Saturday, 4 February 2012

Archbishop Hart speaks up on Morris

Good to see a response today, from Archbishop Hart of Melbourne, to the outrageous attacks on the Pope's authority in the article I posted on on earlier in the week from The Age/SMH.

Here is his letter to the editor:

''BISHOP'S sacking reveals the Inquisition's heavy hand remains ready to strike'' (Comment & Debate, 2/2) regarding the removal of Bishop William Morris is unfair and inaccurate. I understand W. J. Carter, QC, is an eminent civil lawyer. Father Ian Waters' canon law reflection is based solely on the Carter report.

The Holy See conducted a pastoral process of dialogue with Bishop Morris over 11 years involving senior officials of three offices of the Roman Curia, meetings in Rome and a meeting with Pope Benedict.

An archbishop of an overseas diocese appointed by the Holy See to investigate the matter said he discussed the contents of his report with Bishop Morris in Toowoomba. Last October, in Rome, Australian bishops were informed of the efforts made by the Holy See to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution. The Pope has final power throughout the church. Father Waters is misrepresented by the statement that the Pope breached canon law and exceeded his authority.

Denis Hart, Catholic archbishop of Melbourne, East Melbourne

I really think the last sentence of this letter should have been omitted.  I'm don't think that Fr Waters deserves to be championed in this affair - the reality is that at the very least he has lent considerable aid to the cause of dissent.  And while the journalist certainly took some poetic license with Fr Water's words, I'm not convinced he was really misrepresenting the gist of what he said.  The reality is, he should be removed from the positions he holds in the diocese, not defended.

There are other points that could have been made too, on the other issues raised by the article.

Still, at least some kind of official response has been made to the most outrageous claims in the article.

It is a start.


Papal Bull said...

Under the principle that 'something is better than nothing,' let's give Archbishop Hart a modest clap. Disappointingly, his arguments and defence were as short as his letter. What could have been a feature article was a short blurb that few readers of the few number who read Fairfax rags would even notice.

Nice man, Archbishop Hart, but he only fights in the Welter-weight Division (still, it's better than the Lightweight and Featherweight and Flyweight divisions of others).

Barney Zwartz & Co. are still standing and still smiling.

I wonder who among the bishops and clergy could have stepped up to the crease and knocked Barney et al for six? Who do we have in the heavyweight division for Brand Catholic?

Over to you Bishop-Makers.

Kate said...

I'm not sure that the article warranted more than a letter PB - risks making a minor opinion piece get wider coverage than it otherwise would have...

Bernie said...

The letter as published by the papers is a bit truncated compared to the full version found on the Archdiocese of Melbourne website.

The final section reads as follows:

'Last October, in Rome, the Australian Bishops were informed of the care taken and the efforts made by the Holy See to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution.

'In the Catholic Church, because the Pope is the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the Universal Church, he has final power throughout the Church and can always freely exercise that power. This includes the appointment, transfer and removal of bishops.

'Father Waters is misrepresented by the statement that the Pope has breached Canon Law and exceeded his authority.

'In the final analysis the Pope always has freedom to act for the good of the Church in the appointment and removal of bishops.'

Brian said...

It really doesn't matter whether Arch Hart wrote this or not as the people who support Morris are never ever going to accept the truth about him and of what happened, and Rome seems to understand this judging by their lack of any response since Morris got the boot on May 2 (what a wonderful day that was for the church). Morris supporters keep trying to bait Rome and get them to say something, but Rome is far wiser than these heterodox people, so they continue to say absolutely nothing publically (unlike those sad people who are just so obsessed with Morris) and so it serves them right for trying to be so smart.

You'd think Morris was some sort of cult leader who has brainwashed his followers, the way these people are carrying on.

Antonia Romanesca said...

Surely His Lordship Denis Hart would not have asked that his letter of response [to The Age Melb] be edited, by being 'chopped down down to size'?

Do any current contribbers know? The Age perhaps chose to publish a hashed down version, of its own volition?

Antonia Romanesca said...

Brian noted: "You'd think Morris was some sort of cult leader, who has brainwashed his followers, the way these people are carrying on”.

Certainly, there is evidence that the Toowoomban devotees have deep conviction about the validity of their cause. Evidence can be seen in the way they are continuing to “maintain their rage”. One has to conclude that they are continuing to maintain their rage in the way they are - because they believe if they make enough ruckus, their former guru shall be restored to his perceived rightful place by a “miscreant Vatican”. A sort of “triumph of those who shout the loudest.”

Social psychology does teach that the most vulnerable to ‘mind- sculpting’ are those with the most modest education, who may be happy for others to do their thinking and reasoning for them. Many vulnerable will comply because they fear exclusion from the Group of Power. They can be quite traumatized, if the Group of Power is suddenly made impotent or totally disenfranchised in some way – because they have given that group or cult “their all”, ie. devoted their lives to it and with passion. If “the bubble bursts” they can experience mental chaos. Broadly speaking, the longer a deviant group has been established, the more entrenched it shall be and the harder to alter.

A different cultural imposition [which they experience psychologically, as an horrendous Shock of the New], can be met with a violence born of desperation.

What might a new bishop need as an entourage, up there? Fleet of expert psych. counsellors? 60 army commandos from the ADF?

Brian said...


Thanks a lot for your comments. You make excellent points which explain very succinctly why this mob mentality exists with regard to Morris.

I think somebody else expressed it in very simple terms of "and the mob will always support Barabbas".

Having said all that, Morris is obviously behind all these attacks on the Pope, the Holy See and orthodox Catholics, and doesn't this show clearly how he should never ever have been made a bishop.

Archbishop Rush has a lot to answer for seeing he would have known him as well as anyone, and should have advised Rome against making him ordinary of any diocese.