Carlo Passaglia on Church and Virgin

New Perspectives in Systematic Theology in Light of Nineteenth Century Catholic Renewal


In Carlo Passaglia on Church and Virgin, Valfredo Maria Rossi traces the significant contribution that Carlo Passaglia (1812-1887) has made to Catholic theology, paying particular attention to his Trinitarian ecclesiology and Mariology. Though highly neglected due to his troubled life, Passaglia is one of the most brilliant theologians of the nineteenth century. Commonly – and yet erroneously – ascribed to the Neo-Scholastic movement, he anticipates and so emerges as a forerunner of several themes which will be developed during the Second Vatican Council.

In light of Passaglia’s two most relevant theological works (De Ecclesia Christi and De Immaculato Deiparae semper Virginis Conceptu), Rossi convincingly shows the originality of Passaglia’s theology, based on a patristic ressourcement highlighting its historical salvific and sacramental dimension.

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Valfredo Maria Rossi, Ph.D. (2017), Gregorian University – Rome, is Lecturer in Theology at that university. He has published a monograph and several articles on Carlo Passaglia and the Roman School of Theology.

 1 Introductory Questions
1.1 Aim of the Study
1.2 Brief Status Quaestionis
1.3 Specific Contribution and Boundaries of the Study
1.4 Methodology Adopted and Arrangement of the Work
 2 The Roman School
 3 Carlo Passaglia: A Brief Bio-Bibliographical Profile
 4 Passaglia’s Theological Method

Part 1: De Ecclesia Christi

1 De Ecclesia: Between Tradition and Innovation
 1 Introduction
1.1 Foundations of Passaglia’s Ecclesiology: The Theses of 1844-1848 22
1.2 Main lines of Perrone’s Ecclesiology
1.3 The Years of Passaglia’s Theological Maturity, 1850-1857: The Church, Mystery of the Trinity
1.3.1 The Commentariorum Theologicorum and the Commentarius de Praerogativis Beati Petri
1.3.2 The De ecclesia
1.4 Möhler and Passaglia: A Fruitful Correspondence
 2 Structure
2.1 Book I: Brief Exposition of the Church
2.2 Book II: Existence of the Church
2.3 Book III: the Causes of the Church
2.3.1 The Trinity, Horizon of Meaning of the Church: Efficient, Exemplary, Formal and Final Causes
2.3.2 The munera Christi Handed over to the Apostles. The Ministry: Instrumental Cause of the Church
2.3.3 Humanity, the Baptized and the Church: Material Cause 55
 3 A Concluding Summary
2 The Trinity: Horizon of Meaning of the Church
 1 The Mystery of the Church
1.1 The Trinity, Origin of the Church
1.2 The Trinity, Life and Unity of the Church
1.2.1 Christ: Head, Spouse, Food
1.2.2 The Holy Spirit: Soul and Heart
1.2.3 Brief Summary of the Formal Cause
1.3 The Trinity, Goal of the Church
1.4 Summary Look at the Mystery of the Church
 2 The Church: Unitatis Sacramentum
2.1 The Internal Principle of the External Unity: the Communio Trinitatis
2.2 The Instrument and Principle of the Visible Unity of the Church: The Ordained Ministry
2.3 The Structure of the Sacrament Attributed to the Church
2.4 Structural Elements of the Sacramental Nature of the Church
2.5 Brief Summary of the Sacramental Conception of the Church
 3 The Church, Instrument of Salvation
 4 A Concluding Summary
3 The Christian: Unitatis Sacramentum
 1 The Mystery of the Christian in Light of the Mystery of the Church
1.1 The Holy Spirit, Soul and Heart of the Christian: The Personal Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
1.2 From the Personal ‘I’ to the Ecclesial ‘We’: Sharing in the Body of Christ
 2 The Response to the Gift of the Spirit: Grace and Freedom
2.1 Created Grace, Natural and Supernatural
2.2 Election, Mission and Response: The Dialogue Between God and Man
 3 Anthropology and Ecclesiology: Homo Viator and Ecclesia In Statu Viae
 4 The Christian: Unitatis Sacramentum. Summary and New Starting Point

Part 2: De Immaculato Deiparae Semper Virginis Conceptu

4 De Immaculato: A Unique Work on Mary
 1 Introduction
1.1 Brief Overview of Marian Reflection in the Nineteenth Century 150
1.2 Early Signs and Genesis of De immaculato
1.2.1 The Schema Quemadmodum Ecclesia
1.2.2 The Breve Esposizione and the Subsequent Development 162
 2 Structure
2.1 First Part
2.1.1 First Section: Virginis Idea
2.1.2 Second Section: Virginis Apposita
2.1.3 Third Section: Virginis Typi
2.2 Second Part
2.2.1 Fourth Section: Scripturarum ad Virginem Accomodatio 178
2.2.2 Fifth Section: Scripturarum de Virgine Testimonia
2.3 Third Part
2.3.1 Sixth Section: Traditionis de Virgine Sententia
2.3.2 Seventh Section: Conceptae Virginis Cultus
2.3.3 Eighth Section: Institutae Probationis Iudicium
 3 A Concluding Summary
5 The Trinity and Mary
 1 The Mystery of Mary
1.1 The Principle of the Trinitarian Action: Election and Predestination
1.2 The Form of the Trinitarian Action: The Divine Virginal Motherhood 205
1.2.1 Christ and the Mystery of the One Flesh
1.2.2 The Holy Spirit: The Gift of Union
1.3 Mary and Salvation: The Mediation and Cooperation of the Theotokos
 2 Mary and the Church
2.1 Mary, Type of the Church
2.2 Theological Possibilities of the Mary-Church Typology and Its Relative Implications
 3 A Concluding Summary
6 Mary’s Response: Possibility of a Marian Anthropology
 1 The Sanctification of Mary
1.1 The Immaculate Conception of Mary
1.2 Natural and Supernatural Created Grace: Simultaneity of an Event
 2 The Obedient Response
 3 Marian Anthropology: Summary
3.1 The Economy of the Redeemer and the Economy of the Redemption: Christ, the Church and the Christian
3.2 Mary and the Christian


All interested in the history of theology and nineteenth-century Catholic renewal, and anyone concerned with systematic theology.