CatholicPhilly.com: News from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

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Posted in News, on June 21st, 2012

Archdiocese lays out broad changes in administration; newspaper among offices to close or merge

By Matthew Gambino

(See a revised Organizational Chart here.)

A shake-up of seismic proportions for the administration of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was announced by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Thursday, June 21.

Consolidations including elimination of offices or combination of others with reduced staffing levels resulted in more than 40 employees losing their jobs.

Included in the sweeping changes was the discontinuation of The Catholic Standard and Times. After 117 years, the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese, which last year became a monthly paper, ceases to publish. The recent June issue was the last of the newspaper.

Phaith magazine, which launched last September and published 10 issues through June, will suspend publication while options for resuming it are examined.

The annual Catholic Directory will continue to publish; the 2013 edition is expected to publish by late fall of 2012.

A reduced staff will continue to publish Catholic news, commentary and information on the Catholic Standard and Times’ web site, CatholicPhilly.com. A newsletter distributed via email is planned for the near future. (Sign up here.)

Archbishop Chaput wrote in his column posted to CatholicPhilly.com on June 21 that the reason for the administrative changes was primarily economic. As administrators this year planned for the 2013 budget, the fiscal year for which begins July 1, they faced a shortfall of $17 million between expected revenue and expenses, he wrote.

The figure does not include more than $11 million in legal fees over the past year, as the Archdiocese reported earlier this month.

“As burdensome as those extra costs have been, the much more troubling fact is that the Archdiocese has — for many years — covered the expense of its many good ministries with growing deficits,” he said. “These serious deficits have then been made whole with the sale of assets or the drawing down of investments. This is sometimes necessary in an emergency. But it can’t be justified or sustained as a normal way of operating.”

Despite budget and staffing adjustments, the Archdiocese will still face a budget deficit of more than $5 million for the 2013 fiscal year, the Archbishop explained.

“This can’t continue, and it won’t continue, and I’ve asked our financial staff and Archdiocesan Finance Council to do everything required by best business standards to balance our local Church’s budget by Fiscal Year 2014,” he said.

He thanked the laid-off employees, calling them “good men and women who have served the Church well.”

“Every departing employee has the respect and sincere gratitude of the Archdiocese and will be treated with maximum consideration, including appropriate severance and counseling,” he said.

Archbishop Chaput said he was taking the steps “with great reluctance, as one of several urgently needed steps to restore our Church to a healthy footing.”

Areas of the administration concerning evangelization and youth ministry were particularly affected by the changes.

The offices for family life, respect life, deaf apostolate and formation of the laity will combine to form the Office of Life, Family and the Laity, with reduced staffing and services.

The Secretariat for Evangelization, which had been an umbrella entity for all offices related to spreading the faith, will remain as an office combined with the Office for Worship, also with reduced staffing and services.

Offices under the direction of the Vicar for Cultural Ministries, Redemptorist Father Bruce Lewandowski, will see the St. Peter Claver Center close and its work taken up by the Office for Black Catholics. The center, which served primarily black Catholics as St. Peter Claver Parish before it closed in 1985, is located in center city.

The Catholic Institute for Evangelization, an educational and cultural outreach to Latino Catholics founded in 1993, will close its site in North Philadelphia but continue its programs and educational courses in various locations throughout the Archdiocese.

The work of the Hispanic ministry team in Bucks County will be assumed by the local parishes.

These offices will be led by Auxiliary Bishop John J. McIntyre. He also will continue to lead the Secretariat for Catholic Human Services, which includes Catholic Social Services, Catholic Health Care Services, Nutritional Development Services and the Office of Community Development.

Many of the programs of the Office for Youth and Young Adults will continue within other offices.

The Office of Catholic Education will now manage the programs of Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), while the annual Operation Santa Claus, which involves young people in distributing Christmas gifts to the needy, will operate at the local level through the individual Catholic high schools.

The Office of Cathechetical Formation will assume operation of programs including Theology on Tap and Catholic Underground, both geared to Catholic young adults. It will also take up Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Community Service Corps and Catholic scouting activities.

Camp Overbrook, the longtime summer camp offered to poor children in the Archdiocese at St. Charles Seminary, will be eliminated.

These offices will continue to be led by Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, who also oversees other offices undergoing transition.

The Metropolitan Tribunal, which primarily handles cases concerning marriage annulments, will assume the work of the Office for Consecrated Life. That office, which worked with men’s and women’s religious orders in the Archdiocese, will close.

Auxiliary Bishop Daniel E. Thomas oversees the work of the Office for Communications and the former Catholic Standard and Times, which will continue primarily online.

He also oversees St. Charles Seminary. The archdiocesan seminary will soon welcome its new rector, former moderator of the curia and Auxiliary Bishop Timothy C. Senior.

Bishop Thomas also oversees the Office for Clergy, which includes the Department of Permanent Deacons. That department also saw a reduction in staffing.

One area of the administration largely unchanged is that soon to be led on July 2 by Msgr. Daniel J. Kutys, new moderator of the curia. That role is one of coordinating all the administration’s offices and entities. He will oversee offices dealing with finances, development and ongoing parish restructuring in the Archdiocese, among other offices.

One change announced June 21 was the combination of the Office for Audit Services and Office for Research and Planning into a new Office for Parish Service and Support.

In his column Archbishop Chaput likened the financial challenges to those a family might face.

