Madison, WI: Call To Action types attack Bp. Morlino in the local newspaper

And now for a public attack on a Catholic bishop on the part of dissidents in the Diocese of Madison.


Some members of Call To Action and others took out an ad in the local newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal attacking Bp. Morlino. 

If there was ever a case for interdiction, it is membership in Call To Action.

You might remember that H.E. Most Reverend Robert Morlino has made very strong gestures in support of Summorum Pontificum, even changing his own mind about this matter, and also very strong pro-life stands against bad legislation.  He spoke clearly about the Speak Pelosi Sen. Biden gaffs on Meet The Press.

As a matter of fact, I am sure this attack on Bp. Morlino is probably coming mostly from pro-abortion Catholics.  They are probably trying to goad him into some strong statement of rebuttal so that they can whine all the more loudly and sneer at him about how mean and narrow he is.  Boo hoo.

Bishops such as Bp. Morlino are standing up and the lefties are very displeased.

Let’s have a look at the newspaper article with my emphases and comments.  You can see the ad at the right and click it for a larger version.  Keep an emesis basin or barf bag handy.

Madison-area Catholics decry Morlino’s leadership in open letter


SAT., OCT 11, 2008 – 10:30 PM

A group of Madison-area Catholics says in an open letter [In a newspaper.  Cowards.] to Bishop Robert Morlino that he is ignoring the input of clergy and lay people, causing some parishioners to stop attending Mass and hurting the morale of priests. [Gratis asseritur gratis negatur.  I just don’t buy that.  If people are not going to Mass because Bp. Morlino has been strongly pro-life (and that is really what this is about, bet on it, then there problems go deeper than the bishop.]

The letter writers point to priests banding together for fear of retribution if they dissent, [Should they be dissenting?  Should they?] pursuit of a new cathedral despite opposition, the firing of an openly gay music director, the hiring of priests who ban female altar servers and the alleged alienation of Catholics who disagree with church doctrine as examples of problems in the diocese.

"We need more compassion not dismissal," the letter says.  [What a weasle word, "compassion".  If someone does something you don’t agree with, just say he lack "compassion".  What about compassion towards those who want to adhere to the Church’s teachings about the beginning of life? About the authority of the Church to define liturgical laws?  About the traditional expressions of worship?  What about compassion for people who have been shoved to the back of the progressivists bus and forced for decades to go drink at separate liturgical water fountains?]

The letter, which appears as a paid advertisement in the Business section of today’s Wisconsin State Journal, is the latest flare-up in an increasingly vigorous debate over Morlino’s leadership of 270,000 Catholics in the 11-county Madison diocese.

In a statement, the diocese said Morlino is sorry that "certain groups, who claim to be Catholic, would assume postures which clearly are not in accord with the teachings of the church."

James Green of Madison, one of the organizers of the effort, said the advertisement cost about $3,500 and was paid for by more than 40 people, 36 of whom are listed by name. Seven others are remaining anonymous because they work for the church, Green said.

Many of the contributors are members of the Madison branch of Call to Action (CTA), a national organization of Catholics whose positions on issues such as women’s ordination and priest celibacy are at odds with church hierarchy. The Catholic Media Coalition, a group loyal to church teachings, describes CTA as the leading organization of liberal, dissenting Catholics.

Brent King, spokesman for the Madison Catholic Diocese, said CTA members gave Morlino a copy of the letter Friday.

The diocese statement said Morlino hopes and prays that members of the group "return to full acceptance of the faith" that comes from the apostles.

"It also very much saddens the bishop when groups, such as Call to Action, resort to the use of the mass media to address internal family problems within the church," the statement said.  [Let’s, however, not think that the "problems" are well-founded on both sides.  One side is wrong (the dissenters) and the other is right.]

Priests start group

Asked for evidence of poor morale among priests, several of the letter signers mentioned the Association of Madison Priests. The group was formed by priests to support each other and to provide a unified voice on issues in which they differ with Morlino, according to people familiar with the group.

"They feel the need to protect each other," [They wouldn’t if they were on the right side of things.] said Joan Weiss of Prairie du Sac, a CTA leader. [May I wonder out loud what this woman could possibly have to say about what priests think?] "They’re concerned about retaliation if they speak out in opposition in any way." 

Weiss and others said the priest group began shortly after Morlino required all priests to play a taped message prior to the 2006 general election in which he spoke against stem cell research, the death penalty and same-sex marriage. Priests were told they could face serious consequences if they expressed disagreement.  [This is really it, isn’t it?  These priests oppose the Church’s teachings.  Why would should there not be consequences for these guys?]

A priest who is a leader of the association confirmed the group’s existence Saturday but said the group did not want to go public at this time[Cowards.]

Another priest who is involved but not a leader said about 50 of the 135 or so active and retired priests in the diocese formed the group "to promote sociality among priests and to formulate a response to some of the diocesan policies as expressed by the bishop."  [They formed to pressure the bishop not to be true to the Church’s teachings and to justify their own dissent.]

