Geoffrey Robinson’s life was long and eventful. He was there in Rome during the Vatican Council. He witnessed the hope and the spirit of openness – and also the way that this spirit was opposed and stifled. He rose to the rank of bishop and notably spoke out about the scandal of clerical sexual abuse with insights and wisdom that were unwelcome in some sections of the hierarchy.
Here, in his last testament, he writes fearlessly about the problems facing the Catholic Church and presents his guidance about how they might be met. In his last days, he chose to write his truth: hard-hitting, yet compassionate; calling out corruption and stubborn regressiveness yet offering hope-filled solutions to the problem of how to follow Christ authentically. Towards the End of My Days is Bishop Robinson’s bequest to the Church’s whole people, a searing witness of truth from a faithful Catholic who no longer minces his words.
Loyal to his church to the end, Geoffrey Robinson has left us with the fruits of a lifetime of scholarship, reflection and service to his fellow human beings that invite the reader to consider how the Catholic Church might yet regain its moral status in our world. ‘Locked in a prison of its own making’ the church desperately needs all its members especially the laity to stand up and reshape it to reveal the face and message of Christ to a humanity burdened by self-interested institutions and leaders. Here is the vade mecum of one courageous bishop rejected by his own church.
“As the Catholic Church embarks upon a universal synodal journey that the hierarchy is already fearful of, already attempting to control, already micro-managing into disappointing dullness, we would all benefit from a reading of Bishop Geoffrey’s fearless last words, his inspired gift of a bold vademecum, a navigational instrument designed to stop us from – as he says – arguing over doctrines which are ill-fitting ideologies that can only be made to fit the facts ‘by violence’ and keep us ‘going round and round in circles and lead nowhere’. A synod with that agenda would be worth the effort, worthy even of Christ.”
– Dr Mary McAleese, President of Ireland 1997–2014