"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Is Balthasar Catholic?

Hans Urs von Balthasar was one of the 20th century's greatest Catholic theologians. He was a even a favorite of Pope John Paul II, who was planning to make him a cardinal in 1988 just before, as it turned out, he died. I call von Balthasar Catholic because I have no doubts on that score. But others are not so sure.

Al Kimel presents and comments on an exchange in First Things between two Catholic theologians one of whom, Alyssa Pitstick, asserts that "the Christ whom Balthasar proposes descended into Sheol is not the same Christ whom the pre-Reformation and Catholic tradition professes descended to the limbo of the fathers." If so, then vB is a heretic and hence cannot be accounted Catholic. I don't believe that, but the issues raised in the exchange are worth discussing for the sake of deepening the Church's understanding of this aspect of the Paschal Mystery.

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