CLEVELAND – A local Catholic priest has been excommunicated from the church after he and several hundred followers branched out on their own.
Bishop Richard G. Lennon of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland said in a statement that he excommunicated Reverend Robert J. Marrone after numerous unsuccessful attempts to reconcile Marrone with the Catholic Church.
Marrone and about 300 members of St. Peter’s Catholic Church started a break-away parish in 2010, when the Diocese of Cleveland closed the downtown church.
The church re-opened in the summer of last year, but Marrone stayed with his break-away parish, now called the Community of St. Peter, which holds services at a building on East 71st Street.
Bishop Lennon posted the following statement on the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland’s website:
“After numerous unsuccessful attempts requesting his reconciliation with the Catholic Church, it is with sadness that in accordance with Canon (church) law I publicly declare that The Reverend Robert J. Marrone has elected to disassociate himself from the Church.
“By violating the terms of his leave of absence and by taking a leadership role with a group that has removed itself from the governance of the Bishop of Cleveland, he has incurred the penalty of excommunication for the delict (canonical crime) of schism.
“It is important to emphasize that a person who is excommunicated is still a member of the Church. Excommunication is meant to be the Church’s way of informing a person that he or she is doing something that harms the Church and also harms his or her relationship with God. The desired effect of excommunication is not to ban someone from the Church permanently. Rather, it is a temporary status meant to be medicinal and to encourage the person to reconcile with the Church.”
Fox 8 News left messages for Marrone and his parish spokesman for comment but have not heard back from them.