Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Diocese of Portland

Dioecesis Portlandensis
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Portland ME 2012.jpg
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.svg
Coat of arms
Country United States
TerritoryThe state of Maine
Ecclesiastical provinceBoston
Coordinates43°41′05″N 70°16′13″W / 43.68472°N 70.27028°W / 43.68472; -70.27028Coordinates: 43°41′05″N 70°16′13″W / 43.68472°N 70.27028°W / 43.68472; -70.27028
Area33,040 sq mi (85,600 km2)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2013)
193,228 (14.5%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedJuly 29, 1853
CathedralCathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Current leadership
BishopRobert Deeley
Metropolitan ArchbishopSeán Patrick O'Malley
Bishops emeritusJoseph John Gerry
Diocese of Portland map.png

The Diocese of Portland is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church in the New England region of the United States comprising the entire state of Maine. It is led by a bishop, and its cathedral, or mother church, is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the city of Portland.


Pope Pius IX canonically erected the Diocese of Portland, taking the territory of the states of New Hampshire and Maine from the Diocese of Boston and making it a suffragan of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of New York, on July 29, 1853.

On 12 February 1875, Pope Pius IX elevated the Diocese of Boston to a metropolitan archdiocese,[1] designating the Diocese of Burlington, the Diocese of Hartford, the Diocese of Portland, the Diocese of Providence, and the Diocese of Springfield as the initial suffragans of the new metropolitan see.[2]

On 15 April 1884, Pope Leo XIII erected the Diocese of Manchester, taking the State of New Hampshire from the Diocese of Portland and making it a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Boston.[3] This action reduced the territory of the Diocese of Portland to its current territory, which spans the State of Maine.

The title of the Diocese of Portland formally became Diocese of Portland in Maine when Pope Pius XI transferred the see of the Archdiocese of Oregon City to Portland, Oregon, thus changing the title of the latter to Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, on 26 September 1928.[4]

Richard. J. Malone was installed March 31, 2004, as the eleventh bishop of the diocese. On May 29, 2012, Malone became bishop of Buffalo, New York and on December 18, 2013, Pope Francis named Robert Deeley, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, to succeed Malone as Bishop of the Diocese of Portland. He was installed in a Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on February 14, 2014.[5]

Sexual abuse[edit]

In 1998, nine male alumni said that they had been molested while attending the Jesuit Cheverus High School in Portland. Two former faculty members, Jesuit priest and teacher James Talbot and teacher and coach Charles Malia,[6] were accused. The school, located in Portland, Maine, confirmed the abuse and apologized to the victims. The victims also accused both Cheverus High School and the Portland Diocese of hiding information, and that they had previously known about the abuse. Settlements to victims have reached a cumulative seven figures,[when?] with ongoing counseling additional. Talbot, who was the former chair of the English Department, and Malia, the former head of the Track Team, admitted they are guilty. Both teachers lost their jobs at Cheverus in 1998.[6] Before public accusations surfaced that he committed sex abuse at Boston College High School, James Talbot had been accused of molesting a student at Cheverus.[7] On September 24, 2018, Talbot pled guilty to the sex abuse charges in Maine and immediately began serving two concurrent three year prison sentences.[8][9]

By the time Talbot was implicated in the Archdiocese of Boston's infamous Spotlight scandal in 2002, the amount of settlements which the Diocese of Portland had given to Cheverus victims had reached a cumulative seven figures, with additional counseling still ongoing.[6] In 2016, the Diocese of Portland settled six additional lawsuits for sexual abuse not related to Cheveras for an estimated $1.2 million.[10] By January 2019, the Society of Jesus' Northeast Province in the United States had acknowledged seven accused Jesuit clergy taught at Cheverus.[11] In August 2019, the Diocese launched an abuse reporting system.[12] Ronald Paquin, a laicized Boston priest who served time for the Spotlight abuses, received a 16 year prison sentence in May 2019 after being convicted in November 2018 of 11 counts of sexual abuse he inflicted on an altar boy during trips to Maine in the 1980s.[13][14] On April 23, 2020, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld 10 of Paquin's 11 convictions, with only one charge being vacated.[15][16] It was also ruled that two of the 10 charges which were upheld also accounted for two other charges he was convicted of as well, thus making them offset, but also saw some of his serious charges upheld.[15][16]


Bishops of Portland (in Maine)[edit]

  1. David William Bacon (1855–1874)
  2. James Augustine Healy (1875–1900)
  3. William Henry O'Connell (1901–1906), appointed Coadjutor Archbishop and later Archbishop of Boston (elevated to Cardinal in 1911)
  4. Louis Sebastian Walsh (1906–1924)
  5. John Gregory Murray (1925–1931), appointed Archbishop of Saint Paul
  6. Joseph Edward McCarthy (1932–1955)
  7. Daniel Joseph Feeney (1955–1969)
  8. Peter Leo Gerety (1969–1974), appointed Archbishop of Newark
  9. Edward Cornelius O'Leary (1974–1988)
  10. Joseph John Gerry, O.S.B. (1988–2004)
  11. Richard Joseph Malone (2004–2012), appointed Bishop of Buffalo
  12. Robert Deeley (2014–present)

