Sunday, April 19, 2009
Father Jacques Dupuis---condemnation of the book: "Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism "
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
on the book
Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism
(Orbis Books: Maryknoll, New York 1997)
JACQUES DUPUIS, S.J.
After a preliminary study of the book Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism by Father Jacques Dupuis, S.J., the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decided to proceed to a comprehensive examination of the text by means of its ordinary procedure, in accordance with Chapter 3 of the Regulations for Doctrinal Examination.
It must be emphasized that this text is an introductory reflection on a Christian theology of religious pluralism. It is not simply a theology of religions, but a theology of religious pluralism, which seeks to investigate, in the light of Christian faith, the significance of the plurality of religious traditions in God’s plan for humanity. Aware of the potential problems in this approach, the author does not conceal the possibility that his hypothesis may raise as many questions as it seeks to answer.
Following the doctrinal examination of the book and the outcome of the dialogue with the author, the Bishop and Cardinal Members of the Congregation, in the Ordinary Session of June 30, 1999, evaluated the analysis and the opinions of the Congregation’s Consultors regarding the author’s Responses. The Members of the Congregation recognized the author’s attempt to remain within the limits of orthodoxy in his study of questions hitherto largely unexplored. At the same time, while noting the author’s willingness to provide the necessary clarifications, as evident in his Responses, as well as his desire to remain faithful to the doctrine of the Church and the teaching of the Magisterium, they found that his book contained notable ambiguities and difficulties on important doctrinal points, which could lead a reader to erroneous or harmful opinions. These points concerned the interpretation of the sole and universal salvific mediation of Christ, the unicity and completeness of Christ’s revelation, the universal salvific action of the Holy Spirit, the orientation of all people to the Church, and the value and significance of the salvific function of other religions.
At the conclusion of the ordinary procedure of examination, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decided to draft a Notification, intended to safeguard the doctrine of the Catholic faith from errors, ambiguities or harmful interpretations. This Notification, approved by the Holy Father in the Audience of November 24, 2000, was presented to Father Jacques Dupuis and was accepted by him. By signing the text, the author committed himself to assent to the stated theses and, in his future theological activity and publications, to hold the doctrinal contents indicated in the Notification, the text of which must be included in any reprinting or further editions of his book, as well as in all translations.
The present Notification is not meant as a judgment on the author’s subjective thought, but rather as a statement of the Church’s teaching on certain aspects of the above-mentioned doctrinal truths, and as a refutation of erroneous or harmful opinions, which, prescinding from the author’s intentions, could be derived from reading the ambiguous statements and insufficient explanations found in certain sections of the text. In this way, Catholic readers will be given solid criteria for judgment, consistent with the doctrine of the Church, in order to avoid the serious confusion and misunderstanding which could result from reading this book.
I. On the sole and universal salvific mediation of Jesus Christ
1. It must be firmly believed that Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, crucified and risen, is the sole and universal mediator of salvation for all humanity.
2. It must also be firmly believed that Jesus of Nazareth, Son of Mary and only Saviour of the world, is the Son and Word of the Father. For the unity of the divine plan of salvation centred in Jesus Christ, it must also be held that the salvific action of the Word is accomplished in and through Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of the Father, as mediator of salvation for all humanity. It is therefore contrary to the Catholic faith not only to posit a separation between the Word and Jesus, or between the Word’s salvific activity and that of Jesus, but also to maintain that there is a salvific activity of the Word as such in his divinity, independent of the humanity of the Incarnate Word.
II. On the unicity and completeness of revelation of Jesus Christ
3. It must be firmly believed that Jesus Christ is the mediator, the fulfilment and the completeness of revelation. It is therefore contrary to the Catholic faith to maintain that revelation in Jesus Christ (or the revelation of Jesus Christ) is limited, incomplete or imperfect. Moreover, although full knowledge of divine revelation will be had only on the day of the Lord’s coming in glory, the historical revelation of Jesus Christ offers everything necessary for man’s salvation and has no need of completion by other religions.
4. It is consistent with Catholic doctrine to hold that the seeds of truth and goodness that exist in other religions are a certain participation in truths contained in the revelation of or in Jesus Christ. However, it is erroneous to hold that such elements of truth and goodness, or some of them, do not derive ultimately from the source-mediation of Jesus Christ.
III. On the universal salvific action of the Holy Spirit
5. The Church’s faith teaches that the Holy Spirit, working after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is always the Spirit of Christ sent by the Father, who works in a salvific way in Christians as well as non-Christians. It is therefore contrary to the Catholic faith to hold that the salvific action of the Holy Spirit extends beyond the one universal salvific economy of the Incarnate Word.
IV. On the orientation of all human beings to the Church
6. It must be firmly believed that the Church is sign and instrument of salvation for all people. It is contrary to the Catholic faith to consider the different religions of the world as ways of salvation complementary to the Church.
7. According to Catholic doctrine, the followers of other religions are oriented to the Church and are all called to become part of her.
V. On the value and salvific function of the religious traditions
8. In accordance with Catholic doctrine, it must be held that «whatever the Spirit brings about in human hearts and in the history of peoples, in cultures and religions, serves as a preparation for the Gospel (cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 16)». It is therefore legitimate to maintain that the Holy Spirit accomplishes salvation in non-Christians also through those elements of truth and goodness present in the various religions; however, to hold that these religions, considered as such, are ways of salvation, has no foundation in Catholic theology, also because they contain omissions, insufficiencies and errors regarding fundamental truths about God, man and the world.
Furthermore, the fact that the elements of truth and goodness present in the various world religions may prepare peoples and cultures to receive the salvific event of Jesus Christ does not imply that the sacred texts of these religions can be considered as complementary to the Old Testament, which is the immediate preparation for the Christ event.
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience of January 19, 2001, in the light of the further developments, confirmed the present Notification, which had been adopted in Ordinary Session of the Congregation, and ordered its publication.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, January 24, 2001, the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales.
+ JOSEPH Card. RATZINGER
+ Tarcisio BERTONE, S.D.B.
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli
 Because of tendencies in some circles, which have become increasingly evident in the thinking of the Christian faithful, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the Declaration “Dominus Iesus” on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church (AAS 92 , 742-765) in order to protect essential truths of the Catholic faith. The Notification draws from the principles expressed in Dominus Iesus in its evaluation of Father Dupuis’ book.
 Cf. Council of Trent, Decree De peccato originali: DS 1513; Decree De iustificatione: DS 1522, 1523, 1529, 1530; Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 10; Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8, 14, 28,49,60; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 5: AAS 83 (1991), 249-340; Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia, 14: AAS 92 (2000), 449-528; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 13-15.
 Cf. First Council of Nicaea: DS 125; Council of Chacledon: DS 301.
 Cf. Council of Trent, Decree De iustificatione: DS 1529, 1530; Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 5; Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 22.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 6; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 10.
 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei verbum, 2, 4; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio, 14-15, 92: AAS 91 (1999), 5-88; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 5.
 Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 6; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 65-66.
 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 17; Decree Ad gentes, 11; Declaration Nostra aetate, 2.
 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 16; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 10.
 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 22; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 28-29.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 5; Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia, 15-16; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 12.
 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 9, 14, 17, 48; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 11; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 16.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 36; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 21-22.
 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 13, 16; Decree Ad gentes, 7; Declaration Dignitatis humanae, 1; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 10; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 20-22; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 845.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 29.
 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 16; Declaration Nostra aetate, 2; Decree Ad gentes, 9; Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi, 53: AAS 68 (1976), 5-76; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 55; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 8.
 Cf. Council of Trent, Decree De libris sacris et de traditionibus recipiendis: DS 1501; First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, 2: DS 3006; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 8.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
The author turns to the second "Father" of the "New Theology".
By Arts Entirely New
"The God of ‘classical ontology’ is dead, you say? It may be so; but it does not worry me overmuch."
Considering Pope Pius X’s statement in Pascendi that Modernism is the "synthesis of all heresies," we might easily be led to the hasty conclusion that there is nothing really new to be found in the errors of such men as de Lubac and von Balthasar. We would be very wrong. The title which I have chosen for this article is taken from the very first paragraph of Pascendi:
It must, however, be confessed that these latter days have witnessed a notable increase in the number of the enemies of the Cross of Christ, who, by arts entirely new and full of deceit, are striving to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, as far as in them lies, utterly to subvert the very kingdom of Christ.
Historically, heresies often represented excesses which were the direct opposite of one another. Any notion, for instance, that Arianism (which denied the divinity of Christ) could be synthesized with Monophysitism (which emphasized the divinity of Christ to the point of denying His humanity) would have seemed absurd, and as constituting something impossible to human thought or conviction. Yet, such opposing ideas and statements, as noted by Pius X, are often to be found in Modernist writings and statements, even to the point of espousing both the orthodox and heterodox view on the same issue.
It might be concluded that such duplicity on the part of Modernists is simply a matter of calculated and sinister deceit. However, while such may often be the case, I believe that there are here involved "arts entirely new" which both necessitate and facilitate such deceits. It is these arts which now entrap much of the thinking and practice of the Church, including a great many who appear to be of good will towards Christ and His Church. It will be the purpose of this article to explore these errors, especially in the writings of their most powerful exponent Henri de Lubac.
The Lubacian Principle of Paradox
"In short, to maintain and defend these theories they do not hesitate to declare that the noblest homage that can be paid to the Infinite is to make it the object of contradictory statements! But when they justify even contradictions, what is it that they will refuse to justify?" [Pascendi, #36]
With any particular heresy of the past we encounter the denial of one or more specific doctrines of the faith. Generally speaking, however, we are dealing with people who still acknowledged the integrity and non-self-contradictory nature of truth itself.
Modernism, however, being the synthesis of all heresies, necessarily requires the violation of this principle of non-contradiction. And it is Henri de Lubac who "formalized" a particular philosophy to enshrine and justify the principle of self-contradiction into theology. The fundamental means which he employs to disguise and "sanctify" such an aberration is the concept of "paradox."
