Cleveland's Bishop Lennon acknowledges rift with clergy
June 07, 2012
Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland has acknowledged “a growing disconnect” between himself and many priests of his diocese, and announced a series of meetings with priests in an effort to improve relations.
In an unusually candid letter to the clergy of the diocese, which was obtained by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Bishop Lennon said that it “saddens” him to realize that many priests are uncomfortable with the leadership of the diocese, and he hopes to “remedy this situation.”
The bishop asked all priests to attend one of a series of meetings that he has scheduled with members of the clergy, and offered to meet individually with any priests who preferred that approach. “Please join me in this sincere effort to improve the spirit, communication and trust in our relationship,” he wrote.
Bishop Lennon, a Boston native, has battled difficulties since his appointment in 2006 to head the Cleveland diocese. His plan to close 50 parishes encountered heavy opposition, and in April protesters won a significant victory when the Vatican ruled that 13 of those parishes should not be closed. Last year Bishop Lennon requested an apostolic visitation of his diocese, recognizing that the Vatican had received many letters from concerned parishioners “expressing their concerns about my leadership of the diocese.” The Vatican complied with his request, and Bishop John Smith, the retired head of the Trenton, New Jersey, diocese, was appointed to conduct the apostolic investigation.
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