The priest said Morlino has tried to squelch the group. "The bishop right from the beginning said he saw no reason for such a group and has tried to torpedo it without success," he said.

The State Journal agreed to give both priests anonymity because they said they didn’t want to anger Morlino. A bishop can reassign priests to smaller parishes or take action that affects their pay and pension.  [It is entirely true that a bishop can make a priest’s life very bad indeed.  But the problem comes from… over what issues?  If the priest is demonstrably trying to be loyal to the Church’s teaching and the bishop is not, that is a different siuation.  The issues and the motives have to be explored.  I am not an adherent of "the bishop right or …. right".  Bishops need to be accountable too.  They are not untouchable.  But for me, dissent is a dealbreaker.]

King, the diocese spokesman, said Morlino has had conversations with the group’s leaders. At this point, Morlino views the group "neither negatively nor positively, but in a more exploratory way," King said.

King strongly disagrees that priest morale is a problem. "I know a lot of priests, both traditional priests and those who may be a little more progressive, and they all seem to have pretty good morale."  [Right.  This must be the case.  The other side of the coin has to be examined as well.]

Independent voice

There are 195 archdioceses and dioceses in the U.S., and each one is required to have a priest council. This group advises the bishop on governance, but the group generally is not open to all priests and the agenda usually is set by the bishop, the council’s president[Which would be abhorent to anyone who thinks that the Church should be "democratic", run like a city council.]
A priest association is much different, said Vic Doucette of the National Federation of Priests Councils in Chicago. Priest associations crop up independently, and their members set the agenda.

"It’s fairly rare," Doucette said. "I know of not even a dozen or so in the country."

In Milwaukee, a priest alliance formed about seven years ago to give members brotherly support and an independent voice, said the Rev. Dave Cooper, a founder.

The Milwaukee group’s 126 members have a good relationship with the church’s hierarchy but take opposing stands at times, Cooper said. In 2006, the priest alliance opposed a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage despite the church’s strong support of it. [Again… dissenters.   Wouldn’t like to see a priest group spring up that wasn’t a dissenting group?  I think the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy might be something like this.  And I believe none of its membership cower in the shadows like frightened little girly men.]

Cooper said he has attended one meeting of the Madison group but declined to comment more specifically.

"Some of the issues they’re dealing with are different than ours," he said. "I really can’t address that without getting into trouble or making accusations."

Critics of Morlino’s five-year tenure contend he rules through intimidation and fear and focuses too much on homosexuality and abortion to the detriment of other issues[I have warned about being alert to "code language".  When you hear Catholics express "concern" that perhaps we don’t have a nuanced enough balance of abortion with, say, "the full spectrum" of other issues, that is when your alarm bells need to sound.]

"You don’t hear him talking about the poor. [See?] You don’t hear him saying much about the war," [Why should he talk about the war?   Let’s have a guess at the age of St. Heimann, shall we?  Do you suppose she became a liberated sister around 1968?  ]  said Sister Mary Francis Heimann of Madison, a Catholic nun and one of the letter signers.

Another letter signer, Jim Beyers, who attends St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison, said he wants Morlino to respect priests in the diocese.

"He treats them like children. He’s punitive toward them," Beyers said. 

Others say Morlino inspires them with his approach and his teaching[For every three negative comments, the writer tosses in a handful of dirt from the other side.]

"We just love him," said Ron Faust of Cross Plains. "I like that he tells the truth and doesn’t back away from it. I think there are more Catholics who support him, by far, but the unhappy speak the loudest."

Morlino has riled some Catholics from the start. [Good.] Early on, he seemed to suggest in a public comment that Madison lacks public morality. [! I wonder…. is he right?  We are talking about a city with one of the most liberal schools in the country.]  (He has since said he was merely pointing out that there are few common starting points for discussions about moral reasoning in such a diverse city.)  [Note the stress on "diversity", as if the bishop is in favor of a heterogeneous society.]

Other actions, such as his service on an advisory board for a controversial Army training institute, have led some Catholics to question whether Morlino is a good fit for a diocese with many progressive Catholics.  [Oooooo….. ARRRRMMMYYYY……   baaad…   Progressivist Catholics should never have to be challenged with such a shocking idea such as, well, that the military isn’t automatically evil.]

Selection of bishops

[And now the dinosaur liberals are trotted out.]

A larger issue is whether there are any bishops other than "conservative" ones to choose from, said the Rev. Richard McBrien, a [dissenting] theology professor at the University of Notre Dame who often clashes with the Catholic Church.  [Remember his association with Call To Action?   I’ll post the photo again, just to remind you of the stellar example he gives.]

"Under Pope John Paul II, the motive was clear: Replace all progressive bishops who were formed by Vatican II with conservative bishops, and thereby change the face of the U.S. hierarchy," McBrien said. "The plan has been successful."  [Not successful enough.  McBrien still has a job at Notre Dame.]