We must realize, however, that de Lubac’s first distortion is of the word "paradox" itself.
The commonly accepted definition of paradox is that it is the holding of two truths which appear to be contradictory. The contradiction, we must emphasize strongly, is in appearance only.
The Bible contains many paradoxes. The proper use of paradox can be a very effective tool for imparting truth. Our Lord, for instance, teaches, "For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it." [Luke 9:24] A small child reading this passage might indeed be very confused by the apparent contradiction; but the mature Christian, understanding the concepts and realities involved, sees no contradiction at all in this statement.
Virtually wherever one goes in the works of de Lubac one encounters his use of paradox. Ignatius Press offers two books (Paradoxes of Faith and More Paradoxes) particularly dedicated by de Lubac to this subject. Often, of course, his use of paradox is acceptable. But this is why the extensive use of paradox becomes such a dangerous tool in the hands of an unorthodox writer. A plethora of apparent contradiction becomes the camouflage for real contradiction, and a very powerful literary technique becomes an effective means of assimilating error into the minds and hearts of even the most sophisticated reader.
In the case of de Lubac these errors penetrate to the very heart of our faith. In essence they represent "arts entirely new" which have enabled Modernism to penetrate into the life of the Church with an effectiveness and an all-pervasiveness which was not possible under the earlier and more blatant forms of this heresy.
We must first understand that in the system of de Lubac, paradox is not just a literary technique, but the very "stuff" of reality:
For paradox exists everywhere in reality, before existing in thought. It is everywhere in permanence….Parodoxes: the word specifies, above all, then, things themselves, not the way of saying them….Oppositions in thought express the contradiction which is the very stuff of creation. [Parodoxes of Faith. pp.10-11]
All this, of course, makes the real "stuff" of reality exist outside the laws of logic, and outside of what St. Thomas and the Church have always taught are the absolutely "first principles of being": the Principle of Contradiction, the Principle of Identity and Difference, and the Principle of the Excluded Middle:
Paradoxes are paradoxical: they make sport of the usual and reasonable rule of not being allowed to be against as well as for. Yet, unlike dialectics, they do not involve the clever turning of for into against. Neither are they only a conditioning of the one by the other. They are the simultaneity of the one and the other. They are even something more - lacking which, moreover, they would only be vulgar contradiction [which is exactly, as we shall see, what they often are in the hands of de Lubac]. They do not sin against logic, whose laws remain inviolable: but they escape its domain. They are the for fed by the against, the against going so far as to identify itself with the for. [Ibid. pp. 11-12]
Lubacian "Paradox", in other words, is simple Orwellian "Newspeak" grafted onto the disciplines of Philosophy and Theology. In de Lubac’s theology it is all-pervasive:
And it is a question, at least, whether all substantial spiritual doctrine must not of necessity take a paradoxical form. [Ibid. p.13]
Finally, before entering into particular errors, we should note that it is this "principle of paradox" which makes possible the Modernist substitution of "becoming" for the fundamental Aristotelian-Thomistic concept of Being, and the substitution of the notion of evolving truth for the Catholic concept of truth as a divine deposit which is to be embraced, cherished, and defended. Thus, we have the following from the pen of de Lubac:
Paradoxical in its substance, spiritual truth is also paradoxical in its rhythm. When we discover it and hold it in our hands we do not have time to bring our first look of satisfaction to rest upon it before it has already fled. The eternal story of the Pharisee starts afresh in each of us. To get hold of this elusive truth again, we should perhaps seek it in its opposite, for it has changed its sign. But often we prefer to hug its rotten corpse. And we go rotten with it. [Ibid. p.14]
Clearly, from his perspective, the Catholic Traditionalist is a "rotten corpse."
The de Lubac–von Balthasar Christ
"Remember, after all, that the Gospel is full of paradoxes, that man is himself a living paradox, and that according to the Fathers of the Church, the Incarnation is the supreme Paradox." [Paradoxes of the Faith, p.81. Emphasis mine.]
As Catholics, we do not deny that there are profoundly paradoxical elements in the Incarnation of Christ. Infinite God becomes finite man. Such an Infinite Love and Being is virtually incomprehensible to us, and so we are rightly left with a sense of paradox. In this case, paradox is food for our humility.
This love which is incomprehensible to us, however, is not incomprehensible to God. It is Who He is (without this implying any necessity on the part of God’s in regard to His creatures in general, or the Incarnation in particular). There is, in other words, no paradox in God. There is, therefore, no Paradox in Jesus Christ Himself, or in the Incarnation per se.
Henri de Lubac did not agree. Nor did von Balthasar. At this point, it is important to note the connection between these two "Fathers" of the New Theology.
It is de Lubac who introduced the principle of self-contradiction into the very heart of truth. For him, paradox is the very "stuff" of creation, and "the Incarnation is the supreme Paradox." It is von Balthasar, however, who is the great popularizer of this method of thinking which has become the primary source of confusion in Catholic philosophy and theology.
In a section titled "The Heightened Paradox", in his book Truth is Symphonic: Aspects of Christian Pluralism (pp.38-40), von Balthasar writes:
Now the final word [concerning the meaning and effectiveness of the Incarnation] is not revelation and precept but participation, communio.
And that in turn, beyond word and deed, implies suffering. It means occupying the place of total and universal closedness, that is, God-forsakenness. God’s Word in Jesus Christ wishes to die with us in this God-forsakenness and descend with us into eternal banishment from God.
Luther’s dictum, that at this point revelation "latet sub contrario" (lies hidden in its opposite) is not too strong, provided it means no more than it formally says. Jesus is in fact the Lord who empties himself, taking the form of a slave. He is the Son, defined by his ultimate intimacy with the Father, but he dies in complete estrangement.
...We must note, however, that in the formula latet sub contrario both aspects (the attribute and its opposite, the proposition and what contradicts it) have the same subject.
…on the Cross itself, he [Christ] experiences this forsakenness so deeply, for the sake of sinners, that he no longer feels or knows anything of the Father’s presence. His relationship with the Father is indestructible, he says, ‘My God’ - but this God is hidden sub contrario. Indeed, the very profundity of his forsakenness is the sign of him who so profoundly conceals himself. Since the subject, God’s Son - in this case identical with his abiding connaturality with the Father-God - holds on so tenaciously through the contrary modes of experience, it is superfluous to go against all the evidence of the text and ascribe particular attributes of his first state (that is, the beatific vision of the Father) to him in his second state. His forsakenness affects his entire relationship with the Father.
All this is a denial of the very essence of Christianity - a denial of the hypostatic union, and the absolutely central Christian dogma that the human soul of Jesus is united with the Nature of God in the One Divine Person Jesus Christ. The human soul of Jesus uninterruptedly possessed the beatific vision throughout His conception, birth, life, and death. St. Thomas writes:
On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orthod. iii): Christ’s Godhead permitted His flesh to do and to suffer what was proper to it. In like fashion, since it belonged to Christ’s soul, inasmuch as it was blessed, to enjoy fruition [the beatific vision], His Passion did not impede fruition." [ST, III, Q.46, A.8]
Uninterrupted possession of the beatific vision is, in other words, absolutely integral to the doctrine of the hypostatic union. To say that Christ died in "God-forsakenness", "eternal banishment from God", "complete estrangement", and "universal closedness" does not express "paradox", but rather total self-contradiction and heresy.
Aggiornamento, Ecumenism and the New Mass
At this point I would imagine that many readers are experiencing a good deal of puzzlement and irritation. Why should anyone want to do what de Lubac and von Balthasar have done to Christ and to His Truth? The following passages from the same work of von Balthasar will give us the answer to this question:
All the same, since it is a question of encompassing the world in all its profanity - for its relation to God has been profaned - there can be no stopping halfway once the path of "concealment in the opposite" has been taken up. It must be followed to the very end: ‘He descended into hell’ (p.40-41) [it is abundantly clear that von Balthasar is not here speaking of the place of those deceased righteous awaiting the redemptive act of Christ, but rather of Hell itself].
If this is the case, then all the organs or gestures of the divine Word in the world must necessarily share in this communion on the part of God with the sinful world, must share in this process of dying and descending into the concealing opposite and rising again on the far side…. So it would be wrong to think that the Church had some kind of immortal framework exempt from destiny (often referred to nowadays pejoratively as "institution") that, while it is inhabited and represented by vulnerable human beings with their changing roles, is somehow timeless…. What applies to office in the Church also applies to the sacraments, to preaching, and to theology. It applies to the Bible just as much as to the Church’s tradition. [pp.41-42]
Thus, Church will suffer the loss of its shape as it undergoes a death, and all the more so, the more purely it lives from its source and is consequently less concerned with preserving its shape. In fact, it will not concern itself with affirming its shape but with promoting the world’s salvation; as for the shape in which God will raise it from its death to serve the world afresh, it will entrust it to the Holy Spirit. We have already observed that nothing in the Church is exempt from death and destiny; there is no ‘structure’ existing independently of the event of Christ. [p.96]
If the Church must die and "descend into its concealing opposite", and then "rise again" on the other side of this experience, and if the Church has no "immortal framework", and consequently must "suffer the loss of its shape" in this death and rising, then we have every right to expect that the new shape (which, according to von Balthasar, includes a "new shape" for the Bible, the sacraments, preaching, and theology) will incorporate elements of all the things into which the Church descends - elements, for instance, of Lutheranism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, atheism, and possibly even Satanism.
Thus, we have the theological justification for aggiornamento and ecumenism, accompanied by that spirituality which necessitates the "turning towards the world" which constitutes the form of the New Mass.
In his analysis of the roots of Modernism, Pope Pius X distinguished between two principles, one negative and the other positive.
The negative principle is agnosticism, which is constituted by the following:
According to this teaching human reason is confined entirely within the field of phenomena, that is to say, to things that appear, and in the manner in which they appear: it has neither the right nor the power to overstep these limits. [Pascendi, #6]
Such agnosticism is the direct result of the intimidating nature of reductive science, and the war against being and substance which it has conducted for centuries.
Through this principle everything which is "absolute" in our faith is dissolved of its solidity - such things as dogma and the Deposit of Faith, the Church, the nature of the sacraments, the uncreated Nature of God, the created nature of man, the historical Person of Jesus Christ, the reliability of the Bible.
All these things which were once considered unchangeable truth fixed in objective reality, now must somehow be transformed so that they can be reborn in a subjective realm safe from the ravages of reductive science.
This "transformation" is accomplished by the second principle (the "positive" principle) of Modernism, which is called vital immanence.
Since, for the Modernist, the path to rational, objective truths has been closed by reductive science, truth must now be looked for in the interior of man. Pius X offers a succinct explanation of this principle of vital immanence as the fundamental tenet of Modernism:
Therefore, as God is the object of religion, we must conclude that faith, which is the basis and foundation of all religion, must consist in a certain interior sense, originating in a need of the divine. This need of the divine, which is experienced only in special and favourable circumstances, cannot of itself appertain to the domain of consciousness, but is first latent beneath consciousness… this sense possesses, implied within itself both as its own object and as its intrinsic cause, the divine reality itself, and in a way unites man with God. It is this sense to which Modernists give the name of faith, and this is what they hold to be the beginning of religion. [Pascendi, #7]
In a virtual mirror-image of Pius X’s definition of vital immanence, Henri de Lubac writes:
…the idea of God is mysteriously present in us from the beginning, prior to our concepts, although beyond our grasp without their help, and prior to all our argumentation, in spite of being logically unjustifiable without them; it is the inspiration, the motive power and justification of them all….
In its primary and permanent state the idea of God is not, then, a product of the intelligence. It is not a concept. It is a reality: the very soul of the soul; a spiritual image of the Divinity, an ‘eikon’. [The Discovery of God, pp.42-44]
Here we have the essentials of vital immanence: some sort of divine reality present in the soul of man which is previous to consciousness, and is integral to his created human nature.
Initially, it may seem difficult to understand why this is such a grievous error, and possibly even more difficult to understand how the entire Modernist edifice can be built upon this small seed. And yet such is the case. Pius X further writes:
In the religious sense one must recognize a kind of intuition of the heart which puts man in immediate contact with the reality of God….It is this experience which makes the person who acquires it to be properly and truly a believer…. Here it is well to note at once that, given this doctrine of experience united with that of symbolism, every religion, even that of paganism, must be held to be true. [Pascendi, #14]
Upon careful reflection, we can understand why this is so. If our path to objective, absolutely certain truth is cut off by the principle of agnosticism (we must remember that the principle of agnosticism does not mean that we cannot know or believe anything, but only that we cannot know or believe with objective certainty), then truth has become a matter of subjective experience, and subject to the "religious evolution" which grows out of that experience.
Thus, von Balthasar could write: "There is therefore no cause for dismay in the idea that the truth of revelation, which was originally cast in Hellenistic concepts by the great Councils, could equally be recast in Indian or Chinese concepts." [Truth is Symphonic: Aspects of Christian Pluralism, p. 56]
One can only wonder if it ever occurred to de Lubac or von Balthasar to question why the Church never recast the "truth of revelation" into Nordic mythology, Druidic belief and practices, or possibly the Aztec concept of a god who demands human sacrifice.
A Gift Defiled: Nature and Grace in Henri de Lubac
As the reader may have ascertained, the principle of vital immanence also necessarily dissolves religious faith into some form of pantheism. The moment we admit into created human nature anything of the "divine reality" which is not there as a grace "added" to human nature, we have destroyed the absolute distinction that must be made between God and His creation, between the supernatural and the natural.
De Lubac detested the idea of grace as being something "merely added" to human nature. And since from the standpoint of "non-contradiction" it is impossible to maintain the truth concerning the gratuitousness of God’s grace in regards to human nature without the Thomistic notion of grace as "superadded" to nature, de Lubac finds it necessary again to invoke his principle of "paradox." As David Schindler writes in the Introduction to de Lubac’s Mystery of the Supernatural:
De Lubac sees it necessary to insist on the simultaneity - and hence just so far the paradox - of the two elements of the twin claim implied here: on the one hand, a gratuity of grace distinct from and unanticipated (but not merely ‘super-added’ to) human nature; on the other hand, a human nature always already called to a divine vocation in Jesus Christ, and hence just so far imbedded from the outset in a supernatural order (p. xxvi).
De Lubac, in other words, wishes to be able to assert the traditional teaching concerning the gratuity of God’s gift of supernatural life, while at the same time also affirming its opposite.
St. Thomas, on the other hand, often teaches the truth that grace must be understood as something which is added or superadded to human nature. He writes:
Higher intelligible things the human intellect cannot know, unless it be perfected by a stronger light, viz. the light of faith or prophecy which is called the light of grace, inasmuch as it is added to nature. ST, I-II, Q.109,A.1
It is this profound and absolutely necessary distinction between the life of God and human nature which such persons as de Lubac and von Balthasar (and also Eastern Orthodox theology) attempt to erase. And it is the teaching of St. Thomas, the primary bulwark against error in this area of Catholic doctrine, that they must demolish or pervert.
For de Lubac, it is a matter of perversion. No single subject occupies more space in his writings than the relationship between nature and grace. And throughout these writings, he attempts to subvert the words of St. Thomas to his own particular heresy.
These subversions rest upon one extraordinarily pathetic error in regard to the thought of St. Thomas. De Lubac attempts to make Thomas say that there exists in human nature, before consciousness, an innate desire for God. In fact, St Thomas teaches just the opposite:
On the contrary, the human soul is naturally like a blank tablet on which nothing is written, as the Philosopher says (De Anima iii,4 ). But the nature of the soul is the same now as it would have been in the state of innocence. Therefore the souls of children would have been without knowledge at birth.[ST, I, Q.101, A.1]
At the same time, St. Thomas rightly speaks of a knowledge, love, and desire of God which are the natural response of the human mind in its encounter with the world. Thus, the "light" of the human mind, created in the image of God, is structured in such a way as not only to be able to reason to the existence of God from such things as the existence of intelligent design and causation in the world; but it is also "naturally" led to love this God, and to naturally desire to see and know His essence.
Nor does all this knowledge, love, and desire of God necessarily have to be the conscious, reasoned process of the philosopher. We may also rightly speak of a sort of natural, intuitive apprehension of the existence and Being of God from the average person’s encounter with the created world.
All this is simply in keeping with St. Paul’s statement in Romans 1:20: "For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity…"
St Paul even goes so far as to say that the existence and nature of God is so overwhelmingly evident from the human mind’s encounter with creation that for man not to acknowledge His reality and presence is "inexcusable." St. Thomas writes: "all knowers know God implicitly in all they know." [De Veritate, Q. 22, a.2]
What is absolutely essential to keep in mind, however, is that all of this "natural" knowledge, love, and desire of God is not present except through the encounter of man’s mind with the world, and through his senses. It is, in other words, natural, but not innate.
De Lubac, and proponents of the "New Theology" in general, simply do not understand "the God of scholastic theology."
To them, the God of St. Thomas and the traditional Church is not sufficiently "vitally immanent." The God Who created us in His own Image, and sustains us every second of our lives with this same creative action; the God Who died for our sins and for our eternal salvation, and draws us into His very own life through baptism and the other sacraments; the God Who gives His Own Son in Holy Communion, Who insures that we are in possession of infallible truth through His Church, and promises His faithful the Gift of the Beatific Vision - this God, and this faith, are too sterile, absolute, and pharisaical for them.
The problem for these people seems to be that all that constitutes the traditional Catholic concept of grace and supernatural life is considered as Gift, and not something that is their own by right, or by nature.
They choose to barter the Infinite Gift of God for the paltry personal possession of an ounce of supernatural life which is somehow independent of this Gift. It is almost unbelievable foolishness; but even more, it amounts to infinite ingratitude.
What we may be sure of is the enormously destructive consequences of their effort. Again, we have the wisdom of Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi [#34]:
The domineering overbearance of those who teach these errors, and the thoughtless compliance of the more shallow minds who assent to them, create a corrupted atmosphere which penetrates everywhere, and carries infection with it.
It has penetrated everywhere. It penetrated to the heart of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger when he said that the survival of Catholicism depended on it being freed from the "constraining fetters of Roman Scholastic Theology." We are now experiencing that freedom - the very freedom which has virtually destroyed the faith of Catholic Europe and much of the rest of the world. It is this atmosphere, created by Modernist philosophy and theology in response to reductive secular science, which must be combated as the primary source of decay in the Church.
We must pray that Pope Benedict XVI receives the grace to engage in this contest. It is a battle which, to a large extent, must be waged against his own past: "The fact is," he wrote in his Principles of Catholic Theology, "as Hans Urs von Balthasar pointed out as early as 1952, that the ‘demolition of the bastions’ is a long-overdue task."
The Holy Father’s sweeping agenda for the Church, set out in his speech to the Roman curia on 22 December 2005, can only be properly understood and analysed in the light of that alarming statement of intent and all its disturbing implications. For whatever his view of the de Lubac-von Balthasar ‘paradox agenda’ may be, the "New Theology" has provided Pope Benedict with his own particular means to achieve the same "demolition."
Thursday, March 19, 2009
One who wants to synthesize the ecclesiastical thinking in the conciliar and post-conciliar phase of the Catholic Church can present three main systems defended by three theologians: the Christogenesis of Teilhard de Chardin, the Theology of Love of Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Anthropological Reduction or Transcendental Anthropology of Karl Rahner.
ne who wants to synthesize the ecclesiastical thinking in the conciliar and post-conciliar phase of the Catholic Church can present three main systems defended by three theologians: the Christogenesis of Teilhard de Chardin, the Theology of Love of Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Anthropological Reduction or Transcendental Anthropology of Karl Rahner.
