Fall 1964

Page 37


Chicago Studies ¡

"signed will." We .must learn that conformity itself is not the total scope of the virtue of obedience, and rna y often be sinful, that there is not a command of a superior that cannot be improved upon by bringing it more in line with God's will. We have to be convinced that repetition of what others have done does not guarantee the authenticity of our actions or put us into the life-giving stream of tradition. We must train ourselves to become less dependent upon our human superiors and more dependent upon God's Word coming to us in Scripture and the needs of man in society. We must know that our grasp of the truth is but fragmentary and transitional, that what seems to be strange and unfamiliar may be a better recognition of the truth than our own. We have to grow up in our political thinking. For too long we have patterned the relationship between the clergy and the laity on the pre-political relationships that exist between a master and servant, a parent and child, a teacher and student, a shepherd and sheep, or worse, between a benefactor and beneficiary. As Plato told us, such relationships are not fitting between free adults who wish to live in society. The laity are not a passive element in the Church; their activity must include more than giving support and money; it must embrace responsibility: participation in the decisions that direct the Church. They must become conscious of being members of the Church as subjects of its life, not objects of it. THE URGENCY OF A CHANGE

Secondly, political changes should be made promptly. Not only do we need to discuss what can be changed and which new processes are to be introduced, but the urgency of acting upon our conclusions must be felt by all. Political changes have been long overdue, and delay is not in accord with our responsibility. Let us openly petition that the proposed revision of canon law become a matter of universal concern and activity. This acrossthe-board review of the general legislation of the Church will have a more lasting effect on the Church than the changes enacted by the Vatican Council. But a group of cardinals and canonical experts are hardly adequate for such a task, according to all the