Before 1980, bishops were appointed because they excelled at pastoral care as priests, McBrien said[What a slimey thing to say.  The implication is that men today aren’t chosen because they are "pastoral".  BTW… many times here I have written about the false dicotomy so dear to the liberals.  They oppose "pastoral" and a whole range of qualities such as "faithful" "liturgically reverent", etc.  The idea is that if you are faithful to the Church’s teachings and laws… you are unwilling to dissent or bend or break the law of the regula fidei, you are therefore not "pastoral".   The worst examples of this crap come from people who don’t have a clear sense that the word isn’t really pronounced "pastoreal".] That pattern was replaced with one in which bishops were appointed "who were uncritically loyal to the Holy See and had absolutely clean records on such issues as contraception, priestly celibacy and the ordination of women. Bishop Morlino fits the pattern."

This theory — that bishops are no more than "yes men" for the Pope — is "absurd," said Jimmy Akin, director of apologetics and evangelization for Catholic Answers in El Cajon, Calif., and a leading Catholic author.

"There is no way that the Holy See can make all of the local pastoral decisions affecting the billion-plus Catholics in the world," he said. "Those decisions are made by the bishops."  [Also involved with the liberals’ distorted vision is that there should be a radical subsidiarity, that the Holy See shouldn’t have a clear role in any "local Church", which should have even greater automony.  Bishops should be chosen locally.  Parish leaders who preside should be chosen by the community because they best exemply the community at that moment.  Blah blah.]

Terms such as "progressive" and "conservative" are drawn from politics and not useful in this discussion, Akin said. [Well… they are… sort of useful.  Especially when so many of the progressivists line up nearly perfectly with certain political parties.] "The question is not whether bishops — or any other Catholics — are progressive or conservative, but whether they are faithful to the teachings passed down from Christ and the apostles."  [True enough.]

Morlino’s fans are just as passionate as his detractors.  [A final handful of dirt from the newspaper.]

Huan Hoang of Madison said he was "a sleeper" Catholic until two years ago when he heard a Morlino homily.

"He awakened my faith," Hoang said. "He needs to know that he’s leading us to Jesus Christ, and at the end of the day, that’s the only thing that’s important."

I am of various minds about this article and the ad.

If I were Bishop Morlino, I would be sorely tempted to write back to them, through the paper, a letter something like this:

Dear People of God (as you like to be called),

Forgive me for not taking your counsel to me seriously. Or don’t forgive me. A newspaper ad? And you want to tell me how to act in a financially responsible way? The phone is cheaper. I tend to take counsel more seriously when those offering it are not engaged in a publicity stunt.

For your information, there’s a priest shortage in the Church and in this diocese. If I want to invite priests who are members of Religious Orders or or Institutes of consecrated life to staff parishes in the diocese, I will.  It is my choice to make the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite Mass more available to the faithful in this diocese who want it. Furthermore, females do not traditionally serve at the altar in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite Mass… or in the Ordinary Form if you will recall.

If some Catholics in the diocese feel better off in the Anglican Communion or in Protestant denominations, I would have thought you’d welcome their choice to join them. I certainly do, especially if their sense of Roman Catholic worship is so impoverished that they prefer Protestant worship to it. Perhaps now they and you will understand that many Catholics in this diocese have been forced for four decades to accept the scores of liturgical abuses and just plain bad taste that parish directors of liturgy, along with complicit priests, have heaped upon them.

You appeal to the "positive spirit of the Second Vatican Council." I wish you would read the Council documents, beginning with the one on the Sacred Liturgy.

Your servant in Christ,


But I am not a bishop and this fantasy letter is a merely one example of why I should never be one… nor will ever be.

Just in case you have forgotten, here is a reminder of what sort of liturgy these Call To Action disserters want.  Remember this video from the May 2008 Call To Action meeting in San Jose, CA?


Via skype this morning, I had an interesting tale from a priest about an encounter after saying Holy Mass… er um… sorry… presiding at community…

I share it here, with my emphases and comments as a good counterpoint to the lunacy of the ad and article above:

Yes, the operative word is "said."  We "presided."  [The Royal We might surprise at first, but given the source and the spirit of levity, you can make a quick adjustment and embrace it as entirely appropriate.]

Worse yet, We had a woman assault us after We presided

She’s not a bad person, a daily communicant in fact.  She taught in the parochial school for 30 years before retiring two years ago.  Her husband has taught at ___ for nearly 40 years.  They both are sincere Catholics. 

Well, she’s gone to school and is a certified "spiritual director."  One of her directees is a female bishop.  So, You can already guess what’s coming next. 

"Just why can’t women be ordained?  Don’t give me all of the answers that  I’ve heard so many times.  Here’s a woman who God has called to the priesthood and to a bishop and she would be wonderful for the Catholic Church.  And, think of all the women who, if they could be ordained, could bring the Eucharist to places where it’s not possible now, given the priest shortage." 

