Roman Catholic Theology is comprised of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Decisions on the Scripture and the Sacred Tradition are interpreted by the “Magisterium,” and these form the basis of the Catholic teachings (McGrat, 2006). This article evaluates the theology of Rahner and Kung in terms of how much they pushed for the envelope of traditionally accepted Roman Catholic theology.
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Catholic Church spread the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ, adherence to the Ten Commandments, and admission of the sacraments to the believers of Christ. Unlike the Latin Rite Catholic Church and the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, the Roman Catholic beliefs in the comportment of Purgatory, Immaculate Conceptions of the Virgin Mary, Papal infallibility, and the Pope as the reverend of the Christ on Earth (Escobar, 2003).
It is important to note here that “the Roman Catholic theologians believe in the conditions of the Apostle and the Nicene Creed and Liturgy is their order of worship and the authority used in regulating the church” (McGrat, 2006). Catholic worship is ordained by the Eucharist, even though there are several other forms of prayers and modes of devotion, which include the Stations of the Cross, Rosary, and adoration of the Eucharist sacrament (McGrat, 2006).
The Theology of Rahner
Karl Rahner lived between 1904 and 1984. He was one of the most authoritative Roman Catholic theologians of the twentieth century. Other influential icons of the time were Bernard Lonergan and Hans von Balthazar. Prior to the establishment of the second Vatican Council, Rahner was associated with Nouvelle Theology, which was a newly emerging theology. This theology was criticized on the grounds that it went against “the encyclical humani Generis of Pope Pius the XII” (Grenz, & Olson, 1992).
Rahner turned out to be a stringent anti-Catholic theologian with radical visions. His visions were enveloped in an obscured language he had apparently concocted. The implications of his eccentric theories were codified in a language that only the initiates could comprehend (Grenz, & Olson, 1992).
On various occasions, this man Rahner dodged several censorship attacks and disciplinary actions in his entire career (Boff, 2006). McGrath (2006) extensively accounts for Rahners theology, beginning with his theory on human nature, his conception of the origin of sin, and subsequently his assumptions on the nature of Christ, “demythologizing of the Catholic faith, decentralization of the future church,” personal and private Revelation.
In Rahners assumption of the anonymous Christians, he argued every humankind was an enemy of Christ, regardless of his belief and religion (McGrath, 2006). His theory of Anonymous Christianity invoked the second Vatican, deeply influenced the ecumenism movement, revolutionized the New Ecclesiology of Pope John Paul II and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (McGrath, 2006).
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The Theology of Küng
Hans Kung, to some extent, emulated the views of Rahner on Christianity. He, too, was a notable polemic Christian theologian of his time. This Roman Catholic Priest was on the opposing end, discrediting and interrogating Pope John Paul II on some of the most vital tenets of the Roman Catholic Church (Grenz, & Olson, 1992). However, in spite of the radical nature of his views, Kung has also been praised by critics for his scholarly approach and extensive research on theology questions (McGrath, 2006).
Kung became an official theologian during the regime of Pope John XXIII, who recognized him as an architect of the second Vatican Council. His connection with the Roman Catholic took a new turn in the regimes of the subsequent Popes. To Kung, the Popes that came after Pope John XXIII reversed the vital reforms that were initiated but the second Vatican Council in the 1960s (McGrath, 2006). His criticism of the continued management of the Roman Catholic faith led to his expulsion from the Vatican and renouncement of his Catholic priesthood (Brockman, 2001).
Both Karl Rahner and Karl Rahner were ardent Roman Catholic theologians from the onset. The views of the two were, however, changed radically. Rahner turned out to be a stringent anti-Catholic theologian with radical visions, whereas Kung criticized and questioned the administration of Pope John Paul II regarding some of the most vital tenets of the Roman Catholic Church. The two, therefore, pushed for the envelope of traditionally accepted Roman Catholic theology.
Boff, L. (2006). “The Church, Charisma and Power.” Diercksmeier-Trans. New York, NY: Crossroads.
Brockman, R. (2001). “The prophetic role of the Church in the Latin America.” Christian Century, 100 (10).
Grenz, S., & Olson, R. (1992). The 20th century theology: God and the world in a transitional Age. Downers Grove (IL). Inter-Varsity Press. ISBN-13: 0-8308-1525.
Hordern, W. (2001). A layman’s guide to Protestant theology: Revised Edition. Wipf & Stock Publishers. ISBN-13: 1-57910-925-X.
McGrath, E. (2006). Christianity: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1-4051-0899.