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Vatican and US Bishops sharply criticize books by US faculty who are nuns

June 4, 2012

In 2011, the US Bishops sharply criticized Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God.  Elizabeth Johnson is a nun (C.S.J.) and a professor at Fordham.  In a contentious back and forth after the censure, the Committee on Doctrine of the US Catholic Bishops Conference wrote:

The book […] clearly advocates the replacement of traditional masculine language in certain unspecified, but evidently important, contexts.  The problem is that there is no recognition of the central role that the names of “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy spirit” play in the divine revelation given to us about the relationship of the three Persons of the Trinity.[…]  The concern of the Committee was […] the insinuation that traditional language based on divine revelation, such as “Father,” obscures the truth about God.  Certain language belongs to the deposit of divine revelation and may not be replaced, even if human reason might find some indication that to do so might be socially useful.

Today, the Vatican released a Notification severely criticizing Margaret Farley’s Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics (winner of Grawemeyer Award). Margaret Farley is a nun (R.S.M.) and a professor at Yale.

Some news links:

Ironically, the publisher of both books is Continuum, which is using the criticism as an opportunity to promote the books.  As of this afternoon, Just Love, is back ordered for 1-3 weeks from Amazon.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 5, 2012 9:42 pm

    From Washington Post:

    Wow, that’s some powerful PR.

    Twenty-four hours ago news broke that the Vatican had condemned the book “Just Love:A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” a publication by a prominent nun-theologian that disagrees with church teaching on same-sex marriage, masturbation and remarrying after divorce. Monday morning, the book’s reported ranking on Amazon: 142,982

    Tuesday afternoon, after a day of furious news coverage of the Vatican censure: It’s at #16.

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