Item description for The Modern Inquisition: Seven Prominent Catholics and Their Struggles with the Vatican by Paul Collins...
Overview A controversial Australian Catholic priest reveals how the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith--one aspect of the inner workings of the Vatican--perpetrates a modern-day assault on intellectual freedom.
Publishers Description The Inquisition ceased burning and torturing heretics in the 18th century. A milder punishment awaits the dissidents today, principally excommunication or banishment from official teaching positions. Paul Collins has discovered -- through his own experience and extensive research -- that the impact of the Vatican's investigations, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, can be quite profound. Collins is the controversial Australian Catholic priest recently investigated by the Vatican for alleged heresy. It views Collins's less than reverential views as heretical and has been investigating him since 1997, when Collins's book Papal Power was singled out for supposed "doctrinal problems."
The Modern Inquisition, compiled over the four years that the mysterious and secretive CDF deliberated on Collins's work, brings together the stories of others who have also been pursued, condemned, or vilified by the CDF. Here are seven fascinating accounts of how the modern Inquisition operates -- what it is like to be accused by anonymous informers, investigated in secret, and tried at arms length with no recourse to appeal. Among the central characters are some of the genuine prophets of the contemporary church: -- Hans Kung, the world renowned theologian -- Father Tissa Balasuriya, Sri Lankan thinker and social justice activist, who was excommunicated in 1997. -- Charles Curran, one of the Church's prominent moralists -- Lavinia Byrne, the UK's most prominent Catholic media spokesperson and prolific author -- Jeannine Gramick and Robert Nugent, whose 30-year ministry to gay people and AIDS sufferers in the US has now been condemned
Citations And Professional Reviews The Modern Inquisition: Seven Prominent Catholics and Their Struggles with the Vatican by Paul Collins has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Kirkus Reviews - 04/15/2002 page 540
Library Journal - 06/15/2002 page 71
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2002 page 10
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 89
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 117
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Father Paul Collins is a writer and broadcaster as well as Australia's best-known Catholic priest. A graduate of Harvard University and a Church historian, he is the author of five books and many articles on theology, the papacy, and environmental ethics.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Modern Inquisition: Seven Prominent Catholics and Thier Struggle with the Vatican?
An Inside Look into the Injustices within the Church Aug 9, 2004
This book takes a very balanced approach at criticizing functional issues within the Council for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In many passages of the book the author clearly points out that although there may be an issue of contention with certian people that they are still knowledgeable and good. The book begins with a clear and accurate history of the way the CDF came and its predecessors. The book is far more then about theologans who dissented from the church and were penalized, its about the injustice, immorality, and the devious actions surrounding the treatment of these people. The first case of Charles Curran deals with a Catholic theologan who gets into trouble regarding his questioning of 'fallable' teaching, which are those which should be discussed and questioned. All Curran wanted was a clear answer as to what was fallable or infallable and in what ways it was right to explore the fallable teaching of the church. The case of Tissa Balasuriya deals with the problems faced by a Sri Lankan Catholic priest trying to bring and resolve the religion to the peoples of that part of the world. While he worked to bring catholicism to these people, the Church attacked him for his efforts. The case of Gramick and Nugent is about the Church's stance with regard to homosexuals in the religion. Though Gramick and Nugent were hailed for their work to bring that group of people to the religion they were constantly watched and attacked by the CDF. The case of Lavinia Byrne deals with what should be the role of women in the Church. The final two cases of Kung and Collins are the pinnacle of the unjust operation of the CDF. The book is not a vengeful attacked by these theologans,priests,and scholars who are hurt by the accusations and findings of the CDF. The book is a tool to show that the Catholic Church which is supposed to be one of the most just and fair institutions by way of the CDF is the most totalitarian,dictatorial, and devious in the world. All these people are being invistigated unknown to them for however many years. They are informed indirectly through whoever is viewed as their senior in their religious order and they are told to respond to problems in their teachings/writings. Much of the time the CDF has misunderstood, misread, or actively misrepresented what these people are teaching/writing. These theologans then respond normally with 20-60 page documents clarifying their writing, supporting their stance, and exlplaining themselves, or seeking further clarification with what is wrong. Many of the times these people are never responded to by the CDF. They may in 1-5 years get another letter stating they must recant further issues or they may have to fully recantthe offending teaching or face penalty, that is it. This is not the biggest travesty! These theologans are accused by annonymous individuals anywhere in the world of the Church, the are invistigated in secret, by a panel that remains anonymous. Many of the people viewing their teachings/writings are not qualified to interpret these theologans/scholars writings. If any government acted the way the CDF investigates, charges and concludes their findings their would be global repercussions, as no-one would stand for it!! THOSE WHO WOULD SAY THESE PEOPLE SHOULD BE PUNISHED ARE THE SAME IGNORANT AND BIASED PEOPLE THAT MAKE UP THE CDF.
Collins' Assault on the Faith Jun 24, 2004
It seems obvious to me that ANY church or religious institution with a message it regards as Truth has a right to expect the clergy and theologians who claim the authority to teach within that church to not alter, challenge, denigrate or ignore that Truth. No one would expect Islam to allow muslim theologians to hold positions at a mosque or religious school if they declared Mohammed a con man or just a brilliant myth-maker. No one would expect Orthodox Judaism to place its theology or its rabbinic authority in the hands of people who made their mission the undermining of orthodoxy. But Collins and at least one of his institutional reviewers believe that theologians who claim to be Catholic should be able to question and deride the divinity of Jesus, the truth of the gospels, the apostolic succession, the authority vested in the pope, the church's constant and clear teachings on morality, etc., while still keeping their teaching positions at Catholic universities or their parishes if they are priests. It seems to me laughable on its face.
No one questions the right of a scholar to make the strongest possible arguments against the doctrines, dogmas and disciplines of the Catholic faith. But it seems positively perverse to expect that such a writer would call himself or herself Catholic. If I think Jesus was only a man with a social message, or that the resurrection is symbolic not historical, or that the Church was never established by Christ but is essentially a man-made construct, or that the Bishop of Rome has no more authority to establish doctrine than anyone else, I may be a genius and a brilliant scholar. What I am not is Catholic. And that's not being mean--that's simply trying to preserve any meaning that the word Catholic might have. If Collins is Catholic, so are Billy Graham and John Calvin and Gandhi for that matter.
I applaud the Church for its treatment of dissenting scholars. It reminds them of what the Church teaches and asks them to clarify how their new theology or dissent is reconciliable to the faith as it is known through the magisterium. It gives them every opportunity to embrace orthodoxy. But when they refuse to do so, it recognizes the enormous assault on the faith created by having priests and theologians purporting to be Catholic making public statements that deny or contradict central tenets of the faith. What is the average lay Catholic supposed to think when he sees a "Catholic" theologian in the newspaper, a theologian holding a professorship at a Catholic college, making claims against the divinity of Christ or the teaching against abortion? The Church wisely recognizes that such a figure creates a scandal (in the old theological sense of the word--i.e., that the person engages in behavior that undermines other people's faith). She gives the dissenter every opportunity to affirm the orthodox position, but if the dissenter insists on keeping up the assault on Truth (as the Church sees it), the Church can hardly be obligated--and would in fact be irresponsible--to keep such a person in a position where he or she teaches others the faith.
I'd think whether one was Catholic or not, one could see that no organization of any kind is obligated to hire people whose mission is to bring down the organization. The notion that a defense of the faith is synonymous with censorship or an assault on academic freedom is ludicrous.