Richard Lennon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
His Excellency, The Most Reverend
Richard Gerard Lennon
Bishop Emeritus of Cleveland
Church Roman Catholic Church
Archdiocese Cincinnati
Diocese Cleveland
See Cleveland
Appointed April 4, 2006
Installed May 15, 2006
Term ended December 28, 2016
Predecessor Anthony Michael Pilla
Successor Nelson Jesus Perez
Ordination May 19, 1973
by Humberto Sousa Medeiros
Consecration September 14, 2001
by Bernard Francis Law, Lawrence Joseph Riley, and William Murphy
Personal details
Born (1947-03-26) March 26, 1947 (age 71)
Arlington, Massachusetts
Denomination Catholic Church
Previous post Apostolic Administrator of Boston
Auxiliary Bishop of Boston
Titular Bishop of Sufes
Education Boston College
Alma mater Saint John's Seminary
Styles of
Richard Gerard Lennon
Coat of arms of Richard Gerard Lennon.svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop

Richard Gerard Lennon (born March 26, 1947) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the Bishop Emeritus of Cleveland, Ohio, where he served as bishop from May 15, 2006, until December 28, 2016, when he resigned because of poor health.


A native of Arlington, Massachusetts,[1] Lennon's father Albert was that town's deputy fire chief.[2][3] Lennon attended St. James the Apostle grammar school in St. James parish in Arlington, where he was an altar boy.[3] In 1965 Lennon graduated[4] from Matignon,[3] a Catholic high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was a member of the National Honor Society.[1] Lennon attended Boston College where he was a mathematics major for two years[2][4][1] before entering St. John's Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in philosophy.[4] Lennon received a Masters in Sacramental Theology in 1973 and an M.A. in Church History in 1984, both from St. John's.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Lennon was ordained in the Boston Archdiocese on May 19, 1973. From 1973 to 1982 he served at St. Mary of the Nativity Church in Scituate, Massachusetts, and from 1982 to 1988 at St. Mary's Church in West Quincy, Massachusetts.[4] In 1988 he became the Archdiocese of Boston's archdiocesan assistant for canonical affairs. Shortly after it was established, Lennon criticized Boston Auxiliary Bishop William Murphy, whose assistant he was, for funding a job placement for priests accused of sexual abuse of minors.[5] In 1999, he became the seminary rector.[1]

In June 2001, Lennon was invested as a knight in both the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.[citation needed]

Archdiocese of Boston[edit]

On June 29, 2001, Lennon was named an auxiliary bishop of Boston. He was consecrated on September 14, 2001. In December 2002, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston in the middle of an ongoing and extensive sexual abuse scandal, and Lennon served as the Apostolic Administrator of the archdiocese from Law's resignation until the accession of Law's successor, Archbishop Sean O'Malley, in July 2003.[6] O'Malley appointed Lennon the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Boston and he held this position from August 2003 to April 2006. In a documentary on the clergy sexual abuse and church closings in the Boston area that aired in 2007 on PBS's Frontline in 2007, Lennon tried to prevent the filming of "exterior shots of the archdiocese's chancery building".[7]

Lennon's appointment as Apostolic Administrator of the Boston Archdiocese, following the resignation of Cardinal Law, brought criticism from some sex-abuse victims' groups.[8]

Diocese of Cleveland[edit]

On April 5, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI named Lennon the tenth Bishop of Cleveland, Ohio,[9] to replace Bishop Anthony Pilla, who was suffering from heart disease.[10] He was installed on May 15, 2006.

In June 2008, after allowing the diocesan reconfiguration process inherited from his predecessor to inform his decision, Bishop Lennon announced plans to close at least 30 parishes in the cities of Cleveland and Lorain, including older parishes in Cleveland's inner ring suburbs. Parishioners and members of Cleveland's City Council attacked his plan, including Michael Polensek of Ward 11. Critics have pointed out that several of the churches to be closed enjoyed steady, if limited, monthly incomes, and that several of these churches have a politically liberal orientation. However, a portion of these churches were also in need of major capital investment after years of delayed maintenance, which was not always readily evident when examined from the outside.

