CNS headlines its Friday with another episode in the ongoing and seemingly endless tussle between bishops and theologians.
At some point, players and spectators alike are going to tire of this. Which inning are we playing? Who said what? Who’s pitching now? Who’s on third?
(The USCCB committee) takes sentences and, despite my written clarifications to the contrary, makes them conclude to positions that I have not taken and would never take. The committee’s reading projects meanings, discovers insinuations, and otherwise distorts the text so that in some instances I do not recognize the book I wrote. This October statement paints an incorrect picture of the fundamental line of thought the book develops.
This happens quite often in politics these days. Also in the Church. People in an adversarial situation engage in caricature, and at times seem more than willing to think the worst of a person.
Cardinal Wuerl, for his part, seems willing to meet.
I reiterate my offer as chairman of the doctrine committee to meet with Sister Johnson. As a woman religious and theologian, she is a valued member of the church. Her goal of helping people come to an even better understanding of who God is, is a goal we share.
One would think this is important enough for a face-to-face meeting. Until that happens–an event both sides have publicly stated they are willing to do–it would seem that continuing rounds of misunderstanding themselves do harm to the teaching ministry of the Church. People in conflict speak of shared goals. It seems this would require a mediator to break through the deadlock.
Enough of public statements. The bishops can’t stop this book from being printed, sold, read, and discussed–no matter what they say about it. Their insistence is likely to make Professor Johnson’s publisher quite happy for the bottom line. And traditionalists in the cheering section are happy whenever men take on women in the Church. That’s not likely to change. Nothing changes, and nobody’s being convinced.
So again I ask: why are we continuing to see this play out in the public sphere?