Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bishop Morlino Denies He Is Endorsing Ryan--Just All Of Ryan's Ideas

Maybe Pope Benedict is behind Bishop Morlino's need to be a right wing politician while pretending to not be a right wing politician.  Or maybe Bishop Morlino is just asking for penance for his service to the School of the America's, or WHINESEC as it's now known in military double speak.

Catholics find fault and blessing with Ryan's politics

 Doug Erickson - Wisconsin State Journal - 9-9-2012
For months, Janesville Congressman and now Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has spoken passionately about how Catholic social teaching helped shape his budget priorities.
And for months, leaders within his own denomination have ripped him.

A committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops blasted his federal budget approach for "unjustified and wrong" cuts to the poor. A busload of nuns motored through nine states, including Wisconsin, contending his fiscal priorities are "immoral" and would "devastate the soul of our nation."

But in Ryan's own Catholic diocese, the reception has been much more nuanced, even flattering at times. Ryan attends St. John Vianney Parish in Janesville, a church of about 1,400 households in the Madison Catholic Diocese.

While never commenting on specific budget proposals, Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino has described Ryan as a Catholic in good standing and vigorously defended Ryan's right — and the right of any prayerful Catholic layperson — to form conclusions about the best ways to help the poor. (That may be true for Morlino about helping the poor, but its not true about how we should vote.)

"The fact that we're friends does not cloud my judgment when I say he is an excellent Catholic layman of the very highest integrity," Morlino said of Ryan on a Catholic radio show last month. (I am not totally convinced Morlino understands integrity.  I seem to remember a very messy law suit with the Phoenix Group over a $350,000 contract Morlino didn't feel like paying because Phoenix wouldn't violate the confidentiality of the respondents of the survey they did at Morlino's request.)

In a column Aug. 16 in the Catholic Herald, the newspaper of the diocese, Morlino wrote that Ryan "is aware of Catholic social teaching and is very careful to fashion and form his conclusions in accord with (Catholic principles). Of that I have no doubt." Morlino said he felt compelled to mention the matter "in obedience to church law regarding one's right to a good reputation."
In the same column, Morlino said it is not for bishops or priests to endorse particular candidates or political parties. (Nudge nudge, wink wink.)

Similar approaches
Diocesan spokesman Brent King said Morlino is not speaking to secular media outlets about Ryan because his comments too easily get interpreted through a political lens. The bishop also feels he has said enough about Ryan, King said.

However, Morlino agreed to an interview with the State Journal on related issues, such as Catholic social teaching and government's role in people's lives. While never mentioning Ryan, Morlino laid out a world view closely aligned to the congressman's, one in which charitable giving is the preferred method to aid the poor, and big government is to be eyed warily.

"If people begin to look to government for everything, that's how we get toward a state-imposed socialism, which is never acceptable from a Catholic point of view because it's contrary to reason, which says that human labor should yield its fruits, and that those who labor own the fruits," Morlino said.
(I've always had a certain amount of trouble figuring out where Morlino is coming from. I don't have any idea where he gets the 'fruit thing'. Laborers do not own the fruits of their labor. Their corporate bosses do.)
Those with an abundance are obligated to share with those who lack basics, Morlino said, but the best way to do that is at the level closest to the people in need, a Catholic principle called subsidiarity.
"It's just common sense," Morlino said. "In other words, if I can help you directly, why should we bring it to the mayor or the government or the president of the United States, if I can just help you?" (Because most people do not lend a lot of help to people they don't know and in some cases the need is so vast it can't possibly be handled by individual charity.)

Charity first
Charitable giving respects individual freedoms and reduces bureaucratic costs, Morlino said. However, charity can't do it all, and government has a responsibility to those who are poor, especially in times of profound need, such as a natural disaster, he said. (In theory bureaucratic costs might drop, but there are a large number of charities whose overhead is astronomical.  Like Priests for Life.)

But in general, governments "should not be in the business of distribution of wealth," Morlino said.
Ryan has said similar things, invoking subsidiarity to bolster his view that the current "unsustainable" growth in government entitlement programs ultimately will hurt the poor.  (Please see the previous post on this blog.)

