An earlier post dealt with a commentary at Spero News which raised questions about the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. That article has problems, but one question is not easily dismissed, and that is the issue of von Balthasar’s dabblings in the occult.
Here is von Balthasar himself: Excerpt from Foreword to Meditations on the Tarot.
Of the book, Meditations on the Tarot, he says,
A thinking, praying Christian of unmistakable purity reveals to us the symbols of Christian Hermeticism in its various levels of mysticism, gnosis and magic, taking in also the Cabbala and certain elements of astrology and alchemy. These symbols are summarised in the twenty-two so-called “Major Arcana” of the Tarot cards. By way of the Major Arcana the author seeks to lead meditatively into the deeper, all-embracing wisdom of the Catholic Mystery.
He describes the interest throughout the ages of Christian thinkers into esoterica and “Hermeticism,” rooted in the books attributed to “Hermes Trismegistus.” Like them, he thinks it possible to learn from these pagan sources without compromising Christian faith.
Here the important point is that although this penetration into the secret teachings of pagan and Jewish origin was pursued in the spirit of humanism, in the hope of bringing new life into rigidified Christian theology through collecting such scattered revelation and illumination, no one for a moment doubted that despite the disparities everything could be accommodated into the true Christian faith. …
The author’s “Meditations on the Major Arcana of the Tarot” are in the tradition of the great accomplishments of Pico della Mirandola and Franz von Baader, but are independent of them. The mystical, magical, occult tributaries which flow into the stream of his meditations are much more encompassing; yet the confluence of their waters within him, full of movement, becomes inwardly a unity of Christian contemplation.
You can read extracts from the book here. Here are quotes by people praising it, including some by well known Christian monks. And here, apparently, is a photo of one of von Balthasar’s friends with the edition of the work given to him by von Balthasar in plain view on his desk.
And von Balthasar and his famous friend have the reputation of being conservative.