Contribution by Kurt Appel in Rosmini Studies

In the first part of the essay, the author examines the five plagues of the Church that are presented by the great Catholic intellectual Antonio Rosmini in 1848 in a text entitled Delle Cinque Piaghe della Santa Chiesa which was very influential for Italian Catholicism in the 20th century. The author argues that the text is not simply a diagnosis of the unsatisfying state of Catholicism but also refers to the question of the sacred and the holy. Holiness is to be linked the unpronounceable Tetragrammaton YHWH designating something inaccessible to human power. Rosmini, conscious of the power mechanisms of society and their totalitarian grasp, imagined a lovingly devoted Church to have the task of renunciating earthly regimes of power, thereby remembering its evangelical origins. The author shows that each of the plagues designates a critique of Church's claim to worldly power. In the second part, he examines a conception of holiness in which the holy designates man as oscillating between two subjects, his own and that of Jesus, the latter marking a radical opening of the subject and the abundance of the name of God. It is betrayed when the Church becomes a sacral and institutional space of exception. In the third part, the author introduces four new plagues of the Church: the exclusion of laymen from joint responsibility for the Church, the claim to moral superiority as a legitimisation of sacralised power, sexual abuse and clericalism as patriarchal power and the exclusion of women from the sphere of holiness. While these contemporary plagues indicate an understanding of holiness inadequate to the Gospel, Pope Francis's notion is rooted in the latter, thereby sharing Rosmini's notion of holiness, a notion that according to the author, is decisive for the future of the Catholic Church.

Issue 7: The Crisis of Representation, ed. by  Kurt Appel und Carl Raschke

The term “Crisis of Representation” rose to fame through Michel Foucault. The crisis, in the context of this issue, has not only a political and economic dimension, but a cultural, aesthetic and religious one as well. Thus, a serious inquiry into this complex and multidimensional phenomenon requires an interdisciplinary approach. The issue targets the phenomena at hand through 15 contributions – all with unique and innovative approaches to the topic. One common aim that holds the issue together is the analysis of the nature of the crisis, which helps to find suitable theoretical frameworks. On the other hand, the term itself functions as a tool that enables the analysis of specific societal developments. Contributing authors brought with them expertise from their respective fields including philosophy, political sciences, theology, Islamic studies and religious studies. This allowed for a cross-disciplinary approach on the phenomenon with special foci on politics, religions, societies and finance, as well as theoretical developments on current philosophical and post-colonial discourses.

Tempo e Dio. Aperture contemporanee a partire da Hegel e Schelling


News & Events

"Resurrezione per postmoderni" - Interview mit Prof. Kurt Appel in "Il Foglio"


8. Mai 2018

Zum Interview

Recent Publications

Fehl und Wiederkehr der heiligen Namen

von Jakob Helmut Deibl

Sehr gut

von Wolfgang Treitler

Lesekreis im Sommersemester 2018: Spinoza und Freud (Affektivität, Trieb, Lust und ihr Jenseits)

Beginn: 19.03.2018
Termin: wöchentlich, Montag 18:00-20:00 Uhr
Ein- und Ausstieg ist jederzeit möglich. Die Texte werden auf der Homepage des Fachbereichs Theologische Grundlagenforschung zum Download bereitgestellt (passwortgeschützt).
Kontakt: Martin Eleven (

More Publications

Reformation(en) und Moderne

Reformation(s) and Modernity

Religion and Transformation in Contemporary European Society - Band 12

The contemporary historical research situates Luther’s Reformation in a much larger context of Christian reform movements that emerge in the late medieval and early modern period. Against this background the enlightened view of Luther as protagonist of the modern era is in need of revision. The variety of reform movements together with the Renaissance humanism compose a rich reservoir of spiritual reforms that will all influence the further development of the modern era. In this volume, this complex of the variety of Christian reforms relative to modernity is elaborated through exemplary studies from a philosophical-theological perspective