Richard Lennon

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The Most Reverend
Richard Gerard Lennon
Bishop of Cleveland
Coat of arms of Richard Gerard Lennon.svg
Church Roman Catholic Church
Diocese Cleveland
Appointed 4 April 2006
Installed May 15, 2006
Predecessor Anthony Pilla
Successor Incumbent
Orders
Ordination 19 May 1973
by Humberto Sousa Medeiros
Consecration 14 September 2001
by Bernard Francis Law
Personal details
Born (1947-03-26)March 26, 1947
Arlington, Massachusetts
Denomination Catholic Church
Previous post Apostolic Administrator of Boston
Auxiliary Bishop of Boston
Titular Bishop of Sufes
Education attended Boston College
Alma mater Saint John's Seminary

Richard Gerard Lennon (born March 26, 1947) became the Roman Catholic bishop of Cleveland, Ohio in May 15, 2006.

Background[edit]

A native of Arlington, Massachusetts,[1] Lennon is the son of an Arlington, Mass. firefighter[2](Lennon's father, Albert, was Arlington's deputy fire chief.)[3] Lennon attended St. James the Apostle grammar school[3] in St. James parish in Arlington, where he was an altar boy.[4] In 1965 Lennon graduated[5] from Matignon,[3] a Catholic High School in Cambridge, Mass., where he was a member of the National Honor Society.[6] Bishop Lennon attended Boston College where he was a mathematics major for two years[2][5][6] before entering St. John's Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts where he graduated in 1969, with a bachelor's degree in philosophy.[5] Lennon went on to receive a M.TH in Sacramental Theology in 1973[5] and a M.A. in Church History in 1984[5] both also from St. John's. Bishop Lennon was ordained in the Boston Archdiocese on May 19, 1973. Lennon was a parish priest from 1973 to 1988. From 1973 to 1982 Lennon served at St. Mary of the Nativity Church in Scituate, Massachusetts and from 1982 to 1988[7] at St. Mary's Church in West Quincy, Massachusetts.[5] In 1988 he became the Archdiocese of Boston's archdiocesan assistant for canonical affairs. In 1999, he became the seminary rector.[6]

In June 2001, Lennon was installed as a Knight of Malta and into the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.[8]

On June 29, 2001, Lennon was named as an auxiliary bishop of Boston; he was ordained as a bishop on September 14, 2001. From 2001 until April 2006, Lennon served as a bishop in Boston, holding a variety of positions.

After Bernard Francis Law resigned his position as Archbishop of Boston in December 2002 amid the church sex scandal, Lennon became very important in leading the troubled archdiocese through the turbulent times as he was the interim leader. He served as the Apostolic Administrator of the archdiocese between Law's resignation and the accession of its new Archbishop, Sean O'Malley. Archbishop Seán O'Malley appointed him as the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Boston and he held this position from August 2003 to April 2006. In a documentary on Boston area sexual abuse and church closings, which aired in 2007 on PBS's Frontline, Lennon confronted a former Catholic parishioner for questioning Lennon's refusal to allow him to photograph a church building scheduled to close.

On April 5, 2006, Lennon was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the replacement for Bishop Anthony Pilla, who was suffering from heart disease, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. He became the 10th bishop of Cleveland in an installation ceremony on May 15, 2006.

Management affairs[edit]

Abuse scandal[edit]

Lennon's appointment as Apostolic Administrator of the Boston Archdiocese, following the resignation of Cardinal Law, brought criticism from some sex-abuse victims' groups.

Parishes[edit]

In June 2008, Bishop Lennon announced plans to close at least 30 parishes in the cities of Cleveland, Lorain, and older parishes in Cleveland's inner ring suburbs. This plan drew ire from parishioners and members of Cleveland's City Council members. Michael Polensek of Ward 11 has sounded off on this plan. The Bishop is doing this in face of a priest shortage and loss of parishioners. Critics have pointed out that several of the churches to be closed actually enjoyed steady, if limited, monthly incomes, and several of these churches, as well, have a politically liberal orientation. However, a portion of these churches were also in need of repair, which was not always readily evident when examined from the outside.

