Thursday, May 10, 2012

Two More Bishops with Backbone!

The May 10th episode of the Vortex (embedded at the end of this post) brought to my attention an important letter from Bishop Robert C. Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin.

The letter addresses the closing of a Catholic school due to financial considerations. But it turns out the financial considerations are due in part to a group of parishioners who had decided to withhold support of the school because of the presence of two priests from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, who had apparently led the parish in a significant turn toward orthodoxy…and some of the “faithful” didn’t like it.

I can imagine the letters the bishop must have received!

Bishop Morlino took a very necessary step by supporting the priests he appointed to this parish, and by standing firm for the Truth as taught by the Church. While assuring the unhappy ones that their feelings do matter to him, he patiently explained that, basically, feelings are not the defining element in adhering to the Truth.

Bishop Morlino noted:

From the beginning, some have claimed that the priests I sent do not teach according to the precepts of the Church and, particularly, as restated in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. I repeatedly responded to these claims by asking for concrete examples to be given of any straying from the doctrine and discipline of the Church. It is my duty to ensure that the authentic teaching of the Church is handed on, and I stand ready to make corrections where needed. To this date, however, I’ve received no examples of teaching or practice contrary to the teachings of the Church. I have received examples of permissible differences in style, and, as I mentioned above, I’ve received examples of human errors, which resulted in relational hurts. I have every confidence that your priests continue to stand ready to resolve any personal issues you might have. But I’ve not received a single substantiated claim of false teaching or of a liturgical violation. I am still open to receiving claims of such correctable errors (with suitable reference to the proper documents).

I think, however, that at the end of the day, the Catholic faith is being taught according to the proper understanding of the Second Vatican Council, and that 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. For these likes and dislikes, gossip, and hurt feelings, the Catholic faith is rejected and a school is closed.

I cannot begin to express how refreshing I find it that a bishop would say this. He asks for evidence – not feelings. He asks for concrete examples – not opinion and preference. I’ve written letters to priests and bishops doing exactly that – citing evidence and documents, and giving concrete examples – only to be told that “sometimes there are more important things than being right”, or else to be completely ignored. Bravo, Bishop Morlino!

Bishop Morlino also tells his flock:

Your feelings do matter to me, and I do not take them lightly. However, our end goal should not be simply to restore good feelings. No, there is something greater than good feelings at stake, as good feelings come and go. Much deeper than feelings, what these priests have been sent to offer, is Jesus Christ, He who suffered with and like you, who died for you, and who has been raised to new life, so that you might have lasting joy, lasting hope, and lasting peace – eternal life. The reality of following Jesus is not at every moment full of good feelings; neither Jesus Himself, in His human nature, nor Mary, nor the Apostles were even granted that gift of freedom from painful emotions. By allowing ourselves, with openness, to enter into the mystery of His Church and His Sacraments we find that deep inner joy which passing emotions can’t eradicate.

“Good feelings” are not reality. "Feelings" change. Truth is reality; it doesn't change.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Bishop Morlino, for taking a logical, reasoned, Catholic approach to the problem.

This Vortex episode also highlights another bishop who stood firmly on the side of Truth. 
Here’s an excerpt from the script:

It appears Bishop Martin Amos in Davenport, Iowa, recently learned of the case of Prince of Peace Catholic High School’s plans to allow a gay rights group to present a scholarship to an openly homosexual graduating senior.

When he learned of it, he put the brakes on the presentation – of course raising the ire the feel good theology crowd.

It seems that, unknown to the bishop, the faculty and administration of the school have been more than supporting of the homosexual student’s public choices to identify as gay, expressing their admiration in the form of allowing him to attend prom with his homosexual “boyfriend”.

When it came time for the student to apply for the scholarship from the homosexual group, the faculty was all supportive – and even wrote letters of recommendation.
So now of course, there is dismay and gnashing of teeth and recriminations and the playing out of the Great Drama of Victimhood on the part of all those opposed to the Bishops and the Church’s teaching.

Hats off to Bishop Amos. He has done the right thing, despite the mean things being said about him. Saying the truth and most importantly DOING the right thing will always bring down vitriol on the person saying it – especially if it’s something to do with God and most especially if it’s something to do with the truth of the Faith.

Here’s the Vortex:

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