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Call For Papers

The Karl Rahner Society Consultation

Administrative Team:

Michael Canaris (Convener)
Nancy Dallavalle
Peter J. Fritz
Richard Lennan
Richard Penaskovic
Mark Fischer (Rahner Society Administrator)

Convention Theme: "Justice and Mercy"

Session Description:
The Karl Rahner Society invites proposals for papers at the 2016 Rahner Consultation within the June 9-12 convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America in San Juan, Puerto Rico on the theme “Justice and Mercy.”

A word search of the Theological Investigations shows that justice and mercy rarely appeared together in Rahner’s essays. By itself, however, “justice” arose in a variety of contexts. There is Rahner’s study of “original justice” in “Theological Reflections on Monogenism” (vol. I), the consideration of “Justified and Sinner at the Same Time” (vol. VI), and the discussion of justice and love in “The Peace of God and the Peace of the World” (vol. X). By itself, “mercy” stood out in the essay on “The Works of Mercy and Their Reward” (vol. VII). Elsewhere, Rahner used “mercy” not infrequently. Mercy appeared nine times in the essay “Theos in the New Testament,” five times in “Membership in the Church,” and six times in “Forgotten Truths Concerning the Sacrament of Penance.” These or other references to the themes of justice and/or mercy could prove to be valuable launching points for serious study of Rahner’s contribution to contemporary theology.

Brainstorming at the 2015 Karl Rahner breakfast about the type of presentation they would like to hear at the 2016 convention, KRS members discussed:

  • Justice and peace in Rahner’s writings on justification and penance;
  • The implicit challenge of the Caribbean and Spanish-speaking churches to Rahner’s theology, and Rahner’s influence on Latin America (including Pope Francis);
  • A synthesis of Rahner’s existential ethics i.e., of his speculative thoughts on mercy and justice in his more pastoral writings, as well as in his prayers and homilies;
  • Rahner’s willingness to consider the critique by J. B. Metz that Rahner’s thought was insufficiently focused on Christian practice;
  • The relation between the “hierarchical” and the “theological” magisteria (A. Dulles), especially regarding due process for theologians; and
  • Rahner’s understanding of the relation between the love of God and the love of neighbor in a church that is always renewing and reforming itself.

The KRS welcomes proposals in these areas, as well as other creative contributions on Rahner in relation to the convention theme, particularly those that represent a diverse range of voices and perspectives.

Proposals (200-500 words) should be sent to Mark F. Fischer (fischer@stjohnsem.edu) prior to the September 1 deadline. They should include the author’s contact information and a 100-word précis to be used in the CTSA’s online program. The proposal should also include the Audio-Visual needs of the presenter. Those presenting papers should ordinarily be CTSA members in good standing and have no other speaking role at the convention. An exception is made for members of under-represented groups, but exceptions are not made for presentations made to the Women’s Consultation on Constructive Theology. A new CTSA rule stipulates that no member should present at the convention more often than 2 out of 3 years. The administrative team will notify the presenters by September 14.