William Martin Morris (born 8 October 1943) served as the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba in Australia from 1992 to 2011.
In May 2011, the Holy See removed Morris from pastoral care of the diocese, attracting international press coverage.
Morris was born in Brisbane, where he was educated at St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace, before studying for the priesthood at Pius XII Provincial Seminary in Banyo.
He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Brisbane in 1969.
His parish appointments included Sunnybank, Nambour, Mt Gravatt, Goodna and Surfers Paradise. During 1979 to 1984 he served as secretary to Archbishop Francis Rush in Brisbane and also as Diocesan Director of Vocations.
In 1992, Morris was appointed by Pope John Paul II to head the Toowoomba diocese. His consecration took place at St Patrick’s Cathedral on 10 February 1993.
He became known for his pastoral leadership and his work with diocesan cases of sexual abuse.
In 2009 he dismissed the principal of a Toowoomba Catholic primary school and two Catholic Education officials for failing to report to the police an early complaint from a schoolgirl.
There were reports of liturgical unorthodoxy and controversy about his support of the Third Rite of Confession.
In 2006 Morris released a pastoral letter that discussed the declining number of priests in remote parishes like Toowoomba. The letter called for discussion of the ordination of married men and the ordination of women.
To call for such a discussion could be interpreted as a challenge to the teaching of John Paul II’s apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which said that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.”
The letter also suggested that the Catholic Church might consider recognising “Anglican, Lutheran, and Uniting Church orders”.
In December 2006, Morris received a fax requesting that he come to Rome by February 2007 for meetings with three cardinals; Giovanni Battista Re, then head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, William Levada, then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Francis Arinze.
Morris did not attend, citing “pastoral reasons”, and offered to present himself in May.
An apostolic visitation of the diocese was conducted by Charles J. Chaput OFM Cap, Archbishop of Denver during April 2007.
Chaput reported to the Congregation for Bishops in May 2007. Morris says that he has never seen this report. He was given an unsigned document from the Congregation for Bishops indicating 13 separate issues.
Morris then negotiated with several Vatican congregations for several years. Attempts by Vatican administrators to reconcile Morris with the church’s position included several meetings in Rome where, it has been reported, he was asked to resign several times.
In December 2008, Morris wrote to Pope Benedict XVI requesting an audience. He was received by the Pope on 4 June 2009.
Later Morris claimed that he was told that “it is God’s will that you resign”.
In February 2011 the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Giuseppe Lazzarotto, wrote to Morris requesting his resignation.
Removal as diocesan bishop
On 1 May 2011, Morris stated in a letter to parishioners of his diocese that “it has been determined by Pope Benedict XVI that the diocese would be better served by the leadership of a new bishop”, but that he felt that he was being denied “natural justice”
Morris announced his early retirement at age 67, stressing the fact that he had not resigned.
On 2 May, the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia announced that the Pope had “removed [Morris] from pastoral care” of his diocese.
At this time, Morris was appointed Bishop Emeritus of Toowoomba.
Several hundred people attended two separate vigils for Morris on 3 May in Toowoomba.
On 13 May 2011, the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ACBC) issued a statement, stating that they supported Pope Benedict’s decision to remove Morris. In the statement they noted:
“it was judged that there were problems of doctrine and discipline, and we regret that these could not be resolved. We are hopeful that Bishop Morris will continue to serve the Church in other ways in the years ahead”.
At a meeting of the Permanent Committee of the ACBC on 2 August 2011, a petition was presented from many Catholics of the Diocese of Toowoomba in support of Morris.
In a statement on 11 August the Permanent Committee said that
“the reality of our ecclesial structure is that the Conference is not able to resolve the issues that have arisen. Not only do the local Bishops not have access to all the information on which Pope Benedict came to his decision, but what has happened in Toowoomba is a matter between the Holy Father and Bishop Morris.”
During an Ad Limina visit in Rome that month, ACBC bishops held discussions regarding the situation in Toowoomba with both Cardinal Marc Ouellet and Cardinal William Levada and among themselves.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge said that the talks “went very positively” and “surpassed” their expectations.
