Edward Cullen (bishop)

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Edward Peter Cullen
Bishop Emeritus of Allentown
ChurchRoman Catholic
AppointedDecember 16, 1997
InstalledFebruary 9, 1998
Term endedMay 27, 2009
PredecessorThomas Jerome Welsh
SuccessorJohn Barres
OrdinationMay 19, 1962
by John Krol
ConsecrationApril 14, 1994
by Anthony Bevilacqua, John Patrick Foley, and Francis B. Schulte
Personal details
Born (1933-03-15) March 15, 1933 (age 86)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Previous postAuxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia,
Titular Bishop of Paria in Proconsolare
MottoChrist, Church, Compassion
Styles of
Edward Peter Cullen
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop

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, 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 Cullen's 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]

Cullen 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 of 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]

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

Handling of Sexual Abuse[edit]

On August 14, 2018, Pennsylvania Attorney General released a report that showed that Cullen instructed his vicar general Alfred Schlert to act as an "enabler" when handling abuse allegations.[6] Schlert and others earned promotions from Cullen for their work in handling the allegations.[7] By the time the grand jury report was released, many records on sex abuse in the diocese where missing, with the grand jury stating that each of the six dioceses investigated "we believe that the real number — of children whose records were lost, or who were afraid ever to come forward — is in the thousands."[7] Cullen declined to comment on the matter when The Morning Call reporter Peter Hall approached him in his driveway.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Bishop". Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown.
  2. ^ a b "Bishop Welsh's Resignation Accepted; Bishop Cullen to Allentown". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 1997-12-15.
  3. ^ "Bishop of the Diocese of Allentown". Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena.
  4. ^ a b "Bishop Edward Peter Cullen". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.[self-published source]
  5. ^ Gilbert, Kathleen (2009-05-04). "62: Three More Bishops Against Notre Dame Scandal, Obama Urged to Decline Invitation". LifeSiteNews.com.
  6. ^ "Attorney General Lists Dozens of Priests Accused of Sex Abuse in Grand Jury Report". Wnep.com. 14 August 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-nws-grand-jury-report-catholic-dioceses-20180612-story.html
  8. ^ http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/100658048-132.html

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