Skip to comments.'Temple police' blamed for Toowoomba Bishop William Morris' downfall (lib media report)
Posted on 05/02/2011 12:05:13 PM PDT by NYer
A GANG of right-wing Catholics, dubbed the "Temple police", are being blamed for the downfall of Toowoomba Bishop William Morris.
The group, which allegedly travelled around parishes to spy on progressive priests who do not toe the Vatican line, was believed to be involved in the popular priest's ousting.
The Pope last night renounced Bishop Morris' leadership over his support for ordaining women as priests among other liberal reforms.
Bishop Morris shocked supporters at the weekend by announcing he had been forced into early retirement after falling out with the Vatican and the Pope.
The 68-year-old's retirement followed a five-year investigation by the Vatican believed to have been sparked by a "disaffected" ultra-orthodox group which disagreed with his progressive views.
Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby last night paid tribute to Bishop Morris and acknowledged "matters of concern" between Bishop Morris and the Vatican had culminated in his retirement.
The Archbishop of Brisbane said Bishop Brian Finnigan would make a "very capable" replacement.
Bishop Finnigan acknowledged that some members of the Toowoomba diocese would be disappointed and angered by the change, but called for the community to move forward.
"Hopefully there can be growth, whatever the feelings, as we all hear the call for reconciliation, conversion, forgiveness, service and the Lord's desire that we advance towards fullness of life."
But the man accused of heading the cohort of conservative Catholics, Richard Stokes, said the accused "Temple police" were a "figment of the imagination".
"There's no group, this is all a conspiracy theory," he said. "I'm not a big wheel. I don't have troops or a cohort or a phalanx. I know other people who think like me but we're all individuals."
The Morayfield grandfather, 69, admitted he had exposed other clergy who opposed the orthodox teaching, including former Catholic priest Peter Kennedy.
"When I write to Rome, and I do write to Rome, and I get answers, all we're concerned about is if it's done wrong, we say this is what happened," Mr Stokes said. "When you have a priest who is disobedient, it is an offence against God."
Mr Stokes said he always wrote to Brisbane's Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby before forwarding his concerns directly to the Vatican.
"Once I've done that my conscience is clear," he said.
Despite his role in the 2009 sacking of Mr Kennedy after reporting his "improper practises" to Rome, Mr Stokes denied having any involvement in the downfall of Bishop Morris.
Mr Stokes, who attends mass daily, has no role in the church other than an "ordinary person going to mass".
Toowoomba's Roman Catholic community will hold a candlelight vigil tonight to show their support for Bishop William.
Parishioner Pat Nunan said grief in the Toowoomba diocese was palpable.
"He is without doubt a magnificent bishop, a great and courageous leader and a practical man who knows his diocese like no other," he said.
"His loss is huge."
Dalby's Fr Michael Cooney said it was a tragedy "particularly as he had no defence and no right of reply".
"There's nothing like that for bishops and I think in this day and age, that's barbaric." Melbourne University Vice-Chancellors Fellow and former Catholic priest Peter Norden said the Church insisted on recruiting priests from abroad who often had "no understanding of the equal rights of women in the Australian community".
"It's stuck in a particular model that doesn't seem to be producing leaders as priests, but is certainly producing a lot of conformists," he said.
Fr Peter Kennedy, ousted from St Mary's South Brisbane in 2009, said the situation was appalling with parishioners "walking away in droves".
Archbishop of Brisbane John Bathersby said last night: "The Diocese of Toowoomba has been under the leadership of Bishop Bill Morris for the past 18 years and I pay tribute to his pastoral care of the Diocese during this time.
"I am aware there had been matters of concern between Bishop Morris and the Holy See in recent years which have culminated in today's announcement.
"Bishop Brian Finnigan will make a very capable Apostolic Administrator of the Toowoomba Diocese. Bishop Brian has diligently served as one of my auxillary bishops since 2002 and is a former General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference. I am only too happy to assist Bishop Morris and Bishop Finnigan in this time of change for the Diocese of Toowoomba and its priests and people.
"I will continue to pray for Bishop Morris, Bishop Finnigan and the priests, religious and people of the Diocese of Toowoomba."
Read the full statements from the Catholic Church here and here (requires a PDF viewer).
Temple Police = Ecclesiastical Tea Party?
This reminds me of a certain scene from "The Life Of Brian".
Crowd: "Yes, yes, we're all individuals!"
Lone voice: "I'm not!"
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, Do you also want to go away? But Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Let's see how many perjorative, ad hominem slurs (bolded) we can jam into one sentence.
Here's some more;
The group (better than "gang", see above :-), which allegedly travelled around parishes to spy on progressive priests who do not toe the Vatican line, was believed to be involved in the popular priest's ousting.
Have y'all got the message yet?
Just in case you haven't....... "Wildly popular man of the people is fired by mean, sinister Vatican dictators."
Judging from the comments to the article the Catholic Church in that Diocese has suffered from very poor teaching over the years.
Everyone like him needs to go as well. If the guy can't remain faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church he can start his own denomination like so many others who have no use for the fullness of the Truth. It seems like there are groups of Catholics who have no idea what a wonderful gift His Church is and want to roll their own religion without the bother of leaving the Church they were raised in. They have thousands of alternatives where they can vote on who their pastor or whatever they call him, let them go there.
If it takes a group of people pointing out bishops and priests who ignore Church teaching in order to get the Vatican to act and remove the wolves in sheep's clothing, then more power to those doing the pointing.
That’s the key problem (which is almost pandemic), which is a disease that rots at the Body of Christ and the body politic, at the same time: once liberals compromise the truth and get people accustomed to (or even addicted to) cheap self-gratification and selfishness (with a stiff dose of pride, as a chaser), it’s nightmarishly hard to clean house.
I mean, whom would someone with squishy logic and morals prefer: someone who holds them to a high standard (and rebukes them when they choose evil), or a chuckling, smiling uncle of a fellow who’ll use erudite words to say “whatever you’re doing is quite all right, don’t worry; God loves you, and so do I”...?
Where can we sign up to join this “Temple police?”
Nasty ol' pope sacked our heretical nutcase of a bishop.
You have hit the nail dead center.
You: From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, Do you also want to go away? But Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Perhaps I am misreading your comment but you seem to be in agreement with Fr. Kennedy, a schismatic. Is that correct?
Lol ... my thoughts exactly. What many of us wouldn't do (and have done) to rid our diocese of one of the most reprobate progressive US bishops. Time, however, is on our side. He just turned 73. Our prayer is that Pope Benedict XVI will outlive this bishop and appoint his replacement.
The story deserves a blessed facepalm.
I think you are misreading it, as in father Kennedy is one of the ones who walked away.
Freegards, thanks for all the work on FR
Yes, and it is bishops like this one that is the reason that Catholic christians often join other churches, to hear the preaching of the word of God....
Try to top this one: “taliban Catholics”.
Most definitely not. My point was that "people walking away" is no excuse for backing away from teaching the faith once delivered. My understanding of the article is that people were "allegedly" leaving in droves since orthodoxy had been restored, the implication being that the teaching of a more popular heterodoxy is preferable to the teaching of orthodoxy, a pitiful argument for a supposed Christian to make.