Bp. Morlino defends the reputation of his subject: Rep. Paul Ryan

From the NCReg comes this with my emphases:

Paul Ryan’s Bishop Defends Him Amid Attacks on His Application of Church Teaching


Bishop Robert Morlino
– Diocese of Madison, Wis.
MADISON, Wis. — Earlier this year, when Georgetown University announced that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the chairman of the House Budget Committee, would defend his budget in a public address, almost 90 faculty members at the Jesuit institution publicly denounced his interpretation of Church doctrine.
While the media generally presented the harsh judgment as a sign that Ryan’s budget proposals violated core beliefs of his Church, most news stories failed to examine why the subsequent appearance of Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at a Georgetown graduation event did not provoke a comparable furor. Sebelius is widely viewed as the architect of a federal contraception mandate denounced by the U.S. bishops as an “unprecedented” threat to the free exercise of Catholic institutions, but the same group of Georgetown faculty apparently saw no need to register their disapproval.
During the final bruising months of a presidential election that could hinge on the shifting views of Catholic “swing” voters, Americans can expect to witness further disputes that showcase legitimate questions about the practical impact of Ryan’s policies and partisan hit jobs that fail to provide a holistic treatment of Catholic teaching.

Now, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Ryan’s bishop, has waded into this election-year minefield, clearly concerned that a valued member of his flock is being unfairly attacked by partisan forces.
In a column that will be posted on his diocesan website tomorrow, Aug. 16, Bishop Morlino vouches for Ryan’s Catholic bona fides, but stresses that his remarks should not be viewed as an endorsement of Ryan or any candidate.
I know him very well. He is in regular communication with his bishop.
“I am defending his reputation because I am the one who, as his diocesan bishop, should have something to say about this, if anyone does
,” Bishop Morlino told the Register during an Aug. 15 telephone interview.
“Since others have, I believe, unfairly attacked his reputation, I have to look out for his good name. That is Church law. If someone disagrees with Paul, he is free to do that. But not on the basis of reputation destruction, really calumny,” he added.
“They say things about him that aren’t true. I am not a defender of Paul Ryan; I am a defender of reputations of Catholics in the public sphere whose reputations are unjustly attacked.”
The bishop did not cite specific examples to document his charges regarding Ryan’s more outspoken critics, though an Internet search quickly locates headlines like “Paul Ryan’s Violence.”


Read more HERE.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Just Too Cool, Our Catholic Identity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Supertradmum says:

    I read this and thanks for posting it. Two very good men who will need our prayers more and more in the days to come….

  2. David Zampino says:

    Thanks for posting this, Father. I have the privilege of residing in Mr. Ryan’s district and wish him nothing but the best. As an aside, in a district which went for Obama by 4 points in 2008, Mr. Ryan won re-election with 65% of the vote. He is greatly respected here, not only by Republicans, but by Independents and Democrats as well.

  3. John V says:

    Bishop Morlino’s column.

  4. JKnott says:

    From the Bishop’s letter: “Thus, it is not up to me or any bishop or priest to approve of Congressman Ryan’s specific budget prescription to address the best means we spoke of. Where intrinsic evils are not involved, specific policy choices and political strategies are the province of Catholic lay mission. But, as I’ve said, Vice Presidential Candidate Ryan is aware of Catholic Social Teaching and is very careful to fashion and form his conclusions in accord with the principles mentioned above. Of that I have no doubt. (I mention this matter in obedience to Church Law regarding one’s right to a good reputation.)”

    God bless Bishop Morlino!
    Now the ‘Nuns on the Bus ‘ are doing an attack Paul Ryan tour in support of the body of Bishops who are also (illegitimately) attacking him for his excellent budget.
    It might be a good idea to find the time to add an extra rosary a day, with fasting and sacrifices for this whole mess, from now until the election.

  5. Thom says:

    I encourage Catholics to reserve judgment on Mr. Ryan until they know more about him. Articles like this might give one second thoughts. Just a heads up. Do with it what you will.

  6. frjim4321 says:

    Well, despite the disclaimers it’s going to be seen as yet another bishop being in the tank for the RNC.

