Fall 1965

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CIVITAS DEI FOUNDATION Epucopal Patrom The Most Reverend Cletus F. O'Donnell, J.C.D. The Most Reverend Bernard J. Sheil, D.D. The Most Reverend Raymond P. Billinger, D.D. The Most Reverend Aloysius ]. Wycislo, D.D. Trwtee&

RL Rev. Msgr. John D. Fitzgerald RL Rev. Msgr. J. Gerald Kealy Rt. Rev. Msgr. John M. McCarthy RL Rev. Msgr. Arthur F. Terlecke Rev. Stanley C. Stoga Founde,.

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Thomas J. Burke Rt. Rev. Msgr. T. A. Meehan RL Rev. Msgr. D. F. Cunningham Rt. Rev. Msgr. Eugene V. Mulcahey RL Rev. Msgr. Francis J. Dolan Rt. Rev. Msgr. James V. Murphy RL Rev. Msgr. John B. Ferring Rt. Rev. Msgr. Martin E. Muzik Rt. Rev. Msgr. James D. Gleeson Rt. Rev. Msgr. Gerard C. Picard Rt. Rev. Msgr. Patrick J. Gleeson Rt. Rev. Msgr. Stanley J. Piwowar Rt. Rev. Msgr. James C. Hardiman Rt. Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Smaza RL Rev. Msgr. James D. Hishen RL Rev. Msgr. James A. Walsh RL Rev. Msgr. Michael J. Kilbride Rt. Rev. Msgr. Richard F. Wolfe RL Rev. Msgr. Francis I. Lavin RL Rev. Msgr. Raymond J. Zock Rt. Rev. Msgr. John A. McMahon Very Rev. Msgr. J. D. Connerton Rev. Raymond J. Ackerman Rev. Francis R. Krakowski Rev. Anthony Chisck Rev. Edward T. Kush Rev. Francis M. Coyle Rev. Joseph J. Mackowiak Rev. William R. Doran Rev. Francis C. Murphy Rev. Arthur E. Douaire Rev. Stanley R. Petrauskas Rev. Francis D. Hayes Rev. Stanley A. Rozak Rev. Alfred J. Henderson Rev. Harry C. Rynard Rev. Edward M. Hosty Rev. Stanley L. Ryzner Rev. John J. Kane Rev. Joseph I. Schmeier Rev. Claude E. Klarkowski Rev. Harold H. Sieger Rev. Andrew T. Valcicak Charter Members Rt. Rev. Msgr. Stephen E. McMahon Rev. Walter F. Somerville ACfA

CHICAGO STUDIES EDITORIAL STAFF General Editor George J. Dyer Archdiocesan Editor Facuity Editor John F. Dedek Carl J. Moell, S.J. Business Manager Production Manager Richard J. Wojcik Edmund J. Siedlecki Editorial Advi&ors Malachy P. Foley William P. Le Saint, S.J. Martin R. Borowczyk Charles R. Meyer Thomas F. Connery, S.J. T. Joseph Mohan Stephen E. Donlon, S.J. Thomas J. Motherway, S.J. Joseph M. Egan, S.J. William J. Quinn John F. Fahey Norbert E. Randolph Edward P. Fitzgerald Robert A. Reicher Thomas J. Fitzgerald William A. Schumacher John J. Foley, S.J. Peter M. Shannon John R. Gorman Thomas M. Shields, S.J. David J. Hassel, S.J. Edward J. Stokes, S.J. George G. Higgins Theodore C. Stone Julius F. Klose Thomas F. Sullivan Edward H. Konerman, S.J. William G. Topmoeller, S.J. Joseph T. Mangan, S.J. Robert F. Trisco Thomas M. McDonough Raymond J. Vonesh John P. McFarland, S.J. George E. Von Kaenel William E. McManus Gerard P. Weber CHICAGO STUDIES, edited by the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary and the priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago, with contribu· tions by prominent scholars and authors, aims at an articulate present&· tion of the best that modern scholarship has contributed to the professional knowledge of the priest in the fields of scripture, theology, liturgy, catechetics, canon law, philosophy, sociology, and related sciences. The

Forum, a regular feature of CHICAGO STUDIES, presents brief com· ments based primarily on personal experiences in the apostolate.

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should be addressed to the editors. Subscriptions should be sent to CHICAGO STUDIES, Box 665 Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Subscription rates: $4.00 a year, $7.00 for two years, $12.00 for four years; to students, $3.00 a year. Foreign subscribers: add 50c per year. CIDCAGO STUDIES is published three times a year with ecclesiastical permission and copyright, 1965, by Civitas Dei Foundation, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Third Class postage paid at Newark, .Ohio. Views expressed in the articles are those of the respective authors and

not necessarily those of the editors or editorial board. Indexed in The Catholk Periodkal Index and New Testament Abstracts.

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William A. Schumacher

328 / 333

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George /. Dyer

Doctrine: Growth or Betrayal The vital proceS5 of doctrinal development is not the exclusive function . of the magistery or of theologians but of the entire people of God.

The priest on the contemporary American scene must occasionally feel himself on the verge of theological bankruptcy. His hard-won capital of propositions, proofs and theological notes seem to shrink with each translation he reads from the restless scholars of France and Germany. He watches uneasily as a new spirit of inquiry pages impatiently through the theological manuals, bringing dozens of ideas out of his theological pantheon and into the market place for re-appraisal. Malaise of a sort is easily discernible in the ranks of the clergy. We find it most trenchantly expressed perhaps in that querulous little question born of equal measures of anxiety and curiosity: what next? The answer to the question is beyond me, but an antidote for the malaise that prompted it does suggest itself. What we are witnessing today is a stage in the development of doctrine-a never ending, but sometimes nerve-wracking process in the life of the Church. If the contemporary develop227

228 Chicago Studie•

men! is at all startling it may be because it seems almost spastic, a. compulsive growth that seems intent on compressing into a few years a process that might have taken a century in some other era. Because its source is the confluence of a dozen tri· butaries that have been converging for a century, the current of modern theology is moving at a dismaying pace. What is more, it is doing so under the fascinated gaze of a considerable part of the Catholic world. The intense public interest surrounding the present develop· ment is something brand new. Not too many years ago theo· logians could carry on-a discussion in their recondite journals, observed by none bttt their colleagues. Today their mono· r,raps may be ferret~d out of Tijdschrift or Zeitschrift, reported by Time, translated by Cross Currents, and discussed lly the Saturday Evening Post. "Information," said Paul VI, is a "universal, inviolable and inalienable right of modern man" (Address of April 17, 1964). And modern man's ap· petite for theological information has compounded the impact of the present development. This vast interest makes it im· perative that we understand, in broad terms at least, what is happening today. For ,unless both priests and people see the present development as one of the vital functions of the Church, we may witness more of the "crises of faith" so much discussed today. THE FACT OF DOCTRINAL DEVELOPMENT

Doctrinal development is so obvious a part of the Church's life that Vincent of Lerins described the phenomenon fifteen centuries ago. "Is not religion capable of any advance?" he asked. "Of course, there must be advance and notable advance. Who would be such an enemy of mankind, so hostile to God as to try to oppose this? (Commonitorium, 23). A millenium and a half after Vincent the milestones of this advance are clearly in evidence. The Marian dogmas are a clear example of it, as are those of papal primacy, purgatory, and the beatific vision. Increasingly theologians are turning their efforts to tracing the various routes this development has taken. In the early chapters of his Problem of God John Courtney Murray

Doctrine 229

studies the doctrine of the Trinity as it moves through the first centuries to the decisions of Nicaea and Constantinople. Grill· meier has made a similar investigation of the Christology of the patristic age. The fact of doctrinal development, therefore, is universally acknowledged by Catholic theologians. The explanation of the phenomenon is quite a different matter. HISTORY OF THE IDEA

Curiously it was only in the nineteenth century that theolo· gians began to take hold of the problem of doctrinal develop· ment. The fathers of the Church who contributed so much to dogmatic progress were slow to theorize about what they did. One who did so, Vincent of Lerins, considered Augustine an innovator; and Vincent failed really to come to grips with the problem. The medieval schoolmen too showed slight interest in the question. Only with the renaissance revival of interest in the past did history as a science begin to come into its own, and with it the seeds of interest in the problem of doctrinal development. With the nineteenth century the problem was clearly in focus, and among those confronting it the names of Newman and Mohler come to mind, as do those of Giinther, Loisy and Tyrrell. From that moment the theologians address· ing themselves to the issue are legion. And always the problem is basically the same-that of growth and identity. The theologians must somehow show that the identity of a developed doctrine with the revelation in Christ is not only possible, but in a given case (e.g., papal primacy) a reality. Underlying the problem is the Church's teaching that public revelation closed with the end of the apostolic age. Although this proposition has never been solemnly defined, modern theologians take it for granted as the premise to the entire problem (Rahner, Rondet, Journet, Congar, etc.). This being the case, the Church can only hear witness to what she heard and saw in the apostolic generation and what she acknowledged at the time as the totality of the faith. There can he no additional revelation whether in the sense of the montan·

230 Chicago Studies

ists, the fratricelli, the idealists or modernists, all of whom have been rejected by the Church. Since revelation was consum¡ mated in Christ, once and for all manifested to the apostles, we must say with Rahner that the problem of growth and identity comes to this, in its broadest terms at least: a new dogma must somehow be implicitly contained in an old one or in the totality of older beliefs. Once this has been said, however, we have only begun to enter upon the real problem. How is "the implicit" to be understood? The problem of the implicit becomes clearer perhaps in another context. The Pythagorean theorem is certainly implicit in the basic principles of geometry, but Pythagoras not Thales is its author. The atomic bomb is implicit in the work of Einstein, but we look to Teller or Oppenheimer as the "father of the bomb." The problem of "the implicit" in the development of dogma is delicate, therefore; it must be explained in such a way that what was implicit in an earlier belief or the totality of early belief was said by God and believed by the Church, even if in some other form. The main concern among contemporary theologians has been whether only a formally implicit proposition pertains to revelation (one that is made explicit as it were by exegesis), or whether a virtually implicit proposition may also claim God as its author (one deduced by a syllogistic process). Older theologians like Molina and Suarez defended the first position while Marin-Sola, Gardeil and a great many contemporary scholars favor the latter. Most recently the problem of "implicit" has led scholars down little explored paths: an analysis of human discourse and communication, of the logic and psychology of "the implicit" in human thought and speech, the implicitness of a proposition in faith lived in worship and piety, and finally into an examination of the idea of the sensus fidelium. Studies by Rahner and Balic are a good example of the direction taken by this most recent investigation. More effectively than any detailed criticism, the extraordinary proliferation of theories on doctrinal growth shows that none

Doctrine 231

of them is wholly satisfactory. The problem of "the implicit" has so far found no completely adequate solution. The ulti· mate answer must leave no loose threads and there are very many strands indeed to be accounted for. Although the final solution to the question is not yet in sight, we can still profitably examine some of its elements for their relevance to our con· temporary scene. Among these are the dynamics of doctrinal growth and the roles played in it by the faithful, the magistery and the theologian. DYNAMICS OF DOCTRINAL DEVELOPMENT

"I preach Christ crucified," said St. Paul. I believe that we may say with Jean Colson that in this statement we have the core of Paul's message. What is significant is that Paul pro· claimed the death of Christ not only by word but by the Eucharist. Thus in a letter to the Corinthian Christians he wrote: 1' .••• as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes" (1 Cor. 11: 26). The fact is important for it shows that the revelation en· trusted to the apostles was not only propositional but existential. It was not only a word but a reality, an event as well as a doc· trine. The apostles not only heard Christ declare bread and wine to be his body and blood but they were given the reality of the Eucharist itself. Under the guidance of the Spirit then the apostles proclaimed Christ crucified not only in their preaching but in the Eucharistic liturgy. And when they were gone the Church had not only the deposit of their preaching in the Scripture but the living reality of the liturgical mysteries themselves. There could be no further growth in revelation since this had been consummated in Christ who revealed himself once and for all to the apostles. But there could be a growth in our understanding, and in this sense alone we speak of doctrinal development. Doctrinal development is a necessary corollary to the Church's task of preserving and proclaiming revelation. The apostolic witness is preserved in the Scripture but not as a dead letter. As the Church preaches Christ, as she lives her liturgical life,

232 Chicago Studies

her life of charity and of prayer, she penetrates more fully into the "fuller sense" of Scripture (the sensus plenior). This is not a matter of mere subjective interpretation, for there is within Scripture an objective dynamic, to use a phrase of Schillebeeckx, which points toward that fullness. At Nicaea and Chalcedon, for example, we see the fruit of ecclesial contemplation. Here the Son is said to be of the same substance as the father. The word used by the council, homoousios, is foreign to the Scriptures; yet it is neither a theological invention nor a mere paraphrase of the Scripture. It re-allirms the New Testament witness, but now seen in greater depth and a new perspective. The homoousios was somehow implicit in that witness, not simply as it was preserved in ancient manuscripts but as it was lived and experienced in the life of the Church, in the manifold manifestations of that agape which early in history was the name of the Christian community.

A CURIOUS IMBALANCE It is precisely this dynamic of tradition, and more specifically of doctrinal development, that was obscured in counterreformation theology (historically perhaps things could not have been otherwise). Closing ranks to defend the threatened authority of the magistery of the Church, theologians left in the shadows the fact that doctrinal development is the function of the entire Church. The idea was not lost certainly; the theological manuals commonly speak of it; yet there is a glaring lack of balance in these same treatises. While acknowledg¡ ing that doctrinal development is the work of hierarchy and faithful, the treatise De Ecclesia deals preponderantly with the divine origin and power of the magistery. The point is crucial of course; but the imbalance it produces makes it extremely difficult for priests today to come to grips with the doctrinal development present on the contemporary scene. Modern exegesis and theology have come to conclusions that swerve away from "traditional" thought in an unnerving way. Hard on their heels have come highly articulate and knowledgeable laymen precipitating discussion in areas seemingly declared "out of

Doctrine 233

bounds" by the magistery. All of this would seem less disturb路 ing if we were better prepared to see doctrinal growth as the work of the entire Church and not merely of the hierarchy. THE FAITHFUL IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE

As we have seen, the Eucharistic proclamation of the death of Christ is the work of the Christian community. Nor should it seem strange that the task of keeping alive the memory of Christ "till he comes" should be that of the full assembly of the people of God, magistery as well as faithful. Just as the Eucharist finds its fullest expression in the whole assembly and not in the priest alone, so the New Testament witness finds its full manifestation in the same assembly. These observations 路 are not meant to minimize the prerogatives of the magistery but to explore the function of the faithful, both clerical and lay, in keeping alive the memory of Christ. When the Church first moved westward from Jerusalem toward the heart of the Empire, it encountered the language and the philosophy of Greece. The man who first successfully bridged the gulf between the Semitic culture and the mind of Greece was Justin Martyr-a layman (Paul, we must remember, failed to build the bridge when he tried in the Areopagus). Justin was not only totally committed to Christ but well ac路 quainted with Hellenic philosophy, sensitive to its problems, appreciative of its insights. Equipped in this way he was able to translate the memory of Christ into terms of the Stoic Logos, an idea familiar to the Greeks, yet unusually susceptible of a Christian explanation of Christ, the Word. The man who first found the path to clarifying the relation between Father and Son was the layman, Tertullian, lawyer of Rome. When he spoke of them "as distinct in the sense of person not of substance," he was using the language of Roman jurisprudence. In doing so he anticipated the magistery by more than two centuries in its decisions at Chalcedon. Another layman, Clement of Alexandria, was largely re路 sponsible for preventing the Church from drawing in upon herself in the face of seemingly hostile Greek thought. By his

234 Chicago Studies

openness to Hellenic culture, he began a tradition of scholar¡ ship within the Church that won first the respect and then the allegiance of the intellectual community. This dialogue with the world bore fruit in Augustine who was prepared for his committment to the Christ-Logos by Simplicianus who introduced him to the Neo-Platonic speculations of Plotinus. And it was Augustine who dominated the theological thought of the West through the next thousand years. DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSLATION

At this point we would do well to pause and reflect briefly on an important distinction which exists between the translation of the apostolic message into the idiom of a given culture and the re-affirmation of that message in a new mode of understanding, which is the development of doctrine. The distinction is important not only to grasp what happened in the patristic age but what is happening in our own. The process of translating the message of Christ into the cultural idiom of people and period is common to every age of Christianity. The apostles used Greek forms of literature and speech in addressing the people of the Roman world. And with the Greek language a whole world of concepts, categories of thought, inherited metaphors and subtle connotations of meaning enters Christian thought. This is not to maintain, as Harnack did, that Greek philosophy had a direct impact on the New Testament. The assumption is not borne out by modem historical research. Nonetheless there was a sort of Hellenization of Christianity that was inescapable. Christianity would not have moved beyond the borders of Palestine had it kept to its Semitic idiom. The medieval schoolmen engaged in this same process of translation in the renaissance of the twelfth century; we face it today. It is an unavoidable process unless we are content to speak only to ourselves. It sets the stage for doctrinal development; it is not itself development in the true sense of the word. The Greek New Testament existed for several centuries in a Greek culture, discussed and commented upon. And it was the Greek

Doctrine 235

ontological way of thought that focused on the question: Who is Christ? All this would not have been except for the Church's bringing her witness face to face with the Greek world. Nonetheless, the homoousios was, in Murray's phrase, technical dogmatic coinage struck for the purpose of at once answering that question and declaring the sense of Scripture. The term, he points out, is impossibly remote from the ontologies of the Greek-Roman world. We would have to say therefore that while the process of translation seems a normal premise of doctrinal development, the development follows not precisely from the translation but rather from the Church's living up to her early Christian name of agape in faith, hope and charity. In that case, it is all the more clear that the advance is the work of the entire people of God and not merely of the magistery. THE MAGISTERY OF THE CHURCH

While the entire body of the faithful have the responsibility of proclaiming the memory of Christ, the magistery have this as their duty in a special way and with the special assistance of the Holy Spirit. They must first of all teach, then judge, and when necessary define. First they must bear witness to the word and to the event of Christ. The New Testament affirmations they must bring to all men in all ages. But they must also judge, for the witness borne as it is by the people of God is a living thing, carried by living minds in successive moments of history. As language and civilization change, the affirmations of faith must be translated. More than this they must he re-affirmed in new ways of understanding that are faithful to the sense of the revealed word and event. In the dialectic that precedes each re-affirmation the whole Church is engaged. As the whole people strives to translate and to re-affirm, it belongs to the magistery to judge the validity of these efforts. When she does so, as she did at Nicaea or Constantinople, we have divine assurance that her re-affirmation was a true understanding of word and event, not their distortion. Whether or not her formulation was so successful that beyond it lies only mystery is debatable.

