Kenneth Angell

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The Most Reverend
Kenneth Anthony Angell
Bishop Emeritus of Burlington
Diocese Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington
See Burlington
In office November 9, 1992—November 9, 2005
Predecessor John Aloysius Marshall
Successor Salvatore Ronald Matano
Ordination May 26, 1957
Consecration October 7, 1974
Personal details
Born (1930-08-03)August 3, 1930
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Died October 4, 2016(2016-10-04) (aged 86)
Winooski, Vermont, U.S.
Nationality American
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Previous post Auxiliary Bishop of Providence (1974–1992)

Most Rev. Kenneth Anthony Angell (August 3, 1930 – October 4, 2016) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Burlington from 1992 to 2005.


One of three children, Kenneth Angell was born in Providence, Rhode Island, to Henry and Mae (née Cooney) Angell.[1] After attending public elementary schools in East Providence, he studied at Our Lady of Providence Seminary[2] in Warwick and at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland.[1]

Angell was ordained to the priesthood on May 26, 1957.[3] He then served as parochial vicar at St. Mark Church[4] in Jamestown and at Sacred Heart Church[5] in Pawtucket.[1] After serving at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Angell then received his first pastorate at St. John's Church in Providence.[1] From 1968 to 1972, he was assistant chancellor of the Diocese of Providence and secretary to Bishop Russell McVinney.[1] He served as chancellor under Bishop Louis Edward Gelineau from 1972 to 1974 and was raised to the rank of Monsignor in December 1972.[1] He became vicar general of the diocese in August 1974.[1]

On August 9, 1974, Angell was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Providence and Titular Bishop of Septimunicia by Pope Paul VI.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following October 7 from Bishop Gelineau, with Archbishop John Francis Whealon and Bishop John Francis Hackett serving as co-consecrators, at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul.[3] After nearly 20 years as an auxiliary in Providence, Angell was named the eighth Bishop of Burlington, Vermont, by Pope John Paul II on October 6, 1992.[3] He was installed at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on November 9, 1992.[3]

Faced with a shortage of priests in Burlington, and a decline in weekly Mass attendance, Angell consolidated Sacred Heart[6] and St. Francis de Sales[7] parishes in Bennington as well as St. Cecilia[8] and St. Frances Cabrini[9] in East Barre, and closed Our Lady of the Lake in St. Albans.[10] A strong opponent of same-sex marriage, he unsuccessfully campaigned against H.B. 847, which granted civil unions to same-sex couples with the same rights and privileges accorded to married couples in 2000.[11] Speaking to the Vermont House of Representatives, he said, "Do not let the court or anybody else push you around. You have no duty, moral or constitutional, to weaken the institution of marriage. If the court thinks otherwise, then let the people overrule the court. This is the United States of America. We are not ruled by kings, whether on a throne or in the courtroom."[11] In 2001 he wrote to the House to express his opposition to capital punishment, saying, "We must not perpetuate the crime of murder by becoming a society that kills for retribution.... We must not promote or justify a culture of vengeance. We cannot hope to teach that killing is wrong by killing."[12]

His younger brother David Angell, the Emmy Award-winning creator and producer of Frasier, and his wife Lynn died during the September 11 attacks aboard American Airlines Flight 11.[13][14] Angell later said, "Our family was devastated, and yet in times of such crisis you get strength that's rather incredible. You don't really know where it comes from. It comes ultimately from God, but it comes through many people who are supportive. It comes from one's faith and the belief that the Lord takes care of us, and that his will must be done."[15] In response to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Angell said, "Our hopes of avoiding war were quashed today, but our prayers for peace will not end until this war does.... We pray for the safety and deliverance of the innocent citizens in Iraq, that they be protected from harm and freed from oppression. We pray their terror will be of short duration and that their rewards will be a new country based on freedom and democratic principles, supported by a united international community."[16]

Angell received Salvatore Ronald Matano as his coadjutor bishop in April 2005.[17] Upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, he submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Benedict XVI in August 2005. His resignation was accepted on November 9.[3] Angell died on October 4, 2016, from a stroke.[18]

