Walter Sullivan persecuted orthodox priests, allowed rampant dissent to rule in Richmond, and helped advance the homosexual agenda. He allowed a parish in the Norfolk area to hold an ecumenical liturgy where the Protestants and Catholics shared the Liturgy of the Word then went to opposite ends of the hall for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. When I wrote to object I got a letter signed by the bishop saying he was well aware of it and claiming it was legit. Disobeying Holy Mother Church was not a problem for him.
Bishop Sullivan was chaplain to the dissent group Pax Christi for years and dissent was also reflected in the the rampant liturgical and theological abuses. They were so bad, in fact, the diocese was commonly referred to as Wally World, the fictional theme park in the Chevy Chase lampoon film Vacation. Sullivan killed vocations; most men seeking ordination went elsewhere. During Sullivan's years Arlington was ordaining from six to ten men each year; Richmond was lucky to have one or two and some years produced none. Once when my husband and I were vacationing in Chincoteague we found the daily Mass at the small church there so orthodox we were shocked and went back to talk to the priest and praise him. When I said it was nice to find an orthodox Mass in the Diocese of Richmond, he laughed and said, "That's why I'm here; I have thirty families." Friends and relatives of mine in the Richmond Diocese often lamented how difficult it was to find a faithful Mass to attend and how awful religious instruction was for their children. Obviously, dissenters loved him!
A few items to note. The book is published by Orbis which is Maryknoll's publishing arm. Anybody whose been following Maryknoll since the 60's knows the order is riddled with dissent and many of their publications promote heretical positions. It's no surprise, then, that they would publish a eulogy of Walter Sullivan, one of the worst bishops in the country, with kuddos from liberal Catholic Martin Sheen. Although Sheen is personally pro-life and has supported life in his own family he has also marched for choice. Like his hero Sullivan, he's a cafeteria Catholic who picks and chooses when to obey Holy Mother Church.
Bishop Walter Sullivan died last December at 84. I pray for the repose of his soul, but he was a "good bishop" like an absentee father is a "good dad." He failed to do his duty to transmit the faith. Instead of teaching, governing, and sanctifying according to the mind of the Church, he turned Richmond into a stronghold of liberalism where progressive politics masqueraded as the Catholic faith. According to dissenting Catholic Professor Dan Maguire who teaches at Marquette, Sullivan even wrote a "welcoming introduction" to a book of essays by theologians some of whom "defended the right of sacramental marriage for same sex couples."
Martin Sheen asked the rhetorical question, "What would the church look like with more bishops like Walter Sullivan?" The answer is simple -- just like Richmond did under his rule with shrinking vocations, the destruction of the liturgy, promotion of socialism, women running parishes, and orthodox priests sidelined and persecuted. In the eyes of the world, Bishop Sullivan was indeed a "good bishop." Whether God agreed with them Bishop Sullivan now knows. Please join me in praying for the repose of his soul. The man needs prayer and penance not spurious praise.