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Loyal Dissent

Memoir of a Catholic Theologian

Publication Year: 2006

Loyal Dissent is the candid and inspiring story of a Catholic priest and theologian who, despite being stripped of his right to teach as a Catholic theologian by the Vatican, remains committed to the Catholic Church. Over a nearly fifty-year career, Charl

Published by: Georgetown University Press


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

The election of a pope is a very important event in the life of the Catholic Church. The papal election in April 2005 was more significant than most, coming after the twenty-six-year papacy of Pope John Paul II. On April 18–19, attention focused on the 115 cardinals...

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pp. xiii

My debts are many. This volume mentions the many people who have influenced and helped me along my pilgrimage. I am particularly grateful to Southern Methodist University (SMU) for providing me a very hospitable and challenging academic environment...

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1. Beginnings

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pp. 1-26

I was born in Rochester, New York, in 1934. My parents, John F. Curran and Gertrude Beisner Curran, both came from New York City, but my father moved to Rochester in 1926. They were married in 1927 and lived in Rochester the rest of their lives. I was the third of...

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2. CUA: The Early Years

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pp. 27-47

When I arrived at CUA in 1965, the university, which had opened in 1889, was both a pontifical university canonically erected by the Vatican and an American institution incorporated in the District of Columbia and accredited by American accrediting...

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3. The Uproar over Humanae vitae

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pp. 49-69

During the strike, we tried to keep the focus on the procedural issue that the trustees had overridden the votes of my colleagues and fired me without a hearing. But everyone knew I had been fired because of my position on artificial contraception, and this...

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4. Growing Tensions and Maturing Theology: The Seventies

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pp. 71-105

What would happen in the Catholic Church after Humanae vitae? This encyclical clearly disappointed those of us who were expecting change after Vatican II. Would the encyclical usher in an era of increased tensions and polarization in the church?...

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5. Investigation and Condemnation [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 107-135

On August 2, 1979, Cardinal William Wakefield Baum, then the archbishop of Washington and the chancellor, ex officio, of CUA, handed me a letter signed by Cardinal Franjo Seper, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, informing me...

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6. More Trials

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pp. 137-159

I have had no communication from the Vatican since Ratzinger’s letter of July 25, 1986, informing me that I was neither suitable nor eligible to teach Catholic theology. What effect would this declaration have on me? That question would be answered by CUA and, ultimately, by the courts.1...

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7. Life after Condemnation

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pp. 161-186

What does a Catholic theologian condemned by the Vatican and legally terminated from a tenured professorship do? From the beginning, I assumed that on the basis of my teaching and publications I could get some kind of teaching position...

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8. My Moral Theology

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pp. 187-207

At a theology institute many years ago, I was talking about faith as the fundamental option we make that orients our entire life and all the choices we make. My Protestant theological partner asked me why I was a Catholic. At first I was quite flustered by the...

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9. The Development of Theology in the Past Fifty Years

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pp. 209-235

Afew years ago Tom Roberts, the editor of the National Catholic Reporter, asked me if I thought there were today or would be in the future any theological giants comparable to the leading theologians of the Vatican II period. In his view there were not, and he saw...

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10. My Relationship to the Catholic Church

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pp. 237-259

After the Vatican condemned me in 1986, many people asked why I stayed in the Catholic Church. I was certainly hurt by the Vatican’s action. My primary role in the church had always been as a moral theologian, and in many ways this was my vocation. But...


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pp. 261-276

Published Works of Charles E. Curran; About the Author

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pp. 277-281


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pp. 283-297

E-ISBN-13: 9781589013636
E-ISBN-10: 1589013638
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589010871
Print-ISBN-10: 1589010876

Page Count: 314
Publication Year: 2006