Matthew H. Clark
|The Most Reverend
Matthew Harvey Clark
|Bishop Emeritus of Rochester|
|Installed||June 26, 1979|
|Term ended||September 21, 2012|
|Predecessor||Joseph Lloyd Hogan †|
|Successor||Salvatore Ronald Matano|
|Ordination||December 19, 1962|
|Consecration||May 27, 1979|
July 15, 1937 |
Waterford (town), New York, US
|Denomination||Roman Catholic Church|
|Occupation||Roman Catholic Bishop|
|Alma mater||Holy Cross College, Pontifical Gregorian University|
|Reference style||The Most Reverend|
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
|Posthumous style||not applicable|
Early life and education
Matthew Clark was born in Waterford, New York, to Matthew and Grace (née Bills) Clark. He attended Catholic Central High School in Troy and Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, before entering Mater Christi Seminary in Albany.
While in Rome, Clark was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Martin O'Connor on December 19, 1962. He obtained a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Gregorian in 1963 and, upon his return to the United States, taught at the Vincentian Institute in Albany while serving at Our Lady of Mercy Parish.
Clark returned to the Gregorian in 1964, earning a Licentiate of Canon Law in 1966. From 1966 to 1967, he was vice-chancellor for the Diocese of Albany. He then served as assistant pastor at St. Ambrose Parish in Latham (1967–1972) and chairman of the Diocesan Priests' Personnel Board (1969–1972). In 1972, Clark returned to Rome again to serve as assistant spiritual director of the North American College. He became its full spiritual director in 1974.
On April 23, 1979, Clark was appointed the eighth Bishop of Rochester by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following May 27 from John Paul II himself, with Archbishop Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy and Eduardo Martínez Somalo serving as co-consecrators, at St. Peter's Basilica. He selected as his episcopal motto: "God's Love Endures Forever".
Clark succeeded the retiring Joseph Lloyd Hogan, and was formally installed at the Rochester War Memorial on June 26, 1979. His 33-year tenure as Bishop is the second-longest in the Diocese of Rochester's history, following the 40-year-long tenure of its founding bishop, Bernard John McQuaid.
Generally seen as a progressive, Clark has been criticized for being overly tolerant of homosexuality and even challenging the Vatican's position of not allowing homosexual priests. In 1986, Clark was forced by the then Cardinal Ratzinger at the Vatican to withdraw his imprimatur, or church approval, from a sex education manual written by a priest in his parish as being "defective" about church teachings. Clark has received some credit for clamping down on abusive priests and in 2004, the diocese was deemed to be in "full compliance" with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops charter for the protection of children and young people. Clark presided over the unpopular closing of many of Rochester's schools and parishes pledging to complete the "re-sizing" of the diocese prior to his retirement in 2012. Others associate the sharp decline in church attendance with his tenure. In 2003, Clark was criticized over his $11 million renovation and liturgical re-alignment of Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Bishop Clark from the pastoral governance of the Rochester diocese on September 21, 2012. At the time of Bishop Clark's retirement, no successor was named. Bishop Robert Joseph Cunningham of Syracuse serves as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Rochester, in addition to his responsibilities as Bishop of Syracuse, until the installation of Salvatore Matano.
- "About Bishop Clark". Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.
- "Bishop Matthew Harvey Clark". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
- LifeSite news: "Rochester bishop: Vatican isn’t against homosexuals entering priesthood" May 7, 2011
- Catholic Citizens of Illinois
- Los Angeles Times: "Vatican Orders Bishop to Withdraw Approval of Sex Education Manual" December 20, 1986
- Syracuse Post Standard: "Rochester Diocese gets Tougher on Sex Abuse" May 12, 2002
- Diocese of Rochester news January 6, 2004
- Rochester City Newspaper: "RELIGION INTERVIEW: Bishop Matthew Clark and a changing church" March 2, 2011
- Rochester Channel 8 News: "Bishop Matthew Clark: 'I am not retiring early.'" February 4, 2011
- Catholic Culture Org: "Diocese of Rochester’s Mass attendance plummets 25% in eight years" October 26, 2009
- National Catholic register: "Cathedral Renovation Foes Turn to City for Help" January 5, 2003
|Catholic Church titles|
Title last held byJoseph L. Hogan
|Bishop of Rochester, New York
June 26, 1979 – September 21, 2012
Title next held bySalvatore R. Matano