Johnson Honored by Women Religious

Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J. (CNS photo/courtesy Fordham University)

Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., a theology professor at Fordham University, was given the top award of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious’ on Aug. 15 during its national assembly in Nashville, Tenn. During her acceptance speech, she strongly criticized the U.S. bishops for their formal critique of her book Quest for the Living God. “To this day, no one, not myself or the theological community, the media or the general public knows what doctrinal issue is at stake,” she told about 900 sisters, delegates of 80 percent of the nation’s nuns. Johnson also criticized the ongoing investigation of the L.C.W.R. itself. In 2012 the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered the nuns’ group to reform its statutes and appointed Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle to oversee changes, including a rewriting of the group’s charter, and to approve of all speakers at future assemblies. Johnson stated that “the waste of time on this investigation is unconscionable,” while commending the L.C.W.R. for its charitable response: “To a polarized church and a world racked by violence, your willingness to stay at the table seeking reconciliation through truthful, courageous conversation has given powerful witness.” 

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Frank Bergen
4 years 4 months ago
Would all American bishops who have read Quest for the Living God please raise their right hands? Would all who can cite suspect passages please step forward? Would all whose academic theological credentials qualify them as peer reviewers of Dr. Johnson's work take a a seat at a desk and begin writing their reviews?
Darren Szwajkowski
4 years 4 months ago
This article only proves this website is not a faithful witness to the Church that Jesus Christ established. To be Catholic is to have holy obedience to Holy Mother Church. Dear Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, if you do not know what doctrinal errors are in your book, then obviously you have not read articles on your heretical book. You do not want to read them because it will tell you what you do not want to hear and what you, in your obvious biases, will disregard anyway. To answer the one person's comments about who has read the book. I have not and I wonder if he has. But here is the Bishop's entire response rebuking this book called "Quest for the Living God". I wonder if he will read all 21 pages. I doubt it. 1 24 March 2011 STATEMENT ON QUEST FOR THE LIVING GOD: MAPPING FRONTIERS IN THE THEOLOGY OF GOD, BY SISTER ELIZABETH A. JOHNSON Committee on Doctrine United States Conference of Catholic Bishops The Committee on Doctrine of the USCCB has undertaken an examination and evaluation of the book Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God (Continuum, 2007) by Sister Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., a professor at Fordham University. The Committee has concluded that this book contains misrepresentations, ambiguities, and errors that bear upon the faith of the Catholic Church as found in Sacred Scripture, and as it is authentically taught by the Church’s universal magisterium. Because this book by a prominent Catholic theologian is written not for specialists in theology but for "a broad audience" (2), the Committee on Doctrine felt obliged, as part of its pastoral ministry, to note these misrepresentations, ambiguities, and errors. The annual LCWR conference occurs each August. This year, we await further reaction to the Vatican rebuke, as well as the acceptance speech by Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J. — a theologian whom the U.S. bishops have criticized for serious doctrinal errors — for her “Outstanding Leadership Award.” While stating, in reference to the notification from Rome, that “criticism clarifies and humbles,” Janet Mock, C.S.J., says the LCWR is a “microcosm of women in the church.” Really? Does their heterodoxy serve people, the Church, or her mission to save souls? Or does it cause implosion? Many orders represented by the LCWR are dying for lack of vocations. Mother Assumpta Long, O.P., foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the other hand, attracts droves of young women who take up veils and long habits and are committed to traditional apostolates like teaching and nursing. Meanwhile, Sr. Joan Chittister, O.S.B., proudly announced on CNN in 2012 that highly educated, modern sisters no longer do such antiquated things. Tenured radicals, indeed! It's sad that people claim to be Catholic and publicly rebuke the Church that they claim to hold faith to. I may sin but at least I understand what my sins are. Our Lady of Snows, pray for us.
Bruce Snowden
4 years 4 months ago
I like Sister Elizabeth Johnson's Church-oriented theology, especially its speculative inroads enlightening to the Church, for indeed is not the Church all about "Enlightenment?" I don't remember if it was Scotus or Bonaventure who speculatively theologized on the origin of Hell saying that, the creation of Hell was actually an act of Divine Mercy as it would have been "a greater hell" for the rebellious angels to remain in the presence of God after the Fall, than to be cast out, so vengeful had their hatred of God become! Theologian Johnson is in good Company. However some in "high places" in our Church have serious questions about Sister Johnson's full fidelity to the Magesterium. I think they are needlessly fearful, as she is a faithful daughter and teacher of the Church. Surely Faith-fideilty is broad shouldered enough to allow ample theological wriggle-room without ecclesial paranoia. However,maybe as a clue-in as to Magesterial super-cautiousness, check out "Illustrissimi Letters From PopeJohn Paul I" page 233 forward.Interesting stuff, particularly towards women, some clearly justifiable. But God bless Sister Elizabeth Johnson, for her service to the Church in good Faith. The Spirit of God moves where it wills!


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