Vatican critique of book confuses catechesis, theology, CTSA board says

The Vatican “inappropriately conflates the distinctive tasks of catechesis and theology” in its criticism of the 2006 book “Just Love” by Mercy Sister Margaret Farley, according to the board of directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

The board, meeting in St. Louis, said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s assertion in a June 4 notification that many of the positions taken by Sister Farley are contrary to Catholic teaching is “simply factual.”

“In our judgment, however, Professor Farley’s purpose in her book is to raise and explore questions of keen concern to the faithful of the church,” the board said in a one-page statement. “Doing so is one very legitimate way of engaging in theological inquiry that has been practiced throughout the Catholic tradition.”

“The notification risks giving the impression that there can be no constructive role in the life of the church for works of theology that 1) give voice to the experience and concerns of ordinary believers, 2) raise questions about the persuasiveness of certain official Catholic positions, and 3) offer alternative theological frameworks as potentially helpful contributions to the authentic development of doctrine,” the statement said.

The CTSA board said “faithful Catholics in every corner of the church are raising ethical questions” about the issues explored in Sister Farley’s book.

“In raising and exploring such questions with her customary sensitivity and judiciousness, Professor Farley has invited us to engage the Catholic tradition seriously and thoughtfully,” the statement added.

US Catholic

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