Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bishop Morlino Beset By Dissenters

We've covered his problems before. Even as he rose into the ranks of our favorite shepherds, he was ticking people off.

It's pretty much the same thing as our prior report. Bishop Morlino brought in some Catholic priests that the people didn't like. Why were they not liked? Let's look at an inventory of the horrific activities that have led to the recent conflict:

They reserve the altar server role to boys to encourage more seminarians. They eliminate participation by laypeople in the distribution of communion. And they preach homilies that supporters find refreshingly forthright in stressing Catholic teaching but critics find short on compassion.

Yeah, I can see how people would get all up in arms over this. How up in arms?

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Platteville, stung by a plunge in donations following the arrival of three controversial priests, has issued an urgent plea for money to keep its parochial school open.

The 75-year-old St. Mary's Catholic School is subsidized by the church, which has seen weekly donations fall more than 50 percent in four months, said Myron Tranel, chairman of the church's finance council.

The school, with 106 K-8 students, has enough money to operate until at least January but needs an additional $200,000 to keep the facility open through the end of the school year, he said.

The financial crisis coincides with Madison Bishop Robert Morlino's decision in June to bring in three priests from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest to lead the parish. The group is based in Spain and known for traditionalist liturgy and devotion to orthodox Catholic teaching.

Changes the priests have made, including barring girls from being altar servers, led to a petition last month signed by 469 of the church's approximately 1,200 members asking Morlino to immediately remove the priests. In a response letter to the parish last week, Morlino said the priests have his full support and will stay. He chastised parishioners for conduct he called "gravely sinful."

Let me get this straight. With Catholic schools closing all over the country and folks at those places scrambling and doing all they can to save them, these folks appear to be cutting off donations to their school to try and teach His Excellency a lesson about who is really in charge.

Can you imagine what would happen if a group of laity who desired a Traditional Latin Mass in their parish did this contrary to the wishes of a bishop acting in defiance of the Holy Father's express wishes?

My guess is that they would be labeled as ignorant schismatics and denounced by powers both religious and secular. But that's just a guess.

Back to the folks in Madison, though.

The priests do retain considerable support in the church.

"They're teaching morals, and that's what we need," said Barbara Splinter, a 45-year member. "They are following what I've read the pope is for, and he's our leader, so I don't know why people have a problem with it."

The priests are "being treated very terribly," she added.

Mike Worachek said he's disappointed that his fellow parishioners aren't giving the priests a chance. "I think people should grow up and face the reality that people are different and you have to accept them for what they are," he said.

Such charity by these dissenters. The best part is that these rabble-rousers are probably accusing Bishop Morlino and these good and holy priests of being intolerant. What a bunch of hypocritical a-holes.

It grieves me to acknowledge that the reputation of three happy, holy, and hardworking priests has been seriously tarnished by rumor, gossip, and calumny (lying with the intent to damage another’s good name) by some within the parish community. Such conduct is gravely sinful, since some parishioners have been driven by fear, anger, or both, to distance themselves from their priests and even the Sacraments. This situation must cease, and charity must prevail on the part of all.

In an interesting conclusion, His Excellency adds:

Furthermore, activities such as protest-letter-writing seminars, leafleting of motor vehicles, door-to-door canvassing for signatures on a petition, etc (that is, exerting organized political pressure on people, where the end justifies any means) is an appropriate tactic in a political campaign, but not in the communion of faith which is the Catholic Church. Groups such as “Call to Action” and “Voice of the Faithful” regularly employ such tactics against legitimate authority in the Church. Because these groups dissent from basic tenets of Catholic Doctrine and Discipline, they are not recognized as Catholic in the Diocese of Madison, much less are they able to exercise legitimate authority. It is my hope that these clarifications will prove helpful.

I wonder if Bishop Morlino has reason to believe that these heretical groups he mentions are behind some of this, hence his decision to mention them by name. He also reminds everyone that these groups aren't Catholic. Maybe I'm reading too much into, but that strikes me as a veiled threat of being excommed.

Pray for Bishop Morlino. Send him encouraging letters. If you have the means, send the diocese some money to make up for the jerks giving him a hard time. And remember, pray for the dissenters. They are being deceived. At the root of all this is their pride. Pray that God delivers them from themselves.


Shiro said...

Good expression

David said...

Bishop Morlino is intruding on their turf. Why are they Catholic?

Because the Catholic church has the copy machines.

Turgonian said...

I've seen Bishop Morlino -- in Belgium! He's a good man. :)