Promising yet Unintentional. The Bold Pneumatology of Lumen Gentium, nos. 4 and 12

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talkScientific


Famously, the Orthodox theologian Nikos Nissiotis criticized Vatican II's ecclesiology for its institution-focused rather than pneumatological approach. In this paper I will discuss two articles to which that critique does not apply, namely the reflection on the trinity and the Spirit in Lumen gentium 4 and the reflection on the people of God and its charisms in Lumen gentium 12. Both conceive the Spirit as playing a foundational, active role in the Church, so that their ecclesiology seems close to what Nissiotis pleaded for. After highlighting the 'bold pneumatology' of these texts, I will argue that this remarkable pneumatology may be promising for overcoming Geistvergessenheit and ecumenically, but that it has never been fundamentally discussed; these discussions were deliberately avoided by Gerard Philips, the main editor of the text. Is the bold pneumatology in LG 4 and 12 therefore best qualified as promising yet unintentional?
PeriodMar 2018
Event titleEuropean Academy of Religion 2018
Event typeConference
LocationBologna, Italy
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Lumen gentium
  • Pneumatology
  • Vatican II
  • Geistvergessenheit