Karl Rahner

Authored by: Mark F. Fischer

The Routledge Companion to Modern Christian Thought

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782173
eBook ISBN: 9780203387856
Adobe ISBN: 9781136677922


 Download Chapter



Karl Rahner (1904–84), a German-born Catholic priest and theologian, influenced the transition of Catholicism from a posture of defensiveness toward modernity to a posture of service to the world. His theological writings enabled the Church to welcome the insights of the world's religions and to view humanity in positive terms as a divine creation with a supernatural destiny. At the Second Vatican Council, a gathering of Catholic bishops and ecumenical observers convened in 1962 by Pope John XXIII and concluded in 1965 by Pope Paul VI, Rahner served as a theological expert. He helped the assembled bishops to mark Roman Catholicism's “official realization of itself as a world-Church” (Rahner 1981: 78). Prior to Vatican II, Catholicism might have regarded itself as an exporter of Christianity in a basically European guise. Most of its bishops were Europeans, Latin was its official language, and the Northern Hemisphere was its focus of operations. After Vatican II, that changed. The council encouraged liturgical celebrations in the vernacular languages, its assembled bishops included representatives from every continent, and it expressed a message of Christian solidarity with people of goodwill everywhere. Rahner called attention to these changes and prepared the intellectual foundations for them.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.