Quote of the Week: Hans Urs von Balthasar

Quote of the Week: Hans Urs von Balthasar July 13, 2009

The official, authoritative kerygma remains a pointer to revelation. Therefore, the believer does not actually believe in the propositions of faith, but in what these express and in everything that the living God is in Christ Jesus. For this reason, it is possible that an authentic faith can reach the living God even through insufficiently formulated, or even, in certain cases, erroneous propositions of faith, if God so disposes. The believer’s intention is directed towards God, and God’s grace can complete whatever aspect of the accurate and objective form of revelation remains obscured, through no fault of his own, for a person within or outside the Church or even Christianity. God’s unmediated manifestness in Christ and also in his Church is one thing: the adequate verbal formulation of this manifestation, through Christ himself and through his Church, is quite another. It is thus conceivable that a person could reach, not only God, but the true reality of his revelation in Christ and in the essence of the Church even while holding, through no fault of his own, the erroneous opinion that the official formulation in dogma is not an adequate expression of this reality.

–Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics I: Seeing the Form. trans. Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis. Ed. Joseph Fessio, S.J. and John Riches (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1982), 213.

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