Carlsbad, CA (PressExposure) May 04, 2011 -- Australian Bishop William Morris, former head of the diocese of Toowoomb, Australia is commended by Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, for courageously and publicly refusing to capitulate to Vatican insistence that he resign because of his support for the idea of ordaining women. Morris, in a 2006 pastoral letter, suggested the possibility of ordaining women as one way to help ease the world-wide shortage of priests. Roman Catholic Womenpriests validly ordains women to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church. The Code of Canon law, #1024, denies ordination to women soley on the basis of gender.
Bishop Morris has been forced to retire by Pope Benedict XVI because of those remarks. Originally, the Vatican told Morris to resign. He refused to do so. Bishop Morris stated in a letter, dated May 1, 2011, read at all Sunday Masses in the diocese: "It is my conviction that for me to resign is a matter of conscience and my resignation would mean that I accept the assessment of myself as breaking communion which I absolutely refute and reject..." The National Council of Priests of Australia issued a statement condemning the Vatican's unjust treatment of Bishop Morris, on May 3, 2011, calling him "an outstanding pastor of this diocese who has faithfully ministered in the church in Queensland and throughout Australia since his priestly ordination in 1969."
This is yet another attempt by the Vatican to silence any priest or bishop who supports the possibility of ordaining women in the Catholic Church. Recently, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of the SOA Watch protests at Ft. Benning Georgia, received an official warning from his Maryknoll order that he would be both excommunicated and dismissed from the order with a recommendation to Rome that he be stripped of his priesthood because of his support for women's ordination.
Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA encourages all Roman Catholics to hold the Vatican accountable for its repressive, culture-of-fear-tactics and blatant sexism. Clergy who support women's ordination should be able to voice that support and should have the freedom to speak their conscience without Vatican reprisal.