We are committed to protecting the sanctity of life

A MESSAGE FROM BISHOP BAMBERA

Dear Friends in Christ,

The Catholic Church has long upheld a commitment to protecting the sanctity of life from conception until natural death. At times, this rhetoric has been a reality in the day-to-day actions of the Church, as our Catholic hospitals, universities, and institutions have strived to promote a pro-life ethic. At other times, however, our Church has failed to speak loudly enough against offenses in the world today and within our own ranks. At such points, we are challenged to reflect upon our beliefs, examine our moral world, and follow our call to action.

Last month, the Kirby Health Center revoked the lease of an established Planned Parenthood clinic in Wilkes-Barre. At the time, there was a serious question of whether or not this Planned Parenthood, which has not provided abortions in the past, would change its policies to provide abortions in the future. Some of the more prominent pro-life groups in our Diocese took action against this organization and fought hard to ensure that our values were expressed to the proper avenues. While this particular clinic has now clarified that it will not be providing abortion services at the new site, the dialogue surrounding this event serves as a reminder that we, as Catholics, are called to take action in representing our faith. If we are truly pro-life, then we must be consistently confident in establishing our values not only when issues like this arise, but in our daily lives, voting habits, and rhetoric.

As a Church dedicated to respecting life, we must see these issues on the real-life spectrum. In his 2013 encyclical, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis challenges us to examine the Church’s pro-life attitude not as a political belief, but as a commitment to protecting the innocent human person. This commitment is not subject to change based on current climate because it is not a fundamentally political value, but a moral one. Our pro-life values challenge us to protect the life of the child and his or her mother, providing all the resources that families need to thrive.

As such, we see a need to seek out the silences in our society and to protect those who are voiceless. In our daily actions and our advocacy efforts, we must strive to protect the unborn, the poor, immigrants and refugees, the disabled, and the elderly. In the Diocese of Scranton, we hope that this year will offer new opportunities to serve each and every one of these groups. At this time especially, we are grateful to all the groups and programs within our Diocese who have made an effort to protect the lives of the vulnerable in past decades. We have immense gratitude toward Saint Joseph’s Center, Catholic Social Services, Friends of the Poor, Rachel’s Vineyard, and organizations such as Pennsylvanians for Human Life for their existing work in serving the poor and vulnerable of Northeast and North-Central Pennsylvania. We hope that, in the coming years, we can continue to work with these organizations while expanding our Diocesan commitment to pro-life ministries of all kinds.

As you may know, the 2019 March for Life will be held January 18 in Washington, D.C. In an effort to show our commitment to Respect Life this month, we will be sending postcards to our senators and representatives to reiterate our stance toward the defense of life from conception until natural death. In the past few months, we have been reminded again and again that these views are relevant not only when Planned Parenthood renews its lease in one of our cities or when a new law is put into effect. Rather, our values must remain at the forefront of our minds and our hearts at all times – and they should be in the plain sight of our lawmakers. This month, we ask you to consider signing one of the cards that will be sent to each of our parishes here in the Diocese of Scranton and to share these with your friends and family.

Together, as a people of faith, we can set an example of what it means to be a people of life and a people of joy. This month, my prayer is that each of us will recognize our own ability and responsibility through our baptism to defend the lives of those on the margins of our society.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.
Bishop of Scranton

 

Estamos comprometidos con proteger la santidad de la vida

UN MENSAJE DEL OBISPO BAMBERA

Queridos amigos en Cristo,

La Iglesia Católica durante mucho tiempo ha mantenido un compromiso para proteger la santidad de la vida desde la concepción hasta la muerte natural. A veces, esta retórica ha sido una realidad en las acciones cotidianas de la iglesia, como nuestros hospitales católicos, universidades, y las instituciones se han esforzado para promover una ética de vida. En otras ocasiones, sin embargo, nuestra iglesia ha fallado en hablar en voz suficientemente alta contra delitos en el mundo de hoy y dentro de nuestras propias filas. En dichos puntos, nos desafía a reflexionar sobre nuestras creencias, examinar nuestro mundo moral y seguir nuestro llamado a la acción.

