Before Zavala, there was Marino

While I was talking with a deacon friend this afternoon about the Zavala bombshell in Los Angeles, he reminded me of the case of Atlanta Archbishop Eugene Marino, who found himself in similar circumstances over 20 years ago.

From the Georgia Bulletin:

Archbishop Marino was the ranking African-American member of the Catholic hierarchy when he stepped aside as archbishop of Atlanta in May 1990, stating that he was suffering from exhaustion and stress. He submitted his resignation to the pope in July 1990 and Bishop James P. Lyke, OFM, was appointed as apostolic administrator and later as the next archbishop of Atlanta. In August the public learned that Archbishop Marino had acknowledged having had an inappropriate relationship with Vicki Long, a single mother who had previously made a court claim against another priest.

After his resignation, Archbishop Marino went into seclusion, under spiritual direction and psychiatric and medical care for severe stress.

In a 1996 interview with Catholic News Service, he said he had been a chaplain for the Sisters of Mercy in Alma, Mich., prior to joining St. Vincent’s in July 1995.

In his work in the outpatient program, Archbishop Marino said in the interview, he did not draw on his personal experience in any major way when he worked with priests who were patients there.

“It’s not about me,” he said. “It has to be about them and how God’s grace is working in the process of their lives.”

Father Kearns said Archbishop Marino also had been leading two retreats for priests each year. Although he had “many, many requests from bishops” to conduct other retreats, he limited the number to two so as not to interfere with his work, the priest added.

Gerard O’Connor, who served as the archbishop’s master of ceremonies for the two years he was in Atlanta, said that he was privileged to reestablish their friendship in recent years as they both were “working with priests helping them to get recovery through 12-Step programs and other therapies.” The archbishop was to speak at Guest House, the program for which O’Connor now works, in the spring of 2001.

Archbishop Marino’s spiritual direction of the program at St. Vincent’s was filling a great need in the church, O’Connor said. “He came with such woundedness and out of that came such healing,” O’Connor said. “He was able to give that to guys who came to him.”

“He was always a priest,” he added. “He never stopped his ministry as a priest. I think it was far stronger. He had nothing to hide anymore.”

Last September O’Connor and his wife, Shay, went to a Mass celebrated by Cardinal John O’Connor of New York for the archbishop’s 25th anniversary of ordination as a bishop. The Mass for the archbishop, his family and a few of his co-workers was celebrated in Our Lady’s Chapel at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and was followed by a dinner hosted by the cardinal at his residence.

The cardinal, who was the homilist, “addressed what had happened in Atlanta in a spiritual and pastoral way,” O’Connor said. “He talked about how we could fill our lives with everything that is not God, but the only thing that really fills our lives is God … He said it was such a grace from God for (Archbishop Marino) because it had brought him closer to God.”

The cardinal also said that he was honored to have the archbishop ministering in New York. Archbishop Marino was “so humbled by the cardinal’s words,” O’Connor said. “The healing that happened in that chapel that night was tangible.”

Archbishop Marino died suddenly of a heart attack while on retreat in 2000.  He was 66.  You can read more here and here.

Let’s keep Gibino Zavala — and all priests — in our prayers.

  • Fr. Mike Mendl

    Abp. Gene Marino lived in our Salesian community in New Rochelle for the last 5 years of his life, while he did his pastoral ministry at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Harrison. He was a happy presence among us, a spiritual presence, a constant reminder of God’s grace, and a warm friend to all of us who lived with him. When he died, it was amazing to see the chapel of Salesian High School jam-packed for his funeral Mass, filled with priests, religious, and lay people whose lives the archbishop had touched. I pray Bishop Zavala will do as well as our friend Abp. Marino did.

  • Mark

    All of us should have him in our prayers. It is not a small sacrifice that the priests take on to lead a celebate life, but an essential one. As I remember this bishop, didn’t he come out with a more liberal view on voting issues in the last election as well?

  • Pingback: LA’s Bishop Zavala resigns, admits fathering two children « The Deacon's Bench

  • Deacon Norb

    I did not know Bishop Zavala but I did meet the other two bishops highlighted in this article:
    –Bishop Jim Lyke, who was Marino’s successor in Atlanta, and I taught together for one year in the mid-1960′s before he went to Grambling as the Campus Chaplain.
    –Bishop Marino was the Spiritual Director at the deacon-candidates/deacon-candidates’ wives Pre-Ordination Retreat that my wife and I attended.
    I had a great respect for them both.

  • Patrick Sweeney

    Also Bishop James McCarthy (aux in Archd. of New York) in 2002 and Bishop Eamon Casey (Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh, Eire) in 1992.

  • George

    Archbishop Marino secretly married Vicki Long ( a member of his parish) in 1988.

    He continued in the fraud until his wife divorced him and her affairs with several other local priests became public knowledge via lawsuits.

    He was not a victim. He abused his position of trust, violated his vows, and exposed the church to monetary losses.

  • George

    Additionally, the good Bishop was exposed in the fraud and did not come forth voluntarily.

    “Church officials admitted early this month that Marino had resigned his office after an internal investigation revealed his two-year affair with Vicki Long, 27, an aspiring singer and Eucharistic minister.”

    “Bishop James P. Lyke, the apostolic administrator who has been appointed to oversee the archdiocese until a successor to Archbishop Eugene A. Marino is named, said church officials learned of the relationship with the woman in mid-April, confronted the Archbishop and asked him to ”refrain from the exercise of his office” while church officials investigated it.”

    “In the present instance, Long says that it was Marino who seduced her and even committed himself to marriage. She says, through her attorney, that she approached Marino because he expressed a desire to help victims of sexual abuse. “That’s when the archbishop reached in to take control of her life,” says Fontana, “and to establish a sexual relationship with her.”

    Last week Long alleged that the entire cycle began when she was molested by a nun at age 19. “

  • Fr. Thomas Hennigan

    One wonders how these people and others, like one in Argentina and another in Uruguay who had to resign due to blackmail regarding homosexuality, get selected to be bishops. Not to mention the case of Fernando Lugo, now President of Paraguay, who seduced a 16 year old girl, a candidate for confirmation and had her as lover for 6 years fathering a child with her. He had to own up to it when he was already President and she sued for child support. What is going wrong with the Vatican’s process of selecting and vetting candidates for bishops? . Something is radically wrong, the Vatican dicastery for Bishops used to regularly constult Maciel, disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ on who was to be appointed bishop in Mexico, Brazil and probably other countries. Somebody or many seem to be asleep at the wheel in the Vatican and the Nunciatures.


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