The Boston Globe | Abuse in the Catholic Church


Lennon to outline goals for archdiocese

By Globe Staff, 12/18/2002

Bishop Richard G. Lennon, the new administrator of the Archdiocese of Boston, is scheduled to hold his first news conference today, outlining for the first time his expectations and goals.

Lennon will face questions about how he plans to address the religious and secular crises facing the archdiocese. Priests say Mass attendance is down and contributions are off as a result of the clergy sex abuse crisis. And the archdiocese is facing claims from more than 500 people who say they were sexually abused by priests - so many claims that the church has said it is considering the possibility of filing for bankruptcy.

The news conference will mark Lennon's second public appearance in six days overseeing the archdiocese. On Sunday he celebrated Mass and delivered the homily at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

''I don't think he will be getting into specifics, but he will introduce himself to the media, and take some questions,'' said Lennon's spokeswoman, Donna M. Morrissey. ''I hope the members of the media will understand that he has been apostolic administrator for less than a week, so he is still meeting with people and setting his priorities.''

Pope John Paul II named Lennon to oversee the archdiocese on Friday, the day the pope formally accepted the resignation of Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who quit after nearly a year of criticism over his past failure to remove abusive priests from ministry.

Lennon, whose formal title is apostolic administrator, will serve until the pope chooses a permanent replacement as archbishop of Boston. That process generally takes months.

Lennon has spent the last few days meeting with chancery employees, and yesterday he held his first meeting with the archdiocesan cabinet, which is the group of men and women who oversee departments of the church's central administration. All of the cabinet heads were appointed by Law, who did not attend yesterday's cabinet meeting. Morrissey said Lennon did not announce any changes in the administration.

Lennon is holding his news conference at Saint John's Seminary, where he had been rector since 1999 and where he currently resides. He is expected to move into the cardinal's residence after Law moves out.

This story ran on page B4 of the Boston Globe on 12/18/2002.
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