CONTEMPORARY CATHOLIC THEOLOGY: An Introduction by John Tully & Denise Lardner Carmody Carmody


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A liberal-orthodox (largely based on Rahner) presentation that blends, not always smoothly, descriptive survey and expository argument. The Carmodys teach at Wichita State University, and have evidently drawn on their classroom experience to make this short guide as clear and non-technical as possible, assuming only the vaguely sympathetic interest that a student might bring to one of their Catholic Studies courses. They begin from the Rahnerian, or ""transcendental Thomist,"" principle that ""we 'know' divinity preconceptually, recognize the Spirit intuitively, long before any formal theology gives us the 'right' words."" From this positive, humanistic starting point they proceed to Jesus Christ (without really explaining just how he ""redeems""), the Trinity, the Church, personal and social ethics, etc. Departing from Rahner, they place a heavy emphasis on politics and strongly endorse the work of liberation theologians like Jon Sobrino. Somewhat belatedly they summarize the contributions of other major figures, notably Bernard Lonergan and David Tracy. They conclude on the optimistic note that the long post-Tridentine stagnation has ended and Catholic theology is ""finally appropriating modernity,"" which of course they heartily approve. This optimism, however, may be the weakest point in their otherwise sound and well-informed case. For they fail to see, first, the various ways in which the conservative claim that Catholicism and modernity are incompatible may, after all, be fight; and, second, the fact that their vision of the Church as an agent for radical social change would strike most of their co-religionists as fire-breathing Marxism. All in all, however, the book makes a good popular introduction to a large and, as the authors insist, lively topic.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Harper & Row