Bishop Lennon Says Diocese Has Received Vatican Decrees

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The head of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, Bishop Richard Lennon, announced on Wednesday that he has received decrees from the Vatican associated with the proposed re-opening of 13 Cleveland-area parishes.

Bishop Lennon issued the following statement on the decrees;

“As indicated in my previous statement, I promised to inform you when I had received from the Vatican Congregation for Clergy decrees associated with parish appeals. The decrees arrived on Wednesday, March 14, 2012.
The process to review these rulings will now be undertaken with my advisors.

Last week the Vatican overturned the closings of 13 Cleveland-area parishes, according to the attorney who led a legal fight against their doors being shut for good.

According to attorney Peter Borre, the ruling was handed down by the Congregation of the Clergy in late February.

Borre tells Fox 8 News’ Kevin Freeman, the clergy showed that Lennon did not follow proper procedure in closing the parishes in 2009.

“Bishop Lennon would be well advised to hurry up on down and open these churches immediately,” said Borre.

In March of 2009 Lennon announced that 52 parishes would be closed or merged.

The drastic step, according to Lennon, was taken because of a large decline in parishioners and a shortage of priests.

The ruling came as a surprise, even to Borre.

“This is the first case in 20 years where a Bishop has been reversed on this type of legal matter,” said Borre, adding that an appeal by Lennon is possible.

“The Bishop can appeal but this time he will not be facing off against parishioners and members of a local congregation. He will be facing the Congregation of the Clergy.”

The organization Endangered Catholics says that the lists of parishes which will be reopening is as followed:

  • Saint Adalbert, Cleveland
  • Saint Barbara, Cleveland
  • Saint Casmir, Cleveland
  • Saint Emeric, Cleveland
  • Saint Patrick, Cleveland
  • Historic Saint Peter, Cleveland
  • Saint Wendelin, Cleveland
  • Saint James, Lakewood
  • Saint Margaret Mary, South Euclid
  • Saint Mary, Bedford
  • Saint John the Baptist, Akron
  • Saint Martha, Akron (wants to retain name only and not reopen)
  • Saint Mary, Akron
  • Saint Mary, Lorain (originally on the list but since removed)