Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cardinal Avrey Dulles, S.J. On Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J.

Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J.
In September 1968 issue of the America magazine, Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. summarized the views of his fellow Jesuit, Karl Rahner S.J., published in Stimmen der Zeit, on the then recently published encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae.
In the first place, Rahner points out that Human Life cannot reasonably be considered irreformable doctrine. But this does not mean that it may be ignored. Since Catholics believe that the magisterium ordinarily operates under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the presumption should be in favor of the Pope’s declaration. Any such presumption, however, must also allow of the possibility that a Catholic can arrive at a carefully formed and critically tested conviction that in a given case the fallible magisterium has in fact erred. 
Nobody today denies that there are cases in which official, reformable teaching of the Holy See has in fact been erroneous. As examples, Rahner cites the views of Gregory XVI and Pius IX on liberal democracy, and various statements about the Bible issued in the aftermath of the Modernist crisis. It cannot therefore be assumed that a Catholic who conscientiously opposes the non-infallible doctrine of the magisterium, as it stands at a given moment, is necessarily disloyal.
 (In this connection an American Catholic might think of the long struggle of John Courtney Murray to obtain revision of certain papal pronouncements on Church-State relations.) In the present case, Rahner continues, the complexity of the issue is such that no one opposed to the encyclical can claim absolute certainty for his own stand. But it is normal and inevitable that some should be unable to accept the pope’s doctrine. The encyclical, although it claims to be an interpretation of the natural law, does not in fact give very persuasive intrinsic arguments. The encyclical seems to look on human nature as something static and closed–not open to modification by free and responsible human decision. But for some time many moral theologians have been teaching that what is distinctive to human nature, as distinct from plant and animal life, is precisely man’s power to modify his own nature according to the demands of a higher good. The pope, in fact, seems to allow for a measure of rational manipulation of human fertility in permitting the practice of rhythm and the use of the “pill” to regularize the menstrual cycle. Undoubtedly this differs somewhat from the use of the pill for directly contraceptive purposes, but in some instances the distinction is so subtle that many will regard it as hair-splitting. Since a notable majority of the Papal Commission is known to have come out against the position later taken in the encyclical, one can hardly expect the majority of Catholics to find the reasoning of Human Life convincing. 

Link (here) to the Monk's Hobbit


Anonymous said...

This is a feast of St. Ignatius, how about an icon to him, one of his prayers, such as Take and Receive, or his Prayer for Generosity. Please, if this is a blog about the Society of Jesus, some tribute to the Founder of the Society of Jesus.

Anonymous said...

No one studying for a doctorate in theology reads Dulles; lots read Rahner.

Anonymous said...

Any aspiring theologian who reads much Rahner will have largely wasted his time.

Rahner is passé; he was a fad.

Maria said...

You can be sure that Joseph has simply not had time to post, as of yet, his tribute to St. Ignatius. He is a busy father. I suspect this post is in contradistinction to the post at America Magazine lauding Rahner. Joseph is no friend of Rahner.

Maria said...

Visit the rooms of St Ignatius in Italy: http://youtu.be/8brc3S9FNmg

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve thee as Thou deservest;
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil and not to seek for rest;
To labor and not to seek reward, save that of
knowing that I do Thy will, O God.
-- St. Ignatius of Loyola

Anonymous said...

maria - get a life

c140 said...

Nobody within the Society is interested in what St. Ignatius has to say. Liberation Theology, Modernism, Quasi-Protestantism and Cryptoqueerism are what most Jesuits are interested in. Those few that actually do care are sent out to work in remote pastoral garbage heaps isolated from civilization.

Anonymous said...

"Rahner is passé; he was a fad."

I did a quick Amazon check of collected essays/writings on influential 20th c. theologians and Rahner makes the lists each time (e.g., http://us.macmillan.com/twentiethcenturytheologians/PhilipKennedy). Sorry, no Dulles.

Ear of Corn said...

I did a quick check of influential 20th c. Jesuit theologians in heaven and Dulles makes the lists each time. Sorry, no Rahner.

Maria said...

Crisis of Faith and the Eucharist
by Servus Dei Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

"In the sixteenth century the rise of Protestantism produced a crisis of faith in the Catholic Church. Whole nations were lost to the Catholic Faith mainly because Catholic leaders especially bishops and theologians were seduced by the so-called reformers. There never was a Protestant reformation, that is in plain Anglo-Saxon a lie, there was only a Protestant rebellion.

Thank God there was a Catholic reformation. Reformers like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Ignatius Loyola – that is what the Church needs today. Dear Lord how she needs these saintly courageous reformers today. These bishops and theologians, I am now speaking of the sixteenth century, denied that Christ had instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders and thus conferred upon priests the power to change bread and wine into His own body and blood, and this is the heart of the crisis in the Catholic church today. It is the sixth Chapter of Saint John’s Gospel but now on a global scale.

Pope Paul VI uses two words to summarize this Eucharist Crisis, they are transignification and transfinalization. These terms are a synthesis of the widespread radical ideas pervading once Catholic circles as we enter the third millennium – how well I know.

