Louis Edward Gelineau

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Louis Edward Gélineau
Bishop Emeritus of Providence
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
AppointedDecember 6, 1971
InstalledJanuary 26, 1972
RetiredJune 11, 1997
PredecessorRussell McVinney
SuccessorRobert Edward Mulvee
OrdinationJune 5, 1953
by Edward Francis Ryan
ConsecrationJanuary 26, 1972
by Robert Francis Joyce, Bernard Joseph Flanagan, and Edward Cornelius O'Leary
Personal details
Born (1928-05-03) May 3, 1928 (age 95)
MottoRejoice in hope
Styles of
Louis Edward Gélineau
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop

Louis Edward Gélineau (born May 3, 1928) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, serving as bishop of the Diocese of Providence from 1972 to 1997.

Since his retirement in 2004, Gelineau has been named in multiple lawsuits regards sexual abuse by priests in the diocese during his tenure as bishop.


Early life[edit]

Louis Gélineau was born on May 3, 1928, into a Franco-American family in Burlington, Vermont, to Leonidas and Juliette (née Baribault) Gélineau; he has an older brother, Robert.[1][2][3] After attending St. Joseph's Elementary School and Cathedral High School in Burlington, he studied at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont, for two years. Gélineau then entered St. Paul's University in Ottawa, Ontario, obtaining a Licentiate of Sacred Theology and a Bachelor of Philosophy degree.[2]


Gélineau was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Francis Ryan for the Diocese of Burlington on June 5, 1954.[4] Gélineau was then assigned as assistant pastor at All Saints Parish in Richford, Vermont (1954–1956) and at St. Stephen Parish in Winooski, Vermont (1956–1957).[2]

Gélineau was sent to Washington, D.C. to study at the Catholic University of America in 1957, earning a Licentiate of Canon Law in 1959. Returning to Vermont, he was named assistant chancellor of the diocese and secretary and master of ceremonies to Bishop Robert Joyce. He also served as director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and assistant chaplain at De Goesbriand Memorial Hospital in Vermont[2]

Gélineau became chancellor of the diocese in 1961 and was raised to the rank of papal chamberlain by Pope John XXIII. In 1968, he became vicar general of the diocese and was elevated by the Vatican to prelate of his holiness.[2]

Bishop of Providence[edit]

On December 6, 1971, Pope Paul VI appointed Gélineau as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Providence. He received his episcopal consecration on January 26, 1972, from Bishop Joyce, with Bishops Bernard Flanagan and Edward O'Leary serving as co-consecrators.[4] In 1988, Gélineau declared that removing a feeding tube from 48-year-old Marcia Gray, a comatose Rhode Island woman, "does not contradict Catholic moral theology," but emphasized that he "in no way supports or condones the practice of euthanasia."[5]

In 1985, Gélineau registered opposition to a 1985 ordinance for the City of Providence to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, credit and access to public accommodations. He said,

"Homosexual acts are contrary to God's command and contrary to his purpose in creating sex. To give support to this proposed legislation may easily be interpreted as supporting the homosexual lifestyle."[6]

In 1995, when the Rhode Island Senate passed an LGBTQ+ rights bill, Gélineau stated, "If [proposed legislation] seeks to afford protection from unjust discrimination, which is not now afforded under our laws, then those laws should be changed."[7]

In a 1997 legal deposition, Robert Cadorette[8] accused Gélineau of abusing him when Gélineau was a brother assigned to St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington in the 1950's. Cadorette claimed that on one occasion in 1951, Gélineau tried to pull down Cadorette's fly. When Cadorette ran away, Gélineau allegedly caught and tried to drown him.[8] In a 1997 legal deposition, Gélineau denied any sexual misdeeds with an altar server in 1994.[9]

Retirement and legacy[edit]

Gélineau submitted his letter of resignation as bishop of Providence to Pope John Paul II. The pope accepted it on June 11, 1997.[4] Gélineau became chaplain at St. Antoine Residence in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, in March 2004.[2]

