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Theologians under Roman Suspicion

Anthony de Mello SJ – Jacques Dupuis SJ
Roger Haight SJ – Jon Sobrino SJ


From: Stimmen der Zeit, 4/2008, pp 219-231
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


In the last 13 years the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has four times publicly taken stand against members of the Jesuit Order: against the Indian Anthony de Mello on 24 June 1995; against the Belgian Jacques Dupuis on 24 January 2001; against the US-American Roger Haight on 13 December 2004; on 26 November 2006 against the Spaniard Jon Sobrino who's been for years working in Central America.

Anthony de Mello (1931-1987): The so-called notification, a warning writing against Anthony de Mello appeared years after his death, apparently in response to the still strong effect of his publications, in which he - using images and elements of his Indian homeland - introduces into the contemplative prayer. On the one hand the question arises of how and in what pictures we speak today about God and then what importance the figure of Jesus has in comparison with other spiritual approaches {1}.

A strong accusation raised against that warning says that not sufficiently had been examined which publications go back to the author and which only depend on records and are therefore controversial in their authenticity. There is also the fact that suspicions of Indian meditation methods still occur quite wholesale.

The Jesus question then however connects the warning about de Mello's books with the other, similarly warning or even condemning documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith against Jesuit theologians. But while de Mello is rather working in the area of spiritual practice and has there a greater effect on a wider seeking readership, with the other Jesuits of whom we are talking here treating the Christological questions is mainly concerned with facing the Christological question against the background of today's thinking and thus in the theological work {2}.

Jacques Dupuis (1923-2004): The Belgian Jesuit published a remarkable compendium about a Christian theology of religious pluralism {3}.

Today the book is undoubtedly a standard work in which he first portrays the historical development of the Christian attitude towards other religions up to the present time and then in a more systematic part presents the issues discussed today: the issue of the Covenant - one or several - ,



the Word of God and the revelation in Jesus Christ, Jesus' significance for the salvation of mankind, the relation between God's Kingdom, the religions and the church.

In the Vatican document inquiries were made into five points: first into Jesus as the only and universal Saviour, secondly into the uniqueness and completeness of the Revelation in Jesus Christ, thirdly into the Holy Spirit's universal salvific work, fourthly into the orientation of all people towards the church, fifthly into the value and the salvific function of religious traditions. Thus at the same time those topics are mentioned which in the following years have repeatedly been raised. The inquiries turn up more detailed in the numerous reviews to which Dupuis took a stand in major contributions {4}.

Prior to the publication of the notification a discussion with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had taken place. The Vienna Cardinal Franz König intervened in the conversation. In the end the notification on hand contained no differentiated suggestions of corrections. Only its publication in reprints of the book is demanded. A prohibition against teaching and publications was not issued. Anyway, the document was published after Dupuis' retirement. He then still published a small book which clarified his position {5}.

Roger Haight (born in 1936): The American theologian in 1999 published a book entitled "Jesus Symbol of God" (Orbis Books: Maryknoll, NY), in which he concerned himself with the access to the figure of Jesus in today's society. Thus considerations on the theological method come at the beginning. The figure of the historically tangible man Jesus is for him the starting point - in this sense it is about a "Christology from below" - as well as the undeniable fact that there have been from biblical times different approaches to the understanding of Jesus and thus also a plurality of Christologies. The approach to the Church's fundamental conviction, which has found its relevant expression in the Chalkedon Council's formulation "truly God and truly man", becomes then the central topic. Haight tries to communicate the approach to this doctrine via the difficult concept "symbol"; then he tries to discuss Jesus' salvific mediating role in the context of today's questions resulting from the theology of liberation and the encounter with religions; and in the end he draws conclusions for the doctrine on the Trinity.

