I read with interest Don Gaffney's letter (February AD2000) which highlights the problem of those churchmen, who should know better, disregarding papal authority.
Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba knows, or should know, that the information sought was issued on 28 October 1995 in a document entitled On Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Responsum ad dubium (reproduced below). It was issued with papal approval, and no doubt on papal direction, by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his capacity as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Ordinatio Sacerdotalis arguably represented an infallible teaching from Pope John Paul II with its doctrinal content constituting part of the Church's deposit of faith.
The tragedy is, of course, that circumstances made the issue of such a document necessary. Any reasonable person reading the document can clearly see that John Paul II, acting in his capacity and using his full authority as head of the Church, made a public statement on a matter of faith intended to bind all members of the Church.
Bishop Morris should also have known that little satisfaction would be obtained by writing to Rome.
Any secular organisation suffering the inefficiencies and dissentions rife in the Church bureaucracy could not last two years, let alone two thousand. This is proof that God's guiding hand is preserving his Church and that Our Lord is keeping the promise He made prior to his Ascension, 'Behold! I am with you all days, even to the end of the earth.'
North Blackburn, Vic
On Ordinatio Sacerdotalis
Responsum ad Dubium
Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
October 28, 1995
Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.
Responsum: In the affirmative.
This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.
Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.
+ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
+ Tarcisio Bertone
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli