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The Catholic Herald
P.O. Box 44985
Madison, WI 53744-4985
Bishop's position was not represented fairly
Dear Mr. Wineke,
I was very disappointed to read your article on Bishop Morlino in the Saturday State Journal. I understand your job is often to disagree with another person's position on an issue, but as a journalist you have a responsibility to be accurate and to avoid misrepresentation. A fair argument between well-informed, mutually respectful sides is
important for the health of our society and should be encouraged. But the quickest way to stop meaningful dialogue and promote closed-minded, "dig in your heels" attitudes is to abandon reasoned debate, trivialize the position of the opposition, and appeal to flash-point emotionalism.
Bishop Morlino has taken courageous, consistent, well-reasoned positions on a host of
issues, all the while promoting and protecting the dignity of persons involved. There was nothing in the tone of your column to suggest you have a similar concern for the dignity of the Bishop. It is fine to debate him and tell the Bishop he is wrong, but you must be truthful about the real issue and not create relationships between ideas that Bishop Morlino has never made or supported.
This is a marriage issue, not a gay issue. The defense of marriage is bigger than any one group or special interest. The Bishop has taught consistently that authentic marriage is one man, one woman, meant for a lifetime, open to children and defendable by reason alone. Further, true marriage is a fundamental component of the natural, moral order of human existence. It does not matter who is trying to redefine marriage: same sex couples, polygamists, or any other group. Authentic marriage is necessary for a stable society and a stable society is necessary for everyone. The true definition of marriage cannot be altered; not by the state, not by religious authority, not by anyone without risking dangerous and possibly unanticipated, escalating consequences.
"If gays and lesbians are allowed to marry, he said . . ." is a direct quote from your column. The Bishop never said anything about what would happen if gays and lesbians marry. His energy has been focused on calling for all people who value reason and truth to pause, get a handle on their emotions, and be quiet long enough to really think about what
might happen if traditional marriage is allowed to pass into history. To call this effort a "gay issue" or any other kind of myopic issue boxes the debate into a corner and drowns it in
personal sensitivities and emotional overlay.
As uncomfortable as it may be to consider, Bishop Morlino has challenged us to think about the potential consequences of disturbing a fundamental truth and capstone of human experience. He has a reasoned vision of what those consequences may be, including the potential to destabilize every unit of cohesion we rely upon for maintaining our society;
beginning with the family and rapidly advancing to the foundations of our democracy.
Now who or what could have the power to threaten us this way? Many would prefer to deny or at least ignore the thought that evil walks among us. We see the ill-fruits of evil all around us, yet we hesitate to give it a name. Bishop Morlino challenges us to call evil by a name. Once we know evil by its name, we have a better chance to recognize it and defend ourselves against it. Satan is cunning and deceptive in all things, even making itself seem appealing and attractive to beguile the unwitting into doing its will. Satan despises all
humankind and enjoys sewing division and hatred among us. It also understands that the surest way to attack the fabric of humanity is thread by thread, hoping we will not recognize how weak and vulnerable we are becoming until it's too late.
I believe these are the real issues the Bishop is trying to communicate to us. Attacks on marriage, family-life, and the dignity of the human person confront us all. No one group will be responsible for saving or destroying our society. If a few more threads get pulled out
while Satan distracts us with song and dance, then we will all be responsible. Again, this not a "gay" issue, it's an "all of us" issue and to suggest that the Bishop believes otherwise is wrong.
Toward the end of your column you wrote, ". . . just to keep the argument straight . . . " I truly hope the next time the argument will be straight and accurate. I am sure the Bishop would welcome the opportunity to debate a worthy counterpoint. I have heard him say on more than one occasion, "take me to task and show me where I'm wrong." For now, you owe the Bishop an apology at the very least.
William S. Evans, MD, Madison