Even before he was officially installed as the Roman Catholic bishop of Cleveland in 2006, Richard G. Lennon was already talking about the need to close churches.
“As painful as a funeral is, it’s there that you commend your loved one to God,” Lennon told reporters just weeks before his installation.
Those words, coming from an auxiliary bishop who had just closed scores of churches in Boston, sounded a death knell for dozens more in Northeast Ohio—and unleashed a small but shrill backlash across Lennon’s new flock.
The extensive downsizing is essentially over, although some of the closings remain under appeal with the Vatican. In the end, 50 parishes were closed. Vacant churches are up for sale, merged parishes are moving forward.
Now, Lennon must minister to a diocese where emotions remain raw.
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Is this what awaits small Anglo-Catholic congregations that convert to Roman Catholicism?