Friday, February 9, 2007

Neuhaus on Balthasar, Pitstick, and Oakes

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, responding to correspondents complaining about the debate between Dr. Alyssa Pitstick and Fr. Edward Oakes, S.J., chronicled in Too good to miss, gives us an indication of how strongly some reacted by sharing an example, in which one correspondent wrote: "I don’t give a d— about Balthasar or what Catholics think is heresy".

Neuhaus goes even further by commenting succinctly on the relevance and significance of this great theologian's work, while accepting that, like all other contributions to the Tradition, he is not above being read critically. In fact, he must be and that is what Pitstick has done. In turn, her work is rightly read and critiqued by a Balthasarian expert, like Fr. Oakes. It is a great exchange. Returning to Fr. Neuhaus's comment:

"The work of Balthasar is without doubt one of the most impressive theological projects of the past hundred years. Anyone not interested in Balthasar is not interested in theology. Or in much else–for he wrote very suggestively about culture, literature, the role of classical Greece in contemporary philosophy, the possibilities of historical change, and the strange relationships between the beautiful, the good, and the true. So not to be interested in Balthasar is not to be interested in the questions that are the reason for the existence of First Things

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