Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bishop Morlino Threatens A Wisconsin Parish With Interdict

The above graphic is from this article which gives more background on Bishop Morlino and the rocky relationship he has with the faithful in Madison, WI.

Bishop Robert Morlino must be getting desperate for a new color beanie.  Actually, he's really be working at this for quite some time.  This link will take you to past posts I've written about Morlino's attempts to curry favor with the Pope and 'pastor' his flock in Madison.  This time he is now threatening Canonical sanctions for the laity of a parish in Platteville, WI who are none too happy about the very traditional foreign priests Morlino invited in to minister at St Mary's Catholic Church back in June of 2010.  There was a serious clash of culture from the get go.  Bishop Morlino has now raised the stakes.

Bishop Morlino warns dissenters to stop — or else

DOUG ERICKSON | Wisconsin State Journal - 4/28/2012
Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino has moved to quell a backlash against a group of conservative priests in Platteville by warning parishioners they risk formal church censure unless they stop spreading "rumors and gossip."
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 letter, in which Morlino raises the prospect of invoking the church’s Code of Canon Law against dissenters, has stunned many parishioners.
"There’s almost shock and awe," said Myron Tranel, a member of the church’s finance council. "But mostly, there’s a lot of disappointment that the bishop has decided to deal with it this way."
Others applaud the bishop’s move, saying decisive action was needed because criticism had gotten out of hand.
"This is a warning shot across the bow — you either want to be a Catholic or you don’t," said Gregory Merrick, a member of the church’s pastoral council.
Diocesan spokesman Brent King said Morlino’s main message is that this should be a time of "prayer, serious introspection and forgiveness." The specific texts from the church’s code of law were included precisely so that they may never be needed, King said.
"The bishop’s caution that ‘this cannot continue’ should not be made into anything more than that — a caution," King said. (Last I checked, the word caution was not synonymous with 'threat'.  This is a threat.)
Standing by the priests
The priests are from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, a group known for traditionalist liturgy and devotion to strict Catholic teaching. They do not allow girls to be altar servers or allow parishioners to assist in distributing communion. Critics say they emphasize doctrine over pastoral care and institute changes in a heavy-handed way.
Morlino has stood by them and did so again in the letter to parishioners, the primary purpose of which was to announce his decision to accept the parish’s recommendation to close the school. The priests have admitted "that they undertook some changes in a way that was abrupt for many people," Morlino wrote, yet he said no one has provided concrete examples of the priests straying from church doctrine. (When this first erupted and donations dropped to half what they were, Morlino stated he would do everything to keep the school open.  At the time I wrote that 'everything' would not include money and the school would have to close.)
In the end, "the Catholic faith is being taught according to the proper understanding of the Second Vatican Council, and what remains are personal likes and dislikes, along with inflated rumors and gossip, some of which may even rise to the level of calumnious inciting of hatred of your priests, the faith and myself," Morlino wrote. (Operative words are "and myself".)
Where there are those who work to "incite hatred," there "may need to be more formal warning and action," Morlino wrote. An addendum cites many church laws, including one in which anyone who publicly incites animosities or hatred toward church authorities "is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties."

‘A very severe penalty’
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."
"This is a situation where push has come to shove and the bishop is asserting his authority and letting the people know, as it were, that he ‘owns the buildings and calls the shots,’" Doyle said.
Being interdicted differs from being ex-communicated in that the person under interdict is still considered a church member, Doyle said. (Like divorced and remarried.  You can look, but not touch.)

