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Lumen Gentium and Unity in Christ

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image of Ecclesiology

This essay contends that Lumen Gentium ( LG ) harmoniously integrates three interrelated but importantly distinct kinds of Christian unity. While the emphasis upon sacramental unity found in Dominus Iesus contrasted with the emphasis upon ecumenical unity developed in Peter Knauer’s influential essay, ‘“katholische Kirche” subsistiert in der “katholischen Kirche”’ may be set in opposition to each other and thus regarded as demonstrative of a lack of coherence in LG , this essay argues that Lumen roots these kinds of unity in the mystical unity between Christ and the Church. The significance of this mystical unity, as opposed to a merely functional unity, is examined through analysis of Aquinas’s use of the term una persona mystica to signify the relationship between Christ and the Church. Sacramental, ecumenical, and mystical unity, as described in Lumen, are mutually illuminative and complementary kinds of unity that shed light upon the nature and universal mission of the Church.

Affiliations: 1: Marquette University


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