Beyond Tradition

   - Envisioning a New Sexual Ethic

   - Bishop Geoffrey Robinson

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson's presentation on sexual morality is a critical examination of the Catholic Church's traditional teachings on the subject, especially in light of the sexual abuse crisis within the Church. He challenges the assertion that every sexual act must be both unitive and procreative to align with God's will, highlighting that this perspective fails to consider the full complexity of human relationships and the individual circumstances that affect moral decisions.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson critiques the notion that sexual sin is a direct offense against God, a view which he believes has led to the Church giving sexual morality an exaggerated importance and has contributed to the mishandling of sexual abuse cases. He points out the inconsistency in the Church’s emphasis on the physical acts of sex over their impact on people and relationships.

The bishop advocates for a new ethic that focuses on the harm or good that sexual actions cause to individuals, emphasizing the importance of love, respect, and genuine desire for the other person's well-being. He suggests that sexual pleasure is morally neutral, and it's the context that determines its moral value.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson's proposes moving towards a Christian sexual ethic that respects relationships and prioritizes loving one's neighbor. He also addresses complex issues like premarital sex, masturbation, and homosexual unions, calling for a more nuanced and compassionate approach that recognizes the dignity and rights of all individuals.

He concludes by stressing personal responsibility and the need for a middle ground in the Church's teaching on sexual morality, one that can be accepted by both the Church community and the wider society. He expresses skepticism about the Church returning to its current hierarchical teachings on sexuality and advocates for a collective movement towards a more understanding and humane approach.

Presentation Sections:
    Introduction to the Crisis
  1. 'Awakening to Abuse: The Catholic Crisis Unveiled'
  2. 'The Church's Response: Protection or Peril?'

    Systemic Challenges
  3. 'Understanding the Systemic Nature of Abuse in the Church'
  4. 'The First Reactions: Defense Over Repentance'

    The Church's Self-Reflection
  5. 'Inward Reflection: The Church Questions Itself'
  6. 'Systemic Realities: The Underpinnings of Abuse'

    Robinson's Personal Journey and Credentials
  7. 'From Canon Law to Care: Bishop Robinson’s Journey'
  8. 'The Path Towards Healing: Development of 'Towards Healing''

    Addressing Sexual Morality
  9. 'The Dual Purpose of Sex: Unity and Procreation Challenged'
  10. 'Questioning the Church's Stance on Sexual Acts'
  11. 'Reframing Sin: From Direct Offense to Interpersonal Harm'

    Towards a New Ethic
  12. 'A Call for a New Sexual Ethic: Harm, Persons, and Relationships'
  13. 'Jesus and Sexual Morality: A Gospel-Centered Approach'
  14. 'The Middle Ground: Balancing Tradition with Modernity'

    Complex Issues and the Call for Personal Responsibility
  15. 'Addressing Adultery, Premarital Sex, and Masturbation'
  16. 'Homosexuality and the Church: Seeking Understanding'
  17. 'Personal Responsibility: The Keystone of Moral Growth'

  18. 'The Way Forward: Bridging Divides and Embracing Sensitivity'

Questions for further reflection and discussion
  1. Reconciling Doctrine with Human Experience: How can the Church reconcile its traditional teachings on sexual morality with the lived experiences and challenges faced by its followers in contemporary society?
  2. The Impact of Hierarchical Teachings: In what ways have the hierarchical teachings of the Church on sexual matters affected individuals and communities, and what steps can be taken to address any negative impacts while maintaining the Church's core values?
  3. Moving Towards a Middle Ground: Bishop Robinson suggests a need for a middle ground in the Church's approach to sexual ethics. What might this middle ground look like, and how can it respect both the Church's teachings and the personal conscience of its members?

While listening to the songs, reflect on the questions above.

Song - Wait For Me - Rebecca St. James

Song - Love Song by Third Day

Song - Sanctus Real - Lead Me

Final Prayer

Dear Loving God,

As we reflect upon the profound insights shared by Bishop Geoffrey Robinson on the delicate subject of sexual morality, we come before You seeking guidance and wisdom. Help us, O Lord, to navigate the complexities of this topic with compassion, understanding, and a deep respect for the dignity of every person.

We pray for the courage to confront the shadows within Your Church and within our own hearts. Give us the strength to acknowledge past failings and the resolve to move forward with healing and renewal. May we be instruments of Your love, bringing comfort to those who have been hurt and offering hope for a future founded on truth and justice.

Enlighten us, Divine Teacher, so that we may discern Your will in the midst of challenging ethical questions. Grant us the humility to listen to the experiences and voices of all Your children, especially those who have felt marginalized and misunderstood.

Inspire our Church leaders and all members of the Christian community to foster a sexual ethic that honors the sacredness of human intimacy, celebrates genuine love, and reflects the Gospel values taught by Your Son, Jesus Christ. May we embrace a middle path that is neither rigid nor permissive but is rooted in the call to love one another as You have loved us.

As we conclude our contemplation on these matters, we ask for Your grace to be present in our ongoing conversations and deliberations. May our discussions not only lead to intellectual understanding but also to a conversion of heart that seeks to embody Your compassion and mercy in all our relationships.

We place all our hopes and intentions in Your caring hands, trusting that You will guide us towards a community of faith that upholds the sanctity of every individual and the holy gift of our sexuality.

In Your Holy Name, we pray,


For more information click here......


Add to Conversation


Rating for July

Please click to rate 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down'...

20 January 2024

Tag 1
Human Sexuality

Tag 2

Tag 3

Source Name
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson

Source URL


Listen to the audio by clicking play.

Click the RED thumbs up above.

Share this page by clicking the SOCIAL media icon below.

(Print Page)

Page Counter
29 visitors this month.

Marist Laity Australia - Home Page