A Belgian Catholic theologian, Father Edward Schillebeeckx, has been appearing before a panel of questioners at the Vatican to explain his views on Christ, which the Holy See interpret as contradicting basic Church teaching.
A Belgian Catholic theologian, Father Edward Schillebeeckx, has been appearing before a panel of questioners at the Vatican to explain his views on Christ, which the Holy See interpret as contradicting basic Church teaching. Father Schillebeeckx, who is professor of Theology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, was summoned by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to answer questions arising from his book "Jesus, an Experiment in Christology". Issues raised by the Congregation, which oversees doctrinal matters for the Vatican, touch on the divinity of Christ, His virginal conception, His resurrection, the foundation of the Church, and Papal infallibility. Father Schillebeeckx gave a news conference in Rome on Saturday (15 December) after three days of secret hearings with the three-man panel.
SYNOPSIS: Father Schillebeeckx said his questioners were bound by Pontifical secrecy, so he had to speak with discretion. He said he could not verbally attack members of the panel, because their oath of secrecy prevented them from defending themselves. the formal procedures, of a theologian summarising their discussion, then asking a most precise question, which Father Schillebeeckx had answered. A draft deposition was taken down, and later, both the panel and himself had a chance to go through it and deal with points they might have forgotten from their discussion. He had signed the deposition on the questions answers, and this would now be passed to the full Congregation of the Faith for its decision.
Father Schillebeeckx refused to say whether there had ben fundamental difference s between himself and his questioners. He said they were all member of the same faith, but they had differences of interpretation. A Vatican statement at the start of the hearings laid down firmly that the only record of the proceedings would be contained in the official summary signed by the three theologians and the professor. Father Schillebeeckx, said the summons to the Vatican had not humiliated him because he felt as a Catholic, it was his duty to come when the Congregation bade him to do so.
The Vatican said Father Schillebeeckx had not been on trial; the panel was not a tribunal and was not empowered to make any decisions. He told the news conference the Congregation would discussion his case without referring back to hi,, or without his having right of appeal against the final decision.