According to my knowledge no discussion but only a written correspondence has taken place between Haight and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Using concrete quotations the notification accuses him of "serious doctrinal errors against the divine and Catholic faith of the church" in seven points: 1st in the theological method, then in the treatment of 2nd the pre-existence of the Word, of 3rd Jesus' divinity, of 4th the Trinity, of 5th the Salvation importance of Jesus' death,



of 6th the uniqueness and universality of Jesus' and the Church's salvific mediating role, and 7th of Jesus' Resurrection. Because of those allegations Haight is forbidden to teach Catholic theology until he has reconciled his position with that of the church. Haight has again explained his position in a volume about the future of Christology {6} but teaches now at the Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Jon Sobrino (born in 1938): There are two more recent works on Christology by him, the first of which treats the fundamental questions more fundamentally, the second then from the viewpoint of the victims {7}. His condemnation had not least therefore a bitter taste because he was only saved from death by a stroke of luck, for he had been on a trip abroad when six of his brethren and an employee and her daughter were brutally murdered on 16 November 1989. In addition, weeks passed between the signature of the Prefect of the Congregation of Faith, Cardinal William Levada and the publication on 15 March 2007; the notification was therefore published shortly before the trip of Pope Benedict XVI to Brazil for the opening of the Fifth General Assembly of the Latin American bishops.

Sobrino too is primarily reproached with faults in his methodological preconditions. With him too it is as regards content about the deity of Christ, the Incarnation of the Son of God, about Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God, about Jesus' self-awareness and the salvific nature of his death. The shifts of emphasis in the Christological doctrine with which Sobrino was reproached have very convincingly been rejected both by Peter Hünermann in the "Herder-Korrespondenz" and by Bernard Sesboüé SJ in this journal {8}. The fact that the local bishop Fernando Saenz Lacalle announced the withdrawal of his teaching permit to Sobrino before the notification had been published, and that it then pronounced neither a prohibition of teaching nor of publication is another questionable moment of this case.

In all three cases it is primarily about two modern developments: the awakening of historical awareness and the existential experience of modern pluralism in the various fields of life - including religion. These modern contexts undoubtedly have their effects on theological hermeneutics and methodology, then also on the accentuation of various doctrinal topics. Since the closeness to Christ is the central inspiration of the Jesuit Order as "Society (with) Jesus", the here resulting questions are - beyond a theoretical and scientific interest - relevant to the Christ piety and spirituality lived in it. For this reason alone it cannot be a matter of indifference to the Order when the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith casts doubt on individual members' Christological thought.



Today Pursue Theology

Thus the criticism has two directions. On the one hand it leads to methodological issues resp. to the question of how you pursue theology today. On the other hand it is about the consequences resulting from a different theological practice in answering concrete questions as regards content. Since those ultimately result from the theological practice, we'll do well when we above all pay attention to the first problem. But there it is about theology, its aim and its method as they turn out to be today.

Main objective of Christian theology is to understand the fundamental Christian message and to interpret it in the language of today's people. Indeed, theology does not happen outside time and space. Thus the efforts to understand it have two directions. We must always ask: Where does the message come from? Then: Who are the addressees of the message today, what do they think, how do they speak, how do they live, what are they looking for?

Turning backward to the past: No Christian theologian will deny that he must - as regards the origin of Christianity - deal with the figure of Jesus of Nazareth, then with the Holy Scripture and church doctrine, as we find them in preaching and catechesis and in the official teachings of the Church. Difficulties arise when we consider the distance of 2000 years between the origin and the present time. With good reason Roger Haight therefore asks for a "hermeneutic method of critical correlation" {9}, i.e. a critical correlation existing between the original interpretation of Jesus resp. the original understanding of Jesus and today's intellectual culture.

Turning forward toward presence and future: Indeed, theology reflects the beginning and the history of Christianity, but for the sake of today looking to the future. In that sense the "tradition" is a working process, and as such in the truest sense of the word a "translation process", which preserves the beginning and carries and "trans-lates" it into an each time new era and each time new places. But our time is, to put it in concrete terms, above all moulded by two things: first by the current effectiveness of historical thinking and awareness and by the experience of manifold plurality resp. by the social pluralism. Both factors have also a strong effect on scientific reflection and research and do not stop at theology. They include the acknowledgement of change. History is as such a process of constant change and constant variability, and pluralism includes diversity, and that to an extent that at the end unity and identity can get lost.

In view of those two moments you can add that the awakening of the modern historical awareness can be backdated to the beginning of modern European Enlightenment, which since the 19 century had an lasting effect on the Christian exegesis and later also on the history of dogmas.



