CLEVELAND -- A local priest has been excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
Bishop Richard Lennon handed down the statement today, saying that Reverand Robert Marrone has decided to disassociate himself from the Church.
Marrone is the leader of a breakaway Catholic congregation, who started their own parish, after the Diocese shut down their church in 2009.
Bishop Lennon says that Marrone violated the terms of his leave of absence and took a leadership role in another church.
Marrone was the priest at St. Peter's Church downtown.
Here is a portion of Bishop Lennon's statement. You can view his entire statement by downloading the attached PDF.
"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."
Marrone said he had no comment on the Diocese's action beyond what he has already stated in a church newsletter:
"The recent action of the Diocese of Cleveland reflects the continuous pattern which has marked the process of clustering, consolidation, closing, suppressions and reopening of parishes.
I must, as I have stated repeatedly in the past, follow my conscience in this matter.
I am so very grateful to be a part of the life of the Community of Saint Peter. It members have shown courage and commitment through this long and difficult journey.
Through it all they have remained focused on their mission to give witness to the gospel through their service to others. It is a vibrant, generous, and loving community, and it is a great privilege for me to have been called to serve with its members.
I will continue to serve the Community of Saint Peter as long as they call me to do so and as long as I am able to fulfill the responsibilities of the work entrusted to me."