(FamilyConservationPAC.com) – At least 75 additional Catholic schools nationwide have made final closure announcements, with many informing families in recent weeks.
Philadelphia, Boston, and Cincinnati have seen the most closures.
The Catholic Archdiocese of New York closed 12 schools in New York City alone at the school year’s conclusion, blaming “shifting demographics and lower enrollment, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Some of the now-permanently-closed institutions were well-known and had lengthy histories.
In 1945, the private, coed, Roman Catholic Cambridge Matignon School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, opened its doors. It produced ten ice hockey state champions, 19 NHL draft picks, and three NFL players as alumni.
After 108 years, the all-girls, private Immaculate Conception High School in Lodi, New Jersey, closed this week, citing enrollment and financial issues.
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The Rio Grande Valley’s famous 175-year-old Incarnate Word Academy in Texas has announced it would close after the current academic year.
The school’s superior general, Sister Annette Wagner, stated in a written statement that running the institution was no longer feasible due to declining enrolment and revenue over many years.
Catholics have proposed various theories in addition to the institutions’ shared financial justifications for closing.
The traditional Catholic doctrines are being questioned by contemporary Catholic families and even Catholic school officials, according to C.J. Doyle, Executive Director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, who spoke to The Epoch Times.
He cited a recent incident at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, New Hampshire, where parents and students opposed the school’s choice not to renew contracts for four instructors who were either out gay or openly endorsed LGBT philosophy.
The $18,000 tuition-charging school vehemently disputed that the action was tied to the LGBT community.
According to then-acting Principal Paul Marquis, “These four non-renewals had absolutely nothing to do with LGBTQ+ identity or personal alignment or views, even though we are unable to share details regarding specific personnel decisions out of respect for privacy and confidentiality.”
Parents spoke to The Epoch Times about their children kissing on stage during graduation ceremonies and attending the prom as same-sex couples around the time of the scandal.
According to Mr. Doyle, “when you have that kind of behavior at a Catholic school, it’s basically a public school with tuition.”
St. John LaLande Catholic School in Blue Springs, Missouri, recently experienced a similar controversy when the school expelled an 11-year-old student.
The student’s parents, who volunteered at the school, criticized the parish priest for removing LGBT literature from the school library and ordering the school to stop using a research app run by a well-known liberal media outlet.
Parent of the expelled child Hollee Muller told The Kansas City Star, “I don’t think being blatantly homophobic is a doctrine of the Catholic Church.”
Weeks before, Mr. Doyle’s group denounced Fontbonne Academy, one of Boston’s few remaining Catholic institutions, for inviting a lesbian who refers to herself as a “big ol’ dyke” to speak at the graduation.
In an official letter, the Catholic Action League encouraged the Boston Archdiocese and Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley to oppose the action.
Still, according to Mr. Doyle, they never even acknowledged their concerns.
Additionally, Mr. Doyle and others suggested that the church might repurpose schools for financial gain.
He said it might be partly due to the expense of care for elderly clergy, the shortage of new successors, and a lack of fresh funding for the church.
A Lot More Speculation
The National Catholic Reporter recently brought attention to the fact that many of the closing schools are located in upscale neighborhoods.
Only two miles from the campus of Harvard University, the Cambridge Matingnon building, and grounds are valued at $32 million.
The Sisters of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception said in a statement that they had decided they were “no longer able to continue living” at the campus in the Boston area when the all-girls school Mount Alvernia High abruptly announced it was closing.
On Facebook, a former school board member Kathleen Joyce said that the nuns’ order had secretly decided to sell the land to Boston College, a Catholic university across the street from the 88-year-old school, without their knowledge or consent.
Ms. Joyce, who also serves as the chair of the Boston Licensing Board, wrote: “Instead of informing the Mount Alvernia Board and the school community of their unilateral decision, they covertly set out to find a buyer.”
Not surprisingly, the buyer of this market research—another Catholic group with a strong presence in our community—was the buyer from beginning to end.
The Epoch Times contacted Ms. Joyce for additional comment, but she didn’t answer.
The Immaculate Conception Missionary Franciscan Sisters declined to speak with The Epoch Times about the reasons behind the school’s closure.
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— Mr. E.P. Unum (@EPUnum_) April 11, 2023
It is nothing new for Catholic schools to close. Over the years, hundreds of schools around the country have shuttered.
Catholic organizations have long attributed some of the responsibility to the “vanishing nuns,” which resulted in dramatically increased teacher and administrative costs, greater tuition, and decreased enrollment.
The National Catholic Education Association, which monitors enrollment trends in Catholic schools, is led by Lincoln Snyder, President and CEO.
Lincoln Snyder noted to The Epoch Times that Catholic schools experienced a surge in enrollment during the pandemic, attributed mainly to parents’ dissatisfaction with public schools’ hesitation to move away from remote learning.
According to the organization’s statistics, the number of students attending U.S. Catholic schools increased by 65,000 between 2021 and 2022.
According to Mr. Snyder, many Catholic families are not abandoning Catholic schools but rather relocating to other locations where the culture aligns more with their views.
In Florida, he noted that Catholic schools have recently recorded an increase in enrollment.
Due to the increased demand for Catholic education in the Sunshine State, one school closed for 14 years, St. Malachy in Tamarac, Florida, is scheduled to reopen this fall.
When the school was reopened in June, Jim Rigg, the secretary of education and administrator of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Miami, claimed that people were moving there from all over the world, including the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
“We’re expanding right now.” He said that St. Malachy is situated around 200 miles south of Disney World and 35 miles north of Miami.
After years of decline, the 255 Catholic schools under the Archdiocese of Los Angeles this year also reported an increase in student enrollment.
Overall, the increase in Catholic school enrollment seems fleeting since numerous institutions, including 14 in Connecticut alone, announced their permanent closure after the 2022–23 academic year.
There are currently more closures of Catholic schools. They include the Staten Island school St. Christopher School, which released the information in the middle of June.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) April 12, 2023
The Wauwatosa Catholic School in Wisconsin, St. Mark Catholic School, and the Good Shepherd Catholic School in St. Louis recently announced their closures.
St. Joseph Catholic School in Cincinnati informed parents that it was closing earlier this month.
Holy Family School in Kentucky informed families last week that it would close due to a teacher shortage.
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