Pluralism in its many forms - ethnical, political, cultural, linguistic, religious etc. - came to the fore at the latest in the middle of the 20th century, after the Second World War and the collapse of colonialism, after the revolution within the means of communications and the onset of the strong mobility and migration between the different populations - temporarily and permanently. The changes within the church, which on the part of the Catholic Church mainly go back to the Second Vatican Council, are at least partly also caused by the worldwide effective social developments.


The Signs of the Times in the Light of the Gospel

A first summary of the new attitude asked of the church and its theology got its concise expression in the Pastoral Constitution "Gaudium et Spes":

"To carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics." (GS 4).

The tension between the two poles "signs of the times" and "light of the Gospel" describes the "critical correspondence" envisioned by Roger Haight. As Peter Hünermann states in his critical comments on the notification against Jon Sobrino the two poles were already extensively brought out in the famous "loci theologici" by the Spanish Dominican Melchior Cano (1509-1560) {10}. Cano differentiated between seven loci proprii = "actual (theological) places" and three loci alieni = non-theological and in this sense "foreign places":

Loci proprii are fundamentally the Holy Scripture and the apostolic tradition, the Catholic, i.e. universal church as interpreter, the Councils, the Roman (local) church (with the Pope as bishop and head of the whole church), the Church Fathers and early theologians, scholasticism. Loci alieni are the human reason, philosophy and history.

Here now is to be noted that in contemporary theology the last mentioned three non-theological loci because of the changing situation get more attention. After all, it is also about the world in which the addressees of the message live, and that in many and different ways is moulded by historical developments, by the linguistic translations into various philosophical and ideological contexts, and thus at the same time also by a world determined by human reason.



Two things cannot be overlooked here: on the one hand just Pope Benedict XVI has - starting with his inaugural lecture in Bonn in June 1959, over the conversation with Jürgen Habermas in January 2004 up to his Regensburg lecture in September 2006 - always been looking at the relationship of tension between faith and reason, admittedly mostly in a way that he always insisted on the special standing of the Greek-Western thinking {11}. On the other hand the awareness of the historicity of thought had not only intensive repercussions on the biblical exegesis, but - as I said - also on the study of Church history, especially on the history of theology and dogma and then clearly sharpened the sense for the relativity and limitedness of linguistic formulations, but also of the communicative acts, of symbols, rituals etc. Ultimately with all those efforts it is virtually above all about the relevance of the message. After all, the nicest message is useless if nobody wants to hear it and / or no one can understand it.

By the way, in his Christological works Sobrino clearly distinguishes between a locus theologicus, that is the genuinely theological "place" as basis of the Church's teaching, and a locus socialis, the "place" in society, in which the teachings are to be interpreted and presented. In his concrete reflections and applications that "place" is - just because of his own life place - first Latin America with its countless poor or as he calls them: its victims {12}.

Admittedly, today it cannot be denied: the experience of pluralism is now so great and far-reaching that theology occasionally runs the risk of so extensively dealing with what we can call the societal "context" of the propagation of faith that then in the end the "text" of the message is neglected. In practice then it can happen that context and text change their places and what is and should be text becomes context and what is context becomes text. The modern situation resp. the "signs of the time" are then no longer interpreted "in the light of the Gospel", but the gospel "in the light of modern times" and its possibilities of understanding. As a result here the question about the standard and the guiding criteria is at stake. There are legitimate inquiries to Roger Haight precisely here.


The Theological Significance of the People of God

But there is still another question, though it is not brought up in the notifications: What is the role of the People of God in theology and what is its theological significance?



Here I'd like shortly to deal with reflections of Aloysius Pieris, a Jesuit from Sri Lanka. In an article "Interreligious Dialogue and Theology of Religions. An Asian Paradigm" he calls the poor "the third teaching authority" {13}. Pieris then refers to the fact that in the late Middle Ages one spoke of two teaching authorities in the church, which in the end competed with each other: the Magisterium sedis magistralis, i.e. theology, especially the Paris Faculty, and the Magisterium sedis pastoralis, which was held by the bishops under the leadership of the pope and is the only one meant in our days when we talk of the Church's teaching authority {14}.

