A Source for the Gnosticization of Morality: Fr. Karl Rahner (Part 7)

Next comes the key move for morality. (Actually, the move has already been made with the epistemology.) The “first” realm of moral activity regarded the realm about which we have conceptual consciousness. But since everything in this realm is finite, then “being as such” as well as “God” will never show up for us in the first realm of activity, the realm of determinate choices consciously chosen. Rather, being as such as well as “God” show up only as the Unnamable Ultimate towards which the “vector” of our activity is tending. Thus, our actions directly concerned with God must not be those in the first realm of activity. Rather, such actions must be those of the second realm.

Now, Rahner does contend that this second realm is always engaged only through the engagement of the first realm. (Thankfully, they held onto something concrete!) That is, I can have a vector towards the ultimate only if I am doing concrete things with conceptual clarity. After all, recall that my vector is my capacity to surpass what I have known / achieved. Since the capacity for that transcendence is precisely a capacity for a certain manner of approaching finite entities, it necessarily is involved with such entities.

To illustrate: I can be tending towards Absolute Being only if I am building a house, solving an equation, fixing the toilet, baking bread, punishing a rebel, stealing money, abusing someone, or paying cash for the TV. In and through these activities, I can and am deciding about Absolute Being.