Update: The U.S. bishops' committee for doctrine, which severely criticized a popular theology book as "undermining the gospel," is expected to discussion the author-theologian's response to their criticism when the bishops meet June 15-17 near Seattle in Bellevue, Wash., Capuchin Franciscan Fr. Thomas Weinandy, executive director of the U.S. bishops Secretariat for Doctrine told Catholic News Service June 8.
Faith & Parish
To the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Washington DC
Bishop Leonard Blair, Toledo OH
Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, Indianapolis IN
Archbishop José Gomez, Los Angeles CA
Bishop William Lori, Bridgeport CT
Bishop Robert McManus, Worcester MA
Bishop Kevin Rhoades, Fort Wayne - South Bend IN
Bishop Arthur Serratelli, Paterson NJ
Archbishop Allen Vigneron, Detroit MI
In the cover letter to the U.S. Bishops on March 30, 2011 that accompanied the Committee on Doctrine’s criticism of my book Quest for the Living God, Cardinal Donald Wuerl stated that the Committee was always open to dialogue with theologians and would welcome an opportunity to discuss my writings with me. In my one public statement on the matter, released April 1, 2011, I also expressed a willingness to dialogue over these matters.
In what appears to be a reconciliatory move by the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine towards church scholars who took issue with the committee’s sharp critique of a book by a prominent Fordham University theologian, the committee executive director has written it never meant to question the “dedication, honor, creativity, or service” of the author.
SAN FRANCISCO -- While urban Catholic schools across the country are closing or consolidating, a new state-of-the art elementary school opened yesterday (May 2) in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
One hundred students of St. Mary’s School and Chinese Catholic Center, led by their famed St. Mary’s Drum and Bell Corps, marched from their parish church to their new school, located next to the Hilton Hotel and adjacent to a 15-story low-income housing tower also built by the parish.
San Francisco’s Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy was there to meet them and bless the nine classrooms, which will have student and teacher computers and are wired for other high-tech capabilities.
The school has been at a temporary site since 1994 when the original 80-year-old buildings were determined to need high-cost renovations for earthquake safety. Instead of retrofitting the old buildings, the community, under the leadership of Paulist Father Daniel McCotter, raised funds for a new six-level school that includes a rooftop playground and a community center.
Well-informed U.S. Catholics are acutely aware of the arrogance, paternalism, flawed logic, inflammatory rhetoric, failure of personal accountability, and lack of pastoral sensitivity of many of our church leaders.
The U.S. bishops have set the tone with their continued denial of the wholesale rejection of church teaching on contraception; their clumsy, heavy-handed, ineffective attempt to influence national health care legislation; their opposition to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians; and their condemnation of the work of theologian St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson without even meeting with her.
Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia is the latest U.S. poster boy for our church’s continued failure to confront the molestation scandal.
Cardinal Raymond Burke and other shortsighted bishops continue to use the Eucharist as a sanction against public officials, and Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver tried to tell us not to vote for presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Fordham University’s Distinguished Professor of Theology, St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, stands in the dock, so to speak. Accused by an undisclosed number of individual U.S. bishops of failing to reflect clearly the church’s teaching on God in her 2007 book, Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine seconded the original accusation. There were, indeed, the doctrine committee found, serious problems with Johnson’s book on God (NCR, March 31).
I read Quest for the Living God soon after it was published. As with many of her previous works, I remembered the author’s gift for taking rather sleepy church doctrines and bringing them to life. Deeply rooted in our faith’s tradition, Johnson engaged these truths, plumbed their depths, wrestled with their mystery, and presented them afresh to her readers. Hers was not only a world-class intelligence, but a world-class imagination steeped in the church’s history, theology and spirituality. I so wanted to hear this theologian preach.
WASHINGTON The U.S. bishops' pro-life spokeswoman is disputing a new report from the Guttmacher Institute that says Catholic women -- including frequent churchgoers -- are just as likely as other women to use artificial contraception.
"The way the data is presented ... is misleading in a pretty fundamental way," Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, told Catholic News Service April 21.
The College Theology Society April 18 chimed into a growing debate between U.S. bishops and theologians, offering support to the latter in efforts to keep the frontiers of theological discussions free from new episcopal restraints.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, April 18 sent a letter to the U.S. bishops outlining a fresh relationship between them and theologians aimed at preserving authentic Catholic doctrine.
Wuerl said he acted in light of interest generated following a March 24 doctrine committee rebuke of a book by one of the nation’s most prominent theologians.
The number of people who have left the Catholic church is huge.
We all have heard stories about why people leave. Parents share stories about their children. Academics talk about their students. Everyone has a friend who has left.