    [ALL: See my definition of “nano second” HERE. If Fr. Jim wasn’t around, we might have to make him up. o{]:¬) ]

  7. wmeyer says:

    [ALL: See my definition of “nano second” HERE. If Fr. Jim wasn’t around, we might have to make him up. o{]:¬) ]

    I think we know in whose tank Fr. Jim may be found.

    Bless Bp. Morlino for his good teaching. I am so very tired of the liberal position that the Church must stay out of politics unless it toes the line — the liberal line, that is.

  8. TomG says:

    Question: how does a pastor with a parish of more than 1,000 families have time for all this commenting? Answer: he doesn’t. he simply delegates it to a few of his better-cathechized parishioners.

  9. wmeyer, at least we’re beginning to get a bit of variety in the tanks our bishops are accused of being in. As opposed to the report during the last election that nowhere in Washington could be found a greater density of Obama bumper stickers than in the USCCB parking lot.

  10. Sissy says:

    wmeyer said: “I think we know in whose tank Fr. Jim may be found.”

    Is this the same Fr. Jim who just last week accused Paul Ryan of being merely a “nominal” Catholic? Let’s see, Fr. Jim’s opinion of Paul Ryan vs the opinion of his Bishop who knows him personally…..hmmmm, how to decide whose judgment to trust?

  11. Supertradmum says:

    Maybe frjim was talking to Hollande yesterday–nanosecond strikes again.

    “François Hollande is committed to these reforms (gay marriage) and they have been reaffirmed by his government,” Nicolas Gougain of the Inter LGBT activist group told FRANCE 24.
    “We can count on getting a majority in parliament and no prayer will be able to block this necessary legisation. Religion has no place in politics,” he added.

  12. Supertradmum says:

    or Gougain, who made the quote…

  13. wmeyer says:

    Henry, I pray for our bishops, but honestly, it will take a mighty conversion for some.

    Sissy, such a tough choice! ;)

  14. Phil_NL says:

    Sadly, we wouldn’t need to make Fr. Jim up – he’s hardly unique. I call it the California syndrome: people who have been around others that are even more hard left then themselves start believing their positions are very reasonable and middle-of-the-road. After a number of years they don’t know any better. Great is the shock when they find out that the people they consider to be right-wing extremists are in fact not nearly as extreme as they think, but quite average once it is discovered that the spectrum extends a whole lot further to the right.

    Case in point: if this is a bishop in the tank for the GOP, wait till you see one who’s really in the tank for the GOP. Of course, that would be almost as bad as the old days when the US bishops were an extention of the Democratic party, but just to see the utter amazement on the face of Fr. Jim cs. it would almost be worth it.

  15. frjim4321 says:

    Give me California any day please. Preferably San Diego near the beach.

    Well, despite the disclaimers it’s going to be seen as yet another bishop being in the tank for the RNC. … seems like I was misread; I was simply agreeing that this will be seen in the way it will be seen by certain element of the sociopolitical spectrum. Please review my comment . . . I referred to how this will be seen and of course it is an accurate statement.

  16. The Cosmas Damian says:

    I have something insightful to say on this subject which may need the comments of Fathers who are regulars here.
    First, let me pose a situation. A man who drives a semi truck delivers food every day to a town. The townspeople rely on him to do his job. However, this truckdriver speeds, runs red lights and doesn’t yeild to others. He disobeys the road laws which are part of his job. The townspeople overlook this as the driver delivers their food. One day the driver hits and kills a family that were crossing the street. He shows no remorse and complains they were in his way. What should the townspeople have done? Are they complicit in the driver’s behavior? What should they do now?
    This is OUR problem in America. Doesn’t matter if you’re the president, a local politician, a police officer, a Cardinal, a priest or a minister. A majority of our politicians break their oaths and we expect our nation to be blessed by God? Doesn’t make sense.
    If I were a Bishop, I would call every politician into my office and admonish them for breaking their oath to God and warn them of the consequences of their continued disobedience to such a solemn oath. I would also tell them, ” As long as you continue this way, you will not have mine or the Church’s support. Your actions threaten the stability of our nation.”
    Sr Lucia had said we must pray the rosary every day to be shielded from “diabolical disorientation”. I believe what she says is true. Our nation is certainly disorientated.

