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The Vatican levies further penalties on Roger Haight, SJ (+ Update)
Commonweal ^ | January 2, 2009 | David Gibson

Posted on 01/05/2009 12:21:26 PM PST by NYer

Jesuit theologian Roger Haight, whose writings on Christology, especially in his 1999 book “Jesus: Symbol of God,” led the Vatican to bar him from teaching in Catholic institutions, has received a further punishment: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has barred Haight from writing on theology (he may continue a work in progress on Ignatian spirituality) and he is forbidden to teach anywhere, even non-Catholic institutions. That means that at the end of the coming semester Haight, who resides at America House in New York, will stop teaching at Union Theological Seminary in Upper Manhattan.

The CDF began investigating Haight, 72, in 2000, which led the Vatican’s education office to bar him from teaching at Jesuit-run Weston in Cambridge, MA. Haight began teaching at Union, a leading Protestant seminary, as an adjunct professor of theology in September 2004. A final negative verdict on Haight’s work from the CDF, reported by NCR’s John Allen in February 2005, meant the teaching ban at Catholic schools would not be lifted and Haight remained at Union.

The latest sanction takes the discipline against Haight to a new level. The news seems to have emerged first in a German Catholic news service report a few weeks ago; I saw it in a French agency report here, and the details were later confirmed for me by other church sources. Haight himself would not comment. One can only imagine what this action means to Father Haight personally, and I think even critics of the Jesuits or Haight’s work would have to give him (as well as other Jesuits, like Tom Reese) credit for the kind of obedience and graciousness that is too often overlooked in criticisms of the order.

Haight’s work has been critiqued and criticized, including in these pages by fellow theologians like John Cavadini and Luke Timothy Johnson. In a piece two years ago, Paul Lakeland defended Haight’s work. Clearly there is a legitimate range of opinion on Haight’s work, including tough questions from those who would be sympathetic to him and his larger project.

But the latest Vatican action does not address the substance of Haight’s work or provide any explanation as to what spurred the CDF to take such a drastic action now. “It appears to be purely punitive,” one Jesuit source told me. The notification was apparently issued last spring, but Haight only found out about it last summer. As usual, he has never heard directly from Rome, only through his superiors. He was not told why this action was taken, and his responses to the list of CDF criticisms during the earlier investigation have never been answered by Rome.

Some will see this as the institutional church being the institutional church, either doing what it needs to do to defend orthodoxy (or what it considers orthodoxy), or yes, doing it ham-handedly but, as Rome has always done. So don’t exaggerate, the reasoning goes: “Nothing to see here, just move along.” I also think there is a great—and unfortunate, in my mind—degree of habituation to this kind of Vatican action, which has become the norm over the past 30 years under John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict. There is in some corners a kind of “Stockholm syndrome” as well, as those who work within the church fold can come to identify with their overseers. Above all, I think this extends the “big chill” not only on Catholic theology but on all kinds of discussion and debate within the church. Conservatives often see themselves as a victimized minority, but in ways large and small, I see church officials and institutions shying away from hiring or inviting to speak anyone who might run afoul of Vatican sensibilities. Religious orders and the Catholic theological community itself seem to be finding ways to accommodate this dynamic, understandably, I guess.

But I think a few points regarding the latest penalty against Roger Haight are important to make:

One is the continuing lack of any due process or the merest nod at some kind of transparency in CDF procedures. “Draconian” is an overheated word. Would “extraordinary rendition” be a more apt and contemporary analogy? No hearings, no explanations, just harsh penalties communicated by indirect means. Wasn’t this was supposed to change?

Two, the ban on teaching even at a non-Catholic school seems particularly broad. Is that unusual? I know the Vatican often punishes Jesuits because they can—because the Jesuits have a particular relationship to the pope (which has been harshly reiterated in recent decades) that enables the pontiff to enforce orders that might be ignored eslewhere. But Charles Curran (a diocesan priest) and others teach at places like SMU without sanction. Moreover, as Union is a Protestant institution (though with a number of Catholic students), who is the Vatican protecting from Haight?

Three, while many will just dismiss this as “business as usual,” actions like these reinforce—and it is not an unfair impression—the view that the Catholic Church is unjust, that it is not a place where one can step out of line (or even know where the line is) without receiving a blind-side smack that comes off as mean-spirited. Does every injustice, like that against Galileo, have to wait five centuries to be rectified? That won’t wash with today’s Christians. Moreover, this kind of action seems to undercut Benedict’s focus on love and charity and the beauty of the Catholic faith. Catholics and non-Catholics will measure Benedict’s words against his actions, and many will see a disparity that can only hurt his credibility (and that of the wider church) in trying to point out the failings of the world beyond the Vatican precincts.

