- A controversial Australian bishop said he is retiring early in a deal he negotiated with the Vatican.
Pope Benedict XVI has now decided Toowoomba “would be better served by the leadership of a new bishop,” the bishop said.
Bishop Morris, 67, has been the head of the diocese in southeastern Australia near Brisbane, since 1993. The normal retirement age for bishops is 75.
He said the Pope told him personally that Church law made clear that “the successor of Peter nominates and may remove from office” any bishop he finds unfit for the job...
The Vatican is expected to appoint an administrator until a new bishop can be named.
Critics say the problems in Toowoomba go beyond the bishop’s public disagreement with Church doctrine on the priesthood.
They say Bishop Morris — who prefers a shirt and tie to a priestly collar and bishops’ attire — has done much to undermine Catholic identity and teaching in his 18 years here.
Critics cite a host of abuses — including “communion services” being co-celebrated by lay people and priests and widespread use of “general absolution” rites as an alternative to personal confession...
Bishop Morris did acknowledge that the investigation, known as an “apostolic visitation,” involved three major Vatican congregations — the offices that oversee bishops, doctrine, and worship and the sacraments.
He said he had “never seen” the final report filed by the lead investigator, who he identified as American Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap. of Denver.
He complained that he had been denied “due process” and “any possibility of appropriate defense and advocacy on my behalf.”
Contacted by CNA, Archbishop Chaput declined to comment on the matter...