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Bishop Speaks
March 24, 2005 Edition

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Under the Gospel Book
Bishop's statement: On war in Iraq anniversary, Terri Schiavo
• Bishop's Letter: Good Friday Collection - Holy Land shrines
• Bishop's Letter: Easter Sunday Collection - Retired priests, seminarians
Bishop's Schedule
About Bishop Morlino
About Bishop Emeritus Bullock
en Español:

"Bajo el Libro del Evangelio"

Bishop's Schedule:
Bishop Robert C. Morlino

Thursday, March 24, 2005
5:30 p.m. -- Preside and Preach at Mass of the Lord's Supper, Holy Redeemer Parish, Madison

Friday, March 25, 2005
Preside and Preach at the Celebration of the Lord's Passion, Holy Redeemer Parish, Madison

Saturday, March 26, 2005
8:00 p.m. -- Preside and Preach at the Celebration of the Easter Vigil Eucharist, Holy Redeemer Parish, Madison

Thursday, March 31, 2005
5:00 p.m. -- Preside and Preach at Celebration of the Eucharist, Annual Bishop's Dinner with the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, St. Patrick Parish, Madison

At Easter: With eyes of hope

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

+ Bishop Robert
C. Morlino

Dear Friends,

As all of us feel, especially because Easter arrives so early this year, the days of Lent have hastened by at an incredible speed. It really is hard for me to believe that it is the hour for us to celebrate, reflect on, and be changed by the truth of Easter.

A few friends remarked to me around last Christmastime that 2004 had been "a tough year" for me, referring to my having had the need for heart surgery. At that time they expressed the hope that 2005 would be a better year. Those same friends are shocked, as am I, at the arson destruction of the Mother Church of our diocese, St. Raphael Cathedral. And once again they have sympathized with me, saying that they had hoped 2005 would be better, but it too is proving to be "a tough year."

My friends who make such observations are clearly very concerned for me personally, and I deeply appreciate that. But as I reflect on the events of Holy Week, and on those three hours that Jesus spent on the cross handing over His body to be broken and His blood to be poured out so that there might be mercy and salvation for you and me, I can't help but think that the best thing that ever happened to our world happened during a very tough three hours, much tougher than anything I experienced in 2004, and much tougher than the tragic loss of our Cathedral church. It is an incredible mystery that God in Christ chose to conquer death by death.

Seeing with eyes of resurrection

As we heard in the Passion narrative according to St. Matthew on Palm Sunday, at the death of Jesus, the veil in the temple was torn in two and the graves of many saints were opened and they appeared throughout Jerusalem. Even before that mysterious "moment" of the resurrection, there was a manifestation of great hope in those very first resurrections from the dead.

Articles on Cathedral fire:
Past articles on Cathedral:

Dec. 9, 2004 edition:
New spire crowns St. Raphael Cathedral

Oct. 7, 2004 edition:
St. Raphael Cathedral: Marks 150th anniversary of cornerstone

Sept. 30, 2004 edition:
New spire: To crown St. Raphael Cathedral ...
• Sidebar: First phase of Cathedral Restoration ...
Spire illustration -- a detailed PDF (Portable Document Format) file of Cathedral spire and its parts (233 KB file size)

Sept. 23, 2004 edition:
Stone by stone: Mason restores stones on cathedral facade

Sept. 16, 2004 edition:
Cathedral: Marks 150th anniversary of laying of cornerstone

Diocese of Madison links:

The power of the death of Christ, well before He was even buried in the tomb, was manifest in the profession of faith by the Roman centurion and his men, proclaiming, "Clearly this was the Son of God." That pagan Roman soldier was overwhelmed by the power of hope unleashed in the death of Jesus, even before Jesus' body was buried, and clearly before He appeared in His risen body. When the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it bears much fruit, even immediately, as the Scriptures tell us. Out of any experience of loss or death, for those who see with the eyes of resurrection faith, hope immediately is born.

My reaction to my surgery of last year is one of hope. My reaction to the tragic loss of our beloved St. Raphael Cathedral is one of hope. Hope is not hope if its object is seen, Scripture teaches. At this point I don't know the full story as to what good the Lord will draw from my experience of heart surgery last year. And at this moment I can't even begin to know any of the story of how the Lord will draw good out of the tragic loss of our St. Raphael Cathedral. But the death of Jesus on Good Friday immediately gave birth to hope, hope for resurrection, and hope for the recognition of Jesus as God even by those who, like the Roman centurion and his men, might seem farthest away from Him.

