Wed Sep 7, 2016 – 6:14 pm EST
Second USA bishop to adopt ‘ad orientem’ position for Mass
MADISON, Wis., September 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A U.S. bishop turned heads toward the “east” last weekend in his diocese and around the world with his announcement that he would be celebrating Mass ad orientem.
Bishop Robert Morlino told parishioners at St. Patrick Church during his homily on Sunday that he would begin in October to offer Novus Ordo Masses facing the altar when he is town. The Diocese of Madison uses St. Patrick and two other parishes as a substitute for the cathedral that burned down 10 years ago. “I’m planning for us in accord to the mind of God,” he said.
The local ordinary is one of the first bishops in the Church to respond after a call by Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect for the Congregation for the Divine Worship in Rome, for Masses celebrated in the ancient tradition of facing toward God along with the congregation to become the norm beginning in Advent. That form of worship had been the “common orientation” in Catholic liturgy for more than 1,500 years until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, when many priests took it upon themselves to turn around to face the people.
“The bishop’s announcement at the Cathedral Parish was well received by the congregation there (his intended audience),” diocesan spokesman Brent King told LifeSiteNews in an email. “And with others finding out about it, we have received numerous notes of encouragement both from within and outside the diocese.
“As for now, the bishop is not going have any other public comments about this, as he wishes to speak with his priests about his decision, in person, very soon.”
Bishop Morlino interjected humor into his homily while revealing his intentions, saying he knew the parishioners in attendance would be supportive, but “I say this a few other places I’ll have to take both my hats off and duck” referring to other churches in his own diocese.
But that will not stop him from encouraging the priests of his diocese to consider an ad orientem posture, and he hopes his example will prompt other bishops around the world to do the same.
Bishop Morlino already requires seminarians in formation in his diocese to learn to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. In January, he ordered all of the diocese’s parishes to put the tabernacle back in the center of the Church, affecting nearly half of the parishes that had moved it to a side altar or separate room.
“Please lead your priests and people towards the Lord in this way,” Cardinal Sarah asked. “Please form your seminarians in the reality that we are not called to the priesthood to be at the center of liturgical worship ourselves but to lead Christ’s faithful to him as fellow worshippers. Please facilitate this simple but profound reform in your dioceses, your cathedrals, your parishes and your seminaries.”
Reaction from prelates to Cardinal Sarah’s preference for ad orientem has been mixed. Cardinal Sarah initially said Pope Francis had offered his support, but then the Vatican walked back that go ahead by making a “clarification.” In a statement, the Vatican press office said, “New liturgical directives are not expected from next Advent, as some have incorrectly inferred from some of Cardinal Sarah’s words, and it is better to avoid using the expression ‘reform of the reform’ with reference to the liturgy, given that it may at times give rise to error.”
Some prelates immediately announced that they had no intention of adopting an ad orientem posture. Among them were English Cardinal Vincent Nichols and American Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Meanwhile, Bishop Dominique Rey of the Diocese of Frejus-Toulon in France announced that he would adopt the ad orientem position by Advent. Bishop James Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., already is offering Mass facing the altar.
“Cardinal Sarah and Cardinal (Raymond) Burke for years, and Pope Benedict XVI have made the point over and over again that according to God’s mind that His plan is that at the end of history He will come from the East like the rising sun, as we see in the Magnificat, as we see in the Psalms, as we see in the scriptures,” Bishop Morlino said in his homily. “God’s plan is at the end of history He will come from the East from the rising sun. And when the priest stands together with the congregation, not with his back toward them, that’s not the point. The point is that the priest stands together with the congregation and he faces symbolically at least the East. We become a mighty army marching toward the place of the rising sun to meet the Lord lead by the priest. That’s who we really are.”
U.S. bishop doubles-down on refusing funerals to non-repentant gays
MADISON, Wisconsin, November 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino is defending his diocese’s recent guidelines to priests about denying funerals for non-repentant homosexuals, saying it’s the “straightforward teaching of the Church.” He clarified in the face of an ugly campaign to have him removed as bishop that such guidelines in no way indicate that “we don’t care about homosexual people”
Morlino, the bishop of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, has come under fire because his priests received a guidance reminding them of what the Code of Canon Law says about Catholic funerals for unrepentant “manifest public sinners,” such as people who publicly entered a same-sex “marriage.”
Media in his state that are sympathetic to the homosexual cause have attacked him, as have dissenting “Catholic” groups that reject Church teaching on sexual morality.
“The context” of the diocesan guidelines is “important,” Morlino told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo on The World Over.
“We have regular questions coming to us from individual pastors or from the priest counsel about these matters,” he explained. “And we have a regular way of communicating with priests – the Saturday mailing to priests from the vicar general – which addresses simply the answer to their questions in shorthand.”
“I did not out of a clear blue sky decide to speak out about this,” said Morlino. He noted that the guidance to priests from his vicar general “is the straightforward teaching of the Church of which I approve and very much want to promote.”
“The problem is that when people are tuned in three-quarters of the way through a conversation, which has been going on, and they get shorthand bottom lines,” said Morlino. “Then we got a problem.”
“A misinterpretation is created that we don’t care about homosexual people, that we want to have nothing to do with them,” he explained. This isn’t true at all, Morlino said.
Morlino said that those with same-sex attraction “who want to follow Christ” have a “particularly heavy cross to carry.”
Morlino reiterated this in a Nov. 02 column for the Diocese of Madison’s newspaper, writing:
It is our duty, as Christians, to approach such individuals and to act as Simon of Cyrene to them, helping to carry their cross, and never kicking them while they struggle under its weight. So much of what has been misinterpreted in this whole affair is a sense that we desire to have nothing to do with those who face this road of discipleship.
By all means, as the saying goes, “come as you are.” But, be aware that Jesus Christ loves each of us far too much to leave us as we are. He wants far more for you and for me. Be aware that he says to us all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Lk 9:23).” Following Jesus involves a decision to take up a cross and to follow in His footsteps toward Calvary. But we do not do so alone. Jesus, by His grace and through His living body, the Church, will make that burden light — insofar as we (every individual disciple) allow.
If a “manifest public sinner” shows even the slightest sign of repentance, he is eligible for a Catholic funeral, Morlino said.
He noted that when pro-abortion Sen. Ted Kennedy received a Catholic funeral, many faithful in his diocese were scandalized. Kennedy definitely was a manifest public sinner. But Morlino said he assumes the churchmen involved with the funeral knew something he didn’t about Kennedy showing signs of repentance.
The Code of Canon Law says that three conditions must be met for someone to be denied a Catholic funeral: he must be a manifest public sinner, he must have shown no signs of repentance, and giving him a Catholic funeral would cause scandal to the faithful.
“The slightest sign of repentance means they get a Catholic funeral,” said Morlino. He noted repentance is the end goal for everyone.
Morlino also lamented that people wrongly think he doesn’t care about those with same-sex attraction.
“I feel terrible about that,” he said.
Morlino also clarified why if a person who entered a public same-sex union is given a Catholic funeral, his partner is not allowed to do a reading at the service or be mentioned as surviving him.
It would lead Catholics into sin, he said, by giving them the impression same-sex unions are okay or would at the very least lead to them “getting them all confused.” Catholics have a right “not to be confused,” he added.
Morlino also briefly weighed in on the unfolding drama surrounding the U.S. Catholic bishops’ sacking of Father Thomas Weinandy as a consultant after he published a letter he wrote to Pope Francis raising concerns about the “confusion” that is a hallmark of his papacy.
“Father Weinandy is an extremely reputable scholar and in fact, a friend of mine,” Morlino told Arroyo. “A very good theologian and a friend of mine, truth be told. I cannot make judgments about Father Weinandy and his relationship to the USCCB because I am far away from all of that.”
Morlino chuckled at the assertion from dissenting Catholics that he’s not “welcoming” and should be removed by Pope Francis.
“I wake up every morning convinced that ‘God’s will’ will be done for the world and my life that day,” he said. “And knowing that. I just proceed with serenity and a good smile.”