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Friday, August 11, 2006

The separation of Church and academy continues apace.

To my knowledge, the only current member of the Catholic Theological Society of America whose books sit on my shelf is Scott Hahn.

For quite a while now, I've thought that was just as well. Once again, that opinion has been thoroughly vindicated.

[Update: Don't take my word for it--consider this inspired bit of woodshedding by Avery Cardinal Dulles, as recorded in a March 1998 issue of Commonweal:

My own conclusion (not, I hope, a purely individual or unreflective one!) is that the 1997 convention of the CTSA confirms the presence of severe fault lines in contemporary American Catholicism, especially in the theological community. The CTSA, apparently driven by an urge for theological self-assertion against hierarchical authority, widens the gap and constitutes a kind of alternative magisterium for dissatisfied Catholics. It tends to impose an orthodoxy of its own. Graduate students who hope to find university teaching positions, and younger faculty seeking promotion and tenure, feel almost compelled to attend the CTSA and to refrain from vocal criticism.

Theologians are faced with a drastic choice: whether to follow the directions represented by the CTSA or to adhere to the tradition as taught by the popes and councils. Church authorities are faced with a similar choice. Can they recognize the CTSA as Catholic? Can anything be done to clarify or restore its Catholic character? Or must some new theological agency, more committed to Catholic principles, be established?]

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