Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bishop Morlino shuns Catholic group on allegations that it supports gays and abortion

LifeSiteNews.com, a news Web site geared toward religious conservatives, reported that Madison's Catholic bishop, Robert Morlino, is one of four bishops nationally that has decided to withhold diocesan funds from the national office of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). CCHD is an anti-poverty organization run by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and has come under attack recently for partnering with organizations that support or offer comprehensive sex education, including information about birth control, abortion and homosexuality, or tolerate homosexuality and socialism. Detractors state that CCHD should not be associating with such organizations, even if its funding does not directly support activities contrary to church teaching.

The CCHD says that its funding choices have been screened by the bishops and do not support contraceptives, abortion, or the promotion of homosexuality.

This past weekend, Madison did not participate in the annual special collection for CCHD, in which dioceses across the country ask local Catholics to make a special offering to the organization. This is the second year that Madison has not participated. According to LifeSiteNews:

As he did last year, Bishop Morlino chose to allocate the national campaign's portion of the [CCHD] collection to a different cause. Last year, the funds were sent to the Hurricane Ike recovery fund, and this year he allocated the contributions to the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have an international outreach to the elderly.

In a November 11th letter to the faithful of his diocese, Bishop Morlino assured them that the diocesan portion would continue to support "important tasks of assisting the poor of our own diocese."

He insisted, however, that their money would not be allowed to support groups violating Church teaching. "In light of recent discussions and protests regarding money from CCHD going to fund ACORN and other entities which do not uphold, and sometimes act in opposition to, the teachings of the Church," he said, "I feel it necessary to make clear that your money will not go to such groups."

Some CCHD detractors have demanded that CCHD end its partnership with the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera because of a report that it provided Spanish-language support to the Gay Neighbor campaign, which encourages Milwaukeeans to get to know LGBT people in their communities.


  1. Bishop Morlino courageously supported the teachings of the Catholic Church with this decision.

    The Catholic Church cannot fund organizations which spread errors which are damaging to individuals and to society.

    Abortion is the killing of human beings. No Catholic could support the killing of human beings. Abortion has also caused the age imbalance in our present society, in which few young people will have to support the aging baby boomers. We have over 40 million young people missing from our society, lost to abortion.

    The "gay" lifestyle also cannot be supported by Catholics, since it encourages dangerous behavior that is damaging to the health and psychological well-being of those who engage in it, and those who are forced to view the dangerous example.

    The Catholic Church is very supportive of homosexuals who live a chaste lifestyle, just as the Church supports heterosexuals who live a chaste lifestyle.

    It is odd that this distinction is rarely made-- that the Catholic Church opposes heterosexual promiscuity just as much as the Church opposes homosexual promiscuity. The Church would equally withhold funds from heterosexual organizations which advocated the exercise of irresponsible sexual license.

    Sexual "freedom" is not freedom at all, but is damaging to the individual and to society as a whole. Nobody talks of the "freedom" to take arsenic or the "freedom" to drive 120 mph. The Church's God-given rules are designed to protect us from danger, from misery and from threats to our physical, psychological and spiritual well-being.

    Liberals should realize that demonizing those who disagree with them is not tolerant, and that there is a chance that liberal permissive attitudes could be dangerous to themselves, destructive to family life, and dangerous to society as a whole.

    Perhaps the Catholic Church, which Bishop Morlino represents, is like the good parent who limits their children’s uninformed and dangerous behavior.

    Thanks, Bishop Morlino, for loving your people enough to do what is right, not what makes you popular with those who do not know the dangers.

  2. Hello Anonymous,

    I already have parents whom I love and respect. I don't need the Catholic Church to take over for them and God did not give it permission to do so, either.

    I didn't see anything in this blog post demonizing Morlino, so I'm not sure why you felt the need to go on about that.

  3. Hi, Kiapita--

    Participation in the Catholic Church is entirely voluntary, as is seeking the advice of medical and legal professionals. If you do not wish to get spiritual advice from the Church, you are free not to participate.