Sexual abuse scandals[edit]

Angell has been criticized for his management of sexual abuse allegations during his tenure as auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Providence, which experienced the longest legal battle over such allegations in the nation and later announced a $13.5 million settlement in 36 different lawsuits in 2002.[13][19][20] In 1989 he promised to "take care of it" when the Providence priest Normand Demers was accused of misconduct with boys while working at a Haitian orphanage; Demers was later brought back to work in the diocese.[21][22] Angeli testified in a 1990 lawsuit that he did not take allegations against another priest, Rev. William O'Connell, seriously.[22] O'Connell was later convicted and served a short sentence before moving to New Jersey, where he committed more crimes and died in prison.[22]

During his tenure as bishop in Burlington, records show Angell allowed six accused priests to remain in active ministry within Vermont.[22] He refused to identify them publicly, but then gave their names to the State Attorney General and placed them under suspension.[22] At a news conference in March 2005, Angell described the sexual abuse scandals as the most difficult challenge he faced during his time as bishop.[23] He said, "People have been so shocked by all of this and it's a wonderful compliment to us really, in the sense that they expect so much more of us than anyone else and we shouldn't fail them. It's been very difficult and difficult for these priests too [who] have been in trouble. The victims first and foremost have my concern. After that I think of the priests how because of one, one little lapse or something, something terrible happened. I can't help but feel sorry for them. I decry what they did."[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Most Reverend Kenneth A. Angell, Eighth Bishop of Burlington". Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. 
  2. ^ Our Lady of Providence Seminary
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Bishop Kenneth Anthony Angell". 
  4. ^ Church, St. Mark. "St. Mark Catholic Church In Jamestown RI Welcomes you!". St. Mark Church. Retrieved 2017-12-09. 
  5. ^ Sacred Heart Church Archived 2013-01-31 at
  6. ^ Sacred Heart Archived 2009-09-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ St. Francis de Sales Archived 2009-09-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington". Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. Retrieved 2017-12-09. 
  9. ^ "The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington". Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. Retrieved 2017-12-09. 
  10. ^ "A Brief History of the Diocese Burlington". Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. 
  11. ^ a b "Vermont "Civil Union" Update". Right to Marry Resource. 2000-03-30. Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. 
  12. ^ "Bishop Angell Issues New Statement on Death Penalty". The Evangelization Station. 2001-05-10. 
  13. ^ a b "David Angell, 54; A Creator and Writer For 'Frasier' Sitcom". The New York Times. 2001-09-14.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "nytimes" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  14. ^ English, Bella and Thomas Farragher (2001-09-12). "LA bound, 2 planes left trail of grief". The Boston Globe. 
  15. ^ Angell, Kenneth. "Good Out of Evil". Catholic Answers. Archived from the original on 2009-07-01. 
  16. ^ Angell, Kenneth (2003-03-20). "Bishop Angell React to War in Iraq". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 
  17. ^ "Bishop Salvatore Ronald Matano". 
  18. ^ 'Former Burlington bishop dies,' Burlington Free Press, Cory Dawson, October 5, 2016
  19. ^ Levitz, Jennifer (2002-09-10). "$13.5M settlement ends abuse suits against diocese". Timothy J. Conlon, Esq. 
  20. ^ Carroll, Matt (2002-09-10). "$13.5m settlement in R.I. clergy abuse". The Boston Globe. 
  21. ^ "Diocese Reassigned Priest It Knew Had Been Accused of Sexual Abuse The Rev. Normand J. Demers Was Quickly Asked to Leave a Haitian Orphanage Where He Was Accused of Improper Conduct in 1989, by Jonathan D. Rockoff, Providence Journal-Bulletin, April 19, 2002". Retrieved 2017-12-09. 
  22. ^ a b c d e "Special Reports: Catholic Bishops and Sex Abuse". The Dallas Morning News. 2002-06-12. 
  23. ^ a b "New Vermont Bishop Named". Barre Montpelier Times Argus. 2005-03-04. 

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Aloysius Marshall
Bishop of Burlington
Succeeded by
Salvatore Ronald Matano
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Providence
Succeeded by