In part, the church has a hierarchy, but it is also a communal organism — the Body of Christ on earth. Lennon goes against Gospel and canon law if it is an encumbrance. He is a rogue bishop, not fettered with the Gospel, nor canon law. He is a law to himself, which is no law at all.
He is also a scoundrel. His promises last as long as one is initially in earshot. Just before he evicted Saint Patrick's he spoke to a very few parish members at the chancery. When one of those people spoke to him immediately after the Mass of Eviction, in the receiving line, he suffered 'memory loss'...ah... no, he lied. When he famously said, thoroughly unexpectedly, at Sacred Heart (Akron) that, "the money follows the people"; well it doesn't now. When the Cleveland police 'negotiated' for him in the basement of St. Emeric, the promise was made: that their will be talks. Well, his schedule is full for the next six weeks.* Hmm, the closures were supposed to be over. What does he have scheduled?
He is a mean-spirited, callous, petty, vindictive tyrant. I have heard him quoted in one-to-one conversations where his response is brutally uncaring, and insulting. An oral history project could be made from what he says to people, with the sarcastic title, "I am not without sensitivity".
The rationale Lennon gives (for closures) is false on its own merits, and beyond that, none of his points are applicable. He speaks in the language of american business, not in theology.
When this diocese began, it was the northern half of the state, it had 33 parishes and 17 priests. Lennon says there is a clergy shortage now. There were at least two foreign born, bi-lingual, non-incardinated priests that are persona non grata, Lennon has no use for them. A Jesuit priest who was active in the deaf ministry was sent away for preaching about peace from the pulpit. Priests can be recruited from abroad. Lennon does not approve. The Sanguinists (Precious Blood) have ministered from the 19th century here, until now. Their priests are not welcome. He also has an active dislike for the permanent diaconate, and has been quite snotty to them. There were churches which had female administrators, and capable ones at that. That is not part of the lennonist régime. A priest is needed sacramentally. Some sacraments a deacon can administer. A priest is needed to celebrate the Liturgy. Administration is not a sacerdotal exclusivity.
A figure of 42% of parishes being in debt has been bandied about. No one has publicly asked whether the parishes closures were restricted to those parishes. They were not. This is deceptive, really it is dishonest. Several closed parishes had more than ample reserves of cash, and some were never in debt to the diocese for a penny. Also, much of this 'debt' was assessments to the diocese. I am to understand the average american assessment is ~6%. Cleveland's has a ~11½%, and a ~16½% assessment. Some parishes had their past assessments forgiven. These cancelled debts became magically current, the rationale became —"debt is debt".
I have several bedrock arguments, not all share. But, I believe each one destroys Lennon's rationale. In Aleksandr Isaevič Solženitsin's Nobel speech he ends speaking of a russian proverb "odno slovo pravdi ves mir peretjanet." ONE WORD OF TRUTH OUTWEIGHS THE WORLD. Before that, the world's laureate points out the intertwining of violence and lying. Violence is screened by lies ..."usually it demands of its victims only allegiance to the lie, only complicity in the lie."
- A parish is a 'juridic person'. It was created to be perpetual. Killing is not permitted. A parish is also a communal organism. Lennon kills more than a construct.
- Those who oppose Lennon, witness for Jesus and stand for justice and equity. Lennon, and those of his episcopal ilk, wish just to impose their will. They go against God.
- In this conflict, between bishops and parishioners, bishops are management. Management wants greater power. Labor wants equity. The rôle of a bishop is to be the chief teacher in the diocese. A teacher is labor. These bishops then entangle themselves in a conflict of interests.
- Authority is meant to be circumscribed to its legitimate function and scope. An abuse of authority is not accepted by tradition. This is managerial activism and authoritarianism. In the greater american socio-economic-political milieu this is accepted by 'conservatives' de rigueur. This is not true conservatism, it is a form of tyranny.
Lennon is the problem that persists. By odium populi (by the people's hatred) Rome can and should remove him from office.
*Postscriptum: The 4.00 hour on Friday, 23 July became available for a meeting with three parishioners.
Postscriptum 2.00 p.m. 24 July: All four local televisions reported the conclusion of the meeting. The diocese was unavailable for comment. What was not said, is that Lennon was aggressively defensive, self-contradicting, aggrandising and unreasonable. This surprises no one who has been paying attention.