Read NCR’s 2005 analysis of the original Haight ruling here.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology
KEYWORDS: haight; jesuits; theologian; vatican

1 posted on 01/05/2009 12:21:29 PM PST by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Haight update: Vatican action "not definitive"

Monday January 5, 2009

Categories: Catholic, Church , History, Pop Culture, Pope

According to a Jesuit spokesman in Rome, via this CNS story, the action against Fr. Roger Haight reported below is "a suspension" rather than a final punishment. The process is ongoing, as a committee of three (unnamed) U.S. Jesuit theologians study Haight's work, with Haight's cooperation, the article says:

"He can continue to teach, but not systematic theology connected with Christology," said Father Giuseppe Bellucci, spokesman for the Jesuits.

"The prohibition against teaching is not a condemnation and is not definitive; a committee of Jesuits, in fact, is studying the position of Father Roger, who is willing to collaborate to clarify his positions," Father Bellucci told Catholic News Service Jan. 5.

In 2005 the doctrinal congregation published a notification that Father Haight could no longer teach as a Catholic theologian because of "serious doctrinal errors" in his 1999 book, "Jesus Symbol of God."

While discussions with his Jesuit superiors and between the Jesuits and the doctrinal congregation continued, Father Haight has been teaching at Union Theological Seminary, a nondenominational graduate school in New York.

Several news agencies reported in December that last summer the doctrinal congregation barred Father Haight from theological writing and from teaching anywhere, but Father Bellucci said the reports were inaccurate.

The spokesman described the Vatican action as "a suspension" and added, "Father Haight is an excellent Jesuit and neither he nor anyone else is involved in a fight. The desire is simply to clarify his position."

I'm not sure what the status of Haight's teaching faculties is. My understanding is that he still must leave Union, even though I believe the bulk of his teaching was not related to systematic theology.

Source


2 posted on 01/05/2009 12:23:23 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

Would this be classified as a Haight crime?


3 posted on 01/05/2009 12:41:25 PM PST by 17th Miss Regt
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To: 17th Miss Regt

I Haight it when that happens!


4 posted on 01/05/2009 12:44:40 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: 17th Miss Regt
Would this be classified as a Haight crime?

That joke was so bad...
5 posted on 01/05/2009 12:45:21 PM PST by Stourme
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To: NYer

Will the purge of hereticl Jesuits continue? I am currently reading a rather dated book by Malachi Martin called Jesuits. Even though it was written in 1987 it still rings true today. I am very familiar with a bunch of lay Catholic folks who embrace pretty much everything the modern Jesuits stand for. I remember when Jesuits priests (mostly from Spain in believe) and American Maryknoll nuns were killed by the anti-Marxist in El Salvador. My lefty Catholic friends still haven’t gotten over it. I didn’t know many of the facts back then but did know that Jesuits and Maryknoll were pretty much all about Liberation Theology and in the bosoms of the Sandinistas and FMLN movements. Although their deaths were horrible, and I would never advocate the deaths of clergy even if they were Marxists, they somehow made their beds by so overtly getting involved in the politcal battles of these nations. Now, such the Church be totally mute on injustice, I think not. But Liberation Theology is not the route that Catholic clergy should be taking. The clergy were part and parcel of these leftist movements, not just speaking out against injustice in the name of the Catholic church.
In the First World Jesuits are also far from domagtically orthodox. Now I understand how smart guys like those in the Society of Jesus might be tempted to do all sorts of theological gymnastics with the nature of Christ etc.—but because they are not merely professors of theology or merely doctors of divinity, but ordained members of a society whose essence is to defend the vatican and its dogmas, such temptations should be put on the back burner and left to other who are not encumbered with the duty of supposedly being defenders of the faith. Leave all these things to lay theologians is they so choose to engage in them.


6 posted on 01/05/2009 12:47:57 PM PST by brooklyn dave
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To: PetroniusMaximus

I met a German Jew last Oktoberfest. He surprised me when we sat down at the tables and he gestured for me to pass several mugs of thi really fabulous 2 month old ale and kept clamouring “August Stein!, August Stein!”

I figure him for a Trentine Catholic...;^)


7 posted on 01/05/2009 12:53:45 PM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: NYer
I know the Vatican often punishes Jesuits because they can—because the Jesuits have a particular relationship to the pope (which has been harshly reiterated in recent decades) that enables the pontiff to enforce orders that might be ignored eslewhere.

