A Response to Stephen Happel

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A Response to Stephen Happel

Catholic Theological Society of America


A R E S P O N S E T O S T E P H E N H A P P E L Professor Happel has presented us with a comprehensive survey of the con- tributions of language studies to sacramental theology, a skillful analys s of the influence of Paul Ricoeur in the field, and a challenge to q w f a X X S S that sacramental theology has taken in its embrace of Ricoeur's theories Thave been educated and challenged by Professor's Happel's fine pape , andSpress mV * ^ t h r ° U g h ^ t W C k e t While there is much to respond to, I hope I eir on the side of brevity in fo- r i i n / e S T Y V W ° iSSUCS r a i S C d b y t h l S PaPer" F i r s t - 1 will note the way n which Happel calls for a retrieval of the Roman Catholic sacramental tradition in his questioning the adoption of Ricoeur by sacramental theologians suchasDa vid Power. My response will indicate the different areas where H a p p e ^ d I see problems in Ricoeur s analysis. Indeed, sometimes it seems that the invocation of Ricoeur at this meeting and by theologians in general is not unlike Thomas Aqui- n a s frequent invocation of "The Philosopher. *' Second, I will commern on Hap- pel own sacramental theology, as he describes it in the last part of his paper Z I will raise some questions on the present context of our sacramental life- i our worship indeed transforming us? tian Z ' t l t T H a P P d C a l , m g US 1 0 retUm t 0 t h e r o o t s o f t h e sacramental tradi- tion. By this I mean an appreciation for the dialectic between human and divine between the smful and the graced, but an even greater confidence in the a n a l o S basis for he sacraments. As Happel remarks, the use of Ricoeur in sacramfnta theology ' 'proves both too much and too little.'' In using Ricoeur's u n d e r s S n g ofmetaphor as model, the sacraments proclaim "a totally other ''yeTonly offer this new world as possibility, as "deferred reality." I hear echoes e r f ¿ 2 ° f t h f C T C t l T h a t t h e S a C r a m e n t s t h e m s e l v e s transform. Rat

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