Fr. Schillebeeckx… RIP

I just learned that Fr Edouard Schillebeeckx died today.

Fr S had many erroneous ideas but at one point did some good theological work.

May God be merciful to him now.

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50 Responses to Fr. Schillebeeckx… RIP

  1. Traductora says:

    Very odd. He did have some good moments, but his later career went off the rails and I think he had a bad influence on many people (who may or may not have understood him).

    The Devil like a roaring lion goes about seeking whom he may devour. Prayers for him.

  2. Oneros says:

    I dont think he or any of his crowd were trying to be heretical.

    They were working on a new theology, as has happened several times in Church history mind you, and he and several others perhaps didnt achieve as successful a synthesis as did, for example, Von Balthasar did with personalism.

    I’m sure there were many proto-Scholastics leading up to, and around the time of, Albertus Magnus and Aquinas, whose experiments with Aristoteleanism were well-intentioned but incorrect, but which were part of the “great conversation” from which Thomism did eventually emerge.

  3. FrCharles says:

    Thanks for the post. I will pray for his peace. My licentiate would never have arrived at a passable form without him. Requiescat in pace.

  4. seanl says:

    Thanks for letting us know, Father. I will be praying for his soul!

  5. Jordanes says:

    Yeah, maybe Father Schillebeeckx wasn’t trying to be eheretical.

    God have mercy on his soul. It’s good at least that he will no longer trouble the Church with his errors.

  6. DominiSumus says:

    Eternal rest grant to him O Lord

  7. Hidden One says:

    May his soul rest in peace, and may we not commit the damnable error of thinking that we are any better than he.

  8. Andy F. says:

    Was it necessary to regard FATHER Schilebeeckx as one who troubled the Church with errors? I believe a simple pray for his soul takes care of anything we need to say. Given the times he went through, it’s a miracle he died as a Christian.

  9. boko fittleworth says:

    From what I’ve read, it seems like Fr. Schillebeeckx, OP, was a heretic who (anonymously) sabotaged the work of Vatican II, was instrumental in the catastrophic collapse of Dutch Catholicism, and tried to undermine the priesthood and the hierarchy of the Church and to lead the faithful astray by promoting falsities about our Lord and his Death and Resurrection. May the Lord have mercy on his soul, but let’s not play pretend here. Praying for him is good. Making excuses for him helps noone.

  10. Oneros says:

    I would be careful about condemning anyone for “errors” not condemned as such by the Church, Jordanes.

    Thomism isnt de fide. Schillebeeckx was trying, perhaps less successfully than others, to parse the faith in a different philosophical framework. From what I can tell, though his may not have been the most satisfying synthesis, he didn’t say anything that could not be interpreted in an orthodox sense. Which, from everything I can tell, is the sense he intended.

    One must think, for example, of the case that Cardinal Ratzinger wrote on at the CDF regarding Rosmini, and how he was mistakenly condemned by those who read his works through the paradigm of Thomism, when really his whole point was to frame the revealed truths in a different “language” of philosophy.

    Likewise, even something like Transignification, which seemed highly suspect…Schillebeeckx always insisted that it assumed Transubstantiation (which is undoubtedly the correct parsing of that Truth WITHIN the framework of scholasticism). But we must remember it is the TRUTH of transubstantiation which is dogma, not the word “transubstantiation” or the philosophical framework its etymology implies.

    In a world where reality is conceived of simply as signs in the Mind of God (a rather platonic idea), and where something’s “accidents” are taken to be simply the vehicle used by God to signify the MEANING of it’s “substance,” then saying that the external sign remains but the internal signification has changed is absolutely equivalent to Transubstantiation, just using a different Metaphor or Analogy (and all our theology is ultimately Analogical, as all theologies admit).

    In this case, the analogy used is that of a Word (accidental) as the vehicle of Meaning (substantial) based on the intention of the Speaker (God). This would, frankly, perhaps be a useful analogy for explaining substance and accidents to people. The external grayness and fluffiness I experience are not the internal objective reality of the cat-in-itself…yet they are used by God to represent it to me, analogous to how the textual symbol “cat” is not a cat, but is used by people to signify a cat to me.

    Transignification, however, was misunderstood by many to DENY transubstantiation. And these interpretations were condemned by Paul VI, who, remember, condemned transignification only inasmuch as it was taken to deny transubstantiation. Which it doesnt necessarily.