Questions over intent
Terry Busch, a church member who has been vocal in his opposition to the priests, wonders if he’s a target of the bishop’s message.
"There’s nothing I’ve ever said that isn’t true, but it sounds like if you say anything about the priests or the church, they’re coming after you," he said. "Now I don’t know exactly what that means. Do they send you to hell or take you to court?"
King, the diocesan spokesman, said that he would not engage in any "what if" speculation and that parishioners shouldn’t either, as it would only make healing more difficult. "The question of hypothetical penalties, for hypothetical crimes, is not one we will entertain," he said.
Even though the school will indeed close, "our hope is that, very soon, healing can come to the St. Mary’s Parish community, through prayer and forgiveness," King said. "That might sound idealistic, but in Christ, it is very possible." (The forgiveness will have to be a one way street.  The Diocesan spokesman didn't use the word 'reconciliation' which entails a two way street.)
Meanwhile, parishioners are trying to sort it all out. Rosemary Anderson, a St. Mary’s member who recently started attending services elsewhere, said St. Mary’s parishioners aren’t rebels and aren’t trying to make some grand statement.
"Platteville, Wisconsin, is not the hotbed of revolutionary movement in the world," she said. "We just want our parish community back." (You are now because your bishop intentionally decided to make you such.)
Even if the bishop were to take away her ability to participate at St. Mary’s, "he cannot take away, hurt or lessen my spiritual relationship with God," she said.
Merrick, a parishioner who supports the priests, said the church does not seek blind loyalty and is not eager to come down hard on people, yet basic rules and doctrine must be enforced.
"The church in the last 50 or 60 years has been very reticent to use its weight to corral people into toeing the line," he said. "The reason the bishop had to do this is that there was just a great deal of backbiting and meeting behind the scenes going on. (This from a man on the 'pastoral' council.  Bring on the cattle trucks.)

Read more:


Here we go for real, right back to the middle ages.  Oh wow, threatening--eergh I mean issuing a caution--to interdict upset laity has got to be the most mind boggling thing that has come down the Catholic pike in the last three weeks.   And there has been a lot of mind boggling things come down that pike the last three weeks.  My poor mind is truly boggled.  Actually, it's not that boggled since this is the action of one Robert Morlino who has never made a mistake he couldn't twist to make himself the victim of his own poor judgment.

There is one thing about this story should give the True Believers their own note of 'caution'.  While they may get off on the thought of their less True Believing fellow parishioners being 'pastorally' threatened with Interdict, they should also note the closure of their school.  They should note this for two reasons.  The first reason is they can not financially sustain their version of Trentan Catholicism on their own.  The second reason is their True Believing bishops won't let loose with any Diocesan money to help them keep their schools and physical plants.  Not only will True Believers inherit their wished for 'leaner and meaner' Church, they will also inherit a much smaller, less competent, less capable of providing needed services church. And they will still have to support the life styles and fantasies of their bishops.  In this case, Morlino is still planning to build his 70 million dollar Cathedral to replace the one that burned down in 2005.  Obviously there is no money for any school in Platteville and there was never going to be.  

Rather than re evaluate a decision that placed very conservative priests in the wrong area, Bishop Morlino is threatening the nuclear option.  It's hard to believe the desire for altar girls and lay Eucharistic ministers and some lay input into decisions effecting the parish is enough to bring on the threat of interdict.  This is all about the use of naked power and who has it and who doesn't.  As now as it ever was, forever and ever. Amen.


  1. I suppose such an interdict would just be an official signpost to make clear what the actions of the breakaway sect demonstrate anyway.

    "Be warned, these people - in spite of their claims - are falling away from the Church."

    It wouldn't stop them doing what they're doing (indeed, one half expects that it would only encourage and deepen their dissidence), but it would make clear and official the consequences of that apostasy.

  2. Pray tell Invictus, just what is their apostasy? The fact they disagree with the conservative take their parish has taken? Temple Police types do this kind of thing all the time, and will even go so far as to involve Rome, do they deserve Canonical sanction for spreading 'gossip and rumors'? Or is that just reserved for others?

    1. Easy. Their rejection of Church teaching in things like the sanctity of life, the ordination of women, and the nature of marriage.

      If it was just small politics, the usual squabbles over organs vs tambourines etc, then it wouldn't matter, but this clearly runs a fair bit deeper than that.

    2. Invictus, your credibility is sliding down the tubes. This episode has nothing to do with Church teaching like abortion, gay marriage, or the ordination of women. It has nothing to do with Church doctrine or dogma. Did you not read the article?

    3. I did, and because I didn't know what any of it was really about I followed the link you provided.

      The link gave the strong impression that members of that parish were openly opposed to Catholic teaching.

      ""I started feeling uncomfortable about Morlino pretty much from day one," says Beyers, a resident of Madison's far southwest side and member of the local chapter of Call to Action, which has crossed swords with the bishop. "He's big on obedience. (...)""

