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Corrections from Bishop Morris

June 16th, 2011 · 8 Comments

Bishop Morris wrote to The Record that they had misreported his diocese’s use of general; absolution and that he had never said that he was in favor of ordaining women or “recognizing” Protestant orders. He had simply said that there was a discussion going on about these matters.

As the original statement no longer seems to be available, I do not know whether The Record misreported or not.

If it did, it seems that Morris was the victim of a contest of wills: the Vatican wanted him to come to discuss matters, and he refused. In these contests of wills, usually both parties are wrong to some extent.

Of course, there may have been more to it; transparency in these matters is almost always for the best, a lesson the Vatican has not learned.

In Baltimore a priest was removed from the priesthood because he allowed an Episcopal minister, a woman, who was connected with the family of the deceased, to read the Gospel at the funeral mass and perhaps to offer her communion. (The Pope gave Tony Blair communion when Blair was still an Anglican) At least that was the public explanation.

Either the bishops and Rome are acting in a high-handed and arbitrary fashion (entirely possible) or they are using trivial incidents to provide cover for the real reason for disciplinary actions. Neither possibility is very edifying.

Tags: Australia

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Joseph D'Hippolito // Jun 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Well, if the Baltimore Archdiocese could do that, then they could excommunicate me for doing two of the three readings, including the responsorial psalm, for my mother’s funeral Mass in 2009 because I’m not a priest!

    People who “major in minors,” as it were, do so because they can’t handle the majors. This was the Pharissees’ problem 2,000 years ago…and it’s the Church’s today.

    The Baltimore incident also reflects the Church’s neurotic desire for control. That neurosis will kill the Church because that neurosis reflects the worship of power over God.

  • 2 Mere Catholic // Jun 16, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I think there is a minor but important error in the info you provide, which I hope you will correct. The Episcopalian minister did not do the second reading, but the Gospel– which in both the Eastern and Western Churches is reserved for reading by to members of the clergy- either in the priesthood or diaconate. In addition, it appears that the priest then gestured to the minister to receive Holy Communion. The laity, even in the most traditional of parishes, routinely read the first and second readings. I am sure there was more to this story because liturgical abuses are routinely tolerated by the bishops without even mild discipline. When this story first came out, CNA reported that this priest was negligent in showing up for a baptism and allowed animals in the sanctuary, so perhaps a leave wasn’t unwarranted. Compare this to the bishop of the diocese in which I became a Catholic, a bishop who took years to discipline a priest who denied Christ’s divinity and who had a idol of Gaia on the altar, I find it hard to fault Bishop O’Brien for this particular action.

  • 3 Father Michael Koening // Jun 17, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    The diocesan spokesman also said something about the priest in question not implementing proper screening procedures (presumably for volunteers) which, here in Canada at least, is a big deal legally and not to be treated likely.

    We need to be very careful in making judgements as often only a fraction of a story is contained in a headline or soundbite.

  • 4 Janice Fox // Jun 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    There are people who enjoy hurting others, and such people can be found attending churches. They spread false information about others which results from their evil imaginations. These people are called slanderers, and St. Paul said that they will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. It seems to me that Bishop Morris may be the victim of such people.

  • 5 admin // Jun 18, 2011 at 7:02 am


    You are correct. The Vatican did investigate, but nothing that has been publicly revealed seems to justify Morris’s removal. At worst he was a little erratic. His accsusers may have given the Vatican accurate information, but even Morris claims he doesn’t know what the investigation turned up. So far it looks like a contest of wills between Morris and some Vatican officials, and Morris lost.

    Lee Podles

  • 6 Mary // Jun 20, 2011 at 8:50 am

    For the past forty or fifty decades Faithful Catholics have been writing to the Vatican after they unsuccessfully appealed to their Local Ordinary. There have been countless requests to the Holy See , specifically to the CDF,pleading for help concerning blatent Liturgical and Catechetical abuses in their local Diocese. Those letters were always returned to the Local Bishop and the numerous validly concerned Catholics were dubbed ,”disgrunteled Latins ” (and I am sure “slanderers”) by the local Chanceries offices. That said, I find the whole Bishop Morris debate ludicrous at best, especially since the outrages in question allege matters of church discipline rather than more serious concern about Faith and Morals.
    Apparently, it is not only the Vatican, but many pew people , that do not recognize the forest for the tree.

  • 7 Mary // Jun 22, 2011 at 8:20 am

    As a cradle Catholic I went to parochial school in the fifties and early sixties. I had some very good nuns who often repeated that the Third Secret of fatima stated, “Bishop against Bishop and Cardinal against Cardinal.” This was decades prior to the Akita message. It was a given. Researching all the references to past documents printed by Frere Michel and Grunerites ,I have never come across reference sources to this fact.Yet we are seeing this played out now.
    robert Bennet, recently interviewed by arroyo on his quasi catholic show, stated that Bishop Bruskewicz is firmly against the USNCCB’s Zero Tolerance because it throws priests under the bus while saving face for the Bishops.
    Mark 14:27

    And Jesus said to them
    “You will all fall away, for it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’”

  • 8 Janice Fox // Jun 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    When I was twenty years old in 1965 the Pastor of the local Reformed Church told me one Sunday not to leave my overcoat in the pews because someone might steal it. After I expressed my disbelief that anyone would steal anything in a church, he sternly said to me. “There is sin in church!’ About a decade later while on a visit to a RC Mass, I hear the priest say that there were always people who came into churches to take advantage of the faithful even to the point of hurting them and that it was his job to see that these people were neutralized before they could do any harm. A lifetime of pretty regular church attendance has confirmed what both of these pastors said.

    I have never seem a congregation that did not have destructive and vicious people in it. If they cannot get their way with the finances or the rubrics or doctrines, they leave for other denominations or other parishes in the same denomination. If they can get their way, they gleefully make those who disagree with them so miserable that those people leave.

    I think that schism is actually healthy. At one time the issue of the morality of slavery divided denominations into competing groups. The Presbyterians did not reconcile until about one hundred years after the Civil War. With regard to ordaining women to the priesthood, I think that if someone really believes in this, that they should form an intentional community or join an existing denomination that does it. ( BTW, I have also seen women reading the gospel in an RC Church, but, to my knowledge, no one was disciplined for it.) Maybe in a hundred years these factions will reconcile.

    I have seen people slandered and have myself been misquoted to the point of slander. There is no point in continuing relationships with people who do this. Many newspaper articles are so vague that it is difficult to tell what exactly what is going on in any scandalous situation. That leaves people to imagine whatever they want to believe.

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