In a "notification" approved by Pope John Paul II, and signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Congregation said that the work of Father Roger Haight contained serious doctrinal errors, and forbade the Jesuit priest from teaching theology until the errors have been corrected. The notification was dated December 13, 2004, and made public by the Vatican this week. The Vatican notification came after a 5-year investigation, prompted by the publication of Father Haight's book, Jesus Symbol of God. During the investigation, Father Haight had resigned his teaching post at the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Father Haight, whose work was devoted to inter-religious dialogue, argued that God's grace was active through non-Christian religious traditions. After an examination of the book, and repeated questioning of the author, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found that Father Haight's work conflicted with key Catholic teachings, including the doctrines on the Trinity, the Incarnation, the divinity of Christ, the salvific power of Christ's Sacrifice, the Resurrection, and the unique role of the Church in the economy of salvation.
Soon after the book was published, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found that Jesus Symbol of God contained serious doctrinal flaws. In July 2002 the Congregation submitted a list of errors to Jesuit superiors, inviting Father Haight to correct his work.
Father Haight is the second Jesuit theologian whose work has drawn a formal rebuke from the Vatican in the past five years. In February 2001, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith warned of doctrinal errors in the work of Father Jacques Dupuis, a Belgian Jesuit and former professor at the Gregorian university, who died in December 2004. In the case of Father Dupuis, too, the central doctrinal problems cited by the Vatican involved the unique role of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church in the work of salvation.