Presentation giving an overview of the history of the Church
Friday 01 October 2021
IC photo / Marie Mischel
Julie Boerio-Goates gives a presentation on the history of the Church to the current cohort of lay ecclesial ministers on September 25 at the Benvegnu Center in St. Vincent de Paul parish.
SALT LAKE CITY – Since the early Church, when survival was a priority for followers of The Way; at the Council of Trent, where the sacrament of communion and a homily were optional during mass; at Vatican II, which called for the full and active participation of the laity and a frequent reception of communion, the history of the Church was painted in broad strokes in a presentation on September 25 to the English-speaking class of the program of formation of lay ecclesial ministers.
“Every lay church minister should have a good knowledge of Church history and understand that the Church is continually advancing,” said Susan Northway, director of the Diocesan Faith Training Office, which oversees the program.
The four-year LEM program takes participants through topics such as scriptures, Catholic social teaching, morality, spirituality, and leadership skills. Those who complete the program fulfill various roles in their parish and in the diocese, such as teaching religious education or participating in youth ministry. This is the fourth cohort of Anglophone LEMs in the diocese; there were also two cohorts in Spanish.
During the presentation on September 25 at the Benvegnu Center of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Deana Froerer and Julie Boerio-Goates presented many turning points in the history of the Church. Froerer and Boerio-Goates are commissioned LEMs; Froerer teaches economics at Weber State University and also teaches at the DaVinci Academy of Sciences and Arts, while Boerio-Goates taught chemistry at Brigham Young University before his retirement.
Froerer introduced necessary vocabulary, such as ecclesiastical, encyclical, schism, and synod, before starting with the history of the early Church. In the years immediately following the Crucifixion, staying alive was a priority for early Christians – the persecution was real but “a multitude of martyrs animated the Church on the run,” she said on a slide.
The first council of the Church was held in Jerusalem in AD 50, when the apostle Paul and Barnabas and some members of the Church of the Gentiles traveled to Jerusalem to meet with Peter and James regarding circumcision, such as as described in the Acts of the Apostles. The council decided that the Mosaic custom of circumcision did not need to be followed; that this was a side issue, so a compromise on it could maintain peace and unity in the emerging Church, Froerer said.
The Edict of Milan in 313 ended the state-sanctioned persecution of the first Christians in the Roman Empire. The edict granted everyone the freedom to worship the deity they liked, guaranteed Christians equal rights, and ordered the prompt return of property confiscated from Christians – this allowed Christians to gain political influence and build assets , Froerer said.
In addition to detailing important Church councils such as those of Nicaea in 325, that of Chalcedon in 451 and that of 1139 in the Lateran, Froerer briefly mentioned several influential figures: Augustine of Hippo, Athanasius, Thomas of Aquinus and the four women doctors of the church.
In his presentation, Boerio-Goates explained how the decisions of the various councils led to the structure of the Church and the liturgy that exists today. The purpose of her presentation, she said, was for her audience to “see the present rooted in the past, with councils, schisms, synods, papal supremacy against conciliarism, the power of the Church. of State “.
The Council of Jerusalem set precedents: the call to resolve conflicts through meetings of church leaders, that Church leaders were to call upon and accept the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that Scripture and Tradition were to underpin the discussions at the councils, she said.
The Church inherently has both / and not one or the other, she said: for example, accepting both the Bible and the Book of Nature, and considering the Eucharist both as a community meeting and a renewal of the sacrifice on Calvary.
At the Council of Trent, the number of sacraments offered by the Church was set at seven, and the ritual of the Mass was formalized so that there was uniformity. Details of the architecture of the church were also described: the altar and the tabernacle were to be fixed against the eastern wall of the church, and the laity were separated from the sanctuary by a communion banister.
While the Council of Trent authorized a Mass during which the homily and communion were optional, the Second Vatican Council called for the full and active participation of the laity in Mass as well as the offer of communion to every mass. documents – four constitutions, nine decrees and three declarations – that spoke of a universal call to holiness, a call to study Scripture in groups and in private, and Mass in the vernacular, Boerio-Goates explained.
As both presentations showed, change is a constant in Church history, said Boerio-Goates, and she urged students in the class to participate in local discussions for the synod requested by the Pope. François who will start in October.