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Theology 60608: Ecclesiology

University of Notre Dame

Summer 2014

Week 1: M-F 12:20-3:00 p.m. and evening sessions M,T,W 6:30-8:30

Week 2: M-F 12:20-3:00 p.m. and evening sessions M & T 6:30-8:30

Instructor: Kristin Colberg, Ph.D. Email:

Cell phone: 414-940-2404


This course examines the development of the Church from both theological and historical perspectives. It seeks to assist students in constructing and refining critical principles of interpretation that apply directly to the mystery, mission, ministries and structure of the Church. Of central concern are the questions of how the Church has understood its mission at various points in its history and what developments have impacted this understanding. Strong emphasis is placed on the theological developments that have occurred immediately before, during and after the Second Vatican Council as these periods saw critical development in the Church’s self-understanding.


  1. To develop a deeper sense of the church’s nature and mission by examining how major historical and theological developments have influenced the church’s self-understanding.

  2. To see ecclesiology within the nexus of systematic theology and recognize its deep connections to Christology, pneumatology, theological anthropology, etc.

  3. To familiarize students with major issues in ecclesiology as well as introduce them to key authors, texts and resources in this discipline.

  4. To explore contemporary challenges facing the church and critically consider the ways in which the church’s response demonstrates, or fails to demonstrate, a desire to balance concerns for identity and relevance.

  5. To help students further their own objectives in terms of ecclesiological understanding and overall theological knowledge.

Texts required for purchase are indicated with an asterisk [*].
* Flannery, Austin, O.P., Editor. Vatican Council II: The Basic Sixteen Documents. Northport,

NY: Costello Publishing, 1996. ISBN 0-918344-37-9. [VC II]

* Pottmeyer, Hermann. Towards a Papacy in Communion: Perspectives from Vatican Council I & II. New

York: Crossroads Publishing Co, 1998. ISBN 082451776-8. [POTT]

Recommended: Hahnenberg, Edward. A Concise Guide to the Documents of Vatican II (Cincinnati: St. Anthony

Messenger Press, 2007)

Recommended: Recommended= Schatz, Klaus. Papal Primacy from its Origins to the Present (Collegeville, MN:

Michael Glazier Press,1996) ISBN 0-8146-5522-X


Class Participation– 10% of course grade

Student performance in this category will be evaluated based on the following elements:

  • Regular and punctual attendance (see “Class Attendance” below)

  • Demonstrated careful preparation of reading assignments

  • Contributions to group discussions and respectful attention to others

Response Papers - 60% of course grade
Students are required to hand in three 2-3 page response papers per week (6 total). Students can choose which three assignments out of the possible assignments in a given week that they will complete based on interest, scheduling concerns, etc. Because there is a choice of assignments, late work will generally not be accepted. All assignments are to be typed, written in prose (not bullet points, outline form, etc.). These assignments are not intended to be as polished and substantive as a research paper or formal essay, but they should be clearly written and not contain excessive typos. In general, response papers should demonstrate an ability to summarize the main ideas and significance of the assigned readings and employ effective quotes to support particular positions. Homework is to be submitted on the day that the material is discussed in class as I want to see what you got out of the readings before our discussion. Please note that I prefer not to receive work electronically except in extraordinary cases.
(To be clear for students who want to begin working before the class starts – students are asked to do all of the reading for every class session. There are italicized questions at the end of each day’s assignment to guide your reading. For three class sessions per week (you choose which three) you are required to turn in a 2-3 page written response to all of those questions. So, for example, if you choose to do the homework for the Tuesday afternoon (12:20-3) session on the Early Church then you must address all of the questions listed for that session. You may do any three sets of homework sessions that you want each week.)
Response papers are graded on the following basis:

+ = exemplary work/A

Check plus = solid grasp of assignment/B+

Check = general grasp of assignment/B

Check minus = basic, but incomplete grasp of assignment/B- or C

NC = no credit, insufficient completion of work

Exam– 30% of course grade
This exam will provide students a chance to synthesize some of the major themes of the course. The exam will be given in class and all students are expected to take it on the date it is scheduled unless officially excused by the University.

