How ‘forward thinking’ of Bishop Morlino to bring back the use of an interdict as a way to control free thought and growing dissension among his fellow Catholics.
Given the rate that Morlino seems to be slipping away from reality in dealing with the chasm of his own making, it might not be so far into the future before the rotund bishop will mount a sturdy horse and lead his own holy crusade on the streets of Platteville. If an interdict is growing in Morlino’s mind as a legitimate solution to the problems he has created, can anyone be sure that dispensation as used in the Middle Ages is also not again to be used in Southern Wisconsin?
No one knows for sure why Morlino is digging into the soulless past of the church to again threaten people about where they will be buried. Someone needs to get Bishop Morlino a calendar with 2012 highlighted in red!
Rolling out the oldies is best left to radio announcers with a stack of vinyl. When it comes to Morlino one might advise him to stop threatening the faithful in Platteville, and instead go shopping for some cute little frilly accessories that might look nice with a red hat. It seems from all of Morlino’s lunacy that is what he is bucking for, but even the old man in the Vatican must be smarter than to wish that on his church.
The action by Morlino, which two Catholic scholars called highly unusual, appears to include the possibility of offenders being prohibited from taking part in church sacraments such as communion, confession and burial.
The warning came in a five-page letter Wednesday from Morlino to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Platteville. The congregation has been roiled by opposition to the traditionalist priests, who began serving the parish in June 2010.
Within months, church donations fell by more than half, and about 40 percent of the church’s 1,200 members signed a petition seeking the priests’ ouster. The church’s 77-year-old school is set to close June 1, a loss many parishioners tie directly to the collapse of donations.
The term “interdict” carries great weight in Catholicism, said the Rev. Steven Avella, a history professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee and a Catholic priest. “Interdict is a very severe penalty that effectively prohibits the Catholic sacraments from being celebrated,” he said.
The penalty was widely used in the Middle Ages and sometimes employed in the early years of the United States, he said. It has been used sparingly in recent history, he said. “Sanctions and penalties of this kind would only be a last resort — a sort of ‘nuclear option,’ if you will.”
Dennis Doyle, a Catholic theologian at the University of Dayton in Ohio, said it is “a very unusual situation for a bishop to invoke the possibility of canonical penalties.”