  17. The Cosmas Damian says:

    I would further say, read the Constitution and understand it. Understand we have an amendment process that most of our politicians ignore including many Repuplicans. It’s not just the Democrats THEY have turned thiz into a teM spirited power struggle that ignores our Constitution Nd God. Do we really sant to continue this way?

  18. The Cosmas Damian says:

    Pope John Paul II warned that going to war in Iraq would be a sin, lamenting that it had been the land of the prophets. The USCCB condemned going to war. It should call to contemplation what the “war on terror” is in the eyes of God. We’re talking about fighting, with bullets and bombs an ideology. “Blessed are the peace makers”. not “blessed are the war makers”. Our politicians are making war, which not only breaks with the Constitution but offends Our Lord. Ryan does both. The oath of office ends with, “so help me God”. If he’s receiving communion in this state of soul what is going to happen to him and our Church? No better than the pro aborts.
    There needs to be a revival of our Catholicism. God is looking at each and every one of us. We are not as innocent as we may think.

  19. Phil_NL says:

    @Cosmas Damian

    The matter of war is one where there is a wide range of disagreement possible, all within the faith. Examples abound in the history of the Church. War can be necessary; one of the fearsome responsibilities of his office is in fact having to go to war if your oath of office requires you. (and again, different people will disagree on when this is the case, but not going to war can be equally seen as a sin of omission.). As for Blessed JP II on this issue, I fear he took too much a page from the European media on that one. Interestingly enough, many in those same European countries all for intervention in Syria right now – based on the argument one cannot morally stand at the sidelines – while Assad, thugs as he may be, hasn’t racked up the casulty numbers of Saddam Hussein.

  20. robtbrown says:

    The war in Iraq was not really directed at terrorism but rather was an attempt (poorly planned) to establish a Pax Americana in the Middle East.

    Much of what happened in the war on terrorism is unknown to Americans and has not involved bullets and bombs.

  21. The Cosmas Damian says:

    Concerning the Iraq war, Saddam Hussein was not a threat to our country. This is the Constitutional basis for war. If everyone remembers when the case for war was being made at the UN, Colon Powell held up an “artist’s rendering” of what a mobile weapons lab would look like and a vile of white powder claiming that as anthrax could kill thousands of people. Not one shred of hard evidence of an imminent attack was given.
    “There will be wars and rumor3rs of war”. We don’t pay attention to this. In regards to our nation approaching 40 years in the desert of abortion, the oath office and who really fights against the culture of death which the Church does include unjust war, which the USCCB had condemned, are we prepared to be held up to the proverbial mirror?
    I am also a USAFRes vet. I am well aware of what is taking place.

  22. Sissy says:

    The Cosmas Damian said: “Saddam Hussein was not a threat to our country. This is the Constitutional basis for war.”

    I think you have confused the Baker Act with Constitutional law. There is nothing in the Constitution that says a country must be an imminent threat to the US in order to go to war. Maybe you are thinking of Just War theory, but our government is not limited to “imminent threat of attack” as a grounds for military action.

  23. Phil_NL says:

    Let’s keep apart what is different.

    The constitutionality of the Iraq war has no bearing on whether it was sinful; there was ample support for it in Congress, and if some nitpicker would have wanted all i’s dotted and t’s crossed by a formal declaration of war, GWB would have gotten it. But since there is no prescribed format for a declaration of war, one could equally argue that the House and Senate resolutions – passed with big majorities – count as such. And that’s the only limit the constitution places on formal war, that Congress declares it. Furthermore, it places no limit whatsoever on any military action in a case no war is declared – and just about every president has used that authority. (interesting list at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_military_operations , barely a single year went without one). In all, it’s damn hard to have an unconstitutional war, and even if there is one, one would have to argue that it wasn’t justified as a necessary choice for the lesser of two evils.