236 Chicago Studia

In our own age we find the Church facing new problems: nuclear warfare, population explosion, etc. Faced with the questions the instinct of the magistery is conservative, and rightly so, for its first task is to preserve intact the "deposit of faith." At the same time she knows that she must penetrate more deep! y into the meaning of what has been given her. This penetration ultimately is the work of the Spirit among his people. But it is a people in history, not an abstraction. As the Church moves from age to age and place to place, the affirmations of faith strike different resonances; are they faithful echoes of God's words or is there a crucial dissonance? In the final instance the judgment belongs to the magistery. But it is not a judgement in vacuo. History shows us repeated examples of the dialectic that preceded magisterial decisions-a dialectic in which the bishops themselves took part. Only when time and debate clarified the issue did the hierarchy judge and define. The magistery authenticated the development; it neither initiated it nor brought it to maturity apart from the whole people. It would seem then that the magistery must encourage dialectic, for as a living witness it must observe the laws of growth. THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE MAGISTERY

The infallibility of the magistery is guaranteed by the Spirit whether it teaches, judges or defines. Thus it exercises its infallibility daily as the bishops throughout the world bear wit¡ ness to the affirmations of the New Testament and to the au¡ thentic re-formulations these affirmations have assumed through the centuries. This is the "ordinary" exercise of her charism. Rarely, she gives a more solemn form to her judgment in an ecumenical council or an ex cathedra definition. This infallibility is no guarantee, however, that her understanding can no longer grow in richness or precision. The successive councils of N icaea and Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon are clear evidence that such growth is possible. Nevertheless there are frontiers beyond which the Church cannot pass. There is the frontier that borders on mystery; she passes beyond it only on peril of distorting the truth. To

Doctrine 237

judge prematurely that the frontier is at hand is to stunt the possibilities of growth; to press ahead too rashly is to court error. The matter is delicate and demands discretion of a high order. There is another frontier as formidable as the first and per¡ haps as alluring; and this is the belief that the Christian message can be so reinterpreted through successive ages of the Church that an earlier formulation will ultimately be contradicted. The theory has been condemned, but even apart from this magis¡ terial condemnation we would have to reject the idea because it completely undermines the possibility of the Church ever being a faithful witness to an age. Although the magistery bears the final responsibility for authentic development, it is not absolved from seeking the most competent counsel it can find among the faithful in making its decisions. Ranking high among these is the professional theologian. THE THEOLOGIAN

In the twelfth century the Church institutionalized her need for dialectic with the world by establishing the great universities and formally recognizing the magistri. The need for dialogue was great at the time, for in its own way the renaissance of the twelfth century presented as great a challenge as our own. The knights of the crusades brought back to Europe the poetry of Islam and a curiously Moslem Aristotle. Trade routes were opening to the East; the old laws of serfdom were crumbling under the impact of a new and vigorous urban community. Men were translating the classics of Greece and Rome and beginning to wonder. Marshalling their resources the schoolmen set about the task of bringing the Church's witness to the creative center of the age. In contrast to the fathers of the Church their work was one of analysis and synthesis. Theology was coming into its own as a science. In an unprecedented step the great universities were given the authority to settle controversies. And it was to Paris and Toledo that the kings and counts of Europe brought their prob-


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lems. When they passed judgment their decisions bore the stamp of their collective erudition but of ecclesial authority as well. It is here perhaps that we find the genesis of that unusual prestige accorded the collective body of theologians in the following centuries. The history of theological science is far too tortured to follow in detail: its decline in the late middle ages, its decay in nominalism, the brief bright flame of renaissance theology sputtering out in the cold winds of Jansenism, the slow unexciting recovery of the nineteenth century, the unusual revitalization born through the mid-twentieth century on a dozen currents. Like every science it has had its moments of embarrassment and of glory. In our own age the fortunes of theology are far too tangled to admit of a more detailed discussion. Its critics are vocal and numerous, both within and without the science. Most of these are thoughtful and informed; too many are jejune and almost adolescent. The science itself shows every sign of a vitality that may bring it to a new and bright plateau. Its most literate representatives stand in the mainstream of history at the con· fluence of a dozen tributaries that meet at this moment in the Church's life. They know the language of contemporary philosophy; they enjoy the new openness to the values of non-Catho· lic theologizing. Employing the painstaking research of their predecessors of immediately past generations, they are moving along the path of a new, more existential synthesis. True pro· fessionals, they have so mastered the principles of their science that they build rapidly yet soundly, daringly yet responsibly. Their names are not yet legion, but they are many. More vividly than their predecessors perhaps they sense that their theology must confront their generation. To this pur· pose they have initiated, and must never cease, their dialogue with the cultural dynamic of the age: with the artist, the his· torian, the biologist, the linguist and the host of others who take the pulse of the period and to some extent determine it. A new challenge confronts them in those unique products of our age of mass media communications, the journalist, the



theological essayist. Like their colleagues in the other sciences, modem theogologians probably feel mixed emotions towards these agents of the age of information. They are uneasy when the non-professional "reporter" tries to translate their cautious and highly technical research into the language of the layman. Yet their own science commands them to feel the value of com¡ munications media. The Catholic world has the right to information, not to satisfy some idle curiosity, but that it may know and live more fully the word and the reality of the Christian revelation. In this existential contact of the entire people with Christ lies the hope of greater growth. No less heavy a responsibility lies upon the essayist and journalist to learn the language of modem theology. In our time these men bridge the gulf that exists between the necessarily technical language of theology and the public who have a right to information. When one of them suggests, for instance, that doubt is the Catholic's route to deeper faith, he is either guilty of ambiguity or heresy, for the idea was condemned by Vatican I. In either case he does no service to the people of God. CONCLUSION

We live in a world immeasurably more complex than that of earlier generations. Instead of a single culture dominated by Greek art and philosophy, the twentieth century is a richly stratified structure of sub-cultures, political, social, scientific and artistic. In the days of Aquinas the "world" was western Europe shot through with thousand years of Christian experience. Beyond Europe lay Islam, formidable, wise, almost unknown. The differences today are not only horizontal (geographic) but vertical (cultural). The slumbering people of Africa and Asia have awakened to demand a voice in the affairs of men, bringing with them a genius and a history that are alien to the West. In the United States we are more obviously many than one. There are not only the striking geographical divisions of north, south, east and west, but the intellectual and social subcultures that cut through every part of the nation: communities of scientists and artists who form, in Davis' phrase,


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the creative center of our world. If the Church is to reach these commumtJes she needs the help of men who have been steeped in the traditions, aspirations, and modes of understanding proper to each of them. The work of translating the message of Christ into the languages of these enormously diversified groups is going on now in the Church. Whether this translation will in time he followed by a true doctrinal development yet remains to he seen. What is clear is that this work belongs not to the magistery or the theologian alone, but to the entire people of God. In the words of Vatican II: "The holy people of God shares also in Christ's prophetic office, it spreads abroad a living witness to him; especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the tribute of lips which give praise to his name" (De Ecclesia 12). The priest of today need feel no theological bankruptcy then, for he is witnessing a process which he examined in his seminary curriculum. The swirling dialectic that preceded past moments of doctrinal development may have been lost in the unemotional language of the manuals, but the fact itself of growth and development is familiar to him. He knows too, as the manuals insist, that growth is the work of the entire Church and that the magistery has the assurance of Christ that the apostolic witness to Christ will never be lost in the process. What is new and perhaps unnerving is the pace at which the contemporary dialogue is moving. The present moment, he may be sure, offers no comfort to those writers who speak too easily of the "post-Christian era." Rather it gives substance to the observation of the great historian Latourette that Christianity has never been more vital than it is in this hour.

Robert A. Reicher

The Priest and Community Organization: A Dissent From a theowgical, hi.torical and sociowgical point of view, what is the precise role of the churches and of clergymen in community organizaJicns?

In .August, 1964, Father John Harmon, an Episcopal priest assigned to Packard Manse in Roxbury, Massachusetts, ad¡ dressed the National Catholic Social Action Conference. His speech was the most provocative and stimulating of the meeting. He attempted a kind of theologizing or theological reflection on the relationship of the Church to the city. He said: "There are two currents of imperialism in the city church today. One is what might be called 'pedagogic imperialism' and the other 'programmatic imperialism.' The first is the conviction that the Church alone has or should have the answer to any issue in society; the second is the conviction that the church has, as an institution, a programmatic way of responding to the issues ... This 'pedagogic imperialism' helps shape a similar 'programmatic imperialism,' under which urban church bodies elaborate ambitious projects on a parochial and city-wide level



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in order to 'help people.' The urban church today supports case work institutions .... urban renewal planning, etc. Nobody can deny that these efforts have had great benefit and deserve great praise. . . . But certainly it is not right that the Church become the means whereby the community can escape its obligations. . . . An essential mark of so many of these ef· forts . . . . is the way they implicitly deny that a new way of life can emerge from within the situation itself. . . . Surely the central function of the Church in the city, as everywhere, is non·programmatic; it is to celebrate the Eucharist, to nourish Christianity in Scripture and theology, and to provide a constant stream of people who know themselves to be free in the Lord to respond to and bear the pain and joy of urban life--that is, to live within it and not outside of it. And whatever programs do emerge should not be eccelesiastical, but should reflect the fact that it is with and through those who bear the chief burdens of our social sickness we all can see most clearly what and how things should be done." These words appeared in New City magazine at the same time a series of separate but interrelated incidents were re· ported in the press. Pope Paul VI dramatically placed his tiara on the altar of St. Peter's Basilica to be used for the poor. Later, he called upon all people to concern themselves about the elimination of poverty. The Catholic Free Press re· ported that Bishop Flanagan of the Worchester diocese had ordered a use of diocesan facilities to war on poverty. A press release stated that the Economic Opportunities Act of 1964 en· couraged voluntary, non-profit organizations to initiate pro· grams at least partially financed by federal funds. Presumably this statement included religious organizations, and a later brochure was distributed among voluntary agencies outlining the possibilities of such participation. An issue of Common· weal was dedicated to the problem of poverty and a subsequent issue headlined an article requesting conciliar discussion of disarmament and peace. In a way, all of these separate inci· dents urge an interest on the part of the churches in the problems of temporal society.

Community Organization


A GROWING CONSCIOUSNESS These incidents, however, really reflected a trend in the participation of the churches in temporal and civil society. Perhaps it is better to say that a resurgent interest in the society in which men are immersed was more apparent. In the 1930's many priests, ministers and rabbis, together with many of their laity, lent their moral consciousness to the growth of the labor movement. In the post-war years, it seemed as if the interest in social action was then reduced to a quasi-professional class of clergymen and laity specifically trained for their roles in the problems of American society. However, two phenomena, among several others, forced large numbers of clerics and religious groups onto the social scene. Obviously, the exciting development of the civil rights movement with its appeal to moral principles stimulated the churches to action. This is especially true in view of the role of the churches from the very beginnings of the movement. Equally as important, although perhaps not as dramatic, was the development of community organizations to respond to the needs of decaying cities. It is this last development which I would like to discuss in view of Father Harmon's remarks, although the relationship of the principles to the civil rights movement, the uplifting of migratory laborers, and other church-supported social tasks are intertwined here. Although I will deal principally with the Catholic clergy, what is said can be referred to the work of clergymen of other faiths and all the laity who are professed members of the churches and synagogues. Father Harmon's remarks must be reflected upon, and his ideas must be concretized in the existential situations in which the churches operate. There are difficulties in thinking through the problems presented by Father Harmon, and these difficulties will become more apparent in the years ahead. If we use the broad term, the Church, there is no difficulty in stating that the Church must involve itself in social matters. Both Leo XIII and Pius XI found it necessary to speak at length on the right of the Church to participate in social and temporal matters when morality is affected. Pius XI directed that seminarians


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receive special training in the social sciences presumably to facilitate an involvement in social matters. We are aware of the traditional idea that the Church cannot involve itself m those matters which are purely teclmical and that in these areas church authority is limited. Now the tide has turned, and clerics and church officials have been criticized for not speaking out on social matters. In the question of racial justice, although there has been criticism of church-orientated participation in demonstrations, boycotts, and the like, there is much more criticism for silence in these matters. When Cardinal Mcintyre remained silent on the question of Proposition 14 in California, Ramparts published an insulting dialogue between the Cardinal and his conscience on matters affecting racial justice. Whatever one thinks of this criticism, there is a serious underlying discussion requiring clarity of thought. In the present article, the question is: what is the precise role of the churches in community organizations? LEVELS OF THE PROBLEM

To clarify the discussion, it should be pointed out that the problem has to be raised on several levels. There are various dimensions to this apparently simple, yet perplexing, question. In the first place, the problem is at least partially theological. It centers on the question: what is the Church? As the Catholic Church reflected upon itself in the various sessions of the ecumenical council, it defined the Church simply as the holy people of God. With this definition of the Church, all its members are the Church. The Church is divinely founded, hierarchical in nature, and a pilgrim Church passing through the world. In the present session of the Vatican Council, perhaps more light will be shed on the relationship of the holy people of God to the world as Schema 13, The Church in the Modern World, is discussed. But now there are all kinds of ques¡ tions that arise. When we go beyond the various papal and episcopal statements affecting the social order, who speaks for the Church on special matters? In concretized form, this ques¡ lions asks how the holy people of God relate to the problems

Community Organization 245

of the community. When priests and religious demonstrate in Selma, Alabama, is this the Church bearing witness to the message of Christ? When a group of clergymen sign a statement¡ either opposing or supporting the rehiring of Benjamin Willis as superintendent of Chicago's schools, is this the Church witnessing in the city? When clergymen in community organizations support or oppose the building of a new high school, support or oppose an urban renewal project, support or oppose a youth rehabilitation center, how is the Church related to a problem? When clergymen or laity, together or separately, support a piece of legislation like FEP or Fair Housing, is this the Church in action? These questions then raise another dimension of the theological problem. The Church, in addition to its spiritual mission, expresses itself in human, institutional forms, such as a parish, a diocese or a "Catholic" group. Yves de Montcheuil uses a term, perhaps no longer acceptable theologically, when he speaks of the "visible" Church in action. The theological dimensions of the Church, then, must be explored further to give a complete answer as to how the Church operates in community organizations. In addition to the theological problem of the Church, there is also an historical problem. As the Church attempts to influence civil society today-and it must always do so in order to see that its vision of God and man is reflected in the institutions of ¡society-we ask how it has exercised its influence in the past? This historical problem has been discussed in an area different from that of community organizations by John Courtney Murray. In his brilliant essay on the structure of the Church-Stste problem, the Jesuit theologian insists that historically the problem has always remained essentially the same. The problem is that of maintaining a dual principle of authority, one spiritual, one temporal, with the temporal acknowledging the primacy of the spirituaL This primacy does not smother the temporal order by imposing a specific expression of principle but encourages temporal institutions to¡ their own manifestation of principle. As the Church passes through history, it insists on one or

246 Chicago Studies

another of its unchanging principles according to the needs of a given era. Yet the Church always runs the risk of lagging behind history when it attempts to identify itself with institutions upon which society has already passed judgment. Similarly, in our modem problem of urban life, sharpened down to the role of the Church in community organizations, there are various ways in which the institutional Church has sought to deal with the problems of each age. John XXIII used a happy phrase when he suggested in Christianity and Social Progress that it is the duty of the Christian "to civilize the modem world." He could mean that the Christian must give form to the institutions of society including the community organizations which reflect man's dignity even in the complex world of urban living. But how the institutional Church does this is inevitably subjected to the evolution of history. In the Spring, 1963, issue of Cross Currents, Andre Latreille shows how the Church has dealt with the secular state in various decades in the recent past. Historically, then, more and more churchmen are involved in community organizations and use their position to implement their visions of what the society or the community ought to be. SOCIOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF THE PROBLEM

Finally, there are sociological dimensions to the problems of the Church in community organizations. In some churches, the clergy have assumed greater and greater responsibility in expanding their roles to help fill the temporal needs of the communities in which they reside. This matter also needs further study. In the Fall, 1963, issue of Daedalus, Gustafson analyzes the role of the clergy in the United States. He suggests that there has been an ever wider span of tasks performed by the clergy. This increase in assignments is due to the voluntary character of American religion, the lack of a traditional basis for the acceptance of clerical authority, and above all a struggle to find new roles to make the Church relevant to modem society. As a result, the clergy have moved into areas of social concern in the American church. I wish to avoid the mistake of saying that whenever a cleric acts, he cannot divorce himself from his

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official role in the Church; yet a case could be made for a wide belief that a cleric, when be acts, acts for the Church. That this belief is erroneous is clear from a recent book by Charles Tull on Father Coughlin and the New Deal, where the arguments between John Ryan and Charles Coughlin are documented. From an early supporter of Father Coughlin, John Ryan became a fierce adversary. Yet in popular thinking, both men were in路 terpreted as speaking for the Church. After this lengthy preface, I would like to offer some con路 elusions and ideas on the role of clerics in community organi路 zation. I realize the inadequacy of the theological, historical and sociological knowledge required to make complete and final conclusions. I offer these conclusions as material for further discussion by better scholars, but I do think that at least the right and proper questions are being raised. First of all, it should be made clear that I am not speaking of the clergyman who speaks out on social matters according to the light of his conscience as a citizen. Any priest is a human being before he is a priest. He brings to a problem the con路 science which commands bini to speak out and to express his ideas. As a matter of fact, be has a duty to express his moral concern about those matters in which he is competent. No one can deny the right of clergymen to take specific positions or even forms of action, either corporately or singly. Problems arise for me, however, when the clergyman states he is speaking in the name of the Church or if he uses the Church to obtain institutional or structural reform in society by using the power of the Church to secure his ends. To specify these statements more carefully, the problem arises when a clergyman officially represents a parish, a diocese, a religious group in temporal matters. It also arises when the clergyman in a community uses the power of the Church to seek specific structural reforms which he believes are in keeping with his conscience and the conscience of his Church. THE SHAPE OF THE PROBLEM

These problems can he expressed in a different way. There


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is not much of a problem for me when a clergyman engages in a public demonstration such as those which occurred in Selma. There is not much of a problem when a cleric denounces social evils or elucidates principles of his denominational social teaching. The problem is made acute, however, when the demonstrations at Alabama are translated into a specific piece of legislation, when the problems of the age are translated into support for a specific project for the aged or for Medicare, or when the exploitation of migrant workers is removed by specific programs of training and rehabilitation. When the clergy actively engage in the use of political power to bring about institutional or structural reform, we are faced with the pedagogic and programmatic imperialism feared by Father Harmon. Here I would be reluctant to approve the participation of clerics as officers and directors of community organizations, if this is done in the name of the Church. Neither by profes¡ sional training nor by the power of orders are priests gifted in this field. This is not to say that few priests are aware of the sociological construct of a community. This is not to say that they lack the vision of a good community life. However, such knowledge and such vision does not necessarily depend on ecclesiastical or theological orientation. Therefore, when a priest in a community organization uses the power of the Church for ends, no matter how noble and good, I am uneasy in view of the nature of the Church and of civil society. Again I repeat that as a citizen a priest does have the duty to participate and to share, but my problem arises when the priest speaks for and represents the Church as a human institution. I hold this position because the Church cannot be wedded to specific solutions as the churchly solutions to social problems, even though the Church is obviously concerned with and about the problems of social reform. A wide range of choices is available to those who seek to perfect the temporal order. To commit the Church to specific solutions does not to my mind fall within the scope of the institutional Church. In view of the recent involvement of many clerics in com¡

Community Organization


munity 'organizations, this seems a startling conclusion, but it seems inevitable to me. I see no difficulty in clerics of the same or¡ different religious faiths expressing their opinions on social matters, but I do not see how they can unilaterally commit the Church as a human institution to follow specific courses of action in matters which are not clearly of the moral order. I am not here talking about such things as euthanasia, sterilization of prisoners, etc., which are clearly contrary to the moral law, but those programs, projects, ideas, etc., which involve the Church in the temporal order in a way in which I am not sure it should be involved. THE IMMEDIATE OBJECTIONS

There are many objections to these statements and I must seriously consider them. One objection states that clerics must exert their moral influence in a community, and the community organization is a legitimate place in which this moral influence can be felt. I think it would be a great failure if this moral consciousness were not transmitted to the laity in any parish so that the community might be formed by the laymen who are in it. I have attended community meetings in the recent past, and I have been disturbed by the presence of so many clergymen. This represents a failure on the part of the clerics, the Church, the laity to understand the moral dimensions of their commitment to temporal society. Pope John XXIII clearly points out that temporal affairs are primarily the concern of the laity, and if this role is usurped by the clergy, it seems to me that the full flowering of the Church's influence on the world is stifled. Somehow or other, the ideas, the influence, the education, the skill, the interest of lay persons must be used in the temporal society. All too often, it seems to me, the priest, pastor, minister, rabbi speaks without any consultation with the laity whom he represents. Another objection to my position could be based on the responsibility a clergyman has toward his own parish as an institution. The parish after all is an institution. There are buildings, a gymnasium, a library, a school, a church which

250 Chicago StudieJ

are ailected by unenforced zoning laws, by the rapid influx of "in-migrants" or by racial change. Community organizations seek to stabilize neighborhoods and prevent a destruction or weakening of the parish simply as an institution. Once again, I think the dormant laity can look out for the interests of the parish as a human institution. For example, most Catholic parishes have appointed trustees. Too often, their sole function is to sign an annual report, a report which on occasion they do not even read. Yet the trustees could perform the use¡ ful function of protecting the temporal interests of the parish. Sometimes it is suggested that a neighborhood is so bereft of leadership that the clergy must assume leadership. Or perhaps the leadership either in the political or economic sphere is so corrupt that a clergyman must assume leadership. Even in this case, it seems that the cleric can find suitable leaders and develop them. Saul Alinsky claims that such leaders exist in every community and that they can express themselves. I write these words in full awareness of the difficulties involved in engaging laymen to be concerned about their community. The attractions of home, the inertia inspired by the television set, the vagueness of programs to be tried are all deadly weights on an effective community organization. I know the disappoint¡ ments of many priests who have continually urged people to be involved in community work. Yet they must develop a community through lay leaders or he saddled with an impossible burden of responsibility. THE CLERIC IN THE COMMUNITY

The community possesses goodness in itself and this good¡ ness can be developed more excellently by the people in it. Certainly, I hope that in no way do I lessen the importance of the Church's or the cleric's role in the social order. Rather, I look to a broader definition of the Church and a different kind of role for the cleric than running the community. As a matter of fact, the role of the Church, the parish, the diocese should be expanded along lines of helping to provide the tools needed in any community. If the techniques of leadership and organiza-

Community Organization


tion are lacking in a community, the Church can contribute to this development by establishing training centers in urban life. If there is a lack of knowledge of social principles, the ideas found in papal social encyclicals are still as valid as the day they were written. All too often this vast body of social thought, social philosophy, if you will, is an untapped source of knowledge in a community. Employment bureaus, vocational training and rehabilitation, the redirection of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, are all ways in which the attempt of the Church to influence the social order may be expanded. However, I do believe that the community organization as such belongs to the people in the community. Finally, there is also the use of the Sunday sermon to inspire men to assume community responsibility. The sterile and repeated sermons of past times could well take on a new meaning in urban life. The revelation of the Word of God to the holy people of God in community life is certainly a responsibility of clerics. In other words, clerics must preach more about social problems. Perhaps in expressing some of the problems and difficulties that I have, more questions have been raised .. However, I think that these problems and difficulties must be answered. Only a deeper awareness of the theological, historical, and sociological dimensions of the Church's work in the temporal order can lead to a solution of these problems. I hope that this article will lead clerics and laity to discuss more openly and frequently the problems of clerical participation in community organizations.


