Volume 32, Issue 1/2, 2020
Mark F. Fischer
Karl Rahner’s Work on the Assumption of Mary into Heaven
Karl Rahner completed his in 1951 but did not receive permission to publish it from his Jesuit superiors. The work appeared in 2004, twenty years after Rahner’s death. This essay examines his work on the Assumption and the censors’ objections. Rahner’s publication of 1947, “On the Theology of Death,” was appended to the Marian treatise as an “excursus” but laid the foundation for the later work. Rahner interpreted the Assumption as an anticipation of the resurrection of the dead. This essay focuses on three speculations by Rahner: on the relation of the soul to the body, on the maturation of the soul after death, and on the final resurrection as the world’s transformation. The censors criticized Rahner’s theology of death as too speculative and his Mariology as too minimal. Yet ’s treatment of Mary as a sign of hope until the second coming vindicated Rahner.