Vatican issues “punitive” measures against NY Jesuit

Over at dotCommonweal, I have posted a report on further Vatican penalties against the Jesuit theologian, Roger Haight: Now Haight is barred from writing at all on theology, and he can’t even teach at a non-Catholic school. Which means he’ll be leaving Union Theological Seminary at the end of the academic year.
Read the post here.
Needless to say, apart from the personal injustice to Haight, this action, taken in sercet and with impunity and no due process, will erode the kind of credibility that Benedict XVI is trying to build for his message of love and charity.

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Joseph Fromm

posted January 2, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Dear David,
I would like to respond to your statement,
“Needless to say, apart from the personal injustice to Haight, this action, taken in secret and with impunity and no due process, will erode the kind of credibility that Benedict XVI is trying to build for his message of love and charity.”
Your comments I am sure will play well with some who are involved in journalism and those that may be adherents to liberation theology. However you are misleading your readers when you say that Fr. Haight has had no due process. Fr Haight has had many opportunities to clarify his statements or retract them. Fr. Haight’s continuous insubordination, contempt for the Church and its faithful has lead to this action by Curia and the Holy Father. A priest has to work real hard to get into this situation. In the “Decrees” of the recent 35 General Congregation, the Jesuits working with “Fr. Nico” the new Superior General, repeatedly called for fidelity with the Church and the Holy Father. Hence, Fr. Haight is out of step the Jesuits and if he is out of step with the Jesuits, he is out of step with the greater Church. Your statement David, that the Holy Father’s message of love and charity is eroded by this action is a personal misunderstanding of love and charity on your part. The real tragedy is that Fr. Haight has worked his whole life in the service of Jesus Christ, yet within the confines of his service has had poor formation and direction, for which he could conclude that he is working with in the bounds of good conduct within the Church.
We must pray that Fr. Haight returns to good standing in the Church.

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Albert the Abstainer

posted January 2, 2009 at 8:11 pm

The messenger can be silenced, not so the message.
Friar Haight finds himself in the distinguished company of such luminaries as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Meister Eckhart.
One of the great ironies, (one that is obviously lost on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), is that to pursue such an action can often elevate the works of those they suppress far beyond where they would have imagined.

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Meredith Gould

posted January 3, 2009 at 12:54 am

Thank you, David, for your reportage. I’m a grateful reader.

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Your Name

posted January 3, 2009 at 8:50 am

Well what can one say. The faith is the faith. The Church believes it is the guardian of the faith as handed down directly from Christ. It cannot and will not ever be changed. Either you are in line with the Church on faith or you are not and if not, you shouldn’t consider yourself Catholic. The unfortunate reality however is that this is in large part the reason for the dwindling numbers of congregants over the last 30+ years and the rise in the number of Protestant sects. A phenomenon that I do not believe the Church will ever revover from as it is currently constituted.

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Former Student

posted January 3, 2009 at 10:35 am

Prof. Haight was my professor several years ago. I must say that he was one of the very best teachers I ever had. That being said, this current conflict is something he sought out. He wanted to be the embattled theologian fighting against big bad Rome. I actually wish Rome had done nothing. That would have totally frustrated him. I suspect that now he will get his moment in the the spotlight. He’ll be the hero for a very small and shrinking number of people and that will be it. As for the rest of us, we should focus on preaching the Gospel and move on…

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posted January 3, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Thank you “Former Student” – I suspected as much.
I fail to see why these guys stick around purportedly “in the service of the Church” as priests and so on. If you want to theologize, feel free – but to analyze and nuance Christ of relevance (all, ironically, in the name of making him *more* relevant in a pluralistic world) – why are you bothering with the whole Church thing, living on the Church’s dime and playing on your title and position as a priest…a priest called to minister to people in the name of a Gospel you don’t even care much about?
How would Haight and his ilk answer Jesus’ question “Do you love me?”
And what would they say to his response..”Then feed my sheep.”
Basically – if you believe the Gospel is bullshit, why are you sticking around? If it’s an interchangable philosophy, why bother? If Jesus is simply one of many ways God communicates with the world, why not just go sell tires?