Bernard Hiiring, C.SS.R.

The Dynamism of Christian Life

A truly dynamic Christian morality leads a man to the risk of the paschal mystery -to lose his life arul to firul it with the L<>rd.

It is easier to explain the dynamism of Christian life to men of today than to those of the eighteenth century, for our whole culture in the contemporary world is dynamic, progres¡ sive. Every day we have new technical advances; every day new possibilities are being explored. Indeed this energetic thrust toward developing every potential is characteristic of our culture. This dynamic quality is still much more characteristic of Christian morality. It would, consequently, be strange if twentieth century moralists would continue to propose the Christian doctrine of morality in a static way, exclusively in terms of what one ought and ought not do. Such a presentation, which allows a Christian to rest satisfied with himself in medi¡ ocre righteousness, is contrary both to the dynamic quality of our age, and especially to the Spirit-guided living dynamism of the Christian mystery. 253




Christian morality is rooted in the victory of our Lord in the fullness of time, a victory that has not yet reached its full manifestation. The history between the first and the second coming of Christ is totally dynamic. It stretches forward to his final coming; yet it is not only a hope of things to come. It is the strength and the power, the urging power, the dynamism of the presenl grace. Our Lord came and he remains with us. He himself in this present time is urging us to look forward to his blessed coming again. When we speak, therefore, of the eschatological structure of Christian doctrine and Christian morality we mean this dynamism of things already present but not yet fully manifested. We mean on the one hand the victory of Christ already assured, already visible on the cross and in the glory of the risen Lord, already visible in those who have followed him and died under the sign of the faith. On the other hand, this victory is not yet fully visible in our own lives, not yet fully visible in the life of the Church. The Church is in truth the people of God, but a people not yet arrived in the promised land, a people still on pilgrimage. It is the people of God who need the daily prayer "forgive us our trespasses," a people in need of daily purification. At the same time the people of God is full of hope because of the presence of the Lord. That redemptive presence dynamically urges them to stretch forward in yearning hope toward the final victory when the Lord will came again. This dynamism of the people of God in Christian morality is not to be seen principally from the viewpoint of man, that is, as though it were the result of man's efforts and desires. Christian morality has to be seeen essentially from the viewpoint of God, as the work of his grace and his revelation. DYNAMISM OF DIVINE REVELATION

God's revelation is itself dynamic. It is not merely a com¡ munication that inspires static contemplation. Nor is it only communication to the intellect to help man to form abstract concepts. Rather, God's revelation comes to man in his saving

Dynami&m 255

deeds, and that very revelation is itself an appeal to man to respond in active love. It is revelation that immediately com¡ municates to man the inner power so to respond. THE GLORY OF Goo

In the study of Holy Scripture we recognize as one of the key concepts of the Old Testament the glory of the Lord, the kabod Yahweh, doxa theou, gloria Domini. There we see God revealing his love. This revelation is powerful, urgent and strengthening. This revelation prompts man to kneel down, to adore God. It makes him tremble before the transcendent divine holiness, while he experiences God and is thereby filled with joy. This dynamic revelation of the glory of God, of the name of God and the holiness of God is the foundation of the virtue of religion, which is one ¡of the essential matters of moral theology. Such an important question, therefore, must not be seen primarily from the aspect of the capabilities and aptitudes of man, and even less so from the viewpoint of the obligations of man. For in the revelation of his glory, God not only teaches man what to do, but in his revelation and self-manifestation, he is himself present as an urging power. We have at one and the same time an exterior revelation and an interior appeal of God's manifestation. Yet the dynamic calling to men in the glory of God is not primarily a calling from outside. Rather the revelation to man of his holiness and his love is a powerful self-manifestation that constitutes an interior appeal. It would be beneficial to read both the Old and the New Testaments in their entirety, focusing on this single concept of the kobod Yahweh, the doxa theou, the glory of God. Yahweh's glory shines forth as a luminous cloud revealing his loving guidance of his people in the desert. On Sinai his glory appears as fire. Yahweh's glory fills the Temple (Ex 40:35; l Kgs 8: ll), and a man must cover his face at its appearance (Ex 33:22). God reveals his glory in creation and in the wonders he performs for his people (Num 14:22; Is 35:2; 40:5). St. Paul expresses the dynamic power of God's glory with the words to kratos tes dynames tes doxas tou Theou. To kratos means




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an urging power; dynamis means an urging, dynamic and appealing energy of the manifestation of the glory of God. This is the way divinity reveals. This is life--urging, powerful life; divine life that urges men to kneel down, to fear God and to tremble, for man is indeed a sinner who must cry out, "Leave me, Lord, for I am a poor sinner" (Lk 5:8). At the same time there is joy, the feeling of the blessed nearness of God. This does not come from man; it comes from God; it is his gift. It is the revelation of the primacy of the action of God, the primacy of the action of grace which is evident in the manifestation of the glory of God. You see it on Mt. Thabor when the great prophets of the Old Covenant join the Lord and the heavenly Father manifests the glory of the New Covenant. Here St. Peter, who on other occasions had cried out, "Leave me, 0 Lord, for l am a sinner," now asks, "0 Lord, let us build here three tents." He wishes to remain in the light of holy fear,- for it is also the light of holy jubilee and holy joy (Lk 9:28-36). When Christ came in the fullness of the Father's revelation, he did indeed reveal himself in glory, as the evangelist John says: "And we saw his glory-glory as of the only-begotten of the Father-full of grace and of truth" (Jn l :14). DYNAMISM OF GRACE

In the same context we can understand the doctrine of grace in Holy Scripture, as the loving power of God dynamically appealing to man. To perceive grace in the scriptural light contrasts quite sharply with the typical moralistic approach that sees grace chiefly as a means for man to fulfill a commandment. Such an approach puts the commandments in the first place of emphasis and sees the difference in the observations of the decalogue in the Old and the New Testaments merely as a di:fference in sufficiency of grace: "in the Old Testament, they did not have the grace to keep the commandments; now in the New Testament era, we have sufficient grace if we use all the means." The basic defect of such a moral approach is that it is anthropocentric, reducing the grace of Christ and perhaps finally Christ himself to be thought of only as a means for the


25 7

keeping of the written laws. But the primacy is not in ·the commandments telling us "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not." Rather, the primacy in moral life rests with our Lord him· self, who in his grace and tremendous love comes to encounter us. Grace· is the bond of the Covenant. It unites us in intimate friendship with the Lord of the New Covenant people. It is a powerful manifestation of God's love in the interior of the heart of man. It is indeed a revelation to each man of the glory of God. the kabod Yahweh, the doxa theou. Grace is the inner urging of the power of God's love that is normally joined to the visible signs of his glory. Grace, therefore, by its very nature urges us to stand in the Lord's presence. It prompts us to see his working in all things, to adore him at all times and to make manifest that we do not seek our own glory but only the glory of God. Grace is the interior power which makes us open· minded to the external manifestation of the glory of God. It makes us aware of the necessity of rendering glory to God in all things. Grace is the beginning of love. It is a dynamic beginning because it is ordained to all the external manifestations of the glory of God and especially to the paschal mystery, in which the heavenly Father in his beloved Son has supremely mani· fested the splendor of his love. Grace is ordained to Christ who throughout the whole of his life hut especially through his death, has given all glory to the Father. Just as grace pertains to the visible manifestation of the glory of the risen Lord in the Easter mystery, it is likewise referred to the second com· ing of the Lord in power and love. Grace implies, therefore, the expectation of the redemption of our body, as well as our soul, so that our whole human nature should be assumed finally into the glory of Christ. Such hope means that we can live to· gether with Christ in grace only in so far as we make our whole life in him a glorification of God. Grace does not allow a man to remain self-centered but frees him from the anxiety which makes him ask only how he can discover for himself the mercy of God. Grace makes man fear God, adore him and

258 Chicago StudieJ

love him. As the beginning of the glory that will be manifest in even our bodies, grace obliges us not only by means of an external command but rather by interior dynamism to adore God. Indeed grace enables us to make our whole life a continuous loving adoration and adoring love. Grace is the dynamic energy that comes from Christ. It is the love of Christ urging us (2 Cor 5:14). It impels us to see him. who was crucified for us, to see him in the glory of his crucified love. It urges us inwardly as a real participation in the dynamic working of the Spirit of the glory of Christ, the holy Spirit. It is the Spirit himself who testifies to our spirits that we are God's children, "fellow-heirs with Christ, if we really share his sufferings in order to share his glory too" (Rom 8:16-17). Christian dynamism clearly means more than an impulse which is consonant with the dynamism of today's world. It goes far beyond the mere effort of man constantly to achieve new conquests over nature. Directly and first of all Christian dynamism means the dynamic urging power of the glory of the love of Christ. That is the genuine reason why men can and will do great works. Our Lord tells his apostles that if he sends them the Spirit, they will do even greater things than he himself did. These they will achieve through the Spirit who is the same Spirit by whom he himself was anointed. Thus indeed they will be his own works. In short, the dynamism of Christian life means the powerful urging joy of the paschal mystery into which men are drawn by the Spirit sent from the triumphant Christ at the right hand of the Father's glory. AN INTEGRAL PART

It is essential that New Testament morality should never be presented separated from the gospel, nor that it be explained as if it were opposed to the Good Tidings of salvation, or even as an appendage to the Good News. No, for the New Testament morality is Good News. Morality is an integral part of the Good Tidings that Christ proclaims to us in his own Person, through his coming as the incarnate Word. And he proclaims the gospel



to us above all in giving us himself, for he is both message and messenger. He announces the gospel and he himself is the gospel. A presentation of Christian morality that is separated from the gospel is powerless, and becomes the kind of moralism against which the whole modem world reacts so negatively, both those who oppose Christ and those who love him. That great prophet and poet of our times, Paul Claude!, with his characteristic sensitivity to the signs of the times, expresses it in¡ these words: "Truly we love Christ, but nothing in this world can make us love moralism." Man can look into the mirror of moralistic laws and know them well. Yet when they become pertinent for him in an actual situation, he forgets them. He can never like them. That is why the renewal of moral theology today is following the biblical and patristic emphasis, which remains that of the Good News of salvation. The best theology of all centuries means in the first place the integration of the moral message with the gospel, the Good Tidings. This calls for the renunciation of the technical simplification that would separate dogmatic theology (what we have to believe) from discipline (what we must do). In the very expression of what we must do there must be manifest to us also the power with which we will be able to do it. That power is the Spirit of Christ. It must be made clear that in all commands it is our Lord himself whom we encounter, who gives us his life and in this way his commands. The dynamism of Christian morality means that the Christian is always with Christ, in whom he abides, bearing within himself the gospel and the joy of being a friend of Christ to whom he is united through grace and love. DYNAMIC JOY oF NEw TEsTAMENT MORALITY

At the time that the Jews returned from exile and began to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, they had to work with one hand while holding a sword in the other. It was in this crisis situation that the book of the Covenant was rediscovered. The priest Esdras had to read to all the people in such a way, says the text (Neh 8), that all could understand. When they heard


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the book of the Covenant, they wept and cried over their sins. Then Esdras told them to go home to celebrate the day in¡ feasting and to bring a portion to all those who could not come. The reason, he says, is "because the joy of the Lord is our strength" {Neb 8:10). Here is, I think, the key to the life of the people of God. It is evident in the Old Testament and even more so in the New Testament that "the joy of the Lord is our strength." Hence a proper presentation of Christian morality from the earliest catechetical instructions to the most advanced scientific moral thology demands that it be explained in its specific New Testament character. Moral theology cannot be truly scientific unless it is presented as Good Tidings in such a way that it awakens joy in the heart and prompts a man to cry out: "0 Lord, I love thy law, thy law is delicious, thy law is my joy" {Ps 118). Such a response is only possible if the law is not seen as separated from life, and if it is seen as basically the command of love. By way of parenthesis I should call attention to the fact that those who think that Catholics must live under strong discipline and would therefore multiply sanctions should recall the history of the past. The terrible deviation of the Inquisition was a multiplication of sanctions. It was the great Inquisitor who tried to save the Church through torture, inquisition and multiplication of laws and penalties. Yet such procedure never strengthened Christian faith. On the contrary, it killed in many souls the joyous love of the Church. It emasculated Christian morality, for strong natures run behind other prophets than the grand Inquisitor! In the face of such deviations we can only admire God's power and love, for despite the aberrations of men he has preserved the Church so that she has never been totally lacking in saints who have gone on joyfully living the Christian life. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, there have always been saintly men and women who indeed expressed criticism of defects in the Church, but above all expressed their loyalty in the witness of their Christian joy, their love, their kindness and their confidence.



There can be little doubt about the fact that a severe and rigorous jail threat has never made men better. In a jail where there is only darkness and not the light of kindness, the goodness in a man's heart is ¡stifled. By contrast the light of the gospel has changed the world wherever it has been allowed to shine. Recall the example of St. Francis. Think of the great Don Bosco, closer to our own times, who started with hopeless boys considered unworthy and incapable of being educated, and from their ranks trained great priests and even bishops. This he achieved not with laws and sanctions, but with love and with the living gospel in the witness of his own self-sacrificing love in the power of the Spirit of Christ. Consider also the case of Brother Albert of Poland, a great hero of Polish liberty, who had lost one of his legs in the war. He was a competent painter and yet he gathered around himself thieves and murderers. He opened his home to them. Of course, they took things, but he found this natural and he loved them anyway. Finally, he obtained permission in Krakow to move into their district. He made an agreement with the mayor that if he moved in the police would stay away. He did not come to live among these men to moralize and reprimand. Instead, he cleaned their rooms, brought them food, brought the light of kindness to them. He even recruited vocations for a new order among these thieves and murderers. Thus he changed them. But he had to pay a price. On one occasion he was gladdened by a large donation with which he hoped to build a new house for these murderers and thieves. But one of them found out that he had the money. He seized Brother Albert's wooden leg, beat him, and stole the money. That was a disillusioning experience. Yet after two years the thief returned and Brother Albert embraced him saying simply, "I knew you would come back." This is the way Christ has shown the weakness of the cross and the power of his glory! This is so different from the human temp~ation to be safe and to make sure of our salvation by mechanical application of commands and sanctions. Christian dynamism is that love that gives credit to man, that pays in anticipation the price for the goodness of men. So

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it becomes true ever more visibly that the joy of the Lord our strength, our power, our dynamism.



There remains to be considered another aspect of the dynamic character of Christian morality and this aspect is essential. It is the doctrine of continuous conversion and growth. The manuals of the last century formulated in the so-called Roman type bad only a static presentation of the nature of Christian morality. Exact definition of the minimum that can be imposed on all seemed to be the goal. For those trained in this pattern of moral theology, the present renewal may seem like a revolutionary break with the past. Yet it is not so, for even in the nineteenth century there were the beginnings of a great renewal of moral theology, especially through the work of John Michael Sailer (later bishop of Ratisburg) and of John Baptist Hirscher, the great professor of moral theology at Tiibingen and later at Freibourg. These pioneers and their schools presented the doctrine of conversion as the very core of New Testament morality. In so doing, they were following the ancient tradition of the Church. Yet those great pioneers, Sailer and Hirscher, had to pay the price of suffering, for even saintly men did not understand what they were attempting. SAILER AND HrnsCHER

John Michael Sailer (1751-1832) experienced the enthusias· tic love of his students at Tiibingen. For one thing he was the first at that great university to teach moral theology in the Ger· man language, a practice which his students heartily welcomed! Yet his colleagues, far less enthusiastic, forbade him to continue so unheard-of a thing as teaching theology in a living language. Sailer, however, was unimpressed by their arguments and continued to teach in German. His associates appealed to the king of Bavaria, who saw the reasonableness and advisability of Sailer's position, but was pressured into forbidding him to continue. Yet it was not only a question of Sailer's teaching in the vernacular that his colleagues protested and opposed. It



was the dynamic spirituality of his approach which aroused the dissatisfaction of the other teachers, though the students were enthusiastic. In the end, Sailer was removed from his teaching position at Tiibingen. The great moral theologian accepted the dismissal with good grace, remaining in peace and joy, convinced that he had done what was right. He went on to become the great reformer of pastoral moral theology at the University of Lunsford and later at Munich_ Finally he was made bishop of Ratisburg_ In that diocese the influence of John Michael Sailer and of his successor and disciple Whitmann is still felt today. The renewal of moral and pastoral theology made such an impact that, for example, it is still very rare in the diocese of Ratisburg that a priest is unfaithful to his priesthood and celibacy. The other great theologian of the nineteenth century who proposed the dynamic character of moral theology was John Baptist Hirscher. A pious man, Hirscher was influential also in the renewal of catechesis. The key idea of his moral theology was the central biblical concept of the kingdom of God, with a strong emphasis on the urging power of the love of God. Like Sailer, Hirscher too had much to suffer, especially on account of his speaking out against the new scholasticism of Kleutgen and others- At the present time, we would perhaps find the words of Hirscher too mild in their protest of a dead theology- Yet because of his criticism of a scholasticism that failed to encourage a strong Christian life, he was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books. Not long after this had happened, the cathedral chapter of Rottenberg elected Hirscher for bishop! Their action so disturbed him that he wrote to them reprimanding them for impugning the honor of the Church by proposing as bishop a man whose name was on the Index. Hirscher refused the bishopric, feeling that a man in his position should not be made a bishop. A second time he was faced with the same problem when he was elected to the See of Freibourg, but again he refused the honor. Like St. Thomas Aquinas in his century, these great moral theologians faced with equanimity the difficulties inherent in


