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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-01-11 10:00 PM
Original message
Vatican forces outspoken Qld bishop to retire
"The Catholic Bishop of Toowoomba on Queensland's Darling Downs has quit after a row with the Pope.

In a letter to the Toowoomba diocese, Bishop William Morris says he has been forced into early retirement after a five-year investigation sparked by a "disaffected" group.

Bishop Morris says he has been targetted over his comments five years ago that the Catholic Church to be more open towards ordaining married men and women to help counter a looming shortage of priests."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/05/02/3204821.h...


So many potential bishops around, I guess they can afford to get rid of a good one. They are digging a big hole for themselves by preventing people from even discussing this subject.

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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-02-11 10:59 PM
Response to Original message
1. I've got to say...
...that every time I hear the prayer for vocations read aloud during the Prayer of the Faithful, I think, "Good luck with that." I don't know how it is in Australia, but here in the States, with study, screening, and of course discernment, few men get to ordination, and I'm under the impression that the crop of younger priests skews conservative, very conservative. But that's a totally unscientific assessment.

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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-03-11 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. There are years here when there are no young men entering the seminaries at all.
Edited on Tue May-03-11 12:32 AM by Matilda
And if the Church is not going to allow discussion and debate, how can it hope to attract good minds? It will become a dead entity, paralysed by fear and insecurity. Just like the Soviet Union before it imploded.

And all the Bishop did was say the issue ought to be discussed - he didn't take it upon himself to tell Rome what it should do. But Opus Dei was listening, as they do, and couldn't wait to tell tales.

Edited to add: In the Australian website "Cathnews", a comment on an article about "Bishop Bill" says exactly what you just said: "I believe, but cannot prove, that there is a bias in the recruitment of applicants to the priesthood where a conservative predisposition is favoured".

It had never occurred to me - I rather thought they might thank God for any new recruits! How incredibly shortsighted of them.

http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=26105
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-08-11 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. In what may be a first for the Vatican, Australians are in revolt
Edited on Sun May-08-11 07:14 AM by Matilda
against the sacking of Bishop Morris.

We heard word this morning at 10.30 Mass that the Superior of the Jesuits, himself from Toowoomba and who had been ordained by Bishop Morris, was very upset about the sacking, and would speak about it at the evening Mass at our sister parish. Some of us thought it would be worthwhile to go to a second Mass for the day to hear what he had to say. We weren't disappointed he was at his intelligent and articulate best. You might, with good reason, say he was on fire.

He refrained from direct attack on the Pope, and from endorsing the views of Bishop Morris, but he made two excellent points:

1. The complaints against the Bishop were made to the Vatican in a letter whose contents have never been revealed to the bishop, who is therefore not in a position to answer or refute them.

1. The Bishop has never abused a minor; he has never protected a priest who has abused a minor; and he has never lied to the police about a priest who has abused a minor. (A clear reference to those bishops who have done these things and been protected all the way up to the Vatican). Further, when complaints about abuse from a priest in charge of a school in his diocese were upheld, he immediately accepted liability on behalf of the diocese in order to spare the families the ordeal of a court case.

Fr. Richard made the point that the Church is supposed to stand for truth and justice, but the bishop has received neither.

He also let us know that although, after five years of "discussion", the Bishop offered to resign, and this offer was accepted by the Vatican, the Vatican broke faith with Bishop Morris by announcing to the world last week that the Pope had "removed him from office". So much for Vatican probity.

It was an excellent homily, and drew applause from most of the congregation.

A petition is being organised in support of Bishop Morris, who is very highly regarded by all who know him, and I understand that many other parishes are doing the same. It will probably make no difference in the end, but maybe - just maybe - the Pope will think twice before he tries this again in Australia. We're an easy-going people, but we really don't like being pushed around. And we hate unfairness. And did I say we don't usually run away from a fight?

Fr. Richard, who is aware of the plans for the petition while in no waytaking part, said: "Thank God, at last the people are standing up for themselves".

