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July 22, 1990     Arkansas Catholic
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July 22, 1990

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PAGE 6 'ARKANSAS CATHOLIC JULY 22, " Jesuit theologian encourages "partnership" between Rome- scholars Sr. Joan Chittister, outgoing Prior- ess of Mt. St. Benedict Monastery in Erie, PA, will receive the 1990 Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award Aug. 5 from Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace move- ment, at its assembly in Buffalo, NY. A former president of the Confer- ence of American Benedictine Pri- oresses, Chittister has been outspo- ken in calling on the Church to ordain women. Rome (CNS) - Theologians should not be considered as strictly dependent on the Church's teaching authority, but instead should work with the magisterium in a "partnership" that respects differ- ent views, a leading Jesuit theologian said. To avoid misunderstanding, "media- tors" from diverse theological opinions should assist when Church authorities investigate the writings of individual theologians, said Rev. Rene Marie. Marle, dean of Jesuit theological faculty in Paris, argued that a certain "theological pluralism" is good and necessary for the Church. He made his comments in La Civilta Cattoliea, a Jes- uit magazine that often reflects Vatican thinking. Unlike in past centuries, theology today tries to "lead the faith beyond already-consecrated formulas" and avoids stopping at a single point of view imposed by authority, Marie said. In this way, he said, theology "widens the presence of the faith." Theological pluralism means "not the renouncing of the unity of the faith, but the abandonment of a certain 66 9 Your clothes don't have to show it. Visit us for a proper fit. George Yakoubian, Membat of Christ ~ King FINE MEN'S WEAR 11327 Arcade Drive. Little Rock, AR 72212. 5011225-5959 ( 2 blocks west of Parker Cadillac ) Serving the Arkansas Christian community treating psychiatric & substance abuse Radio issues with a professional, balanced Mon.-Fri. LIFELINE OF HOPE." program of clinical and spiritual care. KAAB, 1120 AM at 8.05 am ( Batesville area) Find out about the "NEW HOPE D L 'erence. " Wanda Stephens, M D, Medical Director and NEW HOPE INSTITUTE Founder at Doctors Hospital, 500 S. Univ., Suite 121 Little Rock, AR 72205 663-HOPE or 1-800-829-HOPE (Nationwide) centralism of thought about the faith," like the "Roman" theology of the 1800s, he said. Modern theology, he said, does not aim to work independent of the magis- terium, but it "refuses to completely define itself strictly through depend- ence on it." "What is needed, rather, is a kind of partnership with the magisterium, with- out of course supposing an identity of functions or equality of authority," he said. leaders react .to document By Laurie Hansen Washington (CNS) - U.S. theologians and bishops had kind words, criticism and questions about a Vatican document that asked dissenting theologians to refrain from making a public issue of their disagreements with Church teachings. The instruction, issued recent/y, said some forms of theological debate can help the Church grow, but called on theologians who differ with Church teachings to go to the magisterium with their disagreements rather than to the media. Titled "Instruction on the Ecclesial Voca- tion of the Theologian," the 28-page docu- ment was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzin- ger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and approved by Pope John Paul II. It was addressed primarily to the world's bishops and theologians. Jesuit Rev. Ladislas M. Orsy, professor of canon law at The Catholic University of America, said that by telling theologians they cannot disagree publicly, the Vatican is saying "all we can do is write a letter to a bishop or to Rome." But "there are no official channels" through which to object to Church teach- ing, he said. "It's not as if the bishops or the Vatican are bound to listen to you... It's similar to saying a citizen may complain about conditions in the city, but there are no channels for you to go to. You go to talk to the mayor or a city council member, but no one is bound to listen to you," he said. Orsy applauded the document for "giv- ing importance to dialogue" and "freedom of inquiry," but took exception to what he saw as the writers' assumptions that "there are many theologians holding wild beliefs. This is not a document to encourage theo- logians who work responsibly," he said, but one that "condemns" those few who are part of the "lunatic fringe." Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sldba of Mil- waukee, a member of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Doctrine, said he was pleased to see the document "doesn't presume that non-acceptance" of Church teachings auto- matically means "dissent." On the other hand, he said he wished the document had clearly defined "dissent." Sldba supported the document's stance that dissenting theologians not take their concerns to the mass media. "In a scholarly journal you have the chance to take an issue and analyze it historically.., but in USA To- day, for example, there is an abbreviated reporting of the news that doesn't allow for the kind of nuance that's necessary," he 'q'he major limitation of the that it ignored one of the "theological endeavor." Sklba said the instruction focused sively on the catechetical role of the gian, ignoring the "pre-evangelization" in which the theologian "enters into logue with the larger culture." "It doesn't at all consider the way in the theologian has the mission dialogue with society, accepting new tions and exploring them in a manner .... The instruction doesn't about the signs of the times," he said. Jesuit theologian Rev. Avery Dulles Fordham University in New York said the Vatican instruction contributions" to the current dialogue the role of the theologian. He said it appeared to does not "absolutely prohibit" a who disagrees with Church teaching making his concerns public, but insists that a theologian "must not undue haste to the media." Dulles said there has been "a confuse" the theological concept fide, that is the "sense of the faith," public opinion which he said is enced by secular beliefs. The rejected the view that a dissenting can somehow be validated if held b, number of Christians - an expression "sense of the faith." Traditionally, Catholics' "sense of on theological issues has been considered J If we don't have their " there's no one to bring what we don't want to hear: "font of knowledge," said Jesuit Rev. "Of) liam J. Byron, president of The University of America. "It would be regrettable if that were down. The experience of the believer be taken into account," he said. Rev. Charles E. Curran, a moral gian whom the Vatican has declared gible to teach Catholic theology, said appeared to him the Vatican showed a "reversion to a pre-Vatican position." Theology, he said, "has to be openly. It can't be done behind doors." The Vatican document warns setting up the individual conscience as type of "supreme magisterium" for those who question Church teachings. "One has to fotlow one's conscience Curran, who has been named to win-Philpott Eminent Scholar Chair Religion at Auburn University, AL. conscience might be wrong. Church teaching might also be History has proven it has been in cases," he said. The Church, he said, "needs dissent. Sure, dissenters make mistakes, if we don't have their voices, there's no to bring up what we don't want to heal.