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Pubblichiamo di seguito il testo della Notificazione decisa nella Sessione ordinaria della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede - e approvata dal Santo Padre - sugli scritti del Padre gesuita indiano Anthony de Mello , unitamente ad una Nota illustrativa.
I due testi sono a disposizione in inglese , italiano , francese , spagnolo. The Indian Jesuit priest, Father Anthony de Mello is well known due to his numerous publications which, translated into various languages, have been widely circulated in many countries of the world, though not all of these texts were authorized by him for publication.
His works, which almost always take the form of brief stories, contain some valid elements of oriental wisdom. These can be helpful in achieving self-mastery, in breaking the bonds and feelings that keep us from being free, and in approaching with serenity the various vicissitudes of life. Especially in his early writings, Father de Mello, while revealing the influence of Buddhist and Taoist spiritual currents, remained within the lines of Christian spirituality. In these books, he treats the different kinds of prayer: petition, intercession and praise, as well as contemplation of the mysteries of the life of Christ, etc.
But already in certain passages in these early works and to a greater degree in his later publications, one notices a progressive distancing from the essential contents of the Christian faith.
In place of the revelation which has come in the person of Jesus Christ, he substitutes an intuition of God without form or image, to the point of speaking of God as a pure void.
To see God it is enough to look directly at the world. Nothing can be said about God; the only knowing is unknowing. To pose the question of his existence is already nonsense. This radical apophaticism leads even to a denial that the Bible contains valid statements about God. The words of Scripture are indications which serve only to lead a person to silence.
In other passages, the judgment on sacred religious texts, not excluding the Bible, becomes even more severe: they are said to prevent people from following their own common sense and cause them to become obtuse and cruel.
Religions, including Christianity, are one of the major obstacles to the discovery of truth. This truth, however, is never defined by the author in its precise contents. For him, to think that the God of one's own religion is the only one is simply fanaticism. Father de Mello demonstrates an appreciation for Jesus, of whom he declares himself to be a "disciple.
The only difference from other men is that Jesus is "awake" and fully free, while others are not. Jesus is not recognized as the Son of God, but simply as the one who teaches us that all people are children of God.
In addition, the author's statements on the final destiny of man give rise to perplexity. At one point, he speaks of a "dissolving" into the impersonal God, as salt dissolves in water. On various occasions, the question of destiny after death is declared to be irrelevant; only the present life should be of interest.
With respect to this life, since evil is simply ignorance, there are no objective rules of morality. Good and evil are simply mental evaluations imposed upon reality.
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 writings of the Indian Jesuit priest, Father Anthony de Mello have circulated extensively in many countries of the world and among people of widely different backgrounds. It is important to indicate these positive features which can be found in many of Father de Mello's writings.
Particularly in the works dating from his early years as a retreat director, while revealing the influence of Buddhist and Taoist spiritual currents, Father de Mello remained in many respects within the boundaries of Christian spirituality.
He speaks of waiting in silence and prayer for the coming of the Spirit, pure gift of the Father Contact With God: Retreat Conferences , He gives a very good presentation of the prayer of Jesus and of the prayer that Jesus teaches us, taking the Our Father as his basis ibid. He also speaks of faith, repentance and contemplation of the mysteries of Christ's life according to the method of Saint Ignatius. He speaks of the prayer of petition and intercession as taught by Jesus in the Gospel, of the prayer of praise and of invocation of the name of Jesus.
His book is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, a model of contemplation ibid. But already in this work he develops his theory of contemplation as awareness, which seems to be not lacking in ambiguity. We are accustomed to think of Scripture as the revelation of God.
And so it is. An imageless, formless reality. A blank! How are we going to know we're asleep? The mystics, when they see what surrounds them, discover an extra joy flowing in the heart of things. With one voice they speak about this joy and love flowing everywhere How attain that? Through understanding. Call To Love , When you have knowledge you use a torch to show the way. Holiness is not an achievement, it is a Grace. A Grace called Awareness, a grace called Looking, observing, understanding.
