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Von Balthasar: Rahner and I Always Held the Same Ideas

In the United States it is common to consider theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar as a conservative. This opinion has been fostered principally by Ignatius Press, which pretends that von Balthasar - along with Card. Henri de Lubac and then Card. Joseph Ratzinger - are representatives of the religious right.

To show the falsehood of this myth, we present a statement of von Balthasar - who was considered suspect of heresy by the Holy See - affirming that he never changed his ideas.

The theologian spoke these words when John Paul II granted him the Paul VI Award in 1984, at right. Below right, the Italian text from L'Osservatore Romano; below left, our translation.

Before the Council and during the development of its work, we were considered on the left; now we are considered on the right. This is what destiny had in store for me and Karl Rahner. But the truth is that we did not turn back from our positions, we have maintained our ideas. It was others - and the things themselves - that moved to the vanguard.

(L'Osservatore Romano, June 24, 1984, p.4; photo from L'Osservatore Romano, June 25-26, 1984)

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Posted on October 17, 2009

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