---Karl Rahner, 'Christian Living Formerly and Today,' Theological Investigations, vol. 7, trans. David Bourke (New York: Herder and Herder, 1971), 15.
One of our more eloquent contributors (see the comments to "Retreat of the Barron") to this blog has suggested that I depart from the teachings of the Church from time to time as it suits the topic. It is never my intent to subvert the fundamentals of Catholic dogma, doctrine or Tradition, though I am aware that sometimes I place a heavy tax on them. My goal is never to destroy, but it is often to deconstruct, and that makes some people very nervous. I am not St. Paul, however, and I do not know I am able to be all things to all people. My goal is to read scripture, dogmatics, doctrine and Tradition and see what wants to come to life in them, to see what events seek release from them, and then allow the event to unfold (that pretty much is deconstruction in a nutshell). I attempt to look past the statements-as-idols and try to land on their iconic element. My self-imposed caveat: avoid at all costs becoming a dogmatic fundamentalist--avoid committing idolatry of the word(s).
What I propose here is not novelty for novelty's sake, nor do I propose to usurp Catholic tradition and turn it into something it cannot become ( that is, foster an inauthentic development). What I am discovering is that the Tradition of the Church is rich with meaning, far from any possibility of being reduced to dead dogma that speaks to no one and ends up on the refuse heap of history. Dogma and doctrine are great gifts bestowed upon the religiously and theologically minded, and as in the parable of the talents, to be received so that they enrich and enliven that tradition. It is their very given-ness that opens up a horizon for their releasing of the event.
My assertions lately of a suffering God do not come hocus pocus from a magical hat. They are deeply embedded in the mystical traditions of the Church, and are part of the very tapestry of scripture. I recently paraphrased Rahner's axiom that the Trinity we see is the Trinity that is--the immanent Trinity is identical with the economic Trinity. And that has implications worthy of meditation and contemplation. Hans Urs von Balthasar has also closed the gap on the economic and immanent Trinity, and from that has allowed for an understanding of a suffering Godhead.
In a remarkable document completed before Rahner and von Balthasar died, we find a veritable Biergarten of thinkers coming into consensus (the document was very likely finally redacted by Joseph Ratzinger).
I will quote a substantial portion here:
1. The supporters of this Theology assert that their ideas can be found in the Old and New Testaments and in some of the Fathers. But the influence of modern philosophy has certainly had a greater weight, at least in the systematic presentation of this Theology.
1.2. According to many of our contemporaries, this Trinitarian suffering is rooted in the very divine essence itself; according to others, it is based on a certain emptying of himself on the part of God the Creator, who in some sense binds himself to human freedom or, in virtue of a pact, freely forces himself to hand over his Son—a fact that they say makes the suffering of the Father deeper than all the suffering of creation.
In recent years a few Catholic authors have made similar suggestions, maintaining that the principal role of the Crucified consisted in manifesting the suffering of the Father.
Rahner was right: a mystic or nothing at all.