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The Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo (1942 - 2017)

Diocese of Honolulu

The Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo (1942 - 2017)

The Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo, who served as the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, for 13 years, died Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, according to The Associated Press. He was 75.

Born April 15, 1942, in Philadelphia, DiLorenzo was ordained as a priest in 1968. Before his appointment as bishop of Richmond by Pope John Paul II in 2004, he served as auxiliary bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, from 1988 to 1993 and as bishop of Honolulu from 1993 to 2004. During his time in Honolulu, he stepped up outreach to local immigrant populations, advocated against a state constitutional amendment legalizing same-sex marriage, and, in response to the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal, strengthened sexual misconduct policies and established a victim-assistance program.

During his service in Richmond, DiLorenzo prioritized traditional Roman Catholic values, anti-abortion efforts, and social justice issues. Along with fellow conservative bishops, he sparked some controversy in calling out legislators whose political stances they felt conflicted with church teachings. He expressed reservations about giving Holy Communion to these politicians, saying that “communion has a meaning that says you are completely in union with the pope. ... If you are welcomed into a family, there is a culture or set of values you need to be comfortable with.”

DiLorenzo had battled health issues for several years. He had a heart attack in 2001 and underwent a heart procedure in 2004. Following his 75th birthday in April 2017, he began preparing for retirement, as is customary for bishops who reach that age.

Shortly before his death, he released a statement regarding the violence that had broken out in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Hatred, and its manifestations of racism, neo-Nazism, and white supremacy, are sins against God and profoundly wound the children of God,” DiLorenzo wrote. “I am grateful for the many people, including clergy and people of faith, who bravely stood against hate, whether in prayer or in person.”

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