Controversial Australian bishop sacked by Pope Benedict XVI
By David Kerr
Bishop William Morris / Credit Diocese of Toowoomba / Pope Benedict XVI
Bishop William Morris / Credit Diocese of Toowoomba / Pope Benedict XVI

.- Pope Benedict XVI has sacked a controversial Australian bishop who has called for protestant ministers to celebrate Mass as well as the ordination of women.
“The Holy Father Benedict XVI has removed from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Toowoomba (Australia) Most Rev. William M. Morris,” the Vatican confirmed in a one line statement May 2. The move brings to an end Bishop Morris’s 18 years in charge of diocese that is situated to the west of Brisbane, Queensland.

The first hint that Bishop Morris was on his way out came yesterday in an open letter to parishes in his diocese.
“It has been determined by Pope Benedict that the diocese would be better served by the leadership of a new bishop” he said, adding that the Holy Father had told him personally that Church law made it clear that “the successor of Peter nominates and may remove from office” any bishop he finds unfit for the job. “This makes my position as Bishop of Toowoomba untenable,” he concluded.
“In effect, it is a removal from office,” Father Peter Dorfield, the diocese’s vicar general, told Australia’s ABC News.

Bishop Morris’s dismissal follows comments he made in a 2006 pastoral letter.  In it he called for the ordination of women, married men and suggested that protestant ministers could offer Mass to compensate for the dearth of priests in his diocese. This in turn led the Vatican to order an investigation.

Critics of the bishop, though, say the problems in Toowoomba go beyond the bishop’s public disagreement with Catholic doctrine on the priesthood.

They claim Bishop Morris - who prefers a shirt and tie to a priestly collar and bishops’ attire - has done much to undermine Catholic identity and teachings during his term of office.
Such criticisms include “communion services” being co-celebrated by lay people and priests and the widespread use of communal “general absolution” rites as an alternative to personal confession.
Contacted by CNA, Archbishop Chaput declined to comment on the matter.  He noted that parties involved in any Vatican visitation routinely agree to keep their deliberations private, and all details remain confidential.

The Diocese of Toowoomba spans more than 188,000 square miles and has a Catholic population of roughly 66,000 served by 35 parishes.
Bishop Brian Finnegan of Brisbane has now been appointed an administrator until a new bishop can be found.
Bishop Morris, 67, will now officially retire. The normal retirement age for a bishop is 75. 

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: