The Exequies for @BishopMorlino in @MadisonDiocese

Last night I attended a Vespers service held to pray for the soul of Bp. Morlino. A former Vicar General of Madison, now Bp. of Sioux Falls, Most Rev. Paul J. Swain presided and preached. There were many people whom I recognized from out of town in a packed chapel.

It was consoling to see that the diocese availed itself of vestments, candles, and so forth, from the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison.  It is a great honor.  You readers who have contributed to the TMSM helped and were part of it.

Today we go to a large parish for the funeral.  Again vestments of the TMSM will be used, and, again, those of you who have contributed to our projects are morally present.

Please say a prayer for the soul of Bp. Morlino and for those who must choose a successor.

Also, the funeral will be broadcast LIVE on EWTN.  Perhaps you readers can post links to watch it online.

This is an important moment for the Church in these USA. 

I strongly recommend a sound examination of conscience and good confession.

We are in turbulent spiritual times marked but clear markers.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. barryaltarserver1985 says:

    Will be watching the funeral from here in the UK, I offered my rosary for the repose of the good Bishop’s soul. Also hope, Father, you are doing well after your accident.

  2. PostCatholic says:

    Again, my condolences on the passing of your mentor and friend. I hope you are on the mend and able to participate in the funeral rites to the extent you’d wish.

  3. Ellen says:

    The Saturday before Advent, I made a general confession. I feel wonderful and pray that I can maintain my state of grace. I have such a wonderful confessor.

  4. JohnMa says:

    It’s beyond comprehension that black vestments were not used for his funeral mass.

    [Think about it for a few minutes. Maybe it’ll come to you.]

  5. HighMass says:


    Don’t ya know that would be to “old Church” as the liberals would say. the good old N.O.
    Monsignor who gave a wonderful sermon, Quoted His Bishop in saying “do not can Canonize me”

    The Church has lost a very important Bishop an advocate of the true teachings of the Church. Cupich and Wuerl should take note.

  6. HighMass says:

    Will say the Music for the Funeral Mass is beautiful

  7. Discerning Altar Boy says:

    That was a Livestream, not sure if you can watch it ex post facto. May the good Bishop rest in peace.

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    JohnMa – But a dignified funeral Mass celebrated ad orientem in purple vestments–with Roman Canon and most receiving on the tongue while kneeling, and with no sappy congregational hymns–was probably an eye-opener for many (if not most) EWTN viewers

  9. mschu528 says:

    Sorry JohnMa, I have to agree with Henry Edwards. Seeing Abp Listecki celebrate the Funeral Mass for his brother bishop ad Orientem in violet vestments with the Roman Canon (which might not necessarily have been the Archbishop’s own liturgical preferences…), assisted by properly vested (including maniples!) deacons, was quite moving.

    Plus, in our absence of a cathedral, some of the younger priests and seminarians did a wonderful job dressing up the usually rather drab sanctuary of the large, modern, suburban parish which hosted the Mass. With the TMSM’s violet antependium and the so-called “Benedictine arrangement” of candles and crucifix, the altar looked so very Catholic. Using the humeral veil as a matching violet covering for the ambo was a nice touch as well.

    Yes, black vestments might have been better, but let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good. Besides, the far bigger point is praying for the repose of Bp Morlino’s soul.

  10. acardnal says:

    I second Henry Edwards’ and mschu528’s comments above. The ad orientem Mass by the Archbishop of Milwaukee was a pleasant surprise.

    I was pleased to see so many Catholic Congressmen from Wisconsin – including Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan – at the Mass. Speaker Ryan resides in the diocese of Madison but the other Congressmen do not! Ryan addressed those in the U.S. Congress rotunda for the late President Bush’s ceremony last night and then flew back to Wisconsin for this Mass! I assume he will then fly back to Washington, DC for Bush’s funeral on Wednesday at the National Cathedral! Busy man.

  11. Elizabeth D says:

    I spoke with Fr Z after the funeral today, he was in choir dress, on his feet, hobbling on crutches! I commented it was good to see him walking, he said: “barely!” Said he felt better than yesterday (when he was in a wheelchair). He was in good spirits, considering it was Bp Morlino’s funeral.