When Pieris now adds a "third teaching authority" he thus at the same time reminds of the Second Vatican Council's teachings about the People of God. About it number 12 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church "Lumen Gentium" says that it in its entirety cannot err in matters of belief (falli nequit) and that it by the discernment in matters of faith (sensus fidei), which is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, adheres unwaveringly (indefectibiliter) to the faith given once and for all to the saints (the faithful are meant here), penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully in its life.

But it is part of our methodological considerations to note that the People of God is not only the passive addressee and recipient of the Church's proclamation but that it is authorized actively to act as subject by itself. This certainly happens less in doctrinal proclamation but through the testimony of life, as it is daily required. That's why today with good reasons the biographies of saints and saintly people are rediscovered as source of theological teaching and education.

Roger Haight has for his part said that today the American Catholicism can offer three potential gifts to the world church: "a feminist perspective with a set of values, openness to pluralism, and the rise of the laity" {15}. One might argue about it whether the gifts given by God to the American church are not a gift and a call given by God today to the whole world. For the church will not exist tomorrow and not be alive without the active role of the laity, men and women, coloured, black and white, rich and poor. That, however, is reason enough to give the poor and the victims in society and church a voice as God's beloved sons and daughters.

There is another reason to ask the question of the subjects in the church. After all, we live in the era of dialogue, and the interreligious dialogue is one of the basic attitudes that we have to develop in dealing with other people. But it includes that we learn to treat others as partners and subjects with their own rights, and to see them from their perspective. A first place where that learning process started was the new awareness that we live together with living (and surviving) Jews. For a long time Judaism was in theology regarded as an object of academic study in the context of the study of the Old Testament.



Today we know that Judaism lives through the Jewish contemporaries among and with us. Since the Second Vatican Council it is clear that that they are to be seen as partners in the dialogue and in everyday life {16}. But what is required in view of the Jewish people is also true with regard to the members of other religions. It is demanded wherever we today enter into interreligious dialogue: human persons have to be treated as subjects. When we take that into account we recognize that theology as such is now in a process of transformation to which attention must be paid.


To See the Others with Christian Eyes

Both features - historical orientation and religious pluralism - are reason enough also to re-consider some central questions of faith. The three theologians censored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have - from different perspectives but based on our time - thought about some fundamental questions of faith. In conclusion a few comments are given here about some points addressed in the notifications.

Jacques Dupuis put the question about the theological importance of the plurality of religions. Are the religions the accidental product of ethnic and cultural developments or have they their reason in God's plan to save mankind? In other words: Is the religious pluralism only a fact that de facto exists, or can we call it a fact that exists de jure? Once again, in other words: Does the religious pluralism simply occur within the evolution, the history of humankind as we take note of it or is behind it a special intention, a will of God? Even if we hardly can clearly answer that question, it makes sense to ask about the will of God. For if God wanted this diversity we cannot carelessly regard all the differences between the races, nations and religions first as aberrations. On the contrary, we must rather meet them with cautious respect. And if it should be that other religions too offer a way leading to liberation and salvation, and if they should include the possibility that they for their part lead to salvation then the role of the church and the work of the Holy Spirit had again to be considered and formulated anew. Dupuis tried to clarify questions of that kind, and he felt encouraged to do it, especially since he could refer to various papal and other doctrinal statements after the Second Vatican Council, including those of Pope John Paul II {17}.

As already mentioned it is to be taken into account that as regards the notification on Dupuis' theology - different from the other cases - no concrete comment from his extensive work has been cited which would call for correction.



Admittedly, that does not mean that some parts of the book could not be deepened or also improved. But it is characteristic of a scout that he is looking for a passable path in an area that has until now not been explored and used. His efforts to find a suitable expression for the mutual rapprochement in the dialogue are one example for it. Like Claude Geffré OP I think Dupuis' term "inclusive pluralism" is already with regard to the much-discussed pluralist theology of religions misleading and therefore not very fortunate. Somewhat closer to Karl Rahner's thought about "anonymous Christians" and "anonymous Christianity" I would prefer to speak of "mutual inclusiveness" {18}. Anyway, a conceptual disagreement is no reason for censorship but only cause for reflection and debate.

