Augustinian themes in Lumen Gentium, 8
Robertson, Charles Douglas
Pope Benedict XVI, since his election to the papacy, has urged Catholic clergy and theologians to interpret the documents of the second Vatican Council using a "hermeneutic of continuity." This thesis seeks to answer whether such a hermeneutic is possible by focusing on one aspect of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. The methodology here employed is a critical analysis of one of the major patristic sources of Lumen Gentium’s teaching, St. Augustine of Hippo. In claiming St. Augustine’s support for its doctrine, Lumen Gentium also offers an interpretation of his thought. For Lumen Gentium’s teaching to be plausible, we must be able to conclude that Augustine’s teaching is essentially identical to it. In that connection, Lumen Gentium’s claim that the Church is both a spiritual and visible reality forces us to consider a controverted topic in Augustinian studies: can Augustine’s “city of God” be identified with the hierarchical Church? In order to resolve that question, we will examine both the historical and eschatological aspects of the Church in Augustine’s thought, with some reference (treated in an appendix) to the compatibility between his theory of predestination and his ecclesiology. Further, what the Council meant when it said that the Church of Christ “subsists in” the Catholic Church, and whether this change in terminology, along with its implications in the field of ecumenism, can be reconciled with St. Augustine’s ecclesiology must be determined with a view to establishing the continuity between pre and post conciliar Catholic ecclesiology. St. Augustine developed his understanding of the nature of the Church in the early years of his ecclesiastical career through his polemical battles with the Donatist schismatics, and so the history of that schism is related in an appendix.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeLiptay, John; Deutscher, Thomas B.; Still, Carl
Augustine of Hippo
hermeneutic of continuity