Group ends talks over withdrawal from diocese

Congregation split off after parish closed


CLEVELAND — A breakaway congregation has ended its talks with the Cleveland bishop about its withdrawal from the diocese.

A spokesman for the Community of St. Peter, Frank Titas, said that the congregation’s trustees advised Bishop Richard Lennon of the decision in a letter. Mr. Titas told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer the letter respectfully advised Bishop Lennon the community was not interested in continuing talks. The congregation worships separately from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

Diocese spokesman Robert Tayek said he wasn’t aware of the letter. Bishop Lennon is out of town, he said.

The Community of St. Peter was created when St. Peter Church in Cleveland closed in April, 2010, after the diocese closed or merged more than 50 parishes. The church has since reopened. Following the closure, the Rev. Robert Marrone, the community’s pastor, had called for talks between Bishop Lennon and his group’s trustees.

The only time they met was in May, two months after Bishop Lennon declared Mr. Marrone excommunicated for defying church authority.

Mr. Titas declined to give the newspaper a copy of the letter sent to Bishop Lennon. He said the group decided to end talks soon after its members were informed of the meeting with Bishop Lennon.

“It became clear [members] were happy and comfortable and didn’t really feel there was a need for a change,” Mr. Titas said.

A longtime member of the church approved of the community’s decision.

“I’m at peace with the decision,” Dorothy Sadowski said.