The ongoing public saga between Cardinal Wuerl of Washington DC who heads the doctrine committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Sister Elizabeth Johnson has reached a new level of engagement.Sr. Johnson has accused Cardinal Wuerl of lying about the hierarchy’s review of her work.
Wuerl on Saturday charged that Johnson failed to respond to three offers to meet with him to discuss the dispute. Johnson responded by saying she was “aghast” at how Wuerl depicted the deteriorating relationship, and said Wuerl should retract the statement “for the sake of your own reputation for truth-telling, and for the good of the church.”
A spokeswoman for the USCCB, which has handled the communications for Wuerl and the doctrine committee, said the cardinal would have no further statement.
The correspondence between Wuerl and Johnson was posted Monday at the blog of Commonweal magazine, a leading liberal Catholic publication.
The tension between the Catholic Bishops, and the Sense of the Faithful/theologians appears to be escalating not only in the US , Australian, Canadian, and the South and Central American Church. The Irish Church is locked in an internal civil war that is reflective of what is happening in Western Europe. The Church’s conservative leadership appears to be unable to halt the gathering storm. Their preoccupation with liturgical norms seems to indicate a dysfunctional Papacy.
This rare public exchange has lasted for over a month and further highlights the tension between USCCB and theologians.
It began last March when Wuerl’s nine-member doctrine committee released a sweeping critique of Johnson’s book, “Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God.”
The condemnation stunned theologians and Johnson, a professor of systematic theology at Fordham University in New York, in part because the book had been so well received since its publication in 2007 and also because Johnson was given no notice about the investigation.
The hierarchy’s own guidelines call for open dialogue with theologians whose work may be suspect before pronouncements are issued. But USCCB officials said in March that the popularity of Johnson’s book demanded immediate action, and that the yearlong review of her work had to be conducted in secret.
One of the additional issues for Cardinal Wuerl is his sexual orientation, and the rumors that surround his denials. He is beginning to sound like presidential candidate Herman Cain with his denials of sexual misconduct.
The calls for reform, and ethical behavioral modification among our bishops just seem to be getting louder and contrary to the Bishops hopes does not appear to be going away anytime soon.
Rainbow Sash Movement
Rainbow Sash Movement