In a letter from the ACBC, released on 21 October:
“What was at stake was the Church’s unity in faith and the ecclesial communion between the Pope and the other Bishops in the College of Bishops … we express our acceptance of the Holy Father’s exercise of his Petrine ministry … (and) we return to Australia determined to do whatever we can to heal any wounds of division.”
Morris responded to the letter on 24 October 2011, writing:
“The statement of the Australian Catholic Bishops contains inaccuracies and errors of fact evidenced by the documentation relating to the issues concerning myself and a number of Vatican Dicasteries.
The Statement made by the Australian Bishops invites me to tell my story which I will publish in the foreseeable future.”
In October 2011, it was reported that several lay Catholics in Toowoomba had expressed concern that Morris still had a high profile in the diocese, giving a public lecture, in-service talks to teachers and officiating at parish anniversaries
Cardinal George Pell said to CNA “if he is a loyal man of the Church he’ll realize that this is totally inappropriate and that won’t continue. That is my hope.”
Morris gave an address for Women and the Australian Church on 26 March 2013. He spoke about the vital role of lay people in interpreting the Second Vatican Council and “reclaiming its spirit”.
In June 2014 his book Benedict, Me and the Cardinals Three was published, describing his experience of the dismissal.
I’m looking forward to reading Bishop Morris’ book.
An honest man punished by Ratzingler and his mates for his honesty.
The RCC is so corrupt it cannot tolerate voices of honesty and integrity within it.
What Morris was saying is absolutely true. The Church will have to have married and women priests to survive in the future.
Morris is a prophet – a man ahead of his time.
He should move things on by ordaining married men and women himself.
They would excommunicate him.
Excommunication has no meaning to avtrue Christian.
102 replies on “BISHOP BILL MORRIS – A BISHOP FOR OUR TIME.”
There were 35 liturgical abuses at that heretic’s consecration as bishop, therefore probably making it invalid.
“A Bishop for our times” I don’t think so he is just another freethinker with the presumption that what he thinks is right. In fact he is just another disobedient and rebellious cleric who seeks publicity for his own weird views, that’s why Patsy likes him “Birds of a feather etc.”
What you mean 8;53 is he is a man with the ability to think for himself, live his own truth, say what he believes and not subscribe to the herd mentality of the brainwashed !
Good man himself.
He was a Cosmopolitan magazine priest, ie, just like the Grindr men (they usually are liberals in theology as well as morals), he wanted to be a bishop and have the lifestyle, status and community and wasn’t brave enough to join the Anglicans, where you can believe whatever you like, or to set up his own church.
Are you free to think?
“just like the Grindr men (they usually are liberals in theology as well as morals)”
Actually, I think if you did a survey of “Grindr” priests and seminarians, one would find a disproportionate number of “conservatives” and “traditionalists” among them. The inner violence with which one must suppress “intrinsically disordered” desires does not often succeed; rather, the desires come back with a vengeance and are played out in hidden, dark, and thus very unhealthy ways.
Wrong, @4:16. I lived in Armagh city and knew both Rory (Grindr) and Fr McCamley (Silverdaddies). Both were theological libs, especially Fr McCamley, who nearly had a heart attack when I said that I occasionally attended the SSPX Mass in Bessbrook.
@4:45, well done! your two completely anecdotal examples prove your point beyond a shadow of a scientific doubt!
12.09 and 8.53
An investigation carried out by Chaput – the only Bishop of Philadelphia in almost 100 years not to have been made a cardinal. Poetic justice.
You do not know the great man. Obviously!
Paisley laddie def starting in oscott instead of the eternal city I am hearing!
Nobody cares. This story has no legs, as they say in the media.
Let’s see if it sprouts legs
Gay men would love to join the British and Irish seminaries, as they have done for decades, and would be allowed to by the bishops and seminary staff, but they will not do so nowadays because they don’t want to end up on the blog, so they are self-excluding.
There’s been no word yet on how many sems joined Maynooth this year. Until about five years ago there was a press release around this time of year saying how many new students there were, but they stopped doing the press releases when the numbers became embarrassingly low. Have any joined this year?
