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the Church

RECTOR’s CONFERENCE – (Fr Michael) — tonight’s topic: THE CHURCH

I.  GENERAL INTRO
     A. Difficulties of Definition
          1.  Paul: EKKLESIA – a gathering of a group — a group of believers gathering “in the Lord” — local community gathering

          2.  Attempts at Definition
               a.  Baroque needs — tried to make mysteries visible & concrete
               b.  Externals
               c.  Risk of polarization
               d.  Search for clarity has a price — risk losing the presence of God

          3.  Subject of Mystery
               a.  innermost reality of Church is a divine gift, itself
               b.  Church is communion of men through grace of Christ
               c.  mystery
               d.  connaturality / intersubjectivity — we cannot objectify the Church because we are a part of it
               e.  mystery of Christ

          4.  Use of models

II.  CARDINAL AVERY DULLES + MODELS OF THE CHURCH
     A.  Intro / Context

     B.  Original Models

          1.  Institutional – visible structure, right & powers of its officers
               a.  Negatives:  can become rigid, doctrinaire,
               b.  this should never be the first or primary model

          2.  Mystical Communion – people united by the spirit in Christ, spiritual, communal, personal
               a.  Negatives: can lead to disillusion, simply “a friendly family of believers”

          3.  Sacrament – a sign & transmitter of God’s grace in the world, connects outward institutional & inner mystery
               a.  Negatives: can lead to “sterile aestheticism” (overly spiritualized)
               b.  this should be the primary model

          4.  Herard – faith & proclamation of Gospel, focused on preaching, share gift with others
               a.  Negatives: can be not incarnational enough, saying & not doing, can be rather pesimistic

          5.  Servant – part of the whole human family & sharing their concerns
               a.  Negatives: can seperate from Word & Sacrament, can forget the Church is a community, can disolve things distinct to Christianity

     C.  Addition of Sixth Model
          1.  Polarization of 70’s  (models were not embraced)
          2.  “Community of Disciples”

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