Mystery of the Church

JPI 623/853

John Paul II maintained that Jesus, in his final prayer (Jn 17), drew the complete picture of the interpersonal ecclesial relations which originate in Him and in the Trinity. He proposed to his disciples and to us all, the supreme model of that communio which the Church is called to be by reason of her divine origin: it is he himself in his intimate communion with the Father in the life of the Trinity (General Audience, 10/11/1991). This course seeks to explore the understanding of the Church as communio proposed by the Second Vatican Council. The perception of the mystery of the Church is a central piece in the thought and educational undertakings of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The course adopts a concrete perspective in that it approaches the meaning of ecclesial communion through the persons of the Virgin Mary, and the apostles Peter, John, and Paul. Through them, and the principles of Christian existence they incarnate, it is possible to see what is proper to the nature of the Church in her unity, catholicity, apostolicity, and sanctity and how to address some of the issues that the Church faces today.

Course Texts for Fall 2017

Course compendium – available from University Readers

CDF documents

Second Extraordinary Synod (1985)
Communionis notio (1992)

De Lubac, Henri. The Splendor of the Church. San Francisco: Ignatius, 1999. ISBN: 9780898707427

De Lubac, Henri. The Motherhood of the Church: Followed by Particular Churches in the Universal Church. San Francisco: Ignatius, 1983. ISBN: 9780898700145

Documents by John Paul II
Redemptoris Mater
Ecclesia de Eucharistia
Mulieris Dignitatem
Christifideles Laici
The Church: Mystery, Sacrament, Community. A Catechesis on the Creed, Part IV:
i. 1.11, “The Church Lives in the Trinity’s Love”
ii. 1.13, “The Church is the New People of God”
iii. 1.15, “The Church is the Body of Christ”
iv. 1.16, “The Church has a Sacramental Nature”
v. 1.21, “The Church is a Communio of Love”
vi. 1.22, “The Church: A Communio of Prayer”
vii. 1.23, “The Church Lives in the Mystery of Communio”


Ratzinger, Joseph. Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today. San Francisco: Ignatius, 1996. ISBN: 9780898705782

Ratzinger, Joseph. Daughter Zion: Meditations on the Church’s Marian Belief. San Francisco: Ignatius, 1983. ISBN: 9780898700268

Laurentin, Rene’, Short Treatise on Mary, Ami. Intl. Pr., June 1991)

Second Vatican Council Documents
Lumen Gentium
Unitatis Redintegratio


Associated Faculty

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