Thoughts, deeds for @BishopMorlino. Your feedback, homework!

I am deeply moved by all the emails I have received after the too early passing of Bp. Robert Morlino of Madison, the Extraordinary Ordinary (the ExO).

People have written from all over the world.  They sense that this is an important moment in the Church in the United States.  I concur.  Surely that accounts for the amount of email which has been sent.

Most of the email is directed in a few vectors.  First, people are concerned in part for me, because I had a strong rapport with the ExO.  Thanks. Also, people are praying for the soul the bishop, which is gratifying beyond my meager means of expression.  Additionally, many express hope and prayers for a good successor.   On that note, there are – and I have to smile wryly at this, given that I have been at this internet thing now since 1992 – those who sent consolations along with sentiments like, “I pray for a good successor, but I doubt you’ll get one.”

Gee, thanks.  That’s so very consoling.  But, as I said, I have to smile.

There are two types of … well… people out there.  One of them are the type who are unhappy only when they are unhappy.   Yes, I too am deeply concerned about  Bp. Morlino’s successor.  However, when I catch myself lapsing into a black mood, I immediately take out my Rosary and pray a decade or do something else to get my head back into a better place.

We do not let the Enemy prevail.  No, sir!

I’m not going to be that type.  There are times to lament our state.  There are times to inform about problems.  There are also times to get to work.

Moving along, often when I write a post, I impose the title when I’m done.  Not this time.  I wrote “thoughts and deeds” with intention.

My dear readers, I have relied on you for years.  I count on you now more than ever.

If you, too, think that this is an important moment in the Church in the USA, and if you want to be of help, yes, please express your condolences in a note.  But, if you are optimistic or pessimistic, please do something concrete.

If you write about prayers, then really do pray.

If you are concerned, then please offer fasting and works of mercy.

Do we not sometimes use the image of “storming heaven” for certain petitions?  That strikes me as more than just – as deeply appreciated as they are! – words in a note.

Take on something penitential or works of mercy.

Last night I received a phone call from a 90 year old priest – 90 – who said that he was going to offer Masses and other penances for the sake of a good successor to Bp. Morlino.  I know this priest well and I believed every word.  He’ll do it.

For my part, I have set a program of action.

First, continue to pray for Bp. Morlino.  While I am not overly concerned about the state of his soul, and I am rock solid confident that he received the sacraments, being a bishop is a prospect to make anyone tremble.  Pray and then pray more.

For my part, for example, I just celebrated a Holy Requiem Mass in the Chapel of the Crown of Thorns in Notre-Dame de Paris.  Yes, Paris, and, yes, the Crown of Thorns.  (I’m with a small group.  I was on the road when the bishop died.)

I also went to the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal in the Rue du Bac and said a Rosary for the Bishop’s successor (btw… today is the anniversary of the Apparition of Lady at that Chapel).  For Mass I used the special form in the appendix of the Roman Missal.  [MORE HERE.]

Moreover, I spent an hour at Sacré Cœur de Montmartre (the Mountain of the Martyres) before the Blessed Sacrament exposed.  While submitting my desires to God’s will, I have in my mind and heart lifted up three men whom I want God to send to Madison as the new bishop.

If you would like an intention for your own fasting, fast for my list, especially Numero Uno on that list. He also happens to be such an obvious choice that the decision should really be quite easy… ceteris paribus, all other things being equal.   Of course, they are not equal at the moment.

Since news of the ExO’s death, when saying Mass I have tried at the Offertory to visualize my petition as being joined with the drops of water which are transformed in their mingling with wine, raised to the altar on high after the consecration.  I trust God’s promises.  I am confident.

Without doubt, powerful forces are lined up on strongly differing sides.

I am one little garden variety priest.  A nobody.

However, for reasons only God knows, he did this Holy Orders thing to me and I intend to use the arsenal I was given!   For reasons only God knows, I have this electronic platform as a force multiplier, and I intend to use it!

There is an old phrase, that the most dangerous weapon in the world is a marine with his rifle.   And then… there’s the priest with his chalice, friends.  Heck, there’s the priest, alter Christus, and mere raising of his hands.  I think this is why vets and old priests tend get to on so well.  We get each other.

I’ve told you the priest stuff I am doing.

I’ve been so bold as to you give, dear readers, your tasks.

Let’s work on these things together: concrete prayers and actions for Bp. Morlino and for a good successor.

I, for one, think that this is an important and telling moment for the Church in the USA.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. mysticalrose says:

    I’m in! Prayers and fasting on the way!

  2. ususantiquor says:

    I am deeply moved by your comments.. I will be praying for you and your intentions and especially for a worthy successor.

  3. Cafea Fruor says:

    Wow, what a lovely church.

