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CIVITAS DEI

FOUNDATION

Episcopal Patrons

The Most Reverend Cletus F. O'Donnell, J.C.D. The Most Reverend Bernard J. Sheil, D.D. The Most Reverend Raymond P. Hillinger, D.D. The Most Reverend Aloysius J. Wycislo, D.D. Trustees

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

Rt. Rev. Msgr. T. A. Meehan Rt. Rev. Msgr. Eugene V. Mulcahey Rt. Rev. Msgr. James V. Murphy Rt Rev. Msgr. Martin E. Muzik Rt. Rev. Msgr. Gerard C. Picard Rt. Rev. Msgr. Stanley J. Piwowar Rt. Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Smaza Rt. Rev. Msgr. James A. Walsh Rt. Rev. Msgr. Richard F. Wolfe Rt. Rev. Msgr. Raymond J. Zock Very Rev. Msgr. J. D. Connerton Rev.-Francis R. Krakowski Rev. Edward T. Knsh Rev. Joseph J. Mackowiak Rev. Fraocis C. Murphy Rev. Stanley R. Petrauskas Rev. Harry C. Rynard Rev. Staoley L. Ryzner Rev. 1oseph I. Schmeier Rev. Harold H. Sieger Rev. Andrew T. Valcicak Charter Members

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

Rev. Walter F. Somerville


CHICAGO

STUDIES

EDITORIAL STAFF Editor George J. Dyer

John F. Dedek

Associate Editors Vincent C. Horrigan, S.J. William 0. Goedert

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Richard J. Wojcik

Production Manager Edmund 1. Siedlecki

Editorial Advisors Martin R. Borowczyk Joseph T. Mangan, S.J. John R. Clark Thomas B. McDonough Thomas F. Connery, S.J. John P. McFarland, S.J. Stephen E. Donlon, S.J. William E. McManus Robert H. Dougherty Charles R. Meyer Joseph M. Egan, S.J. Thomas J. Motherway, S.J. John F. Fahey . Norbert E. Randolph Thomas J. Fitzgerald Robert A. Reicher John J, Foley, S.J. Richard F. Schroeder John R. Gorman William A. Schumacher David J. Hassel, S.J. Peter M. Shannon George G. Higgins Eugene P. Slania Stephen S. Infantino Edward J. Stokes, S.J. George J, Karic Theodore C. Stone 路 Julius F. Klose Thomas F. Sullivan Edward H. Konerman, S.J. William G. Topmoeller, S.J. William P. LeSaint, S.J. Gerard P. Weber Raymond 0. Wicklander CHICAGO STUDIES is edited by the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary and the priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago for the con路 tinuing education of the clergy. The editors welcome articles and letters likely to be of interest to our readers. All communications re路

garding articles and editorial policy should be addressed to the editors. Subscriptions should be sent to CHICAGO STUDIES, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Subscription rates: $4.00 a year, S7.00 for two years, $12.00 for four years; to students, $3.00 a year. Foreign sub路 scribers: add 50c per year. CHICAGO STUDIES is published three times a year with ecclesiastical permission and copyright, 1967, by Civitas Dei Foundation, Box 66~, 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 Catholic Periodical Index and New Testament Abstracts. Microfilms of current and backfile volumes of CHICAGO STUDIES are now available from University Microfilms, Inc., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106.


VOLUME 6

FALL, 1967

NUMBER 3

Content~ Arriclu LITURGICAL REFORM j DIAGNOSIS AND PROGNOSIS

227

Edmund/. Siedlecki

245

George K. Malone

259

Thomas N. Munson, S.J.

THE CHURCH; . ORGANIZATION AND STRUCTURE

MARXIST ATHEISM: A REFLECTION IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

THE THEOLOGY OF DEATH

275 George!. Dyer

BIBLICAL TRUTH IN DIALECTICAL ANALYSIS

SIGNS OF THE TIMES: A THEOLOGICAL OVERVIEW

297

Dominic Crossan, O.S.M.

317 Charles R. Meyer

A NEw EMPHASIS IN SACRAMENTAL THEOLOGY

INDEX

327 George /. Dyer 333

Oua CoVER: "Virgin and dove" designed for St. Juliana's Church, Chicago, Illinois, by the Conrad Schmitt Studios, Milwaukee, Wis· consin.


LITURGICAL SURVEY, II

oflturgica /

fe/orm: ::biagno&i:J and P,ogno&i:J As this survey of the literature shows, liturgical reform will take place in three important stages.

Closing the gap between liturgy and life has been the concern of post-conciliar liturgical reform. J. Megivern, addressing the 1966 Liturgical Week in a talk entitled "American Catholic Worship Tomorrow" visualizes this reform taking place in three stages: a) preliminary reform, b) an extensive purification and restoration of the Roman liturgy, c) the adaptation of this liturgy to particular cultures. FIRST STAGE

We are now experiencing this first stage: sanctuaries have heen rearranged, the vernacular adopted; the rubrics have been simplified; the external participation of EDMUND ]. SIEDLECKI the faithful is vocal and, at times, musical; lay lectors and commentators regularly + perform their functions at Sunday Mass. Even in this stage notable differences exist from diocese to diocese and from parish to parish. Where pastoral zeal has met a cooperative faithful these reforms have been largely successful. Organized opposition to some of the reforms has been limited to the activities of the Traditionalists, an extremely small minority of the Catholic populace. Lethargy offers far more opposition. 227

+


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CHICAGO STUDIES

This phase is not without cnhcism. Several commentators on the present liturgical reform deplore a tendency to a "new rubricism", the "ever-present danger of substituting a vernacular formalism for a Latin formalism, an updated ritualism for an outmoded ritualism." Critics complain that certain innovations or fads are squelching other artistic ex· pressions. Some, they say, act as if the guitar is now the only instrument for vital liturgical music. Some complain that the changes are coming too fast, some that they are too slow in coming, others that there is not enough uni· formity among dioceses and parishes in celebrating the liturgy. Even these preliminary reforms reveal the need of further changes. Stripped of their Latin succinctness and rhythm, many orations of the Roman Missal are almost trite. As the Eucharistic Prayer is proclaimed in a fine English transla· tion, its inherent repetition and lack of unity will be all the more glaring. SECOND STAGE

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy outlines the aim of the second stage of liturgical reform thus: "The rite of the Mass (sacraments, sacramentals, Divine Office) are to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of their several parts, as also the con· nection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved. For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their sub· stance; elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the Holy Fathers, as rna y seem useful and necessary" (art. 50). The Consilium, the post-conciliar Commission for Imple· menting the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, an inter· national body of bishops and liturgiologists under Cardinal


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Lecaro, armed with the extensive scholarship of the last fifty years, is sifting through the history of all of the rites of the Roman liturgy to put together well-integrated, intel· ligible prototype rites, which, with some adaptation to vari· ous countries and cultures, would he followed in all places using the Roman rite. Before these new rites are promul· gated they would be tested for an adequate period of time in various parts of the world. The reports of the more than forty committees of this group can be found m Notitiae, the monthly publication of the Consilium. This phase of liturgical renewal, according to H. Schmidt, a leading Roman liturgiologist, must be "essentially and existentially faithful to tradition." The renewal ought to prolong the best of past Roman liturgy as well as develop the main lines of a liturgy for our times. Adaptation, under the direction of the bishops of a country or an area, will bring about a pluriformity of rites, which !"ill destroy the uniformity of the liturgy but not its unity. A fundamental, but not a servile, adherence to tradition is necessary to preserve the unity of the liturgy, states A. Matimort, Director of the Paris Center for Pastoral Liturgy, because liturgy is not the particular expression of a social group or nation, but the expression of the faith of the Church and the working out of God's plan of salvation in and through the Church. Two examples of traditional ele· ments that preserve the unity of the liturgy are the rhythm of time (the rhythm of the day, week, seasons, year) and the basic structure of the Mass (Scripture readings in the Liturgy of the Word, a Liturgy of the Eucharist which in· corporales the actions of Christ at the Last Supper and a consecratory prayer containing a thanksgiving, an offering, the recital of the institution, and an amnanesis). Adaptation, on the other hand, would consist in a difference of language, various artistic expressions, and some new rites proper to a particular culture. And although B. Botte concurs in this view, Matimort warns that such adaptation is not without risks: confusion among the faithful, too much fragmentation


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of the liturgy, identification of the liturgy with nationalistic or racist aims. Finally he wonders how far adaptation ought to be pushed since, more and more, the same customs, art, measuring systems are being adopted throughout the world. The speed of communication is making us a "world village" (Marshall McLuhan). Nevertheless only a strident minority would object to a vernacular liturgy, or to the use of red vestments at wed· dings of the Chinese for whom red is the color of joy, or to the composition of special Propers of the Mass for Inde· pendence Day and Thanksgiving Day in the United States. THIRD STAGE

The process of adaptation is slowly evolving. When it has adequately developed, the third stage of a liturgical reform shall have arrived. "At present," according to J. Megivem, "we are in crucial need of much freedom and encourage· ment in experimentation." Aelred Tegels, the editor of Wor· ship, echoed this calJ for wider experimentation by qualified experts which would he officially sponsored and promoted. Otherwise, he says, new and unauthorized rites will prolif· erate at an astonishing rate. A basic reason for this private initiative is a growing frustration with the official program of liturgical reform. The work of the Consilium is too se· cretive and thus far this body has permitted only the testing of a prepared rite rather than true experimentation. Notitiae rejected this criticism: "Is it necessary to remind anyone that liturgical reform is not the work of one day nor is it a children's game?" Tegels, obviously piqued hy this characterization of his serious appeal for experimentation, wrote in rebuttal: "We consider ourselves second to none in deploring reck· less and ill-advised innovations in the liturgy, though we certainly are not inclined to use the expression 'children's game' to characterize every initiative aimed at enhancing liturgical experience. At the same time we must state quite frankly that we do not believe in the viability of a funda·