"If we keep growing government in debt," Ryan told EWTN, a Catholic television network, "we will crowd out the civil society — those charities, those churches, those institutions in our local communities that do the most to actually have a human touch to help people in need. That's what we want to empower. That's what we want to improve on." (Just how far would Catholic hospitals and Catholic Charities get without direct government assistance or programs like medicare and medicaid? Not very far.)

Sure does look to me like our most politically right wing bishops have decided they need to come up with some more forms of double speak to hide their blatant political activity.  The one thing I appreciate about Bishop Morlino's double speak is it centers on interesting ideas about subsidiarity and really exaggerated notions of American socialism.  He doesn't seem to be getting into gay marriage and abortion as much this election season as he did last season.  That's sort of a refreshing change.
On the other hand I keep waiting for some bishop, I suppose it won't be Morlino, to bring up the fact Ryan has changed his position on abortion in favor of Mitt's position--whatever that happens to be today, and that Mitt was affiliated with Stericycle.  I'm not getting why if abortion is the single thing on which we 'TRUE' Catholics have to make our voting decisions, that there hasn't been a peep about the Romney/Ryan ticket.
Maybe that's why all of a sudden Bishop Morlino is suddenly interested in subsidiarity and socialism--and not distributing wealth except via defense spending for Lockheed and WHINESEC.  
For those interested in a fairly comprehensive review of Bishop Morlino's tenure in Madison, here's a good link.  It's pretty impressive.


  1. Great post, Colleen. Right wingers sure are a trip. They pride themselves on having "common sense." That's nothing really to be proud of, imo.

    They'll tell you that families should help their families when they are in need. That's what the right wingers in my family say. What if someone has no family to help out? What then? They'll say their Church will help them. What if they don't belong to a Church? There are plenty of charities to take care of them they'll say. What will happen to my sister and brother, people like them who live in group homes? The bottom line is that they do not care. They do not think of the situations that can happen very quickly in families that push them into homelessness, joblessness, in need of the basic necessities.

    Jesus just is not anywhere connected in the right wingers thinking. I can't figure out why that is. Why they would prefer corporate socialism and have an aversion to any government program that would help people. A government that is truly By and For The People should have programs that are For and By the People.

    Morlino is for Corporate-Socialism.

    Bishop Morlino is a monster no different than the Priests that supported Hitler, imo.

    Bishop Morlino and right wing Catholics should read up on St. Maximillian Mary Kolbe. They have no excuse to not know the history of corporate fascism and where it leads. Hint for right wingers: it's not Pro-Life.


    1. The points you bring up Fran seem obvious to me that it's hard to believe it's not obvious to our bishops. On the other hand, I still cling to the belief that Morlino is not representative of all of our bishops. He's an outlier.

      Your point about your brother and sister is one of my concerns as well. In the residential program I work with we have fifty some clients and off hand I'd say at least 50% have no family affiliation what so ever at all, and a significant chunk of the other half don't have families that can afford their needs. I would guess over 75% of the total would wind up on the street if we had to close our doors. And no, all the Churches combined could not come up with the money to replace medicaid/medicare and state financing. They couldn't even come up with the money for the medications, much less anything else.

    2. I know, Colleen. That's why it breaks my heart to hear right-wing Catholics supporting the economic policies of the Tea Partiers...

      I am anxious to hear from the silent Bishops and Priests. It seems they are too silent and all we hear about are these right wing nuts. Are they so busy with their administrative work that they are ignoring the call and cry for justice?

      My family is currently helping financially to keep our brother in a very good group home, the cost which is high and gets higher every year. What about if the time should ever come that they cannot afford to send money because they are getting older and have health issues too? That is within the realm of possibilities.

      The streets are going to fill up with these brothers and sisters who need a place to live and be in an environment that is peaceful and nurturing. They need their medications and if that stops they could wind up in prison or something. Why this is not obvious is painful to witness. Some are already in the streets probably or in tent cities, or prisons, that is not being covered in the news.

      I get so many requests via email and in snail mail from so many charities that need money. I wish that I could give to them all. It is heartbreaking. My heart is broken over the whole thing. All the money that went to Haiti and the people there are still living in awful conditions. It is inexcusable that this goes on and on.


