I may be in close agreement with Bp. Morris and NCR on a matter of great importance.
From the National catholic Fishwrap comes another defense of lately-removed Australian Bishop William Morris, quondam of the Diocese of Toowoomba. His Excellency is the pleasant looking fellow in the tie (right).
My emphases and comments.
Forced retirement is message to all bishops, Morris says
If he can find a copy of the Vatican report, he will make it public, he said
May. 10, 2011
By Tom Roberts
Australian Bishop William Morris, who was forced to retire in part because of a pastoral letter he issued mentioning the possibility of ordaining women as one of several solutions to the growing priest shortage, said he would like to make public a copy of a written report on his diocese.
Morris, in answer to questions from NCR, also said he thinks his forced retirement is intended to “send a message to the bishops of the world: the fact that if you ask questions, if you’re in people’s faces long enough, if you’re kind of a nuisance around the place, well look what happened to Bill Morris.” [I believe they may be right about this! Bp. Morris was the third bishop removed by the Holy See this year. Surely a message is being sent. If you bishops bishop in this way, you will be removed from governance of the diocese hitherto entrusted to you. The problem is, Bp. Morris and Fishwrap think that it is laudable to be a nuisance in the way he was a nuisance. But wait.. there’s more!]
Morris made the comments on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation show “Sunday Nights with John Cleary” May 8. [Like Fr. Pfleger of Chicago, another Fishwrap Favorite, Bp. Morris took it to the mainstream media.] This writer was a participant in the discussion with Cleary, Morris and church historian Paul Collins, and asked Morris if he would make the report public if he had a copy of it and whether he thought he was meant to be an example to others.
Of the report, done by Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, Morris said: “Yes, I would like it published because I think my people deserve the right to – you know, if Archbishop Chaput, who wandered around the diocese for three-and-a-half days … and then made a judgment on the diocese, I think the people have a right to see what judgments he made in his report.” [Think about this. Chaput is a pretty smart guy. Perhaps things were so bad in Toowoomba that he didn’t need more than three days. After that… iam fetet quadriduanus enim est.]
Morris said he knows a written report exists because Chaput sent him an e-mail “telling me that he’d sent an electronic copy as well as a hard copy to the dicastery for bishops, and then he did what he was supposed to do. He destroyed both the electronic copy and the hard copy, so he didn’t have a copy any more.” To date, Morris has not seen what was written about him or the diocese, and the Vatican apparently does not intend to reveal the contents of the report. [After a five year process, it is like that the bishop doesn’t know why he was removed from governance? Do you think some of the issues might have come up during a, say, ad limina visit? Correspondence with dicasteries?]
Chaput, asked by NCR earlier about the report and whether it would be made public would only respond that “any apostolic visitation is governed by strict confidentiality. This is for the benefit of all parties involved.”
In answer to a question from Cleary, Morris read from the letter Pope Benedict sent to him. He said the pope appeared to be raising the stakes on discussion of ordaining women with the claim in the letter that Pope John Paul II “has decided, infallibly and irrevocably, that the church has not the right to ordain women to the priesthood.” [Raising the stakes now? They were already raised at the time of Ordinatio sacerdotalis and then-Card. Ratzinger’s commentary as Prefect of CDF.]
“I’d say it’s part of what a lot of people are calling creeping infallibility. … Now in my knowledge, I had never seen that written before, using the word infallible concerning JPII’s statement, [?!? He didn’t know of the CDF’s statement about Ordinatio sacerdotalis… ?!? For that reason alone one could argue he should be removed. A bishop doesn’t have to know the latest blurb from Cor Unum, but he really ought to know something about what the Holy See has issued about women’s ordination, so that he can teach correctly about the issue. This is culpable ignorance, then? That isn’t grounds for removal, of course. I was exaggerating. But… for pity’s sake!] because he [JPII] never used the word infallible,” Morris said. “If my memory serves me, without looking at the document. I think he said the he didn’t see himself [?!?] having any power or the right to ordain women, something like that language. [What the heck is this? Nonchalance?] But he [John Paul II] never used the word infallible.” [Note how he recast the question. He said that John Paul said that he himself, John Paul, didn’t think he had the authority to ordain women. John Paul said that THE CHURCH doesn’t have authority to ordain women. And he made that teaching definitively, at a level that all are bound to accept. The CDF said that the Church teaches this infallibly, not that John Paul in OS taught that infallibly, as if for the first time. John Paul was definitively stating something that the Church holds infallibly.]
[Tom Roberts is NCR editor at large. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.]
John Paul II wrote:
4. 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. Lk 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.
Really fuzzy… right?
The CDF put out a response to a dubium, in which we read:
RESPONSUM AD PROPOSITUM DUBIUM
CONCERNING THE TEACHING
CONTAINED IN “ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS”
Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.
This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly [infallibly] by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.
Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995. [A nice birthday present that year.]
Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli
Anything about that hard to understand?
Let the protest continue.