More on the Catholic PR Unit: Mark Coleridge (Or: Stupid Women!)

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Image source: www.cg.catholic.org.au

Mark Coleridge (pictured above), Archbishop of Brisbane, is an appointee to the Catholic Church’s PR unit charged with managing the fall-out from the Royal Commission. He has fulfilled his first purpose by appearing on the ABS-TV Panel Show “Q&A” to downplay the Catholic Church role in child sexual abuse.

Mr. Colridge is an active anti-athiest, but may be a little too cholic. The Australian newspaper ran a review, written by him, of a book by Richard Dawkin, prominent atheist, but then had to run an apology which stated “”On Saturday February 24, The Weekend Australian published a review by Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion. It as since been discovered that the Archbishop’s review contained some similar content to a review of Dawkins’ book by Terry Eagleton published in The London Review of Books in October. The Australian regrets that this occurred.”

He is a vocal opponent of female priests and same-sex civil unions, which he sees as a first step towards gay marriage. This is to be expected from a man in his position.

What is not expected is the kind of response he allegedly gave, in 2002, to a woman member of the Anglican Church in Melbourne. Dr Muriel Porter, a specialist in church history and a women’s rights advocate had written an article for the Melbourne Age newspaper on clerical abuse among other matters. She  complained to Melbourne Catholic Archbishop, Denis Hart, about e-mails she received from Mr. Colridge which she described as allegedly “insulting and misogynist” apparently over her views on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

One e-mail from Mr. Coleridge was reported as reading she “writes so frequently and with such ineffable authority about the Catholic Church, you continue to show appalling ignorance of her (the church’s) ways. Ever thought of doing a course in Catholic ecclesiology? E-mail if you’re not sure what that means.”

Dr Porter claims she wrote to Archbishop Hart, telling him she was “disturbed and distressed” to receive the e-mail. “I believe Bishop Coleridge’s e-mail to be an unnecessarily abusive communication, particularly disappointing from a bishop of the church,” she wrote. Her letter provoked another e-mail from the bishop.

According to Dr. Porter it read “I gather you have been ‘telling on me’ to the Archbishop,” he wrote. “How beautifully girlish. ‘Daddy, tell him to stop’.”

Dr Porter said the last phrase had ugly, misogynist and abusive overtones. “I find it extraordinary, particularly as I was writing about the Catholic Church and allegations of abuse by the clergy, that a Catholic bishop would write to a woman in those terms,” she said. “I am not frightened of a genuine exchange of opinion, but this is derogatory, a put-down. ‘Daddy, tell him to stop’ implies that here is a man doing nasty things to me, and appealing to an authority figure… to ask this man to stop. That has connotations… of someone in power abusing somebody.”

Dr Porter, a member of several of the Anglican Church’s synods, said she wondered if Bishop Coleridge was telling her to not comment on Catholic matters as she was not a Catholic. Reports at the time indicated that the Archbishop had not replied to Dr Porter.

Mr. Coleridge is clearly well-suited to membership of the Catholic Church PR committee.

[Postscript: Is this a new trend? Msgr. Kevin Wallin, a U.S. priest and former secretary to Cardinal Egan of New York, was arrested recently for selling at least $300,000 of crystal methamphetamine and attempting to launder the money through his “adult” stores, Land of Oz and Dorothy’s Place.]

Read more here:

TOMORROW: Yet more on the Catholic PR unit

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)

 

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