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Johnson's book undermines the gospel, bishops say

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The U.S. bishops' committee on doctrine has condemned Sr. Elizbeth Johnson's book Quest for the Living God in a statement released this afternoon.

NCR's John Allen has the story: U.S. bishops blast book by feminist theologian

Here's the press release from the bishops' office with links to to the full statement and introductory remarks by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, who chairs the committee.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BISHOPS’ DOCTRINE COMMITTEE FAULTS BOOK BY FORDHAM PROFESSOR

Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God distorts Catholic concept of God
Book does not recognize divine revelation as the standard for Catholic theology
Differs from authentic Catholic teaching on essential points

WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine authorized a statement March 24, critiquing Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God, a book by a Fordham University Professor, Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, New York.

For historic Catholic church, bell silent no longer

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From The Advertiser:

It's time for the bell to ring again at St. Paul the Apostle. The oldest African American Catholic church parish in the Diocese of Lafayette dedicated the erection of a new bell tower on Tuesday, the signature event of a year-long capital campaign marking the church's century of service in Lafayette.

"This is our 100th year," said the Rev. Robert Seay, who has been at St. Paul for 10 years. "The bell tower is one of many improvement projects we're working on this year."

For many, it will be the highlight project as it focuses on a bell that has an even longer history than the church.

"The bell was cast in 1884 by the McShane Bell Co.," Seay said. "African Americans here wanted the bell for St. John Cathedral, and raised $1,500 at the time to purchase it. Then when St. Paul was founded, the bell was hung in the tower."

Dressing as a mini-bulletin board for God

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I was catching up on some reading this weekend and came across an article in Ladies' Home Journal about women who “dress according to their faith, not mainstream fashion.”

It took me by surprise for a couple of reasons. First, that an article featuring a roller-skating, habit-wearing religious sister would be in a magazine more known for articles on parenting and pot roast and, second, that the five profiles were written objectively and with respect for the subjects.

Thinking nonviolence while bombing Libya

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I am so aware of my own human impulses to kill, to seek revenge, to cast blame. When I lived at the Catholic Worker and kids got into trouble they would say “Nonviolence is your strength,” quoting my Cesar Chavez button.

I’d answer, “Nonviolence is the ideal I strive for. I might not live up to it.”

The kids would laugh and promise to be good. They were secure in the confidence I would never hit them, and I was secure in that confidence too. I wouldn’t hit anyone.

But I recognize in myself the desire to hit, or, in the current case, to bomb Libyan airbases. I recognize the desire of the revolutionaries to fight. I even recognize Gaddafi’s desire to strike out in righteous indignation and repress the rebellion. I’ve felt all those impulses. I just know they won’t lead to anything good.

Young men and women in Egypt and Tunisia stood together and faced down violence. They were probably plenty afraid, but they had the good fortune to live through the experience and taste dignity and empowerment. Together they own their revolution. What is ahead of them is difficult and may fail. But they’ve made a good start.

On this day: St. Gwladys and St. Gwynllyw

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Gwladys and St. Gwynllyw, the first saints in whose story King Arthur and his knights, Sir Kay and Sir Bedevere, appear.

King Gwynllyw (pronounced Gwin-th-lew) abducted Princess Gwladys, after her father, King Brychan, rejected his request for her hand in marriage. The subsequent battle between Gwynllyw's men and Brychan's men came to an end when King Arthur intervened on Gwynllyw's side.

Governor's change of heart influenced by faith

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Courtesy of The New York Times:

Early on the morning of Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent’s season of penitence, Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois went through some final, solitary rumination. For much of his political career, he had supported capital punishment, albeit with reservations, even debating it at the dinner table with his mother. Now a legislative bill abolishing it was waiting for his signature, or his veto.

Thoughts on Libya

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I have not had an opportunity to express my thoughts on the situation in Libya in the last couple of weeks since the U.N. resolution calling for the use of military force to protect civilians against the repressive forces of Gadhafi.

In general, I am opposed to the use of military force before using diplomacy. However, in this instance, I support the U.S. and U.N. intervention on the basis of humanitarian grounds.

I believe that there is often a false dichotomy between a realist foreign policy and an idealistic one. The former suggests that the U.S. should only militarily intervene when there is a clear threat to the country’s national interest. The latter suggests that the U.S. can intervene on broader humanitarian grounds even when the national interests are not clearly affected.

But the question is who defines the national interest? Was it in the national interest to have unilaterally invaded Iraq?

For the most part, national interests are defined by the ruling elites in this country who stand to benefit through military intervention in order to protect economic interests or potential economic interests.

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