      "The laypeople, including about 40 local members of Call to Action, are upset about a leadership regime they see as entrenched, dogmatic, unduly hierarchical."

      "Madison resident Jim Green, a Catholic brother for eight years in the Divine Word Missionary, was in Rome during the last two years of Vatican II. For the past 40 years he's lived with his life partner, Bill Diederich. Both are Roman Catholics and members of Dignity USA"

      And the tone of "In November 2006, Morlino ordered all of the priests in his diocese to play a recorded message in place of the homily, in which he condemned a proposed gay marriage amendment (as well as capital punishment and embryonic stem-cell research). In his letter to priests, Morlino warned of "serious consequences" for anyone who dissented from his stance." very clearly shows a bias of opposition to Church teaching.

      The entire article you posted affirms the point I made here; the parish rejects Catholic teaching, the Bishop is within his rights and responsibilities in flagging the parish up as dissenting from the truths of the Church.

      He can't stop them, but he can acknowledge the consequences of what they are doing, and this he seems to be doing.

    4. Invictus, I know Morlino on a very different level and will just let this stop here. The people from the article I linked to are gone and belong to a congregation I mention below. Let's just say we should agree to disagree. This is not about doctrine or dogma any longer. This is about Morlino and his own stuff.

  3. On this Good Shepherd Sunday, Bishop Morlino seems more like the hireling.

    There can be great difficulty when bishops bring priests from other cultures to fill gaps that the bishops have not addressed in more effective and pastoral ways, other than threatening interdict. The fact that Bishop Morlino seems deaf to this is just another reason that the bishop is the hireling and not the shepherd.

    I’d suggest to the parishioners who want to sidestep the interdict, go find a more pastorally friendly parish. In rural areas this may be difficult. It may also mean walking away from some cherished roots.

    Today in the local paper, the headline read; “Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese Ran Up a Deficit of Fifteen Million Dollars.” At this rate and with Morlino’s attitude, Catholic Schools will soon be a thing of the past.

    Morlino may think he’s right; and he’s got the power, but he’s no shepherd.

    1. When he was here in Helena he was a dictator, pure and simple. His definition of good shepherding was that he was usually, but not always, nice and pleasant while giving his dictatorial commands. Needless to say, his departure was well received. When Archbishop Hunthausen was here back in the day, his departure for Seattle was heartbreaking, even if it was inevitable.

  4. Invictus, the breakaway sect are Opus Dei, the Legionnaires, pedophile priest and their ENABLERS, the gay bashers, the misogynist, Nazi sympathizer & supporter of a HATRED FACTION in the Church - Mr. Pope Benedict, red had seeker school closer Bishop Morlino who refuse to see the real sign post of the times...... welcoming back SSPX, refusing to address real issues in the Church and in the world, spending millions on buildings and not being pastoral or in any way resembling the Good Shepherd IS THE BREAKAWAY SECT. Get it yet?


    1. Butterfly,

      Just stop for a moment and re-read that. Can you really say that those are calm, loving, or rational sentiments?

      Of all the big stuff out there...those words are truly, really the ones you have ended up choosing?

    2. There is nothing calm, rational or loving about Opus Dei, the Legionnaires and the pedophile enablers and inquisitional & misogynist fascist leadership of Pope Benedict.

      Ask yourself to just stop for a moment and think about all of the issues that were "out there" and Jesus, who was not so calm, decided to make a whip of cords and remove the money changers from the Temple. Would you rather say that He should have been calm, loving, or rational?


  5. I think it is Roman Church Bishops like Morlino that are in schism with The People of God. This goes as deep as Ratzinger, himself. These men are authoritarian autocrats and are not teaching from true authoritative theology. This is just another bomb by a ruthless man that continues the Roman implosion. This has happened many times in the Roman Church. Perhaps, the action of this Bishop will cause another group to form their own independent Catholic Church in the area. There are plenty of building to rent for such a group and there are plenty of married and Independent men and women priests to help such a church. It is also possible theologically for this group of people to decide for themselves which of their members will lead the Eucharist. Good luck to them. I think with the new "conservative" young priests and the continued loosing power struggle that some American Bishops are using along with the more traditional new masses, we will see an ever increase in the lack of funding by the People of God. I know that it is true all over my diocese. dennis

    1. rdp46, you don't even go to Mass. What do you know of "The People of God", or the Pope, or the Church?

