Retired Sydney bishop ignites bombshell

Retired Sydney Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has challenged compulsory priestly celibacy in a new book.

He argues that compulsory celibacy for priests and religious has contributed to sexual abuse, and must at least be on the table for discussion.

He said: "Some may speak all they wish of the benefits of this celibacy for the church, but others will not stop asking, 'How many abused children is celibacy worth'?"

He added that celibacy could contribute to unhealthy psychology, unhealthy ideas, and an unhealthy environment.

"Within the Catholic Church, there is a constant insistence that on all important matters Catholics must look to the Pope for guidance and direction.

"Those older values have for a thousand years included secrecy, the covering over of problems and the protection of the good name of the Church."

Bishop Robinson was a longtime member and chair of the Church's professional standards committee, established by the Australian bishops to deal with the increasing wave of complaints of sexual abuse. He resigned two years ago, disillusioned by the Church's handling of sexual abuse complaints.

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Joseph's Enfield
Archdiocese of Sydney - Bishop Geoffrey Robinson

Pope accepts retirement of Sydney bishop (CathNews, 19/7/04)
Bishop says forgiving priest abusers easier said than done (CathNews, 31/3/04)

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