Bp. Morlino (D. Madison) on EWTN talks about SSPX

15_09_10_Morlino_EWTN_12The other night the Extraordinary Ordinary, His Excellency Most Reverend Robert C Morlino, Bishop of Madison was on EWTN with Raymond Arroyo to discuss the recent changes made in Canon Law to the marriage tribunal process and matters concerning the SSPX.

BTW… the SSPX built a beautiful new church in Phoenix and the other day Bp. Fellay consecrated it. A video of the nearly 5 hour ceremony is HERE.

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Satellite truck outside the Madison chancery for the EWTN broadcast

Recently Bp. Morlino issued a statement to his faithful in the Diocese of Madison about participation at chapels of the SSPX. HERE

The letter was well-balanced, showing a proper grasp of the challenges that the faithful have if they want to receive valid absolution as well as comprehension of the SSPX’s motives.

Remember, the priests of the SSPX do NOT have faculties validly to absolve sins – yet. They will (sort of) during the upcoming Year of Mercy.  They cannot be witnesses for marriages because, again, they lack jurisdiction.  No proper authority has given them the delegation to do so.  That’s necessary.  Their claims of emergency powers just don’t hold water.

Bp. Morlino’s main point was that going to the SSPX isn’t worth the spiritual risk when it comes to absolution and marriage.  Also, he makes the point that by frequenting their chapels over time one can run the risk of distancing himself from the Holy Father and local bishop.

Reminder: In his letter, published in the diocesan newspaper, Bishop Morlino was addressing himself to the faithful in the Diocese of Madison, for whom he has the care of souls.

However, in Bp. Morlino’s letter there was one phrase which caused consternation. In the letter, as it was published, it was stated that the faithful should have nothing to do with the SSPX. Alas, that phrase, which was in earlier drafts of the letter slipped through even though it had been struck through.

That caused a kerfuffle among the followers of the SSPX.

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In action

With Arroyo, Bp. Morlino talks about what happened and he expresses his regret that that phrase was in the letter as it was published.

I know that Bp. Morlino didn’t – at the time of the letter – want to say that the faithful shouldn’t have anything to do with the SSPX. He warned about the lack of validity of absolution and the problem with marriages, but he didn’t want to say that. I didn’t jump in at the time, because it wasn’t my place to do so.  To his great credit, the bishop has now set the record straight on his own.  Everyone who is interested in this issue should watch the video and hear what the bishop says.

If you read Bp. Morlino’s letter carefully, even as it was published, you will see that that one problematic phrase (which ought to have been left out but wasn’t) is out of keeping with the tone and intent of the whole of the letter.

In the interview with EWTN he takes responsibility for the unfortunate phrase and apologies for it.  He also says that a corrected letter was to be reissued.

In the wake of Pope Francis’ generous gesture to the faithful who attend SSPX chapels, that is, allowing that they can approach SSPX priests for confession and be validly absolved, Bp. Morlino explained himself more completely with Raymond Arroyo.

Here is the video.  The part about the SSPX starts at about 16:00 into the video.

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24 Responses to Bp. Morlino (D. Madison) on EWTN talks about SSPX

  1. priests wife says:

    perhaps I am naive- but there is no valid reason for a Christian to be separated from Rome. The SSPX should be a part of the FSSP. Anglicans and Episcopalians should worship as part of the Anglican Ordinate. Orthodox should be Byzantine Catholic. All Catholic.

  2. madisoncanonist says:

    As someone who had a part in the review of the letter before its publication, I think it’s important for people to know that this was not a case of some renegade ghostwriter who defied the bishop’s instructions and snuck in a jab against the SSPX. It was a simple matter of multiple drafts passing back and forth among multiple collaborators and proofreaders (like many episcopal documents), with one revision getting left out of the final version purely by accident.

  3. Gerard Plourde says:

    As Bishop Morlino states, the hope is that the Society of St. Pius X return to the bosom of the Universal Church. As the bishop noted in another context within his interview, mercy must always be subject to truth. In that light it should be remembered that their situation is the result of the disobeience of their founder and that therefore reconciliation must somehow acknowledge that fact.

  4. acardnal says:

    Thanks for posting this video. I watched it live as it occured.

    I noted two other items of interest regarding the moto proprios: 1) the bishop said that the frequently heard words “45 days” to get a decree of nullity is no where mentioned in the MPs and 2) the bishop mentioned that he twice promised during his episcopal ordination to respect and obey the Pope.

