Monday, January 26, 2009

Jesus, Symbol of God

Chiesa on line has an interesting article on the publication this month of an order by the Vatican that the Jesuit theologian Roger Haight should stop teaching theology anywhere, including non-Catholic institutions, and not to publish books and essays on theological subjects.

According to the article, the reasons for the sanctions are important.

"The reasons given in support of Haight's condemnation are not insignificant. The 2004 notification lists them meticulously.

In the judgment of the Vatican authorities, Haight uses a theological method that subordinates the content of the faith to its acceptability on the part of postmodern culture. And for the objective realities defined by the articles of the Creed, it substitutes symbols.

The result is the loss of substance of key truths of the Christian faith like the preexistence of the Word, the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, the salvific value of the death of Jesus, the unicity and universality of the salvific mediation of Jesus and of the Church, the resurrection of Jesus.

On each of these points, the Vatican notification says how and why Haight contradicts Catholic doctrine.

Haight has always cooperated with the sanctions he has received, although he has delayed this somewhat. He will soon leave his professorship at the Union Theological Seminary in New York. And he is preparing a new written response to send to the Holy See.

At the Vatican, they are seriously concerned about this case.

They do not believe that it is at all confined to academic circles. Haight is a theologian with a significant capacity for communication, he is appreciated by the "liberal" culture extensively present in the media, and enjoys widespread support within the Church, especially in the Society of Jesus.

Of the last seven theologians scrutinized by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, four are Jesuits. In addition to Haight, the others are Anthony De Mello, Jacques Dupuis, and Jon Sobrino, the last of these a leading exponent of liberation theology. "

The condemnation in 2004 by the then Cardinal Ratzinger is here on the Vatican website.