Pope’s lack of English partly responsible for Toowoomba bishop’s sacking

A personal note, written by Pope Benedict, acknowledges the pontiff’s lack of English created a misunderstanding between himself and the former bishop of Toowomba, Bill Morris.

Commenting on Morris’ letter in which he accuses the Vatican of a “lack of care for the truth,” Nuzzi’s Vatileaks book has the Holy Father writing, “Obviously there was a misunderstanding, created, it seems to me, by my insufficient knowledge of the English language.”

“In our meeting, I tried to convince him that his resignation was desirable, and I thought he expressed his willingness to renounce his functions as bishop of Toowoomba.”

“From his letter, I see this was a misunderstanding,” Benedict writes. “I acknowledge that, but I must say decisively that this isn’t a case of ‘a lack of care for the truth.'”

This revelation is one of many by NCR journalist, John Allen in his 1 June column where he examines Gianluigi Nuzzi’s Vatileaks book “His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI”.

Allen also recalls from among Benedict’s notes, Morris’ objection to the way the Vatican handling his case.

Benedict concludes, “there’s no doubt of his very good pastoral intentions,” but “the diocesan bishop must be, above all, a teacher of the faith, since the faith is the foundation of pastoral activity.”

Benedict then tells Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, to recommend that Morris accept “free renunciation of his actual ministry, in favor of a ministry more consistent with his gifts,” and asks Re to “assure him of my prayers.”

Morris was removed from office in 2011 for comments he made in a 2006 letter to parishioners in which he raised the prospect of the Church considering the ordination of married men, and women to help counter a looming shortfall in priests, and for some sacramental irregularities in his diocese.

Morris has consistently said he has been consistently deliberately misrepresented.



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