I note also a number of articles on this subject by the U.S. website National Catholic Reporter, so this issue is attracting international interest.

http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/bishops-firing-makes-... (this is excellent)

Edit: sp


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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-08-11 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I did make an error here -
Bishop Morris offered to take early retirement, which was accepted by the Vatican, not to resign. My bad.
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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-10-11 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Thanks for all the information.
I do not subscribe to NCR :blush: but will read the article.

More on that anon...
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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-10-11 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Okay, I read the NCR piece...
...and then many of the comments. :wow:

And I really have nothing to add, because others have said it better than I could.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
7. Here's a petition going around
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-30-11 01:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Thanks for that, hedgehog.
I've signed and I'm passing it on to others in my church.

I hope everyone who thinks good bishops are scarce will add their names to it.

:hi:
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-11 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Maybe it's just the web sites I follow, but I can't help but feel the Vatican
Edited on Wed Jun-01-11 01:17 PM by hedgehog
is pushing the Church to a real crisis like we haven't seen since 1517. How ironic if future historians credit John Paul II with having a major hand in bringing down both the Soviet bloc and the Vatican!

The Church will survive, but I expect we will soon see a very small, very traditional Roman Catholic Church based in the Vatican and a very large, growing number of Catholic Churches in communion with each other. It won't be pretty.
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-11 11:41 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. There is a lot of disquiet amongst followers of a lot of the websites I follow too.
I don't think there can be much doubt that the spirit of Vatican II is being whittled away bit by bit, and it has to be deliberate. And as the case of Bishop Morris demonstrates, the wishes of a small number of hardliners within parishes are dominant over the rest of the community.

Since Bishop Morris's forced retirement, a group of us have been discussing this and other matters over coffee after Mass each Sunday, and I've been surprised that some that I would have thought very conservative are quite outspoken. I don't think the disquiet applies to the whole parish, but I have a feeling it's more than half the congregation, judging by the response to some of the homilies preached by some of the more outspoken priests. Some parishioners are conservative, and some would prefer not to think at all, but there are a good number who think the Church is going in the wrong direction. We are definitely seeing a return to the old days of total authoritarianism, and an emphasis on the rule of law rather than the rule of love.

And most disturbing of all is that priests who have abused minors, and the bishops who have protected them, still have the protection of the Vatican, while another bishop a good man and a good pastor according to those who know him - who simply said the Church should be discussing a future with fewer priests, has been cut down. Where is the morality or justice in that?
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-11 01:17 AM
Response to Original message
11. As a footnote, something which will concern Catholics everywhere.
The ABC, Australia's principal public broadcaster, ran a story on Bishop Morris's sacking on its Sunday night religious program, "Compass". The show included clips of an interview with Bishop Morris in which he quoted from his "termination" letter from Pope Benedict. The Pope pointed out to him that the ruling given by John Paul II on female ordination, stating that the Church has no right to ordain women to the priesthood is "infallible and irrevocable".

This came as rather a shock to the interviewer and also to me, as I'm sure it did to many viewers. Bishop Morris doesn't believe that JPII's statement, though definitive, was meant to be infallible, and a spokesman for Cardinal Pell tap-danced around the question by saying that it would take more time than the program had to define what is an infallible statement and what is not.

I checked up just what constitutes an infallible statement and found that even experts aren't quite sure. All agree on two: The Immaculate Conception and The Assumption, but some think there were more and others don't. And I learned that there is no formula for an infallible declaration (you'd think it might be a good idea to have one), but in general, it's required for the Pope to announce the statement clearly (it can be made as part of a longer document) and to finish by saying that this declaration must be held by all the faithful (which John Paul did say).

I don't think it was ever received by Catholics anywhere at the time as an infallible dogma (and does it really concern faith or morals?), but if this statement by Benedict holds, we can never, ever discuss female ordination again, on pain of excommunication. So does he imply in his letter that he now believes that any defining statement by a pope is to be taken as infallible, or is he saying that any statement by any pope can later be declared retrospectively infallible?

Benedict is really beginning to scare me.

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