Theological Instruction and Faith Transmission: Lonergan's Method as Pedagogy Theology


  • Patricia A. Sullivan


Hans Urs Von Balthasar's lament that coincidence of the theologian and the saint has not been the norm since the Middle Ages can be emblematic of a methodological issue impacting both academic theology and the Church wholly by separation of that which as a faith tenet should be unified—word and witness. Theologians’ intent today to speak from but not be confused with their location, the theological discipline's reach for respectability in an increasingly secular academy, market forces deliberately shrinking theology's influence except in such as interdisciplinary endeavors supporting other publics’ aims, the contemporary narrow specialization of the theologian, and the sometime view that narrow tasks serving theology are theology itself all result in conflations of theology and religion. So “theology” and “spirituality,” as Balthasar identified the breach, will be separate. Yet we hope that theologians, with all others, will be saints. Does this not, particularly to students, transmit the faith? Although Bernard Lonergan's method might seem to exacerbate the separation given its numerous theological specialties and conversion types, it also offers the way of reunification—without threat to academic integrity. The theological method, with its turn to the subject, can ground a theology (and method) of pedagogy.