  4. trespinos says:

    Setting my prayer intentions now …. I imagine the faithful in the Diocese of Spokane can indeed give witness that prayers can bring a good shepherd to a see. In 2015, well into the Bergoglian reign, they received Bishop Thomas Daly, to replace the current red-hatted occupant of the see of Chicago. Bishop Daly showed his mettle at the recent Bishops’ meeting. Madison, unlike Spokane at the time, is already in good shape, but we who pray always have reason to hope for goodness to grow.

  5. Elizabeth D says:

    I am praying, and I fast anyway and will make sure I am doing so with this intention, and I did carry my letter to the post office for Archbishop Pierre getting specific about a name, whom I actually fully assume there will be bishops also proposing this name, and I 10,000% believe it is the person Fr Z says is number one on his list to pray for who is the obvious choice. There is no reason for this to be difficult or take a long time. In fact this person is so obvious a successor that there was a pathetic media attack which I suspected even at the time was to try to smear him a while back because “this is the heir let’s kill him the vineyard will be ours”, well I didn’t actually say that in so many words though maybe I should have, I suggested to the nuncio that this was evidence that even they know in their hearts it’s the right man. I also said repeatedly how kind he is and even to them he will be kind if he is bishop.

    I feel less anxious after having sent that letter. Will keep praying.

  6. Philomena Mary says:

    Thank you for this edifying post. I’ll continue to pray for you and for the successor of +Morlino, with the hope that it is one of the three men on your list.

    God bless you and I am sorry for your loss.

  7. Chris in Maryland 2 says:

    Fr. Z:

    I am on my 3rd month of twice weekly fasting (hard, old school fast) and prayer for the purification of The Holy Catholic Church.

    I will now include your intentions for a good successor (especially Numero Uno) to Bishop Morlino. Our family had the privilege of attending his celebration of Holy Mass here and in Maryland a few short years ago.

    May we all b conformed to the beauty of Jesus.

  8. Charles E Flynn says:

    From :

    In truth, we have not lost Bishop Morlino. He is not lost to us. He is in a better position than ever to help us and to help the beleaguered Church that he served so faithfully. He is in the company of the saints and in the Presence of God. He can hear us. He can help us. He can intercede for us.

    Bishop Morlino, courageous crusader for all that is good, true and beautiful, pray for us that we might be given the courage to fight as you fought in this life that we may be happy with you forever in the glories of the life to come. Amen!

  9. Diane says:

    I agree with you Father Z. I will be praying regularly for your intentions, and for dear Bishop Morlino.

  10. KAS says:

    I will offer my Rosary tonight for Bishop Morlino and for a worthy successor.

    Thank you for sharing stories of this Bishop. I am lifted up by these stories. We need to read of a Bishop who did his best to do right. It brings comfort and hope.

    This year has been so difficult that I hadn’t even noticed how the news of Bishops gone wrong had discouraged me and quashed my hope. I hadn’t noticed how down I was until I read the posts here, telling stories of Bishop Morlino and I cried. I’m sorry he is dead, but knowing that his prayers for souls will be ever so much more effective from heaven, I feel relief. There really ARE good Bishops. I didn’t even know I had gotten so low that I doubted any left who were good until I was crying with relief and hope restored. So thank you for sharing those stories. I for one needed to read them.

    May his memory be eternal.

  11. bobbortolin says:

    Just to add my voice to the chorus of prayers, you and all the other priests that have taught me so much are always in my intentions for my nightly rosary. Several months ago I started adding the priests and any other people that helped form and educate you. Bishop Morlino is the only one that I know by name and I do include him by name in my nightly prayers.

    You have brought so much to all of us Father that we can never repay and it is my honor to pray for you.

  12. JulieHoward says:

    Thank you so much for this. It is a special, and perhaps rare in the world today, gift of yours to be practical, real, and concrete (in addition to a spiritual warrior on many levels). We will use this as a springboard for Advent disciplines; and use our feeble attempts for your 3 choices. We will miss all those beautiful Pontifical Masses with Bishop Morlino. It has been wonderful to watch from the peanut gallery sidelines a Bishop grow in holiness. May he rest in peace… we miss him!

  13. Gab says:

    “I am one little garden variety priest. A nobody.”

    Not to me you’re not. To me, you’re a Somebody who has taught me more about my Catholic faith than anyone else. And that’s why I pray for you every night. And I bet I’m not on my Pat Malone in that.

  14. KateD says:

    We will continue to pray for the repose of the soul of Bishop Morlino.

    Also we will endeavor to pray daily 4 rosaries for the appointment of an excellent and supportive successor who is good and traditional minded.