  5. Well at least it shows great humility on +Morlino’s part. Sadly the Katholic Krazies are and/or will, using/use this as an excuse to blow the victory trumpets and further validate attendance at SSPx chapels and how wrong Francis/NovusOrdo church is.

  6. JamesM says:

    I thought the original letter from Bishop Morlino was very fair and balanced. With that in mind, I think it is commendable that Bishop Morlino has been brave enough to apologise for a statement within it that, while being prudent advice, was possibly not as charitable as it could have been.

    It is clear that His Excellency is striving to ensure veritas with caritas. He truly is the extraordinary ordinary. Well done!

  7. Elizabeth D says:

    One thing Bishop Morlino says to Raymond Arroyo is that the letter was written because of concrete situations in the diocese. While I do not know what that refers to precisely, I do know of one priest who used to be active in the Madison Diocese a while back who told a fellow-parishioner friend of mine to go to the SSPX chapel, I know this because this friend asked my advice about what that priest had advised her–which did not seem right to her. I told her I had a conversation with Bishop Morlino one time in which he told me firmly not to go to an SSPX Mass, and the licit TLMs at the parishes are an invitation to the faithful who go there, to come to a lict Mass. It seems like Bishop Morlino’s approach has been to invite people to full Communion (or keep people firmly in that Communion) and his approach has not been to issue warnings to the faithful who do already associate with the SSPX chapel. I certainly think it’s true he didn’t mean to say that particular line. I also think Bishop Morlino could not possibly approve a priest recommending people to go to the SSPX chapel and the faithful in the parishes need to understand why they should have caution. Bishop Morlino has provided so well for traditional Catholics, there is no need to wander into a gray area.

  8. FXR2 says:

    Father Z,
    Bishop Morlino certainly certainly appears to be ‘stand-up’. It takes back bone to admit that the potentially offensive statement was mistakenly included. He took the weight that comes with the mitre. I will continue to pray for Bishop Morlino and for the eventual return of the SSPX.

    fxr2

  9. rahook says:

    I still think that what canon #144 says about common error could be applied to the members of an SSPX congregation. Let’s say that the pastor of an SSPX parish informs the congregation that he has faculties to absolve sins due to what he believes is a state of emergency in the church, and the congregation believes him. If that is not common error, what is? [No. And since this has been hashed and rehashed elsewhere on this blog, we are moving along now.]

  10. moon1234 says:

    I guess it is just me, but when terms such as “In communion with” or “Full Communion” are used, it is very confusing. The SSPX are fully Catholic. They are disobedient, but not the equivalent of protestants, which is what so many seem to infer.

    If a child is disobedient in your home, do you say he is not in full communion with the family? No, you properly say they are disobedient.

    I also thought the line about “Have nothing to do with them” was very out of sync with the way Bishop Morlino speaks. It just isn’t him.

    I think the SSPX are not called disobedient is due to the fact that there is a lot of disobedience going on right now and it would point a spotlight on ALL of the disobedience. It is time to drop the talk of partial communion, full communion, etc. and speak directly to what the impediments are. To clearly define why a Catholic should choose a priest of the diocese with faculties over one that does not have faculties.

    ALL validly ordained Priests carry an indelible mark on their soul. To speak as if they are NOT Catholic or less Catholic seems to impune that character. Fr. Hippy Dippy deserves the same respect as Fr. Conservative. There is plenty of disobedience to go around in this world.

  11. iamlucky13 says:

    @ priests wife
    “perhaps I am naive- but there is no valid reason for a Christian to be separated from Rome. The SSPX should be a part of the FSSP.”

    The members of SSPX don’t view themselves as separated from Rome. Rather, they believe the Vatican made and persists in enforcing a series of errors in the application of Canon Law. As far as I know, neither does the Vatican consider SSPX separated either. Rather, they are suspended.

    So they’re not schismatics. Similarly the society itself has publicly rejected the sedevacantist position and even expelled some of its advocates.

    The situation of the Church of England is a much more serious topic. It really did schism from Rome. Yes, they should ideally join the Anglican Ordinariate (or their local ordinary diocese), but they maintain their doctrinal objections to doing so.

  12. The Cobbler says:

    So, it sounds as though the changes are very reasonable in the hands of reasonable bishops… and, as pointed out, the unreasonable ones haven’t exactly toed the line thus far as it is. I am still curious about the timing, but this is some much-needed perspective. I should probably be getting my Church-related news from the Extraordinary Ordinary.

