Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cleveland Catholics Defy Bishop and Risk Excommunication

Bishop Richard Lennon of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese wants to meet with the priest and lay leaders of a breakaway congregation to try to bring them back into the fold, a spokesman for the diocese said Monday.
The diocese was reacting to an unauthorized Mass celebrated Sunday by the Rev. Robert Marrone and about 350 communicants in leased commercial space they set up as a church, independent of the diocese.

 Diocese spokesman Robert Tayek said Lennon "has an obligation, as shepherd of the diocese, to try and reach out to these folks in the hopes of keeping them in communion with the church."

Leaders of the new Community of St. Peter, facing possible excommunication for disobeying the bishop, have stressed that they still consider themselves practicing Roman Catholics, but disagree with the diocese over the closing of their church, St. Peter, in downtown Cleveland.

When Lennon, carrying out a diocese-wide downsizing plan, announced in March 2009 that he was mothballing the 151-year-old building on the corner of Superior Avenue and East 17th Street, members of the congregation began considering other options to stay together.  CONTINUED

This is bizarre. Is ensuring that parish members are able to stay and worship together by starting a new parish without the permission of the Cleveland Diocese and the Bishop worth risking being excommunicated from the Church?  Do they deserve to be excommunicated? Should the Rev. Robert Marrone be held more responsible for spreading scandal than the parishoners? These parishoners seem misguided IMO.  The priest and the parishoners are causing scandal and it must be stopped.

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