Vatican panel’s document on role of theologians, bishops available here

In the new issue of Origins, the CNS documentary service, the International Theological Commission, an advisory body to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says theologians and bishops have distinct but complementary roles in teaching the Catholic faith (click here for the CNS story), but theologians ultimately must defer to the pope and bishops regarding the authentic interpretation of the faith. Titled “Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria,” the 20,000-word text looks at developments in Catholic theology since Vatican Council II and offers criteria for recognizing theology that is authentically Catholic.

You can download this edition of Origins here (.pdf). It also includes the text of Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan’s March 2 letter to U.S. bishops saying the White House has failed to consider the U.S. bishops’ concerns on the contraceptive mandate for health insurance plans.

To purchase copies of the regular print version of this edition of Origins (Vol. 41, No. 40), call (202) 541-3290.

Late Rep. Donald Payne’s Catholic connections

U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne, D-N.J., who died March 6 of colon cancer at a New Jersey hospital, was a Baptist but held many Catholic institutions in high esteem. A graduate of Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., he was the only non-Catholic among the 26-member official White House delegation to the installation of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

He also had “an amazing interest in Ireland,” according to Father Sean McManus, president of the Irish National Caucus. “I used to tell him he had been to (Northern Ireland) more often than I,” the priest told CNS after Payne’s death.

At a 1995 House hearing on the MacBride Principles, Payne said that as an African-American he could “easily identify with the Catholic minority” in Northern Ireland. Father McManus called him “a lovely man who ‘hungered and thirsted for justice’ — in America, Africa, Ireland and throughout the world.