Revelations shed new light on Bishop Bill Morris dismissal

Some Catholics think last year’s dismissal of William Morris as Bishop of Toowoomba is just a storm in a teacup about a recalcitrant country bishop, and that it is time we all moved on. This is a serious misreading of the signs of the times. Church structures need to be reformed to be more aligned with contemporary notions of justice and due process.

Ten months on, people are left confused as to whether Morris was sacked chiefly for what he wrote in his 2006 Advent letter about women’s ordination, for what was reported by the Apostolic Visitor, Archbishop Charles Chaput, or for what was reported to Rome by those sometimes described as ‘the temple police’. Now more details have come to light showing how threadbare and confused the processes were.

In his ‘Statement of Position’ to the three Cardinals gathered in Rome in January 2008, Morris said, ‘At the end of the Apostolic Visitation, when Archbishop Chaput was being driven back to Brisbane, he remarked to Fr Brian Sparksman, our diocesan Chancellor, that he would be astounded if our diocese were to lose its bishop.

‘He also asked John Bathersby (Archbishop of Brisbane) why he thought he was asked to investigate me because as far as he could see from the material provided to him things that I had reportedly said and done were happening in other places as well.’

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