NCR defends a fired parish worker

The ultra-lefty dissenting NCR has a story in defensive of – gasp – someone who seems to be a dissenter. 

My emphases and comments.

Wisconsin parish worker fired for feminist views

Allowed no opportunity for defense nor to face accusers
Mar. 17, 2009

By Mike Sweitzer-Beckman

Madison, WI

Ruth Kolpack, pastoral associate since 1995 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Beloit, Wis., was fired earlier this month after a brief meeting with Madison Bishop Robert Morlino. [So, she was in place in that place from the time of former Bishop Bullock, whose ecclesiology was somewhat different perhaps than that ennunciated by Bp. Morlino.]

No specific accusations supporting the dismissal have been publicly made. A news release issued by Kolpack supporters stated that over the past three years, Madison diocese officials received “several accusations” against Kolpack. It added that last January, Fr. Steve Kortendick, pastor of St. Thomas and St. Jude parishes in Beloit, met with Morlino about those accusations. Since then, the release said, Kortendick and the diocesan chancellor, Kevin Phelan, had met in an unsuccessful effort to find a “positive resolution.”

According to the release, the investigation [take note of the vocabulary palates the writers uses in reference to the different parties] shifted to a thesis Kolpack had written for her master of divinity degree that was granted from St. Francis seminary.  [That bastion of firm teaching, under the guidance of former Archbp. Weakland, who "retired" in 2002.]

The thesis, written in 2003, evidently stirred little or no interest from church leaders until lately. Kolpack’s main theme is on inclusiveness, and what she sees as a patriarchal tone in the church’s liturgy, with an implicit exclusion of women from key roles, such as the priesthood[umm... there is no implicit exclusion of women from priesthood.  It is an explicit exclusion.]

Brent M. King, director of communications of the Diocese of Madison Mar. 17, in response to an NCR query, issued a statement. It said, in part that, "It is out of respect for the dignity and good reputation of every person involved, in this and all personnel matters, that specifics cannot and will not be discussed. You can be assured that the canonical and civil rights of each individual have been upheld absolutely. The Church takes this very seriously. I cannot make statements regarding Ms. Kolpack, as they could injure her good reputation."

The statement went on to say that church personnel "must uphold the faith and morals of the church" … through what they publicly teach and claim to believe, what they associate themselves with, and by their actions.[ERGO: If they don't uphold the Church's teachings, they cannot work for the Church as an employee.  Reasonable?]

Kolpack said that when she met with her bishop she was given no opportunity to defend herself, [again, note the language used] nor did she have a chance to face or respond to those who had accused her[But she had written a thesis, right?]

When she met with Morlino, he stated that her views on the teachings of Jesus were "off base," according to Kolpack. She also said he informed her that he had not read her thesis in its entirety, only "bits and pieces."  [You don't always have to read a work in its entirety to understand if it is "on" or "off base".  In the case of a thesis, for example, there are moments when you make the position you are advancing pretty clear.]

She said that during the meeting he asked her to denounce the thesis, make a profession of faith, and take an oath of loyalty in order to remain as a pastoral associate at the parish.  [So, there was something in the thesis that was not in keeping with faith or morals as taught by the Catholic Church.]

She said she could not refute the thesis in good conscience, that to dos [sic] so would risk her reputation as a scholar and academician.  [again... not the language... now she is a "scholar and academician".]

After Bishop Morlino’s announcement, I was given no opportunity to discuss any points in my thesis with which we disagreed, nor any of the original accusations made against me," said Kolpack. "In fact, within 10 minutes from the beginning of our meeting, I was fired."  [Imagine a fictitious meeting, entirely theoretical: "BISHOP: On this page you wrote that Jesus did not rise physically from death.  Will you abjure that, put your hand on Scripture and make a profession of the Nicene Creed?  OTHER PERSON: No.  I am a scholar and academician.  BISHOP: On this page you wrote that the Church's infallible teaching on the impossibilty of ordination of women is false and offensive.  Will you abjure that, give me an indication that you accept the Magisterium of the Church?  OTHER PERSON: No.  I am a scholar and academician.  BISHOP: On this page you state that the community empowers the eucharistic assembly's presider without the necessity of sacramental ordination.  Will you abjure that, and affirm that you accept what was promulgated by the Council of Trent, the Second Vatican Council and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church?  OTHER PERSON: No.  I am a scholar and academician.  BISHOP: You're fired." See?  That didn't even take 10 minutes.  I am not saying that that actually happened.  It is just a scenario.  What might be said in 10 minutes?]

