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LONG ISLAND: Cathedral Dean Says He Was Fired


By David W. Virtue

GARDEN CITY, NY--The Dean of the Cathedral of the Incarnation, the Very Rev. James J. Cardone says he was summarily fired by Long Island Bishop Orris Walker and that the letter put out by the bishop saying he resigned was a "gross inaccuracy".

In a copy of the Dean's letter obtained by Virtuosity, Cardone wrote that "he [the bishop] never asked for my resignation, either verbally or in writing," and he accused the bishop of having a "convenient memory lapse" or being "a deliberate ruse."

"I can assure you that I never tendered it. On June 10 when I was summoned, he continually tried to get me to agree with his position that 'the future of our relationship is untenable'."

Cardone said he shared with the bishop his belief that mature adults could disagree on various issues and still have a working relationship. Evidently that does not apply to him.

"I made it clear to him then that I did not agree with his position and I would not resign or assist him in any effort to discharge me He unilaterally concluded that he must do this nonetheless. He never told me a date of discharge, nor did he provide any other details. I left his office telling him that I would await his call with the details."

On June 11, Walker wrote a letter to the Clergy and Lay Leadership of the Diocese of Long Island saying that he had requested the resignation of the Dean, and had done so after "considerable self-examination, consultation and prayer."

Cardone said he had yet to be contacted by him [the bishop], yet he obviously felt free to inform the Diocese as well as the Cathedral congregation. Never at any time did Bishop Walker say the words, "I request your resignation as Dean."

The Dean said that at the Cathedral Chapter meeting on June 10, he never even announced his discharge, but instead meticulously followed the agenda he had prepared until the final agenda item of 'Dean's Report', "when I announced my discharge to the Chapter and Cathedral Council members myself."

Cardone said that when he did, Walker flew into a rage and spent the next 45 minutes in various postures of tirade and hand slamming in his refusal to be accountable to anyone, including Chapter, for his actions.

"He also showed flagrant and open disregard for the well being of the Cathedral congregation. The minutes of the meeting and those members attending will bear me out."

The Dean questioned the bishop's sincerity. He described the bishop's letter to the clergy as "pro forma" and "very touching" especially for everyone to pray "for me and my family."

The Dean said that when he and his family were informed of his son's suicide, the bishop showed zero "pastoral care or concern."

"Nineteen days after we buried our son he expressed his Christian charity, fine pastoral care, intense humanity and razor sharp judgment by summarily discharging me without so much as an apology either for impact or timing."

"Where was he as 'pastor to the clergy and their families'? Where was his prayerful support and care during the most devastating 3 weeks of our lives? He was totally absent and totally silent, until he chose to make matters worse."

In a final blast at the bishop, the Dean wrote, "There is, however, one part of his letter to all of you with which Sheryl (Cardone's wife) Tom and I are all in complete agreement. He, [the bishop] needs your prayers. As for me and my household, we will choose the Lord for our protection and care, because it is quite clear that we are not to receive it from his Church."


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