Divisive Bishop Robert Morlino Dies, Lost Sight Of Message From The Gospels

Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison died late Saturday night following an apparent heart attack earlier in the week.  As this entire region of Wisconsin knows, all too well, Morlino was known not for compassion or regard for the feelings of others, but instead for taking outlandish positions, especially when it came in opposition to civil rights for gay men and women.

For 15 years Morlino worked to divide his parishioners and strove mightily to shame men and women from living their lives authentically.  How far from the calling of Christ he fell when taking a political role for himself instead of being a good shepherd to his flock.

The Catholic Bishop talked so piously about ‘life issues’ over the years, but that could not remove the fact he sat on the advisory board of the bloody institution once known as the School Of The Americas.

He blithely acted against those who had ideas which differed from his own.  Many recall the shock felt by members of a Catholic parish in Beloit when they learned that Morlino had fired their pastoral associate.  The woman, Ruth Kolpack, said she was fired after refusing to renounce the views she expressed in a college thesis in 2003, arguing for more gender-inclusive language in Masses and questioning the church doctrine that limits ordination to men only.  At the time she spoke to the press about a meeting with the Bishop where he asked that she profess her faith, take a loyalty oath and renounce the thesis. She only was willing to do the first two things.

Morlino was never one to miss a chance to cling to antiquated thinking.  Kolpack had worked in the church for 35 years, but then was not even allowed to sing in the choir.

His desire to always head back in time was proven with a desire to see priests in the diocese use only bread during regular communion services, reserving the use of both bread and wine for more solemn or special occasions.  The Second Vatican Council in 1963 restored the use of both bread and wine at a bishop’s discretion.  Morlino, never a fan of the council, sough to undermine it at every chance–no matter how small minded it might appear to others.

Morlino was never above making a fool of himself.  Many recall, with sadness, his pronouncement regarding a preference for excluding the hymn “All Are Welcome” from the liturgy.  Members of the faith saw this as still more evidence he had lost sight of the essential message of the Gospels.

He even threatened to bring back the use of an interdict as a way to control free thought and growing dissension among his fellow Catholics in Platteville.  He warned parishioners they risked formal church censure unless they stopped spreading “rumors and gossip.”  The action was so bizarre that Catholic scholars called it highly unusual, and appearing to include the possibility of offenders being prohibited from taking part in church sacraments such as communion, confession and burial.   Many in this area wondered if dispensation was just around the corner in Morlino’s mind.

But what made the rotund Bishop the most shaken from reality was his repeated attempts to thwart social progress for gay people.

My ire with remarks from Morlino about homosexuals has everything to do with my concept of how humanity interacts in Madison.  A city it might be noted Morlino stated  had “a high comfort level with virtually no public morality.”   This from a man who represented a church that has an overabundance of pedophile priests.  Irony has no limits.

Tolerance and acceptance from many people in all strata of our society work together to help build bridges of commonality, as opposed to the mindless and utterly stupefying remarks made over the years by Morlino.  It is by using words, such as Morlino made, that allows bigots and thugs to undermine and bash gay people.  The lowest common denominators are always seeking out justification for their actions, and Morlino with his language, gave them cover.  That is what I find morally unacceptable.

Morlino’s true aim over time was to wrestle modernity from the Church while at the same time trying from the pulpit to steer voters to cast ballots to reflect his own bigotry.  Morlino’s actions–time and again–were unjustified, and a throw-back to a time when the church was throwing scientists in prison.  Bishop Morlino missed his true calling in the church by being born about 500 years too late.

Note To Madison Bishop Morlino: The Problem Is Pedophile Priests!

There is something within the DNA of Madison Bishop Robert Morlino which makes him determined to verbally attack gay people.  Over and over for decades, Morlino has used his position of power within the Catholic Church to denigrate and demean these men and women.  He has used his time to work on behalf of those who seek unequal laws and lowering of social norms when it comes to gay rights.

There is now yet another embarrassing episode for the diocese which features the deplorable actions and words of Morlino.

Without seeming to have any reticence over his move Morlino claims that a homosexual subculture within the Catholic Church’s hierarchy is surely the root cause, and source of blame for the countless priests who can not control their willies.  (I pick Brad Pitt to play the lead role in this fictionalized account of Morlino’s screen play.)  Where exactly in the Bible does Morlino find his source of inspiration for using gay people as a scapegoat?   

Pedophilia is a sexual disorder and also a crime. And facts show most pedophiles are heterosexual.  That is what needs to be dealt with in the Church.  But instead of taking the logical route the Bishop strikes out at his favorite target, gay men.  Morlino sent out a five-page message that underscores how shaky his attempt at rational thought is when it involves gay people.  

Rational people–meanwhile–who read the news accounts about Morlino’s latest attack will think about the larger problems which exist for Catholics.  The Church has no willingness to pull itself out of a tortured past.  If priests were able to marry, and women were not considered second-class actors in the play there would be a considerable lot less headlines that causes Morlino’s briefs to ride up.

