Rumor proved true; now for the rest

Rumor proved true; now for the rest

Bishop Richard Lennon, auxiliary of Boston, was indeed give a new appointment today as bishop of Cleveland. I think this is good news for Cleveland. Bishop Lennon, despite what some people have said about him when he was apostolic administrator here in Boston, is a good man. He is a capable administrator, and we’ll have to see how he is as a pastoral leader. He is only 59, so this may not be his last assignment.

Cleveland, as you can see, was not on my list of dioceses that he could have been going to, but apparently Bishop Anthony Pilla had a reason to retire a little early. He is 73, two years short of mandatory retirement, but he’s been bishop of Cleveland since 1981. That’s a very long time.

What’s next for Boston

Lennon’s old job of vicar general will have to be filled. I’m hearing that Fr. Richard Erickson, currently serving as an Air Force chaplain, and a well-regarded former teacher at St. John’s Seminary, will be returning to take up that job.I’m told he is a straight shooter who knows what the problems in the Church are and isn’t shy about it. He’s not in the Voice of the Faithful mold.

As for the other auxiliaries, I still hear that Boles is going to retire soon. Irwin as well. Expect announcements of new appointments to come by the end of the month or at the beginning of May.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
15 comments
  • Dom – Given the situation that we’ve been through in Boston, how many “outsiders” do you think might be appointed auxiliary bishop to Boston?  Do you think that the Vatican would be skeptical of elevating Boston priests? How many do you think they’ll name? 

    One prayer that I have is that at least one of our new auxiliary bishops will be comfortable going on camera to explain the faith and the Church’s positions.  We can’t keep letting the Globe frame the issues. 

    Another prayer is that we get some of the most talented future leaders in the Church as our new auxiliaries (despite where they might come from).  We need all the help we can get here!!

    Is Erickson going to be one of the auxiliaries?

  • Pilla was a favorite son from Cleveland, and did little to upset the status quo. This is evident in the number of productions of “Vagina Monologues” performed at allegedly Catholic institutions, and in parishes that are front groups for national dissenters’ organizations. The good news is their ordinations are up in recent years.

    Bottom line, Bishop Lennon should have his hands full.

  • Let me add my name to the list of people who think Fr. Rich Erickson is a very good priest.  I had him (briefly) as a prof at St. John’s and found him to be not only very bright but also very much full of love for the Church and compassion for God’s people.

    I have heard—as a rumor—that Fr. Erickson accepted the position as vicar general on the condition that he NOT be appointed bishop.

    If that is true, I have even higher regard for him!

  • I’m not surprised that Erickson does not want to be a bishop.  He is that way.

    I would keep an eye on Msgr. William P. Fay as a possible candidate.

    There are many priests from outside of the Archdiocese who would be capable, especially religious.  Cardinal O’Malley has a great fondnous for religious.  He may also ask for a Hispanic, or even a Brazilian or a Haitian Bishop.

  • The Southern Region of the archdiocese now has a priest, Fr. Edwin Condon, serving as interim regional vicar; is he a likely candidate?

  • As an Ohioan (from west Ohio, in Archdiocese of Cincinnati), I’d love to know more about Bishop Lennon, to know what to expect. Can y’all from Boston please tell us more about Bishop Lennon?

  • Sometimes it seems that Bishop Pilla is running his parishes to generate money for the large social service apparatus that he operates.

    Oh yes!!  Before the scandal broke, the only time we heard about Bishop Pilla was when he wanted money—usually in May for the annual appeal. Prior to the scandal I had dubbed him the “invisible bishop” on one of the Catholic boards.

    The latest flashy diocesan brochure uses the word “vibrant” about 100 times. What would make Cleveland vibrant is the clear, vigorous proclamation of the gospel.

    Having done a lot of research into occultism, and finding in that research just how important the concept of “vibrations” is to magickal rites, “Vibrant Parish Life” nearly converted me to Orthodoxy.

    One announcement this morning seemed to indicate that the law suits have been resolved in Cleveland.  It seems that I missed the news report that announced it, and I’ve been wondering of late when they would be.

  • He is as big as me (6’4”).  He is very smart, taught himself Canon Law, has an incredible private Canon Law library, loves to smoke pipes, and is very friendly person.

    I remember when I was a seminarian in Boston, he was working at the Chancery office.  While walking to class at Boston College, I saw him outside enjoying a pipe break.  I asked him what he does and he said, “I’m just a simple priest who works in the chancery.”  Later,after I left St. John’s Seminary, Bishop Lenon became rector.  As rector, the seminary morale went through the roof.  The seminarians and faculty loved him.  He was also responsible for the subsequent (and unpopular) reform of the seminary.  He hired the current rector, an orthodox Dominican.

    No worries.  He is a smart man who listens.

  • From the PD story Joe linked:

    In the Cleveland Diocese, at least 17 priests have been suspended over abuse allegations since 2002. In a lawsuit deposition last July, Pilla declined to specify how many priests he had reassigned were known pedophiles.

    Is this what lies behind this transfer of power at this particular time when Pilla is not yet 75?  Is there a basilica in Rome in need of a rector in need of shelter?

    I recall one article in which the reporter claimed that Cleveland was worse than Boston.

  • Liam,

    Before Bishop Lennon came in, there was a sharp division between the Rector at the time (who is a very good and intelligent priest) and the faculty.  The morale was at an all time low in the student body.

    When Bishop Lennon was rector, Cardinal Law was still in charge.  Cardinal Law thought he could effectively run the seminary from the hill.  Instead of allowing the rector to make decisions, he dictated what he wanted done.  However, it wasn’t until Bishop Lennon was made Apostolic Administrator that he was able to make major changes to the seminary.  The first change was to hire a rector from outside the Archdiocese, Dominican Father John Farren.  I think this was a good move.  Not only was the new rector orthodox, but he brought in someone who did not belong to any network among the Boston presbyterate and who could see objectively what needed to be changed, including making changes on the faculty.  The second thing he did was closed St. John’s Seminary College of Liberal Arts.  The college was a sinking ship and a money drain.  It could never get more than 35 students in the school.  It also perpetuated many of the problems in the seminary and in the archdiocese (I’m not going to get into this).

    Under Cardinal Sean, with Bishop Lennon as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, more changes were made downsizing the faculty by reassigning priests and sending younger ones to get degrees.  More changes were made in formation as well.

    Next year, I hear that St. John’s Seminary is going to have one of the largest entering class in several years, which will include seminarians from dioceses that have not sent guys there in a several years.

  • Not any serious problems, mostly in moral and biblical theology. confused And there were guys who just needed to move on.  The problems at Saint John’s were/are very common in most seminaries around the country.  Even the best seminaries had faculty members who were or are teaching junk.

    In most seminaries, I think, the problems that Veritatis Splendor addressed in proportunalism has been addressed for the most part by getting rid of profs that teach the nonsense.  Other issue is their interpretation of Humanae Vitae.  But the study of Sacred Scripture is still a problem in almost every seminary (as from what I hear) save Mount Saint Mary’s in Emmitsburg and St. Vincent’s in Latrobe.  Too much historical-criticism and not enough the spiritual interpretation.  What the majority of scripture scholars don’t understand is we only have four years to prepare to give homilies, retreats, missions, adult ed, etc.  With the exception of a little continuing ed, the majority of us are not going to get doctorates and become the next Raymond Brown (I hope not).

  • I’ve just read through about 2/3 of the posts at freerepublic. 

    I’m in the Cleveland Diocese, and I am NOT encouraged.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for Cleveland!

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