Publication details [#1449]

Flanagan, Brian. 2008. The Limits of Ecclesial Metaphors in Systematic Ecclesiology. Horizons 35 (1) : 32–53. 22 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


The present article is concerned with the exploration of two major metaphors used in contemporary ecclesiology. These two metaphors are the church as “the People of God” and as “the Bride of Christ,” which have functioned in some of the polarizing debates within the Catholic Church in North America. The author argues that the use of metaphors in the conceptualization of ecclesiastic terms is not always adequate. He claims that neither the combination of metaphors nor the choice of a dominant metaphor are to be used systematically. The author presents his suggestions about a methodology that could be suitable in order to understand the church.