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mentally curial approach to liturgical reform-even when it features the collaboration of an international group of very competent liturgiologists. "Liturgical reform, as it is commonly understood today, involves the development of new rites as well as the restora¡ tion of existing rites. Liturgiologists are capable of restoring rit"'s to Llteir pristine stmcture, adapting ihem in some degree to present needs and even enriching them effectively with elements from other liturgies. But it is not within their competence to create really new rites. New rites evolve from the confrontation of a given culture with the tradition of Christian worship. Thus to the extent liturgical reform involves the necessary development of new rites we should think of it in terms of scientifically planned and controlled evolution. Obviously a reform effort of this kind begins not with liturgy but with culture, and therefore at the local or regional level. It systematically exploits the resources of modern psychology, anthropology, and sociology in an effort to determine which cultural forms are susceptible of expressing and communicating the mystery of Christ celebrated in the Church. There is little evidence of such methodology in the present reform program and consequently no very well-founded hope for a really adapted liturgy." Tegel's remarks could be interpreted as referring to an American adaptation of the Roman liturgy. As we shall see, he soon espoused a more fundamental reform. In two editorials America took up the call for wider ex¡ perimentation and underlined some questions that an American adaptation of the liturgy must answer: "How does an American worship? How does he celebrate? What are the values and attitudes that characterize him? What signs touch him at the deepest level? What milieus does an American style of worship call for?" One editorial hopes that the American hierarchy would probe deeply into these questions with' the help of religious anthropologists and other behavioral scientists. Only in this way can they carry through the important principles stated by Pope Paul (then Cardinal


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Montini) at Vatican Il's first session: "The liturgy is for men, and not men fot· the liturgy." MORE RADICAL REFORM

lncorpo•·ating the great American experience into our style of worship might make Sunday Mass less boring; would it become more vital? Early this year G. Diekmann, Editor-in-Chief of Worship, asked: "The Reform of Catholic Liturgy: Are We Too Late?" "Should we he so concerned with rearranging furniture in the sanctuary when the very fact of redemption by Christ is becoming meaningless to at least a growing minority in the congregation?" He analyzes the contemporary situation thus: "Today is the age of the discovery of man as a person and an eager inquiry into all that this implies. But because Christianity seemed so exclusively God-centered according to the vertical line, this is happening largely apart from Christianity. Christian humanism is implied in the very fact of God's incarnation. But because these humanistic implications were obscured or not fully exploited, real danger confronts us of a purely secularist humanism: the exhilarating celebration of man as man, and a shrug of the shoulders about man as the image of God, as a child of God. The wonderful exciting mystery of man is rapidly replacing, in the interest of our contemporaries, the mystery of the man-God." Diekmann wonders whether present or projected liturgical reform will adequately face up to this situation. He is not the first to question the value of liturgical changes. In an open letter to the Third German Liturgical Congress, April 1964, Romano Guardini, a patriarch of the Liturgical Movement, asked: "Is not the liturgical act and, with it, all that goes under the na:ne of 'liturgy' so hound up with the historical background - ancient or medieval or baroque - that it would be more honest to give it up altogether? Would it not be better to admit that man in this industrial and scientific age, with its new sociological structure, is no longer capable of a liturgical act? And instead of talking of renewal ought we


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not to consider how best to celebrate the sacred mysteries so that modern man can grasp their meaning through his own approach to truth?" Prompted by Guardini's questioning, the Benedictine Theo路 dore Bolger of Maria Laach conducted an enquiry among a cross-section of Christians in Germany and published the results in a book entitled: Does Comemporary Man Have a Capacity for Liturgy? Bolger himself believes that man suffers from an ever-diminishing perception of things liturgi路 cal because his changing world, dominated by technology, reduces him to a mere number and increasingly deprives him of his humanity. The theologian and liturgiologist Heinrich Kahlefeld judges that man had lost his capacity for liturgy before the age of technology; even in the nineteenth century the liturgy had come to be viewed merely as an act of private devotion surrounded by ceremony. Our own age, the essay continues, further threatens our perception of the liturgy: the power of imagery, for example, is decreasing; children growing up in denaturalized surroundings develop less imagination; the body is being robbed of the spirit in the "dangerous shift from Eros to sex." Balthasar Fisher's article asks another question: "Does Symbolism Mean Anything to Today's Christian?" He him路 self believes that contemporary man, living in an industrial society remote from nature and the elemental, is haunted by a secret nostalgia for the primeval. He hankers after fire, warmth, candlelight, rather than the glare of neon lights. "Man's sense for symbolism is indestructible as long as man remains man." Nevertheless, he maintains, it would he a dangerous illusion to believe that nothing needs changing in the realm of liturgical symbolism and that man's nos路 talgia would suffice to lead him hack to all the old images. Much that is outworn in Catholic symbolism ought to he thrown away, hut in this purging process it should not be taken for granted that there is no longer any feeling for symbolism."


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CHICAGO STUDIES

Several other essayists maintain that the capacity to worship is intrinsic to human nature. This appeal to man's basic nature makes more pressing the problem of developing a meaningful worship for today's man. CHRISTIAN CONFRONTATION WITH TODAY'S WORLD

Not only the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy but, more pointedly, the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World directs us to confront the world: "The Church has always the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its expectations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics" (art. 4). Throughout its pages the Constitution on the Church provides a beginning of this analysis of contemporary man and his world, but the application of these ideas to liturgical reform has hardly begun. The Belgian Benedictine, Thierry Maertens, editor of Paroisse et Liturgie, attempts such an application and pro¡ Yokes still further questioning of present efforts at reform. Liturgy will become meaningful, he feels, only when pastors realize that modern man dominates nature. "Rites of water, fire, and stone belong to a time when man had not yet conquered nature. Since man's relationship with nature has changed, does he not rightly request an adaptation of the liturgy to his present situation? Should the rite not illustrate clearly man's transformation of nature?" "Another difficulty with present liturgy,'' says Maertens, "results from modern man's demand for authenticity. Man's attitude towards primary and secondary causes has under¡ gone profound changes. He does not seek to solve the problem of world hunger by asking God 'to give bread to those who need it'." Moreover, divine causality operating through


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sacramental signs can be overemphasized and human values underrated. Both the relative autonomy of secondary causes and a balanced Christology remind us that salvation is of¡ fered to men precisely through the Lord's human acts. If a pastoral liturgy meets with difficulties in the modern world, is it not because the rite does not sufficiently reveal the humanity of Christ, the Savior? Language is obviously another problem in liturgy today. Liturgical language does not speak to modern man. One reason is that many translations of the Latin liturgy are simply transliterations. The Bible itself, indispensable as it is, presents another problem. How can contemporary man be a man of the Bible? This is the question of every age for "no one is born a Christian; he becomes one!". A further liturgical problem stems from a shift in outlook. From finding the sacred everywhere, man has come to accept the world as profane. Must we then develop new rites that will baptize modern living? Must we have a blessing for every item of the "yellow pages"? Is. not the problem one of blessing and Christianizing mentalities rather than technology? Does not the distinction between rite and life correspond to the relationship between the mission of the Church when she is assembled and her mission to the whole world when her members are dispersed? "Today our cele¡ orations must still create a dialogue between the Church and the world, but through the faith of each participant." Neither Maertens nor any other liturgiologist can as yet offer examples or rites that will answer all the questions he has raised. He points out the positive direction that liturgical reform should take. He does not say so, but he seems uneasy with those proposals for liturgical change that smack of primitivism, that focus too much on the past and not enough on the present and future. In Culture and Liturgy Brian Wicker affirms that the very nature of symbolism requires such a development: "A symbol is not a static one-for-all datum of primitive experience. A symbol develops in the hands of those who


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use it; and there is no point at which we can say that, stripping away the historical accretions, we come to the rockbottom primitive symbol itself. At every point we see evidence of nothing except meanings developed by human reflection. A symbol is, in fact, not a thing, but a meaning attached to a thing. And since a meaning is something only existing in an act of understanding, a symbol exists while it is 'in action'. But the act of understanding which brings the thing to life as meaningful symbol is an event, occurring at some particular moment. So the meaning, which is the essence of the symbolism of the thing, is itself subject to historical change and development. It is no more permanent than the historical conditions in which it lives. "For Christians then, the task is to continue the protesting tradition, not by trying to reverse history, but by trying themselves to create a generally acceptable body of cultural work - in literature, art, and, above all; in the Liturgy which would offer to society the kind of consistent symbolization it needs." In one of the papers given at Notre Dame during a Consultation on Liturgical Development, April 9-10, 1967, Aidan Kavanagh, Director of the Graduate Program in Liturgical Studies at the university, tried to explain "How Rite Develops - Some Laws Intrinsic to Liturgical Evolution": "The first stage of liturgical evolution consists in the articulation by the community of the consciousness that it is the living contemporary realization of its faith-tradition into the idiom of the epoch. The epoch provides the cognitive and linguistic symbolisms that alone can serve as vehicles to communicate the religious community's awareness of itself not only to those outside the community but to those inside it as well. Because the community passes through different epochs in its historical existence, this first stage of liturgical evolution remains as constant as it is unremarked upon, except in periods of drastic shift such as the third and fourth centuries, the Carolingian renaissance of the ninth and early tenth centuries, the sixteenth century, and our own time."


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At this same symposium Aelred Tegels ventured an opinion on how radical this reform should be, when he asks the question: "Liturgy and Culture-Adaptation or Symbiosis?" "There is a tendency to think of adaptation, in the sense of developing new forms. as effecting only the peripheral elements of liturgy, as involving only secondary ceremonies. We tend to equate the ancient historical forms central to liturgical celebration as we know it with the essential structures of Christian worship. ___ This is a mistake. If liturgy is normally the self-expression of the Christian community, then adaptation should extend to the very core of liturgical celebration. All the historical forms of liturgy - even the most ancient and the most central - are subject to change, and should be changed, to the extent that they no longer communicate. In fact, the more central the forms the more urgently they need to be changed if they do not function properly. What is not subject to change are the essential structures and content of which these forms deriving from antique culture are but a historical expression." OFFICIAL VIEWS ON LITURGICAL EXPERIMENTATION

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy envisioned that liturgical reform would take place under the lead of the Apostolic See and the territorial bishops through whatever organization they would later adopt ( cf. arts. 22,40). The Consilium, working with the Sacred Congregation of Rites, would be the executive arm of the Pope in this matter. In the United States the bishops were organized into the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, with Archbishop Hallinan of Atlanta heading the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy. Thus far the American Bishops, as well as the hierarchies of other lands, have requested of the Apostolic See approval of vernacular translations and some other minor changes in the Mass, Divine Office, and Ritual, which, for the most part, anticipate changes that the Consilium itself would soon put into effect.


