Editorial: St. Patrick's Plight

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The inner workings and the decision-making mechanisms of the Catholic church - like most religious institutions - are often autocratic and frequently cloaked in secrecy. There is no better, more recent example of that practice than what is going on with St. Patrick's, a landmark Catholic Church on Cleveland's Westside.

St. Patrick's is one of several parishes affected by the church's decision to shrink the Diocese by 52 parishes. The downsizing was inevitable given the reduction in church attendance but it's the way in which the decision was made over which churches live and which die - that has many Catholics - especially those at St. Patrick's - understandably upset and angry with Bishop Richard Lennon.

St. Patrick's - a successful parish with over a thousand in its congregation - originally thought it had survived the cutbacks only to discover that the Bishop had apparently personally intervened to order the city's oldest parish closed. Making matters worse, the Bishop said this week that he will not consider an appeal of his decision because the parishioners had missed an appeal deadline. Beyond that, according to a spokesman, the Bishop will not be elaborating. The Bishop's attitude towards St. Patrick's seems more than just dismissive. It appears pretty high-handed and unfair to the parishioners and to the west side neighborhood that St. Patrick's church serves.