El mes pasado, el centro de salud de Kirby revocó la concesión de una clínica de Planned Parenthood (Planificacion familiar) establecida en Wilkes-Barre. Al tiempo, hubo una grave cuestión de si o no esta planificación de la familia, que no ha proporcionado los abortos en el pasado, iba a cambiar sus políticas para proporcionar abortos en el futuro. Algunos de los más prominentes grupos pro-vida en nuestra diócesis tomaron acción contra esta organización y lucharon para asegurar que nuestros valores se expresaron en las avenidas adecuadas. Mientras que esta clínica particular ahora ha aclarado que no  ofrecerá servicios de aborto en el nuevo sitio, el diálogo que rodean este evento sirve como un recordatorio de que, como católicos, estamos llamados a actuar en representación de nuestra fe. Si somos verdaderamente pro-vidas, debemos tener la confianza constante de establecer nuestros valores no sólo cuando temas como este se presentan, pero en nuestra vida cotidiana, hábitos de votación y el diálogo.

Como una iglesia dedicada al respeto de la vida, tenemos que ver estas cuestiones en el espectro de la vida real. En su encíclica del 2013, Evangelii Gaudium (la alegría del Evangelio), Papa Francisco nos desafía a examinar la actitud de pro vida de la iglesia no como una creencia política, sino como un compromiso con la protección de la persona humana inocente. Este compromiso no está sujeta a cambios basado en el clima actual ya no es un valor fundamentalmente político, sino moral. Nuestros valores de vida nos desafían para proteger la vida del niño y su madre, proporcionando todos los recursos que las familias necesitan para prosperar.

Así, vemos la necesidad de buscar a los silencios de nuestra sociedad y de proteger a aquellos que están sin voz. En nuestras acciones diarias y nuestros esfuerzos, debemos esforzarnos a proteger los no nacidos, los pobres, inmigrantes y refugiados, discapacitados y los ancianos. En la diócesis de Scranton, esperamos que este año ofrecerá nuevas oportunidades para servir a todos y cada uno de estos grupos. En este tiempo especialmente, agradecemos a todos los grupos y programas dentro de nuestra diócesis que han hecho un esfuerzo por proteger las vidas de las personas vulnerables en las últimas décadas. Tenemos inmensa gratitud hacia centro San José, Catholic Social Services, amigos de los pobres, Viña de  Raquel y organizaciones como residentes de Pennsylvania para la vida humana por su trabajo existente en el servicio a los pobres y vulnerables del noreste y Centro-norte de Pennsylvania. Esperamos que en los próximos años, podemos seguir trabajando con estas organizaciones ampliando nuestro compromiso Diocesano de ministerios de vida de todas las clases al mismo tiempo.

Como ustedes saben, el 2019 marcha por la vida se llevará a cabo el 18 de enero en Washington, D.C. En un esfuerzo por mostrar nuestro compromiso de respeto a la vida este mes, estaremos enviando postales a nuestros senadores y representantes para reiterar nuestra postura hacia la defensa de la vida desde la concepción hasta la muerte natural. En los últimos meses, nos recordaron una y otra vez que estos puntos de vista son relevantes no sólo cuando Planned Parenthood renueva su concesión en una de nuestras ciudades o cuando una nueva ley en vigor. Por el contrario, nuestros valores deben permanecer a la vanguardia de nuestras mentes y nuestros corazones en todo momento – y debe a la simple vista de nuestros legisladores. Este mes, le pedimos considerar firma una de las cartas que se enviarán a cada una de nuestras parroquias aquí en la diócesis de Scranton y compartir con tus amigos y familiares.

Juntos, como pueblo de fe, podemos establecer un ejemplo de lo que significa ser un pueblo de la vida y un pueblo de la alegría. Este mes, mi oración es que cada uno de nosotros reconozca nuestra propia capacidad y responsabilidad a través de nuestro bautismo para defender las vidas de ésos en los márgenes de nuestra sociedad.

Fielmente suyo en Cristo,

S.E.R. Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.
Obispo de Scranton

I offer my sympathy and prayers and those of the Church of Scranton to the faithful of the Diocese of Madison at the passing of Bishop Robert Morlino. As a fellow native son of the Diocese of Scranton, I knew and respected Bishop Morlino as a devoted shepherd to the people of the dioceses he served, and someone who demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the Church. I join with the faithful entrusted to his care and with his many friends in the Diocese of Scranton in mourning his loss. May we be consoled by the Lord’s promise that all who served Him in life will enjoy eternal rest and peace.

