Recently I was driving around, channel surfing on satellite radio, and heard someone talk about Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest, who was chastised by the Catholic Church in 1998 for his belief in a "formless God."
I hadn't thought about de Mello for quite a few years.
In 2006 I devoured (OK, not literally) several of his books, liking them a lot. Here's the de Mello-related blog posts that popped up when I asked the Great God Google in the right sidebar to point me to them.
Be a spiritual rebel
Meditation isn't dog training
Revel in your selfishness
The greatest heretic of all
Jesus says, "Beware of religion"
Mine disaster shows absurdity of prayer
Spiritual ego worse than worldly ego
Give some or all a read. De Mello was an engaging guy. Here's how I started off my first post about him.
Here are some inspirational quotations about spiritual independence from Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest who was born in India and wonderfully melded the best of East and West.
In 1998, after his death, his writings were condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the current Pope.
To me that’s a high recommendation of de Mello. If you’re condemned by the Catholic Church, you must be doing something right spiritually.
On the Vatican web site, there's a page from the infamous Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith folks containing: Notification Concerning the Writings of Father Anthony de Mello, SJ
i just read it. It's pretty impressive. In a weird way.
Meaning, the description of de Mello's writings, particularly his later ones, where he became particularly rebellious toward religion, seems quite fair. Whoever wrote it does a good job describing de Mello's positions, making them sound appealing -- to my churchless mind, at least.
Then, after laying out this description that makes me feel warmly toward de Mello, the Catholic hammer hits.
Consistent with what has been presented, one can understand how, according to the author, any belief or profession of faith whether in God or in Christ cannot but impede one's personal access to truth. The Church, making the word of God in Holy Scripture into an idol, has ended up banishing God from the temple. She has consequently lost the authority to teach in the name of Christ.
With the present Notification, in order to protect the good of the Christian faithful, this Congregation declares that the above-mentioned positions are incompatible with the Catholic faith and can cause grave harm.
The National Catholic Register, not one of my regular reads, has a 1998 piece called "Indian Jesuits Offer Insights Into Vatican's Censure of de Mello."
Complying with a Vatican directive, a Jesuit publishing house has discontinued sales of the work of the late Jesuit Father Anthony de Mello.
...The CDF notification acknowledged the popularity of the Jesuit author, describing him as “well-known due to his numerous publications … widely circulated in many countries.” Yet, the notification pointed out that “according to the author, any belief or profession of faith whether in God or in Christ cannot but impede one's personal access to truth.
The Church, making the word of God in Holy Scripture into an idol, has ended up banishing God from the temple. She has consequently lost the authority to teach in the name of Christ.” In order to “protect the good of the Christian faithful,” the notification stated that some of Father de Mello's positions are “incompatible with the Catholic faith and can cause grave harm.”
...“He followed the dialectic style of raking up controversy to awaken people. There is a certain irony and sarcasm in his stories. If you take them literally, you are likely to be scandalized,” acknowledged Father Sauch, who once attended an 30-day retreat conducted by Father de Mello
My kind of guy!