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Title: Auctoritas sanctorum
Authors: Dimech, Pauline
Keywords: Christian saints
Balthasar, Hans Urs von, 1905-1988 -- Criticism and interpretation
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Citation: Dimech, P. (2017). Auctoritas sanctorum. The Heythrop Journal, 10.1111/heyj.12764
Abstract: The first claim I wish to make is that research into various aspects of authority, such as the authority of expertise and of personal authority, has not been reflected in the more recent explorations of authority within the Church, which is mostly limited to magisterial authority, and that such research could serve to justify the qualification of the saints as authoritative. Secondly, I argue that the authority the saints exude, and which the Church attributes to them, can alone project an authority that is valid, credible and authoritative, and that only the authority that the saints emit can outlast the immense suspicion of authority that exists today. Thirdly, using the historical transfer of the term ‘magisterium’, I argue not only that the term has changed its referent, but also that it may justifiably be used to refer to the saints. Finally, I claim that von Balthasar's work on the saints can be used to explore the nature - and also the limits - of hierarchical authority, while his theology of the Church, and of the Communio Sanctorum, can help us explore an authority that extends beyond physical boundaries.
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