Bishop Richard Morris’ (of Toowomba, Australia) removal by Pope Benedict XIV has some muscle memory for those of us who suffered through the Hunthausen shakedown. Heavy-handed tactics on the part of the papacy toward Hunthausen, one of the most Christ-like bishops I’ve ever known, still stings. A reminder from Richard McBrien:
The removal of Bishop William Morris from the pastoral care of the Australian diocese of Toowoomba, Queensland, where he has been bishop since 1993, is reminiscent of two other cases: that of Bishop Jacques Gaillot of the diocese of Evreux, Normandy, France, in 1995, where he had been bishop for 12 years, and the effective removal of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen from the archdiocese of Seattle in 1986, where he had been archbishop since 1975.
I say “effective removal” because, although Hunthausen was not removed as such, a younger bishop was installed over him, with authority that no longer belonged to the archbishop.
That younger bishop is now an archbishop himself and a cardinal as well: Donald Wuerl, who also heads the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, which just issued a condemnation of Sr. Elizabeth Johnson’s 2007 book, Quest for the Living God. Johnson is a Sister of St. Joseph and is a Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University in New York.
This is just getting creepy. Even discussion is being forbidden. Witch hunt, anyone?