Loyal Dissent: Memoir of a Catholic Theologian by Charles E. Curran

By Charles E. Curran

Recounts the adventure of 1 of the major theologians of the Catholic Church.

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Loyal Dissent: Memoir of a Catholic Theologian

Recounts the adventure of 1 of the major theologians of the Catholic Church.

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Beginnings ͉ 15 In June 1960, at the end of the academic year, Domenico Capone, a Redemptorist systematic ethicist and historian of St. Alphonsus at the Alfonsian, asked to see me. Capone told me that starting in the new academic year (1960–61) the Alfonsian would be empowered to give the doctorate in moral theology. He urged me to enroll in the program and write a doctoral dissertation. I told him I was not interested because, as he knew, I was already getting my doctorate at the Gregorian. But he insisted that it would be good both for me and for the Alfonsian.

I spoke in 1963 at the national convention of the Council of Catholic Men and at the 1964 annual convention of the Canon Law Society of America, where I argued that canon law should no longer require non-Catholics marrying Catholics to promise to raise their children in the Catholic Church. In 1965 I addressed the national convention of the Catholic College Teachers of Sacred Doctrine on freedom and responsibility, and the National Liturgical Conference on the relevance of moral theology today.

I told him I was not interested because, as he knew, I was already getting my doctorate at the Gregorian. But he insisted that it would be good both for me and for the Alfonsian. I presented a number of problems and obstacles. For one thing, Roman libraries did not have open stacks and would not allow students to take books home. He then not only gave me a topic—‘‘The Concept of Invincible Ignorance in Alphonsus Liguori’’—but also said I could take home anything I needed from the library. To my objection that there might be a regulation in canon law preventing the awarding of degrees by two pontifical institutions at the same time, he responded, like any good Italian, ci penso io, which is loosely translated, ‘‘Don’t worry about it.

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