Well, you might not have expected this. In response to the Committee on Doctrine’s condemnation of Elizabeth Johnson’s book Quest for the Living God, the Catholic Theological Society of America released a statement some weeks ago defending her work and suggesting that the COD had a fundamental misunderstanding of the ecclesial vocation of the theologian.
So how would members respond to the Bishop of San Jose, Patrick J. McGrath, greeting them at their annual convention? Well, the reaction was commensurate with his address–which was gracious, respectful and even self-deprecating. Knowing that Maureen Tilley of Fordham University was about to give the opening plenary on the early Church and the concept of holiness, Bishop McGrath mentioned that that back then all the best theologians were bishops, but also that this ‘was a long time ago.’ He also positively mentioned and even quoted Johnson’s book Truly Our Sister.
The result? A standing ovation from the entire audience. And a great start to the conference.