Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.
The Prophetic Ecclesiology of St. Ignatius of Antioch: the Second Vatican Council and Some Contemporary Ecclesial Issues
This paper will first examine St. Ignatius of Antioch’s (d. 107) ecclesiology as contained in his seven letters. Specifically it will treat the foundational ecclesial relationship between revelation faith, bishops and the Eucharist. This study will demonstrate that Ignatius prophetically anticipates the ecclesiology enunciated at the Second Vatican Council, particularly in Lumen Gentium. Lastly, this paper will illustrate how the teaching of Ignatius and Vatican II assist in addressing properly some contemporary ecclesial issues.
Professor Tracey Rowland
Ecclesiology at the Beginning of the Third Millennium
This paper will offer an overview of the main themes in ecclesiology following the Second Vatican Council with an emphasis on the relationship between the universal Church and the Church in national communities, the concept of synodality and the nature of the Petrine Office. Themes will be followed through their appearance in magisterial documents as well as through academic commentary.
Rev Professor Gerard Kelly
Ecclesiology and Ecumenism at the Beginning of the Third Millennium
The twentieth century has often been described as the ecumenical century, and there is no doubt that the achievements were remarkable. However, we still do not have organic unity. The temptation at the beginning of the third millennium is to say that we have come as far as we can. To do so would be to deny basic Catholic ecclesiological principles. Pope John Paul II reminded us that the work towards unity is not an appendix to church life, but is at the heart of the church’s pastoral activity. This paper will look at the ecumenical challenges at the beginning of the third millennium, and argue that these challenges are essentially ecclesiological. The challenges are being faced by the Catholic Church and by our ecumenical partners. How we manage this will have significance for ecclesiology.
Most Rev Bishop Anthony Randazzo
Pastoral Leadership in the Body of Christ: Image and Practice from an Episcopal Viewpoint
Proceeding from the Pauline image of the Church as the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12), the paper will explore the promises of the image for mission, pastoral practice and leadership among the baptised. Having outlined the purpose and orientation of the Pauline image, this paper will also highlight some areas of practice where development is needed, as observed from an episcopal vantage point, and square it up against the Pauline image. Areas for discussion might include the role of laity – male, female, and consecrated, as well as migrants in the Australian context.
In doing so, it is hoped that this paper will open up areas of formation for further theological discussion, research and development in the area of leadership, which is in turn geared towards supporting the pastoral ministry of the bishop more specifically, and the mission of the Church more generally.
Dr Robert M. Andrews
Beauty and Truth: The Vision of Anglicanorum Coetibus
This paper represents a historical reflection upon the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus (from hereon, AC), promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI on 4 November 2009. In AC, “Anglican patrimony” is blessed by Rome to be a fully accepted living reality within the whole Roman communion, overseen by the structure of a personal ordinariate. AC speaks of “the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion,” which now form a full part of Catholic ecclesial life. In this discussion I reflect on some of the underlying philosophical and theological developments that made AC and the phenomenon of “Anglican patrimony” a reality within the Roman communion. I argue that the ecclesial vision of AC has its roots in certain post-Reformation developments from the nineteenth century to the present time, particularly of the reconciliation of an Anglican-English spirituality and aesthetic with an ecclesiology that is doctrinally Petrine. In this development, the experience of beauty, notably its reconciliation with ecclesial dogma, are brought into synthesis within Petrine communion.
Fr Joseph Azize
What is a “Priestly People”?
The Old Testament notion of a “kingdom of priests” did not mean that all Israelites, let alone all Israelite males, were priests. It meant, rather, that Israel were a people intimately connected to the priesthood, simultaneously enjoying privileges and bearing responsibilities, for they were a “kingdom” or people from whom cultic priests were chosen, and were responsible for maintaining and supporting those priests and the cult they served. The cultic priests were therefore a chosen people within Israel, the chosen people, but they were never referred to as being a “kingdom of priests”. When the OT teaching was taken up into the New Testament, both the understanding of “Israel” and the “priesthood” were transformed. The most important New Testament witnesses to this process, 1 Peter and Revelation, refer only to the kingdom of priests, but there are also indications that the idea of a cultic priesthood, a people within a people, was also accepted in the New Testament. This thesis explores the biblical concept of a “kingdom of priests” and in doing so explains what otherwise seems anomalous, the arising of a dedicated cultic priesthood within Christianity.
