If you're like me, the recent announcement that Cristo Rey plans to open a high school in the old Our Lady of Hope school resulted in something of a cross between twitchy rage and a complete foaming-at-the-mouth meltdown.
The article, in case you missed it, courtesy the good soldiers at the Catholic Standard & Times. (Thanks to Ken Houser and the others who forwarded it.)
Cristo Rey high school to open in 2012
Cristo Rey, in case you forget, are the admirable folks who specialize in Catholic high school education for urban and disadvantaged youths. Given that they tried to take over Northeast Catholic and were ridiculously rebuffed (as I wrote about here), you can see how this announcement rendered me apoplectic.
“The Cristo Rey model has proven successful in 24 locations across the country,” said Mary Rochford, archdiocesan Superintendent of Schools. “We welcome the Cristo Rey Network to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and believe this model will prove most successful for certain students.”
Oh really? Then why were you so determined to keep them out of Northeast Catholic?
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see Our Lady of Hope get some attention, and the announcement gives me the first real hope (pun intended) I've had that the parish isn't going anywhere. I'd feel much better if the AD actually spent some coin to fix the place, but hey, one step at a time.
The bigger question is why the AD fought so vigorously to keep Cristo Rey out of Northeast Catholic, thereby saving their most iconic high school, only to welcome them here a couple of years later. I just don't get it. And if the Logan area is in such desperate need of Catholic secondary education, why did you close nearby Cardinal Dougherty?
The only logical explanation is that, again, the AD doesn't really care about anyone or anything but their own agenda and their own ego. That's the only way to explain why they closed two legendary high schools and refused Cristo Rey's explicit offer to save one of them, only to turn around and install the model at a completely new site a few years later. No other explanation makes sense.
I continue to hope for the best, but when it's clear there's no one competent at the wheel, you tend to have low expectations.