Volume 25, Issue 2, 2013
A Response to Richard Lennan
Responding to Richard Lennan’s paper, this short essay highlights three elements of Rahner’s work on ecclesiology: sacramentality, heresy, and mission. In Lennan’s account, the first two of these call for self-reflection and self-criticism. Viewing church as sacramental, rather than as a continuation of the incarnation, is important for Rahner because it makes room for ongoing self-criticism. Rahner even turns the category of heresy into an opportunity for self-reflection rather than the condemnation of others, asking how the church offers a compelling “yes” as well as a guiding “no.” The third element of Rahner’s ecclesiology that Lennan engages is mission. Rahner’s work does not fit neatly into traditional notions of evangelism or contemporary typologies of mission. In Lennan’s rendering, however, Rahner’s ecclesiology provides a powerful view of mission as persistent, embodied hope. This view of mission—appropriate to a self-critical and self-reflective church—might be precisely what is needed today.