Vol 23 No 1 2016

Secularisation and Resacralisation

Neil Ormerod


In his work, Theology and Social Theory John Milbank proffers the alternatives of naturalising the supernatural, which he identifies with the theology of Karl Rahner and claims promotes secularisation, and supernaturalising the natural which he identifies with the theology of Henri de Lubac with a political goal of a restored Christendom; these two options of a secularism which excludes the divine from the social order and a resacralisation which seeks to restore the sacred alliance between Church and state present false alternatives. This paper considers the alternatives of sacralisation and secularisation through the lens of the grace-nature debate and what Pope Francis calls the "missionary option." The distinct ecclesial styles of Popes Benedict XVI and Francis will be drawn upon to illustrate the position developed.