Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Holiness of the Pope: Toowoomba revisited

I really hate giving credence to stolen information, but it is in the public domain now, taken up by all and sundry so, I am going to comment on the Pope's notes on the Bishop Morris case, made public in a book based on the Vatileaks material, and publicized by the Fishwrap's John Allen.

Because I have to say, it shines light on the holiness of our great pope.

The Pope's meeting with Bishop Morris

As we know, Bishop Morris met with Pope Benedict XVI, who attempted to persuade him to resign.

The Pope clearly thought he had agreed.

Not surprising really: if the Pope asks someone to resign from a position in the Church, on the face of it, pretty hard to resist that!  Indeed, how could any bishop think his ministry was tenable in the face of such a request?

A couple of obvious possibilities spring to mind to explain the subsequent claim of the bishop that he had not in fact agreed to this.

Perhaps the Pope had indeed succeeded, and the bishop thought better of it later? 

Or perhaps the bishop made more of those comments that we are asked retrospectively to interpret as merely being discussion points, reflecting 'what's out there' instead of being his own position! 

But the Pope's personal note doesn't suggest these - rather they reflect the humility of a great man, and accepts responsibility himself, placing the best possible interpretation on Bishop Morris' actions.

Instead of responding to the Bishop's rather nasty personal attack, which effectively accused the Pope of lying, the Pope blames himself for 'misinterpreting' the Bishop's response, blaming his own English language skills. 

Here truly is a great man of God who blesses those who curse him.

The bishop must be an authentic teacher of the faith!

But above all the notes put to rest once and for all the assorted conspiracy theories of the Toowoomba Leadership Group and friends about just why Bishop Morris lost his job.

It wasn't in the end, a question of alleged anonymous 'temple police' accusations about General Absolution, Clown Masses and the other wacky practices that were going on up there.

Rather, it was the Bishop's own words in that Pastoral Letter and subsequent discussions on just what it meant that hung him.

The notes show that the Pope talked to him, and concluded that his views on women's ordination and the possibility of Anglican's leading the liturgy were not orthodox.

He apparently wrote that:

...Morris' "theological formation ... is not adequate for his office," citing his views on women's ordination and the possibility of Anglican ministers leading Catholic liturgies.

...In the end, Benedict writes, "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."



Martin S. said...

We don't deserve such a wonderful Pope, . . . Grace abounds even more.

PM said...

And to remind ourselves of how good he is, see Sandro Magister's report of his remarks at the World Congress of Families in Milan.

Mind you, if inadequate theological formation is to be a ground for removing bishops....

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