Heretical bishops of Vatican II

An image of Bishop James Patrick Shannon taken during the final session of the Council in St. Peter's Square. 

His own bishop, Leo Binz, called him a heretic.  Archbishop Binz (Diocese of Saint Paul, USA), took the blame for his fall.  Binz was the one who promoted him to the sacred purple.  The poor Archbishop died of a broken heart in 1979.  Binz had been a Vatican careerist.  Shannon ran away with a mistress in 1968. 

You can read the 1990s autobiography of this apostate bishop, Reluctant Dissenter.  Most frightening for me upon reading it was the realization of Bishop Shannon's penny catechism understanding of all things Catholic (sensus, theology, grace, etc.).  In addition, his broken understanding of the canons of the CIC (Code of Canon Law) becomes dangerously clear.  In retrospect, a bit of a revelation as to how poorly many of our clergy (and bishops) were educated at that time (as well as today).

He needs prayers.  Around the Holy Year 2000 he was privately received back into the Church through the good graces of Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory.  He died in 2003.  
continue at Orbis


  1. Archbishop Binz was Archbishop of Dubuque before being sent to St. Paul. This is a part of his story I was not aware of.

  2. Billed as "James P. Shannon, Ph.D.", he spoke on "Catholic Reflections on Corporate Philanthropy and Social Responsibility" at the December 18, 1996 monthly meeting of the Peter Favre Forum.

    The Forum was sponsored by, as I recall, Marquette's business school and St. Francis Seminary. Bishop Sklba served as its spiritual director.

    Sheehan noted in passing that he remained a bishop.

    Ralph McInerny talked about Sheehan's biography in an End Notes column titled Lord Jim in the November 1999 issue of Crisis Magazine. He explains, "At Nazareth Hall he taught Greek and literature. When assigned books were discussed, he participated—to a point. 'Gentlemen,' he announced, during a discussion of Lord Jim, 'I labor under the difficulty of not having read the book.' This earned him his nickname, Lord Jim."


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