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the situation for all who wish to vitalize the Church in their time. They accepted in a spirit of great kindness and humility the sufferings that their efforts involved them in, for they recognized that such difficulties and sufferings are necessary in the Church, because the Church is the redeeming presence of Christ in the world. His redemptive mission is the Easter mystery, which is a mystery of the cross as well as the resurrection. The efforts of John Michael Sailer and John Baptist Hirscber and their disciples prepared the ground for the great renewal of moral theology today. Central to this renewal in the spirit of the second Vatican Council is the conviction that in his tremendous grace God is offering us the possibility of a deeper and continuing conversion, a conversion that is both social and individual, involving each member personally as well as the whole structure of the Church. FIRST AND SECOND CONVERSION

From the earliest days of the Church a distinction has always been made between first and second conversion. First conversion is the transition from death to life, from the dark¡ ness of sin to the life and love and grace of God. The sacrament of first conversion is baptism. Those who receive Christ in faith and surrender their intellect and will to the Lord live in faith, since they receive in baptism the sacrament of faith. They have been radically converted to life in Christ Jesus. Yet they need something more. They need a continuing dynamism of the grace of God so that they may realize more and more perfect! y in their lives the death of Christ and the victory of his resurrection. Now the second conversion, of which the sacrament of penance is a central moment interrelated with the sacrament of :first conversion, belongs to this aspect of continuous conversion. As a second baptism, penance is a special sign of mercy from God for the man who has fallen back into a state of darkness and sin. For most Christians it is a sacrament of continuing con¡ version, a constant purification from venial sin and imperfection. Penance is a powerful sign manifesting God's mercy, urgently



calling a man to be more kind, more pure, more merciful, morecsaintly. Moralista must recognize the radical greatness of the first conversion. To judge that baptized Christians are normally lapsing into mortal sin and are therefore almost always in need of a first conversion from the darkness of sin into the light of the gospel would be to disparage the greatness and power of the word of God in baptism. On one occasion when the author preached a retreat for a group of good and kindly priests, he mentioned in his introductory conference that he did not consider his fellow priests as mortal sinners. "If there should be one present," he commented, "all should pray and do penance for him night and day, for it is quite out of the ordinary for a baptized man to commit mortal sin." One of the older priests present, a dean, was so notably disturbed by this statement that he explained publicly that he could not agree, for he considered it impossible that a man be able to live without mortal sin. Questioned about the mortal sins he might be thinking of as common for priests, he enumerated many possible cases listed in the moral theology textbooks. Noldin, for example, notes at least two hundred occasions to commit mortal sin against positive laws of the Church in the administration of the sacraments! The poor priest, who in his zeal protested, asserted that it was so easy to sin mortally because of the numerous laws. According to him, they are so numerous in fact that even small children are often obliged to confess mortal sins, for fear of being condemned to "jail" for all eternity. Such an attitude clearly deprives the Good Tidings of the first conversion of its dynamic power. "ABIDE IN MY LOVE"

A. Kirchgiissner in his hook Erwsung und Sunde im Neuen Testament has shown from the New Testament that the apostles in their preaching considered it extraordinary and totally abnormal that a Christian baptized in the fire of the Holy Spirit should fall back into a state of mortal sin and darkness. It belongs essentially to the dynamism of New Testament morality and Christian hope that one can remain in the love of Christ


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because Christ remains in him. Instruction in moral theology has to strengthen this hope, this faith, this joy. It must not exaggerate the threat of mortal sin. If in the past there had been no exaggerations in this matter, we would not hear¡good mothers telling their three- and four-year-old children: "If you do that, Jesus will not like you anymore." It is a terrible thing to say that Jesus will not like us. What the mother may really mean is that if the child acts thus and so, she will not like him. But she dare not say that, for it would be contrary to her dignity as mother. Moral theology must insist so strongly on the patient, merciful love of God that people will be given a strong and powerful motive not to offend this merciful God, who has declared through his prophet that even though a mother forget the child of her womb, yet the Lord will never forget his children (Is 49:15). With baptism we have basically died to the desires of the lower nature and we have been raised to new life in Christ Jesus. Every day, however, we still experience the drives of the lower self-centered man in us. That means that every day there will be need for mortification to overcome these desires, not because they are passions of our soul but because they are selfish. This is accomplished by growing in Christ's life especially through an unselfish spirit of service to neighbor, making ourselves always available to others who need us. We must recognize that the dynamic power that is effective in this struggle against the desires of lower nature is not the threat of punishments, but rather the real power is the glory of the Lord and his grace in us. It is faith in the risen Lord, strong in the conviction that he lives in us and prepares us for final glory. Fear may still remain but it must not be a slaviah fear. Rather it must be the holy fear of the child of God. who never wishes to offend his Father, and who only fears punishment secondarily inasmuch as we are still in a condition of slaves. GROWTH IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

Undoubtedly the strongest and deepest motive that can really change our life and help us bear the burden of one another and



the cross of Christ is the joy of the Lord, faith in the risen Lord, faith that he lives in us still. Christian life is a con· tinuous growth. But it is not the mere physical growth of grass which is sown and grows even though the person who planted it is sleeping. Christian life grows indeed through the rain and the sunshine of God wherever he sends the daily cross and the daily joy. Acceptance of these daily graces is powerfully dyna· mic for the growth of a Christian. Accepting them from God in faith and joy is the highest activity of man. Christian life grows, not primarily through man's own desires and efforts, but through the working of the Holy Spirit of Christ, for this is the inner source of growth. It is total dependence and passive openness to God that makes a man really active. For this end, all of us need continuous conversion away from selfishness toward the freedom of the risen Lord. The Gospels tell us that Jesus himself grew in wisdom be· fore God and man. It was in his human experience, of course, not in his divinity that he grew. Though his life was not a continuous conversion because from the very beginning he was the Holy One, yet it was a growth in human experience, a development in his humanity. Similarly the life of the Blessed Virgin, though it too was entirely free from the very beginning from original sin and the desires of lower nature, was never· theless a continual growth. Like Christ and Mary, then, the lives of Christians must show continuous growth. For us, however, continuous growth is not possible without a great struggle against the desires of lower nature. This requires continuous mortification. But this must not be a mortification that aims at stifling the strong passions of joy and sorrow in us, for we need strong passions of joy and deep sorrow for our sins and also a passion of wholehearted trust in God. Pope John XXIII, for example, was a man who lived life with the fullness of the passions of sorrow, joy and confidence. Once he wrote in his diary that one of the chief principles of his life must be that after every fall he should make a deep expression of sorrow while at the same time ex· pressing his confidence in God. Then he would go ahead joyfully


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as if Jesus had given him a kiss. Such genuine spirit of morti¡ fication joined to deep trust in God is what made Pope John seem so near to us. This was what gave him so much energy. No, we do not have to mortify, to kill, to emasculate our passions. What we have to do is to bring them into right order. For this reason we have to stuggle and fight against the most dangerous in¡ clinations of our heart, that is, the desire of egoism which is a self¡centered pride. If we struggle joyfully confident in the power of the Holy Spirit, then our Christian life will be in truth a growth in "wisdom and in grace" until we reach the full measure of growth in Christ. THE "LAW OF THE TALENTS"

Though, as we have pointed out, every Christian life must be a continuous conversion and a constant growth, yet this conversion and this growth will be different in the lives of different men. When we recall the Parable of the Talents (Mt 25:14.30), we note that all were not given the same amount. To some were given five, to some two, and to some only one. There is great variety in the gifts of God. God is Love, but he is also Lord. He loves whatever he has created, but he is free to give to each one whatever he wishes. His manner of giving is the very law of life for man. Man does not obligate God to give him something because he has done something worthwhile. No, the giving hegins with God. Man remains a creature totally dependent on God's free gifts. Man remains a true creature in the order of the new Adam, Christ, when he realizes that what he must do is to render unto God what God has given to him, for of himself he is nothing and has nothing. All that he has, he has received, and he must respond to God in the measure of God's gifts to him. The sin of the first man was the disordered desire to possess at least something as entirely his own. He wanted to have his own will without dependence on the gifts of God. He wanted what God did not give him. Because the first Adam wanted independence from the source of life and joy we have all lost the energy, the joy, the nearness of God. Christ, the second Adam,



from the first moment of his life until his last said truly: "You have prepared a body for me ... See, 0 God, I have come to do your will" (Heb 10: 5-6). When he yielded himself up in his human nature on the cross, he was rendering unto the Father what he had received from him. We who are sinners, made sharers in the paschal mystery of Christ's death and resurrection, begin to be really Christian from the moment that we resolve to respond to God in accord with all he has given to us. Then there can no longer be the question: am I obliged to follow this grace, to use this gift of God bestowed on me? When God appeals to me in my ¡own heart through his gifts and his grace, I will hear his appeal. I will hear his call that comes to me from the need of my neighbor. It is inconsistent with the law of the New Testament for a Christian to think slavishly that he can rest satisfied with fulfilling only the general rules that he thinks God imposes only externally. No, God calls each by his own name as an individual member of Christ's mystical body, an individual who is open to God and to neighbor. One becomes truly a person, he truly discovers the name by which God has called him, when he accepts as the norm and rule of his life those natural and supernatural gifts which God has given him individually and is willing to respond to God in accord with them. This is the gospel law of the talents. One falls into an anonymous atti¡ tude, an impersonal way of life, if he follows only general rules and makes them into a sort of "holy rule." General rules have their place, but what is more essential and what makes the acceptance of general norms a vital thing is acceptance of the more basic rules: "How can I render to God whatever he has given to me?" It is clear that God will judge us on this law of the talents, in terms of his gifts to us. "According to the measure of the giving of Christ" is the measure for the role which each individual has to fulfill. It does not matter that it is a different role for everyone. What matters is that every¡ one live in accordance with the role that God has appointed for him. If he renders back to God everything that God has given him, then he is acceptable in the presence of God.

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This law of the talents has important consequences for the presentation of moral theology. It would remedy the unfortunate situation in which seminarians, for example, are taught moral laws with a literal explanation like that for canon law, to the extent that they see law as concerned only with the minimum that a man must do or not do under pain of sin. With such instructions they are not formed profoundly in the pastoral spirit of the Church. Rather, they are made scrupulous and fearful of losing the state of grace on a thousand occasions of positive laws of the Church-men whose spiritual life is emasculated and without joy. They see their brief course in spiritual and ascetical theology as merely a beautiful addition but beyond their reach. By contrast, when the approach to the teaching of moral theology shows an understanding of the law of the talents, then there is likelihood that the formation of fu· ture confessors and the education of Christians will be marked with a spirit of love, enthusiasm and energy. Good Christians, and certainly priests and religious, ought never to question merely whether they have sinned against the decalogue. The basic question should be: have I rendered to the Lord what he gave to me? Was I docile in listening to the call of the gifts of God? Was I open-minded and vigilant to the appeals coming from my neighbor? In this light a Christian should see; secondarily, whether he was faithful to the com· mandments contained in the New Testament and also in the decalogue. One could be a Pharisee, regarding himself as hav· ing fulfilled all things required of him if he considered only the mechanical conformity to the minimum of the decalogue. In reality, this is only a part of what God asks of a Christian. A meaningful pastoral theology needs the presentation of the biblical theology of the talents. CHRISTIAN WATCHFULNESS

Along with the theology of the law of the talents, another biblical doctrine that should be included in moral theology is the doctrine of the kairos, the hour of grace, the present op· portunity. Our Lord told his relatives that their time was al·



ways ready, but of himself he added that his time, his kairos, had not yet come (J n 7 :5). At the wedding of Cana, referring to the hour of his nuptials with the Church through his death and resurrection, Christ insisted: "My time has not yet come" (Jn 2:4). Nevertheless, in the light of that coming great hour, he grasped the present opportunity prepared for him by the Father and worked the first public miracle. His anticipation of the climactic hour of grace did not make him inactive. In St. John's Gospel, which makes frequent mention of "the hour," we find the evangelist commenting at the beginning of Jesus's final discourse with the apostles at the beginning of his passion: "It was before the Passover festival. Jesus knew that his hour had come and he must leave this world and go to the Father" (Jn 13:1). The spirit of watchfulness for the hour of grace is a spirit of openness that should identify the Church. Jesus teaches indeed that the Church is to be like the virgins watching for the time when the bridegroom comes (Mt 25:13). The hour when the bridegroom is coming is eschatological, for it is the final coming. Yet this last coming has its forerunner in every grace, participates in the greatness of the second coming of the Lord, and also bears within it the energies and dynamism ofhis first coming through his cross and resurrection. It is in this light that men must see the eschatological Christian virtues of vigi¡ lance and hope. This watchfulness is a response to the present energies of the risen Lord and the present dynamism of his cross, as well as to the power of Christ's second coming which is already at work in us through Christian hope and vigilance. CoNCLUSION

Christian morality, then, is clearly not a static morality. It must not, then, be taught as a kind of static morality which provokes the Pharisee's temptation to be self-satisfied. A static presentation of moral theology emasculates the dynamism that comes from the working of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, a etatic presentation of moral theology is especially ill-suited to our rapidly moving society which is constantly undergoing


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change, for static morality makes Christians ill-adjusted strangers in such a society. Christians who act exclusively according to customs and rules of the past become like museum pieces. Manifesting a morality from a past static society, they make their faith and their hope a ridiculous thing, for they ignore the God-given signs of the times in a changing world. On the other hand, a dynamic morality makes a Christian vigilant for the present hour of grace. A Christian who is watch· ful for the signs of the times and responsive to the present call of God, learns to distinguish the changeable from the Un· changeable elements in Christian behavior. A dynamic presenta· Lion of morality helps to find the opportunity to do good and the vigilance to avoid real danger in our present culture and society, whereas a static morality that seeks only to be safe removes him far from the real world and real life and makes him deaf to the call of grace in the present hour. A static morality fails to return to the sources of Holy Scripture and the living tradition of the Church. Rather it returns to a Christian discipline of the past epoch which sought to make a Christian live safely and securely. Such a static morality, cognizant of the danger and risk of life, would prompt a man to seek to live safely buried in a tomb where there is no longer contact with real life. It is true that this static presenta· tion eliminates risks and seems to be safe; yet it takes a course where death reigns and there is no risk of losing life. We must acknowledge that a dynamic presentation of Chris· tian morality such as has been sketched here is dangerous. It involves risk. But this must not make us hesitant nor fearful, for we live in the era of the New Testament, where the energy Ly which we act is not that of man alone but the dynamism of the Holy Spirit. On this point moral theology must insist. A dynamic morality leads a man to surrender himself to God, to put his trust in him so completely that he braves the tremendous risk of the cross in company with Christ the Lord. It is a tremendous risk to lose one's life and to find it with tlie Lord. That is not human wisdom. What is weak according to human wisdom is strong in the presence of God. The wisdom of the



cross is not the wisdom of man. Christian life remains ever the risk of the paschal mystery. Such a life, guided by the New Testament principles of the dynamism of the Spirit, is a courageous and radiant life. Fear finds no place in this risk if one prays constantly, for if one surrenders himself to God and expects everything from him, he no longer has to fear his own egoism. Egoism is the real danger, hut when we surrender ourselves as totally as possible to God we enter into the full power of his grace which overcomes selfishness through the power of the crucified and risen Lord, who is at the very center of a true dynamic Christian morality.

Vincent A. Y zermans

The Priest and the¡ PTess Few groups have projected a poorer image ruuionally

as far as the general press

i! concerned than the Catholic priesthood.

Some time ago I received a letter from a very respected religious editor of a large metropolitan newspaper. His comments w~re both an indictment and an embarrassment. He wrote: "Working as a Catholic news writer for a secular paper is not the easiest job in the world, as I am fast finding out. Probably the hardest part of this job is working with priests. Many of the pastors and a good percentage of the assistants, l am afraid, have prejudged all newsmen by what they have heard or seen and maybe from a long-ago personal experience. I have the nasty job of trying to break down this barrier. r. am for a good course in public relations within our own diocesan seminary that would ... tell these men that the fault of distortion lies at their feet because they were reluctant to talk in the first place." I must hastily add that. this journalist is a fine Catholic gentleman. My own experience with many distinguished members of the general press forces me to conclude that his is an 275


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all too frequent criticism. Our treatment of newsmen is often far from courteous. The embarrassing criticisms that I receive week after week force me to speak out loudly, boldly and embarrassingly to my brother priests that we too often have treated shabbily the general press of the United States. Few groups, in my judgement, have projected a poorer image nationally as far as the general press is concerned than the Catholic priesthood. This, I know, is not flattering. It is, in my assignment, both discouraging and disheartening. If time has not already run out, if there is still hope for recovery then we must ask ourselves two questions. First: Why has the Catholic clergy generally projected such a negative, if not antagonistic, attitude toward the general press? Secondly: What can we do to improve the situation? OUR PAST HISTORY As an immigrant people we were forced to fight our way up from the bottom. Our forefathers who built nco-gothic churches, laid the tracks of countless railroads, and plowed the fields of virgin territory were by and large poor, unlettered, hardy people. They fought mightily to preserve the faith, and they did an excellent job. But in preserving the faith they had enemies. Among the chief antagonists were the lords of a s<H:alled "secular" press who were deeply imbued with a wasp mentality and suspiciously hostile to everything that smacked of popery or Romanism. In all honesty this press was often dishonest and bigoted. But that was generations ago. As the nation grew, as journalism matured, the old canards whispered like old wives' tales behind rectory curtains lost--or should have lost-their meaning. As Catholics, we emerged from the ghetto. We became respectable and acceptable. We began to enter into the mainstream of American society. We were both newsworthy and newsmakers. Nothing has shown us this quite so dramatically as the death of good Pope John and the general press coverage of the Second Vatican Council. The past is dead; a new era has been ushered in. Still, too



many of us fail to recognize the wntmg scrawled across the battered walls of the world, breaking down centuries-old bar¡ riers and propelling us, as the ministers of God's people, into the forefront of events that are news. Secondly, in the early days of our American history we were forced to build around us a protective wall which we called the Catholic press. For decades bishops have supported, promoted and almost canonized the Catholic press. This, we must recognize, was a necessity. In an era of violent bigotry and vicious calumny against the Catholic Church the most logical defense was a press that would refute the charges, set the record straight, and-unfortunately, not to be overlookedcreate a reassuring atmosphere of triumphalism, exaggerated greatness and glory, and unwarranted clericalism within the Catholic body. I make these observations with no intention of slighting the Catholic press. We still need a Catholic press, but it should be quite different from what we grew up with and find all too often even today. We are still supporting the Catholic press, as we should. But there is another world "out there" which also needs our support. Finally, I believe our clerical education has made us oblivious to both the pervasiveness and persuasiveness of the mass media. The Hamms Brewing Company spends fifteen million dollars a year on advertising in radio, television and the general press; this is done quite successfully by public relations people who realize where the message is being heard and seen and how it will affect the dividends the stockholders receive at the next annual meeting. According to one study, the average American family spends at least thirty hours a week watching television. There are at the present time in the United States 1,754 daily newspapers with a total daily circulation of over sixty million copies going into America's forty-eight million homes. The image makers are busily and successfully at work creating a mass media culture. By and large this world of mass culture is one that has passed us by. We have not studied it;


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generally we do not analyse it. When confronted with its enormous influence and power our tones are too often hostile, our stance too often indifferent and our utterances too negative. Generally speaking, as clerics we have made ourselves Puhlic Enemy Number One for the majority of newsmen, radio announcers and television commentators. They would, however, like very much to be our friends. Too often the rebuff they get from the average chancery, rectory and Catholic. institution is enough to make them question our commitment to the divine command: "Little children, love one another." I know that I leave myself open to the charge of over-simplification. All of us know some reporter, editor, newscaster who did not give the Catholic Church a fair shake. There are white hats and black hats in every profession, and journalism is no more an exception than the Catholic clergy. But my defense of the newsmen, the editor, the columnist is this: the zealous, assiduous search for truth and facts among respected journalists at least equals the efforts of most of my colleagues in my post-seminary years. -

no? In this age of renewal in a reforming Church we must be in the forefront of the ranks of reformers. As the priest molds his parish . by his own living and thinking, so he will also help mold the mass media by his attitude toward the working press. First, then, I believe we must develop in our mental outlook a healthy respect for the general press. We can follow no better example in this regard than that of Pope Paul VI. Speaking last April 30 to delegates of the International Federation of the Periodical Press he said: " . . . You are the eloquent manifestation of the very elemental need of man, which he rightly claims against all totalitarianism: the right to think freely, the right to express himself freely ... You are also the living expression of man's right to think and express himself in freedom." At the same time Pope Paul presented two cautions to the WHAT CAN WE



group which might also be taken to heart by each of us. in our dealings with the press. "Now more than ever," he said, "it is necessary not to degrade information into propaganda." In other words, reporters seek news that is truthful, not a party line nor a pious plug. Reiterating the same thought Pope Paul went on to say that "the exercise of freedom, which you. rightly claim, must never go against the rights of truth and against demands of the common good." Journalists rightly expect truth from us and too often they are disappointed. This leads me to the second observation. As the conciliar decree on social communications underlines, man has a basic, fundamental human right to information. As ministers of God's people we have a duty to supply information when it is legiti¡ mately sought and respectfully requested. This means that priests have no right to withhold or to deny information about those matters that pertain to the public domain. The most damn¡ ing statement uttered by clerics to newsmen is: "No comment." For .the good of the Church, we should encourage public information in order the better to assess public opinion. The more that people know about the activities, policies and direc¡ tives of God's Church, the better able will they be to fulfill their roles as the people of God and the friends of his Church. Members of the press, whom Pius XII called "valiant heralds of truth," serve the Church valiantly when they make known to the general public the vital issues of the Church. When a reporter comes seeking information he is doing us an infinitely greater favor than we do him by taking the time to help him with his story. By making information public he is serving public opinion within and without the Church. Lest we forget, Pius XII reminded us that "there would be something missing from the Church's life if there were no public opinion within her, a defect for which pastors as well as the faithful would be responsible." In his essay on "Free Speech in the Church," Karl Rahner, S.J., has put the matter quite bluntly. Public information and public opinion, he wrote, exist "to make plain what people: in the Church are really feeling, so that the Church leaders can take


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account of this in their own action ... If there is any real desire to know the current situation . . . then Catholics must be allowed ... to talk their heads off." NoT THE ENEMY

The priest is responsible for everyone within the boundaries of his parish. A good number of people in many parishes are concerned with mass communications and they have¡ special problems. They need more attention, guidance and friendship, perhaps, for the very reason that they are influencing countless numbers of people. Radio, television and newspaper people tell me frequently that they are rebuffed by their parish priests. They are not the enemy. Not every priest is an expert in the field of the mass media, nor is he expected to be. Kindness, understanding, honesty and integrity, however, are demanded by our calling. The average newsman does not look for expert professional advice from his parish priest but only the simple amenities expected among Christian gentlemen. But in most dioceses there are priests and laymen who are experts in the area of mass communications. These are the diocesan directors of bureaus of public information. The press, radio and television form their specific field of apostolic activity. Their office is to serve the general press which is designed to serve the priest-pastor, priest-educator, priest-official, and the priest-assistant. When questions arise, when a priest wants to gel a story out, when he wants the right image projected, he should contact his diocesan public information director. This man knows the media, the men and the techniques; and he is competent. If he is allowed to help he will do the job a hundred times better than the priest could hope to do. This, I admit, is a commercial for diocesan bureaus of public information directors. They are too often stymied by brother priests who have still not learned the value of the colonial motto: "In union there is strength." If we work with them, they will work with us. In our days when the Church is front page news in the general press, on the radio and on television



it is more than ever important that the public information director become the key person in projecting the honesty, vitality, and even the romance of a Church striving for identity in the exciting days of conciliar decrees. The diocesan bureau of public information is by nature a public relations office, hut definitely not in that sense which is odious to most clerics. As I see it, public relations in the Church must eliminate the gimmicks, the subtle sophistications, the deceptions and dishonesty of many well-known hidden persuaders foisted upon a weary public by some slick Madison Avenue agencies. In my mind the best public relations will he built on an effective diocesan program of public information. The Church's image will need no glossy veneer if we are true to our mission as servants of the Church. Our best public relations will be, as they were from the days of the apostles, a burning desire to tell all men the truth and a ceaseless love for all men in the unity of the all-embracing love of Christ. What I am attempting to say was stated exceptionally well several months ago by Bernard Cooke, S.J ., when he said: "Genuine communication takes place when the person who is doing the communicating is himself open to communicationwhen he lets people get at him. He has to say what he means, what he's really convinced of. That doesn't always happen in the Church. Some priests and religious are always telling people, but we never let them know who we are."

A HEALTHY BUDGET Finally, we would hardly be a good Catholic group if we did not discuss money. It is the word that creates the problems that haunt many of our sleepless nights. But the simple fact is that a diocesan bureau of public information needs money. It is a source of constant wonderment to me how we spend untold millions each year on Catholic schools, hospitals, organizations, conventions, Communion breakfasts, banquets, and seldom do we hear a voice scream, "Halt!" Comparatively, we do not spend so much as a widow's mite


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on building up a healthy public information office. We spend our money too often in the Catholic ghetto where we glow with a feeling of security and fraternity. We begrudge the few pennies we might very easily spend for a vigorous diocesan public in· formation and public relations .program to serve those who will tell our story to the rna jority of American people in the general press, radio and television. I cannot explain it. It simply bafHes me. Permit one example. I was speaking some time ago with the public ·relations director of a community of Sisters in the Mid· west. This group of some fifteen hundred nuns has set aside a budget of $150,000 a year for public relations and informa· tion on behalf of its schools and hospitals. This is a group with vision. If on! y more of us had it! This single community of religious women has alloted for this public information work a budget which exceeds the total combined budget of all the llO diocesan bureaus of public information in our country. I mention this because I firmly believe, in accord with the di· rectives of the conciliar decree on social communications, that there should be more serious attention given financially to pro· moting and fostering Catholic participation in the area of mass communications. In conclusion, I should like to quote a passage from Father William Lynch's book, The Image Industries. He wrote: "The Church has refused to stay within the sanctuary in the areas of economics and politics. Here is another area, the area of the creative image of man and human sensibility, in which she must refuse to be contained with 'transcendent' and pious boundaries. I am not thinking here of those occasional inter· ventions of the moral mind to correct serious mistakes in the name of the common good. Rather I am thinking of the positive and creative analysis of the creative theologians who, if they will say the right thing about what Christianity and man really are, will help thereby to unleash wonderful energies in all those artists who wish in their own way and according to their own powers to say the same thing." As Catholic priests we are rightly involved in the liturgical



apostolate, the civil rights movement, the war on poverty, the education of youth, the care of the aged, infirm and delinquent, the family life movement, the administration of parishes. It is high time, I believe, that we become more realistically involved in the field of communications arts. If, as priests we are theologians, this would be the greatest good we could bring to the areas of the general press, radio and television, namely, to be a priest who is not afraid to study seriously, to meditate fre¡ quently, and to speak intelligently the good theology at work in our Church today, telling the good news to those dedicated men Pius XII called the valiant heralds of truth.

Charles R. Meyer

Ordained Women in the Early Church

Honesty de=nds a careful and unprejudiced re-examination of the questi<>n of the ordination of women in the early Church.

Bishop James A. Pike of the Episcopal diocese of San Francisco seems fond of dropping bombshells. He wants to ordain a deaconess to the priesthood. Not long before this story was published news magazines had carried a picture of a Scandinavian woman-priest in her liturgical garb. Some papers at this time reported an undoubtedly spurious account of a Roman Catholic priestess who presided at marriage ceremonies in Sicily. There were bound to be repercussions in the Catholic Church. The Commonweal for January 15, 1965, featured articles by Gertrude Heinzelmann and Mary Daly advocating a deeper and more significant involvement of women in the sacerdotal ministry of the Church. The National Catholic Reporter has printed articles and letters on the subject by Cecilia Wallace, the Reverend Joseph Wahl, the Reverend Edmund Manchak, O.P., and others. These discussions explored the canonical, 285


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aesthetical, psychological, and-in a very limited way-theological aspect of the problem. But they hardly touched upon that facet of the problem which, it seems to me, is the most important for any present-day reconsideration: the data of church history and tradition. It is a fact that women were ordained to the ministry in the early Church. There is incontrovertible evidence that primitive Christianity had its deaconesses. Despite what St. Thomas and those who have simply parroted him down to our times have taught, there is good reason to believe that these women were really and truly ordained, if not universally, at least in certain times and places. This ordination seems to have been acknowledged as valid by the Church universal. It is astounding also that in the early Church there seem to have been feminine counterparts to priests and bishops. EVIDENCE FROM SCRIPTURE

No theologian, pondering the text of Acts 6:1-7, doubts that the diaconate is of apostolic origin. No texts referring to deaconesses are as apodictic as this. But in the letters of St. Paul there are evidences of the existence of deaconesses even in apostolic times. The most celebrated of these texts ·is Rom 16:1. Here explicit mention is made of a deaconess. Possibly so as not to unsettle the faithful, most English translations describe Paul's friend Phoebe in a completely uncontroversial way as a "helper in the church at Cenchrae" (Goodspeed); or as a woman "who is in the ministry of the church at Cenchrae" (Confraternity) ; or again as one who "has devoted her services to the church at Cenchrae" (Knox). But the Kleist· Lilly translation renders the Greek exactly: "who is a dea· coness of the congregation at Cenchrae" ( ousan diakonen tes ekklesias tes en Kegxreais). The same word in its feminine form (he diakonos) is used by Paul to describe Phoebe's con· nection with the church at Cenchrae as is employed by the same writer to designate the male helpers of the bishops in other churches (Phil1:1; 1 Tim 3:8, 12). Acording to Rom 16:1 ff. this deaconess, Phoebe, was sent to Rome by Paul on some

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official business. He implores the Christians of the Eternal City to receive her and to cooperate with her ministry. Some exegetes surmise that the "business" of Phoebe was the delivery of Paul's letter to the community at Rome. But obviously more is implied in the text. It is unfortunate that more is not disclosed about the nature of her mission. In l Tim 3 :8 ff. Paul enumerates traits desired in those who are to be ordained deacons, helpers of the bishops. In v. 11 he shifts his attention to women. He requires in them exactly the same qualities deacons are to possess. Quite obviously he could not have been talking about women in general. He must have been referring to a special class of women in the Church. The connective word hosautos makes this eminently clear. There must be question here of women whose role in the Church parallels that of the deacons. That is the reason why they must be graced with exactly the same virtues. St. Thomas did not doubt that Paul was speaking of a special class of woman. But he explained that Paul was laying down directives for choosing the wives of deacons. Other commentators on this passage, however, generally do not accept his interpretation because there is no possessive connection like gunaikas auton, their women. Most exegetes have followed the lead of St. John Chrysostom who unequivocally applies this text to the deaconesses (Homil. XI in 1 Tim). The third text that merits consideration is l Tim 5:9-13. It is concerned with the election of widows in the Church. There is no doubt that the Christian community from the outset felt obliged to pension and support destitute widows. Some exegetes would find in the text of Paul only a reference to this charitable work. Most scripture scholars, however, are willing to admit that the charity of the early Christian community, in accordance with the directives of Christ himself, was not conditioned. According to the gospel no requirements were to be set down regarding beneficiaries of the community's largesse. So they reject such an interpretation. They say that here again there is question of a special group of widows chosen for a special role in the community. Just what that role could be, again,

288 Chicago Studies

unfortunately, is not explained. But commentators have opined that Paul is dealing here again with the criteria to be used by bishops m selecting deaconesses to assist them in ministry to women. EVIDENCES IN EARLY LITERATURE

It would be imposible in a short article even to list all the references to deaconesses in early Christian literature or on the artifacts of the primitive community. Special attention, however, must be given to those works which are of the utmost importance for any discussion of the question. Among these are the Apostolic Tradition of Hippoloytus, the Apostolic Constitutions, the Didascalia or Catholic Teaching of the Apostles, the Testament of our Lord, the Canons of Hippolytus and the Apostolic Church Order. References will be made to some of these source materials in connection with points discussed in this article. In addition to these sources, the works of Ter¡ tullian and Epiphanius are of the greatest significance. Of course, we cannot pass over the reference to deaconesses in the early Christian Church made by Pliny the Younger in his famous letter to the Emperor Trajan inquiring how to treat the Christians. In his letter Pliny admits having tortured two Christian female servants ( ancillis) who are called deaconesses (ministrae) in order to find out what Christianity is all about. Evidently he felt that since they were in some sense officers in the community he would get from them an authentic explanation of Christian beliefs. Since they were women he expected them to be more prone to talk under torture than their male counterparts who might be equally well instructed. ROLE OF THE DEACONESSES

An examination of early Christian documents reveals the role of the deaconesses as analogous to that of the deacons. As in the case of deacons, theirs was principally a work of service to the community. They were to visit the poor in their homes. They were especially enjoined to care for sick women. They were to act as intermediaries between the bishop and

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female members of his flock. They were to watch over and instruct catechumens of their own sex. They were to conduct the physical examinations necessary when virgins were charged with violation of their vow. They were to preside over the women's section of the assembly at liturgical gatherings. They were to guard the church doors against entry by women who were not members of the community. They were to prepare the bodies of the faithful for burial. Above all, however, they were to assist in the baptism of adult women converts. It is this last function which undoubtedly required the establishment of their order in the Church in the first place. As is well known, in the early Church those to be baptized entered the pool naked. A deacon accompanied the men down into the water according to the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus. He asked each candidate: "Do you believe in God, the Father almighty?" And when he received the response: "I believe," he laid his hand upon the head of the catechumen and plunged him into the water the first time. A similar procedure was followed when the candidate made his response to the second question about Jesus and his incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension and second coming at the end of time. Once again this was the order observed when a response was received to the third question about the Holy Spirit, the Church and the resurrection of all flesh. Although Hippolytus makes no distinction between men and women in discussing baptism, we must presume that what the deacons did for the men the deaconesses did for the women. They also assisted in the anointing of candidates for baptism .. The initial anointing of women with the oil of exorcism was begun by a priest upon the forehead of the candidate. But this anointing was completed by the deaconesses since it was extended to the whole body and its members. The deaconesses themselves anointed the newly baptized with the oil of thanksgiving. They also outfitted the women with their white gar¡ ments and presented them to the bishop for confirmation. The anointing with the oil of thanksgiving during confimation was restricted to the head of the newly baptized. So it was ac-


Chieago Studies

complished by the bishop alone for both male and female converts. DEACONESSES AS TEACHERS

The teaching functions of the deaconesses were of special concern to early Christian writers. St. Paul enjoined women to remain silent in church and to be generally submissive. The fathers of the Church took this advice seriously. But they did not absolutely forbid the deaconesses to teach. They merely warned that this office was to be exercised only in regard to women and was to be strictly supervised by the male clergy. Strictures were placed upon female teachers especially by the Apostolic Constitutions. They are cautioned not to give quick answers, to answer only as much as is necessary, and to be particularly cautious in explaining the mysteries of the faith. Questions which they feel they are not able to answer are to be remanded to the bishops. Tertullian on the other hand openly defends the right of these women to teach. He cautions that the apostolic injunction is not to be exaggerated or distorted. The fourth Council of Carthage required perfect knowledge of everything pertaining to their ministry before any woman, virgin or widow, could be admitted to the order of deaconesses. PRESIDENTS IN THE ASSEMBLY

Outside of baptism, did the female clergy have any liturgical function? These are evidences that they did. In early Christian funeral inscriptions a technical term is used to describe the relationship of a deceased bishop or priest to a given church: sedit. He is said to have sat or presided in the community. Now the same term is applied to widows. It is to be presumed that the deaconess or widow also had a chair in the assembly just like the bishop's. This is the conclusion reached by Father Sisto Scaglia (Notiones archaeologiae christianae, II (1), p. 195) from his examination of funeral inscriptions. In the various Christian communities widows were not only held in special honor and regard, but presided in the assemblies of the early Christians in chairs similar to the bishop's cathedra. The Cor¡ pus /nscriptionum, a collection of Christian epitaphs from

Ordained Women 291 ancient times published at Berlin in 1905, gives a number of examples of such inscriptions (e.g., X, n. 5902). Tertullian (De virginibus velandis, VIII) also mentions such a widow's seat. Indeed, in discussing the impropriety of second marriages Tertullian states that the Church does not allow women who have been married twice to be ordained ( allegi in ordinem) or to preside (Praesidere) in the community (Ad uxorem, 1,7). In two inscriptions, one from Terni (Corpus, III, n. 14900) and the other from the basilica of St. Praxedes in Rome dating from the time of Pope Pascal I, the very word episcopa (bishopess) is applied apropos of widows ( cf. Grossi-Gondi Trattalo di epigrafia cristiana, p. 153, n. 1). To be sure, the prohibitions which began to be multiplied in later times are indicative of the fact that deaconesses or widows associated themselves in more and more intimate ways with the very service of the altar. In the Nestorian church deaconesses ministered the sacred bread and chalice to female communicants. The Monophysites permitted them also to preside over public prayer, to offer incense, and to present the bread and wine at the altar during the liturgy. But these practices were generally regarded both in Rome and Constantinople as encroachments upon the prerogatives of the male clergy. The decree of Gratian carries a prohibition attributed to Pope. Soter restraining ordained women or women religious from touching the sacred vessels or incensing the altar. The Didascalia as well as the Apostolic Constitutions warn women against preaching in a holy place, entering into theological disputations, serving at the altar, and performing baptisms on their own authority. St. Epiphanius rants against those who would extend the ministry of the deaconesses to include strictly sacerdotal functions ( Adv. Haereses, LXXIX, 3) On the other hand, the Testament of our Lord implies that deaconesses regularly carried the Eucharist to women who were sick at home (II, 20). DIACONATE AND WIDOWHOOD

When we come to consider the necessary requisites for acceptance into the order of deaconesses, we are confronted with


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the difficult problem of relating the female diaconate to widowhood. Were deaconesses in the early Church chosen stricti y in accordance with the directions of St. Paul? Were they always widows who had been married only once and who were advanced in age? Certainly Tertullian, writing in the early third century, used the term widowhood as a synonym for the female diaconate. He tells us (De virginibus velandis, IX) that he had heard of a virgin who was not yet twenty years of age being accepted into the widowhood. Then too, when he speaks of the priestly character of widowhood ( sacerdotium viduitatis: Ad uxorem, I, c. 7), he seems again to be referring to the order of deaconesses. St. Ignatius of Antioch, writing in the early second century, speaks about the "virgins who are enrolled among the widows" (Ad Smyr., 13). Such language seems in· telligible only if we understand widowhood in a purely techni· cal sense as referring to the distaff deacons. On the other hand, quite obviously the word widowhood cannot be identified in its total extension with the female diaconate. There certainly were widows who were not deacon· esses. These too were held in special honor by the Church as long as they did not marry again. They were given special privileges and placed on the lists of wards of the community so as to share in a special way in the charity of the faithfuL The very fact that certain conditions were set down for admission to that widowhood which was identified with the female dia· conate precluded the possibility that all widows could become deaconesses. Some of our sources draw a clear-cut distinction between the widows and deaconesses. The Apostolic Constitutions (III, 8) state that widows must obey "bishops, priests, deacons and also deaconesses." On the other hand, the Testament of Our Lord (I, 40-43) seems to place widows who have received the blessing proper to their state from a bishop over deaconesses, warning them to watch over the female deacons. This document also establishes an order for reception of Communion accord· ing to rank. Widows are to receive immediately after the dea·

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cons, .while deaconesses were to receive after the children but before the married adults. There seems to be only one plausable explanation for this con· fusion. In the beginning deaconesses were chosen in accordance with the injunction of St. Paul. They all had to be widows, married only once, at least sixty years old, honorable, hospi· table, charitable, enjoying a good reputation in the community. An edict of Theodosius in 390 repeats the substance of the Apostle's command. But in it the word deaconess is substituted for the Apostle's widow. But certainly by 390--and if we have interpreted correctly the text of St. Ignatius of Antioch which we quoted, even by the beginning of the second century-the Apostle's precept represented not a law, but an ideal. The Church had grown. It boasted of a vast female membership. There simply were not enough widows available in the com· munity who met with all of Paul's requirements. Nor were women of sixty years and older able to do all that the ministry in these times of vast expansion demanded of them. So younger widows and virgins were admitted into the order of deaconesses. But since in the beginning, in apostolic times, the deaconesses were all widows, the expression widow or widowhood was still used in some documents as a technical term in referring to them, whether actually they were widows. But the term is not always used in this technical sense. Sometimes it is employed to refer to the whole body of widows, deaconesses and non-deaconesses, who were enrolled as wards of the hospitality of the community. Herein lies the source of the confusion. CHASTITY, LEARNING, POVERTY

Since originally the deaconesses were, according to the apostolic injunction, widows who had not remarried and who lived chastely in the community, celibacy became one of the first requirements for admission into the female deaconate. It sems that, at least in later times, the celibate state of these women had to be confirmed by vow. Violation of this vow was punished by excommunication on the part of the Church and, in some instances, by severe penalties on the part of the State.


