Abstract: The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Relation God-World in the Theology of Yves Congar

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Henrikas Žukauskas


ABSTRACT: French Catholic theologian Yves Congar (1904–1984) is associated with major renewals of the Catholic church in the twentieth century. His theology is deeply and consistently conscious of the internal and external struggles of the church in the world. My thesis proposes that development of the theology of the Holy Spirit in his later work and these early sensitivities are directly connected. This implicit relation of the Holy Spirit and the world, my argument goes, is essential to understanding Congar’s work as a whole, but is not so far explored by Congar scholars. Set vis-à-vis concerns and sensitivities, this growing appreciation of the role of the Holy Spirit, I contend, allows to better understand and give space to the world and humanity in the tripartite dialogue God-world-humanity. To achieve this, I provide a historical-theological reading, which shows this dialogue as continuing in the whole of Congar’s work and I focus on three major stages of his work. The accumulation, maturation and rifts in his work on the reform in the church, tradition and the Holy Spirit are analysed. Following Congar and key to my argument, history is viewed as a locus of theology, and milieu (the ecclesial life), method (the theology of tradition) and theological themes (incarnation and the Holy Spirit) are shown as interweaving. Gradually Congar’s implicit sapiential view of the relation God-world-humanity, sustained by a Trinitarian theology of two divine missions, emerges. The development of the theology of the Spirit beside that of the Son leads to a conclusion that, thanks to the activity of the Spirit, human and free activity in the world might be viewed at the same time as the activity of God. Congar’s attempts to achieve greater intimacy and integrity, and more intimately reconnect God and the world, do not lose their pertinence. However, a more pronounced and affirmed view of the Spirit’s activity in the world as such would be necessary to better address contemporary concerns.

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