Vatican silence on call for theology investigation reform

An appeal for reform of the process for theological investigations by the Church has met with a stony silence from the Vatican.

In March, an international group of 15 bishops, nuns, priests and lay people wrote to Pope Francis and the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith calling for reform.

Many of the signatories to the letter have been subject to CDF investigations and some had subsequently lost their positions.

The Irish Times reported Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, stating it is very unlikely there will be any public response from the CDF.

Fr Lombardi said he had not read the letter.

Other Holy See insiders suggested that there was nothing new in the theologians’ critique, adding that it looked like similar criticism “voiced 10, 20 or 30 years ago”.

Irish Redemptorist Fr Tony Flannery, who has been silenced by Rome, did receive a type of response from the CDF.

Fr Flannery said the CDF had instructed his superior general to send him a copy of “To Promote and Safeguard the Faith”, a 2015 CDF publication.

An article in the Italian publication La Repubblica cited by Fr Flannery stated “Francis knows well the curial way of stopping careers of theologians and bishops, using the dossiers.”

“As archbishop of Buenos Aires and head of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference often he saw candidates for episcopal appointments rejected by the Vatican,” the article stated.

Recently, Swiss theologian Fr Hans Küng said he has sensed a “new freedom” in the Vatican.

Fr Kung said this after he received a personal response from Pope Francis following an appeal from theologian for debate on papal infallibility.

Augustinian theologian, Fr Iggy O’Donovan, one of five Irish priests to have signed the letter about CDF theological investigations, told The Irish Times: “Küng has got it wrong. He is hopelessly optimistic. Pope Francis is a well-intentioned man but the Curia is fiendishly difficult to reform.”

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News category: World.

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