Fr James Baxter, O.P.
Difference in Degree between the Ministerial and Common Priesthoods
Paragraph 10 of Lumen Gentium contains a well-known description of the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood as differing from one another “in essence and not only in degree”.
Much attention since the Second Vatican Council has been focused on explaining the essential difference between the two priesthoods, but little attention has been paid to the difference in degree. Some scholars have even suggested that the phrase means there is no difference in degree at all between the two priesthoods.
In this paper I will first discuss some of the reasons for hesitation in asserting a difference between the priesthoods, but I will then argue that there is indeed a difference in degree between them. I will set out what that difference consists in, by analysing them both with reference to the one priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Dr Mariusz Biliniewicz
‘Pastoral magisterium’? The Church’s teaching office in the pontificate of Pope Francis.
After nearly five years of the pontificate of Francis there is little doubt that the predominant, mainstream narrative about his tenure as Bishop of Rome focuses on change and reform. One of the most important changes which the Bergoglio pontificate brings about concerns the way the Argentinian Pontiff exercises his role as Universal Pastor and teacher of faith. Authors such as Richard Gaillardetz, Austen Ivereigh or Sandro Magister argue that the way in which Pope Francis carries out his magisterial duties signifies a profound ecclesiological shift. This shift concerns not only the papal style, which, as with every other Pope, reflects Francis’ individual personality, but it extends to the way we understand what the Church’s teaching office is in general. This paper is going to examine the proposed notion of “pastoral magisterium” of Pope Francis, indicate its possible implications for the Church as a whole and offer some critical remarks.
Rev. Dr. Tom Carroll
Communio – a mark of the twenty first century Church.
Moving into a new millennium, the concept of the Latin communio, translated as “communion or mutual participation,” lies “at the heart of the Church’s self understanding” in the words of Saint John Paul II. Rarely used in classical antiquity, it was later employed during the sixth century within juridical thought, to distinguish between community (communio) and society (societas); a use subsequently taken up by the German philosophers Ferdinand Tönnies (1855-1936) and Max Scheler (1874-1928); both foundational figures in the emerging science of sociology. This thought of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries remains the hidden background to understanding the Second Vatican Council’s (1962-1965) original concept of “communio personarum.” The conceptual synthesis of philosophical and theological thought found in communio expands our understanding of something “whose nature is such that it admits new and deeper exploring” (Blessed Paul VI). Drawing inspiration from this most recent ecumenical assembly and from the thought of its major proponents, found in Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, we are better equipped to understand how mutual participation, understood within a triadic process which incorporates both vertical and horizontal dimensions, determines the integral nature and structure of the Church of today, understood as “communion.”
The Hope Structure of the Church’s Mission
As the Church in Sydney marks the tenth anniversary of the World Youth Day it hosted in 2008, it is worth recalling the memorable address Pope Benedict XVI’s gave at the Vigil with Young People at Randwick Racecourse. Expounding on that WYD’s theme of Holy Spirit-empowered witness (c.f. Acts 1:8) “to a world which in many ways is fragile”, Benedict warned against the temptation of seeking to build along artificial lines a “spiritual utopia” apart from the institutional structure of the Church. Behind this reference to “spiritual utopia”, is a long-held theological concern of Joseph Ratzinger regarding falsely conceived attitudes within the history of the Church and secular modernity towards bringing-about the eschaton via human means, attitudes which constitute pathologies of faith, reason and politics. This paper seeks to unearth the Christocentric theology behind Pope Benedict’s comments and connect them to his theology of history, which has interesting interactions with the thought of German philosopher Josef Pieper. It is suggested that such a theology might helpfully shape the attitudes of the Church, as bearer of the “saving tradition [which is]: the tradition of Jesus” (Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, 93), in her kerygmatic mission of bearing witness to the Risen Christ, the genuine hope-event of human history, and his glorious return to instantiate the New Heaven and Earth, that to which human hope is ultimately and properly ordered.
