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Letter to Toowoomba Chronicle
Editor: The following letter was published in the Toowoomba Chronicle in response to criticisms of the Pope's action in removing Bishop Morris. It is reprinted here with the writer's permission.
This letter is written to my fellow Catholics in trepidation, but with great hope. Every word has been prayed over, and I trust that it will be read in like manner - with prayer.
Bishop William Morris is a very likeable bloke, and it's very hard to accept that someone we like can be in error. It's easier to blame the other person, especially when we don't know that other person.
The bishop also has a soft voice and a humble manner, but is it the action of a humble man to refuse to resign no less than nine times over a number of years? Especially when you consider that upon his ordination to the priesthood, and later as a bishop, he made a vow of obedience. And hasn't Rome shown remarkable forbearance?
St Mary McKillop was accused unjustly, but she obeyed, placing her trust in God. Bishop Morris was accused justly, but did not obey, placing his trust in himself. Those Catholics who believe he was accused unjustly, either do not know their faith very well, or are "Cafeteria Catholics", picking and choosing what they want to believe. If they fall into the former category it behoves them to learn more about their faith; if the latter, if they cannot accept all the teaching of the Church, they ought join the rest of the Protestants.
Bishop Morris's social justice record is excellent, but that is not the point is it? He is not a social worker, he is first and foremost a bishop, and as such his primary duty is to insure the faith of all under his care, and not to allow them to be led into error.
Bishop Morris stated in his interview with the Chronicle (5th May) with regards to "too 'progressive' liturgies" (his words), that instead of coming to him, complaints were made straight to the Vatican.
It doesn't seem right to contradict a bishop, but in this case I must do so. Complaints were made to him, but he refused to act on them, leaving people no recourse but to apply to Rome. He also would not act on liturgical and doctrinal abuses by some clergy and religious with the result that many local Catholics now have some erroneous beliefs, because we are taught to believe whatever a priest or nun tells us. Many of these priests and nuns are also very likeable, so we have the same problem in accepting that they can be wrong.
The bishop must have known the inevitable outcome of his years of discussion with Rome, and of the division it would cause in the diocese. It would be naive of him to think otherwise.
It has been mentioned that there have been no vocations to the priesthood from Toowoomba for many years. It is notable however, that where there is strong and authentic leadership from bishops and priests, the seminaries are almost full. Two examples of this are Sydney and Wagga Wagga.
It is not my intention to be confrontational. Anyone who knows me well knows that I cringe at the thought of conflict. I simply wish to encourage you all to think, pray, learn and discover the truth. It may mean rediscovering your authentic faith.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 24 No 6 (July 2011), p. 15
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