Sunday, March 25, 2007

Benedict XVI God's Rottweiler biting the Jesuits (Jon Sobrino) again... Why doesn't he bite the thousands of pedophile-priests?


Nero fiddled while Rome burned and now Benedict XVI fiddle-faddles with Jesuit books while the Catholic Church burns with priest-pedophilia.

The Jesuits is the favorite meal of Benedict XVI, God’s Rottweiler at the Vatican. He bit them as his last meal as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by silencing Fr. Roger Haight and Fr. Jacques Dupuis. (He silenced quite a number of Jesuits during his tenure at the CDF).

And for his first meal as Pope, God’s Rottweiler bit the Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese by making him resign as editor of America Magazine.

Now on his second year as Pope he is biting Fr. Jon Sobrino. Benedict XVI’s appetite for the Jesuit is just insatiable.

He spends so much time playing with meticulous terminologies about "Jesus the Liberator" -- that he has no time for the priest-pedophilia exploding in USA, Mexico and around the world.

Poor little American boys (and girls), 12,000 of them abused for years by more than 5,148 pedophile-priests, and not once did Benedict question these priests' faith in Jesus. And now he is censuring Jon Sorbino (like Galileo was sentenced) for his two books Jesus the Liberator and Witnesses to the Kingdom: The Martyrs of El Salvador and the Crucified Peoples that "contain propositions which are either erroneous or dangerous and may cause harm to the faithful."

The operative word is "may" cause harm which means it is a probability and not a certainty.

"Erroneous or dangerous and may cause harm"? What planet is Benedict XVI God's Rottweiler living in? At the ivory tower of the Vatican he is out of touch with reality. Didn't the pedophile-priests already caused harm to thousands of children for over a quarter of a century? Hello!
Their "error" has already cost the Catholic Church more than a billion dollars but Benedict refuse to acknowledge it?

The "errors, dangers and harm" of priest-pedophilia is well established and they thrived during John Paul II's longest papacy in modern history with Ratzinger in the helm of the CDF. This is the more important historical fact than the probability that the books of Jon Sobrino may cause harm. Nero fiddled while Rome burned and now Benedict plays with Jesuit books while the Catholic Church burns with priest pedophilia.


BTW, Don’t be fooled that his current public secretary is a Jesuit. He just want to feel the “power OVER” the Jesuits so he hired one. But it is a façade, in reality, he has a young handsome private priest secretary...and he is surrounded by Opus Dei eunuchs.


So why does Benedict God’s Rottweiler enjoy having a feast on the Jesuits? Simple, he wants John Paul II to be treated like a god, a demi-god, a quasi-god, as long as he is a god -- meaning no criticism allowed, only adulation and blind obedience. But alas, the Jesuits are not wimpy men (like Opus Dei eunuchs) who’ll willingly do it.

It is important to note that this godly papal adulation is the Opus Dei style of autocracy because they want total control of the papacy and the Pope through absolute obedience to every word and every move of John Paul II and his clones. Welcome to the autocracy of St. Josemaria Escriva in the 21st Century through his puppet the Pope.

The Marquis de Peralta reigns at the Vatican http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2006/11/john-paul-ii-and-saint-josemaria.html


To make a very secretive story short, the Opus Dei has bought the Vatican , it is their prime real estate. (See www.OctopusDei.org and www.ODAN.org)



So why is Benedict God’s Rottweiler biting off Fr. Jon Sobrino?

The real reason is this: Jon Sobrino criticized John Paul II in his book Witnesses to the Kingdom which we quoted in our John Paul II Millstone weblog in November 2006.

See http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2006/11/john-paul-ii-shirked-el-salvador.html


We report, you be the judge. Read the Notification below and see the continuing papal abuse of power. Open your eyes and see Benedict as he truly is. As God's Rottweiler, His Holy Eyes are either myopic or cross-eyed because he is focused on the wrong victims especially on the Jesuits who give their lives for the poor in South America and Asia -- while He and the Opus Dei eunuchs who surround him live in the lap of luxury at the Vatican.

Why doesn't he spend his papal time to apologize to victims of pedophile-priests and to send "Notifications" to Bishops and Cardinals who cover-up the heinous crime of clergy sexual abuse?

His last meal as Pope before he dies will surely be - the Jesuits. He did it as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; he did it on his first year as Pope, now on his second year as pope, watch out for the third year…..his papal Rottweiler's stomach is voracious for good Jesuit men like Haight, Dupuis, Reese, now Sobrino...

And like John Paul II who made him his papal clone, he will go to his papal grave ignoring and abandoning the victims of pedophile-priests.


This article is posted in honor of the Annunciation of Mary, the Mother of thousands of children sexually abused under Benedict XVI as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and who continue to suffer injustice from his hands as Pope.



-----------

His own pope yet?

(Excerpt)

By David Gibson
Monday, April 23, 2007

With little fanfare, Benedict XVI on Tuesday will mark the second anniversary of his formal installation as pope, a threshold at which his immediate predecessors had established themselves in the public mind. Yet he remains an enigma to many who thought they knew him well, and something of a blank slate to a world curious to see what this new pontiff would be like...

