The Modern Inquisition by Paul Collins
Seven Prominent Catholics and Thier Struggle with the Vatican

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Here is the powerful and revealing story of how The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith--one aspect of the inner workings of the Vatican-perpetrates its assault on intellectual freedom.

The Inquisition ceased burning and torturing heretics in the 18th century; A milder punishment awaits the dissidents today, principally excommunication or banishment from official teaching positions. Paul Collins has discovered--through his own experience and extensive research-that the impact of the Vatican's investigations, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, can be quite profound. Collins is the controversial Australian Catholic priest recently investigated by the Vatican for alleged heresy. He served the Church for 33 years and is generally esteemed for his dry wit and his ability to make his vocation accessible¾a trait many appreciated in an ncreasingly secular world.

The Vatican, however, views Collins's less than reverential views as heretical and has been investigating him since 1997, when Collins' book Papal Power was singled out for supposed "doctrinal problems."

The Modern Inquisition, compiled over the four years that the mysterious and secretive CDF deliberated on Collins' work, brings together the stories of others who have also been pursued, condemned, or vilified by the CDF. Here are seven fascinating accounts of how the modern Inquisition operates--what it is like to be accused by anonymous informers, investigated in secret, and tried at arms length with no recourse to appeal. Among the central characters are some of the genuine prophets of the contemporary church:

* Hans Kung, the world renowned theologian
* Father Tissa Balasuriya, Sri Lankan thinker and social justice activist, whose 1997 excommunication caused a world-wide outcry
* Charles Curran, one of the Church's prominent moralists
* Lavinia Byrne, the UK's most prominent Catholic media spokesperson and prolific author
* Jeannine Gramick and Robert Nugent, whose 30-year ministry to gay people and AIDS sufferers in the US has now been condemned


About Paul Collins

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Father Collins is a writer and broadcaster as well as Australia's best-known Catholic priest. A graduate of Harvard University and a Church historian, he is the author of five books and many articles on theology, the papacy, and environmental ethics.
Published July 8, 2002 by Overlook Hardcover. 256 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Non-fiction

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(For instance, “If you take the logic of the argument that says only a man can represent Jesus in the action of the mass, then you would only be able to have Jewish men ordained as priests, because there is a sort of absolutist, biological determinism embedded in that argument.”) Still, Collins’s...

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