Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
October 12, 2009
Catholic theologian rebuts online charges of liberal dissent
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA - The American theologian invited to address the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) plenary Oct. 19 and 20 has rebutted online charges that he is a "liberal dissenter."
In a five-page letter to CCCB president Archbishop James Weisgerber, University of Toledo Catholic Studies professor Richard Gaillardetz said the attack involved "a very selective marshalling of isolated texts for the purpose of creating an ideological caricature."
Gaillardetz responded to points raised in Ottawa social conservative activist John Pacheco's Socon-or-bust Sept. 21 blog post, where the "liberal dissenter" accusation was made. LifeSiteNews.com has followed up with similar stories.
Pacheco, who organized the 2005 March for Marriage on Parliament Hill, criticized Gaillardetz for having "blasted and disparaged the holy father" over the lifting of the SSPX bishops' excommunication, for being a member of U.S. President Barack Obama's Catholic advisory board, for supporting the ordination of women priests, among other charges.
Gaillardetz has written 100 articles and seven books for different audiences, so he told the CCCB president it would be easy to "selectively cite isolated passages from my work in order to create a distorted portrait of widespread dissent."
He said he was in good standing with the Catholic Church in the United States, having received a mandatum from Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza when he began a 10-year appointment at St. Mary's Seminary in Houston, Texas.
Gaillerdetz said he joined Obama's Catholic advisory board as a result of a "carefully considered prudential judgment. I did not support President Obama's position on abortion."
Gaillardetz also questioned the strategy of trying to overturn Roe vs. Wade, noting it had done little to stem the "national moral scandal" of 1.3 million abortions a year.
He said he never challenged the truth of the Church's stand on the ordination of women, but examined issues of infallibility concerning the Vatican's statement on the issue.
Gaillardetz will give two talks to the Canadian bishops at their plenary Oct. 19-23. The author will speak on the impact of the Second Vatican Council on the priesthood, and on the relationship between the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of the baptized.
Letter to the Editor - 10/19/09
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