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This paper engages the theological anthropologies of Karl Rahner and James Alison in order to develop two mutually clarifying perspectives concerning original sin and the nature of conversion. It begins by considering the value and limitations of Alison's use of the Resurrection, as well as his Girardian reading of history, as lenses through which to understand the self, original sin, and conversion. Rahner's transcendental anthropology, because of its similar assumption regarding the priority of the Resurrection for understanding the self, provides an effective instrument for evaluating Alison's project. I conclude that Rahner's transcendental perspective from within the “order of being” represents a necessary compliment to the Alisonian viewpoint, which remains exclusively within the “order of discovery” and thereby limits rather than enhances persons' capacity to experience grace. I ultimately propose, however, that further investigation of Alison's work and its usefulness for illustrating the psychological, ethical, and socio-political aspects of conversion constitutes a worthy theological task within contemporary Christian culture.
This article looks at two major metaphors used in contemporary ecclesiology, the church as “the People of God” and as “the Bride of Christ,” which have functioned in some of the polarizing debates within the Catholic Church in North America. It then suggests some methodological reasons why reliance upon metaphors in ecclesiology, either through the balancing of different metaphors or the promotion of a dominant metaphor, is inadequate to the task of understanding the church systematically. It then suggests some avenues for future ecclesiological method that may help to understand the church better and so to respond better to contemporary ecclesiological debates.
The question of Christianity's relationship to the religious traditions of the world lies at the center of Jacques Dupuis' theological work. This essay contends that Dupuis' Christology provides the ground for his pursuit of this larger question. An exploration of Dupuis' positive assertions about who Jesus Christ is reveals both a new Christological view and an implicit critique of conventional notions of what it means to be human. By challenging traditional Christology and creatively restructuring the relationship of our humanity to Christ's humanity, Dupuis invigorates the purpose of humanity's role in salvation history. This shift in emphasis, toward Christ's and our shared humanity, allows Dupuis to recognize the theological significance in all mainstream religious traditions.
This paper elaborates a theory of catechesis that is concerned with the psychological transformation of adult Christians. It offers a definition of this new type of catechesis as well as a comparison with experiential catechesis. It then presents a process for transformative catechesis based on the analytical method of Jungian depth psychology. This process includes anamnesis, interpretation, discernment, and ritual commitment, with the ultimate aim of helping adults identify and experience the paschal mystery in their own lives. It begins by examining the suitability of Jungian psychology for a catechetical process, presents the actual process, and then explores the theological implications of Jungian-based catechesis for those working in ministry.
What it means to be a person is a key issue in contemporary bio-ethical issues. A new socially ordered metaphysics with greater emphasis on the long-range interests of the community might provide common ground for resolving points of difference. Colin Gunton's trinitarian approach to contemporary social issues and a somewhat modified notion of “society” in the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead are used in this essay to sketch such a new social ontology and to indicate how its use might at least change the tone of the current debate.