Charles M. Shann

I have been paying attention to the generally one-sided opinions being expressed with regard to the dismissal of Bishop Morris, and would like to make a few points of my own. One could say with little chance of contradiction that this whole charade is being fuelled by the executive of the National Council of Priests which is forever criticising the Holy See and invoking the "Spirit of Vatican II".

The fact that very little of this so-called Spirit has anything to do with the official teachings of the Second Vatican Council doesn't seem to count.

When I converted to the Catholic Church over fifty years ago I was amazed to find how little the average Catholic knew about official Church teachings. In those days this did not matter so much as the overwhelming number of Catholic priests respected the Pope and the Magisterium, and this rubbed off on the people because what Father said was more or less "gospel".

Today when the average Catholic knows even less than of yore, there are not-a-few priests and even some bishops who lack respect for the Magisterium and the Pope. This is very dangerous as members of the congregation still tend to believe what Father says. Saint Paul called such people "wolves in sheep's clothing," because they led their followers astray. Many of these priests are good men who were themselves led astray in seminaries by some teachers who ought never to have been in positions of influence.

As to claims that people wrote to the Apostolic Nuncio and to Rome before approaching the Bishop, that is untrue as this was only done when the Bishop ignored numerous approaches.

For example, on 20 November 2005, the Bishop was saying Mass at the Deuchar Church, after he had stood down the much loved Allora priest, and during his homily, which included talk about his favourite subject at the time, "priestless parishes," he made the mistake of claiming that we had "all voted on, and agreed to" priestless parishes.

As this was untrue, and because we would have been included in the lie had this been unchallenged, I stood up and told him face to face that this was untrue, that we had neither voted on nor agreed to this matter. I also added that it was no good claiming that he couldn't get foreign priests as we knew otherwise.

Needless to say he was somewhat taken aback to meet a parishioner who dared to interrupt his homily, and he waffled on for some time trying to justify himself. After Mass half a dozen people congratulated me on my statement. I certainly didn't get any satisfaction from my action but, sadly, had I not stood up for the facts, no one else would have done so, and by silence we would have approved the lie.

On another occasion when a petition was organised with regard to bringing in foreign priests, and we collected about 240 signatures, a very good tally for a small parish, the Bishop barely glanced at it when it was presented to him, and then went on to tell us that no matter how many names we might get it would make no difference. So much for being listened to!

Recently we have been hearing a great deal about 2,000 names on a petition that the "retired" bishop's supporters were urging people to sign at weekend Masses throughout the diocese for two months after the "retirement". That is hardly a ringing endorsement in a diocese the size of ours.

The "spirit of Vatican II" priests have proved impotent spiritually, having no spiritual sons in the seminaries which have begun growing again. Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane have had substantially increased numbers in recent years, a fact that those anxious for "priestless parishes" never mention.

Warwick, Qld

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