“He is saying what everyone has been thinking for years, but was too afraid to speak out loud,” said Brother Brian Carty, founder of the De La Salle Academy in Manhattan, an independent middle school run by the Christian Brothers. “Very few parochial schools draw kids from their parishes only. Most of these kids take a subway to school, in fact. If we want Catholic education for kids, we have to face these realities.”
The recession has aggravated chronic budget problems in the archdiocese, which paid an additional $30 million in fiscal 2009 to help parishes and schools meet expenses, officials said.
The new initiative would not be the first big retrenchment by the archdiocese, which closed or merged 21 of its roughly 400 parishes in a 2007 consolidation. And it relies on some strategies that church leaders have used to try saving Catholic schools elsewhere, including in the neighboring Diocese of Brooklyn, which last year began creating community boards of lay people and priests to administer and raise money for clusters of struggling schools.
Now, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan is signaling that he will soon mount a more aggressive effort to prune the number of schools and ensure the future of those that remain.
In speeches and articles over the last few months, the archbishop has sketched the broad outlines of a plan that includes consolidating or closing many of the 216 elementary schools in the system, changing the way parochial schools are financed and — for the first time in the archdiocese’s 160-year history — redefining the basic relationship between Catholics and their schools
Each elementary school has until now been financed mainly by members of its local parish. But in the proposed reorganization, the cost of educating roughly 56,000 grade school students would be spread among all the parishes, and all the plate-passing churchgoers among 2.5 million Catholics in the archdiocese.
All dioceses have struggled with the steady loss of enrollment in parochial schools, which are considered important as feeders for Catholic high schools and colleges, and as developers of lifelong faith. Yet despite the loss of more than 1,500 inner-city schools in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other major cities in the last decade, no church leader has suggested changes as sweeping as Archbishop Dolan’s.
Mrs Hogg was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer - an aggressive form of the disease which affects just four per cent of sufferers - and underwent six months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy.
Her husband, an IT project manager, considered taking legal action against the NHS, for what he believes was a 'long summer of misdiagnosis' after a lump, initially discovered by his wife in around 2007, was dismissed as harmless breast tissue, then mastitis, and was later treated as a cyst.