PROPOSED CLASS SCHEDULE (subject to change)

Class 1 (M 6/16): Course Introduction: The Church as Mystery and the Use of Models in Theology
*Weinandy, Thomas. “Theology - Problems and Mysteries” in Does God Suffer? (Notre

Dame, IN: Notre Dame Press) 27-40. [E]

*Colberg, Kristin. “Walter Kasper’s Gift to the Church” in The Living Church (Sept 2010), 6-8. [E]
*Dulles, Avery. “The Use of Models in Ecclesiology,” in Models of the Church. Garden City,

NY: Doubleday Press, 1974. Chapters 1 & 12. (*note: read Rausch’s

article after chapter one of Dulles but before chapter 12). [E]

*Rausch, Thomas. “Theological Models” in Towards a Truly Catholic Church, 63-68. [E]
--How does Weinandy describe the difference between a problem and a mystery? Why is it important?

--Describe how models work and do not work. Can you tie Dulles’ notion of models and his notion of the

ecclesial dimension of faith to the Christian notion of mystery?

Class 2 (M 6/16 evening): The Ecclesial Dimension of Faith
*Dulles, Avery. “The Ecclesial Dimension of Faith” in Communio 22.3 (Fall 1985) 418-32. [E]

*Schillebeeckx, Edward. “It Began with an Experience” in Interim Report on the Books

Jesus and Christ (New York: Crossroad, 1981), 10-19. [E] (do not worry about

understanding every single aspect of this article—just try to get a general sense of

Schillebeeckx’s argument here. If you get stuck on something here – just keep moving.)
Recommended: McBrien, Richard. “Introduction: The Content and Scope of Ecclesiology” in The

Church: The Evolution of Catholicism (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2008), 1- 21. [E]

-- Describe what you see as a main point of Schillebeeckx’s article. OR What, according to

Schillebeeckx, is it that the Christian community is trying to pass on?

--Why is an ecclesial dimension essential to Christian experience?

Class 3 (T 6/17): The Early Church
*Acts 1-15

*Kelly, J.N.D. “The Christian Community” in Early Christian Doctrines (NY: Harper Collins,

1978), 189-207. [E]

*Ignatius of Antioch. “Letter to the Philadelphians,” 92-97. [E]

*Clement of Rome, First Letter to the Corinthians, chs. 37-50

*Ireneaus of Lyon, Against Heresies, I:10.1-10.2, III: 3.1-4.2, V:2.2

*Tertullian of Carthage, Prescription against Heretics, chs 19-25

--Using Acts and Ignatius, what characterizes the early Christian understanding of the church?

-- How are Apostolicity and Eucharist central to the early Church’s understanding of itself, especially of unity?

Class 4 (T 6/17 evening): Augustine
*Brown, Peter. “Ubi Ecclesia?” In Peter Brown’s Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, 212-25. [E]

*van Bavel, T.J. “Church.” In Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, 172-5.

ed. Allan D. Fitzgerald. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999. [E]

*Augustine, Letter to the Donatists [E]

--Summarize, briefly, the Donatists’ position and Augustine’s position. Then consider the

contemporary relevance of this debate.

Class 5 (W 6/18): The Shift from Witness to Monarch
*Schatz, K. “Rome as Privileged Locus of Tradition,” in Papal Primacy from its Origins to the Present

(Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1996) 7-28. [E] or [KS]

*Pottmeyer, Hermann. “From Witness to Monarch: Development of, or Change in, Papal Primacy?,”

13-35. [POTT]

*Kasper, Walter. “A Discussion on the Petrine Ministry” in That They May All be One, 136-49. [E]
Recommended= McBrien, Richard. “The Papacy,” 315-36. [E]
--Describe the witness and monarch models described by Pottmeyer.

--What contributed to the church’s movement towards a more centralized form of authority?

-- Describe the role of the pope in the Catholic Church.

