XI-1 - Communautés et communautarisme (2006)

Revue des Facultés de Théologie et de Philosophie


Jean Joncheray - Called to make up the Church

The forms of reference that can be applied to the message of the Gospel and to the Church have become so diverse in contemporary times that mentioning them all as belonging to a communityhas become a problem. A theological reflection is taken up as an initial hypothesis for this study: the limits of the Church considered as a particular group can be relativized: a Church in diaspora or scattered here and there, a Church  which is searching for an identity somewhat outside itself, intermingling of  the terrestrial city and the celestial city, meetings with Christ eliciting a human faith without always integrating to the group of the disciples... On this basis, the observations and analyses can take into account a diversity of individual paths, of forms of gathering which appear in our societies characterized by mobility, individualism and pluralism. It is then  suggested to consider the Church as a porch through which the Passage from this world to God's Kingdom is proposed.

Christine Plasse-Bouteyre - Community and communitarianism today: the social link being questioned

Since post-revolutionary times, and the advent of sociology, many authors have reflected on the question of the relationship between the individual and the social., the question of the foundation, the preservation of an order, of a whole made up of more and more autonomous and self-conscious, but also more and more interdependent individuals. Against this background comes up the reflection on the concepts of social cohesion and solidarity. The present article wishes then to reflect on the notions of integration and communitarianism by means of the contemporary public debates which use them on a large scale. What is the social link like to-day? What is in France the position of multiculturalism? The polemics of the I990s, especially, on the communitarian model as opposed to the republican model have set cultural stereotypes, sometimes as caricatures, more than they have contributed to the understanding of the growing complexity and segmentation of modern societies. Turning down the too simple alternative between republican integration and multicultural anomy, we shall endeavour to set the French debate back in a more sociological logic which will try to clarify what the identity link and the collective forms of self-assertion have become to-day.

Gilles Routhier - Communities - social networks - assemblies: thinking the Church in a pluralistic world

Reacting against an ecclesiology of a juridical kind emphasizing the social aspect, theologians have come to see the Church as a community. If this term is in a line with the spirit of the time, it moves away farther however from the New Testament figure of an assembly, which is probably more suitable to express the Christian peculiarity and the mystery of the reconciliation of the divided human family tempted to build its social links from the exclusive features of its identity instead of favouring the meeting with others. If the assembly, which is built from fundamental instituting acts (a word which calls the faithful to come together and a response which leads us to recognize each other as brothers, and a meal shared at the same table) remains the exemplary figure of the Church, it does not mean that there is no room for a community feeling in the Church. One must then manage to think in a non exclusive way the varied social links which build the Church: network, community and assembly. Conceiving the Church as an assembly also implies that Church space is thought over in a new way and that the theological stakes of the territorial structuring of the Church are examined anew. Finally, if we want to give body to the Church in our world, diverse forms of gatherings must also be thought over, together with essential structuring acts of this assembly, the calling together around the Word and the brotherly meal. All this immediately leads to rethink the episcopal ministry.

François Dermange - The Church and communitarianism: A questioning from Karl Barth and Stanley Hauerwas

The philosophical stakes of the debate between universalists and communitarians are better known than their consequences for theology. This article wishes to show how, in a protestant perspective, communitarianism renews the understanding of ecclesiology and ethics, so much so that the latter become determining factors in salvation. But this position raises difficulties at the theological level as well as at the philosophical level. It is what the arguments exchanged between Karl Barth (1886-1968) and Stanley Hauerwas (born in 1940) - the best known theologian in the United States - can let us perceive.

Olivier Perru - The community and the political field

According to Ferdinand Tönnies, in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887), the move from the communities grounded on natural and affective relationships to associations based on interest, seem unavoidable in a society made up of individuals. Trying to overcome this position, we wish to make clearer what is complementary and what is distinctive between society and communities. In human ethics as well as in the field of traditions and Christian spiritualities, one can discover the foundations of the existence of communities (friendship and good understanding, charity, alliance). Community is natural as being relative to the human nature of a person. If the relations between community and society are difficult to analyse, it is also because the perspective of the common good to which the political community aspires must be perceived. Integrating particular communities into the city while avoiding sectarianism demands the most adequate possible definition of the elements of the common good.

Colette Poggi - The concept of the Word in hinduism. A reflection about the inter-relation Consciousness-Word-Reality according to Abhinavagupta

The concept of the Word plays an essential part in the various religious and philosophical traditions of Hinduism. This interest is attested by the oldest revealed sacred writings as early as the Veda (2nd millenium B.C.) and is confirmed with the Tantra (beginning of the first millenium). On the other hand, the Absolute is identified as the Word (Shabda Brahman) by the grammarian-philosophers. The present study bears more particularly on a current that is essential in the intellectual and religious history of India, non-dualist Shivaism of Kashmir (8th-13th centuries), whose most outstanding figure is the philosopher Abhinavagupta (10th-11th centuries). He reinterprets and probes deeply into some theoretical points with originality. Concerning the Word, he brings to light four levels (micro and macrocosmic) corresponding to :

  • its indifferentiated substratum constituted by dynamic consciousness,
  • the birth of ideas,
  • the internal verbalization,
  • the articulation in audible phonemes.

The divine Word in which the manifestation rises and exists and disappears, is presented at the human level as the interface between consciousness and reality. The interest of this thought lies in the conception of the Word which does not reduce it to its articulated verbal form, bringing forth the underlying life of consciousness, in the last resort not-distinct from the cosmic consciousness, incarnated by Shiva in this mediaeval current, which has some effect on religious practice.