Archive for the ‘Karl Rahner’ Tag

Feast of Karl Rahner (March 5)   Leave a comment

karl-rahner

Above:  Karl Rahner

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

KARL RAHNER (MARCH 5, 1904-MARCH 30, 1984)

Jesuit Priest and Theologian

++++++++++++++++++++++

The number one cause of atheism is Christians.  Those who proclaim Him with their mouths and deny Him with their actions is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable.

–Karl Rahner

++++++++++++++++++++++

Karl Rahner, probably the greatest Roman Catholic theologian of the twentieth century, characterized his life in modest terms:

I do not know what’s happened to my life.  I did not lead a life; I worked, wrote, taught, tried to do my duty and earn my living.  I tried in this ordinary everyday way to serve God–that’s it.

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 103

Our saint, born at Freiburg, Germany, on March 5, 1904, came from a devout Roman Catholic family.  An older brother, Hugo Rahner (1900-1968), became a Jesuit in 1919 then went on to become a scholar of patristics.  Karl joined the Society of Jesus three years later and became a priest in 1932.  He studied philosophy at the University of Freiburg.  There Rahner sought to expand his horizons beyond neo-Thomism.  The inquisitive pupil attended lectures by Martin Heiddeger (1889-1976), an existentialist philosopher.  Rahner wrote a thesis, Spirit in the World (published in 1939), a study of the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas in the context of philosophy from Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) to Heiddeger.  Our saint’s neo-Thomist professor rejected it.  Rahner completed a degree at the University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.  In 1937 he joined the theological faculty there.  Two years later, however, Nazis closed the university.

Rahner, ever a priest, worked as a pastor in Vienna during World War II.

Our saint was also a natural academic.  He taught at Pullach, Bavaria, from 1945 to 1948.  Then he returned to the University of Innsbruck, becoming Professor of Dogmatic Theology in 1949.  Rahner, ultimately author of more than 4000 articles and books, became the subject of Vatican censorship before his return to favor in 1962.  That year he became an architect of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), for which he contributed to the documents on the church, revelation, and the church in the world.  Rahner was Professor of Religion at the University of Munich from 1964 to 1967 then Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Munster from 1967 to 1971.  Finally our saint retired to Munich then, in 1981, to Innsbruck.  He continued to be an active theological writer in retirement.

Rahner died at Innsbruck on March 30, 1984.  He was 80 years old.

Our saint, rooted in Roman Catholic tradition, sought to make that tradition intelligible to the modern, pluralistic, post-Enlightenment world.  He began this project during the repression of modernism instituted by Pope St. Pius X (reigned 1903-1914) and not ended until Vatican II.  Despite more openness from Vatican II forward, many conservative Roman Catholics have never approved of Rahner’s theology.  He has been an agent of the degradation of true faith, they have concluded to the present day.

Rahner emphasized the role of human experience in divine revelation.  He argued that, for people to perceive divine revelation, the communication of it must be comprehensible via human experience.  Our saint also wrote that the infinite mystery of God is the root of all human existence, so religious experience is not a category separate from the rest of life.  Rahner also insisted that grace is intrinsic to human nature, which God has ordained to be open to receiving grace.  Therefore, he wrote, opening oneself to grace in every situation is the way to salvation.

One might quibble with aspects of Rahner’s theology, but the emphasis on grace is positive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PEPIN OF LANDEN, ITTA OF METZ, THEIR RELATIONS, AMAND, AUSTREGISILUS, AND SULPICIUS II OF BOURGES, FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS ACROSS GENERATIONAL LINES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY MARY PUCCI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JULIA CHESTER EMERY, UPHOLDER OF MISSIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP II OF MOSCOW, METROPOLITAN OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA AND MARTYR

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, by your Holy Spirit you give to some the word of wisdom,

to others the word of knowledge,

and to others the word of faith.

We praise your Name for the gifts of grace manifested in your servant Karl Rahner,

and we pray that your Church may never be destitute of such gifts;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Wisdom of Solomon 7:7-14

Psalm 119:97-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16

John 17:18-23

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 720

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Alfred Delp (February 3)   Leave a comment

alfred-delp

Above:  Alfred Delp

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ALFRED DELP (SEPTEMBER 15, 1907-FEBRUARY 2, 1945)

German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

++++++++++++++++++++

My offense is that I believed in Germany and her eventual emergence from this dark hour of error and distress, that I refused to accept that accumulation of arrogance, pride, and force that is the Nazi way of life, and that I did this as a Christian and a Jesuit.

–Alfred Delp, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 58

++++++++++++++++++++

Alfred Delp opposed the Third Reich, which executed him on false charges.

Delp, born at Mannheim, Baden, German Empire, on September 15, 1907, grew up in a Christian home.  His mother was a Roman Catholic and his father was a Lutheran.  Our saint, baptized a Roman Catholic, grew up and went through confirmation in the Lutheran Church.  At age 14, however, he made his First Communion and crossed the Tiber River.  He joined the Society of Jesus in 1926 and pursued theological studies (some of them under the direction of Karl Rahner, 1904-1984), which the rise of Nazism interrupted.  Delp, ordained to the priesthood in 1937, joined the staff of the Jesuit publication Voice of the Times, which the Nazis suppressed in 1941.  Next, as the Pastor of St. Georg Church, Munich, our saint helped Jews escape to Switzerland.

Delp joined the Kreisau Circle, a secret organization that planned a new Christian social order to take effect after the fall of the Third Reich.  In 1944, after the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler, Nazi operatives falsely accused members of the Kreisau Circle of being complicit in the act.  Thus Delp became a prisoner that year.  Our saint wrote profound meditations (of a man who knew he might die any day) during Advent 1944.  In those moments Delp found freedom in Christ. Our saint died via hanging in the Plotzensee prison on February 2, 1945.

His life testifies to the ultimate victory of the love of God, despite the short-term triumph of evil.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN THE YOUNGER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK COOK ATKINSON, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH PIGNATELLI, RESTORER OF THE JESUITS

THE FEAST OF KAMEHAMEHA IV AND EMMA ROOKE, KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Alfred Delp:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph

may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 715

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++