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Bishop Geoffrey Robinson: Total Re-examination Of Catholic Faith, Culture Needed

While I do not share the same conclusions as the Bishop has, his argument calling for a re-examination of Catholic doctrine does have some merit. Much has changed in the world since the 1960's. An argument can be made that both Church and society would benefit from the exchange.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson: Total Re-examination Of Catholic Faith, Culture Needed


  1. I note that all of those whose names are associated with the bishop's visit through parts of the States are not exactly in 'good standing' theologically with the church.The bishop himself has been drummed out of a number of places.I see nothing in his remarks with which I could agree but I would say that Catholic doctrine is inviolate but its application in individual cases is always under the microscope

  2. Saturn: Agreed. But you cannot deny that there is a profound disconnect that has happened between what the Church teaches and what people believe. This runs across all levels, dogmatically, morally and culturally. The Church and the people are not speaking the same language. We are defining our realities using a different narrative and people are rejecting what the Church is offering.

    Vatican II was intended as an exercise of finding new ways of expressing ancient truths; returning to the sources of our dogma (ressourcement) to bring them into a new age (aggornimento). While I question +Robinson's agenda, I think that he is right in saying the Church would benefit from the process - if we faithfully keep to the two same goals. Orthodoxy has nothing to fear from the exchange. If 2000 years of faithful existence has proven anything, it's that it need not fear that conversation in any age.

    I'm old enough to remember to a time before Vatican II. I grew up during the turbulent 60's with change being the only constant in life. These times of the 21st millennium bear little resemblence to the culture of that first stepped forth to the mantra of 'sex, drugs and rock and roll.' Today's societies, with their secular imperative and wired cultures, present a challenge that equals the invention of the printing press or the advent of the omni-present media culture of the 20th century. It may not require an entire council to come up with arguments that will resonnate in the hearts of people today, but what we are doing now is not working. It's time to try something else. As I said above, orthodoxy has nothing to fear in the updating - if it's done right.

    Fr. Tim

    1. 1 abandoned sheep02 April, 2012

      Father, the best teaching of the Catholic Church has always been the way the adherents lived the Faith ! The preaching at most Sunday Masses now is so banal, it could easily be thrown in the garbage.
      Also, most Catholics are not witnesses to how the clergy live the GOSPEL each day !
      Walking the talk, when it is the TRUTH, is the best teacher there is.
      We lead by example, not by hollow words.
      I once heard a Priest say he had no desire to be a martyr. How disgusting. He would not be willing to die if that was GOD 'S Will.

    2. Sheep: First off, some of the earliest saints were men and women who tried to avoid martyrdom. St. Polycarp's writing that Clement of Alexandria was unreasonably happy at the prospect of his impending martyrdom. He moved further and further into the desert to avoid the same fate - even if he was unsuccessful in the end. So, I wouldn't be too quick to condemn that priest.

      You are however pointing to evidence that I think makes my case for me. Clearly the doctrines of the Church are not being faithfully taught or preached today. If the situation does not change direction, we are headed for annihilation in the Western cultures as a functioning church. I am not so willing to embrace the 'orthodox remnant' narrative for the faith yet.

      Do the clergy need to be renewed? Yes. That was the case prior to Vatican II. The same is true today. As I write, it may not require an Ecumenical Council - but changes need to be undertaken before the Church as a viable institution collapses in the West.

      Fr. Tim

    3. One more point. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with the teachings. I am questioning the manner in which these teaches are transmitted, contemplated, and accepted (or not) by the greater world as possessing a wisdom worth heeding.

      Fr. Tim

    4. You have said in a nutshell what I was trying to say above. I would agree with the cardinal in Rome, I believe, who said that homilies ought to be cancelled for at least a year so that homilists learn the 'how' of it.Just last Sunday the homilists went on for about 9-10 minutes about what I could not ascertain...a priest friend of mine Stateside says 5-7 is best...then it's got to be reworked and pondered over during the week.One homilist in my area goes on for half an hour to 40 minutes on many occasions.The church there is emptying.

