What do you think of Karl Rahner?


#1

Has anyone read theologian Karl Rahner, and if so, how do you like him?


#2

The late Holy Father liked him; that’s good enough for me.

John


#3

Well, I haven’t read any of his writings, other than what’s been quoted in other reading I’ve done.

But Francis Sullivan, in “Salvation Outside the Church?” says after examining his teaching on “anonymous Christians” and examining Rahner’s primary critics, that Karl “Rahner’s position that both non-Christian religious and secular realities must be recognized as serving as mediations of salvation for non-Christians is undoubtedly the position of “mainstream” Catholic theology today.” (p. 181).

He then cites several Catholic theologians, such as Yves Congar, Walter Kasper, Hans Kung, and alas, Joseph Ratzinger, and others, who all side with Rahner.


#4

Sacramentalis,

Perhaps you already have, but If you’ll read all of the statements of John Paul that are cited, you’ll see there in a part, what he is specifically referring to.

"3. It therefore seems that a complementarity understood in this way finds its foundation in the words of Christ according to Matthew l9:ll-l236 (and also in the First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 737) On the other hand, there is no basis for a presumed counterposition according to which celibates (or unmarried women), only by reason of their continence, would make up the class of those who are ‘perfect’, while on the other hand, married persons would makeup a class of those who are ‘imperfect’ (or ‘less perfect’).38[size=3] Hey, read the following, it is a key to understanding this****If, according to a certain theological tradition,39 one speaks of a state of perfection (“status perfectionis”), it is done not by reason of continence in itself, but with regard to the entirety of a life based on the evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity and obedience40), since this life corresponds to Christ’s call to perfection (‘If you would be perfect…’: Mt. 19-21). Perfection of the Christian life, instead, is measured with the rule of charity.41 It follows that a person who does not live in the state of perfection’ (that is, in an institution that bases its life plan on vows of poverty, chastity and obedience), or, in other words, who does not live in a religious institute, but in the ‘world’, can, 'de_facto’42 reach a superior degree of perfection - whose measure is charity - in comparison to the person who lives in the ‘state of perfection’ with a lesser degree of charity

So, it seems that he is simply saying, in agreement with Pope Pius XII cited on that same page, in the encyclical “Sacra Virginatis”
[/size] “In the first place it must be openly declared that, although virginity is to be considered as more perfect than matrimony, it does not follow from this that it is necessary for the attainment of Christian perfection. Holiness of life, even without chastity dedicated to God, can in reality be attained; a fact which is frequently testified to by the holy men and women whom the Church honours with public devotion, and who are shining examples of faithful spouses and excellent fathers and mothers of families; indeed it is by no means a rare thing to encounter married couples who are very eagerly striving after Christian perfection.”

[size=3]Does that help? I think it should help some. He was not necessarily saying that virginity is not superior to marriage, he was saying that in a certain way, in accord with the perfection of charity, it is not, and was not taught by Christ, to be superior to marriage. But rather, it is superior [/size]with regard to the entirety of a life based on the evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity and obedience40), since this life corresponds to Christ’s call to perfection (‘If you would be perfect…’: Mt. 19-21).
[size=3]
That’s what I gleaned, at least. Good question and topic.
[/size]


#5

Oh, good. If he’s an anti-“rigorist EENS” guy, I like him even better

John


#6

He is a good thinker but hard going. English isn’t his first language ( but then again; neither is German)

Reminds me of the joke about him. An American Theologian goes to a International Theological Seminar because the key speaker is going to be Karl Rahner. He is talking to a German colleague and the American says: “We are all really excited over in US because they are about to publish Rahner in English. At last we will be able to understand the works of this great man.”

The German turns to the American and says: " Yes, that is really great news. Here in Germany we are also waiting for karl to be published in German so we can all understand his ideas."

Karl has a brother, also an emminent theologian. He says of his brother Karl; yes, a brilliant thinker but such a terrible writer!


#7

[quote=John Higgins]Oh, good. If he’s an anti-“rigorist EENS” guy, I like him even better

John
[/quote]

You mean, if Rahner is an opponent of the dogma of the Catholic Faith, you like him even better?


#8

I have not read any of Rahner’s works (nor do I care to), but from what I have read and heard about him I would be very wary. He is considered a “progressive” theologian by his admirers and a “modernist” or heterodox theologian by his detractors. His orthodoxy has been questioned. The CDF under Cardinal Ratzinger pronounced some of his theology as ambiguous. That sends up red flags for me. In addition, if Kaspar and Kung are his admirers: :eek:

[quote=John Higgins] The late Holy Father liked him; that’s good enough for me.
[/quote]

I think the current Holy Father likes him as well, but I don’t think he is all that fond of his theology. This from a May 2002 article by John Allen:

Despite their friendship, Ratzinger has long harbored reservations about Rahner. Here is what Ratzinger wrote in his 1997 memoirs, Milestones: “Rahner for the most part allowed himself to be ‘sworn in’ according to the progressive slogans, and allowed himself as well to be pushed into adventuresome political positions difficult to reconcile with his own transcendental philosophy.”
Rahner likewise felt misgivings about the drift of Ratzinger’s career. In 1979, when Ratzinger was archbishop of Munich, he refused to allow progressive theologian Johann Baptist Metz to teach at the University of Munich. Rahner published an open letter to Ratzinger, in which he wrote: “Twenty-five years ago the Holy Office in Rome forbade me to write anything further on the subject of concelebration. That was a senseless, unscientific manipulation by church bureaucrats. I judge your action against Metz to be of the same category.”

