Monday, January 21, 2013

EATWOT founder Fr. Tissa Balasuriya dies

This article is available in Spanish without the added hyperlinks from Amerindia.

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.

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