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Recent Views of Lumen Gentium, Fifty Years After Vatican II1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 March 2013

Peter De Mey
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


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Review Essay
Copyright © The College Theology Society 2012

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2 For the same reason some theological faculties have organized major conferences on Vatican II in recent years which have led to the following published proceedings, among others: La théologie catholique entre intransigeance et renouveau: La réception des mouvements préconciliaires à Vatican II, ed. Routhier, Gilles, Roy, Philippe J. and Schelkens, Karim, Bibliothèque de la revue d'histoire ecclésiastique, vol. 95 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011)Google Scholar and Vatican II comme style: L'herméneutique théologique du Concile, ed. Famerée, Joseph, Sanctam, Unam N.S. (Paris: Cerf, 2012)Google Scholar.

3 A more exhaustive study would also pay attention to contributions in theological journals and multi-author volumes. For some theologians, such as the French Dominican Hervé Legrand, former professor of ecclesiology at the Institut Catholique de Paris, this is the preferred mode of publication. Some of his publications in recent years include The Bishop is in the Church and the Church is in the Bishop,” The Jurist 66 (2006): 7092Google Scholar; La sacramentalité de l'Eglise selon Vatican II: Le salut en Jésus Christ d'André Birmelé, revisité après 25 ans,” Positions luthériennes 57 (2009): 201–18Google Scholar; Le statut pluridisciplinaire de l'ecclé siologie. Une requête de Lumen Gentium 8: ‘L'Eglise, réalité complexe, faite d'un double élément, humain et diviné,” Science et ésprit 59 (2007): 333–49Google Scholar.

4 “Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia” (December 22, 2005), The “Note with Pastoral Recommendations for the Year of Faith” (January 6, 2012) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith even states that the Pope “rejected” this hermeneutical method “as erroneous” (

5 Due to this self-imposed limitation unfortunately the following books will not be treated extensively in this review essay. Among the books published in French I mention Torrell, Jean-Pierre, Un peuple sacerdotal. Sacerdoce baptismal et ministère sacerdotal (Paris: Cerf, 2011)Google Scholar, focusing first on the common priesthood of all believers before making distinctions, with particular attention to LG 10–11; Diriart, Alexandra, “Ses frontières sont la charité”. L'Eglise Corps du Christ et Lumen Gentium (Paris: Lethielleux, 2011)Google Scholar, a defense of the continuing relevance of the model of the Church as body of Christ, without which the conciliar teaching on Church as sacrament, people of God and communion cannot be understood, with specific attention to the theology of Charles Journet; Chéno, Rémi, L'Esprit-Saint et l'Eglise: Institutionnalité et pneumatologie. Vers un dépassement des antagonismes ecclésiologiques (Paris: Cerf, 2010)Google Scholar, an attempt to hold the institutional and spiritual dimensions of the Church together, with special attention to the work of the jurist Maurice Hauriou and paying only limited attention to Vatican II. In 2009 a more emotional than scholarly book by Gherardini, Brunero appeared (Concilio ecumenico Vaticano II: Un discorso da fare [Frigento: Casa Mariana Editrice, 2009]Google Scholar; ET: The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion [Frigento: Casa Mariana Editrice, 2009])Google Scholar that deplores certain statements from Vatican II, especially because of their implications for post-conciliar ecumenism. This is particularly true for the references to eternal salvation in LG 1 and the substitution of degrees of communion for the clear conditions of church membership in LG 15. LG 8 is interpreted in a way consonant with the full identification of the Roman Catholic Church with the Church of Christ.

6 Schmiedl, Joachim, “Visionärer Anfang oder Betriebsunfall der Geschichte? Tendenzen der Forschung zum Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil,” Theologische Revue 108 (2012): 318Google Scholar.

7 L'Eglise de Vatican II. Etudes autour de la constitution conciliaire sur l'Eglise, ed. Baraúna, Guilherme and Congar, Yves-Marie-Joseph, Sanctam, Unam, vol. 51a-c (Paris: Cerf, 1966–67)Google Scholar.

8 Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, ed. Vorgrimler, Herbert, 5 vols. (New York: Herder and Herder, 1967–69)Google Scholar.

9 Philips, Gérard, L'Eglise et son mystère au IIe Concile du Vatican. Histoire, texte et commentaire de la Constitution “Lumen Gentium,” 2 tomes (Paris: Desclée, 1967–68)Google Scholar.

10 See Joseph, Famerée, “Les premières interprétations de Lumen Gentium: Enjeux pour l'herméneutique conciliare actuelle,” in Vatican II et la théologie. Perspectives pour le XXIe siècle, ed. Bordeyne, Philippe and Villemin, Laurent, Fidei, Cogitatio, vol. 254 (Paris: Cerf, 2006), 3759Google Scholar, at 58.

