.- Wednesday morning, a day earlier than expected, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a Notification concerning certain works of Fr. Jon Sobrino S.J. According to the note, these works "contain propositions which are either erroneous or dangerous and may cause harm to the faithful."
“Fr. Sobrino manifests a preoccupation for the poor and oppressed, particularly in Latin America. This preoccupation certainly is shared by the whole Church,” the note clarifies."
However, the communiqué continues, "the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), 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.’”
The CDF also released an earlier statement clarifying that its warnings about Liberation reductionism could not 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 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 CDF document says.
The Notification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 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, S.J., 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 centers 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, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus.”
"In March of 2005,” the Vatican statement continues, “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 statement adds.
Latin American concerns
In Latin America, especially El Salvador, where Sobrino has lived and worked for almost five decades, the news of his condemnation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith came on Monday. Archbishop Fernando Saenz Lacalle of San Salvador acknowledged the existence of the document and said, “The Holy See has told us the conclusions of his theological studies are not in accord with the doctrine of the Church.”
According to some analysts, the Notification indicates that the issue of Liberation Theology continues to be of concern in the region, due not only to the teachings of Sobrino but also to those of other prominent theologians who include Marxism in their interpretation, especially in view of the upcoming 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council.
“His writings have been under study for some time, and for years he has been issued warnings,” Archbishop Lacalle said, explaining that Sobrino emphasizes the human nature of Jesus Christ to such a degree as to cast doubt upon his divinity.
The archbishop said he prays that Sobrino will “conform to the teachings of the Church.” “I pray to the Lord for Father Jon Sobrino, that he may be docile to the teachings of the Church and would review his conclusions,” he said.
Sources consulted by CNA pointed out that various exponents of Liberation Theology are trying to influence the preparation and content of the working documents that will be sent to the more than 300 bishops throughout the Americas who will be participating in the CELAM meeting in Brazil in May.
To read the Notification in full, visit CNA’s link here: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/document.php?n=154