      Your posts are just uninformed hot air. If you were less bitter, and more open, you might better discern the light in this world!

    2. Some of them have already done this Dennis. A nearby small convent opened up their chapel for a non denominational eucharistic celebration. They have been very careful not to ruffle Morlino's feathers and he has so far left them alone. One thing they did, in order to avoid a confrontation, was give up their Canonical status.

    3. Invictus, this is another comment that slides your credibility even further. This one is just a personal attack based on no information. I was going to delete it but figured Dr Porch has more than enough capability to defend himself.

      For your own info, the Light in this world is shining directly on the failed strategies and corruption of the Vatican and it's hierarchical version of the Church. The People of God are finally waking up to some sordid facts in this Light.

    4. Based on the poster's earlier comments. So, as far as "primary sources" go, I'd say that's pretty credible! ;-)

  6. Invictus, I'm going to give this a try....

    You believe that God speaks to us through His Church, especially through His Vicar on earth, the pope. You believe that the nature of man is essentially sinful, as noted in the doctrine of Original Sin, and needs redemption. That redemption, however sullied by the imperfections of the humans in it, comes from and through the Church. To go against the Church is to oppose God and God's people and God's plan of salvation. To go against the Church is to be selfish, to place my opinions above God, the saints, and the Pope. How could any of that be right? Control your baser instincts, become more holy and selfless, and find your way to God.

    (I hope I've sketched your mainstream ideas with some justice. I've tried not to be pejorative, even though I'm about to argue against this. All criticism of this paragraph cheerfully accepted and acquiesced to, because you get to define how God has led you.)

    For myself, after a priest selected me as his next sexual conquest and betrayed what I thought was a mentorship and friendship, the journey became much different. Just as I couldn't say no to that man, a priest of God, I found I couldn't control myself either. But doing the wrong thing was never comfortable either. Slowly, as we all do, I grew up. I learned that the forgiveness I gave that man was truly hollow and superficial, and I was led to a deeper forgiveness that I could give and receive. When I have sung the Exultet at Easter Vigil, the words "Oh happy fault! Oh necessary sin of Adam!" can only come from me if I remember those times, when your Lord and mine created grace from evil.

    But I can't believe as you do, and only because of that Grace. Slowly I've come to see that Jesus would welcome the gay people, would encourage gay marriage as an alternate to promiscuity and an entrance to family. Women lead, women embody Christ the same as men. Priesthood for only men does not properly reflect a God above gender. A married priesthood? We already have married priests, both licit and illicit. Let the sacraments be spread, if they are so vital. Abortion? The only way to stop abortion is to bring people into the family, not by strict laws and punishments. But we've stopped much of our corporate justice programs, and we hinder/harass/ostracize/ expel both the suffering and those who suffer with them in faith. That's not the way of God's church, and I must stand with the downtrodden like my Lord did.

    Am I right on all of this? Are you right? How could we possibly know? Isn't your God and mine so far above us that we don't and can't know? All I can tell you is this -- this is where God and my church led me. The way you espouse is touted as the only way. But we have 4 Gospels -- doesn't that imply that Christ can be seen a bit differently and still be held as holy, as Lord? And what should we do when the perfection of the Holy Spirit who guides us is so sullied by the church in its actions and its inactions? Aren't we forced as faithful people to point to the light, even in darkness, even when it hurts?

    Invictus, check what you write on this blog. You set traps which Colleen adroitly sidesteps. You see others' pain as deserved, rather than simply painful and open to grace. Share your faith, even when it differs from the norm on this blog, and you might see others grow from that faith. But you'll have to step down from righteousness, and you may be irrevocably changed.

    PS I respect the people and dialogue in this group tremendously. Many times it keeps me in the church, amazingly enough. But I don't agree 100% with any of them. And I don't agree 100% with the person I was 10 years ago, or 5 or 2 for that matter. We can disagree and grow, or we can condemn and know we are right. Your call.

