Sylvester J. Kowalski, June 12, 2018
I was given the gift of Faith by The Holy Spirit when I was a young adult. My search for God took me on a difficult, multi-year pilgrimage. I had my Epiphany in somewhat the same manner as St. Paul had his on the road to Damascus. I have to emphasize that my Faith is a gift from God. Not withstanding my Faith from the time of my young adulthood, I have endeavored to read and study the works of outstanding Christian thinkers. The two major figures are Hans Kung and Bishop Francis Hodur (Prime Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church, now deceased). What I wish to discuss is a relatively new profound, Christian thinker – Bishop Geoffrey Robinson. His book, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church is a must read. Bishop Robinson was an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia, and in 1994 was assigned in an official position in regards to sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in his diocese. His book intelligently shows the complexity of the issue, and he insists that further study in the following areas are needed in order to fully understand the root cause of Catholic clergy sexual abuse of children: (a) the clergy live in “An Unhealthy Psychological State”; (b) “Unhealthy Ideas Concerning Power and Sexuality” exists in the autocratic Catholic hierarchy’s dominant beliefs, dogmas, practices, etc.: and, (c) the Catholic clergy live in “An Unhealthy Environment of Community”.
Bishop Robinson worked on this sexual abuse tragedy for about 10 years, and experienced a great deal of emotional and psychological stress in dealing with the uncovered issues. But the most difficult point was when he came under attack by the Vatican regarding his work. I quote from his book: “When in front of several journalist’s at a public meeting, I answered a victim’s question by saying I was not happy with the level of support we were receiving from ‘Rome’, I received an official letter (7 August 1996) expressing ‘the ongoing concern of the Congregation for Bishops that you had in recent months expressed views that are seriously critical of the magisterial teaching and discipline of the Church”. In addition Bishop Robinson was told that these issues disturbed the Pope. Two months later, he received notification that all relevant documents that he was involved with relative to his sexual abuse duties were to be forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (The Inquisition.). Bishop Robinson’s conclusion was that the Vatican was “implying that I was suspected of some form of heresy”. So, we can forget that the Pope and the Vatican are Christ-like in their actions. Both are perfect examples of the anti-Christ, and the evil that resides in the Catholic hierarchy. The end result of all this (and, likely more), Bishop Robinson resigned, later wrote his book relating to power and sexuality in the Catholic Church. His book devotes most of its pages at looking at the wider Catholic church issues that were instrumental in both the Catholic clergy sex abuse and the cover-up by the Catholic hierarchy.
The titles of the first three chapters shows the profound thinking of Bishop Robinson: Chapter 1. Healthy People in a Health Relationship with a Healthy God: Chapter 2. The Two Books of God; and, Chapter 3. Spiritual Discernment. This book provides an outline with specifics for the re-assesment of the present state of the Catholic Church and, at least, a starting point for rethinking what a Christ-like church should like and act.
x God, Christ and Faith