11 Acerbi, Antonio, Due ecclesiologie. Ecclesiologia giuridica ed ecclesiologia di comunione nella “Lumen Gentium,” Nuovi saggi teologici, vol. 4 (Bologna: Dehoniane, 1975)Google Scholar. A strong criticism of this position is found in Hünermann, Peter, Theologischer Kommentar zur dogmatischen Konstitution über die Kirche“ Lumen gentium,” ed. Hünermann, Peter and Hilberath, Bernd Jochen, Herders Theologis cher Kommentar zum Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil, vol. 2 (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 2004), 402Google Scholar: “At the same time, in the first two chapters, Lumen Gentium presents such a view of the Church that one cannot speak of a harmonious juxtaposition or even opposition of two ecclesiologies, a traditional, counter-reformation and juridical ecclesiology and a modern ecclesiology of communion. Self-evidently, one should not a rgue for a perfect homogeneity of the entire text of Lumen Gentium. But it makes a difference wh ether a text with a clear fundamental option contains certain anomalities and points to certain boundaries or whether one speaks a bout at ext which represents an unsolved conflict between two fundamental options” [all translations from the German in this article are the responsibility of the author]. In this sense it is remarkable that Prusak, Bernard P., The Church Unfinished. Ecclesiology through the Centuries (New York/Mahwah: Paulist, 2004)Google Scholar, at the end of the chapter dedicated to “Vatican II: Toward ‘A New Order of Things,’ 1900–” (270–312) still holds to this view: “As a result, the debates about Lumen gentium produced a compromise document wherein differing positions or understandings were more often accommodated than made to come to terms with one an other. The reintroduced paradigm of communion was presented alongside, and in tension with, the pyramidal hierarchical paradigm that had developed during the Church's second millennium” (301).

12 Synod of Bishops: The Final Report,” Origins 15 (19851986): 444–50Google Scholar, esp. 448. For a critical study on the influence of the 1985 Synod of bishops on the theological hermeneutics of Vatican II, see Routhier, Gilles, “L'Assemblée extraordinaire de 1985 du synode des évêques:moment charnière de relecture de Vatican II dans l'Eglise catholique,” in Vatican II et la théologie (n. 10), 6188Google Scholar.

13 Ratzinger, Joseph, “Die Ekklesiologie der Konstitution Lumen Gentium,” in Weggemeinschaft des Glaubens: Kirche als Communio. Festgabe zum 75. Geburtstag, ed. Horn, Stephan Otto and Pfnür, Vinzenz (Augsburg: Sankt Ulrich, 2002), 107–31Google Scholar. McBrien, Richard P. (The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism [New York: HarperCollins, 2008], 173)Google Scholar is very well aware of this: “As important as the notion of communion surely is, the Second Vatican Council did not make it the centerpiece of its ecclesiology. The explicit references to the Church as a communion are remarkably few in number.” A (too?) strong focus on the ecclesiology of communion in Lumen Gentium can be found in Lennan, Richard, “Roman Catholic Ecclesiology,” in The Routledge Companion to the Christian Church, ed. Mannion, Gerard and Mudge, Lewis S. (New York/London: Routledge, 2008) 234–50Google Scholar, at 245: “What, then, might be the way ahead for Catholic ecclesiology? More particularly, how might the church, in the key phrases of Vatican II, fulfill its mission both ad intra and ad extra? Although answers to those questions need to come in practice, not simply theory, the notion of the church as communion is able to provide raw material for answering them both. This explains why the focus on communion can lay claim to being ‘the central and fundamental ideas of [Vatican II's] documents’.”

14 A few important studies on the notion are: Doyle, Dennis M., Communion Ecclesiology: Visions and Versions (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2000)Google Scholar and Fuchs, Lorelei F., Koinonia and the Quest for an Ecumenical Ecclesiology: From Foundations through Dialogue to Symbolic Competence for Communionality (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008)Google Scholar.

15 See the CDF's Notification on the book ‘Church: Charism and Power. Essay on Militant Ecclesiology,’ by Father Leonardo Boff OFM” (11 March 1985), Scholar, followed by the Declaration “On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church” (Dominus Iesus), 6 August 2000, Scholar, and Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church” (29 June 2007), Scholar.

16 Congregation of the Clergy, Instruction On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of the Priests” (15 August 1997), Scholar.

17 Paul, Pope John II, Motu proprio “On the Theological and Juridical Nature of Episcopal Conferences” (Apostolos Suos), 22 July 1998, Scholar.

18 See the CDF's “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion” (Communionis Notio), 28 May 1992, Scholar.

19 See e.g. Buckenmaier, Achim, Universale Kirche vor Ort: Zum Verhältnis von Universalkirche und Ortskirche (Regensburg: Pustet, 2009)Google Scholar, discussed below.

20 For a few reactions on the 2007 document, see Sullivan, Francis A., “The Meaning of Subsistit in as Explained by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” Theological Studies 69 (2008): 116–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Schelkens, Karim, “Lumen Gentium's Subsistit in Revisited: The Catholic Church and Christian Unity after Vatican II,” Theological Studies 69 (2008): 875–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar; De Mey, Peter, “Eine katholische Reaktion auf ‘Antworten auf Fragen zu einigen Aspekten der Lehre von der Kirche’ der roömisch-katholischen Kongregation für die Glaubenslehre,” Ökumenische Rundschau 56 (2007): 567–71Google Scholar. See also McBrien, , The Church [n. 13], 177–80Google Scholar.

21 The History of Vatican II, ed. Alberigo, Giuseppe and Komonchak, Joseph A., 5 vols. (Leuven: Peeters/Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 19952006)Google Scholar. Cf.Legrand, H., “Quelques réflexions ecclésiologiques sur l'Histoire du concile Vatican II de G. Alberigo,” Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques 90 (2006): 495520CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

22 See e.g. De Mey, Peter, “Gustave Thils and Ecumenism at Vatican Council II,” in The Belgian Contribution to the Second Vatican Council, ed. Donnelly, Doris, Famerée, Joseph, Lamberigts, Mathijs and Schelkens, Karim, Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium, vol. 216 (Leuven: Peeters, 2008) 389413Google Scholar; and Church Renewal and Reform in the Documents of Vatican II: History, Theology, Terminology”, The Jurist 71 (2011): 369400CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

23 Hünermann, Theologischer Kommentar [n. 11]. Here I could also include a discussion of Gaillardetz, Richard R.'s The Church in the Making: Lumen Gentium, Christus Dominus, Orientalium Ecclesiarum (New York: Paulist, 2006)Google Scholar. However, because this ecclesiologist from Boston College published two more books on ecclesiology in 2008 and 2012, with substantial overlap, I prefer to treat his books in next section.