    And, the confusion is perhaps understandable. But Schillebeeckx’s whole system assumes that Reality IS a form of Symbol. That what Thomism would call accidents…in effect “symbolize” their substance…like a word conveys it’s meaning. That the “substance” of a bundled set of phenomenal properties/accidents…is simply what GOD intends it to “mean” to a subjective conscious observer. In that system, to Mean is To Be. And if God decides to CHANGE the meaning…it changes. Which is equivalent to transubstantiation, just in a different analogy, in this case the analogy of Word/language. The meta-referencing of which is perhaps too confusing for the common person to wrap their head around, but which does NOT make it heresy, understood correctly.

  11. Oneros says:

    His remarks on the Resurrection are misunderstood too.

    He insisted that, Jesus’s “personal-cum-bodily Resurrection preceded any faith-motivated experience [of the disciples].”

    But exploration ASSUMED that was true, took it for granted. It wasnt his purpose to reaffirm what is obviously a truth of the Christian faith. That’s been done to death.

    His purpose was to explore the Resurrection experience through the lens of the personal experience of the disciples OF the risen Christ, and how through that experience Christ gave Meaning to the utterly absurd and meaningless event (to natural eyes without faith) of the Crucifixion, to the death of a totally innocent one.

    But again, to lots of people that may be unnecessarily abstract or post-modern. Even though, ironically, one of his main emphases was on the contrast between Theory and praxis…

  12. Joshua08 says:

    One would have very good reasons to question whether such a philosophy would not undermine the Faith. The Church is infallible even over philosophical truths insofar as the faith presupposes them. Leaving aside the whole problems of just assuming that philosophy is a rather whimsical thing that admits of various languages or analogies (and also ignoring the utter equivocation on the word analogy as used by theology and analogy as used by you in describing various opposed philosophies), rather than being a real pursuit of truth and leaving aside all the wreckage such a view of reality would do, the doctrine of transignification would still be censurable. It would fall under three censures, error theologicus, propositio temeraria, and propositio male sonans.

    Not to mention his challenging the hierarchical nature of the Church, his attacks on celibacy, his devaluation of the sacrament of order and his apparent denial of the historical reality of Christ’s resurrection for which he was called to account for by the CDF (even if he did not in fact deny such, his statements were still captious and dangerous…words have weight beyond what an author claims to have intended)

    Only truth is compatible with truth and therefore it is false and yes retarded to think that any and all philosophical systems can be used by theologians and Catholics. Granted that the Church does not determine us on every philosophical question, but only those intimately connected with the faith, it is still a false, rash and stupid assumption to praise someone for making a new theology or trying to synthesize a view of philosophy with the Faith. There is only one philosophy, because there is true and then there is false- and various traditions of trying to get at the truth. The mere adoption by moderns of some claims to philosophical truths is no reason to adopt those claims.

  13. Maltese says:

    Schillebeeckx studied Calvin with Conger in Paris and formed a journal with Kung; he supported the idea that the resurrected Christ may not be a historical fact, and was a driving force during Vatican II. Maybe with some of these Vatican II radicals we can get going on the business at hand: restoring a Church left in ruins by the marxist priests and bishops of Vatican II:

    http://www.traditioninaction.org/ProgressivistDoc/A_050_Schil_CCL.htm

  14. Maltese says:

    “maybe with some of these Vatican II radicals *dying off* we can…” I meant to say

  15. ssoldie says:

    All one has to do is look at the Church in Holland. May God have mercy on his soul.

  16. robtbrown says:

    I dont think he or any of his crowd were trying to be heretical.

    I would describe their work as an attempt at an undoctrinal theology.

    They were working on a new theology, as has happened several times in Church history mind you, and he and several others perhaps didnt achieve as successful a synthesis as did, for example, Von Balthasar did with personalism.

    And what is this new theology? It is subjective and was produced by the likes of Rahner and Schill to obfuscate distinctions in important matters like the Resurrection of Christ and the Incarnation.

    I’m sure there were many proto-Scholastics leading up to, and around the time of, Albertus Magnus and Aquinas, whose experiments with Aristoteleanism were well-intentioned but incorrect, but which were part of the “great conversation” from which Thomism did eventually emerge.
    Comment by Oneros

    I don’t think the theological “experiments” of Rahner and Schille were well intentioned.

