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The dogmatic constitution Dei Filius of the First Vatican Council held as a matter of faith that it is possible to prove the existence of God through the natural light of reason and apart from the aid of revelation. The doctrine has been criticized for its abstractness and lack of historical consciousness, in that it neglects the conditions in the human subject for the possibility of such a proof. Denys Turner has recently defended this claim of Dei Filius. In Faith, Reason and the Existence of God (Cambridge, 2004), however, Turner does not address the nuanced position of Bernard Lonergan, who interpreted Dei Filius in a way that defended its conclusion but severely limited its applicability. I propose to bring Turner and Lonergan into conversation on the matter of Dei Filius' doctrine regarding the possibility of proving the existence of God.
During 2006, two events, one involving mainly Protestants and the other Catholics, triggered widespread debate on evolution and Christianity. The Dover, Pennsylvania case focused on whether intelligent design (ID) should be taught alongside evolution in public high school science classes; a New York Times Op-Ed by Cardinal Schönborn of Austria argued that Catholics should reject neo-Darwinianism. Once again, these debates raise the important issue of the relationship of science and religion, and more specifically, science and Catholicism, and call for further reflection on how Catholic theology should conceive of its role in an age still dominated by science.
John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801–1890) is on the eve of being beatified. His contributions to theology and philosophy of religion are of such stature that many deem him worthy to be named a Doctor of the Church. Henry Edward Cardinal Manning (1808–1892) is thought to be the most illustrious of Westminster's archbishops since the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in England in 1850. Newman mistrusted Manning, and Manning thought Newman lacked orthodoxy. The strained relationship began in their Anglican days and continued life long. Its story is here recounted and concludes with an explanation of why strain set in. Their very different views on the workings of authority in the Church, the role of the laity in the Church, and the Church's relationship to the world provided a sure recipe for their continued alienation.
Theology of religions, which grounds a theological approach to non-Christian traditions, has become widely dismissed recently as irrelevant, and even challenged to be inimical to authentic dialogue. This article addresses the critiques and defends the viability and even necessity of a theology of religions. It does so by showing how postmodern insights provide the key to break the deadlock previously constraining theologies of religions.
This article revives consideration of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a network of Alinsky-style community organizing institutions supported by the Catholic Church, as an object of theological and ethical reflection. After describing the IAF and its organizing practices, it advances two claims. First, the IAF offers Catholic social teaching a concept of power that can sharpen its understanding of social change. Second, the IAF offers a promising model of parish social ministry. Specifically, it offers a pedagogy and praxis of political agency that enhances the parish's ability to live out its calling to be the church, and to be a mediating institution of public life. Such a model integrates evangelical impulses into the “public church” framework for conceiving Christianity's relationship to civil society.
The argument that I wish to make here was first presented at a German conference whose working title was “Glauben nach the Moderne: Deutsch-amerikanische Intellktuellendiskurse.” That title posed both an interrelated ambiguity and a challenge. The ambiguity stemmed from the contrasting meanings of the preposition nach. Did nach mean “according to,” so that the major topic concerned “faith in relation to modernity” or “faith within the conditions of modernity”? Or did nach mean “afterwards,” so that the issue was faith after modernity in the sense of “post-” modernity? If the former, then the conditions of modernity pose the challenge to faith. If the latter (as postmodern theorists argue), then today's situation constitutes a critique of modernity which establishes the contemporary conditions of faith. This contrast formulates for me the challenge of articulating the possibilities of a theological dialogue and exchange between European culture and Anglo-American culture on the subject of cosmopolitanism and theology.