Spanish liberation theologian Fr. Jon Sobrino, whose works were censured by the Vatican nearly a decade ago, is slated to take part in an event this Saturday at Rome's Urbaniana University. The gathering is aimed at republishing the “Catacombs Pact,” a document signed after the Second Vatican Council by various future members of the Marxist school of thought. It was condemned in 1984 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed at that time by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Fr. Sobrino, a Jesuit priest born in Spain in 1938, had his works censured by the congregation in 2007. After six years of analysis of his works — “Jesus the Liberator, A Historical-Theological Reading of Jesus of Nazareth” and “Christ the Liberator — A View from the Victims” — the Vatican held them to be contrary to Catholic doctrine. The Holy See warned at the time that in both works “various erroneous or dangerous propositions that can cause harm to the faithful” had been found. That same year, theologian Donato Valentino on Vatican Radio also outlined Fr. Sobrino's problematic theological stance, particularly when it came to the divinity and incarnation of Christ. Fr. Sobrino wrote that in the New Testament, the divinity of Jesus is only present in “seed form.” He also suggested that there are two subjects in Christ. “The result,” Valentino warned at the time, “is it's not clear that the Son is Jesus and Jesus is the Son.” While the Vatican's 2007 statement recognized that Fr. Sobrino demonstrates in his works a concern for the poor, something shared “certainly by the entire Church” — it also said that “this option is not exclusive” and therefore “the Church cannot express herself through reductive sociological or ideological categories, that would make out of this preference a partisan option leading to conflict.” Additionally, the statement recalled that after an initial examination of his works in 2001, the dicastery sent Fr. Sobrino “a list of erroneous or dangerous propositions found in the abovementioned books.” The next year Fr. Sobrino sent a response that was not satisfactory because doctrinal “errors still remain.” Fr. Sobrino was invited to participate at the Urbaniana University in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Catacombs Pact, a document which he reportedly would like to see re-proposed this weekend and promoted via conferences, a meeting with the press and a Mass in the Catacombs. Some local sources voiced concern to CNA that the event this weekend is an attempt to “revive” the ideas of Jon Sobrino, which the Vatican has not lifted its censure of. In its 2007 statement, the congregation noted that it “does not intend to judge the subjective intentions of the author, but rather has the duty to call to attention to certain propositions which are not in conformity with the doctrine of the Church.”
Catholic News Agency was founded in 2004, in response to Pope St. John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization." It is an apostolate of EWTN News.