    Incidentally, God (Jesus Christ) DID give the Church permission, authority, and in fact instructed His disciples to teach all nations. But all nations are not obliged to listen to the teachings of Christ, since we have free will and we are free to reject the teachings of Christ and of His Church.

    The demonization (negative misrepresentation) of Bishop Morlino is pretty apparent in the title of the article, which begins with "Bishop Morlino shuns...."
    There is a vast difference between shunning someone and refraining from giving them money.

    By using the word "shuns," the author imputes motive and assigns feelings to Bishop Morlino that are not warranted. In actual fact, the job of all Bishops, including Bishop Morlino, is to love, care for, and teach those who are in error. Bishops do not shun them, they welcome dialog with them. But Bishops clearly are not obliged to FUND the errors of those who violate Curch teachings.

    To return to the analogy of the good parent, the good parent who fails to buy a child lolipops for breakfast is NOT shunning the child, but is loving them and is caring for them, despite the fact that the child did not get the lolipops they wanted for breakfast.

    By saying NO to people who are committing errors, a Bishop is doing his job and is loving and caring for those people.

    Finally, persons outside the Catholic Church have no right to say where the money contributed by Catholics should be spent. As a Catholic I do not attempt to tell Queery where and how to spend their money, nor do I demand that you contribute your money to the Catholic Church.

    Nor do I try to impute motives to you for your choices -- I simply accept the fact that you disagree with me. Could you not do the same towards me and towards other Catholics and conservatives? Simply agree to disagree?

    It would be great if we could all be more forbearant towards one another. Disagreement does not have to go along with any emotion, especially hatred. Disagreement can be accompanied by love and by tolerance.

    That is probably the biggest mistake I see most liberals making -- they seem to want to decide WHY conservative people (like me) think what they think. They also often decide that hatred is our motivation. They are very wrong.

    I disagree very heartily with liberals. But I think that they are nice people who are wrong, because they are not in possession of the facts that I have. I assume they have good and admirable motives, and that they want to improve society.

    I hope for the day that liberals think this way about me.

    We are all good people, we all have beautiful goals. Many of our goals are the same. We just disagree on HOW we get to the good goals, to the just society. There is no need for emotion or hatred or demonization. What we need is dialogue, sharing of information, facts, and tolerance.

    Truth is not afraid of discussion, and truth is not a source of hatred. Next time you encounter someone you disagree with, don't demonize them, don't assign negative motivations to them -- just ask them why they think what they think.

    And please leave the poor Bishop alone -- he's doing his job and he's doing it well.


  4. I feel like I've read a different article than the one you read. Where does it impute motives? The only time it discusses Morlino's motives is in the paragraphs quoted from LifeSiteNews, which is sympathetic with the bishop's position.

    I don't see this article telling the Catholic Church where to spend its money. I see it reporting on a decision of the bishop. I wonder if you are reading bias into the article because you expect to see it. For example, according to Merriam-Webster, "shun" means "to avoid deliberately and especially habitually." That seems to apply here. The bishop is avoiding CCHD deliberately and he's done it at least a couple years in a row, so that would be habitually. "Avoiding" doesn't mean "cutting off all dialog with" or "never ever seeing." It means "to keep away from" or "to prevent the occurrence or effectiveness of" (also from Merriam-Webster). For example, I avoid potholes but I sometimes drive right through them. I avoid staying up late at night but I make an exception for the Easter vigil. I haven't completely removed these things from my life.

    Regarding "persons outside the Catholic Church have no right to say where the money contributed by Catholics should be spent," I don't see the article saying anything about that either. And I wouldn't assume that the writer is "outside the Catholic Church." We don't know who the writer is, but I do know that there are practicing Catholics who work at that radio station.

    Is "Please leave the poor Bishop alone" addressed to me? I haven't said anything about him except "I didn't see anything in this blog post demonizing Morlino." If you mean Queery, please remember that Queery is reporting on something of interest to LGBT people, including LGBT Catholics, in the geographic area it serves, which is Madison, WI. Just because it's not a Catholic news agency or its writers don't start articles by listing their religious affiliation doesn't mean it has no right to report on these things.

