"In verbo veritatis" (2 Cor 6:7)

April 20, 2020

Who are the Church?

Filed under: Foundations in Ecclesiology — komonchak @ 12:09 pm

In 2008 I was given the high honor of being asked to deliver the Père Marquette Lecture in Theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I decided to devote my talk to an exploration of the claim that anyone who makes a statement about the Church–what it is, what it is saying, what it is doing–should be prepared to say of whom the statement is true, in whom it is true. In this, as I indicate in the lecture, I am asking what St. Augustine asked when explaining the blessing the Psalmist says will come to those who walk in the ways of the Lord: “Your wife a fruitful vine on he sides of the house” (Ps 127[128]:3).  In whom, Augustine wanted to know, is the Church “a fruitful vine”?  It is the question that Yves Congar asked several times in his writings:  “To what, or to whom, does the word ‘Church’ refer?” The question may seem obvious, but I have found that many theologians seem not to have asked it, content to leave the subject of their statements about the Church and the subject of the actions they attribute to the Church unspecified,

JAK – Who are the Church


  1. I am delighted to have found this lecture on your website. I read it as a book seven years ago, and it was one of a few that gave me good heart in my own journey in the field of ecclesiology. The question “who are the Church?” is a wonderful starting point for approaching the Church in an intelligent, reasonable and responsible way.
    I am very grateful to you Fr Komonchak for your work and your website, long may they influence those who love the Church. With sincere thanks, Elissa.

    Comment by Elissa Roper — June 20, 2020 @ 3:11 am

    • Thank you, Elissa, for your comment. I am glad that you found the lecture helpful. I just posted an essay of mine, written over twenty years ago, that anticipated some of the arguments in the Marquette Lecture.

      I see that you have a blog on the upcoming Australian synod. I have a couple of essays here that are pertinent.

      Comment by komonchak — June 20, 2020 @ 8:53 am

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