Monday, 29 August 2011

Bishop Morris Final Mass. Why can't the church cope with discussion ?

From the Toowoomba chronicle

"A THANKSGIVING Mass was held to say goodbye to Bishop Bill Morris at St Patrick’s Cathedral yesterday.

The congregation overflowed from the cathedral into an outside marquee where the service was broadcast live.

Bishop Morris, 67, was appointed to the Diocese of Toowoomba in 1993 and hoped to enjoy an early retirement at the age of 70.

However, he was forced to retire on May 2. In a letter to parishioners on May 1, Bishop Morris thanked his supporters.

“To the entire diocese I say a heartfelt thanks for your support, friendship, love and prayers over the last eighteen years,” he said.

“You have been a great gift to me it has been a privilege to serve you.

“While the overwhelming majority of you have been supportive of me and have worked collaboratively with me to ensure the ongoing life of the diocese, and its mission to be a bearer of the Gospel to the wider world, a small group have found my leadership and the direction of the diocese not to their liking.

“It would be my hope that as I say goodbye to you as your pastor, that we can both say, because of our relationship over the last 18 years we all know the Shepherd a little better.”"


Fran said...

Discussion... The Holy Spirit calls us to community in and through Christ and God the Father. Yet, it is the one of the hardest thing for the institutional church to do. So deeply sad!

Discernment seems to be something that once sensed, can/should be directed (by the church) and discussion, something that can't be easily controlled, is dismissed.

Discernment without discussion is not discernment. This is so very deeply sad to me.

Richard Collins said...

The Church copes well with discussion but not so well with disobedience.

Contemplative Catholic said...

So blind Obedience to the Pope comes before and is placed above the demands of the Gospel ?

berenike said...

CC, can you lay out how you get from "the Church does not cope so well with disobedience [as she does with discussion]" to "blind Obedience to the Pope comes before and is placed above the demands of the Gospel"?

This is a real question, not a rhetorical one :)

Contemplative Catholic said...

Hi Berenike !
Bishop Morris was 'dismissed' because he dared to discuss the idea of women priests contrary to papal ranting. Richard Collins implied that the church can cope with discussion but not if it contradicts papal rants (sorry teaching). This implies that papal teaching (rather than the Gospel) has led to bishop Morris' dismissal. This puts Papal teaching before the demands of the Gospel. The gospel teaches "how often must I forgive my brother. . .not 70 but 70 times 7. . . . not that Bishop Morris needs forgiveness but the Gospel shows there are other ways to solving issues. Here the self interest of the church has come first . . Thou shalt not discuss women priests or dare to argue with Rome, rather than the Gospel. Jesus never condemned anyone so why should Rome ?

berenike said...

Papal ranting? What ranting? Please give examples.

You are assuming there is a distinction between the teaching of the church and the teaching of the gospel, or one between the teaching of the pope and the teaching of the church. Joan of Arc said "About Christ and the Church, it seems to me they are the same thing", and as Catholics we know the office of the pope is to referee the game, the life of the Church, for Jesus.

Is "discussing women priests" part of the demands of the gospel?

Has anyone condemned Bishop Morris other than removing him from his bishopric for what one might describe as violation of the Trade Descriptions Act? (It says Catholic on the door of the cathedral, I expect, not Morrisian.) Is that condemnation?

And, as an afterthought, then if that is condemnation (removing someone from a job the duties of which they are not actually doing, despite long years of having the problem point out to them,) then I expect "Brood of vipers! How do you expect to escape the fires of hell?" counts as well, "woe to you scribes and pharisess", "wide is the gate that leads to destruction and many find it" (okay, more descriptive, I suppose), "I never knew you, away from me, evildoers", the sheep and the goats passage (the bit about "when you didn't do this to the least of my brothers, you didn't do it me, go into the eternal punishment"). The taking better place at banquet lest you be sent down? The weeping and gnashing of teeth bit?

contemplative catholic said...

i'm sure there is a distinction between the teaching of the church and the teaching of the Gospel. The church taught slavery and anti semitism for centuries. Does this make slavery and ant semistism right or the church wrong . . . perhaps this is the case with women priests or married priests . . .

berenike said...

Do you understand the difference between the teaching of the church and what some Catholics say? It is like the case of women priests or contraception - some Catholics, including bishops, go around declaring the ordination of women the duty of Catholics.

We have married priests.

Any examples of JPII ranting about women priests?

contemplative catholic said...

"Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force. Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Luke 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful" (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis 4).
I'd call that a rant ! Certainly an example of creeping infallibility, where obedience to the Pope is being expected without reservation and as a mark of orthodoxy . . . just ask a member of Opus Dei, the Legionaries of Christ, or Communion and Liberation. Ultramontanism is alive and well. Bl JHN would be appalled !

berenike said...

Well, you might call it a rant. You might equally call it a sonnet, a lullaby or any number of other things. You wouldn't be stretching the meaning of those words any further than you are the meaning of "rant'.

Contemplative Catholic said...

rant (r nt)
v. rant·ed, rant·ing, rants
To speak or write in an angry or violent manner; rave.
To utter or express with violence or extravagance: a dictator who ranted his vitriol onto a captive audience.
1. Violent or extravagant speech or writing.
2. A speech or piece of writing that incites anger or violence:
I think this definition does the job. Doesn’t Ordinatio Sacerdotalis incite anger or violence, especially when it denies individuals freedom of speech and expression of thought ? Especially when Bishops or others who discus the possibility of women priests or of married priests returning to ministry are ‘encouraged’ into forced retirement. If this was done by a totalitarian state there would be an outcry. The Vatican can do this in the name of the Gospel – don’t make me laugh ! It’s a rant !

berenike said...

But "incite" doesn't mean "cause". Otherwise anything said or written that made someone else angry or violent would be a rant.

C.C. said...

I think we have to agree to differ here chum as we're into semantics.

berenike said...

I only followed the path you chose. Would you care to chose another one?

berenike said...

... to *choose*...

Fran said...

Honestly, it is painful to watch this comment chain. I hardly ever comment here, but I did on this one and for good or ill subscribed to the comments. Regardless of position, the whole thing makes me sad. CC, I am fond of your blog and think you are good but perhaps let berenike have the last loathsome word.

CC said...

Thanks Fran, you're spot on !