The following Saturday protests were held outside of a Janesville parish where Morlino was meeting. He spoke with the protesters, but declined to give any details of his reasons for firing Kolpack. All he would say was that the action was a “personnel matter” and that the thesis wasn’t the only issue; that a “certain mentality” on Kolpack’s part was “troublesome.” He stressed that he respects her good work at St. Thomas and didn’t want to “hurt her good name.”  [The writer seems to want to take the statement from the diocese and bishop that this is just a dodge.  It could be the truth, too.]

Asked if there was a chance he’d reconsider Kolpack’s firing, the bishop replied, “You never say never, but it would be wrong of me to raise hopes in that regard.”

Kolpack told NCR that one good thing that came out of Saturday’s rally in Janesville: Morlino said he would come to Beloit and talk to the St. Thomas parishioners. “But if he cannot divulge any information because it’s a personnel matter,” Kolpack asked, “(How) will we ever find out? I don’t know."

After communion at Sunday’s Mass, Kortendick spoke briefly to the congregation and then allowed Kolpack to speak. Within minutes many were in tears. Some gathered in a prayer huddle to offer their prayers and blessings. She had served the community for over thirty years.  [Again, note the language.]

"Parishioners are very devastated,” she told NCR. “Sunday was a very bad time. I had people coming up to me after mass crying, hugging, and expressing concern. The big question is, ‘why was I fired?’ Unfortunately, I can’t answer it. People are going to think that if a bishop fires me, then it must be major. But I don’t even know why I got fired. I can’t tell parishioners why I got fired."  [No idea. It must not have anything to do with her thesis.]

Stephanie King Norton, a parishioner for 42 years, echoed the sentiments of many when she said she was “shocked” by the dismissal.

"Ruth played more than just a role there. She was the foundation of all activity at St. Thomas. Ruth even told me she wanted to retire in about five years, but in reviewing her responsibilities, it became clear that they could never find someone that would take on as much responsibility that Ruth has. I don’t know anyone at St. Thomas who would say that Ruth isn’t the foundation, even if they don’t always agree with her[hmmm]

"She’s been through four priests, and we always knew she would be there. She’s the heart and soul behind everything that goes on. Our priest is only 40 percent, so she was responsible for sacramental work as well. People converted and were brought back to the Catholic faith were crying because their friend was dismissed. Five- and six-year-olds were crying because they lost their teacher."  [Are you dabbing your eyes yet?  Not that this isn't a sad situation or that people aren't sad.  It is just that this article is so shamelessly manipulative.]

Kolpack became a volunteer catechist at St. Thomas in 1971. She attended workshops and conferences to be certified in religious education. In 1983, she was hired as a part-time youth minister and organized a youth ministry program at St. Thomas. She took training at Loyola University, got a bachelor’s degree in 1986 and was hired full-time. She later attended graduate school and earned a master’s degree. Kolpack got involved in diocesan educational programs, did training work and had a leading role in establishing the “Hands of Faith” program in which several churches take turns housing homeless families. She also had a part in establishing a Hispanic Ministry for Beloit’s three Catholic parishes – St. Thomas, St. Jude and Our Lady of the Assumption.

Kolpack wrote a letter to Morlino in which she wrote, “My ministry is my life’s work,” concluding by asking him to reconsider her dismissal.  [I wonder if she will have to modify any of her views, if they in fact are not in keeping with the Church's teaching.]

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60 Responses to NCR defends a fired parish worker

  1. Franzjosf says:

    “Ruth played more than just a role there. She was the foundation of all activity at St. Thomas.”