Significant criticism of the parish cluster organization and the decision-making process associated with the closing of parishes followed. Some Catholics in the diocese requested Vatican oversight of the Bishop in 2009, seeking review by the Congregation for Bishops.[11] Bishop Lennon presided at 78 Masses that marked the closing, merging, and opening of parishes over the next 14 months.

With the closing of St. Peter Church, a 151-year-old parish, many parishioners and their pastor broke from the bishop and founded the Community of St. Peter. On March 4, 2013, Father Robert Marrone, who is listed as the leader of that Community was excommunicated "latae setentiae" (automatically, by committing the offense, not by a church trial). The reason given was for schism, for having been disobedient to his ecclesiastical superiors in agreeing to oversee the breakaway community. The Diocese has stated it would meet with Community members and its board in an effort to resolve the situation, but at the same time warned that they were also subject to excommunication if they did not soon rejoin the official Church.[12]

In July 2011, the Vatican conducted a rare investigative Apostolic Visit of the Cleveland Diocese and the Bishop Emeritus of Trenton, New Jersey, John Mortimer Smith, conducted the investigation.[13]

In March 2012, the Vatican ordered the reversal of the closings of the 13 of 50 churches that had pursued an appeal to the Congregation for the Clergy.[14][15]


On February 4, 2016, Lennon underwent an emergency heart procedure.[16] In November, he submitted a request for early retirement. Pope Francis accepted his resignation as bishop on December 28. That same day Lennon revealed he had been diagnosed with vascular dementia.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Robinson, Walter V. (December 14, 2002). "The Cardinal Resigns; On the horizon interim leader". Boston Globe. p. A13. 
  2. ^ a b May, Michaela (February 25, 2003), Healing the Church will be a difficult task, Waltham, Mass: The Justice 
  3. ^ a b c Paulson, Michael (February 16, 2003). "Lennon's Rise: from shy schoolboy to the chancery". Boston Globe. p. A1. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Bentayou, Frank (April 5, 2006). "Highpoints in Lennon's life". Cleveland, Ohio: The Plain Dealer. p. A10. 
  5. ^ Donovan, Gill (March 7, 2003). "Records reveal bishops's role in Boston scandal". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  6. ^ Paulson, Michael (February 16, 2003). "Lennon's rise: from shy schoolboy to the chancery". Boston Globe. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Updates on major figures and issues in 'Hand of God'". Frontline. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  8. ^ Lavoie, Denise (January 27, 2003). "Victims' Group Leader Criticizes Interim Leader of Boston Archdiocese". AP/Boston Globe. Retrieved August 19, 2016. 
  9. ^ O'Grady, Robert M. (April 7, 2006). "Bishop Lennon named to Cleveland; Father Erikson is new vicar general". The Pilot. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  10. ^ "New bishop: 'I am humbled'; Boston auxiliary to replace Pilla in May". December 4, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  11. ^ O'Malley, Michael (September 28, 2009). "Cleveland Catholics ask Vatican to oversee their bishop". National Catholic Reporter. Religion News Service. Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
  12. ^ Sadowski, Dennis (March 6, 2013). "Cleveland priest who leads breakaway faith community excommunicated". Catholic News Service. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  13. ^ O'Malley, Michael (July 24, 2011). "Cleveland Catholics abuzz over investigation of Bishop Richard Lennon". The Plain Dealer. Archived from the original on December 5, 2012. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  14. ^ Sadowski, Dennis (March 9, 2012). "Vatican congregation says 13 Cleveland parishes must reopen". Catholic News Service. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  15. ^ O'Malley, Michael (March 15, 2012) [First published March 7, 2012]. "Vatican reverses Cleveland Catholic Diocese's closing of 13 parishes". The Plain Dealer. Archived from the original on December 5, 2012. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  16. ^ McCarty, James F. (February 5, 2016). "Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon undergoes emergency heart procedure; resting comfortably at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center". Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
  17. ^ Krouse, Peter (December 28, 2016). "Retired Bishop Richard Lennon suffering from 'vascular dementia'". Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
Additional sources
  • Briggs, David. "New bishop: 'I am humbled'." The Plain Dealer April 5, 2006: A1, A11.
  • Associated Press. "Richard Lennon." The Plain Dealer April 5, 2006: A1.
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer May 6, 2007

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Anthony Michael Pilla
Bishop of Cleveland
Succeeded by
Nelson Jesus Perez
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Boston
Succeeded by