A Source for the Gnosticization of Morality: Fr. Karl Rahner (Part 10)

All of the foregoing is preparation for the so-called “Fundamental Option” theory of morality. What Rahner claims is that in each and every act we perform on the so-called first level of activity, what he calls the “categorical level”, we also simultaneously have some kind of bearing towards that second level of activity, what he calls the “transcendental level” of activity. On the categorical level, I am living in sin with my “new” wife. But on the transcendental level, I am making my way beyond any particular finite thing (such as my wife (???), whether first or second) towards the infinite.

Thus, there are two levels of activity. Two levels of analysis. And since you yourself cannot have any certain idea whether or not on the second level you are being authentic or inauthentic, neither could anyone else. Thus, you might go to a priest for absolution. How is he to judge your case? This will be very difficult for him. He has to surmise as best he can given what you have disclosed about the categorical level.

Clearly, this is quite the pastoral nightmare.

Further, note how Rahner has thereby relegated all that is specifically incarnate about Christianity to the “trash heap” of the “merely categorical” level. All doctrine, all liturgical gestures, all propositional prayers, all conceptual thoughts, all that falls in the scope of determinate consciousness is hereby relegated to the “merely categorical”. That is one nifty way to bypass everything that is tangible in Christianity, in its teachings, in its worship, and in its moral commands. Supposedly, the gain is the liberation of God from the shackles of man.