Fall 1964

Page 1

FALL, 1964



His Eminence Albert Cardinal Meyer, D.D. The Most Reverend Bernard J. Sheil,· D.D. The Most Reverend Raymond P. Hillinger, D.D. The Most Reverend Aloysius J. Wycislo, D.D. The Moat Reverend Cletus F. O'Donnell, J.C.D.

Trwtee. Rt. Rev. Msgr. John. D. Fitzgerald Rt. Rev. Msgr. J. Gerald Kealy Rt. Rev. Msgr. John M. McCarthy Rt. Rev. Msgr. Arthur F. Terlecke Rev. Stanley C. Stoga Founder•

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Thomas J. Burke Rt. Rev. Msgr. D. F. Cunningham Rt. Rev. Msgr. Francis J. Dolan Rt. Rev. Msgr. John B. Ferring Rt. Rev. Msgr. James D. Gleeson Rt. Rev. Msgr. Patrick J. Gleeson Rt. Rev. Msgr. James C. Hardiman Rt. Rev. Msgr. James D. Hishen Rt. Rev. Msgr. Michael J. Kilbride Rt. Rev. Msgr. Francis I. Lavin Rt. Rev. Msgr. John A. McMahon Rev. Raymond J. Ackerman Rev. Anthony Chisek Rev. Francis M. Coyle Rev. William R. Doran Rev. Arthur E. Douaire Rev. Francis D. Hayes Rev. Alfred ). Henderson Rev. Edward M. Hosty Rev. John J. Kane Rev. Claude E. Klarkowski Rev. Andrew

Rt. Rev. Msgr. T. A. Meehan Rt. Rev. Msgr. Eugene V. Mulcahey Rt. Rev. Msgr. James V. Murphy Rt. Rev. Msgr. Martin E. Muzik Rt. Rev. Msgr. Gerard C. Picard Rt. Rev. Msgr. Stanley J. Piwowar Rt. Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Smaza Rt. Rev. Msgr. James A. Walsh Rt. Rev. Msgr. Richard F. Wolfe Rt. Rev. Msgr. Raymond J. Zock Very Rev. Msgr. J. D. Connerton Rev. Francis R. Krakowski Rev. Edward T. Kush Rev. Joseph J. Mackowiak Rev. Francis C. Murphy Rev. Stanley R. Petrauskas Rev. Stanley A. Rozak Rev. Harry C. Rynard Rev. Stanley L. Ryzner Rev. Joseph I. Schmeier Rev. Harold H. Sieger T. Valcicak

Charter Member&

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Stephen E. McMahon Rev. Philip F. Mahoney Rev. Walter F. Somerville ACTA PAINTI:C BY THE ACBAAY PAl:&&, INC., &OMII:A&IET, CHIC




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FALL, 1964


US Robert A. Reicher

133 William H. DuBay 153 Joseph A. Fichtner, O.S.C. 171 Ralph ]. Bastian, SJ. 185 Luis AkJnso Schokel, S.J.

201 David J. Hassel, S.J.


227 Edmund ]. Fitzpatrick 233 Gerard P. Weber


Robert A. Reicher

The Priest In Civil Rights Demonstrations Is the priest called to exercise his moral re.sponsibility in the civil rights movement by participating in direct actian?

In January of 1963, a significant conference was held at Chi¡ cago's Edgewater Beach Hotel. The American hierarchy, acting through the Social Action Department of the NCWC, the Jewish Synagogue Council of North America, and the National Council of Churches convened the National Conference on Religion and Race. This conference brought together major religious bodies to express a voice of conscience on the leading moral problem facing our country today. Since the time of this meeting, partici¡ pation of religious bodies in the current social revolution has increased significantly. The past two years have been marked by tragic occurrences. Four young girls were bombed to death in a Birmingham church. \ The governor of Alabama after barring the schoolhouse door to Negroes invaded northern states to seek votes in presidential primaries. Schools in northern cities were partially emptied as a protest against de facto segregation in the public educational 115


Chicago Studies

system. Violence exploded in Cambridge, St. Augustine, Har¡ lem, Chicago, Paterson, and Rochester. Many Americans earnestly wish that the whole social upheaval of the 1960's would just stop for a time and that demonstrations, boycotts, and civil disobedience would end. But it is hardly likely that public acts will cease. As a matter of fact, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a recent issue of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Newsletter predicted that the techniques of non-violence are to be expanded. The passage of the civil rights bill will increase pressure for an open and integrated society. RoLE OF THE PRIEST

In the current social unrest, each priest is forced to ask himself what role he will play in this social revolution, what position he will take as direct action increases. These are questions of conscience which he cannot avoid. Each priest, of course, realizes he has some moral responsibility in this area. The American hierarchy have stated that the heart of the race question is moral and religious, that discrimination and segregation in our society are immoral. In his encyclical Peace on Earth, John XXIII said substantially the same thing. In a later statement, the American hierarchy stressed individual responsibility, and presumably this individual responsibility is also applicable to the solution of the race question in our time. However, a very serious and important problem arises as the priest considers the precise nature of the responsibility he bears. Specifically, as the civil rights movement uses more and more the techniques of direct action, the cleric must ask himself what his attitude should be. Is he to participate in any form of direct action? Around the country many clergymen have been engaged in direct action with varying degrees of acceptance or rejection by their own congregations. Ministers and priests have been arrested and jailed for expressing their adherence to the civil rights movement. Their pictures and statements have been printed thousands of times in our papers. Certainly, the most poignant picture of the year must be that of the young minister who lay dead at a Cleveland school building site, after protesting de facto segregation in the school system.

Ciuil Rights


Since the issues are so crucial to our society, many priests are anxiously looking for guidelines by which they can judge their own participation in direct action. It would be easy to iguore the entire problem, but in a matter so vital the priest cannot escape a moral decision. A whole series of questions are proposed to his conscience. Are there responsibilities or obligations to en· gage in direct action, or is it more appropriate for the priest to exercise his role of moral responsibility in a different way? Is the priest to be satisfied with preaching and teaching, with per· suasion and exhortation, or must he engage himself directly in the civil rights movement? Many would take refuge in chancery office or provincialate decisions and wait for the authorities to offer approval or dis· approval of direct action techniques. Yet ecclesiastical authori· ties may also be wrestling with their consciences, trying to find principles by which they can judge, encourage or discourage the activities of their cooperators in the ministry. Perhaps this ar· tide's attempt to gather the statements and ideas of others will stimulate some serious reflection on the part of all concerned. Direct action is bound to increase, and it will probably spread to other areas of social discontent in our society. Priests will have to understand it, judge it, and approve or disapprove of it. THE MORAL THEOLOGIANS

It is fashionable today to criticize theologians, especially moral theologians, for not considering some of the major issues of our time. Laymen like John Cogley and Daniel Callahan have repeatedly berated them for inadequacy in discussing moral problems of nuclear testing, disarmament, depersonalization in industry, population pressures, and civil rights. When the priest looks for answers, he must admit that as far as direct action techniques in civil rights is concerned, the moral theologians have been silent. The traditional seminary manualists have little to say about social justice and social charity and the moral problems of a segregated society. However, Father Bernard Haring, one of the consultants of the Vatican Council says: "The post-war discussions regarding the collective guilt of whole nations focused attention on one


Chicago S1udies

particular phase of this complex and thorny problem: to what extent does the individual share the collective guilt of his environment? . . . Precisely the failure to do the heroic, to perform acts of heroic virtue at critical junctures in the social or political order may result in tremendous loss to the community. "Current research in the sociology of religion clearly shows what far-reaching evils do result from failure in the exercise of social responsibility. It is also evident that only through an active and concerted effort for the good can the individual himself and the social groups as such be preserved permanently from the contamination of the surroundings. Whoever fails to close ranks in the united struggle for the kingdom of God delivers himself over to the baneful solidarity of evil. Particularly, the elite, those who have received the 'five talents' from God, must bear great responsibility for a sound social order and for the whole community" (The Law of Christ, v. l, pp. 84-85). It would be presumptuous to try to explain exactly what Father Haring has in mind, but it would seem that he refers to the failure of so many to resist the evils perpetrated in society preceding and during World War II. I wonder if the same general statement cannot also be applied to the racial situation in the United States. There can be little question about the harmful effects of discrimination and segregation. These have been catalogued and researched by countless sociologists, psychologists, and economists. There is no need to prove a point which has been proven again and again. Perhaps the best proof of all, if any be needed, came out of the civil rights filibuster. Senator Ervin in an unguarded moment simply admitted that southerners feared the civil rights bill provisions on voting, lest Negroes gain po¡ litical power where they are in a majority. The issue is as simple as that. Neither Father Haring nor other theologians discuss fully the nature of civil disobedience and public protest. Some of them have expressed various opinions on civil disobedience, especially in the debate over the morality of nuclear testing. However, I do not feel that the problems of direct action in relation to nuclear testing and civil rights are similar enough to consider the writing in detail. The general position of moral theologians

Civil Rights


recognizes the force of the existing pattern of law or custom, while allowing for pressure to change law or custom. THE AMERICAN BISHOPS

Very few of the American bishops have spoken publicly on direct action. In Baltimore, priests participated in the attempted desegregation of an amusement park. As a result of this direct action, Archbishop Lawrence Shehan instructed priests of the archdiocese not to take part in civil rights demonstrations unless they obtained prior permission from him or the auxiliary bishop, T. Austin Murphy (Kansas City Reporter, July 26, 1963). In a letter dated July 4, 1963, Archbishop Shehan praised the ac路 complishments of the interfaith demonstration against the racial policy of Gwynn Oak Amusement Park. But he did note that "with increasing tensions there is danger that what sets out to be a peaceful demonstration may become the probable occasion of incitement to open conflict and open violence. . . ." He con路 tinued: "Therefore I am instructing all our priests to abstain from organizing or participating in public demonstrations unless they shall have previously obtained permission from me or in my absence from Bishop Murphy, the Vicar General." This letter indicates that the archbishop of Baltimore is not opposed to priests' participation in direct action as such, but fears the possible violence which may follow. Cardinal Ritter was interviewed by Donald Quinn of the St. Louis Review in an article for Marriage magazine (October, 1963). Mr. Quinn said: "The question came up about the propriety of priests and religious taking part in demonstrations, picketing, sit-ins and other techniques used by interracial or路 ganizations. At the time of our interview, he knew of no instance which would make him regret this kind of activity. 'Under cer路 tain circumstances,' the cardinal maintained, 'such actions have real effect." The cardinal referred to Chicago's most famous incident of direct action: "A lot of people could have picketed Lewis Towers ... without much effect. But, when the Catholic benefactress of the club saw the nuns and priests outside, that was a jolt-it really made her think."

120 Chic<Jgo Suulies

When questioned about permission from the chancery office, the cardinal replied, "I wouldn't expect him [the priest] to check with me. Such participation would be a matter for individual zeal to decide." The earliest and lengthiest statement on this matter was given by Bishop Reed of Oklahoma City and Tulsa at the convention of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice, August 27, 1961. During a sermon at Mass, the bishop said in part: "Last winter, the photograph of a Catholic priest being carried out of a public restaurant by two policemen appeared on the front page of newspapers. The incident took place in my own Oklahoma City. It was but one event in a generally calm and concerted program on the part of some of my fellow townsmen to remove racial discrimination in public eating places. I own to some uneasy moments at the time. For one thing, it was not a very dignified sight-who could maintain dignity in such a position? And I place considerable importance on personal dignity, above all on priestly dignity. Frankly, I feel that it is the man who appreciates the importance of personal dignity who properly reacts to the deplorable indignities suffered by so many of the Negro race in their own communities. If a priest must OC¡ casionally suffer indignity to call reluctant public attention to the indignity of racial discrimination-then I feel a breach of decorum is justified." Cardinal Meyer in a symposium on the Church and the Negro reminded the priests present that they were ordained primarily to administer the sacraments and to perform priestly duties. I interpret these words as a caution against over-involvement in direct action. A stronger position was taken by the chancery office of Philadelphia in a public letter (quoted in Commonweal, July 3, 1964) : "In conformity with a previous chancery directive regarding demonstrations by some of our fellow citizens, it is again respectfully suggested that since these efforts primarily concern legal rights, and are only indirectly related to the Church, priests and religious should not take part in public demonstrations without the explicit permission of the Most Reverend Ordinary .... This must not be interpreted as a negative or in-

Civil Right.<


different attitude on the part of the archdiocese. Rather should it be understood that the intervention by the clergy or religious could be misunderstood by many of our fellow-citizens and used against the Church." This statement was criticized by an anonymous priest, and perhaps it can only receive a full interpretation in the context of the Philadelphia situation. While clerical participation in dem路 onstrations is not forbidden by this statement, the prior permission of the bishop is required. In my own opinion there is something more than legal rights involved here. The statement, however, concludes enigmatically: "The Most Reverend Archbishop ... will give appropriate directions as circumstances demand." This sentence can receive its proper interpretation only when one views the actions of the archbishop as time goes by. But when all is said and done, statements of the hierarchy on participation in direct action are very few, although in these statements some principles emerge which will be discussed in greater detail. OTHER REACTIONS

Responding to a question on clerical participation in direct action, Monsignor J. D. Conway in his popular syndicated col路 umn The Question Box stated: "Priests are moral leaders. How can they teach the virtues of justice and charity if they are un路 willing to stand up and be counted on the side of the virtues in a practical way? They are teachers of truth. Will their teaching of the equality of men before God have real meaning if they do nothing to demonstrate their own conviction of it?" Monsignor Conway adds another dimension to the reply when he asks, " ... will we shift the burden of witnessing to Christ to our Protestant brethren or let our Jewish brethren outdo us in proclaiming truths which we hold as Christians?" Obviously, there are many dissenters from this opinion. David Lawrence, never known as an enthusiastic supporter of the civil rights movement, objected to clergymen who embitter public feelings and induce resentments. He rhetorically asks if clergy路 men will "primarily try to help individuals to apply reason in-

122 Chicago Studies

stead of physical force in endeavoring to settle moral questions." William Buckley, Jr., objected to clerical support of the civil rights bill because he thought that the clergymen had not read the bill. Val King, writing in the San Francisco Monitor (March 27, 1964), criticized faculty members of the University of San Francisco for merely expressing an opinion that they were willing to demonstrate. It would seem that opponents to clerical participation in demonstrations are simply against direct action as such. They may be unaware of or insensitive to the real frustration in the Negro community and are unable to appreciate the immediate need of remedying this frustration. At least so it seems to priests work¡ ing in parishes with large numbers of Negroes as actual or potential members of their congregations. They sense the secondclass position in the Church and in society which their members have, and they want to change this position as soon as possible. Public statements then, though few in number, are sufficient to offer some principles by which a priest judges his own par¡ ticipation in direct action. Obviously the priest's moral decisions about his participation will depend on his view of the morality of direct action itself. PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS

Up to this point, I have lumped together all forms of direct action-demonstrations, boycotts, acts of civil disobedience-as if they were identical. Yet some may or may not lead to violence; others are violent in their very nature. Hence it would help to distinguish the various forms of direct action and to apply the principles involved to each of them. There are some demonstrations which are mass rallies and mass expressions of opinion. They serve to strengthen and support morale and publicly alert a community to an organized body in a community supporting an integrated society. The great march on Washington brought together a vast number of Americans, including priests and bishops, to demonstrate publicly in favor of civil rights. All the gloomy editorials predicting strife in the streets of Washington went unfulfilled. In June of 1964, the Illinois Rally for Civil Rights again brought people together,

Ciuil Rights


including clergymen, to support the civil rights legislation in Congress. It was billed either as an expression of support or a victory celebration depending upon the activities of Congress. The June 7 issue of the Peoria Register carried excerpts from the statements of Archbishop McGucken of San Francisco opposing repeal of fair housing legislation. In his statement, the arch· bishop went on to distinguish demonstrations that are "religious witness" and serve to "alert the people to a cause and give them a reason for it" There should be no objection to clerical partici· pation in such rallies, whether carried out on an interreligious or intercommunity basis. As a matter of fact, I think that clergy· men should participate in such demonstrations. I may be pessimistic, or realistic, but I do not think that a single congressional vote was changed by the march on Washing· ton. I do not think that a single job opportunity was opened to Negroes as a result of the Illinois Rally. I do not think that any neighborhood integrated peacefully as a result of the recent Evanston, Illinois, demonstration. I am not opposed to these demonstrations; I encourage them. But it is a well-known socio· logical fact that while they may help create a climate they do not get the job done. OTHER FORMS OF DIRECT ACTION

After Archbishop McGucken referred to demonstrations that are "religious witness," he said there is another kind of demon· stration in which demonstrators "take the law into their own hands and begin to exert mob rule." I do not think this simple two-part division of demonstrations is adequate. There are or· derly and peaceful demonstration which are not merely rallying points for the interested, but which have an immediate and spe· cific target. For example, specific unions have been picketed be· cause of policies of non-admission of Negro apprentices. Restaurants and hotels have been boycotted for policies of discrimination. Some demonstrators have marched in front of hospitals because of admission policies. These demonstrations, with a very specific and immediate goal, are likely to he more effective. They are also likely to stimulate more criticism. Here again, I think priests should share in direct action when there is a clear principle involved. To eliminate priests from this very specific

124 Chicago Studies

and immediate type of direct action would eliminate their participation in the kind of direct action which is most likely to he effective. In this kind of demonstration, however, it is very important for a priest to be certain of his facts and to be aware of the background of the demonstration. For example, it is perfectly legitimate to criticize unions, especially the building trades union for not admitting Negroes. It is legitimate to initiate public demonstrations against unions which are unwilling to break the color barrier. However, the priest must also realize that since these unions have traditionally remained closed to non-white apprentices, qualified Negroes for many construction unions are not available. More important is the fact that Negroes have not sought apprenticeships since they have considered these unions closed to them. Monsignor Conway's point is worth considering here. He states that we cannot abandon the civil rights movement to the leadership of others. Therefore, it would seem very legitimate for priests to take direct action in other ways than mere public demonstrations. For example, I think that the many construction contracts signed by church officials should have non-discrimination clauses included in them as a matter of course. The signing of such contracts should also be accompanied by some policing procedures to make sure that this patt of the contract is observed. Some think that clergymen should participate in demonstrations to convert Negroes to the Catholic faith. I do not agree. Participation in direct action is legitimate because it is morally right. To share in it in order to win over the Negro community would be to create a new kind of "rice Christianity," which would subvert dignity rather than enhance it. Many priests will disagree with this last statement, especially those priests who have shared the agonies of their Negro parishioners. Nevertheless, participation in direct action ultimately rests on restoration of justice to a social and economic order which demands correction. Those who object against public demonstrations frequently voice their fear of violence. Such an objection cannot lightly be

Civil Rights


ignored, as experience shows. However, in demonstrations result¡ ing in violence, the violence has frequently been brought about by those opposing the legitimate claims of members of the Negro minority. It can also be argued that the presence of priests and other clergymen in pointed demonstrations may exert a calming influence on a potentially explosive situation. In Chicago, when a Negro family moved into West Englewood, priests walked the streets attempting to calm the brooding and angry white and Negro gangs. The members of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations reported that the presence of the clergy reduced the dangers of violence. Police officials publicly expressed their gratitude for the help of the clergy. DIMINISHING RETURNS

In dealing with these specific and pointed demonstrations, it is good to keep in mind several factors. First of all, there is a law of diminishing returns in demonstrations. The labor movement learned this lesson the hard way. In the days of the formation of the CIO and its great organizing drives, it was a matter of moral concern to avoid crossing a picket line. People went out of their way to offer moral support to the picketers. Now, a labor union picket line is largely ignored by an unconcerned populace. Recently one elderly lady representing the ILGWU picketed a large Chicago department store. While watching her, I could not help hut notice that in spite of her age and the sign she carried, thousands of Loop shoppers gave her no more than a glance. I am afraid that as time goes by, the reaction of many people, even those sympathetic to the cause of minorities, will be that of apathy. Secondly, the very purpose of demonstrations must be aimed toward building a bridge between the Negro and white communities. If negotiation, discussion, ongoing committee work is not a result of demonstrations, then the demonstrations in themselves are failures. The whole cause of minority groups might well suffer a loss of prestige and acceptability as well. Thirdly, it seems tltat the demonstrations must point toward a specific result. For example, little is accomplished if a real estate dealer is picketed for not showing homes to Negroes, if

126 Chicago Studie&

Negroes are not available to buy homes in a given¡ area. If private clubs and semiprivate facilities are picketed, there should be numbers of people ready to use the facilitie¡s. Otherwise, the impact of a demonstration would he lost. BovcoTTS There is another form of direct action which is rarely discussed since its propriety seems so obvious; this is selective buying or boycott. The form of direct action most easily justified in moral terms, it can nevertheless be very effective as we know from the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. Since priests have no obligation to buy or accept services from any specific store, bus company, or restaurant, there is no reason why they cannot participate in this form of direct action; indeed they should participate. It is inconsistent for them to preach racial justice while they make use of golf courses or other facilities which discriminate against Negroes. It is well known that "Members Only" signs in restaurants and on golf courses are often mere dodges to exclude Negroes. By patronizing stores and service agencies which have a policy of discrimination, priests are only encouraging racial injustice. CiVIL DISOBEDIENCE

Civil disobedience is the most serious form of direct action, since it involves violation of the law. All that has been discussed so far is within the law's frame of reference. Demonstrations within legal limits are not violations of the law but the exercise of the right of free assembly and free speech. Boycotts certainly violate no law, since no one is compelled to deal with specific merchants, hotel owners, and the like. But civil disobedience on a massive scale threatens the majesty of the law with a possible breakdown of respect for law and order. Those who deny this possibility are not really facing the realities of an explosive situation. Therefore, we must consider the participation of the priest in civil disobedience with the greatest care. Father Haring denies the validity of the purely penal law theory and insists that just laws bind in conscience (The Law of Christ, v. l, p. 270). He also says: "Unjust laws in themselves do not oblige in conscience, for they are not truly laws, since

Civil Rig!.t• 127

they lack the inner source of obligation, legal justice.... More specifically, if the law goes beyond an exactment which is not just and demands that something intrinsically sinful or evil he performed, the subject has the duty to resist passively and refuse to perform the act. He is not permitted to observe the law, must refuse obedience. But active resistance or uprising, revolt against the law or against authority, is not permitted. From this it is evident that not every law which is opposed to the moral law justifies active resistance to the lawgiver. Only when the author· ity itself is unlawful or when its activity in some measure tends to undermine the moral law, the moral order of society, is active resistance in place, provided that resistance does not worsen the evil conditions and there is good reason to hope for the correc· tion of the abuses and the restoration of right order" (p. 272). He·continues: "Should the law, though unjust, not prescribe anything immoral, but only what is morally good or indifferent in itself, the law as such, taken objectively is not binding in conscience. But it does bind the conscience in so far as the gen· eral order, the avoidance of scandal, right-ordered self-love, the avoidance of greater internal disturbance or unrest or of serious external punishment may demand. Accordingly, under certain conditions even the violation of a law that makes unjust (not immoral) .demands can be gravely sinful if disobedience results in an unduly great harm to the common welfare or to an innocent third party" (p. 272). Arguing from the natural law theory, Johannes Messner also considers the right of resistance (Social Ethics, St. Louis, 1949, p. 525). He admits the validity of non-violent resistance to law for proper and just reasons. Clearly then Messner, Haring, and others recognize the right of resistance to the law. EXAMPLES OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

We should also recall that the greatest examples of civil disobedience are not those in the civil rights movement. In the South, there is massive resistance to the law of the land. The desegregation of school systems, for example, was ordered a .decade ago, and yet throughout most of the South this decision has been resisted. The Constitution guarantees certain voting rights,

