Catholic Schools Are Closing

Be certain to say some ardent prayers for Pope John Paul II suffering with breathing problems serious enough to require a tracheotomy, and being put on a ventilator. The Holy Father seems to be responding well to the treatment and is conscious but unable to speak with the breathing tube in his throat. His mind is still clear and he even joked with his doctors about the operation they were about to perform on him.

Pray for a complete recovery from this present illness.

Sad Closing of Catholic Schools

It is sad to read the headlines about the Archdiocese of Chicago announcing that it will close 23 Catholic Elementary Schools at the end of the school year. But it is happening everywhere.

We just got word that the Catholic school all of my relatives, my mother, aunts and uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters, and I attended in Indiana is closing at the end of the year, too. And it was the only Catholic School in town.

But everywhere it’s the same story, migration of many Catholics to the suburbs, loss of nuns and brothers as teachers who worked virtually free, so that tuitions were small enough for most families to afford.

But now most teachers are lay men and women who require a living wage necessitating higher tuition. Also, neighborhoods are changing and most of the schools closing are in African-American and Latino communities. Few Blacks are Catholic and most Latinos can’t afford the high tuitions.

But the reaction of parents and students is usually great disappointment especially when many made heroic efforts to save their schools, trying to solicit new students, raise money, even offer to rehab old homes for resale, the money to go to keep the school open. At St. James they produced a video to market their school and developed an alumni database. At Epiphany School children held penny drives and sold nachos.

Cardinal George is urging displaced students to enroll in the Catholic school nearest to their home. George says “No one wants to close a school, because you’re closing a child’s world. It’s a very difficult experience, especially for a child. It’s a very difficult choice for us.”

Next fall there will be 250 Catholic grammar and high schools operating in the Chicago Archdiocese. In 1965 there were 524. Enrollment dropped 70% during that time.

Then there’s the story of little Brian Jackson who reacted to the news of the closing by hiding in a closet and declaring that he would never go to another school again, ever.

NOW Admits We’re Winning

The National Organization for Women is putting out a funder trying to scare its donors into forking over their dollars for the following reasons, much of which happens to be true.

34 million dollars in family planning funds are being withheld from the United Nations Population Fund, the global gag rule has been reinstated, embryos have been declared to be children under the law, and abortion is being equated with terrorism.

Embryonic stem cell research is being limited, while emergency contraception is being opposed. Medical funding for family planning is being slashed, while millions of dollars are being spent on “abstinence only” programs.

They see anti-abortion judges being appointed, scientific research being suppressed and—get this—clinic violence going unchecked. Of course they’re giving President George Bush credit for all these things. It does give us a few things to cheer about.

Court Gives Terri Three More Weeks

In the Terri Schiavo feeding-tube case, Florida’s social services agency, the Department of Children and Families, sought a 60-day delay in removal of Terri’s feeding tube while it investigates allegations of abuse and neglect. The court has given them only three weeks—not the 60 days they wanted, but a good development none the less.

This means Terri’s feeding tube will be removed on Friday, March 18 at 5 p.m. Unless there are further developments, that’s the day Terri’s tortuous death by starvation and dehydration will begin.

Kansas Court To Examine Abortion Records

In Topeka, Kansas, Attorney General Phill Kline has ordered that the records of 90 women who got abortions at two abortion mills be turned over to him to check how many had abortions past a 22 week cut-off period, and how many were 15 and younger at these mills.

In October District Judge Richard Anderson ruled that Kline can have the files. The clinics appealed to the high court. No hearing has been scheduled.

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