Schillebeeckx, Dominican Theologian, Dead at 95

Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., a theologian whose work had a huge impact on the Dutch church, died at the age of 95 on Dec. 23 in Nijmegen, Netherlands, where he lived since 1957. The Dominican taught in the department of dogmatic and historical theology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, now known as Radboud University Nijmegen, from 1957 until his retirement in 1983. He served as theological adviser to the Dutch bishops during the Second Vatican Council and was seen as the main inspiration behind the Dutch catechism for adults. The catechism was published in 1966 after approval by the country's bishops, who wanted the text to reflect the council's new approach to questions of faith. But the Vatican criticized the text, ordered a study of it and in 1972 insisted on its withdrawal from use in Catholic schools. In its obituary, Radboud University Nijmegen described Father Schillebeeckx as "as a pioneer who connected faith, church and theology with modern humanity in a secular society." But his efforts to "rethink the Christian faith in the light of contemporary culture"—as Vatican Radio described his work Dec. 27—led to three separate investigations by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith between 1968 and 1984. The last investigation was carried out under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. In 1986, concluding the investigation, the cardinal issued a notification on Father Schillebeeckx's book, "The Church with a Human Face: A New and Expanded Theology of Ministry," saying it was "in disagreement with the teaching of the church," particularly regarding ordination and the possibility of lay people presiding at the Eucharist. However, the doctrinal congregation did not apply any penalties to the Dominican, who already had retired from teaching.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Fan leaves the Park Inn hotel in central Manchester, England, on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Over a dozen people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena late Monday evening. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Pope Francis sent his condolences and prayers to all those affected "by this senseless act of violence" in Manchester, England.
In this photo taken May 19, 2017, a GPO worker stacks copies of "Analytical Perspectives Budget of the U.S. Government Fiscal Year 2018" onto a pallet at the U.S. Government Publishing Office's (GPO) plant in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The budget’s moral measure will be assessed by “how well it promotes the common good of all,” the bishops write.
Kevin ClarkeMay 22, 2017
A veteran activist provides a blueprint for creating a movement in the moment of Trump.
Nathan SchneiderMay 22, 2017
Given the number of those in the California legal system today who are Latino, “you can guess a large percentage of them are Catholic.”
Jim McDermottMay 22, 2017