Darren Cronshaw, et al
Social Service and Advocacy: Community Engagement by Victorian Baptist Local Churches
The Baptist Union of Victoria (BUV) encourages local churches to give priority to contributing to the well-being of their local neighbourhoods through social service and advocacy. This commitment to integral mission is critically important in Australia’s post-Christendom context where the place of the church in society is contested. Moreover, it works against a reductionist and consumeristic ecclesiology that defaults to serving the needs of members. It reflects the conviction that the church is essentially “missional”, echoing Vatican II’s declaration that “the church is missionary by its very nature”. This is part of the emerging ecumenical consensus about the missio Dei in which churches are called to cooperate, since any church does not exist primarily to serve itself but others. But to what extent does the reality of BUV local church mission match this rhetoric? The 2016 National Church Life Survey helps identify what community service local BUV churches and their members are involved in. This paper offers a summary of NCLS data alongside interview-based case studies exploring how local churches and their attenders engage with their local and wider communities. It discusses the theological inspiration for Baptists in community engagement including a theology of place, incarnational mission, the Kingdom of God and integral mission. Finally, it addresses practical obstacles and opportunities for further development, including the role of denominational and local church leaders.
Paper written by Darren Cronshaw, Carole Gan, Geoff Maddock, Miriam Pepper and Ruth Powell as a collaborative Baptist Union of Victoria and NCLS Research Occasional Paper.
Supernatural Ecclesiology? Henri De Lubac in the work of William Cavanaugh
The French Jesuit Henri de Lubac (1896–1991) was a notable figure in twentieth-century ecclesiology, and continues to impact ecclesiology in the third millennium. The prominent political ecclesiologist William Cavanaugh (b. 1962) has named de Lubac his greatest influence. However, the effect of de Lubac’s thought on that of Cavanaugh is under-examined. This paper argues that de Lubac’s account of the Eucharist, especially its social implications, is central to Cavanaugh’s political eucharistic ecclesiology. It outlines how de Lubac’s sacramental theology and view that grace is intrinsic to nature enables Cavanaugh to respond to three Church-world problems in contemporary ecclesiology.
Sr Moira Debono, RSM
The Sacrament of Confirmation and its role in communion ecclesiology
As a Sacrament of Initiation, Confirmation incorporates the Catholic more firmly into the Church. This incorporation is a dynamic reality that not only effects a spiritual maturity for the person but strengthens the Body of Christ. Aquinas notes that with Confirmation a Catholic is no longer living an “individual life,” but is meant to be in relationship with others and is spiritually strengthened for this (ST, III, q. 72, art 2). In our current Western society where real commitment is frequently avoided or misunderstood, this paper will briefly explore this statement of Aquinas and, thus, the role of Confirmation in vocational discernment. In this Year of Youth, this contribution will illustrate that the strength of commitment to a vocation leads to a stronger communion among the members of the Body of Christ.
Catholic Inc.: On the Mechanised, Managerial Body of Christ
In an era where many once proudly Catholic institutions scramble to retain and promote some semblance of Catholic ‘mission and identity’, the ecclesiological reality of the Church as the mystical Body of Christ is often usurped by secular organisation and management theory. Developing David L. Schindler’s conception of the mechanistic ontology of modern (liberal) societies, this paper will examine the ways in which managerial language and processes of secular corporate bodies commandeer the order of grace in the ecclesial body hindering the Church’s mission to be ‘salt and light’ (cf. Mt 5:13-16). The paper will then seek to provide some kind of remedy to the malignant managerialism in returning to the Christocentric Communio ecclesiology exemplified in the work of Schindler and others associated with the Communio journal.
Nature and the Supernatural in Henri de Lubac’s Ecclesiology
At a symposium on Henri de Lubac’s understanding of the relation between nature and the supernatural Benoit-Dominique de La Soujeloe lamented: “The debate about the supernatural is interested above all in the relationship of nature and grace in the singular individual.” He tarnished de Lubac with the same brush. This paper argues that, on the contrary, there are clear links between de Lubac’s ideas on the supernatural and the Church, the primary one being ontological. That will entail a treatment of what Hans Boersma has called de Lubac’s ‘sacramental ontology’, as elaborated in The Mystery of the Supernatural, as well as some of his key theses on the Church. What these explorations will show is that de Lubac’s sacramental ontology is the metaphysical supposition behind two of his theses on the nature of the Church: the Church as sacramentum unitatis and as sacramentum Christi. Thus, rather than perpetuating the individualism for which he was rebuked, de Lubac’s work on the supernatural is inescapably linked to his ecclesiology, which is universalist before all else.
