Australia: Bishop Pat Power Leaves and Attacks the Vatican

Vatican Insider
June 13, 2012

The Bishop of Canberra, Pat Power

The bishop from Canberra has handed in his resignation because of his disagreement with the Vatican leadership over the ordination of women priests and the failings in the fight against clerical sexual abuse against minors

The last openly liberal Australian Catholic bishop, Pat Power, from the Diocese of Canberra, the country's federal capital, has resigned. In doing so, he cited the Vatican's inability to listen and the two crises the Church is caught up in - clerical sex abuse against minors and the lack of priests as the most concerning problems the Church is currently faced with. Seventy year old Bishop Power has been leader of his diocese of for 25 years and was not due to retire for another five years, but will be leaving 30 June.

After Bill Morris, the Bishop of Toowoomba, in Queensland, was divested of authority by the Pope last year because of his stance in favour of women priests and his criticisms against child abuse in the Catholic Church, Power was the only Australian left who publicly challenged the Vatican. He defined sex abuse as "a terrible stain on the Church" and said the Vatican's habit of secrecy has provided conditions for sex abuse and many other forms of abuse to thrive.

Bishop Power had gained a reputation as one of the Church's most liberal leaders, questioning priestly celibacy and the exclusion of women from the priesthood. "I think there's wider reform that's needed there and my great sadness is the fact that the Second Vatican Council gave us the pathway, I think, for the Church to be more accommodated to bring the message across to the modern world," he said today as he announced his resignation.


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