Local/State News National/World News
The Catholic Herald: Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Madison Front page Most recent issue Past issues
Bishop Speaks
January 22, 2004 Edition

 Search this site:

You are here: Bishop Speaks
About Us

Jump to:
Under the Gospel Book
• Bishop's Letter:
   Latin America, Home Missions Collection
Bishops' Schedules
About Bishop Morlino
About Bishop Emeritus Bullock
en Español:

"Bajo el Libro del Evangelio"

Bishops' Schedules:
Schedule of Bishop Robert C. Morlino

Friday, January 23, 2004
12:00 p.m. -- Preside and Preach at Celebration of the Eucharist, St. Raphael Cathedral, Madison, followed by the praying of the rosary in the Cathedral

Saturday, January 24, 2004
6:00 p.m. -- Attend dinner, Resurrection 2004 Youth Rally, Chula Vista Resort, Wisconsin Dells

Sunday, January 25, 2004
9:30 a.m. -- Preside and Preach at Celebration of the Eucharist, Resurrection 2004 Youth Rally, Chula Vista Resort, Wisconsin Dells

Sunday, January 25 - Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Attend Installation of Archbishop-elect Raymond Leo Burke, St. Louis, Mo.

Schedule of Bishop George O. Wirz

Sunday, January 25 - Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Attend Installation of Archbishop-elect Raymond Leo Burke, St. Louis, Mo.

Mind of Christ: Must not be set aside in public office

illustration of Gospel Book being held open over bishop's head
Under the
Gospel Book

+ Bishop Robert
C. Morlino

Dear Friends,

In a short time my brother bishop and esteemed friend, Archbishop Raymond Burke, will formally assume his new responsibilities as Archbishop of St. Louis. Our prayers and love will accompany him to this new assignment, grateful as we are for the fine service that he has rendered both to the Church Universal, especially during his years in Rome, as well as to his beloved home Diocese of La Crosse.

"Archbishop Burke is on target as he spells out the principles of the Church's teaching, and his brother bishops stand with him in episcopal communion and collegiality."

All are aware that Archbishop Burke has come under fire lately from certain public office holders, and reports of this difficult situation have enjoyed more than ample attention in the mass media. Several inquiries have come to my attention about this particular matter, so I take this opportunity to make three important points.

In agreement with Archbishop Burke

In the first place, having spoken with Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Zubik (I chose not to disturb Bishop Fliss of Superior as he recovers from orthopedic surgery - let us by all means keep his full and speedy recovery in our prayers), I know that the Archbishop, Bishop Zubik, and I are in complete agreement with Archbishop Burke as he has articulated the principles in this particular issue. It could not be otherwise because the principles are derived from the "Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in Political Life," issued by the Holy See, and from other sources in Church doctrine and in Canon Law.

It is indeed the case that Catholics who are public office holders enjoy the blessing of only one conscience - they do not have one conscience for their private lives and one for their public responsibility, one for Church matters and another for State matters. That could not be more clear.The one conscience given to all of us seeks the truth that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, truth that He has chosen to speak forth through His Body the Church. It is through the Church that we receive the mind of Christ, and it is clearly not possible for a Catholic public office holder to leave the mind of Christ aside as he or she enters a Senate or House chamber or the office building whence they discharge their particular function in public life.

The mind of Christ, magnificent gift that it is, demands expression in every facet of the life of the one who is blessed to have the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ with regard to the sacredness of innocent human life, and therefore the evil of abortion or euthanasia, and of the promotion of either of these crimes against human dignity in the political sphere is perfectly clear. Archbishop Burke is on target as he spells out the principles of the Church's teaching, and his brother bishops stand with him in episcopal communion and collegiality.

How bishops implement principles

Secondly, each bishop, as the Vicar of Christ in his own diocese, must make certain pastoral measurements regarding the common good of the Church community and the good of the soul of the Catholic public office holder. In accord with these and other pastoral measurements, the bishop of each diocese decides how, when, and by what means to implement the principles on which we all agree. Thus it should come as no surprise that different bishops would approach the implementation of the very same principles differently - this is due to difference in pastoral measurements which is the responsibility of each individual bishop to assess.

