The Catholicity of the Church in traditional confessional thelogy and in official ecumenical and other modern debates : a comparative-systematic approach
This work seeks to explore the issue of the catholicity of the Church, as seen in the theology of the five Christian Churches which have an explicit or implicit understanding of it. That understanding refers both to what is commonly seen as a traditional (original) view and also later consequent developments, where they exist. In chapter one we present that aspect of Church catholicity which deals with its universality both in terms of space and time, as seen in the perspective of the identity, continuity and eschatological fulfillment of the catholic Church. In chapter two, through the Trinitarian, Christoiogical and Pneumatological dogmas, we outline those qualities of the catholicity which remain at the very foundation of the Church. Scriptural, Traditional, and Sacramental aspects of catholicity are discussed in chapter three. Chapter four contains an analysis of the local and universal dimensions of Church's catholicity and the relationship between them. Chapter five deals with the importance and significance of the ecclesiastical structures - the polity and agency of the Church - for catholicity. In chapter six the missionary and ecumenical dimensions of Church’s catholicity are presented, as well as matters regarding the relation existing between catholicity and culture. Finally, chapter seven places the concept of catholicity within the modern ecumenical debates, suggesting also that, amongst various approaches to catholicity, one ought to necessarily take into account the dynamics of history marked by contingency and relativity. It will be argued that in each type of theology, be it Roman Catholic, Anglican. Lutheran, Reformed or indeed Orthodox, there is a clear direction on the basis of which the catholicity of the Church is construed and which would eventually determine a certain specificity for each respective Ecclesiology. The appendix intends to bring some more significant Patristic argumentation that would help in consolidating our position.