EXCOMMUNICATED PRIEST RETURNS TO CHURCH AFTER REPENTANCE

      COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CWN) - The excommunication of Father Tissa Balasuriya, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate from Sri Lanka, was officially lifted on Thursday during a ceremony of reconciliation, according to his religious order on Friday.

      Father Balasuriya was excommunicated last January when he refused to retract teachings found in his writings after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith determined that his 1990 book "Mary and Human Liberation" contained heresies including denial of the necessity of baptism and denial of original sin and the immaculate conception. Father Bernard Quintus, provincial of the Province of Sri Lanka for the OMI, confirmed in a statement that Father Balasuriya had reconciled himself to the Church and was now welcomed back as a priest.

      In December 1996, the CDF offered Father Balasuriya an opportunity to sign a profession of faith, but he had refused. He then appealed his case to Pope John Paul, but Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, responded by saying that the Holy Father had studied the case carefully and concurred with the judgment of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, adding that Father Balasuriya had incurred automatic excommunication.

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January 19, 1998 volume 9, no. 13          DAILY CATHOLIC