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The ecclesiological Reality of Reception

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Sakowski Derek

“Tesi Gregoriana Teologia” 204

2014, pp. 496



This study considers two significant but seemingly unrelated ecclesiological discussions: 1) the hotly debated claim that the universal church is «ontologically prior», and 2) the rediscovery of «reception» as an ecclesiological reality. Part one offers a through status quaestionis for both discussions, identifying their contributions and their shortcomings. Part two turns to Scriptures, Tradition, and the Magisterium in an exploration of the ecclesiological reality of «reception» as a solution to the ontological-priority debate. When we consider the ecclesial reception of the Word and the Eucharistic, a consistent threefold dynamic emerges: 1) our being received into Christ’s body; 2) our receiving fullness in and through that body; 3) our mutual reception of each other as members of Christ. While all three dimensions occur simultaneously, it is our being received into Christ’s risen flesh that causes all other acts of reception, regardless of how «active» they are. Part three presents a theological and philosophical synthesis, suggesting a new direction to both contemporary discussions, and concluding with a consideration of the relevance of this study to other themes such as the reception of councils (including Vatican II), the Petrine ministry, the College of Bishop, the sensus fidelium, evangelization, inculturation, and ecumenism. 

Derek Sakowski was born in 1976 in the USA. After receiving a Licentiate in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America and completing his theological studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum, he was ordained for the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 2003. He obtained a Licentiate in Theology in 2010 and a Doctorate in 2012, both from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He is presently pastor of two parishes.

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