Sunday, January 13, 2019

Eastern Christian Books: Persian Christians at the Chinese Court

Eastern Christian Books: Persian Christians at the Chinese Court

Whose Synod?

Which patriarchate?

From the "Youth Synod" of a few months ago.

Anyways... His Beatitude Sviatoslav: Unity of Catholics and Orthodox is not utopian thinking

R. R. Reno on Karl Rahner

A failed attempt at inculturation that made the sources secondary to his theological construct.

After Vatican II, Karl Rahner was everywhere in demand. He knew the doctrinal tradition inside and out. Those trained in accord with the earlier Thomism could put his new approach, “transcendental theology,” into familiar mental slots—post-Kantian anthropology became the foundational philosophy in the place of ­Aristotelian metaphysics, but otherwise the scholastic architecture remained intact. Rahner was in that sense a manualist. New building materials, but the same structure. This accounted, in part, for his postconciliar ­ascendancy.

It seems his star has fallen. During a recent visit to Rome, I briefly ventured back into the classroom, lecturing to seminarians on Rahner’s introductory textbook, Foundations of Christian Faith. During the Q&A, it became clear that the priests-in-training thought Rahner useless. After class one asked, “In the end, wasn’t he a heretic?” I’m no fan of Rahner’s, but I admit to being taken aback by that question!

Rahner was not a heretic. But his theology falters, largely because he assumes that the primary language of faith—Scripture, liturgy, and the ancient creeds—lacks spiritual power. His was a project of translation. He took what he regarded as the dead idioms of the past (“Christ rose from the dead”) and restated them in what he imagined to be the vital idioms of the present (“transcendental hope in the resurrection”). As is too often the case with theologians chasing cultural relevance, his formulations were already out of date when Foundations was published in the mid-1970s.

I’ve read a lot of Karl Rahner and learned a great deal. He opens up the logic of doctrine, often with exquisite dexterity. But his basic project was always doomed. As one of my teachers, George Lindbeck, observed, in good theology, Scripture absorbs the world, not the world Scripture. What the original witnesses to Christ say is always more vivid and radiant with divine truth than any translation into contemporary parlance.

He also talks about the pontificiate of Francis: A Failing Papacy

Patrick Coffin Interviews Dr. Henry Sire

Going too far with an analogy?

by Rémi Brague