UPDATE: A candle light vigil procession in support of Toowoomba’s deposed Catholic Bishop William Morris will move through the city’s streets Tuesday from 5.30pm.
Catholics across the 35 parishes of the Toowoomba Diocese which stretches west as far as the Northern Territory and South Australian borders and north to Taroom and Cracow were left in shock at the weekend when told of their bishop’s forced early retirement.
Realising little could be done to reverse the decision of Rome to seek a new bishop for the diocese; parishioners looked for ways to express support for their bishop of 18 years.
A group of parishioners has organised a candle lit vigil to leave outside the Bishop’s House in Lindsay Street, Toowoomba, from 5.30pm Tuesday and has extended an invitation to people of all faiths throughout Toowoomba, the Darling Downs and south Queensland to join them in a showing of solidarity for a deposed leader of their community.
Those wishing to attend are asked to bring their own candle.
The vigil will start with prayer and reflection at 5.30pm before the silent procession moves west along Margaret St to Neil St and south to St Patrick’s Cathedral.
For those unable to join the walk, St Patrick’s Cathedral will be open from 5.15pm where the vigil will continue with prayer and reflection upon the arrival of the procession.
Bishop Morris was the church's public face during the scandal of child sex offences at the hands of a pedophile teacher at a Catholic primary school in Toowoomba, but The Chronicle has been told by a church official that that issue had nothing to do with the bishop's retirement.
In fact, Bishop Morris had been under pressure to resign his position for the past three or four years, long before the sexual allegations of the pedophile teacher arose.
Bishop Morris will retain the title of bishop and priest and though his immediate plans are not yet known, it is expected he will move to Brisbane where he has family.
He remains Bishop of Toowoomba until the Vatican formally announces his departure, which is expected in the coming days.
An Apostolic Administrator will then be appointed to govern the diocese until the new bishop is appointed.
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