'Doctrinal Responsibilities': evenhanded, open and fair

VIEWPOINT

After the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine had delivered its criticism of Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God by St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, theologians and boards of theological societies in the United States contested the content of the criticism and protested the manner of its formulation (NCR, April 15). In particular, the regret was widespread that the committee had ignored the protocols of “Doctrinal Responsibilities,” a set of guidelines approved by the U.S. bishops in 1989 on how to handle doctrinal disputes with theologians. This regret was answered by the president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, who contended that it was in its expectations “somewhat inaccurate.”