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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 24, Issue 2, 2012

Leo J. O'Donovan
Pages 313-330
DOI: 10.5840/philtheol201224218

In All Seasons
Karl Rahner on All the Saints

Throughout his life Karl Rahner wrote on saints in the church, both official (canonized) and unofficial. This essay first considers his major essays from the conciliar period, focusing on the question why and how we can existentially venerate the saints and drawing on his theology of God as Holy Mystery, Christ as redeeming Mediator between humanity and God, and the unity of the love of God and of the neighbor. A second section recalls earlier writings such as “The Church of Sinners’ (1947) and “The Church of the Saints” (1955) that anticipated his mature position. Later developments in his thought are then considered, with special attention to his fuller use of the concept of solidarity in its ontological and theological depth. Finally Rahner’s original diagnosis of the relationship of believers to their saints is tested against more recent developments in devotion to the saints.

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