128 Chicago Studies

and this constitutional guarantee has been resisted. Many states have Fair Employment Practice laws, but in many places the laws are still ignored. It is inconsistent to complain about a lack of respect for the law or of custom in the face of massive resist¡ ance to the law and to certain aspects of custom shown by anticivil rights groups. In recent years, we have had several examples of interference with public order. In France, the general strike has been a weapon for non-violent active protest. In England, the antinuclear-testing groups have attempted to hinder various governmental and NATO activities. In the United States, we have seen various kinds of mass d\)Dlonstrations which are to a certain extent civil disobedience. lin the North, for example, the public school boycotts are forms of civil disobedience because state laws demand attendance by students at prescribed times':\ In the South, civil disobedience has been used in attempts to desegregate schools and public accommodations and to secure voting rights. Now even though moralists generally side with law and public order, they do allow for attempts to subvert an unjust order. The most significant thought on this problem is that offered by the famous Father Robert Drinan, dean of the Boston Law School. He defended the right of civil rights supporters to direct nonviolent action in a speech given to the National Legal Conference of the Congress of Racial Equality (reprinted in the Davenport Catholic Messenger, May 21, 1964). He states most cogently: "Civil disobedience to law arises not from contempt for the law but rather from a profound respect for the majesty of the moral law which the violated statute assertedly contravenes. "Civil disobedience to laws that are deemed to be unjust involves the highest respect for the law.... When citizens openly disobey a law that they hold to be unjust and ask for peTllllty they are saying in effect that they would rather be in jail than live freely in a society which tolerates such a law.... " When legal systems, especially as they exist in the South, flaunt the moral law, it seems that we can make a case for civil disobedience. Father Drinan continues: "It is a false but widely

Civil Rigl<ts


held belief that no individual or group should engage in direct, non-violent action until all legislative and judicial means of relief have been thoroughly exhausted. Such an assertion fails to recognize the fact that there are some injustices which, even if eventually they will be corrected, are so inherently shameful that those who suffer them have a right to exercise self-help.... "Although direct action in violation of a law may under some circumstances be deemed moral even though it is not the only course of conduct available to those protesting it should be stressed that non-violent demonstrations are by nature extraordinary.... Direct action, furthermore, must be proportionable to the injustice sought to be corrected.... "A third requirement for the justification of conduct otherwise illegal is the nature and importance of the moral rights sought to be vindicated. Mere personal preference or indeed the assertion of any rights not grounded in the very heart of our constitutional privileges and moral conceptions can hardly justify activities which cause serious inconvenience to large numbers of persons." Therefore, it seems to me that a fusion of the ideas of Father Haring and Father Drinan provides certain principles by which to judge sharing non-violent action when it involves civil disobedience. Priests may participate in demonstrations which are not by their nature illegal but are directed against an existing social situation which does not recognize the equality and dignity of all men. There are limits, however, which carefully circumscribe the use of this extraordinary means of securing the rectification of an unjust law or the upsetting of custom. In describing these limits we can fall back upon several clear principles. THE PRIEST AND CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

When there is a clear and obvious moral issue involved, when the good obtained will offset the temporary injury done to public order, when other means of rectifying and correcting an unjust situation have been applied, the priest may legitimately participate in such demonstrations. However, the priest must also attempt to exert his influence as a mediator. After all, the only real purpose of such demonstrations is to correct an unjust situa-

130 Chicago StudieJ

tion, and the demonstrations alone are hardly likely to bring about an immediate change. The priest, therefore, must continually exert his influence to bring the disputing sides together in sincere and honest discussion. He is aware of the wounds inflicted¡by unjust treatment of a minority, yet he also senses that established patterns of injustice are difficult to eradicate. I would go even further and suggest that priests should involve themselves in such demonstrations, either to prevent them when they serve little purpose or to encourage them when the prospect of success is evident. This would be a new role for American priests, who traditionally have not been engaged in public demonstrations of any kind. Occasionally priests could be seen on picket lines in the 1930's and occasionally on picket lines protesting movies or plays which they judged indecent. But there is not a strong tradition of public activity by priests in this country. Since racial tensions are striking at the very consciences of Americans, a priest, theoretically a moral leader, cannot shirk the responsibility of seeing that justice is done. While I favor the participation of priests in direct action, I must also recall that for each type of direct action, various principles are to be applied. I would like to emphasize that a priest must know as much as he can about a situation before he engages in direct action. In one of his last books, Father LaFarge spoke of moderation which is not an excuse for inactivity. I would suggest that direct action according to the principles enunciated is really a form of moderation. Divorced from these principles, direct action will tend to become the mob rule discussed by Archbishop McGucken. There is one final question to be answered, almost a postscript. Are priests sufficiently skilled to make prudential moral judgments i11 this important and difficult matter? It would be flippant to reply that our moral training would be deficient if we could not makej:udgments about the crucial issues of our day. I prefer to argue for the competence of the clergy. I certainly think that most would be inclined to err by their lack of participation rather than by rash participation in direct action. I admit to a sense of urgency in this article. The social unrest

Civil Righu 131

and upheaval in the civil rights revolution are apparent. The frustrations are great; the time is imminent for serious decisions about direct action. Priests are not only priests; they are also citizens. They cannot ignore the revolution taking place around them. Hopefully, in a calm and reasoned way, some of the prin¡ ciples and problems affecting direct action are in evidence here. It is my hope that more and more priests will write and speak on these principles in order that we may be better able to exercise a true priestly role in securing civil rights.

William H. DuBay

Democratic Structures

in the Church Dou the Church's growing awareness

of her divinely estabU.hed ruJlure a/Ww for democratic insti.wtiom which guarantee .the exerci.e oj both authority and individual freedom?

The freedom of the Christian has become a popular topic among Catholic writers today. Seen in both a theological and contemporary aspect, freedom is presented as the choice frnit of God's labor in the world. And yet in spite of this new awareness of the Christian virtue of freedom, we see little sign of its acceptance into the official life of the Church; freedom is not yet guaranteed and made a part of tbe institutional life of tbe Church. This reluctance is based on a dilemma that we must now face: How can the freedoms we enjoy in a democratic society possibly be transferred to the Church with its divinely established hierarchy? The Christian's great freedom in a democratic world he¡ comes a stumhling block in his ecclesiastical life. Engaged in the great variety of activities, interests, and organizations necessary for the strength of a democracy, he finds his responsibilities in the Church are limited merely to carrying out the demands of his immediate superior. This limitation militates against indi-


134 Chicago StudieJ

vidual initiative, unauthorized activity, and non-conformity. How can the need for obedience be reconciled with the need for freedom? And more, how can this freedom become a part of the institutional Church? FREEDOM AND AUTHOIDTY

The purpose of this study is to begin discussion on the possibility of democratic instirutions in the Church as an an.swer to this problem of freedom and authority. Further srudies will have to be done on the traditional forms of ecclesiastical government of the past in order to determine what is essential to the narure of the Church and what was borrowed from the political makeup of the day. Sociological srudies will show us what the present power structure of the Church is, as opposed to the theory of Church strucrure as contained in dogma and canon law. From there it will have to be decided what should be changed in order that the organizational patterns of the Church effectively advance its work and also reflect the true character of the Church to the modern world. This srudy will be more theoretical than practical because, up till now, objections to democratic stmctures within the Church have been based more on theoretical ground rather than practical ones. We will begin by examining these objections. Then, after examining a few basic components of democratic .government, we will explore certsin elements of scriprural theology that bear upon the problem. We will conclude with a statement concerning the theoretical compatibility of democratic instirutions with the nature of the Church. <' The often-heard phrase, "The Church is not a democracy!" is certainly true. But our problem is to find out whether or not it could be a democracy. First of all, we should inquire as to why it is not now a democracy and what are the reasons given for it not being one. We begin by presuming that the reasons are not only historical, but also theoretical. Our object is to take up these reasons, examine them, and judge their validity. .. AUTHORITY IN DEMOCRACY

The first objection to democracy in the Church is that sover¡ eignty in the Christian community has been given directly by

D<mocratic Structures .135

God to the hierarchy. And since democracy is allegedly based on the "idea" that sovereignty rests directly and solely in the people who first confer it on some delegated persons who then act as their agents in running the government, we say that sovereignty is exercised by the ruling power with the consent of the governed. When those who rule fail to conform to the wishes of the people, they can be put out of office. This procedure and the philosophy that underlies it is clearly incompatible with the nature of the Church. Hence, democracy has no place in the Church. True, democracy thus conceived, has no place in the Church. But while this conception of democracy is still popular, it has long been discredited by serious students of political science as a realistic explanation of what happens in a democratic society. R. Wallace Brewster states: "With the wealth of historical material now at hand, we can definitely say that the social contract theory was an imaginative rationalization for eighteenth century social and political trends. . . . Because the advocates of these various theories on the origin of the state were not restricted by the facts which modern research has presented, they could allow their fancies full play, held in check only by the limits of their own imaginations." The social scientists today are more realistic: in democratic governments those in ruling positions exercise real, not delegated, sovereignty, by reason of the fact that the society is not free to have or not to have a special ruling group. A sovereign of some type is a necessary and organic part of society. The problem of the source of this sovereignty is a false problem. It is like discussing the source of the authority of the brain over the rest of the body. Wherever you have a living organism made up of disparate units and a variety of functions, all united by a common goal, you must have a centralized system of demand and response. The "government by consent of the governed" theory rests on the impossible supposition that a society could refuse all consent and still remain a society. In human society, people are always giving allegiance to some special person or group of persons whose authority is constituted not by some previous agreement or consent, even implied, but by


Chicago Studies

the obedience of the people. The reception of their obedience does not make the rulers agents of others who have passed on their authority, but rather makes them rulers who are obeyed. Obedience and authority are correlative elements that bring one another into existence. So great is the need for authority and obedience in society, that we never have a society existing withouf them. God's intention in nature could hardly be more evident. WHO HOLDS THE REINS?

Since the Church is monarchical by divine institution, it has no place for democratic structures. This second argument opposing democracy in the Church is based upon the distinction between types of government: those governed by the one, by the few, and by the many-monarchy, oligarchy, and democracy. But there is a tendency here to pretend that governments exist in pure forms, that all decisions are made identically, either by one, by a few, or by the many. Such instances would be extremely rare. History shows that all governments contain elements of each of these classifications. G. C. Field, British political theorist, writes: "In terms of the simple Greek definition every state is a mixture, in varying degrees, of monarchy, oligarchy, and democracy." When we speak of democratic governments as opposed to totalitarian governments, we are concerned with the degree of one element or another that prevails in a state. A pure democracy is non-existent today. But we can say that a state is democratic in so far as the great mass of the population can exercise an effective influence on the decisions that make up the work of government. AUTHORITY UNLIMITED

A third objection follows from the others: control or restraint placed upon sovereignty destroys sovereignty, since the restraining influence is considered more powerful. Since Christ gave sovereignty directly to the hierarchy and not to the laity, there is no possibility of the laity exercising restraint or control over this sovereignty. This same objection once opposed the Federal Constitution and now opposes the United Nations: sovereignty that is limited is no sovereignty at all.

DeTTUJcratk Structure.


Several errors lie behind this thinking. The first is the supposition that power and authority in society are identical or that they must necessarily he invested in the same persons in equal proportions. The functions of power and authority are different, and theoretically and practically they are often invested in different groups of socif!ty. Secondly, to say that sovereignty is unlimited is to say that it is not responsible to the needs of the community; an unlimited sovereign would be expected to be able to act in any arbitrary manner and he obeyed absolutely. An unlimited sovereign evidently would not be for the good of the community, because he would be quite free to demand obedience to the ridiculous and immoral. Common sense and history show us that sovereignty is always limited to that which the subject will in fact obey. "Is sovereignty limited or unlimited?" means in practice, "Will the people absolutely obey anything that the sovereign orders?" The argument that sovereignty is unlimited comes down to the statement that we must either obey in everything or we will not obey at all. DEMOCRACY-PROTECTOR OF AUTHORITY

It should be evident that democracy is not anti-authoritarian or even anti-hierarchical. In our own democracy we daily submit to very authoritarian decisions by different agencies of government, as well as to such decisions made in the field of education, transportation, commerce, etc. The Harvard political scientist, Carl J. Friedrich, confirms this fact: "The semi-military, authoritarian nature of a government service is by no means a gratuitious invention of petty autocrats, but inherent in the very nature of processes which form the essence of all administrative services. This point hardly requires emphasizing in an age which exhibits examples of this same authoritarian, hierarchical control on all sides, since large-scale business corporations, trade unions and many other organizations are conducted on this pattern."

It can be claimed that nowhere is authority more respected or stronger than in a democracy. There are many reasons for this.

138 Chicago Studiu

The function of authority is more clearly seen and defined. Society has divested political authority of all its mythical, divine elements which once attributed to rulers a source of dignity not found in society itself, and which justified even the neglect, caprice, and cruelty of their official actions. Democratic processes serve to protect those in authority from both corruption and neglect of responsibility. No longer shielded from the view of society by a divine right to privacy, the public official is held accountable for all his words, actions, and policies that have bearing on his field of responsibility. Finally, these processes tend to keep him more accurately informed of the needs of society, as expressed in the desires, interests and pressures coming from his constituency. Familiarity with the factual situation is the first step towards effectiveness. The ease with which allegiance is transferred from one person or government to another, under due process and without any violence, creates great continuity and stability in a democracy. No matter how unpopular a leader might become, the people can wait out until the next election, during which time the leader may choose to redeem himself or lose office. The great complexity of democratic processes themselves have a great educative value, both for the people and for the authorities, making them more aware of the complex needs of society. Thus, the office of authority gains great strength by reason of its functional flexibility: its ability not only to reconcile widely different interests and bring some satisfaction to all elements in society, but also to rapidly meet and adapt to new, unexpected challenges without. a breakdown of government and established processes. In all of this we can say that the basic difference between democratic and non-democratic governments is that in a democracy those in authority are made accountable to society for their official actions by means of democratic processes. This happens in much the same way that a person is made accountable to so¡ ciety for his actions as a private individual through the processes of law, law enforcement, and the courts. In both cases, the private individual and the political figure are directly responsible to God for the morality and the perfection of their actions. In both cases, these strucrures, different for each, support and do

Democratic Structure•


not hinder those responsibilities. In both cases, the freedom of the individual is not hindered, but guaranteed and protected by those social structures. Democratic institutions do for authority what law does for the private individual. GROWTH OF FREEDOM

The growth of freedom in society came simultaneously with the growth of knowledge. The understanding of the very con· cepts "truth," "knowledge," and "right," has been intimately bound up with the notion of "authority." And the radical change in the concept of truth that came with the development of experimental science brought a change in the concept of society and individual freedom. Until the time of Galileo, mankind operated on a materialistic idea of knowledge which consisted in appropriation of the "truths" handed down from the ancients, and upon which truths all further truths were to be based and judged. The scientific revolution was only possible when men freed themselves from the obligation of fitting new observations into the systems of the past and began looking into each phenomenon with a fresh and non-committed approach. Albert Dondeyne, a theologian of Louvain, says about this intellectual revolution: "As Kant quite correctly remarked in the Preface to the second edition of his Critique of Pure Reason, science did not make any serious progress until Ga!ileo had the happy thought of subjecting the world to a methodical enquiry instead of being satis· lied with gathering facts 'like a schoolboy who lets himself .be told whatever pleases his master.' Since Galileo, the man of science turns to nature 'as a presiding judge who forces the witnesses to reply to the questions he asks.' He anticipates nature with logical structures erected by his intelligence, with hypotheses of his own free invention, and above all with a mathematical system of axioms fashioned by himself. . . . Scientific truth is not a copy of an image passively received, but the fruit of a laborious and endless dialogue between thought and reality." This new awareness of man's relationship to reality brought a corresponding awareness of man himself and his relationship to society and authority. From the old notion that truth was a system to which anything new must conform came the main oh-

140 Chicago Studies

ligation of the individual to work out his lot in the station of life in which he was born, on the assumption that he was divinely ordained or "called" to this destiny. But once truth was no longer viewed as something known once for all time and knowledge as something eternally unchanging, the field of man's knowledge of his environment became open to investigation and patterns of society open to criticism and change. The recognition that truth is something to be pursued rather than possessed brought the conviction that political structures too were flexible. In this new atmosphere, man felt free to reconstruct society in such a way as to take care of not only his material needs and his needs for security and stability, but also his more characteristic need for freedom: the desire to experience new and emergent value-satisfactions. Society, men began to think, must be organized in such a way that we can create some sort of real identity and integrity for ourselves as individuals. This basic need to become somebody and to be acknowledged as somebody important is most characteristically expressed in modern democratic society. This basic need for individual self-determination and initiative was often confirmed within the Church by such spokesmen as Cardinal Mercier who spoke these words in 1903: "Detest this slogan: 'One must act like everybody else.' ..• On the contrary, everyone must act differently from the others, for everyone is a personality whose aim it is to lead a full life and reach complete self-development.... The spineless laziness of the masses springs from the fact that so few people have the courage to examine themselves and discover what they are capa¡ hie of becoming and decide that they want to become it." We have seen something of the ability of democracy to guarantee both the effectiveness of authority and the freedom of the individuaL Through democratic structures, not only are the ab¡ solutely fixed powers and rights of government abolished, but also the ability of authorities to have recourse to any platonic and eternal verities to justify their policies. The changes of government necessary to accommodate the changing needs of society are carried out by due process of law and not recklessly or arbi-

Democratic Structure&


trarily. Such a system calls for an incalculable amount of labor on the part of those engaged in the work of the statesman and others in the work of the education of the nation. Society is never fully established. It is always in the making, and so is liberty, and so is authority. AUTHORITY AND THE OLD TESTAMENT

As Catholics we are very much aware of the authority given to Simon Peter in Matthew 16 and John 21. We are very much aware of the authoritarian structure of the Church. And yet we rarely have recourse to the many other texts that deal with the nature and exercise of that authority. We rarely revert to those texts that speak of the freedom of the individual which is given by God to those who love him. In fact a general reading of the Bible can easily leave us with the impression that it is generally anti-institutional and anti-political, if not anti-authoritarian, because of its obvious emphasis on the rights and freedoms of the individual. One of the most basic themes in the Bible teaches us that man attains his perfection and freedom in his submission to God. By articulating his response to God's demands, man is liberated from all human considerations and pressures. A spiritual man, said St. Paul, is above even the law; he possesses the freedom of a child of God because his soul has been transformed and made free by the Spirit of God as a result of the work of God's charity. But the seemingly anti-authoritarian conclusions from this doctrine can be avoided if we briefly review the political situa¡ tions in which revelation took place. In the Old Testament, people were aware of government and authority as something especially harsh and oppressive. It was natural to think of salvation in terms of release from this oppres¡ sion. Among the Hebrews, God was known as the living God who acted in freedom and whose actions bestowed freedom. All human kings were considered as rivals to God, the only king worth serving. The doctrine of God's kingship and his kingdom were taught by contrasting them to the rule of pagan kings. During the wanderings of the Israelites in the desert, God had

142 Chicago StudieJ

his people all to himself and they became aware of the directness of their relationship with him. After the occupation of Canaan, however, they became aware also of their existence as a people and felt a need for a human king like other nations had. This was first interpreted as a weakening of their faith, and God revealed his disappointment to Samuel: "Listen to the voice of the people according to all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them" (l Sam 8:7). But soon the idea of a temporal government becomes reconciled with the kingship of Yahweh.. The king of Israel was to be like no other king on earth. His power to rule was greatly limited by God's word. He was not an absolute sovereign, but was regarded instead as God's servant and had to obey as well as enforce God's law. Protected too was the freedom of the prophets to open! y criticize and accuse the king of abuses. Here we have something of a real¡division of power. As G. Ernest Wright points out, "The government was thus a constitutional monarchy, and the basic freedoms of the people were protected by God against the encroachments of roy a! power." The security and justice which had been hoped for by the people were provided only for a short period of about a hundred years under the kings. Only King David ever seemed to measure up to the standards demanded by God. He was always to be regarded as the ideal leader in later years, meek and concerned with the establishment of justice: "And he chose David, his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob, his people, and Israel, his inheritance" (Ps 77:70-7l). The remaining history of the kings of Israel has aptly been described as God's controversy with the kings. Because of their defection and the unfaithfulness of the people, God used the events of international history to judge his people until finally they were swallowed up by the empires. God's judgment found expression in the records of Isaia: "My watchmen are blind, all of them unaware.... They are relentless dogs .... These are the shepherds who know no discretion; each of them goes his own way, every one of them to his own gain" (Is 56:10-11). The

Democratic Structure•


people's disillusionment with any prospects of freedom under an earthly ruler grew into a hope for some supernatural intervention of God which would establish a new kingdom under God's own servant: "Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the Lord .... Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land" (Jer 23:1-5). This new king will rule with truth, mercy, and suffering. THE NEW TESTAMENT

In fulfilling the hopes of the Old Testament, Christ perfected its teaching by reminding us that the demands of human authority are 'limited by the demands of God and that obedience to human laws is contingent upon the absolute loyalty we owe to God: "And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of what has been handed down in tradition? ... H ypocrites, well did lsaia prophesy of you, saying, 'This people honors me with their lips, hut their heart is far from me; and in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrine the precepts of men' " (Mt 15:3,7-9). "How can you believe who receive glory from another, and do not seek the glory which is from the only God?" (Jn 5:44). "But woe to you Pharisees! because you pay tithes on mint and rue and every herb and disregard justice and the love of God" (Lk 11:4¡2). Christ himself was well known for his sense of independence and freedom from all human respect in his obedience to God: "Master, .you are an honest man, we know; you teach in all honesty the way of life that God requires, truckling to no man, whoever he may be" (Mt 22:16, New English). So keen he was to distinguish between human and divine authority that he charged, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone" (Lk 18:19). And he demanded this same freedom from human concern in his followers: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple"

(Lk 14:26). As much as Christ insisted on the direct relationship of the

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members of God's kingdom with God, he nevertheless provided for human authority in his Church. This is most evident in the abundant texts in which he counsels the apostles on the exercise of their authority. "You know that the rulers of the gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. Not so is it among you. On the contrary, whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your slave; even as the Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" ( Mt 20:25-28). "But do not you be called 'Rabbi' for one is your Master, and all you are brothers. And call no one on earth your father; for one is your Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters; for one only is your Master, the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted" (Mt 23:8-12). The example of the Good Shepherd, who intimately knows the individual needs of his sheep, is to be the pattern of authority exercised in the Church. The bishop and his flock are to be as open and direct with one another as are the Father and the Son. The apostles understood both the scope and the limitations of their authority. In his letters, St. Paul, ever conscious of the freedom and dignity of the members of Christ, is most honest with himself in the matter of his own authority. As God's fellowlaborer, he was the servant of his people: "For we preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves merely as your servants in Jesus" (2 Cor 4:5). The first pope exhorted the presbyters, "Tend the flock of God which is among you, governing not under constraint, but willingly, according to God; nor yet for the sake of base gain, but eagerly; nor yet as lording it over your charges, but becoming from the heart a pattern to the flock" (l Pet 5:2-4). The New Testament closes with the political structures of the Church potentially developed, with a society that was aware of its allegiance to its leaders and those leaders keenly aware of the extent of their responsibilities. RoMANIZATION oF THE CHuRcH

The political life of the Church remained only potentially de-

Democratic Structures


veloped until the beginning of canon law with the decrees of Nicea in 325. Here a remarkable transference began to take place within the Church, the absorption of Roman law. Just as Constantine saw the usefulness of Christianity for the unity of the empire, so the Church employed the structures of Roman law to embody its own social awareness of itself. And not only did it borrow the outward form and political organization from Roman law, but also Roman idealogy. And so not only do we have today the terms diocese and parish but also amharity, tradition, and religion, which are concepts borrowed from and found deep in Roman history . . The word alllhority derives from the verb "to augment," which tells us that all political life is founded on that which sup¡ ports and augments that sacred action which founded the city of Rome. To be engaged in politics, for a Roman, meant first and foremost to preserve the founding of the city of Rome. The au¡ thority of the living was always derivative, depending upon the authority of the founders (auctores) of the city. The elders, the Senate or the patres, were endowed with this authority by descent or transmission (traditio) from those who had laid the foundation for all things to come. The official cult of the gods was, ac¡ cording to the Roman interpretation, the bond ( religio) that held the patriot close to those ancient events. The authenticity and validity of all political life was supported by this Roman trinity of authority, tradition, and religion. Nothing was of value unless it was marked with the auctoritas maiorum, the precedent of tradition. This transferal of the tradition-bound Roman legal system to the Church was due in great measure to the writings of St. Augustine, whom Hannah Arendt claims to be the only great philosopher the Romans ever had, since he gave an expression to the Roman political experience that the Romans themselves were not able to achieve. Whatever we might think at this date of the romanization of the Church, it could hardly be questioned at the time. With the invasion of the barbarians, the salvation which the Church could offer the world was symbolized in the appeal to Roman law and order in contrast to the chaos of the times. No one can doubt that the Roman spirit served the Church well.