Then, last month, the Vatican censured a renowned Jesuit proponent of liberation theology, the Reverend Jon Sobrino. A Spanish priest who has spent his life working with the poor in El Salvador, Sobrino narrowly escaped death in 1989 when six of his confreres were murdered by Salvadoran death squads. Such experiences helped hone the priest's theology, which focuses on the poor as the primary recipients of Christ's message.

Despite that personal story, Benedict went ahead with the rebuke of Sobrino, whom the Vatican, with minimal explanation, accused of not sufficiently emphasizing the divinity of Jesus. It was a questionable judgment theologically and smacked of piling on. As cardinal, Ratzinger had fought a long and by all accounts successful campaign against liberation theology, and while Sobrino remains popular, Benedict, as pope, could well have sat back and enjoyed the pax Romana that he helped to secure. Although Rome did not directly silence the priest, it declared his teachings "not in keeping with the Catholic faith," which invited bishops to act against him, as some have done.

The censure was a sorrowful blow to Sobrino, who has health problems and is semiretired, and above all to his many supporters in Latin America who believe that justice goes hand in hand with charity.

And it demonstrated that while Benedict's style may be different as pope, the substance remains the same. As he told German television interviewers last year, "Let's say that my basic personality and even my basic vision have grown, but in everything that is essential I have remained identical."

Perhaps that is why Benedict's harsher actions have received little notice. Benedict is a "dog-bites-man" pope, notable largely for what he was not expected to do, or for actions that produce unnerving reactions, like his speech critiquing Islam last September that enraged many Muslims. The pope actually devoted the bulk of that lecture to questioning non-Catholic Christians and secular Westerners who he said were in thrall to modern rationalism.

Certainly, Benedict has in two years preached many striking and even lyrical meditations on the beauty of the faith that is at the heart of Christianity. But in the United States, as elsewhere, the challenge is not so much a crisis of faith as a "crisis of church." It is not a question of why believe as much as why be Catholic. People are persuaded by deeds that match rhetoric, and a closer look at the actions behind Benedict's words shows that the two are still far apart.

David Gibson is the author of "The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle With the Modern World."



http://www.iht.com/
articles/2007/04/23/opinion/edgibson.php




http://www.sjweb.info/jesuits/newslink.cfm?LangChoice=1

Jesuit Curia

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published on March 15 a Notification on two works of Father Jon Sobrino, S.J.-- Jesus the Liberator and Christ the Liberator. Because "of certain imprecisions and errors found in them, the Congregation decided to proceed to a more thorough study of these works in 2001. After a long process the Congregation decided to offer the faithful a secure criterion by which to judge the affirmations contained in these books or in other productions of the Author".

At noon of March 14, the journalists accredited to the Holy See received the Notification to which Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., Director of the Vatican Radio and of the Vatican Press Room, added a note ("The Bridge") which is translated below. Fr. Lombardi wrote:

"To understand the meaning of the Notification of the Congregation of the Faith on some works of Father Jon Sobrino, I think that it is opportune to remember the importance of the correct understanding of the nature and the work of Jesus Christ, the heart of Christian faith.

Jesus Christ is for the Church the "mediator" between God and the man; he is the "pontiff", that is to say, the builder of the bridge that allows men to re-enter into a relationship of friendship and union with God, and to overcome the distance and the impossibility of communication caused by the whole history of sin.

To be mediator and bridge, Jesus Christ must firmly lean both on the side of humanity, and on the side of divinity. Otherwise, the passage from a side to the other is interrupted, or at least insecure. Since the first centuries of Christianity the necessity of this bridge has been strongly affirmed and defended against numerous theories that denied the need of one or other pillar of the bridge: the humanity or the divinity. The denial of one or other aspect in the person of Christ makes impossible the salvation of man, since it implies the destruction of the concrete, real way open to man to communicate with God.

The theological reflection on Jesus Christ always has to be aware of both essential aspects, even if the various cultural contexts exercise an influence on the tones and characteristics of the different theological or spiritual currents-.

The context of the Christian experience often leads to an emphasis on the solidarity between Jesus and men and his sharing of human reality: the opposition he has to face, his passion, his violent death. These are crucial elements for the proclamation and acceptance of the Gospel among the poor and those who suffer for the faith and for justice.

One who lives his faith participating in these most dramatic experiences of people will naturally cultivate a deep spiritual empathy with the humanity of Christ and, if he is a theologian, will be led to the foundation of the bridge pillar built on the side of humanity. That is certainly the case of Father Sobrino, who has gone down to the foundation y of the Latin American theology so viscerally concern in the search of a human and spiritual liberation of the people living in this continent. Let us not forget that Father Sobrino was part of the team in the Central American University of San Salvador, six members of which were barbarously assassinated in 1998 precisely for their cultural commitment to the solidarity with the people in San Salvador.

