One of the most influential RC theologians of the 20th cent. He became a Jesuit in 1922 and held professorial chairs at Innsbruck, Munich, and Münster. He was a peritus (expert [adviser]) at the Second Vatican Council.
His basic position was expounded in Geist in Welt (1939; Eng. tr., Spirit in the World, 1968). While interpreting in existentialist terms St Thomas Aquinas's doctrine of perception as the grasping of intelligible being through the medium of the sensible species, he sees the human subjectivity as functioning within a horizon of being whose ultimate determinant is God. From 1958 he edited, with H. Schlier, the series Quaestiones Disputatae, and he was one of the editors of the second edition of the Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (1957–65 + supplements on the Second Vatican Council). His pastoral writings are direct and forceful.