A Prophetic Voice

Philosophy and Theology 23 (2):283-300 (2011)
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This essay provides an analysis of Karl Rahner’s book The Shape of the Church to Come and comments briefly on the context of this book, namely, the German Synod at Würzburg, Germany in 1971. Rahner was prescient in thinking that it may only be a single occasion that may precipitate a huge crisis in which many Catholics will leave the Church, refusing to pay the church-tax, as is happening in Germany today. Although Rahner sharply criticizes the Church as institution, his passionate loyalty to the magisterium also comes through loud and clear in all his writings. Rahner, the consummate theologian, cannot be pigeonholed into neat categories like “conservative” or “liberal” because his theology knows how to do a balancing act. Finally, Rahner is such a trailblazer in theology that it may take another fifty years for the institutional Church to catch up with his thought.



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