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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(3,818 words)

Author(s): Johannes Wîtte
A. Calvinism and Calvin Calvinism is the name given to that form of Protestantism which had its origin, either directly or indirectly, in the reforming activity of John Calvin (1509–1564). The name itself was introduced by the Lutherans against Calvin’s wish. Calvinism took root in the French and Swiss humanism of the early 16th century and, accordingly, it cannot be considered merely as a variant of Lutheranism, though it is true that “the basic teaching of Luther is also that of Calvin” (E. Trölts…

Canon of Scripture

(3,892 words)

Author(s): Paul Neuenzeit
1. Significance and problem. Vatican II has called attention in various documents to the greater esteem for Scripture which has characterized theology for some years, and which should also mark Christian life. Not only are the Council texts themselves highly biblical in their language, but in ch. 2 of the Constitution on Revelation, where sacred tradition is discussed (art. 8), the apostolic preaching, “which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books (of sacred Scripture)” is explicitly a…

Cappadocian Fathers

(1,818 words)

Author(s): Friedrich Normann
Cappadocia, the most easterly district of Asia Minor, was early taught the Christian message (cf. 1 Pet 1:1), and at the Council of Nicaea was represented by seven bishops. There was no Cappadocian school of theology in the sense of the schools of Alexandria and Antioch. The unity of thought among the “Cappadocian” Fathers derives ultimately from Basil of Caesarea. It is Basil whom Gregory of Nazianzus and his younger brother Gregory of Nyssa recognize as teacher, and from Basil a line can be traced back to Origen through Gregory Thaumaturgus, and thereby to the Alexandrian tradition. 1. Pag…


(2,049 words)

Author(s): Klaus Mörsdorf
Since the 16th century “Cardinal” has been an exclusive designation for the members of the College of Cardinals, also called the Sacrum Collegium, which consists of three classes (cardinal bishops, cardinal priests, and cardinal deacons). 1. History. The historical roots of the College of Cardinals go back to the presbyterate of the Bishops of Rome. According to an old custom, which held fast to the memory of the eucharistic celebration by the bishop together with his presbyterate, the heads of the Roman titular churches, whose nu…


(1,256 words)

Author(s): Walter Kern
The influence of Descartes on the history of human thought cannot be restricted to the philosophy fashionable in France in the 17th century. Cartesianism is rather one of the sources and norms for the modern mentality in general. Today as in the past its assessment can vary between two extremes, according to whether one sees the basic tendencies of modern thought one-sidedly as either promise or decay. This is a sign of the perpetual relevance of Cartesianism, since it calls for a new estimation…


(3,101 words)

Author(s): Jacques Audinet
A. Historical Review The noun “catechesis” (ϰατήχησις) does not occur in the NT; only the verbal form (ϰατηχεΐν) is to be found there, though not in the technical sense it was later to acquire, being taken rather by the NT authors in the current sense of “recount” or “give viva voce instruction”. (This is a transferred sense, derived from the physical which was to “echo” or “resound”.) It is so used in Acts 21:21-24: “they [the Jews] have been told [concerning Paul]”. In other contexts the word ϰατηχεΐν takes on a religious colouring. The reason for this is that the object to…


(1,064 words)

Author(s): Jörg Spletí
1. Concept. The basic mode of human knowledge is the act of integration accomplished by the judgment, in which the multiplicity of the data is reduced to synthetic unity. The word synthetic here indicates that this unity is not the first moment in the whole act of knowledge. It is based on the indistinct unity of simple intuition, which for its part is articulated by concepts. In the concept, therefore, the immediate unity is dissolved, but dissolved into unities (of distinct components). This pr…


(1,069 words)

Author(s): Arno Borst
“Catharists” (from the Greek word ϰαθαροί, pure) has been, since 1163, the most common and apt name for the largest of medieval sects; its own names (Christiani, boni homines), and the names coined by its opponents (Manichaeans, Patarines, Albigenses, also neo-Manichaeans) are scientifically unsuitable. 1. History. The first Catharists appeared in Cologne in 1143, having come from the Balkans together with merchants and crusaders; they spread quickly to England and Spain, and particularly to southern France and northern Italy. They combine…


(3,567 words)

Author(s): Franɀ Karl Mayr
A. Preliminary Note on Philosophical Usage Causality, as the relationship between cause and effect, is treated in various ways. Since modern subjectivism, with its cleavage between subject and object, followed by an emancipation of “thought” from “language”, constant efforts have been made to reduce causality to an external phenomenon proper to objects, to be understood as a pure association of ideas or category of thought. But the ancient Greek concept itself (αἰτία, cause, as moral responsibility) p…


(4,149 words)

Author(s): Leonhard M. Weber
Celibacy here means not simply the fact of not being married, though such a state can be of theological and pastoral relevance when it serves to promote certain ends. Celibacy is here understood as the unmarried state chosen in the light of the Christian faith, and in particular as one of the duties of the state in life of the clergy of the Latin Church, by which they are forbidden to marry and obliged to live in total continence. A. History 1. The biblical foundations for celibacy are taken to be the saying of the Lord about not marrying ("becoming a eunuch") for the sake o…

Censorship of Books

(1,760 words)

Author(s): Othmar Heggelbacher
The First Council of Nicaea, safeguarding the teachings of the Church, already thought it necessary to condemn the Thalia of Arius, while the Third Council of Constantinople and the Second Council of Nicaea condemned other heretical writings and ordered them to be burnt or withdrawn. In the Middle Ages such books were frequently not only condemned, but forbidden to be read or even possessed, and sometimes they were ordered to be burnt, as in the case of the Apologia for Abaelard written by Berengarius of Poitiers…