Teilhard extends theology to all of human knowledge and all of created reality. In the philosophical field, he assumes the unproved premises of “scientific” evolution and composes his well-known Cosmogenesis – the evolution of the universe. According to him, the material universal evolution ascends toward the rational process of man – this is his Noogenesis [the genesis of the understanding]. And, in the present phase of man on earth, everything tends in an evolutionary sense toward Christ – thence his Christogenesis. From matter to spirit, from spirit to Christ – everything would evolve in this direction in an irreversible way, following laws that he seeks to explain.
At the end of the process, creation would be incorporated with Christ, from whom it would initially have proceeded without an essential difference between creature and Creator. The beginning integrated with the end: Christ the Alpha, Christ the Omega. This is the “perfect cycle” that Teilhard offers in his system. Evil itself would be an accident, a force of sliding friction that in an involuntary way naturally impedes the march of evolution. Such philosophical premises are transposed onto all the truths of Faith. Grace, the Sacraments, the Mass, the Eucharist, the Last Things, Dogmas, everything is “explained” in function of Christogenesis. The system attracts by its clarity, largesse of vision, radicality, and poetical sense; but, at the same time, the system fails by virtue of its easy identification with philosophical immanentism, condemned by the Catholic Church.
What Von Balthasar assumes as the presupposition of his system is the primacy of love in relation to reason, of the will in relation to intelligence, of charity in relation to faith. He also pays tribute to philosophical evolutionism - not the linear and “positive” evolution of Teilhard, but the dialectical and tragic evolution of Hegel. History would be the struggle between two principles: justice and mercy, represented respectively by God the Father and God the Son. Jesus Christ would have become incarnate in order to “defeat” the supremacy of justice, faith, and logic, and to replace them with mercy, charity, and charm. Evil itself and those who are bad would not be capable of resisting the force of the attraction of love. Judas, heretics, those condemned to hell, and even the demons themselves would feel “understood” by this irresistible message of love and would have adhered to it in the depths of their hearts. Peter, yes; but John more than Peter. John, yes; but Dismas (the good thief) more than John. Dismas, yes; but Gesdras (the bad thief) more than Dismas. And thus, from the strength of love and mercy, the institutional Church is displaced by the “Church of Love,” and the latter, in turn, is displaced by the “Church of the condemned,” those who would be more united to Christ at the height of the Cross than the others.
In order to “prove” these points, von Balthasar makes use of a notable historical, philosophical, and artistic erudition, which confers to his system a broad visualization. Attractive to romantic spirits and much in vogue in these sad days of unbridled ecumenism, the Theology of Love nonetheless suffers from the fundamental error of subordinating faith to charity. Only one of the consequences of this is that Catholic dogmas are now abdicated in favor of the union of the various religions.
Rahner follows his master, the existentialist Martin Heidegger. For Rahner, what matters is that which exists here and now. Faith would need to cast off its abstract formulations in order to be accepted by today’s man, such as he is. For this reason, all of theology either should be reduced to the human dimension – thence his Anthropological Reduction – or man should be raised up to the divine dimension – from this, his Transcendental Anthropology. His system is known under these two names. Here I put aside my pen with pleasure in order to introduce another analysis of Rahner’s thought: A Critical Examination on the Theology of Karl Rahner by Robert C. McCarthy.
A_009br_KarlRahner.jpg - 11203 Bytes
Karl Rahner: a strong influence at Vatican II - ICI, June 1, 1974
To fully appreciate the importance of this work, a word about the role played by the thinking of Karl Rahner is indispensable. The influence of Rahner at the Ecumenical Council Vatican II was greater than that of the two preceding theologians. First, because the two others were not present: Teilhard died in 1955, and von Balthasar could not participate because of the publication of his work Razing the Bastions, which at that time was considered very radical and progressivist. Second, because the ideas of Rahner strongly influenced the German Bishops, who were very well prepared and active during the Council. These Bishops maintained powerful associations of financial aid to the Dioceses of the Third World – a quite important political detail. With this, they influenced a large number of other Prelates to approve their favored projects in the Conciliar Assembly. Third, Rahner was one of the authors of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium; among others, the concepts of “the Church as mystery” and “people of God,” as accepted by Vatican II, are attributed to him.
With this glance at the importance of Rahner in today’s ecclesiastical thinking, the reader can easily understand how welcome is the work A Critical Examination on the Theology of Karl Rahner, S.J. by Robert C. McCarthy. In it, the author synthesizes with notable intelligence and an acute Catholic sense the thinking of the German theologian and provides an objective critique of many of his erroneous points. The study, which does not pretend to be an exhaustive analysis of Rahner’s system, presents the points most opposed to the Catholic Faith. As an ex-Marine, the author knows where to direct the torpedoes that will sink the ship. The work avoids confusing technical terms and concepts and thus has the advantage of being easily understood.
Another merit of the book is that McCarthy presents his synthesis based on the works of the disciples of Rahner or on credible critical works that explain his thinking. If he had based it directly on the writings of Rahner, it would have resulted in a very large volume instead of this accessible and brief study that achieves an analogous result. For Rahner normally uses difficult language filled with many neologisms of existentialist philosophy in order to express thinking that is not always clear.
Thus, Robert C. McCarthy renders a commendable service to the Catholic cause in publishing this first study. It is to be hoped that others similar to it will follow, so that the main errors of Karl Rahner and other theologians will become more widely known. It only remains for me to congratulate the author for his meritorious work and to wish him a broad diffusion of this useful and opportune study.
Los Angeles, October 19, 2000
Book review of A Critical Examination of the Theology of Karl Rahner, by Robert C. McCarthy
Buchanan Dam, TX: Carthay Ventures, 2001, 64 pp. This review became the Foreword of the book.
For many Roman Catholic clerics at the Second Vatican Council, the most vital arena was not St. Peter's Basilica, where the prelates gathered for discussion, but a room on the third floor of Rome's college for German seminarians. Scores of cardinals and bishops from Germany, France, Africa and Latin America made pilgrimages there for theological advice. Theologians visited to discuss the issues and events of the council with the sad-eyed, soft-spoken man who occupied the room. He was Karl Rahner, 58, whom many eminent Roman Catholic thinkers regard as the most profound and most exciting theologian their church has produced in the 20th century.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
(Formerly titled "Karl Raner's Girlfriend")
by John Vennari
Father Karl Rahner, the progressivist Jesuit who “set the direction for the Second Vatican Council,”1carried on a secret 22-year “romance” with German writer Luise Rinser.
This revelation came to light in 1994 when Rinser published her autobiography which contained her half of the correspondence between herself and Rahner, a correspondence that lasted from 1962 to Rahner’s death in 1984. The book was entitled Gratwunderung, loosely translated as “a walk on the edge”. Published in Germany, it has not yet been translated into English.
The Jesuits have never denied the truth of the Rinser-Rahner relationship, but refused to allow Rinser to publish the letters Rahner sent to her, claiming that Rahner’s letters are the property of the Jesuits, not Rinser.
The subject of Rahner’s bizarre romance received little press in the English- speaking world. England’s Tablet published a brief 1995 report about Rinser’s book. The National Catholic Reporter ran a story about it in late 1997, which was not the result of NCR’s own investigative reporting, but spotlighted the work of Pamela Kirk, Associate Professor at Saint John’s University in Jamaica, New York, who is described as a Rahner specialist.
Luise Rinser’s writings fascinated Kirk, who published two academic papers2 on the German author: “Luise Rinser’s Celebration and Suffering” in Theology and the New Histories;3 and “Reflections on Luise Rinser’s Gratwunderung” in Philosophy and Theology: Marquette University Journal.4
Kirk writes, “Rinser (b. 1911) was first brought to my attention in 1995 because of the publications of her letters to Karl Rahner, which revealed Rahner’s passionate attachment to her.”5
None of this received any mention at a recent conference at Rome’s Lateran University that celebrated Rahner’s Centenary. The Congress was attended by Vatican dignitaries who praised Rahner’s vagaries as “orthodoxy”.
“My Fish, Truly Beloved”
Luise Rinser, who died two years ago, met Rahner in 1962 when she was a widow and two-time divorcee. She initially wrote to Rahner to consult him on a theological matter for an essay she was working on. Rinser visited Rahner at Innsbruck early in 1962, and afterward “their theological exchange became suddenly more personal”.6
At this time, when Rahner was being praised by the liberal Cardinal Frings as the “greatest theologian of the 20th Century,”7 and as he was becoming the prime progressive theologian of Vatican II, he began the heavy correspondence with Rinser, sometimes writing to her 3 to 4 times a day.8 In all, Rahner would write her more than 2200 letters, 758 of them written from 1962 to 1965, the years of the Second Vatican Council, while he was steering the Church into its brave new future.
According to Rinser, theirs was a non-physical romance. Rahner said that he wanted to be “faithful” to his vow of celibacy, but this did not prevent his kneeling before her in a protestation of love. Rinser speaks of the incident in a letter to him dated August 12, 1962. “My fish, truly beloved,” she writes, “I cannot express how shaken I was as you knelt before me. You were kneeling before the Love that you are experiencing and before which I also kneel in amazement, in reverence, with trembling and with an exultation that I hardly dare to allow myself to feel. We are both touched in the innermost part of our being by something that is much stronger than we anticipated.”9
Rinser and the Jesuit priest employed pet names for each other. Rahner called her Wushcel, the German rendering for the Woozel character in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh (a nickname first given to Rinser by her two sons). She called him “my beloved Fish,” a reminder of the ancient Christian symbol, and a nod to his Zodiac sign of Pisces.
Curiouser and Curiouser
The story becomes more bizarre when we learn that Rinser and Rahner were two parts of a love triangle that also involved an unnamed Benedictine Abbot referred to as “M.A.”. All three were at Vatican II. Rahner was the liberal theologian directing the Council’s course; Abbot “M.A.” was a voting member at the Council and an expert on Eastern Orthodoxy; Rinser covered the Council as a correspondent for the German newspaper, Die Welt am Sonntag.
