FR. ROBERT ADOLFS almost became the Fr. McCabe of the Netherlands last week when the Doctrinal Congregation had a bash at silencing him because of views ex pressed in his new book The Grave of God (re viewed on page 6).
He's good looking, 45years-old, and Prior of the Augustinian Monastery at Eindhoven. His first book The Church is Different was a success but hardly a best-seller. Even so, the Vatican gave him the cold shoulder.
Rumour has it that "The Grave of God" upset some conservative Catholics in Holland and they corn plained to Rome. The book was then read by an anonymous official of the Doctrinal Congregation who wrote a review of it and prepared a list of questions to be answered by the author.
This process is what the Doctrinal Congregation calls "hearing the author."
In The Grave of God Fr, Adolfs applies the conclusions of modern theology to the Church as an institution. maintaining that the Church has to abandon its centuries old power structures which were taken over from the Roman Empire after Constantine.
"In those days," Fr. Adolfs says. "they may have been useful. but now the same structure are obstacles to the Church's task of preaching the gosPel "They hamper the Church from being present in today's world. In my book I have given a series of suggestions in order to start a discussion. Nothing more than that.
"The Roman objections are mainly directed against the first chapter.Fr. Adolfs says. "In this chapter I suggest that our faith needs a new interpretation. The traditional mythical data of the New Testament and of the Hellenistic Philosophy should be re-interpreted."
Fr. Adolfs says he thinks that lack of communication is to blame for his present tussle with the__ Doctrinal Congregation. "We must communicate," he says. "We in Holland are ready to go to Rome at any time for as long as is necessary to sort our problems out.
"`But when on the other end of the line of communication there are people who think they have a share in Papal Infallibility then communication becomes impossible."