Home > Queensland Synod News > Polish theologian apologises after church ultimatum about article

Polish theologian apologises after church ultimatum about article


A Polish theologian has apologised to his superiors after criticising aspects of Roman Catholic teaching in a newspaper article.

"The misunderstandings were caused in part by the clumsiness of my formulations," said Piotr Sikora, a lay lecturer at Krakow’s Papal Theology Academy. Sikora’s comments were made in a statement published on the academy’s Web site.

This followed an open letter from academy rector, the Rev. Jan Dyduch, published on 17 October by Poland’s Catholic information agency KAI. The letter warned the theologian to "make appropriate reparations" within five days or face punishment for perpetrating "mistakes in theology and methodology".

The 12 October article by Sikora in the mass-circulation Gazeta Wyborca daily newspaper said there was "no such thing as church teaching". It accused church leaders of pursuing a "clerical, institutional vision" in Poland, where at least 95 percent of the population of 38 million people is Catholic.

The article asserted that distinctions between "a teaching church and taught faithful" were contrary to the New Testament, and it said all Catholics should also try to understand revelation "through inquiry and contemplation."

In his statement apologising for his article, Sikora said he had tried "to oppose the stereotype identifying the church only with clergy" and making lay people "only passive receivers of their teaching". He said he had wanted to suggest that Roman Catholics also had a duty to "read and proclaim" divine teaching as entrusted to the church.

"It was not my intention to question either the objective character of Divine Truth manifested in the church, or the fundamental church task of proclaiming and teaching this truth," Sikora said. "I wanted to show every Christian, as a church member, is called to help actively penetrate Divine Revelation, in accordance with Scripture and with what we find in the Second Vatican Council texts," the theologian asserted. "I had no intention of questioning the key role played by bishops in this process."

Sikora is the second theologian in recent weeks to face official criticism for writings, after a Lublin-based professor, Waclaw Hryniewicz, rejected a Vatican order to withdraw a controversial essay on ecumenism. Some Catholics have warned the church actions could discourage free discussion.

(c) Ecumenical News International