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Australian bishop removed from office, blasts Pope, Curia

May 03, 2011

A day after Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba said he would retire early following an apostolic visitation, Pope Benedict XVI removed him from office.

The May 1 retirement announcement and May 2 removal followed an apostolic visitation led by Archbishop Charles Chaput. In a 2006 pastoral letter, Bishop Morris had expressed support for women’s ordination.

Following his removal, Bishop Morris blasted the Vatican for conducting an “Inquisition.”

“I believe there is creeping centralism, a creeping authoritarianism and fallibility in the way the church operates and discusses issues,” he said. “It is not just Pope Benedict: it is the whole Curia, with Benedict as the leader.”

“It was like the Inquisition,” Bishop Morris added. “He [Pope Benedict] was immovable. There was no dialogue.”

“It has been my experience and the experience of others that Rome controls bishops by fear, and if you ask questions or speak openly on subjects that Rome declares closed, . . . you are censored very quickly, told your leadership is defective . . . and are threatened with dismissal,” the prelate told the priests of his diocese.


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  • Posted by: filioque - May. 03, 2011 5:49 PM ET USA

    Hurrah for Pope Benedict. We have too many wolves in shepherd's clothing.

  • Posted by: - May. 03, 2011 11:26 AM ET USA

    "If you speak openly on subjects that Rome declares closed, . . . you are censored very quickly..." As Aunt Jemima was fond of saying, "Mmm, Mmmm Good!" Also, for those of us who like clean mountain air and brilliant orthodox bishops, take note of who was chosen to bring the good news to bishop Morris. And good news it was. For all, including bishop Morris.

  • Posted by: jimpoc8837 - May. 03, 2011 10:36 AM ET USA

    If anyone is taking suggestions, I submit Rembert Weakland for the next "sacking." I know he is already retired but maybe he could be laicized.

  • Posted by: - May. 03, 2011 9:40 AM ET USA

    Why do the herterodox always want "dialog" after the fact? Maybe he should have engaged the Holy Father and his brother bishops BEFORE he started teaching about women's ordination and performing general absolution ceremonies? Doesn't that make more sense. Oh, they wouldn't have agreed with him? So much for "it's better to beg forgiveness than ask for permission," huh?

  • Posted by: garedawg - May. 03, 2011 9:14 AM ET USA

    So the Pope can fire bishops? If so, I'm glad he fired Bishop Morris. However, how am I going to explain to my non-Catholic friends why the pope has not fired many of the bishops who were negligent or deceitful regarding the sexual abuse scandal? I just assumed that he really couldn't, and even the Code of Canon law does not make it clear.

  • Posted by: padrepio7006 - May. 03, 2011 8:53 AM ET USA

    Rocks, if they are big enough, are immovable, and in matters like this, the Pope has to be. Bishop Morris' removal is long overdue, and with the number of like-minded clergy in Australia, may well separate the sheep from the goats. Rome has spoken - the matter is finished. Ruadhri

  • Posted by: koinonia - May. 03, 2011 8:21 AM ET USA

    Sounds like the Holy Father did his job. Thanks Pope Benedict; the faithful deserve the protection of a vigilant shepherd from wolves in sheeps' clothing.

  • Posted by: Joseph Paul - May. 03, 2011 6:58 AM ET USA

    It is not compulsory to be a Catholic or even to remain one. This Bishop is not a Catholic and should have done the decent thing and left a long time ago and spared his people the decline of the Diocese. Pope Benedict is guiding the Church towards significant reform. First remove the poison.