A lion for Christ has died. RIP Bishop Robert Morlino.
As someone who once had the pleasure of meeting Bishop Morlino and who, living in the diocese next door to his, greatly admired the incredible things he accomplished– things that prove good bishops can turn back the tide of heterodoxy — this news has greatly saddened me.
For what His Grace did and accomplished in his diocese was remarkable given that, when he was appointed to it, was the proverbial train wreck to end all train wrecks. It was so bad, it was “legion,” and I use that word advisedly.
Despite vociferous, full-throated opposition from those who want to remake the Catholic Church in the image of man and the age, he directed the Church in the Diocese of Madison in the direction of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, he did so by following the example of the total faithfulness and witness for her Son given by Our Lord’s Blessed Mother. He was a true servant of the servants of Christ.
However, I am less sad that this “good and faithful servant” has died, a) because I trust in the promises of Jesus, and b) because Morlino was an excellent bishop, a committed servant of God the Son, and faithful to the gospel and the Magisterium that flows from it. Thus I am confident Our Savior will recompense him in a glorious way.
What I am concerned about is that this Pope will now appoint someone to undo all the very hard work and hard-won victories that Bishop Morlino achieved, and he will do so by appointing a Cupich- or Wuerl-like acolyte.
However, there is hope. History shows us this.
As you may know, each country’s apostolic nuncio or delegate (i.e., ambassador to that nation from the Vatican) has an immense role in appointing an open See’s bishop.
Thus in the 1970s, when a Cupich/Wuerl/Francis-on-steroids named Archbishop Jean Jadot was apostolic delegate to this nation, we got the very bishops who have landed us in our current mess: Mahony, Bernadin, Weakland, Rochester’s Matthew Clarke, Ken Untener, Howard Hubbard in Albany, Anthony Bevilaqua, Bernard Law, Raymond Hunthausen, not to mention all the men who they were responsible for promoting to the episcopal college.
Thus it was in 1976 that Jadot pointed the finger at Elden Curtiss to be bishop of Helena, Montana. At the time, Curtiss was seen as a “Spirit of Vatican II” “liberal” (to use an unfortunate political term that sadly must suffice). This is because he insisted that traditionalist professors who taught in the seminary for which he was rector at the time of his appointment toe the line of the Council.
What Jadot missed is that he also insisted that opposing professors not act as though the Church began with the end of Vatican II in 1965
He slipped in, so to speak. As such, the Faith was strengthened in Helena and later, in Omaha, where he was transferred in 1993.
So even if Archbishop Christophe Pierre helps Francis appoint a Wuerl-like politician rather than a true servant of Christ (and Abp. Pierre is no Jadot, praise God), things could still work out well. Or we could get another James Martin-loving, McCarrick-like dupe of darkness in the mould of Mahony, Blair, Neiderauer, Clarke, Wycislo, Weakland, Foley, Boland, Wuerl, Keeler, Cupich, Bernadin, Robert Banks, or all the many other characters in the depressing litany of phenomenally bad bishops this country has seen over the past 40-50 years.
There is still time to pray and fast, for “This kind cannot be driven out but by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29).
Let us do what we can, and entrust the rest to the Holy Spirit, for St. Paul assures us that God will bring good out of evil, even if the evil is the appointment of yet another bad bishop, someone so unlike the good Bishop Robert Morlino. Rest in peace, good sir.