  17. JonM says:

    A couple thoughts bouncing in my head this Christmas Eve morning…

    Christ instructs us to judge a tree by its fruits and to hack down the one that bears rotten fruit; well intentioned or not, the more recent theological experimentation or ‘modernist framework within a framework’ approach has coincided with a decline in attendance of Mass, basic understanding of doctrine, and the level of importance of the Church in everyday life

    As Father once said, we are NOT a church of Donatists. I love the analogy ‘hospital for sinners’ (and of course we all at least at some point need treatment).

    We have to remember, in this respect, that sometimes we are misled into thinking that we are doing something for the betterment of someone. Probably there is an element of failure at virtue when this happens (at least for me and my failings that are not strictly sins, lack of cardinal virtue is always a factor). But, the subjective state of a man’s intentions is not readily seen.

    I know a priest who is very liberal theologically and liturgically but most obviously loves Jesus Christ and thinks that his (the priest’s) approach is the best way for bringing his flock to salvation. This was important for me to experience because I would too often fall into absolutism (i.e., think that the party doing something objectively wrong was intending to screw things up). We need to see the many shades so that we can influence and correct those in error.

    Fittleworth’s comment is suiting, which I paraphrase: we should pray for Fr. Schillebeeckx and do so genuinely (not dismissively). However, trying to sweep under the rug the more distructive theological teachings of Fr. Schillebeeckx is simply disingenuous and does not help matters.

  18. James Locke says:

    Meh, I hope God has mercy on his soul and brings him to eternal happiness.

    Now, IMHO, nobody tries to be heretical as we are all orthodox unto ourselves, but seriously, why defend a theology that is so problematic? Why defend Liberation theology when there are much better alternatives for the poor?

    Why defend transignification if it usually just end up in the denial of transubstantiation? I understand what is going on with that theology, but it does not lead to a greater understanding if it undermines what we are already saying is true. This is why I dislike Karl Rahner.

  19. Chris M says:

    Well, we can all agree that, at least now, Father Eduard knows more about theology than ANY of us. God have mercy upon him and us.

  20. mpm says:

    I think that what Joshua08, with whom I agree, is saying requires use of the word “realism”, realist philosophy. The opposite kinds, are “idealist” philosophies, and the “l” in English should be ommitted for clarity: they are philosophies of “ideas” not reality.

    I think it is at least “proxima fidei” (by Vatican I) that one’s philosophical explanation of reality must be realist, rather than one which claims that all we can know are ideas about reality, without ever attaining to reality itself. Christ did not die on “the idea of a Cross”, nor rise from “the idea of the dead”. Idealist philosophies, which by their nature eschew knowledge of the real are incompatible with the dogmas of the Church, as understood East and West.

    Modern scientists (especially physicists) love to use Kantian ideas when they write books for the general public, but when they want to do science they confront hypotheses with the facts as they can be measured in “reality”: modern scientific effort has a built-in corrective.

    The “analogue” of “data” in theology are the Mysteries of the Faith. When any “theological method” dissolves any Mystery of the Faith it must be abandoned, not pursued.

    That’s where the modernists have sinned: they have drunk at the wrong well. Then they exacerbated that problem by publishing their conclusions for a wide distribution among people ill-prepared (i.e., ill-formed) to even understand what they were talking about, much less give them some good old-fashioned “peer review”, i.e, smackdown.

  21. Supertradmom says:

    Yes, we are all sinners and the Church is a church of sinners. However, those in authority, and especially teachers in universities and seminaries have a greater responsibility to uphold true doctrine and not merely speculate without returning to Catholic teaching. The damage done by theologians who insist on their own ideas, or protestant interpretations of liturgy and scripture, is seen in the pulpit and classroom today. God have mercy on his soul, and ours. To those who have been given much, much is expected.

  22. It seems to me the difference between the person in error and the person in heresy is that the former accepts correction while the latter does not.

    Like others have said here, I will pray for his soul and not attempt to judge the state of his soul at the time of his death.

  23. I lived as an adult through the entire last fifty years and the most depressing thing to me was that there were no heroes. The Church almost entirely collapsed. The entire Traditional movement was developed as a self defense against the collapsed institution. Bp Fellay and the SSPX can sit across the table and discourse with the Vatican appointed theologians as equals because they have earned their respect. The Vatican has ordered five Irish bishops to step down because of their failures in abuse scandals in their dioceses. Can you imagine this happening under the Pontificate of John Paul II? They would have been left there until they retired. I have been told by priests that the Church will never write a history of this period as it would either be too damning, or it would be a pack of lies.

