The election of Joseph Ratzinger to the papacy opens a major
opportunity for a discussion about the direction Christianity
should take as the twenty first century unfolds.
In his first mass after his inauguration on April 24, the Pope said he would take time to listen to the whole Church. No one is better placed to participate in this dialogue than Matthew Fox who, as a prominent Dominican priest, spent ten years in intense struggle with Ratzinger during the 1980s before Fox was silenced and then expelled in 1993 from the Dominican Order. Ratzinger did this in his capacity as Head of the Congregation of Doctrine and the Faith, formally known as the Holy Inquisition, founded in the sixteenth century to counter the Protestant Reformation.
Besides Fox, roughly one hundred other leading theologians and pastoral ministers were expelled from their work by Ratzinger in the squelching of debate during the papacy of Pope John Paul II, including Swiss theologian Hans Kung, German theologian Eugen Drewermann, Brazilian Franciscan Leonardo Boff and American theologian Charles Curran.
In Fox's new book called "A New Reformation!" he proclaims that we are in fact confronted with two churches: one expressed by the image of the Punitive Father, personified by a rigidly hierarchical church structure, repression of the feminine, spreading of homophobia and the elimination of internal dissent; and the other expressed by the feminine figure of Wisdom, personified by a Mother/Father God of justice and compassion. It is time for Christians to choose whom it will follow: an angry exclusionary god or the loving open path of wisdom.
Matthew will be lecturing on Pentecost Sunday May 15 and on Monday
May 16 in Bad Herrenalb, Germany. He will proclaim
the need for a new reformation and expound the choices before the
church, while inviting the Pope to meet with him and others who
like him were silenced or expelled. He will then travel to
Wittenberg, where Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses at
the Cathedral in 1517, and nail his "95 Theses for a Christianity
for a New Millennium" at the same church.
"The traditional purpose of a Thesis is to open up constructive debate in the search for truth," says Father Fox. "At this critical time in human and planetary history, when the earth is being ravaged by fundamentalist religions operating from a punitive father theology the world over as well as 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."
Wisdom University (formerly the University of Creation Spirituality) will take an active role in supporting these events and in developing the theological and public debate that will ensue. The University will develop a campaign among religious believers and justice activists around the world, concerned that the election of Ratzinger marks an important opportunity to open a critical dialogue about religion at a time when the human species needs to unite around shared and deep spiritual values.
For further media information, please contact Jim Garrison at jgarrison@WisdomUniversity.org or at 415- 259-7122. For further information about Matthew Foxs schedule or Wisdom University, please contact www.WisdomUniversity.org or 510-835-7931. The book "A New Reformation!" is available from Wisdom University Press at www.WisdomUniversity.org .