World

Pope sacks controversial Australian bishop

Pope Benedict XVI has sacked an outspoken Australian bishop who had called on the church to consider ordaining women and married men.

Pope Benedict XVI has sacked an outspoken Australian bishop who had called on the church to consider ordaining women and married men.

Pope Benedict XVI Stefano Rellandini sacked controversial Australian Bishop William Morris who spoke out about the ordination of women and married men. (Stefano Rellandini/Reuters)
The Vatican said in a statement Monday that the pope had "removed from pastoral care" Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba diocese. That language was unexpectedly strong by Vatican standards. However, no explanation for the move was given.

Australian media said Morris recently published an open letter saying he was being removed for a 2006 message to the faithful in which he argued that a shortage of priests should prompt the church to consider ordaining women and married men.

Morris said the letter sparked complaints to Rome, which in turn led to a Vatican investigation.