One of my (evangelical) friends recently told me of a great spiritual writer, Brennan Manning. She expressed to me that it was in reading one of this author’s fine books that she was able to overcome a self-destructive habit. However, she was wondering if he was still Catholic. I didn’t know, since I had never heard of the guy before she mentioned him to me, and therefore I did an online search. I discovered, to my delight, that Brennan Manning was a Franciscan who once taught theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville! However, I also discovered, to my horror, evidence which suggests that he left the Franciscan Order, got married and subsequently became divorced. I also found evidence which suggests that he mixes Eastern spirituality with Western spirituality in way that disregards certain foundational Catholic beliefs.
Just yesterday one of my Catholic theologian friends generouslygave me a book by Anthony de Mello, S.J. I have no doubt that I will gain valuable insights from this book, but I found out that the works of Anthony de Mello have been condemned by the former Cardinal Ratzinger. According to the condemnation, his books books aberrate too much from traditional Catholic (Christian) belief concerning God. So it seems that there has recently been at least one “Catholic” spiritual writer whose works have been condemned for being too “Eastern” in their description of God and man’s relationship to Him.
I firmly intend to buy some of Manning’s works and to read them, but I just want to know more about this (former) Franciscan and whether or not I can expect orthodox Catholic beliefs from his works. I understand that not all religious who leave their orders have given up the Catholic faith (Luke Timothy Johnson good example of traditional-minded Christian); so I’m not really basing my concerns on this. It’s just that sometimes spiritual writers, when they travel the world and interact with non-Christian cultures, end up adopting viewpoints that are inconsistent with the Catholic faith.
My friend added at the end of our conversation that in one of his books he talks about how he no longer has much to do with the Catholic Church.
Any information on the orthodoxy of this guy’s works and his present relationship with the Cathoilc Church is much appreciated.