Friday, December 30, 2011

National Catholic Reporter Names Sr. Elizabeth Johnson Person of the Year

NCR has chosen Sr. Elizabeth Johnson its 2011 person of the year.  Its editorial announcing the selection concludes,

Beneath the Johnson controversy and vision rests an undeniably broader emerging issue that all our church leaders must face honestly: the feminine/masculine specter that shadows many discussions about church authority. Arguably some of the greatest awakenings in Christian theology in the past half century have come with the advent of women theologians. Until the mid-20th century, Catholic theology, with a few notable exceptions, was a man's world, almost entirely a priest's world. Centuries of depictions of God were painted through male eyes. Long absent feminine insights accompanied women into schools of theology, where they began to study and examine God through a new lens. Sadly, these precious feminine insights still threaten some. This should not be the case. God created male and female; God created both in God's image and gave both minds to explore the divine. 
Quest for the Living God emphatically reminds us that God is engaged in our world and that Catholic theology, despite sometimes regressive pressures, remains active in our lives and in our church. Elizabeth Johnson, as theologian and signpost of the wider Catholic theological community, is, then, our NCR person of the year for 2011.

A great choice.  "God created male and female; God created both in God's image and gave both minds to explore the divine": and Catholic theology has been immeasurably enriched by the reintegration of women's perspectives into theology, though, as this editorial notes, that reintegration has not come without  tremendous resistance on the part of the (all-male, all-clerical) hierarchy.  As a wonderful, wise human being (and instant best friend) I met in the past week and I were saying while we talked of many things, the hierarchy's exercised attack on the LGBT community is only a dimension of its larger attack on women--who scare the bejesus out of the old boys who run the church.

One day we may even see Catholic publications like NCR naming an openly gay or lesbian human being the journal's person of the year.  One must dream . . . . 

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