Le théologien controversé Jacques Dupuis meurt à 81 ans
Dec. 29 (CWNews.com) - Father Jacques Dupuis, the controversial Jesuit
theologian whose work drew a rebuke from the Vatican in 2001, has died at the
age of 81.
Father Dupuis had been editor of
the theological journal Gregorianum , and a consultor to the
Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue. He had lived in India and taught in Delhi
from 1958 through 1984, and his theological work, with its emphasis on the shared
insights of major world religions, has been heavily influential in the
discussion of "inculturation" in Asia. The Belgian theologian died in a hospital in Rome on December 28,
reportedly of a cerebral hemorrhage. In February
2001, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a formal note
cautioning against the arguments found in one of Dupuis's works, Toward a
Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism , which had been published in 1997. In a 4-page
document, the Vatican
pointed to serious "ambiguities" and "difficulties" in the
theologian's thought, particularly his failure to affirm the unique and
necessary role of Jesus Christ and his Church in the work of salvation.
After initially resisting the Vatican's
criticisms, Father Dupuis eventually signed the document prepared by the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope John Paul II (bio
With his signature he agreed to avoid similar errors in his future work. At the
same time, the Jesuit scholar resigned from his faculty post at the Gregorian University,
where he had been teaching since his return from India in 1984. He had already, in
1998, stopped teaching a course on Christology, since that topic was the main
focus of the criticism raised against his work.
In its critique of Dupuis's work,
doctrinal office had emphasized that the salvation "of all mankind"
is accomplished only "in and through Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of
the Father." The Congregation stressed that it is "contrary to the
faith" to regard that essential Christian belief as "limited,
incomplete, or imperfect," or to suggest that
other world religions can provide the means to achieve salvation apart from the
Church. The Vatican note cautioned that
"the sacred texts of other religions cannot be considered as complimentary
to the Old Testament."
In a press conference at the time
that the Vatican admonition was made public,
Father Dupuis accepted the content of the doctrinal note. But he continued to
argue that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had misinterpreted
his work. "I do not uphold these false theories," he said.
The Vatican's case against the work of
Father Dupuis was based largely on the document Dominus
Iesus (doc) , issued by
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in September 2000. That
document, affirming the traditional Catholic teaching that salvation is
available only through the Church, was in turn designed to counteract the
influence of theologians such as Dupuis, and the trend toward religious