UPDATE on the dust up in the Diocese of Madison and YOUR signs of support

Some time ago I wrote here about the sad situation in Platteville, WI, in the Diocese of Madison where His Excellency Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino is bishop.

As you may remember, some liberals got their knickers in a knot about a group of good, orthodox priests who made some changes in parishes. The dissidents caused problems, harmed the financial well-being of a parish in such a way that they had to close their parish school. Bishop Morlino weighed in a with a letter to try to resolve the tensions.  The liberals did the spittle-flecked thing, as they are wont to do when Catholic bishops act like Catholic bishops. Even the Fishwrap staged a nutty about the affair.

In any event, along the way I made a suggestion that some of you might want to send a donation to the diocese as a sign of moral and concrete support for the bishop and those priests who were viciously demonized by the lefties.

It seems that you responded to me suggestion generously.

A new development:

Today emails have come in from readers all over the place who receive a thank you note from Bishop Morlino. His letter, necessarily generic because of the number of addresses, was really nice.  I suspect that the letter came with another note for taxes and so forth.

If you want to have a look at the letter, click the image for a larger version or go HERE.

You can STILL send signs of support, by the way, and you can designate to which fund or institution you want them to be applied.

Click HERE.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. DisturbedMary says:

    And with your spirit.

  2. AnAmericanMother says:

    Letter came in the mail yesterday afternoon.
    Bishop Morlino continues to demonstrate that he is a good bishop!

  3. AnAmericanMother says:

    Forgot to mention that my daughter, who is visiting, had a good point:
    When you live in a place like the People’s Republic of Madison, it’s easy to forget that there’s another world out there and that you’re not really in a minority. So support for folks in the trenches is important.

  4. inara says:

    The good Bishop’s letter was the highlight of my day! How kind of him to offer Mass for the families & intentions of those who sent donations (whether monetary or spiritual). And, yes, a separate tax receipt was included.

  5. frjim4321 says:

    I understand the plight of bishops who need priests in order to staff their parishes, and I also understand that bishops cannot conjure up priests out of thin air. One must choose from what is available. So, for example, we see foreign priests being brought to U.S. dioceses who have very little understanding of the culture in which they are serving. [Let’s do this again. You have either ignored or forgotten the make up of the group, which you are suggesting – ungraciously and without any personal knowledge – as being sub-standard. Dishonesty?] But missionaries have done that for a long time. To a certain extend I don’t think parishioners have much of a leg to stand out regarding the quality of their priests if they at the same time fail to encourage young people to consider religious vocations. At the same time, the priests that went into this particular church seemed to have an agenda beyond that of simply serving the needs of the people there; it seems that they had a mission to install a certain hyper-traditionalist ethos [ROFL!] which was very much at odds with the previous pastoral care of the people there. Many other dioceses chose not to get involved with this order of priests, and it is possible that the bishops there chose wisely. [I think I am starting to run out of patience.]

  6. frjim4321 says:

    extend= extent
    out = on

  7. DisturbedMary says:

    Into every comment box a little rain must fall.

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    Fr Jim, I live in Madison and I assure you that you have a mistaken understanding of the situation. These are high quality priests liked and respected by the Catholics I know here, very much acting in accord with the will of their bishop, and faithful to what the Church asks of all priests, for instance in Redemptionis Sacramentum. Bishop Morlino is very happy with the SJCP priests. At the Cathedral Parish also and St Paul’s on the UW campus there are no EMHCs. The SJCP priests are diocesan priests, members of a Secular Institute.

  9. mschu528 says:

    AnAmericanMother said:
    “When you live in a place like the People’s Republic of Madison, it’s easy to forget that there’s another world out there and that you’re not really in a minority. ”

    While your comment about the P.R. of Madison certain isn’t inaccurate, I think most people around the country would be very surprised at how strong a community there is here in Madison of good, faithful Catholics. And thanks be to God for the wonderful bishop He has given us (and for the holy priests of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest — wonderful confessors, always have reverent Masses, wholly dedicated to spreading the Truth of the Gospel. I wish we had even more of them in the diocese)!

  10. wmeyer says:

    “At the same time, the priests that went into this particular church seemed to have an agenda beyond that of simply serving the needs of the people there”

    Gosh, I hope they did. Otherwise, they could hardly be shepherding their flock. I would be gravely disappointed in any priest who simply delivered whatever the pastoral committee desired, and who failed to teach as the Church teaches.

