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Bishop Morlino: ‘divide and conquer’ strategy is beginning of persecution

February 15, 2012

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison said that a “divide and conquer” strategy is being used against the Church in the public debate over religious liberty and conscience rights--a strategy that he fears marks the beginning of a “sophisticated persecution.”

“Everybody sees that their freedom of conscience is at stake,” he said. “It just depends who is up to be curtailed at any given moment for whatever reason. If they can do it to Catholics, they can do it to anybody.”

“There seems to be an approach that seeks to divide the Church, even more than she is already divided, along liberal and conservative lines. We should not be this way,” he added. “All the liberal/conservative bit is an import from the political sphere, which really does us nothing but damage.”

Bishop Morlino continued:

To take advantage of the fact that this has already happened in our culture, this division, and then to start to pit the bishops – as if they were merely one group within the Church – [against] what other groups might think, is clearly a straightforward attempt to divide and to deepen division in the Church, and to weaken the Church – the old saying, divide and conquer.

After discussing his fears that the strategy marked the beginnings of a nonviolent but sophisticated persecution, he said that organizations that call themselves Catholic must “really be Catholic” and spoke about his efforts to ensure the Catholic identity of Catholic institutions within his diocese.

Stating that there is “too much liturgical diversity“ among parishes, Bishop Morlino said that “commonality in liturgy,” assisted by the new translation of the Roman Missal, is the foundation of a robust public witness.


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: bkmajer3729 - Feb. 15, 2012 8:28 PM ET USA

    Yes! Please get this message out to all of the Archdioceses and Dioceses; parishes and Priests. Get this out to all Catholics. This is no time to be or appear to be divided! Contraception and abortion must be stopped. Freedom to practice one's religion must be maintained.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 15, 2012 4:50 PM ET USA

    Remember that Our Lord said that he came not to bring peace but division. Those that take the side of the Culture of Death are only proclaiming their true natures. The bishops need to teach the truth and let people decide whether they choose life or death. They can't have both.

  • Posted by: the.dymeks9646 - Feb. 15, 2012 3:14 PM ET USA

    Oddly enough, I see this debate a healthy thing. There is always some degree of division, escpecially when one or both sides do not have the facts or are not in search of the truth. Healthly division creates tension, which can lead folks to the truth for the sake of peace of mind. For folks interested in knowing more about the Catholic Church, we are learning about the primacy of the USCCB rather than the CHA. That's a good thing. Let's pray that the USCCB also relentlessly pursues the truth.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Feb. 15, 2012 11:20 AM ET USA

    Where was the USCCB on 24 January 2009? The "sophisticated persecution" did not start two weeks ago. It started the day the Obama issued his anti-Catholic executive orders, a couple of days after his inauguration. I quote again what I sent the White House on 24 Jan 2009: "I am concerned that your presidency will usher in the greatest official persecution of Catholics this country has ever seen. Your recent executive actions lend credence to the apprehension that began in my mind in 2004."