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In June, 1965, after hearing frequent rumors that some are overstepping existing rubrics or the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and its Instruction of Implementation and that these persons claimed to have permission to experiment, the Consilium declared no one has been given general permission to experiment. The Consilium's policy has been and would be to grant a limited permission for experimenting to some qualified groups for a determined time. As we have seen, this "experimenting" is the testing of a prepared rite. The most recent example of this permission was the testing of a new funeral rite in the dioceses of Atlanta and St. Louis. On June 30, 1965, in a letter to all bishops, Cardinal Le. caro wrote: "The new liturgical norms have been drawn up with a certain flexibility which permits adaptation and hence greater pastoral effectiveness. This does not mean that every priest can act freely and re-construct at his whim the sacred rites of the Church. Above all, there is need to realize clearly to whom the Church has given the right to make these adaptations and, in the second place, how far these adaptations extend in accordance with the tenor of these instructions." The bishops were further reminded of the intense and elaborate work of the Consilium which could be compromised by arbitrary, personal initiatives. The Consilium would welcome all constructive proposals "so that the reform may be the work of the whole holy Church." A year later, October 13, 1966, Pope Paul VI was to take up this matter again in his address to the Consilium: "Your Commission's function is to watch the progress of the experiments that are taking place now in various sections of the Church. You must check any misguided initiatives that come to your notice and restrain those who take matters into their own hands without authorization; the serenity of public prayer can be disturbed by extravagances and false beliefs can arise. You must forbid harmful practices, but you must also spur on those reluctant to make necessary changes and those who put obstacles in the way. You must encourage sound initiatives; where you see fruitful developments tak-


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ing place you must give them support, singling out those responsible for special praise." The same talk also evidenced the cautious balance that the Pope is attempting to achieve in renewing the post-conciliar Church: 路"Your inquiry, then, must not be conducted in an excessively radical spirit, as if you were iconoclasts, with a fury to put everything right and leave nothing as it was. No, you must judge maturely, on sound principles, aware that you are dealing with a religious matter that demands respect. The best thing, not the newest fashion, is what we must have in view. And if we are to have innovations, we should prefer those which make available to us the treasures left by the great epochs of Christian piety, rather than those of our own devising. But this does not deny the Church the right to express herself in modem terms, to sing a new song, if the Holy Spirit's influence really is at work within her to in路 spire it."

A

CONTINUING PROBLEM

路As the Pope's talk indicated, Cardinal Lecaro's letter had not eliminated unauthorized liturgical changes. In the December, 1966 issue of Notitiae the editors remarked that there was an attempt to legitimatize this situation on several premises. First a vital liturgy is naturally creative; and this creative force cannot be the exclusive monopoly of the organs of authority. Secondly the Christian people, who are also undergoing renewal, ought to show this creative vitality as they celebrate the liturgy. And finally, while one ought to avoid license which leads to anarchy, one also ought to use the discernment of spirits to distinguish between true charisms and improper novelties. The editors responded to these arguments by recalling that Christian worship is both commu 路 nal and hierarchical and that adequate official channels exist for introducing changes into the liturgy. In the same month the Christmas issue of Paris Match, the French Life magazine, featured some "new" Masses being celebrated in France and Holland with a disregard of the


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rubrics (one celebrant was wearing a black suit for Mass) or at least, according to some, without proper dignity (a jazz band, situated near the sanctuary, provided the music for one of these Masses). Consequently, on December 29, 1966, the Consilium de· clared: "While we deplore the facts mentioned above and the publicity given them, we urgently request local and reli· gious ordinaries to watch over the correct application of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, to call back with kind· ness and firmness those who sponsor such manifestations, however good their intentions, and to repress these abuses when they occur by preventing any undertaking not author· ized and guided by the sacred hierarchy." The Declaration occasioned the April, 1967 Pastoral State· ment on Liturgical Renewal of the American hierarchy. While the document repeats the warnings of the Consilium and the Pope, it also opens up the channels for sound experi· mentation: "The liturgical changes introduced so far seek to· increase the liturgy's effectiveness. While this general revision goes on, we are equally conscious of the need for adaptation to particular needs and mentalities. . . . The major task of adaptation, entrusted by the Council to the national episco· pal conferences, is being undertaken by the United States Bishops' Liturgical Commission, with the help of a study committee, including pastoral specialists, lay men, and lay women. The Bishops therefore renew the invitation, extended at their meeting last November, for concrete and specific proposals of revised liturgical rites. Such suggested rites or projects for experiment should include full details and back· ground, texts and alternatives. They should indicate, more· over, the particular community's past liturgical program and its capacity to evaluate and report the experiment. The con· sent of the diocesan Bishop is needed in every case. Proposals of this kind and all requests for permission to experiment should be addressed to the Bishops' Committee on the Lit· urgy, 1312 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.


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20005. Proposals which are judged favorably by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops will be submitted to the Holy See for permission to experiment." In another address to the Consilium, April 19, 1967, Pope Paul defended Cardinal Lecaro against the vicious reports being circulated in Italy that the liturgical reform he was directing was tearing apart the Church. At the same time he warned: "The most grave cause of affliction for us is the spreading tendency to 'desacralize' - as now one dares to say - lit路 urgy (if it still merits to be given this name} and with it, fatally, Christianity. The new mentality, the muddy sources of which it would not be difficult to trace, which attempts to base itself on the destruction of authentic Catholic worship, implies such doctrinal, disciplinary, and pastoral subversions that we do not hesitate to regard it as an aberration. And we say this with sorrow not only because of the anti-canonical and radical spirit which it gratuitously professes but even more because of the religious disintegration which it fatally carries within itself. "We are not unaware that any ideological movement can contain some fragment of truth and that the promoters of innovations may be good and learned persons, and we are always willing to consider the positive aspects of every ec路 clesial phenomenon. But we cannot hide the danger of spir路 itual min which this tendency we have mentioned seems to us to represent. "To avert this danger and to lead the persons, the maga路 zines, and the institutions which might be influenced by it, to a positive and wise collaboration with the Church of God, to defend the doctrines and the norms of the Ecumenical Council, you are now called, more than others, to delineate that view of the sacred liturgy that will show its truth, its beauty, its spirituality and will reveal ever better the paschal mystery which lives in it, for the glory of God and for the regeneration of the inattentive but yearning masses of the contemporary world."


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Will the progression of liturgical reform described earlier take place in a step-by-step way? Most likely not. The next few years will see a meshing of the work of the Consilium, the work of adaptation of the Roman liturgy to particular cultures and countries, plus serious efforts at a radical redesigning of liturgical rites for contemporary man. These efforts will be made on a local, national, and international level. Of its very nature this work will be slow and laborious. Some of the "now generation" will not have the patience to go through normal channels and thus sporadic, well-intentioned, private initiatives at liturgical changes will continue. Many of these efforts will be suppressed by local bishops or Rome because they will he ill-conceived and, more to the point, because they will ignore a fundamental characteristic of liturgical rites: through its liturgy the local community shows its union with the bishop and the universal church. This union can and does exist in the universal church with a diversity of rites, but after four centuries of uniformity in the Roman rite, oneness of faith and diversity of rites will be difficult to put into practice. At the same time the re-organization of the Church parish councils, presbyterium, college of bishops -will provide the communication and mutual trust which will encourage semi-official and official experimentation. A person-centered theology, as it permeates the Church, will demand this experimentation. Frederick McManus, director of the secretariat for the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, states that many requests for experimentation in the U.S. are too broad and they ask that a parish, institution, religious community be declared a "center for liturgical experimentation." These requests will probably be turned down and, for the most part, rightly so. No amount of pastoral concern and good will can make up for professional. competence. As Aidan Kavanagh remarked: "The professional liturgiologist is surely rwt the mainspring


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in liturgical reform; but he is the agent of an adequate technical interpretation of the tradition of worship." But, as H. Schmidt has stated in his most recent writings: "By now it is perfectly clear that the revision of liturgical books cannot be performed solely by scholars." A new breed of liturgiologists is needed: men and women for whom history is but one of many tools, who would have at their fingertips both the Ordines Romani and articles such as "The Role of Personality in Liturgical Change" (Gordon DiRenzo), "Liturgical Reform from the Standpoint of Social Theory" (Robert Benne), ''Telstar, Electronic Man and Liturgy" (Neil Hurley), "The Popular World and Liturgy" (P. Jadot), "Churches Take a Cue from Show Biz" (Harvey Cox) and Church and Metropolis (P. Norton). Aelred Tegel's call for a research center should be supported vocally and financially: "The fundamental prerequisite for solid, creative liturgical adaptation is a highly professional research program systematically exploiting the resources of modem psychology, anthropology, and sociology. We need rigorously scientific surveys to ascertain to what extent the symbolisms of our present rites are still operative, to determine which of our present liturgical forms are still relevant. We need very technical studies of contemporary culture with a view to assessing its resources for expressing and communicating the mystery of Christ celebrated in the Church. . . . "A research program of this kind is a very vast project, and it should represent a vast collaboration of specialists from all parts of the country. However, if it is to be successful it must dispose of a generally recognized center. This center would serve as an agency for enlisting the participation of available specialists, for helping to define particularly urgent areas of research, for providing information concerning research projects in progress so as to avoid duplication, and for coordinating efforts generally. . . . "A center could also assume responsibility for the indispensable task of correlating the data resulting from all the


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research undertaken, interpreting it and, in consultation with all available and related experts in the country, preparing proposals concerning new liturgical forms which may seem indicated. These proposals would then be submitted to the judgment of the church authority, which alone can authenti¡ cate new liturgical forms, recognizing them as valid and ap¡ propriate contemporary expressions of the tradition of Christian worship." According to Tegels the main American contribution to the whole Church in this area would be its sociological analysis of highly industrialized and urbanized society. The task of liturgical reform is enormous. "Every word and every gesture must be judged according to whether it fulfills the community function for which it was made" (H. Schmidt). According to a Chinese proverb the longest journey begins with a single step. Liturgical reform has taken some sprightly first steps. Indeed it seems very much in the swing of things.


APOLOGETICS SURVEY, II

Organization and Struclure The first task of the practical apologist is to make possible'iz,faitltcommitment that is truly reasonable.

The practical apologist must be ever a ware of his task of adaptation. For while the task of the scientific apologist is that of scientifically examining the faith-preambles, the first function of the practical __.. apologist is so to adapt tlie presentation of these preambles that they will make a faith-commitment truly reasonable. In this second paper we have attempted to indicate those areas where such adaptation has been lacking and is most necessary. RELIGION: ORGANIZED OR NOT?