Furthermore Archbishop Burke has been the bishop of La Crosse for nine years - Archbishop Dolan has been in Milwaukee for over a year, I have yet to complete six months, and Bishop Zubik has yet to complete two months. The pastoral measurements which must be assessed involve a certain complexity, and surely Bishop Zubik and I are not in our position long enough to make that assessment, and Archbishop Dolan remains still in his early days as well. Thus from the fact that Archbishop Dolan, Bishop Zubik, and I have not acted identically to Archbishop Burke, nothing follows - we are completely of one mind, that is the mind of Christ, where principles are concerned, and much remains yet to be done with regard to our making the proper pastoral measurements so as to implement the principles prudently. The fact that a bishop has not acted identically to Archbishop Burke as of this date should never be taken to indicate any less of a commitment to the principles, and I know Archbishop Burke would agree with that. At the same time his commitment to the principles is so intense as to be called prophetic, and I thank him for this inspiration.

Compliance with abuse program

Thirdly, in what I might call a "gang up on Archbishop Burke maneuver," the media have also reported more than once that the Diocese of La Crosse was found to be in non-compliance with the U.S. Bishops' Program to insure the safety of children. In fact it was announced initially that the Diocese of La Crosse was in non-compliance, but this was an error which the Bishops' Office in Washington, D.C. quickly corrected. I have missed any reports in the news media about this correction, and any statements that in fact Archbishop Burke and the Diocese of La Crosse are in compliance with the U.S. Bishops' Program.

The people and priests of La Crosse have experienced the leadership of a most faithful successor of the apostles in Archbishop Burke for nine years and the gift of his faithful leadership and the witness of his personal striving for holiness will now be the gift given to the people and priests of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. As the controversy has boiled over in the media, let us not forget what a blessing it is for the Church to have apostles to guide us according to the mind of Christ - as the Prayer of Consecration for Bishops proclaims so beautifully, "From the creation of the world, Father, you have been pleased to be glorified by those whom you have chosen."

It is a great consolation to me and to all of us bishops that unworthy though we are, God's plan is nonetheless that our life and ministry will glorify God. God will be glorified even out of the controversy which has recently boiled over because God's Providence will not be thwarted. Let us together ask for the blessing to allow that dimension of our faith to grow and flourish in our hearts. Thank you for reading this, God bless you. To Archbishop Burke we say again ad multos annos! Praised be Jesus Christ!

Jump to:   Top of page

Bishop's Letter

Latin America, Home Missions Collection

Dear Friends in Christ:

The annual combined collection for Latin America and the Home Missions will be taken the weekend of January 24 and 25. Both collections provide essential financial support for those poor, rural, and remote dioceses and parishes that do not have adequate local resources to assure even the most basic ministries and programs.

The collection for the Home Missions aids dioceses in the United States and its territories by supporting mission parishes, religious education programs, and the training of ordained, religious, and lay ministers. It assures a continuing effective Catholic presence and encourages the local Catholic faithful.

The collection for Latin America aids pastoral programs and projects that will have a lasting impact on the people and the Church in Central and Latin America. Promoting solid catechetics, effective evangelization, caring pastoral outreach, and appropriate formation of church leaders are priorities. Another goal is to ensure safe facilities for worship and the gathering of the Catholic community in areas where unrest is common.

We are brothers and sisters in Christ with all Catholics throughout the world. We are especially close to those in the Americas. May we be generous in sharing our blessings with members of our Catholic family who are in need.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Most Reverend
Robert C. Morlino
Bishop of Madison

Jump to:   Top of page

Front page           Most recent issue           Past issues

Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
Offices: Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison
Mailing address: P.O. Box 44985, Madison, WI 53744-4985
Phone: 608-821-3070     Fax: 608-821-3071     E-Mail: info@madisoncatholicherald.org

Web site created by Leemark Communications.