10.48 very few of who seem to have been what is called “acting out” (which itself takes many forms and qualities). Of course almost no-one wants to give clarity about when “gay” means something untoward and when it doesn’t – let alone when it means anything at all. Some years ago an official church youth leader told children of school age any unmarried man past his mid 20s was to be defined as “gay”. The children were sharp enough to suspect that’s not what empty definitions by church officials are really supposed to be for.
Jesus must have been gay, then. Along with Joseph, the ‘husband’ of Mary, since his marriage to her (according to the Roman Catholic Church) was never consummated.
1.41 and following. I’m sure Our Lord knows it all. My original comment was about those of us who aren’t Our Lord (and I don’t know if my assumption at 3.57 was accurate), but at any rate there’s no point in quarrelling on His behalf about something He understands better than us. That’s certainly not what I intended. HTH!
Yes I am free to think I agree with the traditional teaching of The Church I do not agree with the modernists heretics like that bishop.
All of which means that you are NOT free to think for yourself, but are free only to obey the insitutional RCC, in reality, a bunch of hypocritical, paedophile-protecting, mysogynistic old men.
You are one of the nastiest contributors to this blog, proving that obedience to the RCC is not obedience to Christ.
Only Christ can set us free, not the RCC.
You are not free in any meaningful sense of the word.
What a disgraceful statement to make, you’ll pay for that.
3.17, I expect the commenter was extrapolating from the “thinking” of the previously mentioned former official youth leader
How do you know that Jesus wasn’t gay? Were you one of his hangers-on?
The unbelievable stupidity of someone in the 21st century proclaiming that a person who lived 2000 years earlier couldn’t be gay. How the blazes do you know?
The New Testament tell us that Christ was tempted in EVERY way, but did not sin. Logically, this means that Jesus must have had a gay side.
You people need to mature and face the whole truth about Jesus.
Freethinker at 9:51am
No I don’t mean that, he was a Bishop who should have excepted the magisterium of his Church, and if he couldn’t he should have left.
Could it be more the case the Magisterium should accept the Gospel? Rather than the Bishop accept the Magerserium; and in doing so, possibly putting the Gospel last?
This Catholic Bishop has cleary accepted the Gospel, and with open arms.
There is always light x
What’s the problem, Bella?
I know because Our Lord was without sin and certainly not what you are implying. The unbelievable stupidity that we are talking about ‘someone’ who lived 2,000 years ago. We are talking about The Second Person of The Holy Trinity so logically he was without sin. You people need to wake up and accept the fact that the Faithful are not unbelievers and heretics like you, we believe Jesus is God and He will judge you, as you deserve.
How is the church going to survive with no priests and no money?
The church will survive. The clerical caste, as it is, won ‘t.
God’s church will survive. Man’s institution will hopefully disappear.
The cardinal of Luxembourg says that the process of Church decline in Europe has been accelerated by 10 years by the virus.
His point of view is that Europe should become poorer but Africa shouldn’t and he thinks that will be the vision that inspires a better form of Catholicism
He could move out of his palace and condemn the companies who use Luxembourg to dodge taxes. What if the people of Europe don’t want to be poor?
We must continue to pray with great sincerity and faith in Christ, then.
This evil thing must come to an end.
We must also pray that a vaccine is found for the virus.
Please Lord, watch over all those effected by COVID-19, including their families and loved ones x
Watch over, Lord, all those affected by covid-19…?
So far he’s done a pretty lousy job. How many worldwide have now died of this illness?
Where’s the ‘Lord’ when you need him, eh?
MVB at 4:10pm
There’s no problem, I’m grand thanks for asking.
Glad to hear it.
Pat. Thanks for highlighting the story of Bishop Morris. Glad you’ve ordered the book. It highlights how, if you don’t do what you are told, if you dare speak out, then the institution turns against you and gets rid. This man did excellent work supporting families who had been abused by Priests in Australia and mad Benedict told him “as the successor of St Peter, I’m telling you that it’s God’s will that you should resign”. He refused to engage further.
