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date: 29 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Famous for its contribution to ecclesiology, the 1943 encyclical of Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi also marks a landmark in mystical theology both by affirming spiritual developments in Catholic Action organizations, which fostered an ideal of holiness accessible to the laity, and by opposing the ‘false mysticism’ of the mass movements (Fascism, Communism, Nazism, nationalism, global capitalism) of the day. Taking up a favourite theme in the ‘French School’ of saints and mystics, the idea of the ‘Mystical Body of Christ’ inspired new communities and ecclesial movements (Focolare, Catholic Worker, Schoenstatt), whose founders anticipated, read, and responded to Mystici Corporis amidst wartime suffering, while taking an apophatic and resistant approach to dominant social formations.

Keywords: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Catholic Action, Dorothy Day, René Girard, Joseph Kentenich, Chiara Lubich, Mystical Body of Christ, Mystici Corporis Christi, Simone Weil

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