The opinions are long and naturally full of legalese, but the substance of them seems to be that while canon law doesn't provide a process for the dismissal of a bishop it should, and that by the way the one actually used in the case of Bishop Morris is not good enough for them.
I'm not going to bother going though either Fr Hamilton's piece on the subject, or the opinions themselves. I just want to make a few key points.
The legal disease
First, it must surely be obvious to all concerned that prolonging this debate is unhelpful to everyone. The statements made by our bishops after the Ad Limina visit last year were trying to bring some closure on this issue, and we should accept the Pope's prudential decision whether we agree with it or not.
Secondly, I'd note that the kind of creeping legalism reflected in this latest attack is a disease that really needs to be resisted in Australia, and not just in the Church.
There is a big difference between the desire to improve transparency and accountability in the church, and creating make work for the lawyers.
The issue at stake here is not, as Fr Hamilton claims, whether natural justice should have been afforded to Bishop Morris: no one disputes that, and to suggest that they do is just plain scurrilous.
No, the issue is rather the content of natural justice, exactly what it requires.
I for one think that a ten year series of exchanges in which it was perfectly clear what the issues in dispute were is more than enough by way of affording natural justice!
I for one think that to claim that the bishop was denied natural justice, when the subsequent process being complained about was put in place because Bishop Morris actually rejected a request to go to Rome and make his case, is laughable.
The Liberals though, think that the magisterium of one bishop, who doesn't accept that he is not teaching what the church teaches, should prevail over that of Peter. And they think that the bishop (or rather his lawyers) should be able to see and respond to every single piece of paper written about him.
In Australia, the legal empire has been working assiduously to ever expand its reach. They have systematically dismantled the common law regime we inherited and set about inventing their own theories of what 'procedural fairness' requires - which unsurprisingly mostly seems to end up meaning the involvement of lots of lawyers on all sides of any administrative decision-making process.
Well, I guess one has to find something for all those lawyers to do - the number of them after all doubled between 1986 and 2006. Has the quality of decisions improved to reflect this 'added value'? Quite the reverse in many cases I would suggest.
The parish priest process
I'd also note that there is a certain iron in the Judge's opinion, which advocates essentially using the process for removal of parish priests for bishops.
These days, many bishops, especially of the liberal colour don't actually appoint many parish priests, precisely in order to avoid according them the right to challenge precisely these kind of decisions! Instead we have seen a huge growth instead in time limited 'Administrator' appointments...
The Pope and the bishops
The bottom line of the Morris case was always about the liberal claims that bishops are pretty much emperors in their own domain, free to ignore the Church's law and disciples at will.
It's the old Ratzinger vs Kaspar debate writ large on which comes first, the universal church or the local one.
It's the protestant virus that seems to have infected all too many bishops today.
The Pope, by contrast, actually believes that 'one, holy and apostolic Church' bit of the Creed.
In this week of the Christian Unity Octave, let's pray for the Pope, his reform efforts, and the restoration of unity with Peter on the part of dissenters:
"That they may all be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
I say to thee, that thou art Peter.
And upon this rock I will build my Church.
Let us pray.
O LORD JESUS CHRIST, who didst say to thine Apostles: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: look not upon my sins, but upon the faith of thy Church; and vouchsafe unto her that peace and unity which is agreeable unto thy will: Who livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen."