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Author of new book on Catholic colleges finds near-universal dissent on sexuality

December 11, 2009

The author of a new book on Catholic higher education has found near-universal dissent among Catholic college faculty from Catholic teaching on sexuality. Father John C. Haughey, a Jesuit and the author of Where Is Knowing Going?: The Horizons of the Knowing Subject, said in a recent interview that “Dissent from ‘Church teachings’ might appear to be widespread in these institutions, but dissent, like assent, is a very protean category in academe. We make a living, whatever our discipline, swimming between these two shoals. But with respect to the Church’s teachings on sexual matters, these are usually regarded as out of date.” He continued:

On doctrinal matters there is less dissent probably because there is less knowledge about or attention paid to them. In theology departments assent or dissent would be more likely because doctrine is part of what members of such departments think about. But even here theologians are likely to be neither wholly on board nor wholly at sea since knowing is usually migratory.

Was I troubled by the dissent I found? Not really since I have my own areas where I believe the Church’s teachings need much more development, developments that theology and many other disciplines could assist in supplying. That having been said, there is a real strength in having an institution with a past that is retrievable and with teachings that can be assented to or dissented from depending on the competence of those choosing to do one or the other.

Touting his book, Father Haughey, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, says that “every page is sage, a feast of reason, an elaboration of a faith that reasons!”


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  • Posted by: - Dec. 11, 2009 10:09 AM ET USA

    Whoa, an age of the Internet and sex dripping literally from the trees...he finds "dissent" at Catholic colleges (not to mention his own implied resistance to the teachings of ther Church) and touts his own book. Has any humility ever been seem like this before? What an "elaboration" of academic coprophilia that spouts nonsense.

  • Posted by: adamah - Dec. 11, 2009 9:56 AM ET USA

    I'm glad Fr. H thinks so highly of his book. He sounds VERY impressed with himself.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Dec. 11, 2009 8:36 AM ET USA

    Note the doublespeak re whether Fr.H interprets "development" of Church doctrine as coming from "dissent." That would suprise Newman and I suggest he read or reread Newman's thought on doctrinal development. It was not patterned on dissent or any kind Hegelian calculus thesis/antithesis = synthesis. This kind of nonsense will go on as long as no on is disciplined/corrected by the Holy See and the bishops, further evidence that Ex Corde Ecclesiae arrived in the USA DOA.