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Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark Died at the Age of 85

A Roman Catholic bishop from America named Matthew Harvey Clark. From 1979 until 2012, he was bishop of the Diocese of Rochester in Upstate New York. Clark’s 33-year career was the second-longest in Rochester Diocese history, after only Bishop Bernard McQuaid’s 40-year term.

Early Childhood Education:

Matthew Clark was raised to Grace (née Bills) and Matthew Clark in Waterford, New York. Before enrollment at Mater Christi Seminary in Albany, New York, he attended Holy Cross Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Catholic Central School in Troy, New York. In Rochester, New York, Clark also matriculated to Bernard’s Seminary.


Bishop Martin O’Connor performed Clark’s ordination to the priesthood on December 19, 1962, at Rome’s Strategies that can be employed Various aspects di Cristo Reon Basilica for both the Dioceses of Albany in New York. In 1963, he received a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Gregorian University. Clark returned to New York and taught at the Vincentian Institute while ministering at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Albany.

Clark returned to the Gregorian University in 1964, getting a Licentiate of Canon Law in 1966. Clark was named vice-chancellor of the Diocese of Albany in 1966. In 1967, he was appointed assistant priest at St. Ambrose Parish in Latham, New York. Clark was appointed head of the Diocesan Priests’ Personnel Board in 1969. Clark moved to Rome in 1972 to work as the Pontifical North American College’s assistant spiritual director. In 1974, he was appointed as the organization’s full spiritual director.

The Bishop of Rochester:

Clark was named the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Rochester by Pope John Paul II on April 23, 1979. On May 27, 1979, he was consecrated in St. Peter’s Basilica by John Paul II personally, with Archbishop Duraisamy Lourdusamy and Cardinal Eduardo Somalo serving as co-consecrators. “God’s Love Endures Forever,” Clark chose as his episcopal motto. On June 26, 1979, Clark was installed as bishop at the Rochester War Memorial in Rochester, New York.

Cardinal Josef Ratzinger ordered Clark to remove his imprimatur, or church permission, from a sex education handbook authored by a priest in his parish in 1986. Ratzinger said that the manual was “defective” in its Catholic doctrines. On March 12, 1986, Clark defended one of his priests, theologian Father Charles Curran, against Vatican authorities for his views on birth control, abortion rights for women, homosexuality, and divorce. Clark was chastised in 2003 for his $11 million remodelling and liturgical re-alignment of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester. Clark has garnered some kudos for cracking down on abusive priests. The diocese was declared in “full conformity” with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) mandate to protect children and young people in 2004. Clark presided over the controversial closure of several of Rochester’s private schools and parishes, promising to finish the diocese’s “re-sizing” before his retirement in 2012.


On September 21, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI accepted Clark’s resignation as Bishop of Rochester. The Pope appointed Bishop Robert Cunningham as apostolic administrator pending the installation of the next bishop, Salvatore Matano. Clark said in September 2019 that he had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Clark was ordered to testify in bankruptcy proceedings for the Diocese of Rochester by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul R. Warren in February 2020. Clark’s counsel contended that his client could not do so owing to his Alzheimer’s disease. Clark was deposed for three hours on July 6, 2020. He admits transferring Eugene Emo, a priest subsequently convicted of sexual abuse of a child, to a treatment centre and then reassigning him to another parish.

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