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When it was announced a few years ago that our Catholic Church on the north side would be closed unless we made some changes, what went unsaid was that there was nothing we can do to stop the closing of the Church. When the parish council of the Church said the money from the proceeds of the sale of church property and the two trust funds our church controlled from previous closed churches, should be use to serve the people of the neighborhood everyone smiled and said that is nice.
Now the Church property is sold and the proceeds and the two trust funds are at the church that was assigned as the inheritor of these funds. They just sit there, nearly a million dollars, while the poor and needy in the neighborhood of the old church and new church go without basic needs like beds, stove or refrigerator. The new parish council thinks they are deciding but like the one in the previous church they have not much to say.
The old and new Church are both owned by a Corporation Board which composed of the Archbishop of Milwaukee, the pastor of the church, another clergy persons and two lay trustees appointed by the pastor. These three old white male clergy will decided or perhaps already have and we just do not know it.
Reading the history of the Catholic Church I have found it interesting that this pattern of those who know better, or paternalism, has been around for many years. In fact it was the paternalism and segregation of the white male clergy that is response for the poorest part of the city and the most segregated with over an 85% African American population has been kept devoid of the Catholic Church making a difference in life of poor and African American.
The Catholic Church can preach the ‘preferential option for the poor” but it is just words as the million dollars or so of our old Catholic Church sits in a bank account and the parish council of the church assigned the money thinks it has something to say about its use.
Patterns of paternalism and segregation go on and on. When will we ever learn?