23 October 2013

Catholic Theological Society confesses leftist bias

NB. I am pleasantly surprised (really surprised!) to see this report. The Catholic Theological Society of America is publicly confessing to its anti-conservative bias.  My long experience with academic bodies like the CTSA tells me that ideological blindness is a permanent condition. Somewhere along the line, someone at the CTSA must've been healed of this particular malady.

II. Observations/Problems

A. Many CTSA sessions, both plenary and concurrent, include jokes and snide remarks about, or disrespectful references to, bishops, the Vatican, the magisterium, etc. These predictably elicit derisive laughter from a part of the audience.

B. Many CTSA members employ demeaning references. For example, the phrase “thinking Catholics” is sometimes used to mean liberals. The phrase “people who would take us backwards” is sometimes used to mean conservatives.

C. Resolutions are a significant problem because an individual member can bring to the floor of the business meeting a divisive issue that not only consumes important time and energy but exacerbates the ideological differences that exist among theologians, typically leaving conservatives feeling not only marginalized but unwelcome. (CTSA members who have trouble understanding this as a problem might ask how they would feel if they were part of a professional society that passed resolutions criticizing a theologian they hold in high regard or endorsing views they reject.)

D. In recent decades, conservative theologians have only rarely been invited to be plenary speakers and respondents.

E. In CTSA elections, there is a general unwillingness of many members to vote for a conservative theologian. Scholarly credentials seem often outweighed by voters’ partisan commitments.

F. Some conservative theologians have experienced the feeling that a number of other members “wish I wouldn’t come back” to the CTSA.

G. In sum, the self-conception of many members that the CTSA is open to all Catholic theologians is faulty and self-deceptive. As one of our members put it,the CTSA is a group of liberal theologians and “this permeates virtually everything.” Because the CTSA does not aspire to be a partisan group, both attitudes and practices will have to shift if the CTSA is to become the place where all perspectives within Catholic theology in North America are welcome.

The whole report is available here.

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  1. This is telling: "The CTSA periodically schedules special evening sessions to explore timely issues. We recommend that it be board policy that panel members representa diversity of views, including, when relevant, the official positions of the church."

    Because official positions of the Church shouldn't influence "dialogue."

    1. The presumption with these guys is that the Church is wrong. . .

  2. LudiDomestici12:08 PM

    "Pope Francis repeatedly places the face of Lazarus before us, calling us to recognize the patterns of our global, national and personal lives that sustain poverty and exploitation. In a very real way he is forcing us to confront our identity as the rich man in the parable, with the consequent very sobering recognition of the judgment that fell upon him in the Gospel

    It is true that political efforts to alleviate poverty within the United States and throughout the world require prudential judgment for their specification and implementation. But so do efforts to address abortion, marriage and religious liberty. The Church has core teachings on the requirement of societies to provide threshold supports for income, housing and health care domestically, as well as to address dire poverty and inequality throughout the world. As a consequence, patterned voting by elected officials or citizens to diminish the already meager support for the poor either domestically or internationally is not merely a difference in prudential judgment, but a rejection of the Church’s core teachings on poverty and human dignity. The Church in the United States must witness to this reality."

    - Bishop Robert McElory, Vatican Insider interview



    1. Why does "support for the poor" only ever mean "Big Gov't handouts" to you lefties?

    2. And does "poor" only ever mean "economically deprived"? Jesus spoke frequently of the "poor in spirit." How did the Church minister to the economically poor before the advent of gov't sponsored wealth redistribution schemes? Here's how: she preached the necessity of getting your hands dirty by actually--ya know--helping the poor and not just delicately voting for Big Gov't Candidates who then create massive, expensive, self-reproducing bureaucracies that suck millions of dollars for public union drones.

      (Yes. I had too much coffee at lunch!)

  3. I can see no downside to blackballing for life anyone who has ever used "thinking Catholics" to mean liberals. Let them form the Catholic Theological Sophists of America.

  4. Though I have no skin in this game, would it be off-base of me to imagine that the CTSA would receive a presentation by a Muslim with more respect and curiosity --not to say fawning deference -- that it would by an orthodox Roman Catholic?

    1. "Fawning deference" would only begin the describe the excessive slobbering and grateful weeping. . .