    That, alone, is troubling. Add to that her dissenting positions. She had to go.

  2. NCR = Not Catholic Really

  3. Fr. Charles says:

    I’ve been through a few parishes in my travels, and a not insignificant number follow this form: a large portion of pastoral work is done by a woman who is strong and hard-working, but whose methods and personal beliefs may not be entirely orthodox or even Catholic. She is eager and gentle, for sure, and means well it has to be said. She might be a religious sister or a former religious in some cases. There is one very real sense in which I feel bad for such persons: They may have been encouraged by less-than-orthodox pastors and empowered by the dissenting professors who awarded them their credentials, but it’s a mess when an orthodox pastor who cares about solid doctrine and practice arrives. Ultimately it is the faithful who lose someone they have come to love in addition to having already been starved of a solid Catholic sense.

  4. Steve K. says:

    Fr. Charles,

    That describes my former parish to a T. The person in question carried the moniker “She Who Must Be Obeyed” given to her a former pastor. However, I don’t think they are the victims of being encouraged by bad priests – I think they know exactly what they are doing, and know they got where they did by exploiting weaker pastors. So they’re not victims, except of their own pride. I think there is a sense there that they feel they are the true pastor, and once the patriarchy is overturned in the Church, justice will prevail and they will be the de jure pastor, not just the de facto pastor. It’s an awful situation.

  5. YoungCatholicSTL says:

    Her picture is still up on the parish website. She can be found here: http://www.faithwebsites.com/sysfiles/member/staff/staff.cfm?memberid=486

  6. MargaretMN says:

    What Fr. Charles said. And it reminds me of someone else’s comment on another post. With the shortage of priests, it’s not always fair to blame clergy for a lot of the nonsense that takes place in parishes. Parishes are like any other organization in one respect: much of what goes on in the day to day activities is driven by who shows up and actually does the work whether or not they are qualified or despite whatever views they may hold, orthodox or radical. This person was an employee not a volunteer but clearly a reliable one in terms of doing the work. For your average parishioner who doesn’t pay attention to theological debates, I am sure firing this woman seemed heinous because she was popular in her day to day running of the place.

    This is also another variation on the charismatic radical priest problem. Nobody in control of that much of a parish should be there longer than 7 years. It’s not a fan club. It’s a Roman Catholic parish.

  7. EDG says:

    These people are a common affliction, and I think the bishop is doing exactly what he should. After all, she could have stayed if she had agreed to renounce the errors in her thesis and subscribe to certain orthodox tenets. The decision to cling to her own personal version of Catholicism was her own, not the bishop’s.

    I don’t feel any regret at all to see these people go. Many of them are really on a power trip, and I feel bad for the priests who are unfortunate enough to be assigned to a parish where some nun or laywoman has “been there forever” and is accustomed to running things. Most of them, alas, don’t have the nerve to fight back, particularly when they don’t have a bishop who will support them (as was the case when Weakland was running things).

  8. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    1. But Father, but Father, your fictitious conversation wouldn’t be fair to the other person who, perhaps, might not understand “abjure”.

    2. Any one in the mood for a little Lenten mortification should read the comments posted on NCR’s website while not losing their temper (or, indeed, the comments to any article there).

    3. “Ruth played more than just a role there. She was the foundation of all activity at St. Thomas.” And that Jesus Christ fellow, not so much the foundation of the parish?

  9. Alan says:

    Let us pray for her, and for all who are mis-guided.

  10. Mark says:

    What I notice in such situations is the extreme reluctance of those progressive Catholics who hold opinions contrary to the teachings of the Church to either repent, or to vacate their positions. The hold on with all they’ve got, until they’re fired.

    If only all the Traditionalists understood the importance of not leaving the field, as well as the progressives do…

    I sincerely hope this woman will have a “paradigm shift” and repent.

