Lucian Păuleţ: The Holy Spirit Makes the Church One by Making her Catholic, Apostolic, and Holy According to Yves Congar’s Latest Vision
Yves Congar’s scholars agree that there is “no “Copernican turn” in his ecclesiological itinerary. While this is true, nonetheless, there is also significant evolution in his ecclesiology. One of the reasons of this progress is due to Congar’s continuously evolving understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Therefore, this article shows Congar’s later pneumatological ecclesiology with regard to the four notes of the Church which are contained in each other. Thus, Congar moved from a mainly Christological position to a more pneumatological one, in three directions. First, if catholicity was comprehended as the capacity of the Church to assimilate in its unity all the values of the world (in the first Christological model), now the Holy Spirit is the principle that stimulates diversity and guarantees the Church’s unity (in the second model). For Congar, the Spirit stimulates and resolves the fruitful tension between the universal and particular (churches). Ecclesial unity and pluralism are both necessary—pluralism in unity and unity without uniformity.
Second, for Congar, apostolicity means the continuity between the Alpha and the Omega of the Church, and the Holy Spirit is the principle of this substantial identity throughout history. Therefore, the Holy Spirit keeps the Church one by making her apostolic. In turn, apostolicity means that the unity of the Church is original and eschatological.
Third, the Holy Spirit purifies and sanctifies the Church by giving her new life. Doing so, the Spirit makes the Church the bride of Christ, his mystical body. It can be concluded that, sanctifying the Church, the Holy Spirit makes her one because he makes her “one flesh” with her bridegroom, Christ.