|Australia's Bishop Morris doesn't seem to be in style with his Vatican counterparts. No dress, no cappa magna, no more diocese.|
On the day when the US announces the death of Osama Bin Laden, and the Vatican is awash in publicity for the Beatification of JPII, Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba, New South Wales, Australia announces his forced resignation from his Diocesan See. Nothing like burying a bad PR story under a whole bunch of other stories.
Pope removes bishop who expressed openness to ordaining womenVATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has removed Australian Bishop William M. Morris of Toowoomba from office five years after he wrote a pastoral letter indicating he would be open to ordaining women and married men if church rules changed to allow such a possibility.
In an open letter to Catholics in his diocese released May 1, Bishop Morris said the 2006 letter "has been misread and, I believe, deliberately misinterpreted" by a small group within the diocese. (Australian priests and bishops have been plagued by this 'small' group who have the ear of one Cardinal Pell and his supporters in the Vatican.)
In a brief statement May 2, the Vatican said, "The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has relieved His Excellency Msgr. William M. Morris of the pastoral care of the Diocese of Toowoomba."
The formulation indicated that Bishop Morris had not offered his letter of resignation.
The Vatican did not explain the pope's decision, but in the past has made it clear that the Catholic Church considers it a matter of faith that Jesus chose only men to be his apostles and, therefore, the church is not free to ordain women. In addition, it has affirmed that while exceptional cases exist, celibacy is the norm for priests in the Latin rite. (I have visions of Belgian Archbishop Vangelhuwe dancing in my head and it's making me very very angry. For the Vatican, a whiff in the direction of women priests is far worse than actually admitting one sexually abuses children and this has been a very consistent position over the last fifteen years.)
In his open letter, Bishop Morris said misunderstandings about his pastoral letter on the diocese's serious priest shortage led Pope Benedict to appoint U.S. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver to conduct an apostolic visitation of the Toowoomba diocese. (My my, isn't Archbishop Chaput wracking up the frequent flyer miles?)
"I have never seen the report prepared by the apostolic visitor," Bishop Morris said, and "without due process it has been impossible to resolve these matters, denying me natural justice without any possibility of appropriate defense and advocacy on my behalf." (Rape a child Bishop Morris and the Church will give you --as a bishop --all the due process any man could want.)
The bishop said the fact that there would be no further hearing on the matter was confirmed by a letter he received from the pope, which stated: "Canon law does not make provision for a process regarding bishops, whom the successor of Peter nominates and may remove from office."
Bishop Morris said he did not offer to resign as "a matter of conscience" because "my resignation would mean that I accept the assessment of myself as breaking 'communio,' which I absolutely refute and reject."
The text of Morris' letter explaining his here is here: Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba.
If the Vatican is not one of the most corrupt bureaucracies on earth, it is one of the most delusional. I find it most fascinating that on the weekend dedicated to JPII, we find counter thrusts coming from people who are victims of JPII's two bigger failures. His enabling of pedophiles, and his personal opinion about women in the priesthood which he attempted to dress up as God's will. It just boggles my mind that in the the past month we have had one priest laicised and one bishop forced to resign over the idea of womens' ordination, while one self confessed Archbishop pedophile gets remedial treatment--treatment which not so coincidentally included his mandated removal from the jurisdiction in which he might face criminal prosecution--and one career Cardinal diplomat makes an ass of himself over the clerical pedophile JPII fawned over. If I was keeping score it would be pedophiles 2, women's ordination -2. But then, this is the Vatican that does classify women's ordination as a higher crime against the Church than clerical pedophilia in that one is a heresy and one is just a moral issue.
For some reason, although I can intellectually go where this all goes--after all it does follow a given logic, my heart totally rebels. Maybe that's because when it comes to protecting the all male celibate priesthood the Vatican has zero compassion for anyone not ordained or any ordinate who does not follow the company line. By the way, most clerical pedophiles follow the company line when it comes to the theology behind the all male celibate priesthood. They do not see themselves as dissenting heretics. They might see themselves as sinners.
Sometimes I really lower the bar and think I might be able to tolerate this if there was at least some sign of collective embarrassment. But no, along comes Cardinal Angelo Sodano to disabuse me of any notion of collective embarrassment. Instead I find it's myself who is embarrassed. Again. I guess finding myself being embarrassed is a hell of a lot better than feeling myself betrayed. Only God knows how many Catholics are feeling deeply betrayed by their Catholic leadership.
Speaking of betrayal, I spent a great deal of the last couple weeks thinking about betrayal. I think betrayal is one of the key elements of the Passion story. Jesus was betrayed all over the place the last week of His life except by the women who were his key disciples. Except by the women. It's kind of sad that after two thousand years, nothing much has changed. Women are still not being listened too and the male leadership is still betraying their core humanity in order to protect themselves.