Monday, July 24, 2017

A Visit to Innsbruck (2): The Jesuit Church of Jungmann and Rahner

In the old city of Innsbruck one finds the rather impressive Jesuit church dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity, adjacent to the Theology Faculty. This is and has long been a major center for Jesuit studies.

The Theology Faculty building, abutting the church
When one enters the church, one is confronted with a highly ornate screen that separates the atrium from the nave:

A major Marian statue from Belgium, Our Lady of Foja, “Mother of Mercy,” found its way to this church and is now venerated at a side altar, beneath a painting of the Annunciation:
Not surprisingly, one of the side altars is dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola, with a typically ornate Baroque altar beneath the painting:
In Austria one sees some of the most marvelous reliquaries. Here are two particularly elaborate ones contained in this church, although I was unable to identify the contents:
I am not entirely sure who this saint is or what he is doing; perhaps a reader could comment? (Note from the editor: St Peter Claver, SJ, who ministered for decades in Cartegena, now in Colombia, to the slaves being brought in from Africa.)
Another side chapel honors the secondary Patron of Innsbruck, St. Pirminius (+753), whose relics are housed here. (The primary Patron is St. Peter Canisius.) This side chapel, like the others, contains carved benches intended for daily Mass-goers at a time when the side altars were used for private Masses.
Naturally, the church features a wall-mounted elevated pulpit, although not nearly so elaborate as others from the Baroque period:
The sanctuary of the church features what is perhaps the most hideous contrast between old and new that I have ever seen. The juxtaposition stretched my understanding of aesthetic self-mutilation to new heights. The Jesuits’ own website offers a moralizing interpretation: “The contrast between the reconstructed baroque altar and the modern nave altar of stone and metal expresses the task of a church: it should stand rooted in a long tradition and, at the same time, with both feet in the present.” I leave it to the reader to discern for him- or herself how successfully this task has been achieved:
(This latter photo is from the church’s own website; I did not have this vantage.)
We headed downstairs into the crypt where the remains of the Jesuits of Innsbruck are buried behind modest wooden signs. By far the two most famous Jesuits to be buried here are the eminent liturgical scholar Josef Jungmann (1889-1975), whose flawed perspectives on liturgical history were invoked as justification for the wholesale reconstruction of the Roman Rite in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, and Karl Rahner (1904-1984), who disguised his radical revision of Christianity behind a scholastic veneer.
Later on, my host took me to a restaurant a couple of blocks away that was said to be Rahner’s favorite place to dine. I have only one photo of it -- and I don't know which table he sat at!

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