A Strong Critique

Balthasar then continues his assault upon the ancient Church, and its irrelevance for us today. Next he tries a clever maneuver to disarm anyone who would possibly be attached to these “useless” traditions.. He does so by making a reasonable claim, “...every formula that is discovered must be transparent to the event both of then and of today; it is to be made use of to the extend that it permits what was then to become reality today, and left unused to the extent that it impedes this. In the many complicated systems of thought, perhaps only one thing remains vital today: namely, that in them we can discover what other ages knew about encountering the mystery of God. Where this can no longer be discerned, the systems quite deserve to be utterly forgotten.” What systems he is referring to here is never really identified. This sets up a clever rule however to discard whatever the author sees fit to dispose of, under a noble banner indeed.

I mostly agree with this critique of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He states the case a little too strongly at some points. However, I fear that the theology of von Balthasar is very problematic. It's unfortunate because there are a lot of things to like about some of the things he has to say. However, like many theologians from the last century their error starts with their understanding of nature. This misunderstanding harms the rest of their work. The critique of von Balthasar and others like him by strong Thomists rings more and more true each passing day.