Auxiliary bishops[edit]

  • Daniel Joseph Feeney (1946–1955), appointed Bishop of Portland
  • Edward Cornelius O'Leary (1970–1974), appointed Bishop of Portland
  • Amédée Wilfrid Proulx (1975–1993)
  • Michael Richard Cote (1995–2003), appointed Bishop of Norwich

Other priest of this diocese who became Bishop[edit]


The Diocese is currently divided into 30 Clusters/Parishes.[17]

Notable churches[edit]

Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Lewiston


The Diocese's cathedral is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.


The Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is located in Lewiston. The parish traces its roots to 1872 and grew due to a wave of late 19th century immigration by French Canadians. Construction of the current church began in 1906 and continued until 1936, by which time it was the second largest church in New England. Construction languished because the diocese split the parish in 1905 and 1923 and the new congregations took a portion of the parish treasury to establish and construct their own churches. In 1983, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2004, Pope Benedict XVI named the church a minor basilica.

Historic places[edit]

St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church is located in Bangor, Maine. John Bapst oversaw construction of the church beginning in 1855, and in 1973 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.


High schools[edit]

Public affairs[edit]

Diocesan Pastoral Center

On January 6, 2000, the Associated Press reported that the Diocese of Portland had negotiated with and supported a Maine lawmakers' bill that barred discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; this bill aimed to overcome the results of the Maine election in February 1998 that repealed the gay marriage law that Maine Governor Angus King signed into law. The Diocese did not have a position on the February 1998 vote, citing ambiguities in the law while acknowledging discrimination as unjust.[18][19]

In November 2009 it was reported that the Diocese of Portland had contributed $550,000, or 20% of the total cash contributed to Stand For Marriage Maine, a successful campaign to prevent then-impending legalization of same-sex marriage in Maine.[20][21] Roughly 55% of the funds donated by the Diocese came from other out-of-state dioceses who donated money to the Diocese of Portland's PAC.[22]

Ecclesiastical province[edit]

See: List of Catholic bishops of the United States#Province of Boston

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Page on Archdiocese of Boston on Catholic Hierarchy web site.
  2. ^ Page on Diocese of Springfield on Catholic Hierarchy web site.
  3. ^ Page on Diocese of Manchester on Catholic Hierarchy web site.
  4. ^ Page on Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon on Catholic Hierarchy web site.
  5. ^ "Pope picks Bishop Robert Deeley to lead diocese in Maine". The Boston Globe. December 18, 2013. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  6. ^ a b c Pfeiffer, Sacha (March 17, 2002). "Maine school struggles to deal with sex abuse issue". The Boston Globe.
  7. ^ "Boston Globe / Spotlight / Abuse in the Catholic Church / Scandal and coverup". Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  8. ^ Marina Villaneuve / Associated Press (2018-09-24). "Ex-priest with Boston ties sent to prison again for child sexual abuse". The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  9. ^ Writer, Megan GrayStaff (2018-09-24). "Ex-priest, Cheverus teacher goes to prison for sexually assaulting Freeport boy". Press Herald. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  10. ^ Staff Report (2016-08-15). "Portland Catholic Diocese settles with 6 sexual abuse victims for $1.2 million". Press Herald. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  11. ^ "Newly released list of priests accused of sex abuse includes 9 with Maine ties". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  12. ^ "Diocese of Portland launches abuse reporting system". WCSH. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  13. ^ Writer, Megan GrayStaff (2019-05-24). "Defrocked priest, 76, sentenced to spend 16 years in prison for sexually abusing boy in Maine". Press Herald. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  14. ^ "Defrocked priest Ronald Paquin convicted of abusing another boy". Boston Herald. 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  15. ^ a b "Maine's top court upholds defrocked priest's sex abuse convictions". Bangor Daily News. 2020-04-24. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  16. ^ a b Writer, Matt ByrneStaff (2020-04-24). "Maine high court upholds sex crime convictions of defrocked priest". Press Herald. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  17. ^ "Cluster Configurations". Diocese of Portland. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  18. ^ "Catholic Diocese Supports Rights Proposal". Associated Press. January 6, 2000.
  19. ^ Meara, Emmet (November 8, 2000). "Failure looms for gay rights". Bangor Daily News. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  20. ^ Harrison, Judy (March 2, 2012). "Portland bishop says Catholic Church won't actively campaign against gay marriage". Bangor Daily News.
  21. ^ "Maine Ethics Commission Public Disclosure Site". Archived from the original on 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  22. ^ Cassels, Peter (November 10, 2009). "Analysis reveals Roman Catholic dioceses poured money into anti-marriage campaign in Maine". Edge Media Network.

External links[edit]