Thursday, September 23, 2010
Yesterday, the US Bishops committee on doctrine released a censure of a book on moral theology (really, a book of immoral theology) called "The Sexual Person." The document is worth reading in full by clicking the title of this post.
My reactions: First, the Bishops have some pretty decent things to say about interpreting Scripture. They have certainly made my life easier by saying them. I plan to use the document in future teaching, to confirm things I have been saying all along.
Second, the kind of moral theology advocated by the authors of the book in question strikes me as old and silly. Old, because twenty years ago folks like Walther Brueggemann were making these same (im)moral arguments about sexual behavior (not) based on Scripture, and even then the arguments were already dated. I remember, because I did my master's thesis on normativity in Brueggemann's biblical theology. Silly, because the the (im)morality advocated by the authors of The Sexual Person is so obviously vague and malleable that it transparently serves to support whatever self-interested self-gratification anyone may want to engage in. Such a book screams, "Apply a hermeneutic of suspicion to me! What I really am is a propaganda piece to justify the desired behaviors of my authors!" Or is it only to Scripture and the Magisterium that we can apply a hermeneutic of suspicion?