We were in no mood to play that game, so We asked: "If you sincerely believe what you do, why do you remain in the Church?[That is the question that must be put to them every time.]

Her answer: "We have the true Eucharist."  [With its consequences.]

Our retort: "If the Church is so corrupt that its teaching is errant, how could it possibly have the true Eucharist?  Would it not be more honest of you to become an Episcopalian which teaches the truth as you see it and would, ipso facto, have the true Eucharist that the Holy, Roman, Catholic Church has forsaken because its wedded to outdated patriarchy?  Were not the reformers like Luther far more honest than people are today who want to make the Church in their image and likeness?  Think about it: maybe God is calling you to protest…to be a Protestant…by joining the Episcopalian Church where you can have female priests, homosexual and lesbian priests, divorced priests, and lesbian bishops who have children." 

She was not happy with us but We are beyond wasting Our time on this feces

As you can tell, dear readers, I am in a bit of a mood.

I applaud Bishop Morlino, therefore, all the more loudly for what he has been doing.   If some lefty-dissenters don’t like him …. well… tough. 

Wake up and smell the incense.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Andy K. says:

    Yeah, the Milwaukee Priests Alliance is more or less the dissenting priest group.
    They list among their members Fr. Bryan Massingale, the professor at MU who has spoken against the Church.

    Three of those priests say Mass at my former home parish, and I have been subject to three other priests saying Mass. None of them are pretty, and none of them can be considered, in any way, shape, or form, orthodox.

  2. aalex1 says:

    Bishop Morlino is accused of being too Catholic, believing that the Church has a duty to teach righteousness and justice. These old lefties have had their way for decades. Their time is slowly but surely running out. \”Que Viva el Obispo Morlino!!!”

  3. Barb says:

    I am overjoyed to see so many of our bishops taking up their staves and starting to bash the wolves! Ain’t it
    loverly!? The wolves aren’t happy of course. Don’t be so much disgusted by the evils as you can be pleased
    by the justice that is finally emerging here.

    Fiat Voluntas Tua

  4. Rose in NE says:

    Is it any wonder that Bishop Bruskewitz excommunicated members of Call to Action in his diocese (Lincoln,NE)? These people do not seem to be Catholic at all–they just use the church to further their agenda.

    God bless Bishop Morlino.

  5. canad says:

    It appears that the link to the CTA ‘mass’ is not working. Here is another link if found to it:

  6. QC says:

    I find it appropriate that they seem to always find themselves at UU churches. There is a Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists place near me and as we pass it, a friend of mine likes to say, (a la Mr. T), “I pity the FUUs.”

  7. TJB says:

    I found this bit from the Diocese website to be fitting. In the explanation of Bp Morlino’s coat of arms:

    “For his motto, His Excellency has selected the phrase Visus Non Mentietur. This phrase, which is taken from the Second Chapter of the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk (2:3), is translated, “the vision will not disappoint.” In these words, His Excellency expresses the solid foundation of all Christian doctrine: the revelation of Jesus Christ is the only sure anchor of our hope, the only vision that will never disappoint.”

  8. Katherine Therese says:

    “a national organization of Catholics whose positions on issues such as women’s ordination and priest celibacy are at odds with church hierarchy.”

    As if it were just a matter of difference of opinion. Whenever I read stuff like this I can feel my blood pressure go up.

  9. Volpius says:

    They should just make all these extra-hierarchical groups illegal in canon law, they are 99% of the time subversive organisations trying to destroy the Church and overthrow Her leadership. You can see the communist influence almost immediately.

    Simple fact is they are only formed because the people in question cannot get their own way with the hierarchy in place and so try and circumvent it by setting up there own group with the aim of intimidating the Bishop to pressure him into surrendering to them.

    The Bishops response should be like that of any Father to a rebellious son trying to take over his house, “I am the Father here, if you don’t like there is the door”.

    That response to the woman banging on about women priests was perfect and is exactly what needs to be said to these people, they are not in communion with us and its time the illusion that they are is well and truly dispelled.

  10. Ave Maria says:

    Yes, the sort of dissenting, disunitive mindset that caused many to take out an ad in the NY Times to dissent Humanae Vitae is still kicking–aging but kicking. Makes me think of another kind of kicking that I wish could be done. These folks have helped millions to leave the faith by their disingenious behavior. Many infiltrated and corrupted schools and parishes and orders. Thanks to attrition, they are growing smaller in number but they are not silent yet.

    God bless all faithful bishops and with such persecution, may they see that it conforms them to Christ and the servant is never above the Master.

  11. Fr. James says:

    Dear Father,
    Great comments. Sounds like the good bishop is doing his job. The dissenters are growing desperate. They know the “agents of change” are now the orthodox. Let’s keep up the pressure and begin to fix the messes they have made.

  12. Simon Platt says:

    Good for Bishop Morlino!