  24. Oneros says:

    “The Church is infallible even over philosophical truths insofar as the faith presupposes them. Leaving aside the whole problems of just assuming that philosophy is a rather whimsical thing that admits of various languages or analogies (and also ignoring the utter equivocation on the word analogy as used by theology and analogy as used by you in describing various opposed philosophies), rather than being a real pursuit of truth and leaving aside all the wreckage such a view of reality would do, the doctrine of transignification would still be censurable. It would fall under three censures, error theologicus, propositio temeraria, and propositio male sonans.”

    The Truth may be parsed in any language, Latin or Greek. It can likewise be phrased in any internally self-consistent philosophical language for speaking about reality whose postulates are not irrational.

    Transignification, understood in its Orthodox sense, IS transubstantiation, except that reality as we experience it is described in terms of signs (the “accidents”) conveying meaning (their “substance”) as intended by God.

    It can be a helpful analogy for people, as long as they understand it isnt attempting to reduce the Eucharist to a “symbol” whose “reality” is still bread…because many people in the modern world conceive of “substance,” when it is described to them…as some sort of invisible, physical, material stuff which there is no evidence for, which seems to violate Occam’s Razor…instead of as the metaphysical identity it is meant to mean.

    Transubstantiation is undoubtedly the correct description of the Truth WITHIN the framework of Aristotelean metaphysics…but in defining the truth using the framework of Aristoteleanism, the Church was attempting to dogmatize the Truth, not the framework. Just as when she proclaims something in Latin, she isnt trying to deny that the same dogma could be “translated” into English, etc. We aren’t Muslims with the Arabic Koran. Many people are confused by Aristotelean metaphysical language, which is highly abstract, and prefer more intuitive metaphors. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as it’s all analogical anyway. The Truth conveyed is what matters.

    “There is only one philosophy, because there is true and then there is false- and various traditions of trying to get at the truth. The mere adoption by moderns of some claims to philosophical truths is no reason to adopt those claims.”

    No, there are multiple philosophies, just as there are multiple spoken languages, even though there is only one Truth. Thomism is not de fide. Neo-Thomism is not de fide. Nor is Neo-platonism, etc.

    Thomism and Scotism and Personalism can “both be right” as long as they are describing the same underlying dogma. The different systems may emphasize different things, but they are complementary, not contradictory.

    There will be no reunion with the Orthodox until you realize that.

  25. JosephMary says:

    Now he knows the Truth of all things.

    One day we all will.

    Ave Maria!

  26. Oneros says:

    “I think it is at least “proxima fidei” (by Vatican I) that one’s philosophical explanation of reality must be realist, rather than one which claims that all we can know are ideas about reality, without ever attaining to reality itself. Christ did not die on “the idea of a Cross”, nor rise from “the idea of the dead”. Idealist philosophies, which by their nature eschew knowledge of the real are incompatible with the dogmas of the Church, as understood East and West.”

    But their philosophy IS realist. That’s the whole point. The word “cat” is not a cat. In fact, that those sounds convey that meaning is arbitrary, a historical contingent. And yet…the meaning “Cat” IS nevertheless conveyed according to the intent of the speaker and the perception of the listener. Their whole point is that signs DO convey objective meaning when conscious Persons are involved, even though the signs themselves are subjective. In some ways, it is a great answer to the objections of Existentialism regarding Meaning.

    In a philosophical framework that views objects as just a “bundle” of properties arbitrarily joined, their compresence can be nevertheless be explained as a sign conveying a meaning intended by God.

    You never perceive the “substance” of things. But white, round, chewy, etc…convey the meaning “bread” to me. That bundle of relative properties/accidents…convey the objective, absolute meaning or “substance” Bread. I know that’s what the Speaker of Reality (God) is conveying with that external sign. That combination of properties/accidents…indicates Bread in-itself, just as the sound “bread” indicates the idea.

    Unless God, as speaker of reality, authoritatively changes the substance, changes the meaning. Unless those accidents become no longer the vehicle for bread (which they naturally inhere in), but for the substance of Christ (which they nevertheless do not inhere in, it is an extraordinary exception to the language of reality, they are not His usual signifier).

  27. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “Transignification, understood in its Orthodox sense, IS transubstantiation,..”

