Expanding My Faith: Weekly Column

Send questions to: DRE@saintcolumbachurch.org and place “Q’s Pews” in the subject line. All questions are answered and kept confidential. If your question is used in the column, it will remain anonymous. James Gregory, DRE

“Fide quaerens Intellectum”

“Always be prepared to make a defense … for the hope that is in you … with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15)

“Q’s from the Pews”

“Q’s from the Pews”

What does the word “Church” mean? 

The word church used in the Original Greek New Testament (“ecclesia”) has many deep meanings, e.g., an assembly of people, a defined population living in one place, a group devoted to a principle or ideal, or a group under a particular leader. Over the course of history, different meanings have taken precedence. Often, one meaning has been used by a group or individual to promote a singular idea or point of view.  During its history the Tradition of the Catholic Church has at times been pigeonholed into one or more of these subgroups often to its detriment. One example is the ‘fortress mentality’ that arose after Vatican I, resulting in a myopic view of the Catholic Church as a ridged hierarchy with the Pope as a type of supreme leader. When the word church is associated with Catholic, it is capitalized to recognize that by Tradition it has always contained ALL the meanings of church.  It will help to understand why we can truly say we are “The Church of Christ,” if we can see how the different meanings underlying “ecclesia” each contribute to the one meaning of Catholic Church. The five models of the Church  expressed by Cardinal Avery Dulles in his book Models of the Church are: institution, mystical communion, sacrament, herald, and servant. Each of these relates to a part of the ecclesiology, the “understanding of church” while neither is wholly the Church. Dulles points this out: “These (models) are intended to identify the main twentieth century thinking about the Church.” Over the next several weeks, we will look at each of these in relation to John Paul II’s definition of the Church as a “community of disciples.” (Redemptor Hominis)

“Catholic Challenge for June:

This month celebrates Father’s Day. Decide this month to spend 10 minutes extra each day with “Our Father.” 

“Inside Catholic Baseball”

Priests may celebrate Mass alone but not at the same time as concelebrating is taking place in the same church.” CIC 902Thus multiple individual Masses can be celebrated at the same time in different parts of a church, however, but not while a concelebration is taking place in the same church.


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