Hans urs von Balthasar


#1

Interested hearing from people who have read Balthasar. I know something of his backround after reading a short biography. Is he orthodox? Was he referenced in the Vatican II documents or catechism?

David
Burnsville, MN


#2

He is one of the most brilliant scholars of the 20th century, and he teaches very orthodox theology. I mentally group him - in terms of orthodoxy - with people like De Lu Bac and Dubay.

He is not exactly a Thomist, not exactly an existentialist, or a phenomenologist, not a mystic. Yet he is all these things combined.

His work is very difficult to read because he is so erudite.

Maybe I would recommend “A short primer for the unsettled layman” which he wrote after Vatican II to assuage the [legitimate] concerns of faithful Catholics that the Church had erred. He did not, in this book, make a case for, or argue in favor of, secularizing the Church; rather, he emphasized that the Church was still the rock it has always been. There is still l truth, absolute truth; and it can be known in the dogma of the Church.

I would recommend “Love alone is credible” except that it is VERY hard to read. Nevertheless, if you like deep philosophical work, and are willing to sit through it, you are rewarded with clarity as his argument progresses.

He’s a beautifully brilliant man.

That’s my opinion.


#3

Hans urs von Balthasar is not a good theologian. He doesn’t seem to be technically a heretic, but I know of at least one of his teachings which are in fact what theologians call “proxima haeresi” or next to heresy, i.e. something that is contrary to a teaching that has been formally revealed yet not specifically proposed by the Church for belief. There are several other teaching of Balthasar which theologians and the Church would call “erroneous,” which is more serious then it sounds.

If you’re interested in theology, I recommend you read a Thomist. Since there is not much thomistic literature today, there are plenty of used books you can get from abebooks.com.


#4

Dear Scholastic,

What would those things (or, maybe just the one which is proximate to heresy, for starters) be?


#5

I readily admit I have no knowledge on this. However, I was taken back by hearing Hans urs von Balthasar was proximate to heresy considering Ignatius Press stocks many of his books in their catalog as I recall and I always considered Ignatius pretty orthodox.


#6

[quote=Scholastic]Hans urs von Balthasar is not a good theologian. He doesn’t seem to be technically a heretic, but I know of at least one of his teachings which are in fact what theologians call “proxima haeresi” or next to heresy, i.e. something that is contrary to a teaching that has been formally revealed yet not specifically proposed by the Church for belief. There are several other teaching of Balthasar which theologians and the Church would call “erroneous,” which is more serious then it sounds.

If you’re interested in theology, I recommend you read a Thomist. Since there is not much thomistic literature today, there are plenty of used books you can get from abebooks.com.
[/quote]

And yet, our Holy Father named him Cardinal-Designate (he died before rec. the honor).


#7

My friend, Scholastic:

nolite timere!

I, too, am a staunch Thomist. That’s why I mentioned that von Balthasaar is not a Thomist - it’s sort of my way of saying I wish he were because I would be very interested in his exposition on St. Thomas.

I was educated by theologians in a Catholic college, where I was always given the impression that theologians are allowed to push the intellectual envelope as long as they don’t profess their views as Catholic faith. They may teach theology, which is a legitimate scientific discipline, but they may not profess their views as doctrine. Otherwise, someone like Hans Kung would have been thrown out decades ago.

As to current Thomistic theologians, I recommend Joseph Pieper. Particularly his book “Faith Hope Love.” Pure scholastic theology for intelligent readers.

Best to you.


#8

[quote=Scholastic]Hans urs von Balthasar is not a good theologian. He doesn’t seem to be technically a heretic, but I know of at least one of his teachings which are in fact what theologians call “proxima haeresi” or next to heresy, i.e. something that is contrary to a teaching that has been formally revealed yet not specifically proposed by the Church for belief. There are several other teaching of Balthasar which theologians and the Church would call “erroneous,” which is more serious then it sounds.
.
[/quote]

better have some facts, some quotes, some concrete references, some sources to cite before you make claims like this.


#9

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