    Secondly, there’s also no reason why ‘imminent threat to your country’ would be the sole justifiable reason for a war. In 2000 years of precedent, we’ve seen things as diverse as subduing heresy, recovery of the Holy Land from the muslims and in later times protection of (often muslim, o irony) populations against their murderous rulers, not to mention numerous conflicts in medieval Europe purely aimed at settling territorial dispute, often with papal blessing of one side.

    In fact, if anything, current opinion on justifcations for war are extremely narrow from an historical perspective. It’s understandable, but I actually doubt that’s a good thing. War may in fact not even be the worst option.

  24. Sissy says:

    Phil-NL said: “War may in fact not even be the worst option.” Exactly. Self-defense is not the only admissible grounds for force; defense of 3rd parties (among other valid reasons) is also permissible. Further, Catholics are entitled to hold the view that the US government should follow Catholic teaching, but the Constitution doesn’t require that result.

    “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” ~ John Stuart Mill

  25. The Cosmas Damian says:

    “There will be wars and rumors of war” – Revelation
    The Catholic Church also teaches we should test everything against the bible. “Blessed are the peacemakers”, “What you do to the least of these you did it unto me”.
    The oath of office that I took in the USAF, and all politicians take, puts an obligation to God upon us. What the Constitution lacks, the Word of God does not lack.

  26. Sissy says:

    The Cosmas Damian, I agree with you that peacemaking is better than warmongering. But that doesn’t mean that there are never any compelling reasons for force. And it certainly doesn’t mean that the US Constitution forbids all military action except in the face of imminent threat. St. Augustine actually condemned passivism.

  27. robtbrown says:

    Phil_NL says:

    The constitutionality of the Iraq war has no bearing on whether it was sinful; there was ample support for it in Congress, and if some nitpicker would have wanted all i’s dotted and t’s crossed by a formal declaration of war, GWB would have gotten it. But since there is no prescribed format for a declaration of war, one could equally argue that the House and Senate resolutions – passed with big majorities – count as such.

    Some other factors to consider:

    1. The Founders did not want a standing federal army. Navy and state militias, yes. Federal army, no.

    2. And so we see in the Constitution that declaring war precedes raising an army.

    3. Once Congress has raised an army, it loses control over its deployment, regardless of whether war has been declared.

    4. IMHO, it should be federal law that if any Reserve or NG Unit is deployed outside the US at all or activated for, say, more than a year within the US, the draft automatically begins.

  28. The Cosmas Damian says:

    You aren’t interpreting what I said correctly. I am a USAFRes Vet. I wasn’t drafted, I volunteered. To assume what I say is passivist would be wrong. Yes, Pope John Paul II did condemn it as sinful, the Vicar of Christ. The reasoning for the Iraq war was not true to the test. Remember, we didn’t make war to “free the Iraqi people”. We went because Iraq was a threat which was not true and breaks the oath of office to God.
    How about NDAA 2011? That is a law giving the president the power to indefinately detain Americans and assassinate if he feels necessary. Many Republicans supported that bill and Obama signed it into law. Is that Constitutional? In fact A federal judge has demanded information from the Obama Admin on whether they have done just that. They refuse to answer. Which Republicans voted for this? Ryan is amongst them.
    President Lincoln warned of the bankers. Eisenhower warned of the industrial complex. Kennedy spoke of secet societies actively seeking power.
    The Mujahadeen became Al Qaeda. The Egyptians whom we supported overthrowing their government crucify Christians. The Libyans are experiencing terror attacks.
    Who wants to send more of our brothers to be world ponice?
    I will repeat, breaking an oath to God is a terrible sin. You don’t bear false witness against Our Heavenly Father and expect Him to bless you.
    Even Jesus was not popular in his time. Many, even among His own kinfolk, stood against Him.

  29. The Cosmas Damian says:

    @ Phil So what you are saying is that you would force people to go to war by drafting them? How is that Christian behavior?

