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date: 29 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Karl Rahner (1904–84) played a significant role in broadening the emphases of Roman Catholic ecclesiology in the decades before the Second Vatican Council (1962–5). He contributed notably to the work of Vatican II itself, and was likewise prominent in promoting a positive reception of the council’s ecclesiology. Rahner viewed the church in relation to God’s self-communication in grace. For Rahner, the church was a sacramental reality, formed by grace to witness to Christ in the world. The church’s sacramental role encompassed all aspects of its life, including its structures and organs of authority, which could not be ends in themselves. Rahner combined a deep commitment to the mission of the church in the world with a clear-eyed view of the church’s need to be self-critical and to remain open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, especially in the promotion of unity.

Keywords: Christian unity, eschatology, Holy Spirit, Karl Rahner, mystery, revelation, Roman Catholic Church, sacrament, self-communication of God, Vatican II

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