for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Friday, April 25, 2014
2:00p.m., Caldwell Hall, Room 125
The Contribution of joseph A. Komonchak to the theology of the local church in light of lumen gentium
Director: Rev. John Galvin, S.T.L., Dr. Theol.
The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) retrieved several ecclesiological themes which had become deemphasized in the course of modern history. One of these themes is the theology of the local church. The rediscovery of the local church and its recognition as a full ecclesial reality has become after the council a catalyst for several creative developments. It grounded the implementation of the liturgical renewal and led to the emergence of the so-called local theologies. It also resulted in a greater appreciation of the various cultures in which local churches exist and has been a source of hope that the church would become less centralized and more collegial. In many ways the theology of the local church could be characterized as that on which the ecclesiological vision of Vatican II stands or falls.
This study presents, analyzes, and evaluates the contribution of Joseph A. Komonchak (1939–), Professor Emeritus at The Catholic University of America, to the theology of the local church. The methodology employed is historical, expository, analytical, and evaluative. After a brief introduction, the study presents and analyzes Komonchak’s ecclesiology, with emphasis on his theology of the local church. The final chapter evaluates the contribution and significance, as well as strengths and weaknesses of Komonchak’s theology of the local church. In terms of its results this study identifies three areas of Komonchak’s contribution to the theology of the local church: (1) the significance of locality, (2) the understanding of catholicity, and (3) the relationship of the local and the universal church. The study also demonstrates that Komonchak’s theology of the local church is grounded in the kind of foundations he envisions for ecclesiology. Lastly, it identifies two areas of Komonchak’s theology of the local church which seem to require further development: first, the application of the intersubjective ontology of the church to the relationship of the local and the universal church; second, concerns the definition of the term “universal church.”