Roger Haight, too, touches upon the question of religious pluralism {19}. Admittedly he is obviously not that strongly involved into a direct dialogue with people of other ethnic and cultural backgrounds. But I don't want to enter here into a more detailed discussion of the various Christological questions for the simple reason that this would require that we first had to present Haight's position more in detail, and that in turn would go beyond the scope of this contribution. That is also true for the understanding of symbol developed by Haight in his fundamental work "Jesus Symbol of God". Instead, I would like to look at his understanding of history, which in two respects calls for a deepening.

First: Even if there is no other way to get into touch with the living Christ but regarding him first as a completely human being, I nevertheless think that Haight's approach to the "historical Jesus" deserves some widening. The New Testament as a whole is actually a document that has been handed down to us in history, and it confronts us with the reality of the faith of the early church which in turn faces us as historical fact. The "historical Jesus" meets us therefore in the broader historical reality of the early church, as it comes to meet us in the historically passed on biblical text of the New Testament {20}. Even texts of which we assume that they contain original words and deeds of Jesus' earthly existence reach us after Easter and testify how the early community of Jesus' disciples has seen and understood him. The texts are historical documents of testimony, and the relation between plurality and unity within the biblical documents is a complex reality; as such it has to be accepted, but for what reason should it be dissolved or reduced? Are not also foreign texts resp. such ones that have become alien first to be endured in their strangeness before they are abandoned or at least questioned for reasons of modernity?

Secondly: Beyond the theological interest, the understanding of history as it is used here after all seems to be at home in the western world and within the context of its thinking.



But in our time of an intercultural and interreligious dialogue it seems appropriate to compare with each other the various views of history as they have developed in the different cultural environments. I refer e.g. to studies of Indian Jesuits such as Francis D'Sa and others who seek to find a complementary access to "history" and its understanding in a rather non-anthropocentric and cosmic horizon is-á-vis the anthropocentric thinking of the Western world {21}. Unfortunately alternative ways of thinking still find too little attention in Western theology. Also with Roger Haight they have no effect.

Like the other Jesuits Jon Sobrino can meet the living Jesus today only amidst the people and the human society. In the world in which he lives for years these are the poor and oppressed, the innumerable people calling for help and salvation today. Compared with Haight Sobrino has a more lively understanding of Jesus, who has suffered and was crucified himself. Apart from his not entirely successful explanation of the so-called "communicatio idiomatum" (Bernard Sesboüé speaks of a "technical error" {22}), he can hardly be criticized with regard to his reflection on the statements of the Councils. His statements are in the line of the later Councils, although he notes that the interest in Jesus has undergone a change in the early church.

According to his - quite correct - understanding the inner-church reflections and controversies of the early church are rather focused on the constitution of the person of Jesus Christ as a person with two natures, human and divine. Sobrino nowhere denies that terminology, which was more and more sharply defined in the early Councils. But with that strong focussing on the Son of God becoming man in Jesus a certain loss of historical concreteness is connected, as it was given by the biblical narrative language of the Gospels. While Jesus had announced the coming Kingdom of God, the young church preached with St Paul Jesus as the Crucified (1 Cor 1, 23). It can hardly be denied that Jesus' proclamation of the Kingdom of God then rather faded into the background and in the end almost entirely disappeared. The preacher became the preached one. In Origenes' beautiful word Christ is the autobasileia, the empire itself or the 'kingdom in person', and so at the same time in Jesus the culmination of the Kingdom of God pronounced by him had arrived. But does this Kingdom not further develop in a process continuing until the end of days?

With the clarification process of the early Councils the language too changed. The terminology borrowed from the Greek philosophy had some final and static moment in itself and at the same time it lost, as regards the historical processes, the dynamics and process character, as it is expressed in the texts of the New Testament, especially the Gospels.



Orthodoxy, the rights teaching slipped in front of Orthopractice, in front of the right implementation of the concrete discipleship of Christ's Passion in today's world and in the experiences of salvation and liberation made by people in the discipleship of the Crucified Christ on their own way of the Cross. Sesboüé rightly asks us to bear in mind, "We do not preach Chalkedon; we proclaim Christ and respect at the same time Chalkedon. This is the big difference." {23}

In his Christological works Sobrino tries to bring out that and nothing else. But then it is difficult to understand why Sobrino is not allowed to regret in his own way that in the course of history the scientific theology unfortunately has almost entirely forgotten this connection between the current life experiences and the actual life of Jesus.