    These are graced occasions. I had some good interactions with various people. A Franciscan priest friend who had not registered to concelebrate or even for a seat came and sat by me. He was making the sign of the Cross over Paul Ryan, Rep Sensenbrenner and the other public officials as they passed on the way out.

    To those who wanted black vestments, what color was Bishop Morlino wearing lying in his casket? And HOW OFTEN DOES A NOVUS ORDO FUNERAL ACTUALLY USE VIOLET? Violet, besides conveying Advent, conveys penitence, perhaps more explicitly even than black. Totally fits with what Msgr Bartylla said in his homily about Bishop Morlino being in death “the apostle of purgatory”.

    By the way I both do and don’t agree with the bishop. Purgatory is a good thing. I’m familiar with St Catherine of Genoa’s beautiful insight into Purgatory for instance. Yet St Therese of Lisieux taught that we should not aim for purgatory–we should want, like the Good Thief, to go straight to heaven, which can happen by our acceptance of the justness of earthly suffering (we are clearly meant to do our “purgatory” in this life) and confidence in the Lord and His own merits. She didn’t mean this only or primarily for people like herself who never committed a mortal sin, but she meant it for sinners–and she’s a Doctor of the Church. She told others if people expect to go to purgatory they’ll go there. The thing is that I had occasion to describe all that theology and more, and send it to the bishop and Msgr Bartylla said he read it (I am not sure how carefully he read it, but it’s no joke the man’s work ethic) and responded that the theology was not incorrect. This funeral homily, good though it was and faithful to Bishop Morlino’s requests, actually made me kind of sad that the Bishop seemingly came to see Christian perfection in this life as out of reach for himself–especially because I had personally tried in a way to witness otherwise to him. I don’t think this is a very perfect kind of humility on his part, to be resigned to purgatory. Can I say, I think it is debatable to want to educate us about purgatory by going there. I wonder if his way of thinking, as related by Msgr Bartylla today, was a part of why he was not more accepting of me in a regard that Msgr Bartylla is aware. I was already confused by the bishop, and tried to tell Msgr Bartylla so pretty recently, and this has actually left a little more confused. I also regret that… well at any rate I love Bishop Morlino, forgive him and if I can be part of the effort to hasten him toward the Beatific Vision, if he’s not enjoying it yet, he can still do me good by making me do works of mercy for him.

    [I think what you have encountered in the sermon was a last taste of Bp. Morlino’s realistic humor. Of course he aspired to heaven. This bishop understood all we know about shooting high, as it were, rather than low. At the same time, coming out through his wry humor about Purgatory was a healthy lack of that very very dangerous attitude of presumption, which is so common today. Bp. Morlino was truly vexed by that attitude of presumption, especially at funerals, which he called mini-canonizations. He wanted with all his heart for people not to assume anything, but rather to pray for him… as Christians do. Hence, the rites of the Mass, in violet and ad orientem. It was all a signal that this was not a celebration of life or a affirmation of ourselves. This was a moment for prayer. His last Mass was a teaching moment to the diocese about funerals and praying for the dead.]

  12. Father G says:

    @Henry Edwards

    “But a dignified funeral Mass celebrated ad orientem in purple vestments–with Roman Canon and most receiving on the tongue while kneeling, and with no sappy congregational hymns–was probably an eye-opener for many (if not most) EWTN viewers.”

    Those who watched Mother Angelica’s funeral in 2016 would have already been familiar with a dignified funeral. Ad orientem. Roman Canon. Holy Communion kneeling on the tongue. No sappy hymns. The vestments were white though.

  13. Henry Edwards says:

    Indeed, Father G. Mother Angelica’s funeral Mass was such a moving and impressive OF Mass that I took the time in 2016 to compile and post a web page of screenshots from the EWTN telecast:

    In addition to the specifics you mentioned … celebrated in Latin by Archbishop Chaput, with Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.

    I’d recommend the video (here) of this Mass to anyone who’d like to see what aspirations for the Novus Ordo one can have.

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