Pedlar, James Edwin. A Theology of Ecclesial Charisms with Special Reference to the Paulist Fathers and The Salvation Army. Ph.D., University of St. Michael’s College, 2013.
This project proposes a theology of “group charisms” and explores the implications of this concept for the question of the limits of legitimate diversity in the Church. The central claim of the essay is that a theology of ecclesial charisms can account for legitimately diverse specialized vocational movements in the Church, but it cannot account for a legitimate diversity of separated churches.
The first major section of the argument presents a constructive theology of ecclesial charisms. The scriptural concept of charism is identified as referring to diverse vocational gifts of grace which are given to persons in the Church, and have an interdependent, provisional, and sacrificial character. Next, the relationship between charism and institution is specified as one of interdependence-in-distinction. Charisms are then identified as potentially giving rise to a multiplicity of diverse, vocationally-specialized movements in the Church, which are normatively distinguished from churches. The constructive argument concludes by claiming that the theology of ecclesial charisms as proposed supports visible, historic, organic unity.
The constructive proposal is then tested against the history of two specialized movements: the Paulist Fathers and The Salvation Army. The investigation begins with the charism of each founder. Isaac Hecker’s charism is identified as that of an evangelist for America, and William Booth’s charism as that of an evangelist for the neglected. Next, the formation of each movement is examined, with an emphasis on the ways in which each movement was formed around its respective charism. In the following chapter, the ecclesiological assumptions of each movement are analyzed in relation to the normative proposals of this project. Finally, the ongoing interpretation of the charism in each movement’s later history is investigated.
In the concluding section, the main arguments of the constructive proposal are re-visited in light of the findings of the historical case studies, with particular focus on questions of division, reform, and unity. While the proposed theology of ecclesial charisms grants specialized movements a legitimate and important place in the Church, it excludes any attempt to justify separation on the basis of an appeal to an ecclesial charism
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of St. Michael's College, 2013.
Table of Contents
Introduction – A Theology of Ecclesial Charisms – Case Studies: The Paulist Fathers and The Salvation Army – Analysis -- Bibliography
James E. Pedlar
Copyright, James E. Pedlar. All rights reserved.
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