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The below post appeared on the Rorate Caeli blog. (see here) The subject matter is of critical significance since this latest iteration of the “NOUVELLE THEOLOGIE” for the lack of a better term, of the Rev. Schockenhoff serves as the “philosophical” underpinning for what this blog terms the Bergoglian/Kasperian “theology done on the knees”.
What is most important to understand when reading the below is that the degeneration of what can be termed “post neo-modernist theology” has gotten to the point where its adherents aren’t even hiding the fact that this “theology” directly contradicts man’s knowledge of his Creator as known through “divine revelation”. (see here) The key takeaway is the following observation made by the author of this text: [with ed. notes]
He [Schockenhoff] makes no attempt to square this bizarre fantasy [his “theology”] with the words of our Lord in Mark 16:16: “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.”
In concluding, what we are a witness to on the one hand, is incontrovertible evidence that this “neo-modernist theology” has detached itself from even a superficial attempt to justify itself with respect to that part of the Catholic Faith that comes to us “as known through “divine revelation”.
On the other hand, we are also witnessing incontrovertible evidence of the incompatibility of this “neo-modernist theology” with our knowledge of God as known through “natural light of human reason from the things that are made”, ie. natural law, evidence that we can observe in the attempt to change Catholic doctrine with respect to the issue of aberro-sexulaity by TeamFrancis at the Synod of Bishops.
In other words, this latest iteration of this “post neo-modernist theology” designated on this blog as the Bergoglian/Kasperian “theology done on the knees” is completely contrived. It bears no content that is grounded in the Catholic understanding of either of the two sources of Catholic Faith, i.e. as known through “natural light of human reason from the things that are made” and as known through “divine revelation”. Furthermore, this latest version of “post neo-modernist theology” has degenerated to the point where its “inventors” can’t even hide this fact any longer.
On a higher level, what we now can observe is that during the short span of 50 years, the Catholic Church has gone from introducing a liturgy which was the “work of human hands” (see here), to attempting now to introduce a “theology” that is likewise the “work of human hands”. One can only understand this process of “normativization” as a logical progression.
Which raises one very important question for the Faithful, and that is this:
How much salvific value is contained in this Bergoglian/Kasperian theology done on the knees”… if any?
And now to the Rorate Caeli post and …
FOR THE RECORD
The Neo-Modernist Theology of Eberhard Schockenhoff
According to Edward Pentin, “the ‘mastermind’ behind much of the challenge to settled Church teachings among the German episcopate,” and “the leading adviser of the German bishops in the run-up to the synod” is Fr. Eberhard Schockenhoff, professor of moral theology at the University of Freiburg, about whom we have had occasion to report in the past. It is a sign of the state of theology in the German speaking world that Fr. Schockenhoff is considered a theological “moderate.” He is careful to quote the Fathers and Doctors of the Church to support his positions, and always makes a show of respect for magisterial teaching. This is probably the reason why the German bishops have chosen him, and not one of his more extreme colleagues to help them make the case for changing the unchangeable teachings of the Church on sexual morality.
Fr. Schockenhoff’s moderation is, of course, only a matter of style; an examination of his work shows him to be a dedicated neo-modernist. He lays out the fundamental principles of his theology in a remarkably clear and short book, Erlöste Freiheit [Redeemed Freedom], to which we refer in the page and section numbers bellow.
The fundamental principle of Schockenhoff’s theology is a certain understanding of revelation. According to Schockenhoff’s tendentious reading of Dei Verbum (which follows that of Max Seckler), Vatican II abandoned the traditional understanding of revelation as divine instruction and adopted a new understanding of revelation as “dialogical-communication” between God and man. This dialogical communication is a personal encounter with God, in which God communicates not truths that could be expressed in propositions, but rather simply His love. This entails a clear rejection of the definition of faith in Pope St. Pius X’s Oath Against Modernism: “a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source.” For Schockenhoff, faith is not assent to propositional truths proposed from without, but rather a personal encounter with God’s love
From this basic principle Schockenhoff draws some rather astonishing consequences. He argues that God’s dialogue of love with creatures implies a limitation of God’s omnipotence. God in creating free creatures to share His love allows Himself to be determined by human freedom (p. 54). This frankly blasphemous conclusion is part of a complete reworking of the relation between three terms that Schockenhoff takes to be the “fundamental values of Christianity”: freedom, truth, and love. He argues that abandoning the traditional understanding of revelation as divine instruction means that one can abandon the traditional idea that freedom and love both depend on truth (p.42). Instead, freedom and truth have to accompany each other:
The interior relation to the freedom of the subject follows necessarily from the epistemic presuppositions of revelation theory. Religious truth exists only concretely as the freely grasped subjective conviction of individual persons, and not as an abstract quantity, toward which the human person could have moral duties such as assent, acknowledgement, and obedience. (p. 44).
Thus religious truth takes on a particular personal form for each believer (p. 45).
The moral life on this account does not consists in ordering everything to God as final end, and thus in conforming to God’s will. Rather the moral life is a free dialogue of love with God, in which human persons freely cooperate in building up His creation (p.97). It is obvious that this approach can do away with the whole structure of traditional Christian morality. Moreover, Schockenhoff is quite clear that it excludes the traditional understanding of a great many doctrines of faith as well. Thus Schockenhoff explicitly states that his theology is not compatible with the teaching that Our Lord died in satisfaction for our sins (p. 58).
The case of Schockenhoff shows that present crisis is only superficially about sexual morality. The real issue is the nature of revelation and of faith. The fundamental problem with theologians such as Schockenhoff is a neo-modernist understanding of revelation. We are thus in full agreement with the insightful analysis recently offered at the traditionalist blog Laodicea:
Most of the particular controversies that have devastated the vineyard over the last hundred years are corollaries of the basic dispute, proxy wars for the real conflict. The basic question is this: is faith “a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality” or is faith “a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source”?
As a kind of test to see how someone understands faith Laodicea offers the question as to whether explicit faith is necessary for salvation:
“can someone be justified after the age of reason without explicit faith in the Trinity and the Incarnation?” If you answer ‘yes’ to that question you are ultimately forced into accepting Modernism, if ‘no’ into rejecting it.
If one applies this test to Schockenhoff the result is entirely clear. In his discussion of eschatology, Schockenhoff argues that universal salvation is possible, but that God will make it depend on whether the victims of injustice freely choose to forgive those who harmed them. Only if the victims forgive will all men be saved (section 14.3). He makes no attempt to square this bizarre fantasy with the words of our Lord in Mark 16:16: “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.”