    Is it just my perception, or are bishops showing more leadership than they used to?

    My own bishop, Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster, England, has certainly been showing strong leadership, and has recently written to our diocesan caring services charity in a Zuhlsdorfian vein which I admire almost beyond words! The context is a new law which will force catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales to accept homosexual couples as adoptive parents. Bishop O’Donoghue is not standing for it, he has instructed the trustees of the “Catholic Caring Services” to take steps to retain their catholic identity, they have defied him, and he sent them an ultimatum last week which has also been made public. The bishop’s letter is available here.

    For me the high point of his letter is this:

    I would imagine that many of you may consider my insistence on these actions harsh and even extreme, but this would be to underestimate the seriousness of your decision to reject, thus far, the teaching of the Catholic Church, and your failure to uphold your responsibility as trustees of a Catholic agency. Surely you must have realised that when you made such a decision there would be tragic consequences!

    Today Bishop O’Donoghue and the chief executive of the “Catholic” Caring Services appeared on BBC national radio. His lordship was insistent, the chief exec., defiant. So I guess the “Catholic” Caring Services’ days are numbered. The bishop plans to recover monies from them and set up a new adoption agency. Please pray for him!

  13. BobP says:

    Just tell them their Masses are invalid and maybe they’ll finally get it.

    No, I’m not serious but I think the threat will drive home a point.

  14. opey124 says:

    “yes men”? Is that what the priests and bishops who are faithful are called?
    Oh well. Many are called, but few are chosen. It is encouraging when Bishops speak out. I pray his diocese has a lot more called to vocation. The truth is very appealing.

  15. TNCath says:

    GO BISHOP MORLINO!!! This has made my day!

  16. “You must also be in communion with our clergy and people.” Actually, it’s the other way around.

  17. Brian says:

    “We need more compassion not dismissal,” the letter says.

    We need more compassion for the millions of unborn innocents whose right to life is dismissed.

  18. Fr. Z,

    For three years now I have been discerning a vocation to the priesthood with the Augustinians. By the end of this calendar year I will be making my decision. I still do not know which way it will go, as there is a girl in the picture, but reading posts like this do influence me to lean towards the priesthood. The truth is that while this post is angering, to be sure, it is also hopeful, because as there really is a movement of young people, and I’d like to still include myself in that group, though by now I’m 31, who are truly faithful to Church teaching, who allow our consciences to be fully formed by the Truth as taught by the Catholic Church, and who long for liturgical excellence so as to enhance our worship and draw us closer to Almighty God. When I see this movement, I can’t help but think that perhaps I might help lead this younger generation so longing for orthodoxy in the priesthood. I don’t know what my decision will be, as I said, though I know the direction I am leaning. I appreciate your own courage in standing up for Christ and His Church, and I ask you and your readers to please keep my own discernment in your prayers (I know I’ve asked you via e-mail before). Kudos to Bp. Morlino, and to the growing number of bishops in the American Catholic Church willing to stand up in the face of the attacks of the “progressives.” I thank God that their movement seems to be a dying one, which is why Satan is making so much noise with them. The desperate in battle often scream the loudest. God bless you, Father, and our Holy Mother Church.

    In Christ,
    Michael Hallman

  19. Thomas says:

    For every one of these frauds who lament that their bishops and popes aren’t all more like Pope John XXIII, I wish they had gotten their way. But somehow I think they’d quickly turn on Blessed John, too, when they realized that there would never be a Novus Ordo for them to desacrate.

    These deceitful little modernist trolls will use anyone (Pope John) and anything (VCII) to further their demonic agenda, and that’s all it is, USING THEM. They have no love for anyone but themselves and their own self-affirmation.

    I will never understand these people. To get their way in the Church they will undermine the Church herself. To get priestesses they would force the pope to use his authority to overturn papal authority. They want him to infallibly state that he is fallible. If it wasn’t for the popes and bishops and priests throughout history who taught them the Faith, they wouldn’t know who Jesus Christ is, but then they turn around and say these churchmen speak falsely about Him.

    Whether these heretics know it or not, their goal isn’t the renewal of the Church, but the destruction of the Church, and their inspiration isn’t heavenly, but Satanic.

  20. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Thank you, Father Z! I live in an area where a Catholic pastor has run a open letter to the Pope asking for recognition of same-sex marriage on his blog. Right now he is running posts that, thinly veiled, support Obama (directing readers to Doug Kmeic articles before they make voting decisions). I sometimes feel like Kevin McCarthy at the end of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” but since I live in Massachusetts, nobody stops their car or listens. Please come to my state some time and rant!

  21. Steve K. says:

    There is no doubt that the Church is coming under heavier attack than ever before in this country – the Enemy knows his time is short – and there is no doubt groups like CTA are Quislings who serve the Enemy. Pray a rosary tonight for brave Bishop Morlino!

  22. canad says:

    I believe this is what Churchill said on the matter:

    Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of Call to Action and all the odious apparatus of the Adversary, we shall not flag or fail.

