Roman Catholic Theology

Peter C. Phan

in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology

Published in print December 2007 |
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

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Although the Roman Catholic Church claims historical continuity with Jesus Christ himself and regards the subsequent Christian development as its own, it acquired distinctive features in matters of doctrine, worship, ethics, spirituality, and organization since the Reformation in opposition to the Protestant churches (and to a lesser extent also to the Orthodox church since 1054). “Roman Catholic theology” refers to the doctrinal development that has taken place in the Roman Catholic Church from the sixteenth century (commonly referred to as the Counter-Reformation) until today. Since it is characteristic of Roman Catholic theology to accord a special authority to the official teachings of the church (the magisterium), especially of ecumenical councils and bishops (in particular the bishop of Rome and his immediate collaborators), this article begins with an exposition of the magisterium's teaching on eschatology. Next, it expounds the eschatology of some of the most influential contemporary Roman Catholic theologians such as Karl Rahner, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Ladislaus Boros, Edward Schillebeeckx, and Joseph Ratzinger. It also discusses Catholic official teachings on eternal life and contemporary Catholic eschatologies.

Keywords: Roman Catholic Church; theology; magisterium; theologians; eternal life; Karl Rahner; Joseph Ratzinger; Hans Urs von Balthasar; Ladislaus Boros

Article.  7967 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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