Decree of Reconciliation by Archbishop of Colombo and Statement of Reconciliation by Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, 15 January 1998.
Decree of ReconciliationI, Nicholas Marcus Fernando, archbishop of Colombo, in the presence of his excellency Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, apostolic nuncio in Sri Lanka, and Bishop Vianney Fernando, bishop of Kandy and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka, today, Jan. 15, 1998, in the chapel of my residence received the profession of faith from Father Tissa Balasuriya, OMI. He used the profession of faith authored by Pope Paul VI in place of
the formula prepared for him by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, asserting that both express the same faith of the church.
At the same ceremony, Father Balasuriya presented me with a statement of reconciliation dated and signed by him. This statement is to be published in the national Catholic newspaper. In this statement he regrets the harm caused by his book Mary and Human Liberation and by the subsequent events. He also expressed his Catholic faith and recognized the authority of the magisterium exercised at both the local and universal levels in regard to his writings.
Concerning the future, Father Balasuriya agrees to submit his writing regarding faith and morals to the imprimatur of both the diocesan and religious ordinaries. He also promises to abstain from any declaration that is in contradiction to this reconciliation.
Since all the conditions indicated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the reconciliation are now implemented, and with the authorization of the said congregation, I hereby declare the remission of the excommunication which Father Tissa Balasuriya incurred according to the notification of the same congregation issued in Rome on Jan. 2, 1997.
In view of this renewed communion with the church, we rejoice in the Lord, and with our brother Tissa Balasuriya we look forward to a fruitful ministry in the service of the people of God.
Nicholas Marcus Fernando
Archbishop of Colombo
Statement of ReconciliationI, Father Tissa Balasuriya, OMI, declare that my life commitment has always been to endeavor to be a true disciple of Christ, to serve the church and to work for integral human liberation, including a more just society. In terms of that aim I have striven to promote theology in view of an inculturation of the faith in Asia.
My book Mary and Human Liberation was intended to be written from that perspective. After a long fraternal conversation with the superior general and some members of the general council of my congregation, the
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, I realize that serious ambiguities and doctrinal errors were perceived in my writings and therefore provoked negative reactions from other parties, affected relationships and led to an unfortunate polarization in the ecclesial community. I truly regret the harm this has caused. This entire episode has been very painful for me. It has caused pain to the Christian community and to many others who have been directly or indirectly involved in this situation.
In the presence of the archbishop of Colombo and the apostolic nuncio, I have publicly professed my faith according to the “Credo of the People of God,” authored by Pope Paul VI, since it is a global expression of the Catholic faith to which I can spontaneously relate. I am conscious of the fact that the wording of this profession differs somewhat from that of the text prepared for me by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. However, I recognize that both express the same faith of the church.
In particular, I profess with the church:
– That the meaning of dogmatic formulas remains always true and unchangeable, though capable of being expressed more clearly and better understood.
– That the revelation of Jesus Christ is supernatural and unique in character.
– That the Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the Word of God.
– That Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the universal Savior.
– That Jesus Christ is the founder of the church, which is sign and sacrament of salvation for all the world.
– Moreover, I profess the dogma of original sin as taught by the Council of Trent (Enchiridion Symbolorum, Denz.Schon., 1510-1516) and of one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
– I believe in and honor Mary, her divine motherhood, her immaculate conception and virginity as well as her bodily assumption into heaven.
– I accept the magisterium of the Roman pontiff and of the college of bishops in union with him.
– I value my communion with the church and with its pastors.
– I recognize the rights and duties of the bishops to exercise their
pastoral care, to lead the Catholic community in the way of true faith, and to take evaluative and directive positions regarding theological writings, even though I was expecting a more open dialogue for an objective scrutiny of my book.
– I assume that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intervened according to its regulations, and I am aware that many letters were exchanged through the mediation of my superior general, even though I was hoping for a more direct and personal dialogue.
My hope and prayer is that with time true healing will take place and that together we will be able to build up a church that “grows to maturity and longs for the completed kingdom” (cf. Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, 5).
Statement of Reconciliation Accompanying DocumentOn Thursday, Jan. 15, 1998, we witnessed the signing of this statement of reconciliation by Father Tissa Balasuriya.
– Marcello Zago, OMI, superior general
– Daniel Corijn, OMI, vicar general
– Ronald N. Carignan, OMI, general councilor
– Bernard Quintus, OMI, provincial
– Dalston Forbes, OMI
– Anselm Silva, OMI
– Oswald Firth, OMI
– Thomas Singer, OMI, facilitator
– Norbert Andradi, OMI, notary
OssRomEng, 31 (January 21, 1998): 2; Origins 27 (1997-1998): 529-531.