For the apologist to presume that any sort of church or worshipping community is + desirable is frequently to beg the question. The traditional GEORGE K. MALONE approach of ecclesiological apologetics was to show that + Christ preached the coming of a "kingdom," which was not purely internal and eschatological but was also external and already existing. Now this question of the visibility of the church was and still remains an important one for the theologian. But its discussion today will educe from many young people a polite but firm "So what"? In other words, for the apologist to speak of the "kingdom," the "Mystical Body," the "remnant," 245

• . - J


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the "peop!e of God" often takes for granted exactly that which must be shown- that any sort of organized religion is either desirable or even possible without doing grave violence to man's freedom and self determination. We note, moreover, that this problem today cuts across religious and social lines. For rejection of the churches is frequently accompanied by distaste for and rejection of all organized societal structures - family, school, local and fed路 eral governments. For this sort of person, even attempts at biblical and liturgical renewal are quite irrelevant. For some this leads to atheism, but for many others it is simply a cyni路 cal rejection of what they regard as the "establishment." This cynicism is intensified by what some regard as the churches' neglect of Christian ideals. "Look," remarked a high school senior recently, "we've studied this whole bit about politics and lobbying and how the lobbyist is paid to protect and fight for particular interests. Your Christ spoke of love. But your churches seem to be moved by political and financial aims in their lobbying. I wonder if they're ever moved by love! It's all phoney." On the theological level, this is remarkably similar to Hans Kiing's comments about the credibility of the Petrine office in the church: "Accordingly our Catholic task . . . is to present the Petrine office credibly again in order to make a meaningful exegetic and dogmatic dialogue possible, or in any case, to facilitate it. It is of little help to boast about such titles as 'successor of Peter' and even 'the vicar of Christ' vis-a路 vis Christians outside the Catholic Church. In these titles Protestant Christians can see only high-flown claims without a correspondingly credible 'proof of the spirit and of power.' . . . Credibleness that goes beyond the assertion that the legitimacy of papal claims is recognizable in a theoretical路 abstract way thereby becomes a task ever to be fulfilled anew and, indeed, each time in a different way. An Alexander VII would certainly not be 'credible' for the people of our time with respect to his claim to primacy" (Structures of the Church, pp. 226-227). Kiing thus sees Petrine credibility as


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a necessary pre-reqms1te for any sort of meaningful dialogue. In like manner we would assert the same for ecclesial credibility in general. The first task, then, of the ecclesial apologist must be to discuss the fundamental problem of organized religion. We suggest the following avenue of approach. First, honestly admit that there are disadvantages to organized religion possible diminishing of individual self-determination, danger of fonnalism and legalism, and the like. Secondly, recognize that there are also advantages - expectations and ideals proposed by the group, the "multiplier effect," by which the group can achieve more good than an individual alone, and tl:e like. Finally, realize that organized religion is, therefore, at least a not unreasonable approach to God and men. This generic credibility serves to open the way to discussing the claims of Christianity. Without it, we contend, most other attempts at establishing the faith-preambles are in vain. "WHICH CHURCH IS THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?"

In older traditional pamphlets and treatises this or similar questions were asked as an introduction to "proving the truth" of Roman Catholicism. Even aside from the previously discussed faults of the entire "proof approach," such questions are patronizing and offensive in their wording. Not only are they condescending, but they can imply that all those who are not Roman Catholics are not even worthy of the name Christian. Nevertheless, since Roman Catholics do hold a structural identity of their church with the early Christian community, the apologist must explain why such a conviction is at least credible. It is, unfortunately, true that the scandal of a divided Christendom renders such efforts necessary. But practical questions in this area are impelling. Positing a general assent and commitment to Christianity, where should one tum? Is there any reason why one should become a Roman Catholic instead of a Protestant or Orthodox Christian? Obviously, the Roman Catholic apologist does feel that such reasons do exist. Let us, therefore, examine both the


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customary traditional approaches as found in the famed via triplex as well as practical difficulties confronting the contemporary apologist in his task of adaptation. THE VIA PRIMATUS

In the "way of the primacy" the apologist has attempted to show that Christ's Church is structurally identified with the Roman Catholic Church by reason of the primacy and teaching authority bestowed upon Peter and continued through Peter's successors, the bishops of Rome. The principal focal points of this approach were twofold: biblical, with a consideration of the "Petrine texts" (Mt 16: 13-19; Lk 22: 31-32; In 21: 15-17), and historical, with a consideration of the Roman primacy's early development (as manifested in patristic writings up to and including the time of Leo I) . Practical obstacles demanding pastoral adaptation of this approach today are reduced to one general area; it is contended that both the scriptural texts and the earlier patristic writings can possibly be understood in the sense of a primacy of honor (primus inter pares) rather than one of jurisdiction (cf. Allen and Allchin, "Primacy and Collegiality: An Anglican View," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 1965, pp. 63-80). More and more Protestant and Orthodox theologians are expressing their opinions about the necessity of papacy and episcopacy in the church, but not in the sense of the primacy of jurisdiction or the supreme teaching office. It is in the light of this "primacy of honor" concept that the apologist must try to interpret and adapt his presentation of the Petrine texts. But the apologist immediately recalls the authentic and solemn interpretation of the Mt and Jn texts given by Vatican I teaching and declaring that "according to the testimony of the Gospel, the primacy of jurisdiction over the universal Church of God was immediately and directly promised and given to Blessed Peter the Apostle by Christ the Lord." And further the same Council explains: "At open variance with this clear doctrine of Holy Scripture, as it has ever been un-


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derstood by the Catholic Church, are the perverse opinions of those who, while they distort the form of government established by Christ the Lord in his Church, deny that Peter in his single person, preferably to all the other apostles, whether taken separately or together, was endowed by Christ with a tnte and proper primacy of jurisdiction; or of those who assert that the primacy was not bestowed immediately and directly upon Blessed Peter himself, but upon the Church, and through the Church on Peter as her minister" (Dogma. Const. "Pastor Aetemus," c. 1). A hasty reading of this practical interpretation would seem to indicate that the apologist is required in his presentation to wrest the primacy of jurisdiction from the Petrine texts. Yet such is not the case. In attempting to establish the faith-preambles, the apologist addresses himself not to the firmly believing Christian, but rather to the sincere inquirer. The interpretation of Vatican I, however, since it is doctrinal in natnre, addresses itself to the believer. Now, since Christian faith is communal, one can construct the following model: one first investigates the faith-preambles, then posits a commitment to this particular (in this instance, Roman Catholic) creedal community, fi. nally accepts the authentic scriptural interpretations of this community. Since the acceptance of the authentic interpretation logically presupposes commitment to the community, one who is inquiring (logically prior to community-commitment) is not held to acceptance of the authentic interpretation. And since the function of the apologist is to establish credibility regarding the faith-preambles, it is impossible for him to employ the interpretation of Vatican I in a doctrinal sense. Consequently, he must he open, on the apologetical level, to admit the possibility of variant interpretations of the Petrine texts. CONNOTATION NOT DENOTATION

Consequently, he is advised to study these texts with an eye rather to connotation than to denotation. What do we mean by this? Looking towards credibility, one is hard put to assert apologetically that Mt 16 and Jn 21 denote a primary


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of jurisdiction and a supreme teaching authority. Not only is the language highly metaphorical, hut the "rock" metaphor has been open historically to divergent interpretations. What, then, can the apologist say without fear of being gainsaid? Beyond any reasonable doubt, that the three Petrine texts at the very least connote a very special primacy and teaching authority. Can the apologist go any further? Yes, he can pursue the early historical development of the Roman primacy. Now throughout this development the reader must recall that we are speaking of the apologetical level. The patristic scholar is able to construct a stronger case, but we speak here of the practical apologist in his pastoral ministry. With regard then, to the historical development of the primacy-concept, we would distinguish three phases: 1) Before Cyprian (until 248-258 A.D.): there is an indication of jurisdictional primacy, but it is open to serious objections. From the writings of such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, Irenaeus of Lyons, and Victor I the apologist can develop a good argument for jurisdictional primacy, but the opposing arguments are strong, especially in light of the "primacy of honor" concept. 2) From Cyprian to Leo I (from 248-258 until 440-461 A.D.): there is strong indication of jurisdictional primacy, but it is still open to objections of lesser moment. As the years pass, the indications of recognized primacy grow stronger. 3) After Leo I (from 440-461 A.D. onwards): the concept of jurisdictional primacy is clear in the West except for two items: papal independence regarding general councils (argued until the seventeenth century) and papal infallibility (not defined until 1870). Even in the East the apologist can construct a strong case, but it is open to graver historical objections because of such controverted points as the "Robber Council" of Ephesus ( 449 A.D.); and the difficulties attendant upon the Formula of Hormisdas (519 A.D.). Nevertheless, speaking on the level of practical apologetics, the apologist can truly develop a strong case for the sophisticated inquirer, at least to this extent: the develop-


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ment of Roman primacy over the first five centuries is a not unreasonable development of the metaphorical usages of the primitive Petrine texts. John L. McKenzie, S.J., speaking of Mt 16, thus describes this development: "Here we run the danger of pressing the metaphor too closely. We must define Peter's office in the terms of the Church and its missiun of proclamation and baptizing. To specify beyond this is to do something which the gospel does not do; the form of man· agement is left open to development" (Authority in the Church, 1966, p. 43). McKenzie's comments are to be understood in the light of his own remarks: "It is the use of metaphor rather than juridical language which leaves the leadership open to develop· ment in the life and growth of the Church. . . . The NT does not show Peter exercising a monarchical leadership. The development of the power possessed by the Church and by Peter into monarchical leadership lies outside of biblical theology; it is an example of the development of dogma, of the office of the Church to define the exercise and the application of the powers she has received from Jesus Christ in historical situations which were never encountered by the primitive Church (Dictionary of the Bible, 1965, pp. 665-666). THE VIA·NOTARUM AND THE EMPIRICA

In this approach the apologist argued from those four visible characteristics of Christ's Church mentioned in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. He constructed an argu· ment along the following lines: Christ wished his Church to be one, holy, universal, and apostolic. But only Roman Ca· tholicism possesses the fullness of these qualities. Therefore . . .. The arguments and obstacles against this approach are practically too numerous to mention in detail. In fact, as an argumentative approach it has been long discredited for two principal reasons. On the one hand, it has appeal only for those who accept the Creed upon which it is based; on the other, its definitions of terms are so slanted as to involve a


