Date of Award

Fall 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Long, Stephen

Second Advisor

Zemler-Cizewski, Wanda

Third Advisor

Johnson, Mark F.


While the name "Yves Congar" is recognizable by theologians and others there is a gap between recognition and familiarity: awareness that there was an Yves Congar is distinguished from knowing what he stood for and what he did. Eight years before Vatican II Congar was so distrusted by the Church that he was "distanced" from France for almost two years. Yet, several years after Vatican II he was elevated from priest to Cardinal in one day.

Congar's nouvelle théologie of ecumenism and unity, ressourcement and reform, changed the face of the Church to the world. In this, Congar had an impact on countless human beings. Many of his works, however, required translation from French, some for the first time. In this dissertation, Congar's Principles of Ecumenism were systematically organized.

Charges that the nouvelle théologie would lead back to Modernism were tested by inductive methodology, generally adapted at Vatican II over the more restrictive Neo-Scholastic deductive methodology. In this work, inductive methodology proved such claims to be meritless.

The contrast between deductive and inductive methodology resulted in clashes between the Vatican Curia and the progressive majority of Council fathers. Appointed to one preparatory subcommission at Vatican II, Congar actually served on five. In his works, Congar was always situated historically. An examination of the pertinent language of Vatican II documents which were integrated with Alberigo's extensive History of Vatican II, Congar's Vatican II journals and his statements to interviewers, confirmed Yves Congar's substantial contribution to Vatican II and his influence on nine of the sixteen Vatican documents.

Congar contributed to the actualization of his Church and imbued it with a theology truly committed to ecumenism and unity, ressourcement and reform. Yves Congar was easily among the great theologians of Vatican II and one of the great theologians of the twentieth century.

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