All that one can say is that it was expected. Here are two responses to the ACBC censure of Bishop Geoffrey Robinson’s book “Confronting Sex and Power in the Church”. The first is from the author himself circulated on the Cathnews website:
Response to the Statement of the Australian Bishops
The statement of the Australian bishops is not unexpected, but it is disappointing. My book is about the response to the revelations of sexual abuse within the church. Sexual abuse is all about power and sex, so it is surely reasonable to ask questions about power and sex in the church.
In their statement, the bishops appear to be saying that, in seeking to respond to abuse, we may investigate all other factors contributing to abuse, but we may not ask questions concerning ways in which teachings, laws, and attitudes concerning power and sex within the church may have contributed.
This imposes impossible restrictions on any serious and objective study, and it is where I have broken from the Bishops Conference. We must be free to follow the argument wherever it leads.
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson
15th May 2008
The second is from a journalist, appearing in Saturday’s edition of The Age by one Juliette Hughes.
The sad, but anticipated, fact is that both these responses choose to interpret the bishops’ censure as a backhanded rejection of any attempt to deal responsibily and pastorally with the sexual abuse issue. Anyone who bothers to read the bishops’ statement carefully will note that they have rightly separated the issues. But it suits the combatants to link the tragic, shameful and scandalous issue of sexual abuse to the Church’s right and proper exercise of apostolic authority, because their true aim is, in fact, to attack the Catholic faith itself.
However, I also am not surprised to find that the first American bishop to ban Dr Robinson from speaking in his diocese is Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles. While applauding the Australian bishops for their statement, I must say that, coming from this particular bishop in this particular diocese, I can understand why Bishop Robinson and Ms Hughes might feel justified in rejecting the distinction of issues we are rightly trying to maintain. I will be more interested to see how Cardinal Sean O’Malley reacts when Bishop Robinson arrives in Boston. In the meantime, you can see how Robinson’s rebellion is being used by some on this blog here.