Gay men are not the problem, of course.  But bribing victims of pedophile priests, and accused priests being transferred to new parishes are the problem. Morlino needs to look within the Church for the crimes and not seek to lay blame on society’s modernity.  The same type of modernity which would aid the Church.

Morlino needs to come to terms with many issues, but the one that seems to stymie him and all his male counterparts in the Church is how to take responsibility for the decades of suffering they have caused.   Beating up on gay men are not going to solve the Church’s problems.

Call To Action Regarding Bishop Robert Morlino Denying Funeral Rites To Gay Men And Women

It takes a lot in this day and age to make me feel stunned.  But last week when it was reported that Bishop Robert Morlino was pushing the idea that gay men and women should not receive the church’s funeral rites I was simply shocked.   This is even more than a fiction writer would think possible in a plot creation.  But the fact is evil Bishop Morlino has plotted again and again all sorts of ways to allow for church-sponsored hatred of gay men and women to be sanctioned.

And it must end.  Once and for all.

Therefore there is an effort underway–and even spearheaded by one I most often very much disagree with–to send a clear message that Morlino has stepped far beyond the line with his latest actions.  

Please take these actions over the next 2 days.

1. EMAIL A LETTER TO THE EDITOR to the Madison Newspapers, the Catholic Herald and CC Catholic Leadership. Brief is fine. Email addresses are below. A few points we are trying to make:

– Canon law has evolved over time to suit the church’s needs
– the church needs to stop practicing unkindness and bigotry if it wishes to survive
– Bishops have discretion
– Bishop Morlino has a 14 year history of using his discretion to wield power and hatred against women, LGBTQI, and those who point out his excessiveness.
– Love and kindness must lead. He’s got to go. 

Newspaper Email Addresses:
wsjcity@madison.com
tctvoice@madison.com 
phands@madison.com 
wsjopine@madison.com 
news@madison365.org
info@madisoncatholicherald.org

Catholic Leadership Addresses:
ornet@ossrom.va 

  1. READ AND SHARE ARTICLES in #3. Share on Facebook, twitter and email.  3. ARTICLES TO SHARE:
    LETTER TO THE EDITOR – 18 YEAR OLD MADDIE RAFFEL
    http://host.madison.com/wsj/opinion/letters/morlino-discourages-young-catholics—-maddie-raffel/article_3a626edb-ec0e-5a44-8fa5-c643d796aae1.html WKOW 27 – THOUSANDS SIGN PETITION
    http://www.wkow.com/story/36707003/2017/10/28/thousands-sign-online-petition-to-remove-madisons-bishop#.WfaKKxfmUSs.facebook WSJ – No surprise that Bishop Robert Morlino and Co. imperil Christianity’s good name, again
    http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/columnists/chris-rickert/chris-rickert-no-surprise-that-bishop-robert-morlino-and-co/article_acd645a3-4e8b-56c4-908d-2b8d66a6ebae.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share

    NBC15 – Petition to Remove Madison Bishop
    http://www.nbc15.com/content/news/Petition-to-remove-Madison-Bishop-453753413.html

    National Catholic Online – Injustice and Unkindness Even In Death
    https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/injustice-and-unkindness-even-death

    Deke Rivers Catholic Hatred For Deceased Gay People Pumped By Bishop Morlino
    https://dekerivers.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/catholic-hatred-for-deceased-gay-people-pumped-by-bishop-morlino/

    4. HOW TO TWEET THEM – if you have a twitter account, please tweet the articles in #3 and be sure to include the twitter addresses below at the beginning of your message. The first address is the Pope, the second is Catholic Leadership, the third is Vatican News, the fourth is channel 27. 

    @pontifex @usccb @vatican en @wkow27 

    SAMPLE TWEET:
    @pontifex @usccb @vatican en @wkow27 18 year old writes youth is leaving the church over Bishop Morlinohttp://host.madison.com/wsj/opinion/letters/morlino-discourages-young-catholics—-maddie-raffel/article_3a626edb-ec0e-5a44-8fa5-c643d796aae1.html

    5. SIGN AND SHARE A THIS PETITION TOO authored by DignityUSA.
    https://www.change.org/p/james-bartylla-madisondiocese-org-tell-bishop-morlino-gay-lesbian-catholics-deserve-funerals

Sign Petition About Anti-Gay Actions Of Bishop Morlino Against Deceased People

This should be the easiest thing you do all week since the actions by Bishop Robert Morlino against deceased gay people are so disgusting.

Tell Bishop Morlino that gay and lesbian Catholics deserve full funerals.  I can not even believe that in 2017 one needs to even argue the point!  Share this petition with friends and encourage them to sign too.

Thank you!

Catholic Hatred For Deceased Gay People Pumped By Bishop Morlino

Having long felt that Madison Bishop Morlino is a closeted homosexual–just based on my gaydar when watching and listening to him, and Lord knows that makes me want to poke out my mental eye–makes his continual attacks on gay men and woman utterly mystifying.  His views are more than just bigotry, but instead are outright deplorable acts of hatred disguised as some religious gobble-gook .  This past week there was yet another layer of utter disgust that spread across Southern Wisconsin when Morlino went after gay people–WHO ARE DECEASED!

