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Bishop Speaks
July 20, 2006 Edition

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Under the Gospel Book
• Bishop's Letter: Sisters of St. Benedict dispensation
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About Bishop Morlino
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en Español:

"Bajo el Libro del Evangelio"
Ministerio Hispano: Empleados nuevos en la diócesis

Bishops' Schedules:
Bishop Robert C. Morlino

Saturday, July 22, 2006
11:00 a.m. -- Preside at Mass and speak, Wisconsin Seminarians' Gathering, St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee

Sunday, July 23, 2006
11:00 a.m. -- Preside and Preach at the Celebration of the Eucharist, Stational Mass, St. Patrick Church, Madison

5:00 p.m. -- Speak on "Marriage as a Path to Holiness," First Annual Diocesan Family Picnic, Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, Madison

Tuesday, July 25,
to Thursday, July 27, 2006

Attend Installation of Bishop Daniel E. Thomas, Philadelphia, Pa.

Bishop William H. Bullock

Monday, July 24, 2006
12:00 noon -- Preside and Preach at Celebration of the Eucharist, Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, Madison

Latest thoughts: On cathedral's future, arsonist

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

Under the
Gospel Book

+ Bishop Robert
C. Morlino

Dear Friends:

It is my general hope and prayer that you are enjoying these wonderful days of summer in Wisconsin with your families and loved ones, blessed with health, safety, and above all growth in our Catholic faith.

At mid-summer it seems appropriate, even at the expense of a certain repetition, to bring you up to date as to my latest thoughts regarding the future of the Cathedral Church of St. Raphael.

More articles on
St. Raphael Cathedral

Since I expressed myself in this matter in the three consecutive Catholic Herald columns [part one, part two, part three], indicating my leaning towards a downtown Cathedral, yet insisting that I remain open to be persuaded otherwise, I have had many discussions and a good number of letters and e-mails about the whole matter.

By and large the communications have favored a downtown location for the Cathedral Church of St. Raphael. I have appreciated those who have offered objections and I continue to take those objections seriously and I do remain open to being persuaded by such objections. I have definitely not yet reached a final decision. Please continue to write to me, but please do not resort to petition drives. The use of political pressure tactics in the Church is not helpful.

Downtown cathedral helps fulfill responsibilities

I continue to see a downtown location as best for St. Raphael Cathedral because it would best help me to fulfill my responsibilities as bishop which are basically fourfold: I have a responsibility to teach the truth of the Catholic faith; I have a responsibility to lead our Diocesan family in worship, especially at the Eucharist; I have a responsibility to build unity in the Church of the Diocese of Madison looking to the Holy Father and the teaching of the bishops with him so that this unity among us can be forged; and I have a responsibility for charitable works and those in need.

It seems to me that these responsibilities, which are mine in fact as bishop, can best be satisfied through a Cathedral church which is located downtown. It is true that I could lead our Diocesan family in worship and offer them the authentic teaching of Christ from other than a downtown location but the office, the responsibility of building unity, and the responsibility for charity, I still believe would best be satisfied if we were downtown.

The two Christian words for love are worship and service. We are called first to love God, that is, to worship him and then to serve our brothers and sisters in love and humility. The worship of God, especially through the liturgy, and our Christian service, should offer a unified expression of love. The opportunity for a very serious outreach to the poor, the needy, the hungry, those in prison, would be much facilitated by a downtown location, and indeed if such a ministry were to emanate from a location outside the downtown area, it would probably have to take place in the downtown area.

Place for outreach and dialogue

The responsibility of the bishop to build unity in the Church and to teach, in terms of bringing Christ to the world, would also, it seems to me, happen best if the Cathedral were located downtown. The Cathedral would be a beautiful temple for worship, and it would be a place of serious outreach to the poor and needy where they are, indeed, welcome - this would be an essential element. But also, a downtown Cathedral would make possible certain facilities where regularly those involved in State government and the University of Wisconsin-Madison community would be invited in for dialogue, in terms of ecumenical and inter-religious matters, but also all of the pressing social issues of our day.

If the Cathedral were downtown, I would envision several rooms set aside which would be conducive for such dialogue and where members of the local government and university communities would feel most welcome, and where there would be a programmatic series of topics and events to build such dialogue.

I also envision the Cathedral, if it were downtown, as making a real contribution to the development of downtown Madison, in terms of architecture, beauty, and availability for community activities where a more sacred setting might be appropriate, for example, sacred concerts.

I also would envision the Cathedral as an inviting venue for downtown workers who might want, during the summertime, to have a nice outdoor setting simply for eating their lunch and conversing in a pleasant context. In this way we would express our openness and welcome to all in the name of Jesus Christ.

