The theology and praxis of Heribert Muehlen: A new profile of the Church

Wolfgang Vondey, Marquette University


This study offers the first comprehensive theological, historical, and terminological overview of the career of Roman Catholic theologian Heribert Mühlen. The thesis of this study is that the reform liturgy Mühlen proposed in 1992 manifests the core and climax of his overall theology and praxis since 1954 and allows for a systematically cohesive and historically accurate approach to the development of his entire career. The first chapter documents the context and ritual celebration of the reform liturgy. It builds the starting point and basis for the subsequent chapters which trace the way from the beginning of Mühlen's academic career to the implementation of the reform liturgy in the pastoral praxis of faith. Chapter 2 introduces the beginning of Mühlen's career and analyzes his trinitarian theology of the Holy Spirit which underlies his ecclesiology. Chapter 3 portrays the development of Mühlen's ecclesiology prior to Vatican II and presents his theology of the Holy Spirit in Christ and in Christians as a basis for his vision of a liturgical renewal of the Church. Chapter 4 uncovers the theological-critical framework of Mühlen's theory of Christian renewal on the basis of the covenantal relationship with God. Chapter 5 presents the practical foundation of this theory by introducing the most significant elements of Mühlen's pastoral praxis since Vatican II. The final chapter documents Mühlen's vision of a revitalization of human society based on the covenant as a fundamental social reality. Mühlen has gone beyond his early academic exercise in documenting and proposing a liturgical praxis that aims at providing a concrete framework for the acceptance and renewal of the human covenant relationship with God. The reform liturgy represents the summary, concentration, and application of Mühlen's overall contribution to theology. Based on the Christian spirituality of baptism, the reform liturgy promises to be an ecumenically fruitful seed endowed with the ability to transform and renew the theology and praxis of the Church. In every respect, Mühlen's reform liturgy marks at least the beginning of a new profile of the Church in salvation history.

Recommended Citation

Vondey, Wolfgang, "The theology and praxis of Heribert Muehlen: A new profile of the Church" (2003). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3093154.