Via the Curt Jester we get the story of Fr. Roger Haight S.J. Apparently his license to teach Theology at any university has been removed because the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith because he denies the divinity of Christ. This belief is espoused is the book: Jesus Symbol of God. Fr. Phillip Neri Powell OP. PHD talks of the joy of the dissenters at his blog Domine, da mihi hanc aquam:
Critics of the CDF will whine and moan that the congregation is acting to suppress creative thinking and legitimate theological research. They will rend garments and gnash teeth over the cosmic injustice of asking a Catholic theologian to actually teach the Catholic faith. They will use Haight’s sanctions as evidence that they being persecuted by a medieval Church who hates any and all difference of opinion. Let’s be quick to note the ratio of publishing, teaching dissident theologians to those investigated and sanctioned by the CDF. What, maybe one in every 10,000 theologians merit the CDF’s attention? Hardly a worldwide “crackdown” on dissent. But maybe that’s the problem. The CDF isn’t paying these whiners any attention and their reputations among the heretical inner-circle are suffering.
So, ignore the mewling academics and leftist pundits and focus on the fact that Haight himself chose to write against well-established, infallible Christian doctrine. He will not go hungry. He will have a place to live. God still loves him. He’s still a priest, a Jesuit, and a member of the Church. He can still write on questions in spirituality, and he will no doubt become a conference/lecture circuit star among the thousands of professionally aggrieved institutions and individuals the Church allows to flourish despite its apparent bloodthirsty, inquistional ways. If anything, the CDF sanctions have guaranteed Haight’s books a spot on most theology syllabi well into this century.
The question becomes will he choose to peruse this father in terms of dissent until he chooses to permanently separate himself from the church. The priesthood is not a democracy. If one wants to be a priest he is obliged to follow the teachings of the church.
There is nothing of course preventing him from renouncing his vows and leaving the church or even Christianity as a whole, with his denial of the divinity of Christ he would fit right into some churches. I ofter wonder why people who don’t believe stay, in comments Fr. Powell gives the answer:
Someone once asked a famous dissenting theologian why she remained in the Church if she found so much of its doctrine and practice so detestable.
She answered, “It’s where the Xerox machine is.” In other words, she remains b/c the Church butters her bread and pays her rent. The Church provides her with the resources she needs to undermine the Church.
There is a much bigger gravy train trashing the church from within rather than doing what one believes or following the rules. Just remember although you may not like what they are doing you are required to pray for them, that’s the rules too.