Catholic ecclesiology

The ecclesiology of the Catholic Church is the area of Catholic theology covering the ecclesiology -- the nature, structure, and constitution -- of the Catholic Church itself on a metaphysical and revealed level.

Saint Raphael Catholic Church (Springfield, Ohio) - stained glass, Upon this Rock, detail - St. Peter's Basilica
Stained glass window in a Catholic church depicting St. Peter's Basilica in Rome sitting "Upon this rock," a reference to Matthew 16:18. Most present-day Catholics interpret Jesus as saying he was building his church on the rock of the Apostle Peter and the succession of popes which claim Apostolic succession from him.
AugsburgConfessionArticle7OftheChurch
A 17th century illustration of Article VII: Of the Church from the Augsburg Confession, which states "...one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered." Here the rock from Matthew 16:18 refers to the preaching and ministry of Jesus as the Christ, a view discussed at length in the 1537 Treatise.[1]

Communitas Perfecta

The doctrine of Communitas Perfecta ("Perfect Community") or Societas Perfecta ("Perfect Society") teaches that the Church is a self-sufficient or independent society which already has all the necessary resources and conditions to achieve its overall goal (final end) of the universal salvation of mankind. It has historically been used in order to best define Church-State relations. Its origins are in Aristotelian political philosophy,[2] although its adaptation to ecclesiology was done by the Scholastics. The doctrine was widely used in Neoscholastic circles before the Second Vatican Council. After the Council, the doctrine all but vanished from ecclesiological discourse.

Subsistence

Subsistence is the doctrine that the Church of Christ "subsists in" the Catholic Church. The doctrine is in continuity with the previous phrasing of Mystici corporis Christi that the Church of Christ "is" (est) the Catholic Church, although some theologians have interpreted the phrase to be a rupture with the previous tradition.

Subsistit in is a term taken from Lumen Gentium paragraph 8:

This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible structure.

The proper interpretation of subsistence has been controversial since the Second Vatican Council introduced the phrase; the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued various interpretations confirmed by the pope, while some dissident theologians put forth more radical interpretations.

Criticism of Catholic ecclesiology

For criticism of Catholic ecclesiology in Eastern Orthodox theology, see East–West Schism § Ecclesiological disputes
For criticism of Catholic ecclesiology in Anglican theology, see Branch theory
For criticism of Catholic ecclesiology in Protestant theology, see Protestant ecclesiology, Sacerdotalism § Protestant belief, and Universal priesthood
For historical criticism of Catholic ecclesiology by Protestants, see the Augsburg Confession, Article XXVIII: Of Ecclesiastical Power, the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 26: Of the Church, and Theology of John Calvin § Ecclesiology and sacraments

References

  1. ^ Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, paragraph 22 and following
  2. ^ Aristotle, Politics, Bk. I, Ch. 1

External Links

Basic ecclesial community

Basic ecclesial communities, also called basic Christian communities, small Christian communities, is a Christian movement. Some contend that the movement has its origin and inspiration from Liberation Theology in Latin America. Many regard the emergence of the movement as part of the concrete realization of the communitarian model of the Church (as Communion and as People of God) promoted by the Second Vatican Council. The communities are considered as a new way of "being the Church" – the Church at the grassroots, in the neighborhood and villages. The earliest communities emerged in Brazil and in the Philippines in the late 1960s and later spread to Africa, Asia, and in recent times to Australia and North America.

Caesaropapism

Caesaropapism is the idea of combining the power of secular government with the religious power, or of making secular authority superior to the spiritual authority of the Church; especially concerning the connection of the Church with government. Justus Henning Böhmer (1674–1749) may have originally coined the term caesaropapism (Cäseropapismus). Max Weber (1864-1920) wrote: "a secular, caesaropapist ruler... exercises supreme authority in ecclesiastic matters by virtue of his autonomous legitimacy".

According to Weber's political sociology, caesaropapism entails "the complete subordination of priests to secular power."In its extreme form, caesaropapism is a political theory in which the head of state, notably the emperor ("Caesar", by extension a "superior" king), is also the supreme head of the church (pope or analogous religious leader). In this form, caesaropapism inverts theocracy (or hierocracy in Weber) in which institutions of the church control the state. Both caesaropapism and theocracy are systems in which there is no separation of church and state and in which the two form parts of a single power-structure.

College of Bishops

College of Bishops is a term used in the Catholic Church to denote the collection of those bishops who are in communion with the Pope. Under Canon Law, a college is a collection (Latin collegium) of persons united together for a common object so as to form one body. The Bishop of Rome (the Pope) is the head of the college.