24 With regard to the former, with a bit of pride he even states: “In view of theological precision and per-spectives this scheme is far superior … to the theological ideas found in the scheme of Philips, not to speak about the preparatory Roman scheme” (Theologischer Kommentar, 336).

25 Ibid., 370: “On top of that this chapter also offers the ecclesiological foundation—and thereby also an extension and deepening—of the doctrine of justification, because the Church entirely and in all its aspects appears as caused and given by God. It is no coincidence, therefore, that LG 8 speaks about the Church as holy and in need of purification, repentence and renewal.”

26 See also the following critical remark: “One would expect that one would first treat about the kingly office of Christ and how his reign, which essentially consisted in serving, more precisely in the royal freedom to serve, was effectuated by the people of God. This reference to the kingly office of Christ, effectuated in the power of the Spirit, is missing. The next paragraph however equally does not speak about the people of God as acting. The paragraph assumes the formal structure of the statements in the first chapter, i.e., it changes the perspective by now focusing on God's action on behalf of humankind and makes it clear how the Holy Spirit shares his gifts and charisms among the people of God and each individual member” (384–85).

27 See e.g. Hünermann's critical reflection on the occasion of LG 26: “Nowhere does one insist that the priestly activity of the bishops consists in empowering the people of God to act in a priestly way with Christ among the peoples. In passages such as the previous, one notices how poorly the idea of the general priesthood has entered into the reflections of the Council fathers” (446). This is repeated in the final part of the commentary, “Appreciation of the ecclesiology of Lumen gentium” (549–63): “Time and again the narrowness of the focus becomes clear, which makes appear the bishops as mediators of salvation to a merely receiving ‘people’” (559).

28 One of the last volumes in the series is dedicated to an important defender of communion ecclesiology. See Flanagan, Brian P., Communion, Diversity, and Salvation. The Contribution of Jean-Marie Tillard to Systematic Ecclesiology, Ecclesiological Investigations, vol. 11 (London/New York: Continuum, 2011)Google Scholar.

29 Mannion, Gerard, Ecclesiology and Postmodernity: Questions for the Church in Our Time (Collegeville, MN: Glazier, 2007)Google Scholar. See also his “Postmodern Ecclesiologies,” in The Routledge Companion to the Christian Church [n. 13], 127–52.

30 Haight, Roger, Christian Community in History, vol. 1: Historical Ecclesiology (New York/London: Continuum, 2004)Google Scholar; vol. 2: Comparative Ecclesiology (New York/London: Continuum, 2005)Google Scholar; vol. 3: Ecclesial Existence (New York/London: Continuum, 2008)Google Scholar. Cf. Mannion's assessment in Ecclesiology and Postmodernity, 165: “One might suggest that Haight has only taken the spirit of Vatican II to its logical conclusion, ecclesiologically, theologically, and morally.” See also Mannion, Gerard, ed., Comparative Ecclesiology: Critical Investigations, Ecclesiological Investigations, vol. 2 (New York/London: Continuum, 2008)Google Scholar.

31 Within the ecumenical movement, however, comparative ecclesiology is considered to be a method of the past. The 1952 Lund Conference made the following important statement: “We have seen clearly that we can make no real advance towards unity if we only compare our several conceptions of the nature of the Church and the traditions in which they are embodied.” See A History of the Ecumenical Movement, vol. 2: The Ecumenical Advance, 1948–1968, ed. Fey, Harold E. (Geneva: WCC, 1970), 151Google Scholar.

32 Chapter six of the second volume is entitled: “Twentieth-century Ecclesiology: The World Council of Churches, Vatican II, and Liberation Ecclesiology.” The ecclesiology of Vatican II is treated on pp. 382–400.

33 Haight nowhere mentions that the final version of Lumen Gentium avoids this terminology—so dear to Pius XII—and prefers to speak of degrees of incorporation into the people of God. McBrien repeatedly insists on the contrast between Vatican II and preconciliar ecclesiology on this point; cf. The Church [n. 13], xviii, 126, 280, 356.

34 I was struck by Haight's confident conclusion, on the basis of LG 13 and Orientalium Ecclesiarum, that “in principle and in large measure in fact, therefore, the Roman Church according to Vatican II is pluralistic” (Haight, , Christian Community in History, vol. 2: Comparative Ecclesiology [n. 32], 393Google Scholar). He is also convinced that Gaudium et Spes “formed a new context for understanding the basic dogmatic constitution on the church. In this way, at least on a broad symbolic and affective level as distinct from the juridical, Gaudium et Spes became the principle document of Vatican II” (ibid., 399).

35 Hinze, Bradford, Practices of Dialogue in the Roman Catholic Church: Aims and Obstacles, Lessons and Laments (New York/London: Continuum, 2006)Google Scholar. Together with the Tübingen theologian Bernd Jochen Hilberath and the Innsbruck theologian Matthias Scharer, Hinze is co-editor of the academic series Kommunikative Theologie – interdisziplinär, published by Lit-Verlag. Cf. Kommunikative Theologie: Zugaänge – Auseinandersetzungen – Ausdifferenzierungen, Kommunikative Theologie – interdisziplinaär, vol. 14, ed. Scharer, Matthias, Hinze, Bradford E., and Hilberath, Bernd Jochen (Münster: Lit, 2010)Google Scholar.