  13. St. Rafael says:

    I keep seeing over and over again in the comments by commentators of the need for the SSPX to “return” to the Catholic Church. There is no need to return and no need for the erroneous language to continue. The SSPX are in the Catholic Church. There is no need to return when you are already inside. When you are already in the Church and already Catholic. They need regularization. They need ordinary jurisdiction. As Cardinal Hoyos said in Nebraska during the FSSP ordinations a couple of years ago, the SSPX are Catholic, but in an irregular canonical situation. They need the irregular status regularized.

  14. joan ellen says:

    I also thank you for posting this video, Fr. It helps when I can get ‘good’ church news in one or two locations.

    priests wife:
    “perhaps I am naive- but there is no valid reason for a Christian to be separated from Rome. The SSPX should be a part of the FSSP. Anglicans and Episcopalians should worship as part of the Anglican Ordinate. Orthodox should be Byzantine Catholic. All Catholic.”

    Amen. I agree. And thank you. I also pray that other Protestants will consider the importance of apostolic succession, the 7 sacraments, and the saints…for one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

  15. joan ellen says:

    I have liked Bishop Morlino ever since he was in Kalamazoo and told a group of us that a miracle occurred every time he consecrated the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    He does not disappoint in this video. He is clear. He gives us words to help our confusions re: this motu proprio.

  16. FXR2 says:

    St. Rafael says:
    14 September 2015 at 8:09 PM
    I keep seeing over and over again in the comments by commentators of the need for the SSPX to “return” to the Catholic Church. There is no need to return and no need for the erroneous language to continue. The SSPX are in the Catholic Church. There is no need to return when you are already inside.

    I agree, I apologize for my inaccurate statement. I should have written I will continue to pray for the return of the SSPX to regular status. I am pretty the Lord understood my intention.

    fxr2

  17. Bea says:

    I watched both.

    Excellent that Bishop Morlino had the sense of righteousness to set the record straight.

    I also watched the whole 5 hours of the Consecration and First Mass at Mother of Sorrows Church in Phoenix. Bishop had an excellent homily on Baptism and Baptismal waters and the importance of properly Blessed Holy Water with the power of exorcism. It was a beautiful ceremony. I had also seen the Consecration of the chapel at the seminary of FSSP in Denton, NE. The same ceremony but it was shorter because there were various visiting bishops anointing the side altars. Bishop Fellay did the entire ceremony and anointing, himself which is why it took longer. At the end he had an assistant state that those attending and anyone visiting the church on that day, would have received a plenary indulgence and mentioned Pope Francis.

    A couple of friends of ours plan to travel occasionally for Mass there and have invited us to join them.

    We are spiritually poverty stricken here under a different diocese.

  18. jflare says:

    I’m afraid I must take issue with some of the comments of this posting.
    First and foremost, I don’t agree that the statement about avoiding SSPX posed a problem that we should be concerned about. If anything, such language simply offers clarity about the very real and serious consequences that His Excellency explained. I thought the letter explained quite well precisely the reasons for why the faithful should be very wary of being involved with SSPX. I recall having more or less the same concerns about visiting the CMRI parish years ago.

    “If a child is disobedient in your home, do you say he is not in full communion with the family? No, you properly say they are disobedient.”

    Except, moon, a parent will rightly correct a child’s disobient behavior. I see comparatively little interest from the Society to correct anything of their perspsective. Which leads to…

    “The SSPX are in the Catholic Church. There is no need to return when you are already inside. ”

    I’m not so sure about that, St. Rafael. In discussions I’ve been involved in, two sticking points always arise: 1. whether a group of priests who lack faculties may offer sacraments anyway without being in an undeclared state of schism, 2. whether a Society has an obligation to agree to a the views of a major Council (or key portions thereof).

    However badly we might wish for Econe and Rome to reconcile, I fail to see how reconciliation can occur when Econe (or their supporters) remain insistent that the Society may refuse those portions of Vatican II or canon law to which they object. I don’t see how such an approach can be reconciled with having one, and only one, Holy Father.
    Maybe Vatican II didn’t preach anything dogmatic and Pope Paul VI didn’t intend to declare anything infallibly, but the gathered bishops did agree on many concepts. We can’t simply toss out some portions of their collected wisdom without inherently posing serious questions about a Council.