What I will do now is identify the two principal leaders of this devastating Eucharistic error. The error of transignification. This is the view that Christ’s presence in the Eucharist means when the consecration at Mass is performed only a change of meaning or significance of the bread and wine takes place. Their substance do not change only a change of meaning or significance of the bread and wine takes place their substance does not change. The consecrated elements are said to signify all that Christians associate with the Last Supper. The bread and wine acquire a higher meaning than merely food for the body. But they remain bread and wine.

Maria said...

We get some idea of how deeply this error has penetrated Catholic thought, when we read what Karl Rahner writes about the Eucharistic consecration. Rahner therefore is the first of the two master teachers of profound error on the Real Presence. I will quote now from Rahner’s language, not always so clear, I chose the clearest part that I could find. Quote Karl Rahner, “the more recent approaches suggest the following considerations, one has to remember that the words of institution indicate a change. But not give any guiding line for the interpretation of the actual process. As regarding transubstantiation it may be said, the substance, essence, meaning and purpose of the bread are identical but the meaning of a thing can be changed without changing the matter. The meaning of the bread has been changed through the consecration something which served profane use now becomes the dwelling place and the symbol of Christ who is present and gives Himself to His own.” unquote Karl Rahner. From the Encyclopedia of Theology edited by Rahner and defining the meaning of transubstantiation. What takes place through the Eucharistic consecration the significance the meaning attached to the bread changes but the bread remains bread. Rahner’s ideas are permeating the Eucharistic theology of whole nations...That is why throughout our country thousands, please God I’m wrong, millions of once professed Catholics no longer genuflect before the holy Eucharist. Who would genuflect before a piece of bread? So the learned denial of Christ’s real Presence goes on page after page...We know that ideas have consequences...Thirty years of erroneous teaching about the Real Presence has deeply affected and infected the minds of millions – and I mean that figure – millions of still professed Catholics...Believe me there is much more at stake, much more than meets the eye. Everything in the Catholic faith depends on whether Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist as the Real Presence. Why do we say this? Because the Real Presence implies and includes the teaching that Christ ordained the Apostles at the Last Supper. He gave them the priestly power to change bread and wine into His own flesh and blood...It is a defined dogma of the Catholic faith that Christ did institute two sacraments at the Last Supper. He instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. He didn’t merely change bread and wine into His own living self. He instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist to be continued until the end of time. And to insure the endurance of the Eucharist until the end of this world He instituted the second sacrament of the priesthood when he pronounced the words “This is My Body”, “This is the chalice of My Blood. Jesus literally changed the substance of what had been bread and wine. It ceased to be bread and wine. To believe that is to be a Catholic. To even question, not to say to deny, that is to cease to be a Catholic. Then having changed the bread and wine he told his Apostles, “Do this in commemoration of Me”.

The Catholic Church is defined by those words. “Do this in commemoration of Me.” Jesus instituted the sacrament of the priesthood to make possible the continual transubstantiation of what had been bread and wine into the living Jesus Christ. The key word in what we are talking about is the word become. What had been bread and wine becomes the Son of God who was conceived by the Virgin Mary at Nazareth, born at Bethlehem, died on a cross in Jerusalem, rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, and forty days later ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of his heavenly father."

He was influential alright.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hardon--NO one is reading him in Theology Departments! If he were alive the D.A. should be reading charges against him.

Anonymous said...

Really--"Rahner is not in heaven." Good grief--that is sinful behavior

Maria said...

See You in the Eucharist
Song by Danielle Rose


Danielle Rose explains the meaning of the above song below. She entered a convent for several years and left as she discerned that her calling was music instead:


Anonymous said...

Searched UMI for number of doctoral dissertations in the past 10 years on the work of Cardinal Dulles. There were about 120 of them. I guess that one of those Anonymous commenters doesn't know what real doctoral work is about. Sure students still study Rahner, just as they still study Duns Scotus (I took two classes in the theology of Scotus and only one in Rahner). But Rahner is not the theologian du jour, right now its Von Balthasar, especially in Europe. Americans are always behind the curve anyway. So by all means read Cardinal Dulles!

Maria said...

But I have the life I want: a life with God :)

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, Cardinal Dulles changed his mind on Humanae Vitae which is apparent from his later writings (e.g., Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith). In the 70s both Rahner and Lonergan came out with statements saying that Humanae Vita was not necessarily part of the ordinary magisterium. This has been clarified by JP II in several documents, so that now it is no longer possible to hold to the opinion that Rahner and Lonergan held in the 70s. Theology is a historically developing field, and thinkers need to keep up with the status quaestionis, not cling to outdated opinions from 40 years ago.

Maria said...

Unfortunately, the heresy that Rahner promulgated took root and spread like the Ebola virus. Killed everything in its path. Even made its ways into definition in the Modern Catholic Dictionary:

TRANSFINALIZATION. The view of Christ's presence in the Eucharist that the purpose or finality of the bread and wine is changed by the words of consecration. They are said to serve a new function, as sacred elements that arouse the faith of the people in the mystery of Christ's redemptive love. Like transignification, this theory was condemned by Pope Paul VI in the encyclical Mysterium Fidei (1965) if transfinalization is taken to deny the substantial change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. (Etym. Latin trans-, so as to change +finis, end; purpose.)