    We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
    we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
    we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Saviour, whatever the cost may be,
    we shall fight on the beaches,
    we shall fight on the landing grounds,
    we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
    we shall fight in the hills;
    we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Church or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Catholic Church beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the Vicar of Christ, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the Son of Man, with all his power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

  23. Jacques says:

    The fruits of Vatican II…
    I remember when I was child attending the catechism courses: Our old parish priest said once that the highest virtue of a Christian is OBEDIENCE.
    It’s useless to say this was before the council.
    The medication is simple but I doubt it will be ever administered:
    “They disagree with the Church? They are free to leave, the doors are widely opened, nobody is keeping them”.

  24. John Enright says:

    “We need more compassion not dismissal” speaks volumes about the thought processes which resulted in this insulting and misguided pseudo-lecture to Bp. Morlino. The authors apparently misinterpret “compassion” as moral relativism, and therefore, object because the Bishop adheres to the orthodox tenet that some actions are intrinsically wrong. Just another bunch of cafeteria “catholics” (with a small “c”) with self-inflated egos thinking that they can bully the Church. If they had their way, they’d probably change Genesis to read that God was created in the image of man.

  25. John Enright says:

    To Massachusetts Catholic:

    Maybe you have to follow in the footsteps of Bp. Morlino and do a little ranting of your own! It is sad, because New England is such a very pretty part of the country, yet it is not a very comfortable place to stay. I’ve spent time in Mass, RI, Conn. and the rest. Not only are the winters chilly, but the people can be very frigid when they find out that you support conservative moral values on issues such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, same-sex unions, etc. Hard to believe that the Settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were Puritans.

  26. Fr. Michael says:

    Such a sorry state of things. These priests of the Diocese of Madison need to remember that they already belong to a priest society, it’s called the Presbyterate.

    They have forgotten the beautiful essence of kneeling before the ordaining bishop and promising “respect and obedience”.

    1. H.E. Morlino has an M.A. from Notre Dame.
    2. The archbishop of Hartford, CT is Henry Mansell. He is responsible for the assignment of the priests of his diocese.

  27. Virgil says:

    The issue these folks have with +Morlino is not his orthodoxy or Traditional style. It is his politics, or rather the fact that he tends to conflate Catholicism with whatever issue the Republican Party of Wisconsin lists among its talking points, and then to profane the Eucharist by requiring that his political tirades to be played back in the context of the sacred liturgy.

    I agree with Bishop Morlino’s theology. I even agree with most of his politics. But I will not offer respect to a man who asks his priests to commit liturgical abuse.

    These Call to Action folks are the ones who are calling us to action. If we take our Church seriously, we will do two things:

    (1) We will vote, well informed on Her teaching.

    (2) We will worship the Lord Jesus Christ when we attend Mass.

  28. EDG says:

    Steve K. I think groups like “Call to Action” and these mysterious groups of dissident priests are quislings – who expect to be rewarded for their treachery. I’m sure the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh (I believe it was) who were telling their followers to report to the IRS any priests they had heard discussing political issues (such as the positions of a candidate on Catholic moral teaching, a generally legitimate topic for a priest or bishop) hope that this is going to shut down individual parishes or get rid of individual orthodox priests or even bishops. It will also make Catholic doctrine a forbidden topic for Catholic homilies, since virtually everything can have some political aspect, and will make it impossible for the Catholic Church to use matters of doctrinal fidelity in hiring or appointing to Church positions. And then this wonderful group, the new American Catholic Church, led by the Archbishop Sister Snowflake, will simply step in, just as the Anglicans simply took over the Catholic Church in England by driving out all of the faithful Catholics and changing their own allegiance. So it’s been done before.

  29. John Enright says:

    Sorry, Virgil, but I have to disagree with you. The issues addressed by the Bishop are moral issues, not political issues. I realize that in politics, most – if not all – moral issues will have a political analog. The Bishop is right to proclaim Catholic beliefs publicly and to correct those who misrepresent them. That’s not politics; that’s a Bishop who is doing his job.

    I’m happy that you intend to vote “well informed” regarding Catholic belief. How can you discern the truth of Catholic belief unless you listen to Her teachers – the Bishops?

    You said “[w]e will worship the Lord Jesus Christ when we attend Mass.” I’m not entirely clear about your meaning in this instance. Do you intend to ignore Him outside of Mass?

  30. Virgil,

    Can you elaborate as to the liturgical abuses that the Bishop is demanding of his priests? Do you consider fidelity to the liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church to be an abuse? How are the Call to Action folks helping people to form their consciences according to the true and correct teachings of the Roman Catholic Church when they specifically dissent from those very same teachings?

    I understand that you are attempting to be provocative, but in true apologetic form if you have a position to take, please take care to explain it using reference to Tradition, including the Magesterium, Scripture, in conjunction with our God-given gifts of reason. Otherwise your statements will lack any ability to edify, and certainly will be deficient when it comes to encouraging fruitful discussion.

