A breakaway Catholic congregation is standing by its spiritual leader following his excommunication last week by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese. ideastream's David C. Barnett reports.
Over three hundred people turned out for Sunday services at a former industrial warehouse on Cleveland's near eastside. They've been worshipping here August 2010, when Rev. Robert Marrone broke away from the local Catholic Diocese for closing St. Peter Church in downtown Cleveland as part of a down-sizing program. The group calls itself, the Community of St. Peter, and Bishop Richard Lennon has repeatedly demanded that Marrone cease these breakaway services. Last week, Lennon officially excommunicated the rebellious cleric. Marrone remains undeterred, and parishoner Breck Platner says… so is his congregation.
BRECK PLATNER: Well, I guess the Diocese can say what it wants. We are very disappointed by what the Bishop's done, but we support our pastor.
Marrone's sermon, yesterday, reflected on the parable of the Prodigal Son --- a story, he said, that has no clear resolution and that says a lot about the messiness of family, and the making of hard decisions. After the service, Breck Platner said he didn't see any direct parallels in that tale to his congregation's situation....
BRECK PLATNER: ... but I think we all face issues in our lives that you can call "crossroads".
According to Canon law, Robert Marrone has until March 14th to appeal his excommunication. So far, he hasn't made any public statement about his plans. The Community of St. Peter has scheduled a special meeting tonight to discuss the crossroads they are facing.