We have seen !hat democratic institutions tend to guarantee the exercise of both authority and individual freedom. We have also some indication that the nature of !he Church allows for !he human fallibility of its leaders and the utilization of secular po· litical structures and philosophy. It would seem that democratic processes are not intrinsically opposed to the nature of the Church. But now another question arises. Can the reform of the Church which is so ardently desired by all be accomplished under !he present political structures? We can all easily criticize Church prelates, complain about the lack of free speech and free assembly within !he ·Church, bewail the scandalous inertia !hat exists and !he one-hundred-year delay in !he Church's meeting new situations. But it would be far more profitable to identify the political structures that make such situations possible and to set about. changing them. Social and juridical structures !hem selves communicate and educate; they influence our ideas more than we realize. The modern soCial teachings of !he popes bear this out: social patterns and structures determine !he welfare of men more than anyihing else and these patterns are perfectible. Thus we must incorporate, and make incarnate, the principles of justice into the life of society. This possibility can hardly be less true of the Church. · We often hear the claim that decentralization is the answer to reform. But why should !he Church become decentralized just when mankind is coming to appreciate its own solidarity? More !han ever !here is need of a strong executive power in the Church, one !hat is able to overcome !he forces !hat resist reform and unity. What is more, reforms are needed on !he local level as well. A pastor of a small hamlet can be just as unconcerned with ·the real needs of his people as a bishop in his palace. There is need of more efficiency on every level of Church government, but !his efficiency can be obtained only Ihrough procedures of com· munication and control. The problem of the responsibility of !he layman will hardly be solved without giving him freedom for responsibility. We can hardly expect a man to do his best for an organization unless he

Democradc Structur03


is given a share of freedom to operate within the organization. Our structures must make manifest and operable the fact that the路 layman is the subject of the Church, not an object. Our political structures should reveal the fact that the work of the Holy Spirit is carried on in the life of each Christian. The present structures conceal rather than reveal that fact. The modern mind will hardly be attracted to the Church if its present structures symbolize to him a political system that was identified with a traditional conformity to the past that smothered all innovation and free expression of initiative. Why should the Church, which is most certainly the birthplace of individual freedom, be so bound with these ancient Roman forms? Cannot the layman be as efficiently protected in the free exercise路 of his responsibilities within the Church as well as outside it? Do not present political structures within路 the Church serve to thus hinder the work of the Holy Spirit rather than aid it? Certainly there will he great problems of inefficiency and complication once we begin to protect the rights of minority opinions. But these problems can he met with hard work and imagination. But the important thing to keep in mind is that they will not be nearly so great or disastrous as the problems we now face. At least we can hope that the pastors of the Church will he brought to face the problems that now can be so easily avoided. We will continue to have problems, hut as free men we can choose the type of problems we wonld rather face: the delays and compromises that accompany mutual respect and democratic discussion, or the countless frustrations of knowing that genuine religious inspirations will never he implemented in the lifetime of those who receive them. How many defections have there been as the resnlt of a political structure in the Church too rigid to allow for innovation, experiment, or reform, defections by those who sincerely .felt they had to leave the Church in order to spiritually perfect themselves? ..



We must begin, first of all; by educating ourselves to live in freedom. We must learn that the liberty that comes with obedience to God is in no way confined to路 obedience to our human superiors. Their commands are only a small aspect of God's


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

Democratic Structures


standards of political behavior. The cardinals, with all their good¡ will and talent, are an interest group themselves and are not fully adequate to legislate for other interest groups. It is a basic law of life that interest groups are properly represented by their own members. And why hobble the Holy Spirit? It should be the aim of the Church to involve national conventions representing as complete a cross-section as possible to suggest and review legislation before enactment by the central administration of the Church. Let us provide grievance machinery and court protection for all members of the Church and thus give proper expression to our belief in the indwelling Holy Spirit in the faithful. Freedoms of expression and assembly within the Church must be clearly defined and guaranteed, in order to allow free play to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. I envision a Catholic Church that will truly be the homeland of religious freedom, in which there will he room for high and low forms of liturgy, gospel singers and social gospelers, evangelicals and shakers, activists and passivists, people who are cult-centered, learning-centered, and other-directed, a Church where a jazz Mass will be seen as just as authentic an expression of religious spirit as Palestrina. Then we will he able to be as Catholic as we claim to be. There must be room for the non-administrators to organize and so protect the freedoms and responsibilities of their stations in life--teachers, curates, employees, religious, etc., should all have their own groups in which anyone can initiate legislation, plead a cause or protest some policy of the administration. Finally, we must face the problem of popular elections in the Church. There can hardly be any restoration of freedom in the Church without this form of direct contact between the subjects and rulers. We must investigate the possibility of electing prelates for set terms of office. Or as an alternative, elect them for life-time terms and have them delegate certain powers to elected officials. And in this way the pope or prelates would be a "head of state," exercising liturgical and diplomatic functions and perhaps some judicial functions, hut leaving the matters of executive administration in the hands of elected technicians. In this

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manner also, the prelates would be more free for the job of teaching the Word which traditionally is more closely identified with authority in the Church than other functions. Our goal certainly includes the writing of a constitution for the Catholic Church, one which protects the religious rights of all by clearly defining them and controlling them. There are cer¡ tainly enough precedents, examples, and experience from which to draw, to be found in the governments of civil states and other churches. We have a tremendous fund of knowledge available for our use in the political sciences. We must recognize that since the Church is truly a human organization, we must face up to the fact that the dynamics of human relationships do obtain here. And the political structure of this organization as of others ought to be an expression of planned and reasoned relationships in accord with the nature of the organization. Society is just that: relationships that are organized by determined human decisions and not by chance or nature. It will only be by a recognition of our ability to control, change and reform the political structures of the Church that effective internal reform can take place. Only by hard-headed planning and re-organization can we effectively express in the life of the Church the doctrine so beautifully ex¡ pounded in the encyclical on the mystical body: "Again, as in nature a body is not formed by any haphazard grouping of members but must be constituted of organs, that is members that have not the same function and are arranged in due order; so for this reason above all the Church is called a body, that it is constituted by the coalescence of structurally united parts, and that it has a variety of members reciprocally dependent. It is thus the Apostle describes the Church when he writes: 'As in one body we have many members, but all the mem¡ hers have not the same office; so we being many are one body in Christ, and everyone members of one another.' "




Democratic Structures


Pope Paul VI writes in his encyclical Ecclesiam Suam: " ... this is the hour in which the Church should deepen its consciousness of itself, in which it ought to meditate on that mystery which is peculiar to it.... That doctrine concerns the origin of the Church, its own nature, its own mission, its own ultimate destiny.... "But the actual image of the Church is never as perfect, as lovely, as holy or as brilliant as that formative divine idea would wish it to be. Hence there arises the unselfish and almost impatient need for renewal, for correction of the defects which this conscience denounces and rejects, as if, standing before a mirror, we were to examine interiorly the image of Christ which he has left us."




"It is known to all that the Church has its roots deep in man¡ kind.... Now, it is likewise known that at present mankind is undergoing great transformations, upheavals, and developments which are profoundly changing not only its exterior modes of life but also its ways of thinking. "Mankind's range of thought, culture, and spirit have been intimately modified either by scientific, technical and social progress or by the currents of philosophical and political thought which overwhelm or pass through it. All of this, like the waves of an ocean, envelops and agitates the Church itself."




Joseph A. Fichtner, O.S.C.

The Fellowship of the Saints The Pauline concep13 of koinonia and hagioi suggest fruitful applications in presen.t·day ChriJtian.ity.

On October 23, 1963, while Vatican Council II was in its sec· ond session, Dr. Edmund Schlink, an official observer represent· ing the Evangelical Church in Germany, remarked at a press conference that he, together with Orthodox theologians, would have liked to hear the Council fathers explain further the notion of koinonia, a term translatable into "fellowship" or "commun· ion." The term did arise in the discussions of the schema on the Church; but it was not developed enough to the satisfaction of Dr. Schlink and other observers. Anyone even slight!y ac· quainted with Protestant and Orthodox theology realizes at once how dear to non-Catholic Christians is the concept and reality of fellowship. CHRISTIAN CO·OPERATION

According to Dr. Lukas Vischer, research director of the De· partment of Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches, fellowship among the churches was the main reason for the adop· 153

154 Chicago Stadia

tion at New Delhi, in 1961, of a statement on "Christian Witness, Proselytism, and Religious Liberty." Fellowship, he explained, consists not merely in mutual respect but in the common task and responsibility of Christian witnessing to the non-Christian world. It is a matter of Christian co-operation. For one or another reason, we Catholics have consistently hesitated to give koinonia the consideration it deserves. One of the reasons surely is that its English equivalent of "fellowship" conjures up the view of the Church as a social gathering. Too long in the past have we associated the idea of social gatherings with Protestant modes of worship. But the fact is that both Orthodox and Protestant theologies have retained from Sacred Scripture, especially the Pauline writings, and credal belief a keen awareness of what koinonia or fellowship means. It is this reality, then, that we intend to investigate. Our inquiry will take us through Scripture, a study of the Apostles' Creed insofar as it reflects the belief of the early Church in the communion of saints, and some theological prospects for the future. NoN-CHRISTIAN usAGE

The way is not clear for us to trace the evangelical and Pauline use of koinonia to the ancient Greek, or the Hebrew for that matter. And yet the similarity in pagan and Christian literature of the root-meaning of koinos and its derivatives is striking. In both we find the use of the term in the sense of things held in common or persons joined together. The term denotes persons sharing or participating in the same things, and is contrasted with idios, with whatever is individual. The Greek root koinon- appears often in sacred Greek lan¡ guage. In its primitive significance it indicates that by eating and drinking one receives interiorly a mysterious godly strength. The polytheistic popular religions of the time held that the offering of food brought divinity into fellowship or communion with men. Homer wrote that the gods share in meals offered to them. The gods, when they are invited by men, share meals with them, and at the sacred meal, through a union of eating and drinking, union with divinity is achieved.

Fellow•hip 155

The concept of koinonia was given its most systematic treat· ment in Platonism. There the salvation not only of individuals but of the whole cosmos, including gods and men, is dependent upon fellowship.



Moving from the pagan to the Christian scene, we see that Jesus lived a community life with his followers. As he journeyed from one village to another, preaching the Good News, he had the company of his apostles, women (among whom were Mary Magdalen, Joanna, Susanna), "and many others" (Lk 9:1-4). When he feasted with his friends, Lazarus and Mary, at Bethany, shortly before the Last Supper, he was not alone but again with his disciples (Jn 12:4ff). His last evening meal was spent in the presence of the Twelve (Jn 13:29). In sharing meals with them, he was setting an example of a communal spirit-against ego· tism. One of the requirements he laid down for discipleship was to take leave of all possessions, for, as he said, "Where your treasure-house is, there your heart is too" (Mt 6:21; Lk 12:34, 14:33). It is not surprising then that after his death the apostles and their newly won converts maintained fellowship: "All the faithful held together, and shared all they had ... and each day the Lord added (those who were to be saved) to their fellowship" (Acts 2:44, 47). Their fellowship expressed itself outwardly in a socialization of goods; they sold farms or houses or estates and pooled their resources so as to help a brother in need. The Acts of the Apostles ( 4 :36ff) relates how Barnabas was accepted into the company of believers as he sold his property and gave up the proceeds, while Ananias and Sapphira died at Peter's feet because they fraudulent! y kept back some money from their sale. Not only material goods but spiritual gifts were held in com· mon. Titus 1:4 states that the first disciples shared "in the faith," and Jude 3 suggests that salvation was their common concern. THE PAULINE CONCEPT

As mentioned earlier, the hagiographer to make the most fruitful use of the root term koinon· was St. Paul. He employed

156 Chicago Studies

it frequently enough for us to infer that it ran like an undercurrent in his theology of the Church. For him the Church was both an ekklesia and a synagoge, not to speak of the body of Christ; but the Church did not seem real to him without a spirit of fellowship. His theology knit the assembly that was called together by Christ into a community "receiving and giving." The Greek koinon· denotes "to share something with someone," but the verb "to share" in this instance has a double shade of meaning, both to receive and to give. It follows logically and theologically in the mind of St. Paul that one can give only what one has received. We shall see that he imposes upon his convert Christians the duty of giving to those from whom they have received. One or two examples will suffice to show that St. Paul had a keen sense of receptivity as to things divine; especial! y aware was he of the gratuity of the gift of faith. The olive tree repre· sented to him the Jewish people of faith, and the Roman gentiles the branches of that tree. "And thou, a wild olive," he wrote to the Romans, "hast been grafted in among them; sharest, with them, the root and the richness of the true olive" (11:17). Therefore they had no reason to boast about their faith. The Corinthians, on the other hand, he admonishes, "You must not consent to be yoke-fellows with unbelievers" (2 Cor 6:14). CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP IS PASSIVE

The passive sense of koinon· is further developed in the idea of a community of believers. "The God, who has called you into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful to his promise" (1 Cor 1:9). Within the Christian communion we are elevated to the rank of "partners" with Christ, and we are admitted into a mysterious communion with the saints. It is faith which creates this community: "May thy sharing in the faith he· come effective, in the fuller knowledge (or recognition) of all the good that is in us in Christ Jesus" (Philemon 6, following Msgr. Knox's literal translation from the Greek). St. Paul envisions the Christian community gathered together at an evening meal, so that fellowship springs from this sharing. He parallels the Christian meal with the ancient Jewish and pa· gan sacrificial meals. According to ancient belief it is self·



evident that the sharers in a cultic meal are the partners of God. The altar of sacrifice contains and yet hides the presence of God. Anyone who joins in false worship associates himself with a false god. So for Paul the Christian meal expresses fellowship with the Person of Christ inasmuch as it is a participation "in Christ's blood" and "in Christ's body" (1 Cor 10:16). Bread and wine are the bearers of the heavenly Christ, who is identical with the incarnate, historical One. We Christians who are nour路 ished with the Bread and Wine are "one body, though we are many in number; the same bread is shared by all" (1 Cor. 10: 17). Fellowship therefore connotes an inner bond among us, a charity and unity deriving from the Sacrament. Christian fellowship, in its broader dimensions, is extended by Paul beyond the Person of Christ to the individual phases of his life. Once we have died with Christ, that is, died the death of the old man of sin, "we have faith to believe that we shall share his life" (Rom 6:8). Our time-space situation is synchronized as it were with that of Christ, and beyond it lie the infinite stretches of eternity. Paul enumerates only the main salvific events that coincide with ours. They are, to begin with, life itself, and then suffering and glory, endurance and reign, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection, enthronement, glory ( cf. Rom 6:4, 6:6, 6:8, 8:17; Eph 2:6; 2 Tim 2:12, among others). The share with Christ is such that although his work of salvation is sufficient it places us under obligation to our fellowmen (cf. Col 1 :24). Hence Paul could write to the Corinthians, "Partners of our suf路 ferings, you will be partners of our encouragement too" (2 Cor

1 :7). Life in and with Christ is characterized, as his was, "by com路 mon fellowship in the spirit" (Phil 2:1). Every one is "in the spirit" who en joys "the imparting of the Holy Spirit" ( 2 Cor 13:13). To draw up the full circle of fellowship in Pauline theology, we must see him begin it with the saints below and spiral it up to the saints above. The lines of the circle seem to run both verti路 cally and horizontally. We read in his letter to the Ephesians: "You are no longer exiles, then, or aliens; the saints are your fellow-citizens, you belong to God's household" (2:19). Paul is

158 Chicago Studi&

happy to note that kindness prompts the Philippians to share in his hardships (1:7, 4:14). He tests the value of Philemon's fellowship with him by asking him to reciprocate and make Onesimus feel welcome ( 17). CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP IS ACTIVE

The Pauline concept of fellowship is left one-sided and incom路 plete. without a consideration of its active sense, which includes the counterpart of receiving, namely that of giving. Reciprocity, interactivity, action and reaction, receiving and giving are inherent in the concept of fellowship. The reception of a divine gift places one under the obligation of giving in return, of sharing in an active way. Paul links the concrete collection with the ab路 stract koinonia and by this means attaches a religious meaning to it. Romans 15:26-27 is one of his clearest statements on this point: "You must know that Macedonia and Achaia have thought fit to give those saints at Jerusalem who are in need some share of their wealth; they have thought fit to do it, I say, and indeed, they are in their debt. The gentiles, if they have been allowed to share their spiritual gifts, are bound to contribute to their tern路 poral needs in return." Paul sets.the collection in a religious context; so for that reason alone, if not for the religious benefits which accrued from it, we can hardly overestimate its value. The collection was a mani路 festation of fellowship, bringing the churches thus far founded in various lands into religious solidarity. At one and the same time the central authority was recognized to be at Jerusalem, and Jerusalem in turn gave proof of fellowship with the gentile churches. Such was the reciprocal effect that Paul's collection had. . It had, moreover, the effect of challenging his cmiverts,' testing the sincerity of their faith, and showing gratitude to God for his gifts; "it yields, besides, a rich harvest of thanksgiving in.the name of the Lord" (2 Cor 9:12). Evidently Paul did not consider the collection a piece of welfare work but a matter of duty, a sort of contract do ut des. It was both a service of Christian charity ( diakonia) and a religious service, worship or sacrifice (leitourgia). See 2 Cor 9:12-14 and Rom 15:30.

F ellow•hip


The importance of the collection, temporal and spiritual, in the Pauline apostolate, is underlined by Lucien Cedaux as follows: ··• "The carrying into effect of this project ... was perhaps the happiest ~troke of genius in the whole of his life as an apostle. By it Jerusalem won a religious empire and the gentile Christians saved 'not only their unity, but also their living connection with the centre of monotheism and purity of life" (The Church in the Theology of St. Paul, p. 261). THE SAINTS AT JERUSALEM

In the above quotation from the letter to the Romans we noted in passing the phrase "the saints at Jerusalem." Who were the saints at Jerusalem? This question brings us to the second part of our inquiry and to an exegesis of the Pauline use of the· term hagioi. The concept of sanctity has ·a select place in the comparative study of .religions. It is one of the notions Christianity could have borrowed from Hellenistic religions. Apart from· the ques· tion of some Hellenistic influence, there is the fact that the Christian concept of saints is rooted in Judaism.

A HOLY PEOPLE Because of their unique covenant with Yahweh, the Israelites were considered by the prophets to be a holy nation. "You shall serve me as a· royal priesthood, as a consecrated nation" (Ex 19:6). "Yours is a people set apart for its own God" (Dt 7:6; see 14:2; 21; 26:19i 28:9; Jer 2:3).·Gradually in lsraelitic hisiory, two parties laid claim to holiness, the priests and the devout faithful ( anawim). The dispute over the heritage of holiness arid the consequent schism took place when Israel began to face up to its crimes, especially after the exile. Then the anawim, poor and hu!Dble people, began to assume almost exclusive rights to· holiness and felt themselves privileged to be under the Lord's protection. The early Christians therefore thought the title saints reflected past glory or promised hope for the future. In this setting the term hagioi is most consonant with the idea


Chicago Studies

of the early Church. In fact, it ranges over the many biblical images of the Church and is practically synonymous with them: the people of God, the chosen people, the holy people, the Church of God, the elect, etc. God has called his people into an assembly of saints--the Church-and this Church is composed of Christians, the people newly recruited by God and unified into a single religion, the fruit of the monotheism of Israel. God has translated to the Christian community all the promises belong· ing originally to Israel and more. Christian holiness must encompass all humanity. THE NEW PEOPLE OF GoD But did the little community at Jerusalem, to which the desig· nation saints was applied, verify the notion of a single and uni· versal Church? Salvation history witnesses to the fact that the hagioi had a power of expansion such as an acorn has to grow into a full-sized tree. The saints at Jerusalem, beginning with the apostles and in ever-increasing numbers, were aware they had been chosen by God to make up the nucleus of the people of the new covenant. To them Christ made known his plan, and they, by his intention, the leadership of Peter, and guidance of the Holy Spirit, like a vast immigration movement began to pene· trate the lands around them. At the time that St. Paul wrote his epistles, the term hagioi designated the leaders of the Church at Jerusalem, those who actually directed the destinies of that Church. They constituted ideally the whole primitive community of Jerusalem, the "holy assembly" of God. The group of saints there comprised the fa· thers of the faith, the witnesses to the resurrection, the Twelve, the five hundred brethren, the brothers of the Savior, the prophets--all who were sent to evangelize and upon whom the Holy Spirit descended on Pentecost and the early days of Christianity. (Cf. Acts 9:13, 32, 41; Rom 15:25, 26, 31; 1 Cor 16:1, 15; Eph 2:19-22; 3:3-9). St. Paul borrowed the term saints from this mother-commu· nity, so that "in the majority of cases in which Paul speaks of saints as a denomination for Christians, he is speaking of the Church at Jerusalem" ( Cerfaux). The extension of the term in his theology seemed to be concomitant with the growth of Chris·



tianity until it partially lost its specific meaning of holiness and was predicated of all Christians ( see.the salutations and valedic· lions in Romans, 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians). THREE MEANINGS oF


The progression in Paul's use of the term saints allows us to distingUish three rather definite meanings of it in his vocabulary. The first is the ordinary name for the Christian people, whatever be the town where they are gathered together. The second is rare: the saints represent the angels or the elect ( 1 Thess 3:13; 2 Thess 1 :10). The third, as we have seen, refers to the particular group congregated at Jerusalem, the holy city. With the growth of the Church among the gentiles, Paul did not hesitate to transfer the title of hagioi. When he communicated ·the gift of faith to gentile groups, he insisted, as was his right as pastor of souls and founder of churches, on a moral obligation to the original community. The passages of the Pauline Epistles which mention the collection for the poor at Jerusalem are the same as those which speak of the "saints." Thus the diakonia or service was urged upon the Christian people for the spread of the gospel and the unification and building up of the whole body. "And now about the collection which is being made for the saints; follow the plan which I have prescribed for the Galatian churches" (1 Cor 16:1). Achaian converts "devoted themselves to supplying the needs of the saints" (16:15). The Macedonians gave beyond their means; ''They begged us most urgently, to allow them the privilege of helping to supply the needs of the saints" (2 Cor 8:4). Although Pauline theology runs rather in rhythmic than ana· lytic or synthetic lines, it is possible, after seeing it in perspective, to divine some logic in it. In Paul's mind, Christianity be· gins with a nucleus at Jerusalem that has a spirit of fellowship. It is a fellowship of the saints, and its spirit, unable to contain it· self, must encompass others. The periphery, that is, the outlying posts of Christian fellowship, must always feel dependent upon the nucleus and contribute to it, so that within the whole body there is a continuing interactivity. Paul's concept of the Church is far from being static or passive; it is, in the vital and active

162 Chicago Studie•

sense of the expression, a fellowship of the saints-ever stretching out, ever building up, ever encompassing. To try to grasp his concept of the Church chronologically, numerically, or geographically, although it was very much a fellowship upon earth, is to lose sight of its inner dynamism, the fellowship of the saints.



