Gabriel Mendy

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2009


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Radu Bordeianu

Committee Member

George Worgul

Committee Member

Amiée Light


Augustine, Charism, Church, Communion, Ecclesiology, Holy Spirit


In the Spirit's own age, it is ironically ascribed a secondary role in the Church. Conversely, I have opted to study Augustine's Spirit - Soul analogy and its implications in order to identify the Spirit as the Church's principle of communion. Analogies are generally open to interpretations and their relevance also varies according to the context. This study is, therefore, designed to offer a faithful interpretation of Augustine's analogy based on his understanding of the Spirit in his trinitarian theology. And is, at the same time, an attempt to specify the analogy's relevance for the Church's unity in diversity, the universal and local Churches' communion, and the African church's particularity.

On account of the divine persons' consubstantiality and relationship, Augustine was able to defend their unity, equality, and distinction while affirming their inseparable operations. The Spirit is not, therefore, subordinate to the Father and the Son as their common gift, bond of love, and communion. In the immanent Trinity, the Spirit is the principle of love and communion signifying its function in the Church where the whole Triad dwells through the Spirit. As the gift of the Father and the Son to the Church, the Spirit is common to all and not simply reserved for a select few. On that note, I will argue that all members should discover their gifts and participate in the life and mission of the Church. The Church will in turn be a vibrant unity in diversity because the Spirit will animate and coordinate the gifts and languages of the members.

Following the Magisterium's shift in perspective, the Church was considered a divine institution with the Spirit as its soul. Vatican II would, rather, define the Spirit's relation to the Church according to its unique presence in both the Head and the members. For Congar, the analogy is functional, not ontological. Besides, the Spirit is the co-institutive principle of the Church's hierarchical and charismatic structures. In light of the Church's origins and constitution, I will argue that Spirit and not the hierarchical structure is the source of communion between the universal and local Churches. Their communion in the Spirit also implies a commitment to unity in diversity, mutual interiority, Church's infallibility, renewal, ecumenism, and inculturation. In this communion, the African church is required to emphasize its particularity more than its autonomy and to use its gifts and resources for the good of the whole Church.