Over the last year and half, the media has focused attention on large, growing divisions in American society. Even in the American Catholic world, divisions both between and within the hierarchy and laity can sometimes become pronounced. For example, the cycle of action and reaction to same-sex marriage continues at all levels in the Catholic Church. Among the worst responses have been when LGBT people are fired from Catholic jobs. Church officials proclaim “scandal,” seemingly oblivious to the fact that their own actions and communications are exceedingly cruel and scandalous.
The cycle of outrage continues with the recent news that a second U.S. diocese – Madison, Wisconsin, under the leadership of Bishop Robert Morlino – has determined that funerals should be denied to people in same gender civil marriages. Morlino joins Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois who gave similar directions to his diocesan personnel last summer, prompting quite a backlash.