Cardinal von Galen Award – Spring 2008: Bishop Robert Morlino

Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin is a shining example of the kind of leadership the Church expects from the successors of the apostles charged with guiding the Catholic faithful. He has consistently and eloquently championed the defense of the Faith and morality despite considerable criticism from liberals, particularly in the press. HLI issued a press release praising him earlier this year for writing to the Wisconsin Legislature and pointing out the illegitimacy of the rogue group calling itself “Catholics for a Free Choice” (CFFC).

Robert Morlino was ordained a priest for the Society of Jesus’ Maryland Province in 1974. He earned his doctorate in Moral Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and taught Philosophy at several universities. Pope John Paul II made him bishop of Helena, Montana in 1999 and then transferred him to the larger diocese of Madison, Wisconsin in 2003.

He did not mince words when he spoke on the topic of the dictatorship of relativism at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in 2006. “Pro-choice. I’ve never heard anyone defend a pro-choice position with regard to bank robbery. The only time this expression is used with reference to what we’re pro-choice about is when the most innocent and helpless human being is at stake. Pro-choice is synonymous with pro-abortion because no speaks of pro-choice in any other context.” His intellectual training as well as a sharp wit is often placed at the service of respect for human life.

His leadership role in the pro-life cause has included both the academic and practical sides of defending innocent human life. Bishop Morlino serves as the chairman of the board of directors of the National Catholic Bioethics Center. He also urged the Knights of Columbus in Wisconsin to place billboard ads near Planned Parenthood centers with messages of hope for pregnant mothers and those who have had abortions.

We are most grateful for the defense of the Church’s teachings coming in a steady stream from Bishop Morlino’s pen. He wrote to the Catholics in his diocese in 2006 recalling their duty to defend life with their votes. He has also reminded his priests of the need to stand united with their shepherd. In 2006 the Alliance for Marriage and the Congress of Racial Equality gave him a lifetime achievement award for his outspoken defense of the Wisconsin state constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage. Many forces had tried to curtail freedom of speech in defending marriage and Bishop Morlino would not be silenced.

HLI prays for the continued success of Bishop Robert Morlino’s apostolic work. We are proud to give him our Cardinal von Galen Award as a pro-life champion of the Church.



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HLI staff writers bring you stories from the mission field and the latest information on life and family issues. All HLI articles are true to Catholic teaching.

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