Johnson, a professor of theology at Emory University in Atlanta, was scheduled to speak April 20 at the diocese-funded Newman Center on the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. But in October, Braxton, who has authority over virtually all diocesan matters, blocked the presentation.Dear, dear Mr. Sanders....review again what "bishop" means....it is very well his business. It's called "oversight". It is his business to guard the faith, to govern and to correct. Go back to the Catechism, Mr. Sanders. Censorship is quite different from sponsorship. The Church is NOT obligated to give forum to dissenting and opposing views to the magisterium.
In an editorial published two weeks ago, Commonweal, a national Catholic magazine, criticized Braxton's action, terming it "censorship."
While Braxton rarely comments to local reporters and could not be reached for comment for this article, he did respond to Commonweal, citing a need to protect the "magisterium," or teaching authority of the Catholic Church, and wrote:
"I do not wish Catholic institutions or organizations to invite speakers into the diocese who have written articles or given lectures that oppose, deny, reject, undermine or call into question the authentic teachings of the magisterium of the Catholic Church."
Steven Sanders, a Carbondale insurance brokerage owner and member of the center's pastoral council that invited Johnson, said of Braxton, "I think he's stepping in where it's none of his damn business. These kids are college kids. They should be able to hear all sides."
Braxton's action in blocking the talk is not unusual, said Johnson, who is mainly known as a biblical scholar who sometimes questions church authority. He recently wrote a Commonweal article about applying practical experience instead of relying solely on Holy Scripture's condemnation of homosexuality. The article also mentioned the long-standing opposition by church hierarchy to the ordination of women.
"It's hardball politics in this kind of thing. And by no means is it restricted to Catholicism. It's widespread," he said.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Is it censorship?
~from Belleville News-Democrat about Bishop Braxton's disallowing Luke Timothy Johnson to speak at a Newman Center. Censorship! so cry some Catholics (note Commonweal is prominent in this story)