    There is the problem. *If* it is understood in its *orthodox sense* – then, yes, as Paul VI said in Mysterium Fidei one could use that term (as well as transfinalization – which was Schillebeeckx’s favorite term. However, according to Fr. John Hardon, S.J. – Schillebeeckx himself *denied* that there was an ontological change of the substance of bread and wine. This, then, renders the species as merely symbolic).

    Start Fr. Hardon: (From his article “Crisis of Faith and the Eucharist”):

    Now transfinalization, this identifies two principal errors that are threatening the faith of believing Catholics in Christ’s Real Presence in the blessed Sacrament. Transignification which we have just briefly described is very closely allied to transfinalization. In fact these two are almost synonymous but not quite.

    Now transfinalization. This is a view of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist as the purpose or finality of the bread and wine is changed. Changed by the words of consecration but what remains after the consecration is still bread and wine, in other words, the bread and wine are now serving new function as sacred elements that arouse the faith of the people in Christ’s redemptive love.

    We might say that transfinalization is another name for transignification. In both cases the substance of bread and wine, I repeat and I wish to emphasize, remain. There is no change in their being bread and wine – merely take on a new meaning. Transignification, or new purpose, transfinalization.

    If Karl Rahner is the best-known advocate of transignification, Edward Schillebeeckx is the most famous proponent of transfinalization. Once again it is worth quoting at some length but this time from Schillebeeckx. His language is very subtle in context – he uses the words real presence. But tells us that the purpose of the Eucharistic elements is simply to make Christ’s presence more intimate. He was present before the consecration and is still present after the consecration – nothing happened to the bread. Nothing happened to the wine we read from Schillebeeckx. Anyone who denies what I just said is bound to misunderstand transubstantiation and make it objective.

    The signs of the Eucharist bread only imply a presence as an offering emanating from the Lord in His assembled community. The “Real Presence” that is peculiar to the Eucharist is thus confined to the category of personal presence. It is interpersonal the host mediates between the Lord and his church and me in the same church I kneel not before Christ who is as it were condensed in the host but before the Lord Himself who is offering His reality His body to me through the host.” unquote Schillebeeckx. The host was bread before consecration and remains bread after consecration.

    End Fr. Hardon.

    Read the whole article here: http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Faith/Faith_006.htm

  28. A dear friend of mine, a former Lutheran who is now a Catholic, likes to say “A good man deserves our prayers, and a bad man needs our prayers. In either case, we pray.”

    That pretty well sums it up for me.

    Blessings, and a Merry Christmas to all.

  29. Dave N. says:

    We have him to thank for the vast majoirty of Dei Verbum.

    RIP

  30. Fr_Sotelo says:

    William H. Phelan:

    You wrote: “I have been told by priests that the Church will never write a history of this period as it would either be too damning, or it would be a pack of lies.”

    If the Church’s history is reduced to the activity of priests and bishops, as if we are the end all and be all of Catholic existence, you statement might be more accurate than not.

    However, if “this period” can also refer to the holiness of the laity in these times and the efforts of good clergy to restore the Church, I believe there is much to write about which is good and edifying. Too much Catholic “news” is the activity, better or worse, of the clergy. Yet in the grand scheme of things, they are less than 1/100 of 1% of the entire membership of the Church.

    Fr. Schillebeeckx himself was influential for some of the clergy–30 years ago and before. For 99.9% of the rest of the Church, there have been far more pressing matters than his theology. May he rest in peace.

  31. archambt says:

    I will pray for the response of his soul.

    And that all of us may realize that petty theology is trumped by the joyful birth we’re about to celebrate.

    And finally, I do hope you mean “retarded” in its musical sense of “slow,” and are unaware of its offensiveness to some folks.

    Merry Christmas!

  32. Jordanes says:

    Andy F. asked: Was it necessary to regard FATHER Schilebeeckx as one who troubled the Church with errors?

    Yes. Theological and doctrinal errors are his primary contribution to post-Vatican II theology, and that’s not a matter of rejoicing.

    I would be careful about condemning anyone for “errors” not condemned as such by the Church, Jordanes.

    Of course. So would I. I don’t condemn Father Schillebeeckx for his errors, but take due note of his errors which the Church has rejected and warned us about.

  33. Maltese says:

    Here is a thoughtful discussion of “living tradition,” (from SSPX’s handsome new website) which I’m sure Schilebeeckx was a huge proponent of, along with Kung. Speaking of Kung, I’ll never forget, as a student at the University of Michigan, he gave a lecture to us undergraduates (this is 14+ years ago) about the licitness of abortion. He honed in on, and singled-out, this one terrible sin to talk about with impressionable students. He was adamant about the licitness of it, and almost a celebrity in his suit and tie!