Another question we must ask ourselves is this: Have we Christians retained as a common heritage the Pauline catechesis of the fellowship of the saints, at least in some monument of tradition if not in current theology and life? Historically we noted that the doctrine of the fellowship of the saints grew out of two intertwined Judaic traditions, the people of God and the saints. In keeping with these traditions, but going somewhat beyond them, St. Paul pointed to a fellowship that should exist among the people and called for a concrete expression of the sanctity that should be theirs. We hope to show that one article of the Apostles' Creed digested and embodied his and the Judaic scriptural message. ¡ Evidently the article of the Creed we refer to is the one following "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church," namely, the communion of saints. When was tbis article inserted into the Creed or was it there originally? What meaning has been attached to it? Why was the phrase given the place it has in the Creed? What is its importance in present-day Christianity? A treatment of these questions, in the sequence given, should help us to understand and relish a little better a basic truth of our faith. HISTORY OF THE CREED

J- de Ghellinck, S.J ., remarked that this article of the Creed is one of the most difficult passages to interpret of the whole Creed. Part of the difficulty of interpretation arises from the fact that the precise date of its introduction into the Creed is unknown to us. Patrologists and liturgists generally are agreed that the Old Roman Creed (in use about the year 200) lies like a core in the present version of the Apostles' Creed. The Old Roman Creed was used in the early centuries for instructing catechumens and administering baptism. It is not too far-fetched to




surmise that the teaching of the communion of saints antedated its interpolation in the Creed, for such is the course of normal development; but the fact of the matter is that the Old Roman Creed does not include an article on the communion of saints. Johannes Quasten says the doctrinal element itself appeared in one or another formula of faith about the end of the first century. A bit of evidence for the gradual growth in the belief of the com路 munion of saints appears already at the beginning of the third century. The author of The Passion of Perpetua arul Felicitas makes mention of a communion with holy martyrs and through them with Jesus Christ as the purpose of his writing. It is found in the resolutions of a Gallican synod held at Nimes in 394. The striking feature of the creed authored by Nicetas (335414), bishop of Remesiana (modern Bela-Palanka, in Yugoslavia), is the addition, seemingly for the first time, of the communion of saints to the Old Roman Creed. Nicetas probably bor路 rowed it from South Gaul, where it was much in vogue in the fourth and fifth centuries, because he had friendly ties with St. Paulinus of Nola and occasionally visited with him. While there he must have noticed how enormously expanding was the devotion to the saints and martyrs. The community of ordinary Chris路 tians felt an ever-developing sense of fellowship with the redeemed in heaven, who had passed from this earth to the fullness of the glory of Christ, and their devotion was reflected in theological writing (see St. Hilary and St. Augustine). Whatever may have been the exact link between the two, the fellowship of the saints, a doctrine so definitely outlined in the Pauline writ路 ings, was carried over into Christian life, suffering, and death in the days of persecution. MEANING OF "COMMUNION OF SAINTS"

Seen against the background of the Pauline theology of koinonia, it seems odd that theologians in the succeeding centuries should have doubted about the meaning of the communion of saints and wavered between a personal, concrete, masculine interpretation of it and a sacramental and neuter interpretation. Let us recall at this point that for St. Paul koinonia signified a sharing, receiving and giving, among holy persons of a life of faith in Christ, of communion in Christ's body and blood, in the

164 Chicago Studies

whole life of Christ-suffering and glory, a fellowship in the Holy Spirit. His was a wide, not a narrow, understanding of the concept. Very much in accord with the Pauline meaning is the commentary by Nicetas himself: "What is the Church hut the congregation of all saints? From the beginning of the world patriarchs, prophets, martyrs, and all other righteous men who have lived or are now alive, or shall live in time to come, comprise the Church, since they have been sanctified by one faith and manner of life, and sealed by one Spirit and so made one body, of which Christ is declared to be head, as the Scripture says. ¡Moreover, the angels, and the heavenly virtues and powers too, are handed together in this Church.... So you believe that in this Church you will attain to the communion of saints" (translation from ].N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, p. 391). ~

The merit of this commentary is that it hears out the most traditional interpretation of the article, the personal and concrete interpretation of a fellowship with holy persons of all ages who anticipate and partly realize on. earth the fellowship in heaven. What it lacks is mention of a participation in sacred things, particularly of the Sacrament of the Altar. The divergence of medieval opinion over the meaning of this article of the creed certainly sprang from the Latin term sanctorum, which lends itself to masculine and/or neuter interpretation. Although St. lvo of Chartres and Abelard accepted it in a neuter sense, and some interpreters of St. Thomas think he meant by it "goods or benefits shared," the personal exegesis prevailed over the sacramental. J.N.D. Kelly writes: "We may conjecture that it was the instinctive consciousness of a lacuna in the formulary which, among other factors, moved the theologians of later ages to read an allusion to the sacraments into it." He is too critical of theologians who "placed great reliance on analogies drawn from Greek usage, appealing to the frequent presence of a sacramental reference in such words as koinonia and ta hagia." But one can ask if we have been applying the breadth of meaning which the phrase should have. Theologians are correct in tracing its wide mean¡



ing to the Scriptures, especially the Pauline Epistles, which are the original source of its credal development. Kelly prefers to see the roots of the matter in South Gaul. Even so, the allusion to the Eucharist is admissible at a time when the martyrs looked upon the Eucharist as a Viaticu!". TOWARD A SOLUTION

If we follow author Kelly's suggestion that we interpret the expression in its credal setting, we are led to believe with him that the communion of saints means much more than "Church." Standing after "the Holy, Catholic Church," it implies (and this is corroborated by the Pauline teaching) that sanctity reaches beyond the rigid juridical confines of the Church. And preceding "the remission of sins," which apparently refers to the sacrament of penance, it contains a hint of that sacrament which gives unity to the Church. ¡ Kelly is of the opinion that the problem of its meaning may be insoluble, but he bases himself on the fact that as yet no clear historical lines of its adoption into the Creed have been found. He admits that no polemics or controversy prompted its inclusion in the Creed. Does it not then seem reasonable to hold that the two traditions, koinonia and hagioi, already somewhat overlapping as they were in the Pauline catechesis, were gradually brought together and encapsuled in a single article of the Creed, and that this combination was abetted by the popular devotion to the martyred saints during the persecutions that followed closely upon the beginnings of Christianity? Although traditional theology has hesitated to choose from the varying interpretations of this article, rather than presume to decide in favor of one to the exclusion of others, we would do well to allow it St. Paul's amplitude of meaning. CoMMUNITARlAN SENSE TODAY

In the present state of theology koinonia, expressed or implied, is receiving the breadth of meaning it originally had in the Pauline writings. Karl Barth, though not sure of the gender of the ¡"communio sanctorum," whether sancti or sancta are meant, thinks that both interpretations ought to be retained and belong mutually to each other. The sancti are men set apart for holy gifts and works, the sancta. ¡

166 Chicago Studies

The concept of koirwnia underlies, supports, and accompanies the growing communitarian sense of the Church. Pope Pius XII, in his 1945 Christmas address to the college of cardinals, referred to the fellowship existing between the members of the Church rather than to their fellowship with its visible head. This fellowship consists in a syntaxis (assembly) and agape, "a giveand-take of life and vigor between all the members of Christ's mystical body on earth." His statement echoes the sentiments of St. Paul who saw in the religious concept of fellowship an active and passive interflow and preached it to his churches. UNION AMONG THE CHURCHES

Fellowship within the Church, spelled with a capital C, tends to draw the bonds of unity tighter among the churches, so that its spirit under the influence of the Holy Spirit will grow beyond determinable limits. Acknowledging this fact at the start of Vatican Council II, Hans Kung wrote: "There is already a deep communion, koinonia, between them and us; it is founded on one baptism, faith in one Lord, and love for him; and it is stronger and more important than anything that separates us. We are Christians, and they are Christians. 'They too bear the name of Christ upon their foreheads, they read his holy and blessed Gospel, and they are not unreceptive to the stirrings of religious devotion and of active, beneficent love of their neighbor' (Pope John XXIII). "What we can have is unity in the sense of the living koinonia of the Scriptures, which is unity in diversity, unity in a variety of rites, languages, customs, modes of thought and action and prayer. Such unity is more perfect than uniformity" (The Council, Reform and Reunion, p. 188). The fellowship which Kung delineates with horizontal lines can be built upon with the lines Robert McAfee Brown draws vertically. The ultimate states of fellowship cannot be attained by ourselves alone, he says: "Our task is to sow, .and in ecumenical endeavor the most powerful instrument of sowing is prayer.... Rome may plant,



and Geneva may water (or vice-versa) but it will be God that gives the increase. But, if I may add, it is the saints (Catholic and non-Catholic!) who will bolster our prayers for unity by their own intercession in the ecumenical gathering of heaven." Included in the great variety of inter-relationships that koinonia suggests is the synodal principle called sobornost, which the Russian Orthodox have been advocating the past thirty years or so. If rightly understood, the principle is Catholic. It is easily and exactly translatable into what we in the Western tradition understand by "college" and "collegiality." NATIONAL EPISCOPAL CONFERENCES

The similarity between this synodal principle and the institution of national episcopal conferences as discussed in the second session of Vatican Council II is unmistakable. Leaving aside the historical question of how entangled the synodal principle may be or has been with temporal power, and how national episcopal conferences may be wedged in between the primacy and the individual episcopate, or what authority-moral or juridical-the national episcopal conferences may assume, we can still point out that the theological basis of both is the principle of koinonia or communion. Emile Guerry, archbishop of Cambrai, France, underlined the importance of the koinonia-principle in his speech to the Council fathers during their sixty-sixth general congregation on November 13, 1963. He noted how this principle was to be found in Scripture and Tradition, and how fraternally it bound together the individual churches in the first centuries of Church history. Irenaeus in particular witnessed to the workings of this principle. The local churches were united together with the Bishop of Rome, the sign and center of unity, participated in the same Eucharist, were filled with the same Holy Spirit, were sent (in the same mission) to preach the gospel, and practiced among them¡ selves an active charity. Thus the early Church experienced and enacted the koinonia. Archbishop Guerry argued that the same principle should govern the episcopal conferences, for it has ecumenical signifi-

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cance. The love of Christ, instilled throughout space and time in the catholic and apostolic community of the Church, should precede juridical factors and written laws. At the time of Archbishop Guerry's address the Council was divided over the question whether the episcopal college existed by divine or ecclesiastical right. Bishops, Guerry continued; will fulfill their mission and the will of Christ-that all may be one--if they join in fellowship with one another and with their head. One further concrete means of bringing about the fellowship St. Paul proposed, which is still valid today among the churches, is the collection. For the present it may not execute the same purpose the Apostle to the Gentiles had assigned to it, but it will undoubtedly draw the churches together in other areas. What prevents us from contributing together to social, political, cultural, and charitable causes? As a matter of fact, the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, in its schema on Ecumenism, regards these areas open ground for fruitful encounter. 'fHE EuCHARIST, SACRAMENT OF UNITY

The highest degree of fellowship to be achieved on this earth is that which is at work in and through the Eucharist. Eucharistic fellowship, in virtue of its institution by Christ, molds and is molded by the Church--such is its reciprocal effect. Ecclesiastical, inter-confessional, collegial fellowships all have their value and are necessary, but the acme of fellowship is reached in the Eucharist, in which only the hagioi can participate. "Inasmuch as the celebration of the Eucharist is the sacramental anticipation of the heavenly marriage banquet, the final, eternal form of the community of saints shines forth even now in this solemnity just as the source of the Church" (Karl Rahner, The Episcopate and the Primacy, p. 26). "Or rather we should say that with the Supper is connected the idea of 'communion' (koinonia) which is at one and the same time charity and unity, and which was such a living feeling and realization in the teaching of Christ and the practice of the primitive community. The Supper is the sacrament of unity" (Cerfaux).

F ellow•hip



Certainly we are yet far from the Eucharistic koinonia Christ achieved with his apostles and which he would share with all men. The fellowship of the saints is a goal to be striven after, and in part is achievable upon this earth. When St. Paul spoke of the communion of saints, and when this doctrine was incor· porated into the Apostles' Creed, he had in mind a fellowship upon earth which is always in the making. If the churches can· not yet celebrate the Eucharistic feast together, in a spirit of fellowship, they can at least hope and pray for the day of its realization. In the meanwhile, it is possible and permissible for us to join together in prayers (of the liturgy, psalms, hymns) short of the Eucharistic celebration itself. Max Thurian, theologian of the Taize community, has proposed the Lord's Prayer as an ecumenical prayer. Perhaps we may go a step further in suggesting that we observe the feast of All Saints as an ecumenical feast. It is quite coincidental, if not providential, that Reformation Day, October 31, is the day Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the doors of the Wittenberg cathedral. All Saints affords us an occasion to pray together in that spirit of the fellowship of the saints whose fulness only the saints in glory can help us to realize.

Ralph ]. Bastian, S.].

Confirmation The Gift of the Spirit Theologiatu today are probing for a deeper understanding of the pentecostal mystery in the life of the individual Christian.

In the last few decades theologians have been reappraising the basic meaning of confirmation. Formerly they viewed it as the sacrament by which we are made soldiers of Christ and consecrated to Catholic action. Now they are beginning to focus upon the gift of the Holy Spirit as the essential meaning of the sacrament. The shift in emphasis is from the marginal to the central, from the effects to the cause. TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION

It is not giving away any secret to say that the faithful generally feels that confirmation is the sacrament which made him a soldier of Christ, strong for the struggle ahead. This is the idea that is emphasized in the instructions preceding confirmation. What is more, the ceremonial tap on the cheek is stressed as foreshadowing the future conflict. This rite is often the only element that remains fixed in the Christian's memory. Yet the blow 171

172 Chicago Studieo

on the cheek, which probably was not introduced until the Middle Ages, is incidental to the ritual and of such obscure origin that its exact meaning is not clear. To single it out as central to the sacrament is prejudicial to the liturgico-historical development of the sacramental rite through the centuries. But what is to be said about the strength for struggle imparted by the sacrament, quite apart from its relation to the tap on the cheek? The authority for this effect, which is stressed in St. Thomas and taken over from him by the Council of Florence and the Catechism of the Council of Trent, is drawn eventually from a text of the supposed Pope Melchiades. The ninth-century compiler of the False Decretals cited a formula of his describing confirmation as "an increase in grace" and "strength for the combat." From then on the phrase was repeated until finally it found its way into St. Thomas. Recent investigations have revealed that the source of this phrase is almost certainly the sermon of an obscure bishop of the south of France, Faustus of Riez. While not belittling the importance of this effect in the sacrament, one must confess that it was not part of the explicit tradition of the Church-at least in such succinct wording-until the :fifth century. The "strength for struggle," to summarize the issue, is a genuine datum of tradition and certainly not a deviation from it. But it.is not the original nor the more important meaning of the sacrament. As long as it continues to be taught as such, it can only distort the true meaning of the sacrament and divert one's gaze from that which is more central and fruitful. In addition, theologians point out that baptism already makes one a soldier of Christ; the baptized is initiated into the supernatural life and given the ordinary means to preserve it, which must include the equipment to ward off the attacks of the foe. Confirmation can continue and complete the arming of the Christian, but it is certainly not the sacrament which first enables the Christian to handle the onslaughts of the enemy. CoMPLETION OF BAPTISM

Furthermore, it is at least arbitrary to emphasize the fact that confirmation makes one a soldier of Christ and at the same time



to neglect the other secondary effects of the sacrament which are equally attested by tradition. Chief among these are the perfection or completion of baptism and the maturation of the adult Christian. The completion of baptism is bound up in the very origins of the Christian era, for the Acts of the Apostles twice relates the conferral of confirmation on those who "had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus," intimating that the coming of the Spirit through the imposition of hands was necessary for the full enrollment of the neophytes in the following of Christ (Acts 8:15-17; 19:1-7). If this point, however, is not explicit in Sa. cred Scripture, the fathers clearly relate confirmation to baptism. For them confirmation is the completion, the crown, the consummation, the seal, the "confirmation" of baptism. Some authors have explained the mutual relationship of the first two sacraments in such a way as to differentiate baptism, which removes all sin, from confirmation, which bestows grace and the Holy Spirit; others see baptism as the conferring of a negative or static gift of the Spirit, which confirmation gives in a positive or dynamic manner. Catholic opinion in general is arrayed against these explanations which would deny that adoptive sonship and a right to heaven are effects of baptism. The Spirit and the life of the Spirit are certainly possessed by the baptized. If that is so, in what way can confirmation be said to complete a rite which already seems to be self-sufficient? And if it does not complete baptism as such, why the insistence on its role as the perfection of the first sacrament? A possible solution to the problem might be that confirmation does not perfect baptism in something intrinsic to it; otherwise baptism would be incomplete in itself, lacking something ¡in. its very sacramental constitution. On the other hand, confirmation is also a sacrament of Christian initiation: the initiation is not completed by baptism alone. The whole of Christian tradition precludes a complete separation of confirmation from the initiation rite. Therefore, it becomes necessary to look for the perfection conferred by confirmation in a factor not identified with the proper effects conferred by baptism, the first step in the initiation ceremony. Thus the perfection of confirmation would be an ef-

174 Chicago Studies

feet of the second sacrament bringing to maturity an effect of baptism. Authors, however, differ in their selection of this effect. Some look upon confirmation as the sacrament which leads the baptized to the perfect Christian age. Others see the perfection of confirmation precisely in its conferral of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, in its preparation of the Christian for a responsible role in the Church, or in its bestowal of the strength to be a soldier of Christ before the enemies of the faith. Perhaps the most fruitful idea is the relation of baptism and confirmation as commencement and growth in the divine life, an idea which fits in well with revealed data and enjoys a wide following both in tradition and in modern theology. Baptism as the rebirth of man into a new life is too patent a fact in the New Testament to he gainsaid, and there certainly is a definite reality corresponding to the "new life" terminology of the sacred text. SACRAMENT OF THE PERFECT CHRISTIAN

St. Thomas was the one responsible for emphasis on confirmation as the sacrament of the perfect Christian. Through him the idea passed into the official teaching of the Church in the Councils of Florence and Trent. Authors are divided when discussing just what it means to be a perfect Christian. Since this added perfection is not perceptible in itself, the meaning of a perfect Christian must be surmised from the activities of the confirmed. Thus the authors speak of the perfect Christian as the one who is a soldier of Christ, who has the fullness of the Spirit, who is fitted to carry out the messianic functions of witnessing to the faith, or who is now a full participant in the life of the Church, especially through the lay apostolate or Catholic action. Rather than take Christian maturity as the primary effect of the sacrament, however, as a few authors do, I would rather regard it and its manifestations as one effect itself subordinate to the coming of the Spirit, who alone gives the grace and gifts to enable the baptized to assume the task and role of an adult in the Church.




If the work of the last thirty years has brought about any advance at all in the theology of confirmation, it is certainly in the increased perception of the sacrament as the gift of the Spirit spoken of in the New Testament, along with a development of just what precisely the Spirit means in the life of the Christian. A brief resume of the evidence and data concerning the Spirit both in Sacred Scripture and in the early liturgical texts referring to confinnation will provide some clues to the ancient meaning of the sacrament. "SPmiT" IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

The meaning of the word spirit must be sought first from its usage in the Old Testament. While there is no question of a personal spirit in the Old Testament, the Hebrew ruah, which means "wind" or "breath," quickly assumed the meaning of "spirit"' also. At the beginning it was a mysterious, penetrating force whose presence and activity were perceived in the extraordinary psychic phenomena which took place¡ especially in the lives of the great heroes and prophets of Israel. But this divine force was more than a passing phenomenon; it was also conferred by Yahweh as a permanent gift for a certain function, as is seen in the instances of Moses, Joseph, David, and the prophets. From Isaiah onward spirit also became the principle of moral life, the power which was to establish a new covenant and thereby become the author of a new people full of justice and sanctity. Thus in the Old Testament spirit is essentially a dynamic notion, a power and principle of action. Although the Hebrews did not define its precise nature, it may be surmised from the multiple effects attributed to it. It is an invisible, mysterious force which is given, infused, rushes over a man, invades him, and is even said to fill him, to drive him on, but is also described as remaining in him, dwelling in him, consecrating him, clothing him, and ruling him. "SPIRIT" IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

The teaching of the New Testament, while showing an awareness of the foundations laid in the Old Law, goes far beyond it


176 Chicago Studies

and exhibits altogether new properties, especially in regard to the special relation that the Spirit of God has to Jesus, the Son of God. It is in terms of this revelation that the messiallic renewal takes place, and its revelation includes an important fact for this study: the revelation of a new and special effusion of the Spirit upon men, that is, the relation of the Spirit to the Church, in which the fullness of the Spirit is to be found and through which he will be poured out on mankind. Only specific points of the New Testament revelation can he mentioned here. John the Baptist is filled with the Holy Spirit and sanctified for his mission. He preaches the coming of one stronger than himself who will baptize in the Spirit and fire. It is significant here that this stronger one will purify those to be baptized with fire, a sign of divine purification, just as the spirit was a purifying force in the prophets. And it is the "stronger" who will accomplish this, a Messiah who is Deus fortis (Is. 9:5), who has the spirit of fortitude ( 11 :2), the spirit of whose mouth will kill the wicked (11:4). It is, however, the descent of the Spirit upon Jesus in the form of a dove which is the most singular manifestation of the special relation between the Holy Spirit and Jesus of Nazareth. The scene contains resonances of the Old Testament treatment of the Servant of Yahweh, whose mission was primarily prophetic. There is also an allusion to the messianic king in the Lucan account. Although Jesus does not speak much of the Spirit in his public ministry, he is conscious that he is that Servant of Yahweh whom the Spirit has anointed (Lk 4:16-30). The Spirit remains in him in a quiet and permanent manner; to him is explicitly attributed the expulsion of demons (Mt 12:28). John evolves the promise of the Spirit by Christ in his Gospel: 1) It will be Jesus who sends the Spirit. 2) His return to the Father is not only a condition, but also the cause of the Spirit's mission (7:37-39). 3) This mission is closely connected with the glorification of Christ and will be for his glorification ( 16:14). 4) The Spirit will remain in the disciples stably and forever (14:16); this is the overwhelmingly new element in Christ's teaching about the Spirit. 5) Lastly, the Spirit will not speak of himself, but will explain the teaching and mystery of Christ.




