But a key section quoted in these earlier excerpts does not appear in the version of the pastoral letter published this week by ABC News.
In these earlier excerpts, Bishop Morris pledges to “continue to reflect carefully” on the options he has proposed. In the version published this week by ABC News, this passage appears to have been excised.
In his original letter as quoted by AD2000, he wrote:
“While we continue to reflect carefully on these options, we remain committed to actively promoting vocations to the current celibate male priesthood and open to inviting priests from overseas.”
In the newly published version, this passage reads:
“We remain committed to actively promoting vocations to the current celibate male priesthood and open to inviting priests from overseas.”
In a letter announcing his departure that was read in all parishes May 1, Bishop Morris complained that his pastoral letter had been “deliberately misinterpreted.”
Bishop Morris this week also leaked to ABC News what he said was a private letter sent to him by Pope Benedict XVI. In it, Pope Benedict reminded Bishop Morris "that Pope John Paul II had said irrevocably and infallibly that women cannot be ordained."
The accuracy of this quote or the existence of the letter could not be verified independently by CNA.
For most of the week, Bishop Morris and his supporters continued to wage a public campaign against the Vatican investigation.
In accounts published in the Australian press, they say the apostolic visitor was American Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., of Denver, who they say was appointed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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They say Archbishop Chaput came to Toowoomba in April 2007 and interviewed Bishop Morris along with a sampling of both his both supporters and critics. They say he delivered his report to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops on May 3, 2007.
Archbishop Chaput has declined to comment on what, if any role, he played in the investigation.
Nor has the Vatican released any details about the investigation beyond an unusually terse announcement issued May 2 through the Vatican Information Service: “The Holy Father removed Bishop William M. Morris from the pastoral care of the diocese of Toowoomba, Australia.”
Bishop Morris continues to complain that he was never given a copy of the apostolic visitator’s report.
But Father Jesus Miñanbres Fernandez, who serves on the canon law faculty at Pontifical University of the Holy Cross said this is not unusual in apostolic visitations.
In cases involving the conduct of bishops, Fr. Fernandez told CNA, the visitator would make a report to the Vatican. That report would be “secret,” to be read only by the Pope and the Vatican congregation that ordered the investigation.