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Catholicity Challenging Ethnicity: An Ecclesiological Study of Congregations and Churches in Post-apartheid South Africa
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with the relationship between the catholicity of the Church and ethnicity. South African congregations and churches have been studied two decades after the advent of democracy to discern their ecclesiological practices. The Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, and Apostolic Faith Mission churches, which are among the five large historical mainline churches in South Africa by membership, were selected.

The first part of this thesis presents an analytical tool that has been derived from key documents of the Faith & Order movement and the World Council of Churches concerning the catholicity of the Church. An operative ecclesiology, originally proposed by Yves Congar and later developed by other theologians, has been used in order to reveal implicit and explicit ecclesiologies.

The second part of the thesis tests the catholicity of the Church as described in the analytical tool against an operative ecclesiology in South African congregations and churches twenty years after the dismantling of apartheid. Interviews with church leaders and case studies among sixcongregations located in the three largest municipalities have been carried out. An established body of source material has been analysed through the analytical tool about catholicity.

The most important conclusion generated by this thesis is that socio-economic conditions are significant ecclesiological structuring factors. Unequal power relationships, together with peoples’ geographic residential location, determined whether greater inter-ethnic interactions were possible. In general, reconciliation between people of diverse ethnicities was not sought or effected; but the churches’ organisations played a significant role in realising the catholicity of the Church.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala University, Department of Theology , 2015. , xii+332 p.
Keyword [en]
Catholicity, Democratisation, Ecclesiology, Ethnicity, Faith and Order, Operative Ecclesiology, Post-apartheid, Practices, South Africa, World Council of Churches.
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265717ISBN: 978-91-506-2492-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-265717DiVA: diva2:867887
Public defence
2016-01-15, Ihresalen, Thunbergsvägen 3 H, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2015-12-08 Created: 2015-11-02 Last updated: 2015-12-08Bibliographically approved

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