The events of Pentecost and the preaching of Acts give the final information about the Spirit. Jesus announced that he would send the promise of the Father (Lk 24:49); the Spirit is proclaimed as the promise of the Father (Acts 1 :4) and indeed identified with it (2:33, 39). The Spirit is also called the gift (2:38) and described as a power (Lk 24:49) by which the apostles will be fortified to give testimony to Christ (Acts 1 :8). Peter's sermon interpreting Pentecost throws interesting light on the ecclesiastical aspect of the coming of the Spirit. By the gift of the Spirit the new people of God is set up (Acts 2:17-18), a people which will be spiritual, prophetic, charismatic, and which will include all, both Jews and gentiles (2:39-Is 57:19). It will be finally a holy people, called freely by God (2:39) and saved from the perverse generation (2:40-41). Moreover, the activity of the Spirit continues in the spread of the infant Church. He is the internal spirit of Christian preaching (4:31) and gives strength to preach ( 5:32; 10:19). The Spirit is the principle of the charisms (7:55; 8:29, 39; 10:44-46) and inspires prophecies in the early community (11:28; 13:1-4; 20: 23; 21:11 ). The Spirit is also the principle which rules and directs the Church. The Church grows (9:31), judges, and discerns (15:28) through the Spirit. The apostles are sent (13:4) or prohibited from speaking by the Spirit (16:6). In particular, the gift of the Spirit (2:38; 8:19-20; 10:45; 11 :17) refers to the prophetic and messianic gift, designates an effusion of the Holy Spirit differing from baptism (8:20; 11: 17) upon all the faithful ( 2 :39), and is nevertheless identified with the Spirit of Pentecost (11:15). Thus the gift of the Spirit is meant essentially for the perfection of the Christian and to empower the faithful to give witness to the kingdom of the risen and glorious Christ. It is distinguished from baptism in the name of Jesus, yet somehow joined to it; without both baptism and the gift of the Spirit initiation into the Christian community is not complete (19:1). . THE t;IFT OF THE SPIRIT: ROOT OF OTHER EFFECTS

The above outline of the activities attributed to the Spirit in


178 Chkago Studi.u

Sacred Scripture will illustrate how the gift of the Spirit may be taken as the fundamental effect of confirmation. Other effects of the sacrament are apparent, such as the strength to witness to Christ and to profess the faith, a fuller incorporation into the Church, and a sharing in the prophetic and royal functions of ChrisL That confirmation perfects baptism and completes Chris· tian initiation follows from the passages of Acts where the apos· ties were called upon to lay hands on those who had been hap· tized and had not yet received the Spirit. A hint that the sacra· ment confers Christian maturity can be gained from the consid· eration that Christ first became the Messiah in the fullest sense of the word after his resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of the Father, when he sent the Spirit to his Church. In like manner the baptized reaches his full Christian growth only when he is established in power through the Spirit of confirmation. It is this Spirit which enables the laity to carry out the tasks im· posed upon them by the new status in the Church which they ac· quire through the sacraments of initiation, both sacraments he· ing a consecration to Catholic action and the lay apostolate. Thus effects which are most intimate to the holiness of the confirmed, the very gift of the Spirit, Christian maturity and adulthood, a fuller incorporation into the Church, and those which, on the other hand, seem concerned almost exclusively with external affairs, such as the lay apostolate, strength to wit· ness and confess the faith, find a principle of unity in the one Spirit who is their principle and cause. This is hardly surprising, for despite the opposition between the interior call to sanctity and the apostolic works of witness it is the same Spirit who unites them, the Spirit who is both the inner bond of union he· tween the Father and the Son and who also invested the Son with the power to bear witness to the Father during his public life. Besides, both traditions are clearly preserved in the sacred writ· ings. The pentecostal gift of the Spirit in Acts has a twofold func· tion: in the line of Jeremiah-Ezekiel-Paul, it is the renewal of the heart by which the New Law is fulfilled with joyful liberty; at the same time it is the enthusiastic proclamation of the mag· nalia Dei in the line of Joel (Acts 2:11; 10:46). At Pentecost both lines join: the Christian receives the grace of fulfilling the commandments by a divine impulse and enthusiasm which sur-



mounts his frailty and the obstacles of the possibly hostile world, and this grace is a sign of God's redeeming presence in his Church. THE CHRISTIAN'S PENTECOST

It is one thing to summarize the functions of the Spirit in the Old and New Testaments and to see in these activities a compendium of the various effects usually attributed to confirmation. But where is the evidence that confirmation has the function of bringing to the individual Christian the gift of the Spirit? How does one show that the second sacrament renews Pentecost in the heart of every person entering into the Christian faith? This point can be established in two steps, by examining the evidence in the ancient liturgy and the reflections of some modern theolo¡ . gJans.

It is impossible to make a detailed study here of early liturgical formulas, of the ceremonies of confirmation in various East¡ ern rites, of the many blessings and prefaces for the consecration of the chrism which are extant, and of the place of the Holy Spirit in early Christian creeds. The origins of the sacrament of confirmation as one of the three stages of Christian initiation and the original granting of this initiation during the Easter vigil reveal the work of the Holy Spirit in this sacrament. The Spirit comes as a seal and crowning after the baptismal ablution and is followed by the joyful paschal Eucharist. Prominent in the rituals are the conferring of the Spirit with his seven gifts, which include, of course, the gift of fortitude. The rite itself, which seems to have been changed very qUickly from the imposition of hands described in Acts to include the anointing of the present ceremony, points to confirmation as a sealing, a completion of the baptismal cleansing. The Spirit is seen in early creeds as the one who spoke through the prophets, as the Spirit of truth who gives truth to every being, as the Spirit who vivifies those who live in him. In bapti8m the Holy Spirit removes the Christian from the possession of the devil; in confirmation the Spirit is the seal and anointing which crown and complete the baptismal mystery. In the liturgical texts referring to the Spirit, he is invoked as lifegiver, purifying force, source of true and deep knowledge, gath-

180 Chicago Studies

erer of all men into the unity of the Church, and pledge of eternal life. Above all, the Spirit crowns and perfects the work of Christ. And it is this same Spirit which all the confirmed possess in themselves in his fullness, who is now the principle of their perfect life in Christ and the Church. A DILEMMA The straightforward statements of the liturgy, when they become the subject of speculation for the theologians, cause not a little difficulty. If confirmation is a new sacrament, distinct from baptism, what is the proper grace it confers? If this grace is the gift of the Spirit, how does it differ from baptism, which surely has given the Spirit to the new Christian? Is baptism somehow incomplete in itself? It seems that either baptism is insufficient and does not confer the Spirit, or confirmation has no purpose, since the Spirit is already present in the Christian. The dilemma can be further pointed up. All Christian grace is a communication of the Spirit. What is the meaning, then, of a sacrament, whose proper effect is this communication? Does confirmation give the Spirit in a way different and presumably surpassing the manner in which he is given in baptism, the Eucharist, or any other means of grace? This point obviously penetrates into the heart of the problem of the meaning of confirmation. I shall review some modem attempts to solve it in the hope that they will lead to a better understanding of confirmation as the sacrament which gives the Spirit par excellence. To serve as guideposts, the ordinary teaching of the Church provides two certain conclusions: confirmation is not necessary for salvation with the necessity of means; baptism consequently is sufficient for salvation and the conferring of sanctifying grace. Secondly, there is no sanctification without the Holy Spirit, who is therefore given at baptism and dwells in the souls of the just, whether they have the seal of confirmation or not. Consequently, if the Spirit is given also at confirmation, there are two missions of the Spirit to the Christian. The problem now is how to distinguish them. The fathers were aware of this problem and their answer was

Confirmation 181 couched in the general terms that the Spirit given in confirmation as contrasted to his simple conferral in baptism was the fullness of the Spirit. The scholastics too mentioned different factors which would distinguish this second giving of the Spirit from baptism, some saying that the Spirit was given for strength in confirmation after being conferred for remission of sins in hap· tism, others saying that the Spirit in confirmation enabled the re· cipients to become full Christians. But the difficulty in these and other solutions proposed is that they did not specify just how or why the reception of the Spirit in confirmation should be special. Granted that the same uncreated Spirit is poured out in every communication of grace, one must look for the difference not in the Spirit but in the particular created effect which is received through confirmation. In this connection recent advances in sac· ramental theology, especially in the symbolic value of the sacraments, have made notable contributions. FRANSEN: LIFE OF CHRIST REPEATED IN FAITHFUL

Piet Fransen, S.J ., who teaches in the Flemish theologate at Heverlee near Louvain, offers an explanation to show how confirmation is in a special way the sacrament of the gift of the Spirit. It is based on the analogy of faith, a comparison between mysteries which results in better understanding. If one considers the redemption as a perfecting of men in the model of Christ, the only truly perfect man and the obedient, loving Son of the Father, Scripture at least implies that the titles filius hominis and Servus Yahweh apply to all Christians in a corporate sense. We are all to become servi in Servo and filii in Filio through grace. But if this is true, then the role of the Spirit in the life of Christ is very important for our own Christian activity, for he should play a similar role in our lives. In the New Testament Christ's life began under the shadow of the Spirit at his conception; his life before the Jewish people was inaugurated with an outpouring of the Spirit at his baptism. But just as the Spirit is the principle of grace and new life in Christ, so the Spirit is to assist the Christian both when he receives new life in baptism and when he enters into public life before the Church in confirmation. Fransen's principle would be the following: that which the Spirit has fundamentally effected in the person of Christ he has corporately

182 Chicago Studi&

sealed in the Church and then subsequently works out sacramentally for all the faithful in confirmation ("De Gave van de Geest," Bijdragen 21 [1960] 415). The Spirit was the soul and inner power of the unique testimony which Christ gave during his public life as a divine and prophetic witness to the truth. This visible mission of the Spirit is now extended to each Christian through confirmation, and this is precisely how his second giving is distinguished from the first: just as Christ received the Spirit in visible form at the beginning of his public life, so the Christian receives him in a visible sacrament to strengthen him for witness. This is the salvific and ecclesiastical role assigned to the visible rite of confirmation, which proclaims to the world that the baptized is now perfected and strengthened for the public work he is to perform. ScHILLEBEECKX: EsTABLISHMENT oF CHRISTIAN IN POWER

The solution of E. H. Schillebeeckx, O.P., professor at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, while not differing greatly from the one just proposed, does add a further refinement. The difference in the two sendings of the Spirit is found in the differing sacramental representation of the invisible mission in hap¡ tism and the visible mission in confirmation. As background for this Schillebeeckx sees two principal moments in the mystery of Christ: the worship offered by the Servant of Yahweh which was accepted by the Father in the resurrection, and the establishment in power (in-kracht-stellung) of Christ's humanity through which he, himself filled with the Holy Spirit, becomes as man the principle of the same Spirit for us ( Christus Sakramem van de Godsommoeting, 143-153). The Church is the earthly form and continuation, or better, visibility, of this cult-mystery of the one High Priest which sanctifies and imparts the Spirit. She is the visible sign here on earth of the eternal Pasch or of the resurrection from the dead. But the Church was also established in power on Pentecost and is therefore the earthly sign of Christ's fullness and sending of the Spirit. By baptism and confirmation one enters into the mystery of the Church and thereby into the mystery of Christ. In baptism we become members of the people of God and children of the Father (filii in Filio) and this precisely in virtue of the power



of the Spirit of adoption, who is given in baptism. Confirmation establishes us as children of God in power and we partake, with· in the framework of the visible Church, of her plenitude and share of the Spirit and thus of the pentecostal mystery of Christ himself. The confirmed become adult members of the Church, enrolled in the full mystery of the Church (filii Dei in virtute). The double gift of the Spirit is explained in the following manner. Even before his establishment in power, Christ fulfilled his cult to the Father in the power of the Spirit. Baptism incor· porates the Christian into this cult of the Father by the Son of God in the same power of the Spirit, but through the invisible mission of the Holy Spirit. That which is visible in baptism and in the baptized is the paschal mystery: the dying to sin and a life for God in Christ. But in confirmation a new element becomes visible, the pentecostal mystery. Here there is question of a visi· ble testimony of the fact that the Christian is established in power through the Spirit of Christ. This does not mean that hap· tism is defective; on the other hand, the fullness of the messianic powers is still lacking in the unconfirmed. It is somewhat as in the case of the earthly Christ who, although already Messiah, could not let the full power of his messianism unfold visibly through the sending of the Spirit upon mankind until after his heavenly pentecostal mystery. Confirmation therefore sacramen· tally renders visible the Spirit as the full power of the messianic mission, in which the Christian participates. FINAL PROBLEM

What has been said may still leave a doubt in the minds of some. Has the real problem been touched ai- all by these approaches to it? Has there been some indication which renders the communication of grace in confirmation the gift of the Spirit par excellence, apart from his communication in every bestowal of grace? This is an area yet to be investigated fully, but it seems to me that one should judge the grace given by the sacraments precisely by that which they signify, according to the principle sacramenta causant significando. If this is so, we can see the point of the attempts made by Fransen and Schillebeeckx to show that confirmation stands for or signifies the visible advent of the Spirit in the life of the Christian, just as the same Spirit was once

184 Chicago Studie•

given in full power to Christ for his visible mission to the world. The confirmed is hereby established in power, brought to the full perfection of Christ through the Spirit. Thus Christ continues the pentecostal sending of his Spirit in the life of the individual Christian, and in the only way that human beings could perceive and understand that they were receiving the fnllness of the Spirit: through a visible sacramental rite which signifies this sending. The main point of this article, however, should be clear. Confirmation is the sacrament in which, above all, the Christian receives the gift of the Spirit. Once this is established, it is easy to see how many of the other eflecta attributed to confirmation, far from being denied, are rather rooted in the Spirit as their ultimate source and principle.

Luis Alonso Schokel, S./.


A New Synthesis? translated by William A. Schumacher

J. a modern synthais of religious wisdom po..ible?

Before speaking of a modem synthesis of religious wisdom, we must recall that the synthetic process may be viewed in differ· ent ways. An animal organism can properly be called a synthe· sis, but not in the strict meaning of a reorganization following analysis. Organic complexity is the result of a process of differ· entiation directed by a living center of unity. On the other hand, the term synthesis in the strict sense can be applied, for example, to the work of a student of anatomy, who fits together the compo· nent parts of a plastic model. Language itself undergoes a process of differentiation and distinction; human sciences are even more subject to this ten· dency toward division. The constructive power of Aristotle, for instance, shows itself in his organic progression in the distinction of knowledge, while retaining his personal unity of direction in the process. Once the sciences have been set in motion, the


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process of differentiation tends to grow by geometrical progression, and unity is to be found only in a geographical sense, for example, in the concentration of thinkers in ancient Alexandria. Each science keeps on differentiating itself, until it reaches a stage which many consider a point of no return, beyond which synthesis is impossible. Despite these tendencies, there are those who hope today for a modem synthesis, for example, Alois Dempf. Religious sciences have also been subject to this process of differentiation and division throughout the ages. Is a modem synthesis of religious wisdom possible. If a perfect synthesis in the sense of total reorganization is out of the question, might not a more organic synthesis be possible by returning to a simpler animating principle? Some believe that they can discern converging indications that the religious sciences are turning toward a new unity by taking the path of simplification. Before attempting to answer these questions, an historical review will be useful-a survey animated by the desire to learn rather than to criticize. BEGINNINGS

Christianity began neither as a science nor as a doctrine, understanding this latter term in its theoretical meaning; it began as a manifesto of events which were historical, mysterious, and active. The official writers of the primitive Church, inspired by God, did not intend to offer us a perfect synthesis of Christian knowledge, although they recognized a center which is Christ and on some occasions developed certain central themes of the Christian mystery in an organic fashion-for example, the theme of grace in the letter to the Romans and the theme of Christ in that to the Ephesians; but even in those instances they did not proceed with modem rigor of method. We can consider those writings as the remote and germinal beginnings of differentiation in the consideration of the Christian mystery. Very soon there arose minimal syntheses of a few organized facts. Rather than call them "syntheses," since they were not the result of a process of analytical differentiation, the ancients called them "creeds." These creeds had a basic structUre, almost always a triple one, which was capable of organic development:



God the Father, Creator, in his plan of salvation sent his Son as Savior by his death and resurrection; Christ founded his Church in the Holy Spirit. Here we already encounter points of departure for a science of the Trinity, of the plan of salvation, of Christ, and of the Church . . The fathers of the Church began by proclaiming and preaching the Word of God, and in the course of this pastoral activity they came to produce moral and asceticalliterature, apologetics, and theological speculation-all of which took the form of a rather free and creative exegesis. What would later become different branches of study began to grow organically. The history of salvation was reviewed in the cycle of the liturgy, and the creeds were used as professions of faith. These latter were augmented in the form of professio de fide orthodoxa, and in this new form were incorporated into the worship of the Church. Quite soon lrenaeus initiated theological thought; Eusebius of Alexandria consistently and courageously undertook theological speculation; and Origen attempted a systematic synthesis in his great work De principiis (220-230 A.D.). From these points, noted in outline fashion, we observe these salient features: the organic movement toward differentiation, the rooting in worship of the primitive syntheses, and the pastoral context in which these developments took place. In other words, the synthesis of Christian doctrine with Christian life; the homily as an instrument of instruction, of exhortation, of thought, and of contemplation; penetration of the Sacred Scriptures with exegetical techniques-all these developments were bringing to light the Christian treasures of thought and of life. The need to organize or to systematize was not felt keenly as yet; when this need arose, the creeds and the history of salvation offered the framework for a system. MEDIEVAL SYNTHESIS

The Middle Ages show us the fully developed and formulated presentation of Christian truth in a synthetic and systematized fashion. Since the seventh century at least, there existed a wealth of differentiated doctrine which needed organization. Following the footsteps of the fundamental structures of the creeds and of

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salvation history, this movement consciously formulated and used the technique of biblical interpretation. Some think that the great medieval synthesis is the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas, but this idea is not completely accurate. The great work of St. Thomas is indeed a summa, a student's manual, and consequently it represents an intellectual synthesis. But the synthesis of medieval wisdom is broader and more pro· found than this summation. Cassiodorus had already authoritatively established the divi· sian and order of the liberal arts: the trivium (grammar, rhet· oric, dialectic) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, as· tronomy, music). These arts are at the service of philosophy; philosophy is the handmaiden of theology; theology is the expla· nation of Scripture, and for this reason theology is the "queen of the arts." Here is indeed a synthesis of wisdom with both structure and summit. Turning to theology, or the explanation of Scripture, we find a technique of interpretation which seeks to extract from the Sa· cred Page alone the whole of Christian doctrine. This is the theory and the technique of the four meanings: Littera gesta docet; quid credas allegoria; Moralis quid agas; quo tendas anagogia. (Augustinus Dacius, O.P.) HISTORY

History or "the letter" is an exposition of the sact·ed text in its literal meaning; today we often call this literal meaning the "obvious sense," one which frequently is not too literal, given our cultural distance from the sacred authors. Due to the lack of critical understanding which was generally characteristic of medieval culture, this first explanation took each detail as pure history without reflection; but on the other hand we must always note that the historia of a parable is not in itself historical for medieval authors. At the same time, using the historical meaning as the foundation for all that followed, the writers of the Middle Ages preserved a basic, traditional



character of our faith: its concern not with abstract truths but with events. They linked to the Christian manifesto an event, for example that of St. Stephen, amplifying and enriching it wiLL an abundance of Scripture. This rooting in historical event has its own value and also interlocks vividly and easily with the liturgical cycle. The Bible, and the Old Testament in particular, is considered not so much as a book of doctrine, but rather as a record of history; consequently, its unity is not that which characterizes a conceptualized body of writing, but rather that of a plan car路 ried out by God in history. This would indeed have been a dy路 namic unity if the medievals had possessed a dynamic sense of history, but their unconventional habit of foreshortening histori路 cal distances forestalled such insights. ALLEGORY

The medieval theologian built the edifice of faith upon his路 tory, or the literal meaning, by using allegory. This term must be understood in the strict Christian and medieval sense: it is not the allegory of rhetoricians, nor the Alexandrian practice which distilled moral ideals from the fictitious deeds extolled by the poets; rather it is a vision which in the light of faith discovers and contemplates in the Old Testament the multiple mystery of Christ in his Church, comparing fact with fact Systematically applying the data of the Old Testament to those of the New, it penetrates into the riches of the Christian mystery. Since "allegory builds up the faith," the allegorical explanation of the Old Testament is fundamentally theologicaL The capital sin of this approach is allegorism, the exaggerated search for parallels, remote or proximate, pursued without rigor or criticism. The medievals also erred by losing the sense of movement and of perspective, when they compared facts with facts in a static fashion. The merit of this theory lies in its living consciousness of the unity of revelation, of its culmination in Christ and in his Church, and in a type of analysis containing much contemplation. Here we find a doctrinal and historical Christocentrism. Strictly speaking, the New Testament does not admit of an allegorical interpretation, since all its historia is the history of

190 Chicago Studies

Christ and of the Church. The allegorical sense is the referral of the whole of the Old to the New Testament. ThOPOLOGY

Upon the edifice of faith raised up by the allegorical interpre¡ tation, the medievals superimposed a third meaning: tropology, which builds customs. The tropological sense does not coincide with the Alexandrian fashion of moralizing, which purged and changed the not quite edifying stories of the poets; nor does it mean either a natural stoic morality or an "exemplary" readiog of the Bible which was tolerated by illustration. Rather, the life of Christ is doctrine and example and power; Christ is the norm in his deeds and in his actions, an active norm; all the exhorta¡ tion of the New Testament begins from Christ and ends in him. The data of the Old Testament, passing through Christ in an allegorical transposition, becomes informed with this moral dynamism which is capable of building Christian customs. Thus it came about that the morality of the medievals was substantially biblical and Christian; in the life of the Christian there comes alive each day the mystery of Christ; in each Christian the Church is fulfilling itself. Perhaps the medievals confined the application of this tropological meaning to the monastic life and thereby diminished its spiritual force for the ordioary Christian; this was a consequence of the study of Scripture having taken refuge in the monasteries. ANAGOGY

The fourth meaning, anagogy, crowns the others and anticipates heavenly contemplation. The earthly realities of Christ and his Church are seen as the image of and movement toward the consummation of heaven, which has already begun with the resurrection of Jesus Christ and will be completed by his glorious coming at the end of time. This anagogic meaning gives an eschatological tension to the Christian life and simultaneously binds the present to eternity. With all this, the Christian does not lose himself in dreams or ideals, but rather, starting with ancient and present facts, directs himself towards his final fact. The anagogic meaning "builds up hope" and is the food for contemplation. Here the monastic restrictions are felt much more deeply, insofar as contemplation was considered the exclusive practice



of the monks. This was true in practice, although in theory con· templation, or the anticipation of heaven, was offered to every Christian in the Scriptures. This is the great medieval synthesis: all knowledge organized in relation to theology; all theology issuing from Scripture; all Scripture realizing itself organically in Christian doctrine, in Christian life, in Christian contemplation. PROCESS OF DIVISION

The intellectual activity of the twelfth century contained within itself the seeds of specialization and division; an inevitable process began with the Victorines in the twelfth century, to the advantage of analysis and precision but at the expense of unity. In the century of high scholasticism, the master of theology was still considered the official commentator on the Scripture-"legit Sacram Paginam"-while the bachelor discussed the Sentences of Peter Lombard. St. Thomas was, before all else, a theologian, that is, an exegete; in the second place he concerned himself with quaestiones and took the time to compose a students' handbook. The intense use of Scripture and the amount of biblical history vitalize the Summa. But the process of specialization continued, now coupled with the decadence of scholasticism in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. After Trent, theological syntheses adopted the basic structure of the works of Peter Lombard or of Aquinas, but they began to dispense with entire trea· tises which formed a unit in the unified structure, for example, the treatise De Legibus. The Protestants wavered between the loosely organized approach of Luther and the constructive rigor of Calvin: for a while the "symbolic theologies" were in control, constructed on the pattern of the creeds (symbols) or confessions of faith; later, a reaction of biblical theology followed, which called itself "antisymbolic." · PRESENT SITUATION

We come now to our own times. The restlessness and anxious search for a new unity in our ecclesiastical sciences corresponds to a certain eagerness for unity in the profane sciences. In the religious field too we are the heirs of the specialization of the nineteenth century, a mixed blessing indeed. From this speciali-

192 Chkago Studies

zation we have inherited practically autonomous treatises in fundamental theology, dogma, church history, moral, canon law, ascetics, pastoral, liturgy, missiology, patmlogy, history of dogma, all copiously subdivided. Viewed positively, these dis路 tinct sciences have progressed and have gained new richness in the past eighty years; but from the aspect of their teaching, they have complicated the course of theology. The desired unity is found neither on the scientific level nor in its pedagogical as路 pects. Some will object that there is indeed a true unity in the course of theology: a simple architecture of treatises, built on the old schema of the creeds or of the Sentences, with some renovations. And they find testimony of this unity in our manuals of theology or in the systematic index of the new Denzinger-Schonmetzer. But I believe that among students, the impression of multiplicity prevails; the casual order of the dogmatic course, the scattering of secondary courses-these occupy the consciousness of the student and smother the weak impressions of unity. If in the study of dogma a certain unified line of development is still preserved, somewhat dependent upon the outline of the creed, the other in路 teresting and current disciplines--Scripture, liturgy, ascetics, moral--eannot be incorporated into this unity. Above all, a deep division persists between the academic sciences and the gospel which the students will later have to live and proclaim as priests. We should also note that students make this same objection to a dry, technical study of exegesis. For almost thirty years the great search of kerygmatic theology has been to bridge the gap between the scientific study of theology and life; but the chasm is only deepened by setting a kerygmatic theology alongside a scientific one. Today protagon路 ists of this movement state that all theology must be kerygma tic, aimed toward the proclamation of the Christian mystery, and that the class cannot be remote from homily and meditation. Once again there is a searching for reconciliation between the lectio monastica and the lectio scholastica, as in medieval times. And in Vatican II many have expressed the need for theology to be essentially pastoral, not falsely divided between theoretical and practical viewpoints.




