Kristin Colberg Syllabus

Theology 60608: Ecclesiology

University of Notre Dame

Summer 2013- Master of Arts Program


Instructor: Kristin Colberg, Ph.D.                            Email:

Cell phone: 414-940-2404                                                 


This course examines the development of the Church from both theological and historical perspectives.  It seeks to assist students in constructing and refining critical principles of interpretation that apply directly to the mystery, mission, ministries and structure of the Church. Of central concern are the questions of how the Church has understood its mission at various points in its history and what developments have impacted this understanding. Strong emphasis is placed on the theological developments that have occurred immediately before, during and after the Second Vatican Council as these periods saw critical development in the Church’s self-understanding.


  1. To develop a deeper sense of the church’s nature and mission by examining how major historical and theological developments have influenced the church’s self-understanding.
  2. To see ecclesiology within the nexus of systematic theology and recognize its deep connections to Christology, pneumatology, theological anthropology, etc.
  3. To familiarize students with major issues in ecclesiology as well as introduce them to key authors, texts and resources in this discipline.
  4. To explore contemporary challenges facing the church and critically consider the ways in which the church’s response demonstrates, or fails to demonstrate, a desire to balance concerns for identity and relevance.
  5. To help students further their own objectives in terms of ecclesiological understanding and overall theological knowledge.


Texts required for purchase are indicated with an asterisk [*].

* Flannery, Austin, O.P., Editor.  Vatican Council II:  The Basic Sixteen Documents.  Northport,

 NY: Costello Publishing, 1996.  ISBN 0-918344-37-9.  Available at the Bookstore.  [VC II]

* Pottmeyer, Hermann.  Towards a Papacy in Communion: Perspectives from Vatican Council  I  & II.  New

 York: Crossroads Publishing Co, 1998.  ISBN 082451776-8.  Available at the Bookstore.  [POTT]

 Recommended= Schatz, Klaus.  Papal Primacy from its Origins to the Present (Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier

            Press,1996) ISBN 0-8146-5522-X [KS]



Class Participation– 10% of course grade

            Student performance in this category will be evaluated based on the following elements:

  • Regular and punctual attendance (see “Class Attendance” below)
  • Demonstrated careful preparation of reading assignments
  • Contributions to group discussions and respectful attention to others

Weekly Response Papers - 50% of course grade

Students are required to hand in two 2 page response papers per week.  Students can choose which two assignments out of the possible assignments in a given week that they will complete based on interest, scheduling concerns, etc.  Because there is a choice of assignments, late work will generally not be accepted.  All assignments are to be typed, written in prose (not bullet points, outline form, etc.).  These assignments are not intended to be as polished and substantive as a research paper or formal essay, but they should be clearly written and not contain excessive typos.  In general, response papers should demonstrate an ability to summarize the main ideas and significance of the assigned readings.  Usually, the best assignments synthesize main points from the authors and employ effective quotes to support particular positions.  Finally, the instructor prefers not to receive work electronically except in extraordinary cases. 

Response papers are graded on the following basis:

                    +            =        exemplary work/A

            Check plus    =        solid grasp of assignment/B+

             Check            =        general grasp of assignment/B

            Check minus =        basic, but incomplete grasp of assignment/B- or C

                 NC            =        no credit, insufficient completion of work

Quiz- 15% of course grade        

            This quiz will be given on Wednesday, 26 during the first half of class.

Exam– 25% of course grade

            This exam will provide students a chance to synthesize some of the major themes of the course.  The exam will be given in class and all students are expected to take it on the date it is scheduled unless officially excused by the University. 

(alternate possibility: Synthesis/Research Paper )

Students who prefer to write a paper instead of taking a final exam can complete a 12-15 page synthesis/research paper which allows them to integrate some of the broad themes of the course and apply them to a particular issue in history or in contemporary ecclesiology.  This option is intended for students who need a writing sample for future graduate work.  In general, the papers will begin by articulating a theological understanding of the church’s mission and then go on to explore how this mission is reflected in the development of a particular issue. Papers can engage a contemporary issue in the church such as stem cell research, feminist theology, the interpretation of Vatican II, on-going debates but these topics must all be approached from an ecclesiological perspective.  Students may also choose to examine a theme from history as long as they are clear in examining how different ecclesiologies impacted the issue they wish to address. 

