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Australian bishop who wants church reform resigns

The pope has agreed to give early retirement to an Australian bishop who ruffled the Vatican's feathers by calling for a total reform of the Catholic Church, questioning mandatory celibacy for priests along with church teachings on sexuality.

Pope Benedict XVI accepted Monsignor Patrick Power's resignation on Thursday. Power, an auxiliary bishop in Canberra, asked to retire five years before the mandatory retirement age of 75 for bishops.

In a 2010 article penned at the height of the renewed clerical sex abuse crisis, Power said the church needs to be totally reformed since it had strayed from the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

He said issues such as priestly celibacy, church teaching on sexuality and the role of women in the church must be discussed with the Catholic laity.

The diocese on its website Friday announced a series of farewell activities.