Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Mandated Essay Underwent Peer Review but Process Not Completed

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Mandated Essay Underwent Peer Review but Process Not Completed

Article excerpt

The authors of an essay published in the June issue of a prestigious Catholic theological journal following a Vatican intervention say the essay underwent a peer review, though those peers' recommendations to cut the piece eventually led to the Vatican move.

NCR reported in its Sept. 2 issue that the Vatican had pressured Theological Studies to publish the rebuttal essay on marriage, unedited and without undergoing normal peer review. That essay was a response to one published in the journal in 2004 in which the authors challenged official church teachings on the indissolubility of marriage.

The authors of the rebuttal article, Jesuit Fr. Peter F. Ryan and Germain Grisez, issued a statement saying that Theological Studies' editing procedures, including the peer review, had been followed. The statement said, however, that in the process of the editing some of their key arguments were proposed to be deleted, weakening their theological positions.

NCR also reported in the Sept. 2 article that Vatican pressure on Theological Studies forced the journal to change editorial procedures. The journal in future issues will alert readers to articles that might not be viewed as upholding authoritative church teachings; it will also state current teaching on the particular issue when treated in the journal.

Theologians interviewed by NCR were critical of the Vatican interventions, which they said undermine the credibility of the scholarly journal and could lead to limiting dissent within it.

Following publication of the NCR article, Ryan and Grisez issued a statement, saying that "when Theological Studies, submitting to higher authority, agreed to publish the complete and final version of the Ryan-Grisez article" the editor requested and they provided an abstract that usually appears just before the beginning of the text. …

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