    Matt Connolly

    1. Mr Connolly,

      It's not a bad sketch. Although it's not quite correct to say that it's "selfish" to oppose the Church, because this infers that it might be personally advantageous to ever do so. I'd use the word "misguided" to make the sentence more meaningful.

      Jesus welcomed whores, I don't doubt that he'd welcome people on all areas of the spectrum of same-sex attraction. He loved everyone, he'd even love the paedophiles and child-molesters in a way nobody today seems able to. That was one of the miracles of Jesus, his all-surpassing love for all of humanity.

      Your post is a good one, with a lot of good heart behind it. The point where we depart is the point of doctrine; Jesus loved the sinners, and we all ought to love the sinners, but he never allowed the love to blur his straight-down-the-line clarity on morality. He loved the whore, but not the whoring. Catholics ought to love the homosexual (and the abuser), but just as they ought not promote or support the abuse that makes the person such a clear example of sinfulness, they would be wise to hold back from approving same sex marriage as anything other than a civic invention.

    2. A very fair answer. Thanks.


    3. Matt, I came back to this page today to see a more recent post by someone and found that I had missed your comment here before. I am so grateful that you gave it a try in writing your thoughts and communicating what is so often so difficult to do.

      In your third paragraph you describe a situation in which many of us have found ourselves in when we were not yet mature in age or in spirituality, which is not only inclusive of a priest's sexual misconduct or lust and the victims inability to say no from a place of immaturity of which the predator is aware & takes advantage.

      That a priest who is vowed to celibacy can somehow rationalize his behavior and for the Church to continue the predation to protect the predator comes to my mind. Issues surrounding sexual activity with regard to relationships truly are in need of address, and it seems to me the entire issue is so gravely masked in mystery and misunderstood by our Church leadership and the laity. Issues regarding those of a sexual nature are so confusing to people when they are misguided by dogma that contains an immature consciousness and black and white theories of morality, labeling others sinners and going after or abusing the victim, such as stoning the adultress which still goes in some places, instead of spotlighting human relationships and perfecting them in our spiritual journey.

      How many women who have been targeted for sexual conquest, wined and dined only to be betrayed are called "whores" were really victims of a predatory nature of the lust and sexual misconduct of men and its pervasiveness in a male culture is the thought that comes to my mind.

      As well, I do not know of any two people who can ever agree 100% of the time. I really don't think that it is even possible for that to occur in the world & time we currently live in. The very fact that we are all different ages, have different backgrounds, have different needs, different family history, makes for a need for a place in which we can come together and agree on our Love for God, to observe the word that is in our heart that was put there by God's higher consciousness through Jesus as written in the Gospels, to convey that love of God as Jesus did to a world that is mostly blind and will not accept the truth, as Jesus tells us and died on a cross to give witness to His Love for God and to obey God's commands.

      The law Jesus provides is to love one another as He loved us. He didn't start culture wars. He began His mission at the request of His Mother and even His reply initially was to avoid or put off at a further date His purpose and mission. The Church seems to have been avoiding this as well for far too long. Following Jesus means to make water into wine, which is a process and takes spiritual maturity for it to happen. Such also is the process that leads to a forgiveness that is like Christ's when He forgave those who nailed Him to cross. Not easy for us to do, but with God all things are possible.

      I gave it a try.


    4. Butterfly, I just saw your response here. It's beautiful. God bless, and keep the faith.

      Matt Connolly

    5. Thanks Matt. I'll keep the faith in God and pray for the courage & wisdom & strength to live out that Faith with Hope & Love. Please keep me in your prayers.


  7. Matt, your last paragraph is one the greatest compliments this blog has ever received. Thank you.

    Your entire comment is wonderful and packed with honest spiritual insights. As for me, I hardly recognize the person I was 10 years ago. LOL

    1. Thanks to you, too.

    2. you are all doomed.

    3. Anonymous, that is the funniest comment I have seen on this blog! LOL!!! Keep the sense of humor!! It's good for the soul!!


  8. I was born and raised 9 miles south of Platteville. The Catholics in that part of Wisconsin – Grant County is heavily Catholc – are far from rabid radicals who take to the streets and burn down buildings. “Occupy Anything” they ain’t. They are, however, proud of their history and what they have accomplished personally and within and for their church.

