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A Poor and Merciful Church The Illuminative Ecclesiology of Pope Francis

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The Illuminative Ecclesiology of Pope Francis
A Poor and Merciful Church
$33 - $37.40

In this insightful textStan Chu Ilo addresses key questions that face modern Catholicism, particularly in Africa. He shows how two key themes of Pope Francis—the church of the poor and the church of mercy—have deep roots in biblical, patristic, and diverse ecclesial traditions. In Ilo’s focus on Africa, he offers a “Triple A ecclesiology” of accountabilityaccompaniment, and action guided by some of the practices and theological aesthetics of Pope Francis. The result is a road map and guide for the mission of God in history beyond the papacy of Pope Francis.

  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Come Be My Light!
    • Why Another Book on Pope Francis?
    • The Theology of Church: The Two Ways
    • Methodology and Overview
  • 1. Illuminative Ecclesiology and Pope Francis
    • The Starting Point of Ecclesiology: The Light of Faith
    • Who Is the Church?
    • What Does the Church Do?
    • Theological Foundations of Illuminative Ecclesiology
      • The Beautiful Way of the Church in Balthasar
      • Congar: Not the Walls but the Faithful Are the Church
    • Church, Where Are You?
  • 2. The Poor Church of the Poor: Biblical, Historical, and Theological Foundations
    • The Message of Vatican II
    • The Trinitarian Structure of Illuminative Ecclesiology
    • Trinitarian Origin of Illuminative Ecclesiology
    • Trinitarian Origin and Mission of the Poor Church to the Poor
    • Trinitarian Origin as an Invitation to Build Relationships
    • Trinitarian Origin of the Church as a Summons to Illuminative Ecclesiology
    • Divinization as the Vocation of the Church, Christians, and the World
    • The Church Is a Harbor for the Poor
      • Biblical Theological Understanding
      • The Message of the Letter of James
      • The Examples of the Early Church
  • 3. The Praxis of Illuminative Ecclesiology: Accountability, the Art of Accompaniment, and a Vulnerable Mission
    • A Culture of Encounter: An Accountable Church
    • Pastoral Accompaniment: Hearts That Feel and Hands That Heal
      • Seeing Others through the Eyes of Mercy and Love
      • Being with People: Respect, Trust, and Openness to Mutual Transformation
      • A New Way of Doing Pastoral Ministry
      • Encountering God and a New Life
    • A Vulnerable Mission
      • We Are in This Together
      • Transformational Illumination in the Church
    • Transformation of the Social Condition of People
  • 4. Illuminative Ecclesiology and the Church’s Social Mission in Africa
    • The Poor of the Lord and the Poor in the Lord in Africa
    • Illuminative Ecclesiology in Africa: The Example of Sister Angélique Namaika
    • Tenderness and the Social Mission of the Church in Africa
    • Illuminative Ecclesiology and Social Transformation in Africa
    • A Celebration of Catholicity as Beauty in Diversity
      • Dialogue with the Poor in Africa
      • Dialogue with African Women
  • 5. Illuminative Ecclesiology and the Ministry of Mercy for a Wounded World
    • Mercy as a Light in the Church and in the World
    • Merciful Faces of an Illuminative Church
    • The Illuminative Church and Healing the Wounds of War and Conflicts
    • Merciful Ministry of a Merciful Church in Africa: The Illuminative Path
    • The Challenge of Sexual Abuse among Clerics and Religious and the Suffering of Victims
  • Conclusion: Illuminative Ecclesiology as a Mission and Embrace of the Surprises of God
    • The Church Should Never Cease To Be Surprised by God
    • The Church in a World of Conflict
    • African Christians Look to Vatican III
    • Salt of the Earth, Light of the World, and Hope for the Future
  • Index
Format: Paperback book
Product code: IC982659
Dimensions: 9.6" x 6"
Length: 240 pages
Orbis Books
ISBN: 9781626982659
1-2 copies $37.40 each
3-5 copies $35.20 each
6+ copies $33 each
Written by Stan Chu Ilo


Stan Chu Ilo deserves our praise for this book, especially for the way he presents the metaphor of ‘culture of encounter’ as a key to our appreciation and understanding of the emerging illuminative ecclesiology of Pope Francis. The book provides insight into the mind of a young African theologian coming to grips with the cross-cultural encounters that underpin contemporary theological scholarship, and points to a way of being a church that lives and witnesses among the marginalized peoples of the earth.
Francis Anekwe Oborji, Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome
Using Pope Francis’s guidance as a springboard, Stan Chu Ilo develops in this book a revolutionary model of church, one that acts as a ‘light of the world.’ It is a type of church focused on re-creating, in the light of the Gospel, ‘illuminative’ paths of faith, hope, mercy, and love to follow in an often cynical and despairing world.
Laurenti Magesa, author, What is Not Sacred? African Spirituality
Taking note of the ‘Francis factor,’ Stan Ilo delves into an illuminating theological dialogue on the nature and mission of the church in the world. A fresh, engaging, and accessible theological contribution from one of the most dynamic and productive African theologians—Africa’s Avery Dulles!
Emmanuel Katongole, University of Notre Dame


Stan Chu Ilo is a research professor and coordinator of the African Catholicism Project at the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, DePaul University, Chicago.  He is the author of three books, including Church and Development in Africa (Pickwick).  He is also the president and founder of the Canadian Samaritans for Africa, and the 2017 recipient of the AfroGlobal Impact Award.