Updated: May 13, 2014 06:04 PM GMT
The Vatican is investigating a Jesuit theologian from India for allegedly espousing unorthodox beliefs, raising new questions about whether Pope Francis — the first Jesuit pope — is in fact moving the Catholic Church in a new direction.
News of the threatened censure of the Rev Michael Amaladoss, whose best-known book is “The Asian Jesus,” follows on the heels of a blunt warning on orthodoxy and obedience that the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, delivered to a group of nuns who represent most American sisters.
Mueller’s April 30 speech to sisters from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was seen as an unexpected setback in negotiations over a Vatican investigation of the nuns that began a year before Francis was elected. Mueller’s hard line also seemed out of step with the new style of openness and flexibility that has marked Francis’ young papacy.
Church sources say that Amaladoss, a highly regarded expert on interreligious dialogue and Christology, first came under scrutiny by Mueller’s office a year ago. They said Amaladoss believed that his initial responses to questions about his views on the uniqueness of Jesus and the Catholic Church had answered Vatican objections.
But in January, Mueller’s office returned with a demand that Amaladoss write an article publicly endorsing the Vatican’s views or face silencing. For decades, that level of severe sanction was a hallmark of the hard-line treatment of theologians under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI.
In early April, Amaladoss met with Mueller and other officials from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and he “agreed to rework … those issues in the light of the dialogue,” the Rev Edward Mudavassery, who oversees the Jesuits in India, wrote in an email.
“I understand it was an open and honest meeting trying to clarify objectionable issues,” Mudavassery said. “We all know that Pope Francis is a man for dialogue. It seems to me that the CDF, too, may follow this path to sort out differences because these men under the scanner are genuine and loyal to the Church and to the teachings of Jesus.”
Francis reportedly knows about the investigation but does not seem overly concerned that it will end in punishing Amaladoss, according to Jesuits familiar with the case.
Source:Religion News Service
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