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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Sensus and consensus fidelium, the people’s sense of and consent to the faith, are ancient rhetorical tropes. The use of these tropes was also rhetorical for John Henry Newman. First, as an Anglican he shaped such rhetoric to portray the laity as bolsters to the bishops. Second, as a Roman Catholic he shaped it to promote the laity in the eyes of the bishops, most famously in ‘On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine’. This chapter explores his writings on the role and voice of the laity to see how he used this rhetoric, before turning to the reception of these writings in the Roman Catholic and Anglican communions, including Vatican II, the Lambeth Conference, and Pope Francis.

Keywords: Congar, consensus fidelium, consulting the faithful, ecumenism, laity, Lambeth Conference, receptions of Newman, Perrone, Pusey, Vatican II

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