Thursday, June 09, 2005

Theologian Challenges Pope To Rethink Church's Position On Gays

Shadows of Martin Luther !!!

by Mary Ellen Peterson San Francisco Bureau

Posted: June 9, 2005 12:01 am ET

(Wittenberg, Germany) Crowds gathering in front of the famous Wittenberg Cathedral watched curiously as American theologian Matthew Fox walked to the building's great wooden doors and then nailed up a challenge to the Catholic Church just as Martin Luther did in 1517.

Like Luther, Fox believes that the church is in trouble and in need of a drastic change.

Fox's challenge was in the form an updated version of Luther's 95 Theses - applying them to today.

While Luther's protest was against indulgences and corruption in the administration of Pope Leo X, Fox's beef is more attuned to the injustices and power abuses he sees in the Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI and the apathy epidemic present in Protestant Churches.

"I have great respect for what Luther achieved when he protested against corruption. I also believe the church needs a reformation more today than it did 500 years ago," Fox said.

Fox and the new Pope are old opponents who had intensive debates on theological issues in the 1980s. Fox and 100 other prominent theologians were silenced by then Cardinal Ratzinger. A year later, Fox was forced to leave the Dominican Order by Pope John Paul II and subsequently converted to the Episcopal church.

"Jesus said nothing about condoms, birth control or homosexuality," says one of the Theses. Fox said it is time for Christians to choose who the Church will follow: an "angry exclusionary God or the loving God who opens the path to wisdom."

Among his other theses are: "God is both Father and Mother" and "Religion is not necessary, but spirituality is."

German camera crews recorded the nailing of the theses to the church door and continued to roll as curious tourists read them - some proclaiming their agreement.

"The traditional purpose of a thesis is to open up constructive debate in the search for truth," said Fox.

"At this critical time in human and planetary history, when the earth is being ravaged by the violence of war, poverty, sexism, homophobia and eco-destruction, we need to gather those who offer a future that is one of compassion, creativity and justice to stand up and speak their conscience together as never before. Religion ought to be part of the solution, not the problem."

Fox has written 26 popular religious and theological textbooks. His newest, "A New Reformation!" (Wisdom University Press) challenges Pope Benedict XVI and exposes what he calls the corruption of the papacy.

© 2005


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