Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Becoming "all-cosmic" doesn't thrill me

Karl Rahner SJ
Yes, but will having "a real ontological influence" be any fun?

"All cosmic" is what we will become in the place formerly known as heaven, according to the late Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner (1904 AD - 1984 AD).  Perhaps this notion thrills you:

Strange though it may seem to us today, a few decades ago mush like this used to thrill a lot of people, most of whom would never in a million years consider actually becoming Catholic.  Perhaps this was because Rahner's tales of the afterlife were not only reassuring to his audience (he didn't require them to do anything) but also flattering to their college educated sensibilities.   However, since it is in the nature of a thrill to be temporary, most of those who were thrilled by Rahner have died or long since moved on to new thrilling pursuits.  We are left to ponder how many of those who died actually achieved "all cosmic" status.  And how many didn't.  (h/t Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit)


  1. Rahner became very morbid in his later years and liked to hang about in cemeteries for hours at a time. Perhaps he was giving himself a head start.

    But I do not agree that he has dwindled into a postmortem or senile irrelevance like those that have enveloped Fathers Schillebeeckx and Kung. Rahner was an evil genius, and like all such, he was, sadly, a very great genius indeed. He is still by far the most influential theologian of the modern age, and nearly all of his ideas were Kantian and very bad. Kant eviscerated mainstream Protestantism and, thanks to Rahner, very nearly sank the Catholic Church as well. (It's really not too wild a metaphor to say that Rahner/Kant came as near to destroying the Church as Hitler came to conquering the Soviets.)

    Thanks be to God, I believe Rahner's day is done. But even today, every single progressive Catholic you will meet has a mind partitioned according to Rahner's appalling categories whether he knows it or not. Every one. And quite a lot of them are in a position to do real harm.

  2. I suppose I have underestimated the damage done by this morbid German. Still, I find the high seriousness of his academic theological jargon kind of funny.