- Series: Theological Investigations
- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company (July 1, 1973)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0824503805
- ISBN-13: 978-0824503802
- Package Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,179,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Theological Investigations Volume IV Hardcover – July 1, 1973
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Top Customer Reviews
He wrote in the Foreword to this 1970 book, “In the foreword to the … eleventh and twelfth … volume of my collected writings it only remains for me to repeat what I have already said in the forewords to the earlier volumes. For this reason I may confine myself to referring primarily to the foreword to the eighth volume. The ninth volume contains the lectures and articles which have been composed over the last two-and-a-half years.”
In the opening essay on ‘Pluralism in Theology,” he says, “The pluralism of which we are speaking here… consists precisely in the fact that it is quite impossible to reduce the theologies and their representative theses to a simple logical alternative in this manner, in the fact that they exist side by side with one another as disparate and mutually incommensurable. Hence that position of transcendence from which, as being one and common to both a judgment might be arrived at, is totally unattainable to the individual theologian.” (Pg. 7)
Later, he adds, “The theological pluralism of today is… the self-realization of the individual Christian and theologian as well as of the theological awareness of the Church of the situation in which they stand in terms of epistemology and ‘concupiscence.’ Once we understand this then properly speaking it must be clear to us theologians that pluralism in theology can neither be eliminated nor simply accepted, but that it belongs to that category of human realities which are entailed by the historical dimension and the abiding contingency of the human state. These can never be overcome in such a way that they no longer exist, and yet at the same time we are compelled to strive again and again to overcome them in the future.” (Pg. 13)
Interestingly, he states, “who among us today can say with sufficient sureness whether the basic conception of justification put forward by Karl Barth is Catholic or heterodox? Among us who believes that he has the precise answer to this is to be congratulated indeed. But what are we to do if we fail to arrive at this position? Who can say that the basic positions held by Rudolph Bultmann are, in the last analysis, really un-Catholic, or whether it is merely that the propositions themselves have not been understood or developed with sufficient precision, and that is why conclusions have been derived from them by Bultmann or his followers which seem to run counter to the ultimate basic principles of Catholicism and so can no longer be acceptable to Catholics?” (Pg. 9)
He suggests in another essay, “The question I have posed is what constitutes the ultimate basis of ecumenical theology. My answer to this question will initially take the form of a brief thesis …. The ultimate basis of ecumenical theology is that unity, apprehended in hope, which consists in a belief in justifying grace, a belief which, even though it its theological formulation and its explication in creedal form it is still in process of being arrived at, is nevertheless already in existence as one and the same belief in both of the parties involved in ecumenical theology.” (Pg. 33)
In another essay, he says, “Ecumenical theology is for the most part the theology of the future, which has to be worked out by all the Churches, each from its own starting-point as previously determined by its past history.” (Pg. 59) He adds, “We must arrive at the unity of faith in the dimension of conscious thought and social living too, because we already possess this unity at the level of the justifying grace of God.” (Pg. 66-67)
He asserts, “every Christian has the right to presume, until the contrary is proved, that his own Christianity and his adherence to the Church in the concrete are valid on the basis of the power of grace and the workings of the Spirit which he feels within him.” (Pg. 77)
He explains, “My constant and overriding preoccupation, especially in the last twenty years, has been with systematic theology. Yet this has been characterized by the fact that I have to treat almost exclusively of INDIVIDUAL schemes in an unsystematic manner and as dictated by the needs of the moment. Actually this state of affairs is reflected in the ten volumes of my ‘Theological Investigations,’ in which my particular studies have been collected.” (Pg. 69)
He observes, “The Catholic theology of the future will be a theology of the one abiding creed of this Church. We do not know how large this Church will be in terms of numbers, or what influence it will have upon society in the future. But in any case it will endure, and it will always be constituted by its proclaimed belief in the living God who, by his act of gracious self-bestowal, has penetrated into the world to become the ultimate strength underlying the unfolding process of its history and to be the absolute future towards which it tends. This is achieved through acknowledged belief in Jesus Christ in whom this absolute proximity of God to the world has achieved its climax in history and the manifestation of its eschatological victory. It is achieved through that creed which leads to unconditional love of neighbor and hope for eternal life.” (Pg. 137) He adds, “The theology of the future, for all the unity of the abiding creed, will include a very high degree of pluralism in theology, and one which can no longer be mastered by any one mind.” (Pg. 138)