  30. Phil_NL says:


    Probably the Founders didn’t want a standing army (for the sake of preventing domestic repression, rather than foreign relations, if I remember their essays correctly). But we have one, and in this day and age, you’re absolutely toast as a country without one, unless you have no enemies nearby. Some European countries, such as my own, can delude itself on that last account, but the US surely cannot. The time it takes to raise an army – or even get a militia where it’s needed – is enough to be defeated on the (conventional) battlefield. Even by Mexico, to name something.

    And that caveat of ‘conventional’ brings me to the only part of the military that by its very definition would always be a standing army: the nuclear deterrent. No conventional standing army would mean that the choices easily boil down to a. loosing the war, or b. using nukes. With that in mind I’d even say it’s a moral obligation to keep a standing, effective army as in general, neither of those two alternatives are acceptable (at least, in most circumstances) nor in keeping with the oath of office.

    As for the draft, no thanks. If you go to war, go to war to win it, not to assert your egalitarianism. Training competent, effective soldiers takes years, time you don’t have with draftees. (unless you want an Eritrean-style length of the draft, which is in itself a very repressive mechanism). Let professionals do their job.

  31. Phil_NL says:

    @Cosmas: I can’t see that I mentioned the draft at all till my response to Robtbrown. For my position on it, see above.

  32. The Cosmas Damian says:

    Doesn’t matter when you mentioned the fact is you did. It’s not in the Constitution to draft anyone and I’d rather have a volunteer at my side rather than someone who was forced into service.

  33. Phil_NL says:

    Read again. I don’t like a draft at all. I think you’re mistaken me for Robtbrown; normally that’s something I’d probably consider flattering, but in this case I’m largely disagreeing with him.

    (for the record, mainly because I see the draft as both an unnecssary intrusion on liberty as well as an awful way to get a decent army. It’s a professional job that requires training and commitment, and a draftee will likely have neither. Only when no other option would work – think WWII, or the situation the Israeli’s find themselves in – I’d even consider it.)

  34. The Cosmas Damian says:

    @ Phil
    “4. IMHO, it should be federal law that if any Reserve or NG Unit is deployed outside the US at all or activated for, say, more than a year within the US, the draft automatically begins.” What do you mean then?

  35. Sissy says:

    The Cosmas Damian, you are quoting from a comment written by robtbrown, just as Phil_NL has pointed out. Scroll back up to the comment at 12:40 pm. robtbrown made the comment, but he started his by quoting Phil_NL in bold. robtbrown’s own commentary is under that in regular typeface and is numbered. The statement you take exception to was made by robtbrown. Hope this helps.

  36. robtbrown says:

    Phil_NL ,

    1. I realize why it’s important to have a standing army. My point–which I thought was obvious–is a constitutional one: Once the Congress raises an army–with or without a declaration of war–it loses control over its deployment (excepting financing).

    2. Of course, any general would prefer a professional army, but no general wants the multiple deployments that have been used in Iraq/Afghanistan. And the professional army has been diluted. Acc to a good friend who’s a ret 3 star, in the past few years the Army has been paying people to enlist whom they wouldn’t have taken before 9-11.

    Further, the NG and Reserves have been abused (acc to Barry McCaffrey). My point with the draft automatically kicking in is that it would prevent politicians from misusing the NG and Reserves.

  37. The Cosmas Damian says:

    So you do belive in the draft. Now, it would have to apply equally to all otherwise it’s discrimination.

  38. The Cosmas Damian says:

    So, here’s another view.
    The Battle of Lapanto.
    The Christian fleet was heavily out numbered and out gunned. There were two things that favored the Christian fleet, however. Many men wore the Brown Wcapular and prayed the rosary before the battle.
    “Through the Rosary and the Brown Scapular My Immaculate Heart shall triumph”.
    There are roughly 65 million Catholics in the U.S. Tell me, what would happen if we cooperated with Our Lady? Would we see the disappearance of all of the ills, inflictions and confrontations of our nation? Catholis history says , “Yes”. The Church approves of us doing this. So, who is really responsible for what is happening in America?

