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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.