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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay begins by emphasizing that the Church is the gathering into one of the children of God, dispersed by sin. The idea of communion is thus vital for an understanding of the Church, and this communion is particularly a work of the Holy Spirit. The Second Vatican Council reflected intently on the nature of the Church, incorporating biblical and patristic emphases, in the light of subsequent scholastic discussions and with a constant concern to enhance the unity to which Christ calls all Christians. The essay then considers historically the development of ecclesiology though the Second Vatican Council. It ends by considering the shifts in ecclesiological teaching embraced by Vatican II.

Keywords: Church, communion, koinonia, Holy Spirit, ecclesiology, Vatican II, body of Christ, people of God, ecumenism

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