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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

John Henry Newman never wrote a treatise on the Church, yet ecclesiology functions like a vanishing point towards which nearly every line of his thought can be traced. It is with an orientation to the Church that Newman elaborated his conceptions of the sacraments, revelation, history, tradition, doctrinal development, and ecclesiastical offices, in addition to more abstract notions such as faith, assent, religious epistemology, and conscience. The metaphor can be taken even further. For not only does the Church enjoy an orienting presence across most developed subjects in Newman’s corpus, but like a vanishing point, the Church’s configuration can appear in remarkably diverse ways depending upon the arrangement of more proximate subjects that Newman’s various writings held in view. The vanishing point is also more than a metaphor, because at the heart of his ecclesiology is a missing document from 1847. This chapter consider’s Newman’s his developing notion of the Church as a dynamic and polycentric communion of believers.

Keywords: ecclesiology, communion, polycentricity, the Church, papacy, Perrone

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