James Timlin

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
James Clifford Timlin
Bishop Emeritus of Scranton
Church Roman Catholic Church
Archdiocese Philadelphia
Diocese Scranton
Appointed April 24, 1984
Installed June 7, 1984
Term ended July 25, 2003
Predecessor John Joseph O'Connor
Successor Joseph Francis Martino
Ordination July 16, 1951
by Martin John O'Connor
Consecration September 21, 1976
by J. Carroll McCormick, John R. Quinn, and Stanley Joseph Ott
Personal details
Born (1927-08-05) August 5, 1927 (age 90)
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Previous post Auxiliary Bishop of Scranton (1976–1984)
Styles of
James Clifford Timlin
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop

James Clifford Timlin (born August 5, 1927) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Scranton from 1984 to 2003.


Timlin was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to James and Helen (née Norton) Timlin.[1] He received his elementary education at St. John the Evangelist Grade School and Holy Rosary Grade School. After graduating from Holy Rosary High School, he attended St. Charles College in Catonsville, Maryland and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore before furthering his studies in Rome at the Pontifical North American College and Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. On July 16, 1951, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Martin J. O'Connor.[2] After earning his Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree from the Gregorian,[3] he was appointed as assistant pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Pittston in 1952.

Timlin then served as assistant pastor of St. Peter's Cathedral from 1953 to 1966, when he was named assistant chancellor of the Diocese and private secretary to Bishop J. Carroll McCormick.[1] He was raised to the rank of Chaplain to His Holiness on August 3, 1967, and became chancellor of the Diocese on December 15, 1971 and a Prelate of Honor of His Holiness on April 23, 1972.[1] He also served as chairman of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission and the Priests' Education Committee, as well as librarian and secretary of St. Pius X Seminary in Dalton. He became a member of the Diocesan Board of Consultors in 1972, and President of the Board of Directors of The Catholic Light in 1975.[1]

On July 26, 1976, Timlin was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Scranton and Titular Bishop of Gunugus by Pope Paul VI.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 21 from Bishop McCormick, with Archbishop John R. Quinn and Bishop Stanley J. Ott serving as co-consecrators, at St. Peter's Cathedral.[2] Serving a five-year term as Episcopal Moderator of the National Association of Holy Name Societies, he became vicar general of the Scranton Diocese in 1976 and pastor of the Church of the Nativity of Our Lord in 1979.[1] In 1983, he was named chairman of the Board of Advisors of St. Pius X Seminary and of the Preparatory Commission for the Diocesan Synod.

Following the promotion of Bishop John J. O'Connor to Archbishop of New York, Pope John Paul II appointed Timlin to succeed him as the eighth Bishop of Scranton on April 24, 1984.[2] Installed on June 7 of that year, he was the first native son of Scranton to become its diocesan bishop.[4] During his tenure, he held the Second Diocesan Synod, established the "Bishop's Annual Appeal", presided over a major restructuring of parishes due to the priest shortage, and introduced a new policy for Catholic schools consisting of regional mergers, construction of modern facilities, new fund-raising efforts, and a more equitable sharing of operational costs between parents, pastors, and the Diocese.[4] In 2003, Timlin refused to attend the commencement ceremonies for the University of Scranton, because of the allegedly pro-choice views of honorary degree-recipient Chris Matthews. He has been repeatedly accused of ignoring allegations of homosexual and pedophilic tendencies among the diocesan clergy.[5][6]

After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, Timlin resigned as Bishop on July 25, 2003, after a nearly 20-year-long tenure.[2] He served as administrator of St. Joseph's Church in Wilkes-Barre from February to July 2004, when he became rector of Villa St. Joseph in Dunmore, the diocesan residence for retired priests.[1]

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Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Joseph O'Connor
Bishop of Scranton
Succeeded by
Joseph Francis Martino
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Scranton
Succeeded by