  19. JonPatrick says:

    Unfortunately there continues to be a lot of confusion over the status of the SSPX. This came up recently when Michael Voris and Church Militant dot com started a one week series on the SSPX. Unfortunately they started out by repeating the misleading statement that the SSPX is in schism which is not true as noted by many comments above here. I’m not sure why they (Voris) chose this particular issue to go on the warpath given the current resurgence of the progressive wing in the Church as expressed by the shenanigans going on concerning the upcoming synod on the family. I can understand the position that all disobedience needs to be called out, not just that by feminist nuns or German prelates, but also that on the conservative side. But I am afraid this will cause a split among those fighting to reform the Church, which we don’t need right now.

  20. robtbrown says:

    jflare says,

    Maybe Vatican II didn’t preach anything dogmatic and Pope Paul VI didn’t intend to declare anything infallibly, but the gathered bishops did agree on many concepts. We can’t simply toss out some portions of their collected wisdom without inherently posing serious questions about a Council.

    Who cares that serious questions are posed?

    I’ll repeat what I wrote here some weeks ago. I’ve never met anyone who completely accepts
    Vat II. Although there are many who insist they accept and follow it, it turns out to be hot air when specifics are considered.

  21. robtbrown says:

    priests wife says:

    perhaps I am naive- but there is no valid reason for a Christian to be separated from Rome. The SSPX should be a part of the FSSP. Anglicans and Episcopalians should worship as part of the Anglican Ordinate. Orthodox should be Byzantine Catholic. All Catholic.

    When the SSPX is finally reconciled with Rome, it will not be a part of the FSSP. It will be a separate entity, most likely a Personal Prelature.

  22. Imrahil says:

    whether a Society has an obligation to agree to a the views of a major Council (or key points thereof)

    It has always been the principle that while the entirety of Conciliar teaching is, well, Church doctrine, the points where there actually can be no excuse at all under any circumstances, the ones that infallibly hold, the “key points” as you call them, are (to put it colloquially) its dogmas.

    So, for instance, Trent issued a lot of documents, explaining its teaching, including (and arguably culminating in) a series of dogmas. The explanations, too, are Church doctrine, but it has many times explicitly been said that they are not infallible.

    Does a Council which decides not to dogmatize at all*, by that fact, receive special treatment for its undogmatized parts? No it does not. That would, in fact, amount to setting aside the Council’s own intention.

    [* A “dogmatic constitution” means a constitution treating dogmatic matter.]

  23. jflare says:

    “Who cares that serious questions are posed?
    I’ll repeat what I wrote here some weeks ago. I’ve never met anyone who completely accepts
    Vat II. ”

    I agree that two or three portions of documents from Vatican II posed serious questions that’re very difficult to reconcile with Tradition and daily practice. However true that may be though, such difficulties do not constitute a refusal to accept Vatican II. We may struggle immensely with fulfilling the challenge laid out by those paragraphs, but that doesn’t mean we reject the Pope’s authority to require our assent to them. In discussions I’ve had, the SSPX advocate always refuses to admit that the Pope could have such authority. Always I run into insistence that such questions MUST be clarified–or renounced– before SSPX will reconcile.
    Trouble is, I have yet to see a competent argument that demonstrates that such a demand does not inherently constitute a rebellion against the Pope’s authority. In any organization, if a subordinate of an organization declares that a recognized leader’s wishes will not be honored unless that subordinat’s requirements are met, we all understand that the recognized leader has already been fundamentally unseated as the recognized leader. Either the subordinate must submit to the recognized leader, … or else we have two leaders competing for authority. Both cannot rule.
    Formal declarations aside, I don’t see how SSPX presently apparent demands can be reconciled with the idea of one Holy Father.

  24. ByzCath08 says:

    I have trouble reconciling the position of the SSPX. I do not like what has happened to the church after VII. But not everything that has happened in the past 50 years came about because of VII. I do not like the Novus Ordo and do not attend it. Not because I think it is invalid or am so arrogant as to think it is not pleasing to God…I just don’t like it. But just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean I get to declare a state of emergency exists and do my own thing.

    In Arizona, SSPX has a parish in Phoenix. It is hard to say a state of emergency exists as there is a FSSP parish not too far away. And for those in Southern Arizona, there is an Institute of Christ the King Oratory in Tucson. In most major population areas there are valid TLM options available to Catholics with priests who have a valid canonical standing in the church.