    Anyway, Kung and Schilebeeckx were like-minded, and, as I said above, Schilebeeckx avidly studied Calvin in Paris–not in comparativeness, but in admiration.

    http://www.dici.org/en/?p=4219

  34. This is astounding. How many of you above ever met Fr. Schillebeekcx? Andy F. above states: “Given the times he lived through, it’s a miracle that he died as a Christian”. Who really knows in what state he died? Father Z. can announce that ANYONE died and fifty readers are prostrating themselves next to the funeral bier. Incredible! Two acquaintances of mine just died and no one even knows to what religion, if any, they ever belonged! PRAY FOR THEM. Their probable loss of salvation is what resulted from all the heterodoxy and heresy of the last 50 years which confused anyone who was exposed to it. God will deal with the miscreants.

  35. Hugh says:

    R.I.P.

    He wrote some good stuff early on.

    He seemed then to be, we can say, thanks to Pope Benedict the Great, operating out of a “hermeneutic of continuity”. There’s a passage or two in Christ, The Sacrament of the Encounter with God which throw brilliant light on the doctrine of transubstantiation. Well, for me, anyway. Frank Sheed – no fool – thought well of him in those days.

    But then came the definitive rupture. I can’t document the date (possibly 1968? … that revolt at the Sorbonne and elsewhere that moved a certain Joseph Ratzinger in another direction? … Humanae Vitae?).

    After that, it’s a downhill slide. By the early ’80’s he was – like Kung, noted above – in favour of abortion. Abortion!! (I read an interview with him in NCR at the time. I’ve been trying to track it down recently. Perhaps readers could help me? Go through your carefully archived copies of NCR, about 1981 to 1983 and find the interview for me – you do have them, don’t you?)

    It confirmed my worst fears. I was a theology student at the time. My lecturers were raving about E.S. as the bee’s knees. They inflicted Jesus: An Experiment in Christology on us. Then: Christ: The Sacrament (etc) on us: a full semester course! On ONE mind-numbing, glorying in its vagaries, BOOK!

    I’ll never forgive them. I thought to myself at the time,”One hundred years hence, who will be reading this stuff – as opposed to, say, St Thomas or St Augustine – except post-graduate students researching the arcane bizarries of late 20c theology?” It’s already the case.

    But get this: such was the zeitgeist, the lecturers were actually very orthodox in their private beliefs!! It was common knowledge among the students. Which makes, of course, their mistake all the more disastrous. What hope did we have? (“Gee, if Fr X has some good words for him, can Sch. be all that bad?”)

    What was in the water???? O tempora! O mores!

    Let us remember. Theologians have an extremely high responsibility. If a bishop’s failures lead to one of his sheep going to Hell, he will be held to account. Theologians are likewise on the line. (Of course we all are, too. But these people have influence over countless souls.)…

    … a thought which should impel us to pray even more fervently for the repose of the soul of E.S. And for the conversion of Hans Kung, while there is time.

    And for fidelity and courage in all our current theologians and bishops.

  36. robtbrown says:

    Oneros,

    1. The word “Transubstantiation” is not of Aristotelian origin. Its first formal use comes from Innocent III and Lateran IV no later than 1215, 10 years before the birth of St Thomas. In fact, the study of Aristotle was not permitted in the papal states, which is why St Thomas’ first contact with Aristotle’s works came at the Univ of Naples under Peter the Hibernian.

    2. Although St Thomas uses the word “accidents” in reference to the Eucharist, the Church has never formally advocated it. That fact, however, does not legitimize the use of words like Transignification and Transfinalization, which do little except distract believers from the mysteries of Faith. In fact, they obfuscate those mysteries by claiming falsely to be the product of apophatic theology.

    3. Post modern theology almost never denies doctrine. IMHO, its method and product are much like that of semi-Arianism, which neither affirms nor denies Arianism.

    4. Terms such as Transignification, Transfinalization, and Table Fellowship are little else than attempts to reduce the mysteries of the Faith to sociological concepts. Their use is supposedly justified by constant reference to “the Ecclesial”, whose misuse is, not surprisingly, equally the consequence of the usurpation of the mysteries of the Faith by Sociology.