36 Osborne, Kenan, A Theology of the Church for the Third Millennium: A Franciscan Approach (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

37 Ibid., xiv: “If I had begun with ecclesiology itself, I would have not made an honest beginning; I would have started mediis in rebus. Such a beginning would be a false start, and a false start only produces a false ecclesiology.” Later in his book he will regularly deplore that “[t]he contemporary, dominant and operative theology of the Christian Churches is basically inward-looking or church-centered” (327). Or, looking back to the history of ecclesiology: “When systematic ecclesiology began to appear in the late sixteenth century, the stigma of apologetics slowly placed the ‘cart before the horse.’ The cart is ecclesiology, and it began to shape and color what kind of theology of God is allowable, what kind of a theology of creation is acceptable, what approach to the incarnation and the sending of the Spirit is permissible. Ecclesiology tended to make the remainder of theology subaltern to itself” (365). The opening paragraph of the discussion on the church (§§748–975) in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) equally inspired him to develop his own views on “the lunar church” (xv): “The Church has no other light than Christ's; according to a favorite image of the Church Fathers, the Church is like the moon, all its light [is] reflected from the sun.” (CCC §748, quoted ibid., 84; cf. 383) At the same time, this catechism is also criticized for its “silence regarding Franciscan theologians” (213 n. 34). A final reason to relativize the Church is found in the Franciscan spiritual tradition: “I have found it amazing that in the writings of Francis and of Clare Jesus is central. Of course, both speak of church but it is always in a secondary way” (393).

38 Osborne's (implicit) ecclesiology runs the danger of being quite christocentric. From the analogy which LG 8 makes between the human and divine element in the Church and the relationship of the two natures in Christ—thereby insisting that “the relationship is one of service”—Osborne concludes: “The church is church only when it reflects Jesus who is the true Lumen gentium. The social structure of the church is truly ecclesial only when it reflects the Spirit of Jesus” (117). For another strong passage which argues in the same sense, see ibid., 367: “Jesus in his Haecceitas is the Lumen gentium. Christians are followers of this same Jesus, but the Jesus-community, the church, has no light of its own. Only when the men and women in this community reflect Jesus is the community truly church.” An exception is his reflection on LG 2–4, where he is aware that the Church is related “to the missio and manifestatio ad extra of the Logos” and to “the missio and manifestatio ad extra of the Spirit” (319).

39 Some reservation needs to be expressed concerning his interpretation of LG 10, however. According to Osborne, “LG 10 mentions that there is an essential difference between bishop, priest and deacon on the one hand and on the other hand the ministries of laymen and laywomen” (96). Already in his book on Ministry: Lay Ministry in the Roman Catholic Church: Its History and Theology (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist, 1993), 555Google Scholar, he had spoken about an “essential difference between the ordained and the non-ordained” in LG 10. Just as many other interpreters Osborne apparently fails to note that LG 10 does not speak about the essential difference between the laity and the ordained but about the essential difference between all believers on the one hand and the ordained believers on the other hand. See Peter De Mey, , “The Bishop's Participation in the Threefold Munera: Comparing the Appeal to the Pattern of the Tria munera at Vatican II and in the Ecumenical Dialogues,” The Jurist 69 (2009): 3158CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 35.

40 McBrien, , The Church [n. 13], 165–66Google Scholar: “The call of the whole Church to holiness (chap. 5 of Lumen gentium) is a direct consequence of the sacramentality of the Church. If the Church is, in fact, the corporate presence of the triune God, who is holiness itself, then it must look and act like a community transformed by that divine presence. It must be a Church that is ‘at once holy and always in need of purification,’ which means that it is called ‘constantly’ to follow ‘the path of penance and renewal’ (n. 8). Indeed, this is the primary pastoral consequence of the sacramentality of the Church. It is a community that must practice what it preaches and teaches to others.” Cf. ibid., 173: “The structural equivalent of communion is collegiality. The college of local churches is represented by the college of diocesan bishops.”

41 Lakeland, Paul, The Liberation of the Laity: In Search for an Accountable Church (New York/London: Continuum, 2004)Google Scholar; Catholicism at the Crossroads: How the Laity Can Save the Church (New York/London: Continuum, 2007)Google Scholar; “The Laity”, in The Routledge Companion to the Christian Church [n. 15], 511–23.

42 Lakeland, Paul, Church: Living Communion, Engaging Theology: Catholic Perspectives (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009)Google Scholar. The chapter on inductive ecclesiology starts with words of appreciation for his colleagues Gerard Mannion and Roger Haight, but the real source of inspiration for Lakeland seems to be Bernard Lonergan. He applies Lonergan's reflections on the human person as a dynamic “incarnate subject” on the Church as “a sort of collective incarnate subject” (123), in need of “ongoing conversion” (157).

43 Cf. his following impressive laudatio of Lumen Gentium: “[T]his document is after all—whether we are more liberal or more conservative in the way we read it—the single most authoritative Church statement on ecclesiology of recent times, perhaps ever. It represents a concerted effort of all the Roman Catholic bishops in the years of the council, aided by the best theologians, to draw together the witness of Scripture and the voice of Tradition into a comprehensive picture of what it means to be the Church of Christ. It is not, and cannot be, the last word on the topic, because history is not like that. Times change and perceptions change with them. But it is, for now, the clearest utterance, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, of the meaning of our community of faith” (12).

