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This website was created at the request of Catholics in the Diocese of Cleveland whose parishes have needlessly been closed by Bishop Lennon. It is a statement to him that he has absolutely no respect for the Catholic faith of these parishioners, and by his actions, he has caused serious division among the clergy and laity of our diocese.
We are very much aware of the realities that in some instances, it's unwise to fund parishes who are operating in financial deficit. However, some of the parishes that were closed by Bishop Lennon were not operating in deficit. They were fiscally sound and viable, and yet, he went against a cluster recommendation and unilaterally closed them. This is what we're protesting. He should also be acutely aware that under canon law, if his decision is appealed to the Holy See, his decree of a parish closing/merging is ipso facto suspended until a ruling from the Congregation for Clergy is received.
First, canon law provides for dissent in particular circumstances....the closure of parishes is indeed, a particular circumstance. The fact that Bishop Lennon has talked down to parishioners who have challenged his unilateral decision to close certain solvent parishes is reprehensible. That in itself, is grounds for this man NOT TO BE OBEYED OR RESPECTED! Normally, what is being said is considered an ecclesiastical crime, but, when you factor in the reality that this same bishop aided Cardinal Law in passing the buck on the sex abuse scandal in Boston, that is a far worse crime than what's being said here. Remember what Aquinas said on the essence of law: an unjust law is no law, and this pertains to Bishop Lennon. Schism is defined as refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff and the bishops who are UNITED with him. Bishop Lennon is clearly not in union with the Pope regardless of his lip-service!
The Diocese of Cleveland can't suppress our right to free expression, including protesting at the Diocesan Offices. Bob Tayek, the Diocesan Public Relations Director, likewise has NO LEGAL RIGHT to ban the media from recording these parish closures, as he is in violation of Free Speech. Therefore, Mr. Tayek is to be accorded the same contempt as Bishop Lennon. The recent YouTube video when the BishopAccountability.org team visited here, shows an officer telling the protesters that the offices were private property and that they did not have a right to protest the bishop. This website will make it very clear that as long as the people of the Diocese of Cleveland pay the salaries of the bishop and his staff, they do have a fundamental right to organize a PEACEFUL PROTEST, and the Diocese cannot prevent this from occuring...the sole exception being- if any threats of physical violence against the bishop or diocesan staff are made. That is behavior that we will NOT TOLERATE or condone. If this were to occur, then the diocese has a legal right to protect the bishop from physical harm. That goes for our website. If we see posts that are threatening, swift action is taken, which is why our website automatically records the IP address of any and all visitors. We also warn Brother Pat Shea, that if he attempts to silence us, he will likewise be dealt with through canonical procedure and a complaint to the Ohio Bar Association and the Ohio Supreme Court, if the situation warrants. To be candid, we feel it is a conflict of interest for a religious brother to serve as the chief legal counsel for a diocese. He NOT ordained, and therefore, does NOT demand canonical obedience. EVERYTHING posted on this website has been INDEPENDENTLY VERIFIED be it through credible human sources or as a matter of public record. This also includes the lies Bishop James Griffin uttered regarding his hiring of Joe Smith as the CFO of the Columbus Diocese in 2004. As for the flyers, again, it is our freedom of expression, and we have the right to distribute this material at the sites of the closed parishes of the diocese, and, unless vandalism is evident, law enforcement authorities cannot prevent us from protesting. There are enough people in the Diocese of Cleveland who are against Bishop Lennon, so for him to attempt any form of intimidation/retaliation against justifiably parishioners would be a very foolish move on his part.The flyer is simply stating that we will not support Bishop Lennon as the bishop of Cleveland.
Both our canonical and civil counsel have advised prudence on this matter. In the case of the closed parishes, people have left posters, pictures, etc... our flyers are no different. We've been told not to expect an overnight result, but that word will travel that the flyers are out there...plus we have the website if the flyers are suppressed. One thing the Diocese of Cleveland must remember, once it's on the web...it's there FOREVER! They cannot stop us from revealing the truth...and Bishop Lennon definitely has a problem with the truth!!