At the same time, the insistence on the solidarity between Christ and man must not be brought to the point to overshadow the dimension that unites Christ to God. For if Christ is not at the same time man and God, the bridge lacks its second point of support and the reality of our communication with God becomes radically questionable.

This is the problem on which the argument of the "Notification" dwells. While clearly respecting the work and intentions of Sobrino, it states that certain affirmations about crucial issues (the divinity of Christ, the Incarnation of the Son of God, the self-awareness of Jesus Christ and the redemptive value of his death) raise serious questions on fundamental tenets of the Church.

In other words, these affirmations seem to call into question the integrity and the stability of the bridge which enables the communication between God and men, including the poor, in the history of mankind."

--------------



Notification on Works of Father Jon Sobrino

3/15/2007 - 6:10 AM PST


CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
NOTIFICATION



Jesucristo liberador. Lectura histórico-teológica de Jesús de Nazaret[1]
and La fe en Jesucristo. Ensayo desde las víctimas (San Slavador, 1999)
[2] Introduction

1. 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 Father 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 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 abovementioned books was sent to the Author through the Reverend Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

In March of 2005, Father 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 23 November 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. Although the preoccupation of the Author for the plight of the poor is admirable, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has the obligation to indicate that the aforementioned works of Father Sobrino contain notable discrepancies with the faith of the Church.

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. One must note that on some occasions the erroneous propositions are situated within the context of other expressions which would seem to contradict them [3], but this is not sufficient to justify these propositions. The Congregation does not intend to judge the subjective intentions of the Author, but rather has the duty to call to 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.

I. Methodological Presuppositions

2. In his book Jesus the Liberator: A Historical-Theological View,Father Sobrino affirms: "Latin American Christology…identifies its setting, in the sense of a real situation, as the poor of this world, and this situation is what must be present in and permeate any particular setting in which Christology is done" (Jesus the Liberator, 28). Further, "the poor in the community question Christological faith and give it its fundamental direction" (Ibidem, 30), and "the Church of the poor…is the ecclesial setting of Christology because it is a world shaped by the poor" (Ibidem, 31). "The social setting is thus the most crucial for the faith, the most crucial in shaping the thought pattern of Christology, and what requires and encourages the epistemological break" ( Ibidem).

While such a preoccupation for the poor and oppressed is admirable, in these quotations the "Church of the poor" assumes the fundamental position which properly belongs to the faith of the Church. It is only in this ecclesial faith that all other theological foundations find their correct epistemological setting.

The ecclesial foundation of Christology may not be identified with "the Church of the poor", but is found rather in the apostolic faith transmitted through the Church for all generations. The theologian, in his particular vocation in the Church, must continually bear in mind that theology is the science of the faith. Other points of departure for theological work run the risk of arbitrariness and end in a misrepresentation of the same faith. [4]

3. Although the Author affirms that he considers the theological fonts "normative", the lack of due attention that he pays to them gives rise to concrete problems in his theology which we will discuss below. In particular, the New Testament affirmations concerning the divinity of Christ, his filial consciousness and the salvific value of his death, do not in fact always receive the attention due them. The sections below will treat these specific questions.

The manner in which the author treats the major Councils of the early Church is equally notable, for according to him, these Councils have moved progressively away from the contents of the New Testament. For example, he affirms: "While these texts are useful theologically, besides being normative, they are also limited and even dangerous, as is widely recognized today" (Christ the Liberator, 221). Certainly, it is necessary to recognize the limited character of dogmatic formulations, which do not express nor are able to express everything contained in the mystery of faith, and must be interpreted in the light of Sacred Scripture and Tradition. But there is no foundation for calling these formulas dangerous, since they are authentic interpretations of Revelation.

Father Sobrino considers the dogmatic development of the first centuries of the Church including the great Councils to be ambiguous and even negative. Although he does not deny the normative character of the dogmatic formulations, neither does he recognize in them any value except in the cultural milieu in which these formulations were developed. He does not take into account the fact that the transtemporal subject of the faith is the believing Church, and that the pronouncements of the first Councils have been accepted and lived by the entire ecclesial community. The Church continues to profess the Creed which arose from the Councils of Nicea (AD 325) and Constantinople I (AD 381). The first four Ecumenical Councils are accepted by the great majority of Churches and Ecclesial Communities in both the East and West. If these Councils used the terminology and concepts expressive of the culture of the time, it was not in order to be conformed to it. The Councils do not signify a hellenization of Christianity but rather the contrary. Through the inculturation of the Christian message, Greek culture itself underwent a transformation from within and was able to be used as an instrument for the expression and defense of biblical truth.