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Any one found guilty of seducing a deaconess was to be, put to death by the sword. One of the other requirements already mentioned was proper instruction in the truths of the faith. Requisite knowledge does not seem to have been acquired in formal schools, but, as in the case of the male clergy, through private tutoring during a period of formal apprenticeship. Although it does not seem that the deaconesses were in anyway bound by a vow of poverty in the beginning, there are indications that at least in later times ownership of property was forbidden to them. In the early days they were allowed to live with their close relatives and enjoyed whatever of this world's goods their family could supply. Later laws, however, required them to live in quasi-monastic institutions and imposed upon them restrictions in regard to the disposition of poverty. It would seem, though, that even in this period they enjoyed the use of the fruits of the benefices established to sustain them. BISHOPESSES AND PRIESTESSES

If there is a difficulty in interpreting source materials arising from a confusion of the female diaconate with the¡ state of widowhood, there is an even greater difficulty in coming to a correct understanding of the use of the words presbrtera (priestess) and episcopa (bishopess). We have already mentioned the use of the term bishopess in two funeral inscriptions. E. Diehl (lnscriptiones latinae christianae veteres, I, n. 1192) gives a good example from Tropaea in Calabria of a funeral inscription in honor of a certain Leta, a priestess ( presbrtera). Other documents to which we have been referring also make occasional use of this term. Many of the scholastics have rather cavalierly dismissed this entire question simply by stating that the terms are employed in reference to the wives of bishops and priests. But this is really no solution to the problem. Very often-almost invariably if the husband is a man of rank-mention is made of the husband on the epitaph of a wife. There are thousands of examples of this practice. Why then are such references singu¡

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larly missing from the tomos of the episcopae and presbyterae? Quite possible these words were used by some of the fathers and councils to signify the wives of ecclesiastics. Undoubtedly such is the case in the writings of St. Gregory the Great (Dialog. IV, ll) when he mentions the priest Stephen who from the time of his priestly ordination kept his "priestess" ( presbyteram suam} at a distance, loving her as a sister, but fearing her as a possible threat to his chastity. Then too canon 21 of the Council of Auxerre (c. 570-90) states that it is unlawful for a priest after he has received his blessing to sleep in the same bed with his "priestess" or to indulge in sins of the flesh (Mansi, IX, c. 911-17). On the other hand, there are times when these words do not at all seem to refer to the wives of bishops or priests. St. Gregory the Great himself ( Epist, IX, 7) speaks of an abbess who refused to wear the monastic garb, but lived all her life in the vestments which the priestesses ( presbyterae) of her area were wont to wear. But there certainly was no special vesture prescribed for the wives of ecclesiastics. Again the eleventh canon of the Council of Laodicea speaks of priestesses (presbytidas} or presidents of the assembly (Mansi, II, c. 578). Isidore Mercator tells us that here the council is referring to those women who in the Latin Church are called widows, married only once, advanced in age, and entrusted with a position of responsibility in the community. These, he says, the Greeks call "priestesses" (presbyterae). St. Epiphanius is very much concerned that these "priestesses" be not in any way mistaken. They are not women with true sacerdotal power. They do not have the right of offering sacrifice to God. He uses the same term that Council of Laodicea employs (presbytidas). He warns that they should not be called presbyteridas lest anyone attribute to them sacerdotal dignity. He leaves no doubt in our mind, however, that these presbytidae are the deaconesses. So he leaves a clue as to how to solve the dilemma (Adv. H aereses, LXXIX, 4). In apostolic times the injunction of Paul that those women who were to serve in the Church be widows was observed. We


Chicago Studie,

might legitimately surmise that the same was true in those times of his ruling about age. Only elderly widows were chosen. In later times, however, as we have seen, the Apostle's command was not taken literally. Not only elderly widows but young ones as well as virgins were admitted into the ranks of the deaconesses. But just as the word widow might be applied in later times to a deaconess whether she was in fact one t>r not, so also the Greek term elder-priestess. What in the beginning signified a reality or canonical exigency was later on retained as a technical term in the case of the term presbytera or presbytida just as in the case of the word vidua. A similar explanation can be ofiered for the word episcopa. In the early Church all the clergy had places in the choir. The chief liturgist's place was the highest so that he could supervise or oversee the whole proceedings. So he was called the episkopos, the overseer. The presbyteral college sat around him. But deaconesses too had special seats in the area reserved for women. They sat in a prominent place so that they could look over the whole assembly of women and lead them in worship. This could very well be the meaning of the Council of Laodicea when it refers to them as presidents of the community. We can thus understand the occasional reference to them as overseers ( episkopai) of the women's sections of the ancient basilicas. PLACE IN THE HIERARCHY

There can be no doubt that the deaconesses had a legitimate place in the hierarchical structure of the early Church. As has been already intimated, however, the documents available to us are not in complete agreement as to their exact status in the hierarchy. There is a consensus as to the fact that they ranked below bishops, priests and deacons. It also seems clear that they outranked exorcists and other minor clerics with the exception of subdeacons and readers. Their relationship to the latter is not completely clear. Like the subdeacons they are looked upon as assistants to the deacons. They too like the subdeacons .are warned against usurping the prerogatives of priest and deacons. They are constantly reminded that their ministry is limited

Ordained Women


to performing diaconal tasks in regard to women members of the congregation. Some documents refer to them as doorkeepers of the women's assembly. Again their relationship to the body of widows in general, at least in later times, is not altogether clear. The Apostolic Constitutions (VIII, 28) makes them dependent upon deacons to the extent that they can be excommunicated even by a deacon. Such is the case also with the subdeacons, readers and singers. There can be no doubt, however, about the fact that their canonical rights are secured by law. The same document (VIII, 31) notes that they are to participate like the rest of the clergy in the gifts or offerings made by the faithful at Mass. Those gifts which were not selected for the sacrifice were to be dis¡ tributed among the clergy as follows: four parts were to be given to the bishops, three parts to the priests, two parts to the deacons and one part to the subdeacons, lectors, singers or deaconesses. So like other members of the priestly entourage they too were to be punished for various categories of crimes for which the laity receive either no or less severe penalties. DECLINE OF THE ORDER

The principal function of the deaconesses was to assist in the baptism of women converts. Naturally as time went on fewer and fewer adults were being baptized. So we would expect a de¡ cline in the order. From about the sixth century on in the western Church fewer and fewer deaconesses were ordained. The existing ones busied themselves with various types of charitable enter¡ prises. It was at this time that their encroachments upon the prerogatives of the male clergy at the altar become rife. There was a growing friction between them and the female religious populating the various monastic houses. Many abbesses received ordination as deaconesses so as not to seem to their religious subjects less important in the service of the Lord than the ordained women who served in the diaconate. Gradually the focus shifted for the deaconesses from the baptistry to the monastery. Soon acceptance of the religious life became for all practical purposes a necessary condition for ordination to


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the female ministry. As early as the sixth· century different local and provincial councils began prohibiting the ordination of women altogether. The Council of Orleans (533) is unequivocal in its legislation: henceforth no woman is to be given the responsibilities ensuing from ordination to the diaconate, because women are a fickle sort. There can be no doubt that from the beginning the fathers of the Church were quite suspicious of these ordained women and quite unsympathetic with women in general. Their repeated warnings and reservations with regard to deaconesses were now taking their full toll. Deaconesses at best were only tol· erated by the prevailing antifeminist contingent among theo· logians and writers. Many of the fathers and ecclesiastical writers obviously felt guilty about even tolerating the order. We can again cite St. Epiphanius and his warnings to deaconesses never to do anything more than well-established tradition allowed them to do. He was most eloquent in chiding those WO· men who would in any way pretend to usurp truly priestly func· tions in the Church. He states if any woman would have been worthy to be a priest, it was Mary, the mother of Jesus. But she was not even given the right to baptize. Deaconesses, then, must realize that they are neded in the Church for one reason alone: to preserve the modesty of the male clergy ( Adv. Haereses, LXXIX, 4). Other fathers write in a similar vein. So it is that when in the baptismal ceremony there was no longer any threat to priestly modesty the reason alleged by tradition for toleration of the deaconesses ceased to exist, and the order was doomed to extinction. It did not die as easily in the eastern churches. There are evidences of ordinations in the East as late as the thirteenth century, and in heretical sects even much later. But just as in the West, the decline of the order in the East seems to have been preceded by a flight from the parishes to the monasteries. TRUE SACRAMENTAL ORDINATION?

The most important question of all remains to he considered; it is the key question which has to be reconsidered today. Our

Ordairum Women


modern theological tradition was largely formed from the thirteenth through the eighteenth centuries. During that time theo· logians have never denied the fact that there were deaconesses in the early Church. They never denied that these women assisted with the baptismal ceremony or that they enjoyed a certain prestige in the early Church. What they did was much worse. Admitting these facts, they denied that these women were truly ordained. St. Thomas makes his mind quite clear. In the Supplement, q. 39, a. ], the question is asked whether a woman can be ordained. The Angelic Doctor answers that from the very nature of the sacrament of orders itself- and hence not merely from any positive legislation on the part of the Church-any attempt to ordain a woman would be invalid. His reason for this is that the sacrament of orders essentially implies an elevation, a promotion to a position of prominence in the Christian com· munity. But woman has been placed by God himself in a state of subjection, of submission. Therefore it is impossible for a woman to be ordained. Undoubtedly· this minor premise is allied with the traditional teaching on original sin. This too is an area of theology which is being re-thought today. St. Thomas sees deaconesses in the early Church as participants only in the functions proper to deacons, not in their hierarchical status. He had in mind, I suppose, a situation similar to the case today where a minor cleric may function under cer· tain circumstances as a subdeacon at Mass. Here without actually being ordained, a person participates in acts which are proper to a recognized order. Needless to say, practically all theologians have followed St. Thomas in this doctrine. In his treatise on the sacrament of orders the famous Jesuit canonist of our time Felix Cappello writes that the interpretation given by the fathers of the Church to l COr 14:34 and l Tim 2:11 (where women are reminded that they are to remain silent in church and to consider themselves in·a state of subjection to men) prevails. He emphasizes that many theologians consider it heretical to teach that wo· men could receive by ordination any kind of priestly office or


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dignity. The famous canonist does, however, disagree with those authors who would hold that women are prohibited by the natural law itself from receiving clerical tonsure and the minor orders. Although such ordinations would be inappropriate, he thinks that the Roman Pontiff could validly, though illicitly, promote women to these grades. He would settle the problem of the validity of the ordination of a hermaphrodite by means of a cytological examination for the y-chromosome (De Sacramentis, IV, n. 3545). In discussing the question of deaconesses, Capello admits that some theologians would defend the validity of their ordination. He reviews brief! y their arguments and then concludes cate¡ gorically: "It is, however, the common and altogether certain opinion that the blessing or consecration of deaconesses is not really and properly an ordination and was never considered as such in the Church" (ibid., n. 87-8). So too A. Michel in his masterful treatment of the subject of orders in the Dictionnaire de theologie calholique concludes that although some sources call for what seems to be a true ordination of deaconesses, more ancient documents forbid an imposition of hands in their case (v. 11, c. 1252). Similarly J. Forget in his article "Diaconesses" asserts: "Since the ministry of deaconesses is in no way priestly, their ordination was in no way sacramental. The documents present the rite of their ordination neither as divinely established, nor-what is moreas having any power whatsoever to sanctify, to he an instrumental cause of grace and imprint an indelible character" ( v. 4, c. 695). EVIDENCES OF A


What Michel infers seems to be true. Some of the ancient sources do definitely imply a real ordination in the case of deaconesses. But as a matter of fact, if we are to hold the sacramentality of the ordination to the male diaconate, we are forced to hold the same in the case of the female diaconate. No stronger words are used in the case of males. No mention is made of grace and the sacramental character in regard to

Ordained Women


male deacons. When reference is made to the ordination of deaconesses the sources use the same expression which they do in the case of the ordination of deacons. They speak of an imposition of hands, of ordination, of the deaconesses being listed among the clergy or in the priestly catalogue, etc. To push the argument against the sacramentality of the ordination of deaconesses too far would be in fact to deny the sacramentality of the ordination of deacons. The parallelism between the two ordinations cannot be denied. Although we must admit that in the early Church the notion of the transmission of a power which sanctifies the recipient and enables him to sanctify others is not stressed in the case of the deaconesses, it was not stressed in the case of deacons either, although it is readily conceded to both bishops and priests. Thus the Apostolic Constitutions (VIII, 28) state: "A deaconess does not bless or perform anything belonging to the office of presbyters or deacons ... ," but in the same section the document also avers: "A deacon does not bless, does not give the benediction, but receives it from the bishop and priest; he does not baptize; he does not offer; but when a bishop or priest has offered, he distributes to the people, not as a priest, but as one who minsters to the priests ... " The idea of the character of the diaconate as a sacramental power to sanctify was certainly not fully developed in the early Church. If the sacramentality of the ordination of deaconesses is to be denied without denying the sacramentality of the ordination of deacons, the argument cannot proceed from a comparison of function or preogatives. It must proceed solely from those texts in some documents which seem to indicate that hands are to be imposed only upon male deacons, not upon deaconesses. In other words, it must proceed from a denial of ordination itself to deaconesses. This is the argument of Michel, and it seems to be the only valid one. We must consider it. But before doing so, it will be necessary to propose very briefly just a few texts which indicate the contrary, i.e., that hands were actually imposed upon deaconesses, that they were really ordained.

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We have already seen the application to deaconesses by Tertullian of such expressions as "commissioned in the order of deaconesses" ( allegi in ordinem), "preside" (praesidere), "the priestly dignity of widowhood" (sacerdotium viduitatis). We have also touched briefly on Epiphanius' references to the "order of deaconeses" ( tagma diakonisson). We should note that the same word order ( tagma) is applied to bishops, priests and male deacons, who certainly were really ordained. But of course Epiphanius places. them, like their male counterparts, under the bishops and priests, indicating that deaconesses are not ordained to perform priestly acts nor permitted to impose hands in blessing or ordination ( ouxi eis to hierateuein oude ti epixeirein epitrepein). There is no clearer or more authentic proof that deaconesses were actually ordained in the early Church than that evidenced from the Council of Chalcedon. The fifteenth canon of the Council states unequivocally that deaconesses receive from the bishop a xeirotonia. Again the word xeirothesia is applied to them. As any theologian knows, these are technical terms that can signify only valid and sacramental ordination. It is amazing too that the council terms the ministry of the deaconesses a leitourgia (Mansi, VII, c. 363). Another apodictic proof of the fact that deaconesses were ordained just as were deacons in the early Church is taken from the document known as the Apostolic Constitutions. The ritual of their ordination is given in Book VIII, nn. 19 and 20. We can do nothing better than present the whole text here: "Concerning a deaconess I, Bartholomew, make this regulation: Bishop, you will lay hands upon her in the presence of the assembly of priests and of deacons and of deaconesses, and you will say: 'Eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the creator of man and woman, you filled Miriam, Deborah, Anna and Huldah with your Spirit; you deemed it proper that your Only-Begotten should be born of a woman; in the tabernacle of the Old Law and in the Temple, you ordained that women should be gatekeepers. Look down now upon this your handmaid who is to be ordained to the office of deaconess. Give

Ordained Women


her your Holy Spirit. Cleanse from her all sordidness of flesh and spirit so that she may worthily discharge what is committed to her for your glory and for the praise of your Christ. To him be adoration and praise as well as to you and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.' " ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE FACT OF ORDtNATION

Now we must briefly consider those documents which seem to indicate that as a matter of fact deaconesses were not to be ordained. As was said, Michel argues that the later documents which do indicate a laying on of hands must be inter路 preted in the light of early directives which prohibit the laying on of hands. He contends that the most authentic early source according to which later documents must be interpreted is the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus. The Apostolic Tradition ex路 pressly prohibits a laying on of hands. If we examine the text of the Apostolic Tradition, it is ap路 parent that the document makes no mention of deaconesses at all. The document does mention deacons. Of course, when we consider early Greek documents we must recognize the possibility that the word which is translated "deacon" can refer to deaconesses as well, because it is epicene in the Greek language ( ho or he diakonos). The word diakonissa is a later form. As the philological condition of the word diakonos is masculine, however, we understand how translators have slipped into the practice of choosing words applicable only to the male 路in languages having different words for deacons and deaconesses. The document does refer to widows. It states that a: widow is not ordained when she is chosen ( ou xeirotoneitai). She is tested for some time after the death of her husband. Then she may be placed upon the list of widows. Once again it is stated that she is not ordained because she does not offer sacrifice and has nothing to do with the liturgical service. Ordination is for the clergy who are associated with the liturgy. A widow is appointed only to pray on behalf of the community ( n. 11). Later on in the document ( n. 27) reference is made to a special meal (an agape?) celebrated in honor of widows in the late


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afternoon. In this section a possible reading may attest to the clerical status of widows ( kleros). But the text is doubtful. This difficulty was in fact solved when we discussed the two classes of widows in the early Church. If not in apostolic times, at least shortly afterward a distinction was made between widows and deaconesses. Some widows were deaconesses; others were not. Certainly the widows who were not deaconesses were not ordained, because they did not help with baptism. They were not associated in a ministerial function with the liturgy. But they were designated as recipients of the community's charity, and deputed in turn to pray for the community's wei¡ fare. Those theologians who use the Apostolic Constitutions in formulating an argument against the ordination of deaconesses in the early Church fail to make the distinction which is vital to an understanding of the whole question. In the Middle Ages this distinction was not fully appreciated. But this is no excuse for not making it today. The second text which seems to indicate that deaconesses were not to be ordained is the eleventh canon of the Council of Laodicea held in the middle of the fourth century. (Mansi, II, c. 578). The canon states: "It is not proper to ordain priestesses or presidents of the assembly." Now it is clear that the words priestess in early Christian usage refers to a deaconess. However, what the council seems to be discouraging is not the ordination of deaconesses as such, but the ordination of deaconesses whose only function would be to preside over the assembly. The qualification "or presidents of the assembly" points to what the fathers of the council considered an abuse. If this canon were of universal application and affected deaconesses in general one could hardly see how a century later the Council of Chalcedon could speak unequivocally and approvingly about the ordination of deaconesses. At any rate, the canon itself is not couched in words which express an absolute prohibition, but imply an impropriety. The practice of ordaining presidents of the assembly must have been rife around Laodicea at the time to have attracted the attention of the council and elicited a protest from the fathers.

