The Rev. Peter Phan will visit St. Louis after all.
Phan was first invited to speak at the Aquinas Institute of Theology, but was then dis-invited after Archbishop Raymond Burke consulted with the president of Aquinas, the Rev. Richard Peddicord, about twin theological investigations into Phan's 2004 book, "Being Religious Interreligiously: Asian Perspectives on Interfaith Dialogue."
Now Phan, a Georgetown University professor and former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, has accepted the invitation of an independent Catholic organization, the Catholic Action Network for Social Justice, to speak at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park.
The lecture is co-sponsored by two other Catholic organizations — the Fellowship of Southern Illinois Laity and the Center for Theology and Social Analysis — and will come less than a week after the cancelled date of his Aquinas lecture, originally scheduled for Sunday.
Phan's book is being investigated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and by the Vatican. A document issued in early December by U.S. bishops publicly called into question the orthodoxy of Phan's book.
"We want to make sure Catholics in St. Louis have the opportunity to hear Father Phan speak whether or not his book is being looked at by the Vatican," said Megan Heeney, program coordinator of the Catholic Action Network. "We don't want to be a closed-off church. We want to create a more just church, and Peter Phan is the right voice right now in St. Louis."
Phan did not respond to an interview request Friday, but Heeney said Phan had asked for a non-Catholic venue. "This is not about defying Archbishop Burke," Heeney said.
Burke was out of town Friday and unavailable for comment.
At issue is whether Phan's book represents the doctrinal sin of "relativism," the idea that belief in Christ is not the only road to salvation.
Responding to questions from the Post-Dispatch in December, Burke said that after reading the document from the U.S. bishops' Committee on Doctrine, Phan's book "presents central tenets of the Catholic faith in a manner which is confusing and misleading," and concluded that "Father Phan is not a reliable teacher of the Catholic faith."
Saint Cronan is also in partnership—sometimes in an ad hoc way, sometimes in an ongoing way—with others in the community, providing other opportunities for parishioners to be involved in helping to realize the Reign of God. These partners include:
Midtown Catholic Charities Community Services (link)
The Catholic Worker - Karen House (link)
MCU (Metropolitan Congregations United) (link)
Family Care Health Center (link)
Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma (link)
CAN (Catholic Action Network) (link)
CTSA (Center for Theology and Social Analysis) (link)