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    4. Fran,

      You are so right! The mentally ill more than not end up in prison! Some of them even have families that wanted to support them but they go off their medications, leave home, live on the streets and someone fearfully reports them for vagrancy. The psychiatrists that used to work in the mental hospitals or "funny farms" now work in the jails. In LA Metropolitan state hospital once was indeed a farm with cows and sheep and growing fruits and vegetables. They used to provide all the food to eat in the city sponsored institutions, schools, jails and all the government buildings. It cost much less to have psychotic persons in a place like this where they could get treatment than it costs to maintain a jail ward for the mentally ill. Ronald Reagan along with the film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” changed all that. Now when one is disturbed by a filthy person spouting delusions, the police are called rather than a psychiatric team.

      The idea that everyone can support themselves is foolish for a civilized society. They can do better when society is designed to help but our rugged materialistic individualism seen so often in those that are hard right politically causes society to regress not grow and develop. dennis

    5. Thanks Dennis for your comment. Yes, exactly "The idea that everyone can support themselves is foolish for a civilized society."

      Prisons are definitely not the place for the mentally ill. What kind of a "civilized society" does that to people? Apparently, the kind that is in power now, and it really is sad.

      The right-wingers have only material riches for their own individual selves in mind and have been engaging in an uncivil war against the people in this country, slowly dismantling anything that made any sense. Against the sick, the poor, and they seek to make it even worse for just about everyone else with insane policies of no contraception in the name of supposed "religious liberty."

      There are over 2 Million in US jails. 8 Million homes were foreclosed. That's a lot of people! This while the banks and private prisons are making money. I don't know the exact figures of just how much the privately run prisons are making, taking in psychiatric patients into their jail mills that as far as I know do not reform. There are no jobs for these prisoners when they get out and if there is, they can't possibly support themselves.

      Our Church is complicit with allowing for the breakdown of society and civilization when the hierarchs like Dolan are in support of a right-wing's factions philosophy of tormenting and preying on people & gaining monetarily by its policies.

      Really gets me upset. Good news though is that I have hope that more people will be speaking up about all of the issues that need to be addressed. I mean, the audacity of the right-wing to claim they are "Christians" and to support ignorance / ignorant policies can not stand. While they have been talking about protecting blastocysts, real people are hurting, dying, not getting the help they need that the so-called Christians are not doing a thing about and want to make it worse!!


    6. Fran, I could not have said it better. I don't know if you read the "National Catholic Reporter" or not but there is space to make these comments there and I find it a nice place to get out comments that wide variety of Catholics read. Seems more and more people are changing their minds on that site. Take care, dennis

    7. Dennis, once in a while I'll comment there. I used to be a frequent commenter a few years ago and got burnt out. It became too draining an experience for me. One has to be real careful there to not get sucked into the negativity & the guilt trips that fundamentalists rely on to defeat opposing views & silence people.

      One also has to learn to be artistic or creative and choose their battles with discernment, wisdom and charity. One has to be fearless and desire the truth & read carefully what each author is saying. One has to be able to discern the truth and try to convey that truth in a way that is Christ-like & not just a knee jerk reaction or angry attack against someone's views. One has to be centered in Christ before they go into battle with the mighty pen. One also has to do their homework with regard to the issues & be fully grounded in Faith. This blog and many that are listed on this site are very helpful in gaining the tools one needs to comment, take a stand.

      One also has to learn how to detach from the negativity & set in stone, sickening attitudes of fundamentalist or right-wingers, otherwise it can upset one's internal balance and tip it into depression or too much anger. One has to limit their time there. Probably the best thing to do is to simply make a comment of the truth that you know, rather than argue with people which can just be a draining experience for everyone. Get in and say what needs to be said and pray on it, that the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

      Once one has mastered these things they are in a better frame of mind to comment. That can take some time to develop the armor that one needs to protect around themselves when engaging in what is a spiritual battle. With all this in mind, one may enter into the winter storm that is taking place within the Church and in the world, make comments that will hopefully be fruitful.


