How should we understand church? Is it visible or invisible, one or many, local or universal, hierarchical or congregational in its structure, sacramental or biblical in its expression? Different Christians--whether Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or Evangelical--tend to approach these foundational questions through the lenses of their own histories and traditions. Some place great weight on the Church’s Christological foundations, and thus on history. Others place more emphasis on the dynamic work of the Spirit, with its capacity to introduce the new and the unexpected. Others see an original diversity of ecclesiologies, grounding a contemporary pluralism of confessions. These lenses color not just how Christians see the church today, but also how they imagine it for tomorrow.
In Towards a Truly Catholic Church, Thomas Rausch, SJ, draws on these different voices to develop a theology for the church that builds on the work of the Vatican II, is ecumenical in its approach, and envisions the church in the context of globalization. In an increasingly interconnected world, Rausch offers hope that tomorrow’s church will be a world church, a communion that reconciles unity in diversity.
Chapters are Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, Metaphors and Models of Church, Communion in the Body of Christ, The Church’s Apostolic Ministry, Safeguarding the Apostolic Tradition, The Marks of the Church, Reception and Communion, A Truly Catholic Church, Challenges to the Other Christian Churches, and Challenges to Roman Catholic Church.
Thomas P. Rausch, SJ, PhD, is the T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. A specialist in ecclesiology, ecumenism, and the theology of the priesthood, he has published numerous books including the award-winning Catholicism at the Dawn of the Third Millennium, Who Is Jesus?, The College Student’s Introduction to Theology, and Reconciling Faith and Reason: Apologists, Evangelists, and Theologians in a Divided Church, published by Liturgical Press.