    There was a history of relatively benign bishops of the Diocese of Madison ever since it was carved out of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in 1946. Morlino has caused more sturm und drang since his ordination in 2011 than all of the rest put together.

    In his October 2010 letter to the parishioners of St. Mary’s and St. Augustine’s churches, he gave this example of how he views the rights of the laity to petition their grievances:

    “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.”

  9. I find a bit of humor in this ONLY because the hierarchy still seems to think they have leverage over people. They cannot dangle hell over people's heads anymore. People are not, for the most part, afraid of the hierarchy. If being catholic means being abused by the 'authority', which, unfortunately, it did for thousands of chidren, then count me out. I am more than happy to not be truly catholic. But, jsut for fun, I may still call myslef one, paritculary while sending donations to VOTF, SNAP, and NETWORK : ) Here's some news for Bishop Morlino: people do not need him to have God. Gosh, I really ought to drop him a note saying just that.

    1. Dropping him a note won't matter. But you are right about hell no longer being much of a motivator. On the other hand, I am not too surprised he pulled the interdict card. He only lives in the 21st century when it's to his advantage. He has found it much more to his clerical advantage to live in the 16th.

    2. Drop him a note about the graduates of SOA (School of the Americas) graduates dropping protesters out of helicopters. WWJD? Indeed.

      Morlino can't bear criticism or protest, can't bear to protest or disassociate himself from an organization whose graduates murdered 6 Jesuits in El Salvador in 1989.

      Does he admire the way they handled dissent? Hate to think he counseled it.


  10. Didn't know about that one. And just yesterday I said, "Well, they (hierarchy) don't burn the heretics anymore." Just when I think it can't get any more incriminating. Anyone know how the SOA situation mentioned above was handled?

  11. Morlino is still on the Board. If you google his name with SOA you will probably find NCR articles on his defense of his reason for sitting on the Board. Bush Jr appointed him.

  12. Very twisted and inaccurate perspective both here and at the Isthmus article referred to.
    A more balanced perspective at

    1. Ummm....I guess I found your blog post to be twisted toward your perspective.

    2. Oh- also- the bishop's letter was basically saying he didn't really care how the parish feels. There's not one thing 'pastoral' about that.

  13. Erin,
    Some of the controversy can be explained by the comments following this article:

    The thing I love about the internet, the same thing the bishops and the Vatican haven't figured out, is that information is omnipresent instantly. It is a sort of God-like phenomenon.

    Although personal affairs have kept me from commenting lately I have easy access to several people who are first person witnesses to the crimes committed. Canada has accepted refugees from those fascist countries where the bishops looked the other way. Furthermore I know several aid workers. We won't go into details but at one time they worked for a Catholic relief organization, but don't anymore. So here in my little corner of the woods I have heard the witnesses, their accounts of events, including being shot at, and the consequences.

    Just visit any of Colleen's links like Abuse Tracker, Religion Dispatches, Clerical Whispers and Philadelphia Priest Abuse... to see that individuals are no longer isolated. The church can't stonewall anymore.

    What are we to make of Morlino who knows full well GW Bush appointed him as a bit of window dressing to legitimize an organization complicit in murder and torture. He says so. He doesn't say he was appointed to clean the place up. He denies that Catholic principals can be imposed upon the military. Let's be more specific: killing and torture by those trained at his school are not subject to Catholic standards. But he simultaneously thinks the rest of American society, more precisely health care providers should be held to Catholic standards.

    Kill some Jesuits? Noli Obstat!


  14. As a catholic we respect the teachings of the priest, we listen to his advices. It would be better if we have strong faith in God.

  15. It would be better for all of us if the priest understood that the Catholic vision of God is very limiting and God is far more than we can begin to conceive. Jesus brought God down to Earth, but I don't think we get His vision either. I wish our 'teachers' could just admit that.

    1. The Catholic vision IS that God is bigger than we can conceive. So...what's your problem?

    2. Papal idolatory coupled with creeping infallibility. And the refusal of this hierarchy to incorporate scientific knowledge which doesn't validate aspects of Catholic theology based in discredited assumptions from the thirteenth century.

