One day after St. Mary School in Platteville reopened, its church held a dedication Mass to celebrate the school’s reopening Wednesday afternoon.
The closing of St. Mary School in June 2012 was on the mind of Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino, who celebrated the Mass.
Morlino started his homily by acknowledging “the existence of evil in the world, and the existence of evil in the church, but now is not the time to go into detail about that. It is time to go into detail about the victory of truth over falsehood, the victory of good over evil. The closing of the school when it happened was the work of the Devil — the Devil attacking beautiful families who [sent children] to the school, attacking these great priests.
“When the Devil hears that kind of happiness, holiness and hard work … he dealt us all a very painful shot when this school closed.”
St. Mary School closed June 1, 2012, two years after the church began to be staffed by priests from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest. Some parishioners left the church, donations declined and enrollment in the school dropped, resulting in the decision to close the school in April 2012.
Morlino rejected replacing St. Mary’s priests, writing that he was confident that the Catholic faith is being taught in Platteville according to the proper understanding of the Second Vatican Council, “and that what remains are personal likes and dislikes, along with inflated rumors and gossip, some of which may even rise to the level of calumnious inciting of hatred of your priests, the faith, and myself. For these likes and dislikes, gossip, and hurt feelings, the Catholic faith is rejected and a school is closed.”
The school was going to reopen one year ago until Rev. John Blewett, the pastor of the church, decided the building wasn’t ready for students. The school opened Sept. 4 with six four-year-old kindergarteners.
Morlino said he “never had the least doubt that it would reopen.” But, he added, “we don’t think for a moment that the Devil has given up creating dissent in church. Just look what he’s done with bishops and priests.”
Morlino sent a five-page letter to the diocese’s churches about the “scandal, justified anger, and call for answers and action … regarding sexual sins by bishops, priests, and even cardinals,” in which he said he was “tired of people being hurt, gravely hurt! I am tired of the obfuscation of truth. I am tired of sin. And, as one who has tried — despite my many imperfections — to lay down my life for Christ and His Church, I am tired of the regular violation of sacred duties by those entrusted with immense responsibility from the Lord for the care of His people.”
The letter can be read at https://madisondiocese.org/documents/2018/8/Letter%20to%20Diocese%20-%20Abuse%20Scandal%20-%20August%202018.pdf. The letter states that Morlino will offer a “public Mass of reparation” at Holy Name Heights in Madison Friday, and he asked diocesan priests to offer similar Masses. He also asked “priests, clergy, religious, and diocesan employees” and other Roman Catholics to engage in “fasting and abstinence in reparation for the sins and outrages committed by members of the clergy and episcopacy” Sept. 19, 21 and 22, the Autumn Ember Days.
“We really have to keep up prayers and fasting” against “the Devil, who continues to be our enemy, about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour,” Morlino told those at Mass.
Morlino said the Mass was in honor of Mary, Jesus Christ’s mother, to “ask her special intercession against evil. We’ve got to pray for that special intercession every day, and we can’t afford to let our guard down.”
Morlino said the school “has to grow and flourish and thrive. … By the power of Christ , the victory over evil … don’t let the Devil take another [attack] at your precious church.”