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Wisconsin bishop stands by conservative priests

November 08, 2010

Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison given his emphatic support to priests whose conservative approach triggered protests in a parish in Platteville, Wisconsin.

After more than 450 members of St. Mary’s parish signed a petition asking Bishop Morlino to remove the priests of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, who had been given pastoral responsibility for the Platteville parish, the bishop announced that he would stand by the priests.

“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,” Bishop Morlino wrote. “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.”

Bishop Morlino emphasized that the laity have a right to petition their bishop, but warned that “protest-letter-writing seminars, leafleting of motor vehicles, door-to- door canvassing for signatures” and other political tactics are inappropriate. He observed: “Groups such as “Call to Action” and “Voice of the Faithful” regularly employ such tactics against legitimate authority in the Church.”

In his message to the parishioners of St. Mary’s, Bishop Morlino dwelt at length on the complaints that had been raised about the priests of the Spanish-based Society of Jesus Christ the Priest. He explained that the priests were carrying our their pastoral duties in keeping with the Church’s teachings and traditions, and rejected the suggestion that the “spirit of Vatican II” called for a sharply different approach to ministry.


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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Nov. 14, 2010 11:49 AM ET USA

    This is what happens when our liturgy and catechesis have been taken hostage by those who have another agenda and have held prominent positions in the Church these past 40-50 years. Now that some are finally "waking up" to the Truth that the so-called "Spirit of Vatican II" is a false spirit, those who have had their way and those laity who have been misled react in mean-spirited and unchristian ways. Witness the throwing of a pie in the Belgian archbishop's face during the Mass!

  • Posted by: Obregon - Nov. 09, 2010 12:49 AM ET USA

    And what is the crime of these priests? Some say they are too "conservative," I say they are "Catholic," and apparently so does their bishop! Are those priests teaching anything contrary to the faith? NO, so what's the problem?

  • Posted by: impossible - Nov. 08, 2010 10:15 PM ET USA

    A suggestion. Please consider not using the terms "liberal" and "conservative" when characterizing Catholics, clergy or laity, unless the subject matter is clearly an accidental one as opposed to an essential one - i.e. faith and morals. In matters of faith and morals, the terms should be "orthodox" or "heterodox" or "obedient" or "disobedient." These priests and their Bishop are modern day martyrs albeit "white martyrs."

  • Posted by: rpp - Nov. 08, 2010 9:56 PM ET USA

    Very good of the bishop. Those who do not really strive to live an authentic Christian life and seek to conform their conscience to the real teachings of the Church will sometimes resort to lying and other uncharitable tactics to try to get their way. In fact, those who scream "tolerance" most ludly are often utterly intolerant of those who disagree with them.