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Father Tissa Balasuriya, radical theologian, dies in Sri Lanka at 88

January 18, 2013

Father Tissa Balasuriya, the controversial theologian who was excommunicated and later reconciled with the Church, died in Sri Lanka on January 17 after a long illness at the age of 88.

Father Balasuriya, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate who was known for his inter-religious activities, came into conflict with the Church officials with the publication of his book <>Mary and Human Liberation in 1990. In 1994 the bishops of Sri Lanka issued a warning against the book, and that same year the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) asked Father Balasuriya to retract certain arguments that he advanced in the book. He declined.

Questioning Father Balasuriya’s statements on doctrinal issues that included Original Sin, the Immaculate Conception, and the irreplaceable role of Jesus in the work of salvation, the CDF then asked the Sri Lankan theologian to sign a statement of faith. Again he declined, and after issuing a warning the CDF formally announced his excommunication in January 1997. Father Balasuriya eventually agreed to sign a statement of faith, and his excommunication was lifted in January 1998.


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