||De Mello new Vatican target
By NCR Staff
Catholic bishops around the world have been instructed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to see that the books of the late Jesuit Fr. Anthony de Mello are withdrawn from sale, not reprinted or are accompanied by a notification warning that certain passages may depart from the essential contents of the Christian faith.
The notice came in a July 23 letter from Ratzinger, the churchs top doctrinal official, to the presidents of the worlds bishops conferences. Ratzinger asked the bishops to keep his order strictly confidential until Aug. 23, when it would be printed in LOsservatore Romano.
De Mello, an Indian Jesuit who died in 1987, was a well-known writer and speaker on spiritual topics. His approach blended insights from Eastern religions with Christian traditions. He became familiar to American audiences through a series of summer workshops offered over 15 years. His books included 1984s Sadhana: A Way to God, and 1988s One Minute Wisdom (both published by Image Books).
Ratzingers letter said that for some time reports about de Mellos work had reached the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Upon examination, Ratzinger said his office had determined that aspects of de Mellos writings lead to a relativizing of every affirmation of faith and thus to religious indifferentism.
An accompanying notification spelling out the grounds for the Vatican action charges de Mello with six specific offenses:
This congregation declares that the above-mentioned positions are incompatible with the Catholic faith and can cause grave harm, the notification concluded.
The notification said that de Mellos early works were on more solid theological ground. His works ... contain some valid elements of oriental wisdom, it said. Especially in his early writings, Fr. de Mello, while revealing the influence of Buddhist and Taoist spiritual currents, remained within the lines of Christian spirituality.
National Catholic Reporter, August 28, 1998