Sri Lankan theologian Tissa Balasuriya, 88, founder of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians, passed away on Thursday, January 17th in a hospital in Colombo, UCANews announced.
This priest, a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, had been excommunicated in 1992 following the 1990 publication of his book "Mary and Human Liberation" (excerpt available online here). The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith deemed that the book downplayed the tradition of the Church and the value of faith, presented the doctrine of original sin in a way that cast doubt on the divinity of Christ, his mission of salvation, as well as the role of Mary in salvation history.
Obliged to sign a profession of faith that had been prepared especially for him, the priest responded by signing the Credo of Paul VI, followed by a warning stating that he was signing the words "in the context of theological development and Church practice since Vatican II and the freedom and responsibility of Christians and theological searchers under canon law." Rejecting the document, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger notified him of his excommunication on December 7th, 1996.
In 1998, however, before the Synod for Asia and under pressure from several Asian bishops who had expressed doubts about the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's methods, the excommunication was lifted and Fr. Balasuriya agreed to retract the warning on which he had conditioned his signature. He refused to admit doctrinal errors, however, but he did recognize the possibility of "perception of error" and agreed to submit all his future writings to the bishops' imprimatur.
- Tissa Balasuriya: Towards a Planetary Theology -- a digitized collection of some of his writings
- Tissa Balasuriya's biography on the web site of the Center for Society and Religion which he founded and chaired.
- A Radical And Innovative Asian Theologian Passes Away, by the Asian Human Rights Commission, Colombo Telegraph, 1/17/2013
- Fr. Tissa Balasuriya: An Inspiring Confluence of Society and Religion, by Ajith Samaranayka, Sunday Observer,8/30/2004
- CDF Notification concerning the text "Mary and Human Liberation" by Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, O.M.I.
- Fr. Balasuriya's 1996 response to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as published in the Indian Journal of Theology.