I see where Madison’s Bishop Morlino is mightily p***ed off at those Catholic laity in Platteville, Wisconsin who don’t like his rent-a-priests. He sent them a five-page letter with cut-and-paste from canon law, including the mention of the penalty of interdict. Is it a threat? Or a lesson in ecclesiastical governance. We all know bishops can disinvite speakers. Maybe he’s just reminding uppity sheep he has other means at his disposal besides cancelling hotel rooms and microphone power.
Diocesan spokesman Brent King said Morlino’s main message is that this should be a time of “prayer, serious introspection and forgiveness.” The specific texts from the church’s code of law were included precisely so that they may never be needed, King said.
Sounds like the manufacture of nuclear weapons to me.
It’s one thing to advocate for a smaller, purer church. And, seemingly, get it. But it’s another to get blamed for the closure of a parish school. That will expand the base of disenchanted quite widely from the liberal Catholics of St Mary’s.
(C)hurch donations fell by more than half, and about 40 percent of the church’s 1,200 members signed a petition seeking the priests’ ouster. The church’s 77-year-old school is set to close June 1, a loss many parishioners tie directly to the collapse of donations.
Least impressive in this mess is Bishop Morlino’s sense of a hierarchy of truths. It seems he’s of the opinion that you draw a circle. Everything inside is Catholic. Everything outside is
… 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.
Parishioner Terry Busch:
There’s nothing I’ve ever said that isn’t true, but it sounds like if you say anything about the priests or the church, they’re coming after you. Now I don’t know exactly what that means. Do they send you to hell or take you to court?
The institution has not fared well lately in court. I’m thinking hell. What about you?
I remember when the priest who baptized me died suddenly. The parish was sent a German priest who, instead of encouraging singing and good liturgy, managed to get the 12:15 Mass accomplished in twenty-two minutes flat. I noticed I didn’t miss the opening kickoff when the NFL aired at 1pm. But the parishioners weren’t all football fans trying to get a quickie Mass in before Sunday afternoon sports. Fr Kuchman was gone in three months, as well as the associate pastor and the school principal. So these things happen: laity can oust clergy. Does it matter that they don’t like the color of his sports car? If the foment is widespread, there’s no stopping it.
And this interdict thing, that’s likely to hurt the faithful remnant more than people who will either head to the Episcopal church in town or to Dubuque over the river.
You may have canon law on your side. You may have the pope. And you may even be right. But sometimes you’re going to lose, even when you’re right.
I can’t imagine that a traditionalist bishop, even one who longs for the 50′s (and I mean the 1550′s) would be willing to let a school implode and a parish tear itself apart. I guess we know why he didn’t bring these order priests to a parish in the see city. It would be like rolling the dice and Madison’s other pastors would be chortling with glee at influx of wool in their pews.
Meanwhile, I wonder if Bishop Lennon isn’t musing, “Dang! Why didn’t I think of interdict before the Signatura came to the rescue of my uppity sheep?!”