Sunday, May 31, 2009

When The Going Gets Tough The Poor Get Tossed

Tough times have hit Bishop Morlino and his diocese---well, not apparently for him.

Some Claim Bishop Affecting Donations To Madison Diocese
Diocese Announces Cuts, Closing Of Center
UPDATED: 8:17 am CDT May 29, 2009 WISCTV3000

MADISON, Wis. -- Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino has been a lightning rod in the Madison diocese over various issues, including his stance on banning gay marriage, but some parishoners said his controversial nature might be playing a role in some big budget cuts.

The diocese said the bad economy and reduced investment income are mostly to blame for staff cuts and the closing of its newly rebuilt outreach center on Madison's south side.

But at least some said they believe that Morlino himself might be affecting the bottom line and the services that get funded with it.

On Wednesday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison that it will cut pay for some diocesan employees, reduce staff and close its Catholic Multicultural Center, which has been aiding the needy for more than 60 years.

Betsy Knight, a parish nurse from St. Mary's who works at the CMC on Beld Street several days a month, said she is worried about the people who are losing free health, food, employment and education services.

"I worry about what's going to happen to the people," Knight said, holding back tears.
For more than seven years, Knight has been treating low-income people at the center, checking for problems and catching life-threatening diseases.

Her colleagues said Knight has probably saved a half dozen lives.
"I've got one man who ended up having esophageal cancer, and they got it in time because he went to the doctor in a timely manner," Knight said.

Knight is among the numerous workers who said they are shocked that the diocese is completely shutting down the center on Friday.

But some others are not convinced that the budget cuts are just due to a bad economy.
Some, like lifelong Catholic John Yrios of Cross Plains, believe Morlino himself is affecting the bottom line.

"I did not give the diocesan allocation that was determined at the parish level. I didn't give it last year and I'm probably not going to give it this year, because of our bishop," Yrios said.

Yrios is one of more than 40 people who criticized Morlino's leadership and decision-making in an open letter newspaper ad to him last year.

But seven months later, he's still in charge of the diocese, and some like Yrios still aren't paying.
One person commenting online about the issue on the Capital Times said: "Because of the atrocious, nasty, dictatorial behavior of the leader of my Catholic diocese I am withholding my financial support until he is gone. Period."

Yrios said it's sad the have to choose between not helping people with services and not supporting a bishop he believes needs to change or step down. Yrios said he believes politics are at play.

"And that's also a power that Bishop Morlino would have over us by saying, 'Well, if you don't give, we're going to cut this or cut that, and it's a power struggle," Yrios said.

The Catholic Diocese of Madison didn't directly respond to the claim that donations are dropping because of the bishop. It said the response to a special Catholic appeal this year to fund social services will be "disclosed" this summer.

A diocese spokesman added that a "great many" responded "generously" and "preliminary numbers indicate the appeal will bring in more money than a mandatory 'parish tax' did last year." (Here is the answer in a nut shell. People responded generously to a specific appeal to fund social services. They did not respond as generously to a non specific diocesan tax. It would seem Bishop Morlino is negatively effecting donations.)


The staff of the Center was told Wednesday afternoon the Center was closing Friday. 48 hours in which to transition health and mental clients is not just flat absurd, it's professionally unethical.

According to the Capitol Times, Bishop Morlino was in Washington, DC for a Catholic symposium and was no where to be found when the axe fell. How utterly shocking. Can anyone say BPD?

The number of $350,000 keeps coming up for Bishop Morlino. This is the exact figure the diocese was sued for in their dispute with a fund raising company. Phoenix Fundraising maintained the Diocese wanted access to their confidential interviews and then reneged on payment. The details of the out of court settlement were never released.

I feel for the Catholics of Madison, I really do. There is nothing more to write about Bishop Morlino. His actions speak loud enough, and so does the drop in donations. Perhaps the forty people who paid for an ad to address his pastoral style can get together and find some way to keep the Multi Cultural Center open. Since most of them belong to Call To Action, this might be their call to action.

In the meantime, I seriously doubt Bishop Morlino has given up on his 70 million dollar Cathedral dream, but in these financially difficult times, he has seen fit to kill the dreams of those who saw the Catholic Multicultural Center as a sign of Christian hope. Maybe this Pentecost Sunday the Holy Spirit will clue him in on a few things.


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  2. A fat bishop living in opulence and luxury while his congregations go hungry and without medical care. Pretty well says everything that needs to be said about the RCC leadership. Clayton asked in a previous post:

    "Why do you assume the worst motives of church officials?"

    This is why. If this were an isolated event it would be different, but it is such a common event amoung the RCC leadership that it demonstrates to us very clearly that at the very least, the USCCB is no longer fit to lead its congregations, at the very worst, they are nothing better than common criminals.

  3. It is an interesting fact that many bishops seem to be rather plump.

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  5. Well, I wonder what the fat bishop has to say now (all of them) about the following article? A victory for the anti abortion cause? A victory for the Catholic Church?

    This is the ultimate result of the hate rhetoric that these bishops etal have been spewing against abortion, abortion providers, abortion supporters, and other groups that the bishops are targeting in their hate campaign, a hate campaign that they are conducting in a futile attempt to divert attention away from their own deplorable behaviors.

    As far as I'm concerned, each one of them is as guilty of his murder as the man who committed it.

  6. Am I the only one? Seems there is an element of homoeroticism in the picture of the bishop and his young cleric server.

  7. I agree with you Carl. The Bishop promotes hatred more than he promotes life.

  8. Annonymous, some photos are worth a thousand words.

  9. In re the (priceless!) photo & the perceived 'homoeroticism'.....I tried to shrug that off and ignore it.

    But with another look, I must agree.....'a picture is worth a thousand words':)

    The worldly, overstuffed bishop being served by an immaculately groomed, handsome your priest....who is one step away from being a male model. The overt hedonism & none-too-subtle hypocrisy become obvious.

    Actually, the young priest is the 'coverboy image' for Opus Dei or LC priests!

    What this picture says is:

    "Let them eat cake".

    While the poor starve, beg for food - pleading with the govt. or haughty Catholic "Charities" agencies.....or digging for food in garbage cans, His Emptiness dines on fine china.

    While poor parishes cannot afford to fix their leaky roof - or ar being forced to merge & close.....the Bishop basks in luxury.

    One wonders how spiritually blind Morlino can possible be. Surely, he has read the tale of Lazarus & the rich man...........!

  10. If I were a nasty queen I'd say something like this: I know a chubby and a chubby chaser when I see one!

    Of course, I'm not a nasty queen ... just an observant one!

    Jim McCrea

  11. Jim, I actually could not believe this photo was on Google Images. Morlino has always surrounded himself with good looking seminarians or those discerning a vocation. He's a looker, but not a taker.

  12. I love this picture. Two great men. The one on the right is a personal friend and one of the holiest men and priests I have ever met. I praise God that the Diocese of Madison has a servant of God as it's Bishop who's not affraid to stick up for the truth.