Rinser’s letters reveal Rahner as impatient and jealous that Rinser favored the Abbot over him. In a 1964 letter, alluding to a situation that seems too pathetic to be real, Rinser addresses Rahner’s jealousy: “I have M.A. and you. You shouldn’t say, write or think that you have to be afraid of the one person ... You are part of the very fabric of my life.”10
NCR’s Pamela Schaeffer wrote, “As the relationship progressed, Rahner was petulant, reproachful, wanting greater loyalty from Rinser, who warned him that another man, a Benedictine abbot and her spiritual director, took priority over Rahner in her affections. All three parties to this apparently celibate love triangle — Rinser, Rahner and ‘M.A.’, as she refers to the abbot — connected at Rinser’s second home near Rome during the Second Vatican Council.”11
Rinser’s letters go on to indicate that Rahner was miffed because “M.A.” had been the one to bless her house near Rome and had celebrated Mass in her chapel. Rahner also celebrated Mass at her home, but his jealousy burned nonetheless because Rinser attended the abbot’s daily Mass during the Council years. In order to make his presence more manifest in her life, Rahner would show up at her house unexpectedly, sometimes very early in the morning. The word obsession springs to mind: not exactly a model of what Saint Ignatius intended a Jesuit to be. Rinser says in her autobiography that Rahner increasingly wrote of his despairing love.12
Pamela Kirk, who does not necessarily reprove Rahner for his illicit affections, writes “Compared to Rahner’s very frequent letters to her, Rinser’s average of two or three letters a week are the cause of one of his most frequent reproaches: she doesn’t answer his letters. She has to keep reassuring him. She does pay attention to his letters. She tries to set aside time to answer them, but sometimes she is involved in building a house, she has guests coming, she has to cook, go grocery shopping, do a lot of things he doesn’t have to do, in addition to her writing in order to make a living. Rahner’s repeated accusations of her neglect of him, her betrayal of the early phase of their friendship are nearly overwhelming. He rebukes her for not taking him seriously enough as a thinker. She doesn’t read what he sends her. She doesn’t really care for him. She ought to care for him. These reproaches force Rinser repeatedly to renew her commitment to the abbot, a man who refuses to acknowledge that he once said he loved her ...”13
Despite Rahner’s reproaches, Rinser tells him that the Abbot still has the first place in her heart, even though “M.A.” appears cool and distant. She tells the love-sick Jesuit that after the Abbot and her two sons, Rahner is the main man of her life. Rahner is not satisfied, as he wants Rinser’s exclusive affection.14
These petty jealousies are what swirled in the mind of Karl Rahner at the same time that he set the course for the Second Vatican Council.
A “Divine Experiment”?
Rahner wrote Rinser 2,203 letters that were both theological and personal. According to Kirk, he wrote her 110 letters in 1962, 123 in 1963, 276 in 1964, 249 in 1965, 222 in 1966, along with sending her the diary of his U.S. trip. Rahner wrote her 252 letters in 1967, and more than a hundred letters per year from 1968 to 1970. The correspondence started to slacken in 1971 when he sent her 75 letters and 50 in 1972 (beginning in the 70s, they communicated more frequently by telephone). From then until Rahner’s death in 1984, he sent her about 3 to 15 per year.15
Rinser writes of her relationship with Rahner, “We were both clearly aware of the implications of a relationship which became gradually closer, a spiritual pilgrimage along a rocky mountain edge” — the Gratwunderung, as she called her book — “We did not see it as a lurid tasting of forbidden fruit but as a divine experiment, being wholly man and wholly woman, flesh and blood, and yet intent to live in a spiritual way.”16
Few Catholics would call a Catholic priest’s open protestations of love to a woman a “divine experiment”. Imagine a wife who learns her husband writes love-letters to another woman, calls her by a pet-name, and kneels before this woman in a pageantry of affection. The wife further learns of her husband’s jealousy that the woman prefers another married man to him. She learns that her husband shows up at the woman’s house in the early morning hours. Would the wife simply wink at her husband’s oddities as a “divine experiment”? Far from it. She would recognize it for what it is: an infidelity that reeks of the underworld, whether the “experiment” is physical or not.
Yet a priest’s shower of affection for a woman is worse than a husband making cooing noises to anyone but his wife, since the priest is consecrated to God Whom he is commanded to love and serve “with all his heart, all his mind, all his soul, all his strength.” In the masterful work The Priest, The Man Of God, His Dignity and Duties, Saint Joseph Cafasso does not mince words about the danger — and scandal — of a priest becoming familiar with a woman.
“I shall not stop to quote,” writes the Saint, “the many passages from Scripture and from the Doctors of the Church telling priests to be on their guard against visiting women and remaining in their company. They all cry out, threaten and grieve over the inevitable ruin of the priest who is not on his guard. It is useless for him to put forth pretexts of relationship, suitability, urbanity, good motives, honest intentions, blameless life, irreprehensible conduct, not even the shadow of danger. No one will listen to such excuses, and people will just repeat: woe to the priest who trusts himself to them, who does not seek safety in flight; he is lost.”17
“God” says another writer, “has always demanded a higher degree of chastity and continence of His priests than of other persons not having been selected for His special service.”18 Saint Joseph Cafasso thunders against the type of transgressions that “the greatest theologian of the 20th Century” exhibited. It should be noted that the Saint’s condemnations encompass the “non-physical” hankerings indulged in by Rahner:
“... that a priest trained in the school of the Divine Master, modeled after Him, a man separated from the rest and distinct, who should have nothing to do with this world, a man destined to represent the Divinity upon earth, that this man, I say, should lower himself, debase himself, so cover himself with the mire of the world as to look after a woman, think on a woman, visit her frequently, become familiar with her, is such an ignominy, such an opprobrium that I say frankly that I can find no words to express myself, and if I could, I would not have the heart to use them. Let these people, therefore, be kept as far away from our person as possible.”19
Yet Karl Rahner broke so many of the rules of Catholic theology, caused so much damage in the Catholic world, that it is no surprise if his personal life was also a walk on the wild side.
“My Way” Religion
Rahner and Rinser certainly had one point in common: they were both “religious” individuals who approached God on their own terms.
Born in 1911 in Germany, Rinser grew up a Bavarian Catholic. In the 1930s, she married Conductor Horst- Günther Schnell. The couple were anti-Nazi, which is admirable. Rinser had two sons by Schnell, but Schnell was drafted in the autumn of 1942 and was dead by Christmas the same year.20 Rinser herself then ran into trouble when she wrote The Glass Ring, a novel with an implicit anti-war tone. She was arrested in 1944.
While in prison she drafted her prison diaries, writing on any scraps she could find, including bathroom tissue and edges of newspaper. Sentenced to execution for high treason (undermining morale in the war effort), she was rescued by the Allies in 1945. Her prison diaries were published a year later.
In 1943, before her arrest, she married the author Klaus, who was a homosexual and a Communist. She did this to save him from the Nazis, who would have executed him because he was both red and lavender, a crime on both counts in the Third Reich. The marriage would “mitigate the suspicion of his homosexuality and allow him to be registered in Bavaria where he was less known.”21 These “nuptials” apparently ended in divorce, as she subsequently married composer Karl Orff in 1954. Five years later, this too ended in divorce.
By 1962, she was involved with Father Rahner and Abbot “M.A.,” and corresponded with Rahner until his death on March 30, 1984 (Kirk said the couple spoke by phone just hours before Rahner’s death).22As of 1994, Rinser was keeping up some sort of relationship with Abbot “M.A”.23 She died on March 17, 2002.
Rinser was a recognized author in Germany, publishing more than 30 novels, four memoirs and an autobiography. Some of her titles made the best-selling list in her native country and many of her works were translated into various languages. She was also well known for her leftist leanings, both politically and religiously.
Luise Rinswer with North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung
The German-American Institute eulogized her as “a feminist, an environmentalist, and a protestor against atomic weapons”. Though she claimed to be “deeply rooted in Catholicism in her heart,” she indicated many times that she “lived a blend of Christianty and Eastern religions, seeking a universal harmony”. An admirer of Teilhard de Chardin, “she crafted a universal world view of her own in her blending of Buddhism and Christianity.”24
The London Times wrote of Rinser at her death, “She remained a practicing Roman Catholic to the end of her days, but campaigned for abortion and against celibacy, as well as against the power of the priesthood. In spite of that, she counted among her personal friends Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger ... She stood for the German Presidency in 1984 at the age of 73, as the Green Party’s candidate ... and campaigned in the West for the North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung.”25
Rahner the Radical
Karl Rahner himself showed a similar maverick strain. Remaining “deeply rooted” in his own version of Catholicism, he undermined perennial Catholic truth at every turn. Unlike the great Father Denis Fahey, whose motto was “the world must conform to Our Lord, not He to it,” Rahner’s motto was effectively, “Our Lord must conform to the world, not it to Him.”