The Third Rite, Rome and the Statement of Conclusions: a story of lay Catholic action
In March 1999, ABC Television’s Four Corners aired an episode entitled ‘The Vatican’s Verdict’ which discussed recent tensions between the Australian Church and Rome. It was reported that ‘spies’ had infiltrated church services, that these ‘secret informants’ had gathered intelligence pertaining to the misuse of certain liturgical forms, which intelligence was then supplied to Rome. As a result, Pope John Paul II issued to the offenders a ‘stinging rebuke’, which in turn released a huge backlash against those members of the laity who had provided the information. Such a backlash, however, could be seen as surprising given the emphasis since Vatican II upon the importance of the participation of the laity in the Church. This paper will present a recent slice of Australian ecclesial history from the point of view of the laity involved, and will touch upon recent trends and issues and what these might mean for the future role of the laity in the Church. (NB: No names not already in the public domain will be released without permission.)
The Implications of the Spousal Analogy for Ecclesiology
In examining Hans Urs Von Balthasar’s theological speculation on the roles of and relationships between male and female, some feminist critics have suggested that the his strong reliance on the spousal analogy (Ephesians 5) not only undermines modern advances regarding the equality of women and men, but works directly against such equality. Balthasar clearly espoused both equality and mutual dependence of men and women, and his own reflections on the spousal analogy seem focused on the intimacy of the relationship between Christ and his Church. This paper is a tentative exploration of the implications that a focus on the intimacy of the spousal analogy has for ecclesiology.
Dr Maggie Kappelhoff
The Marks of the Church as ‘Gift and Task’: A Paradigm for the Twenty-First-Century Church
Across the globe Christians confess a shared belief in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. However, to make such a declaration in the twenty-first century is perplexing given the obvious lack of empirical evidence to such a claim.
With ecumenism in mind, churches must find ways to engage effectively with these ‘classical marks’ in an effort to transcend this tension and produce outcomes that can address ecclesial diversity, whilst promoting unity though identification with this common Christian identity.
This paper offers a fresh approach to the marks by presenting a ‘gift-task’ paradigm which allows contemporary church a way of engaging with and understanding the significance of the marks by reclaiming them theologically, applying them analytically, and seeking to communicate them ecumenically.
Fr Robin Koning SJ
The Ecclesial Dimension of Ignatian Spirituality
Many contemporary accounts of Ignatian spirituality downplay the ecclesial dimension of the Spiritual Exercises or, indeed, eliminate it from consideration at all. They emphasise that Ignatian spiritualty seeks to deepen one’s personal relationship with God in Christ, as any Christian spirituality must, but they fail to recognize what was equally important for St Ignatius - that any authentic Christian spirituality must lead the person into a relationship with the Church as Christ’s body.
This paper will explore the distortion of Ignatian spirituality which divorces it from its ecclesial context before re-examining the significance of the Church in Ignatian spirituality – firstly in the spiritual experience of Ignatius Loyola himself and then in the Spiritual Exercises he left as a gift to the Church. It will show how Ignatius, a contemporary of Luther, shared the passion of the Reformers for the renewal of the Church while remaining intimately engaged in the life and structures of the Church.
The role of Eucharistic adoration in the apostolate of the laity
As “every work of the apostolate, [is] tied together with the Eucharist and directed toward it”, (Bl. Paul VI) it is apt to study the apostolate of the lay faithful in light of Eucharistic worship. Adoration of the Eucharist outside of the celebration of the Mass is “of inestimable value for the life of the Church” (St. John Paul II) and this paper will examine why that is the case, particularly in the light of the call of the laity to the apostolate. First we will address the centrality of prayer to the Christian's life of mission and the particular efficacy of Eucharistic adoration as a form of prayer. Then we will examine how, through adoration, the work of evangelisation of the layperson is fueled by the Eucharist, purified by the presence of Christ, and ultimately ordered towards this sacrament. Finally, this paper will argue that any emphasis on communion, which is so essential to the apostolate, must stem from the Eucharist, which is the source of true unity, and thus so must the layperson's life of communion be derived from this source.