Bishop Morlino, native of our Diocese, dies in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (CNS) – Bishop Robert C. Morlino, the fourth bishop of Madison, died Nov. 24 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. He was 71.

The bishop was undergoing planned medical tests when he suffered what doctors described as “a cardiac event” at the hospital and he never recovered.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

“All objective indicators point to the fact that Bishop Morlino accomplished what he set out to do in the diocese” after his Aug. 1, 2003, installation, the diocese said in a statement.

Among his “three expressed priorities” was increasing “the number and quality of the men ordained to the diocesan priesthood,” it said. “Fostering greater priestly vocations” resulted in his ordination of 40 men to the priesthood during his tenure. Another 24 are currently in formation.

Bishop Morlino also aimed “to instill a greater sense of reverence throughout the entire diocese, especially through our worship of God, celebrated in the holy sacrifice of the Mass,” the diocese said, “and to challenge Catholic institutions in the diocese to live out their professed faith in Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, through their ministry in the secular community.”

He succeeded in “bringing a greater sense of reverent worship to the entire diocese, and he made significant inroads toward encouraging the Catholic institutions in his care to live out their mission with greater fidelity, during his 15-plus years as bishop of Madison,” the diocese said. “We pray this continues.”

Born Dec. 31, 1946, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Robert Charles Morlino was an only child. His father, Charles, died while he was in high school; his mother, Albertina, died in 1980. He was raised in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, graduating from the Jesuit-run Scranton Preparatory High School.

He entered the seminary for the Maryland province of the Society of Jesus and was ordained to the priesthood for that province June 1, 1974. His education included a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University, a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, and a master of divinity degree from the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He also had a doctorate in moral theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, with a specialization in fundamental moral theology and bioethics.

Father Morlino taught philosophy at Loyola College in Baltimore, St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, Boston College, and the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College in Indiana. He also served as an instructor in continuing education for priests, religious and laity and as director of parish renewal programs

In 1981, Father Morlino became a priest of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and served there as vicar for spiritual development, executive assistant and theological consultant to the bishop, as moderator of the curia and as the promoter of justice in the diocesan tribunal. He was administrator of a number of parishes, and later rector of St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo.

Father Morlino was scheduled to begin a full-time faculty appointment as professor of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit when, on July 6, 1999, St. John Paul II appointed him the ninth bishop of Helena, Montana.

Bishop Morlino was named fourth bishop of Madison May 23, 2003, and installed about three months later.

On the national level, Bishop Morlino is a past chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on the Diaconate and its Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care Issues and the Church.

He also served on the Bishops and Presidents Subcommittee of the USCCB’s Committee on Education, which focuses on the Catholic identity of institutions of higher education. Bishop Morlino also was a past chairman of the board of directors of the Philadelphia-based National Catholic Bioethics Center, which conducts research, consultation, publishing and education to promote human dignity in health care and the life sciences.

Bishop Morlino also was chairman of the board of visitors for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. This board was a federal advisory committee created by congress to maintain independent review, observation and recommendation regarding operations of the institute, located at Fort Benning, near Columbus, Georgia.

Run by the U.S. Department of Defense, the institute is an education and training facility for civilian, military and law enforcement personnel from Western Hemisphere countries. For his service to the United States and his promotion of human rights education, the bishop was honored by the Department of the Army in 2009.

In 2006, the national Alliance for Marriage joined with the Congress of Racial Equality to present Bishop Morlino with their Lifetime Achievement Award, for his promotion of the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

In 2008, for his work in defense of the dignity of the human person, Bishop Morlino was awarded Human Life International’s Cardinal von Galen Award, named after the famous German bishop who worked actively against the Nazis. That same year, he also received the St. Edmund’s Medal of Honor, awarded to Catholics “who have used their God-given talents in promoting the common good.”

In 2015, he was the recipient of Relevant Radio’s Christ Brings Hope Award and earlier this year, he received the St. Thomas Aquinas College Medallion.