Family Traits, Family Feuds

Theology Today
Perspectives, Principles, and Criteria
International Theological Commission
Catholic University of America Press, $16.95, 89 pp.

The International Theological Commission (ITC) was established by Pope Paul VI in 1969. Its members (up to thirty) are appointed for renewable five-year terms. They typically meet annually for a week. The ITC’s purpose is to advise the magisterium, especially the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

In 2004, a subcommittee was established to write the current volume. When the committee’s term expired before this work was completed, a subsequent committee was appointed in 2009. They completed the work in 2011. Only one layperson belonged to both groups. One American (Sara Butler, MSBT) served on the second group. All the rest of the members of both commissions were ordained or vowed religious. All were teaching or had previously taught in institutions dedicated primarily to the training of ordinands.

The document is clearly the work of ecclesiastical theologians. Cardinal William Levada, then head of the CDF, authorized its publication late in 2011. Although ITC documents are written for the benefit of the whole church, they are not official teaching. Rather, they indicate the thinking being developed in Rome. ITC documents can and often do foreshadow future developments in magisterial teaching. For example, the 1997 ITC document “Christianity and...

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About the Author

Terrence W. Tilley is the Avery Dulles, SJ, Professor of Catholic Theology at Fordham University.