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Stephen C. Rose

posted January 3, 2009 at 12:45 pm

I feel about this the way I do about military service. If you do not believe in the program do not accept it. I think this is the Christian meaning of shaking dust from your feet as a witness against the system. The problem for most of us is that the church we have largely vacated does not really want to face and deal with the problems and issues that create the need to leave. In my case this is Protestant orthodoxy and the substance of what I find in Calvin. Father Haight has the advantage of having been taken seriously. Should he now shake the dust from his feet? I am sure my alma mater, Union Theological Seminary, will hardly object.

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posted January 3, 2009 at 6:14 pm

R.HEight?Who is he? maybe the sort of “theologians” (5)against whom “Dominus Jesus” was written, not the highest quality comparing to Vat II Const. On the Church.Of course, these theologians were more dumb than D.Jesus! You can read them in library. For ch.7 (how to discern whose ‘revelation” or “holy book” is true CARd.RAtzinger would not pass an exam in religious class. Fortuantely JP II “smelled” sth and only approved…auditly and not sign it.
I suspect Mr.R.HEight,and others just ignore “Fides at Ratio” of John Paul II

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David Gibson

posted January 3, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Joseph Fromm: How can you contend that Fr. Haight has had due process when he has never faced his accusers, does not know who is judging him, and has had no response to his detailed explanations? Your post doesn’t comport with the facts of his case, or others in recent deacdes. it’s not the way the CDF works.

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Your Name

posted January 3, 2009 at 10:09 pm

How easy it is to generalize Fr. Haight work. May I ask how many have actually read the book?
Sometimes the Holy Spirit works in ways that seem out of step with actual faith in order to get the “faithful” to think about what they are called to do. One only has to look at the life of Mother Theresa to see this point. She broke all the rules of her cloister and community in order to be faithful to God’s call.
I’m not saying I agree with what Fr. Haight has published but I would think that it does come from a place where faith and service dwell.
And isn’t it interesting that he could leave and keep his job and yet he stays and continues to listen to his superiors.

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posted January 5, 2009 at 9:49 am

Maybe a few centuries from now some pope will do for Fr. Haight what Benedict recently did for Galileo Galilei. Admit the church was wrong. It just takes a while.

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posted January 5, 2009 at 9:54 am

Good one less dissenting liberal who corrupts souls… Holy Father let hammer fall,,, and let the spirit of new Inquisition live

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posted January 5, 2009 at 10:06 am

I am sure, given the track-record of many “theologians” these days, that the Vatican had very good reason to silence this man.
These last 40 years we have had “theologians” deny Christ was divine and stay in Church Universities and teach. The “Catholic” University in the state where I live has an ATHEIST former priest teaching Biblical Theology. (I am not kidding). He argues the ENTIRE BIBLE should be studied as literature only, and that Christ is a mere human being! No rebuke!
Clarity is needed now. We have had enough garbage come out of these people’s mouths. Good for the Vatican.

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posted January 5, 2009 at 10:51 am

If the Roman Catholics who dissent from some of this malarckey were to leave the institutional church, or at least stop paying for it, the influence of Rome and the politics disguised as theology would disappear exponentially. I thought one of the teachings that distinguishes Roman Catholics from heathens and heretics was that it is our obligation to examine our consciences and act forthwith. Indeed, there are dozens -hundreds – sainted because they stood up to the institutional church when it has been wrong -often to the peril and persecution of the sainted.
Frank X

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posted January 5, 2009 at 11:13 am

Your logo, ‘Pontifications’, the picture of the Pope on your book’s cover, the kind of language you write with speak for themselves. There are legitimate converts. But then there are those who pretend to be coverts – in “sheep’s skin”. I don’t think you’re the person Father Corapi will be comfortable with, nor would Mother Angelica recommend as a role-model Catholic. I don’t think you like Peter Seewald or Scott Hahn. Go on with your agenda…see where it will take you.
He who doesn’t see the Cross the Church carries is yelling “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

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posted January 5, 2009 at 3:12 pm

“I thought one of the teachings that distinguishes Roman Catholics from heathens and heretics was that it is our obligation to examine our consciences and act forthwith.”
You have it backwards. It is the world of heathens and heretics that say “let you conscience be you guide”, which leads to relativism. The Catholic Church says that we should be guided by a consciece that is well-formed by the teachings of the Catholic Church.
“Indeed, there are dozens -hundreds – sainted because they stood up to the institutional church when it has been wrong -often to the peril and persecution of the sainted.”
This is completely a falsehood. There has never, ever been a saint canonized by the Church who dissented from the teachings of the Catholic Church. There are many canonized saints who stood up against emperors, unjust governments, the immoral culture, and maybe even a lax bishop, but there never was a saint who stood up against the Pope or the Catholic Church.