Collegiality in the Catholic Church

In the Roman Catholic Church, collegiality refers to "the Pope governing the Church in collaboration with the bishops of the local Churches, respecting their proper autonomy." In the early church the popes exercised moral authority rather than administrative power, and that authority was relatively limited; regional churches elected their own bishops, resolved disputes in local synods, and only felt the need to appeal to the Pope under special circumstances.

Communitas perfecta

Communitas perfecta ("perfect community") or societas perfecta ("perfect society") is the Latin name given to one of several ecclesiological, canonical, and political theories of the Catholic Church. The doctrine teaches that the church is a self-sufficient or independent group which already has all the necessary resources and conditions to achieve its overall goal (final end) of the universal salvation of mankind. It has historically been used in order to define church–state relations and to provide a theoretical basis for the legislative powers of the church in the philosophy of canon law.

Conciliarism

Conciliarism was a reform movement in the 14th-, 15th- and 16th-century Catholic Church which held that supreme authority in the Church resided with an Ecumenical council, apart from, or even against, the pope. The movement emerged in response to the Western Schism between rival popes in Rome and Avignon. The schism inspired the summoning of the Council of Pisa (1409), which failed to end the schism, and the Council of Constance (1414–1418), which succeeded and proclaimed its own superiority over the Pope. Conciliarism reached its apex with the Council of Basel (1431–1449), which ultimately fell apart. The eventual victor in the conflict was the institution of the Papacy, confirmed by the condemnation of conciliarism at the Fifth Lateran Council, 1512–17. The final gesture however, the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, was not promulgated until the First Vatican Council of 1870.

Dei Filius

Dei Filius is the incipit of the dogmatic constitution of the First Vatican Council on the Catholic faith, which was adopted unanimously, and issued by Pope Pius IX on 24 April 1870.

The constitution set forth the teaching of "the holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church" on God, revelation and faith.

Dictatus papae

Dictatus papae is a compilation of 27 statements of powers arrogated to the pope that was included in Pope Gregory VII's register under the year 1075.

Dominus Iesus

Dominus Iesus (English: The Lord Jesus) is a declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (known as the "Holy Office"), approved in a Plenary meeting of the Congregation and signed by its then Prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, and of its then Secretary, Archbishop Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, later Cardinal Secretary of State. The declaration was approved by Pope John Paul II and was published on August 6, 2000. It is subtitled "On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church". It is most widely known for its elaboration of the Catholic dogma that the Catholic Church is the sole true Church of Christ.

Ecclesia de Eucharistia

Ecclesia de Eucharistia is an encyclical by Pope John Paul II published on April 17, 2003. Its title, as is customary, is taken from the opening words of the Latin version of the text, which is rendered in the English translation as "The Church draws her life from the Eucharist", with the first words of the Latin translating as "The Church from the Eucharist". He discusses the centrality of the Eucharist to the definition and mission of the Church and says he hopes his message will "effectively help to banish the dark clouds of unacceptable doctrine and practice, so that the Eucharist will continue to shine forth in all its radiant mystery." He explored themes familiar from his earlier writings, including the profound connection between the Eucharist and the priesthood. It drew as well on his personal experiences saying Mass.Throughout his pontificate, John Paul wrote an annual letter to priests on Holy Thursday. On his 25th Holy Thursday as pope, he issued this encyclical instead, addressed to all Catholics: "to the bishops, priests and deacons, men and women in the consecrated life and all the lay faithful". It was the last of his fourteen encyclicals.

Ecclesiastical differences between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church

Catholic–Orthodox ecclesiastical differences are differences between the organizational structure and governance of the Eastern Orthodox Church and that of the Catholic Church. These are distinguished from theological differences which are differences in dogma and doctrine.

A number of disagreements over matters of Ecclesiology developed slowly between the Western and Eastern wings of the State church of the Roman Empire centred upon the cities of Rome (considered to have "fallen" in 476) and New Rome/Constantinople (c.330-1453) respectively. The disputes were a major factor in the formal East-West Schism between Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael I in 1054 and are largely still unresolved between the churches today.

Ecclesiology

In Christian theology, ecclesiology is the study of the Christian Church, the origins of Christianity, its relationship to Jesus, its role in salvation, its polity, its discipline, its destiny, and its leadership.

In its early history, one of the Church's earliest ecclesiological issues had to do with the status of Gentile members in what had been essentially a Jewish sect. It later contended with such questions as whether it was to be governed by a council of presbyters or a single bishop, how much authority did the bishop of Rome have over other major bishops, the role of the Church in the world, whether salvation was possible outside of the institution Church, the relationship between the Church and the State, and question of theology, liturgy, and other issues. Ecclesiology may be used in the specific sense of a particular church or denomination's character, self-described or otherwise. This is the sense of the word in such phrases as Catholic ecclesiology, Protestant ecclesiology, and ecumenical ecclesiology.

