Karl Josef Kardinal Becker, SJ After After All

February 11, 2012


P. Karl Josef Becker, SJ

I thought I might draw our reader’s attention to the abrupt re-reversal of Fr. Becker’s fortunes.  According to the most recent statements, Fr. Becker will be created cardinal in the consistory of Feb. 18 after all.  If Fr. Becker was truly prevented from attending the consistory per motivi saluti, then it seems he has been cured miraculously.  Deus providebit.

  Here is a translation of the German-language announcement on Vatican Radio:

Fr. Karl Joseph Becker is pleased to able to participate in the Consistory on February 18.  So spoke the longstanding Professor of Theology on Vatican Radio.  A week ago it was announced by the Vatican that reasons of health (Gesundheitsgründe) impeded Becker’s participation, and that the conferral of the cardinalate would therefore take place at another moment and private.  The cited reasons (Gründe) no longer exist, according to Fr. Becker.  He has always rejoiced in the recognition and confidence of the Pope, which has found expression in this nomination.  He has now received the message specifying his participation at the consistory of February 18.

Only Karl Josef Becker, SJ after all?

February 4, 2012


Since I posted a theological introduction to cardinal-designate Fr. Karl Josef Becker some weeks back, Fr. Becker has ceased to be cardinal-designate, at least for the time being.  A letter saying as much was read two days ago at the community of the Gregorian University in Rome, at which time no reason was given.  Subsequently, official Vatican media outlets announced that, “for reasons of health, [Fr. Becker] will not be created cardinal during the public ceremony of February 18, but privately at another time”  (per motivi di salute, non verrà creato cardinale nel corso della cerimonia pubblica del 18 febbraio, ma in forma privata in altro momento).  Since some who presently live with Fr. Becker have failed to detect any notable frailty or sudden deterioration in his health, the announcement has given rise to perplexity.  The mention of a conferral “privately at another time” leaves open the possibility that Fr. Becker will receive the red hat eventually, but the phrase may also serve as a euphemism for an indefinite deferral.

This blogger, for his part, will refrain from speculation on this reversal of Fr. Becker’s fortunes.


Karl Josef Cardinal Becker, S.J. (1928- )

January 6, 2012


Whenever the consistory rolls around, I’m always curious to see which scholarly octogenarians receive the red hat honoris causa.  Seeing a Jesuit among the cardinal-designates is always significant, inasmuch as it suggests the sort of theological service the Holy Father hopes for from the Society of Jesus.  This year’s consistory singled out for honorable mention Fr. Karl J. Becker, S.J., emeritus professor of theology at the Gregorian University in Rome.  Since he is unlikely to be a household name even among the churchgoers, I thought I would give a brief theological introduction.

On the matter of theological style, I found the following thumbnail sketch, culled from the editors of his Spanish-language Festschrift, Sentire cum Ecclesia: Homenaje al P. Josef K. Becker, S.J.  According to a reviewer of this volume,

The editors … highlight in the introduction three characteristics of Becker’s theological project, to wit: the importance that history has in his theological expositions (which gives them seriousness and rigor); the fact that he is not a theologian inclined to let himself get carried away by the latest currents of fashion (which leads him to a deep and serene reflection on the themes that that he treats); and his estimation of the Catholic faith as the point of departure for the theological task.  Nevertheless—and the editors underscore this as well—Fr. Becker has not created a school and his students situate themselves within different theological climates, orientations and styles.

One can see the justice of this description in Fr. Becker’s work. Read the rest of this entry »