Dear Tell All: I'm reduced to airing my grievances with the local Catholic diocese anonymously. What are my options? Bishop Robert Morlino has made it clear that anyone who respectfully disagrees with him could face dire consequences.
My non-Catholic friends have been teasing me about the debacle in Platteville, which has been reported in the Wisconsin State Journal and the Wall Street Journal. Morlino installed conservative Spanish priests there whose practices - including banning females as altar servers - have upset the community. Almost half of the area's parishioners signed a petition asking that the priests be replaced, to no avail. Consequently, church attendance declined and donations dropped off, meaning the parish had to shut down its school. Great job, Bishop Morlino.
A good leader would try to be as responsive as possible to the community's needs, especially a community with such evident concern for their church. Instead, the tone-deaf Morlino did what he always does, insisting that it's his way or the highway. He wrote a letter to the Platteville church suggesting it was all their fault - in other words, blaming the victim. Most shockingly, he expressed "sincere hopes of avoiding the issuance of Canonical warnings." In other words, stop expressing displeasure with my heavy-handed approach or you'll be banned from receiving sacraments. I find this a puzzling way to treat devout Catholics who sincerely want to keep practicing their faith.
I believe Bishop Morlino is the wrong leader for this diocese. Between the drop-off in parishioners and the spike in hostility, what more proof do you need? It's enough to keep me away from church. Then again, I feel guilty for having such thoughts, and for disliking a bishop. Tell All, can you give me any help?
All Prayed Out
Dear Prayed: I can't absolve you of your guilt - that's way outside my skill set. But I do have the power to ask the Madison community for advice. How would you counsel All Prayed Out, wise Isthmus readers?