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

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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Schism - Western Schism

(1,905 words)

Author(s): Johann Baptist Villiger
Part of Schism: 1. Concept of Schism 2. History of Schism 3. Eastern Schism 4. Western Schism The period from 1378 to 1417 (or 1449) is known in Church history as the great Western Schism. It was essentially a schism in the papacy, involving the simultaneous claim to and actual exercise of supreme Church authority by two and later three Popes. The Church has never officially pronounced on the question which of the two (or three) papal successions was the legitimate one. Nor did the choice of the papal name of Jo…

Scholasticism - Evolution

(11,955 words)

Author(s): Zoltan Alszeghy | Richard Heinzmann | Elisabeth Gössmann | Reinhold Weier | Otto Muck
Part of Scholasticism: 1. Nature and Approaches 2. Evolution A. Pre-Scholasticism Pre-scholasticism is the term used to describe the theology and philosophy of the 7th to the 11th century, to distinguish it from the preceding patristic theology (see Patrology II, III) and the subsequent period of early scholasticism. A number of spiritual trends are combined, of which the common element may be said to be the effort to make use of an imperfectly mastered classical culture in the understanding of faith, while trying to do justice to the special nature of religious knowledge. 1. In most of…

Scholasticism - Nature and Approaches

(3,145 words)

Author(s): Eberhard Simons
Part of Scholasticism: 1. Nature and Approaches 2. Evolution Scholasticism is a philosophy, theology and jurisprudence which in the Middle Ages stood for all known science. From the 7th century on, scholasticism developed through the stages of pre-scholasticism and early scholasticism to the classical period of the 12th and 13th centuries, setting up then a tradition lasting for seven hundred years, down to the present day. Post-classical or later scholasticism again reached high-points in Baroque schola…

Science - General

(5,325 words)

Author(s): Alois Haider | Max Müller
Part of Science: 1. General 2. Theory of Science 3. Science and Theology 1. General problems of definition. There are difficulties about establishing a precise definition of the term “science”. The definition itself has to be established scientifically. Moreover, it has to cover not just “science as such”, in the singular, but also the various different branches of science. Hence the tendency to try to derive the common features of the various branches of science from one particular science selected as prototype…

Science - Science and Theology

(2,326 words)

Author(s): Gernot Eder
Part of Science: 1. General 2. Theory of Science 3. Science and Theology The subject-matter of science is virtually unrestricted, in the region of the observable. But it is mainly concerned with systems (the atom, the solar system, the biosphere, etc.) which are more or less isolated from outside interference. The framework of its method is functional causality, that is, the relation of cause and effect is expressed as the regular connection between successive states of an isolated system (see Matter II). The features which characterize a system are restricted to measurable…

Science - Theory of Science

(2,671 words)

Author(s): Otto Muck
Part of Science: 1. General 2. Theory of Science 3. Science and Theology Reflection on science has always formed part of philosophy. It is only in modern times, and especially since Kant, that light on the specific character of human cognition has been looked for from the logical analysis of science. For Kant, this raised the question of the possibility of synthetic a priori judgments, which he regarded as an in-dispensable basis of the universal statements of natural laws made by mathematical natural science; that these are justified is placed beyond all d…


(1,675 words)

Author(s): Carlo Balić
Scotism is the term applied either to the doctrine of Duns Scotus or of his school. 1. Origin. The controversy among Aristotelians was at its height during the teaching career of Duns Scotus ( c. 1300), with the ancient Franciscan school (St. Bonaventure etc.) of the Augustinian type opposed to the Thomistic (see Scholasticism II C). On 7 March 1277 the Bishop of Paris, Stephen, along with the University, had condemned 219 philosophical theses, including some of St. Thomas’s. Archbishop Kilwardby, O. P., declared some theses of St. Thomas to be da…

Scripture and Tradition

(2,946 words)

Author(s): Karl Rahner
A. Introduction 1. The question of the relationship between Scripture and tradition seemed to have been cleared up for Catholic theology by the declaration of the Council of Trent ( D 783 f.), which affirmed that the pure gospel was Contained and handed on “in libris scriptis et sine scripto traditionibus”, and that both modes of the presence of revelation were to be greeted “pari pietatis affectu ac reverentia". tia”. (This was repeated by Vatican II, Dei Verbum, art. 9, though “Sacra Traditio” was substituted for “traditiones’’.) In post-Tridentine times, the declaration of Tren…