IIRC, the Jesuits take a 4th vow besides the Evangelical Counsels, that of Obedience to the Pope.

8 posted on 01/05/2009 1:00:19 PM PST by COBOL2Java (Obamanation: an imploding administration headed by a clueless schmuck)
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To: NYer
this kind of Vatican action, which has become the norm over the past 30 years under John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict

Not norm enough.

9 posted on 01/05/2009 1:05:06 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

Not norm enough.

Right.


10 posted on 01/05/2009 1:11:24 PM PST by ZULU ( TRAPPED IN NEW JERSEY!!! Non nobis, non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.)
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To: annalex

Seriously. I wish the author’s words were true that the Church was quick to act and draconian in its punishments.

Reading this reminds me of MSM stories about how the GOP is just too conservative...lol


11 posted on 01/05/2009 1:40:38 PM PST by icwhatudo
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To: Cvengr

A German Jew chanting “August Stein”?

This guy August must’ve been related to Edith.


12 posted on 01/05/2009 2:15:32 PM PST by dangus
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To: icwhatudo

>> Reading this reminds me of MSM stories about how the GOP is just too conservative...lol <<

You mean how the Pope is too Catholic?


13 posted on 01/05/2009 2:17:09 PM PST by dangus
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To: Cvengr
“August Stein!, August Stein!”

That's Augustine!...from the song that originated in Vienna during the 1768 plague entitled "Ach Du lieber Augustin" (O dear Augustine)

Here is the whole song:

"Ach, du lieber Augustin, Augustin, Augustin, ach, du lieber Augustin, alles ist hin! Geld ist hin, Mädl ist hin, alles ist hin, Augustin! Ach, du lieber Augustin, alles ist hin! Rock ist weg, Stock ist weg, Augustin liegt im Dreck. Ach, du lieber Augustin, alles ist hin! Und selbst das reiche Wien, hin ist's wie Augustin; weint mit mir im gleichen Sinn, alles ist hin! Jeder Tag war ein Fest, jetzt haben wir die Pest! Nur ein großes Leichenfest, das ist der Rest. Augustin, Augustin, leg' nur ins Grab dich hin! Ach, du lieber Augustin, alles ist hin!"

14 posted on 01/05/2009 3:01:50 PM PST by kosta50 (Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50
Nur ein großes Leichenfest, das ist der Rest.

Sheesh, what a downer! Ach Du Emo Augustin! < g >

15 posted on 01/05/2009 3:10:25 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
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To: 17th Miss Regt
What else did we expect?

And asking Commonweal what they think of orthodox Catholics is kinda like asking rats what they think of strychnine.

16 posted on 01/05/2009 3:14:58 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
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To: 17th Miss Regt
Try that again:

Haight crime, indeed.

Or, Birds of a Feather.

17 posted on 01/05/2009 3:21:01 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
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To: NYer
This is old news NYer. In 2004, the Vatican issued a similar censure. This Jesuit priest is an open Arian heretic (judging from his book Jesus: Symbol of God), specifically he denies the pre-existence of the Word and calls it meaphorifcal (p. 177), that "Jesus of Nazareth is the concrete symbol expressing the presence in history of God as Logos" (p. 439).

He defines Jesus' divinity at odds with the established dogma, stating that, to the effect the man Jesus, mediates the saving presence of God in history, or words tot hat effect. He calls Logos and Spirit "symbols" of divinity and thus disturbs the Trinitarian dogma completely, and argues that orthodox Trinitarian dogma is contrary to the principal doctrine "that God is single and one" (p. 482).

He also redefines the resurrection, arguing that "what God begins in love, because of the complete boundlessness of that love, continues to exist in that love, thus overcoming the power and finality of death" (p. 147) In other words as an idea.

Consequently, a notice was published under John Paul II's name that states: "Congregation for the Doctrine, of the Faith is obliged to declare that the above-mentioned assertions contained in the book Jesus Symbol of God by Father Roger Haight, S.J., are judged to be serious doctrinal errors contrary to the divine and catholic faith of the Church."

It was signed by Joseph Card. Ratzinger, Prefect, on "13 December 2004, the Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr."

18 posted on 01/05/2009 3:26:26 PM PST by kosta50 (Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: AnAmericanMother
Sheesh, what a downer! Ach Du Emo Augustin!

Yeah, funeral fest...He got drunk, passed out and was mistaken to be a body (people were dying from the plague), and thrown on the cart with other bodies and woke up in the morgue! Or so the story goes...why would the Germans pick this as their Oktoberfest theme song is beyond me.

But it's not August Stein...for sure. Any any Jew would know that...

