I started writing this less than a week ago and I thought Oh No, another sour grapes thing about the RCC in the seventies in Philly that drove the masses out of the churches and schools in time or at least in the inner city as they are now calling my old neighborhood.
As some friend has described to me, with planned or likely closings of RC churches here, there actually, there will be no RC churches in the Frankford and Harrowgate sections of the city soon.
My own grade school closed in 2003. And the economics of it all is not necessarily racist. The state and city screw things up with popular school vouchers legislation or threat of its passage which from a distance I do not know much about.
I do know that as soon as you add money to a system with school vouchers or even employer covered health or dental care, you directly or indirectly inflate the basic cost of doing business. That is economics and some politics.
That education in America is big business with student loans, seven hundred dollar college text books etc. That is economics and politics.
The real crux of the matter was that jobs first went south and then overseas and emptied the local factories of very marginal jobs of the average factory workers when those jobs went south. That is economics.
Without a job - you and your environment become dysfunctional. Not rocket science to understand.
The above bill board in the shabby shopping district of downtown Philly at Third Street and Market Street was where us factory workers went to find bargains that the department stores further up the street could not offer us. We paid cash. We had no credit.
The money for that billboard came out of the archdiocese’s coffers or some non-profit organization or the obsessive compulsive wallets of Koch Brothers or Mellon Scaife types doing their social experimentation on the masses.
Like I said I started to write this a few days ago, stopped and erased it. I was inspired at first by the historic photo archives picture because of the date and the subject matter – abortion.
1971 was about the time I stopped going to church. I was tired of the Sunday pulpit demands to write my state legislature to demand that Catholic Sharia Law on Contraception become the law in Pennsylvania.
Science had made a paradigm shift thing and the new chemistry of birth control just overwhelmed the boys in the RC clergy. They have never caught up.
It is a funny thought and I have mentioned it one way or another in the five years since I started this blog, the church left me, us behind when it abandoned spirituality and went straight for the economic and political approach to human sexuality.
That if an ambitious Cardinal Krol was not hell bent on becoming pope, and attended his flock with some love instead of a Wharton Spreadsheet; maybe the economics and politics of the inner city and the racial divides could have been addressed.
That some jobs in factories could have been saved, that there would have been less racial fear and less white flight to the suburbs and places like Frankford or Harrowgate would still have catholic grade schools, high schools and even churches there today.
In other words, there was no vision. There seemed to be only ambition to achieve some corporate religious agenda.
There was no Vision. There was only Ambition.
And that stagnation, which ignores the heart or the spirit of things and life situations that matter to us locally, could have been addressed by mature efforts and solutions.
So it goes.