Vatican “Notification” regarding Sobrino

It is out: the Vatican “Notification” regarding the Christological works of Jon Sobrino. John Allen notes:

Contrary to some early reports, the Vatican has not barred Sobrino from teaching or publishing, though a Jesuit spokesperson in Rome said that future disciplinary action has not been ruled out.

Sobrino himself has not yet commented, but in a December letter to Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, Superior General of the Jesuits, Sobrino said he could not accept the Vatican’s judgment for two reasons: first, because it misrepresents his theology; and second, because to do so would be to acquiesce in what he described as a 30-year-long campaign of defamation against liberation theology, which, Sobrino wrote, “is of little help to the poor of Jesus and to the church of the poor.”

Allen summarizes the problems:

• Sobrino’s method makes the “church of the poor” the central context for theology, thus minimizing or ignoring the apostolic tradition of the church, especially as expressed in the declarations of early church councils;
• It’s not sufficiently clear in his work that the divinity of Christ is taught by the New Testament itself, as opposed to being a product of later dogmatic development;
• In places, Sobrino tends toward the ancient Christological heresy of “assumptionism,” treating the historical Jesus as a separate figure who was “assumed” by the divine Son of God;
• Sobrino makes too strong a distinction between Christ and the Kingdom of God, thereby devaluing the “unique and singular” significance of Christ;
• Jesus’ self-consciousness as messiah and as the Son of God are not sufficiently clear;
• The death of Christ on the Cross is reduced to a moral example, rather than understood as having universal significance for salvation.