  11. wmeyer says:

    “When you live in a place like the People’s Republic of Madison, it’s easy to forget that there’s another world out there and that you’re not really in a minority.”

    You don’t have to live in Madison to see such things. My own parish is so inward looking that they have all but abandoned any thought of Rome, the Magisterium, or the CCC. Their sources of inspiration are well known dissidents: Rohr, Chittister, McBrien, et al.

  12. LUCILIUS says:

    I’m living in Austria right now. Makes the U.S. look like a bastion of orthodoxy. You should hear the way they speak about the Holy Father and Rome. I used to be a lot harder on the pope for not cracking down on dissidents. Now I see how he could be fearing a real schism. It is truly frightening when you live with other priests and religious and you are made to wonder if you share the same religion.

  13. AnnAsher says:

    “knickers in a knot” “spittle flecked nutty” I love your expressions.

  14. Minima says:

    Fr. Jim,
    I wonder whether you know the intention of these priests or what is in their hearts? These “foreign priests” (with the funniest of accents from New Jersey) know the American culture only too well; but they also know something that many Americans miss: love to the point of death. They are willing to do what is difficult and unpopular (perhaps that is now called “hyper-traditional?”) because they love their people and Jesus Christ most of all.

    It is truly incomprehensible to me that anyone could not love the priests of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, but it is I who am the fool for being surprised. Jesus was crucified for His love, and we should neither expect nor want anything else for ourselves. I pray that I will have an everlasting lifetime to thank these priests for being my steady Fathers, sacrificing themselves for little me in battle. Be assured of my prayers for you.

  15. poohbear says:

    To a certain extend I don’t think parishioners have much of a leg to stand out regarding the quality of their priests if they at the same time fail to encourage young people to consider religious vocation.

    I do have to agree with this comment by frjim4321, although I probably am thinking of a different end of the spectrum than he.

    At the same time, I hope the Holy Father sends my now bishop-less diocese a bishop like Bp Morlino. Many prayers for all the Bishops out there!

  16. The Sicilian Woman says:

    How else would this situation have become publicized, other than through a lefty lens, and the parish have received the support from your readers that it has, if you hadn’t been called to your vocation and its path? Happy Ordination Anniversary, indeed.

    [We can’t let the entrenched liberals retain total control of all the reporting of every story. There is an alternative media now.]

  17. Bryan Boyle says:

    Wow…a bishop who knows how to Bish! :) Found the letter in my mailbox this morning…sheesh, never even hear from my own unless it’s for the yearly appeal. Have to hear from one from half a continent away for what was, I’m sure, my modest offering of treasure along with a holy hour and rosary for his sanctification.

    As to agenda…I’ll echo Mr. Meyer’s comment. I do hope the priests he assigned have an agenda: bring people closer to Christ and expel the demons of humanism and self-reverential nonsense. It’s obvious they do. And God bless them for it. Because, it’s obvious the polyester pantsuited ya-ya hippiehooded former agenda wasn’t bearing fruit of the kind that brings life…cleaning out the Augean Stables of most ‘modern’ parishes must be an incredible task…but one that must be done.

  18. jilly4ski says:

    In a way maybe Fr. Jim is right. Maybe their “agenda” is to follow their statutes as a society (I am unclear on their actual canonical status). Thus while they are indeed there to serve the people of that parish, their first priority is to the life of their society. I know a Franciscan (I know that is a little higher up the line, canonically from what these priests are) who served at a parish. They would leave right after Mass or leave the confessional, for evening prayer with their brothers. This is as it was supposed to be, because they first had an obligation to their superior and their order. So the “pastoral” needs of the parish seemed to be of lesser importance. But, again this is how it should be, otherwise why have these societies or religious orders, if they don’t follow their statutes, constitutions, or Rules?
    I suppose a bishop should indeed make sure that priests that are brought in are suitable for parish life, but nothing these priests have done or not done suggests that they are unsuitable, merely different than the prevailing “liturgical culture.” Our priest today preached about getting out of our comfort zone in regards to listening to the Holy Spirit and being open to the gift of the HS.
    He is from Mexico (incardinated in this diocese), he is the administrator of my parish right now, and was just made pastor of a parish in very white, rural Minnesota. Would one question the bishop’s move as far as this appointment, just because he is “foreign” and has a heavy accent, going to an area that may be a little less hospitable to those of his nationality? The bishop maybe calling the people of this parish to grow in charity and love of those different from them, as maybe bishop Morlino is calling the people of these parishes to expand their horizons, their understandings of the Church and God. Maybe the Holy Spirit is calling them out of their comfort zone, so they can be open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