  11. mbd says:

    Looking at its website, I notice that the parish has a deacon as well as a youth and Hispanic minister . In reading the NCR article, however, the impression one receives is that all parish functions, including sacramental functions, were largely within the scope of Ms. Kolpack’s duties – except for some ’40%’ performed by the pastor. Perhaps the article inflates her role a bit.

  12. Sort of coinsides wit the Holy Fathers anoncement of the Year of the Priest, don’t it, “SHE” became more powerful and central to the parish than the priest, we need Priests not administrators.
    Quote: the Holy father
    The centrality of Christ leads to a correct valuation of priestly ministry, without which there would be no Eucharist, no mission, not even the Church. It is necessary then, to ensure that ‘new structures’ or pastoral organisations are not planned for a time in which it will be possible to ‘do without’ ordained ministry, on the basis of an erroneous interpretation of the promotion of the laity, because this would lay the foundations for a further dilution in priestly ministry, and any supposed ‘solutions’ would, in fact, dramatically coincide with the real causes of the problems currently affecting the ministry’.

  13. Merriweather says:

    I’m willing to bet she was a thorn in the side to more than a few people, including priests. A lot of people probably let her have her way, because opposing her wasn’t worth it.

    I’d love to hear the other side of the story.

  14. TJM says:

    What’s interesting about this “problem” is that pastors and priests are routinely moved from parish to parish because as a prudential matter there
    is a recognition that it is not necessarily good for the priest or the parish that one stay too long in one place. Perhaps the same prudential
    determination needs to occur with “pastoral associates” like this woman. Just a thought. Tom

  15. chironomo says:

    It seems that someone is confusing being an academic critic of Catholicism with being a Catholic Scholar. This is just another sad tale of dissent, abuse or whatever being allowed to carry on for so long that the parish gets the impression that it is legitimate. Then when it is finally addressed, the administration comes out looking like the bad guy who is attacking this person for “no reason”.

    The point at which Ms. Kolpack loses all credibility (OK… maybe not the first point..) is when she tells the parishioner that she has “no idea” why she was fired. She lied to one of her supporters rather than just say “It is because of my dissenting views and my refutation of the authority of the Church”. Surely they all know that is the reason, so why not just say it? I would contend that if she said that, people would begin to think….that maybe the Bishop had a point???

  16. jarhead462 says:

    Merriweather said- “I’m willing to bet she was a thorn in the side to more than a few people, including priests. A lot of people probably let her have her way, because opposing her wasn’t worth it.”
    I was thinking the same thing, when the one woman said that “she had been through four Priests” Interesting choice of words. Sounds like she was likely a royal pain to all four. Maybe they can form a therapy group- “You worked with Kolpack too? Oy, Vey! Can I get you a drink?” ;)

    Semper Fi!

  17. Scott W. says:

    “It reminds me a lot of this:

    …which happened up in the Green Bay diocese a couple years ago.”

    I remember that. I also remembered vaguely that the boss knew of her intent beforehand and even warned her that it would affect her employment.

    The tie-in here is that I’m willing to wager that even in a diocese with a previous reputation for dissent like this had language in its employment policies that employees will not act or teach contrary to the Catholic faith as a condition.

  18. Ron says:

    This, to me, was the best part of the whole posting:

    “[Imagine a fictitious meeting, entirely theoretical: "BISHOP: On this page you wrote that Jesus did not rise physically from death. Will you abjure that, put your hand on Scripture and make a profession of the Nicene Creed? OTHER PERSON: No. I am a scholar and academician. BISHOP: On this page you wrote that the Church’s infallible teaching on the impossibilty of ordination of women is false and offensive. Will you abjure that, give me an indication that you accept the Magisterium of the Church? OTHER PERSON: No. I am a scholar and academician. BISHOP: On this page you state that the community empowers the eucharistic assembly’s presider without the necessity of sacramental ordination. Will you abjure that, and affirm that you accept what was promulgated by the Council of Trent, the Second Vatican Council and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church? OTHER PERSON: No. I am a scholar and academician. BISHOP: You’re fired." See? That didn’t even take 10 minutes. I am not saying that that actually happened. It is just a scenario. What might be said in 10 minutes?]”