If you would only switch on the light of awareness and observe yourself and everything around you throughout the day, if you would see yourself reflected in the mirror of awareness the way you see your face reflected in a looking glass In these later writings, Father de Mello had gradually arrived at concepts of God, revelation, Christ, the final destiny of the human person, etc.
Since many of his books do not take the form of discursive teaching, but are collections of short tales which are often quite clever, the underlying ideas can easily pass unnoticed. This makes it necessary to call attention to certain aspects of his thought which, in different forms, appear in his work taken as a whole.
We will use the author's own texts which, with their particular features, clearly demonstrate the underlying thinking. On various occasions, Father de Mello makes statements about God which ignore his personal nature, if not explicitly denying it, and reduce God to a vague and omnipresent cosmic reality. According to the author, no one can help us find God just as no one can help a fish in the sea find the ocean cf. One Minute Wisdom , 67; Awareness , Similarly, God and each of us are neither one nor two, just as the sun and its light, the ocean and the wave, are neither one nor two cf.
One Minute Wisdom , Following from a unilateral and exaggerated apophaticism which is the consequence of the above-mentioned concept of God, criticism and frequent irony are directed toward any attempt at language of God.
The relationship between God and creation is frequently expressed with the Hindu image of the dancer and dance: I see Jesus Christ and Judas, I see victims and persecutors, the killers and the crucified: one melody in the contrasting notes Finally, I stand before the Lord.
I see him as the Dancer and all of this maddening, senseless, exhilarating, agonizing, splendorous thing that we call life as his dance Who or what is God and what are men in this 'dance'? Don't reject it; don't reflect on it. It is not at all clear how Christ's mediation for knowledge of the Father enters into such a description. There is only one way of knowing him: by unknowing! I come to a sign that says 'Bombay.
That sign isn't Bombay! Actually it doesn't even look like Bombay. It's not a picture of Bombay. It's a sign. Paradoxically God's revelation is not expressed in his words, but in silence cf. Awareness , Thus, what is proclaimed is an impersonal God who stands above all the religions, while objections are raised to the Christian proclamation of the God of love, held to be incompatible with the notion of the necessity of the Church for salvation:.
My friend and I went to the fair. The Jews. No other people were as Chosen as the Jewish People. Salvation comes from listening to God's only Prophet. Join the Church or risk eternal damnation. On the way out I asked my friend, 'What do you think of God? Don't you see they have been giving you a bad name for centuries? And He loves and rewards us forever if we observe His commandments.
Every concrete religion is an obstacle to arriving at the truth. What is asserted about religion, is also said concretely about the Scriptures cf. And a sanctuary is holy because it shows that all places are sanctified. Father de Mello certainly manifests a personal adherence to Christ, of whom he declares himself a disciple Wellsprings , , in whom he has faith ibid. His presence is transfiguring cf. But other statements are disconcerting. Jesus on the cross appears as the one who has freed himself perfectly of everything:.
I see the Crucified as stripped of everything: Stripped of his dignity Stripped of his reputation Stripped of support Stripped of his God As I gaze at that lifeless body I slowly understand that I am looking at the symbol of supreme and total liberation.
In being fastened to the cross Jesus becomes alive and free
Pubblichiamo di seguito il testo della Notificazione decisa nella Sessione ordinaria della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede - e approvata dal Santo Padre - sugli scritti del Padre gesuita indiano Anthony de Mello , unitamente ad una Nota illustrativa. I due testi sono a disposizione in inglese , italiano , francese , spagnolo. The Indian Jesuit priest, Father Anthony de Mello is well known due to his numerous publications which, translated into various languages, have been widely circulated in many countries of the world, though not all of these texts were authorized by him for publication. His works, which almost always take the form of brief stories, contain some valid elements of oriental wisdom. These can be helpful in achieving self-mastery, in breaking the bonds and feelings that keep us from being free, and in approaching with serenity the various vicissitudes of life.
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