Ordairml II"omen


The third objection which we must consider is taken from the nineteenth canon of the Council of Nicea (Mansi, II, 675). Here there is question of converts from the Paulician heresy. The canon states that these converts are to be re-baptized. If they were members of the clergy in the sect and have repented completely of their heresy, they could after re-baptism he ordained by a Catholic bishop. But if they are found unworthy of ordination they are to be desposed. Deaconesses from the sect are to be treated in the same way. But a warning is given. There are some deaconesses in the sect who have not received ordination through an imposition of hands. When they are re¡ ceived into the Church they are to be considered as being no different from laywomen. The first part of the canon presupposes that there were in the Paulician sect deaconesses who were ordained through an imposition of bands. These were to be treated like the other clerics converted from heresy, i.e., re-baptized, tested and ordained by a Catholic bishop. The second part of the canon seems to be cautionary. In the sect there were deaconess who were not really ordained. Neither were they to be ordained in the Catholic Church. They were to be considered as laywomen. Really this canon is in no way an argument against, but rather an argument for the ordination of deaconesses in the early Church. In the first part of this canon as in many other places, we witness the parallelism drawn between the male and female clergy. The deaconesses who were truly ordained in the sect were after their conversion to be treated in the same way as the deacons. THE MA!tONITE COUNCIL

Our study has, of course, been principally concerned with the Church in the West. It would be, however, appropriate to mention very briefly the renowned synod of the Maronite Church held on ML Lebanon in 1736. The acts of this uniate synod were approved by the Holy See. The acts apropos of deaconesses are as follows. In the Maronite Church deaconesses had to be chosen from among vowed virgins or widows married


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only once and pledged to perpetual chastity. They were to be consecrated by an episcopal blessing. They were to guard the doors of the women's section of the church and show women to their assigned places. They were to assist women about to be baptized with their clothing and help in the baptism. They were to apply oil to the bodies of women in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and anointing of the sick. It was their task also to wash and prepare the bodies of deceased women for burial. They were to explain the truths of faith to women converts or to those Christians who were ill instructed. Women in the community having business with the male clergy could seek character references from their deaconesses. The deacon¡ esses were also empowered to help in reported cases of violation of consecrated virgins. They were also to act as administrators of the properties of cloistered female religious. The synod admitted that for a long time there had been no real need to have deaconesses assist in the administration of the sacraments. The whole body was no longer anointed. Adult baptisms were a rarity. It seemed good, however, to the bishops assembled in synod to promote abbesses of the rite to the order of deaconess. For this reason approval of the Holy See was sought. The abbesses were to have all of the rights and privileges that the order enjoyed from time immemorial, even though they might not find occasion to exercise them. They were not to approach the altar, however, or to give Communion to their subjects even in the absence of a priest or deacon. The synod recognized the possibility that some bishops might deem it advisable to ordain women other than abbesses to the dea¡ conate. They could do so for an urgent reason, provided they assured themselves of both the orthodoxy of the doctrine and inviolability of the chastity of the candidates (Mansi, v. 38, c, 163). By the time that this decree was promulgated, of course, the doctrine of the medieval theologians and canonists had thoroughly permeated the western Church. We would not have expected the Holy See to approve of the ordination of women without some reservations. Taken at its face¡ value the pro-

OrdtJiMd Women


nouncement of the Maronite bishops seems simply to restate the practice of the ancient Church in regard to deaconesses. The word ordain ( ordinare) is used. But so too is the word blessing ( epi.scopi benedictione accedente, devoventur). Is there question in the decree of a real ordination? It does not seem so. In a previous section of the document (pt. II, c. 14, n. 5; Mansi, v. 38, c. 130) it is declared: "Only a male is capable of being ordained." It would seem, then, that this "ordination" of deaconesses is not in any way to he taken as sacramental; it wonld be comparable to the reception of tonsure or minor orders in the western Church. The failure of the drafters of this document to integrate the two sections of the decree and to declare their mind exactly as to the nature of the episcopal "blessing" received by deaconesses has made it impossible to formulate any argument from it regarding the true ordination of women in the Church as late as the eighteenth century. CONCLUSION

We must, I think, in conclusion admit that the theologians and canonists of our time have been, as Daniel Callahan would say, guilty of some dishonesty in treating the question of the ordination of women in the early Church. In their treatises on the matter there seems to be a selective presentation of the facts, if indeed any attempt at all is made to do other than merely repeat what their predecessors have said. The confusion that exists about the relationship between widows and deaconesses has played right into their hands. It has been very easy for them to shrug off objections simply by pointing to the documents referring to widows. The authoritative Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus and the strictures placed upon the exercise of the diaconal office by women in the writings of men like Epiphanius have helped them immeasurably in maintaining a confused state of affairs. But the time for complete honesty is at hand. We cannot blame the medieval experts. Their lack of true historical insight as well as their unfamiliarity with all of the sources is excusable. The traditional derogatory attitude toward women which they inherited from their predecessors pre-


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eluded the possibility of their having arrived at a true and equitable solution of the problem in their time. But now theologians must make a careful and unprejudiced re-examination of the whole question. That is the least they can do.

Chri.topker Kiesling, O.P.

The Church's Institution of Liturgy The liturgy ts intrinsically unique -Christ's own worship rendered to the Father among men in time, which the Church freely makes her own.

As a result of Vatican Council II, the Church is making, re¡ making and unmaking the liturgy so familiar to us. What are we to think of this? Does it mean that, after all, the whole of the liturgy is not Christ's own worship of the Father, as we have been led to believe, that the liturgy is merely called Christ's own worship because the main part of the liturgy, the sacraments, are Christ's own actions? Does it mean that most of the liturgy is in reality the Church's worship alongside of Christ's worship? We naturally hesitate to say "Yes" to these questions. Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei told us that the sacred liturgy is the entire public worship of the mystical body of Christ, Head and members; he did not tell us that some of the liturgy is Christ's worship, some of it his members'. The Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy repeats Pius' definition (art. 7) and calls the divine Office the very prayer of Christ (art. 84). Another problem confronts us in the Church's making and 309

310. Chicago Studies

unmaking of liturgy. If the liturgy depends upon the will of the Church, upon the Church's juridically declaring some form of worship as liturgy, does it not follow that our liturgical wor· ship is within itself no different than any other worship? Is liturgical worship different only from without, only because it is instituted juridically by ecclesiastical authority? Again, we hesitate to admit that liturgical worship is different only because it is legally instituted by authority. Such a view leads to a legalistic and rubrical idea of liturgy. Yet the fact is obvious: the Church instituted liturgy; no matter how liturgy· like a form of worship may be, it is not actually liturgy until ecclesiastical authority declares it is. ONE EXPLANATION

The most satisfactory way out of these dilemmas follows the line of thought represented in Father John Miller's Fundamenlals of the Liturgy. The Church's institution does not con· stitute intrinsically worship as liturgy but is a necessary ex· trinsic condition for a particular act of worship to become liturgy. What intrinsically makes worship to be liturgy is its flowing from Christ's priesthood. Christ communicates a share in his priestly dignity to his Church through the sacraments of holy orders and, in a different way, through baptism and con· firmation. When the Church juridically institutes a form of worship as liturgy, she joins this action to the priestly power given to her by Christ; hence she joins this action ultimately to Christ's own priestly power. In juridically instituting liturgy, the Church declares that henceforth this act of worship will issue from Christ's priestly power through her share in this power and therefore will be liturgical worship. The Church's juridical institution is responsible for worship's becoming liturgy but not for its being liturgy. Moreover, the Church's juridical institution remains outside of the liturgy's own inner reality as this issues from the priesthood of Christ and from the Church's share in this priesthood. This explanation is not entirely satisfactory. It divorces the juridical activity of the Church too much from the life of the

Liturgy 3ll

Church. As Father Louis Bouyer suggests, canon law is an expression of the Church's understanding of what she is and what she is doing, of what she intends to be and to do. The inner reality of something and the external expression of this inner reality are 1lot completely separate in their being. This explanation tends to attribute a split personality to the Church in regard to the liturgy: the Church first acts juridically in re路 gard to the liturgy by declaring that henceforth such or such a way of worshipping will be liturgy; then the Church steps outside the room, as it were, and returns through another door to worship in a way said to be liturgical, said to be with and through the power of Christ's priesthood, because the Church on another occasion decreed that it should be. I do not suggest that this explanation be completely aban路 cloned, but that it he assumed into a more comprehensive idea which better explains the Church's juridical role in instituting liturgy and which brings into the light a reality hidden 路in the explanation given above. This more comprehensive idea sees the liturgy as an event willed simultaneous! y by God, Christ, the Church and individual Christians, and sees the institution of liturgy as the beginning and the announcement of the will to worship which constitutes the liturgy as an event.

A WILLED. EVENT Although the idea of an event is more foreign to Catholic thought, it will be better to begin with this idea. To say that the liturgy is an event means that it is a happening, an occurrence. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary offers this philosophical definition of event: "That which occupies .a restricted portion of four-dimensional space." Thus the dialogue Mass celebrated in St. Mary's church between nine and ten on Sunday rooming is an event. A liturgical celebration is obviously a human event, for it is worship by men and women. But more than this, it is an ecclesial event. This is so, not sirnpl y because the men and Wo路 men who assemble to worship are members of the Church, hut because they assemble to celebrate that particular sacramental


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worship which Christ entrusted to the Church as a whole, represented by the apostles and their successors, and which the Church entrusts now to this assembly of the Christian people to celebrate. The Church as a whole worships through the men and women who celebrate the liturgy, making the liturgy an ecclesial event as well as a human event. More profoundly, liturgical worship is a Christological event. The men and women worshipping in the liturgical assembly are members of the mystical body of Christ. They are moved, sustained and brought to fulfillment in their worship hy Christ, their Head. But this worship which Christ initiates and com路 pletes in his members is a very special kind of worship: it involves symbolic actions which proclaim and fulfill the mystery of Christ, and it is commanded hy Christ. Hence, those who engage in this worship in obedience to Christ's command are serving Christ as ministers in his continued proclamation and accomplishment of the mystery hidden from all ages and revealed in him for the glory of the Father and the redemption of mankind. The celebration of the liturgy is a Christological event because it is Christ's saving worship among men in time through the ministry of his Church and his members. Still more profoundly, a liturgical celebration is a divine event, for all the activity described above-that of Christ as Head of the Church and of the members of Christ--derives ultimately from God, in whom we live and move and have om路 being. The liturgy as an event must he willed hy all who are in路 volved in this event. The Spirit must will this worship hy Christ and his Church to take place in space and time: the Spirit must will to bring it into being, to sustain it and to lead it to com路 pletion. Christ, submitting as man to the will of the Spirit, must will to worship with and through his Church and members. The Church as a whole, represented by the pope and bishops, must will to place its actions at Christ's disposal and to worship with and in Christ in carrying out Christ's worship of the Father among men in time. Finally, the individual members of the Church must will to implement the Church's will to worship

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and must insert their personal worship into that which the Church and Christ offer to the Father. The liturgy as an event, therefore, is worship willed simul· taneously and hierarchically hy Christ, his Church and his members in the power of the Spirit. INSTITUTION OF THE LITURGY

When the word· institution is used today in reference to the liturgy, it is usually understood in an active sense. It refers to historical, juridical actions of Christ (for the essential elements of the sacraments) and of the Church (for other elements of the liturgy). These historical actions fix the form of worship, declare at least implicity its peculiar efficacy, and command the Christian people to worship in this way. But the word institution can be used also in a passive sense for the result of historical, juridical actions or active institu· tion: the legally established federal government of presidency, congress and supreme court we call "an American institution." Institution in a passive sense is applicable to the liturgy .in· sofar as the liturgy is the result of Christ's and the Church's active institution. Thus the liturgy is both event and institution in the passive sense: event, because it is the willed activity of Christ, the Church and Christians in the power of the Spirit; institution, because this activity occurs according to an his· torically, juridically predetermined structure and efficacy. But what relationship does active institution have to the liturgical event? Active institution does not refer to the liturgical event itself as having a predetermined structure and efficacy; it refers rather to the historical action fixing, declaring and com· manding the special structure and efficacy worship is to have. But at a deeper and more important level, it refers to the will to worship which underlies both the historical action of institution and the liturgical event. There are two sides to active institution. On the surface, it is an exterior action, located in a particular place at a particular time; as such it is a passing reality. But this exterior action is an announcement of an interior will to worship at some fu·



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ture time in the manner ¡expressed in the . announcement; as such, active institution continues even after its exterior side has passed into history or has been recorded in books of law and rubrics. The liturgical event is the actualization of this interior will to worship; active institution is the initiation of what reaches fulfillment in the liturgical event. CHRIST'S INSTITUTION

How does this notion of active institution apply to Christ and the Church in relation to the liturgy? Christ's institution of the sacraments is an historically verifiable series of actions whereby he fixed a pattern of worship, declared its efficacy and commanded its celebration by his disciples. But in so fixing, declaring and commanding sacramental worship, Christ was announcing his will then and there to worship with and through his Church and members under the inspiration of the Spirit whenever in future times this would be called for according to the plans of divine providence. Christ's will to worship underlying these acts of historical institution is not an entirely distinct willing from his willing, let us say, his sacramental sacrifice in today's Mass or his proclamation of the Father's power in today's baptismal celebration, for Christ's will to worship in today's liturgical event is directly dependent upon the former will to worship, the force of which continues and, according to the inspiration of the Spirit, issues into today's accomplishment of the liturgical event. THE CHURCH'S INSTITUTION

Similarly, the Church's active inslitution of liturgy consists in a series of historical actions which assume juridical form in canonical decrees and rubrics. But more profoundly con¡ sidered, these actions initiate and announce the Church's will to submit to Christ's commands to worship sacramentally. By this subordination to Christ's will, the Church carries out for Christ his sacramental worship of the Father among men in time and joins her worship to Christ's. The Church is a free agent; the Church must freely place

Liturgy 315

herself at Christ's disposal, freely assume the ministry committed to her by Christ Christ, in fact, willed this fredom for his Church, for he left it to the Church (represented by the apostles and their successors) to decide how, in view of the people's needs, his sacramental worship should be carried out, except for the essential elements of the seven sacraments (but even in this realm the Church is free to change the language and qualify the material symbols, within limits) _This freedom of the Church explains both why the whole of the liturgy is ultimately Christ's worship and why nevertheless the Church can make, remake and unmake liturgy. The whole of the liturgy is Christ's worship because he principally wills it in his commands to celebrate the sacraments. The Church wills the liturgy only in virtue of Christ's commands; she is totally subordinate to Christ; she worships principally in his name, only secondarily in her own name. ¡ But how the Church implements Christ's commands ¡is hers to decide, except for a few essential rites, as an ambassador commissioned to negotiate a treaty in the name of the United States would be free to decide on his own initiative the precise formulation of the final agreement, provided the treaty secured certain essentials required in the commission given him. Hence, if the Church declares the Last Gospel of the Mass to be no longer a part of the liturgy, she is retracting and announcing the cessation of her will to carry out by their particular action Christ's command to celebrate the Eucharist. If the Church were to institute a new set of prayers as part of the liturgy at the Offertory of the Mass, she would be willing and announcing her will to celebrate the Eucharist at Christ's command in this particular way. But because this worship would be offered in virtue of Christ's command, because his will would be its motive force, this worship would be his, carried out through the ministry of his Church and members. Thus the liturgy is wholly Christ's worship and wholly the Church's, not partially Christ's and partially the Church's.


Chicago Studies

·A CoROLLARY From this idea of the Church's active institution of liturgy follows a corollary. Not any ecclesiastical approval or command of worship institutes liturgy, but only that approval or command which includes the intention of implementing Christ's command to worship sacramentally. As the priestly minister of a sacrament must intend to administer the sacrament, must will to be Christ's instrument in sanctifying, so the Church must intend to worship sacramentally under Christ, even though she has leeway with regard to how she carries out Christ's worship. In sum, when the Church actively institutes liturgy, she wills and announces (in legal form) her intention to minister to Christ in his sacramental worship among men in time. If active institution is understood to signify only the announcement in its legal form, then the Church institution of liturgy is extrinsic to liturgical worship. But if active institution is understood to signify the will to worship as well as the announcement of that will to worship, then active institution is at least virtually one moral reality with the liturgical event; the liturgical event is the execution of the worship intended and commanded in active institution. SACRAMENTAL CONSECRATION

Another level of willing must be present in the liturgical event; the liturgical event is willed by the Holy Spirit, by Christ, by the Church as a whole represented by the apostles and their successors; but it must be willed also by the individual Chris· tians of this liturgical assembly in the celebration of the liturgy here and now. It must be willed by the individual Christians not merely in their own names as their personal worship but in the name of the whole Church, if the liturgy is to he an ec· clesial event. This implies that at some time or other the Church· must have commissioned these individuals to worship in her stead, as Christ at one time commissioned the Church to carry out his worship among men in time. Hence there must be some action or actions whereby the Church commissions Chris· tians to carry out her sacramental worship in union with Christ,



and whereby individual Christians initiate and announce their will to worship for the Church. Where do we find these actions? These actions are found first of all in the celebration of baptism, confirmation, and holy orders. In celebrating these sacraments, the Church not only communicates Christ's grace to men and women but also consecrates them for the work of Christ's Church in the world. By these consecrations involving the conferral of the sacramental characters, the Church corn¡ missions those whom she has deemed fit to carry out her sacramental worship in union with Christ. This commission to worship for the Church is obvious in the case of holy orders; a man is ordained to one of the minor or major orders precisely to carry out the liturgy. But this com¡ mission is present also in confirmation and baptism. Confirma¡ lion's purpose is to equip the Christian to bear witness to the truth of the Christian mystery; liturgical worship, centered in the sacraments and especially in the Eucharistic sacrifice and meal, is the witness to the mystery of Christ. Baptism equips the believer to participate more and more in the grace of Christ and the spiritual life of the Church, so that the Church continues in existence and grows as a worshipping, witnessing community; but the primary source of participation in Christ's grace and the Church's spiritual life is liturgical worship. Whatever else the Church intends in conferring the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and holy orders, she surely intends the recipients of these sacraments to carry out in her name and for her welfare the sacramental worship committed to her by Christ. The Church's law prescribing Sunday Mass and Easter Communion, her exhortations to liturgical participation, indicate the Church's continuing commission to her members to carry out her worship. Those who receive these sacraments, in their very request for and acceptance of them, express their will to worship under the direction of and for the Church and Christ. Christ and his Church are a worshipping community. To associate one's self with such a community, to accept a rank or office in this community, is to will to worship in the community's worship.


Chicago Studies

Moreover, these three sacraments by their very nature are ordered to the Eucharist. Whoever receives them, therefore, expresses at least implicitly a desire to participate in the Eucharist in the way in which the Church decides to celebrate this sacrament. When the priest picks up his breviary to pray his Office and the layman picks up his missal to follow the prayers of the Mass, they actuali2e the will to worship liturgi· cally which was initiated implicitly or with some degree of explicitness in their receptions of holy orders and the sacra· ments of baptism and confirmation. CANON LAW AND RUBRICS

The Church's active institution of liturgy as it is .expressed in canon law and rubrics spells out precisely how the consecrated faithful should exercise their commission to worship, assigns various roles to individuals in the communal worship, deter· mines fitting times and places, etc. The Church's will to wor· ship is not arbitrary but guided by faith and wisdom, by pru· dence and the arts; it contains an element of reason, of direc· tion, which appears in the legal and rubrical manifestation of the will to worship. Hence the canon law and rubrics of liturgical worship should not be regarded as the "freezing" of external forms of worship to preserve them because they have eternal validity, save for certain elements in the basic rites of the seven sacraments. Nor do canon law and rubrics set the primary standard of morality in worship, so that he who fulfills the rules in the external conduct of his worship thereby worships well without further qualification. Either view of canon law and rubrics in rela· tion to liturgical worship leads to undesirable results; formalism and legalism in which the freedom of the spirit is in bondage to rules imposed from without. Such results are contrary to the New Law of Christ, which is the law of love and liberty, in· terior and free. The canon law and rubrics of the liturgy must be regarded as dynamic commands like those which the general of an invading army issues to his troops: these commands must be



carried out at the risk of the whole enterprise otherwise ending in disaster; but these commands as issued and as obeyed express the common will to victory of general and troops and insure the orderly advance of the army. So the canon law and rubrics of the liturgy, decreed by the Church's authorities and obeyed by her members, express the will of the Church and her mem¡ hers to worship together sacramentally with and for Christ in the structured liturgical event, a moment in the adv¡ancing history of salvation. CoNCLUSION

The liturgy, then, is wholly Christ's worship and wholly the Church's. The Church making, remaking and unmaking liturgy does not disprove this truth but rather reveals the freedom with which Christ and his Church worship together. The liturgy is intrinsically unique worship, different from all other worship. The necessity of juridical institution of liturgical worship by ecclesiastical authority does not argue against this intrinsic uniqueness of the liturgy, but on the contrary, seen in its deeper reality, it explains why the liturgy is unique--because it is, in the final analysis, Christ's own worship rendered to the Father among men in time, in which the Church freely joins, which she makes her own, and which she places in the hands of men that they may enter into Christ's own homage tu the Father.

