You’d say that the National Catholic Reporter is good, on a good day, to line your birdcage and you’d be right. But every now and then (and invariably, through the pen of John Allen) something interesting comes out of that, too.
This time Allen entertains, edifies and instruct us with an article about Fr Thomas Weinandy’s (who works as theologian for the US bishops’ conference) attack on bad theologians.
Whilst Fr Weinandy seems to have in his sights Sr Elisabeth Johnson, with whom he had a very public disagreement not long ago, his remarks have a general character. The man doesn’t mince words:
“Theology may be the only academic pursuit where one can seemingly be considered a theologian without actually having to know the subject matter,”
“It would appear at times that a theologian need not actually know God.”
“Much of what passes for contemporary Catholic theology,” […] “often is not founded upon an assent of faith in the divine deposit of revelation as proclaimed in the sacred scriptures and developed within the living doctrinal and moral tradition of the church.”
[Theology is degraded to} “the fun of being cleverly and sophisticatedly entertaining, or the thrill and buzz that comes with academic sparring.”
Wise words, if you ask me. I only allow myself to add that if the most shameless of these theologians are never excommunicated, and those less shameless but clearly heterodox are, on occasion, even made Cardinals one can’t be surprised if the faithful are confused.
My grandmother, who had only an eighth grade education, knew more than many theologians because she knew the truth.
As in pretty much everything, the example should come from the very top.