Anglican reacts to Catholic bishop's 'abusive' e-mail

A leading Anglican has complained to Melbourne's Catholic Archbishop, Denis Hart, about allegedly insulting and misogynist e-mails sent to her by one of his bishops, apparently over her views on child abuse in the Catholic Church.

Dr Muriel Porter, a specialist in church history and a women's rights advocate, received the e-mails from Bishop Mark Coleridge (pictured), who returned to Melbourne recently after almost four years in the Vatican's Secretariat of State.

On 22 August, Dr Porter wrote an article for The Age in which, she said this week, she thought she was praising the Catholic Church and particularly the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, for the way recent sex abuse allegations against Dr Pell had been handled.

But Bishop Coleridge, 53, wrote to her, saying: "For one who 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 wrote to Archbishop Hart, telling him she was "disturbed and distressed" to receive the e-mail. Her letter provoked a further e-mail from the bishop that contained what Porter contends were ugly, misogynist and abusive overtones.

Why Pell's decision is a sign of hope (The Age 22/8/02)
Who has the greater sin? (ABC Radio National Religion Report 31/7/02)
Muriel Porter (RMIT Journalism)

The Age

13 Sep 2002