Postliberal Theology and Its Relationship to Vatican Research Paper

Pages: 12 (3627 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Postliberal Theology and Its Relationship to Vatican II

The objective of this work is to explore some vital aspects of the proposed topic within contemporary theology. Post-liberal Theology and Its Relationship to Vatican II.

Liberal Theologians

The work of McMahon (2009) entitled: "Liberal Theologians"

states that theologians have been impacted by not only society and churches but as well by academic institutions over the last 150 years "towards a modernistic approach to 'doing theology'." (McMahon, 2009)

Also profoundly impacting theological perspectives are the factors of:

(1) the colonization of America;

(2) the enlightenment;

(3) the romantic period

(4) the American and French revolution;

(5) the rise of nationalism;

(6) the industrial revolution;

(7) the development of natural sciences, technologies, medical science and the human sciences. (McMahon, 2009)

It is reported that there from all appearances is an "overarching trend among recent theologians to integrate theology with culture, and to emphasize some aspect of the eschatological pinpoint of how theology should work." (McMahon, 2009

II. Modern Theology

It is stated that both Kant and Hegel greatly impressed modern theologians however, modern theology is attempting to answer the question of how theology affects the academy, the churches and society." (McMahon, 2009

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) There was a; major crisis in European society and culture due to the impact of World War I and this in turn impacted the theological framework of many theologians at that time. It is stated that the World War "was the context in which Karl Bart's Neo-orthodoxy would emerge and the rise of his dialectical theology. This was his attempt at rethinking the whole enterprise of modern theology and fitting it into the crisis of the age in which he lived. He took theology and moved it into the realm of the post-modern, becoming the father of neo-orthodoxy." (McMahon, 2009

Research Paper on Postliberal Theology and Its Relationship to Vatican Assignment

Bart is stated to have transformed the idea of "human autonomy" which was emergent during the Enlightenment to be a major theological factor against traditional orthodoxy by identifying Jesus Christ as the one true human autonomy of which all men should follow and imitate." (McMahon, 2009

) Barth is stated to make the attempt to "create a God-centered account of reality" however what Barth actually does is redefine "theology and places the life history of Jesus in the context often occupied an abstract concept of God and presses the reader to acknowledge what are his own formulations of the Trinity and "uses them as focal points for his systematic 'Church Dogmatics'. " (McMahon, 2009

III. The Vatican II

McMahon states that in 20th century modern theology "one cannot but look to Vatican II (1962-1965 as the "most important theological event which had implications not only for the Catholic Church, but also for the rest of the world." (McMahon, 2009

) McMahon reports that the work of Congar was invaluable on the church specifically in terms of its history. The work of Congar on Vatican II "was helpful link that he mediated, in a certain light to making the outcome of Vatican II sensible in its documentation." (McMahon, 2009

) McMahon states that if he is coupled with Henri de Lubac, "the complex church and political events become clear in their interpretation of the events of Vatican II. Lebac reached into history and pulled the Counter Reformation into the present, restored an understanding of the church through a theology that reinterprets the Eucharist, has an incredibly deep appreciation of pre-modern biblical interpretation, and expounds in his writings on the 'deconstruction' of the dualism between grace and nature." (McMahon, 2009

De Lubac posits that Christianity transforms the world "not by rejecting it, but by absorbing it and specifically states"…there is nothing good which Catholicism cannot claim for its own…" and additionally stated that "Nothing authentically human, whatever its origin, can be alien to her [the church]." (in: McMahon, 2009

) it is stated that because God "is the author of nature, truth may be found in other religions and philosophical systems and be fruitfully utilized and perfected by Christianity." (McMahon, 2009

De Lubac additionally writes: "any ideas of a more or less Marxist, Nietzschean, or Positivist stamp may even find a place in some blueprint for a new synthesis, and neither its orthodoxy nor its value will be called into question on that account. In the Church, the work of assimilation never ceases and it is never too soon to undertake it." (McMahon, 2009

Guarino (1995)

writes that the entire theological corpus of de Lubac is one that "bears witness to his retrieval of the patristic notion of reciprocity. Truth is indeed everywhere and the church's process of appropriation and analogy extends to every realm of thought. The only boundary for the assimilative and analogical imagination is Christ, all truth is subject to further refinement in him." (Guarino, 1995) de Lubac, with his "drive for totality and mutual correlation" was strongly in support of attempts which was made in various Roman Catholic circles "to revive the theological style of Aquinas and the thirteenth century." (Guarino, 1995) it was the view of de Lebac that the gospels "dynamism…demanded an unending process of creative imagination and bold appropriation…" (Guarino, 1995) de Lubac held that "Just to imitate primitive Christianity or the Middle Ages will not be enough. We can revive the Fathers' all-embracing humanism and recover [their] spirit [...] only by an assimilation which is at the same time a transformation. For although the Church rests on eternal foundations, it is in a continual state of rebuilding and since the Fathers' time it has undergone many changes in style…" (cited in: Guarino, 1995) de Lubac states that "we live in a world different from that of St. Paul, Origen, Aquinas and Bossuet" and that the theological mission of the present time is that of developing styles and approaches which are suitable for the present times as did those just previously stated.

Postliberalism is stated to have been associated widely with the work of George Lindbeck and with nuances, several other thinkers. It is the argument of postliberalists that "if one gives proper ontological weight to the finite, the particular and the local, then one speaks not of universal experiences and standard, but of encompassing cultural-linguistic systems, of enveloping networks and webs of belief of the incommensurability informing various frameworks. Guarino writes that Vatican II "speaks of the climactic and normative revelation in Jesus Christ which is integrally transmitted from age to age in perpetuity." (1995) This is stated to be "hardly innovative" as it "simply sums up the long tradition of Christian belief that God has truly manifested himself and taken humanity into deep communion with his own inner life. In turn, Christianity has adopted some form of prima philosophia only insofar as it needs this to undergird logically the material continuity and integral transmission that appear essential to its self-understanding." (Guarino, 1995) the epistemological achievement of Vatican II "within Roman Catholicism…" was "that the material identity of Christianity does not require a commitment to one particular philosophical system, viz, Christianized Aristotelianism." (Guarino, 1995)

O'Leary writes that the Vatican II held that "…"the books of Scripture, firmly, faithfully and without error teaches that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures" (Dei Verbum 11). Focusing on the phrase, "for the sake of our salvation," they conclude: "We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters. We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision" (the Gift of Scripture, no. 14 in O'Leary, 2008

) Specifically stated is:

"Fundamentalism, they declare, "disregards the diversity of views and the development of understanding which is found in the Bible and does not allow for the presence of 'imperfect and time-conditioned elements' [imperfecta et temporaria] (Dei Verbum, 15) within Scripture." It "actually invites people to a kind of intellectual suicide," because it gives "insufficient consideration of the place of a given text within a developing tradition" and it "will often take a simplistic view of literary genre, as when narrative texts which are of a more complex nature are treated as historical" (the Gift of Scripture, no. 19 cited in Leary, 2007

The question is asked in the work of Gabriel Fackre entitled: "Claiming Jesus as Savior in a Religiously Plural World" of "…if postliberal theology strongly affirms identity, then where does it find room for openness? Could the post-liberal community be open to strangers, without either reducing the stranger to the same, or representing the stranger as a negative other? Could the community be open to self-criticism as well as critique? " it is stated that today Christianity is "constituted by overlapping and sometimes conflicting, communities. The plural life-world of society today also implies -- for better or worse -- that difference is not only between communities, but within communities and persons as well. The rift between the church and the world goes right through the believer's heart. And since the church shouldn't identify itself with kingdom-come, the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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