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The Divine-Human Communion

An Outline of Catholic Integral Ecclesiology

Andrzej Napiorkówski

This book contains a methodological fundamental-dogmatic study, which frames a comprehensive overview of the Church in the light of reason and faith. The understanding of the Church in the history of Christianity was – and still is – a subject of numerous misunderstandings, either among the believers themselves or those who observe it from the outside. Presenting the post-conciliar approach of the integral ecclesiology, the author puts a stronger emphasis on biblical origins and nature of the Church and on the split between the synagogue and the young community of followers of Jesus Christ. He expands the hallmarks of the Church from the usual four to five (Marianity) and displays a growing communio in practice and in ecclesial self-awareness.
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7. Systematic Ecclesiology

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7.  Systematic Ecclesiology

Before the systematic reflection below shows us the structure of the Church, its fundamental features expressed in the marks and its basic forms, the question has to be answered: what is the Church in the first place?

This question about the essence of the Church cannot be avoided. And rightly so, for in the process we shall realise the need for and goal of the Church, already hinted at before. For on the one hand a believer with his confession admits to the holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, but on the other it is undeniable that the empirically concrete and historical Church for the most part does not correspond to this confession or at least is far from that vision297.

We share all too easily the patterns of thought about the Church which circulate in our environments and which have nothing to do with the reality of Christ’s Church. It would be desirable for the faculty of critical thinking to be directed not so much towards the reality of the Church as our own stereotypes. We continue to underuse the recommendations of Zbigniew Herbert (1924–1998). This most outstanding Polish poet of the end of the 20th century in his volume Mr Cogito, the title of which is taken from Descartes’ Latin adage (Cogito ergo sum = I think, therefore I am), encourages thinking. Mr Cogito, who has many features of his maker, personifies contemporary man, intelligent and educated, and at odds...

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