An Open Letter to the People of God Regarding the Vatican's Silencing of Theologians
We commend Pope Francis for his invitation to dialogue with Hans Kung and look to the time when his standing as a Catholic theologian is officially and fully restored. The Pope’s invitation is a hopeful sign that the most pastoral aspects of the newly released apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, will be enacted thus moving the Church from its long pattern of rigidly imposing rules, censuring and silencing those who have challenged the inadequacies in certain Church teachings to a new focus on discernment, primacy of conscience and integration of those who have been tragically excluded.
Along with Hans Kung, we include theologians Charles Curran, Margaret Farley, Roger Haight, Elizabeth Johnson, the late Richard McBrien, Peter Phan, and, beyond our shores, Ivone Gebara, Leonardo Boff and many others. These men and women have diligently formed and followed their consciences in the exploration of the faith for the good of the Church.
Throughout, Amoris Laetitia places doctrine at the service of the pastoral mission of the Church and cautions us, through prayer and reflection, to “discern the will of God in concrete situations in life.” We hope that Pope Francis’ invitation to Hans Kung is, in fact, recognition that while bishops are our “authentic teachers” (Lumen Gentium #25), it is professional theologians whose conscientious discernments provide a fuller understanding on matters of faith. The Catholic Theological Society of America, formed in 1946, is dedicated to promoting a scholarly exchange of ideas in order to better educate God’s people in matters of faith. In dialogue with the bishops, our theologians have labored long and hard to fulfill that mission.
In recognition of this pastoral role of theologians, it is time to recognize and honor the work of our theologians who have been censured and silenced for their conscientious work in helping develop critical aspects of Church teaching.
- American Catholic Council
- Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church
- Call To Action
- Catholics for Choice
- Chicago Women-Church
- New Ways Ministry
- Pax Christi Maine
- Southeastern Pennsylvania Women’s Ordination Conference
- Women’s Ordination Conference