Doug Erickson of the Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ) recently contacted me for a “faithful Catholic” view of Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton.
His article can be found at Holy Wisdom Monastery provides church services for disaffected local Catholics.
Doug’s WSJ article discusses the membership and philosophy of the Holy Wisdom group in some detail, but relegates input from real Catholics, including from the Diocese of Madison (quoting space limitations), to a last paragraph entitled “detractors.”
For the sake of accuracy, the Diocese’s complete statement and my complete statement to the WSJ are provided here:
Diocese of Madison’s clarification: click here for PDF statement.
My complete statement:
About 335 people are members of the weekly Sunday congregation at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, a community of Benedictine sisters. More than half are estimated to be disaffected Catholics who’ve left parishes in the Madison diocese over disagreements with Catholic Church doctrine in general or Bishop Morlino specifically.
The service is called a “Sunday Assembly with Eucharist.” It used to be a Catholic Mass, and still is structured like one, but the sisters are no longer under the jurisdiction of the diocese (as of 2006). Consequently, it is an ecumenical service where women preach and distribute the communion bread and wine. The language is “inclusive,” with no gender-specific references to God. Same-sex relationships are celebrated and same-sex marriage advocated.
1.) Have you heard of the service and, if so, what are your thoughts about it?
2.) Many of the people who worship there still call themselves Catholics, despite disagreeing with the Church on issues such as birth control, abortion, same-sex marriage and female priests. In your opinion, are they Catholics? Why or why not?
3.) As someone who supports the bishop and Church doctrine in general, does it bother you when hear about parishioners who leave their parishes for these types of reasons?
Benedictines of Middleton
Thanks, Doug, for your questions. I welcome the opportunity to answer them.
The faithful Catholics of Madison who are aware of the existence of the community you mention, Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, are aware that it has departed from the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Bishop Morlino and Pope Benedict graciously granted the nuns’ petition to abandon their Catholic identity in 2006, and wished them well in their ecumenical efforts. They are no longer Catholic Benedictine sisters. One of their three members is Presbyterian, and they are no longer a Catholic religious order. Perhaps a more appropriate name for them would be Ecumenical Women of Madison to avoid confusion. continue reading…