“I know that few things in the Church seem less fertile than talk about money. What finally matters to all of us is the welfare – including the spiritual welfare — of the people we love. Yet as every adult knows, no family can survive for long without using its resources wisely.

“The zeal to do good things is a natural part of the Christian vocation. But it needs to be anchored in reality and guided by prudence. If we act otherwise, we ignore sound stewardship and create bigger and more painful difficulties for the future, because we can’t quick-fix our way out of problems that we behave ourselves into.”

He concluded his column by saying the Church has the duty “to serve the pastoral and sacramental needs of our own people and the poor of the wider community; to provide support for victims of sexual abuse; to protect children and families; and to defend the Catholic community in the public square.”

The Archbishop repeated words that “I’ve meant from my heart since arriving in Philadelphia: Thank you for your love of God and generous good will over these past 10 months in the face of so many demanding challenges for our Church.”

He asked Catholics of the Archdiocese to “please, in a special way, keep our departing employees and their families in your prayers.”


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7 Responses

  1. I was shocked to hear this news. I think we have to realize that the laity can either take hold of this situation or we can expect a continual eroding of our Catholic culture in Philadelphia.

    We have to try to understand why the Church is spiralling downward before we suggest corrective action. In my view, I think the problem started when the Church decided to latch onto the Republican Party. The Catholic Church was historically protected by the Democratic Party yet we have forgotten this and have tried to force all Catholics to become Republicans. Catholics should keep in mind that the Republican Party has NEVER nominated a Catholic for President while the Democratic Party has nominated a number of Catholics.

    My hero is Pope John XXIII who was not afraid to let change enter the Church. In this spirit, I think we should allow free opinions on social topics and get the Church back into the business of religion and out of the business of politics ASAP. I am reminded that God gave Moses 10 Commandments but after the Pharasees got involved, they had over 600 rules including dietary restrictions, etc. When Jesus came he blasted the Pharasees and emphasized 2 key Commandments. At the present time the Church doesn’t teach about the 10 Commandments given to Moses or the 2 Commandments of Jesus. Rather they focus on their so called “social teachings” which have been elevated to a level beyond reality.

    If the Church is to halt the downward spiral, I think it should tell both political parties to “go pound sand”. The Church should once again be the Church and let politics be handled by politicians. In my view, this non-political approach will attract back the lost Catholic Democrats and curtail the arrogance of the currently in-power Catholic Republicans. In essence, I think the Church should be concerned with the salvation of Catholics and let non-Catholics fend for themselves.

    By: Robert on June 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm

  2. And the sale of the Bishop’s palatial residence at City and Cardinal Ave. would go a long way to bolster the financial picture at archdiocesan headquarters at 222 N. 17th St. Has the sale gone through yet? What is the status?

    By: Michael Skiendzielewski on June 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm

  3. Once again the children are the victims.

    By: Ann Hogan on June 22, 2012 at 9:13 am

  4. Well done Blessed Charles Chaput OFMCap! Elsewhere I have posted that you would be a good candidate for a future Pope of the Roman Church. This is because you conduct your diocese affairs with humility and COURAGE. You are an inspiration to us all and the best vocation tool for the Capuchin order. May the Holy Spirit continue to give you courage to reform renew and transform this once great diocese to the high standards of holiness that you personally represent.

    By: guardian angel on June 23, 2012 at 3:03 am

  5. Living within one’s means is a basic of management for any organization and any family. Good financial stewardship is also mentioned in many parables in the Bible. The cuts are necessary. With mergers and reorganization MORE can be done WITH LESS. Congratulations to Charles Chaput for making the first attempts at financial stability. It nonsense to balance the budgets by drawing down the investments. That’s unsustainable and things cannot be done as in the past through big empty boasts and neglect only!

    By: guardian angel on June 25, 2012 at 3:26 am

  6. While I understand the need for difficult austerity measures, I find it exhausting to hear yet again that it is all the fault of the guy who came before. It is the dead/retired Cardinal’s fault that sexual abuse was tolerated and covered up. It was the dead/retired Cardinal’s fault that our wealth is diminished through years of financial mismanagement.

    Is the Archdiocese of Philadelphia truly a one man organization? Present leaders need to start taking ownership of our problems and need to also start making a more convincing case that this won’t happen in the future.

    And, if there’s ever a vote, I vote we forget about the Fortnight of Freedom and use the savings to pay those 40 staff to keep Camp Overbrook, the Standard & Times and the other programs going.

    By: Irene on June 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm

  7. It is a shame that Archbishop Chaput must dig out of the miss-managment of fiscal matters and educational matters that were the hallmark of Cardinals Krol, Bevelaqua and Rigalli. These 3 men lived in a dream world and did not face reality in matters of priest abuse of chidren and living well above their income which resulted in a fiscal crisis. Now we turu our back on educating children so we can pay for insurance and legal fees as a result of the “cover-up” of the priestly child abuse. These 3 Cardinals lived like royalty while our education system and many parishes ran into financial problems. Now Archbishop Chaput must try to right the sinking ship and find away to bring our young back into the Church. Regardless of the count that is published if you attend Mass you see few people who are “40 something” or younger and this must be addressed. The silence about the Archdioceses “troubles” is not the correct solution and in today’s society people want those in authority to be accountable and to address issues but sad to say many priest and pastors are not addressing issues and are silent on matters that concern the laity.

    By: Joe Gable on June 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm

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