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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Liberalism and Liberal Theology

(3,955 words)

Author(s): Konrad Hecker
A. Origins and Social Meaning of Liberalism (19th Century) Liberalism, which dominated much of the thought and social endeavour of European middle-class life in the 19th century, stemmed in the main from the great spiritual impulses of the 17th century which are only partly comprised by the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. There was the broader, more general recognition that freedom gave man the chance and the task of self-determination, while this responsible “self” on which so much depended was…

Life - Moral Theology

(2,869 words)

Author(s): Waldemar Molinski
Part of Life: 1. Natural Science 2. Moral Theology 1. The Right and Duty to Live. When moral theology considers the right to life and the duty to live, the necessity and value of preserving life, it has to examine how life can best and adequately serve the love of God, the neighbour and oneself. Its starting-point must be that the Bible and theology consider life to be a participation of man in the life of God, in such a way that earthly life makes possible and prepares for participation in eternal life. Since…

Life - Natural Science

(1,927 words)

Author(s): Werner Bröker
Part of Life: 1. Natural Science 2. Moral Theology 1. Scientifically speaking, no valid answer can yet be given on the question of life. But its characteristics can be described in great detail. Life is linked to protoplasm, the substance, which is the highest known form of organized matter. The protoplasm is basically a system of structures and functions in which nucleic acids, carbohydrates, fats, hormones, vitamins, and enzymes occur. This living matter never occurs, even in its simplest forms, except…

Life-Philosophy (“Bergsonism”)

(1,369 words)

Author(s): Hans Michael Baumgartner
It is a matter of history that philosophies lose their freshness and that their concepts and systems become inadequate to the reality of nature, world and history and men’s consciousness of them. Their theoretical and moral doctrines grow stale and appear as empty formulae. Reality seems to escape their grasp and to demand spontaneously, as it were, a new effort to comprehend it. The thinking that claims to answer this demand must contradict existing systems, because it must begin by renouncing …


(1,132 words)

Author(s): Peter Gumpel
1. Notion. Limbo (Latin: hem, edge, etc.) is a technical theological term for the place and state of the dead who are neither in heaven nor in hell nor in purgatory. A distinction is drawn between the limbus patrum, i.e., the place and state of the pre- Christian just, who could not enter into eternal happiness before Christ’s descent into hell and his ascension, and the limbus infantium, i.e., of the human beings who on earth never attained the use of reason, and to whom the sacrament of baptism was never administered, although the gospel was sufficiently proc…

Liturgical Movement

(958 words)

Author(s): Joseph Andreas Jungmann
The liturgical movement is the effort, now highly successful in the Church, to bring our largely ossified liturgy back to life as the corporate worship of the people of God. The reforms of the Council of Trent made the Roman liturgy, practically as it stood, a definitive standard, consciously halting a process of growth whose main features had emerged by the 6th century but which also continued throughout the Middle Ages, though not always organically. Bishops were no longer allowed to adapt the…

Liturgy - Liturgical Language

(1,516 words)

Author(s): Angelus Häussling
Part of Liturgy: 1. The Liturgies 2. Liturgical Language 3. Liturgical Year 4. Study of Liturgy 1. The data of comparative religion. Most religions hand down their sacred teachings and hold their sacred rites in sacred, cultic languages. Sometimes these are merely severely classical or literary forms of the ordinary language, from which they can be sharply distinguished. Where a strictly cultic language is used in worship it is usually an earlier form of the living tongue (as among the Romans); often it is the langu…

Liturgy - Liturgical Year

(2,775 words)

Author(s): Angelus Häussling
Part of Liturgy: 1. The Liturgies 2. Liturgical Language 3. Liturgical Year 4. Study of Liturgy A. Principles 1. The most essential statement of revelation, and the very nature of revelation, is that God addresses mankind in a history which progresses beyond creation and the covenant with Israel (to mention only the most decisive stages) to the supreme and definitive salvation which is Jesus Christ, whose revelation in glory will bring both the goal and the end of all history. Hence to each generation as it enter…

Liturgy - Study of Liturgy

(2,024 words)

Author(s): Joseph Andreas Jungtnann
Part of Liturgy: 1. The Liturgies 2. Liturgical Language 3. Liturgical Year 4. Study of Liturgy Liturgical science might be taken to mean a purely theoretical study of the many different forms of worship that Christians have used in the course of two millenia — a branch, in other words, of cultural history and archaeology. But such a view would fail to do justice to liturgies as an ecclesiastical science, which for all its interest in historical forms is ultimately concerned with interpreting the contemporary liturgy. This task is of considerable importance for the reason that li…

Liturgy - The Liturgies

(8,939 words)

Author(s): Joseph Andreas Jungmann
Part of Liturgy: 1. The Liturgies 2. Liturgical Language 3. Liturgical Year 4. Study of Liturgy A. Definition. The word λειτουργία in classical Greek means a function (ἔργον) undertaken on behalf of the people (λαός) : fitting out a ship, preparing a feast or doing any public service. In the Greek Bible, the word is regularly used of divine worship, to speak of the sacred ministry with which the priests and levites of the ОТ were charged. In Heb 8:2 Christ himself is designated as λειτουργός. The word remained current among Greekspeaking Chri…