Date of Award

Summer 2002

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hughson, Thomas

Second Advisor

Coffey, David

Third Advisor

Fahey, Michael A.


My interest in the topic of this dissertation began in a graduate seminar on the Nouvelle Theologie led by Fr. David M. Coffey at Marquette University. After eleven years of graduate theological education at three different schools, this seminar was my first substantial introduction to the world of the ressourcement writers. I had only heard of Cardinal de Lubac as the great, suffering progressive hero of the 1950s. I had heard the name von Balthasar, but never read him ( except The Threefold Garland), and knew Cardinal Ratzinger only by his reputation as an inquisitor/reactionary. The only thing I knew of Bishop Danielou was that his theory of Jewish Christianity was passe among scholars of early Christianity. In Fr. Coffey's seminar I found for the first time a stream of thought that was not simply "reactionary." These writers had been part of the "progressive revolution" which shaped the Second Vatican Council, but which was also at odds on certain points with some of the prominent authors that I had read in my systematic theology classes, such as Karl Rabner, and Edward Schillebeeckx. The ressourcement authors, often associated with the journal Communio, were taking a different approach to the implementation of the Council than the "progressive" interpretations which I was more familiar with, and than the "traditionalist/restorationist" interpretations, or sometimes even the so-called "neoconservative" ideas of First Things and Crisis. Further, from what I could discern, the writings of John Paul II often fell within the "Communio" view of things. The dichotomy liberal ( or "progressive")/conservative so often used in the pages of opinion journals was much too simplistic to explain the tensions which have manifested themselves in Church life since the Council. My intention in this dissertation, then, is to look closely at one of the tensions in postconciliar theology, the interpretation of Gaudium et Spes, and to trace its genesis to alternative positions on the theology of the supernatural.



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