The Hope of Forgiveness
Symbols and Sacraments: Their Human Foundations
Forgiveness and hope are arguably key concepts in Christian theology, yet little has been written exploring the connections between these two words. For those who have experienced suffering inflicted by others, forgiveness and hope are important. This article draws together the reflections of Christians who have supported trauma survivors and the theology of Moltmann to reexamine the notion of forgiveness and hope in Christian theology. By so doing, the article proposes an alternative way of looking at the offering of forgiveness and explores why forgiveness is ultimately an act of hope.
Some Principles for the Evangelization of Younger Catholics in Secular Cultures
Sacraments are particular kinds of symbols, and symbols particular kinds of signs. Symbols, which differ from simple signs, function in human life to convey not only ideas but also feelings, values, beliefs, traditions and ideals. As such, they take persons beyond the surface of reality to its depth. The polyvalence of symbols makes their experience easier than their explanation. "Sacraments" in the general sense are signs of something sacred (St Augustine), "vehicles for contact with Mystery," or "paths to an awareness of Mystery" (Shea). Thus, any human experience can function as a sacrament. Contact with God in a sacrament, including liturgical symbols, has its limits, for it is neither a full nor a direct face-to-face meeting with the divine. However, the sacramental principle remains valid and authentic. God, the Invisible One, is disclosed through something that is earthly, visible, audible, tangible: that which may be humanly experienced.
Faith as Sight? Toward a Phenomenology of Revelation
This paper proceeds on the assumption that many Catholic youth and young adults in secular cultures reach, relatively early in life, a plateau of religious involvement and commitment. This plateau is characterized by, among other things, a loose religious
affiliation but not an overt hostility to the tradition. In order to move beyond this
plateau those who work with these young people need to develop a pastoral response
that is sensitive to this cultural reality. A number of guiding factors and principles are
suggested such as the difficulty of the task and the need to focus more on proactive
proclamation. Many of these strategies are reflective of the need for a new
evangelization as envisaged by Pope John Paul II.
The Paraclete as Successor in the Johannine Farewell Discourse: A Comparative Literary Analysis
This article addresses the complex polarities inherent in the biblical presentation of faith "seeing" and "not seeing", absence and presence, the light of faith and its darkness, the witness of the Spirit and the "unbearable" fullness of revelation . The history of theology suggests another mode of seeing/ knowing by way of love as instanced in the gifts of the Spirit. Though there is no theoretic synthesis of these diverse aspects, a contemporary phenomenology of revelation can serve to keep all these aspects in fruitful tension, and thereby enrich the theology of faith and revelation.
Post-Secular Consensus? On the Munich-dialogue between Joseph Ratzinger and Jürgen Habermas
In recent years scholars have become aware of the ways in which John 13-17
imitates but also subverts the conventions of ancient farewell discourse genres. The
purpose of this article will be to analyse selected examples of farewell discourses from
the Jewish and Greco-Roman traditions in order to evaluate the Johannine Farewell
Discourse in their light. The contribution that this article makes to the topic relates
particularly to how the Paraclete functions as a 'unique' successor/mediator figure,
effectively 'skewing' the testament genre. In conclusion, some suggestions are made
about the possible social function of this literary invention for the Johannine community.
Tradition and the Status of Women in the Catholic Church
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and Jürgen Habermas met in Munich on the 19th of January 2004 to discuss the topic "The Pre-political Moral Foundations of a Free State." However, in the aftermath of the papers, another and more implicit question has been given more attention; the papers lend themselves to a reading in connection with the on-going discussion of the relationship between religion and social science. In this article I present a reading of the two papers, based on their portrayal of the relationship between the religious and secular descriptions of reality. Furthermore, I shall look more closely at the two speakers' views on what unites the world, as these two themes are intrinsically linked.
Jesus as Role Model in the Gospel of Matthew: Does the Matthean Jesus Practise What He Preaches?
This submission by a woman to the Australian Bishops, for the Women in the Catholic Church in Australia Report 1997, epitomises the call of many Catholic women worldwide for a more meaningful role in the Church. Despite evidence to indicate that Jesus strongly promoted the dignity and equality of women and that early Christians gave leadership roles to women, the influence of prevailing cultural norms has historically caused the role of women in the Church to be diminished. Even today when cultural bias against women has to a large extent been overcome in secular society, the Church maintains a male-dominated culture which excludes women from ordination and decision making within the church and lacks inclusive religious imagery and language.
Covenant and Myth: Can Reformed Theology Survive without Adam and Eve
Many scholars have argued that Jesus is presented as the definitive
Christian role model in the Gospel of Matthew. In this text, especially in the Sermon
on the Mount, Jesus preaches a high standard of ethical conduct, and the remainder
of the Gospel demonstrates how Jesus lives by these ideals. On this view, the
Matthean Jesus practices what he preaches. But this thesis can be questioned. Jesus'
attacks on the scribes and Pharisees, especially in Chapter 23, seem to conflict with
his teachings in the Sermon, and Jesus' future activity as the final judge is also at
odds with his earlier moral standards. Consequently, Jesus does not always practice
what he preaches in Matthew, and this study aims to explain why this is the case.
Max Weber Revisited
Reformed theology is a diverse movement, and has found many ways to interact with the presence of mythical stories in scripture. There is a strong tendency, however, to draw a 'line in the sand' at the historical existence of Adam because of the function that he plays in the history of the covenants - particularly the 'covenant of works'. This article problematises that line by suggesting that it is possible to build an authentically Reformed and covenantal theology without a historical Adam.
This article examines the applicability of Max Weber´s well known analysis of charismatic leadership and charismatic community to Jesus and his first followers through a close examination of Weber´s work and a reexamination of its applicability to the early Christian community. It reopens the often disputed question of the origins of Christian institutions by suggesting that elements of institutionalisation were present from the origins of Jesus´ ministry.