|USA||DOUBTS AROUND VATICAN REQUIREMENT|
An outspoken theologian has predicted most fellow theology professors at U.S. Catholic colleges will refuse to seek approval from their local bishop to teach, as required under new rules awaiting Vatican endorsement.
The regulations - aimed at monitoring theologians and what they teach - received approval from US bishops at a meeting in November and require that all theology professors receive a "mandate" from the local bishop.
Fr Richard P. McBrien, a professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, said on Tuesday in an interview that he will not seek that approval, repeating the position he took in the current issue of America, a Jesuit magazine.
He predicted most of his colleagues will eventually make the same decision. "I'm simply the first one to come out," he said.
McBrien, 63, is former chairman of Notre Dame's theology department and one of the most outspoken critics of Vatican policy under Pope John Paul II.
If tenured faculty members say no, he said, "What can the bishops do? Try to fire theologians who don't seek the mandate? Break contracts? No."
If the dispute goes to civil court, the result will be "an academic Kosovo," damaging to all, he said.