College Theology Society endorses Catholic Theological Society statement on Fordham professor’s book

Leaders of the College Theology Society have endorsed a statement from the Catholic Theological Society of America in the fray over a widely used college textbook written by a Fordham University professor.

In a statement posted on the CTS website, 12 of the organization’s 14 board members said the CTSA raised widely shared concerns about the criticisms of St. Joseph Sister Elizabeth A Johnson’s book addressed by the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine.

The bishops have said the book, “Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God,” contained “misrepresentations, ambiguities and errors” related to the Catholic faith.

The CTS describes itself as a “professional society of theologians, solidly rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition and with a strong commitment to ecumenical collaboration, dedicated to teaching theology at the undergraduate level.”

Saying that its membership includes a significant number of younger faculty and graduate students in theology, the organization’s leaders said they were especially concerned about the “chilling effect” the doctrinal committee’s stance will have on younger colleagues.

“Instead of cultivating a culture of open collaboration and mutual dialogue between bishops, theologians and the people of God in the advancement of a deeper understanding of the faith, the document of the Committee on Doctrine … breeds disillusionment, fear and mistrust among younger theologians in their relation to bishops and increasing sadness and fatigue among more seasoned scholars.”

The CTS statement also said the doctrinal committee’s statement “threatens to undermine the credibility of the Catholic Church and its hierarchy” in collaborative work across faiths.

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, chairman of the doctrinal committee, explained in a follow-up statement to his fellow bishops April 18 that prelates are responsible for teaching and preserving the Catholic faith and thus are bound to respond to the work of theologians if they perceive the faith is being portrayed in error.

Helping the Japanese carry their cross

At the request of their members in Japan, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have put together a special Stations of the Cross for the healing of Japan. When you get to the link, scroll down to read the stations.

A note from Sister Leonore Coan of the congregational mission office said the sisters in the quake-stricken country “have not asked for supplies or financial donations for the people they serve. Instead, they have asked that we stand as one with them in healing prayer.”

Sister Michele Vincent Fisher, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, wrote a special text to go along with stations that include photos from the aftermath of the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

Vatican releases guest list for blogging conference

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has released the list of 150 Catholic bloggers who will be attending a one-day meeting designed as “the beginning of a dialogue” between church officials in Rome and the blogosphere.

Among the better-known English-language bloggers attending the May 2 session are Anna Arco, Elizabeth Scalia, Paolo Rodari, Rocco Palmo and Thomas Peters. Our own Carol Glatz will be participating for Catholic News Service.

The meeting is being sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Pontifical Council for Culture. Richard Rouse, who works at the council for culture, said the Vatican had to choose from more than 750 requests from would-be participants. In making the selections, they tried to ensure a broad representation.

“There are some famous bloggers and some new bloggers, some are institutional, others personal, some tell vocational stories and others comment on international news or local issues. Some are well-financed, most are run on a shoestring,” Rouse said in a statement.

While some pre-choices were made, he said, for the final selection they simply gave each blogger a number and had someone choose numbers randomly.

“I hope those not on the list will not feel excluded. The bloggers present in the room will surely keep you informed and engaged. They may even organize a livestream,” Rouse said.

The Vatican made clear — lest there was any doubt — that it will not be covering the participants’ travel expenses. And it added the kind of disclaimer one might expect from the Santa Sede: “Selection to attend does not imply Vatican approval of the contents of any of the blogs.  Neither does non-selection imply disapproval.”

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