II. The Divinity of Jesus Christ

4. A number of Father Sobrino's affirmations tend to diminish the breadth of the New Testament passages which affirm that Jesus is God: "[The New Testament] makes clear that he was intimately bound up with God, which meant that his reality had to be expressed in some way as a reality that is of God (cf. Jn 20:28)" (Christ the Liberator, 115). In reference to John 1:1, he affirms: "Strictly speaking, this logos is not yet said to be God (consubstantial with the Father), but something is claimed for him that will have great importance for reaching this conclusion: his preexistence. This does not signify something purely temporal but relates him to the creation and links the logos with action specific to the divinity" (Christ the Liberator, 257). According to the Author, the New Testament does not clearly affirm the divinity of Jesus, but merely establishes the presuppositions for it: "The New Testament…contains expressions that contain the seed of what will produce confession of the divinity of Christ in the strict sense" (Ibidem). "All this means that at the outset Jesus was not spoken of as God, nor was divinity a term applied to him; this happened only after a considerable interval of believing explication, almost certainly after the fall of Jerusalem" (Ibidem, 114).

To maintain that John 20:28 affirms that Jesus is "of God" is clearly erroneous, in as much as the passage itself refers to Jesus as "Lord" and "God." Similarly, John 1:1 says that the Word is God. Many other texts speak of Jesus as Son and as Lord. [5] The divinity of Jesus has been the object of the Church's faith from the beginning, long before his consubstantiality with the Father was proclaimed by the Council of Nicea. The fact that this term was not used does not mean that the divinity of Jesus was not affirmed in the strict sense, contrary to what the Author seems to imply.

Father Sobrino does not deny the divinity of Jesus when he proposes that it is found in the New Testament only "in seed" and was formulated dogmatically only after many years of believing reflection. Nevertheless he fails to affirm Jesus' divinity with sufficient clarity. This reticence gives credence to the suspicion that the historical development of dogma, which Sobrino describes as ambiguous, has arrived at the formulation of Jesus' divinity without a clear continuity with the New Testament.

But the divinity of Jesus is clearly attested to in the passages of the New Testament to which we have referred. The numerous Conciliar declarations in this regard [6] are in continuity with that which the New Testament affirms explicitly and not only "in seed". The confession of the divinity of Jesus Christ has been an absolutely essential part of the faith of the Church since her origins. It is explicitly witnessed to since the New Testament.

III. The Incarnation of the Son of God

5. Father Sobrino writes: "From a dogmatic point of view, we have to say, without any reservation, that the Son (the second person of the Trinity) took on the whole reality of Jesus and, although the dogmatic formula never explains the manner of this being affected by the human dimension, the thesis is radical. The Son experienced Jesus' humanity, existence in history, life, destiny, and death" (Jesus the Liberator, 242).

In this passage, the Author introduces a distinction between the Son and Jesus which suggests to the reader the presence of two subjects in Christ: the Son assumes the reality of Jesus; the Son experiences the humanity, the life, the destiny, and the death of Jesus. It is not clear that the Son is Jesus and that Jesus is the Son. In a literal reading of these passages, Father Sobrino reflects the so-called theology of the homo assumptus, which is incompatible with the Catholic faith which affirms the unity of the person of Jesus Christ in two natures, divine and human, according to the formulations of the Council of Ephesus, [7] and above all of the Council of Chalcedon which said: "…we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man composed of rational soul and body, the same one in being with the Father as to the divinity and one in being with us as to the humanity, like us in all things but sin (cf. Heb 4:15). The same was begotten from the Father before the ages as to the divinity and in the latter days for us and our salvation was born as to His humanity from Mary the Virgin Mother of God; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, acknowledged in two natures which undergo no confusion, no change, no division, no separation" .[8] Similarly, Pope Pius XII declared in his encyclical Sempiternus Rex : "… the council of Chalcedon in full accord with that of Ephesus, clearly asserts that both natures are united in 'One Person and subsistence', and rules out the placing of two individuals in Christ, as if some one man, completely autonomous in himself, had been taken up and placed by the side of the Word" .[9]

6. Another difficulty with the Christological view of Father Sobrino arises from an insufficient comprehension of the communicatio idiomatum, which he describes in the following way: "the limited human is predicated of God, but the unlimited divine is not predicated of Jesus" (Christ the Liberator, 223, cf. 332-333).

In reality, the phrase communicatio idiomatum, that is, the possibility of referring the properties of divinity to humanity and vice versa, is the immediate consequence of the unity of the person of Christ "in two natures" affirmed by the Council of Chalcedon. By virtue of this possibility, the Council of Ephesus has already defined that Mary was Theotokos: "If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is truly God and, therefore, that the holy Virgin is the Mother of God (theotokos) since she begot according to the flesh the Word of God made flesh, let him be anathema" .[10] "If anyone ascribes separately to two persons or hypostases the words which in the evangelical and apostolic writings are either spoken of Christ by the saints or are used by Christ about Himself, and applies some to a man considered by himself, apart from the Word, and others, because they befit God, solely to the Word who is from God the Father, let him be anathema" .[11] As can easily be deduced from these texts, the communicatio idiomatum is applied in both senses: the human is predicated of God and the divine of man. Already the New Testament affirms that Jesus is Lord, [12] and that all things are created through him. [13] In Christian terminology, it is possible to say that Jesus is God, who is creator and omnipotent. The Council of Ephesus sanctioned the use of calling Mary Mother of God. It is therefore incorrect to maintain that "the unlimited divine" is not predicated of Jesus. Sobrino's affirmation to the contrary is understandable only within the context of a homo assumptus Christology in which the unity of the person of Jesus is not clear, and therefore it would be impossible to predicate divine attributes of a human person. However, this Christology is in no way compatible with the teaching of the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon on the unity of the person in two natures. Thus, the understanding of the communicatio idiomatum which the Author presents reveals an erroneous conception of the mystery of the Incarnation and of the unity of the person of Jesus Christ.