PROPOSED CLASS SCHEDULE (subject to change)


Reading 1: Congar
Reading 2: Dulles Chapt. 1; Rausch
Reading 2: Dulles Chapt. 12
Reading 2: Dulles Ecclesial Dimension
Reading 3: Constants in Context
Reading 3: Phan In our Own Tongues
Reading 4: Schillebeeckx
Reading 4: Ubi Ecclesia
Reading 4: Van Bavel
Reading 5: Kasper-Petrine Ministry
Reading 5: McBrien - Papacy
Reading 5: Schatz - Papal Primacy
Ecclesiology - McBrien
Ecclesiology - Weinandy

Class 1 (M 6/17): Course Introduction: The Church as Mystery

            *Weinandy, Thomas. “Theology - Problems and Mysteries” in Does God Suffer? (Notre

                        Dame, IN: Notre Dame Press) 27-40. [E]

                        *Colberg, Kristin. “Walter Kasper’s Gift to the Church” in The Living Church (Sept 2010), 6-8. [E]

            *McBrien, Richard.  “Introduction: The Content and Scope of Ecclesiology” in The

                        Church: The Evolution of Catholicism (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2008), 1- 21. [E]        

Class 2 (T 6/18): Ecclesiology as a Discipline

            *Dulles, Avery.  “The Ecclesial Dimension of Faith” in Communio 22.3 (Fall 1985) 418-32. [E]       

*Dulles, Avery.  “The Use of Models in Ecclesiology,” in Models of the

 Church.  Garden City, NY: Doubleday Press, 1974.  Chapters 1 & 12. (*note: read Rausch’s

     article after chapter one of Dulles but before chapter 12). [E]

            *Rausch, Thomas.  “Theological Models” in Towards a Truly Catholic Church, 63-68. [E]

--Why is an ecclesial dimension essential to Christian experience? 

--Describe how models work and do not work.  Can you tie Dulles’ notion of models and his notion of the

            ecclesial dimension of faith to the Christian notion of mystery?

Class 3 (W 6/19):  The Early Church & Augustine

*Acts 1 & 2

            *Schillebeeckx, Edward.  “It Began with an Experience” in Interim Report on the Books

                        Jesus and Christ (New York: Crossroad, 1981), 10-19. [E] (do not worry about

                        understanding every single aspect of this article—just try to get a general sense of

                        Schillebeeckx’s argument here.  If you get stuck on something here – just keep moving.)

            *Kelly, J.N.D.  “The Christian Community” in Early Christian Doctrines (NY: Harper Collins,

                        1978), 189-193. [E]

            *Ignatius of Antioch.  “Letter to the Philadelphians,” 92-97. [E]

            *Brown, Peter.  “Ubi Ecclesia?”  In Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, 212-25.

Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.  [E]

*van Bavel, T.J. “Church.”  In Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, 172-5. 

                        ed. Allan D. Fitzgerald.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.  [E]

--What characterizes the early Christian understanding of the church?

--Summarize, briefly, the Donatists’ position and Augustine’s position.  Then consider the

            contemporary relevance of this debate.

Class 4 (Th 6/20): The Shift from Witness to Monarch

            *Schatz, K. “Rome as Privileged Locus of Tradition,” in Papal Primacy from its Origins to the Present

                        (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1996) 7-28. [E] or [KS]

*Pottmeyer, Hermann“From Witness to Monarch: Development of, or Change in, Papal Primacy?,”

            13-35. [POTT]

*Kasper, Walter.  “A Discussion on the Petrine Ministry” in That They May All be One, 136-49. [E]

Recommended= McBrien, Richard. “The Papacy,” 315-36. [E]

--What contributed to the church’s movement towards a more centralized form of authority?  Describe

            the role of the pope in the Catholic Church.