  39. The Cosmas Damian says:

    Also of concern to each and every Catholic is the spiritual nature of the Church. It exists in heaven as well. When we pray we do so in unison with heaven. The mass is a prayer too which is why we should go often.
    When we take advantage of everything our Faith has to offer, God takes notice of His people and blesses them abundantly.
    How many of us say the Prayer to St Michael every day?
    How many recite the Morning Offering upon rising?
    How many pray the 3 Hail Marys?
    How about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy?
    The act of contrition before bed?
    3 “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us”?
    Very often a person may think they are right until they find how much they ignore Our God.
    Many souls go to hell because they have no one praying for them. This is what Our Lady said at Fatima to the three little children. Fatima is also approved of by the Church. Pope Benedict has said we are living in the times of the Fatima message. “…nations shall be annihilated”, “The Pope will have much to suffer”….. How far do we really want to go in this “diabolical disorientation”. We, as a nation, are more divided now than the time of the Civil War. This will not be “north vs south” because the dividing line is spiritual in nature.
    If one thinks voting Romney or Obama is okay in God’s eyes I’d say read Galatians 1:6-8, then educate yourself on Mormonism.

  40. Phil_NL says:


    In reply to your last lines: the US will be electing a president – that’s commander-in-chief, not high-priest. While one may have serious doubts about how Romney’s mormonism will affect his salvation, I see no reason why it would adversely affect his fulfillment of the office. Much to the contrary to the incumbent, why seems to have made Alinskyism into a religion.

    PS: by that same reasoning, could one ever vote for a US president? If memory serves me, JFK was the only candidate so far in the general election who was catholic. And let’s not go into the ‘quality’ of that…

  41. The Cosmas Damian says:

    What do you know of Mormonism? Is it Christian? I ask that you don’t use what your opinion might be, stick to the truth. If you do not know the answers to this then investigate.
    We are electing someone who will speak for and represent our nation. The Old Testament has many examples of Kings who did not do as God wished. The accounts of Elias being a prime example.

  42. The Cosmas Damian says:

    To add, we declare that we are a Christian nation. God hears what we say. He is not a God who is “out there, somewhere” but exists among us. So this is what we say to Him.
    The founding fathers based the Constitution on the Ten Commandments and made a very specific statement in the Declaration of Independence regarding the Creator.
    If we “hold these truths to be self evident”, which we declare to the world and to God Himself, how in the world can we elect someone who’s beliefs contradict our national documents.vMormonism denies the Holy Trinity. The bible is accepted with much ambiguity. The men are supposed to work towards being gods themselves. God is considered to have a material body, can only be in one place at a time and procreates spiritual children with a wife.
    This is what you want? Do you wish to gamble that God will not take offense against a president who believes he can become a god and punish our nation according to the Old Testament? “Thou shalt not have any god before Me”. Perhaps entering through the “narrow gate” is something to consider.
    Don’t misunderstand. Obama is just as bad. I’m talking about what we hold dear. “Let your ‘yes’ mean yes and your ‘no’ mean no”.

  43. I don’t like it when the combox is dominated by one or two people, especially when they are deep into the rabbit hole.

  44. The Cosmas Damian says:

    While I don’t understand what you mean by the “rabbit hole”, as you wish, Father. I will say no more.

  45. robtbrown says:

    The Cosmas Damian says:

    So you do belive in the draft. Now, it would have to apply equally to all otherwise it’s discrimination.

    I believe that the possibility of the draft should always exist as linked to the misuse of the NG and Reserves, as we have seen during the past 10+ years. If a President wants to use the NG and Reserves for foreign deployment, then I think there should also be a draft.

    To add, we declare that we are a Christian nation.

    Which legal document of the US declares that we are a Christian nation? Most of the founders were Deists.

    The founding fathers based the Constitution on the Ten Commandments and made a very specific statement in the Declaration of Independence regarding the Creator.

    Re Creator: See above–Deists. And I know of nothing in the Constitution that is based on the 10 Commandments.

    BTW, you seem to have adopted the Mormon notion that the founders were divinely inspired.

  46. acardnal says:

    The “rabbit hole” means you are off topic, diverted from the subject of the post.

Comments are closed.