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Creighton challenged to clarify role of dissident theologians after warning from bishops

September 24, 2010

The Cardinal Newman Society has asked the president of Creighton University to clarify the Jesuit institution’s position regarding two professors whose written work has drawn a warning from the US bishops’ doctrine committee.

Father John Schlegel, SJ, the president of Creighton, has announced that the school “accepts as authoritative” the severe criticism of The Sexual Person offered by the US bishops’ committee. The bishops warned that the book, authored by two members of Creighton’s theology department, posed a “pastoral danger that readers of the book could be confused or misled.”

The authors of the book, Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler, had previously been rebuked by the former head of the local Omaha archdiocese, Archbishop Elden Curtiss, for their public writing on homosexuality. In a more recent statement, commenting on their new book, the new Archbishop George Lucas said: “Professors Salzman and Lawler have departed in a serious way from sound Catholic teaching. Catholics are well advised not to be misled by them.”??

In light of these strong criticisms, Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society has written to Father Schlegel, asking the university president to clarify a public statement that had suggested the school would defend Professors Salzman and Lawler in their dissent from Church teaching on the grounds of academic freedom. Reilly cited the words of Pope Benedict XVI, who said that an authentically Catholic school should not invoke academic freedom as a reason “to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church.” Such a stance, the Pope said, would contradict the distinctive role of a Catholic university as an institution committed to the advancement of Catholic doctrine.


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  • Posted by: colrose18194 - Sep. 27, 2010 11:12 AM ET USA

    As an alum I've had to put up with Lawler since the 60's. Can't believe he is STILL there and controversial as ever. Yet, climbing ever "up the ladder"on the faculty. Because of him, we did not encourage our children to go to Creighton (husband was an alum also) even though we live in Omaha!