    Now, on the topic of religion: I only commented on the authority of the church because you brought it up as an assumed fact. As you know, it is the duty of those who know the truth and who have been commissioned by Christ to speak up when falsehoods are spoken and to "teach those who are in error." It is only because you have brought up the matter of the church's authority twice and spoken falsely about it twice that I correct you:

    God gave authority to the Church, but not your church. The Roman Catholic Church broke off from Orthodox Christianity centuries ago and then positioned itself as the one true Church and its priests as the only valid representatives of Christ on earth. Christ is merciful to those who have been deceived and people within the Catholic Church can receive salvation, but they receive salvation in spite of the Catholic Church, not because of it.

    Please think a while before you claim that I am demonizing you or your church. If not recognizing the authority of your church is demonizing it, then you are demonizing me by not recognizing the authority of my church. Claims of demonization are unhelpful here. Thoughtful consideration of the facts is helpful.

  5. Hey kids,

    Please stay on topic.

  6. Back on topic!

    The headline was entitled:
    "Bishop Morlino shuns....."

    I still maintain that failure to give money does not constitute shunning.

    Our good Bishop gives Catholic groups who support the gay lifestyle and abortion as much attention as he gives any other Catholic groups in his flock.

    Whether he gives Catholic groups money is not a good measure of whether he is shunning them, since the Diocese gives money to very FEW Catholic groups --- the usual pattern is for the donations to flow in the opposite direction, from the Catholic groups toward supporting the Diocese and the services that the Diocese provides to Madison.

    Recieving money from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison is a rare priviledge, and NOT an entitlement.

    Some parallel can be made with the Federal government -- in most cases, we all contribute money TO the government through taxes, and only in unusual and hardship cases do individuals receive money FROM the government.

    Supporting the gay lifestyle and aborting human beings are not unusual hardship cases deserving to demand charitable support from the Catholic Church.

    Claiming that the Bishop is shunning someone because he is not including them in the Diocesan charities, as this headline attempts to do, is a negative misrepresentation (demonization) of the Bishop and of the Catholic Church.

    It is "on topic" to address the poor and negative choice of words (spin) used in this headline in reference to Bishop Morlino.

  7. Hello Anonymous,

    We didn't mean what you infer from "shun," but are sorry it upset you. We intended the secular definition of shun ("to avoid"), but understand that readers may associate it with the definition of shun sometimes used in religious circles ("to cut off"), especially in the context of an article discussing religion. We will keep this in mind in the future, but will keep the verb in the headline since many of the comments refer to this word.

    We had no intention of demonizing Bishop Morlino but are unsure that anything we can say might convince you otherwise, except perhaps to take a cue from other commentors and refer to the definition of "demonization": (1)to label as a source or agent of evil; to represent as diabolically evil; to portray a person or group as totally malevolent, sinful, or evil-perhaps even in league with Satan; to make into a demon; to describe or represent as evil or diabolic; (2)the reinterpretation of polytheistic deities as demons by other religions

  8. Thanks for the apology -- I was not "upset."

    Just want to make sure that our Bishop and our Church is not misrepresented with negative spin reporting.

    "Shun" is not a complimentary term, no matter how you analyze it. I was not refering to it in any religious sense, only in the psychological sense of cutting off and ignoring, which the Catholic Church does not do to any group.

    Perhaps you don't like my use of "demonizing" in the same way that I did not like "shun." To me, "demonizing" simply means portraying in a negative way and ascribing negative motivations. I also apologize if that term made you upset.

    Neither word is complimentary, and I am very encouraged that we can dialogue and straighten out our disagreements.

    Peace and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you!


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  10. You're right; "shun" is not a complimentary term. Our job is not to compliment. It is a neutral term with no inherent compliment or insult to the agent of the verb. It becomes insulting when people want to infer insult from it, just as people can do from any word or set of words.

    We don't like or dislike "demonize." We simply contend that you do not use it according to its commonly understood meaning.

  11. Looks like Anonymous thinks words mean whatever Anonymous wishes; if Anonymous wishes something to be true, it must be true. Not surprising, given that the Church teaches that whatever it wishes to be true is true.