19 posted on 01/05/2009 3:32:39 PM PST by kosta50 (Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

"'Ere. He says he's not dead!"

20 posted on 01/05/2009 3:38:55 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
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To: NYer
Above all, I think this extends the “big chill” not only on Catholic theology

Hmmm, are the Jesuits concerned about the "big chill" at Jesuit institutions towards anyone who has a dissenting view towards their philosophies?

21 posted on 01/05/2009 5:21:28 PM PST by nickcarraway (Are the Good Times Really Over?)
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To: AnAmericanMother
"Ere. He says he's not dead!"

Ehre?

22 posted on 01/05/2009 5:25:57 PM PST by kosta50 (Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

Nein. Eine ost-londonische Redewendung.


23 posted on 01/05/2009 5:29:45 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
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To: NYer
Union Theological Seminary in Upper Manhattan.

A bunch of liberals.

24 posted on 01/05/2009 5:31:07 PM PST by PAR35
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To: dangus; kosta50

Of course for the Protestant’s penchant for Greek ale instead of August Schtein, we chose the Athenasius Mede....;^)


25 posted on 01/05/2009 6:52:53 PM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: NYer

uh, maybe his problem is that he considers Jesus a “symbol” of God.

Jesus is not a symblol, but real...now, he can write about the symbolism of Jesus (just like one can writea about the “symbolism” of Bush or Hitler) but the book makes it sound like Jesus is a soundbite or slogan, not a reality.


26 posted on 01/05/2009 10:07:41 PM PST by LadyDoc (liberals only love politically correct poor people)
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To: AnAmericanMother
Nein. Eine ost-londonische Redewendung

Danke.

27 posted on 01/06/2009 1:48:57 AM PST by kosta50 (Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Cvengr
Of course for the Protestant’s penchant for Greek ale instead of August Schtein [sic], we chose the Athenasius Mede....;^)

Is Athenasius also a Protestant "penchant" (or just a wild guess)? The Greek "penchant" is Athanasius. :)

And, while we are at it, there is not such thing as Schtein in German. The word is Stein which is pronounced "hard" as shtine in the south and "soft" as stine in the north.

28 posted on 01/06/2009 2:01:03 AM PST by kosta50 (Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

Thank you.


29 posted on 01/06/2009 2:29:17 AM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: Cvengr

Cheers! :)


30 posted on 01/06/2009 2:33:47 AM PST by kosta50 (Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: COBOL2Java
IIRC, the Jesuits take a 4th vow besides the Evangelical Counsels, that of Obedience to the Pope.

The Jesuits may take it, but the Dominicans keep it.

31 posted on 01/06/2009 6:28:19 AM PST by verga (I am not an apologist, I just play one on Television)
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To: Cvengr

I learned from the Greeks to stay away from the Medians.


32 posted on 01/06/2009 10:17:12 AM PST by dangus
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To: kosta50
Iow, "stein" is one of those shibboleths that allows the Prussians to immediately identify me as one of the kleine bergische Diebvolk, nicht wahr?
33 posted on 01/06/2009 7:23:29 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother
Iow, "stein" is one of those shibboleths that allows the Prussians to immediately identify me as one of the kleine bergische Diebvolk, nicht wahr?

That's right, the kleine bergische Diebe! Die Preußen haben auch andere Worte, wie der Stuhl!

34 posted on 01/06/2009 8:04:45 PM PST by kosta50
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To: kosta50
Es heißt Sessel, wenn man Österreichisch ist!

(wie meine Lehrerin . . . )

35 posted on 01/07/2009 5:07:20 AM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother
Ja, österreichisch! Wie die Ribisel!
36 posted on 01/07/2009 5:29:19 AM PST by kosta50
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To: kosta50

37 posted on 01/07/2009 5:47:08 AM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
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To: kosta50

Wie sagt man “total thread hijacking” auf Deutsch?


38 posted on 01/07/2009 5:48:28 AM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

Insgesamt “Thread” Entführung?


39 posted on 01/07/2009 9:52:25 AM PST by kosta50
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To: AnAmericanMother
A, ja, Johannisbeere auf Deutsch, und Ribseln auf "Österreichisch"! :)
40 posted on 01/07/2009 9:55:00 AM PST by kosta50
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To: kosta50
Total Faden-Entführung!

('total' has made its way into German, like 'kolossal')

The one advantage to having a heavy Austrian vocabulary, plus a very up-country Steiermark accent, is that everybody thinks I'm a native. Nobody would learn German like that on purpose, would they?

(obscure reference to another Austrian . . .)

41 posted on 01/07/2009 10:08:17 AM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
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