    “No. I am a scholar and academician.” Priceless.

    God bless you Fr. Z!

  19. paul says:

    I don’t understand all these lay Catholics in position of influence who dissent from the teaching of the church. Why doesn’t every Bishop make sure that Catholics- clergy and laity stand up for the Magesterium?

  20. R&R says:

    If you don’t want to be Catholic, you are always free to cast your lot with the Episcopal Church. Many people (of all stripes) seem to think they have a right to having the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church bend to their desires.

  21. ED says:

    The clones of this woman can be seen at many parishes, paid employees who don’t love the faith ,maybe instead of skills bishops should hire people in the pews who love the faith and want to work with the parish in saving souls.

  22. Luigi says:

    Ruth Kolpak said: “But I don’t even know why I got fired.”

    This is a ridiculous lie that only an NCR reader could believe.

    She also said “that during the meeting he asked her to denounce the thesis, make a profession of faith, and take an oath of loyalty in order to remain as a pastoral associate at the parish.”

    She refused. It ain’t that complicated, folks. Obviously she has even more detail than that to share if anyone is really interested. I’m not. Since when it is asking too much to ask for a profession of faith? Good riddince, Ruth.

    As for feeling bad for the woman, I do only to the extent that it is sad to see someone chose the path of defiance, but I do not accept that she is the victim of un-orthodox pastors or poor teachers. Baloney.

    This is a grown woman who sat across the table from her bishop and “NO.”

    The real victims here are the people who admire her enough to shed tears. If anyone deserve pity, it’s them.

  23. Fr. Richard says:

    I want to weigh in as one of Bishop Morlino’s priests here in the Diocese of Madison.

    For those of us who are orthodox, we are in heaven. For those who count themselves among the “spirit of Vatican II” crowd, they are enraged by this bishop.

    Obviously, living in this pond of liberalism here in Madison, we are treated like a fish out of water. Bishop Morlino is being persecuted constantly by, not only the local liberal media, but by many in his own flock.

    He has turned to me and offered these encouraging words, “We are priests for these times. God has given us this mission … one that is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but one that is necessary as we see so many who have lost their way.”

    While I watch many from so many other dioceses lament during this epidemic of silent bishops who have left so many “oves sine pastore,” I am inspired to have such a brave shepherd leading us to the green pastures of truth.

  24. Steve K. says:

    God bless you Fr. Richard and Bishop Morlino!

  25. Brendan says:

    Oh my; I just did some research on Archbishop Weakland and boy is he a dissenter! I made this posting on the NCR article page. I wonder if it gets “approval” by the site administrators…

    “The bishop that oversaw St. Francis seminary, Archbishop Weakland, was a dissenter. He is full of heresy. A bishop faithful to the teaching of the church would never accept a thesis like Kolpack’s.

    Here are just some of Archbishop Weakland’s anti-Catholic beliefs:

    “He directed Catholic schools there to teach kids how to use condoms as part of AIDS education, and approved a graphic sex-education program for parochial-school kids that taught “there is no right and wrong” on the issues of abortion, contraception and premarital sex. He has advocated for gay rights and women’s ordination, bitterly criticized Pope John Paul II, denounced pro-lifers as “fundamentalist,” and declared that one could be both pro-choice and a Catholic in good standing.”

    Sourc: http://www.nationalreview.com/dreher/dreher052402.asp

  26. Peggy says:

    So many pretensions by this woman from being the center of the parish to what amused me the most–her claims to being a “scholar and academician.” She wrote her thesis about 6 years ago. She’s within retirement age. Does she have some extensive body of work to point to? Where is she published?

    Even NCR knows why she was fired. The headline says for “feminist views.” Yes, Ruth is lying when she says she doesn’t know why.

  27. Amy P. says:

    Weakland did a lot of damage to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Archbishop Dolan came in knowing he had his work cut out for him and now, sadly, will be heading to New York before (I think) his work here is complete.

    There are still a good deal of people here – clergy and laity – who admire Weakland (shudder). The good news is most of them, by and large, are aging members of the Boomer generation (as are most dissenting Catholic groups).