Two progressivist shirt-and-time priests at Vatican II. Father Joseph Ratzinger (R) was a co-worker with Father Karl Rahner (L) at the Council
Rahner’s influence was enormous. He satisfied a modern world, and modern churchmen, whose ears were itching for doctrinal compromises under the pretext of “enlightenment”.26
Rahner was one of the leaders of the New Theology, which held that religion must change with the times. Father David Greenstock in 1950 warned against this madness, and exposed the movement’s subversive methods. “The main contention of the partisans of this new movement,” wrote Greenstock, “is that theology, to remain alive, must move with the times. At the same time, they are very careful to repeat all the fundamental propositions of traditional theology, almost as if there was no intention of any attack against it. This is very true of such writers as Fathers de Lubac, Daniélou, Rahner, ... All of whom are undoubtedly at the very center of this movement.”27
Rahner, along with other progressivist theologians such as Fathers Congar, de Lubac, and Chenu were rightly deemed “suspect of heresy” under Pius XII’s Holy Office, and were forbidden to write on various topics. Pope John XXIII, “whom the progressives believed to favor their cause,”28 invited these theological hippies to become expert advisors at Vatican II, thus “rehabilitating” them, even though they never corrected their heterodox teachings.29 These were the progressivists who gained control of Vatican II, where Rahner’s influence was supreme. Father Ralph Wiltgen in The Rhine Flows into the Tiber illustrates Rahner’s impact:
“Since the position of the German-language bishops was regularly adopted by the European alliance, and since the alliance position was generally adopted by the Council, a single theologian might have his views accepted by the whole Council if they had been accepted by the German-speaking bishops. There was such a theologian: Father Karl Rahner, S.J.”30
Bishop Aloysius J. Wycislo (a rhapsodic advocate of the Vatican II revolution) spoke of theologians such as Rahner who had been “under a cloud” for years. These men “surfaced as periti (theological experts advising the bishops at the Council), and their post-Vatican II books and commentaries became popular reading.”31 Wycislo further praises Rahner as one of the “leading lights” of post-Vatican II theology.32
Johann Baptist Metz, 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.”33 A priest from the southwestern U.S. said that of his 1970s seminary training, “Everything was Rahner; Rahner was in; Aquinas was out.”34 Metz said elsewhere, “Karl Rahner has renewed the face of our theology. Nothing is quite as it was before.”35
“Rahner Fever” had struck indeed. The Church worldwide remains gripped in the epidemic.
Rahner: The One-Man Disaster Area
Karl Rahner “originated a new religious category, ‘Anonymous Christianity,’ saying it embraced Buddhists, various other non- Christians and even atheists who are conscientious, upright and caring.”36 “Some kind of faith in God is basically there, whether they know it or not,” said Rahner. “They are a part of a ”Christianity that does not call itself Christianity ... ‘pagans’ who have received grace, but who are not aware of it.”37
This heterodox concept, which defies the thrice defined infallible dogma that “outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation”38 is what made Vatican II’s pan-religious ecumenism possible. The “Spirit of Assisi” rests upon it.39 The modernist Father Jacques Dupuis relies heavily on Rahner to advance the false notion that all members of all religions are equal members in the “Reign of God”.40 The Dictionary of Modern Western Theology acknowledges, “The council’s openness to other religious traditions can be linked to Rahner’s notions of the renovation of the church, God’s universal salvific revelation and his desire to support and encourage the ecumenical movement.”41
Indeed, Rahner was a “single theologian” who had his “views accepted by the whole Council” with catastrophic results. The gale force from Vatican II that uprooted dogma, dislodged morals, blew apart revered Catholic customs, destroyed Catholic landscapes, swept away Catholic landmarks, and toppled the entire Catholic edifice, could rightly be called “Hurricane Karl”.
Father Karl Rahner also
* implicitly denied original sin,
*confused the natural and supernatural orders,42
* supported “a broader role for they laity and for women in the Church,”
* had major input in the Council document Lumen Gentium which stated that the Church of Christ “subsists” in the Catholic Church: meant to imply, contrary to Catholic teaching, that the Church of Christ is bigger than the Catholic Church and somehow includes other “Christian” denominations.
This last point was driven home in Rahner’s last book Unity of the Churches: an Actual Possibility, co- authored with fellow theologian Heinrich Fries. The book proposes that Catholics and Protestants agree on enough fundamental concepts to unite into one “Church,” provided that all participating bodies accept the Creeds up until the 4th Century.
In other words, Protestants who reject the solemn teaching of the Council of Trent, Papal Infallibility, and any Catholic dogma promulgated since the 4th Century, should unite with Catholics in this super- church in which their ministers will share pulpits. The book also lays the ground work for inter-communion. The Pope would still be the head of this new construct but only in the capacity as a “sign of unity” rather than as a ruler with autonomous, God-given authority. The pope would only pronounce dogmas ex cathedra that had achieved the consensus of the “churches within the Church”43.
“Catholic Down to His Toes”?
Yet none of this stopped Vatican dignitaries from celebrating the Centenary of Karl Rahner on March 4-5, 2004 in Rome, and from pronouncing the Jesuit’s unwholesome writings as safe for consumption.
The high profile conference held at the Lateran University boasted participants including Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (under Cardinal Ratzinger); Bishop Rino Fisichella, rector of the Lateran; Jesuit Fr. John Michael McDermott of the Josephinum in Ohio; and Jesuit Fr. Luis Ladaria of the Gregorian University.
The conference concluded that Karl Rahner was an orthodox Catholic. The National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen, a weekly voice of progressivism, gloated, “for all those who fear the influence of right-wing extremists on Catholic officialdom, it might be some comfort that the VIP speakers at the Lateran came to praise Rahner rather than to bury him.”44
Archbishop Amato from the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said, “Notwithstanding some ambiguous formulae, Rahner was an orthodox Catholic theologian.” Father McDermott said the controversial Jesuit has been “misinterpreted,” but that Rahner was “Catholic down to his toes”.45
Yet the first person who would contest the claim that Rahner was “Catholic down to his toes” would be the late Cardinal Joseph Siri of Genoa. In his 1981 book Gethsemane: Reflections on the Contemporary Theological Movement, the Cardinal unmasked as unorthodox three “sacred cows” of the post-Conciliar period: Henri de Lubac, Jacques Maritain and Karl Rahner. The bulk of the Cardinal’s criticism, in fact, landed on Rahner.
For example, Cardinal Siri points out that Rahner effectively claimed that the heretical Protestant notion of “The Bible Alone” is just as valid a tradition as the true Catholic teaching that the two sources of Revelation are both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Rahner says:
“In view of the experience of the faith and theology of our reformed brothers, it is our duty to take as seriously as possible the Protestant principle of Scripture alone, because that implies an authentic religious experience and in my opinion, an equally authentic theological tradition which goes back to Catholicism of the past.”46
Quoting this and similar statements, Cardinal Siri concludes that Rahner effectively undermines the Catholic teaching on Sacred Tradition. Cardinal Siri laments that:
“To maintain (as Rahner does, Ed.) ... on the one hand that ‘Scripture is virtually the only material source of the faith’, and on the other hand, that ‘tradition is not excluded’,47 is equivalent to denying Tradition its fundamental characteristic as original channel (source) of Revelation.”48
Cardinal Siri goes on at length to explain that Karl Rahner confuses the notion of the natural and supernatural orders, attempts to “demythologize” (i.e. undermines) Catholic truth, introduces the heterodox notion of the “anonymous Christian,” and effectively denies original sin.
This denial of original sin surfaces in various ways, without Rahner stating it explicitly. In this connection, Cardinal Siri spotlights Rahner’s treatment of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception.
Cardinal Siri explains that in 1953, Rahner cited the Definition of Pius IX, and seemed to accept its infallibility.49 Here, Rahner recognized that Our Lady was preserved from original sin of which every man carries the stain in coming into the world. Rahner’s acceptance of this dogma, says Siri, “is enveloped in a multitude of considerations concerning the common destiny of man; and this with uncertain and sometimes very contradictory nuances, which attenuates the character of doctrinal certainty. But in any case he seems to admit in these texts, the doctrine of original sin and the preservation of the Blessed Virgin from the stain of original sin.” By 1970, however, in his Theological Meditations on Mary, Rahner writes:
“The dogma (of the immaculate conception) [sic] does not mean in any way that the birth of a being is accompanied by something contaminating, by a stain, and that in order to avoid it Mary must have had a privilege. — The immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin therefore consists simply in the possession, from the beginning of her existence, of the life of divine grace, which was given to her. — From the beginning of her existence Mary was enveloped in the redeeming and sanctifying love of God. Such is, in all its simplicity, the content of the doctrine that Pius IX solemnly defined as a truth of the Catholic faith, in the year 1854."50
However, the definition of the dogma in Ineffabilis Deus says clearly and repeatedly that the Most Holy Virgin was preserved from all stain of original sin. The text reads:
“We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine is revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful, which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of Her conception was, by a unique grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Savior of the human race, preserved from all stain of original sin.”51
Cardinal Siri goes on to show the fallacy of Rahner’s teaching: “... if man at his birth” says the Cardinal, “ is not accompanied by a stain, of what stain does the Bull of Pius IX speak? How can one claim, as Rahner does, that there was not any stain to avoid and that Mary did not need a privilege?”52
In short, this is nothing more than Rahner’s implicit denial of original sin. It also undermines the infallibility of Papal pronouncements, since Rahner’s words clearly contradict Pius IXs solemn definition.
Catholic down to his toes?
How many thousands of Catholic college students, who at a crucial juncture of their lives, have had their faith destroyed or dismantled by reading Rahner in theology courses? Rahner does not confirm the faith of his brethren, rather, through the introduction of doubt and confusion, he pulls the Catholic rug from under his reader.53
Rahner also undermined the doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Herbert Vorgimler, a disciple of Rahner, relates, “In 1960 Rahner had written an article in which he had questioned the Catholic doctrine of the virginitas in partu, the doctrine that Mary had remained a virgin perpetually after the birth of Jesus.” This article, says Vorgimler, caused serious disturbance in Roman circles.
According to Vorgimler, Rahner “attempted to interpret this doctrine ... in his ‘typical’ manner. He sought the ‘nucleus’ of the statement ... Now the invention of all the ancient writers who had said anything about the virginity of Mary was certainly not to express the biological or anatomical aspects ... He came up with a religious and theological content; a person is virgin who is wholly oriented on the fulfillment of the will of God, who is ‘at God’s disposal.’ Of course in this deeper sense, married people, too, can be virgin...”.54
Here Rahner, as in his other writings, plays with fire. The Lateran Council of 649 taught clearly, “If anyone refuses to confess, in accordance with the holy Fathers, that Mary was properly speaking and of a truth the Holy Mother of God and always an Immaculate Virgin ... That She conceived of the Holy Ghost without seed and gave birth without corruption, Her virginity remaining inviolate also after parturition, let him be anathema.”55
Incidentally, Rahner’s redefining of “virginity” in order to undermine Catholic dogma reminds one of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s “redefinition” of the Immaculate Heart in his document that accompanied the “release” of the Third Secret. Here Ratzinger defines “immaculate heart” (lower case “i,” lower case “h” in Ratzinger’s document) as any heart that says “yes” to God.56 This downsizing of Marian devotion was not lost on the Los Angeles Times, who observed that Ratzinger “gently debunked the Fatima cult”.57 It seems that Ratzinger learned well from Karl Rahner, as the two of them worked closely at Vatican II. The technique is simple: do not deny a doctrine openly. Rather, keep the existing terminology, but redefine it. No wonder Rahner’s “orthodoxy” is now celebrated in post-Conciliar Rome.
