Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pope fires bishop who backed ordaining women

An Australian bishop who was fired by Pope Benedict XVI after suggesting the church consider ordaining women and married men defended his actions on Tuesday and accused the Vatican of becoming increasingly authoritarian.

Community members rallied around Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba diocese, west of Brisbane, and eight priests signed a letter of support for the popular parish leader, calling his removal disrespectful.

The Vatican confirmed in a statement Monday that Morris had been "removed from pastoral care," an unusually strong move by Vatican standards. Generally, church leaders who are being ousted are asked to resign, with the Vatican later announcing the pope has accepted their resignations.

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