  15. JabbaPapa says:

    Given the circumstance, I will refrain from my usual worldly advice for your visits to Paris.

    I grieve with your Diocese and with the Universal Church for the untimely loss of this clearly excellent Pastor and Leader of your adoptive Praesbyterium. May God grant Peace to his Soul, and Heavenly Glory for his Human Being.

  16. Gregg the Obscure says:

    interesting (to me at least) that Helena, Montana -the see Bp. Morlino held before heading back east – is also vacant.
    prayers for good and holy bishops to both of those places

  17. RKR says:

    I attended a very beautiful Solemn High Mass at our diocese’s cathedral last night for the Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (the same Mass that 7 years ago instituted the celebration of the Latin Mass in our diocese.) My parish’s magnificent Schola provided the music, and the sacred music intention was for the repose of the soul of Bp. Morlino.

    I remember him, and all priests and bishops, in my daily rosary. I consider it a great honor and joy to pray for priests in particular.

  18. Vince K says:

    Made a small sacrifice and included the repose of Bishop Morlino’s soul and a worthy successor for Madison as my intention for our family Rosary last night. We met Bishop Morlino at the FSSP Seminary in Denton one year and he struck me as a very affable and holy man. May God’s (active) will be done with regard to Bishop Morlino’s successor!

  19. Legisperitus says:

    Charles E. Flynn:
    I think you have the right idea in addressing prayers to the good and holy Bishop. Traditionally canonizations served as a confirmation of an existing cultus, and all things considered that seems a much healthier order to do things in.

  20. DMorgan says:

    From one old vet to another….I salute you Sir! And will continue to offer The Good Bishop and yourself in my prayers.

  21. Fr. Kelly says:

    Due to Diocesan obligations on this coming Tuesday, I will be unable to travel to Madison for His Excellency’s funeral, but I will offer Mass for the happy repose of his soul that morning at my parish, St. Wenceslaus in Bee, Nebraska.

  22. Josephus Corvus says:

    At least this time we have the opportunity to pray. I thought it was strange that (due to diabolical influences?) we were deprived of a couple days of prayer for his health. The event took place on Wednesday, but word did not get out until Friday. If the bishop requested privacy, that is one thing, but the excuse was Thanksgiving?

    dbf223 – I’m with you on that suggestion. “Bishop Z” has a nice ring to it.

  23. Josephus Corvus says:

    By the way, at what point does it become appropriate to pray TO Bishop Morlino? I realized that for saints to be canonized today in the normal process people would have had to be praying to them before they were acknowledged by the Church.

  24. Liz says:

    That was one of my first concerns when the bishop died…who will replace him? But then I had to chide myself. First, God knows best and His timing is perfect and, second, Bishop Morlino can do far more for us all in heaven than on earth. (And yes, I’m praying for his soul. I lit a candle for him this morning. Our priest said mass for his soul yesterday and my priest friend in Nigeria told me he would say a mass for him. I imagine there are dozens of masses being said for him by the FSSP priests. My son, a seminarian, told me that they announced it at the seminary shortly after he died and they prayed immediately for him. I think it’s neat to watch, that when the bishop did so much for the Church now people in the Church can do much for him by praying. Anyway, I was thinking this could be Bishop Morlino’s first miracle: a good and holy replacement. God can do anything! Prayers for you, Father. God bless you!

  25. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    I scrolled through Fr. James Martin’s Twitter feed. He made no comments about Bishop Morlino’s passing.

    I find this interesting since Fr. Martin is quick to eulogize celebrities, pro-abortion politicians such as Ted Kennedy and Mario Cuomo, and left-wing activists such as the repulsive Christopher Hitchens who died.

    Has Fr. Martin made any other comments on Facebook or elsewhere?

    [The Jesuit in question is, I think, to “small-souled” to pray for a bishop who was once one of his brother Jesuits.]

  26. SanSan says:

    Amen Father!

    from another holy priest: “Do no get caught up in controversies between the “left” and the “right”, because the transformation of persons and situations comes only through prayer and suffering offered to God, which He makes use of to effect the changes that can only come by the work of his Spirit in the depths of human souls. This is the work He wants me to be engaged in, especially working with Our Lady to offer reparation. This takes a lot of recollection and focused attention, whereas allowing myself to get involved in various issues produces only agitation and dissipation, and the devil uses this to render my prayer fruitless. So I have to be faithful to my particular vocation in the Body of Christ.”

  27. SanSan says:

    There is an apostolate which I am joining locally, called the seven sisters.
    Have you heard of it?
    A person devotes a holy Hour to a particular priest and you commit to praying for that priest on a set day each week.
    You pray a holy Hour just for that priest/bishop and you do so in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

    Positive Action! God save all here.

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