Although the Society of Jesus was no stranger to local suppressions and banishments that had studded its history from the beginning, the Jesuit crises that broke out between the 1750s and 1768—the expulsion from Portugal and the Bourbon States (France, Spain, King of Naples, and Duchy of Parma)—culminated in a dramatic event of far more enduring global impact: the suppression of the order by Pope Clement XIV with a specific brief (Dominus ac Redemptor, 1773). During the age of suppression (1773–1814), many Jesuits managed to maintain a memory of their former identity while carving out successful new careers or continued, relatively untroubled, with their existing intellectual and religious endeavors. Some of these gave a crucial contribution to Europe’s intellectual and cultural life between the 1770s and 1820s. The worldwide restoration of the Society took place on August 7, 1814, when Pius VII signed the bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum.
Throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, there was a noticeable decline in the influence of two major players in twentieth-century American life: Roman Catholicism and the mass-market newsweekly. Beginning with the clergy sexual abuse crisis in 2001, the Roman Catholic Church suffered a blow to its credibility as never before experienced. For a third of the nation's history (from the founding of the first newsweekly in the 1920s through the alleged end of the era of the newsweekly in 2010), the covers of the most influential magazines—Time, Life, and Newsweek—acted not only as windows into the soul of the nation but also as the stained glass of the newsstand. The place of religion in these peculiar products of American media is noteworthy in general. Despite the newsweeklies' eagerness to exploit the church's fall from grace, they have been slow to recognize that the mass-market media has suffered potentially fatal wounds from the same slings and arrows endured by the church.
Until recently anti-Jesuitism was considered to be exclusively related to controversies having to do with the existence of the Society of Jesus and was therefore studied as the key to understanding disputes between the antagonists and apologists of that religious order. In recent years, however, it has become a historiographical argument to all intents and purposes. Several studies have highlighted its semantic versatility and the consequent need to study it from different perspectives: historical diachronic, literary, rhetorical, iconographic. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze anti-Jesuitism in a global perspective studying its transnational dimension, looking not only at Europe but also at colonial contexts—Latin America and Asian.
This chapter examines the character of Catholic theology in the Asian context. It argues that Asian theologies rely on the fundamental principles of universal Christian theology even though, in their reflections on these principles in the light of their lived experience, they arrive at conclusions that are unique but not contradictory to universal theology. The chapter proceeds by examining six fundamental principles shared by Asian theologies: God is actively present in all his creation; pluralistic diversity necessarily demands a dialogical existence; the lived reality of harmony is an essential Asian theological concept; theology occurs in and through lived contexts; the kingdom preached by Jesus is wider than the visible Church; and theology needs to bring total, integral human liberation.
Luís Miguel Carolino
Jesuit scholars took part in all the major scientific controversies in the field of astronomy and cosmology, and taught generations of philosophers in Europe. Jesuit missionaries disseminated novelties of Western astronomy as far as China and Japan. Historians have tended to perceive Jesuit astronomers as a homogeneous group, unified by a common religious program. This chapter challenges that view and argues that Jesuit scholarship evolved from defending a traditional Aristotelian-Ptolemaic worldview to advocacy of a Tychonic cosmology, and eventually supporting, in some cases, a Newtonian view of the universe. Jesuit astronomers and philosophers also disagreed among themselves on fundamental questions. In a word, there was no “Jesuit astronomy”. However, this learned community was particularly affected by official efforts to maintain doctrinal uniformity, as the debate on Copernicanism demonstrates. Although those institutional constraints did not fossilize Jesuit astronomical learning, they contributed to diverting it away from the scientific mainstream.
This chapter treats Catholic biblical interpretation since Pius XII’s encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu (1943). At the heart of the chapter is Vatican II’s teaching in its constitution Dei verbum. This text promoted an account of revelation as a multifaceted reality, and outlined a rounded account of biblical interpretation that endorsed some styles of modern historical critical analysis while insisting that Scripture should be interpreted in the light of a knowledge of what God intended to convey through Scripture. The chapter then considers how two key documents of the Pontifical Biblical Commission develop this teaching, and ways in which post-conciliar debates have continued to explore persistent challenges and tensions. Significant space is given to Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections on these debates. A final section suggests an agenda for the future development of Catholic exegesis.