IV. Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God

7. Father Sobrino advances a peculiar view of the relationship between Jesus and the Kingdom of God. This is a point of special interest in his works. According to the Author, the person of Jesus as mediator cannot be absolutized, but must be contemplated in his relatedness to the Kingdom of God, which is apparently considered to be something distinct from Jesus himself:

"I shall analyze this historical relatedness in detail later, but I want to say here that this reminder is important because of the consequences […] when Christ the mediator is made absolute and there is no sense of his constitutive relatedness to what is mediated, the Kingdom of God" (Jesus the Liberator, 16).

"We must first distinguish between the mediator and the mediation of God. The Kingdom of God, formally speaking, is nothing other than the accomplishment of God's will for this world, which we call mediation. This mediation […] is associated with a person (or group) who proclaims it and initiates it: this we call the mediator. In this sense we can and must say, according to faith, that the definitive, ultimate, and eschatological mediator of the Kingdom of God has already appeared: Jesus. […] From this standpoint, we can also appreciate Origen's fine definition of Christ as the autobasileia of God, the Kingdom of God in person: important words that well describe the finality of the personal mediator of the Kingdom, but dangerous if they equate Christ with the reality of the Kingdom" (Jesus the Liberator, 108).

"Mediation and mediator are, then, essentially related, but they are not the same thing. There is always a Moses and a promised land, and Archbishop Romero and a dream of justice. Both things, together, express the whole of the will of God, while remaining two distinct things" ( Ibidem).

On the other hand, Jesus' condition as mediator comes solely from the fact of his humanity: "Christ does not, then, derive his possibility of being mediator from anything added to his humanity; it belongs to him by his practice of being human" (Christ the Liberator, 135).

The Author certainly affirms a special relationship between Jesus (mediator) and the Kingdom of God (that which is mediated), in as far as Jesus is the definitive, ultimate, and eschatological mediator of the Kingdom. But, in these cited passages, Jesus and the Kingdom are distinguished in a way that the link between them is deprived of its unique and particular content. It does not correctly explain the essential nexus that exists between mediator and mediation, to use his words. In addition, by affirming that the possibility of being mediator belongs to Christ from the exercise of his humanity, he excludes the fact that his condition as Son of God has relevance for Jesus' mediatory mission.

It is insufficient to speak of an intimate connection, or of a constitutive relatedness between Jesus and the Kingdom, or of the finality of the mediator [ultimidad del mediador], if this suggests something that is distinct from Jesus himself. In a certain sense, Jesus Christ and the Kingdom are identified: in the person of Jesus the Kingdom has already been made present. This identity has been placed in relief since the patristic period. [14] In his encyclical Redemptoris Missio, Pope John Paul II affirms: "The preaching of the early Church was centered on the proclamation of Jesus Christ, with whom the kingdom was identified". [15] "Christ not only proclaimed the kingdom, but in him the kingdom itself became present and was fulfilled". [16] "The kingdom of God is not a concept, a doctrine, or a program […], but it is before all else a person with the face and name of Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the invisible God. If the kingdom is separated from Jesus, it is no longer the kingdom of God which he revealed" .[17]

On the other hand, the singularity and the unicity of the mediation of Christ has always been affirmed by the Church. On account of his condition as the "only begotten Son of God", Jesus is the "definitive self-revelation of God". [18] For that reason, his mediation is unique, singular, universal, and insuperable: "…one can and must say that Jesus Christ has a significance and a value for the human race and its history, which are unique and singular, proper to him alone, exclusive, universal, and absolute. Jesus is, in fact, the Word of God made man for the salvation of all" .[19]

V. The Self-consciousness of Jesus

8. Citing Leonardo Boff, Father Sobrino affirms that "Jesus was an extraordinary believer and had faith. Faith was Jesus' mode of being" (Jesus the Liberator, 154). And for his own part he adds: "This faith describes the totality of the life of Jesus" (Ibidem, 157). The Author justifies his position citing the text of Hebrews 12:2: "Tersely and with a clarity unparalleled in the New Testament, the letter says that Jesus was related to the mystery of God in faith. Jesus is the one who has first and most fully lived faith (12:2)" (Christ the Liberator, 136-137). He further adds: "With regard to faith, Jesus in his life is presented as a believer like ourselves, our brother in relation to God, since he was not spared having to pass through faith. But he is also presented as an elder brother because he lived faith as its 'pioneer and perfecter' (12:2). He is the model, the one on whom we have to keep our eyes fixed in order to live out our own faith" ( Ibidem, 138).