An example of a cluster, is this group of churches, containing three in the Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood:

In this cluster, Bishop Lennon suppressed (closed) two parishes (St. Hyacinth, St. Casimir). In March 2012, Rome ordered St.Casimir restored.[9]

Significant criticism of the clusters and the decision-making process associated with the closing of parishes followed. Following the closings announcement, some Catholics in the Diocese requested Vatican oversight of the Bishop in 2009.[10] Despite the criticism, Bishop Lennon presided at 78 closing, merging, and opening Masses over the next 14 months.

With the closing of St. Peter Church, a 151 year old parish located within a mile of the Diocesan Cathedral, many parishioners and their pastor broke from the bishop and founded the Community of St. Peter. On Monday, March 4, 2013, Father Robert Marrone- who is listed as the leader of the Community of St. Peter (the article did not indicate if he had served as pastor of the Church)- was excommunicated "latae setentiae" (automatically, by committing the offense, not by a church trial). The reason given was for schism, for having been disobedient to his ecclesiastical superiors (the Pope and the Bishop) by agreeing to oversee the unauthorized breakaway community when the parish closed. The Diocese has stated it would meet with Community members and its board in an effort to resolve the situation, but at the same time warned that they were also subject to excommunication if they did not soon rejoin the official Church. Such situations have happened before in other U.S. Catholic churches that were closed or where the administration changed.[11]

In July 2011, the Vatican conducted a rare investigative Apostolic Visit of the Cleveland Diocese when the Reverend John Mortimer Smith, bishop emeritus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, spent several days interviewing people in the diocese.[12]

In March 2012, the Vatican ordered the reversal of the closings of the 13 of 50 churches that had pursued an appeal to the Congregation for the Clergy.[13]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Robinson, Walter V. (2002-12-14), The Cardinal Resigns / on the horizon interim leader, Boston, Mass: The Boston Globe, p. A13 
  2. ^ a b May, Michaela (25 February 2003), Healing the Church will be a difficult task, Waltham, Mass: The Justice 
  3. ^ a b c Paulson, Michael (16 February 2003), Lennon's Rise: from shy schoolboy to the chancery, Boston, Mass: The Boston Sunday Globe, p. A1 
  4. ^ Paulson, Michael (16 February 2003), Lennon's Rise: from shy schoolboy to the chancery, Boston, Mass: The Boston Sunday Globe, p. A1 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Bentayou, Frank (5 April 2006), Highpoints in Lennon's life, Cleveland, Ohio: The Plain Dealer, p. A10 
  6. ^ a b c Robinson, Walter V. (14 December 2002), The Cardinal Resigns / on the horizon interim leader, Boston, Mass: The Boston Globe, p. A13 
  7. ^ Bentayou, Frank (5 April 2006), Highpoints in Lennon's life, Cleveland, Ohio: The Plain Dealer, p. A10 
  8. ^ Diocese of Cleveland - Bishops
  9. ^ http://www.stcasimir.com/decree.pdf
  10. ^ http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/cleveland-catholics-ask-vatican-oversee-their-bishop
  11. ^ http://www.catholicnews.com/data/briefs/cns/20130306.htm#head12
  12. ^ O'Malley, Michael (24 July 2011). "Cleveland Catholics abuzz over investigation of Bishop Richard Lennon". Cleveland.com (Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Live LLC). The Plain Dealer. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  13. ^ O'Malley, Michael (15 March 2012) [First published 7 March 2012]. "Vatican reverses Cleveland Catholic Diocese's closing of 13 parishes". Cleveland.com (Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Live LLC). The Plain Dealer. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 

Additional sources[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Episcopal lineage
Consecrated by: Bernard Francis Law
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Anthony Pilla
Bishop of Cleveland
2006–Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent