Some are welcome

Remember Bishop Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin?  He told his diocese that communion under both kinds would be limited to “the Chrism Mass, the Feast of Corpus Christi, … the bride and groom at a Nuptial Mass, and [to] those so allergic to wheat that they cannot tolerate even low-gluten hosts.”

Now he has written a column in his diocesan newspaper on beauty and truth in the liturgy.

Like many essays of a similar stripe, this one starts out positive but turns to the negative.   After a quick swipe at Lady Gaga – and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to bring her work into the liturgy – the column zooms in on the Marty Haugen song, “All Are Welcome.”  You can find its lyrics online, but the bit that the bishop finds offensive is the chorus:

All are welcome, all are welcome,
All are welcome in this place.

He says to us that this cannot possibly be “appropriate-for-liturgical-use” because the chorus is not true and hence not beautiful.

And why is it untrue?  In Bishop Morlino’s words, because “People who have little interest in doing God’s Will don’t fit at the liturgy.”  Very well, then, let us bring back the ostiarii, in case someone who has little interest in doing God’s will turns up in the narthex.  Have these visitors committed sexual impurity?  Have they even thought about doing so?  Out with them.  Has this man called his neighbor “fool”?  There’s the exit door.   Has this woman been greedy, loving money more than she loves her neighbor?   Sorry, not welcome here.

Eventually, the saintly Bishop and a few of his true followers – a very few – can celebrate Mass on their own, perhaps rewriting Haugen’s words:

Few are welcome, few are welcome,
Few are welcome in this place.

But it’s not only unworthy humans whom Bishop Morlino wants to exclude.  He continues:  “… certainly, by their own choosing, the poor souls who suffer in Hell for all eternity are not welcome. Those are simple, but true facts.”

No false facts here!  Apparently the threat of an errant lost soul weighs heavily on the Bishop, because a commenter reported that he had repeated this theme in a recent speech.   Until I read his article I had supposed that Hell was a sufficiently stout prison to keep any soul from escaping.  But perhaps CS Lewis was right in his speculation about a refrigerium (see his The Great Divorce).  We could post signs at church doors: “No sinners!  No lost souls!”  That would keep the riff-raff away.

A chilling Jansenism is creeping over the Church. It seems to begin with people who celebrate “for you and for many” in the new, bungled translation; goes on with bishops who want to exclude erring politicians from Communion while turning a blind eye to us sinners in the pews; and continues with nonsense like Bishop Morlino’s essay.

If anyone manages to sneak out of Hell and turns up in my parish church, I shall welcome them warmly.  And although my weekly musical diet at Mass is Byrd and Mozart, Palestrina and Buxtehude, the next time I am given an opportunity to sing “All Are Welcome” I will do so with vigor and conviction.

Jonathan Day is a consultant and writer; he is also the chairman of the parish council of the Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception (Farm Street) in central London.

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46 comments

  1. Great posting.

    Bob Morlino is such an embarrassment.

    Who the $%^# is he to consider himself the arbiter of what is beautiful? What an insult!

    I read his column and it seems it is less about beauty and more about his pathetic pet peeves about contemporary liturgical music.

    We could page through the Adoremus Hymnal and find all sorts of theological and dogmatically questionable phrases too. What this sorry excuse for a diocesan bishop does not know is that there is a difference between poetic discourses and technical treatises.

    I agree with the post that the letter from the bishop is chilling because it is indeed horrifying that Bob Morlino is an example of the very sorry men (sic) who are chosen to “lead” our church.

  2. Can’t say I agree with you on this one, Jim. The bishop’s column seems perfectly reasonable to me, and in need of being said elsewhere.

  3. On another thread (http://tinyurl.com/3puh3zf) Jack Feehily says:

    Now I happen to be aware that this particular prelate is suffering from an affliction associated with faulty thinking. Let us pray for him even as we pray for all who are welcome to turn away from sin so as to live in the kingdom of God.

    If this is true, as it was with the late bishop of Gallup, NM, his brother bishops will get him help, I pray.

    1. Though on second thought why is such an impaired man allowed to continue in a place where he can do so much damage?

  4. All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome…
    if-you’re-in-a-state-of-grace,

    Rhymes, but it oesn’t really scan, does it?

    1. It also is not what Bishop Morlino writes…

      “All are welcome at the liturgy who truly seek salvation in and through Jesus Christ, by following God’s Will, as spelled out through His Son’s very Body, the Church.” Nothing about being in the state of grace. Indeed, since the only way to be in the state of grace in the first place is through the liturgy…

  5. …it’s not only unworthy humans whom Bishop Morlino wants to exclude. He continues: “… certainly, by their own choosing, the poor souls who suffer in Hell for all eternity are not welcome. Those are simple, but true facts.”

    It’s not clear that he is referring to non-humans here. I think that’s only your assumption.

    No false facts here!

    Perhaps you could say which facts are false instead of just sarcastically pointing?

    Apparently the threat of an errant lost soul weighs heavily on the Bishop, because a commenter reported that he had repeated this theme in a recent speech.

    More likely, he thought his argument about beauty and truth worth making more broadly than in one speech. The piece isn’t really about unworthy people at the liturgy.

    Until I read his article I had supposed that Hell was a sufficiently stout prison to keep any soul from escaping.

    So you don’t believe in demons as agents of temptation then, eh?

    It seems to begin with people who celebrate “for you and for many” in the new, bungled translation;

    Contradicted by your own argument, if it is true that a new creeping Jansenism includes bishops who want to exclude erring politicians from Communion, that’s been around for a pretty long time! It hardly starts with the new translation.

    goes on with bishops who want to exclude erring politicians from Communion while turning a blind eye to us sinners in the pews;

    Who is that precisely? And what evidence do you have that they don’t care about the sinners in the pews? (and ignoring the fact that those politicians are among the sinners in the pews…)

    and continues with nonsense like Bishop Morlino’s essay.

    If it were truly “nonsense,” it would probably be obvious to all and you could ignore it. You didn’t. There are weaknesses in Bishop Morlino’s argument, but I think there’s a level of respect owed to a Bishop and a person that this…

    1. Only comments with a full name will be approved.

      No false facts here!
      Perhaps you could say which facts are false instead of just sarcastically pointing?

      I think the point that Jonathan is making here is that a fact is true, by definition. Anything that is not true is not a fact, therefore he would have a hard time pointing to a false one.

  6. “All are welcomed to what are none are worthy of” seems be the Gospel as I understand it. The bishop should just be honest: he doesn’t like the song. It’s one of those “spirit of VII”, cliched, excessively sentimental hymns that (poorly) parrots already well established contemporary values. Therefore, they make a lot of the clergy uncomfortable because it is quite clear, at this point, that our popular cultural feels these values hold absent of a Christian narrative about the world. The logical move, in the minds of so many of the RofR, is to redirect the Church towards what is unmistakably provided by the older paradigm alone. Primarily, I am thinking of transcendence and strict, uncompromising moral codes.

    Though I am ambivalent to bothered by the new liturgy and its egregious neglect of tradition, it doesn’t- can’t- mean that we should abandon or neglect core aspects of the Christian message that the wider culture has run with independent of us. We have to move forward holding to what is uniquely Christian while proudly embracing values that echo with the secular world, values which are, in many cases, lay over from the Christian imaginary. Today’s liturgy is a perfect example (whose texts on taking interest, and the cry of the economically oppressed resonates, for example, quite well with the Occupy Toronto movement here). Our offertory hymn today was “For the Healing of Nations”.

    Beauty without truth, no. But beauty without compassion and openness should be equally anathema. Though personally. I’d not be pained to never hear that hymn again.

  7. I have a suggestion for Bishop Morlino and his friends.

    For the next stage of the reform of the reform, they should reform the lectionary. There are way too many readings, particularly Gospel readings, that might be construed incorrectly by the congregations. The selection of readings reflects the opinions of people of a particular time, the Vatican II era, and they did not know then how our society would evolve; they were not aware of all the ills that were about to befall Catholics exposed to evil relativistic secular thinking. To help the faithful think correctly and stay within the limits of what is good, true and beautiful, it would be appropriate for bishops to carefully select lectionary readings. For example, it would be good to remove the reading from two weeks ago:
    On this mountain the LORD of hosts
    will provide for all peoples
    a feast of rich food and choice wines,
    juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
    […] The Lord GOD will wipe away
    the tears from every face;

    (or perhaps at least correct the translation — the “all” and “every” are surely a mistranslation of “many”).
    The parable of the workers in the vineyard, that we heard last month, has some quotes such as: What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
    Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
    Are you envious because I am generous?’
    Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last”

    that may be misunderstood, and removing that reading would be wise.
    I think we should also omit the reading in which Jesus tells Peter: “Get behind me, Satan!”, because that may confuse people, leading them to a lack of proper respect for the head of the Church.

    If you really want to have a purer, more beautiful church, you need a reform to have a smaller, purer lectionary, cleared of all the messy stuff.

  8. I don’t remember seeing “Will” written with a capital letter before. But that’s part of the reform of the reform: Capital Letters Induce A Natural And Correct Feeling Of Authentic Reverence. Using Capital Letters Will Make Our Writing Much More Beautiful, And Also More True.

  9. We have a large mission style (1954) church with cruciform transepts. Because I haven’t had much success with negotiating a circumambulation entrance, we “stuff” the Introit grafted to an Entrance hymn as a sort of prelude/action moment.
    For today, Laetatur cor or “Let those whose hearts seek the Lord rejoice” seemed particularly aptly matched with “All are welcome.” Certainly the congregation and my pastor sang it thus and so.
    I concur with the sentiment Mr. DeJonge states regarding beauty and truth as well as beauty with compassion. I don’t see this text or tune in the same light as does he, and am prepared to be taken to task for that on its own merits, not on supposed dialectic that could be extracted and misconstrued by speculation for the sole purpose of condemning an unprovable intent.
    Besides, the good bishop could be queried whether or not he voted in favor of the motion to transfer the issue of a USCCB “white list” of hymn texts that meet the orthodoxy quotient to the Sees of Portland and Chicago at a fall plenum years ago that has since rode off into the sunset. If he voted yes, he abrogated his own authority at that time, which he now asserts within a more hospitable climate as he perceives it.
    As I recall, the only bishop with moxie at that particular moment was then Bp. Vigneron, who called a point of order regarding how propers should inform that issue. The plenum couldn’t be bothered to delay the vote to shove the item to OCP and GIA/WLP (no offense intended, David H., really), I mean, er, Abp. Vlazny and Cdl. George.
    Yes, I’m conservative, but I’m also an independent and free-thinker. I choose to seek the Lord in my heart, and I do welcome the seeker and the stranger, because Mt.25 lays it out pretty clear why I should.
    As usual, Bp. Morlino has failed to see the Pogo maxim in his excoriation. We have met the enemy, and he is us. Or as the King of Pop once said, “the man in the mirror.”

  10. Claire, I don’t think the “reform of the reform” movement can be painted with so broad a brush as to say that the creeping Germanic style of capitalizing nouns left and right is part and parcel of the movement.

  11. The song uses “this place” to refer first to the Kingdom of God, and then moves to the worship event to draw out the connection between Eucharist and the Kingdom.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in #543: “EVERYONE is called to enter the kingdom.” [emphasis in the original]

    Furthermore, if the Church is welcome at the Eucharist [something that ought to be axiomatic] then all are welcome.

    See CCC #776: “As sacrament, the Church is Christ’s instrument. ‘She is taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all,’ ‘the universal sacrament of salvation,’ by which Christ is ‘at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God’s love for men.’ The Church ‘is the visible plan of God’s love for humanity,’ because God desires ‘that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit.'” [LG 9.2, 48.2; GS 45.1; Paul VI, June 22, 1973; AG 7.2; cf. LG 17]

    Such universality is the basis for the Church’s mission, and for its claim to be catholic. This is the core meaning of that hymn. Its theology is sound.

    1. The song uses “this place” to refer first to the Kingdom of God, and then moves to the worship event to draw out the connection between Eucharist and the Kingdom.

      This could describe “Gather Us In”, but it doesn’t seem to describe “All Are Welcome”? Do you have the right hymn text?

      “All Are Welcome” is (in its imagery) about the worship space right from the first verse.

      The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in #543: “EVERYONE is called to enter the kingdom.” [emphasis in the original]

      The text doesn’t stop there.

      543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word:

      Which is closely related to what Bishop Morlino actually says, ““All are welcome at the liturgy who truly seek salvation in and through Jesus Christ, by following God’s Will, as spelled out through His Son’s very Body, the Church.”

      This is also related to today’s Gospel reading!

      If the Church is welcome at the Eucharist [something that ought to be axiomatic] then all are welcome.

      The Church is not “all”. There are people who are not part of the Church. You could argue that the lyric means “all members of the Church” I suppose. But I don’t think that’s the meaning most people hear when they sing the hymn. It’s not how I read it when I first heard it years ago as a not yet Catholic.

      1. Sam, I know the rest of the quote. It doesn’t affect my point. No one has said a word against conversion. The question is who is invited, i.e. who is welcome.

        Love, prophecy, safety, life, forgiveness, hope, faith — I’ve got the right hymn — these are qualities of God’s kingdom. “Build a house” is a metaphor, as in “wisdom has built herself a house.” The Church is the obvious poetic referent for this “house,” because of the New Testament image of living stones built into an edifice with Christ as the cornerstone. Later stanzas turn to specific Eucharist and worship themes.

      2. … the rest of the quote. It doesn’t affect my point. No one has said a word against conversion. The question is who is invited, i.e. who is welcome.

        Except that it does affect your point, to the extent that your point is a criticism, a contradiction of Bishop Morlino’s point.

        Bishop Morlino’s point is that all are welcome who seek to conform themselves to Christ, not an unmodified “all” as in the hymn as he reads it (I’m not sure that’s the most reasonable reading, but you’re also accepting the unmodified “all” as the reading as he does.)

        Against that, you’ve offered. “Everyone is called to enter the kingdom.” But when you read the whole context, it includes the qualification that all are called, but that the invitation is not accepted by all, which seems to me to be the point he’s making in the first place.

        Love, prophecy, safety, life, forgiveness, hope, faith — I’ve got the right hymn — these are qualities of God’s kingdom. “Build a house” is a metaphor, as in “wisdom has built herself a house.” The Church is the obvious poetic referent for this “house,” … Later stanzas turn to specific Eucharist and worship themes.

        I don’t think it’s obviously or unequivocally metaphorical in its primary meaning as that.

        “Let us build a house where love can dwell” I take the “build[ing]” to be analogical or metaphorical, but the house to be at least initially literal. Let us make *this building*, *this house* a place where love can dwell.

        “A place where saints and children tell How hearts learn to forgive.” I don’t see this as primarily metaphorical or about the Kingdom of God. I see this first verse of the hymn, sung in a Church as a description of the liturgical action that takes place in that “place”. And when the chorus goes back to “place”, I see it as concretely referring to the place described in the verse.

        As a new participant in Catholic worship, this is how I read the text as being about the community and church body present in and of itself, not about the invitation to the Kingdom of God. I don’t think I was just too dumb to get it. There is at least some substantial ambiguity here.

      3. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when we sing All Are Welcome in my parish, all the people gathered are either baptized or seeking baptism. How could all of them not be welcome? Or is someone imagining that the song is being broadcast to the public square and targeting it’s inhabitants? By the way, who is not called to hear the good news and be saved by it?

      4. Well, if you take the chorus out of context, and say that it stands completely on its own (which I don’t) that’s a pretty silly way to critique a hymn. “All are welcome” is modified by the rest of the hymn text.

        As I say, it’s about the invitation to God’s Kingdom, and it leads up to the Church and the Eucharist. Like most poetry, it can be read on more than one level, and images and allusions have more than one facet to them. The Kingdom is revealed to little children, etc.

        You’ve read “house” in a literal way to mean the church building where Eucharist is celebrated. I am saying that there’s another level without which the physical building doesn’t really make complete sense, namely the metaphorical sense as Kingdom / Church. I am not saying you are stupid. You’re not. I’m merely pointing out something about the hymn that is, I believe, significant to understanding its meaning.

        If one limits the text to a (pretty narrow) surface meaning (one phrase in isolation) and then critiques it without allowing for the metaphorical, it’s really a straw man that one is cutting down, because the poetry has more than one level and more than the one phrase.

  12. P.S.

    I should clarify: All are not there yet. But all are welcome. There is a future orientation to the hymn, as indeed there is to the call to enter the Kingdom and the call to come to the Eucharist.

  13. What a contrast… I heard Fr. Greg Boyle SJ speak at Fordham on Friday night and his point, based on his gang ministry was this… when will all be gathered in, when will we all be one?

    I’m not sure when it will be, but it will more likely happen in Fr. Greg’s gang territory in LA, rather than, say a church in Bishop Morlino’s diocese.

    This is so sad. I’m thinking about how Monday’s Gospel plays with the notion of the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. We can see that the letter trumps the spirit at the moment.

  14. In his recent book What Americans Really Believe, sociologist Rodney Stark titles Chapter 8 “Heaven We Are All Going.”

    The primary finding here is that few Americans think heaven is very exclusive. Granted, large numbers admit to having no opinion as to who will or won’t be admitted, but in this instance it would seem that no opinion is a very meaningful response.

    In response to the question, if your believe in heaven how many of the following will get into heaven?

    54% said half or more of Average Americans would get in; only 16% said a few; 1% said none, and 29% had no opinion.

    72% said half or more of Christians would get in; 6% said a few; 1% said none, and 21% had no opinion.

    46% said half or more of Jews would get in; 11% said a few; 6% said none; and 37% had no opinion.

    34% said half or more of Moslems would get in; 11% said a few; 16% said none, and 39% had no opinion.

    While 67% of Conservative Protestants are very or quite certain of going to heaven, only 46% of Liberal Protestants, and only 36% of Roman Catholics are very or quite certain of going to heaven.

    Republicans (61%) are more certain they are going to heaven than are Democrats (34%)!

  15. From an earlier post on Oct. 9th – need to know the context and history of this specific bishop:

    http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/madisons-morlino-noted-othodoxy-controversy

    Keys:

    – “Some local Catholics became so frustrated by Morino’s leadership that they took out a $3,500 full page “open letter” ad in a local paper to express their feelings. The letter accused Morino of ignoring input of clergy and laypeople, causing a climate of fear among priests who are afraid to publicly disagree with their bishop for fear of reprisal; of firing an openly gay music director; of hiring of priests who ban female altar servers; and of the alienation of Catholics who disagree with church doctrine as Morino expresses it.”

    This says it all from Fr. Z: “In The Catholic Herald of the Diocese of Madison, where the great Bishop Robert Morlino exercises oversight, …..”

    From datinggod.blog – “…..policy changes in Phoenix and Madison that the role — liturgically and ecclesiastically — of the laity and the role of the ordained would be a matter of timely concern. There are indeed ways in which the Second Vatican Council seems to be curbed by such behaviors, if not in the letter of the documents (although one might argue that is indeed true), then in the spirit of the texts.

    I am increasingly convinced that few people, including those whose responsibilities are to shepherd local churches, have a competent grasp of these Church documents from Vatican II, which are still very new at under fifty-years old each. It doesn’t take long, having read only the primary constitutions and decrees from the Council to realize that the vision of Church and the heuristic model laid out by the Council Fathers continues to be treated only in the most superficial ways, if not ignored in some places entirely.”

    If one can limit the people of God, one can then limit “all people” – now or in the future.

  16. To continue – again, from an earlier post:

    Fascinating article by John O’Malley on Trent that addresses an issue with this specific bishop:

    http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=13099

    The part that seems pertinent to Morlino and his opinions:

    “The bishops at Trent were typical of the Catholic episcopacy at the time. They had little formal training in theology, even though they otherwise might be well educated according to the standards of the day. If they had university degrees, those decrees tended to be in canon law. The theologians at Trent, however, came exclusively from universities or comparable institutions, and some were men of great distinction. They were not hand-chosen to promote a particular perspective but represented a random sampling of theological “schools.” The bishops did well to hear them out before proceeding to their own deliberations.

    Since the beginning of the 20th century, virtually all bishops have had the basic theological training of the seminaries they attended. In that respect they are different from the bishops who participated at Trent. Nonetheless, few have advanced degrees in theology at a time when the Christian situation has become complex to an extent unimaginable in an earlier age. Now as never before, cooperation and mutual respect are important. In that regard, I believe, the Council of Trent may hold a lesson for both parties.”

    1. Bishop Morlino used to be a Jesuit. His theological education stacks up against just about anyone. He has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Fordham, a Master’s degree in philosophy from Notre Dame, an M.Div. from Weston, and a doctorate from the Gregorian. That pretty much covers the theological education bases.

  17. The bishop’s first paragraph:

    “Clearly there has been much dialogue recently about our continuing liturgical renewal in the Diocese of Madison — this awareness has even risen to the international level. There was, in fact, a recent blog in Spain about our local matter. It is very difficult for me to believe that the tale of a bishop, leading his diocese in fine-tuning the implementation of the correct interpretation of Vatican II, would rise to the level of an international news item. But that says, indeed, a lot about the world in which we live, favoring as it does anarchic displays rather than a reasonable exercise of lawful authority.”

    seems to be saying that how he rules his diocese is his concern only, and not of any concern or interest to the rest of the Church. He may be willing to consider the opinions of other bishops, but clearly anyone else inside or outside his diocese has no standing in this matter.

  18. Difficult.

    On the one hand I do think that Church leaders should make the point that being a Christian actually requires living a Christian life, but on the other hand true changes of heart are only effected by love. The battering ram approach only alienates people.

    All are indeed welcome. And loved. If that love doesn’t change their hearts, then that’s their problem. But we welcome them nonetheless.

    1. I tend to agree. There is a lot I don’t like about this hymn (i.e., SJH’s quote above about shifting back and forth between voices), but the phrase “all are welcome” seems to be pretty non-controversial, unless someone is suggesting “open communion”, in which case I think that would be engaging in another rhetorical overreach. I think it’s clear that the good bishop wasn’t thinking that, though.

      But seriously, folks, it seems there is an effort to look for sticks with which to beat the bishop…is Madison really that important (if you don’t like what the bishop is doing), especially in Great Britain? Do not other bishops occasionally say things in diocesan papers that overreach? Why not pick on Bp. Zurek’s improper canonical use of “suspend” with Fr. Pavone’s situation in his diocese? It seems this is a bit of a witchhunt!

  19. S.J.Howard,
    Your posting is one major non sequitur.

    It’s a perfect illustration of the difference between qualifications and education.

    Your logic is faulty, as in:

    Some women are nurses.
    Mary is a nurse.
    Mary is some woman.

  20. SJH – and why, pray tell, did he leave the Jesuits? Now he has been busy in the pursuit of episcopal positions?

    Gregorian – internal church school; and his PhD is in what?

    Have always valued the catholic “both/and” approach:
    – hymns such as Haugen’s poetically capture the both/and – images of the church as people of God being called and welcomed today and also pointing to future hope
    – yet, Morlino seems to focus on only one part of the both/and. He appears unable to grasp that all are called; and yes, some of those will respond; some may ultimately fall by the wayside. But, our eucharistic communities welcome and call/invite. His narrow focus does have a long history in the church; guess, with VII, thought that this narrow tradition might have finally been passed.
    – allow me to add some psychology. Human beings seem to need to form “clubs” of the chosen; in this process, some one is always left outside and becomes the enemy. Always saw Jesus, gospel, parables as a counterweight to this very human impulse. In fact, the church’s both/and – its welcoming and inviting is countercultural.

    SJH – read O’Malley’s article. Something we appear to have glossed over at Trent and the fact that bishops were educated by their own choice at VII which, for some, was a moment of conversion. Bishops listened and learned and that led to pastoral decisions at VII. That education was a good example of theology and the episcopal magesterium working together.

    Would suggest that Morlino could benefit from a both/and approach and to focusing more on listening rather than judging.

    1. SJH – and why, pray tell, did he leave the Jesuits? Now he has been busy in the pursuit of episcopal positions?

      Both parts of that a really quite insulting to Bishop Morlino.

      Gregorian – internal church school;

      They all are. Catholic theology is always done in union with the Church.

      and his PhD is in what?

      Moral theology.

