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CHICAGO STUDIES

Consequently, his theology seldom ossifies into tidy propositions. It concerns the living God, always greater than our best concepts, whom we meet in our midst. This God speaks for our salvation--our deliverance from absurdity and sin. And the theology which confesses this God, in grateful praise of his goodness-drawn-near, sets both tradition and intelligence in the service of the word's salvific intent. It is what one might call a pastoral theology-a theology ever solicitous for the pain and possibility of man's inmost heart, where the Spirit judges the world and broods filial love. Such theology, as Rahner brilliantly performs it, has a human weight, an experiential strength which average dogmatics lacks. Surprisingly, it is the transcendental preoccupations which make it more satisfying. That is, Rahner's pastorally oriented expositions ring more true, more pertinent to salvation, because they keep present the mystery holding human life. Too much dogmatics confines itself to the categorical, predicamental domain-the area of conceptual clarification, where the mystery is splintered for our manipulative control. No doubt this categorical work is important, unavoidable, and sanctioned by a revelation that has assumed the space-time halters of a definite history. No doubt we need clear responses to the questions about particular articles of faith which (as the history of dogma shows) men are bound to raise. But saving revelation immediately addresses the fullness of our concrete existence, and experienced human existence makes mystery more primordially decisive than even the sum of its categorical declarations. So much for a persuaded exposition of Rahner's concern with foundational mystery. It will need no further defense for those who grant revelation a "pragmatic" (saving) priority-of-intent, and who agree that salvation is a matter of the inmost heart-the unity of man, below his channeling into mind and will, where the simple enfleshed spirit answers or refuses its one decisive call. It is Rahner's usual method to move from the foundational

experience of mystery to its definitive declaration in Christ. This move is really a swing or pivoting, for his attention to

Profile for Chicago Studies

Spring 1969  

Volume 8:1

Spring 1969  

Volume 8:1

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