Class 6 (W 6/18 evening): Medieval Ecclesiology
*Belitto, “Councils v. Popes” [E]

*Pope Gregory VII, Dictatus papae [E]

*Peter of Ailly, Propositiones utiles [E]

*Council of Constance, Haec Sancta and Frequens [E]

*John of Torquemada, A Disputation of the Authority of Pope and Council [E]

*Pope Eugenius IV, Moyses vir Dei [E]

Recommended= Thomas Aquinas, Sermon Conferences on the Apostles Creed, “The Catholic Church”

-- What image does Ailly use for the church and how does this make a council superior to a pope?

-- Does Haec Sancta claim authority to do more than resolve the schism and why?  How

does Frequens institute a larger program of conciliar life in the church?

-- What are images and biblical passages which Torquemada uses to support papal

authority?  How does this depart from conciliar images in the earlier texts?

Class 7 (Th 6/19): Reformation & Counter Reformation Views of the Church

*McGrath, “The Doctrine of the Church” [E]

*Luther, Address to the German Nobility, selections [E]

*Sadoleto, Address to the Genevans [E]

*Calvin, “Reply to Sadoleto,” selections [E]

*Francis de Sales, The Catholic Controversies, selections [E]

-- Who constitutes the church for Luther, and who is responsible for reform?

-- How does Sadoleto’s understanding of the church differ from Calvin’s?

-- How does de Sales define the church – is it visible or invisible?

Class 8 (F 6/20): Vatican I and the Development of Doctrine
*Pottmeyer, H. Towards a Papacy in Communion. 36-50, 81-109, 129-136. [POTT]

*Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus. [E]

*Colberg, Kristin. “Newman on the Development of Doctrine and Papal Infallibility.” [E]

*Newman, John Henry. “To Robert Whitty, S.J.” & “To Mrs. Helbert.” [E]

*Sullivan, Francis. “The Meaning of Conciliar Documents” in The Convergence of Theology, 73-86. [E]

--What, according to Pottmeyer, is misunderstood about Vatican I and how does further

contextualization bring enhanced understanding of the council?

--Why are reception and development critical issues in the church? What do they say about the nature of

the church and the message it seeks to convey?

Class 9 (M 6/23): The Historical and Theological Setting of Vatican II
*Alberigo, Giuseppe. “Proclamation of a Council.” In A Brief History of Vatican II,

Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2006. 1-20. [E]

*Pope John XXIII. “Gaudet Mater Ecclesia” (opening speech of VC II).

In Council Daybook: Vatican II, 25-9. Wash, D.C.: National Catholic Welfare Conference, 1965. [E]

*O’Malley, John S.J. “Vatican II: Historical Perspectives on its Uniqueness and Interpretation.” In Vatican

II: The Unfinished Agenda, 21- 31. Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press, 1987. [E]
Strongly Recommended: Suenens, Leon-Josef Cardinal. “A Plan for the Whole Council.” In Vatican II Revisited

By Those Who Were There (Minneapolis, Winston Press, 1986) 89 -105. [E]
--Why was Vatican II called? What was John XXIII’s vision for this gathering?

--What is unique about Vatican II according to O’Malley?

Class 10 (M 6/23 evening): Lumen Gentium and Unitatis Redintegratio
*Lumen gentium 1-3 [Vat II]

*Komonchak, Joseph. “The Significance of Vatican Council II for Ecclesiology.” [E]

*Unitatis Redintegratio, Introduction – Chapter 2. [Vat II]

*Kasper, Walter. “The Meaning and Impact of Vatican II’s Ecumenism Decree.” [E]
Recommended: Kasper, Walter. “The Nature and Purpose of Ecumenical Dialogue” in That They Might

All Be One (New York: Burns and Oates, 2004) 33-49. [E]

Recommended: Kasper, Walter. “A Vision of Christian Unity for the Next Generation” found at
--How is Lumen gentium at the center of the council’s aims? How is it central to John XXIII’s vision?

-- Why is ecumenism more than just a politically correct “getting along?” How does a commitment to

ecumenism flow from the theology of Vat II?

