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Elizabeth Johnson responds to Committee on Doctrine

Elizabeth Johnson responds to Committee on Doctrine

From Commonweal Magazine:

NCR has obtained a copy of Johnson’s 38-page reply to the USCCB Committee on Doctrine, whose statement [.pdf] on her Quest for the Living God claimed the book “contaminates the traditional Catholic understanding of God” and “completely undermines the gospel.”


Johnson’s response is here:

Johnson herself offers a nice summary of the committee’s errors:

Given these initial misreadings, what follows was almost bound to miss the mark. Ideas are taken out of context and twisted to mean what they patently do not mean. Sentences are run to a conclusion far from what I think or the text says. False dilemmas are composed. Numerous omissions, distortions, and outright misstatements of fact riddle the reading. As a work of theology, Quest for the Living God was thoroughly misunderstood and consistently misrepresented in the committee’s statement. As a result, the statement’s judgment that Quest does not cohere with Catholic teaching is less than compelling. It hangs in the air, untethered by the text of the book itself.

Johnson begins by noting that the Committee on Doctrine seems to misunderstand what Quest for the Living God is–namely, a work of theology, not catechesis. “Theological research does not simply reiterate received doctrinal formulas but probes and interprets them in order to deepen understanding. To to this well, theology throughout history has articulated faith in different thought forms, images, and linguistic expressions. Its work employs all manner of methods and ideas taken from other disciplines in order to shed light on the meaning of faith.”

Read more from Commonweal here and from National Catholic Reporter here.

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