This time, "SLU students" have invited Todd Salzman, the Chairman of the theology department at Creighton University (a subject for an Omaha Catholic blog, should that exist), to speak at the 6th Annual Undergraduate Marriage and Dating Conference. I put quotation marks around "SLU students", because that is how it is described at the linked story, but I am sceptical that anyone could be a keynote speaker for any conference at the University without faculty or administration acquiescence.
Salzman's best known work, "The Sexual Person", has been censured by the USCCB as containing serious errors with regard to moral issues concerning human sexuality. So, it may come as no shock to you that the book was positively reviewed by a SLU professor. From the full article at STLToday:
In a review of the book for the National Catholic Reporter in January 2009, Julie Hanlon Rubio, an associate professor of Christian ethics at SLU, wrote that "The Sexual Person" was "among the most important works in Catholic sexual ethics to emerge in the last two decades," and that its authors 'stand firmly within the Catholic tradition even as they argue for significant changes." (Lawler and Salzman cite Rubio's own work in the book.)
Only a mainstream "Catholic" University professor could write something as inane as that someone could stand "firmly" within Catholic tradition while arguing for "significant changes". Do these people have any idea of the faith? But I digress.
The Archbishop of Omaha, and even the USCCB--ponder that for a moment-- took a different view:
But while Catholic theologians were enthusiastic about the work, the magesterium saw things differently. Even before the book's publication, the archbishop of Omaha had criticized articles by Lawler and Salzman saying they had argued for "the moral legitimacy of some homosexual acts," and that their theology was "in serious error" and "cannot be considered authentic Catholic teaching."
After "The Sexual Person" was published, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' committee on doctrine began examining the Creighton professors' conclusions.
In September, the committee of nine bishops issued a 24-page statement on the "Inadequacies in the Theological Methodology and Conclusions" of "The Sexual Person." The authors, it said, "reach erroneous conclusions on a whole range of issues, including the morality of pre-marital sex, contraception and artificial insemination."
The bishops concluded that the ideas in "The Sexual Person" were "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."
One might legitimately ask why a theologian so censured by the national conference of bishops is allowed to teach theology at a Catholic University, but this type of situation exists at so many Catholic colleges that one wonders why they are not all placed under interdict.
In a similar case a couple of years back, Cardinal Burke asked Aquinas School of Theology to disinvite another dissident theologian, Peter Phan, from speaking there. Aquinas complied.
In this case, according to the article:
Salzman expressed concern that, since the event was student sponsored, the students themselves might be mixed up in the debate. At the same time, he said, "It's important for them to get various sides of a position, and I think there's no better place to discuss these controversial issues than within the Catholic university setting."
In a written statement to the Post-Dispatch, Carlson said only that he knew of the bishops' September document on "The Sexual Person."
"I am aware of that statement and support it," Carlson wrote.