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begging of the question. For instance, unity and universality are so defined from the very beginning as to exclude every church except the Roman Catholic. Although elements of the approach known as the via empirica are found as early as patristic times, its fully developed form is relatively recent. Fully elaborated in the nineteenth century by Cardinal Dechamps, Archbishop of Malines, it led up to the following definition of Vatican I: "The Church by itself, with its marvelous extension, its emiment holiness, and its inexhaustible fruitfulness in every good thing, with its Catholic unity and its invincible stability, is a great and perpetual motive of credibility and an irrefutable witness of its own divine mission" (Cons!. dogm. "Dei Filius," c.3). The principal thrust of this argumentation was that the Roman Catholic Church should not, by all societal standards, have continued in existence until the present time. Hence the continued fact of her existence can be explained only by divine intervention on her behalf (a moral miracle), which would indicate that she is indeed the Church of Christ. ·This approach is undoubtedly the most human of the three mentioned, for it allows the admission of sin and evil in the Church. In fact, such admissions are an integral part of the entire approach. But the practical apologist employing it labors under the following difficulties: l) rather tenuous in itself, it was never intended as a strictly logical tool for establishing c1·edibility; 2) it presupposes a vast and extensive knowledge of history; 3) it is of no value at all with one who rejects the possibility of reaching any true historical certitude. "Tell me," the parish priest was asking, "is it possible any more to prove that the Church is the true church?" Bearing in mind our earlier remarks about the undesirability of the st;·ict "proof-demonstration" approach, we contend that ex· cellent faith-preambles can be established for a Roman Cath· olic creedal commitment. It would seem that the traditional via notarum is practically worthless today, that the via em· pirica is of use as a suasive device, but that the via primatus,


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if properly adapted, can establish an adequate credibilitymotive. THE MAGISTERY REVISITED

"We are all the magisterium, you and I, Catholic and nonCatholic alike!" The speaker, addressing a mixed group of theologians, philosophers, sociologists, and political scientists, was trying to convey a very important message, but unfortunately had chosen an extremely muddled way of doing so. While the construction of such neologisms is not wrong, this is an excellent instance of how a technical term can be given a new meaning. All of us do this frequently; "democracy" is predicated of totalitarian regimes; "miracle," of detergents: "apostle," of many missionaries. Looking at the phenomenon analytically, we see that one is employing a technical term in a figurative sense. In our various language games this is quite legitimate. However, if one is playing the theological language game, it is imperative that one distinguish between technical and figurative usage. Thus, technically speaking, if one says that "we all" are the magistery, one is uttering nonsense. For in the technical sense "magistery" is predicated only of the college of bishops and of its president, the bishop of Rome. We recall here that the two terms "magistery" and "infallibility" are not mutually coextensive, since "infallibility" can be described as a general charism of the universal church while "magistery" refers to one specific charismatic function. Thus one can truly assert that the believing community as a whole is infallible, but in no true technical sense that the entire believing community is the magistery. Nevertheless, one can and must assert, even in a technical sense, that community contributes to the magistery. A vivid illustration of this sort of contribution is seen in the function of the various periti at Vatican II in raising questions and in proposing tentative solutions. Were these periti the magistery? In a technical sense, obviously .not. But in a figurative sense, yes, since they. functioned as an "instrumental cause" in formulating the magistery's official teaching.


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When one discusses this relation of non-bishops to the magistery, one encounters two principal problems. First, there is often a pre-conceived static concept of the nature of teaching-perhaps a classroom situation, with a "superior" teacher confronting "inferior" students. Yet we realize that the teaching situation is in reality a multi-faceted one, with many levels and many techniques. The ancient Hebrew notion of a "rabbi" imparting a body of truth is quite different from the Greek Socratic method of dialogue. In modem times, the legible and visible word has assumed a vitally im· portant teaching function--classroom notes, filmstrips, articles, slides, movies, and books all contribute to the entire teaching process. So it is that when one discusses the contribution of the whole believing community to the magistery, one must include not only the direct dialogue between expert and bishop, but also the direct dialogue between bishop--readerviewer and expert-author-producer. Secondly, there is often a pre-conceived concept of the theologian as "clerical". It is necessary here to recall that we are speaking of competence, which of itself does not belong by right either to the clerical or to the lay state. Down through the centuries laymen such as Justin Martyr, Prosper of Aquitaine, and Orestes Brownson have all exercised a prophetic teaching mission. Nor does such a theological mission refer of itself to one's own creedal affiliation, since a competent Jewish anthropologist or a com· petent Lutheran exegete can "teach" the magistery better than incompetent Roman Catholics. Who, then, is the magistery? It is the pope and bishops alone. Who contributes to the magistery's teaching? The entire community, each ac· cording to one's own measure of personal competence, and in a manner direct or indirect. MAGISTERY AND MINISTRY

Recalling that the Holy Spirit animates and directs the Church in each of its members (Lumen Gentium, n. 12), one realizes that this animation and direction takes place accord-


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ing to the Church's orgamc structure. Within this orgamc structure, Christ has given various gifts of ministry to vari· ous members. It is precisely within this context of ministry that the magistery, or ministry of the Word, must be con· sidered. When we speak of these varying gifts of ministry or of function, we emphR•izP. bnth the essential quality of all Christians and simultaneously the diversity of function. Yves Congar describes this distinction succinctly: "In the Church there are two distinct participations in the priestly, royal and prophetic dignity of Christ. There is a participation on the level of personal dignity, and on that level a woman is exactly like a man, and frequently much better; a layman exactly like a priest, and sometimes better. But then there is the level of public function; a participation in the priesthood, proph· ecy, and royalty as authority- a participation in Christ's quality as head, a participation on the level of public func· lion. This is where the difference is made in Church between laity and hierarchy, and this is where the difficulty of ordination of women comes tip. This is not an invention of canon law or of the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Church, but it seems to derive from revelation itself (Vatican II: An Inter· faith Appraisal, 1966, p. 272). This is not to deny the role of the individual charismatic within the Church; it is merely to affirm the role of charis· malic office and function ( cf. K. Rahner, The Dynamic Element in the Church, 1964, pp. 42·48). Von Balthasar ap· proaches the same notion from the aspect of discipleship, asserting that an answer to this problem can be found "only if personal discipleship and authority are seen as intimately connected from the first, and inseparable both in fact and idea. And this connection must mean not only that the personal practice of the believer is protected and guaranteed externally liy an impersonal authority . . ., but also that the very ·concept of discipleship, which can only be apprehended dialectically, only per excessum, implies that of authority, and is inseparable from it" (Church and World, 1967, p. 46).


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On Sunday, October 15, 1967, Pope Paul VI addressed 2,500 delegates to the Third World Congress of the Lay Apostolate. As the reader peruses newspaper headlines and coverage of the address, he pauses to reflect upon their meaning: "Pope cautions laity not to infringe on hierarchy's authority," "Pope: hierarchy must still direct laity," "Religion break-through changes authority ideas!" Upon analysis, the Pope's remarks indicate that he was restating the hierarchy's function: "But does it follow that the people of God are their own interpreters of God's word and ministers of His grace? That they can evolve religious teachings and directives, making abstraction of the faith which the Church professes with authority? Or that they can boldly turn aside from tradition and emancipate themselves from the magistery? . . . Indeed no one can take it amiss that the normal instrumental cause of the divine designs is the hierarchy or that, in the Church, efficacity is proportional to one's adherence to those whom Christ has made guardians to feed the Church of the Lord." Now let us strive to avoid emotional hang-ups over words. To the average American such words as "monarchy," "hierarchy,'' and even "authority" have unpleasant emotional connotations, but it would be unfortunate to allow such connotations to obscure the message contained in the Pope's words. What is he trying to tell the Roman Catholic world? Is he saying that the laity must regard the bishops as mediaeval lords? Of course not. Does he say that the bishop in his diocese .can issue binding edicts at every whim or caprice? Surely not. Does he say that the laity have nothing to say to the magistery? Certainly not. What is he trying to communicate? The heart of the Pope's message lies in the following question and response: "In fact, one may say that if the tasks entrusted to lay people in the apostolate are so vast, should it not be admitted that henceforth there are in the Church two parallel hierarchies, as it were - two organizations existing side by side, the better to insure the great work of the sanctification and salva-

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tion of the world? . . . This, however, would be to forget the structure of the Church as Christ wished it to be, by means of the diversity of ministries." It would seem premature to interpret this, as some have done, as a warning "aimed at discouraging moves within the lay congress directed toward the establishment of a penna路 nent international lay organization." For "hierarchy" itself is a technical term, indicating merely the structure which Christ himself indicated for his Church - the college of apostles with their head, Peter, and their successors, the college of bishops with their presidential head, the bishop of Rome (cf. the whole of chapter 3, nn. 18-29, of Lumen Gen路 tium). To speak as though the Pope were "warning the laity" or "really putting them in their place" is perhaps merely an instance of journalistic accommodation. For he is describing the hierarchy's function within the Church. It is true that he is immediately addressing this description to the assembled laymen, but he is in no sense "putting them down." For in their function as ministers of the Word of God and successors of the Apostles, the episcopal college relates to the entire people of God, not merely to the laity, but also to religious, priests, and even to themselves. To deny the teaching func路 tion of the diocesan bishop is absurd; it is equally absurd to assert that he teaches in complete independence of the episcopal college, for the individual bishop cannot capriciously contradict that collge of which he is a member. It is within this framework that one must interpret the remarks of Paul VI. Does he deny the rights of competent theologians and other experts to guide the magistery? Assuredly not. Does he assert the teaching succession of the episcopal college to the apostolic college? Definitely yes. "MicKEY MousE" THEOLOGY

In the clear light of the teachings of Vatican II, if one were to deny the priestly, royal, and prophetic functions of the college of bishops, one would be considered either intel路


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lectually dishonest or incompetent. Such a denial would reduce one to the level of what some seminarians have termed a "mickey-mouse" or "tinker-toy" theology. But a problem remains. One can assert the magistery and describe both its membership and its function within the Church of Christ. Yet in the concrete, real, existential situation of life there are difficulties. In a given diocese what precisely is the relation between the local bishop-shepherd-teacher and the systematic theologian, and the scriptural scholar, and the philosopher? To extol the bishop-teacher seems to return to the Middle Ages, yet to extol the independence of the scholar seems to destroy the functional role of the magistery. It is to this problem that we shall next address ourselves.


