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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 24, Issue 2, 2012

Peter Joseph Fritz
Pages 297-311

Between Center and Periphery
Mary and the Saints in Rahner

Rahner's Mariology and theology of the saints exemplify his respect for the universality of the Catholic ethos. The article’s three parts substantiate this claim. First, it analyzes Rahner's placement of Mary outside his theology's center, while he resists marginalizing her. This analysis involves contrasting Rahner with Hans Urs von Balthasar. Second, it reads Rahner's theology of Mary's Assumption as an exercise in fundamental-eschatological theology. He takes a similar approach in his theology of the saints. Third, it considers Rahner's thoughts on devotion to Mary and the saints, relating these practices to his fundamental-eschatological theology. Rahner’s contextualization of Mary and the saints within the wideness of all history, to which eschatology attests, reflects his holding open of the universal Catholic ethos. This sets him apart from other Catholics, who fix Mary and the saints firmly at Catholicism’s center, thus potentially restricting the Catholic ethos. Today’s Catholics must learn from Rahner’s holism.

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