Dr Peter John McGregor
Reading Deus caritas est Missiologically
The first encyclical of a pope can give us an insight into his major concerns for the Church. Deus caritas est (God is Love) is the first of three encyclicals by Pope Benedict which look at the three theological virtues, love, hope and faith (the last being completed by Pope Francis). The encyclical is divided into two main parts, the Unity of Love in Creation and Salvation History, and The Practice of Love by the Church as a “Community of Love”. Much of the analysis of and commentary upon the encyclical has focused upon the relationship between agape and eros found in the first part. However, Section 25 of the encyclical identifies “two essential facts which have emerged from our reflections”. The first of these is missiological, that “[t]he Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility,” for kerygma-martyria, leitourgia and diakonia. This paper proposes to read the encyclical in light of this fact, and explore how it may be related to the other essential fact, how caritas – agape is meant to extend “beyond the frontiers of the Church”.
Matrimony, Virginity and Priesthood: a threefold, fruitful complementarity of callings in the structure of the Church according to von Balthasar
Hans Urs von Balthasar understands Matrimony, consecrated Virginity and Orders as three indispensable states of life (callings) in the Church. These callings are not simply ‘options’ we choose between, rather all three states are essential to and mutually constitutive of the Church considered as ek-klesia: as a community “called out from.”
Together, the Christian faithful in these three states are fruitful in ways which restore and surpass the original fruitfulness intended for humanity in Adam and Eve. Some Christians are called to live out the bridal dimension of Baptism radically, in a fruitfully virginal dedication to Christ the Bridegroom. Others fulfil the command to “Be fruitful and multiply” in Matrimony. Those ordained to the Priesthood are called to a fruitfulness which complements both dedicated celibacy and Matrimony. According to von Balthasar, both Christ and his Blessed Virgin Mother embody the fruitfulness of all three states of life in different ways. Nevertheless, von Balthasar has been criticised as overemphasising celibacy to the detriment of Matrimony. This paper will suggest a possible solution to this perceived imbalance, so as to more deeply appreciate the complementary ways in which Baptism, Matrimony and Orders constitute the Church in her sacramental union with Christ.
Dr Paul Morrissey
“The Church is not without sinners; she is nevertheless without sin”: Charles Journet’s theology of the holiness of the Church
The eminent Swiss theologian of the Twentieth Century, Charles Journet (1891-1975), in his treatise on the Church focused on the Church’s holiness. He states that two axioms bring to light the Church’s sanctity: 1) The Church is not without sinners; she is nevertheless without sin; 2) All that there is of true sanctity in the world is already the concern of the Church of Peter. This paper will explore Journet’s use of these two axioms as well as his striking description of how the Church is “disturbed by sin.” Journet’s theology marries nicely with the striking images Pope Francis has used when describing the Church and her mission to sinners.
Sr M. Isabell Naumann ISSM
Type and Antitype: Aspects of the Mary-Church relationship in pre-conciliar works.
The notion of the inner reality of the Church was given a strong impetus by Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, in which he brought together the Body of Christ and the People of God united to Christ, and Mediator Dei.The different streams of this newly-inspired reflection upon the Church’s inner reality, its mystery, flowed into the discussions of Vatican II, and placed the Church at the center of attention.
The awareness of returning the image of the Church to patristic notions also brought into the ecclesiological foreground the patristic image of Mary and the Church intertwined. The task of Mary is also the task of the Church: “As it is the mother role of Mary to give to the world the God-man, so it is the mother role of the Church, culminating in the celebration of the Eucharist, to give us also Christ as the head, sacrifice and nourishment for the members of his mystical body.” (H. de Lubac)
Finally, the eschatological significance of the close association of Mary and the Church finds expression in the dogmatic definition of Mary’s Assumption. During Vatican II the historical verification of the interrelatedness between Mary and the Church became an objective as a theme and was given specific magisterial consideration in Chapter VIII of Lumen gentium.
Saints in the Thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar: Contemplation, Receptivity and Mission in the Church
This presentation will follow Balthasar’s thought on the nature and mission of the saints in the Church. It will particularly focus on Balthasar’s ‘subjective’ analysis of human sanctity through his three-fold schema of contemplation, receptivity and mission. The saint will be shown to be one who first is enraptured by the beauty of Christ’s love through contemplation, who then actively cultivates a disposition of receptivity to God’s will, and finally bears fruit for the Church and the world by carrying out his or her God-given mission. Throughout the paper, it will also be shown that, for Balthasar, Mary is the archetype and model of Christian sanctity. Ultimately, it will be claimed that by Balthasar’s model of contemplation, receptivity and mission, one may come to understand that saints are hidden and incomprehensible, but also, through their missions, that they bear fruit in the Church and the world, and are “the only really effective apologia for Christianity” (Ratzinger Report, 129).
