Vatican and US Bishops sharply criticize books by US faculty who are nuns
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:
- New York Times coverage
- National Catholic Reporter news coverage
- Analysis of the Notification
- Book review of Just Love
- Another book review of Just Love
- Academic reaction to the censure
- Margaret Farley’s reaction
- Reaction by Patricia McDermott (President of Sisters of Mercy of America)
- Reaction by James Martin (Culture Editor of America magazine)
- Column by Jamie Manson
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.