On 19 January 2023, ITI welcomed Dr. Andrew Kaethler, Academic Dean and Assistant Professor of Theology at Catholic Pacific College in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Kaethler gave a lecture entitled Eschatology and Temporality in the Thoughts of Alexander Schmemann and Joseph Ratzinger as part of the ITI’s Thursday Night Lecture series. ITI’s Dean, Dr. Bernhard Dolna, opened the evening with a moment of silence in honor of Pope Benedict XVI, who had recently preceded us into eternity.
Dr. Kaethler based his lecture on his recent monograph The Eschatological Person: Alexander Schmemann and Joseph Ratzinger in Dialogue. Dr. Kaethler explained that one of the reasons he chose to bring an Orthodox thinker into theological dialogue with a Catholic thinker is their common rootedness in and love for liturgy. The Liturgy or Mass is the place where we humans encounter the person of Jesus Christ in whom the mystery of human person is revealed. Jesus, like us, lived in a particular time and place. Thus, time and temporality belong to the ontological question of the human person – and the ontological question of personhood and temporality concerns eschatology. Having focused on Schmemann’s and Ratzinger’s respective understandings of eschatology and how this informs their notions of temporality, Dr. Kaethler provided us with an overview of their respective approaches to the question of how eschatology shapes personhood and showed how their approaches have much in common but still differ in their conclusions.
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