Sacramentum Mundi Online

Get access Subject: Religious Studies

Edited by: Karl Rahner with Cornelius Ernst and Kevin Smyth.
Advisor for the online edition: Karen Kilby, Durham University

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Sacramentum Mundi Online is the online edition of the famous six volume English reference work in Catholic Theology, edited (in 1968-1970) by Karl Rahner, one of the main Catholic theologians of the 20th century. Sacramentum Mundi: An Encyclopedia of Theology was originally published by Herder Verlag, and is now available online at Brill.

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(1,088 words)

Author(s): Pieter Smulders
The doctrine. The wish for a more vital theology sent the Louvain professors M. Baius (1513–89) and J. Hessels (1522–66) back to the sources, especially to Augustine. Baius’s chief interests were the corruption of man and the necessity of grace. Taking the former as his theme, he started with the nature of man, which he saw as primarily ordained to adhering to God through the observance of the commandments, pietas and the other charisms of the Spirit. Another element of nature is the subordination of sensual desires to the Spirit. It is also part of the natural o…

Baptism - Baptism of Desire

(1,765 words)

Author(s): Gregory Baum
Part of Baptism: 1. Sacrament of Baptism 2. Baptism of Desire Historical sketch. The Fathers of the Church, interpreting the message of the Scriptures, taught that there was no salvation outside the baptism and faith of the Church. During the Middle Ages theologians began to reflect systematically on the ways in which grace is accessible to men outside of the visible boundaries of the Church. It was generally taught that while the sacraments are the normal means of grace, the perfect disposition to receive …

Baptism - Sacrament of Baptism

(6,252 words)

Author(s): Burkhard Neunheuser
Part of Baptism: 1. Sacrament of Baptism 2. Baptism of Desire It is difficult for us today to feel the resonant joy in the opening words of Tertullian’s De Baptismo: “Felix sacramentum aquae nostrae” — the bliss of the oath of allegiance taken in the sacramental water. For the early Christians baptism was the conscious and blessed beginning of the Christian life, a new birth and a re-birth in the image of Christ, accomplished by bathing in water while a few words were uttered. With all the simplicity of a divine act, in con…


(1,009 words)

Author(s): John Charles Maraldo
The Baptists, with 26 million members, form one of the world’s largest Protestant bodies but constitute more a religious movement than a well-defined Church or sect. 1. Origins and history. In the 16th century, printed translations of the Bible into the vernacular, humanism and the Reformation attracted the attention of laymen to primitive Christianity and thus to the problem of the baptism of believers. Both Luther and Calvin taught that baptism was a confession of faith and that faith was necessary to obtain divine forgiv…

Baroque - Baroque Scholasticism

(873 words)

Author(s): Rainer Specht
Part of Baroque: 1. Historical Survey 2. Baroque Scholasticism The expression “baroque” is applied to Scholasticism on the analogy of the architectural and literary style of the baroque age, of which it was the contemporary. It may be said to have begun in Catholic circles with the founder of the school of Salamanca, Francisco de Vitoria, and on the Protestant side with Melanchthon, called the father of Protestant orthodoxy. Among Protestants the end of this period coincided with the end of ecclesiastica…

Baroque - Historical Survey

(1,562 words)

Author(s): Georg Schwaiger
Part of Baroque: 1. Historical Survey 2. Baroque Scholasticism The word “baroque” was originally derogatively used to indicate a style of art that was thought to be exaggerated and peculiar. In the scholarly world, however, it refers to the style which developed in the 16th century out of the Italian Renaissance and spread throughout Europe and its colonies, terminating with the end of the 18th century. The date of its beginning and end in each country varies: the baroque culture north of the Alps, for i…

Beatific Vision

(1,503 words)

Author(s): Karl Rahner
1. In theological language “beatific vision” usually means perfect salvation in its entirety, though verbally it particularly stresses the intellectual component in the single whole which constitutes salvation. This is the full and definitive experience of the direct self-communication of God himself to the individual human being when by free grace God’s will has become absolute and attained its full realization. Since this absolute will (efficacious grace of perfect salvation in predestination)…

Being - Being and Beings

(3,394 words)

Author(s): Johannes Lotɀ
Part of Being: 1. Being and Beings 2. Nothingness 1. The state of the question. Philosophy has revolved about the notion of being since the beginning. And here a fundamental distinction stands out, that between beings and being. Every thing and every man is a being, as that which is; but being is the ground by which all beings are or a being is. For this distinction Heidegger chose the term of the “onto-logical difference”, since it distinguishes being from each being (ὂν), as its ground (λόγος). In infra-hum…

Being - Nothingness

(1,664 words)

Author(s): Klaus Hemmerle
Part of Being: 1. Being and Beings 2. Nothingness 1. The state of the question. There are several important theological reasons for the consideration of non-being or nothingness. a) The Christian faith considers that the world was created out of nothing. The Christian understanding of fall, redemption and fulfilment of the world is determined throughout by this irretrievable commencement. What does “nothing” mean here? b) All statements about God affirm rather what he is not than what he is. This is true even…