Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Contemptible Kaflics . . . there's more of us than I thought ! - wonderful

Contemptible Kaflics . . there's more of us than I thought ! Wonderful. Thankyou Bishop Morris, the Vincentian Order in Oz and the National Council of Priests in Australia.

By Tom Roberts

(Bishop William Morris. Screen capture of Australian TV News QLD)

The forced retirement of an Australian bishop who raised the possibility of ordaining women as a solution to that country's severe priest shortage was "inappropriate and unjust" according to a statement on the Web site of the Vincentian order in Australia.

The statement in support of Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba diocese, just west of Brisbane, was signed by Vincentian Fr. Tim Williams and is the latest in a show of strong support from fellow clergy.

The Australia Broadcasting Corporation program "PM" reported that several hundred people gathered May 3 "in the wet weather near St Patrick's, Toowoomba's Catholic cathedral, to show their support for the sacked bishop, Bill Morris."

Pat Nunan, identified as a Catholic parishioner, told the radio program, "This is a spontaneous support for Bishop Bill Morris. Everybody in the community is still expressing a significant amount of shock and anger as a result of it. Hopefully the vigil tonight, the walk, will dissipate the anger but at the same time concentrate on prayers for Bishop Bill, thanking him."

A statement by the National Council of Priests of Australia said the clergy organization is "embarrassed about the shabby treatment meted out to an outstanding pastor of this diocese." The group said it was "appalled at the lack of transparency and due process that led to this decision" and it expressed concern "about an element within the church whose restorationist ideology wants to repress freedom of expression" within the church.

"Bill Morris has been respected in his diocese for many years, and deserves better treatment than this," wrote Williams. "But, like many bishops, clergy and laity, he has been subjected to criticism from a small number of self-appointed liturgical and doctrinal watchdogs who, while generally ignorant of the real meaning of liturgy, church doctrine, and pastoral needs, see it is as their calling to run to sympathetic ecclesiastical authorities with their destructive reports. Just as we wonder at the motivation behind the extremes of terrorism, it is hard to understand what distortion of Christianity drives these watchdogs in their efforts to bring down good people."

According to an Associated Press report from Sydney, eight priests of the Toowoomba diocese signed a strong letter of support, saying the bishop was treated "unfairly" and that the priests "find his removal profoundly disheartening." Catholics in the diocese reportedly conducted a candlelight vigil the evening of May 3 to express their support.

The Brisbane Times, meanwhile, reported that Morris, in a radio interview May 3, described a "creeping centralism in the church at the moment. There's a creeping authoritarianism."

He maintained, as he has all along, that a 2006 pastoral letter discussing the priest shortage had been misrepresented by a small group of dissidents within his diocese. He said he never advocated ordaining women or married men, but only set them out as part of a list of possibilities being discussed in the church from the local to global levels.

"I believe that a conversation needs to be had, whether it's on the ordination of women, whether it's on birth control, whether it's on whatever subject within the context today of the church and the life of the community and the life of the world," Morris said in the radio interview.


Anonymous said...

As a lay person living in the UK, I am astonished at the mention of of non-acceptance of ordained Anglican priests. It has been happening over here for ages - ever since the Anglicans began to ordain women. All the priests who disagreed, just wandered over to Rome and were accepted with open arms. Including the MARRIED ones. Married Anglican priests are even now fully accepted within the Roman Catholic system and are living and working as Catholic priests. So it seems to me there is a serious level of hypocrisy going on here. Not to mention bullying...
Regarding the little group of fanatical fascists, it seems to me to be both a very personal and fear-driven response. It is this sort of attitude and response - including the subsequent behaviour of Rome, that will in time drive more and more people away from the church. The harder you squeeze, the more people will slip through your fingers and go develop their own personal and loving relationship with their God.
Does the church want intelligent, humane, compassionate adults managing their local 'branches' and taking pastoral care of their flocks? Or do they want programmed robots, with no idea of the hard realities of people's needs and lives - just a hard and fast view of THE RULES? MY God is one of unconditional love. Not crime and punishment. Seems to me that a few people have lost sight of the love - if they ever had any view or understanding in the first place... And that will cost the church dearly as the years and decades pass.

Contemplative Catholic said...

Dear Anonymous - thankyou so much for your comment. Not sure if you realised I'm on your side. I completely agree with everything you said ! The title of the post was intended to draw the interest of someone who parodied the title of my blog Contemplative Catholic as "Contemptible Kaflics" - they obviously disagree with everything we both think !

Anonymous said...

CC I could see what your POV was from your post - the understanding and compassion was obvious. Was alerted (as an Aussie living in the UK) to the events by my brother-in-law's link to a negative article on facebook, and glad of a chance to write something (without attracting his attention, as I think he is on the side of the Vatican). I was very saddened by it all and, even though none of us can know the full agenda or conscience of anyone involved (particularly from this distance), it still seems that a seige mentality is getting more and more evident at the Vatican. And when that happens, as with any religion or political system, it all starts turning into fear-based, and very literal, rule-inflicting. It is all about control and nothing else. Bullying, judgement, snitching and jealousy. The politics of the schoolyard, and the totalitarian state. And when all that starts happening, many people get hurt and many more become disaffected. That kind of behaviour is unacceptable, particularly from an organisation that is meant to be teaching love.
It is totally against what Christ taught us and showed us: Love one another. Judge not.
He walked His talk.