This chapter considers the thirteenth-century Franciscan and theologian St Bonaventure. After outlining his life, the chapter explores Bonaventure’s theology through an exploration of his Breviloquium. Placing all in the context of Bonaventure’s Trinitarianism, the heart of the chapter explores Bonaventure’s conception of salvation history and the role of Christ at the centre of that history. A detailed account of Bonaventure’s account of the graceful and sacramental elevation of humanity follows. Particular attention is paid to the interrelated roles of Christ and the Spirit in this process. The final section of the chapter comments briefly on Bonaventure’s influence, referring especially to those figures who have found his work an important resource in the modern context.
In the early modern age, for the first time in history, moral theology became a ground of bitter strife within the Roman Catholic Church. After the Council of Trent, it evolved as a specialized discipline with its own methodology, which became increasingly identified with casuistry. The theoretical underpinning of this development was probabilism, the system according to which, when there are two opposite opinions as to the morality of a course of action, one is allowed to follow the less probable one. From about 1650, first of all in Belgium and France, both probabilism and casuistry came under attack as favoring laxity. Rigorism, which was linked to but by no means synonymous with doctrinal Jansenism, progressively spread to the entire Church. The papacy, whose pronouncements on moral matters became increasingly important, shared in this reaction but was careful to preserve theological pluralism.
This essay provides an account of the historical and thematic features of Catholic sacramental theology during the Baroque age. Its intent is primarily bibliographic, and hopes to introduce readers to the wide range of sources by which theologians of this time period constructed their grand syntheses, including the renewed traditions of scholasticism, polemical theology, mystical and devotional literature, liturgical studies, and the newly emergent Tridentine curia. Some of these developments will be outlined in three sections: (1) a brief bibliographic survey of the sources for early modern Roman Catholic sacramental theology; (2) an outline of some of its main scholastic controversies; and (3) a corresponding outline of the various attempts of the Holy Office to answer questions that arose in sacramental theology between the years 1500 and 1800.
David Matzko McCarthy
This essay considers the modern tradition of Catholic social teaching (CST). CST finds its roots in the biblical, patristic, and medieval periods, but was inaugurated in particular by Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891) and has been sustained by a range of papal encyclicals and conciliar documents since. The documents of CST emphasize that human beings are created for mutual cooperation and a pursuit of common good in social, economic, and political life. The essay considers first CST’s developing account of how social relations may be governed by Christian charity. It then considers the nature of property within economic relations as conceived within CST. The final section considers CST’s reflections on political life, which is understood as primarily personal and dependent on relations of mutual rights and responsibilities that are directed to the common good.
Chad C. Pecknold
This chapter explores Catholic teaching on life in the political realm. It explores first how the contours of debate were set in the early Church. Augustine’s notion of the two cities’ provided a basic foundation for later Latin Catholic thought, presenting the city of God on pilgrimage towards the heavenly city—and yet united already to it as Christ’s body. The city of man is founded on humanity’s turn away from right desire for God, and it is from within the city of God that we learn to view the relative integrity and value of all other human social order. The middle sections of the chapter explore the development of this vision in the medieval period. Later sections examine transformations across the Reformation period, ending with a treatment of these questions at Vatican II and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Peter Joseph Fritz
This essay considers Catholic responses to Heidegger under three headings: rejection, warm acceptance, and critical appropriation. Erich Przywara and Alasdair MacIntyre reject Heidegger; Bernhard Welte and Jean-Luc Marion accept; Hans Urs von Balthasar and Karl Rahner take Heidegger to be a worthy, if flawed, conversation partner. The extent to which a given theologian reads Heidegger as possibly in conversation with or as simply opposed to Thomist metaphysics functions as a guide to different attitudes of engagement with Heidegger. The more a Catholic warms to Thomas the cooler they become towards Heidegger. The essay ends by suggesting a continued engagement with Heidegger because doing so has stimulated Catholic consideration of the nature of revelation and the openness of the finite toward the infinite.
Anthony Akinwale OP
This chapter introduces Catholic theology in Africa. The encounter between Africa and Christianity is divided into three periods. The first of these runs from the beginning of Christianity to AD 1500. During this period Christianity flourished and produced some of the major theologians of the patristic period, and then survived with difficulty after the rise of Islam. The second period runs from AD 1500 to 1800. During this period there were certainly African priests and African seminaries, but little theological writing. The third period covers AD 1800 to the present day. This chapter considers the many theological voices and movements of this period beginning with inculturation theology and liberation theology, and ending with critiques of these movements and the emergence of a more firmly doctrinal theology in recent decades.
