Robert A. Krieg, C.S.C.
How did Catholicism move from the defensive stance of the First Vatican Council in the 1870s to the open, responsive position of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s? The life and thought of Romano Guardini shows the way. In his unwavering pursuit of truth, Guardini discovered a clear path from the understanding of faith as theoretical conviction to one of faith as living experience.
In _Romano Guardini: A Precursor of Vatican II _, Robert Krieg tells the story of one of the most creative theologians in the twentieth century, who anticipated Vatican II’s commitment to read “the signs of the times.” No other volume in the English language offers such a complete portrait of Guardini and his world.
Exploring the context in which Guardini learned and taught, Krieg introduces us to his pastoral leadership, particularly in the liturgical and youth movements. Drawing on the more than 75 books and 100 articles written by Guardini, this book then examines the recurring major themes of his theology: divine revelation as God’s self-disclosure, the church as Christian community, liturgy as play in God’s presence, literature as expression of religious experience, Nazism as negation of personal existence, Jesus Christ as mediator, and Christian acceptance of modernity.
Although he never intended to promote an ecumenical council of reform, Guardini’s career-long commitment to both Judeo-Christian wisdom and intellectual exchange with contemporary thought resulted in his becoming widely regarded as a major precursor of the Second Vatican Council. Respected theologians such as Karl Rahner, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger have acknowledged their indebtedness to him.
All those who wish to better understand the Church today can learn much from Romano Guardini, a pioneer in exciting theological territory. And this book is an excellent guide for an inspiring intellectual journey.
“Guardini was a theologian of exceptional pastoral sensitivity, an insightful critic of Nazism, and an important figure in the long tradition of Christian humanism whose work was ironically eclipsed by the Second Vatican Council for which he laid so much of the groundwork. By showing us how Guardini both transcended the context of the Catholic intellectual world of the first half of the twentieth century and was limited by it, Robert Krieg continues the valuable project of recovery and evaluation of that world which he began so successfully in his study of Karl Adam.” -Michael J. Himes, Theology Department, Boston College
“Robert Krieg has single-handedly rescued Romano Guardini’s pioneering dialogue of Catholic life and modern culture from the eclipse it has undergone in the English-speaking world. Nicely balancing exposition and critique, Krieg’s presentation casts light particularly on Guardini’s German contexts and on his place in the prehistory of the Second Vatican Council. Henceforth an indispensable study for the history of theology in the twentieth century.” -Dr. Paul Misner, Professor of Theology, Marquette University
“Romano Guardini’s notable contributions to Catholic theology and specifically his impact on Vatican II serve as the subject of this impressive study. Krieg offers a comprehensive overview of Guardini’s life and work situated within the cultural, social, political, and theological context of 19th- and 20th- century Germany. He argues that apart from this context, Guardini’s legacy cannot be adequately evaluated and appropriated.” — Theological Studies , September 1998
“The Catholic priest and man of letters, Romano Guardini, is still too little known in the United States. Robert Krieg’s work may help to remove some of the ignorance surrounding this reflective man, the author of studies on the subjects of grace, freedom, power, prayer, liturgy, community, and the human and divine nature of our Lord, as well as on the thought of Plato, Bonaventure, Dante, Pascal, Rilke, and many others.”
“Romano Guardini’s notable contributions to Catholic theology and specifically his impact on Vatican II serve as the subject of this impressive study. Krieg offers a comprehensive overview of Guardini’s life and work situated within the cultural, social, political, and theological context of 19th- and 20th- century Germany. He argues that apart from this context, Guardini’s legacy cannot be adequately evaluated and appropriated.”
-Theological Studies, September 1998