The word ecclesiology was defined in the 19th century as the science of the building and decoration of church buildings and is still used in that sense in the context of architectural history.

Four Marks of the Church

The Four Marks of the Church, also known as the Attributes of the Church, is a term describing four distinctive adjectives—"one, holy, catholic and apostolic"—of traditional Christian ecclesiology as expressed in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed completed at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381: "[We believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." This ecumenical creed is today recited in the liturgy of the Catholic Church (both Latin and Eastern Rites), the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Church of the East, the Moravian Church, the Lutheran Churches, the Methodist Churches, the Presbyterian Churches, the Anglican Communion and by members of many Reformed Churches.While many doctrines, based on both tradition and different interpretations of the Bible, distinguish one denomination from another, largely explaining why there are so many different ones, the Four Marks, when defined the same way, represent a summary of what many clerical authorities have historically considered to be the most important affirmations of the Christian faith.

Lumen gentium

Lumen gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council. This dogmatic constitution was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 21 November 1964, following approval by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,151 to 5. As is customary with significant Roman Catholic Church documents, it is known by its incipit, "Lumen gentium", Latin for "Light of the Nations".

Lumen gentium magnified the authority, identity, and the mission of the church, as well as the duty of the faithful.

Magisterium

The magisterium of the Catholic Church is the church's authority or office to give authentic interpretation of the Word of God, "whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition." According to the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the task of interpretation is vested uniquely in the Pope and the bishops, though the concept has a complex history of development. Scripture and church tradition "make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to the Church", and the magisterium is not independent of this, since "all that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is derived from this single deposit of faith."

Mystici corporis Christi

Mystici corporis Christi (29 June 1943) is a papal encyclical issued by Pope Pius XII during World War II, on the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ. It is one of the more important encyclicals of Pope Pius XII, because of its topic, the Church, and because its Church concept was fully included in Lumen gentium but also strongly debated during and after Vatican II. The Church is called body, because it is a living entity; it is called the body of Christ, because Christ is its Head and Founder; it is called mystical body, because it is neither a purely physical nor a purely spiritual unity, but supernatural.The encyclical followed the commencement of Nazi Germany's programs of "euthanasia" of the disabled, and race-based murders of Jews and other minorities, and is therefore significant for its reiteration of Church teachings against racism and the killings of people with disabilities.

Richard Gaillardetz

Richard R. Gaillardetz (born 1958) is an American theologian specializing in questions relating to Catholic ecclesiology and the structures of authority in the Roman Catholic Church. For his dissertation he researched ‘the Theology of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium of Bishops’. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, the most recent of which is An Unfinished Council: Vatican II, Pope Francis, and the Renewal of Catholicism (Liturgical Press, 2015)..

Born in a Texas military family, he earned his BA in humanities in 1981 from the University of Texas and an M.A. in biblical theology at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas in 1984. He also received an M.A. and a Ph.D. in systematic theology from the University of Notre Dame. From 1991 to 2001, he taught at the University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Theology in Houston, Texas. From 2001 to 2011, Gaillardetz held the Thomas and Margaret Murray and James J. Bacik Chair in Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America and on the U.S. Roman Catholic-Methodist Ecumenical Dialogue. In 2011, Gaillardetz left the University of Toledo to accept the Joseph Chair of Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College.

Sister church

Sister churches is a term used in 20th-century ecclesiology to describe ecumenical relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and more rarely and unofficially, between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican communion. The term is also used among Protestants to refer to different denominations of the same religious tradition.

Subsistit in

Subsistit in (subsists in) is a Latin phrase, which appears in the eighth paragraph of Lumen gentium, a landmark document of the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church:

This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity.

Haec Ecclesia, in hoc mundo ut societas constituta et ordinata, subsistit in Ecclesia catholica, a successore Petri et Episcopis in eius communione gubernata, licet extra eius compaginem elementa plura sanctificationis et veritatis inveniantur, quae ut dona Ecclesiae Christi propria, ad unitatem catholicam impellunt.

This sentence and the correct meaning of "subsists in" affects the definition of the Church with important implications for how the Catholic Church views itself, its relations with other Christian communities and other religions. Questions have been raised, if Lumen gentium reworded the longstanding phrase, which stated that the Church of Christ is (Latin est) the Catholic Church. Lumen gentium does recognize that other Christian ecclesial communities have elements of sanctification and of truth.

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