By now, you’ve probably read the news story about Madison, Wis., Bishop Robert Morlino threatening punitive actions, including interdict, against Catholics in Platteville, Wis., protesting the actions of traditional priests introduced to the diocese.
But you may not have seen Morlino’s letter. In the five-page document, he cites quotations from Scripture, Vatican II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and seven canon laws supporting punitive action against offending members of the faithful.
"From the beginning," wrote Morlino, "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.... To this date, however, I’ve received no examples of teaching or practice contrary to the teachings of the Church....
"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.
"The same Spirit that led the Church from the beginning and through the Second Vatican Council leads her today – and His message is the same, it cannot change. To think otherwise, or to claim that the hierarchy in union with the Pope, and the People of God might receive conflicting direction from the Spirit, would be mistaken. There is only one Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit poured out on the Church....
"There can be no 'firing' of priests by the parish community in the Diocese of Madison. Thus, the priests of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest will remain in priestly ministry at St. Mary and St. Augustine Parishes."
Read the full letter here: Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
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