In this general panorama we can discover some indications of a search for unity, which can he recorded and even equated with the great medieval synthesis: namely, a return to Sacred Scripture as the center of doctrine and of life, as ever-present starting point. First of all, it should he noted that the science of exegesis cannot furnish a schema for a new synthesis, since thus far a commonly accepted biblical theology has not been achieved. Furthermore, the unity of our present Scripture text has been covered by another unity of historical composition, discovered by literary criticism; for example, the supposed unity of the hook oflsaiah has been replaced by two or three basic strata historically distinct, and a substantial theological contribution has been discovered in the so-called "Book of Consolation" (Is 4055). Still, Sacred Scripture, although critically analyzed and expounded, maintains and ¡even grows in its central position of strength. Let us now review some indications of a return to this focal point.

MoRAL Karl Rahner sharply reproaches the moral theology of Noldin on one symbolic and significant issue: in consulting the index of citations, we find no reference to the Sermon on the Mount-a Christian ethics, a moral theology, which can ignore without qualms of conscience the great teaching of Christ. We have already seen how medieval moral theology was the tropological understanding of Scripture, derived immediately from Christ and his Church: in translating the Old Testament by the code of the New Testament, its teaching became christianized and liveable; Christ occupied the center and acted in his Church, and in the Church the sacraments were linked with Christian life and .practice. Today we are witnessing a return of moral theology to the Bible-at first only to the New Testament, since the morality and law of the Old Testament pose very delicate problems. The pioneer of this movement is F. Tillman, who conceives morality according to the principle of the following of Christ. That is to say, Christian morality is rooted in the factual basis of salvation his-

194 Chicago Studies

tory; it is centered in Christ. Other authors have elaborated the moral implications of the principle of the mystical body (E. Mersch, F. Jurgensmeier), of the kingdom of God ( J. Stelzenberger), of the image of God in man (N. Krautwig), of the sacraments (G. Ermecke). Finally, B. Haring has composed a vigorous synthetic work, a Christian moral, Christocentric from its very title, The Law of Christ (Newman, 1961-1963), and consistently biblical in character. It is pointless to criticize Haring as an exegete; the important feature of his work is precisely the direction taken, the system used, the biblical foundation employed therein. DOGMA

Although the manuals now in use still follow the structure of theses and argumentation, indications of a return to the Bible are gradually accumulating. Many professors have been explaining the treatises or at least particular themes with a clearly biblical focus; for them, the Scripture has ceased to be the sedes argumemorum and is once again understood as revelation, which must be heard and penetrated. This scholarly explanation by the professor can accompany the formal explanation of the thesis, which has its own pedagogic advantages and possesses a tradition of examining and qualifying the doctrines being taught (it should be discussed whether such examining and qualifying is not possible in the form of exposition rather than in the form of proof) ; the biblical focus is also penetrating the scholarly notes prepared by professors. On the part of Scripture scholars, certain monographs of biblical theology are aiding this work; in an indirect fashion, so to speak, the Theologisches W orterbuch zum N euen TestamenJ; has influenced this biblical infusion of life into the teaching of theology. In this area the exegetes have a tremendous task, and they rather give the impression of finding themselves behind in this work. Another interesting symptom of a changing focus is found in occasional discussions between professors of dogma and exegetes, for example, the sessions of Wurzburg (1961) and private discussions of the professors of the Gregorian University with those of the Biblical Institute. Certainly an increase in these in-



formal conversations between faculties or within a faculty would be most desirable. An expansion of such conversations in action are the works on one theme written in collaboration by dogma professors and exegetes. An important development for the future is the gradual in路 crease in the number of professors of fundamental theology and of dogma who are equipping themselves by seeking a licentiate in Sacred Scripture; these men will he able to build bridges and to incorporate the theological results of biblical investigations into their teaching in a permanent way. On the part of the exe路 getes, though they do not seem very inclined to use dogmatic formulas alien to the Bible, still they are seeking the theological meaning of Scripture with a gro\ring interest, a meaning which the modem technique of literary analysis is discovering in ever greater abundance. The method called "redaction criticism" ap路 plied to the Gospels helps us appreciate the theological work of the evangelists-theology as the interpretation of the mystery of Christ which unfolds itself in history; something similar is found in Old Testament studies in the investigation of the traditions and the structures proper to those books. LITURGY

To state that the liturgy is also returning to the Bible would be false, since the liturgical movement is prior to the biblical move路 ment historically, and has promoted and sustained the latter in great measure. The historical work of Jungmann, The Good News-Yesterday and Today (Sadlier, 1962), dates from 1936; in that work he brought a religious situation under theological analysis and gave an organic record of the beginnings of the Ji. turgical revival. At that time biblical studies were going forward quietly, and seven years were to pass before the great encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu-that is, seven chronological years, since the exegetes then felt that recognition lay much farther off in the future. Considering some disconnected aspects of the liturgy, we find that the theme of salvation history is preserved in quite a pure state; then sense of history actualized in worship is maintained as a living thing; the Word sounds forth (although understood


Chicago Studies

by only a few), and that Word is basically biblical. The liturgy makes real a union of the biblical Word with sacrifice and sacrament; this was important although not understood by all. The current liturgical movement needs exegesis and biblical theology to give depth to its contents and to nourish the homily; exegesis flows out in liturgy as the first step of the proclamation and realization of the Word. For this reason reviews exist en' titled Bibel und Liturgie and Revista biblica y liturgica; biblical articles abound in Worship; and the Congress in Strasbourg (1957) was entitled Parole de Dieu et Liturgie. The German bishops, meeting at Fulda before the second session of Vatican II, judged that the present great renewal of the Church would have been impossible without the liturgical and biblical movements. This is so evident that it need be neither proved nor developed. Still, reflections are in ¡order on the inner dialectic of this movement. The liturgical renewal, which appeared at first under the sign of splendor or magnificence, very soon penetrated the depths of Christian life, and the call of life awakened the biblical movement. By this birth and by its natural insertion into liturgy, Scripture opened the way to piety, meditation, and ascetics. Heretofore the Gospels had always been the subject of meditation and the food of the Christian (recall the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius) ; the Epistles were so considered somewhat less frequently, and the Old Testament almost never. Today there already exists a complete book, Spirituality of the Old Testament, by Paul-Marie of the Cross, O.C.D., which has been translated into several languages. We could discuss the problem of how the author presents the Old Testament as transformed by the New-the medieval approach-but here we are only interested in noting the fact of this publication for what it is worth as a symptom. We can add the books of biblical meditations by 0. Karrer, R. Tamisier, G. Fehn, and G. Brillet. The liturgical movement has led to the triumph of the homily as the specifically Christian form of preaching as opposed to the ciceronian sermon. From this victory is. growing a general renewal of preaching, which in its turn draws on biblical studies, seeking more exegesis and biblical theology. In this regard two



dictionaries will exercise a notable influence in the near future -the French of Leon-Dufour and the German of Bauer-since they offer preachahle biblical materiaL We can foresee that the Christian people will soon come to know the Scriptures by their own reading and will begin to demand greater depth and quality in preaching. On his own part, with every homily he preaches the preacher feels more deeply the need of contact with the Word of God. He will not find this in the form of occasional quotations -the oratorical equivalent of the "argument from Scripture"but only in turning all his own words into an authentic resonance of the inspired Word; naturally, such a resonance must include amplification, development, and the personal qualities of the preacher. TEACHING

Teaching on the level of catechesis has already completed a great return to Scripture, that is, to biblical structure and terminology; it is sufficient to recall as examples the German Catechism and the biblical catechisms. In many nations this renewal has already been accomplished and has become the accepted norm. This means that the children of today, the young people of the future, are being formed and are growing as Christians in a biblical environment; from their childhood they are orienting themselves toward the facts of redemption, toward the history of salvation. They are learning the language of fundamental religious symbols and assimilating a vocabulary with biblical roots. Anyone who believes in the importance of language for the development of the intellectual life will appreciate the transcendent importance of this catechetical renewaL On. the level of secondary education, we already find many experiments and various works on the teaching of the Bible. But teachers of religion with an organic, solid preparation are still lacking on the level of secondary education. I do not believe that summer courses and cycles of conferences are enough for the preparation needed. In recent years three Brothers of Christian Doctrine have passed through the Biblical Institute, but it is still too soon to estimate the effects of this new experiment; in the beginnings of a renewal, such licentiates in Sacred Scripture can be mediators between exegetical science and secondary educa-

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tion. The courses at Lumen Vitae hold great promise of further· ing such a renewal. On the level of higher education, whether collegiate or univer· sity, an interesting evolution is appearing, which will he carried to fruition by a new group of teachers, the lay theologians. In Germany and in the United States there are a growing number of young laymen who have completed their theological studies and have then joined the staffs of publishing houses or have become professors of religion. Since they have not been subjected to the rigorous program of priestly formation, it is easier and more probable for them to. orient their theology toward the Bible and to collaborate in the growth of this movement. Conversely, if they feel moved to make a personal contribution to the sacred sciences, they will do so by making theology relevant to the laity. Although this movement is in its infancy, it is the last symptom we will describe. CoNcLusioN We have come back to our point of departure: this return to the Bible, toward whose realization many roads are converging. But does this lead to a new synthesis? I believe that it does, when "synthesis" is understood in its organic meaning. We should recall the phrases of Leo XIII on the place of Sa· cred Scripture in theology: "It is most especially desirable and necessary that the use of Sacred Scripture flow into the whole of theological science and that it be its very soul" ( Providentissi· mus Deus: EB 114). Naturally it is Scripture interpreted by tra· clition, catholice tradita, a realization of the organic unity of Scripture and tradition for the understanding and exposition of revealed truth. The presence of one unique "soul" in the various disciplines can be a principle of organic unity, although this unity still has not been shaped into a clear and systematic con· ceptual formation; indeed, exegetical science itself still has not achieved its own clear synthesis, which is a necessary prepara· tion for the final synthesis of the theologian. The synthesis of doctrine with life is facilitated and seems nearer with the systematic return to the Bible; liturgy, preach· ing, and meditation are bridges to cross this gap.



Looking at the signs of the times, we can anticipate an enrichment of Christian life, doctrine, and practice by the influence of the Word of God. The Scriptures--proclaimed in the liturgy, preached in the homily, taught by catechesis, penetrated by theology-will continue to impregnate the minds of Christians. Biblical language--concrete, historic, imaginative, but also con¡ ceptual and embodying a process of spiritualization-will once again become meaningful and even familiar. A doctrinal synthesis corresponding to the Summa of St. Thomas in a modem version still is not on the foreseeable horizon; but a unification toward a living, clearly perceived center is already in progress. Insofar as we can foresee, Vatican II will initiate this movement.

David /. Hassel, S./.

The Priest-Expert A Philosophical-Theological Assessment By medialift8 between the Church and secular culture, the prielt~ert keep• the Church re~ to her age.

In the' rapidly changing 1960's, one question keeps sounding in the ears of the Church with an especially piercing quality: Is the Church keeping her message relevant to the times? Is she succeeding or failing in her witness to Christ? A previous article (CHICAGO STUDIES, Fall, 1963), taking an historical view of this current problem, traced the developing role of the priest-expert in the Church and found that his media¡ tion of expert knowledge was of great importance for the Church's witness to Christ. In the present article, an attempt will be made to give this historical finding both a philosophical and a theological explanation. These tentative explanations aim to describe concretely how the priest-expert mediates between the Church and the world of secular learning in order to develop Christian wisdom in both communities. 201

202 Chicago Studies

PART 1: PHILOSOPHICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE PRIEST-EXPERT In order to explore systematically how the priest-expert mediates in the Church, let us first consider philosophically: (A) how the priest-expert uses his secular learning to furnish the Church with the grounds for prudent decisions, (B) how he communicates effectively with cultural and scientific leaders, (C) how he develops his theology through such communication, (D) how his non-pragmatic pursuit of and contributions to a particular specialized knowledge are the necessary basis for the first three mentioned activities. Despite appearances, only through such considerations can we gradually see how and why the priestexpert (and, incidentally, the parish priest) is in some way committed to secular learning precisely by his priesthood.


¡ Let us begin bluntly. Unless the Church exercise Christian prudence, she will slowly die of spiritual anemia. For prudent judgments are the life-blood of God's people, the dynamic center of their vocation to sanctity. The imprudent pope compromises the Church into disaster; the imprudent bishop handcuffs and smothers his priests; the imprudent pastor scandalously drives his people from Christ; the imprudent layman portrays the pharisee, and not Christ, to his fellow man. Without prudence, personal salvation is impossible and the Church witnesses to someone other than Christ. What, then, is this prudence for which such importance is claimed? Simply, it is practical Christian wisdom. For prudence is that central intellectual virtue which focuses all man's knowledges, virtues, gifts, and physical powers on a unique existential situation so that he is, at least partially, in control of the situation. In other words, the prudent man is capable of creating good within the situation and is not forced to evil activity by the pres¡ sures of the situation. Thus the prudential decision and its consequent activity are the deliberative confluence of man's past experiences, his virtues,



his openness to legitimate authority, his theological attitudes, and his union with God and neighbor. But also, and especially for our present purpose, they are the integrative confluence of man's various secular knowledges insofar as they are focused on a particular problem or situation. For man knows reality in piece-meal fashion. He does not see reality in all its aspects and depths with one glance as God does. Instead, man painstakingly pieces together the mosaic of reality from the various distinct knowledges in his possession. Thus the more knowledges a man has, the wider and deeper can be his vision of reality. And the better his vision of reality (i.e., the better his piecing together of the various aspects of a situation) the more prudently he can control the situation and the more virtuously he can act. For example, no sane priest attempts to solve the problem of a rapidly changing parish by applying solely theological prin· ciples. He must patiently piece together the situation out of po· litical science, economics, psychology, sociology, group dynam· ics, history, etc., as well as out of theology and revelation. He refuses to be caught in the narrow-minded predicament of· a Karl Marx desperately trying to solve the world's problems with the dual knowledges of deterministic economics and history. Nor does he wish to imitate Cornie's futile attempt to heal intema· tiona! wounds with the single band-aid of sociology. No single knowledge can reveal more than a single stratum of reality even if it is the most important knowledge of all: theology interpret· ing revelation. But reality happens to be composed of more than one stratum. To act prudently then, the priest or bishop must either have or borrow the knowledge necessary for formulating a prudent plan and activity. WHO IS THE PRIEST·EXPERT?

Now, however, comes the difficulty: from whom does the average parish priest or bishop borrow this expert knowledge which is absolutely required for prudent action? It would be an over-simplification to say: from the lay expert. The parish priest who is seeking expert advice usually cannot make direct use of the scientific data afforded by the lay expert. A mediator is needed, an interpreter, who can relate, e.g., the abstract socio· logical data and techniques to the very concrete needs of that


Chicago Studia

predominantly theological situation called the parish. The me· diator, in this case, must be one who simultaneously possesses, in compenetrating understanding, sociology, theology, and some pastoral experience. Ordinarily, this is a job for the priest-expert since de facto the lay expert rarely has the opportunity to de· velop a full theological orientation and to experience pastoral work. Thus the priest-expert is seen to be a priest who has developed some particular secular knowledge (like sociology) to more than ordinary perfection, has integrated it with theology and philosophy, and has directed this synthesis towards the Church's daily living. Of course, the term priest-expert can justifiably include broad differences of proficiency. It may be expanded to cover not only the full-time scholar who is working eight to ten hours per day on a book, but also the full-time parish priest who reads widely, wisely, and proficiently within a single discipline like psychol· ogy and who challenges his evolving synthesis with work in con· fessional, pulpit, and counselling session. In fact, already a vast hierarchy of differing types of priest-experts has gradually evolved in order to discover and to make current principles of solution for the Church's many intricate problems. However, the exposition of this present article, in the interests of clarity, will be confined to the priest-experts who devote full time to a secular knowledge. For what is said of them, mutatis mutarulis, can be aptly applied to the other priest-experts who are concentrating more of their time and effort directly on the parish. COOPERATION SHAPES PRUDENCE

Once the definition of priest-expert has been singled out, it should be stated that the priest-expert does not work apart from the lay expert. Neither one is of full service to the pastor unless the other is cooperating so that a three-man team is formed. In the concrete situation, the parish priest wishing to use the find· ings of psychoanalysis in estimating, e.g., cases of scruples or of obsession, feels and is much safer when the needed information is mediated to him through a competent priest-psychoanalyst. Yet both parish priest and priest-psychoanalyst are india· pensably helped by the lay psychoanalyst. For the latter sees



people and events from an angle and at a particular depth not readily, if ever, accessible to the priest. For example, the lay psychoanalyst will normally have a concrete grasp of family life impossible to the priest and will meet certain types of people seldom encountered by the priest. Lastly, the full concentration of the lay psychoanalyst on the purely scientific aspects of his discipline will, as a rule, give him a fuller grasp of psychoanalysis than that attained by the priest-psychoanalyst who must also keep alert to philosophy, theology, and professional churchlife. On the other hand, the latter will possess a depth of philosophical and theological knowledge rarely open to the lay psychoanalyst and will have a dimension of experience in spiritual direction which is closed to the lay psychoanalyst because it is outside the latter's sphere of competence. To consult both the lay and priest-psychoanalyst is, therefore, the ideal for the parish priest if he wishes a full picture of the real situation. The possibility of such consultation is, of course, based on the common ground of commonly held knowledge. Without a modicum of secular learning, the parish priest will find it hard to use the information provided by the lay and priestexperts. Clearly, too, the priest-expert must be well trained in his particular secular knowledge as well as in theology if he is to mediate accurately the lay expert's information. Further, the lay expert himself must have some knowledge of religion and theology if he is to make a judicious selection of relevant information from his secular learning. Without such teamwork based on commonly held secular learning and theology, adequately prudent decisions are rendered less and less possible in proportion as the cultural situation becomes more and more complex.


The above analysis of the close intellectual teamwork required for prudent parish decisions lays bare the second reason why the Church wishes some of her priests to have an expert knowledge besides theology: she wants her priest-experts to be able to communicate fruitfully with the leaders of science and culture in order to induce the latter towards fuller Christian wisdom and


Chicago Studie3

in order to acquire deeper Christian wisdom for mediation to the people of the parish. However, to communicate with another, that is, to image within oneself the other's mind and heart, it is not enough to hold the ideas of the other person abstractly-at arm's length, as it were. They must be seen concretely. Such vision comes only if one has penetrated deeply the singular experience of imaginal sensation with all its demands for empathy and has therein viewed the idea in all its rich individuality and emotional tone. Merely schematic or bookish knowledge is not truly communicable. Communicable knowledge must grow slowly, like the oak, out of the rich loam of personal experience. This is why an expert in a knowledge must spend long years of patient observation and of arduous study before he attains mastery of a science, that is, before he can teach others and can learn well from his fellow experts. The imaging of another's mind, then, will be as difficult and as complex as the other's mind. When the other person is an expert in a particular knowledge, that is, when the other has made his mind, through persevering years of study on a particular reality, a delicately nuanced image of that same complex reality, then one must work long to image this expert's mind. Thus the priest-expert must be truly expert, truly deeply experienced, in a knowledge if he is to understand the lay expert. Two-WAY coMMUNICATION

From the previous description of cooperation between parish priest, lay expert, and priest-expert, it becomes evident that the priest-expert mediates or communicates in two directions when he images the mind of another. At one end of his mediation he provides the parish priest with new insights from a particular knowledge-discipline. At the other end, he imparts to the lay expert not only new expert knowledge but also (consciously or otherwise) a theological orientation for the latter's life of knowledge, that is, a divine overview in which the lay expert can see the relevance of his work and of his knowledge to the totality of natural-supernatural reality. A number of instances may be cited where the priest-expert, by mediating to the parish priest the meaning and relevance of



new secular learning for his own and his parishioners daily living, can help the Church develop a Christian wisdom for the times. For example, because of the priest-expert's mediation of the discoveries of archeology, comparative religion, and philosophy, the parish priest and his people now enjoy a rich, fresh insight into the perennial truths and attitudes of Scripture. Priestexperts like Fathers Fichter and Greeley are now applying the newly developed techniques of sociology to the parish and to religious life. Unless these and other findings of secular learning are communicated or mediated to the mystical body in terms of this pastor and of this particular parish, the Church gradually becomes isolated from the world which she is supposed to save. And the Bride of Christ appears as an arthritic old woman because her members are less prudent, therefore less holy and hence less attractive. To his communication with the lay expert, the priest-expert can bring an enriching theological orientation. For example, to the evolution-enthralled biologist he can present the Christian theory of purposeful historical development centered in Christ. For the sociologist there is the added dimension of the communal mystical body in all its historical dynamism. Because this theological orientation will be imparted, for the most part, implicitly through the priest-expert's attitudes and especially through his own scientific work, it will be all the more deeply engraved in the consciousness of the lay expert. In this way, Christian wisdom could slowly seep through the various scientific groups making up the scientific community. This would eventuate in a society structured by the principles of Christian wisdom, that golden society envisioned by every pope who ever put pen to encyclical. Secular knowledges, then, form the basis for communication between the priests and their people and for the dialogue between the Church and the scientific-cultural world. Without these knowledges deep lasting union between the Church and secular society would be extremely difficult, and both Church and world would be the worse for it. For prudent activity, the unifying spirit of society, would decay-and with it, society.

