A day after Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba said he would retire early following an apostolic visitation, Pope Benedict XVI removed him from office.
The May 1 retirement announcement and May 2 removal followed an apostolic visitation led by Archbishop Charles Chaput. In a 2006 pastoral letter, Bishop Morris had expressed support for women’s ordination.
Following his removal, Bishop Morris blasted the Vatican for conducting an “Inquisition.”
“I believe there is creeping centralism, a creeping authoritarianism and fallibility in the way the church operates and discusses issues,” he said. “It is not just Pope Benedict: it is the whole Curia, with Benedict as the leader.”
“It was like the Inquisition,” Bishop Morris added. “He [Pope Benedict] was immovable. There was no dialogue.”
“It has been my experience and the experience of others that Rome controls bishops by fear, and if you ask questions or speak openly on subjects that Rome declares closed, . . . you are censored very quickly, told your leadership is defective . . . and are threatened with dismissal,” the prelate told the priests of his diocese.