Thanks Inspector T.
Funny how St. Peters successors didn’t know Gods will for Fr. Maciel, et al.
This dirty, sin-rotted institution wouldn’t know God’s will if it came inscribed on stone tablets borne by a man called ‘Moses’.
Pat, there was a liar on the blog over the past fortnight who claimed that an unnamed priest had injunctions to stop press exposure of his cocaine addiction. The liar persisted with the lie, even when you revealed that your journalist sources said there were no injuctions. I work for the court service in NI and I checked our database (ICOS) and no such application was made, never mind granted. When I said this, the liar said I knew nothing at all about the process. 🤣
Yesterday, the liar said that a Sunday paper would run the story. They didn’t, of course, because it is fiction.
Pat, please watch out for people discrediting the blog with false stories. They are as bad as the single individuals who try, unsuccessfully, to drum up interest in their issues.
I’m thinking of the murder’s wife in Blackpool who has an issue with Fr Etienne and makes out it is parish-wide.
There’s the disgruntled man in Magherafelt who has a graveyard dispute with Fr Gates.
Don’t forget the creepy stalker of the priest in Tooting, who nobody else has a view on, and then we have the new stalker of some alleged sem in Paisley.
You need to be more judicious, Pat. Your broadly non-censorship stance can be damaging, for example it was wounded badly by the ranter and raver. Don’t let mono-maniacs ruin it.
Thank you for your very thoughtful and wise comment.
You would be surprised to know how many comments I BIN, some for reasons you mention.
I agree that there are a number of petty and lying contributors to the blog.
I do my best to sift.
You should stop allowing them to name names, Pat. It is grossly irresponsible.
And what is this business with some young lad in Paisley all about? It’s disgraceful and unchristian and you are ultimately responsible for allowing it.
I have heard of someone who writes comments on your blog and then writes back disagreeing vehemently with himself. And then writes again defending himself against himself!!!??? He thinks it’s great craic.
Names of people who are innocent of any impropriety have been thrown into your blog “for a laugh” and out of sheer vindictiveness.
You need to do a better job at your sifting. The “Buck” stops with Buckley. You are allowing trolls and gutless, faceless cowards a free run.
Are you one of those who would like this blog to disappear or become a wishy washy RCC blog?
Thanks for replying, Pat, I’m sure it’s not easy moderating the blog. Thanks for what you do. It’s an unpleasant though necessary task to do the job the RCC bishops should be doing ie rooting about abuse and hypocritical seminarians and priests who know the official teaching yet have elaborate secret lives and networks.
There is a lot more to come out about this sem in Paisley. He isn’t hiding for no reason…
Give up already….. you aren’t getting anywhere with this.
@10.36am You sound like a right boring fart.
You checked the database 10.36am, jeez have you got a life?
I bet you’re on it, lol
It’s my job, I draw up court lists, and injunction applications are rare and take seconds to find on the database. I was interested to see if a priest had applied for an injunction, as claimed by the liar. You’re not the liar, are you?
11:37 An allegation was made and the man checked it, proving it false. If only all the allegations made on this website were so easily checked…
You give yourself way too much credit.
Since when did your alleged work for the NI court service cover non judicial issues, like Etienne, etc?
Are you one of the liars, or murderer’s wives, or disgruntled men, or creeps, or ranters and ravers you so liberally criticise?
Does your remit with the NI court service cover all these matters, too?
Stay in your own, tiny sandpit.
A childish tantrum at 10:36, presumably from the liar.
Childish tantrum at 3:28, from the liar?
Top 20 Quotes of Hans Kung – Priest
Flunk at 10:53am
That ould heretic should have been excommunicated years ago.
Excommunicated? You mean ‘liberated’…from moral hypocrites like you.
10:25, Pat, have you had word that the story on this Paisley sem is going to sprout legs?
Er excuse me 10.36. The story about Fr Etienne in Blackpool is absolutely true. Call in to the Parish and speak to anyone after Mass and you will see for yourself. Attend any Mass and you will see exactly what I am talking about.
