"You can't keep telling Rome to get stuffed"
It is interesting, if predictable, that most reports of this story are headlined with a description of Bishop Morris as being "outspoken," as in "Outspoken bishop fired." The problem was not that Bishop Morris "spoke out," but that instead of being outspoken in guiding his flock to orthodoxy and obedience, he led them astray.
The Australian reports it this way:
THE Catholic Bishop of Toowoomba, William Morris, has been effectively sacked by Pope Benedict XVI over doctrinal disobedience for his support for ordaining women priests and other liberal reform.We're a bit unclear what "natural justice" might be. We do know what "ordaining women priests" is: impossible. And we know what "liberal reform" is: a grab bag of tired complaints rooted in the notion that the Church should conform itself to whatever is currently popular at dinner parties given by over-credentialed elites on the east and west coasts of the United States.
In a highly unusual move, Bishop Morris complained in a letter to his followers that he was leaving unwillingly and claimed he had been denied natural justice.
Not until deep into the article do we get a hint of what's actually going on:
In his letter, Bishop Morris said the Vatican's decision was sparked by complaints to Rome about an Advent letter he wrote in 2006. In that letter, he argued that with an ageing clergy the church should be open to all eventualities, including ordaining women, ordaining married men, welcoming back former priests and recognising the validity of Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting Church orders.Boring. Predictable. Standard. Tedious.
In contrast to some other provincial dioceses, the priest shortage has been exacerbated by Toowoomba's appalling record over recent years in attracting virtually no new vocations.
Long before the pastoral letter, however, concerns had been raised about the material included in sex education programs in diocesan schools and the former practice of general absolution in the diocese.