208 Chicag<> Strulie•


There is a third reason why the Church insists on equipping her priests with secular knowledges: History indicates that, without the challenge of secular knowledges revealing ever new aspects of reality, theology hardens into crystallized verbal forn1lllations. Such paralysis make the communication previously described more and more confusing, less and less effective, since the verbal formulations are only partially, and sometimes merely superficially, understood. But if secular disciplines are actively present in the priest, then these knowledges, especially philosophy, can help him in two ways. First, he can see precisely what the theologian is pointing at when the latter discusses grace or sacramental causality or poverty or living wage or love or population control. Secondly, the priest can observe reality from the new angle provided by the secular knowledge. He can then rethink his theology in terms of this new understanding. In this way Christian wisdom is kept relevant to contemporary culture and aggiornamenlo occurs within the Church. SECULAR KNOWLEDGES AND THEOLOGY

This integration of secular knowledges with theology - at once the most difficult and the most important feat performed by the priest-expert-is not a Bonaventurean Reductio Artium ad Theologiam. It is not the absorption of all knowledges into an imperialistic theology. Rather, it is a complex judgmental process (called sacra doctrina by St. Thomas) • In this process the various contributing secular and theological knowledges, always retaining their distinct autonomy, are focused according to the light of faith on the single existential situation so as to reveal the elements of revelation present there. For example, the focusing of experimental psychology, psychiatry, phenomenological.philosophy, and biochemistry on the problem of human freedom within decisions has enabled the moral theologian to situate more exactly the force of grace in pastoral counselling. Because he already possesses a nuanced knowledge of grace, the moral theologian is able to recognize the impact which these new insights from the above-mentioned secular knowledges have on the

Priat-E"pert 209

pastoral situation. On the other hand, because these new insights light up new factors in the situation, the action of grace is seen in a novel way; that is, the theologian has developed his theology of grace. Thns the very attempt to use various secular di~iplines in order to see the total situation more clearly has resulted in the theologian's also seeing the theological factor of grace under a new dimension. This is how theology is continually both enlarged and enlivened. Actually, then, the development of theology and its integration with secular knowledges are two dialectical sides of the same process of sacra doctrina. First, there is an upward movement, as it were, in which the various secular knowledges offer their insights to stimulate the theologian's faith-illumined contemplation of the existential revealed data. Then, secondly, there is a downward movement wherein the newly generated theological insight is referred back to the various secular knowledges originally contributing to this insight In this downward movement occurs the integration of theology with secular learning. And it occurs without any loss of autonomy for theology, just as the secular knowledges contributed to theological insight without losing their distinct autonomy. This integration is not a muddled mixing of the various knowledges so that theology is wedded forever to some particular philosophy or sociology or theory of history. Nor is it the assimilation of the secular knowledges by a cannibalistic theology. For these reasons, revelation, which is the object of theology, is not warped by association with the changing secular know!- . edges--and vice versa. Nor is revelation bloated by the intrusion of foreign elements from these knowledges--so long as the theologian respects the distinct autonomy of the various knowledges. Rather, revelation is illuminated by a theology whose candlepower is solely from faith but whose direction and concentration of intensity is guided by the valid insights of other laoowledges. Such an integration of theology with the secular knowledges, insofar as it develops the science of theology, is precisely Christian wisdom taken speculatively. When this speculative Christian wisdom is applied to the solution of a particular problem, e.g., the obligation of this man to join this union in this company,

210 Chicago Studie&

then one sees the operation of prudence, which is that practical Christian wisdom discussed earlier in this article. Thus theology is enriched when it enters into a dialectic with secular learning. This enriched theology can then share the wealth of its wisdom with the Christian people and with their scientific-cultural leaders.

D. NON-PRAGMATIC PURSUIT OF SECULAR LEARNING Up to now, this philosophical exposition of the priest-expert's role has had a very pragmatic, and therefore inadequate, outlook. But the Church is far from satisfied with a total pragmatism in the priest's pursuit of secular learning. Consequently there is a fourth reason why the Church calls for priest-experts: .she expects the priest-expert as expert to contribute new knowledge to his specialized secular learning. WHY DEVELOP SECULAR LEARNING?

The Church wants this for two reasons. First of all, every new addition to knowledge, no matter what its science, is a new natural revelation of God since the cause always leaves some image of itself in its effect. Astronomy's discovery of lightuing speeds and of vast distances in stellar activity and nuclear physics' discovery of the "ultimate" particles of matter have not diminished our knowledge and appreciation of God's power, ingenuity, and majesty. A second reason why the Church wants the priest-expert to contribute to secular learning is that every bit of new knowledge eventually, though perhaps quite indirectly, further perfects man's rational nature. This increased perfection, in turn, can contribute decisively to man's supernatural life. For example, anthropology and phenomenology, because pursued for themselves, have successfully uncovered the structure of man's historical attempts to encounter God and, as an indirect result, have enabled modem man to reconsider with greater humility his own present dynamic rapport with God. Again, the psychology of group dynamics, pursued for itself, now affords insight into the natural basis for personal conversions during an eightday retreat or a cursillo.

Priut-Expert 211

Besides this, knowledge of itself not only quickens a person's vision of reality but also, through that vision, enlarges his ability to love since ultimately every bit of knowledge comes from a person and is directed to a person. The astronomer, scanning the skies without a pragmatic thought, precisely because of his disinterestedness acquires a deep knowledge and appreciation of the heavens which eventually is communicated to others out of love for them but also out of appreciation for the heavens. Thus knowledge is ultimately rooted in the personal Creator of all things, and it is shared with the scientists through their contemplation of these things. Then this knowledge, pursued for its own sake, is directed to other persons through books, lectures, inventions, and conversations. Knowledge is built to express and to convey love from God to man, from man to man, and eventually from man to God, to complete the great benevolent circle. COMMITMENT TO SECULAR LEARNING

For these reasons and in this way, knowledge is a good in it•Self and is to be loved in itself, not as though it were God himself but as an eminent way to God. Now unless the priest-expert is so committed to his expert knowledge, he cannot effectively communicate with scientific-cultural leaders since they will recognize his shallowness of know ledge resultant from his shallowness of commitment. Nor can he integrate his expert knowledge with theology since his lack of commitment and shallowness of knowledge will not allow him to live these knowledges, and integration is impossible without living the knowledges in love. Finally, he cannot mediate his expert knowledge to the parish priest or to the lay expert since without commitment he will have neither the knowledge nor the desire to communicate. Thus the three previously mentioned pragmatic reasons for the Church's development of the priest-expert, namely, to attain prudential decisions, to communicate with societal leaders, and to evolve a relevant theology, are ultimately rooted in the priestexpert's commitment to his specialist knowledge for its own sake. This fourth and last reason can be called non-pragmatic in the sense that it has no necessary or direct connection with the Church's redemptive work.

212 Chicago Studies

However, even here an ultimate pragmatism is present. For the Church wants the indirect results of increased knowledge, namely, more prudent decisions, better communication, fuller theology, so that people will be more capable of becoming friends of God. In this sense the Church is ultimately pragmatic concerning the pursuit of secular learning for itself; she wants secular learning to he used as a means of salvation.

I Thus--irony of ironies-that secular learning which has been so long accused of destroying the unity of faith, of nation, and of man is seen to be the natural basis for their unification since the non-pragmatic pursuit of secular learning provides the ingredients for prudential judging, the means for communicating wisely, and the stimulus for producing a relevant theology. Thus the priest-expert would seem to be working in a deeply hidden and very powerful way for the unification of the Church and, ultimately, of all Christendom. This insight should he further clarified by study of the properly redemptive or theological aspect of the priest-expert's role in the Church-the concern of the second part of this article. SuMMARY oF PART

PART II: THEOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE PRIEST-EXPERT In this second section it will be contended that the priest-expert has three contributions to make to his scientific community (and to the Church) : a more scientific (or professional ) pastoraltheological orientation, a special abundance of grace, and an official symbolic witnessing to Christ. These contributions will constitute the distinguishing elements of his priestly redemptive vocation, that is, they will be unique to him as priest-expert in contrast with any Catholic lay expert in the same community. This uniqueness of contribution, together with the community's vital need of the unique contribution, will be the factual practical proof that expert secular learning is a necessary part of the priest-expert's concrete exercise of his priesthood. There is no possibility of proving an abstract speculative necessity of connection between expert secular learning and sacred orders since

Priest-Expert ¡213

there is no necessary, hut only a gratuitous, connection between the natural (secular leaming) and the supernatural (sacred orders). However, in the historical concrete exercise of his priesthood, a tight congruency can be seen between the secular leaming of the priest-expert and his priestly functions. Such a proof from congruency should not he expected to he as overwhelming as a cloudhurst. Instead, it is cumulative like a long soft rain. To see its cogency, one must contemplate concretely the structure of the ecclesial and scientific-cultural community together with man's nature. The reward of such effort is to see concretely the priestexpert's redemptive vocation within the rich dynamic complexity of modern culture.


To understand the unique qualities of the priest-expert's redemptive vocation, one must first consider the mission by which this vocation is rendered unique. Too often the word mission is misleadingly used to designate materially a geographic area. Scripturally, it means to be sent to christianize people in a concrete situation. In this scriptural sense, the modem mission of the priest-expert may be a visiting professorship at Yale, a seminar on modern business ethics and methods in Buenos Aires, arbitration of a bitter San Francisco labor strike, the conducting of an experimental youth-center in a Chicago slum, the winning of an election against Communist opposition in Milan. Thus the priest-expert, like the priest-missionary in Nigeria, is also sent to Christianize a situation. The major difference is that the priest-expert's situation is a mere soh-culture or stratum of society, not a total society. He works primarily with the community of physicists or psychologists or artists. Such missions are a necessity and not a pretty metaphor. For the modern world has become highly specialized and therefore stratified by the necessary division of labor and by the consequent development of special conceptual machinery. The more highly organized the skills of a particular group become, the more specialized its terminology, procedures, and attitudes. One

214 Chicago Studies

has only to attend a convention of doctors or social workers or engineers to discover that their inner communication is almost unintelligible to the outsider. Churchmen could take a simplified view of the priest's mis¡ sion and say: "Man is always man and therefore no special skill is needed to communicate religious truth to him." But this view, besides imprisoning the priest in the sacristy, is contrary to the principle of adaptation or specialization long ago seen as neces¡ sary by St. Peter when, in the Acts, he assigned the temporalities of the Jerusalem Church to the seven deacons. Later the Church exploited this principle in her development of major and minor orders, in her approval of the various religious orders and congregations with their highly specialized apostolates, in her sanctioning of diverse liturgies, in her recent establishment of secular institutes. Furthermore, history shows us the Church constantly readapting her communication with the various cultures (Roman, Frankish, Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Scientific) precisely through secular learning which acted as a common ground of understanding and cooperation. Thus the mission of the priest-expert to a sub-culture of chemists is merely the modem application of the Church's traditional principle of adaptation or specialization according to the inspiration of the Spirit and the needs of God's people. Because the differences between sub-cultures are fast growing and because man quickly develops his personal integration around the dominant sub-culture knowledge of his life's work, the Church must swiftly adapt and specialize her apostolate in order to meet, understand, guide and strengthen her children. This she can do only through particular priest¡experts who are each missioned to the various sub-cultures precisely by means of their expertness in the knowledge peculiar to each sub-culture. However, it must be here cautioned that the specialization of the priest-expert's mission must be done under the guidance of an over-all theological integration. Otherwise, communication, though achieved, will carry no unique contribution from the priest-expert since he will be acting no differently from any other member of the sub-culture. Yet, on the other hand, he must



speak the language, cultivate the attitudes and live the scale of values of the sub-culture much as did Christ for thirty hidden years in Palestine (and much as does the Taiwan missionary now -in order to integrate himself into the community so as to integrate it into Christ) . WHAT IS PASTORAL-THEOLOGICAL ORIENTATION?

Now it is in the very process of integrating himself into the sub-culture that the priest-expert both develops and gives his unique contribution to his community: a more scientific pastoraltheological orientation. All the while that the young priest-expert is studying and thereby beginning to enter a particular community of experts, e.g., anthropologists, he can be continually relating his new knowledge to his previously acquired knowledges of philosophy and theology and he can be learning to live according to the integrated relationship which he sees among these knowledges. In addition, as an ordained churchman, he naturally thinks of his personal life in terms of church life. Painfully and very slowly he is developing an integrated way of life, a lived scale of values deeply understood. Insofar as he is successfully integrating his faith and theology with his life as an anthropologist, he is becoming both a better priest and a better anthropologist-a better priest because he is fulfilling better his mission to his stratum of society; a better anthropologist because his vision of anthropology in the vast context of salvational history is giving him the motivation to strive harder for a greater knowledge of anthropology itself and is enabling him to make his unique contribution to the community: a pastoral-theological orientation. For, what is pastoral-theological orientation if not a lived vision of how anthropology and the community of anthropologists contribute to the mystical body? And is it not also a vision of how the individual anthropologist must live if he is to be Christ-like? In this way, the priest-anthropologist, by dedicating himself unreservedly to anthropology and to his colleagues in accord with his faith and his theology, has become a living symbol of Christian wisdom both for the Church and for his community of scholars. In developing his personal pastoral-theological orienta-

216 Chicago Studies

tion, that is, in developing a lived integration of theology and anthropology, he has already made to his community a unique contribution: this very orientation. And he has done this in the more effective way: implicitly by deed more than overtly by word. Nor could he make this contribution without his expert knowledge of anthropology. For his missioned citizenship within the community and his particUlar pastoral-theological orientation are equally impossible unless he possesses expert knowledge of anthropology and is contributing to its growth. MUST BE MORE SCIENTIFIC

¡But could not a layman trained in theology produce the same effect? CoUld he not perhaps achieve this with even more power than the priest-expert for the very reason that he is a layman and would seem, therefore, more imitable by other laymen? The answer to this question cannot be apodictic. For the layman must have theological knowledge if he is to appreciate and use the unique contribution of the priest-expert and if he is to achieve a Christian wisdom for himself. But a fUlly formed, scientific knowledge of theology such as is expected of the priest-expert is seldom demanded of the layman qua layman for the fUlfillment of his vocation. This is to say that only rarely do the layman's family and work-duties allow him to lay aside the time equivalent to the full theological-philosophical, six-year program of a seminarian. In addition, the very demands of the priest-expert's vocation differentiate significantly his grasp of theology from that of the layman. For example, the priest as priest is committed to the spiritual direction of a wide spectrum of people. His scientific knowledge of theology and philosophy is literally a matter of life and death for others. This is not so much the case with the layman and therefore the latter's theology will develop in a different way. His theology will he integrated with the familial, the economic, the marital, and the political. Thus, just as laymen are not sent alone to Tanganyika to implant Christianity, but are accompanied by the priest, so the sub-culture of a society needs the priest's theology as well as the layman's since each has a unique pastoral-theological contribu-

Priut-E:<pert . 217

tion to make to the community. Neither can supplant the other; neither can work with full success without the other; both deeply develop a pastoral-theological orientation in the christianization of their milieu. Yet the priest-expert as priest is primarily responsible for the more scientific or professional integration of theology with the secular knowledge of the community since he alone has ordinarily had the opportunity to develop theology and philosophy professionally. For this reason, the priest-expert's unique contribution to his sub-culture is a professional or more scientific, pastoral-theological orientation for the community's characteristic knowledge and way of life.


Connected with this more scientific, pastoral-theological orien¡ tation of secular learning is a second proper contribution of the priest-expert: a special abundance of grace which arises out of the priest-expert's official sacerdotal ordination for the use of his commmial mission. This special abundance of graces gives fonn and efficacy to the priest's pastoral-theological orientation. For it is. through his office of forgiving sins that the priest has the special power of pastoral spiritual guidance; and it is through his office of offering the Holy Sacrifice that he achieves a particular pastoral-theological orientation for himself and for his people. These assertions need explanation. First of all, the baptismal and confirmational characters present in both priest and people are ultimately directed to the offering of the Mass. The very raison d' etre of these characters is to increase, principally through the Mass, the incamational grace-life of their bearers. Besides, the Christian's every personal intention for vocational graces and works must be directed to God through the Mass or not at all since the Mass is the prolongation of .the uniquely salvational death and resurrection of Christ. However, in addition to the baptismal and confirmational characters the priest has the ¡character of orders whereby he shares in ihe episcopal power to offer Mass and to forgive sins in the person of Christ. Thus the efficacy of all the baptismal and

218 Chicago Studiu

confirmational characters uniting the comm~ity is directed to the character of orders possessed by the pastor. Summed up in the priest, then, is the full orientation of the various sacramental characters according to which grace is received for living the communal life by way of the community's particnlar pastoral¡ theological orientation. So magnificent is this special abundance of grace thus flowing out of the official capacity of the priest¡expert as priest that it alone easily necessitates his presence in the sub.culture, even apart from his possession of the secular knowledge characteriz¡ ing this community, though this knowledge should cause and greatly enhance his mission to the community. But note that it is not the priest's personal holiness, importantly relevant as this is, which accounts for the abundant causing of grace. Rather, it is his official ordination to confecting the Eucharist for the community's life. In so stressing the efficacy of the priest-expert's sacerdotal presence as the full source of grace for his people, there is no wish to depreciate the fact that the ultimate purpose of every Christian's presence in any particular situation or stratum of society is to share in Christ's mediatorship of grace by intentionally requesting grace for others from Christ through the Mass. But the priest does this in a special way, in a more abundant way, by reason of his official ordination to offer sacrifice and to forgive sins whereby he unites all the intentions, works, and graces of the community in a pastoral-theological orientation to God. Otherwise, there would be no particular reason why a priest should accompany Iaymen on a mission of conversion; Luther wonld be completely right in saying that every layman is a priest in the fullest sense. THE PRIEST-EXPERT's WORK

The full implications of the Catholic position on this matter are seen in the light of two Thomistic principles: (1) all the sacraments are radicated nltimately in the confection of the Eucharist of the Mass, and (2) the Holy Sacrifice's power is not restricted to the half hour of its celebration nor to the physical premises of its location. For the Mass is the central grace.causing



symbol throughout the Christian's whole day-week-month-yearlife. Just as Christ's life, being centered around his passion and resurrection, received its total meaning from these events, so the other sacraments, being centered around the Eucharistic commemoration of that passion and resurrection, achieve their full meaning and power through the Mass. Graces may be given now in virtue of a future Mass much in the way that graces were given to pre-Christian peoples in virtue of Christ's future Incarnation. This means that when the Christian (and especially the priest) is missioned to a stratum of society, Christ may send, in virtue of the future Masses to be offered, prevenient graces preparatory for the Christian's advent. Thus when the priest finally does offer Mass for his particular community, its graces are not greatly restricted by time or place. They are directed to far more people than those immediately surrounding the altar in time and in place. Nevertheless, the intensity of the Mass is specially trained upon those people to whom the priest is missioned. To deny this would seem to jeopardize the basic ecclesial principles of community, subsidiarity, and charismatic-vocational graces. What is said of the Mass can he said in parallel fashion about the priest's power to forgive sins, that is, to heal with grace. For the sacrament of penance is orientated in subordination to the EucharisL In other words, the priest's power to forgive sins, while certainly not cut off from other people, is especially directed to the particular group to whom the priest is missioned. With this mission come special graces for the priest so that he may deal with the peculiar problems current in that particular stratum of society to which he has been sent. Because of this, not only may the priest expect vocational illuminative and strengthening graces for his own discharge of duty (e.g., for his research in a science and for the further development of his pastoraltheological orientation), but he may also count on Christ's preparing the people with prevenient graces so that the priest's exercise of the power to forgive sins may be fruitfuL ABUNDANT GRACE

These principles of sacramental theology apply with striking force to the priest-expert's vocation. For the priest-expert's

220 Chicago StudieJ

knowledge commits him to a particular sub-culture. The priestchemist will spend most of his day working with fellow chemists, instructing student chemists, attending meetings of chemists, writing letters to chemists. Even the non-chemists with whom he deals may come to him for advice concerning matters coiUlected with chemistry. The priest-chemist could take the unrealistic schizophrenic view that he is a priest from 6 A.M. to 9 A.M. and from 7 P.M. to 11 P.M., but that he is no different from a lay chemist from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M. This would be the mechanistic ap¡ proach, a peril to any priest-expert seeking a simplicist solution to a complex problem. There is, however, a more realistic view of this situation. The priest-chemist has been sent to the sub-culture of chemists. By his expert knowledge he has become not only a citizen of this community but also its pastor. For this knowledge, while retaining its distinct autonomy, has been nevertheless permeated with a pastoral-theological orientation. Also it is present in union with the sacred orders of the priesthood and is therefore integratable into a total priestly life goal. This is to say that the priest-chemist is ultimately a priest. Yet, because of his being a member of the chemist community, he necessarily exercises his priesthood through this communal knowledge of chemistry. Is this so different from saying that a certain man is a priestAmerican; that is, he is ultimately a priest; yet, because of his being born an American and because of his being raised in America, he necessarily exercises his priesthood through that complex personal cultural pattern called "American"? Being a man, the priest must act through his knowledges, attitudes, and powers according to a total unity called his person. Consequently the priest-American cannot help but exercise his priesthood through his American personality. So, too, the priest-chemist cannot help but exercise his priesthood through the pervasive knowledge-habit of his life, through his chemist personality. Because his superiors have commissioned him to this expert knowledge of chemistry and because this commission has integrated him into the community of chemists, the priest-chemist is said to be missioned or sent to this community. It is quite congruous, then, that the fruits of his Masses should be concentrated



on this community as his "parish," but without excluding wider areas from the impact of his graceful service. It may be thal the priest-chemist, much like the pastor of a Parisian left-bank mission or the pastor in a Hindu village, will never see many of his parishioners at his Mass. But the Mass, as it has been said, is not tightly restricted in time or place. And were this priest-chemist not a priest but rather a Catholic lay chemist, then his parishioners, like the pastorless parishioners of the Paris mission or of the Hindu village, would not be receiving graces in such abundance. The fact that the priest-expert is present in his community and the fact that the community is sometimes grouped around his altar, albeit in small numbers, is enough to establish this special abundance of grace. In a manner similar to that of the Mass, the priest-chemist's power to forgive the sins of the chemist community may win many graces of forgiveness for his people even though another priest will do the actual confessional work. This is possible because the priest-chemist's power to forgive sins may, by its very presence in the community, draw down prevenient graces for the prospective penitents. Nor is there any reason why these preve¡ nient actual graces cannot be operative in the priest-chemist's everyday conversations with fellow chemists and in his chance counselling sessions. In this way can the priest-chemist grace¡ fully pray and witness to Christ through his day because of the power to offer Mass and to forgive sins. If the priest-chemist is, then, a totally committed and integrated priest-chemist, no action of his escapes his priesthood. PRINCIPLE OF ECONOMY OR INSTRUMENTATION

Let us see more clearly how and why the priest-expert is sent to a particular knowledge-community through that knowledge which he holds in common with that community. To do this, a person must appreciate St. Thomas' principle of economy or instrumentation: with very rare exceptions, God accomplishes his ends according to and within the natures of his creatures. As a result, when it is stated that the special abundance of grace brought to a particular sub-culture by a priest-expert's presence would seem to be caused not only (instrumentally) by