This essay is a speculative attempt to explain how it is that the humanism of Marx nourishes, sustains, and offers hope. Since, ordinarily speak路 ing, these are the boons that the believer anticipates from his religion, it is clear that Marx路 ism operates on the same lfn路 thropological terrain as does "For all practical purposes, religious belief. And so, havMarxist humanism nourishes ing first presented some hisone-third of the world's torical considerations t h a t population toady. We cannot might afford us some insight condemn out of hand an into the nature of Marx's a the. ideology which sustains so ism, and then having briefly many men and so many reflected upon the meaning of nations and which constitutes ideology, I propose in the main the hope of so very many of part of this paper to examine the oppressed and exploited." the precise issue of humanism as throughly as a limited article permits. It is my con+ tention that the incredible sucTHOMAS N. MUNSON, S.J. cess of Marxist humanism stems from a brilliant, even if + only intuitive, move on Marx's part. He took the points of in路 sertion within man that religion claimed for its own and secularized them. We have become accustomed to the idea that an atheism is always a revolt against a particular form of theism. Even !1 bowing acquaintance with the history of catchwords like humanity, morality, and nature, reveals to us the justice of

..A fe/feclion

in lhe

259

., 1


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Mircea Eliade's remark: the Absolute cannot be eliminated; it can only be degraded. In contemporary literature, the first volume of Sartre's autobiography, The Words, strikingly confirms this judgment. An early victim of "bad faith," the Sartre of the pre-War and War years was compelled to disinter his au¡ thentic self, an exhumation that consisted in the rejection of the peculiar bourgeois Christian attitude and values of his grandfather Charles Schweitzer. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF

MARX's

ATHEISM

Consequently, the endeavor to comprehend Marxist atheism engages us in a tedious sifting of the myriad forces both within the Chruch and without the Church that contributed to the nineteenth-century "collapse of Christianity." Hegel, for instance, underscored the alienation of those intellectuals who were repulsed by inappropriate conceptual forms and the sterility of most theological movements. The conduct of Christians, especially of those in high places, has always proved a potent anti-Christian stimulus. We have to remind ourselves that the Church of today has responded wholeheartedly to the question of social justice. But at the time of the Communist Manifesto, only Bishop Von Ketteler had the sagacity or courage to speak out forcefully. When the 'revolutionary thrust of Christianity seemed parried by the defensive maneuvers of "authority," and it was easier to exhort propertyless wage-eamers to "obey their masters" than it was to cope with their serious problems, the Manifesto succeeded in stirring up a new sense of human dignity and mission. The poor need not be always with us. Where churchmen failed because they regarded "the faithful" as mere hearers or passive listeners to the Word, the Manifesto succeeded because its authors took into account man's ambition and his desire for creativity. The proletariat, the Manifesto proclaimed, are to think of "themselves as having a mission to fulfill, a part in the drama of history." Can we be surprised that the gospel of passivity was drowned out by one that preaches


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"that the whole course of history presses towards the day of their emancipation, which means the emancipation of all humanity"? Moreover, for the believers of the mid-nineteenth century the times were, like our own, both intellectually exhilarating and confusing. Prophets arose every¡where, and it '\Vas difficult even for the elite to distinguish true from false. "It is the fashion for contemporary Christianity," Overbeck shrewdly observed (cited in LOwith, From Hegel to Nietzche, 24-25), "to give itself to the world in its own way; in the world of today no man of importance can behave in anti-Christian fashion without being claimed by Christianity with special preference. Among the Christians of modern observance, Goethe and Schiller, Feuerbach, Schopenhauer, Wagner, Nietzsche, and, naturally, their successors, must be content with this. - - - In actuality, we will soon be at the point with Christianity that all those great men will be much more familiar to us as devout Christians than as apostates from Christianity. If nothing more were needed for evidence of such an estimation than to pluck out of their writings the raisins of 'warm' tones, approving of Christianity, who would hesitate long before joining himself wholeheartedly to modern Christianity?" THE REVOLT AGAINST HEGEL

Marx personally, of course, was not a religiously-committed man, so that his militant anti-theism was obviously an intellec- . ¡ tual conviction, not a repudiation of Christianity "from within." His rebellion was, first of all, an academic refusal of Hegel's analysis of the State on the ground that it canonized the religion-oriented Prussia of Friedrich Wilhelm III and IV. Religious incidents, we know, troubled the academic careers of Kant, Fichte, and Feuerbach, for German princes were not above fostering the conservative forces of religion in order to safegnard vested interests. Hence Hegel's Philosophy of Right, which its author projected as simply a rationalization - a


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manifestation, that is, of how Reason discloses itself in the political-social sphere--can convey the impression that the State is divine. Hegel was evidently being prudent; hut his message, pace Marx and Etienne Gilson, was merely that it is God's way that there should he a State in the world. Specificially, Marx was at odds with the whole thrust of the Philosophy of Right. It appears to he the work of an ageing conservative, more concerned about telling us how "right" things are than with judging how they ought to he. Unlike the Phenomenology (still the handbook of French Marxists) which exploited the past for the sake of the "eternal present," the Philosophy of Right looks backwards (epitomized by the oft路 quoted passage about the owl of Minerva taking flight only when a form of life has passed). To Marx it was counter路 revolutionary and he attacked it bitterly as substituting idealism for the hard realities of praxis. A reader sympathetic to Hegel would applaud the idea of the State as a civilizing or humanizing force. In our contemporary jargon, he argued that personal fulfillment is to be realized in a community of persons. Understandably, too, the suggestion infuriated Marx, whose career was hampered by state censorship and tried by exile. Yet Hegel's life, as Marx knew, had its share of ripplies and waves. We have only to read the corres路 pondence during his stint as editor of the Bamberger News and to page through his dealings with the Ministry of Education while rector at the Nuremberg gymnasium to appreciate that Hegel experienced the frustrations of bureaucracy. More generally, Marx rebelled against the spirit of the Hegelian philosophy. The revolutionary had little stomach for a work of reconciliation (Hegel's right-wing followers would add "in Christ"), especially for one that was engrossed in religious and theological matters. How we are to interpret Hegel's religious statements is a topic mooted about by scholars. Without arguing the point, which is not to our purpose, I would indicate my own stand as one that objects to the "pure ra路 tionalist" interpretation as inadequate (it does not handle all


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the texts) and as totally opposed to the idiosyncratic view of Prof. Walter Kaufmann, who has suggested that the "youthful" Hegel was prescient whereas the "mature" Hegel was fatuous. On the contrary, is it rash to suppose that Hegel, like most exseminarians, never quite outgrew his experience? Can we not look to the Tiibingerstift as formative of his prophetic hihlical view of history? STRAUSS, BAUER, AND FEUERBACH

Finally, since Marx himself was not theologically educated, it is plain that his religious ideas are derivative. Had not Marx's associates "on the Left" done !he spadework, (David Strauss proposed as the end of his researches that the Gospels had their origins in the myth-making consciousnes of the Christian com¡ munity, while Bruno Bauer categorically denied the historicity and divinity of Christ), the suggestion of Marx and Engels to the proletariat-that they had been offered "pie in the sky" as compensation for the miseries of this life--would have sounded preposterous. Perhaps Ludwig Feuerbach should be acknowledged as the intellectual father of these ideas, although his efforts were abetted by the religious-minded Kierkegaard, who surrendered the incarnational, historical reality of the Church, of theology, and of the Christian State for a despairing, decisive leap of faith. It is to Feuerbach's credit that he distilled the essence from the interiorizing movement of thought which had dominated philosophy and theology since Descartes. Theology, he announced, is anthropology. When the search for God, as both Barth and Buber have warned in our own day, becomes increasingly immanent, one runs the risk of losing the transcendent. And so, given the theological thought of his day, Feuerbach drew the correct conclusion: the only transcendent is Man. Here, indeed, was the point of insertion for Marx. Realistically, he did not deny, because he could not, the human spirit's transcendent thrust. But taking his cue from Feuerbach, Marx declared that the only real transcendent is "the Common Man,"


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man brought to perfection in the utopia of the dictatorship of the proletariat. We shall return to this point. For the moment, however, let us tum to the notion of ideology, since it is the result of Marx's grappling with transcendence and registers his disagreements with the critiques of Bauer (Marx's The Holy Family is against Bauer) and Feuerbach (the These ilber Feuerbach). THE CONCEPT OF IDEOLOGY

The word ideology has several meanings, two of which are especially relevant to Marx. First, an ideology is the consciousness of an era, so that in this sense an official ideology ac¡ curately reflects an existing socio-economic state of affairs. Inversely, an ideology may be the expression of the false consciousness of men actually unaware of the true historical reality. For Marx's epigoni, this latter meaing became the primary one; the idea of a distorting rather than a reflecting image of reality became predominant. How, then, did religion become a component in Marx's theory of ideologies? The more deeply Marx studied the critiques of Bauer and Feuerbach, the more dissatisfied he became with their reductionism. Religion, to be sure, is a phenomenon or datum, and one does not satisfy the request to explain it by the bland assertion of a "human projection." Why, Marx wanted to know, does man project this mythical world? What precisely is it in anthropology that accounts for theology? In his polemics Marx ransacked whatever sources he could for information about the origins of religion. (Contemporary historians of religion have dismissed the question of origins as impenetrable). In the main, however, he contented himself with emphasizing that the critiques of Bauer and Feuerbach were far from radical. "Feuerbach,'' he indicated in the 4. These ilber Feuerbach, "takes as his point of departure the fact of religious self-es¡ trangement, the bifurcation of the world into religious and secular aspects. His work consists in resolving the religious world into its secular basis. But the fact that the secular basis


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comes into conflict with itself and defines for itself an independent kingdom in the clouds can only be explained on the basis of the internal divisions and contradictions of this secular basis. Thus it is necessary to understand the contradictions of this world in itself as well as to revolutionize it. Thus, for ex¡ ample, once the earthly family has been discovered to be the secret behind the Holy Family, the former must itself be abolished both in theory and in practice." It was, therefore, during the polemical years up to 1845 that Marx fastened upon the notion of religion as an ideology to account for the embarrassing fact that sophisticated men continued to project a mythical world. In this sense, religion is a distortion of the true or historical socio-economic reality or process since it mirrors an outmoded or feudal establishment which it has been concocted to preserve in its oppressive status quo. Summarily, a good chunk of Marxism is contained in this concept of religion as an ideology. First, there is no transcendent, spiritual realm¡ (materialism). Second, the projection of such a realm argues to a deep malaise over the present worldsituation (to be corrected by revolution). And third, the sense of transcendence has not been obliterated (the dictatorship of the proletariat appeals to man's innate hope or optimism). Yet one does not live in sheer expectancy, since each of us by his creative efforts is actually contributing to this inevitable utopia by hastening its advent. THE ISSUE OF HUMANISM