  19. frjim4321 says:

    No, basically simply I believe the extremes at either end of the spectrum are to be avoided for the spiritual good of the faithful. [And I think that the readers here reject the premise you as an ultra-liberal are trying to slither in (a common liberal tactic, btw) The priests of this group are not anywhere close to the “extreme” of any spectrum a faithful Catholic would recognize.]

  20. Tantum Ergo says:

    I got my letter yesterday. How uplifting! Bishop Morlino didn’t ask for more money; he asked for prayer. I hope that when he passes away, he’ll donate his spine so the stem cells can be harvested. Think of the potential benefit to mankind!

  21. frjim4321 says:

    I have to reject the tag “ultra-liberal.” My colleagues would have a jolly time with that.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    AnAmericanMom, I lived in Madison and worked there a long time ago and It Is the People’s Republic of Madison. I never met so many people with chips on their shoulders regarding religion and politics, waiting, just waiting for someone to knock off those chips.

    Sigh, and it is such a beautiful area. However, the Catholics were divided into groupings when I lived there, and there were some great leaders in the Catholic community as well as winky-dinks. Any type of traditionalism is suspect, period. And, the w-d’s definition of traditional would include anyone right of Calvin or Knox. I was so glad to put distance between myself and the so-called Catholic intellectual elite of Madison. The Bishop is strong enough to handle them all and God bless him and his good priests. The great Catholics there are to be found in the right-to-life groups. I hope the bishop can prevail against those who think they are smarter than he is …..he does need our encouragement.

  23. Murciano says:

    I attend Sunday Mass of one of their priests. I can say how their example is Jesus Christ.
    Could anyone imagine Jesus Christ sticking to “the previous pastoral care of the people”?
    These men base their priesthood on the love of God, and not on human respect.
    I consider myself highly fortunate for knowing them and being one of their flock.

  24. Lurker 59 says:

    Fr. Jim,

    One of the problems that we the laity have as the ratio of priest to layperson decreases, is that there are a great percentage of priests whose ability to exercise pastoral care over their parishioners is at best limited. We don’t need a priest to be our friend. We don’t need a priest to be sensitive about our culture. We don’t need a priest to be interested in being hip or “applicable”. We don’t need priests that are going to serve our wants and desires. We need priests who are going to preach the Gospel, bring us the sacraments, and be men in the face of the rot of our society and the machinations of the devil.

    Bp. Morlino is an excellent bishop, but he has his hands full. Southern WI is filled with not a few priests and laity who would really be much much more happy being in one of the main line Protestant denominations. Most Catholics have no idea what Catholic identity is — it is either social justice clap trap or moderate Protestantism with smells and bells. It is all very very sad, even more so to us laity whose only connectivity to real Catholic “pastoral care” is what we read in books or on blogs.

    Bp. Morlino is doing a good job, and I pray that his effort to remold and reform his diocese according to the will of Christ ever advances and reaches quickly my little corner where I am stuck.

  25. benedetta says:

    It certainly is a tried and tired tactic of the dissenting establishment to calumniate basic orthodoxy as being somehow extreme and outside. And it is also a tedious exercise to then have to calumniate orthodox bishops. But, how can what these dissenting agitating groups have been doing be justified at all in the first place? On the one hand there is an attempt to genuinely bring the sacraments to the people and on the other there is an underhanded campaign of gossip and sabotage. You shall know them by their fruits.

  26. Ben Yanke says:

    Fr. Jim,

    I strongly disagree with your comments, particularly your first one. Do you know the priests? Have you talked to them before? Do you know the current situation in Madison first hand? I do, and your analysis is sorely lacking. In short, the parish was in an abysmal state of catechesis, and the liturgy was sorely lacking as well. These priests are fixing that. An earlier poster hit the nail on the head:

    “Southern WI is filled with not a few priests and laity who would really be much much more happy being in one of the main line Protestant denominations.”

