Bishop Robinson’s Book

Posted by Censor Librorum on May 3, 2008 | Categories: Arts & Letters, Bishops, Scandals

The Most Rev. Geoffrey James Robinson,  former Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, Australia, will be making a stop near my home during his upcoming book tour.   I want to go meet him, buy the book, shake his hand and thank him. I also want to be in the presence of someone whose faith is so important–so pure and strong–that they will face anything to proclaim it. To me, that will be the closest I’ll probably ever get to someone who is like the old-time saints.robinson.jpg

Bishop Robinson headed the Australian bishops’ committee that developed guidelines and procedures for dealing with clergy sex abuse. He retired in 2004 when, he said, the burden of his “profound reservations” about the church he loved became too strong to be ignored. Actually, what he found, and the response of the church to the sex abuse crisis, made him sick.

In November 2007 he emerged from retirement to promote his new book, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” and to demand a better church.

Robinson says the church–especially the hierarchy in Rome–must tackle the twin problems of sex abuse and power.

In the book, he writes that the church has not confronted the sex abuse crisis; it’s simply managing it. He blames the late John Paul II, in particular, for failing to exercise the leadership demanded by the sex abuse crisis, allowing it instead to ravage the church.

He criticizes the church’s teaching on sex and sexuality, which are based on offences against God, as outmoded and inadequate. He suggests a sexuality morality based on human relationships.

Bishop Robinson told the National Catholic Reporter that he sees a fractured church with a major division between the “proclaimers of certainties and the seekers after truth,” with the proclaimers of certainties seeming to be in the favored position.

“This has left many people feeling a sense of alienation, of being marginalized, of no longer quite belonging to the church that had given them much  of their sense of belonging, meaning and direction throughout their lives.”

“In writing the book I became aware that I was writing a book for these people, that I was trying to tell them that there is a church for them and that it is fully in accord with the mind of Jesus. I was telling them that there are basic certainties, but there is also abundant room for search, for taking personal responsibility and growing through that process to become all we are capable of being, all God wants us to be.”

“I became aware that it was important for many that there should be a bishop saying these things. At moments I felt that the needs of these many people were so great that it is perhaps true that I have never been more of a shepherd.  I have never been more justified in carrying around a pastoral staff than I have in this.”power-and-sex-book.jpg

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3 Responses to “Bishop Robinson’s Book”

  1. Ed Murphy Says:

    19 May 2008
    Viva Bishop Robinson!

    I just returned moments ago from his appearance in Chevy Chase MD (Washington DC).

    A very thoughtful, well researched, and compssionate position.

    Can’t wait to read the book.

    Good luck on his USA book tour.

    LA’s Archbishop Roger Mahony would do well to listen to Robinson, and welcome him with open arms. On the other hand, Mahony’s disdain for Robinson will probably guarantee Robinson a packed house when he appears in LA.

    Ed Murphy

  2. DPierre Says:

    Bishop Robinson doesn’t believe in the Catholic Church that Jesus left to Peter. He believes in the ‘Church of Bishop Robinson.’ There is NOTHING Catholic about what Robinson says.

    Bishop Robinson preys on the ignorance and gullibility of those who don’t know their faith and what the Church teaches.

    The Church has failed in educating its followers in the faith, and this is what the Church gets for not properly catechizing the flock. They get dissidents like Bishop Robinson and folks who don’t have the clue to realize that what this man writes is in complete opposition to Church teaching.

    Oh … and please spare me the hackneyed “You don’t want to know the truth” line. The truth is in John 14:6. (I bet you need to look that one up, don’t you? Like I said: Too many Catholics do not know their faith.)

  3. Karen Says:

    Dear DPierre,

    I looked up the passage you quoted about truth in my Bible, the Douay version. Here it is: “Jesus saith to him; I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me.” Later on, in John, Chapter 15:12 Jesus says: “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” Bishop Robinson, as I understand it, follows the way of Christ by seeking the truth with love.

    His book is about sex abuse by clergy, and how the the church’s stances on sex and power led to the situations of abuse and especially the coverups. I don’t see your parallel between exposing corruption and abuse on the part of some clergy and church leadership and not following the way of Christ. If anything, Bishop Robinson is doing just that, by speaking out for the victims of abuse, and challenging religious authorities–much like Jesus was said to do.

    Do a few people in the church, or even the church itself, control the Paraclete? I don’t think so. What do you think? And, as Pope John XXIII once said, “All that the gospel requires of us has not yet been understood.”


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