Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Not Much of a Difference

May 13th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

ex-Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba  in a 2006 pastoral letter:

“Given our deeply held belief in the primacy of Eucharist for the identity, continuity and life of each parish community, we may well need to be much more open towards other options for ensuring that Eucharist may be celebrated. As has been discussed internationally, nationally and locally the ideas of:
ordaining married, single or widowed men who are chosen and endorsed by their local parish community;
• welcoming former priests, married or single, back to active ministry;
ordaining women, married or single;
• recognising Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting Church Orders.”

Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester, from a Democrat & Chronicle article in early 2004:

“The bishop can imagine a day when married men become priests.

“There’s no inherent contradiction,” he said, pointing out that some married clergy from other denominations are permitted to remain married and become Catholic priests.

But it’s hard for him to see the ordination of women in the church’s future because it hasn’t been part of its tradition or its understanding of scripture.

Were it possible, I’d be pleased to ordain women.”

The only difference between the two bishops is that ex-Bishop William Morris proposed recognizing Protestant ministers while Bishop Clark did not. Still, both bishops publicly supported the ordination of married priests and women “were it possible.”

Why was one removed at age 67 while the other chugs along merrily until 75?

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5 Responses to “Not Much of a Difference”

  1. avatar Dr. K says:

    The Bishop Clark article used to be available online at:

    If anyone has a copy of the article in print, please send us a scanned copy.

  2. avatar Bruce says:

    Clark and Morris were cut from the same terrible cloth, unfortunately. Pray for them.

  3. avatar Hopefull says:

    Even though it is too long a canonical process to likely have Bishop Clark removed, it is nevertheless important to keep writing to Rome as it might help to get us a more faithful replacement if the Congregation for Bishops is kept apprised of our plight.

  4. avatar annonymouse says:

    To Bishop Clark’s credit, there is another difference – He said “were it possible,” which is in fidelity with John Paul’s promulgation that “it is NOT possible” and that the Church has no authority to ordain women. That’s a very large difference, it seems to me.

  5. avatar Thinkling says:

    I usually default to charity in cases like this, but I worry that this “denial” is a non-denial denial, a type of paralipsis.

    My men’s ministry read a book about three years ago which had a statement to the effect of “either the Church will someday ordain women, or they won’t”. A remarkable statement on the face of it, as everyone jumped at it and said how wrong it was. Well it is of course actually a tautology so it was trivially true. But the point remains that it was misleading. At least potentially, so was the bishop’s conditional. By making the premise a false one, the conclusion is necessarily true, but people are mislead by exposure to the false premise.

    The perhaps most far reaching example of this is the throwaway primacy-of-conscience comment in (IIRC) Humanae Vitae. Of course one is bound to follow their (informed) conscience. But how damaging was that statement of this obvious fact.

    It has been said of Tolkien among others how they communicate truth through fictions (Jesus too…I doubt that story of the two brothers and merciful father ever actually happened). It is a shame that some have perfected the art of communicating fictions through truths.

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