Elizabeth Johnson honored at Fordham University

by Thomas C. Fox

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For the record, the March 24 U.S. bishops' doctrine committee's stinging critique of Sister Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God was not the first time Johnson was in the news last month.

She was honored two weeks earlier by Fordham University where she teaches theology. Johnson was awarded with a Bene Merenti Medal, honored for 20 years of service at the university. The citation on the program read as follows:

Dr. Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J.
Distinguished Professor of Theology
Elizabeth Ann Johnson, C.S.J., is the leading active Catholic systematic theologian in the United States. Recipient of 13 honorary doctorates (and another soon to be granted); author of 7 books, with translations into at least 12 other languages; winner of 9 major awards for her publications, including the six-figure Grawemeyer Award; editor of and contributor to another book on women in the Church; author of 90 academic articles along with scores of articles for broader audiences; indefatigable lecturer in university, seminary, ecclesial, religious, and parochial venues from India and Australia to Lithuania and Romania, not to mention at scores of venues across the U.S., she herself is the subject of 10 dissertations, four books, and more than 40 articles. In a word, she is internationally recognized as a leader in theology, and specifically Catholic feminist theology.

Before coming to Fordham she taught at the Catholic University of America, where she had received her Ph.D. Greatly committed to her students, she has received Fordham’s Excellence in Teaching Award. In addition, she has served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and president of the ecumenical American Theological Society; serves on the editorial boards of three theological journals; and has served on numerous committees and research projects within and outside the University.

As a colleague she is cooperative, forthright but patient, wise, insightful, and loving. She is always ready to listen, give advice, mentor the young, and lend a hand. She brings honor and joy to our University while always remaining truly our sister as she works for the greater glory of She Who Is.

The bishop' doctrinal committee take on Johnson was significantly more negative, finding many of the book's conclusions "are incompatible with authentic Catholic teaching."

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