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Document Details :
Title: 'The Kernel of Politics' According to von Balthasar
Subtitle: Preliminary Resources for a Theology of Protest
Author(s): LACOUTER, Travis
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 44 Issue: 1 Date: 2021
In this article, I read von Balthasar’s theology for what it has to say about the interaction of grace and power in history. By doing so, I draw attention to the resources given by this supposedly conservative theologian for an incipient theology of protest, one which is marked by a distinctly Ignatian imagination and which proves sensitive to the realities of historical injustice. Following his friend Reinhold Schneider, von Balthasar conceives of the grace/power dynamic symbolically as an encounter between the 'king' and the 'saint' (understood metonymically as stand-ins for grace and power writ large). The value of von Balthasar’s approach lies in the way in which it conceives of an essential continuity between the historical present and the eschatological future, thus providing the grounds for a critique of the former in light of the latter. I aim to highlight these and other features of von Balthasar’s account in order to contribute to the growing body of research that reads von Balthasar’s theology as a resource for a liberative political theology (Walatka, Brown, etc.) as well as to establish some general theological principles for a theology of protest.