Did the most recent convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America reveal a "wasteland"? Did the major addresses constitute a challenge to well-established Catholic beliefs regarding the priesthood and Eucharist? Must Catholic theologians and church authorities make a "drastic choice" between upholding the society as a legitimate venue for Catholic theology or condemning and possibly replacing it as no longer true to authentic Catholic tradition?
My answers to those questions are no, yes, and no.
I attended the CTSA’s convention last June. I went as a reporter for the New York Times, as a friend of CTSA members of widely differing views, as a nontheologian who depends on theologians, not the least of them Avery Dulles, for intellectual insight and spiritual nourishment. I also went as an American Catholic more than a little worried about the future of the church.
In no way did the gathering suggest a theological "wasteland." In carefully arguing that a responsum from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith did not establish the teaching of Ordinatio sacerdatolis as infallible, the society’s Task Force was, I would maintain, not only respectful and responsible but actually conservative.