KARL RAHNER'S PASTORAL THEOLOGY: A STUDY OF ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CHRISTIAN IN THE MODERN WORLD

BRIDGET AGNES DOWNING, Fordham University

Abstract

This study focuses on the pastoral character of Rahner's theology. It examines Rahner's contribution to pastoral theology, showing it to be a discipline in its own right and a systematic reflection on the self-realization of the entire Church. Because of its sources, foundational themes and methodology Rahner's theology is expressed in many dissertations through philosophical categories that highlight the speculative and systematic content of his work to the exclusion of its pastoral nature. The study demonstrates that the structure and motivation of Rahner's theology are pastoral: that theology seeks to facilitate the act of faith and to serve the concrete life of the Church, that the foundational categories of transcendence and reductio in mysterium have pastoral roots. Further, the study shows that Rahner's understanding of pastoral theology offers positive direction to the Church's activity.^ The aim of this study is to show that pastoral theology evaluates how authentically the Church as Sacrament mediates God's presence by examining the nature of the Church and by a sociological-theological analysis of the present time. The method of this study is an expository and constructive examining of Rahner's philosophical categories, the sources, foundational themes and methodology of his theology for its pastoral content. The primary sources of our study will be based on Rahner's own pastoral works; however, references will also be made to secondary sources.^ In the past Rahner's work has been examined for its scholarly systematic and speculative content with the result that to date his pastoral theology has not received the acclaim it deserves. This study addresses that oversight and demonstrates that all his theological efforts are directed toward that very practical goal: to deepen the relationship between persons and their God. In doing so, the study seeks to show that Rahner's foundational categories have pastoral roots and that his pastoral theology is a systematic reflection on the self-realization of the entire Church in the present time.^ A significant contribution of this study is to give a presentation of the concrete pastoral position of Karl Rahner as a tentative guideline for future pastoral orientations. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

DOWNING, BRIDGET AGNES, "KARL RAHNER'S PASTORAL THEOLOGY: A STUDY OF ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CHRISTIAN IN THE MODERN WORLD" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8628541.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8628541

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