    8. These are just superb comments. I hope people read them because being employed in the system I can verify they are all totally correct.

    9. Here is an article related to the prisons in the US now.

      It is a powder keg about to explode.


  2. As always, you do great work, Colleen. The USCCB dropped the abortion theme because it didn't work for them in 2008. The theme of "religious liberty"/"religious freedom" was decided in 2009. All they needed was something to attach it to. That's why, even though the mandate that health insurers cover birth control was already carried by a dozen or so states, some since the mid-1990s, the USCCB waited until the 2012 presidential election year to find it an abhorent part of Obamacare. (Not anonymous, Betty Clermont)

    1. This is very interesting info. Was this a vatican directive, or one of Dolan's brain storms which is why he was suddenly elevated to the USCCB presidency over Kincaid? Or more likely Carl Anderson's idea pushed at the Vatican and down hill from there.

      I think they are over playing their hand as exemplified by the above post. These guys wouldn't know subtle if it hit them in their cappa magna. Independent Catholics will vote economy first, no matter how much they have to hold their noses and that means Obama.

  3. Wasn't it during the Bush years, when 'Faith-Based' initiatives was being pushed as the way forward - to allow tax-dollars to be spent on charities that would provide for the common good rather than the government directly spending those dollars on the common good? And wasn't it the right wing that was pushing this whole agenda? And that was so long ago... When did this notion of Catholic 'subsidiarity' come along? Sounds to me like the health care program as well as various court cases that ruled against the bishops rights to impose their narrow Catholic agenda in spending those tax dollars has come around to bite those bishops. Maybe they are realizing that when they don't control the purse strings they have less say in how the dollars are spent. Needless to say they've found the situation not to their tastes.

    But if they truly believed in charitable subsidiarity and it would work, then why did they ever want let alone accept the tax dollars to begin with?

  4. Catholic Charities has had more government money sent there way from the Obama administration than they ever had from the Bush administration. If I remember this right it's 1.5 billion more than under Bush. The same "faith based" program is still in effect.

    I believe what Betty Clermont wrote above is true. When abortion didn't work to swing enough Catholic swing voters to vote McCain, the new idea was to pull the religious freedom card. That they had to pull it over birth control is indicative of how desparate our bishops are to elect a Republican. That has to go to their biggest money sources. It pisses me off that these bishops can sell themselves to the highest bidder. If pew potato collections are down, well change the teachings to something educated people can swallow.

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  6. "On the other hand I keep waiting for some bishop, I suppose it won't be Morlino, to bring up the fact Ryan has changed his position on abortion in favor of Mitt's position--whatever that happens to be today, and that Mitt was affiliated with Stericycle. I'm not getting why if abortion is the single thing on which we 'TRUE' Catholics have to make our voting decisions, that there hasn't been a peep about the Romney/Ryan ticket."

    ## If the bishops have said nothing, that is baffling. If abortion is as critical to voting choices as it is said to be, it can't stop being of decisive & over-ruling importance when a particular politician turns out to be unsound on the subject. If it can be a criticism against John Kerry or Joe Biden, & others, it has also to be a criticism against Paul Ryan - unless he has changed his position.

  7. For me being true is the important of all. The mission as a servant of GOD is powerful. God Bless!

    documentary the family international

  8. Tinita I find David Berg, the founder of the Family International a fascinating study. He seemed to want a Christianity based on the Christians of the early church. All well and good. He wanted it based on Love and caring again --well and good, but like so many clerics in the RCC, he turned out to be a pedophile. So why do so many people who study the bible so hard turn out to be sexual deviants.

    Colleen, if Morino does not represent the US Bishops, How do you explain, Burke, Finn, Olmsted, yada yada yada, and all the newly appointed Opus Dei Bishops. No, I'm sorry, Colleen, Morino fits right in. Mostly they are extreme heartless men not following in The way of Christ. That's my two cents about these old minded men. dennis

    1. Dennis, I didn't say Morlino didn't fit right in, I said he had dropped the abortion/gay marriage crusade for the "freedom of religion" crusade, and I personally found it somewhat refreshing. Personally.