Oh. Forty years. He didn't really mean it. Okie dokie, then.

Anonymous said...

"Searched UMI for number of doctoral dissertations in the past 10 years on the work of Cardinal Dulles. There were about 120 of them. I guess that one of those Anonymous commenters doesn't know what real doctoral work is about."

Thanks for checking but your incorrect. I just did a search myself on UMI Disexpress and, going back twenty year, there are only 33 "hits" for Avery Dulles, not 120 as you claim.

BTW, I do "know what real doctoral work is about." I have a Ph.D., teach at a research university, and have directed 5 doctoral candidates successfully (all of whom are gainfully employees academics).

As for Fr. Rahner v. Dulles: get real--we're talking All Star v. B-plus theologian. It's not personal--just a fact. It's good to read that you took a dedicated class on Rahner's thought--is there one on Dulles anywhere?

Anonymous said...

p.s. Many of the dissertation references for Dulles are really even about his work--the search generates keyword matches for his name.

Anonymous said...

Correction: p.s. Many of the dissertation references for Dulles are NOT really even about his work--the search generates keyword matches for his name

Anonymous said...

Okie dokie, then.

its 2012 people do not use words like this

Anonymous said...

BTW, I do "know what real doctoral work is about." I have a Ph.D., teach at a research university, and have directed 5 doctoral candidates successfully (all of whom are gainfully employees academics).

You use incorrect grammar (e.g., employees), use terms like "okie dokie" and can't do a correct search on UMI, but we're supposed to believe that you have a Ph.D. and teach at a research university? Give us a break.

Maria said...

On the Eucharist

"It Is Not the Eucharistic Food That is Changed Into Us, But Rather We Who Are Mysteriously Transformed By It"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 30, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

Dear brothers and sisters,

"This Sunday we begin the reading of chapter 6 of John’s Gospel. The chapter opens with the episode of the multiplication of loaves, which Jesus then comments on in the synagogue in Capernaum, indicating himself as the “bread” that gives life. Jesus’ actions parallel those of the Last Supper: “He took the bread and, after giving thanks, he gave them to those who were seated.” Thus it is stated in the Gospel (John 6:11). The emphasis on the theme of “bread,” which is then shared, and on giving thanks (6:11, in Greek – “eucharistesas”), recalls the Eucharist, the Sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of the world.

The evangelist observes that the feast of Passover is near at this point (cf. 6:4). The focus turns to the cross, the gift of love, and to the Eucharist, the perpetuation of this gift: Christ makes himself the bread of life for men. St. Augustine comments on it in this wise: “Who, if not Christ, is the bread of heaven? But so that men might eat the bread of angels, the Lord of the angels became man. If he had not done this, we would not have his body; not having his body, we would not eat the bread of the altar” (Sermon 130, 2). The Eucharist is the permanent grand meeting of man with God, in which the Lord becomes our food, gives himself to transform us into himself.

In the scene of the multiplication of the loaves a young boy is also depicted, who, presented with the problem of feeding many people, puts what little he has at the disposal of the others: 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish (cf. John 6:8). The miracle does not produce its effect out of nothing: God is able to multiply our little gesture of love and make us participate in his gift. The crowd is struck by the marvel: it sees in Jesus the new Moses, worthy of power, and in the new manna, the future secured, but they stop at the material element, which they have eaten, and the Lord, “knowing that they wanted to come to take him to make him king, he retreated again to the mountain by himself” (John 6:15). Jesus is not an earthly king who exercises dominion, but a king who serves, who condescends to man to satisfy not only material hunger but above all the profound hunger for direction, for meaning, for truth, the hunger for God.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us ask the Lord to make us rediscover the importance of nourishing ourselves not only with bread, but with truth, with love, with Christ, with the body of Christ, faithfully participating in the Eucharist with keen understanding, to be ever more intimately united with him. In fact, It is not the eucharistic food that is changed into us, but rather we who are mysteriously transformed by it. Christ nourishes us by uniting us to himself; he draws us into himself (Sacramentum caritatis, 70). At the same time, we wish also to pray that no one ever lacks the bread that is necessary for a worthy life, and inequalities be overcome, not with the weapons of violence but with sharing and love."


Anonymous said...

Hey 11:02:

I never used the term "okie, dokie"--that's kind of corny, no?

It's true: my typo rendered "employed" and "employees." Please forgive me.

I notice that you didn't respond to my correction of your UMI search or address any other of the other points I made. I guess your just trolling around in shallow waters. Have you ever read Rahner (or Dulles for that matter)?

Maria said...

Bless my father for I am corny ;)

Maria said...

"He loves, He hopes, He waits. If He came down on our altars on certain days only, some sinner, on being moved to repentance, might have to look for Him, and not finding Him, might have to wait. Our Lord prefers to wait Himself for the sinner for years rather than keep him waiting one instant."

Saint Peter Julian Eymard
Feast Day August 2