44 Lakeland insists (twice, in fact) that it is important to interpret the reference to the necessity of the Church for salvation in LG 14 correctly. What is required is “the existence of the Church, not necessarily belief in or membership of the Church” (30). “While the council insists that the Church itself is necessary for salvation, they evidently do not believe that conscious or visible membership in the Church is necessary. It is enough to be ‘related,’ and relationship occurs not in any intentional act of belonging or association but only in responding to the grace of God as it is received mysteriously in the lives of nontheists, unbelievers, and atheists” (39). This insight is so essential for the Church of Vatican II that Lakeland, towards the end of his book, expresses his worry about particular understandings—even by the current papacy—of communion ecclesiology. Cf. ibid., 129: “It is difficult to see how the actual, concrete, historical Church today can be satisfied with any exposition of the nature of the Church that cannot account worthily for the genuine holiness of Christian traditions and world religions beyond the Roman Catholic Church without subsuming their access to grace under some kind of Christian umbrella, however subtly expressed. While some theological positions leave room for this kind of flexibility—the ecclesiology of the People of God for one—some that should, like a communion ecclesiology, are consistent with maintaining that Protestant communities contain “defects” and cannot be called churches. Pope Benedict XVI holds both to communion ecclesiology and to his attitude to Protestant faith communities.”

45 Cf. ibid., 46–47: “Is the Church's catholicity primarily to be seen as the geographical extension of the Church of Rome, or is it more properly understood as grounded in the full ecclesial life of the local communities of faith?” See also ibid., 50: “Rome stands for that fullness of ecclesial life that is present in each local Church but that would not be so appreciable without a visible symbol …. Without the ecclesial life of the local community Rome would be irrelevant, since its energy is that of the faith that is only concrete in local communities, including those local communities in Rome itself. Without Rome, the local communities would be shorn of their sense of unity of purpose and devoid of presence to the world beyond the local context.” Towards the end of his book Lakeland once again comes back to this issue: “There is little danger that the papacy will forget its role as symbol and focus of unity, but it will exercise it successfully only if it recognizes the legitimate pluralism of local churches. This is a difficult balance, because too little leadership and the Church will fragment, too much and the truly catholic character of the Church will be endangered. In the terminology we have used throughout the book, there will be friction and even more serious problems if leadership acts too deductively or top down, when the Church as a whole is becoming more inductive and bottom up. If we have an Aristotelian Church and a Platonic papacy, there will be tensions in both directions. If the Church is Thomist and the papacy is Augustinian, then we are going to need a form of internal ecumenism if leadership is not to lose its credibility and endanger the unity of the world Church” (159).

46 Gaillardetz, Richard R., The Church in the Making: Lumen Gentium, Christus Dominus, Orientalium Ecclesiarum, Rediscovering Vatican II (New York: Paulist, 2006Google Scholar; hereafter CM). Each contributor to the series was responsible for introducing a few conciliar documents. Another option certainly could have been to discuss the three documents issued in 1964 (thus also including Unitatis Redintegratio) in one volume. The discussion of this decree was entrusted to Cardinal Cassidy, former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Cf. Cassidy, Edward, Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue: Unitatis Redintegratio, Nostra Aetate, Rediscovering Vatican II (New York: Paulist, 2005)Google Scholar.

47 Gaillardetz comments on nearly all postconciliar magisterial pronouncements on ecclesiology mentioned in the introduction to this article. He makes the interesting plea not to concentrate solely on LG 8 when interpreting the subsistit in. The conviction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, expressed in the Notification against L. Boff that there can be only one subsistence of the Church of Christ whereas outside the Roman Catholic Church one finds “only elements of the church”, stands not so much in tension with LG 8 but especially with the reference to non-Catholic “churches and ecclesial communities” in both LG 15 and UR 3 (CM116). He appreciates the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Pastores Gregis (2001) as “the most extensive instance of the reception of both Lumen Gentium chapter 3 and Christus Dominus” (CM 120–23). In the preface Gaillardetz was also able to briefly comment on the recent pronouncement on the hermeneutics of Vatican II by Pope Benedict and wonders “whether these two hermeneutical approaches can be so easily opposed to one another. Would not an adequate hermeneutics of the council need to attend to both continuity and discontinuity?” (CM xv).

48 Gaillardetz, Richard R., Ecclesiology for a Global Church: A People Called and Sent, Theology in Global Perspective (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2008; hereafter EGC)Google Scholar.

49 Gaillardetz, Richard R. and Clifford, Catherine E., Keys to the Council. Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II (Collegeville, MI: Liturgical Press, 2012; hereafter KC)Google Scholar. Because of the introductory nature of the volume, this book will receive less attention in this reviewarticle.

50 However, all major statements in this crucial paragraph, which forms the connection between chapters one and two of the Dogmatic Constitution, have been quoted in the commentaries on other key texts in the book. The fact that both authors have a strong interest in ecumenism explains the selection of three passages of Unitatis Redintegratio as key texts. As a result of this, a famous decree of the final year of the Council, Ad Gentes, has only occasionally been referenced in order to help explain other passages.

51 “By proposing a nascent baptismal ecclesiology, the council offered a line of reflection that could pull back the ecclesiastical curtain hiding the exclusive role of clerical leadership. This baptismal foundation encouraged a new mode of theological reflection on who we all are as church and, in particular, regarding how we might conceive the relationship between the ordained and the rest of the Christian faithful” (EGC, 148). In his interpretation of LG 10, Gaillardetz insists that all the baptized and not just the laity are part of “the common priesthood of the faithful” (CM 182–83; EGC 141; KC 76–86). He finds in CCC §1547 a perfect continuation of the baptismal ecclesiology of Lumen Gentium: “While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace—a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit—the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians.”

