A journal of academic theology

Volume 78 Number 2

From The Editor’s Desk – June 2017

Theological water cooler talk not infrequently circles around the lament that the age of the “giants” has passed. There are no Barths, Tillichs, Rahners, Lonergans, Congars or Balthasars on the horizon, the narrative goes; most theologians at work today are lesser lights, and their theology is derivative. Systematic theology in particular has lost its way.

Inverting the Pyramid: The Sensus Fidelium in a Synodal Church

Pope Francis has spoken of his vision of synodality and of a synodal church in terms of “an inverted pyramid.” This essay examines the roots of such a vision in the vision of Vatican II, particularly two reversals made by the council regarding the nature of the church. Moreover, it shows the centrality of the

Catholic Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage: A Practical Theological Examination

This essay uses practical theology as a method to investigate the disconnect between church teaching on divorce and remarriage without an annulment and the lived experience of the faithful, and argues for a reformulation of the doctrine. First, it presents the interrelationship between sociology and the sensus fidelium as a methodological framework for doing practical

The Finality of Christ and the Religious Alternative

This article shows how the modern category of religion largely shapes the horizon of many contemporary theological appropriations of the finality of Christ, and how the influence of this category creates serious problems. Though affirming Christ’s finality often seems to pose theological difficulties in religiously pluralistic contexts, I argue that it is not at all

Strange Companions? Hans Urs von Balthasar as Resource for Comparative Theology

While Hans Urs von Balthasar has been often criticized for a failure to deeply engage cultural and religious diversity, this essay argues his theology proves an excellent resource for comparative theology. After clarifying and explaining Balthasar’s own shortcomings in interreligious and intercultural engagement, the article presents his theological aesthetics as a paradigm for forming the

Violence, Mysticism, and René Girard

Blending the science of acknowledged mystics—Dostoevsky, Weil, Péguy, Pascal, Hölderlin, and Augustine—with the insights of social scientists over the course of a long and distinguished career, René Girard contributed to an understanding of the mysticism of social life through focusing attention principally on the ersatz mysticism of metaphysical desire and mob behavior, but also on

The Creature Makes Itself: Aquinas, the De-idealization of the Eternal Ideas, and the Fate of the Individual

The Christian Platonic tradition affirmed that human flourishing involves conjunction with the realm of eternal divine ideas. The account developed by Thomas Aquinas in effect denied this, rendering ideas contingent, unknowable and impossible as direct objects of attainment. Although no longer ideals for human aspiration, a role within spiritual or ethical striving might still be

Community as Primal Reality

The author suggests that there may be a primal, underlying reality common to the universe and to its creator, something essential to what is both divinely infinite and creaturely finite. Do the structures of the cosmos suggest that being in all its variety is essentially communal? Astronomy suggests that clustering is a dominant dynamic and

Directed toward Relationship: William Stoeger’s Immanent Directionality and Edward Schillebeeckx’s Mystical Eschatology

Astrophysicist and theologian, William Stoeger, SJ argued that evolutionary processes manifest an immanent directionality toward increasing complexification and diversification. Though he did not explicitly prioritize full relationship to God as the end of all creation, a priority on relationality does permeate his analysis of the natural order. A more explicit emphasis upon relationality would bring

Does Evolution Have a Purpose? The Theological Significance of William Stoeger’s Account of “Nested Directionality”

William Stoeger, SJ, a highly influential proponent of theistic evolution, maintained that scientific understanding of the three major phases of evolution—cosmic, prebiotic, and biotic—all indicate that the universe is marked by an intrinsic tendency to produce novel kinds of entities, greater and greater organized complexity, intensified interconnectedness between organisms and their environments, and an unimaginable

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