    Quite frankly, it comes down to this: Kolpac was wrong. PERIOD. The teachings of the Church are infallible and not subject to popular, politically-correct whims.

    In the wake of the sex abuse scandal, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has an abuse prevention program in place. Perhaps the next Archbishop will institute a “Faithfulness in Doctrine” program. I work for a parish and would be more than willing to sit down with the Archbishop, or appointed clergy, and interview about my Catholic beliefs in order to keep my job. Be it

  28. M G Hysell says:

    “That bastion of firm teaching, under the guidance of former Archbp. Weakland, who ‘retired’ in 2002…”

    Do you think that is a fair statement, given that the Seminary has been under Archbishop +Timothy Dolan’s jurisdiction since Weakland’s retirement?

  29. TJM says:

    Fr. Richard,

    Thankyou for your insights. I will pray for Bishop Morlino and the priests of your Diocese. It sounds like you have your hands full.

    I always knew this day would come. I am glad there are bishops like Morlino to protect the Faith.

    Tom

  30. TJM says:

    The National Anti-Catholic Reporter – ALWAYS fighting the last War. What troglodytes. Tom

  31. The Astronomer says:

    The sad legacy of Abp. Weakland has been decades worth of variation on the theme “NON SERVIAM”

  32. Susan Peterson says:

    She should know why she was fired. But I wonder if she really doesn’t get it.
    For some of these people the idea of doctrine and of doctrinal authority is really foreign. Perhaps just firing her was the only way to go. But could the bishop possibly have spent some time explaining to her what the church teaches about herself and why certain teachings can’t be questioned. I am willing to bet that this was never presented to her in those terms in her adult life. After that, he should have given her a week to think it over, asked her to come back, and then if she wouldn’t sign a profession of faith, he should have fired her. It might have come down to the same thing, but at least he would have given some consideration to her soul. If she wouldn’t sign of course she had to be fired for the souls of the parishioners.
    Susan Peterson

  33. M G Hysell says:

    Folks, please be mindful of canon 220 with respect to Archbishop Weakland.

  34. Mike T says:

    Merriweather writes: “I’d love to hear the other side of the story.”

    Yes, but maybe we never will. When the Lord was on trial, He gave no
    answer to most of the accusations. Time and again, the Bride of Christ
    will recapitulate this experience.

    For those of us who grew up assuming that “freedom of religion” was
    a given, this will take some getting used to. And it would be wrong
    to conclude that the erosion has been a strictly political process.
    The erosion has been a social and cultural process, which is not to
    say that it hasn’t been manipulated by sinister puppeteers, because
    it has. But it does mean that it will be insufficient to fight the
    erosion by political means.

    We are entering a period in which my cowardice will not serve me
    well. The Bride will be summoned in front of a secular Sanhedrin,
    and the gallery will be a manipulated one.

  35. Lee Bohannon says:

    There are many sound pastoral reasons for shifting priests from parish to parish. After all, it is Christ that we worship and not some charismatic leader. Having said that, there is also a great problem with shifting priests. Priests are temporary but pastoral associates are forever. With permanence comes power. Fortunately, Fr. Kortendick was supported by a good bishop, but what was the result? The woman is “terminated” but not gone. Dollars to donuts, she will split the parish. We should pray for her and everyone involved.

  36. Jim says:

    “Crying, hugging, and expressing concern”? Sounds like another alcohol related teen accident. Bring in the grief counselors.

  37. Ioannes Andreades says:

    How many years working for the church, many of which were as a volunteer, and she only gets 10 crummy minutes out of the bishop’s day? I agree with Susan Peterson entirely. Error has no rights, but people in error, well, should be treated like human beings.

    Moreover, to the extent that nobody here has read the thesis, the conclusions to which comment after comment, including those in red, have leapt as well as the uninformed characterizations of the person in question are truly frightening.

  38. Moreover, to the extent that nobody here has read the thesis, the conclusions to which comment after comment, including those in red, have leapt as well as the uninformed characterizations of the person in question are truly frightening.

