Edward Cullen (bishop)

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
Edward Peter Cullen
Bishop Emeritus of Allentown
Church Roman Catholic
Archdiocese Philadelphia
Diocese Allentown
Appointed December 16, 1997
Installed February 9, 1998
Term ended May 27, 2009
Predecessor Thomas Jerome Welsh
Successor John Barres
Ordination May 19, 1962
Consecration April 14, 1994
by Anthony Bevilacqua, John Patrick Foley, and Francis B. Schulte
Personal details
Born (1933-03-15) March 15, 1933 (age 84)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Previous post Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia,
Titular Bishop of Paria in Proconsolare
Motto Christ, Church, Compassion
Styles of
Edward Peter Cullen
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop

Edward Peter Cullen (born March 15, 1933) is a retired American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as the third bishop of the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania from 1998 to 2009.


Early life and education[edit]

The second of five children in an Irish Catholic family, Edward Cullen was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Edward Peter and Julia Catherine (née Leahy) Cullen.[1] He was raised in Yeadon, along with his older sister, Joan, and three younger brothers, Joseph, James, and John. Cullen attended West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys, where he played football, participated in track and field athletics, was involved in the school newspaper, and worked as a cashier at an Acme supermarket.[1]

Following his graduation from West Catholic, he studied engineering at the Drexel Institute of Technology.[1] In 1953, he entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, from where he obtained Bachelor of Arts degree in 1958.[1]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

On May 19, 1962, Cullen was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop John Krol in the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. He then served as an assistant pastor at St. Maria Goretti Church in Hatfield and at St. Bartholomew Church in Philadelphia.

Cullen was sent by Archbishop Krol to study social work at the University of Pennsylvania, later earning his Master of Social Work degree in 1970.[1] This was followed by a Master of Religious Education from La Salle University (1971) and Master of Divinity from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (1974).[2] From 1979 to 1993, he served as a chaplain at St. Edmond's Home for Children in Bryn Mawr.[3]

Cullen was raised to the rank of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness in April 1982,[1] and served as director of Catholic Social Services from 1983 to 1988.[2] In August 1988, he was named vicar general of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia[edit]

On February 8, 1994, Cullen was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia and Titular Bishop of Paria in Proconsolare by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following April 14 from Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, with Archbishops John Foley and Francis Schulte serving as co-consecrators.[4] He selected as his episcopal motto: "Christ, Church, Compassion".[1]

Bishop of Allentown[edit]

Cullen was appointed Bishop of Allentown on December 16, 1997, replacing the retiring Thomas Welsh. He was installed on February 9, 1998.[4] In 2003, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America.[1]

He stopped sacraments at The National Centre for Padre Pio in Barto, Pennsylvania in 2004 for unspecified reasons.

In 2008, Cullen, under the direction of his superior and head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia - Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, carried out a program which would restructure many parishes in the Diocese. As part of this program, 47 parishes were closed, this reduced the number parishes from 151 to 104. Closed churches were then sold. In seven cases, the Congregation for the Clergy overturned the church closing while affirming the suppressions of the parishes in each case.

In April 2009, Cullen described the University of Notre Dame's decision to have President Barack Obama to deliver its commencement speech and receive an honorary degree as "disappointing" and "not in harmony" with the directive of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops against honoring pro-choice politicians.[5]

Bishop Cullen's resignation was accepted on 27 May 2009 by Pope Benedict.[1]. At the same time, Pope Benedict named Msgr. John Barres as the fourth Bishop of the diocese.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop Emeritus of Allentown
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Thomas Jerome Welsh
Bishop of Allentown
Succeeded by
John Barres
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
Succeeded by