Monday, March 1, 2010

The Olden Days

Johann Baptist Metz (pictured), Rahner’s student and friend, wrote that by the time Rahner died, “he had become probably the most influential and important Catholic thinker of his day.”
A priest from the southwestern U.S. said that of his 1970s seminary training, “Everything was Rahner; Rahner was in; Aquinas was out.” 
Metz said elsewhere, Karl Rahner has renewed the face of our theology. Nothing is quite as it was before.”
Link (here) to the full article by John Vennari, entitled Karl Rahner's Girlfriend


Anonymous said...

And now Rahner is out. Nobody refers to him anymore. Aquinas is in and never was out except among certain revisionist Jesuits whose theological project has failed.

Anonymous said...

May I echo Annonymous 1's comment? Rahner is rarely referred to these days and has long left the theological stage. His brief appearance was largely due to the fact that he outlived many of his contemporaries and wrote too much. The same criticism applies to Teilhard de Chardin, another Jesuit who was over-exposed for s time but no longer counts. The Jesuit project has indeed failed and has created no successors and no school of any value.

Anonymous said...

Another Jesuit theologian who is also facing extinction is Bernard Lonergon whose transcendental Thomism has flopped. He, too, is now embedded in history.

Anonymous said...

How convenient that all of the theologians with which you disagree happen not to be relevant these days.

My favorite posting is about Lonergan--he is both"facing extinction" and "embedded in history"!

Anonymous said...

The article on Rahner has been like ice water poured all over my naivete. How could he have been carrying on with a love triangle, and written hundreds of love letters to a twice divorced girlfriend who he shared with an abbot at the Vatican Council? How could both have celebrated holy mass at her house? Diabolical.

How do we know this is all really true? Who has independently verified it?

How is it that the church has not warned the faithful?

It cannot be that for theology we have to choose between this and the holocaust deniers on the other end.

Anonymous said...

Never heard of any of these guys.

Thank God!

Maria said...

This is very odd. Last night I was reading about Heresy and read exactly this article. So much for 'anonymous Christianity'. The author provides a pithy precis of, not only Rahner's problem, but the problem of the Jesuits:

"It is no surprise that Rahner’s obsession with Rinser receives little worldwide press, especially in the English-speaking world. Nor is it a mystery why Rahner’s Order is adamant that his love letters( 2200) to Rinser never see the light of day in publication. The last thing today’s Jesuits want is to have their prize revolutionary exposed for what he really was: a weirdo who nursed an adolescent fixation on a pro-abortion feminist; a freak who should neither be admired nor imitated".

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear your views on Thomas Jefferson--are his writings unacceptable in light of the way he lead his life? Martin Luther King? Ronald Reagan (a know date rapist in 1940s Hollywood)?

Has anyone on this blog actually read Rahner's work?

Anonymous said...

There is a higher expectation from a Catholic priest. An even higher expectation from a Jesuit. It is an interesting mirror, Cura Personalis.

Paulo in Providence, Rhode Island

Anonymous said...

"Has anyone on this blog actually read Rahner's work?"

Yes, I've read a little. I recall him writing about the sin against the Holy Spirit and something about how one could get close to that line.

Anonymous 5

Anonymous said...

Are R.'s writing invalid because of what we think we know about his relationships? I think we would do better to discuss his ideas.

Rob Carter said...

In the mid 90s Rahner was taught with near-obsession in our graduate theology classes at Loyola Chicago and Notre Dame.

We often wondered whether there were any other theologians worth reading.

The other major theologian we read in systematic theology was David Tracy. Lots of dense stuff.

We had to request tutorials to study Augustine & Aquinas in the original & unfiltered version.

The greatest theologian of the 20th century was a German named Karl - his last name was Barth.

Anonymous said...

Barth. . . a Protestant!

Anonymous said...

"Are R.'s writing invalid because of what we think we know about his relationships? I think we would do better to discuss his ideas."

The question is whether his theological reflections were inspired by the Holy Spirit. If he was in a state of grace, they may have been. The article makes one wonder whether he was. Remaining celibate despite an infatuation suggests he was.

If he wasn't in a state of grace then one would think that his theological reflections would be under the influence of the evil spirit.

But it's impossible for us readers to know whether he was. So we should judge his ideas on their merit and under the guidance of the Magisterium.

Anonymous said...

Am I right in thinking that, during the springtime of the Church in the late-Sixties and Seventies, some American Jesuits conceived the bright idea of following a third way of leading the religious life thus enabling them to have girlfriends/boyfriends on the side? I doubt if Rahner was persuaded by this move but he was clearly victim to an emotional frenzy. One of the main problems of his work is its inaccessibility and dense prose.

As for Lonergan, his work holds a declining hold among a few elderly Jesuit professors which will soon be extinct, but effectively he is dead and buried in terms of the present and future. One feature he shares with Rahner is his unreadability. Does anybody take 'transcendental Thomism' seriously these days?

Anonymous said...

One Jesuit college treated Thomism only as part of the history of ideas. Lonergan and Whitehead were the 2 exemplary thinkers for which they had exclusive undergraduate level courses; and occassionally Kant. Only philosphy mayors were allowed to enroll, for it's very dense reading.

One college seminarian had a girlfriend (a devout catholics too) and it was scandalous back then (early 70's).

Anonymous said...

You should see what they're reading in diocesan seminaries today--a narrow range of readings, mostly dreck.