Today’s cheering news: The country’s Catholic bishops have just issued a statement that in their book The Sexual Person (which gives the game away right there) two Creighton University theologians “base their arguments on a methodology that marks a radical departure from the Catholic theological tradition” and “reach a whole range of conclusions that are contrary to Catholic teaching.” The bishops’ statement can be found here .

The two professors had already been reprimanded by their archbishop for articles they’d written making the same points, and then went ahead and published a book repeating them (the book was published by Georgetown University Press).  The bishops’ doctrine committee wrote:


the authors insist that the moral theology of the Catholic tradition dealing with sexual matters is now as a whole obsolete and inadequate and that it must be re-founded on a different basis. Consequently, they argue that the teaching of the Magisterium is based on this flawed “traditional theology” and must likewise be substantially changed. The fact that the alternative moral theology of The Sexual Person leads to many positions in clear conflict with authoritative Church teaching is itself considerable evidence that the basic methodology of this moral theology is unsound and incompatible with the Catholic tradition.

Rather than simply showing where the book rejects Catholic teaching, the bishops go on to show “to examine the basic presuppositions of the alternative moral theology proposed in The Sexual Person, ” as a way of ”helping Catholic moral theologians more generally to continue rediscovering a more adequate basis for addressing contemporary moral questions.” The provide a useful summary and critique of what is a fairly standard argument for moral innovations.

Articles by David Mills

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