  27. Angie Mcs says:

    It does my heart good to read this letter from Bishop Morlino and that our support could give him some strength and hope. It is indeed the Lords battle, and although the Bishop assures us of the final outcome, it must be incredibly stressful and exhausting to stand up for what is right, no matter how bad things get around you. Another example of how we need to support our priests and let them know what they mean to us.

  28. discerningguy says:

    I just donated $10 to the Diocese of Madison’s Seminarian fund!

  29. Sodalis says:

    frjim4321 said, “I have to reject the tag ‘ultra-liberal.’ My colleagues would have a jolly time with that.”

    Father, perhaps you should introduce your colleagues to this site. A few days of seeing your posts on various subjects would dispel them of any notion to the contrary.

  30. discerningguy says:

    Perhaps it should be made an idulgenced act to donate money to the Diocese of Madison.

  31. discerningguy says:

    Never mind, that’s not a good idea.

  32. Del says:

    IMHO, the Diocese of Madison is like most other dioceses — A bunch of faithful Catholics, a bunch of dissident catholycs, and a great big whole bunch of quietly lukewarm pew-sitters.

    The differences are that we have a courageous bishop — and if I may boast, we also have an outstanding cadre of bold and faithful priests. They know that Bishop Morlino will back them up when they speak the truth, and this gives them encouragement.

    Unfortunately, the dissident forces in the Diocese of Madison are well-organized, motivated, and political. They persecute our Bishop in letters to the secular papers, and they wield enough clout to poison a parish and close its school. They encourage the lukewarm faithful to withhold donations.

    The net damage of the disobedience is that it tempts other bishops to be discreet and timid. Fr. Z and all of you generous readers serve to counter the troublemakers, and let our bishops know that we faithful have their backs when they need us. You have to appreciate this: Your support of Bishop Morlino and the Society priests in Sauk and Platteville helped to embolden our bishops to unite against Obama’s HHS mandate!

    This is spiritual battle; it’s all connected. So keep serving faithfully where you are.

  33. acardnal says:

    I second what Del said and I should know because I live in Bishop Morlino’s diocese.

  34. irishgirl says:

    His Excellency’s letter brought tears of joy to my eyes. Now that’s a Bishop who knows how to ‘bish’!
    Yes, it is indeed Our Lord’s battle! And we all have a part in the battle plan, whether we are priests, religious or laity!
    ‘Dieu le Veult’! [that’s ‘God Wills It!’ in Old French]
    May He bless and defend Bishop Morlino and the Society of Jesus The Priest!

  35. Liz says:

    I was in Madison recently for a confirmation. My youngest son (aka Mystic Monk coffee sniffer) and I got to kiss the good bishop’s ring after mass. You can see the effects from the crazy liberals there, but also you can see the good work His Excellency is doing. His is more slow and steady. One example is that there was a poster of women religious in the diocese in the lobby of the church…half had makeup and earrings, but the other half had lovely habits and many of those were very traditonal. I was very edified. Also at the confirmation the bishop challenged the young people not only to enter into good and holy marriages, if that was their calling, but also to really consider the religious life and the priesthood. How many young people are thinking about it now thanks to his challenge? By the way, we stopped by the church in Platteville to say a prayer since it was right on the way to Madison. We didn’t know that they were about to start the vigil mass. People were saying a rosary and then a litany. I saw young people come in and devoutly genuflect. I could see that really good things are happening there. Even if they had to close the school I can see that those priests are having such a wonderful positive effect on the people there! It was all very encouraging! God bless His Excellency, Bishop Morlino, and those in his diocese!

  36. Michelle F says:

    I also received a letter from Bishop Morlino, and I was as thrilled over it as everyone else. I think it is important for us to continue to support him with donations and letters of support. If we do, he might tell his brother Bishops about it, and they might get the hint: Fidelity Pays.

    Since this is the beginning of the month, it seems like as good a time as any to add Bishop Morlino to my monthly “bills” list, and I hope others here will consider doing the same thing.

  37. Supertradmum says:

    Bishop Morlino told my son when son was 16 to be a priest. He will be in the seminary in September. Nothing is an accident.

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