NewsMon Jul 12, 2004 - 12:15 pm EST
Richmond’s New Bishop Cleans House
RICHMOND,Virginia, July 12, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Diocese of Richmond’s newly appointed bishop, Francis X. DiLorenzo has delighted faithful Catholics in what has been until recently one of the more dissident dioceses in the US. The Richmond diocese has been ruled by extreme liberal bishop William Sullivan for 29 years. Sullivan, considered one of the most left-leaning US bishops, has retired at the normal retirement age of 75. Bishop DiLorenzo has come from the diocese of Hawaii with a strong record of orthodoxy. When he first receiving the news of his transfer DiLorenzo said, “There is no agenda the pope set for me, other than the generic one of: Go make it happen,” he said. What “it” was to be has quickly manifested itself.
The bishop has appointed Rev. Russell E. Smith, to the office of Diocesan Theologian which has a mandate to screen potential speakers at parishes and Catholic organizations. The post has remained unfilled since 1998. Smith said that cases would be judged according to standards of Catholic orthodoxy. “Orthodoxy is right teaching. Anything contrary to Catholic teaching will not fly. Don’t expect anything about women’s ordination in this diocese,” he said.
The new bishop has also removed a known dissident Catholic from the diocesan commission for women, Judy Johnson, who in addition to her service to the Richmond diocese, also chairs the local Women’s Ordination Conference. The bishop met with Johnson at her request and told her that her views had put her outside the limits of the Roman Catholic communion. He said that allowing her anti-Catholic feminist views on a diocesan commission would be equivalent to Israel’s Hebrew University allowing in Hamas. He said that Johnson was effectively a protestant for her rejection of Catholic teaching on the nature of the priesthood.
Bishop DiLorenzo has an uphill climb ahead of him however. His predecessor, William Sullivan distinguished himself among homosexual activists in the Church for his welcoming of them. In a homily at the sixth annual “Liturgy” for homosexuals in 2002, he said, “I for one am outraged that sexual abuse has been identified as a gay disease…You know and I know that there is no causal connection between the abuse of children and one’s sexual orientation…I dare say there is probably more sexual abuse among heterosexuals than among those of homosexual orientation. Those who blame gays for child abuse are themselves uninformed, prejudiced or homophobic.” The appointment has been the first opportunity for Pope John Paul II, since he became Pope, to install a bishop in Richmond. Hampton Roads.com coverage: http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=72872&ran=151374 ph