Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tribalism in traditional Catholic theology

In the past, when a theologian practiced theology as a member of a religious order, that is, as a member of a congregation formed according to a certain spirit distinguished from that of other orders, this theology bore the distinct and tangible imprint of the theology of that order. The major orders such as the Benedictines, the Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Jesuits each had their own style of theology, a fact that was acknowledged then. Each order cultivated its own specific theology and each distinguished its theology from that of other religious orders. They were proud of their respective theological traditions and they even had their own officially recognized doctors of the Church as well as key figures in the various theological “schools.” In all of this, there is nothing objectionable provided, of course, that these differences do not degenerate into stubborn conflicts along party lines—something that occurred quite often in the past. Nowadays I think this is no longer the case. As far as legislation of my order is concerned, I ought to teach, for example, the so-called scientia media and consequently should oppose and reject the Thomistic theology of grace as expounded in the Baroque era. Karl Rahner, S.J. "Experiences of a Catholic Theologian," Theological Studies 61 (2000), 10. 


  1. Perhaps one might even say the Catholic church is really "30,000" factions vying for preeminence!

  2. Funny how Thomas Aquinas is officially out of favor in Rome, but he is all the rage among “Reformed Scholastics”.

  3. For example, the immaculate conception of Mary was for centuries a cause of struggle between Franciscans and Dominicans.

    The Franciscans were in favor and the Dominicans against it. A famous Dominican who rejected this doctrine was Thomas Aquinas himself.