From Gino Strada to Karl Rahner's insidious and nebulous road about the theory of “anonymous Christians”

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FROM GINO STRADA TO THE INSIDIOUS AND NEBULOUS ROAD OF KARL RAHNER ABOUT THE THEORY OF "ANONYMOUS CHRISTIANS"

the concept of "anonymous Christians" is bankrupt and can serve as an alibi, ie as a warm blanket, but nothing more. I would rather review, as worthy of theological study the concept of San Giustino del Sperm logos, the seeds of truth that can also be found in other religions and cultures but which always have their reason for being in Christ and prepare for a journey of knowledge of him in faith.

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Author
Ivano Liguori, Ofm. Capp.

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emotional beatification a “hot corpse”

captain come back that our own readers inspire us articles through their questions. This happened recently through the question posted by a Reader to the article I dedicated to the death of Doctor Gino Strada.

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Dear Fathers.

While admitting that he does not fully know the events and history of Gino Strada, I wanted to ask: he could not be included in that group of "anonymous Christians" theorized by Karl Rahner? Said in other terms, the famous Gospel passage of «I was hungry, and you fed me ". It assumes who is feeding, to drink, etc. must necessarily have faith in Christ? I understand that it is a complex and controversial issue, however, in my humble opinion, Rahner's intuition about anonymous Christians is not entirely to be rejected. Otherwise it should be concluded that doing good, do good, is the exclusive prerogative of believers, but we all know that's not the case. I know believers (at least, so they define themselves) all rosaries and Holy Masses, but totally devoid of fraternal charity. To quote the Gospel: "Not who says: Lord! Lord! He will enter the Kingdom of Heaven ".

Andrea

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This question it offers me the opportunity to clarify the matter even better. First of all, "anonymous Christianity" is Karl Rahner's theorization of a concept of grace that is dangerously close to relativism. It is a belief that can make you believe in any spiritual experience, every jolt of emotionality, any philanthropic action, every religious experience hides a mark of Christianity and salvation. In the pastoral experience that we priests see every day, this concept can be translated as follows:

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«Even if I don't go to Mass, I don't confess, I don't pray, it is enough to do some good work and not hate anyone to be okay ".

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Or, for those openly atheists, unbelievers or simply confused the question sounds like this:

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«I do more good than many Christians who judge […] it is not necessary to be a Christian to love one's neighbor and do good […] I respect everyone, I tolerate everyone, I am out of love for everyone and I am more Christian than those who eat wafers ".

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At the heart of this way of thinking there is an intimate concept of faith, who loves but without compromising, believes but without taking sides, it acts but without taking a position. In the Holy Gospel, instead, we find these words:

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"God's work is this: believe in him whom he sent " [See. GV 6, 29].

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This is a position very different that leads you to give Christ the primacy over your entire existence and recognize him as the only Savior [See. Dichiarazione Lord Jesus], as a start, center and goal of our entire humanism, certainly not one among the many placed in the showcase of the gods of the various beliefs, because Christ is the whole, the only way, Truth and the Life [See. GV 14, 6]. Believing and accepting Christ also means acting as he acted as we see in love for the enemy up to the total gift of his own person. The Blessed Apostle Paul says in the Letter to the Romans that:

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«[…] while we were still sinners, Christ died for the wicked " [See. RM 5,8].

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Words that are equivalent to saying: Christ loved me when I was still, not lovable but ungodly, separated from God. The test bed, this is it, it is love for the enemy that leads me to sacrifice my life. And it is clear, this is something that can only be done under the grace of the Holy Spirit and with a free and disinterested heart.

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In my opinion, the concept of "anonymous Christians" is a failure and can serve as an alibi, ie as a warm blanket, but nothing more. I would rather review, as worthy of theological study the concept of San Giustino del Sperm logos, the seeds of truth that can also be found in other religions and cultures but which always have their reason for being in Christ and prepare for a journey of knowledge of him in faith.

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Very clear on this issue the pastoral constitution of the Second Vatican Council:

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«[…] the saving action of Jesus Christ, and with His Spirit, if estende, beyond the visible boundaries of the Church, to all mankind. Parlando of mistero pasquale, in which Christ even now associates himself living manner in the Spirit the believer and gives him the hope of the resurrection, the Council states: "This applies not only to Christians but also to all people of good will, in whose hearts grace is active invisibly. For since Christ died for all, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, the divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of coming into contact, in the way that God knows, paschal mystery " [See. The joy and hope, n. 22].

