Wednesday, August 17, 2011

U.S. Catholic Bishops' Doctrinal Official Attacks Theologians As Curse and Affliction

Fr. Thomas Weinandy

Plus ça change: the recent attack of Fr. Thomas Weinandy, executive director of the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Doctrine, on (some) theologians as a "curse and affliction upon the church," reminds me exactly of the similar attack on Sr. Elizabeth Johnson that took place when I was teaching theology at Belmont Abbey College in 1993, about which I report here.  Weinandy was the point man for the U.S. bishops' attack on Elizabeth Johnson this past March.

Same embattled male clerics furiously angry that their club is being invaded by women and lay theologians; same determination to assert control by suppressing valid theological conversation; same tired charges and overheated rhetoric about infidelity, departure from the truth, damage to the church, etc.  It's all about control, and the sense that the elite, all-male clerical club is losing control of "the" truth as women and lay theologians increasingly dominate the theological academy.

The only folks damaging the church in these repeated, and now very stale, attacks on women theologians and lay theologians are, to my mind, the inhabitants of the clerical club, who have chosen to equate the church and its future with themselves: l'état, c'est moi.

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