In a 2018 interview with the Providence Journal, Gélineau denied any intention to ever cover up sexual abuse crimes.[10] On October 2, 2019, Gelineau and the diocese were named in a lawsuit by Philip Edwardo. The plaintiff said that Gélineau helped perpetrate sexual abuse by Reverend Philip Magaldi against Edwardo when he was a minor between 1978 and 1983.[11] On February 28, 2020, Gélineau and the diocese were sued by Robert Houllahan, who alleged sexual abuse by Reverend Normand Demers. Houllahan claimed that Demers was also preying on other boys in Haitian orphanages and rectories in Rhode Island while the diocese was protecting him. Citing his advanced age, Gélineau declined comment on the lawsuit[12]

On March 21, 2020, Gélineau was accused by Jeannette Costa, a parishioner in Cranston, Rhode Island, of ignoring a sexual abuse accusation by her son in 1993 against Reverend Daniel Azzarone. She sent a letter to Gélineau in June 1993 after her son told her that Azzerone had fondled him during the 1980's. Costa was contacted in 1993 by a diocese lawyer who said that Azzarone's parish priest would watch over him. In response to this accusation in 2020, the diocese said that they reported Azzerone in 1993 to a state agency in Rhode Island that declined to prosecute him. Azzerone remained in ministry.[13][14]

On November 9, 2021, a Providence grand jury indicted Reverend James Silva on 11 counts of sexual assault between 1989 and 1990. The Providence Journal article mentioned a 1980 lawsuit against Gelineau from parents of a boy in Burrillville, Rhode Island, who claimed Silva assaulted him. Gélineau then transferred Silva to St. Lucy's parish in Middletown, Rhode Island, without notifying that parish or the authorities. When informed that Silva had molested a child at St. Lucy's, Gélineau's response was “Oh, no. Not again!"[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Descendants of Elie (Elie the Jew) Juiellineau". Family Tree Maker.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Most Rev. Louis E. Gelineau, D.D., J.C.L., S.T.L." Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island. Retrieved 2023-11-03.
  3. ^ Albert, Renaud S. (1979). A Franco-American Overview. National Assessment and Dissemination Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Education. p. 44. ISBN 9780898571073.
  4. ^ a b c "Bishop Louis Edward Gelineau [Catholic-Hierarchy]". www.catholic-hierarchy.org. Retrieved 2023-11-03.
  5. ^ Steinfels, Peter (1988-01-12). "Bishop Sees No Moral Issue If Feeding Ends in Coma Case". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Providence Bill To Aid Homosexuals In Doubt". The New York Times. 1985-09-01.
  7. ^ Dunlap, David W. (1995-05-20). "Rhode Island's Senate Sends Gay-Rights Bill to Governor". The New York Times.
  8. ^ a b "Deposition of Robert Cadorette" (PDF). bishop-accountability.org. 21 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Bishop Louis Edward Gelineau". bishop-accountability.org. 21 January 2013.
  10. ^ PATINKIN, MARK (April 29, 2018). "Turning 90, Gelineau says 'God has been good to me'". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 2021-11-12.
  11. ^ RAPPLEYE, BILL (2019-10-02). "Gelineau accused of protecting abusive priests in Providence Diocese". WJAR NBC 10. Retrieved 2021-11-12.
  12. ^ Amaral, Brian (April 29, 2018). "Lawsuit: Former Providence priest trafficked children for sex". The Standard-Times. Retrieved 2021-11-12.
  13. ^ Carroll, Matt (2002-03-21). "Providence bishop ignored son's abuse report, mother says". The Boston Globe.
  14. ^ Ericson, Jody (January 1997). "Bye-bye, Bishop". Providence Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2012-05-27.
  15. ^ Mooney, Tom. "Former RI Catholic priest indicted on child-molestation charges". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 2021-11-12.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Providence
Succeeded by