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Bishops’ Doctrine Committee Says Book By Creighton University Professors Conflicts With Catholic Teaching On Sexuality

September 22, 2010

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2010)— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine has issued a statement in response to a request from the former and current archbishops of Omaha to review the content of a book by Creighton University professors Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler, The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology. In the statement, "Inadequacies in the Theological Methodology and Conclusions of The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology," the Committee asserts that the authors of The Sexual Person "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 Committee concluded that "neither the methodology of The Sexual Person nor the conclusions that depart from authoritative Church teaching constitute authentic expressions of Catholic theology. Moreover, such conclusions, clearly in contradiction to the authentic teaching of the Church, cannot provide a true norm for moral action and in fact are harmful to one's moral and spiritual life."

The views of the two professors previously came under episcopal censure in 2007, when Archbishop Elden Curtiss, then archbishop of Omaha, published a notification in his diocesan newspaper regarding the conclusions of two articles by these professors.

Archbishop Curtiss wrote: "In these articles, Professors Lawler and Salzman argue for the moral legitimacy of some homosexual acts. Their conclusion is in serious error, and cannot be considered authentic Catholic teaching." When in 2008, Salzman and Lawler published their book, The Sexual Person, Archbishop Curtiss wrote to the Committee on Doctrine asking for assistance. After studying the book and conferring with Archbishop Curtiss's successor, Archbishop George Lucas, the Committee decided that the most effective way to address the problem presented by the book was to prepare a statement on the problematic characteristics of its methodology, which leads the authors to a number of conclusions that contradict Catholic moral teaching.

The USCCB Committee on Doctrine includes Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, chairman; Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio; Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, OSB, of Indianapolis; Coadjutor Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles; Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts; Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana; Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey; and Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit.
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Committee on Doctrine, Creighton University, Archdiocese of Omaha, Archbishop Elden Curtiss, Archbishop George Lucas, Archbishop Donald Wuerl, The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology, homosexual acts


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