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Dominus Iesus and Asian Theologies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 September 2014

Edmund Chia
FABC-OEIA, Thailand


The document Dominus Iesus, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on September 5, 2000, was perhaps the most talked-about document in recent church history, both within and without the Catholic Church. Some of the reactions to it, which came from all quarters, were profound, and provided both a field day for the mass media and much data for theological reflections. Significantly missing from theological journals in the West, however, is the response of the Asian church and its implications for Asian theologies. This is a serious omission since Dominus Iesus, seems to have been written because of and for the Asian church in general and its theologians in particular. The present essay, therefore, looks at this Asian factor, especially in the context of the renewal inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council.

Editorial Essays
Copyright © The College Theology Society 2002

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1 Even if Dominus Iesus does not in fact say that, lay interpretations of it based on superficial readings seem to point in that direction.

2 Ratzinger, Cardinal Joseph, “Answers to Main Objections against Dominus Iesus,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, reprinted in L'Osservatore Romano, 22 November 2000, p. 10.Google Scholar Text is also available at

3 Quoted in Allen, John, “Gap Between Theory, Reality,” National Catholic Reporter, 22 September 2000, [].Google Scholar

6 “Indians of Various Religions Shocked over ‘unnecessary’ Vatican Document,” Union of Catholic Asian News, 19 September 2000 [http://www.ucanews/]. Henceforth UCAN.

10 “Media Say Vatican Document Threatens Dialogue, Communal Peace,” UCAN, 3 October 2000.

11 “Bishops Note Room for ‘Theological Inquiry’ in Toning Down Dominus Iesus,” UCAN, 3 May 2001.

12 “Some Church People Regret Vatican Language, Others Justify Recent Declaration,” UCAN, 14 September 2000.

14 “Kingdom Value are Core of Church Mission in 21st Century,” UCAN, 4 January 2001.

15Dominus Iesus Brings Cultural Tension for Vietnam Catholics,” UCAN, 18 September 2000.

16 “Japanese Indifferent to Dominus Iesus, Theologian Regrets Western Approach,” UCAN, 5 October 2000.

17 “Theology Institute Initiates Public Discussion on Dominus Iesus,” UCAN, 29 December 2000.

18 Shourie, Arun, Harvesting Our Souls: Missionaries, Their Design, Their Claims (New Delhi: ASA Publications, 2000).Google Scholar

19 “Bishops Call for Episcopal Solidarity, Collegiality to Avert Interreligious Crises,” UCAN, 10 September 2001.

20 The paper of this talk is published in East Asian Pastoral Review 38 (2001). It is also available at [].

22 Bausch, William, “Vatican II and Beyond,” in Pilgrim Church: A Popular History of Catholic Christianity (Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1989), 389.Google Scholar

24 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, “Relativism: The Central Problem for Faith Today,” Address delivered during the meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with the presidents of the Doctrinal Commissions of the Bishops’ Conferences of Latin America (Guadalajara, Mexico, May 1996), available at [ All of Ratzinger's comments which follow are from this source.

26 Tomko, Cardinal Josef, “Proclaiming Christ the World's Only Savior,” L'Osservatore Romano, 5 April 1991, p. 4.Google Scholar

27 Ratzinger, Cardinal Joseph, “Christ, Faith and the Challenge of Cultures,” Hong Kong, 2–5 March 1993, [].Google Scholar

28 ZENIT: The World Seen From Rome, 26 September 2000 [].

29 Allen, John, Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith (New York: Continuum, 2000), 242–44.Google Scholar