An Evangelizing Communion: The Church, the Holy Spirit, and Vatican II
November 14, 2014
Duquesne Union Ballroom
Rev. Msgr. Paul McPartlan, STL, DPhil
Msgr Paul McPartlan is a priest of the diocese of Westminster, UK, and Carl J. Peter Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism at the Catholic University of America. He is currently serving as acting dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at CUA. Having gained his DPhil from the University of Oxford, he taught Systematic Theology at Heythrop College, London, before coming to the USA. He is a member of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, and has participated in international Catholic-Methodist and Catholic-Anglican dialogue, also. He was a member of the Catholic Church's International Theological Commission from 2004-2014. Author of The Eucharist Makes the Church: Henri de Lubac and John Zizioulas in Dialogue (1993, 2006), Sacrament of Salvation: An Introduction to Eucharistic Ecclesiology (1995), A Service of Love: Papal Primacy, the Eucharist and Church Unity (2013), and many articles on ecclesiology and ecumenism, he also edited John Zizioulas' book, Communion and Otherness (2006).
Pope St John XXIII prayed that Vatican II would be a new Pentecost, a powerful occasion of renewal for the Church in its mission in the world. The Extraordinary Synod of 1985, however, said that ‘the ecclesiology of communion is the central and fundamental idea of the Council's documents', which seems to imply gathering and inwardness. Pneumatology is the key to holding these two ideas together: the Spirit of Pentecost and mission is also the Spirit of communion and koinonia (2Cor 13:13), and the Gospel the Church goes out to proclaim is precisely the good news of the reconciliation and peace that only Christ can give (Jn 14:27).
The lecture will explore the idea of the Church as an evangelizing communion, particularly in relation to the Eucharist and for the benefit of dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which have tended to emphasize opposite poles from this pairing. It will also suggest, in light of this idea and the action of the Holy Spirit, a correlation or configuration of the four constitutions of the Council.