There as been much in the way of media coverage over the closing of four Catholic elementary schools in NEPA. You can read a story about this topic HERE.
Anyone who is "shocked" or "saddened" by this probably has been in a deep coma for the past ten years. Hello, this has been happening almost constantly now, probably to the point where parents of Catholic school children accept the possibility as just another cost of the education. Yes, it has become that common.
I am, as you can probably tell, not surprised or shocked by this; as Bishop Bambera noted, the numbers just don't work out. In the absence of some massive cost shifting via mechanisms currently being debated in the Pennsylvania Legislature, this trend will probably continue until such time as Catholic education becomes something of an even more elite treat for the families of the well-off and connected. Put another way, there will never be another Bishop Hannan HS again, but Scranton Prep will always live on.
And so it goes. I some ways I do admire the notion that there are parents out there who sacrifice for their children's education, even if the education they get may not necessarily be better than what they would receive in a public school. The notion of sacrifice is all too often forgotten in our society today. When parents believe that they are entitled to the McMansion, then shelling out a few thousand for Catholic school does tend to take a back-burner. Growing up my experience was different, as my mother truly had to sacrifice to send three of four Albert boys to Catholic high school. We were living in a housing project and she was working nights, so I know that it was extremely difficult for her to come up with the money to pay our tuition, but she did it never the less. That kind of nobility is generally lacking in our society today, and it certainly manifests itself in some small way via the decline in Catholic education.
One final note: former Bishop of Scranton, Bishop Martino, regularly got skewered for his handling of school closures (including by me), and rightfully so. Bishop Martino seemed happiest when dictating to the flock, and almost seemed incapable of expressing compassion in a meaningful way. I can't say the same for Bishop Bambera. While I did not listen to all of his recent remarks about school closings, what I did hear was someone who genuinely seemed to feel the distress of this flock. This is not an easy business, but Bishop Bambera seemed well equipped to handle it.