The Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Mark Coleridge, in his claimsof misperceptions about the sexual abuse of children within theCatholic Church (Letters, August 27) shows the same intransigence as isdocumented in Geoffrey Robertson's book. He talks of well-worn anddistracting misperceptions but does not say why they are misperceptionswhen most of us would consider them to be self-evident truths.
Celibacy as a major cause of sexual abuse within the Church would seemto be a " no brainer", particularly when it is highlighted by aCatholic bishop with the dedication, experience and courage ofRobertson.
Sexual abuse was a fact of life in the Christian Brothers school Iattended in the 1950s but was, sadly, never properly dealt with becauseof attitudes which still resonate. Coleridge's letter actually putssexual abuse of children by the clergy in the context of a generalsocial problem and not as a specific problem in the Church.
The letter from Coleridge lacks sensitivity and common sense, and willleave a sinking feeling of terrible deja vu among many in his diocese.
Michael Coghlan, Campbell
Mark Coleridge has sinned again. I think it may be the same sin, tooarrogance. The sin has sprung from the same source literary criticism.His famous plagiarism in The Australian review of The Atheist Manifestowas self-excused tedious book, there was something good on TV, notenough time to review, etc.
I think the new sin tops the old.
His letter (Letters, August 27) begins "I have not yet read BishopGeoffrey Robinson's book ..." This salient detail doesn't prevent himfrom enumerating five "well-worn and distracting misperceptions" in thebook , Confronting Sex and Power in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming theSpirit of Jesus.
It may be time for Coleridge to crack his crosier and mash his mitre.
Peter Robinson, AinslieContrary to Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, papalauthority has not gone far enough. This is evident in his unchecked,rebellious, and public attacks on church teachings which denouncecelibacy and which champion permissive sex acts.
His empty dialectic which can be found in his latest book of blasphemyoffers nothing new. In fact it is a retreat to the days of Sodom andGommorah where individuals lusted for personal power and renouncedmoral authority and obedience to the covenant as a straitjacket.
If Robinson is unhappy with Catholic doctrine, rather than remain ahypocrite in the Church, he is free to leave and start his owndenomination as did Luther and the several other malcontents whosepersonal egos could not bear to hear the truth.
Paul Kokoski, Ontario, CanadaColeridge (Letters, August 27 ) launchesinto a defence of the Catholic Church by attacking what he callssuggested misperceptions in Robinson's book.
Is the Catholic Church monolithic?
Perhaps not entirely, but the Pope does claim infallibility on mattersof faith and morals, and has responded in a quasi-monolithic way toRobinson through the Vatican's Congregation of Bishops and theCongregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Is clerical and religious celibacy a major cause of sexual abuse in theCatholic Church? Maybe, maybe not, but has a comprehensive independentstudy of this issue been conducted by the Church? Is the Church'sculture of forgiveness an aggravating factor? Perhaps it is, as manypriests were simply moved to other parishes after forgiveness. However,forgiveness does not address the issues and consequences attached to asin after the sin itself has been forgiven.
Yes, sexual abuse is not unique to the Catholic Church, but that doesnot mean it can be dismissed as a generic social problem.
No doubt the Catholic Church is addressing the problem, but it is clearRobinson, who was intimately involved in the Church's response, saw itas inadequate, and that's the issue.
Coleridge's line of attack on Robinson's book, with minimal referenceto the problem at hand, is symptomatic of the Church's priority todefend the magisterial teaching and discipline of the Church at allcost.
Adrian van Leest, Campbell
for a listing of alternate locations.