I commented twice on the article, and I've posted those comments (along with a response to one of my comments) immediately below.
Stephen, the bishop is dedicated. He desires very much to keep the school system. The problem is that desire and dedication are not enough to do it. The laws of business dictate that money plays a much larger role. Without proper financing, all the dedication and desire in the world mean nothing.
As I said, our teachers are indeed dedicated, no question about it. I am grateful for the services they provide. I am sorry this is happening. I wish it was different. If you can tell us how to circumnavigate the laws of economics, I would be glad to listen to you.
Hello Father Bechtel. The blog goes well, and thanks for asking.
Regarding Bishop Martino, I do not know the man personally, but merely read of his actions (mainly in the Catholic Light, for the record). Since you have more experience with Joseph Martino the man, I’ll defer to your opinion on his desire to keep the schools open. However and as we’ve discussed many times, sometimes with the Bishop his true desires are masked by an execution style that seems more authoritarian than truly pastoral.
As for the laws of economics, well many businesses are hurting these days, and there is no doubt in my mind that this has had an impact of the school situation. What’s fair to debate though is just how much it has impacted the current situation. Regarding solutions, I obviously don’t have all the answers (unlike many on the Internet…), but I do have a suggestion: if as a Catholic Community we want schools, then it’s time for all of us…parents, parishioners, students, teachers, administrators and Bishop…to act in concert and collective act to save these important institutions. I passionately believe that part of acting in concert would require a step that I think even you Father Bechtel would acknowledge that the Bishop would never take, namely allowing lay teachers in the Diocese to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to be represented by an independent union. The moment Bishop Martino unilaterally decided that lay teachers could not have an independent union is the moment that he decided that the only opinion that counted was his, and his alone. That kind of execution style does not lend itself to a community of support.
Thanks for reading/listening and while I don’t agree with everything you write, I do admire the fact that you publicly have taken a stand on these complex issues. In fact, I think the Bishop himself could take learn a thing or two about honest communication from what you’ve written.