The US Catholic bishops’ committee on doctrine is accusing feminist theologian Elizabeth Johnson of “criticiz[ing] and … revis[ing] in a radical fashion the conception of God revealed in Scripture and taught by the Magisterium” in her recent book Quest for the Living God.
What seems to be at issue is Johnson’s contention–more fully fleshed out in her earlier work She Who Is than in QFTLG–that God is ineffable and thus all human language inevitably falls short of the divine mystery. This opens a space for using metaphors and imagery for God drawn from women’s experience and from the world of nature, in addition to traditional masculine imagery. The bishops object that “Father” is not a metaphor for God, but a proper name–one that comes to us through revelation. The bishops also take issue with Johnson’s revisionist approach to some traditional divine attributes, such as impassibility; her view of other religions; and her account of God’s presence in evolution.