Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ecclesiology, for class discussion

First, here’s the link to Pius XII's encyclical, Mystici Corporis (1943). Note what he says about the Church being (definition, not description) the mystical Body of Christ.

Second, "What is the Church?" We started with details of the preparatory revelation of the Old Testament, and types of the Church. We looked in the NT for some of the key moments when Christ gives the Church its most powerful gifts. And we've glanced quickly at how those gifts both remain stable and unchanging, and simultaneously can be used very differently, through time (Tradition). From all of this, I suggest three things for your consideration and discussion, to help prepare for next class on 9/24. I hope it’s obvious how these three (mutually enlightening) definitions come out of the OT, NT, and Tradition that we covered in our first two classes.

1. The Church is the New Covenant.
a. Where are the fundamental elements of the Old Covenant in the New (i.e. God, People, Land, Law; sacrifice, revelation, unique mission for the world, unique identifying rituals)?
b. Fit into this the threefold mission (liturgy, proclamation, service).
c. Fit into this the seven virtues (faith, hope, love, prudence, temperance, justice, fortitude).

2. The Church is the Body of Christ.
a. How is St. Paul’s language about being the Body of Christ literal (historical, and eschatological, both) and not merely a metaphor?
b. How does our being this Body make us “a perfect and visible society”? What else (more than visible) needs to be added (more on this with Lumen Gentium on 10/8).

3. The Church is the spotless Bride of Christ.
a. Sometimes this is conflated with Covenant, but not necessarily. How do the Gospels and St. Paul use this nuptial identity? (Again, more on this with LG.)
b. How does this relate to traditions of clerical and monastic celibacy? How are celibacy and marriage connected within the Church, and therefore by analogy between Church and Christ?



dbrockhaus said...

Why is it so difficult to answer a seemingly easy question. Have we all not been a part of the church our entire lives?
It has been my experience when I can't puta finger on something is just jump in and see what happens! I get David's comments but can't grasp how to pull them out of writings at the correct time. I see the Church as God's response to the first sin. He has sent the church to us many different ways, shapes and sizes in the old testate.. This was to prepare us ultimately for Christ with salvation as the goal for us. Jesus took the physical, legalistic, ritualistic church and gave it Love, feeling, emotion. Man has spent multiple life times trying to put this to words for all to grasp. Our church, Christ's Church, is both the old church and what I know of the church today.
What is the church? Take the Eucharist, remove all physical awareness , Open your heart and soul to be totally vulnerable. Will that moment reveal a truth of what the church is?
This may get us close to knowing the church,but I still can't. puts words to describe the reality of our Lords church.

drtom12 said...

Love your comments Dennis. It made me aware of how I have seen (or purposefully looked to see) Christ and His church in all of those I encounter, both in my personal and professional life. We all make up the body of Christ from the very rich to the extremely poor (and poverty come in so many forms). what would the world become if we treated each other, every day and in every interaction, as the very body of Christ?

Dan said...

I haven't completed the entire reading yet, but something that stirred in my mind when comparing the Old and the New, is the connection of the 12 tribes with the 12 apostles. How our beloved Bishop is a direct successor of one of those original 12. You may have heard of the Big 10, but this Big 12 "thing" is a little more significant.
Could you say the 12 tibes made up the OT "church". The NT church was carried forth by the 12 Apostles and now includes many tribes and nations and toungues...

dbrockhaus said...

Dan, your thoughts on a Bishop is right on. I never really seen the bishop as a Apostle, but as a leader in a physical sense of today's church as a organization.
The real sense I am getting now is that the role of bishop is only a fraction of who or what they are.
Realizing their role as Apostle gives them much more meaning and illuminates them in Christ's church.

Deacon David said...

Excellent comments! Now take it a step further. The diaconal vocation is a specific sharing in the ministry given by Christ to the Apostles - the same ministry which our bishop still carries out today. What does this imply about how we should prepare for, and carry out, and reflect on our diaconal ministry? This question needs to be part of our contemplation, both before and after ordination.