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The Catholicity of the Church$
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Avery Dulles

Print publication date: 1987

Print ISBN-13: 9780198266952

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198266952.001.0001

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The Concept of Catholicity: Yesterday and Today

The Concept of Catholicity: Yesterday and Today

(p.13) 1 The Concept of Catholicity: Yesterday and Today
The Catholicity of the Church

Avery Dulles (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In the creeds and for the Church Fathers, the catholicity of the Church generally meant completeness and authenticity. In the Reformation period, Roman Catholics picked up especially on the idea of geographical extension. Subsequently, liberal Protestants identified Catholicism with ritualism and legalism. In the era of Romanticism, Catholics began to depict catholicity as a synonym for incarnational and sacramental religion. In the mid‐twentieth century, attention became focused on the problems of seeking unity and reconciliation in the secular world. Offsetting the accusation that religion was divisive, Vatican II presented catholicity as a progressively achieved reconciliation of diverse elements. The World Council of Churches at Uppsala (1968) depicted the Church as ‘the sign of the coming unity of mankind,’ overcoming all forms of alienation and oppression.

Keywords:   Apostles’ Creed, Aquinas, Augustine, Cyril of Jerusalem, Möhler, Newman, Nicene–Constantinopolitan Creed, Vatican Council II, World Council of Churches

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