World and sacrament foundations of the political theology of the Church

Journal article


van Erp, Stephan. (2015). World and sacrament foundations of the political theology of the Church. Louvain Studies. 39(2), pp. 102-120. https://doi.org/10.2143/LS.39.2.3159731
Authorsvan Erp, Stephan
Abstract

Fundamental theology has undergone a radical change in recent decades, which is best described by a shift from the epistemological to the political. In this article, the author describes the shared history of politics and theology, starting with the apologetics of the early church as it was connected to the politics of martyrdom. This close connection of apologetics and political action can still be found in the thought of Thomas Aquinas. In modern theology however, apologetics became of a more epistemological nature, which constituted knowledge as the prime focus of fundamental theology. As a consequence, modern theologians have ignored an important aspect of apologetics: authority (of Scripture, tradition, and the magisterium). This has given way to fundamental theology losing some of its tasks to philosophy and religious studies, which, the author argues, suffer from similar fallacies as an epistemologically reductionist fundamental theology. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church developed in her documents since Rerum novarum (1991) an apologetics that was distinctively political, rather than epistemological. Therefore, the author of this article argues that contemporary fundamental theology should be revised, and include political theory and the Church’s social teaching as foundations for understanding faith and revelation. He proposes to use insights from sacramental theology to pursue a politically orientated fundamental theology, in which the Church is not taken as a political instrument for social change – as is the case in many political and liberation theologies – but as a sign and instrument of God’s political ordering of the world towards his Kingdom.

Year2015
2016
JournalLouvain Studies
Journal citation39 (2), pp. 102-120
PublisherPeeters Publishers
ISSN0024-6964
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.2143/LS.39.2.3159731
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84992049028
Page range102-120
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online2016
Publication process dates
Deposited19 May 2023
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