Cheers for the U.S. federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph for their public show of support for their sister Elizabeth Johnson!
Elizabeth Johnson is an internationally known theologian and a professor at Fordham University. She has done a great deal of work in the area of feminist theology. Recently, her 2007 book Quest for the Living God came under fire by the Doctrine Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The nine-member group of bishops said, among other things, that the book failed to reflect the teaching of the magisterium. Johnson responded, saying in part that the bishops had seriously misinterpreted the book. Maybe that could have been avoided had the committee initially contacted Johnson to talk things over, a measure that’s included in committee’s own guidelines.
When the 900-member U.S. federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph gathered last week, it issued a corporate statement of support for Johnson. Around the same time, the Catholic Theological Society of America also publicly supported Johnson!
There are lots of issues involved in this matter – too many to address in detail here. And the situation continues to unfold.
To the Sisters of St. Joseph – way to go!! Standing together in regard to a justice issue is an important part of what it means to be sisters and what it means to be the church. For now, I’m going to re-read my copy of Quest for the Living God and savor it once more.