U.S. Bishops Defend Johnson Process

In the wake of criticism from the Catholic Theological Society of America, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington [pictured],  chair of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, sent a “resource” to bishops on April 18 “outlining the relationship between bishops and theologians.” Controversy has been brewing since a critique was released on March 24 of the book Quest for the Living God, by Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J. The committee charged that the work was misleading and “does not accord with authentic Catholic teaching on essential points.” The C.T.S.A. countered that the bishops had misinterpreted Sister Johnson’s book and had ignored its own policies—for instance, by not first informally discussing its concerns with her. In the resource Cardinal Wuerl said that “it is the specific competence and responsibility of bishops to teach the faith in its entirety,” citing a 1992 statement of the doctrinal committee that bishops “are to determine authoritatively the correct interpretation of the Scripture and tradition committed to the Church...and they are to judge for the Church the accuracy of the presentation of this revelation by others.”

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