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posted January 5, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Who the hell is “Roger Haight?”

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posted January 5, 2009 at 5:29 pm

I always find it curious that if Wal-Mart finds an employee who despises the purpose for which they are hired and defies all policies concerning Wal-mart and is fired no one thinks it ill advised. yet if the church has one teaching counter to the churches teaching and is disciplined they cry foul.
Should then the various policing agencies hire career criminals and grant them permanent status? Perhaps we should elect someone from the Kremlin to run Washington D. C..
I’m missing something here. Help me out !

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LCDR Brian M.

posted January 5, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Converts were once well-regarded for the example of the zeal with which they believed, defended and practiced the Roman Catholic faith. Unfortunately, Mr. Gibson appears to be a deviation from this once-proud tradition.
Mr. Gibson, it requires no suspension of disbelief to understand that Fr. Haight – whoever the hell, indeed, he is – is a virulent and unrepentant heretic, given that the Church has condemned his teachings. If this is good enough for me, it should be good enough for you.
By the way: welcome to the One, True Church!

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Joseph Fromm

posted January 6, 2009 at 7:48 am

Dear David,
According to the Vatican website, the CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH meets every Wednesday with with consultors and officials. The recent Catholic News Service article by Cindy Wooden, states “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.
With this information, your statement
“apart from the personal injustice to Haight, this action, taken in sercet and with impunity and no due process, will erode the kind of credibility that Benedict XVI is trying to build for his message of love and charity,”
the apparent process and communication between The Society of Jesus, Fr. Haight and the CDF is not reflected in your blog post.

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posted January 9, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Well if what Paul said is true, that there has never been a saint that has stood up to the Pope and the heirachial church that is a shame. Because the Pope and the heirachy are only human and they do not have the last word on everything.
There has only been 2 infallible documents 1)is that the Pope can declare something infallible and 2)that the Mother of Jesus(Mary)body was assumed into heaven. And this big Doctrine of Infallibility was proclaimed by the pope and heirachy in 1870-71. And many of the the cardinals and archbishops had fled Vatican city before the vote because it was under siege by Garibaldi. So,all for a clean election. And I think if we educate ourselves we will realize that their pronouncements although probably learned are their opinion. They act like everything they say is infallible…not true.
I do think the Vatican and heirachy have lost a lot of their power of authority due to the pedophile scandal(which is still not over)and the fact that over the last 45 years laypeople have become far more educated. We do not say yes Father, No Father, Anything you say Father. The heirachy know they are losing their power as so many thinking and feeling Catholics want a collegial church not a heirachial church. They(the heirachy) deal with people in a Parent-Child style of communication and I firmly believe that the Church will implode if they keep trying to shore up their “power.” It is not the way of Christ. Now they are ordering that the altar rails be put up again. That is a wall between the church(laity)and the priest because we were not considered “holy” enough to be near the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Only the priest is.(kind of reminds one of the Pharisees of old). And the Latin…use of Latin as the language of the Mass has been done for about 400-500 years. So, it is not the original language of the church…Aramaic was the language of the early church. It was the language of the people. So, none of these postures of the heirachy seem to have anything to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is about power and knowing your place. We really should not be about power but love. Isn’t that the message of Jesus? His example is the one we need to follow not the Vatican with all the intrigue and compromises that seem to go on there. God help the person(possibly Fr.Haight?)who is a visionary.
I also think there are plenty of people who have gone before us into the Communion of Saints that have not been recognized as “saints” and never will be and yet many could very well be saints. And some of those I bet stood up to the church authorities and challenged them for not following the Gospel. But they were probably punished or the heirachy of the day(or today)put them where they would be silenced…and I know for a fact as do many others that is exactly what they do…these men of God…Doesn’t it make you proud?!

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