Class 5 (F 6/21):  Medieval Ecclesiology

*Norman Tanner, "Papacy and Councils." [E]

*Christopher Bellitto, "Councils v. Popes:  Constance and Basle-Ferrera-Florence-Rome." [E]

*Peter of Ailly, "Propositiones Utiles" [E]

*Jean Gerson, "Ambulate" [E]

*Council of Constance, Haec Sancta and Frequens [E]

*John of Torquemada, "A Disputation on the Authority of Pope and Council" [E]

*Ulrich Horst, "John of Torquemada" [E]

Choose two:

* What image does Ailly use for the church and how does this make a council superior to a pope?

* What is the extent of conciliar authority in Ambulate and on what basis does a council have such power?

* Does Haec Sancta claim authority to do more then resolve the schism and why?  How does Frequens

            institute a larger program of conciliar life in the church?

* What are images and biblical passages which Torquemada uses to support papal authority?  How does

            this depart from conciliar images in the earlier texts?

Class 6 (M 6/24):  Reformation & Counter Reformation Views of the Church        

*Althaus, Paul.  The Theology of Martin Luther (287-93, 333-44) [E]

*Luther, Martin.  "The Three Walls" (406-17) [E]

*de Sales, Francis. The Rule of Faith (157-172) [E]

*Bellitto, Christopher.  "Trent" 101-11. [E]

*Council of Trent, Sections from the Sixth Session (29-35, 46-50) [E]

Recommended=O'Malley, John.  "Trent and Vatican II: Two Styles of Church" [E]

Recommended= Parrella, Frederick. "Conclusion: A Clash of Ecclesiologies." [E]

Describe Luther's view of the church.  What motivates his thought?  What is de Sales' response to the Reformers? and What is important about the manner of Trent's response to the Protestant movementor  O'Malley says that councils have two modes or types the juridical and the poetic-rhetorical.  Describe each and discuss the view of the church that it represents. 

Class 7 (T 6/25): Vatican I and the Development of Doctrine

*Pottmeyer, H. Towards a Papacy in Communion. 36-50, 81-109, 129-136. [POTT]

            *Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus. [E]

*Colberg, Kristin.  “Newman on the Development of Doctrine and Papal Infallibility.” [E]

*Newman, John Henry. “To Robert Whitty, S.J.” & “To Mrs. Helbert.”  [E]

*Sullivan, Francis. “The Meaning of Conciliar Documents” in The Convergence of Theology, 73-86. [E]     

--What, according to Pottmeyer, is misunderstood about Vatican I and how does further

            contextualization bring enhanced understanding of the council?

--Why are reception and development critical issues in the church?  Write one paragraph on each.


Class 8 (W 6/26): Quiz and The Historical and Theological Setting of Vatican II

*Alberigo, Giuseppe“Proclamation of a Council.”  In A Brief History of Vatican II,

 Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2006. 1-20. (note: if you have read this previously read the O’Malley

 Introduction recommended below instead.) [E]

*Pope John XXIII.  “Gaudet Mater Ecclesia” (opening speech of VC II).

In Council Daybook: Vatican II, 25-9.  Wash, D.C.: National Catholic Welfare Conference, 1965. [E]

*O’Malley, John S.J.  “Vatican II: Historical Perspectives on its Uniqueness and Interpretation.”  In Vatican

 II: The Unfinished Agenda, 21- 31.  Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press, 1987.  [E]

Recommended: Suenens, Leon-Josef Cardinal.  “A Plan for the Whole Council.”  In Vatican II Revisited By Those

            Who Were There (Minneapolis, Winston Press, 1986) 89 -105. [E]

--Why was Vatican II called?  What was John XXIII’s vision for this gathering?


Class 9 (Th 6/27): Lumen Gentium and Unitatis Redintegratio

*Lumen gentium (whole document) [Vat II]

            *Komonchak, Joseph.  “The Significance of Vatican Council II for Ecclesiology.” [E]

*Unitatis Redintegratio, Introduction – Chapter 2. [Vat II]

*Kasper, Walter.  “The Meaning and Impact of Vatican II’s Ecumenism Decree.” [E]

Recommended: Kasper, Walter.  “The Nature and Purpose of Ecumenical Dialogue” in That They Might

            All Be One (New York: Burns and Oates, 2004) 33-49. [E]

Recommended:  Kasper, Walter. “A Vision of Christian Unity for the Next Generation” found at


--How is Lumen gentium at the center of the council’s aims?  How is it central to John XXIII’s vision?