We have come, at length, to the final and most important part of this paper: the issue of humanism. Perhaps it is best to begin by shedding our illusions, for today we know that it is unrealistic to suppose that we have tarnished the appeal of Marxism when we have sullied the doctrine of economic determinism and the dogma of class war at its base. Indeed, it is a piece of philosophical naivete to believe that the Weltanschauung of most people, including the purportedly logical, is an air-tight


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logical system, with all of the inconsistencies blown away. There are intelligent people who feel that Marx offered attractive in· sights into the nature of religion; yet they are far from devout Marxists and would never undertake to defend the totality of the Marxist position. In like manner, many of our contempor· aries repeat Freud's observations on religion without intending to imply that they are philosophically consistent Freudians. We have already remarked that Marx went a long way toward refurbishing a rather worn and dismal Christian ideal of hope. By a strong appeal to human creativity, he took hope out of the mystical realm of theory in order to make it the Linch·pin of practice. "Religion," Roger Garaudy has stated (From Ana-

thema to Dialogue. A Marxist Challenge to the Christian Churches, 77·78), "is a human project in the sense that it offers, beyond what is actually given, an answer to questions asked by man, and calls for practice in conformity with certain demands. It has the air of the mystical about it, the air, that is to say, of a project which does not take into account the material (historical and social) conditions of its birth, and which, unlike the scientific hypothesis, does not submit to the criterion of practice." If religion is to work for us, the aspirations it enkindles must be put to the test of effectiveness. Thus Marx embellished Christian hope with scientific luster by chaining its dynamic forces to this· worldly accomplishments. THE APPEAL OF PERSONALISM

Granted that Marxists have exploited Hegel's celebrated Master-Slave dialectic; yet in doing so they have appealed to a facet of human experience that conventional systems of meta· physics have neglected. The purpose of this dialetic is to describe the struggle for personal recognition; its meaning is tersely expressed in the phrase: I am a person and not just another object or thing. Hence, whatever has been the actual political practice of Communists, philosophical Marxism exerts the powerful attraction of involvement in and closeness to life.


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Conventional metaphysics has suffered by comparison. Its "essences" strikes us as generic, static, and abstract, whereas the dialectic of person seems to incorporate the movement of life itself. We are thrust into the changes that regulate ex· istence and our concern is rivited upon the focal point of con· temporary interest,· the individual. lndeetl, how much of the appeal of Sartre, who shocked many of his followers by de· daring existenialism an ideology since Marxism is the only true philosophy, lies in his ability to evoke personal anxiety and commitment. Sartre has articulated a popular demand, for all of us recognize that the differences, the particularities, of others are what captivate us. We could care less about what we all share in common. Moreover, the spirit of Marxism, as M. Garaudy has charac· terized it, is essentially a "methodology of historical initiative." In other words, Marxism is part of the whole cloth of modem philosophy, which has been aptly described as a metaphysics of finitnde. In it the historicity and temporality of men are stressed, so that we are made to feel that we touch the very pulse of history. No longer is the great march toward socialization, in which the whole contemporary world appears to have joined, a mysterious or inexplicable event. Marx has offered us a map of our future course. In addition to these humanistically appealing features of his thought, Marx had a cause; and the zeal of the fanatic or reformer peeps through his tnrgid prose. Not without reason has he been compared to an Old Testament prophet and accused of establishing a church. Did he not preach an· ersatz religion: the heaven of a communist utopia, an incorrigible faith in man, an ardent hope for his betterment, and the fraternal hand of proletarian charity? THE RELIGIOUS GROUNDS OF MARX

Instead of faulting Marx for his effort, we ought to credit him with a profound anthropological insight. With much keener vision than Feuerbach, who merely reduced theology to an·


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thropolgy, Marx discerned the points of insertion within human nature for religious faith. Accordingly, if the religious consciousness is not something alien and artificial, if, that it to say, the history of religions unfolds before us certain characteristics of the religious mentality, then these basically human attitudes cannot be ignored. A thourough-going reductionism requires that these capacities be re-educated or re-oriented. In the language of the scholastics, man's obediential potency for religion must be anthropocentrized. Thus in the final part of this paper I will comment briefly upon three characteristics of religious thought-its holism, its personalism, and its transcendence-that Marx recognized had to form an integral part of his system. For unless the anthropological needs behind these features were met, his humanism would be truncated and quickly die. "Myths," Mircea Eliade tells us (Myth and Reality, l l )"narrate not only the origin of the World, of animals, of plants, and of men, but also all the primordial events in consequence of which man became what he is today-mortal, sexed, organized in a society, obliged to work in order to live, and working in accordance with certain rules. If the World exists, if man exists, it is because Supernatural Beings exercised creative powers in the 'beginning.' " It is not my intention to explicate all that is contained in this pregnant passage, afortiori to discuss the very complex subject of myth with all of the requisite distinctions so that we are free from an accusation of modernism and from the Bultmannian project of demythologizing. The important point to note, however, is that religion offers us a total structure of meaning. It is holistic, for within it everything occupies its proper place and is duly accounted for- A myth, in the Greek sense of "word" in which we use it here, designates the structure of intelligibility, the horizon of meaning, within which rational or reflective thought operates. Consequently, our religion is mystic insofar as it provides us with a reason to live and a reason to die. Because it situates us in our world and


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tells us who we are, it is in philosophical terminology, a revealing structure. Without it, we become "objective" and "impersonal," that is to say, alienated from "the world" and, in the long run, from ourselves. In this paper I make no attempt to justify these assertions because I would have to show, with suitable philosophical evidence that the mythic is essential to human thought; it is not something, pace Auguste Comte, that man outgrew with the loin-cloth. Ultimately, of course, man thinks mythically because of his nature as a symbol: the place of encounter of heaven and earth, of spirit and flesh. The difficulty for us of comprehending these notions stems from our enlightenment heritage. We think of the imagination as "fantastic" pejoratively, in a way that the medievals never consider the phantasma, the bridge between the material and spiritual components of thought. No wonder that we have little insight into Kant's transcendental imagination (however jejunely he treated it) and are puzzled by Hegel's locating religion in the "element" of Vorstellung (properly "notion," but usually poorly trans¡ lated as "imagination). For it is only when we have freed ourselves from the deleterious effects of rationalism that we can begin to appreciate the function of metaphors and models in thought. Saint Thomas, we might recall, made use of the per¡ ennial image of a circle (the relationship of annus to annulus?) in his plan of the Summa Theologiae. It was a model, we should note, that allowed him to think, as was the Greek Moira, the Chinese Tao, and the Hindu Rta. Jung, as we know, postulated archetypes to account for the recurrence of these images in different civilizations. Hence it is gradually becoming philo¡ sophically acceptable to discuss the imagination as something more than an image-making faculty. It is, as the German Einbildungskraft suggests, the power that places us in a culture (Bildung) and is, therefore, linked to man's temporality and historicity. In brief, without the revealing word or myth, incarnate man cannot think. Thus, although in the passage above E!iade has emphasized


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the holism of religious thought, I would underline that a total view of things include a total view of man. Among philosophers, those who describe us as "minds" are those who debase the imagination to a picturing, feigning faculty. Having ex¡carnated us, thereby uprooting us from space and time, these philosophers have no need of mythic thought. In fact, having preferred "pure reason" to a Christian mode of thought, is it surprising that they have lost a Christian concept of man? In the preceding passage Eliade mentioned "Supernatural Beings," and the data of the history of religions notwithstanding the apparently contradictory evidence of Buddhism, would substantiate the claim that it is characteristic of religious people to assert that the ultimate meaning of the world is personal. Fundamentally, this is an assertion that there is more to events than meets the eye. For behind the mask ("persona") of appearances lies a deeper Meaning who is revealed to us through a rupture of the normal course of events. Just as we must be jostled out of our everyday experience of the people we talk and deal with in order to know them as persons, so also must we experience a breakthrough ("revelation") in order to discover the Super-person. Paradoxically, it is by thus transcending ourselves that we come to discover ourselves. SIMILARITY OF THE MARXIST AND RELIGIOUS OUTLOOK

We have treated these points summarily, to be sure, but perhaps well enough for us to see that the humanism of Marx is an exploitation of the mythic component of human thought. A comprehensive view of man's situation on earth, Marx's religion was eschatological, in that he asserted that the ultimate meaning of things is not immanent to them as we experience them (the thrust to the future that is the motive force of all "religious" revoluion), and soterological, for he insisted on the salvation of man through a transcendence of the individual. To save or to "find" himself, one must transcend himself; he must move out into a proletarian class. Within this


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purview, then, the difference between the Marxist and the religious standpoints appears to be the question of the kind of world to which one transcend. For Marx, as for Feuerbach and Sartre, the ultimate meaning of the world is Man, the "Common Man"; for the believer, the community of the faithful draws its significance from a Super-person. It would seem to follow from this analysis that both of these viewpoints have to grant a privileged position to freedom. On the one hand, choice is implicit in a requirement of revelation and its accompanying gift of faith. On the other, a call to revolutionary change implies that "the world" can be diversely, yet rationally, assessed. "The world" is not comprised of "naked facts" that compel assent. There are no infallible pointers to tell us where we must go. Different options are at hand for our judgment since evidence itself is a value. THE CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGE OF HUMANISM

The importance of this point cannot be underestimated. For contemporary Christians are being accused of having surrendered their heritage of freedom for the pottage of security. Having forgotten, supposedly, that Augustine corrected the logical determinism of Plotinus's dialectic because it was incompatible with divine liberty, they have opted for once-and-for-all answers, and so relinquished to the Marxists the true inheritance of humanism. "I think that Marxist atheism deprives man only of the illusion of certainty, and that the Marxist dialectic, when lived in its fullnes, is ultimately richer in the infinite and more demanding still than the Christian transcendence. To be sure, it is undoubtedly such only because it bears within itself the extraordinary Christian heritage, which it must investigate still more (Garaudy, 96)." For most of us, this is an extraordinary claim: one, surely, that we would like to think more about before we presume to reply. Perhaps we have been too defensive in our apologetics and conceded too much to our rationalist opponents. If so, we