    Actually, the article itself tells us everything about the thesis that we need to know:

    The thesis, written in 2003, evidently stirred little or no interest from church leaders until lately. Kolpack’s main theme is on inclusiveness, and what she sees as a patriarchal tone in the church’s liturgy, with an implicit exclusion of women from key roles, such as the priesthood.

    You don’t have to drink the whole gallon of milk to find out if it’s sour.

  39. Jackie says:

    NCR already has a second article up and a letter from the dismissed associate. With the Bishop not talking at all, could this be inviting another communications problem?

  40. Rob says:

    This article provides us here in the Diocese of Rochester with hope!!! We have at least 2 female “Pastoral Administrators” running parishes who were members, and may very well continue to be, of the Women’s Ordination Conference. There is hope that our next bishop will be able to dig up these past involvements with the WOC to finally free us from this growing problem.

    God bless this brave bishop, may we have many more like him.

  41. RichR says:

    Pope Benedict is going to have an uphill battle dismantling the democracy in the Church that has come about under the guise of “lay participation”.

    People need to be willing to examine their own consciences and see if they are doing anything that ends up hurting the authority or ministry of priests. Are their own over-sensitivities causing pastors to refrain from asserting their presbyteral rights and duties? This may inhibit them from fulfilling their vocations, and thereby, put their souls in peril.

  42. Steve says:

    Fr. Richard and Bishop Morlino, keep up the great work and know that you have many supporters out here!

    God bless you both!!

  43. CarpeNoctem says:

    You know, I wrote a big, long 2-page rant on this general subject (old bats working in parishes and the extreme measures sometimes needed to remove them), but I can’t for the life of me consider this worth my energy to publish or other combox readers’ energy to read. It gives too much power and influence to the NCReporter and the devil (who may in league with each other?) to make too much of this particular story.

    Quite simply the thing to remember is that ‘brick by brick’ God is taking back his Church. It is costing the health, youth, reputations, and energy of many good young (and even some not-so-young) priests who are often working silently under very adverse conditions- and getting fired at by both sides, it would seem. But they are making slow and steady progress to lay to rest these dusty fossils and lead the flock to new pastures. (Anyone pick up the snark in that last sentence? Yeah, 2 pages like this… good thing I deleted it! Thanks Fr. Z for your reminders about civility!)

    God bless Bishop Morlino… no doubt he knows the shepherd’s stick is not just a gilded pontifical accoutrement. I also bet he’s wishing that he sharpened the bottom end of that stick down into a point. He’s going to need to defend himself from some wolves.

  44. Phil Steinacker says:

    MG,

    I am embarrassed for your comments that have been ignored.

    I won’t do that; I’ll address you out of charity. I acknowedge your pov, but I also defend the comments made about the archbishop. They are factually correct, and the assessments of the damage he’s done to the Church and to the faithful’s understanding of Church teaching is are right on the money.

    No one here is disrespecting his office or even his person by speaking the objective truth about his defiance of the Church, through his actions and those wrongs he has allowed. No one here is judging him to hell. However, neither his office nor Canon Law of any kind can insulate him from being held accountable for his actions and failures as bishop.

  45. Chris M says:

    I’m sure there were plenty of nice, sincere, and dedicated Arians and Cathars. Doesn’t mean the Church should be keeping them as employees or working ceaselessly to correct and denounce their heresies.

    If you publicly hold heretical views, you shouldn’t be in a position of authority in the Church. Period. Good for the Bishop, I say.

  46. Maureen says:

    The thesis title is “Inclusive language for naming God: challenge for the church”. Kinda old-fashioned for 2003, actually. (The lowercase “church” was spelled that way in Worldcat’s database, but may or may not be correct.)

  47. Matt B says:

    My experience with NCR is that it is not even frequented by Catholics, but rather is a depository of debates by ‘Christians’ of other traditions trying to impose their liberal trends upon the Catholic Church.

  48. irishgirl says:

    Good for Bishop Morlino! About time this woman got kicked out!