These citations do not clearly show the unique singularity of the filial relationship of Jesus with the Father; indeed they tend to exclude it. Considering the whole of the New Testament it is not possible to sustain that Jesus was "a believer like ourselves". The Gospel of John speaks of Jesus' "vision" of the Father: "Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father". [20] This unique and singular intimacy between Jesus and the Father is equally evident in the Synoptic Gospels. [21]

The filial and messianic consciousness of Jesus is the direct consequence of his ontology as Son of God made man. If Jesus were a believer like ourselves, albeit in an exemplary manner, he would not be able to be the true Revealer showing us the face of the Father. This point has an evident connection both with what is said above in number IV concerning the relationship between Jesus and the Kingdom, and what will be said in VI below concerning the salvific value that Jesus attributed to his death. For Father Sobrino, in fact, the unique character of the mediation and revelation of Jesus disappears: he is thus reduced to the condition of "revealer" that we can attribute to the prophets and mystics.

Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, enjoys an intimate and immediate knowledge of his Father, a "vision" that certainly goes beyond the vision of faith. The hypostatic union and Jesus' mission of revelation and redemption require the vision of the Father and the knowledge of his plan of salvation. This is what is indicated in the Gospel texts cited above.

Various recent magisterial texts have expressed this doctrine: "But the knowledge and love of our Divine Redeemer, of which we were the object from the first moment of His Incarnation, exceed all that the human intellect can hope to grasp. For hardly was He conceived in the womb of the Mother of God when He began to enjoy the Beatific Vision" .[22]

Though in somewhat different terminology, Pope John Paul II insists on this vision of the Father: "His [Jesus'] eyes remain fixed on the Father. Precisely because of the knowledge and experience of the Father which he alone has, even at this moment of darkness he sees clearly the gravity of sin and suffers because of it. He alone, who sees the Father and rejoices fully in him, can understand completely what it means to resist the Father's love by sin" .[23]

Likewise, the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of the immediate knowledge which Jesus has of the Father: "Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father". [24] "By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal" .[25]

The relationship between Jesus and God is not correctly expressed by saying Jesus was a believer like us. On the contrary, it is precisely the intimacy and the direct and immediate knowledge which he has of the Father that allows Jesus to reveal to men the mystery of divine love. Only in this way can Jesus bring us into divine love.

VI. The Salvific Value of the Death of Jesus

9. In some texts some assertions of Father Sobrino make one think that, for him, Jesus did not attribute a salvific value to his own death: "Let it be said from the start that the historical Jesus did not interpret his death in terms of salvation, in terms of soteriological models later developed by the New Testament, such as expiatory sacrifice or vicarious satisfaction […]. In other words, there are no grounds for thinking that Jesus attributed an absolute transcendent meaning to his own death, as the New Testament did later" (Jesus the Liberator, 201). "In the Gospel texts it is impossible to find an unequivocal statement of the meaning Jesus attached to his own death" (Ibidem,202). "…Jesus went to his death with confidence and saw it as a final act of service, more in the manner of an effective example that would motivate others than as a mechanism of salvation for others. To be faithful to the end is what it means to be human" (Ibidem, 204).

This affirmation of Father Sobrino seems, at first glance, limited to the idea that Jesus did not attribute a salvific value to his death using the categories that the New Testament later employed. But later he affirms that there is in fact no data to suggest that Jesus granted an absolute transcendent sense to his own death. The Author maintains only that Jesus went to his death confidently, and attributed to it an exemplary value for others. In this way, the numerous passages in the New Testament which speak of the salvific value of the death of Christ are deprived of any reference to the consciousness of Christ during his earthly life. [26] Gospel passages in which Jesus attributes to his death a significance for salvation are not adequately taken into account; in particular, Mark 10:45, [27]"the Son of Man did not comes to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" ; and the words of the institution of the Eucharist: "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many". [28] Here again, the difficulty about Father Sobrino's use of the New Testament appears. In his writing, the New Testament data gives way to a hypothetical historical reconstruction that is erroneous.

10. The problem, however, is not simply confined to Jesus' consciousness about his death or the significance he gave to it. Father Sobrino also advances his point of view about the soteriological significance that should be attributed to the death of Christ: "[I]ts importance for salvation consists in the fact that what God wants human beings to be has appeared on earth […]. The Jesus who is faithful even to the cross is salvation, then, at least in this sense: he is the revelation of the homo verus, the true and complete human being, not only of the vere homo, that is of a human being in whom, as a matter of fact, all the characteristics of a true human nature are present […]. The very fact that true humanity has been revealed, contrary to all expectations, is in itself good news and therefore is already in itself salvation […]. On this principle, Jesus' cross as the culmination of his whole life can be understood as bringing salvation. This saving efficacy is shown more in the form of an exemplary cause than of an efficient cause. But this does not mean that it is not effective […]. It is not efficient causality, but symbolic causality" [causalidad ejemplar] (Jesus the Liberator, 229-230).

