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Title: Bishop Pietro Fiordelli (1916-2004) at the Council
Subtitle: The Bishop of Prato and the Strange Origin of the Theology of the Family as a 'Domestic Church'
Author(s): PETRÀ, Basilio
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 19    Issue: 1   Date: 2013   
Pages: 13-33
DOI: 10.2143/INT.19.1.3007292

Abstract :
This essay examines whether or not we must attribute to Mgr. Pietro Fiordelli, bishop of Prato in Italy, the origin of the theology of the family as domestic church, as we find this in Lumen gentium, 11 and Apostolicam actuositatem, 11. After a presentation of Fiordelli’s personality, his studies, his pastoral activities in his home diocese and in the diocese of which he became the bishop in 1954, and the trial that made him famous both in and outside Italy, the article examines his participation at the various sessions of the Second Vatican Council. Fiordelli played an active role in the conciliar work from the beginning, working with great determination for the acceptance of some of his ideas, especially concerning the vision of a consecrated lay state and the theology of the family and of the married state. The essay concentrates on this last point, looking at what has been compiled in the Acta Synodalia, at some data in archives that are gradually coming to light, and at recent theological research. The essay comes to the following conclusions: Fiordelli is certainly at the origin of the conciliar theology of the domestic church, even if – oddly enough – he did not like that expression, preferring the term 'little church', and although the patristic roots of such a theology probably came to him via Igino Giordani and the German theologian Maria Schlüter-Hermkes. He is, however, at its origin because the theological content of the ecclesia domestica in LG 11 and other conciliar texts derives from his interventions and from his theology (although this was not completely adopted); and he is at its origin because he was the first Council father to propose literally in the Council the words ecclesia domestica through a quotation from Saint Augustine’s De bono viduitatis, which however he did not take up again in this form. Nor did the Council itself formally take over the quotation from Augustine; but the doctrinal commission took over the phrase ecclesia domestica, not abandoning it but using it in the sense of the 'little church'.

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