20th-C Catholics

The 20th century was a busy time. With two world wars and the rise and fall of Communism, it’s a wonder we managed to get anything done.

For the Catholics, the 20th century started a vicious debate – still ongoing – between modernising and updating the faith, or battening down the hatches. Below, we explore some of the major Catholic writers from the last hundred years.

Henri de Lubac

Cardinal Henri de Lubac was a French Jesuit, and remains one of the major figures in 20th century Catholic theology. His writings were a major influence on the Second Vatican Council, which is probably the most important Catholic council in the last hundred years. His books studied here include Catholicism and The Discovery of God, which in its original French form was banned by the Vatican in the 50s.

Lossky: Is God in Light or Darkness?

I guess we’re doing a little bit on human identity at the moment, huh. We talked recently about the problem of individuality and unity in Christian thought – what does it mean for us as humans to be as one, […]

De Lubac: Why Wasn’t Jesus Earlier?

When we’re talking about the practicalities of salvation, there are usually some common objections or questions that come up. For instance, people often ask – well, why didn’t Jesus appear earlier? And why pop up in some obscure little backwater […]

De Lubac: Social Salvation and the Afterlife

Last week we talked about social salvation – the idea that salvation is experienced collectively, as a reunification of all people. We talked about Cardinal Henri de Lubac and his book Catholicism, where he makes this argument for social salvation […]


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Catholic Scramble

This section collects all the loose ends from across the site – everything 20th century Catholicism, and a little bit beyond.

Loisy: Faith Changes

So we’ve been talking for the last few weeks about Adolf von Harnack, a twentieth-century Lutheran theologian and historian who argued that the church had changed over time, and that this change had taken the faith away from its historical […]

Lamentabili Sane: 65 Banned Beliefs

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring the responses of different thinkers to the development of historical criticism in the Church. The first thinker, Adolf von Harnack, a Protestant theologian, argued that the church had changed over time, that […]

Blondel: History and Dogma

We’ve been talking over the past few weeks about the role of history in the church. First we had Harnack, who argued that the church – especially the Catholics – had introduced a whole bunch of changes and developments, taking […]

George Pell’s Prison Diaries

As long as we’re talking about the Catholics, I guess we should touch on some current events in the Catholic world. A while back we talked about confession via Zoom, which is a fascinating idea – very Covid, very topical. […]

Reflecting on Practice: The Catholics

I’ve been writing about some Catholics authors lately – people like Loisy and Blondel, and some of the documents and encyclicals issued by the Vatican – and I feel that in the interest of transparency, we should maybe stop to […]

Pope Benedict XVI Vs Yoga

Alright, I teased about this a couple weeks back, and today we’re doing it: Pope Benny XVI having a go at yoga. The text: ‘Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation’, 1989 The […]

Can We Confess Over Zoom?

So I’ve been reading some stuff by the Catholics lately. Apparently the pandemic is making them debate whether or not they should do confession via Zoom – it’s a whole big thing that they’re arguing over, and I’m very late […]