And here's to you, Bishop Robinson...

Bishop Robinson celebrates Mass at University of Technology, Sydney

No, not the Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson but the retired Roman Catholic Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, former bishop of Sydney, Australia. (What's with these Catholic bishops down under?)

THE Catholic Church is still not serious about confronting sexual abuse, only "managing" it, according to the Sydney bishop who headed Australian efforts to tackle abuse.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson says the Catholic Church needs to reverse 2000 years of teaching on sex and power as part of radical reforms from the Pope down.

While it refuses to look at some fundamental teachings — including sex outside marriage, women priests, homosexuality and papal power — the culture that produced and protected abusers will continue, he says.

These explosive claims — unprecedented for a bishop — are in a book to be launched tomorrow: Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church.

Bishop Robinson, 70, who was abused as a child, headed the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference professional standards committee for a decade until he retired because he was so disillusioned in 2004...

"I'm aware of how radical the call I'm making is. I'm looking for a very different church," he told The Age.

He said the response of the church, especially the Vatican, to the sexual abuse crisis did not go deep enough. "The most profound factor about sex is that the church has had a morality for 2000 years based on offences against God and I find that quite inadequate. I ask if we should move to a morality based on relationships, on good and harm to people..."

On sexual issues, the book asks questions rather than making statements. Bishop Robinson said this was because he did not want to suggest he had the answers and because it was harder for the Vatican to condemn questions...

"The responsibility appropriate to adults must not be reduced to the obedience appropriate to children, and too often that happens in the church. I don't think God does that..."

(for the rest of the story...)

I bring your attention to this article (and to Bishop Power's article) to give a broader picture of events in the Roman Catholic Church. Here on the blog and in other forums, some of my readers have asked if anyone is listening to other voices in the church, if any other voices are speaking. Well, here are two bishops, one still active in his diocese and another retired, who are doing just that. I encouraged you to write (pro or con) to Bishop Power. Perhaps you'd like to write to Bishop Robinson, too. I couldn't find his email address but his snail-mail is: Most Rev. Geoffrey Robinson, 126 Liverpool Road, Enfield NSW 2136

The present Archbishop of Sydney is Cardinal George Pell, an internationally well-known conservative who will be host next year to Pope Benedict XVI and World Youth Day. Given the ecclesiastical climate in Sydney, I wouldn't be surprised if Bishop Robinson could use your support.

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