    5. Later, I’ll respond to your notion of human cognition and the structure of being

  37. robtbrown says:

    How many of you above ever met Fr. Schillebeekcx?
    Comment by William H. Phelan

    Fr Thompson, who sometimes posts here, met him. Also the spiritual director (and my prof) of the house in Rome where I lived.

  38. robtbrown says:

    Hugh,

    The better parts of Christ, The Sacrament of the Encounter are found in St Thomas’ very Christological theology of the Sacraments. The book is mostly an attempt to translate St Thomas into the language of contemporary philosophy. In my experence, the writing style of the book (or at least, the translation I read) is so turgid that reading it is like chewing on cement.

    The best I can say of his later, exegetical works, is that he was trying to find some common ground between the Apostles’ experiences of Christ and our own, not unique because of the influence of Bultmann. IMHO, such a project, for various obvious reasons, is doomed to fail.

    And there is also, of course, Schillebeeckx’ disconnect of the priesthood with Apostolic succession. This is fueled by his overly sociological understanding of the Church.

  39. CPKS says:

    Thank you, Oneros, for representing a clear-headed understanding of those insights (often exploited in arguments in favour of conceptual relativism) which, I think, promise to lead beyond relativism to a better understanding of the differences between, and better prospects of a synthesis between, philosophical conceptual frameworks.

    It is a matter of regret that, in all ages, good (but – as we all are – limited) people have hurled (and, I fear, will ever hurl) anathemata at one another simply for employing different conceptual frameworks. Makers of syntheses, like Aquinas, will for ever be accused of heresy by their contemporaries.

    Of course, the orthodox must always be on their guard. in recent years, the apparatus of conceptual relativism has been deployed with great vigour (e.g. by the (mostly Anglican) advocates of the “myth of God incarnate” to excuse Arius and) to give credence to genuine heresy.

    But if theology is to make the strides toward unity in truth to which all believers are called, it must get a grip on both the pitfalls and the truths of conceptual relativism and learn to discern (or at least, how to go about discerning) the relationship between true-in-system-X and true-in-system-Y.

    These things will never be crystal clear to the people in the pews; new theology never was and never will be; and perhaps it is a symptom of being imprisoned within a particular conceptual framework to imagine that things could be otherwise.

    Meanwhile, it would be good if more people expressing theological opinions would exercise care in understanding what philosophers think, rather than juxtaposing their words with authorities in different traditions; cite what theologians say, rather than what others say about them; not refer to church attendance in their home countries for evidence of the truth or falsity of their propositions; not condemn thinkers for not being clear (= “potentially misleading”) to the man in the pew; not condemn thinkers purely on the basis of the conceptual scheme they have inherited from their academic milieu (however heretical certain other users of that conceptual scheme may or may not have been); and catch up a bit with the philosophy of the last hundred years or so.

    Philosophy is not a merely scholarly enterprise, it is not a science of dredging up quotations. More, much more is demanded of us than simply being proficient in our own particular vocabulary. The duty of evangelization is (put another way) the duty of making sense to people who don’t think the same way that we do. And that necessarily involves getting our brain cells dirty and eating and sleeping with those whose habits of thought currently leave no room for that which we hold most dear.

    It may not be a necessary truth that those who are best at preaching to the choir are the worst at opening the eyes of the blind, but I should not be surprised if it could be argued that there were at least some necessary connexions.

  40. robtbrown says:

    I returned here to respond to Oneros’ errors, but I find that I have to answer you first.

    It is a matter of regret that, in all ages, good (but – as we all are – limited) people have hurled (and, I fear, will ever hurl) anathemata at one another simply for employing different conceptual frameworks. Makers of syntheses, like Aquinas, will for ever be accused of heresy by their contemporaries.

    St Thomas was accused of what heresies?

    Philosophy is not a merely scholarly enterprise, it is not a science of dredging up quotations. More, much more is demanded of us than simply being proficient in our own particular vocabulary. The duty of evangelization is (put another way) the duty of making sense to people who don’t think the same way that we do. And that necessarily involves getting our brain cells dirty and eating and sleeping with those whose habits of thought currently leave no room for that which we hold most dear.
    Comment by CPKS

    I disagree with your understanding of philosophy. IMHO, it is an intellectual (not academic) discipline primarily ordered toward discovery of truth (both speculative and practical, not of something that is marketable.

