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US Bishops criticise new book on sexuality

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine has issued a statement criticising a new book by Creighton University professors Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler, The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology. In the statement: "Inadequacies in the Theological Methodology and Conclusions of The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology," the Committee asserts that the authors of The Sexual Person "base their arguments on a methodology that marks a radical departure from the Catholic theological tradition" and "reach a whole range of conclusions that are contrary to Catholic teaching."

The Committee concluded that "neither the methodology of The Sexual Person nor the conclusions that depart from authoritative Church teaching constitute authentic expressions of Catholic theology. Moreover, such conclusions, clearly in contradiction to the authentic teaching of the Church, cannot provide a true norm for moral action and in fact are harmful to one's moral and spiritual life."

The views of the two professors previously came under episcopal censure in 2007, when Archbishop Elden Curtiss, then archbishop of Omaha, published a notification in his diocesan newspaper regarding the conclusions of two articles by these professors.

Archbishop Curtiss wrote: "In these articles, Professors Lawler and Salzman argue for the moral legitimacy of some homosexual acts. Their conclusion is in serious error, and cannot be considered authentic Catholic teaching." When in 2008, Salzman and Lawler published their book, The Sexual Person, Archbishop Curtiss wrote to the Committee on Doctrine asking for assistance. After studying the book and conferring with Archbishop Curtiss's successor, Archbishop George Lucas, the Committee decided that the most effective way to address the problem presented by the book was to prepare a statement on the problematic characteristics of its methodology, which leads the authors to a number of conclusions that contradict Catholic moral teaching.

The full statement is available online: www.usccb.org/doctrine/Sexual_Person_2010-09-15.pdf