Karl Rahner and Luise, an article from May 2004 "Catholic Family News."
Remember how some writers have speculated that perhaps bishops didn't condemn the sexual activities of other bishops because of the fear of blackmail? And remember how you wondered how far up the chain of command this little difficulty might have risen?
Father Karl Rahner, the progressivist Jesuit who "set the direction for the Second Vatican Council," carried on a secret 22-year "romance" with German writer Luise Rinser.
This revelation came to light in 1994 when Rinser published her autobiography which contained her half of the correspondence between herself and Rahner, a correspondence that lasted from 1962 to Rahner?s death in 1984. The book was entitled Gratwunderung, loosely translated as "a walk on the edge". Published in Germany, it has not yet been translated into English.
The Jesuits have never denied the truth of the Rinser-Rahner relationship, but refused to allow Rinser to publish the letters Rahner sent to her, claiming that Rahner's letters are the property of the Jesuits, not Rinser.
Wouldn't one assume that the letters Karl Rahner sent to this woman would be in her possession? So why exactly did she ask permission to publish? Anyway...
The subject of Rahner's bizarre romance received little press in the English- speaking world. England's Tablet published a brief 1995 report about Rinser's book. The National Catholic Reporter ran a story about it in late 1997, which was not the result of NCR's own investigative reporting, but spotlighted the work of Pamela Kirk, Associate Professor at Saint John's University in Jamaica, New York, who is described as a Rahner specialist....
Luise Rinser, who died two years ago, met Rahner in 1962 when she was a widow and two-time divorcee. She initially wrote to Rahner to consult him on a theological matter for an essay she was working on. Rinser visited Rahner at Innsbruck early in 1962, and afterward "their theological exchange became suddenly more personal".
At this time, when Rahner was being praised by the liberal Cardinal Frings as the "greatest theologian of the 20th Century," and as he was becoming the prime progressive theologian of Vatican II, he began the heavy correspondence with Rinser, sometimes writing to her 3 to 4 times a day.8 In all, Rahner would write her more than 2200 letters, 758 of them written from 1962 to 1965, the years of the Second Vatican Council, while he was steering the Church into its brave new future.
According to Rinser, theirs was a non-physical romance. Rahner said that he wanted to be "faithful" to his vow of celibacy, but this did not prevent his kneeling before her in a protestation of love. Rinser speaks of the incident in a letter to him dated August 12, 1962....
The story becomes more bizarre when we learn that Rinser and Rahner were two parts of a love triangle that also involved an unnamed Benedictine Abbot referred to as "M.A.". All three were at Vatican II. Rahner was the liberal theologian directing the Council's course; Abbot " M.A." was a voting member at the Council and an expert on Eastern Orthodoxy; Rinser covered the Council as a correspondent for the German newspaper, Die Welt am Sonntag.
There are more details in the story.
Perhaps it's time for a new TV Soap, a sequel to "Days of Our Lives," called "Days of Our Council." All some enterprising director needs is access to the Rahner set of letters!
A priest in a sinful state still confects the sacraments. Does a theologian in a sinful state still enjoy the benefit of the guidance of the Holy Spirit? And if he does not?
Karl Rahner's secret 22-year romance