News leaks over Dominus Iesus lamented

Papal-Household Theologian Also Discusses Commission's Work

ROME, OCT. 13, 2000 ( Members of a top theological panel will vote sometime next year on documents on two key topics: the diaconate, and the relation between Revelation and inculturation.

So says Father Georges Cottier, theologian of the papal household and secretary of the International Theological Commission, a group of top Catholic theologians.

He talked with Vatican Radio about the work of the commission, which met Oct. 2-7, and about the "Dominus Iesus" declaration which stirred public attention.

The commission meeting was presided over by its president, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which also published "Dominus Iesus."

A subcommittee was formed to study the theme of the diaconate.

--Vatican Radio: Let's begin by looking at the topic of the diaconate, which was first on the agenda.

--Father Cottier: We worked well, as the subcommittee's preparation was of excellent quality. We then had a first voting on the text. We normally have two votes, the first includes the possibility of introducing modifications. In this connection, numerous requests for modifications emerged. So, we will have to wait until next year to vote on the final text.

The discussion was very interesting, as the problem is complex. Not all agree with the interpretation of the documentation that exists on the topic of the diaconate since the early years of Christianity. However, there was a very fruitful exchange.

--Q: What did you discover in regard to the topic "Revelation and inculturation"?

--Father Cottier: We spent much time on this topic. We are in the preparatory stage. We heard the reports of the subcommittee's members, which were followed by a lengthy discussion. This will give substance to a first draft, which will be voted on next year. We had hoped to discuss a third issue on Creation, but we were only able to mention it. It will be the topic analyzed next year.

--Q: Can you give us your impression on reactions that have followed the publication of "Dominus Iesus"?

--Father Cottier: The news leaks have been very painful for me; we must reflect on our relation with the media. Undoubtedly, news leaks are very frequent.

What happens when there is a leak? Isolated phrases are taken out of context. Many people have spoken and had violent reactions before reading the text.

It is a document that must be read with concentration: It is a denunciation of the danger of relativism in theology, in face of the essential mysteries of the Christian faith. Let us hope that in time and with careful, passion-free study, everything will find its true dimension and people will understand the purpose of this document.

--Q: What do you think is the crux of the "Dominus Iesus" declaration?

--Father Cottier: The crux is concern over some tendencies - some, not all -- that make inroads in the interreligious dialogue. This is not a text that affects ecumenism; it affects dialogue with other religions, in which one runs the risk of losing sight of the essential: the central role of Jesus Christ, Son of God, made man. This is something vital for Christianity. In no way is the document against dialogue; on the contrary, it clearly encourages dialogue.

13. oktober 2000

av Webmaster publisert 18.10.2000, sist endret 18.10.2000 - 15:42