chapter  2
66 Pages

The Shape of the Church in Congar’s Theology

In his opening address at the Second Session of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI declared: ‘For the Church is a mystery. It is a reality imbued with the hidden presence of God. It lies, then, within the very nature of the Church to be always open to new and greater exploration.’1 In order to facilitate a more profound understanding of the Church, Congar had already proposed a radical reform of the Church through a return to the sources,2 which would ensure a solid foundation for a renewed ecclesiology. The return to the sources also helped to free Roman Catholic theology from its defensive and isolationist tendencies and to make it a more integral part of the life of the Church, thereby facilitating a better response to the modern world. If theology is to be of genuine service to the Church in the proclamation of the Gospel, it must be the fruit of profound speculation and intimate contact with contemporary society, thereby guarding against obscurantism.3