Saturday, July 19, 2008
"CONFRONTING POWER AND SEX IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH"
by Bishop Geoffrey Robinson
The fourteenth and last chapter of the book is somewhat anti-climactic after the astonishing proposals in chapter thirteen. Nevertheless, there are a few comments worthy of blogging.
It is not enough that people should have a voice in such matters as determining the essential beliefs of the church, passing laws and electing officials. It is also necessary that those who serve the community in positions of authority should at all times think of themselves as accountable to the people they serve.(p. 290)
During the second millennium many bishops adopted clothes and ornaments that spoke of power and riches. I do not believe we have yet gone far enough in abandoning this trend. The church could start by consigning the mitre to the dustbin of history....After the mitre I would want bishops to look at pectoral crosses, pastoral staffs and rings made of expensive materials....
There is a need for neat and distinctive but modern attire, e.g. a tie that identifies a priest. (pp 292-293)
The Catholic Church is seen as immensely wealthy. There is much that is mistaken in the accusations made, for the wealth is largely in the land on which churches, schools and hospitals are built...It is simple fact that the wealth of the church is a significant factor in preventing people from seeing the person of Jesus. (p. 298)
Is he actually committing to the position that churches, schools and hospitals should be abandoned in order to foster the faith? Is he rational?
Many people in the church speak as though everything that happens in the church must be explained solely in terms of the church....They have been influenced by the effects of the Industrial Revolution and the reaction against the sense of alienation that it caused. In our own day, they have been influenced in a thousand different ways by the New Age movement. This movement is not 'out there' somewhere; it is also alive and well within the church.(pp 300-301)
After reading the book my conclusion is that while there are several points on which I am in agreement with Robinson, if he had his way and reformed the Church to suit his opinions, there would be no Church left and it would not be the mitres that were consigned to the dustbin, it would be the Roman Catholic faith itself.
When even the liberal Cardinal Mahony finds this bishop anathema, how can anyone take him seriously. And yet I suspect he has a block of supporters firmly entrenched within the Church.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!