundation was created on the recommendation of a blue-ribbon commission empaneled to identify solutions to Philadelphia’s various problems. It will assume “strategic and operational control” of the schools beginning Sept. 1 and will also serve in an advisory capacity to the 123 diocesan elementary schools.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia called the move “a historic day for Catholic education in the United States” during a signing ceremony and press conference at St. Hubert’s School for Girls.

Read more.

And for some added context, here’s a story about a somewhat similar approach that’s been effective at turning around the troubled system in Camden.

Archbishop Chaput was handed a diocese that was in crisis for various reasons, both internal and external, and has moved with skill and boldness to set it right. In the past year since his installation, I’ve watched him make one hard decision after another. I have a very short list of men I would like to see as the First American Pope. Cardinal Dolan is one, and Archbishop Chaput is the other.

And can I just add: comboxes, grrrrr. This story only had a few comments, but wouldn’t you know people had to get in their insipid little hits. Manadarin Chinese but not Latin? Heretics! (Did I say they weren’t teaching Latin? No I did not. I said they were adding Chinese.) Plenty of talk about money but none about Catholic identity. (Yes, because +Chaput is know as a raving heretic who’s going to put Richard Rohr in charge of curriculum and convert St. Hubert’s to an all-enneagram program.) Did you know CIGNA paid for abortions? (Of course, the faithful Catholic CEO of a giant secular corperation is supposed sweep in and make it comply with Catholic doctrine. Just because!)

Obama is only the second biggest enemy of Catholicism in America. The first is other Catholics.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • http://metabooleans.blogspot.com/ Nick

    I noticed something funny about the article: you said that St. Hubert’s is expecting 166 new freshmen, but it’s a school for girls, as the full name indicates. Normally I hate the word “frosh,” but this makes me wonder now if there’s not merit to it after all.

  • http://theontologicallapsometer.blogspot.com/ julian

    As much as I here the gripe, I still get disappointed when Catholics rail against our priests and Bishops as if they are politicians. It speaks to a lack of understanding regarding Catholic ecclesiology. It is pretty much the same as going out and publicly badmouthing your Dad. Sacramentally, it is exactly the same. Even if there is a grain of truth in what you are saying, it just reflects worse on you than the person you are criticizing. Sometimes, it’s hard to hold your tongue when you something seems disappointing. I think for the most part, I think the most we can publicly say, is “I don’t understand that decision.” In some rare cases, when we’ve gone through normal avenues of voicing concerns privately and up the chain, (so to speak), and still hit a wall, maybe we can, out of a concern for preventing harm or calling out injustice, just maybe then we can call something out publicly. But really, this knee jerk reaction to just blast Bishops as if they are these nefarious simpletons and we are the true holders of all discernment and heroic virtue is ridiculous.

    I agree Bishop Chaput is a hero, and Cardinal Dolan is the ninja of cardinals. If Dolan gets a hold of Obama for a quick private chat at the Al Smith dinner…oh boy. But even if he doesn’t, its not my job to nit-pick Cardinal Dolan on tactical decision making. I was talking with a friend who was complaining about all of the photo-ops that Obama will get from the dinner that he can use for the campaign to full all of the “dumb” Catholics out there. My response is, wouldn’t those same photo-ops be used to show the President yucking it up with the point man on the “war against women?” At some point our criticism of the Bishops sounds paranoid and irrational, not to mention just plain old bratty.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    Freshgirls? Nah…

  • http://sunwardsailingcranes.blogspot.com Maggie

    “It is pretty much the same as going out and publicly badmouthing your Dad.”

    Oh yes. This is so, so true. I believe the Baltimore Catechism says that the commandment to honor our parents applies also to others in rightful authority over us – which obviously includes the bishops. That doesn’t mean we can’t disagree with some of their decisions, but disagreeing with a decision and publicly ranting about a decision are quite different.

    Though there is a caveat; usually the selfish or rude behavior of a parent is private matter, and should not be revealed, particularly by the child, except when there is a good reason to reveal it, and the decisions that the bishops are making are public knowledge. However, all other things being equal, it is very similar.

  • Ron119

    “As much as I here the gripe, I still get disappointed when Catholics
    rail against our priests and Bishops as if they are politicians.
    It speaks to a lack of understanding regarding Catholic ecclesiology.
    It is pretty much the same as going out and publicly badmouthing your Dad.
    Sacramentally, it is exactly the same.
    Even if there is a grain of truth in what you are saying,
    it just reflects worse on you than the person you are criticizing.”

    “If an immigrant from Mexico is a child of God, worth the price of the life of God’s only begotten Son, then we ought to render him or her honor, a welcome and protection in law, not
    a roar of hate, clenched fists, and gritted teeth
    in response to the latest campaign slogan from
    a candidate appealing to the nativistic side of our nature.

    Dolan, Timothy M. (2012-06-19). True Freedom: On Protecting Human Dignity and Religious Liberty (Kindle Locations 195-198). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition. ”

    Timothy Cardinal Dolan for the First American Pope? Not for me. I had utmost respect for the Cardinal until a few days ago, while reading his newest book.

  • http://prodigalnomore.wordpress.com/ The Ubiquitous

    Did you know CIGNA paid for abortions? (Of course, the faithful Catholic CEO of a giant secular corperation is supposed sweep in and make it comply with Catholic doctrine. Just because!)

    To be fair, this one? There wasn’t a better example? Seems roughly analagous to:

    Did you know Pelosi supports abortions? (Of course, as if the faithful Catholic senator of a giant secular government is supposed to make the policies she supports comply with Catholic doctrine derived from the natural law. Just because!)

    Knowing nothing about this CEO, it’s likely he inherited this situation and is at worst still only culpable of remote material cooperation. Still — there’s a lot to be said for a strong stand, or gradual changes in policy.

    (For all we know, of course, he’s doing exactly these things, and God bless him if he is!)

  • Pingback: Archbishop Chaput interview by John Allen


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