What the lace alb surrounded by the moaning standing order landladies ? If you were a real Christian you would start a clean up Blackpool campaign
Clerical mandatory celibacy – it is a self-created and self-imposed requirement of the Roman Catholic Church that could easily be changed, and indeed is often waived in the case of ex-Anglicans and Easter Rite Catholic clergy. The continued insistence of this discipline has been damaging and will continue to be so when imposed on men who do not have a natural calling to celibacy, but feel that they do have a vocation to the priesthood, and undertake the obligation out of necessity in order to be ordained. That damages them, others and the Church. We have seen the evidence.
As to women priests, I find the theological, scriptural and tradition arguments put forward by the Church to block the ordination of women as wholly unconvincing, arguments put forward by a group of men who have mysogenistic tendencies, are celibates living in an all male clerical culture, and simply do not understand women and their gifts.
On both these issues, the Church is essentially dolt headed and ridiculous, and will continue to see the extinction of the priesthood over the next few decades as men are more and more disinclined to undertake mandatory celibacy, and women are denied entry to the priesthood. Then what ?
Bishop Morris was simply speaking the truth and the reality. Benedict and others are scared of that, and shut him up. I hope he is enjoying his retirement and continuing to be a thorn in their side.
He should take the logical step and ordain married men and women.
I agree +Pat. Trouble is, they will then throw him out of his Church house and remove his Pension. I bet he has been tempted.
They tried to do all that to me too. Where there is a will there us a way.
I guess he’s probably still got some links with the RCC, if only because he relies on them for provision for his retirement. Maybe he just isn’t able to take that step because he doesn’t want to put himself completely outside the Church. Not everybody is as courageous as you, Bishop Pat, or have the freedom and scope to stand against the institution of the RCC. There are probably many reasons why he’s not able to take that step.
I understand. But actions do speak louder than words.
So Bill hasn’t the courage of his convictions?
Isn’t this always so with priests of the RCC? They talk the talk, but don’t walk the…You know the rest.
‘Not al those who cry “Lord! Lord!” will enter the kingdom of heaven.’ Which is more or less what I said directly above.
The RCC priestly ministry: good for producing almost nearly rans.
Why wait and stay in a church that discriminates? Other churches are avaiable, you know? Tina Beattie has been saying on Twitter that the forthcoming encyclical’s very title “Brethren all” could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for many women.
Even us blokes are “daughters of Jerusalem”.
Met a Dublin priest who knows you Pat was in seminary with you – Fr Cody Rathfarnham. Says you were a naive young fellow back then but not the worst. Thinks you’ve gone off your trolley since though.
Oh Fr Cody is a wonderful priest. He gives a great sermon, although it sometimes can go on a bit long
Dear Bishop Buckley,
I would like to make a complaint: I have had it with these whores, sluts and sodomites, alike! Likewise, I was duly annoyed, this morning, to find no mention of scandal in Sunday papers (not that I am one who finds titillation in the more ‘minor’ scandals to which we are accustomed to, I’m sure you understand…).
Ettiehow, today I was up at the crack of dawn. I had my spoon and coffee all ready in my favourite mug: the one wit Fr Etienne’s piccture on the front, dressed in full Baroque, High Mass vestments with His right hand raised partially to the heavens…
And an unfocused, hazelike-stare into the far distance to His left…
Bestowing a blessing whilst wearing silk gloves–of course.
I had the kettle a quarter full and biccies to hand. Oh, what a total bore!
… Bishop Pat, all this excitement is far too much for a shy and quiet Catholic girl like myself.
I am a member of the UCM (I am blessed with two beautiful cats and therefore have honoury membership status); my old ladies were ringing my doorbell, pulling on my big brass knocker, and my phone was ringing off the hook!
