Bp. Morlino’s (D. Madison) full statement available

As promised, the statement from the Bishop of Madison, WI,  H.E. Most Rev. Robert Morlino, is now available in toto on the website of the diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Herald (of Madison, of course).

I had a few previews of the Bishop of Madison’s statements yesterday.

Bp. Morlino is clear that he is addressing himself to the people only within the Diocese of Madison.  We can still listen in.

In view of the chaos in Madison right now, Morlino adds another dimension to the discourse of the collected bishops in the State of Wisconsin.

Here is another taste (my emphases):

To the documents quoted by Archbishop Listecki I would also offer a quotation from the encyclical of Pope John Paul II, Laborem Exercens, which gives us even more “food for thought” on this matter:

“Just efforts to secure the rights of workers who are united by the same profession should always take into account the limitations imposed by the general economic situation of the country. Union demands cannot be turned into a kind of group or class ‘egoism,’ although they can and should also aim at correcting — with a view to the common good of the whole of society — everything defective in the system of ownership of the means of production or in the way these are managed. Social and socioeconomic life is certainly like a system of ‘connected vessels,’ and every social activity directed towards safeguarding the rights of particular groups should adapt itself to this system.

“In this sense, union activity undoubtedly enters the field of politics, understood as prudent concern for the common good. However, the role of unions is not to ‘play politics’ in the sense that the expression is commonly understood today. Unions do not have the character of political parties struggling for power; they should not be subjected to the decision of political parties or have too close links with them. In fact, in such a situation they easily lose contact with their specific role, which is to secure the just rights of workers within the framework of the common good of the whole of society; instead they become an instrument used for other purposes.”

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  1. xgenerationcatholic says:

    Does this mean I am not a bad Catholic if I support Scott Walker? Teachers hardly work in sweatshops, for Pete’s sake! I have a hard time with why our bishops are jumping into this at all. Isn’t it the laity’s job to sanctify the world, while our bishops are supposed to issue statements getting people back to Confession, to follow the Church’s laws concerning marriage, to strengthen reverence for the Eucharist, etc…?

  2. lacrossecath says:

    The media took the original statement made by the Wisconsin Catholic Conference and contorted it to their own benefit. WCC is run by liberals so likely that was their hope. But I think His Excellency makes it quite clear that if what the union is asking for is not “fair” then they need not and should not be supported. Teachers make an average of 70k per year for 9 months of work and contribute 0% for a full pension and benefits galore(including Viagra coverage). Bp Morlino states that people cannot be relativistic about this. Either that is fair or unfair that teachers are compensated as such. Common sense is not fashionable in Madison these days so I expect most to go cross-eyed when reading the statement.

  3. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:


    Bishop Morlino indicates that the Wisconsin Catholic Council has chosen a neutral position, and that he is simply giving some relevant information for the reader to make a decision. He points out that both sides of the argument have some valid points that would bring good about, so a Catholic could easily choose either in good conscience.

  4. MikeM says:

    I agree with everything Bp. Morlino says here… I still have reservations about some of the “pro-union” views of the Church hierarchy as applied to major US unions. I’m all for workers getting together when discussing terms of employment. That’s an entirely healthy thing to do. I cannot, however, bring myself to view unions in this country as anything besides organized crime rings. They vandalized my block when I was a little kid because the Lutheran Church on the corner hired non-union roofers… and my uncles were non-union roofers who had to deal with union thugs. I haven’t seen much out of unions in this country to make me feel any better about them then I did when they made me dislike them when I was four.

    I also can’t help but think that any system besides a “right to work” system is a human rights violation.

  5. Supertradmum says:

    Wonderful Bishop, and God bless him abundantly.

  6. chironomo says:

    It seems that there is a significant diference between unions which protect “human rights” (agricultural workers, garment manufacturing, etc…) in those industries which have historically been places of severe abuse, and the unionization of Government workers by unions which are, for all practical purposes, orginizational arms of the Democrat/ Progressive political parties in this country. As was noted above, these aren’t exactly sweatshop conditions, and the “rights” which are supposedly being protected are hardly minimally acceptable working conditions.

    I am a staunch supporter of our Bishop’s (Frank Dewane) efforts to lift up the working conditions of my state’s agricultural workers, an industry which is rife with human trafficking, actual slavery, and in the best of cases, very poor and wrteched working conditions. These people have actual grievances. A teacher who makes 86K + almost fully paid benefits and pension who doesn’t want to pitch in another 3% to their pension and a few more dollars to their medical (which is still far less than private sector workers have to contribute)…. I would say let them go work down here in the strawberry and tomato fields for a few weeks, then get back on the picket line…

  7. Cricket says:

    What is seldom heard over the present din of “class egoism,” as Bishop Morlino calls it, is the fact that most WI public employees earn 8% less than their counterparts in the private sector. Our benefits are good, it’s true, but wages have dipped below the rate of inflation every year since 1978. Still, our union representatives have repeatedly offered to make concessions that would significantly help to relieve the budget deficit. Most public employees are in favor of this, & recognize the moral need to “share the load,” so long as basic collective bargaining rights are preserved for future generations of workers. I just want people to know there’s more to the story than what’s being reported in the mainstream media.

  8. JohnW says:

    I myself have been a public employee for over thirty years. I don’t think that most people take into consideration how it is to work under elected officials. Most politians are just passing thru, we the workers are there for a life time. I have worked with and without collective bargaining. We as public workers only want some say about working conditions. I am proud of being a union firefighter. I also know how politians are unaccountable while in office. They answer to no one until an election. The public will elect them over and over.

  9. Katherine says:

    It seems that there is a significant diference between unions which protect “human rights” (agricultural workers, garment manufacturing, etc…) in those industries which have historically been places of severe abuse, …. As was noted above, these aren’t exactly sweatshop conditions, and the “rights” which are supposedly being protected are hardly minimally acceptable working conditions.

    First of all, agricultural workers are (sadly) excluded from the National Labor Relations Act.

    I don’t see how one can reconcile the Church’s teaching that labor unions are a natural law right and a proper, ordinary and normative method of employer – employee relations and an admirable expression of fraternity among workers with the suggestion that unions are something barely tolerated only under the most abnormal and severe abuse and in extreme “sweat-shop” conditions.

  10. lacrossecath says:


    The plan being pushed in WI does not affect collective bargaining for salary, only for benefits which as you said are “good.” I think the idea is the benefits system in place today is unsustainable and needs to be modernized which seems “fair” to me. That’s the real issue here, the benefits package to union workers is unfair to the taxpayer and if continued the state would have to borrow money from their children to pay it’s outlandish costs. Nobody has children anymore so the idea of a traditional pension is not compatible with the small family sizes of today’s families.

  11. Brad says:

    From the inside y’all: I quit my union (which was nigh impossible) because I realized that I would have to go to confession for mortal sins if I personally did what my union does with my monthly dues. Nuff said?

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