John Amankwah

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2005


Worldwide Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Janie Harden Fritz

Committee Member

D. Clark Edwards

Committee Member

Richard H. Thames


Church, Church and Community, Dialogue and the Church, Faith and Communitty, Growth of the Faith Community, Voice of the Other


Since the Second Vatican Council ended over forty years ago, the Catholic Church has been struggling to find a firm ground in a world of ever-advancing technological change and increasing globalization. Prior to the convening of the Council, the church virtually isolated itself from the rest of the world because it considered itself as a societa prefecta. Dialogue as a communicative act of openness to the other with willingness to change did not exist in the Church because of its understanding of communication as uni-directional-- from the hierarchy to the rest of the people.

This study examined the church's communicative practices prior to the convening of the Second Vatican Council and after the Council, focusing particularly on the church's understanding of "dialogue." By developing the paradigm of Praxis Religious Dialogue, this study, through the dialogical philosophy of Martin Buber, the incarnational ethics of Emmanuel Levinas, and Bernard Lonergan's theologico-anthropological process of cognition, offers an approach to a new form of dialogue for the church. This new form of dialogue is embedded in the process of aggiornamento of which the Council emphasized to the church in its deliberations.

Through the analysis of the narrative of Revelation, this study encourages the church to be more open to "praxis dialogue" in which priests and laity are considered as partners in dialogue rather than recipients of religious beliefs and instructions. In this vein, the Praxis Religious Dialogue model points the church to the notion of sensus fidei as embedded in the communion fidelium rather than in the hierarchy because the church is the People of God.

In conclusion, this study highlights the historicality of the narrative of Revelation as an ever-unfolding event. Therefore in proclaiming it, the church needs to see itself in the historical moment, that is, through a historical interpretive approach to the Revelation event, in order to discern the signs of the times and become an effective instrument in its missionary activity and its encounter with the Other.