It might well be said that it would be unfair to dog a bishop for something he happened to write in an off-hand manner years ago in a pastoral letter.
It is another thing altogether if he is still openly pushing the same agenda today.
The Courier Mail has a story today about a man who I am assured by someone who knows him well is a gentle and caring bloke, and among one of the most pastoral bishops in Australia.
I am glad to hear it, and if only we could have more of them.
But why is it that “pastoral” bishops are always played off against doctrinally “faithful” bishops? Is there some law of ecclesiastical nature somewhere that they can’t be both?
According to the Courier Mail article, Bishop Morris “admitted he’s…under investigation after discussing the prospect of women or married priests in a pastoral letter.”
Far from defending himself against this charge, he in fact deeps deeper:
“I will continue to fight for what I believe is the truth… And I will continue to fight to be able to ask questions… There’s a lot of people agitating for a third Vatican Council and that could happen too – I’d love to see that happen.”
At the same time, he points the finger at who is to blame for his current predicament. I have often denied that there are any such thing as “church police”, but it seems that I am wrong. According to the Bishop,
“There are plenty of temple police around at the moment. They’re not a large majority – they believe in their conservative views and if they don’t agree with something, they’ll write to Rome.”
Well, why wouldn’t they? Especially since they know that “Rome” also “believes in their conservative views” and doesn’t agree with the same things they don’t agree with.
As for Vatican III – yeah, I’d like to see that. Especially as currently there are about 4800 bishops in the Catholic Church. Where on earth would they meet? And where would you house them for three years? And who would fund it? And why does every liberal and his dog assume that the decisions of such an ecumenical council would be in their favour?
We pray that Bishop Morris will not be fazed by the attacks of the “Temple Police”, leave aside challenging current Church doctrine, and continue being pastoral.
(Bishop Morris modeling the new mode of clerical dress from New Zealand. Picture from Courier Mail)