You read that correctly.

A weekly newsletter to priests in the Madison Catholic Diocese by Bishop Robert Morlino’s top aide spelled out a series of “considerations” to use in deciding whether to provide funeral rites for people in same-sex unions, angering gay advocates who slammed it as offensive.

The confidential email, sent last Saturday by Vicar General James Bartylla with Morlino’s backing, said rites “may be denied for manifest sinners” if providing the services would cause unavoidable “public scandal of the faithful.”

Someone needs to hold Morlino’s vestments down as I feel a storm  brewing from those with working brain stems in this diocese.   In addition, those of us in the secular world have some things to say to moldy, bigoted, misogynistic men like Morlino.

Steve Starkey, executive director of LGBT OutReach, a Madison-based secular, advocacy group self-described as “South Central Wisconsin’s LGBT Community Center,” said Bartylla’s overall message was backward and homophobic.

“The ‘gay lifestyle’ is we work, we go to school, we own homes, we own cars, we have children,” Starkey said, expressing frustration that “other faiths have evolved on this issue” while Morlino “just refuses to budge at all.”

“It’s really negative when a big institution like the Catholic Church practices discrimination and then encourages other people to discriminate against a group of people,” Starkey said. “If it was people of color or people with disabilities who were being singled out, it wouldn’t stand.”

Can any gay person now say they can feel at home in the Catholic Church?   I spoke with a gay person this week and heard first hand how he does not feel accepted in a local parish.    Morlino continues to do a grave injury to the Catholic Church by his foolish utterances and actions.  The sad reality is there is much anti-gay hatred within the Catholic Church and Morlino could be the poster-child for such behavior.

Is Bishop Morlino Listening?

In a meeting with roughly 30 members of his own Jesuit religious order in Poland in late July, Pope Francis said that priests must be taught the fine art of discernment, because “not everything is black over white, or white over black. No! The shades of gray prevail in life.”

A great read.

Bishop Morlino Needs To Force Payment Of Property Taxes For Land In Downtown Madison

It is so unseemly when those who have the money to pay their fair share in taxes, as stipulated by law, continue to flaunt the law and think themselves above the rest of us who abide by the norms of society.   That is precisely what the Diocese of Madison continues to do regarding the land where St. Raphael Cathedral once stood.

Once again the pie-in-the sky desire for a huge and costly cathedral in downtown Madison runs counter to the places in the world where Catholic congregations are actually growing and where churches more likely will be constructed.  Maybe this diocese will need to think smaller and more pragmatically when it comes to housing Bishop Molino.  I am sure Morlino will not disagree with living more frugally for the good of the Church.

It is quite clear there is no red hat in Morlino’s future so long as Pope Francis has the power to weed out the weak links of the church.    So Morlino needs to adjust his thinking about lofty building plans on this plot of land.   As he comes to grips with that reality about his future in the church he should also come to understand the duty the diocese has to pay their tax bill.

The cathedral on West Main Street, a block from the state Capitol, burned down in 2005 and taxes on the $4 million property have been in dispute for years.

The parcel now contains a park-like display called “Way of the Cross,” commemorating Christ’s path to crucifixion, which the congregation installed to signal that the property still has a religious purpose. 

“That shows continued religious use,” said attorney Matthew Fleming, who’s representing the congregation. “It shows it’s continuing to still be held for the cathedral. But I also still believe that because the property continues to be held and reserved for the purpose of one day constructing a new cathedral for the Madison diocese, that that also provides additional grounds for continuing the exemption.”

The city disagrees.

“The question is, do they really use it for religious purposes, or did they put up some things and say, ‘This is now tax exempt because it has some religious symbols on it,’” said city attorney Mike May. “What do they do with the property as opposed to what they put on it? It’s not as if there’s a church there that they use on a regular basis.”

What Side Could Bishop Morlino Be On? Hmmm…

The front page of The New York Times has the story many, regardless of their faith, are following.  As I read the story all I could see was the chubby face of Bishop Morlino.  I can see him pondering how he could best connive to set the church in a place that makes it smaller and more ideological at the exclusion of the rest of the world that wants to see a more open and all-embracing institution.    I wonder at these meetings if Morlino travels alone or does he take a friend as a traveling companion?  You know, someone to talk with and bounce ideas off of?  Late at night in Rome I wonder if Morlino tries to square his view with all those in the churches in this region of Wisconsin who vehemently disagree with him?

The result has been the most momentous, and contentious, meeting of bishops in the 50 years since the Second Vatican Council, which brought the church into the modern era. The meeting has exposed deep fault lines between traditionalists focused on shoring up doctrine, and those who want the church to be more open to Catholics who are divorced, gay, single parents or cohabiting.  

As the bishops face a deadline Saturday to present their report to the pope, it is increasingly clear that Francis is struggling to build consensus for his vision of a more inclusive and decentralized church. The question is whether the pope, who has won the hearts of those in the pews, can persuade the bishops to help create a church that fully welcomes people with the kinds of family situations it now condemns.

But condemnation is what Bishop Morlino does best!