By Maureen Junker-Kenny
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Additional resources for Habermas and Theology
It furnishes those who grow up in it not only with elementary linguistic, practical and cognitive capacities, but also with grammatically prestructured world views and semantically accumulated stores of knowledge. However, a culture cannot be maintained through conditioning or crass indoctrination; neither can it be maintained solely through the implicit habituation of the young to corresponding language games and practices. Rather, traditions preserve their vitality by insinuating themselves into the ramified and interlinked channels of individual life histories and, in the process, passing the critical threshold of the autonomous endorsement of every single potential participant.
The ‘clerical paradigm’ which had reigned until these new debates on the distinctiveness of the practical disciplines in theology commenced, is left behind in a new awareness of the shared dignity of all the faithful who constitute the people of God. Thus, a new sense of religious empowerment is making itself felt which takes the believers’ own faith reflection, as well as their contemporary background culture, seriously. The subject of practical theology is no longer circumscribed by the professional knowledge needed by church officials to carry out the transmission of the word of God and the celebration of the sacraments with believers seen mainly as recipients, but by the task of first exploring their contribution to the life of the congregation.
41 Instead of succumbing to ‘apparent plausibilities’ and expecting functions it cannot deliver, the term has to be enriched with ‘new 19 Habermas and Theology dimensions’ and its theological use specified. ‘Thus, a theological reflection of the term communicative action . . 43 Henke concludes by relating the foundational philosophical (erstphilosophisch) approach of Hansjürgen Verweyen to Helmut Peukert’s position: Thus, in theological perspective, communicative action is understood as an anticipatory outreach (Vorgriff ) to the God who saves and as an act of bringing history to fulfillment .