More on Mor-lino? Really?
The effort by Madison Bishop Robert Morlino to staff several Catholic churches in the diocese with priests from a conservative Spanish society has met resistance in another community.
About 200 members of St. Mary’s Parish in Platteville met with Morlino at the church Monday night to question his decision to bring in three priests from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest to lead the church.
A diocesan official and parishioners who attended the 90-minute meeting described it as largely civil but occasionally heated, with Morlino apologizing toward the end for having raised his voice earlier in the meeting.
“It was a tough evening for everyone,” said diocesan spokesman Brent King.
The society, based in Murcia, Spain, is known for a staunch, traditional approach to Catholic practice. There are now eight society priests at seven parishes in the diocese.
At other churches where they serve,
- the priests have prohibited girls from being altar servers,
- dispensed with the common Catholic practice of using trained lay people to assist with Communion
- and added Masses celebrated only in Latin.
Madison Bishop Robert Morlino’s dismissal of a pastoral associate in a Beloit, Wis., parish for alleged breaches of orthodoxy might have surprised some, but not local Catholics who know their bishop’s mind and are familiar with actions he has taken in his five years in the diocese.
Ruth Kolpack was let go from her post at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, one that she held since 1995, after meeting with Morino for 10 minutes earlier this month. During that meeting he asked her for an oath of loyalty and to denounce a scholarly thesis, supportive of women’s rights in the church, that she had written in 2003.
She agreed to the former, refused the latter — and she was out of a job.