Let me repeat: The real imitatio Christi, the true discipleship of Christ is - according to Jesus' request - always the acceptance of one's own Cross. The discipleship of Christ is a process that consists in specific events, which happen in the human society and will continue to happen up to the end of history when Christ appears in his glory. Spiritually, this discipleship of Christ's Cross has always existed in the history of the church, but the question remains: Has the connection between the concrete suffering of the people, as Sobrino has experienced and experiences it with the peoples of Latin America in the present time and the living Christ and his healing-liberating practice so strongly been in the Church's awareness that it for its part had always stood up for a real, not merely a spiritual liberation practice in the sense of Christ? How was it about its taking sides with the poor and oppressed in its mission history? Or has the church by its dealing with the metaphysical-static language of dogma and theology got such a distance to the experiences of people that they see themselves less and less referred to the suffering and still compassionate Christ? Sobrino presses for an active discipleship of Christ in our actual life and tries so to win Christians over to an active involvement in the creation of today's Kingdom of God. For in the sense of the Lord's Prayer we still call: "Thy kingdom come!" The reign of God is still on the way.

Peter Hünermann does not hesitate to point to a "cloud of witnesses" in today's theology, among them exegetes and systematic theologians of high rank, thinking in Sobrino's way. Just when he - out of his real circumstances adopts the need and the views of Latin America's victims - his theology is by no means limited to them. His theology has relevance to a broad audience in the church and in the world. For all of us must always anew look at and listen to Jesus, his life and his message from the viewpoint of people, and in our life actively testify in the world that Jesus is living.



In this sense Hünermann's answer to the notification against Sobrino also underlines the need for a renewed theology in which biblical and systematic thinking cooperate with regard to the double task: to be faithful to the original event and to the original message which focuses on Christ's Incarnation, his death and resurrection, and to point out the relevance and plausibility of that message of life for all times and for all humankind. That and nothing else should also be the matter and the concern of the Church's Magisterium.

Here Hünermann then calls upon the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to work on a renewed and improved "quality safeguard" of theology. Insofar as the Church's teaching authority for its part has to work with rationally understandable and comprehensible arguments, it cannot itself proceed in a (in the bad sense) "dogmatic" manner. Correspondingly simple self-quotations, i.e. references to well-known doctrinal statements are as such no longer sufficient, particularly since it is always about linguistic formulations and the specific problems of translations into foreign understanding horizons have long since been recognized. In this sense it would for example be desirable that the teaching authority in the selection of its consultants opens to a greater breadth of ways of thinking. In a time when in the church too the diversity of cultures becomes more and more evident the diversity of theological schools of thought resp. approaches must get a chance - as already in the Patristic and in the Middle Ages.

Thus the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith itself must face the new situation. But it can only fulfil its task when its working methods are up to date. For it has to take care for both, for the loyalty to the wealth of faith, but also for the performance of the Church's mission to bring Christ's salvific message, the gospel to all times, to all peoples, and to all places in the world.



{1} For a more detailed debate see A. Nayak, Anthony de Mello. Sein Leben, seine Spiritualität (Düsseldorf 2006).

{2} Under all documents are retrievable in the Internet. It makes you think that – apart from de Mello's books and J. Sobrino, Christologie der Befreiung volume 1 (Mainz 1998) – the other publications of the theologians which are under discussion are up to now not available in German.

{3} See J. Dupuis, Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism (Maryknoll 1997); about it H. Waldenfels, Unterwegs zu einer christlichen Theologie des religiösen Pluralismus, in this periodical 217 (1999) 597–610.

{4} Dupuis’ argument with his critics are meanwhile also available in German. Issue 1 of the 'Salzburger Theologischen Zeitschrift' 10 (2006), edited by U. Winkler has the central theme: Ein Testament katholischer Religionstheologie. Jacques Dupuis’ Gesammelte Aufsätze aus den letzten Lebensjahren (A Legacy of Catholic Theology of Religion. Dupuis' Collected Essays from the Last Years of his Life), and is a good introduction into his life and work.