Approach Eucharist with gratitude

The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that the power of resurrection hope reaches "beyond the veil" into heaven itself. During this Year of the Eucharist, the Eucharist where heaven and earth are mystically united, let us approach every Eucharist with the deepest hope, hope which is truly discouragement-proof, because it is rooted in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If we arrive at every celebration of the Eucharist, filled with gratitude even for the Lord's hidden gifts to us, hidden because they hurt in one way or another, and with hope, we will taste heaven as we become one with Christ, receiving His body and His blood. The fact that tough things happen to you or to me, or that we might seem to have a "tough year," is a gift for which we should be most grateful. For through this gift, hope in the risen Christ dawns once again in our hearts, the only hope that can never and will never disappoint.

Thank you very much for reading this. May the blessings of Easter joy and hope be with you and yours in the most generous measure. Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

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Bishop's statement:
On war in Iraq anniversary, Terri Schiavo

The following is Bishop Robert C. Morlino's opening statement at a March 18 press conference:

Thanks for coming and for your caring about us. I continue to grieve with Monsignor Swain, our St. Raphael parish family, and the diocesan family at the loss of our Cathedral church - permit me to make a statement about two unrelated matters, and then I will get to your concerns about the crime of arson and burglary committed at St. Raphael Cathedral Church.

On this eve of the second anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq, we join with all sisters and brothers of good will to pray for a world where war is not seen as necessary to resolve human problems.

It would be culpable negligence, since you are right here, for me not to address the issue of the respect due to Terri Schiavo, a severely disabled person, and the issue of removing her feeding tube. Our culture habitually exhibits moral confusion over what is more important prima facie: what is chosen or who gets to choose.

In the case of abortion our culture gives primacy to the one who chooses and forgets what is chosen, the direct destruction of innocent human life. This same culture, in Terri Schiavo's case, determines that who chooses Terri's fate is more important than what is chosen: the direct destruction of innocent human life. The moral thinking of our culture in this matter is consistent and is consistently wrong.

Withdrawing the feeding tube from Terri Schiavo will directly cause her death by dehydration. This is the moral crime of direct euthanasia, and her disabled human life demands protection by civil authority against this act of direct euthanasia.

It is important that Catholics of the Diocese of Madison understand this teaching of the Catholic Church based on the natural moral law.

The natural moral law, written on the human heart, reveals that no one ever has the authority directly to destroy innocent human life. And I am hopeful that all my sisters and brothers of good will in the territory of this diocese will ponder with me what the laws of human reason require of us in these challenging times.

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Bishop's Letter

Good Friday Collection - Holy Land shrines

Dear Friends in Christ:

On Good Friday of each year the Church in the United States traditionally takes a special collection to support the maintenance of the sacred shrines and historic sites in the Holy Land. They have been places of pilgrimage and prayer for centuries, and are both spiritually and historically of considerable value. On this day when we read the Passion of Our Lord and venerate the cross on which he hung as the savior of the world, their importance and value are even more apparent.

The many years of war and the constant threat of terrorism have reduced the number of pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, whose donations over the years have been among the main financial support for these shrines. The Franciscans and others who are stewards of these special places need our help and encouragement. Please be generous so that the historic and spiritual treasures of the Holy Land may be maintained for generations to come.

Let us also pray for peace, for justice, and for greater understanding among the peoples of the Holy Land and throughout the world. Thank you for your thoughtful generosity.

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend
Robert C. Morlino
Bishop of Madison

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Bishop's Letter

Easter Sunday Collection -
Retired priests, seminarians

Dear Friends in Christ:

As we begin the beautiful season of Easter, we recall the importance of the priesthood to our sacramental, spiritual, and personal lives. This year our annual special collection on Easter Sunday will be used to support both our retired priests and our seminarians. Those who have retired from active ministry after serving you with such dedication and those who are preparing to become priests need your acknowledgement and encouragement.

Approximately a third of our priests are now retired. To help assure dignity in retirement, each receives a monthly stipend and full health care coverage, among other benefits, from the St. Raphael Society Fund. In order to assure adequate resources now and for the future, we must begin to build up the priest retirement fund to take into account the increased usage and the volatile health insurance costs. It is also a way to say thank you to our retired priests.

It is has been the policy of the Diocese of Madison, which I strongly endorse, that no one should be denied the opportunity to study for the priesthood because of a lack of financial resources. Your support in this collection helps assure that this will be true. It is also a way to say to our seminarians that we are behind them.

Pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood in our diocese, and for happy and healthy retirement years for those who have borne the burdens of the day. Pray also for those priests in active ministry who deserve our support, encouragement, and care.

May the season of Easter be one of joy and peace for each of you.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

The Most Reverend
Robert C. Morlino
Bishop of Madison

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