Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Anniversary of 'Dominus Iesus'

September 5th marks the anniversary of Dominus Iesus*, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- headed at that time by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI).

In America magazine, Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology and Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Fordham University, devotes a three-part post commemorating the anniversary of the document and reflecting on its content:

From its opening meditation on the Creed through its web of Biblical and ecclesial documents, including Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate and the teachings of John Paul II, the point of the declaration was to keep straight, authoritatively, the wholeness of what the Church teaches on its basic truths. Its overall teaching also sought to put dialogue in its proper place, as a movement within the larger work of proclamation. In all of these assertions, it stands up comparatively well alongside the robust faith statements one finds in other religious traditions. This is what religious leaders do. [...]

As I look back on the document ten years later, though, my thinking has evolved a bit. First, Dominus Iesus was and is definitely an important document that has served, in many a discussion since 2000, as a fundamental reminder of our basic beliefs on the issues of which it treats. Thus it is good for us to remember that Jesus + Christ + Word + Kingdom + Church + Mission + Dialogue go together, without any option for selective choice of a few of these elements, to the exclusion of others. The Catholic faith, like that of other faith traditions, has its integrity, and certainly the CDF is not alone in pointing to a necessary integrity in what we believe.

In the second post, Clooney asks "what kind of theologizing is possible after Dominus Iesus: how do we think usefully about our faith in a diverse world, if it seems that the answer to or against religious diversity has already been given?"

In his third and final post, Clooney examines the possibility of interreligious dialogue after Dominus Iesus, in the context of "institutional" and "lived" dialogue.

Related Reading

* The “release date” was September 5, 2000, although the document itself indicates that it was approved by John Paul II on June 16, while it is officially dated August 6.

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