The girls in the local exchange must have had their wires crossed:
— I tried to call a number external to Liverpool but was re-directed to a dingy little office with poor lighting and cheap, nasty blue vertical blinds. Yuck! To top it off, the person answering the call became slightly startled when I asked for the full address to send the paperwork her colleague, Carla, had requested last week. She became even more nervous and startled when I asked in Carla was “In today at all?” —
Anyway… I digress… Betty from the newsagents said she had to stand behind the small meshed grill where she cashes the Giros from, as the shop was like Clapham junction with old ladies, in and out, flicking through the Sunday papers.
Is that oul blade in post office called Betty, is her surname Eagleton. A right gossiping bitch
Ay, you! Leave our Betty Alone!
She gets around, she does, our Betty.
Our Betty knows all the goss! She’s a wise old bird is our Betty!
She always keeps a walnut whip and a copy of Bella and the Woman’s Weekly behind the counter for me.
Mind you, getting served is kind of like operating a mangle by voice; the more gossip you give her the quicker she hands over what you’ve bought.
And if you begin to slow your verbal pace; she, with with impeccable skill – and audacity – begins to retract whatever is on the counter.
And if it’s really, really, juicy gossip. Well, she gets all excited and says, “Help yeself to a liquorice on ye way out, doll.”
… That’s a dead giveaway it’s the first time she’s heard it herself!
Indeed. Actions do speak louder than words! It’s all about making the ‘right’ connections! face-to-face is far more better I believe.
Bishop Pat, what you having for dinner today?
Our lot haven’t decided yet, the fridge wasn’t as full as we thought. But the good thing is it’s not empty now.
Sweet stuff mostly. And I have a sweet tooth!
I need less sugar in my diet 🙄
Duck with orange sauce.
Canard a l’orange…..
To give up the you have served for years and have been brought up to believe is the true church is difficult in itself. In reality you would be ostracized.
To do it in your seventies without private financial resources is even more difficult.
That is part of the way the church controls people, by making you think it is impossible to leave and then making you financially dependent.
What about putting his faith in God instead of relying for his livelihood on such a globally discredited institution as the RCC?
The fact that Morris hasn’t taken the next step can suggest that he really does not believe that God will take care of him.
Why make judgements about the man based on little information.
He’s 77 yrs old, and probably suffered greatly. He has courage unlike most of them.
I did not deny that he showed courage; just that his courage, based in implaccable faith in God’s paternal care, could have taken him further.
I have met very, very few priests who believed, truly, that God cared about them and that he would look after them in adversity. Yes, they’ll say this if asked, but it is merely a platitude. It is why so very few priests risk losing everything (home, income, etc) by publicly challenging the institutional Church.
In reality, they would lose what they have, but gain so much more.
Etienne, Littleplonker, PB JPL, Rory, Polly Knickers, Lardy Boy Jock Strap, Dean Kennedy….and so many others…..please give us characters that please and entertain….of course we like the serious stuff….but we need light entertainment as well…..
Well, here’s Elsie, Betty Turpin and Annie Walker.
Don’t forget Hilda Ogden. Also includes Fred Gee. The girls were frightening the men.
Pearl Ladderbanks was a much better gossip than Betty Eagleton.
I don’t think Maynooth’s back yet. I saw one of the clerical students in Cafe Nero.
In the cafe or the cafe toilets? I wonder.
4.34: Having spotted a “student” in Cafe Nero, did you get your sexual thrill, you waster, What a crap life you must have..
Makes a change from the Kremlin and the Outdoor Sauna.
Not many condoms used in the Outdoor Sauna.
Oscott for the Scottie lad? Why the change?
Scots are tight mingers – Oscott is cheaper option.
Nothing to do with money. Oscott is for those less academically gifted that’s all.
The Latin exam in Oscott is to translate the names of the rooms. After three years you get a degree from Birmingham University. The most under used part of the building is the Library.
5:37.. away and get a life.
+Pat. Not living in the 6 counties. No access to the Sunday World. What was the panic about yesterday evening? Someone has one in a presbytery somewhere
The Scottish lad is fine and nothing has changed… leave him alone.
Evan oh Evan, less academically gifted? You make up for it in other ways we hear. Come out of hiding!
Re Inspector Taggert, Nicholas Lash, Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, RIP was sent to Oxford for 5 years; so much for discernment.