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The statement Our life?, about non-Christian religions he says:

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«The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions. It considers those ways of acting and living with sincere respect, those precepts and those doctrines that, although in many points they differ from what it believes and proposes, nevertheless they not infrequently reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men. However it announces, and is required to announce, the Christ who is “away, truth and life " [GV 14,6], in which men must find the fullness of religious life and in which God has reconciled all things with himself [See. 2 Color 5,18-19].

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Although this text is clear, Unfortunately, within the Catholic world there are some fringes that accuse the Council itself of having "open to relativism" (!?). To these custodians of an unspecified "tradition", it would be enough to remember what he wrote, a century ahead, a Supreme Pontiff above any possible suspicion, to be exact, Blessed Pius IX:

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"To you it is well known that those who invincible ignorance do not know our religion, but they know the natural law and its precepts from God engraved in the hearts of all and are willing to obey God and lead an honest life, these with the help of light and divine grace may attain eternal life; because God, which sees, scrutinizes and knows the minds, tempers, thoughts, the provisions of all, by reason of his supreme goodness and clemency can not possibly allow it to be punished with eternal punishment anyone who is not guilty of a voluntary fault " [Encyclical How much grief conficiamur, 10 August 1863].

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There is much more to add, but on this subject he wrote in detail and in depth Father Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo in one of his November article 2014, where it first clarifies the concept of ordinary means and extraordinary means of salvation, precisely to dispel certain Rahnerian nebulosity. It deserves to read it.

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As for the famous Eschatological Discourse which we find in Matthew chapter 25, it consists of three parables that must be read together to understand them otherwise there is a risk of making the sacred text say what it does not mean. The famous passage of judgment [See. Mt 25,31-46] in which those who do not know God are rewarded; yet, they do works of mercy. In this case the reference is to the pagans, to those to whom the Revelation has not yet been presented, to those who follow a natural morality without asking the problem of God or who ignore him in an innocent way, because they have not received the announcement, therefore they do not know it and therefore do not reject it. Cases like these were numerous in the days of the early Church. Today, this discourse can no longer be posed, as for everyone, Christ was announced and everyone had the opportunity to accept or reject him. If I accept it, I will put to good use the talents received which are of God and which serve so that I know him more and enjoy him fully [See. Mt 25,14-30]; if I refuse it, I do like foolish virgins [See. Mt 25, 1-13] who let their faith sleep and die not recognizing the time when the Bridegroom presented himself to them.

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These three parables historically refer to three categories of people: the ancient Jews, Christians and pagans. Finally, good or love is not for believers but heroic love that gives life, yes, otherwise, if this were not the case, the example of St. Maximilian Kolbe would not make sense. He who sacrificed himself for a father of a family who in that Auschwitz concentration camp must have certainly been surrounded by several "anonymous Christians" and good people, but none of them showed up to save him, except one Franciscan friar, who acted for Christ, with Christ and in Christ. And this speaks volumes about the difference between philanthropy and the great charism of charity.

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Laconi, 19 August 2021

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About Father Ivano

Ivano Liguori Dell'Ordine dei Frati Minori Cappuccini Presbitero e Teologo ( Click on the name to read all its articles )

3 thoughts on "From Gino Strada to Karl Rahner's insidious and nebulous road about the theory of “anonymous Christians”

  1. Reverend Father IVANO
    I would like to ask you is it true that
    the conciliar declaration Nostra Aetate was written by a certain BAUM Gregory who he was ?Rahner's thought is heretical?it is true that at the Vatican Council 2 there were theologians belonging to the nouvelle theologie condemned by Pope Pius XII? the documents of the council enjoy infallibility ?Thank you

  2. Gentile p. Ivano,
    I don't think we'll have to wait long before we're told virgins “wise” of the parable in reality they were rigid heartless, otherwise they would have shared with the others, a definite time “proud” (with a stigma, a powder’ as the “prodigal” attached to the younger brother of the parable today finally revised and correctly classified as that of the two brothers), they would share, I said, their oil and they would all together, inclusive, waited for the Bridegroom.
    And what if the oil wasn't enough for the wait, patience, what really matters is the gesture of mercy performed.
    P. S.
    About “anonymous Christians” I have always thought that the most effective comment is the appendix of “Cordula” of the. H. Balthasar

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