Rahner’s undermining of Marian doctrine demonstrates that he loved the wrong lady. Rather than truly devote himself to Our Lady and Holy Mother Church, he divided his heart between his own rendering of Catholicism, and Luise Rinser, a woman for whom he pined in forbidden love and petty jealousy.
A Walk on the Edge
The publication of Rinser’s book received some initial publicity in Germany where it received both scorn and praise. One writer criticized her “perhaps unconscious intellectual-spiritual vanity”. Another called Rinser a “priest-hunting lioness”. On the other side, Paul Konrad Kunz in Frankfurter Ellgmien Zeitung praised the book as “the most moving human happening in German Catholicism in the second half of the 20th Century.” Another reviewer honored it as a “frank, but never exhibitionist testimony of a relationship of which neither of these people should be ashamed ...”58
Right-thinking Catholics would disagree with this last statement, for there is nothing honorable about a Catholic priest — worse, a Jesuit lauded as the “greatest theologian of the 20th Century” — hovering like a love-dove around a two-time divorcee, demanding her affections, and bombarding her with over 2,000 letters. The fact that the Jesuits refuse to allow Rahner’s letters to Rinser to be published only deepens the impression that there is something squalid to suspect.
It is no surprise that Rahner’s obsession with Rinser receives little worldwide press, especially in the English-speaking world.59 Nor is it a mystery why Rahner’s Order is adamant that his love letters 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.
Yet in the “New Springtime” of Vatican II, where Catholics faithful to Tradition are treated as spiritual lepers, Karl Rahner remains one of the star-studded “heroes” whom our post- Conciliar shepherds fawn over, celebrate and set loose upon the flock.
1. “Karl Rahner’s Secret 22-Year Romance,” Pamela Schaeffer, National Catholic Report, December 19, 1997.
2. These papers were not yet published when NCR wrote its story, nor were their titles given.
3. Theology and New Histories, The Annual Publication of the College Theological Society, Volume 44, Gary Macy, Editor, (Maryknoll, New York, Orbis Books, 1998).
4. Philosophy and Theology: Marquette University Journal, 1996, Vol. 10.
5. “Luise Rinser’s Celebration and Suffering,” Kirk, Theology and New Histories, p. 188.
6. “A Walk on the Edge,” Roland Hill, The Tablet, September 9, 1995.
7. The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber, Ralph Wiltgen, (Rockford: Tan, 1985), p. 80.
8. “Karl Rahner’s Secret 22-Year Romance,” National Catholic Reporter.
13. “Reflections on Luise Rinser’s Gratwunderung, Kirk, p. 298.
15. National Catholic Reporter, December 19, 1997.
16. The Tablet
17. The Priest, The Man of God, His Dignity and Duty, Saint Joseph Cafasso [1811-1860] (Rockford: Tan, 1979), p. 132. The entire section of this book “The Company of Women” is well worth reading. St. Joseph Cafasso goes on to say, “Women and priests have to be as distant from each other as two opposite poles, if not in actual distance apart, at least in heart and will. Let women come to the church, to the confessional, if they have need of a priest; let them meet outside these places, if it is necessary; but let it be as rarely as possible and with proper precaution; for the rest, let them keep their own places and look after their own business; and when a necessity to speak occurs let the priest remember: Sermo brevis cum mulieribus et rigidus est habendus, and as Saint Bonaventure says: “let thy conversation be dignified and serious”. St. Joseph Cafasso goes on to say, “The houses of women are not made for priests. ‘Let him go and say his Breviary, this is not the place for him,’ was said by a lady about a priest who wanted to prolong his visit.” pp. 132-3.
18. Guidance of Religious, Father Ignaz Watterott, OMI, (St. Louise, Herder, 1950), p. 332.
19. The Priest, The Man of God, His Dignity and Duties, Cafasso, pp. 133-4.
20. In her article in Theology and New Histories, Kirk writes that Schnell was dead by Christmas, 1942 (p. 142). In her piece published in Philosophy and Theology, Kirk places Schnell’s death in 1943. (p. 295).
21. “Revealing Resistance: Luise Rinsers Celebration of Life and Suffering,” Pamela Kirk, Theology and New Histories, p. 193. This essay spotlights Luise Rinser’s resistance to Nazism.
22. “Reflections on Luise Rinser’s Gratwunderung,” Kirk, Philosophy and Theology: Marquette University Journal, p. 293.
23. National Catholic Reporter, Dec. 19, 1997.
24. “One of the Great Story-tellers: Luise Rinser,” Paul A. Schons, Published by the German-American Institute, November, 2002.
25. “Luise Rinser,” The London Times, April 17, 2002.
26. And when doctrine collapses, morals fall with it, as doctrine is the foundation on which moral teaching is based.
27. “Thomism and the New Theology,” Father David Greenstock, The Thomist (October, 1950). The entire article is well worth reading if one wishes to grasp the erroneous nature of the New Theology.
28. Vicomte Leon de Poncis, Freemasonry and the Vatican (Palmdale, CA: Christian Book Club, 1968), p. 14.
29. This story is laid out in “A Model of Papal Authority, Saint Pius X,” John Vennari (Catholic Family News, August & September, 2003). Section II spotlights the fact that Pope Saint Pius X’s effective anti-modernist measured were weakened by John XXIII and subsequently discarded by Paul VI. This collapse in discipline led to the breakdown of doctrinal and moral teaching in the Church, since purveyors of unsound doctrine were not only free to teach, but even encouraged. (The articles are now published in a single booklet form for $6.00 post-paid from Oltyn Library Services, 2316 Delaware Ave., PMB 325, Buffalo, NY 14216).
30. The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber, Father Ralph Wiltgen, (Rockford: Tan Books, 985), p. 80.
31. Most Reverend Aloysius S.J. Wycislo, Vatican II Revisited, Reflections By One Who Was There, Alba House, Staten Island, New York, 1987, p. x.
32. Ibid. See pp. 28-34.
33. Quoted from A Critical Examination of The Theology of Karl Rahner, S.J., Robert McCarthy, (Buchanan Dam: Carthay Ventures, 2001) pp. 1-2.
34. Ibid., p. 2.
35. Ibid., p. 3.
36. “God’s Twentieth Century Giants,” George Cornell, Associated Press, December 22, 1988.
37. Quoted from Ibid.
38. The most forceful and explicit definition of “outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation” was pronounced de fide from the Council of Florence: “The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatics can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this Ecclesiastical Body, that only those remaining within this unity can profit from the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and that they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, almsdeeds, and other works of Christian piety and duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Feb. 4, 1442).
39. Professor Howard Kasimow writes, “To my knowledge, the Pope has never used the term ‘anonymous Christian’. Yet John Paul’s position on this issue seems to be similar to that of Karl Rahner,” Pope John Paul II and Interreligious Dialogue, (Maryknoll: Orbis, March 1999), p. 7.
40. The Jesuit Father Jacques Dupuis takes ecumenism to the next logical step claiming that members of all religions are part of the Reign of God. This was the topic of the speech he gave at Fatima in October, 2003. Dupuis said that he based his new theology on that of Karl Rahner. Dupuis also openly denounced the Council of Florence as a “horrible text”. I attended this Congress at Fatima and wrote subsequent reports about it. See “Fatima to Become an Interfaith Shrine? An Account from One Who Was There by J. Vennari, Catholic Family News, Dec., 2003. Also available on the web at http://www.fatima.org/sprep111303.htm. This new pan-religious concept, based on Rahner’s theology, is also covered in Dupuis’ books, Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism, 1997, and Christianity and the Religions: From Confrontation to Dialogue, 2003.
41. Dictionary of Modern Western Theology (from the web through http://people.bu.edu)
42. These first two points, and other flaws in Rahner’s theology, are dealt with succinctly and in an easy-to-understand manner for the layman in Robert McCarthy’s noteworthy book, A Critical Examination of The Theology of Karl Rahner, S.J. This book also summarizes Rahner’s impact on the post-Conciliar Church, manifest in the Protestantized New Mass as well as the upsurge of “lay ministries” carrying out priestly duties. Rahner’s confusion of natural and supernatural, and the denial of original sin are too complex to cover here. These points are dealt with at greater length and on a more complete theological level in Cardinal Siri’s superb book, Gethsemane, discussed later.
43. See Unity of the Churches, An Actual Possibility, Heinrich Fries and Karl Rahner, (Ramsey: Paulist Press, 1983). The book is a commentary on eight theses for “Church Unity”. According to U.S. News and World Report, an editorial in a late February 1985 edition of the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano attacked the Fries-Rahner book for its “grave errors”. See “Church Unity Scores Some Quiet Gains,” U.S. News and World Report, Joseph Carey, April 8, 1985.
44. “The Word from Rome,” John Allen, National Catholic Reporter, March 12, 2004.
46. Sacra Scrittura e Tradizione, in Nuovi Saggi I, Ed. Paoline, Rome 1968, p. 192). (emphasis added) Quoted from Cardinal Siri’s Gethsemane p. 33.
47. Karl Rahner says, “For theology, Scripture is practically the only material source of the faith, to which it must refer as to the source clearly original, not derived and ‘orma non mormata’. With that, we are not excluding the tradition of theology.” (Rahner, Sacra Scriptura e Tradizione, in Nuovi Saggi I, p. 168). (Emphasis added.) Quoted from Gethsemane, Cardinal Joseph Siri, (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1981) p. 33.
