Date of Award

Summer 1966

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The creation of a world community, a body which is united through communication, understanding, and responsibility for the benefit of all men, is a vital problem in contemporary times. Technologically, men are now united and inter-dependent, not only artistically, socially, and economically, but for survival itself. Christianity has recognized the community of man for almost two thousand years, and has realized this community in the historical Church. Paul revealed the inner life and meaning of the Christian Community in his development of the Mystical Body of Christ. Yet, the vital import of the Christian Community must be translated into each age so that men may consciously and freely commit themselves to it. Emmanuel Meunier, a French journalist, philosopher, and social thinker, was aware of this problem and the need for a Christian solution. He attempted to translate Christian principles of community into contemporary philosophical-ethical terms for all men who were interested in the social and spiritual survival of man. His philosophy called personalism was propagated throughout France during the post-depression- World War II era. During this period, he proclaimed the collapse of bourgeois individualism and the absolute need for a re-examination and reconstruction of the sense of communitarian life among men. He opposed distortions of the community in forms of capitalism, communism, fascism, and anarchism. In opposition to these, he proclaimed the principles of the true community based on the communal and transcendent destiny of all men. He demanded the responsible commitment of men to these principles and to their realization in society. The following study will examine the meaning and moral imperatives of the Christian Community in the thought of St. Paul on the Mystical Body of Christ. After a brief consideration of the sacred community, the personalist community and ethic of Mounier will be presented. In the final chapter, the similarities and differences between the sacred and secular communities will be summarized in order to determine the structure, meaning, and morality of the true community.



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