Page 2, 19th February 1971

19th February 1971
Page 2
Page 2, 19th February 1971 — Fr. Rahner on safeguards to freedom

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People: Karl Rahner, Fr


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Fr. Rahner on safeguards to freedom

Keywords: Karl Rahner


"SECONDARY institu tions" to protect the freedom essential to Christian life were absolutely necessary in the modern church, Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J., said at the London School of Economics on Tuesday in a lecture entitled "Institution and Freedom."

"For example. you should have the possibility of appealing to a secondary institution against the decision of a bishop," he said.

Freedom was the central gift of salvation belonging to the inmost meaning of life, he said. Order and structure could only be considered as an inner moment within it. They could never ultimately oppose it.

Although social institutions were only secondary expressions of structure, since their forms depended on the free will of men, yet the institutional sphere of society belonged to the inescapable structure and ordering principle in the world.

"The freedom of the redeemed Children of God cannot be directly identified with the freedom which is a social and political ideal," said Fr. Rahner. "But they still have it very great deal to do with each other."

FRUSTRATION "Every age has its great ideals and slogans. One of today's slogans is certainly freedom. It has become a key idea all over the world and has laid hold of people in the most varied economic and cultural stages of development."

Inevitably freedom had thereby become almost impossible to define. It always remained a relative idea, related to what men thought could be changed within a reasonable time.

Under the notion of "institutions," Fr. Rahner included "all those variable realities which impose certain restrictions on human freedom," human laws, social ideals, habits, taboos.

"It cannot he doubted that the immense multiplicity and complexity of today's institutions make us feel horribly confined, restricted, or as we say today 'frustrated.'

"This frustration is bound to be experienced primarily and with particular sharpness precisely by those who did not share in the original formation of these various institutional forms within society.

"Above. all, the original liberating power of these institutions has never been experienced by them," Fr. Rahner said. This was the underlying cause of the generation conflict.

A provisional conflict

between institution and freedom could be admitted, but this should not conceal their deeper unity. For it was man who created these institutions.

PARADOX We were faced with the paradox that freedom protested against its own creation, creating institutions which limited it. The theologian must ask himself if there was any way to escape this paradox. Man was in constant temptation of reacting irrationally towards the frustrating pressure of institution.

"Faith and trusting hope in an absolute future, which we call God, is essential for the liberation of freedom."

Fr. Rahner went on to speak of secondary institutions

institutions created in order to preserve freedom against other institutions. Only absolute tyranny could say revolution was totally unnecessary, and meaningful and justified revolution was always passible.

"Old people shouldn't categorically deny this just to enjoy their well-earned peace." Secondary institutions could bring about changes in an evolutionary way.

"The wisdom and foresight of those who represent and administer primary institutions is particularly crucial: they should not prevent such secondary institutions because they feel them to be a limitation on their power."

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