The Forum

Parish Summer Institute William A. Schumacher

A conversation lasting far into an April night has led to a most exciting and, we feel, significant experiment in adult religious education at the parochial level. The origin, planning, execution and effects of our St. Cyprian Summer Institute of Theology can point the way for other parallel programs in the future. During the fall and winter months of 1964, more than 11,000 lay commentators were trained in our Archdiocesan Liturgy Training Program. Reflecting on the experiences they had shared, a few members of our parish liturgy team, together with their wives and two teachers in our CCD High School of Religion, began searching with me for structures which could continue and enrich this program of adult education which began last fall for an ad hoc purpose, but which had also given them an impetus to share the Good News with others. An idea began to take shape in a few informal conversations for a summer program in the parish which would attract a substantial number of people, which would be intense and varied, and which would present a real intellectual and spiritual challenge to the participants. This thinking began to crystallize about May l into a program for action. 321



A basic decision early in our thinking was to hold two sessions each week for seven weeks--making it quite clear from the start that this would be a demanding program for all who participated. Registration fees would be charged, setting the proper tone for serious study; a cost of $5.00 per person or $7.50 per couple, we decided, would make this Institute selfliquidating. Through the good offices of Sister Frances Borgia, O.S.F., of the Archdiocesan School Board, we were able to obtain outlines, bibliography, discussion questions and complete taped copies of the television series "Formation in Faith," presented last winter by Father Bernard Cooke, S.J., of Marquette University. We decided that this material would form the structure of our Institute, all else being related to this framework. Fathers Mark Link, S.J., and Theodore Stone were deeply interested in what we were planning and very generously offered the services of a faculty member from the concurrent Loyola Institute of Pastoral Studies once each week for the seven weeks of our Institute. Consequently, we were able to plan to have a different outside speaker each Tuesday and to use the Cooke material on faith each Wednesday of the course. Looking ahead, arrangements were made for joint sponsorship of our Institute by the Loyola Institute of Pastoral Studies, by the Archdiocesan Liturgy Training Program and by the Adult Education Center of the Archdiocese; all these sponsoring institutions were represented by signatures on the certificates issued at the close of the Institute. STRUCTURING THE INSTITUTE

Since our guest speakers would not be compensated in any way, we could not insist that they coordinate their presentations too closely with the logical progression of the Wednesday classes; consequently, the format of the Tuesday sessions was left to each speaker. Some gave straight lectures; three employed visual aids; two conducted surveys of attitudes among the students. Rather unexpectedly, this variety on the Tuesday evenings

.The Forum


provided a welcome contrast to the rather rigid program each Wednesday. · For the Wednesday classes each week, we determined to use a· group-dynamic technique coupled with a lecture, culminating in a Bible Vigil each week. All in attendance were assigned permanently to a discussion group, these groups being structured to produce an optimum of variety in age, sex, marital status, etc. After a forty-minute presentation of the material on the formation of faith, · each table then spent forty-five minutes discussing one or more of the leading questions given them in mimeo form at the beginning of the lecture. Following the discussion, the secretary from each table-- a responsibility which changed each week-made a three-minute report on his group's discussion. Then all went to the church for a twenty-minute Bible Vigil, embodying in prayer form the truths which we had been sharing together during the class time. Both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings ended with a 'coffee-and,' each table in turn being responsible for serving and cleaning up the hall. When registering the first session, each student received a kit: legal-size pad for notes, pen, study guide and bibliography for the first week's work, all contained in a black plastic portfolio lettered with the title of the Institute. Each Wednesday, a study guide for the following week was distributed, along with bibliographical material pertinent to the subject to be considered. All in all, 204 pages of material were mimeographed, including articles by Franz Arnold, Joseph Cahill, S.]., Frederick Moriarty, S.J., Jean Mouroux, Alfonso Nebreda, S.J., P. A. Liege, O.P., Rene Latourelle, S.J., F. Taymans d'Eypernon, S.J., Andre Godin, S.J., David Stanley, S.J., Klemans Tilmann, Lucien de Bontridder, Madeleine Melot, Pierre Babin and Roger Poelman. Every student received a copy of the Bible (to be returned after the course) and his own copies of the Constitution on the Liturgy, Constitution on the Church, God's People ut Mass (Quinn), and A Modern Cutechism (Stone and Hill). In addition, a lending library of more than 100 works on salvation history, theory of catechetics, Scripture and

324 Chicago Studies

Church history was available each evening for home study. Perhaps the thinking behind this structure is now apparent. Such a program would appeal to people who ranged from those fairly conversant with this area of religious thought to those who might be called theological illiterates. Obviously, the bibliography could be mastered only by a few. Nevertheless, it presented a challenge to all and at least put the material into their hands. Whatever the individual's readiness for theological analysis, each person would be challenged to reach the limits of their own potential. Thinking, discussing, working, praying, and eating together, all, we hoped, would be welded into a Christian community by these experiences. PROMOTING THE INSTITUTE

Then the task of selling this idea had to be faced. Most fortunately, one of the leaders of this project, an advertising man, prepared a complete direct-selling package--an envelope with the banner "Important-Contains Personal Theological Information," a membership card already bearing each per¡ son's name, and a flier describing the outstanding features of the Institute in dramatic terms. The enclosed letter from the pastor made it quite clear that this individual or couple was being invited personally to be a part of a new, exciting experience. Four hundred ninety-five of these invitations were mailed to parishioners of St. Cyprian; 81 from this group actually paid their registration fees and 52 of them completed the ten or more sessions required for certification. At the request of priests in neighboring parishes, about ten in all, a total of 395 invitations were distributed to persons whom they thought might be interested; 88 of this number registered and 37 re¡ ceived certificates. From the opening night it was made quite clear that this would be a demanding program: anyone was free to drop out, skip sessions, or go on vacation as they wished, but attendance at ten or more of the fourteen sessions would be mandatory for receiving the certificate. Eight hundred ninety invitations were mailed; 169 paid registration fees; 89 received

The Forum


certificates. The largest group in attendance at any one session was 133, the smallest, 66. I think that these figures tell quite a story in themselves: a program well conceived, brilliantly advertised and rather well conducted, though not to every路 one's taste or convenience, and certainly not perfectly planned and executed. THE INSTITUTE IN ACTION

The Tuesday evening sessions proved to be rather relaxed, since the group-dynamic was not formally employed that evening and the guest speakers usually made about a forty-minute pre路 sentation and then left the rest of the evening for an open-end question and discussion period. Use of talk-back microphones in the hall at all sessions facilitated the question periods and re路 ports and enabled us to tape the presentations, the questions and the answers given at every session. By a happy accident, the speakers provided by the Loyola Pastoral Institute ranged from Father Bernard Haring to a young pastor from Oklahoma; this variety was one of the most stimulating aspects of the Institute. The Wednesday sessions turned out to be much more like hard work. In retrospect, our group leaders were not all as well-prepared as they could have been to guide the discussion at their tables; as a consequence, many of the secretaries' reports were rather vague, making for a tedious half-hour of listening to the reports from each table. Probably the most successful aspect of the entire Institute was the weekly Bible Vigil. By relating the Scripture readings and songs to the material on faith which we were studying together, this became a real experience of prayer in the deepest Christian sense. Each Vigil service culminated in a symbolic action: passing the book of Scripture through the community; exchanging the kiss of peace; receiving blessed bread; spontaneous prayer in the early Christian manner; renewal of baptismal vows; renewal of confirmation symbolized by the imposition of hands. These Vigils also served as a preparation for the 路closing exercise of the Institute-a Mass concelebrated by all the priests who had a part in the entire Institute, certain! y one of the most

326 Chicago Studies

deeply moving spiritual experiences that any of us have ever shared. The Institute then closed with the formal presentation of certificates to those who had qualified, and a party for all students and their families rounded out the evening. At this final event, one question was asked repeatedly: "What do you plan for next year?" EVALUATING THE INSTITUTE

Each student was asked to complete an evaluation sheet, first giving basic data on themselves-age, sex, marital status, education, occupation, apostolic experience-and then noting what he liked best and liked least about the program, and offering suggestions for the future. The statistical profiles have not yet been completed, nor have these evaluations been analyzed in depth. However, a few quotations from the comments of the students themselves will give the best indication of the effects which this program produces in their lives. Commenting on the guest speakers, a thirty-five,year old mother of five writes: "I sensed they personally knew the will of God for themselves and therefore were true witnesses." A fifty-two-year old religious, discussing the group-dynamic technique, notes: "We are always using familiar expressions and terminology without necessarily understanding the meaning ... This Institute has made me aware of generously giving 'me' in the struggle of Christ to give life ... To change conformism and indifference into vital, concerned commitment ... May this better understanding of the Church help me to communicate Christ in all my being." The comments on the Bible Vigils are most interesting. A young married woman comments: "These helped us to feel united as a community of Christ's followers. I felt as if I truly worshipped as we were gathered in church and prayer and sang together." A man of twenty-two notes: "The variety, new and old, of ways of praising God was exhilarating"; while a religious of twenty-seven states: "We really experienced the com¡ munity built up during our work groups." Another religious

The Forum


seems to sum up the feelings of all regarding the Bible Vigils: "His Word was proclaimed to us and we had the actual experience of responding with love in a community atmosphere with the Christians with whom we had shared our knowledge in the discussions." To conclude, I can do no better than to quote the testimony of a thirty-eight-year old mother of four: "This has been one of the fastest moving and most stimulating programs I've ever attended. We were, at last, treated as adults, spoken to as equals, given what we needed-strong ideas by equally strong speakers-not the pap usually fed the layman. This was not a watered-down spirituality for the delicately spined. I believe we all came away with a sense of our own importance in God's scheme. We dare not ignore it"

The Forum

An Australian Experiment

Considerable attention has been given in recent times to the problems facing seminaries in the contemporary world. Father Stafford Poole's article, "Tomorrow's Seminaries" (America, 1/18/64,), presented a frank survey of a range of problems which confronts a large number of Catholic seminaries in the U.S.A. In this report I would like to consider the problem of student initiative specifically in the area of theological studies, and to outline a positive contribution towards a solution which is in the experimental stages in Australia. The fruits of our exprerience in Australia may be of some assistance to those confronted by similar problems in America or in other parts of the world. In order to explain the nature of this contribution, it will be necessary to sketch in, by way of background, certain features of Australian life. In Australia there is a marked difference between the methods employed in the teaching of the sacred sciences in the semi¡ naries and the teaching of the liberal arts in the universities. And this difference in methodology has important repercussions particularly in the area of the relationship between the clergy and the educated laity. In the universities discussion-group programs of different types are an essential part of the training program. In these discussion groups the student is given positive assistance to integrate the information he has received into the context of his personal experience. This is done by providing him with


The Forum 329

opportunities to express, under skilled guidance, his own active response to what he has learnt. He is encouraged to articulate his thoughts, his problems and his difficulties concerning the matter in hand, and to enter into active dialogue on these things with his fellow students. By such means, the university ensures that the student's learning process includes an active, critical, and personal response, and that it is not merely the passive absorption of material given in lectures. The attitudes and skills developed in these discussion groups (or tutorials) carry over into the general intellectual life of the university student- And in the large heterogeneous university environment, he is helped to develop tolerant, critical and independent mental attitudes in a large number of fields. Keen students nourished in this atmosphere naturally seek the assistance of student societies to round out their knowledge in their chosen fields and to harmonize it with other areas in which they are interested. Thus at the Melbourne University, for example, we have student societies dealing with history, English literature, philosophy, classics, etc. The Newman Society assists Catholic students to integrate their new-found knowledge with their religion. In general, this sort of training produces an outlook which in intellectual affairs is favorable to the exercise of individual initiative. In the seminary system of training, on the other hand, the stress tends to be laid rather on the imparting of information than on the cultivation of an individual response. The full program of lectures allows little time for organized group discussion. Hence, in comparison with the university system, the seminary system could be said to favor a more passive and a less critical approach to knowledge. The difference of method between seminary and university teaching have their repercussions on Catholic life in general, particularly in the area of dialogue between the educated laity and the clergy. On many matters of mutual concern, the educated laity and the clergy in Australia are discovering that they possess basically different intellectual attitudes which prevent full mutual understanding. A certain vein of anti-clerical-


Chicago Studies

ism encountered. in current wntmgs of some inlluential lay intellectuals in Australia would seem to be at least partly caused by the frustrations engendered by the confrontation of these two mentalities. The Inter-Seminary Theological Society was set up to make a positive contribution towards bringing the gap between the two mentalities. The society aims to develop intellectual maturity, spontaneity and enthusiasm in students studying theology in a seminary environment. This society began in Sydney, where there are seven groups of theological students studying similar courses at institutions situated within a radius of fifteen miles: the Archdiocesan Seminary, the Marists, the Vincentians, the Columbans, the Pallottines, the Dominicans and the Jesuits. It has two means for forwarding its aims: inter-seminary theological meetings held periodically and a theological journal called Student Theology which appears twice yearly. Each seminary in tum undertakes to act as host for the meetings and to produce the journal. In this way, means are provided for an intense theological dialogue at the student level through the written and spoken word. A simple constitution embodies the machinery required to enable the society to function smoothly. At an annual general meeting held in each seminary, the members elect a branch committee to represent the interests of the seminary; each branch sends two delegates to a central committee which meets three time a year. The committee of one seminary assumes the office of general president, secretary and assistant-secretary of the whole society for the term of one year. Since its inception in 1961, the society has conducted meet¡ ings on a great variety of topics, including the Mass and the people, the divine maternity, the unity of the Church, a more broad-minded theology, the theology of work, the resurrection and the inspiration of Scripture. Five issues of Student Theology have already appeared. This journal has now reached quite a high standard for a student production. A ready supply of student literary contributors is on hand. The journal is circulated in all Catholic theologates

The Forum


of Australia and New Zealand. And the "Letters to the Editor" issue of April 1964 indicates that it is meeting with an en· thusiastic reception everywhere among both students and professors. The ellect of the Inter-Seminary Theological Society and its theological journal in the three years since its foundation has been most heartening. A new enthusiasm for the study of theo· logy has developed in the seminaries involved. This new spirit is due largely to the discovery by the seminarians of the re· levance of discussion techniques to the study of theology. In one large seminary, the students of their own initiative have established a system of seminars conducted within the seminary to supplement the inter-seminary meetings. After the society began, another seminary has built a system of discussion· groups into its regular. theological course. In addition, the students of these seminaries have grown closer to one another than ever before as a result of their cooperation in their theological studies. This will surely have important results in the co· ordination of apostolic ellort in the future. The Inter-Seminary Theological Society is in no sense a substitute for, or a rival of the existing seminary system. On the contrary, it is essentially geared to intermesh as closely as possible with the seminary course as it now stands. The society places itself at the service of the existing seminary system and limits itself to one basic aim: to supply students with the means of expression, comparison and exchange of ideas which it is the task of the seminary to impart. Its most fruit· ful work will come, not from the supplementation of topics omitted from the seminary curriculum (a temptation natural to students), but from its attempts to dig deeper into the rich field which the theology course has already prepared. If future priests can be assisted to gain a deeper, a more vital and a more ap· preciative grasp of the subjects treated in the seminary course as it now stands, the society will have achieved something of great and premanent value. The society has also brought about limited extra-seminary contact of a type which has refreshing! y enriched the in tel·

332 Chicago Studies

lectual lives of the seminarians. Some twenty non-cathplic theological students and eight non-catholic theological professors were present at the meeting held in April 1964 on scriptural inspiration and the non-catholic guests entered fully into the discussions. Seminarians have also come into contact with uni¡ versity students both at a graduate and undergraduate level. In December 1963, the Inter-Seminary Theological Society held a joint meeting with the Newman Society and Newman Asociation of Sydney on the problems of graduates and undergraduates. It is hoped that the cultivation of such extra-seminary contact under proper supervision will pave the way for a closer understanding between clergy and educated laity in the future. It is noteworthy that the initiative leading to dialogue .between graduates, undergraduates and seminarians came from the university people themselves and not from the seminarians. So far, the inter-seminary movement has provided at least a partial solution to the problem of the development of individual initiative and plasticity among seminarians in the field of theological formation itself. Although it is still in the experimental stages, it holds promise that it can contpbute towards helping future priests adapt more readily to the climate of contemporary culture.

AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE John Doenau, S.J., writes from St. Patrick's College, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. George J. Dyer, general editor of CHICAGO STUDIES, is librarian and professor of patrology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. Bernard Haring, C.SS.R., professor of moral and pastoral the¡ ology at the Academia Alfonsiana in Rome, is author of many works, including Christian Renewal in a Changing World and the comprehensive Law of Christ. Christopher Kiesling, O.P., teaches liturgical theology at Aquinas Institute of Theology, Dubuque, Iowa, and has written for Cross and Crown, Worship and The Thomist. Charles R. Meyer is professor of Church history and Christian archeology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein. Robert A. Reicher, professor of sociology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Niles, Illinois, and chaplain to the Catholic Council on Working Life, is on the editorial board of CHICAGO STUDIES and New City. William A. Schumacher, assistant at St. Cyprian Church, River Grove, Illinois, is on the editorial board of CHICAGO STUDIES. Vincent A. Yzermans, director of the NCWC Buerau of Information, has edited several volumes of papal documents.


4 (1965)

n. l (Spring), 1-112; n. 2 (Summer), 113-224; n. 3

(Fall), 225-336 Ahem, Barruroas M., C. P., SACRAMENTALITY: ITs BIBLICAL BACKGROUND ----------------------------~----- 67 Baute, Paschal B., O.S.B., A REPORT ON PASTORAL CouNSELOR TRAINING


Biechler, /ames E., and McDonald, /ames C., NEw HORIZONS IN CANoN LAw _________________________________


Danielou, lean, S./.

THE CHURCH OF THE PooR ________ 137

Doenou, John, S./.,


Dyer, George/.,


Dyer, George].,


Eichelman, John E., Ellis, John Tracy, Gray, Donald P.,

A GREAT TURNING POINT __________ 218

A SEMINARY JuBILEE ________________ 115


Haring, Bernard, C.SS.R., LIFE




Kiesling, Christopher, O.P. LITURGY



Kiesling, Christopher, O.P.,


VVoRLD - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


McDonald, /ames C., and Biechler, /ames E., NEw HoRIZONS IN CANON LAW---------------------------------

McElwain, Hugh, O.S.M., RENEWAL



-------------------------------------147 333

Mallette, Daniel/., THE SPIRIT SAID "Go" ______________ 222 Meyer, Charles R., CHURCH



Motherway, Thomas /., S./. Nogar, Raymond /., O.P., LEMMINGS





Reicher, Robert A., TION: A DISSENT

Rohr, John A., S./.,


-------------------------------241 BIRTH CoNTROL IN ILLINOIS: A STUDY

31 INSTITUTE ____ 32l

IN CHURCH·STATE RELATIONS --------------------

Schumacher, William A.,


Vader, Anthony/., THE CATHOLIC


CoMMUNITY -----------------------------------


Weber, Gerard P.,

A CHANGING PARISH ________________ 171

Weber, Gerard P.,

CoRRESPONDENCE __________________ lOB

Yzermans, Vincent A.,



PREss ______ 275

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