222 Chicago Studie.

the priesthood of the priest-expert but also ( dispositively) -by his particular expert knowledge, one is saying merely .that God respects the-developing natures which he has created and which he is now assisting. Thus, in this instance, God would be respecting the nature of that supernatural society, the Church; ¡when he would be employing the priesthood of the priest-expert to make grace more abundant to the community to whom he has sent the priest. God would also be respecting the nature of a quasinatural society when he would be employing this particular priest to be the symbol of more abundant grace within. a subculture because this priest is a fully integrated member¡ and server of this community through his special knowledge. Further, God would be respecting the very nature of the man who is this priest-expert when he has this man exercise his priesthood through his total person which is integrated around a particular expert knowledge according to a congruent pastoral-theological orientation of the knowledge-community. Let us carry this last point further. Would it not be natural if God allowed himself to proportion, in some degree or othet, the abundance of given grace to the perfection of the grace-symbol, namely, the priest-expert considered in his total integration of the natural with the supernatural? This question does not deny that the sacraments work ex opere operato. But it does imply that the subjective condition of the priest, his total dedication to his community, exercises some control over the abundance of the grace given. Nor does this handcuff God, as it were. For the Trinity has chosen freely to follow generally the natural constitution of causes and societies developed by themselves. Thus, it would seem that in proportion as a priest-expert develops his expert knowledge and its pastoral-theological orientation (together, of course, with his virtues and life of prayer), i.e., in proportion as his witnessing to Christ's Word grows more manifest for his particular community, in that proportion the priest-expert can become a more and more abundant instrumental cause of grace for this sub-culture. Such an interpretation does not mean that the priest-expert's exercise of his priesthood is restricted to this particular community. The Mass and Christ's universal salvific will are too vast for such a narrow interpreta-

Prie•t-Experl 223

tion. But it does indicate that the priest-expert is effective as a priest not only because of his orders but al~o (and quite suLor· dinately) because of his expert knowledge. It also indicates that he is most effective within his particular mission. C. PRIEST-EXPERT AS APOLOGETIC SYMBOL Because the priest-expert exercises a more scientific pastoral· theological orientation, because he is the instrumental cause of more abundant grace for this people, because his priesthood works through the expert knowledge characteristic of his com· munity, the priest-expert would seem to be the full apologetic symbol of the Church for his community. For the priest-expert's symbolic witnessing is a blending of his priestly powers with his expert knowledge into the unity of his vocation to a particular scientific-cultural community. And the more expert his knowledge, the more striking will be his priestly witness, his symbolization of the Church. Consequently there is no need here for ex· tensive explanation of the priest-expert as apologetic symbol; the previous pages have already detailed it. One item, however, should be added here. Though the Catholic lay expert of this same community, through the common priesthood of the faithful, is also the apologetic symbol of the Church, he is not so to the same degree as the priest-expert. This does not mean that any priest is more saintly than any layman. It simply means that, no matter how superior the sanctity of a layman, he is not specifically ordained through sacred orders to symbolize officially the presence of more abundant grace and of more scientific pastoral-theological orientation. Yet the layman's more incamational witness not only complements the priest· expert's more eschatological symbolization but also is a neces· sary condition for the latter's existence--much as the incarna· tionallife of Christ complements and conditions his resurrected life. Together, the lay and priest-expert form a single more adequate witness, namely, their indispensable cooperation noted throughout these pages. CoNCLUSION

From this whole discussion there is only one conclusion to be drawn: the priest-expert is an expert precisely because he is a

priest. He has been sent to a certain community to bring them to God and the necessary means for accomplishing this difficult task are: ( 1) the common scientific knowledge which unites this people in a common way of life, (2) a more scientific, pastoral-theological integration of this secular knowledge with theology, (3) a special abundance of grace mediated to the sub-culture in virtue of the priesthood but mediated through this secular knowledge as pastorally and theologically orientated, (4) a resultant official symbolizing or sacerdotal witnessing to Christ and his Church. These last three items, which describe theologically the role of the priest-expert in the Church, constitute his unique con¡ tribution to the community of experts. But they are communi¡ cated to the community ( 1) because the priest-expert has acquired non-pragmatically a secular knowledge which unites him to his sub-culture and which in turn enables him to give principles of prudent decision to the Church, (2) because this knowl¡ edge enables him to communicate sympathetically and forcefully with scientific-cultural leaders through imaging their minds, ( 3) because the integration of this knowledge with theology enables him to develop a Christian wisdom for himself, for his sub-culture, and for his Church. These three reasons for his ability to communicate define well the philosophical aspect of the priestexpert's role in the Church. In the concrete situation, then, the priest-expert's vocation is a dynamic fusion of these philosophical and theological aspects. For the priest-expert's priesthood is necessarily exercised through his expert secular knowledge both because the priest as man must operate through his natural talents and opportunities and because the priest develops these talents and receives his vocation in accord with the community to which he is missioned through his expert knowledge and in virtue of his priesthood. It is quite true that the first and primary duty of the Church and, therefore, of the priest is to bring this people to God through the liturgy of Mass and sacrament. But, as the fathers of the Church, the missionary monks, the medieval doctors, and renaissance priest-scholars have discovered, mediation through the liturgy must be accompanied by a prior mediation of knowledge and culture. For the people must make a free choice of the

Pri£•1-E"perl 225

Church, of Christ. And free choice is not possible without suffi¡ cient knowledge. Thus the people must be brought up to a certain level of secular knowledge, and, in order to make their choice truly prudent, this knowledge must contain some pastoral-theological orientation. Gradually out of these two elements a Christian wisdom is formed. Only when the priest's doctrinal mediation has thus lifted his people to some unity among themselves and with him, is it possible for the priest to unite his people to God through the abundantly grace-filled liturgy of Mass and sacraments. Doctrinal mediation seems to be the concomitant basis for liturgical mediation. Does this not mean that the extent of secularism's triumph in the twentieth century can be measured by the extent of theology's alienation from the secnlar knowledges, that is, by the extent of the failure of Christian wisdom? Does not history, philosophy, and theology tell us that to the extent the priest-experts and bishops fail to integrate secular learning with theology in their daily living, to that extent the Church fails in her mission to structure society according to Christian principles? How else can revelation, God's good news, be seen as news unless through a theology in tonch with the "real world" of secular learning and of culture? These are not rhetorical questions purely. They are meant as genuine inquiry. For this present study stakes out merely one answer among several possible responses in order to provoke more solid discussion of this basic problem: does or does not the fullness of the priesthood demand doctrinal as well as sacramental mediation? and is or is not this doctrinal mediation achieved through a theology derived from revelation and vitally contacting all the secular knowledges so as to form a full Christian wisdom? This would seem to be the vocation of the priest-expert and it would seem to explain the absolute necessity for some secular learning in the life of every priest according to his talents and according to the needs of his people.


.L rJe



Catholic Family Information Service Edmund /. Fitzpatrick

Two years ago, if a Chicago husband and wife faced with a problem about the size of their growing family sought a solution that would be moral and effective, they might have felt they were trapped. Contraceptives, they knew, were immoral and forbidden as seriously sinful. The only other solution was that complex system of calculation that never seemed to work and was often sarcastically referred to as "Vatican roulette." Even doctors, who spoke only to the wife, seemed to be too busy to give a clear, satisfactory explanation and were distrustful of the whole thing. One Catholic physician had even suggested that if they were really serious, only a diaphragm ... Besides, even if rhythm was not immoral, it appeared to offer a kind of second-class family life, tolerated but not approved by the Church. The picture is quite different in Chicago today. Thanks to the generosity of a group of doctors, couples, and priests, couples can tum with confidence to the Catholic Family Information Service ( CFI), an agency of the Cana Conference of Chicago. Within a month they will have had the help of a team made up of a competent doctor, a priest trained in the area of family life, and a couple who themselves have faced this problem.¡ 227

228 Chicago Studie•

The CFI began with the concern of Cana Conference members for the plight of married people like this couple. About two years ago some Catholic doctors, including Dr. Ralph Kenck (present medical director of CFI), began to ask if there was not some· thing that Cana with its personnel and experience in marriage education could do for couples in this situation. They sought the advice of Father Walter lmbiorski, chaplain of Cana, who in tum put them in touch with several Cana couples, priests, and moral theologians. After several meetings the group agreed that Cana could with diocesan approval offer a program that would be effective, moral, practical, and economical. This agreement was based on the following factors:

1. That the Catholic couple have a right to control the size of their family; they must decide by balancing two sometimes con· flicting values: the glory of procreating with God immortal children who shall see God, and the need to provide the sort of life which will best help the children to see him. 2. That for many Catholic couples more children would be a serious physical, psychological, or economic burden on their marriage and the Christian development of their children. 3. That many Catholic couples, doctors, and even priests are unaware of or confused about the Church's position on family size and rhythm .


4. That the best medical techniques of rhythm are unknown to many doctors. With these principles in mind the group investigated several plans already in operation in other dioceses. They considered establishing centers staffed by volunteer Cana doctors at several Catholic hospitals, setting up a downtown center with volunteer doctors and a full-time secretary, having volunteer doctors conn· sel individually in their own offices. Finally they decided upon another program especially adapted to Chicago. In the summer of 1962 they submitted their plan to His Emi· nence, who authorized them to proceed upon an experimental basis. The plan proved to be a sound one and was warmly ac· cepted. Less than a year after the original decision they were

The Forum


able to obtain the cardinal's full approval for the program as an intP.gra! part of the marriage and family life educational work of the archdiocese. The CF1 program consists in a two-hour instruction session presented regularly in each of twelve centers throughout the archdiocese. At each session, limited to twenty-five couples to allow opportunity for questions and free discussion, a speakerhost couple open the evening by welcoming the husbands and wives and putting all at their ease. Every effort is made to have both husbands and wives present, because CFI is convinced that the problem and therefore the solution is a family one, the com· mon responsibility of both spouses. Each couple receive a basal temperature thermometer, a set of temperature graphs, and written materials to complement the program they are about to take part in. Each person also receives a questionnaire to be filled out anonymous] y, evaluating the program and describing the pe@pal and family background. (The· questionnaires disclosed two . facts almost immediately: 1. The largest group of couples had one fewer children than year of marriage; 2. Most couples had never or rarely made use of contraceptives.) . · The priest begins with a brief explanation of the moral aspects of family planning. His purpose is not to lay down moral restrictions on family planning, though in the current period of confused moral judgments he may have to spend a few moments in re-outlining the Church's constant moral teachings. His real purpose is to place the idea of family planning in the whole con· text of the ideals of responsible, mature, generous Catholic . mamage. Following the priest, the doctor discusses the basal temperature method of rhythm which has proved so effective and practical. He describes the nature of woman's cyclical fertility, the methods and problems of determining safe and unsafe days before and after ovulation. The doctor also demonstrates the taking and charting of the temperature and with several large visual aids the actual appearance of specific chart patterns and their in· terpretation. Afterwards he discusses such bugaboos as double

230 Chicago Stu.die•

ovulation and such real problems as irregular cycles, recent delivery, and nursing. When the doctor has finished, the speaker-host couple, who themselves have made use of the CFI method of rhythm for at least a year, speak of their own experiences. They tell of the difficulties they have had to face and of the helps they have received, of the discipline they have found necessary and of the rewards that have come to them. The whole presentation is marked by frankness, realism, and a positive outlook. After the couple have spoken, the whole group informally begin questions and discussions in a searching and friendly way. Here the group method shows its advantage. The affirmative nodding of heads at others' questions tells how frequently the same question lay not quite formulated at the back of many minds. A question frequently asked of those involved in CFI is just how realistic the program is in view of all the discussion about the licitness of the anti-ovulant pills even by Catholic theologians. At the beginning of the project there was occasional and bitter criticism from conservative lay persons (almost never from priests) that the program represented the abandonment of Catholic family ideals for materialistic and secularistic values. It is now quite clear that those who attend the conferences are in fact deeply interested in making these Catholic family ideals live in their homes and are looking for help with a pressing and constantly threatening problem. Those making use of the program are, after all, following a method formally approved by the Holy See in 1870, 1880, 1931, 1951, and 1958. They can hardly be called second-class Catholics. More recently the writings of Dr. Rock, the hysterical screech of some Saturday-Evening-Post-type writers, the more penetrating analyses of discussants in Cross Currents and Commonweal, and the studies of moralists in some theological journals have raised objections from the other side. They criticize the effectiveness, complexity, naturalness, and psychological side effects of the method. Experience however has shown that the method is indeed effective. While there are certain cases which cannot be helped-just

The Forum 231

as there are women who may not for physical reasons use the anti¡ovulant pills-thesP. Rre in a very small minority. Un..fortu.nately, in their writings critics have often compared the weakness of rhythm with the strong points of certain contraceptive. techmques. From the moral point of view there is no strong indication that the Church will see any direct attack upon fertility as anything hut the direct sterilization or contraception which she has always condemned. This is not to say that the Church does not welcome responsible discussion to insure that prohibitions do not extend beyond the areas of truly immoral practices, because of a too naive definition of where the moral evil really lies. To look for her approval of the simple anti-ovulant use of the progestative pills in cases in which the use of rhythm is very difficult is to completely misunderstand the nature of her prohibition. As the CFI enters its second year of formal programming, the methods and approaches are constantly being developed. Dr. Kenck has just returned from England where with Dr. John Barret, demographer of Notre Dame University, he investigated the methods used there. Dr. and Mrs. Rendu, who have developed a similar program in Paris, recently visited Chicago and shared their insights and experiences. Under development now is a program to offer clients convenient and simple ways to have their charts and cases reviewed. In the back of everyone's mind is the hope of producing a movie on the program, that would he available to colleges, medical schools, and dioceses too small to set up a service such as Chicago's.

The Forum

Factors in Conversion Gerard P. Weber

There are 3,257,000 non-Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago of whom 6,505 were received into the Church last year. The numher of converts, fairly steady for the last five years, indicates that our record as a missionary Church is not very impressive. An analysis of the figures for 1961, when 6,544 converts were baptized, reveals some interesting facta. I. ¡Dividing the 1961 figure among the 2, 764 diocesan and religious priests working in the archdiocese at that time, we arrive at a figure of 2.4 converts per priest, just about the national average. Since most converts are instructed in parishes, and there are about 1700 priests in parish work, we find that the average parish priest instructs four converts per year.

2. Although Negroes make up only about 27 percent of the non-Catholics in the archdiocese, 45 percent of the converts (3,002) in 1961 were Negro. Of this number 1,518 were instructed and baptized in 10 parishes served by 32 priests. These 32 priests, 2 percent of the parish priests, averaged 48 converts each and accounted for 23 percent of the converts baptized in 1961. These figures do not imply that 98 percent of the priests in the archdiocese are not zealous or hard-working. All that they show 233

234 Chicago Studies

is that a parish in which large numbers of non-Catholics live and which concentrates on convert-making can make, on the average, 150 converts a year or about ten times the present number. The obvious question that these figures suggest is, "Why do we not have more converts?" Several facile answers may he given to this question. One is that conversion is a gift from God and God has not seen fit to give this grace to more than 120,000 people a year. Stated in this way, the answer seems to deny the mercy and loving goodness of the Father who wants to gather all men into his family. Another "pat" answer is that twentieth-century Americans are uninterested in religion, too materialistic, too selfish; but all missionaries have had to face this problem in one way or another. A third easy answer is that the clergy are not missionary¡ minded; they are not as conscious of convert-making as they should be. But if all the parishes of the archdiocese were as convert-oriented as the above mentioned ten parishes we still would only instruct about 80,000. The convert problem is much more complicated than these three simple answers imply; basically, I believe, it is a problem of relevance. On the whole, even when Americans encounter Catholicism they do not see that it has a message, a meaning for them; they do not see that Catholicism is relevant to their lives. Before the Church can become clearly relevant to the lives of the average non-Catholic, the liturgy and parish structures will have to become more meaningful and the lives of Catholics will have to become lives which give visible witoess to the gospel of brotherhood and love. However, while we are working to make the parish, the liturgy, and the lives of Catholics more understandable as signs of the presence of God, we must ask whether our presentation of Christ's message is meaningful to the non¡ Catholic. The message as it is now presented lacks relevance. In parishes which make a sustained effort to interest people in the faith only about one third of the people who come for instruction become Catholics. In a parish which averages 300 converts a year,

The Forum


about 1,000 people begin instructions each year. A good number of the people who dt:l not enter the Churcl1 cannoi do so, because they d~ n.;t see the relevance of the Church in their lives. In or¡ der to make the faith more meaningful to modem society we need to know more about the psychological process of conversion, more about the sociological factors in American life which help or hinder conversion, more about the most effective teaching methods, and more about the most effective way to present the good news of salvation to those who in some way are seeking the kingdom of God.

The psychology of conversion. We know little about this process. We attribute conversion to the Holy Spirit and conclude that the normal psychological processes are suspended when a man decides to enter the Church. A doctorate written at Cornell University describes the conversion from one faith to another of about twenty people, and in all the cases the author found that some emotional problem or upset was present at the time of the conversion. A book on the psychology of brain-washing called The Battle for the Mind compares the conversions achieved by the Methodist revival movement to the brain-washing done in communist countries.

The experience of the ordinary priest would indicate that these two works deal with exceptional cases. But where are the studies of the psychological changes which occur in the ordinary convert? Many converts have written books or articles attributing their conversion to books, but a close study of the available conversion literature indicates that there is no definable pattern in the stories of conversion. It would seem that before we can reach the great majority of Americans we should find out more about what goes on inside a person when he is faced with making the decision of faith and commitment to God.

The sociological factors. Little or nothing is known about the sociological factors involved in conversion. A few random facts pop up now and then. In the Negro parishes where non-Catholic children are accepted in school on the condition that their parents take instructions, only about one third of the converts of the parishes come through the school. The rest come from door-todoor canvassing and personal contact. A study of the files of

236 Chicago Slllllie•

several information centers indicates that only 3 percent of their converts are over fifty years of age and that most converts instructed at the center were in their thirties. A master's thesis based on in-depth interviews with horn Catholics and converts indicates that the only common factor hetween many people who practice their faith and those who do not is regularity in church attendance or lack of it by the parents of the people interviewed. What these unrelated facts or seeming facts indicate is hard to say. But if we had many more studies we would gradually see which factors in American life aid and which hinder conversion. The¡ method of instruction. Because we priests learned our theology by the lecture method we tend to rely on this method in giving instructions. We talk and the people listen. At most we allow the people to ask questions which are quickly and neatly answered. Yet all studies indicate that the lecture method is the least effective of all teaching methods, when one is trying to help a person change his ideas or come to a decision. Studies have been made to discover the most effective methods of helping people to learn and to apply to their lives what they have learned. Little or nothing has been done to apply these techniques to religious instructions. Father Anti, O.F.M., has tried to apply the new so-called "machine" learning technique to the catechism in his hook, God So Loved the World, a programmed instruction book based on the Baltimore Catechism and the German Catechism. More experiments need to he made. Htindreds of priests have been trained in non-directive counselling and many of them are using the techniques they have learned in their instruction classes. A lay instructor of adults on the West Coast reports fabulous success in using discussion groups among people taking instructions. But an instruction class is more than a counselling session and the group discussion method is not effective in giving new information. An effort must be made to find the best way of combining counselling, discussion, and lecture. Some efforts are being made in the audio-visual field, but the available material is not as good as that used by commercial firms in selling their products, nor is it as good as some of the new Protestant material. The United

The Forum 237

Church is in the process of issuing a religious curriculum for its Sunday schools. Over a period of ten year• this church spent $1,000,000 analysing the impact of its books and developing teaching methods and audio-visual aids. These books and teach· ing aids, used for everyone from children of pre-school age to adults, show the results of careful research and experimentation. We need some such experimental and developmental program for our adult instructions. The content of instruction. Until recently most priests felt that they knew what to teach once the non-Catholic came to the rec· tory. They used the Baltimore Catechism or some version of it. Our instructions have been based on the supposition that knowl· edge of God leads to love of God and that the more we know about God the more we will love him. Until recently we have not thought of presenting the faith under the guise of the good and the beautiful, in order to help people accept it as true. The bib· lical orientation of present-day catechetics tries to lead people to the love of God by showing how God has.first loved man. The difficulty we face at present is that we have many books and ar· ticles on the proper orientation of instructions but no textbooks which really incorporate these ideas in a workable way. Fathers John J. Hill and Theodore C. Stone have made a giant step for· ward with their new instruction book, A Modern Catechism (ACTA, 1964), but even this book is not thoroughly biblical in its approach. Many more catechisms will have to be written be· fore we find one that blends the biblical, liturgical, and theologi· cal approaches into an harmonious whole centered in the Eucha· rist. This future catechism will also have to take into considers· tion the special characteristics and problems of the American scene. At present we would not admit an invalidly married per· son into the Church, but we might baptize a man who is filled with race prejudice or even racial hate. Until we know more about the psychology and sociology of conversion and more about the most effective teaching methods, and until we have courses, complete with texts and teaching aids, which achieve a meaningful synthesis of liturgy, bible, and the· ology, our faith is not going to seem relevant to great numbers of non-Catholics, and conversions will continue to average just a few for each priest.



Luis Alonso Schokel, S.J., professor of Old Testament exegesis and biblical theology at the Biblical Institute in Rome, author of numerous articles and books, lectured at Chicago's Summer Biblical Institute for Priests in 1962 and 1964. Ralph J. Bastian, S.J., professor of theology at Loyola University, Chicago, and Bellarmine School of Theology, North Aurora, Illinois, received his doctorate from the Gregorian University, Rome. William H. Du Bay, assistant at St. Boniface Church, Anaheim, California, has published articles in America and Worship. Joseph A. Fichtner, O.S.C., author of Theological Anthropology in Notre Dame's University Theology Themes series and articles in American Ecclesiastical Review, Catholic Mind and Catholic World, teaches at the Crosier House of Studies in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Edmund J. Fitzpatrick, assistant at St. Kilian Church, Chicago, and assistant chaplain of Cana Conference, received his doctorate in theology from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. David J. Hassel, S.J ., professor of philosophy at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, received his doctorate from St. Louis University. Robert A. Reicher, professor of sociology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary Junior College Department, Niles, Illinois, and chaplain to the Catholic Council on Working Life, re¡ ceived his degree in sociology from Loyola University, Chicago. William A. Schumacher, assistant at St. Cyprian Church, River Grove, Illinois, has a doctorate in theology from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, and is on the editorial board of CHICAGO STUDIES. Gerard P. Weber, assistant at St. Carthage Church, Chicago, vice-president of ACTA, is co-author of Life in Christ and Beyond the Commandments. 238

INDEX TO VOLUME 3 (1964) n. 1 (Spring}, 1-112; n. 2 (Fall), 113-240

Alonso Schokel, Luis, S.]., TOWARD A NEW SYNTHESIS?---- 185 Bastian, Ralph J., S.]., CONFffiMATION: GIFT OF THE SPffiiT 171 Camara, Helder, VATICAN 11: REFLECTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS ---------------------------97 Cicognani, A. G. Cardinal, LETTER -----------------3 DuBay, William H., DEMOCRATIC STRUCTURES IN THE CHURCH ----------------------------- 133 Egan, John J., CORRESPONDENCE ------------------- 110 Fichtner, Joseph A., O.S.C., THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE SAINTS ------------------------------ 153 Fitzpatrick, Edmund J., CATHOLIC FAMILY INFORMATION SERVICE ----------------------------------- 227 Hassel, David J., S.]., THE PRIEST·EXPERT: A PHJLOSOPHICAL·THEOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT -------- 201 Heaney, Thomas W., COSMIC RESURRECTION AND APOCALYPSE ---------------------------Keating, John R., MARRIAGE OF THE PSYCHOPATHIC PERSONALITY ------------------------------Malone, George K., "MATER, SI! MAGISTRA, SI!" _______ _

McKenzie, John L., S.]., COMMENTS ----------------McKenzie, John L., S./., SIGNS AND POWER: THE NEW TESTAMENT PRESENTATION OF MIRACLES------

Munson, Thomas N., S.].,

5 55


DEMONSTRATIONS ---------------------------Reicher, Robert A., SOCIAL ORIGINS OF SEMINARIANS -----

Sigman, Louis A.,

19 71 84


ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE -----------------------

Reicher, Robert A.,


115 87



EPISCOPAL CHURCH -------------------------Weber, Gerard P., FACTORS IN CONVERSION ___________


Wilkin, Peter J.,




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