He proposes, “It is possible for someone… to be unwilling to allow himself to be drawn out … into that mystery which reduces us to perplexity, which controls us and is not controlled by us… But in that case the subsequent reflection upon this experience at the conceptual level, which we call the proof of God’s existence, likewise falls into a void. Such experiences do exist, and the very mode of their existence is such that they are inescapable. They exist in addition to our sensible experiences of objects in the external world and our vital sensations of joy, sorrow, etc., and quite apart from the experience of God… What joy is, what anxiety, faithfulness, love, trust, and much else besides are, what constitutes logical thinking and responsible decision---these are things which man has already experienced before he reflects upon them and attempts to say what it is that he has all along been experiencing as an intrinsic part of his life.” (Pg. 151)
He notes, “In the future… it may be presumed that atheism of the explicit kind will be extremely widespread… ranging from an atheism of irresponsiveness and indifference towards religion as a matter of living practice to one that is very thoroughly worked out at the theoretical level, and in fact a militant atheism… There will be a widespread atheism of this kind in the future because the situation in which the world has become secularized cannot be reversed. Now this atheism is constantly renewing its impact upon men and so generating an atheism of this kind in very many of them, not indeed with any justification, at the theoretical level, but nevertheless with a certain psychological compulsion.” (Pg. 177-178)
He asserts, “Even the teaching of the First Vatican Council with regard to the possibility of recognizing the existence of God by the light of the natural reason does not invalidate the theory of the ‘elitist’ character of the theism of the future. For what is being treated of in this definition is a possibility in principle which applies to man as such. But nothing is said here about the possibility or impossibility of an individual man in his concrete situation coming to recognize God by the power of his own capacities as an individual… Now if it is true that in the present and the future this situation entails a greater danger then formerly of raising difficulties or obstacles to prevent man from knowing god, then it will not be surprising if many men fail to arrive at any explicit knowledge of God with sufficient clarity and firmness.” (Pg. 180)
He argues, “Our age is certainly characterized by a profound conviction of the unity between spirit and matter… Spirit and matter have necessarily an intrinsic connection with one another, because both of them derive from the one infinite Spirit which is God as their Creator. All creaturely spirituality has an essential connection with matter, because… creaturely spirituality is a receptive and intercommunicative spirituality… and matter in the metaphysical sense is the necessary condition for finite spiritual beings to exercise an intercommunicative influence upon one another… we can freely assert that the development of biologically organized materiality is orientated in terms of an ever-increasing complexity and interiority towards spirit, until finally, under the dynamic impulse of God’s creative power, and through a process of self-transcendence of this kind, it becomes spirit.” (Pg. 217-218)
He admits, “It is true that the Catholic theologian cannot dispute the fact … that ion Romans 5 scripture does not contain a doctrine of original sin and, moreover, substantially that which … was subsequently defined by the Council of Trent. But the Catholic theologian is not thereby prohibited from viewing even the teaching of romans 5 as ‘theology’ in the sense defined, and so interpreting this teaching itself in terms of its own origins so as to establish more precisely its exact meaning and bearing. Nor is he forbidden to hold that a doctrine of original sin can be found in Romans 5 only if the passage concerned is read in the whole context of the Pauline doctrine of justification and the Pneuma. Nor yet is he bound to read into or read out of Romans 5 everything which has already been taught with regard to original sin by a traditional, but ultimately non-binding seminary theology or exegesis. For instance even to a Catholic it is a completely open question how we should interpret Romans 5:12d.” (Pg. 250-251)
He also acknowledges, “we must be realistic enough to allow for the fact that in the case with which we are concerned [the ‘Humanae Vitae’ encyclical], even though formally speaking we may acknowledge the teaching authority of the Church, and assume that the papal norm is correct, still there will be very many Catholics who neither recognize nor acknowledge in any effective sense that this norm has any binding force upon their own consciences.” (Pg. 277)
Rahner is “essential reading” for anyone seriously studying modern Catholic theology.