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Administrator named for Australian diocese after bishop's removal

Catholic World News - May 03, 2011

Bishop Brian Finnigan, an auxiliary of the Brisbane, Australia archdiocese, has been appointed apostolic administrator of the Toowoomba diocese, following the forced resignation of Bishop William Morris.

As he assumed his new duties, Bishop Finnigan expressed his gratitude “for the generous and kind welcome of Bishop Bill Morris,” and praised the outgoing bishop for his work to resolve the sex-abuse scandal. The new administrator said nothing about the circumstances of Bishop Morris’s removal from episcopal authority.

The National Council of Priests of Australia (NCP) released a statement of support for Bishop Morris, protesting his “forced early retirement” and decrying the “lack of transparency and due process” shown by the Vatican in connection with his departure. “We are concerned about an element within the Church whose restorationist ideology wants to repress freedom of expression within the Roman Catholic Church,” the liberal group said. The NCP made an appeal “to the Bishop of Rome in his acknowledged role as first among equals”—implicitly questioning the right of the Pope to demand the bishop’s resignation.

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