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Sunday, January 22, 2017
Vatican Notification on the works of Fr Jon Sobrino
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 Contrary to some media reports, Fr Jon Sobrino has not been banned from teaching. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has however published a Notification saying that some of his works "contain propositions which are either erroneous or dangerous and may cause harm to the faithful." The Notification continues: "Fr Sobrino manifests a preoccupation for the poor and oppressed, particularly in Latin America. This preoccupation certainly is shared by the whole Church. "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its Instruction on Christian liberty and liberation 'Libertatis conscientia,' indicated that 'human misery drew the compassion of Christ the Savior to take it upon Himself and to be identified with the least of His brethren,' and that 'the preferential option for the poor, far from being a sign of particularism or sectarianism, manifests the universality of the Church's being and mission. This option excludes no one. This is the reason why the Church cannot express this option by means of reductive sociological and ideological categories which would make this preference a partisan choice and a source of conflict.' "Previously, this same Congregation in its Instruction on some aspects of liberation theology, 'Libertatis nuntius,' observed that the warnings about this theological trend contained in that document were not able to be interpreted as a reproach to those who wish to be faithful to a 'preferential option for the poor,' nor could they be an excuse for those who remain indifferent to the grave problems of human misery and injustice. "The citations clearly show the position of the Church with regard to this complex problem: 'The evil inequities and oppression of every kind which afflict millions of men and women today openly contradict Christ's Gospel and cannot leave the conscience of any Christian indifferent. "'The Church, in her docility to the Spirit, goes forward faithfully along the paths to authentic liberation. Her members are aware of their failings and their delays in this quest. But a vast number of Christians, from the time of the Apostles onwards, have committed their powers and their lives to liberation from every form of oppression and to the promotion of human dignity. The experience of the saints and the example of so many works of service to one's neighbour are an incentive and a beacon for the liberating undertakings that are needed today." The Notification then goes on to affirm that "after a preliminary examination of the books 'Jesucristo liberador. Lectura histórico-teológica de Jesús de Nazaret' (Jesus the Liberator) and 'La fe en Jesucristo. Ensayo desde las víctimas' (Christ the Liberator) by Fr Jon Sobrino, SJ, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, because of certain imprecisions and errors found in them, decided to proceed to a more thorough study of these works in October 2001. Given the wide distribution of these writings and their use in seminaries and other centres of study, particularly in Latin America, it was decided to employ the 'urgent examination' as regulated by articles 23-27 of 'Agendi Ratio in Doctrinarum Examine.' "As a result of this examination, in July 2004 a list of erroneous or dangerous propositions found in the above-mentioned books was sent to the author through Fr Peter Hans Kolvenbach, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus. "In March of 2005, Fr Jon Sobrino sent a 'Response to the text of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith' to the Congregation. This response was studied in the Ordinary Session of the Congregation on November 23, 2005. It was determined that, although the author had modified his thought somewhat on several points, the response did not prove satisfactory since, in substance, the errors already cited in the list of erroneous propositions still remained in this text." "For this reason, it was decided to publish this Notification, in order to offer the faithful a secure criterion, founded upon the doctrine of the Church, by which to judge the affirmations contained in these books or in other publications of the author." "The Congregation does not intend to judge the subjective intentions of the author, but rather has the duty to call attention to certain propositions which are not in conformity with the doctrine of the Church. These propositions regard: (1) the methodological presuppositions on which the author bases his theological reflection, (2) the Divinity of Jesus Christ, (3) the Incarnation of the Son of God, (4) the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God, (5) the Self-consciousness of Jesus, and (6) the salvific value of His Death. "The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the audience granted to the Cardinal Prefect on October 13, 2006, approved this Notification, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published." Source: VIS
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