Friday, March 30, 2007

The unfaithful remnant

or the swansong of 1960s theologians
Translation from

So called Catholic faculties and professors have not taken well to the condemnation of a liberation theologian.

The Vatican has with this act condemned the presently prevailing Catholic university system. They recognize this themselves.

About 70 theologians, who take themselves to be Catholic, have backed the liberation theologian, Father Jon Sobrino. The so-called liberation theology was practiced in the late 80s of the last century. The theses of the Jesuit, Sobrino on Jesus Christ have recently been condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The emeritus dogmatic theologian at Tübingen University, Peter Hünermann (seen here, centre presenting a commentary on the Second Vatican Council)

has asked for a reform of the Catholic Congregration for the Doctrine of the Faith in his article in the April issue of the monthly journal, Herder Correspondenz which is on the whole unreliable in terms of questions of Faith. (Cathcon notes he calls it a matter of "theological quality control" - a good way of hiding one's own deficiencies is to unjustly allege others have the same faults as yourself)

There are 69 theologians who would support his appeal for an “intelligent reform” of the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Amongst the above are a Director of the University of Salzburg, Heinrich Schmidinger,

the elderly professor of fundamental theology, Johann Baptist Metz from Munster,

as well as the moral theologian, Dietmar Mieth from Tübingen.

This is what Hünermann reported to the German Catholic News Agency on Wednesday.

Authority to censor?

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has still got the structure of a 16th century censor,” maintains Father Hünermann who is also the Honorary President of the European Society for Catholic Theology.

The high protectors of the Faith did not rise to their task. Hünermann furthermore points out that the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” is theologically incompetent and that Jon Sobrino’s condemnation was based on false assumptions. These assumptions stem from his writings and are “in part” completely wrong and are based on a “cursory reading”.

“By condemning Jon Sobrino, the most reputable exegetes and systematic theologians, both Catholic and Protestant are being condemned too”, claims Peter Hünermann

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has misunderstood Father Sobrino’s statement and adheres to “medieval forms of thinking”.

The Roman notification is a “condensation of neo-scholastic theology as a criterion for today’s theology” according to Hünermann. The condemnation of the principal Christological works of Father Jon Sobrino have triggered off “deep consternation” in the Faculty of Catholic Theology in Vienna.

The Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was asked in a press statement to start a serious and patient dialogue. This would mean that they would have to show respect to Sobrino’s person whose “witness to the faith is beyond argument”, and on the other hand also respect for “the achievements of the theological sciences of the last decades” which have been dealt with in Father Sobrino’s works.

The Catholic Faculty in Vienna is also asking the question, “whether the present procedural regulations of the Congregation should need further reform? The Faculty would like to establish “a dialogue between the respective author and the competent authorities in order to obtain an appropriate decision”

The Dean of Graz University even recognises a “shining example of a theology which stands for what it believes and is ready to combat dangers” in the work of the liberation theologian, Sobrino.

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