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Von Balthasar: The Sexual Act is the Model for the Relations Between Christ and the Church


Cardinal von Balthasar is known for his obsession with interpreting theology using the model of the sexual act.

In the text below he imagines the relations between God and the Church, as well as the relations between God and the faithful soul who receives a grace, as a sexual act. The text is an excerpt from one of his famous works, Theology of History.

The crude descriptions of von Balthasar speak for themselves and dispense with the need for commentaries.

Fr. von Balthasar is considered the main inspirer of John Paul II's Theology of the Body. He was made Cardinal in 1988.

At right is pictured the front cover of Theologie de Histoire; at right below, is a photocopy of the French text. Below, we present our translation of the lines highlighted in yellow.



The 'corporal' union of mankind with the living God is manifested - an extraordinary thing! - by the symbolism of eros, as a realization of what is said in the Canticle of the Canticles: existence considered as nuptials.

The Church and the soul that receive the semen of the Word and the spiritual truth can only receive it in an attitude of feminine openness and accessibility. She does not become annoyed, does not close herself, does not make herself rigid or assume any virile reaction, but gives herself in the darkness, receives in the darkness without knowing what and how much she receives and gives birth to.


(Hans Urs von Balthasar, Theologie de l"Histoire, Paris: Plon, 1960, p. 145).


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Posted on March 18, 2006


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