Professor Michael Quinlan
In the Heart of the Church:
The Church, the Catholic University and the State in Australia
The Church is called to be the leaven and a light to the nations. Whilst the proportion has been falling, since written records have been kept, most Australians have identified as Christians. Today Catholics are the largest religious denomination in Australia. Since the arrival of the First Fleet, the Judeo-Christian influence has been embedded in the laws and customs of Australian society. However, Australian society has been moving away from those roots. Nevertheless a huge majority of Australians consider that Australia has a responsibility to be a moral leader in the world. This paper considers the role of the Catholic university in the Church and its relationship to the State in contemporary Australia. The paper argues that a Catholic university must be different to other universities and takes Catholic law schools as an example. It argues that Catholic universities a should be places of moral purpose, in which moral character and the virtues are developed, in which debate and critical thinking are encouraged and in which history and tradition are taught rather than ignored. The paper concludes that Catholic universities have a critical role to play for the Church in contemporary Australian society. They have a key role in ensuring that universities continue to search for the truth even where that may challenge prevailing moral trends. With their focus on ethics and on morality Catholic universities can be the leaven and by their light help Australia to be a moral leader in the world.
Public Space: Creating Dialogue Between the Church and the City
This paper will look at the importance of public space to the life and witness of the church. I will draw on the teachings on the role of the laity and the universal call to holiness in Lumen Gentium in an urban context. I will argue that we have to extend our sacramental vision beyond church architecture to also encompass the public spaces surrounding. Here I will consider public space in the Aristotelian context of the ‘polis,’ elaborating on the city as a place for dialogue and encounter, and the urban sociology of Richard Sennett, which builds upon this notion to advocate the importance of sensual delight and bodily experience to enrich this encounter. Using the forecourt of St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney as a case study, the paper will demonstrate the influence of the more negative modern planning principles in its design, and how these compromises the church’s potential influence within the city.
Radical Exclusivity and Radical Inclusivity: Aquinas on the Unity of the Church
This paper begins by exploring St Thomas Aquinas’ understanding of the unity of the Church. He emphasises that the Church is a supernatural reality and hence the nature of its unity can only be understood as such. It will be shown how Thomas depends heavily on both scripture (in particular St John and St Paul’s respective use of the vine and body analogies) and philosophy (in particular, the distinction between form and matter) to explain the unity of the Church. While Aquinas did not write a treatise specifically on the Church, it permeates throughout his work from considerations of the Person of Christ to the theological virtues.
Since grace is the essential key to the unity of the Church, it is possible for those who appear among us not to be one of us (cf. 1 John 2:19), and those who appear to be outside the flock to be one of us (cf. Matt. 8:10-12), and all of this without destroying the substantial (not accidental) unity of the Church. According to Aquinas then, this means the Church is essentially both exclusive and inclusive in a radical way, and each depends on the other. If this is forgotten, one either makes an idol of inclusivity on the merely sociological level leading to compromise with sin, or on the other hand, exclusivity on the merely sociological level leading to idolatry of age, race, psychological traits, politics, ideology, etc.
Dr Matthew Tan
Communion After Social Media
This paper will briefly explore several aspects in which the conception of the Church as Communion is affected by its pilgrimaging through a social sphere saturated by social media. Whilst affirming the necessity for the Church to traverse such a landscape, this paper will also challenge the way in which this landscape is treated as a neutral canvas on which the Gospel can be unproblematically transmitted by the Church. Indeed, this paper will highlight stark ecclesiological fissures that social media puts into place, via a lifeworld which filters the Gospel by reformatting the Church that passes through its territory. These ecclesiological fissures become particularly acute when set against the lifeworld of Communion ecclesiology as outlined in Lumen Gentium and expanded upon in the thought of Popes Benedict, John Paul II and Francis. The paper will take as its reference points the themes of authority, communication and encounter as aspects of the lifeworld of communion ecclesiology. The paper will then use these themes to identify the ecclesiological fissure points with social media, a lifeworld grounded in celebrity, competitive one-upmanship and hyperreality. By way of conclusion, this paper will highlight the potential of a liturgical apprehension of social media as a way of faithful traverse through and redemptive transformation of, the lifeworld of social media.