Of course there is great value in the efficacious example of Christ, as is mentioned explicitly in the New Testament. [29] This is a dimension of soteriology which should not be forgotten. At the same time, however, it is not possible to reduce the efficacy of the death of Jesus to that of an example or, in the words of the Author, to the appearance of the homo verus, faithful to God even unto the cross. In the cited text, Father Sobrino uses phrases such as "at least in this sense" and "is shown more in the form," which seem to leave the door open to other considerations. However, in the end this door is closed with an explicit negation: "it is not efficient causality but symbolic causality" [ causalidad ejemplar]. Redemption thus seems reduced to the appearance of the homo verus, manifested in fidelity unto death. The death of Christ is exemplum and not sacramentum (gift). This reduces redemption to moralism. The Christological difficulties already noted in the discussion of the mystery of the Incarnation and the relationship with the Kingdom appear here anew. Only Jesus' humanity comes into play, not the Son of God made man for us and for our salvation. The affirmations of the New Testament, Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church concerning the efficacy of the redemption and salvation brought about by Christ cannot be reduced to the good example that Jesus gives us. The mystery of the Incarnation, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God become man, is the unique and inexhaustible font of the redemption of humanity, made efficacious in the Church through the sacraments.

The Council of Trent, in its Decree on Justification, states: "When the blessed 'fullness of time' had come (Eph 1:10; Gal 4:4), the heavenly Father, 'the Father of all mercies and the God of all comfort' (2 Cor 1:3), sent his own Son Jesus Christ to mankind ... to redeem the Jews, who are under the Law, and the Gentiles 'who were not pursuing righteousness' (Rom 9:30), that all 'might receive adoption as sons' (Gal 4:5). God has 'put Him forward as an expiation by His Blood, to be received by faith' (Rom 3:25), for our sins and 'not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world' (1 Jn 2:2)" .[30]

This same decree affirms that the meritorious cause of justification is Jesus, the only Son of God, "who, 'while we were still sinners' (Rom 5:10), 'out of the great love with which He loved us' (Eph 2:4) merited for us justification by His most holy passion and the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us to God the Father" .[31]

The Second Vatican Council teaches: "In the human nature united to Himself the Son of God, by overcoming death through His own death and resurrection, redeemed man and re-molded him into a new creation (cf. Gal 6:15; 2 Cor 5:17). By communicating His Spirit, Christ made His brothers, called together from all nations, mystically the components of His own Body. In that Body the life of Christ is poured into the believers who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ who suffered and was glorified" .[32]

On this point, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: "The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of 'the righteous one, my Servant' as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin. Citing a confession of faith that he himself had 'received', St. Paul professes that 'Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures' (1 Cor 15:3). In particular Jesus' redemptive death fulfils Isaiah's prophecy of the suffering Servant. Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God's suffering Servant" .[33]

Conclusion

11. Theology arises from obedience to the impulse of truth which seeks to be communicated, and from the love that desires to know ever better the One who loves – God himself - whose goodness we have recognized in the act of faith. [34] For this reason, theological reflection cannot have a foundation other than the faith of the Church. Only starting from ecclesial faith, in communion with the Magisterium, can the theologian acquire a deeper understanding of the Word of God contained in Scripture and transmitted by the living Tradition of the Church. [35]

Thus the truth revealed by God himself in Jesus Christ, and transmitted by the Church, constitutes the ultimate normative principle of theology. [36] Nothing else may surpass it. In its constant reference to this perennial spring, theology is a font of authentic newness and light for people of good will.

Theological investigation will bear ever more abundant fruit for the good of the whole People of God and all humanity, the more it draws from the living stream which – thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit – proceeds from the Apostles and has been enriched by the faithful reflection of past generations. It is the Holy Spirit who leads the Church into the fullness of truth, [37] and it is only through docility to this "gift from above" that theology is truly ecclesial and in service to the truth.

The purpose of this Notification is precisely to make known to all the faithful the fruitfulness of theological reflection that does not fear being developed from within the living stream of ecclesial Tradition.

The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect on October 13, 2006, approved this Notification, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, November 26, 2006, the Feast of Christ, King of the Universe.

William Cardinal Levada
Prefect

Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila
Secretary



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[1] The English translation of Jesucristo liberador is: Jesus the Liberator: A Historical-Theological View, (Orbis Books, New York, 1993, 2003). All citations will be taken from the English version.

[2] The English translation of La fe en Jesucristo is: Christ the Liberator: A View from the Victims, (Orbis Books, New York, 2001). All citations will be taken from the English version.

[3] Cf., for example, infra n. 6.

[4] Cf. Second Vatican Council Decree Optatam Totius, 16; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio, 65: AAS 91 (1999), 5-88.

[5] Cf. 1 Thes 1:10; Phil 2:5-11; 1 Cor 12:3; Rom 1:3-4, 10:9; Col 2:9, etc.

[6] Cf. Councils of Nicea, DH 125; Constantinople, DH 150; Ephesus, DH 250-263; Chalcedon, DH 301-302.

[7] Cf. DH 252-263.

[8] Chalcedon, Symbolum Chalcedonense, DH 301.