48. Gethsemane, Cardinal Joseph Siri, Ibid.
49. K. Rahner, L’Immacolata Concezione, and Il dogma dell’immacolata e la nostra pieta, in Saggi d Cristologia e di Mariologia, ed. Paoline, 2nd ed., Roma 1967, p. 413 and ff. Quoted from Gethesmane, p. 87.
50. K. Rahner, Maria Mediazioni, Herder-Morcelliana, Brescia, 1970, 3rd ed. (1st edition, 1968), p. 50. Quoted from Gethsemane, p. 88.
51. Denzinger, 1641. Emphaisis added
52. Gethsemane, p. 89.
53. I personally know two people who entered college full of good will, and whose Catholic faith suffered as a result of being forced to study Rahner (and Teilhard) at a Jesuit University. One left the Church altogether, and returned to the traditional (non- Rahnerized) Catholic Faith many years later. The other rescued her faith by trashing her Rahner books and reading the lives of the Saints, who were walking catechisms of Catholic truth.
54. Herbert Vogrimler, preface to Understanding Karl Rahner, (New York: Crossroads, 1986), p. 91. Quoted from A Critical Examination of The Theology of Karl Rahner, McCarthy, pp. 39-40.
55. Cited from Mariology, (Volume IV of Dogmatic Theology, a 12 Volume set) by Pohle-Preuss, (St. Louis: Herder, 1953), p. 97.
56. Ratzinger said in the June 26, 2000 document “The Message of Fatima” that accompanied the release of the Vision of the Third Secret: “To reach this goal, [salvation] the way indicated — surprisingly for people from the Anglo- Saxon and German cultural world — is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A brief comment may suffice to explain this. In biblical language, the ‘heart’ indicates the center of human life, the point where reason, will, temperament and sensitivity converge, where the person, finds his unity and his interior orientation. According to Matthew 5:8 the ‘immaculate heart’ is a heart which, with God’s grace, has come to perfect interior unity and therefore ‘sees God’. To be ‘devoted’ to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means therefore to embrace this attitude of heart, which makes the fiat — “your will be done” — the defining center of one’s whole life.” [p. 24].
57. Referring to Ratzinger, the paper said, “The Vatican’s top theologian gently debunked the Fatima cult”. “Catholic Church Unveils ‘Third Secret of Fatima’,” Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2000.
58. All quotations and references of German reviews are from The Tablet, September 8, 1995.
59. The National Catholic Reporter said there was concern that Rahner’s letters “would provide grist for Rahner’s conservative “theological adversaries”. England’s Tablet was more explicit, quoting one reviewer who said, “there are many, in Rome and elsewhere, for whom Rahner has always been too liberal and humane ... Now at least he provides them with ammunition which in the Church always has the desired explosive effect: a celibate priest betraying his oath, if not in bed, then in the depth of his soul, and this is held to be much worse than being incapable of love or betraying a fellow man”.
Reprinted from the May 2004 edition of
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Posted by Strom at 5:19 AM Links to this post
Labels: problems of Vatican II
Friday, February 20, 2009
Dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic Church of the Ecumenical Council of Vatican III
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Posted by Strom at 5:34 PM Links to this post
Labels: Vatican III
The Fate of Unbaptized Infants In Light of the Universal Necessity of Baptism
by Mike Malone April 25th, 2005
In reply to the question concerning the salvation of aborted infants by virtue of a vicarious “baptism of desire” on the part of their parents or by “baptism of blood” on either their part or “on the part of the Church,” it can only be said that such is absolutely impossible. The Council of Trent infallibly defined the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism, and decreed: “If anyone says Baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema” (De Baptismo , Canon V). Further, the Ecumenical Council of Vienne defined that: “All the faithful must confess only one Baptism which regenerates all the baptized, just as there is one God and one faith. We believe that this Sacrament, celebrated in water and in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is necessary for children and grown-up people alike for salvation” (Denzinger 482). Thus, it is tantamount to heresy even to doubt that aborted children are lost for all eternity, because it means falling into the “private judgment”‘ of Protestantism or, what is worse, the subjective speculation of a perverse and humanistic “theology.”
St. Augustine, in his “Epistle to Boniface” says, “For it is not written ‘Unless a man be born again by the will of his parents’ or by the faith of those presenting him or ministering to him,’ but of water and the Holy Spirit” (Rouet de Journel: Enchiridion Patristicum: 98). The originator of this “infant-salvation” heresy was an Irish monk named Morgan, known to posterity as Pelagius — one of St. Augustine’s greatest enemies. Augustine declared: ‘Let no one promise infants who have not been baptized a sort of middle place of happiness between damnation and Heaven, for this is what the Pelagian heresy promised them’ (The Soul and Its Origin, Patrologiae Latinae, Migne, 44:475). St. Augusitine and many early fathers held that unbaptized infants go to Hell (the doctrine of limbo will be discussed further down). Thus, the Ecumenical Council of Florence declared: “The souls of those who die in actual mortal sin, or only in Original Sin, immediately descend into Hell” (Denz. 693). This is also the explicit teaching of the Council of Lyons II (Denz. 464). The notion of “Baptism of Blood,” itself a mere fallible and undefined speculation, cannot apply in this case, since aborted infants are not dying for the sake of Jesus Christ, nor the Faith, nor even for virtue. Indeed, they are dying precisely for the lack of virtue on the part of their parents, for loss of Faith on the part of their murderers, and against the precepts of Jesus Christ; and the infants involved have no will either to accept or reject this, morally or otherwise. Furthermore, the principal Ecclesia supplet (’The Church Supplies’) would never function in this case, for the aborted child is not a member of the Church. The Church cannot hope to supply eternal life to those outside her membership.
The Holy Innocents, celebrated on December 28, died morally for Christ, and thus were “baptized in their own blood”; yet they did not need membership in a Church which was of a future Testament, and in which no Saint in the Old Covenant was saved (They were also all circumcized males). Under the New Law, it is defined infallibly that all must be saved in Christ; that is, in His Mystical Body, of which the aborted have no share. “Anyone who would say that even infants who pass from this life without participation in the Sacrament of Baptism shall be made alive in Christ goes counter to the preaching of the Apostle and condemns the whole Church, because it is believed without doubt that there is no other way at all in which they can be made alive in Christ’ (St. Augustine, Epistle to Jerome , Journel: 166).
As for “Baptism of Desire” of the parents, this is absurd on its face; the mother does not wish her infant well, but dead. Besides, can we lose our salvation purely for someone else’s sin? Yet this would be the case, for if a child could be saved by the desire of its parents, then it would follow that it could also be lost for its parents’ ignorance and lack of desire.
One of Protestantism’s patriarchs rejuvenated this scheme of Pelagius; his name was John Calvin. As St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori states: “Calvin says that infants born of parents who have the faith are saved, even though they should die without Baptism. But this is false: for David was born of parents who had the faith, and he confessed that he was born in sin. This was also taught by the Council of Trent in the Fifth Session, number Four: there the fathers declared that infants dying without Baptism, although born of baptized parents, are not saved, and are lost, not on account of the sin of their parents, but for the sin of Adam in whom all have sinned” (Explanation of Trent , Duffy Co., 1845, p.56). Thus, a child cannot be damned for its parents’ sins, nor saved by its parents’ virtues: and this is only just. The great Scriptural exegete, Father Cornelius a Lapide, known to the world of patristics, was a Flemish Jesuit named Cornieilis Van Den Steen. In his monumental Commentaria , he declared: “Calvin, in order to detract from the necessity of Baptism, maintains that the children of believers are justified in the womb simply because they are children of believers. But this is absurd and perverse, and condemned by the Church as heretical. If it be lawful to wrest this passagewith Calvin, then we may do the same with every other passage, and thus pervert; the entirety of Scripture. No commandment will survive, not even the institution of Baptism itself!” (In John III). Thus, St. Ambrose concludes: “No one is excepted: not the infant, nor the one prevented by any necessity’ (Abraham, Patrol. Lat. 14:500 ).
The General of the Dominican Order, Thomas de Vio Gaetani, better known as Cajetan, revived this ‘vicarious baptism of desire’ contemporarily with Calvin. Happily, this error was ordered expunged from his works by the Pope. In his decree against the Synod of Pistoia in 1794, Pius VI alludes to “that place of the lower regions which the faithful generally designate as the limbo of the children” in which the souls of those dying “with the sole guilt of original sin” go. Nevertheless, the view which the Holy Father adopts in no way holds either for a parental or infantile ‘baptism of desire’ nor for the rewards of the Beatific Vision for unbaptized souls (Denzinger 1526). This limbo of the children amounts to merely the ‘highest place’ in the abode of Hell, as explained by St. Vincent Ferrer in his sermon preached on the Octave of the Epiphany (Sermons, London: Blackfriars , 1954, p. 82-83). For, as one sainted pontiff declared: “If anyone says that, because the Lord said ‘In My Father’s house are many mansions,’ it might be understood that in the Kingdom of Heaven there will be some middle place, or some place anywhere, where the blessed infants live who departed from this life without Baptism, without which they cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven which is life eternal: Let him be anathema. For when the Lord says ‘Unless one be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he shall not enter into the Kingdom of God,’ what Catholic will doubt that one who has not deserved to be a co-heir with Christ will be a partner of the Devil?” (Pope Zosimus at the Council of Carthage XVI, Canon 3, Denzinger , 30th edition, p.45, note 2).
“O my God, I give Thee infinite thanks on behalf of myself, all creatures, and especially my particular friends, for the gift of life, and the capacity to know and love Thee. I thank Thee for having preserved our existence and allowed us to be born alive to receive Holy Baptism. If we had died before being delivered from Original Sin by the grace of Holy Baptism, which has been the misfortune of many souls, we would never have seen Thy divine face, and we would have been deprived of Thy holy love forever. May the angels and saints bless Thee forever for this most special favor Thou hast accorded us!” — St. John Eude