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“Zen refuses to speak of God or of any religious formulation, aware of the illusion that words create–namely, the illusion that words are as real as ‘the real.’  While Rahner does speak of God, he also warned us of the temptation of using the word ‘God’ too frequently and too carelessly, forgetting that we can be easily deluded into identifying our idea or concept of God with what preferred to call the ‘mystery we call “God.”‘

“Cardinal Ratzinger’s remark that Buddhist spirituality can lead to the ‘undoing of the Catholic Church’ may seem, at first glance, to be the typical defensive posture of Roman authorities challenging their role as keepers of the truth.  But there is a real theological issue here, that of the inevitable tension that exists between personal religious experience and doctrinal formulations, a tension Rahner has touched on in many of his writings.  This tension seems to be increasing during our time, evidenced by the preference many give ‘spirituality’ over ‘religion,’ seeming to tag religion as the inner space of authentic religious life.  There can be extreme positions on both sides of the issue, and one can argue, with Johnston, that we need philosophy, theology, and doctrines to distinguish ‘the true from the counterfeit.’  That said, it is also true that

‘… John of the Cross ask for the most rigorous detachment from all thoughts, ideas, and images of any kind, as well as from all formulations of dogma (iltalics Maloney’s).  This is not to say that these ideas and views are erroneous… but simply that they are imperfect and should be transcended…. Eckhart can speak of being so poor that one does not even “have a God.”‘ [Johnston, The Still Point]”

— G. Donald Maloney, “The Stillpoint: Autoeroticism or Grace?” in RAHNER BEYOND RAHNER, edited by Paul G. Crowley, SJ (2005)

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