[9] Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Sempiternus Rex: AAS 43 (1951), 638; DH 3905.

[10] Council of Ephesus, Anathematismi Cyrilli Alex.,DH 252.

[11] Ibidem, DH 255.

[12] Cf. 1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:11.

[13] Cf. 1 Cor 8:6.

[14] Cf. Origen, In Mt. Hom., 14:7; Tertulian, Adv. Marcionem, IV 8; Hilary of Poitiers, Com. in Mt. 12:17.

[15] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio, 16: AAS 83 (1991), 249-340.

[16] Ibidem, 18.

[17] Ibidem.

[18] Ibidem, 5.

[19] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 15: AAS 92 (2000), 742-765.

[20] Jn 6:46; Cf. also Jn 1:18.

[21] Cf. Mt 11:25-27; Lk 10:21-22.

[22] Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis, 75: AAS (1943) 230; DH 3812.

[23] John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, 26: AAS 93 (2001), 266-309.

[24] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 473.

[25] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 474.

[26] Cf., for example, Rom 3:25; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Jn 2:2, etc.

[27] Cf. also Mt 20:28.

[28] Mk 14:24; cf. Mt 26:28; Lk 22:20.

[29] Cf. Jn 13:15; 1 Pt 2:21.

[30] Council of Trent, Decree De justificatione, DH 1522.

[31] Ibidem, DH1529; cf. DH 1560.

[32] Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium , 7.

[33] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 601.

[34] Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum Veritatis, 7: AAS 82 (1990), 1550-1570.

[35] Ibidem, 6.

[36] Ibidem, 10.

[37] Cf. Jn 16:13

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Editorial: National Catholic Reporter

Issue Date: March 23, 2007

Sobrino deserves kinder consideration

Whenever the Vatican censures a theologian, a predictable script usually plays out in Catholic discussion. Liberals complain about due process and intellectual freedom, conservatives applaud the drawing of a line in the sand, and moderates play down the whole affair with phrases such as, “It could have been worse” and “There’s really nothing new.”

Regarding this week’s “notification” from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on two books by Jesuit Fr. Jon Sobrino, a hero of the liberation theology movement, we’d like to try something different. We want to suggest that there’s truth in all three.

Certainly, it could have been worse. Sobrino has neither been silenced nor barred from teaching or publishing, contrary to some misleading early reports. In fact, the notification reflects a commendable clarity on the part of the doctrinal congregation in distinguishing between persons and their publications. The authors say they do not mean to judge Sobrino’s subjective intent, and call his concern for the poor “admirable.” The result is more akin to a negative book review than to a personal condemnation.

Further, there really is nothing new. The notification does not close any theological doors that were not already shut. Instead, it largely repeats points about Christology made in earlier notifications on the works of fellow Jesuit theologians Fr. Roger Haight and the late Fr. Jacques Dupuis, plus warnings about liberation theology that date to the 1980s.

It also bears repeating that, however unpopular a task it may be, the institution will always have somebody patrolling the borders of the church’s authentic teaching. Undoubtedly it is seductive today, out of respect for the religious convictions of others, to turn traditional affirmations about Christ into metaphors and symbols, so that they seem less “exclusive” or “arrogant.” There will always be tension between that view and the view of others who believe that to continue down that path would mean turning our convictions about ultimate truth into little more than religious poetry.

Yet the broad legitimacy of the concern over protecting the boundaries of belief does not justify the particular process followed in this case, or the particular conclusions reached.

Those who know Sobrino testify to his personal integrity, and to the solidity of his Catholic faith. His heroism over the years in standing up for the marginalized and oppressed is beyond question. This history suggests that his theology ought to be given the benefit of the doubt, and presumed to be orthodox unless it is obviously otherwise.

Moreover, Sobrino said that a number of theologians reviewed the two books in question prior to publication, and found them free of doctrinal error. One quipped that if he were to apply the same “hermeneutics of suspicion” used by the Vatican to the encyclicals of Pope John Paul II, he could find plenty of heresy there, too. Sobrino himself says he does not recognize his theology in the notification.

It is hardly “dissent” to observe that the current process -- in which the targeted theologian is basically a bystander, and much of the review is carried out by people seemingly determined to find heresy -- is not constructive. A more generous and creative way of doing business is urgently needed.

Imagine, for example, if the doctrinal congregation had invited Sobrino and other liberationists to collaborate on a joint document about dangers to be avoided in Christological exploration. Such a text would have had much greater impact than a unilateral declaration from authority.

Finally, a word about Sobrino himself. Whatever judgment one reaches about the two books cited in the notification, Fr. Jon Sobrino has been a towering figure in Catholic theological discussion for almost 40 years. If, as the Vatican’s notification acknowledges, Catholicism today knows it cannot “remain indifferent to the grave problems of human misery and injustice,” Sobrino has played an enormous role in shaping that awareness. In what must be a painful moment for Sobrino, simple justice requires that the church -- all of us, collectively -- say thank you for a remarkable life’s work.

National Catholic Reporter, March 23, 2007
http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2007a/032307/032307z.htm

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