PS- Its good to run into you Emerald! I’ve missed you.


#9

Emerald,

Rigorist EENS is Feeneyism. That’s already been condemned by the Church.

John

PS: For those who haven’t been around when EENS has been done to death–

EENS is Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus or Outside the Church No Salvation. A rigorist version of that concept would be if you aren’t a Mass going Rosary saying baptized by a priest Roman Catholic you can’t be saved. Nonsense, I say. So does the CCC.


#10

[quote=John Higgins]Emerald,

Rigorist EENS is Feeneyism. That’s already been condemned by the Church.
[/quote]

Seems you disagree with Pope Benedict XVI, who when still a Cardinal had this to say:

"The doctrine that there is no salvation outside the Church has been defined, and is therefore definitive. It is its theological interpretation and speculation which the Congregation for the doctrine of the Faith sees as problematical. Those who hold the strict interpretation of the dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus have as much right to teach their position as those who hold a more liberal interpretation.”

Two things. According to the then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now pope, it isn’t heretical, for one. Secondly, get this: to hold another position is the “more liberal interpretation”. More liberal!

PS: For those who haven’t been around when EENS has been done to death–

Has it been answered intelligently though? I could drive a stake through the heart of this topic, if you so… desire. So utterly and completely that there would be no escaping the truth of the matter whatsoever. Are you game?

A rigorist version of that concept would be if you aren’t a Mass going Rosary saying baptized by a priest Roman Catholic you can’t be saved. Nonsense, I say. So does the CCC.

The CCC says that “… rigorist version of that concept would be if you aren’t a Mass going Rosary saying baptized by a priest Roman Catholic you can’t be saved.”?

I’ve never seen the CCC say anything like that at all… I think you’re probably overstating things a bit, maybe.

Want to talk about the Rahner thing instead?


#11

PS- Its good to run into you Emerald! I’ve missed you.

Hey brian, I missed that on the first read. How are you? I should have clued in by your name alone; straight over my head. Sorry!


#12

Emerald,

Here’s what the Catechism says:

[quote=CCC]“Outside the Church there is no salvation”

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.

848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”
[/quote]

Those paragraphs above work with these below:

[quote=CCC]Who belongs to the Catholic Church?

836 “All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God. . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God’s grace to salvation.”

838 “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.” Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.” With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound “that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.”
[/quote]

That’s the view of the Catholic Church as ordered promulgated by John Paul II.

John


#13

I’ll be glad to discuss Father Rahner, if you want.

John


#14

[quote=John Higgins]That’s the view of the Catholic Church as ordered promulgated by John Paul II.
[/quote]

All of which I’ve read many times.

But once you start explaining to me exactly what you think these texts mean, that’s when you’ll start falling off dogma and into error against dogma.

Do you mind if I ask you to explain exactly, in your own words, what those texts mean?


#15

[quote=Emerald]Do you mind if I ask you to explain exactly, in your own words, what those texts mean?
[/quote]

Those who believe in Christ are saved by Him through his Church. As the Catechism says, non-Catholic Christians are in a certain “imperfect communion” with the Catholic Church.

This whole triumphalist concept reminds me of the old joke: St. Peter is welcoming a Methodist, a Lutheran, and a Presbyterian to heaven. On the tour he shows them the “many mansions.” There is one area where he asks them to be silent. They complied. After they passed through that area, the Lutheran asked St. Peter why he asked them to be quiet. He said, “Those are the Catholics; they think they’re the only ones here.”

BTW, spare me the quotes from the St. Benedict Center website; I’ve read them all.

John


#16

Those who believe in Christ are saved by Him through his Church. As the Catechism says, non-Catholic Christians are in a certain “imperfect communion” with the Catholic Church.

So in other words, there really is salvation outside the Church according to your belief. Correct?


#17

John Higgins,
What books have you read by Rahner?


#18

[quote=Emerald]So in other words, there really is salvation outside the Church according to your belief. Correct?
[/quote]

Not exactly. I said what I said. In the cited passages, the Church has defined itself to encompass the whole of Christianity. Plus, not in my words but in the words of the Catechism, “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.” (Bolding mine)

Further, the Catechism says:

[quote=CCC]1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.” Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.
[/quote]

John


#19

[quote=ej1111]John Higgins,
What books have you read by Rahner?
[/quote]

I’ve read excerpts from Foundations of Christian Faith and some commentaries of some of his other work. The more Rahner I read, the more I’m inclined to agree with him.

John


#20

I’m not very fond of Rahner. I’ve never explicitly disagreed with anything he said, but he seemed like a bit of a plagiarist to me. All the pieces of his that I ever read was just taking long-understood theology, mangling the phrasing until it makes no sense, using the same politically correct terms as other liberal theologians like, “Ultimate Reality” (So as not to offend those who dont’ believe in “God”) and “Enlightened Understanding” (So as not to offend those who don’t believe in the “Holy Spirit.”) and spit it back out as if it were his own original ideas.

Josh


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