Catholicism and other branches of Christianity rarely reflected on earth in se for almost two millennia. Earth was viewed ordinarily as the setting for human existence, the stage on which human protagonists worked toward their salvation in a better world to come. Periodically, some individuals within Christianity (such as Francis of Assisi) became known for their appreciation of pristine nature and their attitude toward nonhuman species. This article examines the development of Catholic thought in three stages: caring for the common good, concern for creation in crisis, and creation concern and community commitment. It discusses issues of water ownership, water use, and water purity as a summary focal point for analyzing church teachings on environment, ecology, and economics. Elements of the teachings of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas have been particularly influential in Catholic doctrines regarding creation and the goods of creation. In 1891, Pope Leo XIII issued the first papal social encyclical, Rerum novarum (“On the Condition of Labor”). The major catalyst for the encyclical's development was probably the work of a New York City priest, Edward McGlynn.
Historical accounts of American Catholicism are not complete without some recognition of the racial contours of life in the United States. As a people both racist and racialized, American Catholics have lived along a spectrum of racial identification, both reinforcing and confounding the black-and-white boundaries that so dominate American racial ideology. European Catholic colonizers introduced race-based notions of slavery to North America as early as the fifteenth century. Some Catholics of African descent challenged the institutionalization of white supremacy in the American Catholic Church during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, at the same time that many white Protestant Americans categorized Catholic immigrants of Europe as dark-skinned outsiders. The immigration of people from Latin America and Asia has only added to the racial diversification of American Catholicism in the twenty-first century, further reinforcing the importance of race to the study of Catholicism in American history.
Kevin P. Spicer
Catholic and Protestant churches were on-lookers and sometimes worse, as their responses to persecution included forms of inaction that spilled over into complicity. Beginning with an examination of the corrupting influence of Catholic antisemitism on European Christians through the centuries and the role of religious prejudice in advancing racial antisemitism, this article explores the controversial choices and modulated actions of the Catholic Church. It gives particular attention to German Catholicism's response to the question, ‘who is my neighbour?’ and assesses the reaction and attitude of the Church hierarchy, especially Pope Pius XII (1876–1958), to Nazi acts of persecution.
This chapter situates the controversies about sex and gender in the Roman Catholic Church within the context of ongoing debates about the nature of the Church, the dynamism of the tradition, and the authority of the magisterium. It argues that underlying many of the most contentious of these disagreements, including those about reproductive rights, same-sex relationships, and gender-based violence, one can discern fundamentally different theological understandings about the nature of the human body, the relationships between the sexes, and the malleability of sexuality. Having examined these underlying theological controversies, this chapter considers the contours of the contemporary debates about reproductive rights and same-sex relationships. It notes moreover that these controversies are not abating. Rather, the positions are becoming more polarized and the divisions more intractable.
Christian D. Washburn
This chapter considers two important ecumenical councils of the Church in the modern era: Trent (1545–63) and Vatican I (1869–70). The chapter examines in detail the key teachings of each council. The reform decrees of Trent will only be discussed in so far as they touch upon dogmatic decrees. In the case of Trent the chapter identifies the key documents from the many sessions of the council over its twenty-year history, offering a clear guide to ways in which its teachings on revelation, grace, and justification offered a precise Catholic response to the emergent theologies of Protestantism. Vatican I’s key teachings on revelation, the knowledge of God, and the status of the papacy are similarly treated.
Wayne J. Hankey
This chapter on later Platonic traditions focuses Denys, otherwise known as Ps-Dionysius the Areopagite. A late fifth- to early sixth-century theologian, influenced by the Platonist philosophers Plotinus, Damascius, and above all Proclus, Denys has been influential throughout Catholic theology. The chapter begins by placing Denys’s innovations against the background of Christian engagement with Neoplatonism since St Augustine. After tracing Denys’s influence from the ninth to the sixteenth centuries, his role in modernity is considered, tracing a path through Pierre de Bérulle and neo-scholasticism. The chapter concludes by noting Denys’s importance for some postmodern Catholic thinkers.