    5. 1 abandoned sheep02 April, 2012

      Father, s further point on the lack of adequate teaching in the Church.
      Far to often I have heard Priests, young and old, say--As the story goes- and then goes on to talk about something from Scripture. This always diminishes the importance of the message. People, especially the youger ones, OH ! it is JUST a story--- to illustrate or whatever rationalizing we might use.
      I witnessed a Priest actually cry one day when he raised Our Lord in the Host at the time of Consecration. He then struggled with the Consecration of the wine into The Blood ! I had the alarming thought-- he does NOT believe in the Consecration, and he just had it confirmed in some manner. Within about 16 months he left the Priesthood and is now a Lawyer.
      My point, I guess, is- why do men become a Priest when they do NOT believe the full teachings of the Magesterium of the Church?
      Unfortunately, in my more than 76 years I have come to witness many Priests who fit this category.
      I have known more than 100 Priests, and served Mass until I was 21. Then waited until I served Mass everywhere we had Mass in the Holyland on a Pilgrimage in 2000.

    6. I have always had great admiration and respect for Maryknoll. The selfless missionary work often at risk and cost to their lives and principled unyielding stands on social justice issues for those most oppressed and suffering among us in the World.

      One of their greatest priests is Father Roy. He has been excommunicated publicly by the Pope. Maryknoll has been told they must laicize him. It's been two years and they haven't done it. I agree with the actions of Father Roy that caused him excommunication. I support Maryknoll, it's missionary work, crusades for social justice and call for democratization of the church with full participation available to women.

      Many highly elevated religious say that you can no longer be a Catholic if you believe in these established, traditional ways of the Catholic worker movement. If Maryknoll, the Jesuits, the majority of the remaining Sisters and so many others leave the Church, then I will go with them gladly. Until then, I will disagree with the pope and his cardinals on many issues. The church is a big institution with broad shoulders. If the pope and his old boys can't live with the large, multi faceted, living organism that is the true church in an evolving World, maybe it is they that should leave the church and seek a secluded hermitage where they can lie prostrate, drown out the reality civilization with their rote chanting and mortification of the flesh, there to await the return of a Jesus who apparently doesn't live and walk with us always to this very day and all eternity.

    7. 1 abandoned sheep02 April, 2012

      Anony: You really thought Vatican 2 gave you the freedom you sought, did you not?
      Just another follower of the deceptors, be they from France, or right here among the dissident nuns, and others who wanted the Latin language reinstated. The nuns of course just wanted freedom from their vows and the restrictions living in Community imposed upon them. They could feel free to be Lesbians, now, or just whatever they wanted. Maryknoll was also famous for that lifestyle.
      Do you enjoy truth or just mocking it ?

    8. Sheepess:

      Why is it such a big scandal in the extremist, reactionary Catholic community that a lot of nuns choose to live openly s lesbians but they don't seem to mind at all the fact that larger percentagess of priests are closeted but sexually active homosexuals. Here in North America that large numbers of priests died of AIDs in the mid 80s to 90s because of promiscuious sexual activity was covered up. They ignore when even the most prominent bishops and cardinals are glaringly effeminite in speech and manner. They often have discrete, live in life partners.

      I like the fact that the Sisters have the courage to be open about it. So much more healthy and less nefarious.

      Some Catholics are liberal, some conservative. These are socio political discriptors. What do they have to do with religion or a person's relationship with Jesus? Catholics are allowed to have political views, clergy and laity alike. They are allowed to speak to and espouse those views. No one should be decried as a bad Catholic because of their social or political views.

    9. Anonymous: The adjectives you're using to frame the issue are inappropriate. It's not a question of conservative or liberal, it's an issue of orthodox and faithful or not. To claim to be in a personal relationship with Jesus without forming our lives and loves in accordance with his teaching is akin to claiming to be in a relationship but you refuse to promise to be faithful to your partner. It's not the responsibility of God to alter his teachings to accommodate us. Rather, it's our obligation to form our lives in accordance with his express will.

      If one doesn't believe in God, this is a difference that doesn't matter. However if one is a believer and member of a particular communion, it's the difference between salvation and damnation.

      NO ONE is forced to belong to the Church. All our doors have locks only to keep people out. That a community of religious contains individuals of alternate sexualities is irrelevant because it's not an issue in sexuality... it's a question of fidelity to promises and covenants freely made and entered. The community has a BIG problem if they officially sanction or permit its members to violate their vows of celibacy, chastity and obedience. Such a community, if it does not reform its ways should be suppressed and close as Catholic institutions.

      Fr. Tim

      Fr. Tim

    10. 1 abandoned sheep03 April, 2012

      Father, I think if you do a search on Maryknoll, you will find there has been a great deal done to stop any confusion about the Maryknoll Groups. They are NOT Catholic anymore- many convents and priests left or were forced out of the Catholic Church just a few years ago.

      The so-called liberal agenda they had developed, was actually exposed as outright rebellion.


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