New web exclusives

Just posted on the homepage, "No Academic Question," a web exclusive from Cathleen Kaveny on whether the Catholic Theological Society of America should be more welcoming to “conservative” theologians, and if so, what it should (or shouldn’t) do to encourage greater discussion.

A special evening session [at last week’s annual gathering of the Catholic Theological Society of America in San Diego] was devoted to theological diversity at the CTSA—and specifically to the question of what the CTSA could do to make conservatives, many of whom belong to the Academy of Catholic Theology (ACT), feel welcome. … [T]he question is really this: what should a group that has a broader and more free-wheeling account of its purpose do to accommodate others who have a more focused, and arguably narrower view of the task at hand?

My own view is this: The CTSA should be open, positively, to considering topics, questions, and positions that “conservatives” believe have been neglected. More discussion is good—of Mariology, of traditional devotions, of metaphysics, of obsequium to the magisterium. Yet the CTSA must not acquiesce to negative pressure to narrow its discussions and deliberations to fit the parameters of ACT. To do so would be to abandon its own mission. This is especially important when it comes to how the CTSA is governed. The society’s Ad Hoc Committee on Theological Diversity noted that some “conservatives” have complained that they aren’t elected to officer and board positions in the CTSA. But an official leadership position is not simply an honorific; it triggers a fiduciary duty to fulfill the basic mission of the organization. So the question to be asked of all candidates for CTSA offices is whether they are committed to that mission. I would not vote for anyone—“liberal” or “conservative”—who disdained the broad forum to which the CTSA is institutionally committed.

Read all of “No Academic Question” here.

Also posted today: The latest addition to our Commonweal at 90 series. This month’s featured decade is the 1950s, and we’re highlighting pieces from Budd Schulberg on Fr. John Corridan, “the waterfront priest”; the J. F. Powers short story “Zeal”; and Walker Percy on the midcentury revival of Americans’ interest in the Civil War. See our 1950s page here, and the complete Commonweal at 90 page here (with selected archived material from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s).

We’re also highlighting a new page on Catholicism and same-sex marriage, where we’ve collected more than a dozen pieces on the topic, all in one place. It features not just our most recent conversation on the topic among Ross Douthat, Jamie L. Manson, and Joseph Bottum, but also our analysis of the legal arguments pro and con; our editorials on Supreme Court rulings and church response; archived essays from contributors like Luke Timothy Johnson, Sydney Callahan, and Jean Bethke Elshtain; and selected posts from the dotCommonweal blog. Bookmark our Catholicism and Same-Sex Marriage page for easy reference and revisiting as we continue to post more stories and articles on the topic.

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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