52 Gaillardetz opposes the “problematic expression” of a “hierarchical communion,” but the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy has made him aware that liturgy requires “an ordered communion with a great diversity of ministries and Christian activities” (CM 73).

53 “Articles 20–22 treat the topic of episcopal collegiality within a “universalist” ecclesiological framework that begins with the bishops' membership in the college and the college's share, with and subordinate to the pope, in supreme authority of the whole church. Within this trajectory each bishop's relationship to a local church goes unmentioned …. Unfortunately, these two different versions of Episcopal collegiality, one setting the college over the church, and the other seeing the college as a concentrated manifestation of the universal church, were never really reconciled in the council documents” (CM, 78–9). “Consequently, we can discern in the conciliar documents two ecclesiological approaches that stand in some tension: one begins with the local church and sees the universal church as a communion of local churches, and the other maintains a preconciliar universalist ecclesiology that privileges the universal church” (EGC, 109; see also KC 123–24). See also De Mey, Peter, “Eucharistic Ecclesiology. The Reception of Orthodox Theology in Roman Catholic Ecclesiology,” Bulletin ET. European Society for Catholic Theology 19/2 (2008): 7999Google Scholar.

54 Kasper, Walter Cardinal, Katholische Kirche: Wesen—Wirklichkeit—Sendung (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 2011)Google Scholar. The English translation, The Catholic Church: Nature, Reality and Mission (T&T Clark/Continuum) is slated for publication in August 2013Google Scholar.

55 Unfortunately the genre of the book did not allow the author to develop statements like the following at greater length: “For this reason I do not see a contradiction in principle, but a complementary relationship between the eucharistic ecclesiology which is most popular in the Churches of the East and has its point of departure in the local Church and the universal ecclesiology which is the preferential ecclesiology in the Western tradition and has its point of departure in baptism” (ibid., 46).

56 There are well-known ones on which Kasper had published before, such as ‘Church as universal sacrament of salvation’ (126–29), but also unexpected ones such as ‘The Church as masterpiece—the beauty of the Church’ (129–31). This motive is also mentioned in Buckenmaier, Achim, Ist das noch unsere Kirche? Die Zukunft der christlichen Gemeinde (Regensburg: Pustet, 2012)Google Scholar, who, just as Cardinal Kasper, refers to Möhler's image of the Church as “God's encompassing masterpiece” (Gesamtkunstwerk Gottes) (ibid., 105).

57 Kasper knows that, especially by speaking about the Church as bride, the Council avoids the idea of the Church as the continued incarnation. Cf. Kasper, , Katholische Kirche (n. 54), 196–97Google Scholar.

58 Ibid., 220: “At the same time it is thus expressed that not the apostolic office and the hierarchy is the most perfect realisation of the Church, but Mary as woman and bearer of a unique personal charism. One cannot think of a more obvious relativisation of the hierarchy than the one which occurs in Catholic Mariology. In Mary the Church was already there, before the male apostles were called and installed into their office.” See for some recent studies on chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium: Antonelli, Cesare, Il dibattito su Maria nel Concilio Vaticano II: percorso redazionale sulla base di nuovi documenti di archivio (Padova: Messaggero, 2009)Google Scholar and Maria nel concilio: approfondimenti e percorsi, ed. Toniolo, Ermanno M. (Roma: Centro di Cultura Mariana «Madre della Chiesa», 2005)Google Scholar.

59 Ibid., 227: “This internal unity does not mean uniformity.” Cf. ibid., 262: “There is a pathological form of catholicity, a narrow-minded and petty bureaucracy, which in a basically non-catholic way and completely out of touch with reality believes that it is necessary to regulate everything according to one single matrix and which leaves little room for local and cultural plurality and for charismatic freedom. (…) Communion with the successor of Peter and with the bishops in communion with him therefore does not imply a reduction of catholicity. It can and must rather be a sign and instrument of true catholicity.” Kasper mentions the three essential elements of unity for the Catholic Church a last time, ibid., 430.

60 Ibid., 286: “The mission of the laity thus pertains to the goal and purpose of the Church, whereas the ministries of the Church do not belong to the order of the goal, but to the order of the means; they should serve the realization of the goal and purpose of the Church.” Cardinal Kasper does not mention that this was precisely the reason for the Council Fathers to switch the order of chapters 2 and 3, as appears from the following relatio: “Ipse Populus eiusque salus est in consilio Dei de ordine finis, dum Hierarchia ut medium ad hunc finem ordinatur.” Cf. Constitutio dogmatica de Ecclesia Concilii Vaticani II Synopsis in ordinem redigens schemata cum relationibus necnon patrum orationes atque animadversiones. Lumen Gentium Synopsis, ed. Hellín, Francisco Gil (Roma: Libreria editrice Vaticana, 1996), 71Google Scholar.

61 Ibid., 386: “The request to strengthen synodal life at universal level should not be misunderstood as an attempt to downplay the Petrine ministry. The Petrine ministry is as visible centre and foundation of unity, of freedom and independence for the Catholic Church a gift of the Lord to his Church. For that reason the purpose is not to weaken the Petrine ministry in a synodal way but to strengthen it in a collegial way.” In the final chapter, ‘Where does the way of the Church lead to?’, one can find a similar statement: “On the level of the universal Church, in an increasingly globalized but internally broken world, the Church needs two things to maintain the unity in the plurality of local churches: a strong center, which holds the Church together in Peter's one faith, and an increased collegial and synodal structure. These are not in contradiction with each other.” (ibid., 486) One also finds a beautiful short section on ‘Church as eschatological sign’ (sacramentum futuri) in this chapter (ibid., 470–72).

