Australian Bishop Removed

Pope Benedict XVI removed Bishop William M. Morris of Toowoomba, Australia, from office five years after he wrote a pastoral letter indicating he would be open to ordaining women and married men if church rules changed to allow such a possibility. In an open letter to Catholics in his diocese released on May 1, Bishop Morris said the 2006 letter “has been misread and, I believe, deliberately misinterpreted” by a small group within the diocese. He said he did not offer to resign as “a matter of conscience” because “my resignation would mean that I accept the assessment of myself as breaking ‘communio,’ which I absolutely refute and reject.” In a statement released on May 3 supporting Bishop Morris, the National Council of Priests of Australia said: “We are appalled at the lack of transparency and due process that led to this decision by church authorities.”

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