Catholics should be amazed by how theology has developed over the past 40 years. From Karl Rahner to Jon Sobrino, from Edward Schillebeeckx to Elizabeth Johnson, the expanded territory covered by the theologians of our era bears comparison to the transition from the monastery to the university in the High Middle Ages.
Different theologians would tell the story differently, of course, but the version that follows is not completely idiosyncratic. I present the plot in seven stages (stage three has two parts). At each stage I name theologians who embody the development described and present a lesson or two learned at that stage. I tell this story in an abbreviated form, skipping over much, for the point does not lie in the details but in what has happened cumulatively during this brief period in the history of Catholic theology. I conclude with two urgent matters for Catholic theologians to address.
Theological progress differs from development in technology, where one way of doing things supplants anotherthe computer making the typewriter obsolete. Instead, in theology one stage takes the former into itself, slowly widening its horizon and deepening perceptions, allowing a complexification of issues that leads to greater understanding.
Our story begins at the end of the audio interview with Roger Haight, S.J.