Class 11 (T 6/24): Sacrosanctum Concilium and Gaudium et spes
*Sacrosanctum Concilium, Introduction and Chapters 1 & 2. [VC II]

*Faggioli, Massimo. True Reform: Liturgy and Ecclesiology in Sacrosanctum Concilium

(Collegeville: Lit Press, 2012), 59-92. [M]
*Gaudium et spes, Preface & Intro and Chapters 1, 3 & 4. [Vat II]

*Congar, Yves. “The Role of the Church in the Modern World” in Commentary on the

Documents of Vatican II, vol. 5, Herbert Vorgrimmler, ed.(New York: Herder and

Herder, 1969), 202-23. [E]

Recommended= Tanner, Norman. “Major Points” in The Church and the World (New York: Paulist,

2005), 38-60. [E]

Recommended= Tanner, Norman. “Pt 1: The Document” in The Church & the World (New York:

Paulist, 2005), 3-37. [E]

--Using Sacrosanctum concilium and Faggioli’s book – describe the ecclesiology of Sacrosanctum concilium.

--How does Gaudium et spes describe the nature of the church-world relationship? What does Congar say is the

basis of this relationship?
Class 12 (T 6/24 evening): Nostra Aetate and Salvation Outside the Church
*Nostra Aetate (entire document- its short!) [Vat II]

*Knitter, Paul. “The Breakthrough of the Second Vatican Council” and “Greater

Openness and Dialogue” in Theologies of Religions (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002)

63-79, 89-93. [E]

*Dupuis, Jacques. “From Confrontation to Encounter,” in Theology Digest 49:2

(summer 2002), 10- 16. [E]

*“Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the

Church,” Origins 30:14 (2000)209-19. [E]

--Summarize and compare two of the following positions: Nostra aetate, Jacques Dupuis and Dominus

Iesus. Consider: what do you see as the top priority/priorities of each one? What is each trying

to hold on or prioritize that might make it exclude or de-emphasize other elements?

Class 13 (W 6/25): The Reception of Vatican II and Reception, Sensus Fidelium and Authority
*Pottmeyer, Hermann. “A New Phase in the Reception of Vatican II: Twenty Years of

Interpretation of the Council” in The Reception of Vatican II, edited by G.

Alberigo, J-P Jossua, and J. Komonchak (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University

of America Press, 1987) 27-43. [M]

*Rahner, Karl. “Towards a Fundamental Interpretation of Vatican II”

in Theological Studies 40 (1979): 716-27. [M]

*Pottmeyer, Hermann. “The Reception of Doctrine,” 1081-2. [M]

*Yanes, Elias. “Inaugural Address” in The Jurist 57 (1997) 11-16. [M]

*Gaillardetz, Richard. “What is the Sense of the Faithful,” in By What Authority?

(Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2003) 107-120. [M]

Recommended: Colberg, Kristin. “The Hermeneutics of Vatican II: Reception, Authority and the Debate

Over the Council’s Interpretation,” in Horizons 38:2 (2011) 230-52. [M]

Recommended: O’Malley, John. “Vatican II: Did Anything Happen?” in Vatican II: Did Anything

Happen?, ed. David Schultenover, (New York: Continuum, 2007) 52-91. [M]
Choose two:

--How is the reception of Vatican II different from other councils? How do Vatican II’s unique goals make its

reception more challenging than the reception of many of its predecessors?

--How is reception a theological issue not just an administrative concern about how information is transmitted?
--What is the sense of the faithful?

Class 14 (Th 6/26): Communion Ecclesiology and Review for Test
*Dennis Doyle, “What is Communion Ecclesiology?”, “Communion, Paradox and Multi-

Dimensionality: Henri de Lubac,” and “Communion and Theological Method: Karl

Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar in Communion Ecclesiology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis,

2000)11-22, 56-71 and 85-102.

**Note: All students are asked to review their notes before coming to class. Please identity one or two particularly important ideas, themes, points that you have encountered in this course – we will use these for an in class exercise.

--What tension is communion ecclesiology trying to balance?

--Summarize the ecclesiologies of two of the authors presented here.

Class 15 (F 6/27): Test in class

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