  31. dcs says:

    Why should he talk about the war?

    I have no sympathy for dissenting priests, call to action types, and those who oppose the Church’s teaching on contraception, homosexuality, and abortion. That said, given that the Holy Father has spoken about the war it seems reasonable for a bishop to do so as well. Of course maybe His Excellency has spoken about the war, just not as much as his detractors would like.

  32. *snif* – thanks for the puke-pan Fr. Z. It came in handy. I had to use it a second time after making the mistake of pushing the play button on that video. It took me three months to get rid of the puppet nightmares the last time and now there will be a reoccurrence. Thanks alot!

  33. Lucia says:

    To add to all that is awful about this letter, they used an unnecessary comma after the phrase “…Jesus Christ the Priest”.

    Not that grammar is the main point. I’m just sayin’.

  34. Richard says:

    Hello Virgil,

    The issue these folks have with +Morlino is not his orthodoxy or Traditional style. It is his politics, or rather the fact that he tends to conflate Catholicism with whatever issue the Republican Party of Wisconsin lists among its talking points, and then to profane the Eucharist by requiring that his political tirades to be played back in the context of the sacred liturgy.

    Pope Pius XI ordered all priests in Germany to read his encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge (which had to be smuggled into Germany) condemning Nazi race doctrines from the pulpit.

    Was Pope Pius XI profaning the Eucharist by doing so?

  35. Mary in CO says:

    Bishop Morlino isn’t likely to respond to the local CTA malcontents in the town newspaper. I’m rooting for the faithful to publish their own response in the same paper, in support of their shepherd!

    Fr. Z, your hypothetical letter in response reminded me of a book entitled Mitre and Crook by Fr. Bryan Houghton. The protagonist is a bishop who decides to stop liturgical abuses in his diocese. The book is a series of witty letters by the bishop written to friends and detractors. Wonderful book!

    God bless Bishop Morlino, and all our bishops, priests, religious, and seminarians (hope you join their ranks, Michael!).

  36. Joseph says:

    Virgil, i don’t know if you live in the Diocese of Madison, but i do. The Bishop had priests in his diocese play a cassette/cd during their homilies talking about gay marriage and the Catholic Church’s teachings on it. i’m no cannon law expert, but i’m pretty sure that informing your flock when priests refuse to talk about such issues (my own pastor was rather upset that he was being forced to do this) is in no way a liturgical abuse. It is my opinion that Bishop Morlino will usher in a new age of orthodoxy and morality to the Church of southern Wisconsin and, pray to God, to Madison. I’ll watch this Diocese’s number of seminarians continue to defy national averages (and especially those of less orthodox dioceses).

  37. ds says:

    I went to a Mass in the Diocese of Madison this morning and was treated to something that I have never heard in all my life, a Homily about the 1968 Humane Vitae Encylcial, a homily that talked about the sin of artifical contraception.

    I have only been to three parishes in the diocese over a period of several years and have known to a degree 5 priests and 1 deacon of the diocese, a small sample to be sure, but 100% orthodox every of them, same goes for my seminarian friend from there, btw the number of seminarians has really took off since Bishop Morlino came in. If you recall a few years ago when the graudating senior at St. Thomas in MN gave the speech at graduation condemning contraception, he is a seminarian of the Madison diocese as well (though I don’t know him.)

    With the exception of the city of Madison itself, most of the diocese is little farm towns with little parishes and people are mostly politically conservative and probably more orthodox in their leaning than the average Catholic, as for the city of Madison itself, it may be the “People’s Republic” but all the priests that I know of working in the city are top notch, it is not a kingdom of spirit of Vatican II liberals. Indeed it is a great irony that one of the most liberal cities in America, in the same leauge as San Fran, would be home of one of the best, reform of the reform, John Paul Generation, B-XVI Marshal Plan, pick your term, dioceses in North America.

    Bishop Morlino is one of the best in the USA, for those of you feeling some withdrawl with Raymond Burke (former Bishop of LaCrosse) in Rome now, look to Madison! Something about Wisconsin and good bishops, after so many years of R. Weakland, we started getting real wondeful Bishops.

  38. Giovanni says:


    I will remember you in my daily prayers. I oftentimes get discouraged due to living in a heavily protestantized diocese with few if any priests who say Mass reverently and are faithful to the Magesterium. But then I hear of young men like you discerning a call to the priesthood and my spirits are lifted.

  39. I say that those who are able can write a letter to Bishop Morlino thanking him for his work.

  40. mpm says:

    “The priest said Morlino has tried to squelch the group. ‘The bishop right from
    the beginning said he saw no reason for such a group and has tried to torpedo it
    without success,’ he said.”

    One question. Did the failure result from bad homing devices or bad explosives?
    Maybe I can help!