Dr Robert Tilley
The Petrine Keys of Mercy: A Biblical Defense of Amoris Laetitia
There has not been as contentious a papal document for some decades now as Amoris Laetitia. It is not the intention of this paper to rehearse the short but intense history of the readings of the document, except to note that as a rule debate revolves around whether or not Amoris constitutes an abuse of mercy, or if it expresses the valid extension of mercy into areas that represent an advance in the Church’s understanding of the operation of grace. At the heart of the debate is an issue that in today’s context is rarely addressed; namely, in what does the power of the keys given to St Peter to bind or unbind consist? Plainly, it is not a power to pronounce evil to be good or sin to be virtue. Yet there is more to the power of the keys than simply repeating earlier pronouncements. By way of the Scriptures this paper argues that the power of the keys, first and foremost, consists in its authority to interpret what is revealed by God, to develop what has been revealed and do so by reference to grace, a grace that is principally understood by way of mercy. A mercy that is, in turn, guided by the Church’s continual growth in understanding of how it is that social, political, and economic factors can diminish the culpability of those both in the world and under her care. A hermeneutic of mercy, what’s more, that extends to the Church applying those graces that had previously been thought of as being the preserve of only those in visible good standing.
Dr Kevin Wagner
The Festal Letter in the Life of the Church – A Study of the Festal Letters of St Cyril of Alexandria
The Festal or Easter Letter was a third–century innovation of the Alexandrian episcopacy. The first Festal Letters seem to have come from the stylus of Demetrius of Alexandria (188–230AD). While Athanasius’ collection of these letters is well-known, it is actually Cyril who provides us with the earliest quasi-complete corpus of Festal Letters; a body of literature dating from 414–442AD. Incorporating rich examples of scriptural exegesis in the Alexandrian tradition, these letters conveyed far more than the date for the upcoming Pasch. This paper will examine this set of epistles written by Cyril — which were written in times no more or less uncertain than our own—in order to extrapolate key elements of the Festal Letter. In doing so, we will show how the Festal Letter helped to build up the Church in Alexandria and how it may do likewise today.
Rev. Dr Simon R. Wayte, MGL
The Indivisible Totus Christus and the Universal Church
The relationship between the local and universal churches is examined in this paper using the principle from Hans Urs von Balthasar that the whole is present in the part (D. C. Schindler, Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Dramatic Structure of Truth, 172). This illuminates certain aspects of the debate between Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) and Kasper on the ontological priority of the universal church. Balthasar’s principle together with the connection between Christ and the Church based on Augustine’s concept of the totus Christus enables a deeper understanding of the relationship between the local and universal churches. It is found that the indivisibility of the totus Christus resolves some key difficulties in this debate. This indivisibility of the one totus Christus is brought into focus using the analogy of a hologram where the whole is quintessentially in the part. This leads to some fundamental implications for the ministry of priest and bishop.
Not all who carry a thyrsus: Dionysius and metaphysical ecclesiology
Pope Benedict described the Church as “consider[ing] herself the disciple and missionary of [God’s] Love – missionary only in so far as she is a disciple, capable of being attracted constantly and with renewed wonder by the God who has loved us and loves us first.” This paper will elucidate this description, using Dionysius’ Celestial Hierarchy and Ecclesiastical Hierarchy to construct a metaphysical ecclesiology. Dionysius’ universe is ordered by, and diffusive of, participation in divine goodness, and the Church is that which seeks to increase this participation. Translating this view of the universe into ontological terms, each limited being, in its limitation, comprises non-being. The Church in these terms is that which works to bring about greater participation in being. Using Parmenides’ paradox to argue that limited being is logically impossible, it will be suggested that the Church, as the spatio-temporal extension of the hypostatic union, is the condition for the continued existence of the created order. It is simultaneously attracted necessarily to God as the condition for its own continued limited being.
This metaphysical ecclesiology will then further explain the nature of the Church as “missionary only in so far as she is a disciple”, with implications for the current mission and presence of the Church in the world.