@SSPXEN Tribute to @BishopMorlino of @MadisonDiocese

This was gracious.

From the US site of the SSPX.

Bp. Robert Morlino, Brave Defender of the Traditional Mass, Passes Away

Bishop Morlino of the Madison, WI diocese, passed away Saturday evening last, after a sudden “cardiac event,” shocking traditionally-minded faithful who had flocked to his diocese in recent years.

If, as Archbishop Lefebvre so staunchly maintained, the lifeblood of the Catholic Church is its priests, then Bishop Morlino was a shepherd of the Church who can be admired by all Catholics. When he donned the mitre as Madison’s bishop, enrollment at the local seminary stood at 5 seminarians. Not 5 seminarians in the first-year class – 5 seminarians in the entire seminary. Today, more than three dozen are receiving priestly formation, with 25 having been ordained during His Excellency’s fifteen years overseeing it – all during the worst abuse scandal to have shaken Holy Mother Church in its history and while vocations are plummeting in Diocesan seminaries.  [They didn’t get the right numbers.  Better… there were 6 in formation when Morlino arrived.  The height was 3 dozen.  Now there are two dozen.  He ordained 40 – not 25 – in his years in Madison.  However, that doesn’t change the main point, which they go right: big impact on the number of seminarians and ordinations.]

As the common prayer goes, we do not ask the Lord to grant us priests, or many priests. We beg for “many holy priests”.  [The young priests and seminarians I know in Madison are great!] It goes without saying that quality is preferable in every measure over quantity for those anointed. The bishop molded men into some of the most traditional priests emerging from any diocesan seminary throughout the world. While the seminarians were taught the Novus Ordo Mass – albeit with strong recommendations to celebrate ad orientem – they were also trained in the Traditional Latin Mass, more than a rarity in today’s Church-wide seminary curricula. [Without imposing on them, Bp. Morlino told the guys that he would like for them to learn the TLM before ordination.   Every one of them knew that he would support them.  He said the TLM for them himself.  Last August, during the annual gathering of seminarians with the bishop, they organized a Solemn Mass, with a 1 yr ordained as celebrant, brand new deacons assisting, and a newly ordained priest as MC.  They did it.]

Bishop Morlino himself celebrated the Mass in the “extraordinary rite” and publicly manifested his preference by regularly celebrating a pontifical High Mass, surrounded and served by his local priests and seminarians.

While it is true that he did not mandate the celebration of the Latin Mass in his diocese, he encouraged it, possibly hoping that its fruits would bear in time – an approach far less strong than many traditional Catholics beg for.  [I think there are some 8 places in the diocese where the TLM is regularly found.]

Yes, his plan was certainly passive. [I’m not sure that is the right word.  He lead by example and didn’t impose.  In Madison, imposing would have meant all out war against him and everything he was doing.] But he was not passive in defending truth – including the Society of St. Pius X.

In 2002, His Excellency appeared on EWTN Television, after a letter, purportedly from his desk, attacked the SSPX. He courageously “gathered the feathers in the wind,” offering a public apology for the letter, taking ownership of its message, while explaining the words were not his, and in fact, he had struck them from the first draft. [That is exactly true.  I can attest to that.]

The SSPX does not often publish these sorts of obituaries, but an exception has been made in this case. The hierarchical Church needs more bishops like Bishop Morlino, ready to draw a line against the storm of confusion and innovation still plaguing the Church, ready to refute falsehoods perpetuated in his name, and acting as much as a leader as one can hope for in the Church. It is through these sorts of men that incremental progress within the Church can be achieved, and the restoration of the Catholic Church can be realized.

May God rest his soul in peace!

Also, this morning I received a note from the great SSPX priest who served for sometime in the area of Madison, within the Diocese. He sent photos of the Requiem Mass he celebrated for the Bishop.

Another example of how Bp. Morlino brought out the best in people.

That was a very gracious gesture from the SSPX and I am impressed and grateful.

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  1. Gabriel Syme says:

    Bishop Morlino is a great loss to the Church and it is right that the SSPX should remember him and praise his legacy – just as all Catholics should.

    It speaks volumes that we in the UK were very much aware of Bishop Morlino and his work, despite being very remote from his “turf”. We knew of his great work in boosting vocations and in promoting tradition – these things being very much linked, of course. And we knew of the leadership and courage he showed regarding McCarrick and the wider abuse scandal.

    I saw Bishop Morlino speak on EWTN and got a real sense of his holiness and charisma. I am sure he was a true father figure for the priests, seminarians and lay people of his Diocese.

    I very much echo the SSPX sentiment that the Church needs more Bishops like Robert Morlino.

    His successor has very big shoes to fill, so let us all pray that he will be up to the task. Let us also pray for the repose of Bishop Morlino’s soul and that the Diocese of Madison finds comfort at this time, but also the determination to build on the Bishop’s legacy in a way that is truly worth of him.

    RIP Bishop Morlino.

  2. HFL says:

    The FSSP also has a very nice write-up on their Missive website

  3. Uxixu says:

    Very nice to see. I am growing to like them more. I wish they would offer to accept reconciliation on very simple grounds: the May 5, 1988 Protocol, no more no less without any insulting doctrinal preambles as was reputedly insisted upon by Cardinal Muller when it got close with Francis.

    It would be nice to go a step farther and help heal the breach with FSSP by having Bp. Fellay consecrate Fr. Bisig from the FSSP and/or maybe Fr. Berg with Cardinal Burke and/or Sarah as co-consecrators with one of the other SSPX bishops. Symbolism would be very high on Fr. Bisig, who was one of Abp. Lefebvre’s original seminarians, of course. If all the bishops combined sat on PCED, the combined FSSP and SSPX could have the majority the Archbishop thought was necessary…

  4. Elizabeth D says:

    They fixed the numbers on their site. However they still appear to assume we have a local seminary which we don’t. Our men go to several different US seminaries (Sacred Heart seminary in detroit, St Paul Seminary in Minnesota, Mount St Mary’s, etc) and/or to Rome. One thing this presumably means is that Bishop Morlino has also been some influence on various different US seminaries. Obviously, they’re not allowed to persecute our men for being interested in the Traditional Latin Mass. The fact that so many of our young priests know the vetus ordo is actually not that they were made to but because they want to and have taken the initiative to learn it, not all are equally as interested in it as others, though all have been exposed to the TLM including Bishop Morlino celebrating pontifical Masses.

    I heard earlier this year one of this year’s brand new Madison priests and a brand new SSPX priest both went to the shrine of Our Lady Help of Christians (Holy Hill) the same day and each celebrated a TLM… and were allegedly giving blessings to the faithful, side by side. I myself did not see this but happened to be there that day myself with friends and we and asked for and knelt to receive a traditional Latin blessing from the new Madison priest whose ordination I had attended.

  5. LatinMan says:

    I must say that in the midst of the whole crisis in the Church, with a frankly bad Pope (pardon the pun), it has been one of the most heartening things to see so many good bishops (Bp. Morlino being an outstanding example) and cardinals come to the defense of the Faith, even at the cost of their ecclesiastical careers. Many bishops could have probably remained silent and received the red hat, but chose instead to speak out for truth and receive the immortal crown of glory not from the Vicar of Christ, but from Christ Himself. In times like this when it’s easy to be all cynical and harsh towards the bishops, men like Bp. Morlino really showed the Church working properly, and the wisdom of Christ in establishing the Episcopacy.

    Eternal rest grant unto His Excellency, O Lord, and May perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace, and may there be many more bishops be like Bp. Morlino. Amen.

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