By Jamie Wiggan
Having made no headway appealing to the local diocese, a group protesting the merger of St. Philip School have turned their sights to the Vatican.
Since Pittsburgh’s Catholic Diocese announced plans Feb. 12 to merge St. Philip School in Crafton with St. Margaret School in Green Tree, advocates grouped as the Committee to Save St. Philip School have sought to overturn the move through two separate appeal processes. Both were denied.
Disillusioned with the responses from the diocese, the committee has filed an appeal through canon lawyer Philip Gray requesting the Vatican overturn the Bishop’s verdict.
“How are Bishop Zubik or Fr. Torquato tending to their flock by refusing to talk to them about a decision so harmful to families and their young children?” said Colin Wrabley, an attorney supporting the appeal efforts.
The group said they’ve made several efforts to meet with the Bishop to settle the matter but have so far been denied an audience.
“We remain ready and willing to meet any time to discuss our settlement proposal and a peaceful solution,” Wrabley said.
Announcing the dismissal of the first appeal, the diocese defended the decision in a statement issued March 17.
These two mergers reflect the efforts of the new regional governing board to keep Catholic schools affordable and accessible,” according to the statement. “With the increased costs of operating Catholic schools and parishes facing their own financial challenges, regionalization is necessary to help respond to these financial challenges and to take necessary strategic steps to improve the sustainability of Catholic elementary education.”