In short, I see so many possibilities that could be realized through a downtown location, and I do not see the realization of these possibilities to the same extent outside downtown Madison. So as some people on television say, 'Show me where I'm wrong!' I remain open to being persuaded otherwise.

Visit with William J. Connell

In closing let me say that after a long period, Monsignor Swain and I have been able to visit with Bill Connell, the gentleman who started the arson fire which destroyed St. Raphael's Cathedral. Monsignor and I had wanted to visit him as soon as possible after the event but because of the serious mental distress in which he found himself, his attorneys thought it proper to wait for a while.

In recent weeks, Monsignor and I visited Mr. Connell and assured him, before he said anything, that we had forgiven him immediately, and that we hoped that the loving forgiveness of Christ would bring him healing and rehabilitation. Monsignor and I spoke for the Cathedral and Diocesan communities, and Mr. Connell did go on very genuinely to express his sorrow for what had happened, and his hope that the Cathedral will be rebuilt.

Please continue to pray for him, and I do believe that given the amount of time that he has on his hands these days, he will remember the future of our Cathedral Church in prayer. I think that Mr. Connell realizes how deeply he hurt the parish family by taking away from them their parish church, how deeply he hurt our priests by taking away from them the sacred temple where so many of them received priestly ordination, and how deeply he hurt me, very honestly, by taking away my place of worship on Sundays and forcing upon me a task, with regard to the future of the Cathedral, which I would never have anticipated when I became bishop. Realizing the serious harm that he has done, he is genuinely sorry, but I believe that far more important is the power of the forgiveness of Christ, which I pray that Monsignor. Swain and I have been able to communicate to him as we will seek to do so in the future.

Future meetings

In the coming months I will be having town-hall meetings in different areas of the diocese to hear your thoughts about the future of the Cathedral and you are always most welcome to write, so please do so. I do want to hear the voice of everyone who wishes to speak and please keep in mind that what the Lord expects of us is not any "quick fix," but a Cathedral that will be found suitable and noble 100 years from now.

Thank you for reading this and God bless you and your loved ones during these summer days! Praised be Jesus Christ!

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Bishop's Letter

Sisters of St. Benedict dispensation

Dear Friends:

The Sisters of St. Benedict at the Benedictine Monastery have requested from the Holy See and subsequently been granted a dispensation from their vows as Religious Sisters of St. Benedict. They are currently engaged in building a non-canonical ecumenical community to be called "Benedictine Women of Madison," and have renamed their monastery "Holy Wisdom."

While this community fulfills our call for stronger efforts in ecumenical dialogue I must stress that this is an experimental community and will not necessarily be Roman Catholic in belief or practice.

To avoid the potential for confusion I have asked that Catholic Mass or a substantially similar liturgy no longer be celebrated at the St. Benedict Center. I have also requested that the Blessed Sacrament not be reserved on the property and that any tabernacles be removed. The Sisters have graciously agreed to my requests.

Such experimental endeavors can bear great fruit for the Church, such as the Monastery at Taize. But there are very few other success stories worldwide, and thus our prayers and good wishes are all the more important.

Participation in the activities at the Holy Wisdom Monastery would be suitable for Catholic adults with a clear understanding of the teachings of the Holy Father and the bishops with him, and a solid commitment to these teachings.

Participation in such activities would not be suitable for Catholic school religion classes, parish religious education classes for young people through the completion of high school, and surely not for catechumens and candidates in RCIA programs. Again, those being formed in the basics of the faith need the gift of that basic understanding lest the basics become confused in the complexity of this ecumenical setting.

The Sisters and I have committed to remain in conversation while they forge their way forward in this effort. I pray for the success of this endeavor and I ask all to pray with me for the unity of all Christians in the years ahead.

Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino
Bishop of Madison

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Official Appointments

Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison, wishes to announce the following:

Reverend Michael E. Moon, from full-time Hispanic Ministry, to Pastor, St. Rose of Lima Parish, Brodhead, and St. Patrick Parish, Albany, effective July 21.

Reverend Monsignor John H. Hebl, Pastor emeritus, as Temporary Administrator, St. John the Baptist Parish, Montello, and Good Shepherd Parish, Westfield, effective July 3.

Reverend William F. Vernon, as Administrator, St. Pius X Parish, Cambridge, effective June 20.

Very Reverend Richard O'Donnell, OS Cam, Provincial, Camillian Fathers and Brothers, has announced that St. Camillus Parish, Durward's Glen, would close effective July 17. Therefore as of that date, Reverend Kevin Holmes ceases to be Administrator of St. Camillus Parish.

Reverend Manuel Mendez Cobos, a priest of the Diocese of Atacomulco, Mexico, to full-time ministry in Hispanic Ministry, effective July 7.

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