Karl Rahner, Culture and Evangelization

New Approaches in an Australian Setting


Author: Anthony Mellor
The situation of religious institutional diminishment in many Western countries requires new approaches to the proclamation of Christian faith. As a response to these complexities, Karl Rahner suggested a “mystagogic” approach as a future pathway for theology. A mystagogical approach seeks modes of spiritual and theological conversation which engage the religious imagination and draws upon personal experiences of transcendence and religious sensibility. In Karl Rahner, Culture and Evangelization: New Approaches in an Australian Setting, Anthony Mellor develops a reflective process of contemporary “mystagogia”, describing how different fields of engagement require different patterns of mystagogical conversation. While focussing on the Australian setting, these differentiate arenas of engagement are also applicable to other cultural settings and offer fresh perspectives for evangelization today.

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Anthony Mellor, Ph.D (2017), Austrialian Catholic University, is a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane and currently the Parish Priest of Clayfield Parish. Anthony is also currently Academic Dean of Holy Spirit Seminary in Brisbane and the theological advisor to Catholic Education in the Archdiocese. He has served in pastoral ministry within the Archdiocese. He has also studied in Rome, where he was awarded a Licentiate in Theology (STL - Dogma) from the Gregorian University in 2010. He has also contributed to a number of adult faith education publications.

1 Introduction: Starting Further Back
 1  Beginnings
 2  Direction
 3  Scope and Methodology
 4  To What End?
 5  Brief Notes on Terminology
  5.1  Church
  5.2  Concrete Human Experience
  5.3  Contextual Theology
  5.4  Culture
  5.5  Evangelisation
  5.6  Faith
  5.7  Gospel
  5.8  Mystagogy
  5.9  Practical Theology
  5.10  Secularisation/Secularism/Secularity
  5.11  Transcendent and Religious Experience
  5.12  Western Society

2 Faith, Gospel, and Culture: A Complex Drama
 1  Introduction
 2  Defining “Culture”
 3  Interpreting Culture
 4  Secularising Culture
 5  Reorientating Culture
 6  Theologising Culture
 7  Contemplating Culture
 8  An Australian View
 9 Conclusion

3 Readings of the New Evangelisation
 1  Introduction
 2  Contending with the “New”
 3  Latin America and the Birth of the New Evangelisation
 4  Redemptoris Missio: From Local to Universal
 5  Readings of the New Evangelisation
  5.1  The Catechetical Renewal Approach (New Ardour)
  5.2  The Pastoral Reform Approach (New Methods)
  5.3  The Ecclesial Identity Approach (New Expressions)
  5.4  The Cultural Engagement Approach (New Context)
 6  Pope Francis and the New Evangelisation
 7  Conclusion

4 A Mystagogy of Living Faith: An Analysis of Karl Rahner’s Mystagogical Approach
 1  Introduction
 2  Mystagogia: A Short History
 3  A “Proposition of Grace”: God’s Universal Will for Salvation
 4  Made for Grace: Rahner’s Supernatural Existential
 5  The Human Orientation towards Transcendence and the Anonymous Christian
 6  Receptive Sensibility: Mystagogy for Today
 7  Discovering and Developing an Australian Mystagogy
 8  Conclusion

5 Mystagogia beyond Rahner: Responses and Developments
 1  Introduction
 2  Christian Anthropology: Rahner’s “Radical Anthropocentrism”
 3  The Source of Christian Witness
 4  The Language of Theology
 5  Transforming Praxis
 6  Four Principles of a Mystagogical Method
  6.1  A Mystagogy of Life: Awareness
  6.2  A Mystagogy of Religious Experience: Reflection
  6.3  A Mystagogy of Theological Conversation: Interpretation
  6.4  A Mystagogy of Praxis: Responsiveness
 7  Conclusion

6 Context and the Australian Setting: Conversations with Culture, Spirituality, Theology, and Praxis
 1  Introduction
 2  Theological Foundation for an Inculturated Examination of the Australian Setting
 3  Four Transcendental Imperatives
 4  Being Attentive in Our Awareness: A Mystagogy of Life and Culture
 5  Being Intelligent in Our Reflection: A Mystagogy of Religious Experience
 6  Being Reasonable in Our Interpretation: A Mystagogy of Theological Truthful Conversation
 7  Being Responsible in Our Response: A Mystagogy of Witness, Action, and Praxis
 8  Conclusion
7 Horizons of Conversation: Mystagogical Approaches
 1  Introduction
 2  Horizons of Conversation
 3  Conversational Spaces of “Awareness and Reflection”
  3.1  Language and Silence
  3.2  Image and Imagination
  3.3  Self-Transcendence and Embodiment
 4  Conversational Spaces of “Interpretation and Responsiveness”
  4.1  The Christic Conversation
  4.2  Accompaniment and Fresh Conversational Rhythms
  4.3  Conversations of Witness and Service
 5  Conclusion
8 Conclusion: Review, Prospects, and Directions
 1  Review
 2  Prospects
  2.1  The Performative Space
  2.2  The Dialectic Dialogical Space
  2.3  The Open Communicative Space
 3  Directions
Appendix: Ecclesiological Development of the Concept of the New Evangelisation

The publication would be of interest to: Theological institutes and libraries, particularly, although not exclusively, to the Oceanic region. Academics in the areas of theology, mission and culture.