    3. Infallibility isn't "creeping" anywhere, it's been there since the start. How else do we rely on the Bible?

      And what scientific knowledge has the Church failed to incorporate? I'd love to see an answer to that one..

    4. How about the fact homosexuality exists across the animal kingdom? How about the neuroscience that indicates sexuality is mutable? How about the neuroscience that says sex itself has far more effects on the biological system of humans than the joining of sperm and egg? How about the fact a viable pregnancy is impossible until implantation?

      How about the fact Adam and Eve never existed?

    5. Rape exists in the animal kingdom. So too murder. So too genocide.

      The mechanics of your argument looks a bit screwed-up, in that light...

    6. This is total projection. Define animal rape. Define animal murder. Define animal genocide.

      I grant aggressive sex exists in the animal kingdom, killing exists in the animal kingdom, the survival imperative exists in the animal kingdom. I don't grant that these occurrences equate to the human conscious intent in rape, murder, and genocide.

      You ignored Adam and Eve.

    7. Well, Colkoch, you can't have it both ways.

      Either we can take guidance from the acts of animals, or we cannot.
      If I take the male-on-male sexual coupling of one animal species as a warrant for human male-on-male sexual coupling, why may I not take corresponding warrant for forcing myself sexually on unwilling females from another animal species, or devastating neighbouring populations to better exploit local resources from another animal species?

      Why not? Because we are humans, and have a particular calling and purpose in this cosmos which is not fulfilled by emulation of animals. As you no-doubt know already.

      Ok, ok. We get it, you think the wedding of LGBTQ+ individuals to other LGBTQ+ individuals is a moral good. But please, resorting to such facetious arguments as "Well, animals have sex with the same sex!" dumbs down the whole argument, and insults all our intelligences.

    8. You missed my point I think. It is the Church who claims 'same sex' attraction is a choice and an unnatural disordered inclination. Their reasoning is taken from natural law. My point is homosexuality is an observable fact with in nature across the animal spectrum and is there for not unnatural and not a choice.

      Having sex or not having sex is a choice, but one's natural attraction is a different matter. I think marriage for gays is as natural a good as marriage for heterosexuals, which was initially a way for society to structure the predatory behavior of males and establish a better system for raising children in hostile conditions.

  16. "How about the fact homosexuality exists across the animal kingdom?"

    ## AFAICS, this argument is actually not as strong as it may seem.

    One's ID as gay is not dependent on one's ability to argue for it. A circle does not argue for being circular - it does not need to, becausse its ID as a circle is simply a fact of its being, not something it can alter by choosing to. One does not argue in defence of what is beyond one's power to change. Being gay is not something one can switch on and off. It is a fact of one's make-up. The only question is, "What does one do with it ?" IMO, being gay is what one chooses to make of it - a blessing, if one receives it as a gift from God. In a Christian universe-view, one can "[use one's] gay for good" (to paraphrase the title of a YT video). It's in need of redemption, definitely - but so is everything else in creation.

    AFAICS it is just another form of human sexuality; a statistically unusual one, but not an immoral one. It's not against the natural law, but falls within it. So ISTM there is no insuperable objection to blessing gay unions - on the contrary, that is what the clergy should do, for the building up of the Church.

    One cannot derive morals from stats - the Church's validity depends not on its having a biiiig number of members, but on God's favour to it in Christ. It is God Who makes the Church the Church, not us. And our sins, however horrendous, cannot change that, because God's favour is based on, or is, grace from start to finish. To be gay is a grace - a very great one: so it should be treated, & lived, as such. It should be a reason for gratitude. Not for bullying, or for being miserable.

    Just MO.

  17. "Infallibility isn't "creeping" anywhere, it's been there since the start. How else do we rely on the Bible?"

    ## The inward testimony of the Holy Spirit. The CC has some clearly-defined doctrines about the Bible, & this is something for which one can be very grateful. What it seems to lack, most unfortunately, is what might be called a "spirituality of the Bible". By that I mean, not spiritualities derived from the contents & emphases of the Bible, but, a spirituality about, and towards, the Bible.

    Everyone knows there are vigorous forms of Marian spirituality in the CC - what there is not, AFAICS, is a comparable Biblical spirituality. That is, one that treats the Bible as an object of love and veneration & devotion, just as the Mother of God is rightly so treated.