  41. Jordanes says:

    Joseph said: Virgil, i don’t know if you live in the Diocese of Madison, but i do. The Bishop had priests in his diocese play a cassette/cd during their homilies talking about gay marriage and the Catholic Church’s teachings on it. i’m no cannon law expert, but i’m pretty sure that informing your flock when priests refuse to talk about such issues (my own pastor was rather upset that he was being forced to do this) is in no way a liturgical abuse.

    Yep, Virgil is completely off base here. The tape of his homily on homosexual pseudomarriage was no liturgical abuse. As for Bishop Morlino allegedly taking his positions from the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s talking points, the bishop can hardly be blamed that the Wisconsin Republicans happen to agree with Jesus on the issue of homosexual pseudomarriage. Perhaps the bishop’s critics are conflating Catholicism with the Democratic Party’s talking points? (Considering his critics include CTA, I’d say that’s pretty likely.)

    I’ve never visited the Diocese of Madison, but have had the misfortunate of going to Mass three times in the wasteland created by Archbishop Weakland. It’ll take a long time to fix the damage he did there, and until the liturgy improves in that archdiocese, whenever we visit we’ll be sure to go only to the traditional Latin Mass.

  42. Tony Kaiser says:

    mpm: One question. Did the failure result from bad homing devices or bad explosives? Maybe I can help!

    Likely neither. Perhaps it was a result of using a defective MkII Mod 2 “Novus Ordo” fuze ;) (FTR, I don’t subscribe to the “NO=No Mass” theory.)

  43. Fr. John says:

    Thanks for posting the video stream of the CTA Mass. Are you sure that was a CTA Mass? Looks more like Mardi Gras to me, especially with the big puppets.

  44. Mandzok says:

    “..You don’t hear him saying much about the war,” [Why should he talk about the war?…]”

    Did not the Holy Father state that the war in Iraq is an unjust war? If the Holy Father did make such a statement, would not this be grounds for addressing the war in Iraq? If the Holy Father, speaking on behalf of all Catholics, stated that the war is immoral, then there is reason for every priest to speak of it.

  45. Jordanes says:

    Mandzok, remember that Pope Ratzinger before his election explained that “if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. . . . There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war . . . .”

    Given that there may be a legitimate diversity of opinion on the question of the war in Iraq, but none on the issue of homosexual pseudomarriage, I can see why Bishop Morlino has addressed the latter issue with clarity and emphasis but not the former.

  46. Thomas says:

    Pray ,hope and don’t worry. Pick a saint to intercede for our good bishop—– and then don’t give up praying.

  47. Amadan says:

    “Jimmy Aiken,…. leading Catholic author”


    McBrien is a heretic and an amateur but in a fight like this, why bother sending out the cannon fodder. Run him over!

  48. Jessica says:

    ds, I work in the Diocese of Madison, and would like to send a thank you to the priest who preached on Humanae Vitae. Could you email the information to Thanks!

  49. Mandzok says:

    Jordanes wrote, “…There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war . . . .”

    While I understand the statement, if the Holy Father specifically stated the this war (as opposed to war in general) is immoral, how could a Catholic downplay such an opinion.

    Not to be downgrading, I found the statement, “Why should he speak of the war,” flippant. If the Holy Father stated that the war is immoral, then there is a reason for a Bishop or parish priest to speak of it.

  50. Just War Theory says:

    Just because a Pope takes the position that a particular war is unjust does not
    mean that there still do not exist just wars. If a country has a ways and means
    of assisting a people who are being oppressed and murdered, and they stand idly
    by, what will God’s judgement be? If we allow murder of innocent unborn, what
    judgement do we deserve?

    As for a just war in Iraq, the tally of how many were killed by Saddam is as follows:

    “Kill tally: Approaching two million, including between 150,000 and 340,000 Iraqi and between 450,000 and 730,000 Iranian combatants killed during the Iran-Iraq War. An estimated 1,000 Kuwaiti nationals killed following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. No conclusive figures for the number of Iraqis killed during the Gulf War, with estimates varying from as few as 1,500 to as many as 200,000. Over 100,000 Kurds killed or “disappeared”. No reliable figures for the number of Iraqi dissidents and Shia Muslims killed during Hussein’s reign, though estimates put the figure between 60,000 and 150,000. (Mass graves discovered following the US occupation of Iraq in 2003 suggest that the total combined figure for Kurds, Shias and dissidents killed could be as high as 300,000). Approximately 500,000 Iraqi children dead because of international trade sanctions introduced following the Gulf War. ”

    My husband has seen some of those mass graves. People were thankful to be able
    to simply find out how their family members were killed…so thankful for the US
    and British in 2003 that they came and told priests their stories about being able
    to find out how their mother died…

    So my question is, if the liberals of Madison do not want a Bishop talking about
    the immorality of killing the unborn or using embryonic stem cells, why ask him to talk about
    the war? They certainly are not mentioning the war in order to get his opinion.
    They are simply trying to get something else to attack him with.

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