62 Kasper belongs to those who feel obliged not to treat Gaudium et Spes in an uncritical way. When speaking about ‘Purpose and problem of the Pastoral Constitution’ (ibid., 452–54) however, he limits himself to one critical observation: “What is missing in the constitution, is a pneumatology.” (ibid., 454).

63 Buckenmaier, Achim, Universale Kirche vor Ort: Zum Verhältnis von Universalkirche und Ortskirche (Regensburg: Pustet, 2009)Google Scholar. The chronological priority is more problematic, as the author makes it clear in his conclusion: “One can agree with J. Ratzinger that the statement of the ontological priority of the universal Church, as formulated by Communionis Notio, is in the light of the postconciliar development within ecclesiology an adequate evolution of the teaching of Lumen Gentium. It is not a late invention of a Rome-centered ecclesiology but the expression of the perspective of salvation history, as it is rooted in the New Testament. (…) The statement of the chronological priority of the universal Church however appeared to be less helpful.” (ibid., 390)

64 It struck me that Buckenmaier speaks twice about the idea of the Church as incarnatio continua: “As the continuation of the body of Christ in an analogous way to His divine-human nature the Church is an ‘unmixed’ and ‘inseparable’ divine and human work” (ibid., 21); “This idea derives its force from the theologoumenon of the continuing body of Christ which is the Church” (ibid., 69).

65 Ibid., 84: “In this respect the texts of the Council have the appearance of compromise formulas which do not interrupt the juxtaposition of a sacramental communion ecclesiology and a juridical uniting ecclesiology (Einheitsekklesiologie), even if W. Kasper does not speak in a consistent way of two ecclesiologies.” In a review of both the book of Buckenmaier and the one of Nedumkallel, Joseph, Was ist das eigentlich ‘die Universalkirche’? Kritische Metareflexion einer postkonziliaren Debatte, Bonner Dogmatische Studien, 46 (Würzburg: Echter, 2009)Google Scholar, in Theologische Literaturzeitung 135 (2010): 10311033Google Scholar, 1032 Guönther Wenz states: “Even less aware of its problematic nature than Buckenmaier's Habilitationsschrift, the dissertation of Nedumkallel stays within the line of argumentation prescribed by Ratzinger.”

66 Kasper, , “Das Wesen des Christlichen,” Theologische Revue 65 (1969): 182–88Google Scholar.

67 See for a more critical account of a major source of inspiration for the author—Dulles, Avery, “The Catholicity of the Church and Globalization,” Seminarium 40 (2000): 259–68Google Scholar– McBrien (n. 13) 307–312 and De Mey, , “Is the Connection of ‘Catholicity’ and ‘Globalization’ Fruitful? An Assessment of Recent Reflections on the Notion of Catholicity,” ET-Bulletin. Journal of the European Society for Catholic Theology 13 (2002): 169–81Google Scholar.

68 Buckenmaier, , Universale Kirche vor Ort (n. 63), 118Google Scholar: “When looking back to more than forty years of reception of the Council, the triumph of the idea and theology of the local Church in post-conciliar ecclesiology has come to an end. Even the Council, as was always observed, does not present a closed ecclesiology, let alone a consistent doctrine of the local Church, but it unfolds its statements on the local Church at entirely different places.” Kasper reacts in a similar way against the small amount of references to the universal Church in Lumen Gentium: “The notion of universal Church is only found in three places of the Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium and always with a distinctive meaning.” Cf. Katholische Kirche (n. 54) 390.

69 Partially repeated in ‘The pastor: loner or table companion?,” in Buckenmaier, , Ist das noch unsere Kirche? (n. 56) 6774Google Scholar.

70 Exceptionally even with a critical note towards Pope and curia: “On the other hand the changed paradigm makes it necessary that Pope and curia are aware of the fact—and act accordingly—that they are not the entire Church, but merely represent it. They form the instrument to maintain the universal Church as something always prexistent compared to the local churches, which with this precedence serves the concrete life of the Church in a given place.” (Buckenmaier, , Universale Kirche vor Ort, 360Google Scholar) In his small book Ist das noch unsere Kirche? (n. 56), with regular references to architectural terminology, Buckenmaier explains the ‘plan of the Church’ (ibid., 22) and reminds the reader of ‘forgotten corner stones’ (ibid., 34). Interestingly he also defends the essential role of theology and theologians in the Church in a chapter on ‘The instrument theology’ (ibid., 96–109). The memorandum ‘Church 2011: a necessary start’ of the Germanspeaking theologians is for him in first instance a sign of the ecclesial commitment of academic theologians (ibid., 96). He also does not hide his great appreciation for pope Benedict XVI. “Through this pope the significance of theology has increased enormously.” (ibid., 110) His book is actually an attempt to provide simple and non-polemical information about the essence of the Church to Christians who often to leave the Church for the wrong reasons. Even if the reader is at times reminded of B's fascination for the universal Church—e.g. ibid., 23: “The Book of Acts narrates the growth of the young Church first in Jerusalem and then in other places”—and his sympathy for Apostolos Suos and its preference for the methodology of the consensus in decision making (49–51; Universale Kirche, 364–68)—his real concern is to defend the significance of the parish as an instance where the Christian life becomes concrete. (ibid., 22–33, 54–8) This clearly appears from the final words of his book, containing a reference to the Jewish understanding of the ‘Church as gathering’ (see also ibid., 34–48): “The question of the Church as gathering grants even to the smallest gathering in a particular place an incomparable value. It is perhaps a helpless and tiny little group, but still it should be the place of His presence in the world. She is not the whole Church, but wholly Church. The more the Church becomes His people, according to God's plan, the more she is a help for our world. The more she is His Church, the more she is our Church” (ibid., 150).

