Sunday, October 22, 2017

"Entschuldigen Sie While I Barf"

Frank J. Sheed, "Entschuldigen Sie While I Barf" (October 32, 2018):
In Rome, Pope Francis is in the news again for his implicit endorsements of Universalism. Nothing new here, really, but it is a depressing reminder of what I will call The German Captivity of the Church. And I am not talking about Luther. For decades now modernist theology has captivated the theologians and leaders of both mainline Protestantism and, apparently, Catholicism. You see the same pattern in Evangelicalism, too, where the theology of Karl Barth has been the pet affection of those raised in but chaffing under the Old Time Religion. Somehow it also brings to mind then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s eulogizing of Hans von Balthasar as “the most cultured man in Europe.”

Years ago I picked up Richard Brookheiser’s rather reactionary -- and also rather right -- book called The Way of the WASP. It was there for the first time I read the suggestion that Karl Barth actually had a mistress. When I investigated, I read reams of internet defense that explained the relationship was a professional one, of something to that strange-sounding effect. OK, fine. Much like belleletrist Hans von Balthasar and his box-faced muse Adrienne Von Spear, I thought. Or Karl Rahner with his semi-to-sexual mistress. Or whatever... These avant garde theologians, always equivocal, often neutered, and apparently incapable of getting along by themselves... OR so I thought. It turns out the first, gut instinct was correct. 2 + 2 = 4. And while it’s sometimes “Both/And,” a la the new fashion in the Vatican, it’s much more often “Either/Or” or “Heaven or Hell.” Read for yourself...

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