Sects, Christian

(2,730 words)

Author(s): Johannes Gründler
This article simply aims at listing the minor divisions attached in one way or another to the Christian Churches. The word “sect” is not used (as so often) in a disparaging sense, but simply to exemplify groupings which either arrived late on the scene, or are of small numerical size, or are only loosely attached to Christianity in its orthodox forms. For a discussion of the theological interest of the latter, see Protestantism I, ad fin. A. Churches and Sects in the East See Eastern Churches D. B. Churches and Sects in the West (For the general historical background, see Reformation.) 1. Mennon…

Secular Institutes

(1,941 words)

Author(s): Jean Beyer
The “secular institutes” ( instituta saecularia), as defined by Pius Xll in the Apostolic Constitution Provida Mater Ecclesia of 2 February 1947 ( AAS 39 [1947], pp. 114-24), are the third public state of perfection in the Church, consisting of societies of priests and laity. Their members consecrate themselves to God by binding themselves to perfect charity through the observation of the three evangelical counsels. The object is the exercise of a fruitful apostolate in the world. There are three types of such institu…

Secularization - Concept

(4,989 words)

Author(s): Albert Keller
Part of Secularization: 1. Concept 2. Laicism A. Defining the Notion “Secularization” comes from the Latin saecularis, meaning “worldly”, “temporal” or “age-old”, and forms a group with “secularity” and “secularism”. Since all these words indicate a theory or process whereby things or persons are assigned to the realm of the world, they are often used indifferently. But it is useful and now becoming more common to distinguish them. (i) Secularization has mostly been used for the confiscation of Church property …

Secularization - Laicism

(1,292 words)

Author(s): Ernst Niermann
Part of Secularization: 1. Concept 2. Laicism The term “laicism” was coined in France during the struggle for spiritual power under the Third Republic and introduces the problems of the “Church and the World” as they were understood in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is only against this historical background that the attitude of laicism to the relationship of Church and State, for instance, can be properly understood. Laicizing thought was given its classical form in France, though it also played an important role in other countries down to the present century. The spiritual roots of l…

Sermon on the Mount

(1,367 words)

Author(s): Jacques Dupont
1. St. Matthew. The Sermon on the Mount, Mt 5–7, is the first and most important of the discourses of Jesus which mark this gospel. It gives a general picture of the “justice” which should characterize the disciples of Jesus and give them access to the Kingdom of God. In the introduction, the beatitudes (5:3–12) constitute a first presentation of the conditions to be fulfilled by the disciples to possess the Kingdom of God. The metaphors of salt and light (vv. 13–16) insist on the good example whi…

Sex - Sexual Education

(1,739 words)

Author(s): Johannes Gründel
Part of Sex: 1. Sexuality 2. Sexual Education 3. Sexual Morality 1. Its nature and problems, a) Sexual education can be fruitfully given only in a general framework of moral and personal education. It can neither be value-free nor independent of a determinate view of life, and it pre-supposes a right attitude to human sexuality. In this there is question, not so much of a moralizing enunciation of the relevant norms, but rather of every form of assistance needed by young people in process of coming to maturity…

Sex - Sexuality

(3,392 words)

Author(s): Johannes Gründel
Part of Sex: 1. Sexuality 2. Sexual Education 3. Sexual Morality For centuries the prevailing theological teaching attributed no more than a functional character to human sexuality; corresponding to the sexuality of the animal world, it was evaluated chiefly or entirely from the point of view of procreation (see Birth Control). On the basis of an anthropology which is concerned with the totality of the person, new points of view for the understanding and evaluation of sexuality present themselves nowadays, leading to changes of emphasis and add…

Sex - Sexual Morality

(5,921 words)

Author(s): Johannes Gründel
Part of Sex: 1. Sexuality 2. Sexual Education 3. Sexual Morality Sexual morality is to be regarded as part of Christian ethics and moral theology; it attempts to explain the purpose and task of human sexuality as well as the moral significence of interpersonal relations, insofar as they affect man in his sexual nature and are of an erotic and sexual character. Human sexuality, cannot, however, be rightly explained in terms of finality, but rather from a personal evaluation of man and his relationships. The…
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