    “Pastoral Associates”-another liberal term that grates on my nerves!

    With regards to her ‘weeping supporters’: oh, puh-leeze….get a life!

    Praying that we get some more good shepherds in the mold of Bishop Morlino and Fr. Richard….Holy Father, are you hearing us in Syracuse?

  49. NCR has taken down the article. Hmmmm.

  50. Corleone says:

    Kolpack became a volunteer catechist at St. Thomas in 1971

    LOL! I’m sorry, but were I a bishop, that is all I would need to know. What the church needs is a good ol’ fashioned Stalin-brand purge of all catechists (or priests) who began (or were formed) during the period of 1970 – 1979. That was the worst of the worst of it. and I can’t think of anyone off-hand who I could hold up as an exception to that rule.

  51. I have only one quibble with what the bishop did, and what many do in this
    situation. The “not wanting to hurt her good name” issue. Ruth Kolpack was
    fired. You have stated that she is not a good employee. You have hurt her
    “good name”. It is a matter of justice to say why. Did she steal, did she
    touch someone, was she a heretic. All the evidence points to the latter.
    The diocese should say so, and point out why. Otherwise, it could be she
    was fired because the priest didn’t like the way she were her hair!

    Protecting the good name of someone comes into play when they want to slink
    off quietly in the night, not when they want to take it to the NCR. The
    diocese owes it to the people of the diocese to give a forthright account of
    the situation, with examples. Both of her writings, and of her unacceptable
    behavior at the parish.

  52. MilwCatholic says:

    I often visit the excellent Salzmann Library at St. Francis De Sales Seminary in St. Francis (Milwaukee). I searched online for Ruth Kolpack’s thesis and found the following (btw, it’s out on loan and overdue!):

    Thesis (M.Div.)–Saint Francis Seminary, 2003

    Contents — Describing God by the use of female imagery — Catholic social teaching on the dignity of women and Religious evil

    Author — Kolpack, Ruth M
    Subject — Image of God, Feminist theology, Sexism in liturgical language.

  53. Mike says:

    It would seem that there are 2 copies of her thesis at the Salzmann Library, the one that’s out and overdue and one that’s listed as “Special” and “Available.”

    See http://topcat.switchinc.org/record=b1703468~S0

  54. ex-Madisonian says:

    The NCR article got moved, not taken down.

    This pastor has a record of passively allowing orthodoxy to prevail while relying on the Bishop to do the dirty work. The UW Madison Catholic Center has gone from F- to A+ in terms of orthodoxy in the last fifteen years or so, and it went from D to B+ under this pastor, who assiduously protected orthodox student leaders from radical community members who wanted to squelch them.

    I have heard this bishop described as a bully by an orthodox priest who appreciates his solid teaching but feels he mistreats priests at time. [More than one are that way.]

    I don’t know what to make of all that, but there is more to the story than meets the eye.

  55. [? Would you like to ask me to link to something? o{]:¬) ]

  56. M says:

    Ms. Kolpack thesis can be found on Scribd:

    http://d.scribd.com/docs/xodjbd9gqaxr71w2715.pdf

  57. Madison C. says:

    I would LOVE to ask you to link to http://www.SupportBishopMorlino.com!
    (but cannot find your email on the website– I’m not signed up to use twitter)
    Thanks for all you do and God bless!

  58. s says:

    Interesting to read the posts of so many self-anointed theologians who appear to value their own opinions more than the contributions their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and daughters have made and are making to the Church, or to the real pain that their fellow Catholics and others are feeling at this time.

    Stop in at mass on a weekday morning and see the number of women there vs. men. Who cleans the church, who takes care of the funeral lunches, who cleans and irons the vestry for the servers and the priest, and the altar cloths? Who leads singing in at mass and fills the choir and plays the necessary instruments? Who takes communion to shut-ins? Who decorates the church for holidays? And who has provided these services to every parish in every state of the Union and in the old country for years decades, centuries?

    Get over the gender issue and on with the work of the Church.