    1. These are both very interesting comments. I have to give some thought to them. I like your take on the state of being gay. Biblical spirituality is something I may actually engage in but never thought of it quite this way. Hmmmm. Good points.

    2. How can you love and venerate and devote yourself to the Bible if it is such a corrupt and damaging excrescence of our broken human sinfulnesses, our prejudices and bigotries?

    3. Easy, I don't pay much attention to the Old Testament other than to use it a comparison point for how Jesus took the New Covenant to a whole new level of thinking with a different view of the world.

    4. How can you love and venerate and devote yourself to the Gospels, if they are such corrupt and damaging excrescence of our broken human sinfulnesses, our prejudices and bigotries?

      How can you believe that this book, written by sinners and Jesus-deniers, was able to retain so full a reflection of Jesus' radically good teaching?

    5. @colcoch
      You say that Adam and Eve never existed. That is pure heresy, a blow against the Holy Ghost and His Truth. May God command you.

    6. Anon, Catholic biblical scholars do not teach that Adam and Even are literal historical figures. They teach they are allegorical or archetypal figures. It's the story that counts, not the historicity. This link will take you to one of Pope Benedict's very well done treatises for the origin of sin and the necessity for Jesus' redemption of humanity from sin.

  18. @colcoch
    Take away Adam and Eve and you take away the Original Sin, meaning then that there is no such thing as the Redemption. This is as gravely erroneous as it can get. Dominus tibi imperet.

    1. Anon, read the link I gave to Pope Benedict's thoughts. This homily is very good about explaining the redemptive value of Jesus without the necessity of Adam and Eve eating fruit from a tree and causing original sin. It's not that hard to see Jesus could have had a Divine redemptive mission without the need for two clueless humans making a mistake when presented with their first real choice.

      This is a free choice reality and that's the way God set it up. The Good News of Jesus is that our lousy choices don't need to have the last word.

    2. @colcoch

      No wonder, O colcoch, that you have cottoned to such unCatholic beliefs. In Pope Benedicts's General Audience of 3 December 2008, he says,

      "How was it possible, how did it [human evil] happen?
      This remains obscure. Evil is not logical. Only God
      and good are logical, are light. Evil remains
      mysterious. It is presented as such in great images,
      as it is in chapter 3 of Genesis, with that scene of
      the two trees, of the serpent, of sinful man: a great
      image that makes us guess but cannot explain what is
      itself illogical. We may guess, not explain; nor may
      we recount it as one fact beside another, because it
      is a deeper reality. It remains a mystery of darkness,
      of night."

      This to me is pedantic mystification. It's bound to lead many people astray. How greatly this passage differs from his own exordium --

      "Paul had already introduced the comparison between
      our first progenitor and Christ while addressing
      faith in the Resurrection in the First Letter to the
      Corinthians: 'For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ
      shall all be made alive.... The first man Adam became
      a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving
      spirit' (1 Cor 15: 22, 45)."

      Etc. What kind of maneuvering is this, giving with one hand and taking away with the other?

      Don't get taken in, O colcoch, by the fog of modern times. You have to be as wary and suspicious and alert as possible. Also, one much remain in the state of grace, which is awful important if you want to save others that you care about, who may be on their way to heck. "God does not hear sinners," which if you're not a doggone lawyer is perfectly sensible.

      Anyway, Dominvs Tecvm.

    3. Thanks for your reply anon. In your last paragraph you write that one must be in the state of grace if one want to save others we care about. I don't believe I have the power to save anyone, whether I care about them or not. I might be able to provide an environment which favors a choice for conversion on their part, but I can't force that choice. Anyone who thinks they can is either deluded or a narcissist, and certainly doesn't get the Redemptive aspect of Jesus Christ.

  19. @colcoch
    Of course none of us has the power to save anyone, or even to get out of bed in the morning, but if we are friends of the Lord, he will recompense us by saving our loved ones. God is not outdone in generosity. Also, "God does not hear sinners." Of course this is a proverb, so it must not be taken in a narrow lawyer's sense, but its snappy language reminds us that if we want miracles or near-miracles, we must be friends of our Friend.