      Actually I find him, like Finn, amongst the worst of the worst of American Catholic bishops who we can prove have sold out to moneyed interests.

  9. Colleen, I am sending the group a 2 part piece written by Jim Jenkins in response an article on NCR about the Finn conviction. It is an important testimonial from a person who attempted to work with the Bishops.

    How many times do Catholics
    Submitted by Jim Jenkins (not verified) on Sep. 12, 2012.
    How many times do Catholics have to be shocked and scandalized by the behavior of their hierarchs before they act?
    What is it going to take for Catholics to wake-up and take matters into their own hands?
    My resignation from the SF review board really was sourced in [now] Cardinal William Levada’s refusal to remove an indicted child abuser, Rev. Gregory Ingels, from sharing the retirement home of former SF Archbishop John Quinn on the grounds of St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, CA.
    Levada also refused to allow Quinn’s relationship with Ingels to be investigated by the review board. When I sought to appeal Levada’s decisions to the National Review Board, I was systematically marginalized on the review board. My resignation was the only honorable thing I could do to protect my own integrity and professional standing.
    The National Review Board (NRB) and diocesan review boards are nothing more than elaborate public relations schemes to deflect public attention from the corrupt state of the Catholic hierarchy.
    The public believes that the Dallas Charter is about “Zero Tolerance” thanks to the snow job by the Vatican press operation. It is not. That is just a slick public relations gimmick to quell the roiling perfect storm among US Catholics about sex abuse by priests and its cover-up by bishops.
    What is not generally understood about the Dallas Charter is that it is actually a real case study in the art of smoke screens, “hand-eye” deceptions, and distractions with bright shiny objects, a

  10. Part 2

    as practiced for centuries by the Vatican curia.
    Cardinal Levada shared with me personally about his consultations in Rome at the CDF [read Ratzinger] where he was part of negotiations regarding accommodations about “reservations” the CDF had for the Dallas Charter.
    Without going into each of the involved issues, suffice it to say that at every turn the CDF’s intention was to render the American review boards toothless, and circle the wagons especially around the bishops and the Vatican.
    Stop wasting time waiting around for the hierarchs to be anything different than what they are: totally compromised and craven corporate politicians. Get over it; and get on with our lives!
    Joshua McElwee’s article cites Merz, Plante, Notzon, Catanzaro and Walsh who are all seemingly and pathetically perplexed about the hierarchs’ intransigence and recalcitrance. None of them even though they were/are in positions to make a difference have any influence on the hierarchs.
    Just maybe, now that the enormity of the problem has become evident because of Finn’s clueless moral vacuity in Kansas City, Catholics will begin to understand that we have come to a fork in the road:
    Either Catholics continue to bleat and moan about the dismal leadership of the hierarchs, do essentially nothing, and continue to drop money in the collection basket as a hedge against the consequences of death.
    Or, Catholics take matters into their own hands and begin to construct the institutions and infrastructure necessary to sustain our Catholic community for a century or so until the clerics are ready for reform and renewal.
    Catholics need to start acting like their lives depended one it, and like they are the baptized adults in the room, not the sheep.
    LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE! From Jim Jenkins but sent by dennis

  11. "Just maybe, now that the enormity of the problem has become evident because of Finn’s clueless moral vacuity in Kansas City, Catholics will begin to understand that we have come to a fork in the road:"

    Jim Jenkins is incredibly valuable for a number of reasons. The most obvious is he is a layman who was educated with in the protective circle but utterly rejected that education once he fully understood the moral torpitude it is based in. He is a true lay hero.

    Personally I would love to know a whole lot more about the personal dealings between Quinn, Ingels, Levada and Niederauer. In actuality, I suspect I don't really want to know the dealings which put Ingels in the chancellery with Quinn. Ingles, or Levada and Niederauer in the same chancellery together after Quinn was moved out.

    Ingels, who was highly favored by Levada, had an accusation of child abuse against him for which the Archdiocese paid over two million dollars, and there was yet another one. It goes on and on and on. Now Cordileone has to deal with a self inflicted DUI. San Francisco laity have endured very strange leadership, apparently both conservative and double dealing. That's tough.