52 Jurist 448 (1992)
The Local Church within Catholicity

handle is hein.journals/juristcu52 and id is 454 raw text is: THE JURIST 52 (1992) 448-454

THE LOCAL CHURCH WITHIN CATHOLICITY
J.M.R. TILLARD, O.P.
I will limit myself to some ecclesiological remarks on the problem of
recognition that is at the heart of the ecumenical debate, particularly in
Faith and Order. I will reflect on the theological mine-field that is the
question of the relations between the Catholic Church in a particular
place and Catholic koinonia. I deliberately am avoiding the expression
universal Church because, as articulated in Western traditions, it is
very ambiguous. It is especially clear that the way in which Ecclesia
universalis and Ecclesia catholica are identified on the basis of a rap-
idly and superficially assembled patristic dossier must be criticized and
even rejected.
1. In the New Testament it goes without saying that the Church
which is at Corinth--to use the example of a community that was far
from ideal in its behavior-is a church which lacks nothing of what
constitutes the Church of God. It is the Church of God in that part of
the oikoumene (1 Cor.l: 2, 10: 32, 11: 22; 2 Cor. 1: 1). This means that
in that quite concrete spot and among its inhabitants it is the community
that belongs to God, the one which he acquired with the blood of his
own Son, as the Paul of the Acts of the Apostles said of the Church
which is at Ephesus (Acts 20: 28). God has made it in that place the
community of the saints (1 Cor. 1: 2) in the koinonia of his Son
Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor. 1: 9).
To grasp the implications of these descriptions, one needs to refer to
what the Acts say about the apostolic Church that arose at Jerusalem in
the power of the Spirit of Pentecost. It emerges from the People of the
Covenant on the day on which is celebrated the promulgation at Sinai
of the Law that many Jewish circles knew to be destined for all
peoples, in a theophany that recalls the tradition associated with that
event, renewing divided humanity, as that event had done, in the
koinonia of God. It accomplishes, then, in the strong sense of the word,
what God had intended since the Qahal of the desert which Stephen
would also evoke in his speech (Acts 7: 38; see Ex. 19: 7-15; Dt. 4: 10,
9: 10, 10: 4, 18: 16). If in the Pentecost-event, as Luke presents it, the

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