      Since Bishop Morlino is a theologian, arguing that the Bishops should listen more to theologians will also mean that they should listen more to Bishop Morlino.

  21. I think Jack Regan has captured it well: being a Christian is challenging, it requires repentance and deep conversion. But the Church is here to invite all to the hard tasks of personal conversion and of working for the kingdom of God. And ‘all’ means ‘all’ – we are not in the Humpty-Dumpty world of Liturgiam Authenticam here. The Church is catholic: universal, welcoming.

    A distinguished gentleman comes to our Latin (Novus Ordo) Mass a few times each year. He wears full Jewish prayer garb – shawl, phylacteries etc. He stands at the Old Testament lesson and sits for the rest of the readings. He listens and prays attentively. Who knows what motivates him to come? Who knows what is in his heart? But he is welcome, and more than once our priests have greeted him warmly at the Peace.

    The Catholic Church: Here Comes Everybody. Or, in the words of the song, ‘All are Welcome’.

  22. Lumen Gentium 13 seems pretty clear on this:

    “13. All men are called to belong to the new people of God… In the beginning God made human nature one and decreed that all His children, scattered as they were, would finally be gathered together as one. It was for this purpose that God sent His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, that be might be teacher, king and priest of all, the head of the new and universal people of the sons of God… This characteristic of universality which adorns the people of God is a gift from the Lord Himself. By reason of it, the Catholic Church strives constantly and with due effect to bring all humanity and all its possessions back to its source In Christ, with Him as its head and united in His Spirit.”

    All are welcome because each person is made to be a part of the communion that is the Church. And since God has made us for that purpose, God welcomes and forgives all who choose to come to the Church. God is also willing to forgive and welcome those who choose differently. Even ift their choice may not bring them into the Church, God is willing, and waiting, to welcome them.

    Bp Morlino IMO mistakes behavior for the person behaving. When a child of God chooses bad behavior, that does not make him any less God’s child, or keep God from loving him.

  23. Jonathan Day: “A chilling Jansenism is creeping over the Church. It seems to begin with people who celebrate “for you and for many” in the new, bungled translation; goes on with bishops who want to exclude erring politicians from Communion while turning a blind eye to us sinners in the pews; and continues with nonsense like Bishop Morlino’s essay.”

    I’m not sure if pro multis is directly responsible for a “new Jansenism”, since Jansenism can be refuted as a heresy within a theology that accepts pro multis as dogma. I respect arguments to the contrary. I’ll just place that one aside.

    The interesting thing about Jansenism is Jansenius’ semi-rejection of Calvin’s “perseverance of the saints.” I guess you could say that Jansen was TULI(P?) in so far as he questioned whether it was possible to know and take assurance in election despite his strong position that the election of the living is absolute. Bp. Morlino’s comment that those in Hell are not able to witness and partake of the benefits that the Mass confers on the dead is orthodox teaching. However, I would agree that his statement is borderline Jansenism in that his statement could be interpreted as a presumption that Mass is offered only for the elected living. Also, Bp. Morlino’s statement perhaps implies that the discernment of a Jansenist-style election is mediated through the clergy. Bp. Morlino is skating across theological thin ice with these latter points.

  24. Jordan, my comment about the lost souls was somewhat tongue in cheek, since, as you say, the orthodox teaching is that souls in hell are there forever. And hence the Bishop’s repeated assertion that a damned soul would not be welcome at the liturgy is rather like putting this sign on the church door.

  25. And I am sure Morlino thinks he was chosen by the Holy Spirit to be bishop. We must begin to study the process of selecting bishops. Was God involved in Morlino’s selection or was Morlino selected because he is someone’s fair haired boy?
    This needs to be studied! By their fruits you will know them. Using Morlino’s logic, Morlino makes himself unwelcome at the Eucharist.
    Morlino is not going to listen to reason. Many of you have written wisdom. We need to study the basic questions. What convinces us that Morlino, Olmsted and a few others were selected by the Holy Spirit to be bishops?

  26. Most of the people I know who dislike “All Are Welcome” do so because only practicing Catholics in good standing with the Church are allowed to receive Communion. We should put those people in a room with Bishop Morlino and watch the fur fly.

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