The National Catholic Review

From the Associated Press story on Bishop Martino's resignation this morning, at a news conference, where he was accompanied by Cardinal Justin Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia, and Bishop John Doherty, Martino's auxiliary:

"For some time now, there has not been a clear consensus among the clergy and people of the Diocese of Scranton regarding my pastoral initiatives or my way of governance," Martino said. "This development has caused me great sorrow, resulting in bouts of insomnia and at times a crippling physical fatigue."

Full story here on AP.  

And David Gibson's take at Politics Daily:

The chief cause of Martino's local problems was his controversial plan in 2007 to close and consolidate Catholic schools in the diocese, which have been struggling with declining attendance, and declining donations. Closing schools is never popular, yet the need to do something is a harsh fact of life for many bishops, especially in the Northeast. But Martino's peremptory style did not help matters, and growing protests were followed by still steeper declines in church attendance and donations, a dropoff clearly exacerbated by the recession, which has ravaged the Scranton area. Then in February of this year, Martino announced that he was closing 91 of the diocese's 209 parishes, cutting the number of Catholic churches in this storied Catholic community by almost half.

But it was the presidential campaign last year that brought Martino to national prominence, and seemed to bring out the more volatile aspects of his personality....

...[I]t was an event in late October last year, on the eve of the presidential vote, as religious rhetoric was growing white-hot, that may have pushed Martino over the line in the eyes of many.

A parish was holding a regular voter-education forum on the election, featuring discussion of a document, "Faithful Citizenship," the election guide endorsed almost unanimously by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or USCCB. Martino showed up at the parish hall unannounced, causing a stir. Then he took the microphone and proceeded to critique the organizers for not using his own letter on abortion as the basis of the discussion.

When a nun at the forum reminded Martino about the document of the enitre bishops conference Martino responded, "No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese. The USCCB doesn't speak for me," Martino declared. "The only relevant document...is my letter. There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable."

It was a bizarre episode and one that not only capped Martino's reputation as a divisive figure, but also seemed to set him against his other bishops--a stance that may have been the ultimate cause of his downfall. Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia was named Monday by the pope to be the temporary administrator for the Scranton diocese, which comes under Rigali's purview.

Whatever the ins and outs of the internal church maneuvering, the upshot is that a leading voice in the anti-Obama wing of the church hierarchy has been silenced while both Obama and Biden continue to take center stage.

Comments

Anonymous | 8/31/2009 - 3:58pm
In the immortal words of Robert Burns:
''O wad some Power the giftie gie us. To see oursels as ithers see us!''
Anonymous | 8/31/2009 - 3:13pm
I do pray for him and any person struggling within a stressful vocation. A respectful spirit, listening heart and cooperative attitude do help in easing the stress that naturally accompanies leadership.
Anonymous | 8/31/2009 - 2:17pm
That is really sad, losing a good bishop for such a reason, especially since if he is the sort of man who would stress out about what he stressed about, it would seem to be evidence that he is no politican-bishop and has the heart of a pastor. That is, he cared and his people drove him away. Just sad.
Anonymous | 8/31/2009 - 2:17pm
God bless this man, who has poured himself out for his people in service of the truth, even in the face of great apostasy and unwarranted, ignorant ridicule.
A true shepherd and leader, may God and Our Lady protect him on into eternity.