Holy Father proclaims the joy of the Gospel Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Written by Bishop Robert C. Morlino   
Thursday, Oct. 01, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
This column is the bishop’s communication with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.

Dear friends,

What a blessing it has been this amazing and eventful week as we’ve enjoyed the visit of our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

I had the privilege to be in Washington, D.C., for the activities of last Wednesday, including of course, the meeting of the Holy Father with the Bishops of the United States.

The loving support of the Holy Father for his bishops and of us for him, is altogether more than refreshing.

Holy Father’s words

Last week, there was many an attempt, both by individuals and the mass media, to coopt our Holy Father and his words for their own purposes.

It is clear that our Holy Father went to great lengths to avoid any identification with either political party. He was masterful in spelling out all of his concerns in a way that seeks reconciliation, rather than conflict.

As a matter of fact, he urged us bishops to avoid harsh or divisive language in our preaching, something which I have always tried to do.

Of course, some are insisting that simply articulating clearly the unchangeable teaching of the Church is harsh and divisive. That can never be the case, because we bishops are teachers of the Truth, as well as leaders in worship and tasked with governance of God’s people with charity.

Teaching the faith with clarity and charity is a non-negotiable for every bishop, and those who would call it harsh and divisive when we do so, simply do not want us to do our job, and that is quite the contrary to the wishes of Pope Francis who assured us of his loving support and also that he wants us to do our job.

Transformation of attitudes

Perhaps the most memorable aspect of my short time in Washington, D.C., was the utterly surprising transformation in the attitude of so many people.

I have been to Washington, D.C., many times, and never have so many people reached out to me so cordially and so warmly.

Even in the airport lounge, I was approached by many people who wanted to say a good word about how inspired they were by Pope Francis and to ask a question or two.

Such wonderful support for priests and bishops was the instantaneous fruit of the presence of our Holy Father, who is so gifted in terms of welcoming each and every person with the love of Christ, which even becomes palpable. I could not be more grateful for this first fruit, as I experienced it.

But much more so for the long term, I am grateful for the abundance of graces from the Lord which will flood our country in the days ahead as a result of this visit.

I continue to be thrilled as this visit unfolds — in fact I am writing this column on Friday, Sept. 25, so the primary purpose for which our Holy Father came to the United States, the celebration of the World Meeting of Families has yet to come, and its fruits yet to be realized.

Pope is on the side of Christ

As I mentioned before, in the days ahead, various interest groups will return to their same old tricks in trying to coopt Pope Francis as a supporter of this or that agenda item of theirs.

In fact, Pope Francis is not on the side of Democrats or Republicans—Pope Francis is on the side of Jesus Christ, whose vicar on earth he is. And as the successor of Peter, the rock on whom our faith is built, he is a sure guarantee that the gates of Hell will not prevail against our Church.

He carries out his ministry in a way that is different from his predecessor, and that should be no surprise to anyone.

He certainly has his own gifts and the Lord has blessed him with those gifts in abundance.

At the same time, the efforts of certain of the mass media and certain politicians to twist this or that statement of the Holy Father in this or that way, poses a serious problem for us as we receive his teaching and his love in the days ahead.

May the Lord bless all of us with the wisdom, the courage, and the reverence for our Holy Father and his teaching, so that we may interpret wisely and correctly the truth and the example that he has lived out for us in barely a week’s time.

Of course, let us continue to pray for his health and safety as he returns to Rome on Sunday.

Thank you very much for reading this.

God bless each one of you with the joy of the Gospel so wonderfully proclaimed by the Holy Father on American soil!

Praised be Jesus Christ!