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Inquisition Continues (Sun Feb 13, 2005 9:30 am)

Fr.Roger Haight's JESUS: SYMBOL OF GOD

Cardinal Ratzinger's Inquisition type condemnation of the work of Fr. Roger Haight, S.J. has the unintended consequences of bringing this superb book to our attention. ARCC Board member Fr. Tom Doyle, O.P. speaks for those among us who have written on Catholicism, "I love it. The wizards at the CDF don't get it. When they read something they don't understand they condemn it thus making sure the book becomes a best seller. If they condemned phone books everyone would buy them. I think I'll start sending my stuff straight over there and by-pass the snitches who send their anonymous notes and letters. Maybe I too can get condemned for supporting Christianity and then become a best selling author and get rich. Haight follows in a great tradition. In all seriousness however, I am amazed that in this age, when the ineffectiveness of authoritarian systems is acknowledged by a majority, the CDF still presumes that it can treat adult, believing Catholics, lay, clergy and religious, as if they were impressionable and non-thinking infants. The action against Roger Haight is itself the most duplicitous form of dissent......dissent from the ideals of Vatican II; dissent from the concept of freedom of conscience but above all, dissent from the fundamental Christian concept of charity."

A quick survey of reader reviews in the Amazon.com website is very instructive. One enthusiastic reviewer notes, "Once in a while a masterful book comes along in the field of Christology ... this is one of those books! ... Haight's grasp of the field is incomparable. This work is truly on the cutting edge as it brings catholic tradition into dialogue with postmodern realities. Haight seems destined to ask the difficult questions and one worries that this penchant may well find him in 'hot water' with those short-sighted minds who claim the prerogative of preserving Roman Catholic doctrine in the curial halls of Vatican City."

Another reviewer writes, "Overall, Haight has given us a well conceived and thoughtful Christology. He has not intended it to be the final answer. Theologians of all denominations can and should engage in unfettered debate of the individual issues he raises. In this, Haight does well in keeping ecumenical considerations in mind." Clearly, Haight reaches out to non-Catholics and non-Christians in the grand Jesuit tradition"

The Catholic Magisterium would earn the respect of the Christian community if it were to stop violating the dialogic principles embodied in Right No. 20. of ARCC's Charter of Rights that "Catholic teachers of theology have a right to responsible academic freedom. The acceptability of their teaching is to be judged in dialogue with their peers, keeping in mind the legitimacy of responsible dissent and pluralism of belief. (Canon Laws 212:1, C. 218, C. 750, C. 752, C. 754, C. 279:1, C. 810, C. 812)."

This heavy-handedness of the Vatican seems to illustrate clearly that the Vatican methods have not changed in 30 years condemning what the People of God judge to be a significant contribution to the understanding of our faith. Roger Haight has joined the ranks of Hans Kung, Schillebeeckx, Murray and many other outstanding theologians who, we suggest, will be read and remembered long after Cardinal Ratzinger is forgotten.

Other voices

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Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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