Bishop Emeritus of Toowoomba, William Morris has released a statement claiming that he did not resign, in a response to the statement released by the Australian bishops at the end of their ad limina visit, reports Catholic Culture.org.
“The Statement made by the Australian Bishops invites me to tell my story which I will publish in the foreseeable future,” Bishop Morris said in his response.
The Australian bishops’ statement had expressed support for Pope Benedict’s decision to remove Bishop Morris from his diocese.
“What the Holy See did was fraternal and pastoral rather than juridical in character,” they said, and added that Pope Benedict had decided to remove Bishop Morris from office not for any misconduct, but because the bishop’s public statements on matters such as the ordination of women, and his pastoral practice regarding questions such as general absolution, compromised the unity within the Catholic hierarchy.
In his response released on the weekend, Bishop Morris reiterated the contents of his original statement to the Australian Catholic Bishops, dated May 2.
In it, he said he had been removed without adequate cause or explanation. The process leading up to his removal, he said, was one of “denying me natural justice without any possibility of appropriate defence and advocacy on my behalf.”
He has also said he had never seen a report submitted by Archbishop Charles Chaput, who was sent by the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation of the Toowoomba diocese. He added that the Pope’s complaint about his public advocacy of women’s ordination was based on “a total misreading and misinterpretation of what my pastoral letter is saying.”