Friday, February 13, 2009

Finally, A Bishop Speaks Out

The situation with St Mary's Brisbane is having serious repercussions with in Church circles in Australia. I have written previously that the real problem in the St. Mary's situation is the blatant interference of self appointed guardians of the Faith. It seems that Fr. Kennedy of St. Mary's wasn't their only target:

Toowoomba bishop under Vatican investigation

Toowoomba Bishop William Morris has said he has been under investigation by the Vatican for two years after discussing the prospect of women or married priests in a pastoral letter.

Bishop Morris said the diocese was challenged by the ageing of its priests, most of whom would be eligible for retirement by 2014, leaving only six priests out of the full complement of 40, The Courier-Mail reports.

"The ultimate outcome is I'd be sacked and have to stand down," he said.

"Or they would ask me to resign or operate in another diocese ... at this stage, I don't know."
Bishop Morris, who has held the Toowoomba post for 16 years, said the Church couldn't stifle debate and that's what the letter was promoting. "I will continue to fight for what I believe is the truth," he said. (How wonderful is this statement, especially because he's fighting for a whole different kind of truth---like the church is in it's death throws.)

"And I will continue to fight to be able to ask questions."

Bishop Morris said there was a group of very conservative Catholics dubbed the "temple police" who travelled around parishes dobbing in priests who didn't toe the line.

"There are plenty of temple police around at the moment," he said. (And it's well past time some bishop called them on their Vatican enabled tyranny over the rest of us.)

Bishop Morris said he hoped the investigation would be concluded this year, but even if he was sacked, he would still retain his title.

He said the same applied to Fr Kennedy even if he was excommunicated.

Brisbane Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby would not comment on the investigation of Bishop Morris except to say that Rome was constantly looking at such situations.

"There are rules and regulations in everything," he said.

However, Archbishop Bathersby said he would welcome change in the Church.
"It's a Church that's constantly reforming itself," he said.
(Clever response Archbishop Bathersby in that you didn't say restoring itself.)

"There's a lot of people agitating for a third Vatican Council and that could happen too, I'd love to see that happen." (One wonders how many of those people are currently serving bishops. Perhaps Archbishop Bathersby is firing an opening salvo.)


One of the things which have been happening since the rescinding of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops is that liberal Catholic blogs have seen a large upsurge in hits. This blog is no exception as readership has doubled and is not decreasing as time has passed. Other liberal bloggers have noted the same phenomenon. It's like something burst in liberal lala land with the SSPX announcement. Progressives are finding their voice, so much so, that finally a bishop has spoken out about his own harassment by the 'temple police' and their Vatican enablers.

It's almost like Benedict kept poking and poking at progressive Catholicism and has finally managed to wake the dog. He's going to find out it's a very large dog. A far bigger dog than the yappy little terriers he's used to dealing with and he's not going to like it. He's also going to find out that the muzzle he has worked to keep on that dog for the last twenty five years finally came off because he couldn't resist poking that dog one too many times.

Archbishop Bathersby is contemplating a Vatican III. I find that interesting because I've been wondering lately what a Vatican III would be like. I suspect it wouldn't be a 'pastoral' council because the Church can not afford another such exercise. Vatican III would be a doctrinal and dogmatic council if only to deal with the absurd priest shortage, the enormous hemorrhaging of people from the West, and the serious inroads of the Evangelicals in the South.

The Vatican can soothe itself with notions of the exploding church in the South, but the South does not yet have the educational or financial resources on which to base a world wide enterprise. The Vatican strategy of restricting it's outreach in the West to a small contingent of youth at the expense of older generations has been a disastrous mistake. This JPII remnant will never be large enough to maintain any semblance of Catholicism in the West, much less the rest of the world. It's a delusion which has been faithfully maintained by the last two papacies for over twenty years. The numbers are just not there.

I suspect in the coming months we will see more initiatives coming from both the laity and clergy calling for real and sustainable change in how Catholicism conducts it's business. It will be coming from people who also really love this Church, even the ones who have left in frustration. It's way past time for these voices to be heard. The conservative wing of this Church has had their say for the last forty years. The results have been disastrous in the West and placing the blame for these results on those who have left is rather self serving.

The problem is Christ intended His followers to be 'other serving', not 'self serving' and leaning and meaning the Church to the point it self implodes is the ultimate end of 'self service'.


  1. Interesting comment, although I would have said "awakened a sleeping tiger by pulling its tail", because in effect that is exactly what has been happening.

    The reason I say tiger, is that tigers have the really uncanny ability to go from sleeping peacefully to "hell hath no fury" in less than the blink of an eye.

    My sense is that is how it will happen. Suddenly, no apparent warning, and with a ferocity that will startle everyone on the receiveing end.

  2. "There are rules and regulations in everything," he said.

    In everything in the church, yes: but not in the church as founded by Jesus Christ. The Gospels' message is a simple one of love, embracing the outcasts and donwtrodden, and seeking to build God's reign on earth.

    The institutional church's emphasis on rules, obedience to power, and rigid hierarchy does little to promote the Gospels.

    On the other hand, as argued powerfully by Bishop Geoffrey Robinson ("Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church") the abuse of this power plays a large part in the other notorious abuses by Catholic clerics.

  3. If there was a VIII now it would look like the Council of Trent in modern dress, which is the same as it was back then for the monarchy, I mean papacy, magisterium. Same dress, different day.

    Wear red - it's Valentine's Day!! Happy Valentine's Day to all those who believe in love, and act like they believe in it!