Is the Archdiocese of Boston in competition with charter schools? That’s the premise of a Boston Globe column by Steve Bailey on Sunday entitled, The church vs. charters.
It is not the quality of education alone that is most important, but hearing the Gospel and encountering Jesus Christ.
His premise is that now the Archdiocese has embarked on an ambitious plan to revitalize Catholic education it is no longer going to be as accommodating to competing institutions. The problem is that Bailey thinks of the Archdiocese as a business, not as an institution that competes, rather than cooperates with anyone who can advance the same vision.
Of course, I think he can be forgiven for doing so since that’s been the modus operandi in the Archdiocese for a long time. I’ve heard several examples of people who wanted to buy or lease an empty school or other building from the archdiocese and were either denied outright or had the building sold out from under them to either secular or non-Catholic groups. And we’re talking about solid and devout Catholics willing to pay market rates and with solid plans for success.
But I think there’s been a sea change in the archdiocese with the coming of Cardinal O’Malley and the new vicar general and new chancellor. You don’t turn a ship the size and age of the archdiocese overnight, but I’m hearing from people around the Boston area how the chancery is changing its institutional attitude.
So if the Archdiocese is less willing to lease to secular schools, that’s ultimately a good thing from a Catholic point of view. While charter schools may be better than public schools, in the end they don’t advance the mission of the Church which is to spread the Gospel.
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