Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Catholic World News News Feature

Vatican investigating Georgetown theologian September 13, 2007

The Vatican is investigating the work of an American Catholic theologian, according to John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

Father Peter Phan, a professor at Georgetown University and former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, is being questioned by both the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the US bishops' conference, Allen reports.

The focus of the investigation is a book published in 2004 by the Vietnamese-born theologian, entitled Being Religious Interreligiously. Doctrinal officials in Rome and at the US bishops' conference are reportedly questioning Phan's views on religious pluralism, and his apparent belief that the Catholic Church is not essential to salvation.

For several years, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has shown a special concern for the work of theologians who seem to question the unique role of the Catholic Church in the economy of salvation. That topic was the subject of a recent statement from the Congregation, released in July, re-affirming the teaching of Vatican II that the Church founded by Christ "subsists" in the Catholic Church and offers the only sure hope of salvation.