-- Why is ecumenism more than just a politically correct “getting along?”  How does a commitment to

            ecumenism flow from the theology of Vat II?

Class 10 (F 6/28): Sacrosanctum Concilium and Gaudium et spes

                *Sacrosanctum Concilium, Introduction and Chapters 1-3. [VC II]

            *Faggioli, Massimo.  True Reform: Liturgy and Ecclesiology in Sacrosanctum Concilium

                        (Collegeville: Lit Press, 2012), 59-92. [E]

*Gaudium et spes, Chapters 1-4. [Vat II]

*Congar, Yves. “The Role of the Church in the Modern World” in Commentary on the

            Documents of Vatican II, vol. 5, Herbert Vorgrimmler, ed.(New York: Herder and

            Herder, 1969), 202-23. [E]          

Recommended= Tanner, Norman. “Major Points” in The Church and the World (New York: Paulist,

            2005),38-60. [E]

Recommended= Tanner, Norman. “Pt 1: The Document” in The Church & the World (New York:

            Paulist, 2005), 3-37. [E]

--Describe the ecclesiology of Sacrosanctum concilium.

--How does Gaudium et spes describe the nature of the church-world relationship?  What does Congar say is the

            basis of this relationship?


Class 11 (M 7/1): The Reception of Vatican II and Questions of Authority

            *Pottmeyer, Hermann. “A New Phase in the Reception of Vatican II: Twenty Years of

                        Interpretation of the Council” in The Reception of Vatican II, edited by G.

Alberigo, J-P Jossua, and J. Komonchak (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University

 of America Press, 1987) 27-43. [E]

            *Pottmeyer, Hermann.  “The Reception of Doctrine,” 1081-2. [E]

*Yanes, Elias. “Inaugural Address” in The Jurist 57 (1997).  11-16. [E]

            *Granfield, Patrick. “The Pope and the Catholic Faithful” in The Limits of the Papacy: Authority

                        and Autonomy in the Church (NY: Crossroads, 2005),  134- 154. [E]

*Gaillardetz, Richard.  “What is the Sense of the Faithful,” in By What Authority? (Collegeville,

            MN: Liturgical Press, 2003) 107-120. [E]

*Congar, Yves. “The Holy Spirit Makes the Church One,” 15-20. [E]

Recommended: Rahner, Karl.  “Towards a Fundamental Interpretation of Vatican II”

 in Theological Studies 40 (1979): 716-27.  [E]

Recommended:            Colberg, Kristin. “The Hermeneutics of Vatican II: Reception, Authority and the Debate

            Over the Council’s Interpretation,” in Horizons 38:2 (2011) 230-52. [E]

Recommended: Groppe, Elizabeth.  Yves Congar’s Theology of the Holy Spirit, 35-49. [E]

Choose two:

--What is the debate over Vatican II about?  What is at stake here?

--How is reception a theological issue not just an administrative concern about how information is transmitted?
--What is the sense of the faithful?


Class 12 (T 7/2): Salvation Outside the Church

*Nostra Aetate (entire document) [Vat II]

*Knitter, Paul.  “The Breakthrough of the Second Vatican Council” and “Greater

            Openness and Dialogue” in Theologies of Religions (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002)

63-79, 89-93. [E]

*Dupuis, Jacques. “From Confrontation to Encounter,” in Theology Digest 49:2

            (summer 2002), 10- 16. [E]

*“Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the

            Church,” Origins 30:14 (2000)209-19. [E]

--Summarize and compare two of the following positions: Nostra aetate, Jacques Dupuis and Dominus

            Iesus.  Consider: what do you see as the top priority/priorities of each one?  What is each trying

            to hold on or prioritize that might make it exclude or de-emphasize other elements?

Class 13 (W 7/3): Review and Communion Ecclesiology

            Readings to be determined.


Class 14 (F 7/5): Final exam