Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon has issued a "Declaration of Loss of Canonical Office" to Fr. Robert Marrone for refusing to step down as pastor of the Community of St. Peter, a congregation that defied the bishop and remained together after its parish, of the same name, was closed in 2010.
Often referred to as a “breakaway” congregation, the community is made up of a majority of the members of St. Peter Parish, one of more than 50 closed by Lennon in a restructuring of the diocese. It also is one of 11 parishes that the Vatican ordered Lennon to reopen, a reversal of his ruling that resulted from legal proceedings at the Congregation for the Clergy.
In an interview with NCR, Marrone said he understood the document to mean he was suspended. In a letter to his congregation, Morrone explained that in a May 22 meeting with Lennon, the bishop expressed his wish that Marrone reconcile with the diocese and then read a statement containing a number of “whereas” clauses ending with the ultimatum that he remove himself from the community within seven days or face suspension from ministry.