In this group members will read and discuss Papal Documents together. Great opportunity to examine various key encyclicals and other writings!

Dominus Iesus 18

1 reply, 2 voices Last updated by  David W. Emery 3 weeks, 6 days ago
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    jsdebeer
    Participant
    @JSdeBeer

    This week’s reading:

    The mission of the Church is “to proclaim and establish among all peoples the kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth, the seed and the beginning of that kingdom”.  On the one hand, the Church is “a sacrament — that is, sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of unity of the entire human race”.  She is therefore the sign and instrument of the kingdom; she is called to announce and to establish the kingdom.  On the other hand, the Church is the “people gathered by the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”; she is therefore “the kingdom of Christ already present in mystery” and constitutes its seed and beginning. The kingdom of God, in fact, has an eschatological dimension: it is a reality present in time, but its full realization will arrive only with the completion or fulfilment of history.

    The meaning of the expressions kingdom of heaven, kingdom of God, and kingdom of Christ in Sacred Scripture and the Fathers of the Church, as well as in the documents of the Magisterium, is not always exactly the same, nor is their relationship to the Church, which is a mystery that cannot be totally contained by a human concept. Therefore, there can be various theological explanations of these terms. However, none of these possible explanations can deny or empty in any way the intimate connection between Christ, the kingdom, and the Church. In fact, the kingdom of God which we know from revelation, “cannot be detached either from Christ or from the Church… If the kingdom is separated from Jesus, it is no longer the kingdom of God which he revealed. The result is a distortion of the meaning of the kingdom, which runs the risk of being transformed into a purely human or ideological goal and a distortion of the identity of Christ, who no longer appears as the Lord to whom everything must one day be subjected (cf. 1 Cor 15:27). Likewise, one may not separate the kingdom from the Church. It is true that the Church is not an end unto herself, since she is ordered toward the kingdom of God, of which she is the seed, sign and instrument. Yet, while remaining distinct from Christ and the kingdom, the Church is indissolubly united to both”.

    #24683

    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    This week’s description of the Church provides several distinct characterizations, all of which indicate that its essence is basically the “body” or presence of Christ in the world of here and today.

    1. The Church is called to announce and establish the Kingdom of God (compare Matthew 28:18–20; Mark 16:15–16).
    2. It is the sign and instrument of that Kingdom.
    3. It is, moreover, the Kingdom already present in mystery.
    4. The Church is inseparable from the Person of Christ (compare Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14).
    5. If it were somehow to be separated from Christ, it would no longer be the Kingdom of God or infallibly point to the fulfillment of that Kingdom.
    6. Such a separation would degrade the Kingdom into a human or ideological goal rather than the personal revelation of God.
    7. The Church also cannot be separated from the Kingdom, since the Church is not an end unto itself, but is the seed, sign and instrument of the Kingdom.
    8. Therefore, while the Church is ontologically distinct from both Christ and the Kingdom, it is indissolubly united to both.

    This is a rather different view of the Church than that enjoined by Protestants. It now appears that these have separated the Church, in some wise, both from the Kingdom and from Christ, leaving it a humanly established institution for the convenience of the believer — who, however, is autonomous, not needing a Church or society of believers in order to be saved.

    On the other hand, Pope Francis recently spoke of the necessity of seeing the Church as the People of God, the society in and through which the believer is saved. This corresponds with the Nicene Creed (4th century AD), which states in part:

    I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

    Belief in the Church, the community through which we receive baptism and thus salvation, is therefore the ancient and apostolic Christianity, inseparable from belief in Christ. According to the current document, the Protestant view results in “a distortion of the meaning of the kingdom, which runs the risk of being transformed into a purely human or ideological goal and a distortion of the identity of Christ, who no longer appears as the Lord to whom everything must one day be subjected (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:27).” This verse is included in the Second Reading for the Mass of this coming Sunday (Christ the King, cycle A), which could make for some interesting thoughts in the Bible Study Group this week.

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