The Situation in Madison
Bishop Robert Morlino, Diocese of Madison, defends clericalist priests and
Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, WI has scolded people from two parishes in his diocese for demanding the removal of priests that they claim are acting in a paternalistic, clericalist and pre-Vatican II manner.
The bishop has defended the priests who are members of the radically conservative group called the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest. They were founded in 1957 in Spain.
The society, based in Murcia, Spain, is known for a staunch, traditional approach to Catholic practice. There are now Society priests in several parishes in the Madison diocese.
In churches where they minister, the priests have prohibited girls from being altar servers, dispensed with the common practice of using lay people to assist with communion and have added liturgies celebrated only in Latin.
Morlino has chastised parishioners for waging a letter-writing campaign to the papal nuncio and other authorities.
From Morlino’s reprimand:
“It grieves me to acknowledge that the reputation of three happy, holy, and hardworking priests has been seriously tarnished by rumor, gossip, and calumny (lying with the intent to damage another’s good name) by some within the parish community….
“Furthermore, activities such as protest-letter-writing seminars, leafleting of motor vehicles, doorto- 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.”
NEXT TIME IN ANOTHER VOICE:
Practical strategies for a genuine REFORM of the “reform of the reform.”