    Even if I were to admit your premise, it still doesn’t fit the work of the likes of, say, Schillebeecks and Rahner. It is true that at one time both were influential, but so also was disco music. That, however, is no longer the case. Undoubtedly, there are seminary professors who were educated in the 70’s, but the truth is that no one really cares anymore about theology that has been influenced by Hegel, Kant, Heidegger and their offspring.

  41. robtbrown says:

    The above is a response to CPKS.

  42. I never read Fr. Schillebeckx. I am not at all familiar with his writings.
    But at the ncreporter site, there are many, many comments that almost canonize him. No surprise, there. He seems to be one of the commentators’ patron saints.
    Time will tell.
    May he, and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

  43. Fr (Nazareth Priest): As someone who was schooled in the late Fr. Schillebeckx more troublesome works, I’m thanking God that you were not exposed to them. No wonder you are so solid.

    Yes, may he rest in peace.

  44. Cathy of Alex: God is good!
    I don’t know how I missed him (E.Sch.) because I had the first part of my theological education (or mis-education) at St. John’s, Collegeville, in the early ’80s…in the liturgical studies department, no less.
    I had Piet Schooeneberg, S.J., for Christology, (very kind, charitable old priest who was, shall we say, rather confused about Catholic teaching?), while there, and got an “A”..only because I understood what he was talking about and could give it back. The “liberal-dissenters” could not understand how I could do so well when I didn’t believe a “lick” of it…thank you sweet Mother of God and Holy Spirit!!!

  45. That should be Piet Schoonenberg, SJ. May he rest in peace!

  46. Vincentius Koffsky says:

    “May all of my enemies go to Hell: Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel.” — Hilaire Belloc. To quote Merton from his ‘Elegy for Ernest': “You stand anonymous among thousands, waiting in the dark at great stations on the edge of countries known to prayer alone, where fires are not merciless we hope, and not without end. You pass briefly through our midst. Your books and writings have not been consulted. Our prayers are ‘pro defuncto N.'” Edouard Schillebeeckx: Rest in Peace. May your books rest in pieces.

  47. Hilaire, as on target as he was, could be a nasty one, at times…I wonder what his ‘take’ on this is now, the other side of the grave?

  48. CPKS says:

    Response to robtbrown: “what heresies?” – In brief, those listed in the anti-Aristotelian syllabus errorum (if I may so term it) of Bishop Etienne Tempier, 1277, see e.g. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/condemnation/ . No doubt these condemnations were ill-founded (at least, against S. Thomas), but it is a matter of historical consensus that they were held by “many” at that time to count “against” S. Thomas, by a similar rationale to the guilt-by-association with which a number of modern thinkers are held accountable because of the heresies of their intellectual forebears. (And that is the point I sought to illustrate, not of course the justifiability of such condemnation.) Fortunately, the curia at Rome seems to have poured cold water on Bp Tempier’s enterprise!

    I hope you will give me a grudging two out of ten for this very unscholarly answer.

    As to the second point, whilst strongly endorsing the view that philosophy should be in service of the truth and not seen as “academic”, I think the use of the word “marketable” a lamentable cheapening of the point I was trying to make, and I am truly sorry to see such an emotive word used in the context of this particular point; which is, that philosophy in the service of the Gospel ought to communicate with alien thought-worlds.

    I often see loyal traditional Catholics regarding a whole school of thought (universe of discourse) as “contaminated” by the work of certain members. The trouble with this approach is that if one treats it as taboo and its terms and categories to be scrupulously avoided, then one cannot really reach these people where they are. Nor can one engage with them in argument and be seen to be effective interlocutors. Nor – especially – can one logically claim to judge those who are prepared to take that risk, and translate the Gospel into this forbidden language.

  49. Vincentius Koffsky says:

    Touche, Frater Nazarenus. That whole ‘Crucifixion’ business was a bit nasty, and I wonder what His ‘take’ on this is now, the other side of the grave. I will not beat around the Burning Bush, but instead propose the solution to all this: Transfunnyization. At the moment of Epiclesis, the Dove divebombs, the Host becomes a Holy Smiley Face — i.e., a Smiley-Face-in-Itself — leaving an indelible smirk on the hearts of the communicants. We become a happy people; a people set apart. Edouard was so close!

  50. Vincentius: Well said. I do not know a ‘lick’ re: E. S. and I pray God he will find peace in the eternal homeland. But his teaching? It does not sound like it ‘evolved’ into anything a good Catholic can depend upon.