{5} J. Dupuis, Il cristianesimo e le religioni. Dallo scontro all’ incontro (Brescia 2001).

{6} See R. Haight, The Future of Christology (New York 2005).

{7} See J. Sobrino, Christologie der Befreiung, volume 1 (Mainz 1998) and the same, Christ the Liberator. A View of the Victims (Maryknoll 2001).

{8} See P. Hünermann, Moderne Qualitätssicherung? Der Fall Sobrino ist eine Anfrage an die Arbeit der Glaubenskongregation: HerKorr 61 (2007) 184–188; B. Sesboüé, Jesus Christus aus der Sicht der Opfer. Zur Christologie von Jon Sobrino, in this periodical 225 (2007) 240–254.

{9} See Haight (note 6) 40f.

{10} See Hünermann (note 8).

{11} See to the texts J. Ratzinger, Vom Wiederauffinden der Mitte. Grundorientierungen (Freiburg 1997) 40–59; J. Habermas u. J. Ratzinger, Dialektik der Säkularisierung. Über Vernunft u. Religion (Freiburg 2005); Benedikt XVI., Glaube u. Vernunft. Die Regensburger Vorlesung (Freiburg 2006) 11–32.

{12} See about it the introductions to the works mentioned in note 7.

{13} See A. Pieris, Feuer u. Wasser. Frau, Gesellschaft, Spiritualität in Buddhismus u. Christentum (Freiburg 1994) 115–124, about the "3rd Teaching Authority": 117–119.

{14} See H. Waldenfels, Kontextuelle Fundamentaltheologie (Paderborn 42005) 483; Die Theologie u. das Lehramt, edited by W. Kern (Freiburg 1982) 29–33.

{15} See Jesuit Postmodern, edited by F. X. Clooney (London 2006) 98.

{16} See about it Waldenfels (note 14) 483–501.

{17} See Dupuis, Theology (note 3) 158–179; the same, Cristianesimo (note 5) 136–148.

{18} See H. Waldenfels, Standpunkt u. Standpunkte. Unterwegs zu einer Theologie der Religionen, in: ZMR 91 (2007) 5–15; C. Geffré, Unterwegs zu einer "interreligiösen Theologie", in the same place 16–28; the same, From the Theology of Religious Pluralism to an Interreligious Theology, in: In Many and Diverse Ways. In Honor of Jacques Dupuis, edited by D. Kendall u. G. O’Connor (Maryknoll 2003) 45–59.

{19} See R. Haight, Jesus Symbol of God (Maryknoll 1999) 395–423; the same, Future (note 6) 103–122, 202–211.

{20} This criticism can also be gathered in the preface to J. Ratzinger – Benedikt XVI., Jesus von Nazareth (Freiburg 2007) 9–23, where he talks about "canonical exegesis", i.e. "reading the individual texts of the Bible as a whole resp. in their context", and calls it "a fundamental dimension of interpretation" "that does not contradict the historical-critical method but organically continues it and lets it become the actual theology" (18); see also T. W. Tilley, Remembering the Historic Jesus – a New Research Program?, in Theological Studies 68 (2007) 3–35.

{21} See among others F. D’Sa, Anthropische u. kosmische Geschichte, in: the same, Regenbogen der Offenbarung (Frankfurt 2006) 63–86.

{22} See Sesboüé (note 8) 251 und Haight (note 6).

{23} Sesboüé (note 8) 250.


    {*} In the last few years the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has publicly taken a stand against four theologians from the Jesuit Order: Anthony de Mello, Jacques Dupuis, Roger Haight and Jon Sobrino. HANS WALDENFELS, professor of fundamental theology and theology of religions at the University of Bonn, examines the background of the Roman complaints and explains the contexts of the different theologies. They essay was originally presented in English in the circle of Jesuits Ecumenists in Lviw in 2007, see Considerations about Three Notifications: Dupuis – Haight – Sobrino: Secretariat for Interreligious Dialogue: Curia SJ (ed.): Ecumenism East and West (= The 19th International Congress of Jesuit Ecumenists. Lviv), 141-147


Link to 'Public Con-Spiration for-with-of the Poor'