71 Cf. Werbick, Jürgen, Kirche: Ein ekklesiologischer Entwurf für Studium und Praxis (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1994)Google Scholar; Warum die Kirche vor Ort bleiben muss (Donauwoörth: Wewel, 2002)Google Scholar.

72 Werbick, , Grundfragen der Ekklesiologie, Grundlagen Theologie (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 2009)Google Scholar.

73 He focuses especially on LG 9 but mentions in passing that LG 5, in connecting the foundation of the Church with its sacramental orientation on the kingdom of God, “thereby formulates the only valid perspective, in which the category of Church founding—which has only been of steady use in apologetics—still can be used today.” (ibid., 51 n. 67)

74 Ibid., 78: “The formula of Vatican II has to be understood in the following sense: The hierarchical priesthood is in this way distinct from the common priesthood of all the ‘other’ members of the body of Christ, that it has the ministerial responsibility to practice the diakonia of Jesus Christ on their behalf. For this reason it is called into this service with its entire existence not by these other members but by Jesus Christ himself. It is a ministerial-personal representation of Christ which is essentially distinguished from the mission to represent Jesus Christ charismatically.”

75 With a reference to Hoffmann, Veronika, Ekklesiologie in Metaphern. Betrachtungen zum ersten Kapitel von Lumen Gentium, Catholica 62 (2008): 241–56Google Scholar. Ibid., 99.

76 See especially the section on ‘Participation through hierarchy or through co-responsibility?’, ibid., 134–43.

77 Differently from Buckenmaier, Werbick reckons the teaching of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the “ontological priority of the universal Church” to be among the “linguistically most arbitrary exaltations” (ibid., 216) He further asks: “Why does the quoted document almost ignore the fact that the sacramental communion of the Church realizes itself—and in a communicative way—in the mutual orientation of the local churches and in the mutual orientation of the local churches and the universal church?” (…) “The document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith almost never points to this ecclesial dynamic of reciprocity in the relationship between the local church and the universal church.”

78 Kraus, Georg, Die Kirche: Gemeinschaft des Heils. Ekklesiologie im Geist des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils (Regensburg: Pustet, 2012)Google Scholar.

79 He relies on LG 32: “There is, therefore, no inequality in Christ and in the church, … with regard to sex. (…) yet there is a true equality of all with regard to the dignity and action common to all the faithful concerning the building up of the body of Christ.” Kraus joins those theologians who do not find dogmatic objections to the ordination of women. “The juridical exclusion of women from ordination should be abolished and the admission of women to ordination should be positively authorized.” (ibid., 115; see also 152 and 408) Compare Kasper, , Katholische Kirche (n. 54) 339–40Google Scholar: “The Catholic Church is not free to take autonomous decisions about its order, and since there is no evidence for the ordination of women with Jesus himself nor in the Holy Scriptures and in the tradition, she knows that she is not entitled to ordain women into the priestly or the episcopal ministry. In the meantime this was clarified by high-level ecclesial decisions. These decisions are, as far as the degree of authority is concerned, of such a high level that I can difficultly imagine a change of Church doctrine in this respect. They have a binding and definitive character.”

80 With the notion of Kirchenmitglieder, however, the pre-conciliar terminology of Church memberships is being reintroduced. One wonders whether the term christifideles (LG 31) would not be a better alternative and one which is better rooted in the terminology of the Council.

81 As justification he refers to the fact that the first communities mentioned in the New Testament were local churches and also to the teaching of LG 26, “that the local communities are Church in the full sense of the word” (ibid., 292). One wonders whether an ecclesiology in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council has not to acknowledge the fact that the primary focus of the Council was the diocese and only in second instance the level of the parish. Relying on Was wird jetzt aus uns, Herr Bischof? Ermutigende Erfahrungen der Gemeindebildung in Poitiers, ed. Feiter, Reinhard and Müller, Hadwig (Ostfildern: Schwabenverlag, 2009)Google Scholar Kraus also reflects on how the diocese of Poitiers has tried to strengthen the quality of its pastoral life by involving small Christian communities, but rightly ends with the following critical question: “When, according to the Council, participation in the Eucharist is ‘the source and the culmination of all Christian life’ (LG 11) then it becomes clear that the pastoral model of Poitiers too is an emergency solution. It needs to be complemented by a next and a very big new step. The bishops should obtain from Rome that they can ordain ‘proven men’ (viri probati) to priests. Only through an increase of priests the indispensable good of the Sunday Eucharist be lived in the communities” (ibid., 312).

82 It makes sense that Kraus discusses the relationship between ‘The one universal Church and the many local churches’, as well as the ecumenical relations of the Catholic Church under the heading ‘The unity of the Church in plurality’ (ibid., 367). He could also have opted, however, to deal with this when discussing the catholicity of the Church. There, he pays only attention to catholicity as ‘The encompassing and universal character of the Church of Christ’ (ibid., 419) and to ‘Catholicity as the totality of the Church of Christ’ (ibid., 425). His ecclesiology could have benefited from an intensive study of the relationes of Lumen Gentium. Cf. Lumen Gentium Synopsis (n. 56), 103: “Haec universalitas seu catholicitas uniformitatem respuit: diversitatem in unitate servat, procurando communionem et cooperationem inter diversos populos et diversos ordines in Ecclesia.”