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have to remind ourselves, as Eliade does in the following passage in which he sums up his remarks on the sacredness of the sky, that the image of a whole, free man is huilt into the concrete detail of religious symbolism. "All this derives from simply contemplating the sky; but it would be a great mistake to see it as a logical, rational process. The transcendental quality of 'height,' or the super-terrestrial, the infinite, is re· vealed to man all at once, to his intellect as to his soul as a whole. The symbolism is an immediate notion of the whole consciousness, of the man, that is, who realizes himself as a man, who recognizes his place in the universe; these primeval reali· zations are bound up so organically with this life that the same symbolism determines both the activity of his sub-conscious and the noblest expressions of his spiritual life. It real! y is important, therefore, this realization that though the symbolism and religious values of the sky are not deduced logically from a calm and objective observation of the heavens, neither are they exclusively the product of mythical activity and non-ra· tiona! religious experience. Let me repeat: even before any religious values have been set upon the sky it reveals its trans· cendence. The sky symbolizes transcendence, power, and change· lessness simply by being there. It exists because it is high, infinite, immovable, powerful (Patterns in Comparative Re· ligion, 39). We can discern here the points of insertion that I have tried to sketch very roughly: a holism, that is, a revelation of the whole man and of his world, the self-realization that is the essence of the personal, and the transcendence that for the Christian is the necessary ground for his finite-infinite dialectic. I have argued in this paper that the real challenge of Marx's humaism is that he took these characteristically human traits which religion had claimed for itself and de-sacralized or anthropomorphized them. Paradoxical as it may sound, his success would seem to suggest to the believer that his "answer" consists in becoming more human than the humanists. The freedom that Paul preached to the Galatians must ring more


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challengingly than the Marxist cry to reform. And it can, even in our scientific world, only if the believer recovers spirit. For spirit is life as well as truth. It is a dialectic of the whole man, of his love and freedom as well as of his knowledge. Oddly, our loss of this Augustinian heritage has been Marxism's gain. But the tables are turning. Marxism has become scientificimpersonal, objective. Now is the opportunity to recapture the stolen flame.


DocTRINAL SuRVEY,

II

Chicago is a curious city, lying as it does on three points of the compass; it has no east sitle tn speak of. To the East lies Lake Michigan, grimly gray or softly blue depending upon its mood. It laps the beaches during the summer and pounds across the Outer Drive in the Fall, proclaiming itself a formidA new view of death has able factor in the life of Chifar-reaching implications cago's millions. But to most for the theology of reof us it remains a mystery. demption, purgatory, and the salvation of the Since the sixteenth century "unbeliever." death has lain on the' eastern point of theology's compass. Like the lake it was an imposing fact but one that occupied little of the scholar's + attention. In recen: years the picture has changed remarkGEORGE J. DYER ably, as venturesome theologians have made increasingly + frequent sorties into this uncharted region. Traditionally defined as the "separation of body and soul," death is now seen by some Catholic theologians as "personal self-fulfillment . . . an act that man interiorly performs," as "transformation . . . and final option," as "man's opportunity for posing his first completely personal act." It would be interesting to speculate on the chemistry that produced this budding theology of death: the extrava275

Jhe Jheofog'j

o/ ~ealh


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gant interest in the subject displayed by the German romantics, the slaughter of two world wars, the personalist and existentialist philosophies t!1at flowered on that bloodied ground, the twentieth-century. awareness of the emphatically eschatological perspective of the New Testament. We will have to leave these speculations to some more leisured essayist, however. The theological literature on death is a flourishing forest and what we shall do is to climb the tallest tree and search for a path. The path can be found, I believe, and with a twist or two it leads out on to the broader landscape of contemporary theology. There, as we shall see, the new view of death has brought fresh insight to a variety of topics: purgatory, infant salvation, the redemptive death of Christ, the very nature of the world itself. Our metaphorical tree has four branches: K. Rahner, L. Boros, R. Troisfontaines and J. Macquarrie, the last a Protestant theologian. Rahner best epitomizes the objections to the classic view of death, while the other three typify ways of doing theology that figure prominently on the contemporary scene whether Catholic or Protestant. SoME CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANs

Analysing the classic definition of death Karl Rahner concludes that it is important but inadequate. Its importance lies in its underlining the soul's continued existence as well as its new relation to the body. Its inadequacy shows up in several ways. Most important of these is its failure to speak of death as a personal and totally human event. But even as a description of a biological phenomenon it is defective for it says nothing of death's impact on the soul's relation to the world. Nor does it tell us whether the rupture of soul and body is a consequence of the soul's own maturing powers or something that it simply endures. DEATH AS A PERSONAL EVENT

Faith teaches us that with death man's state of pilgrimage comes to an end; the fundamental moral decision made by man in his bodily existence is rendered definite and final. In their attempts to specify this doctrine of the faith, Catholic


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theologians ask an important question. Is the definitive character of death due to the nature of death itself or to God's free decision? Appealing to John Damascene and Thomas Aquinas, Rahner maintains that the finality of the personal life decision is an intrinsic constituent of death itself as a personal act of man. Death cannot be merely an inuption from without; it must also be an act that man personally performs. More precisely still it must be death itself which is the act and not merely an attitude which man adopts toward death. In Rahner's view then death is an active consummation brought about by the person himself, a maturing self realization which embodies what man has made of himself during life. For if man is both spirit and matter, liberty and necessity, person and nature, his death too must exhibit this ontological dialectic. If death is the end for the whole man, then the soul too must be affected, not merely by suffering passively this biological irruption but by achieving its consummation by its own personal act. DEATH AS AN EVENT OF NATURE

As Rahner noted, the classic definition failed to speak of death's impact on the soul's relation to the world. Does the separation of body and soul imply that the soul is cut off from the world? A neo-platonic mentality would imply that this is indeed the case for it equates proximity to God with remoteness from the world. On the other hand a strictly thomistic metaphysics reminds us that even after death the soul has a transcendental relationship with matter, a relationship which springs from the very essence of the soul. During a man's lifetime his soul must have some relationship to the whole of which the body is a part-the unity of the material universe. In death, says Rahner, that relationship is not rup¡ lured, rendering the soul "a-cosmic" but rather it is deepened into a "pan-cosmic" relationship with the universe. This does not imply that the soul is omnipresent to the universe or that the world somehow becomes the soul's body. Instead, by surrendering its limited bodily structure the soul becomes

I•


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open to the universe; it becomes a co-determining factor in the universe, so far as the latter is the ground of the personal life of other spiritual-corporeal beings. In the remainder of his essay Rahner draws on the premises he has outlined here to investigate the theology of death as the consequence of sin and as a dying with Christ. His subordinate themes are numerous and brilliantly illuminated. Rather than exploring these, however, we shall see how other theologians have approached these basic intuitions. LADISLAS BOROS: A TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYSIS

The German existentialist Martin Heidegger ¡ provides Boros (as he did Rahner) with the initial insight in his investigation of death. In his book Being and Time Heidegger spoke of death as the fundamental modality of living concrete existence. Any given existence may be understood as an immersion in death, a dedication to death, because it constantly realizes in itself the situation of death. Death is present in every act of existence as its own end, its perfectio debita, something not yet possessed yet proper to every being. This Heideggerian insight solved the philosopher's problem of exploring what lay beyond his, or any man's, experience death itself. Once introduced into the structure of our concrete existence, death opens a pathway to philosophy. It can be grasped in the existent being itself at the intersection of the various pointers to death. The philosophical method that Boros employs is that of transcendental analysis, i.e., an investigation of the acts of consciousness in order to reach the a priori realities that undergird them and make them possible. The method is a familiar tool of twentieth century philosophers, men like Hus¡ serl, Heidegger, Blonde! and Marechal. Among contemporary theologians Rahner, a Marechalian thomist, has employed this philosophical instrument across the entire range of theology with most impressive results. Boros uses it here to probe the mystery of death. Boros sees a fundamental dualism in man; his existence


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seems to be hemmed in by the provisional and the temporary, yet at the same time rising into the realms of the final and definitive. By a transcendental analysis of this dualism he hopes to uncover the figure of death lurking in each living existence. To achieve his goal he enlists the aid of a number of modern philosophers: Blonde!, Marechal, Bergson, Mar· eel. A glance at some of his arguments will show us the drift of his method. KNOWLEDGE, VOLITION, AND LOVE: POINTERS TO DEATH

Following M. Blondel's analysis of volition, Boros finds that in every individual act there is an unconscious ecstasis towards God. Human volition always aims at more than man in reality wills in any concrete act. Every time a man wishes to establish his lasting home in one place, the thrust of his being bears him on to fresh spaces. He is really pressing on to a decision in which he may become one with his whole volition. Only in death, however, can he attain a total identity of his original volition and its successive partial realizations. Until then the individual acts of the will are constantly being overtaken by the elemental drive of the will. Thus, Boros concludes, death is the birth of volition. Marechal, Boros' second ally, noticed that there is also a fundamental dualism in human knowledge. In every act of judgement we relate the whole of being to the individual object of our apprehension by saying that "it is." By saying that a thing "is" our thought stakes out a claim to the whole expanse of being. In other words we strive after being in its whole extent. These two factors in human knowledge are ordained to one· another and would conceivably meet in a moment of total self reflection. The way to such reflection, however, is blocked by the material principle in man. So it fol· lows that the first integral act of knowledge, the meeting of the two lines of knowledge in a single act, can be realized only at the moment of death. The dimension of death is to be found too in the dualism that characterizes human love. According to Gabriel Marcel

l


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man is destined to a personal fulfillment which he achieves in a community of persons through love. Love, of course, implies self-surrender, for it means renouncing any desire to manage, to possess the other person. In a great movement of self-emptying the whole of existence must be transformed to the point where everything not directed to the other person must be given up. But here the human heart becomes the scene of a tense drama. For human existence is wrapped up in itself, in a single sinister circle of self¡seeking. And here we find the dualism of human love that never reaches the good in itself but only the good that stands in a concrete relation to ourselves. Of course there are fleeting and unstable moments of complete surrender in our lives, but then existence falls back behind the wall of self. Marcel sees our corporeity as the reason for our inability to stabilize our self-surrender. My body is, so to speak, my absolute possession and all that serves to extend my body establishes with me a relation of possession. Therefore, each act of existence must climb a steep slope if it is to ascend from "having-possessing" to "surrender-being." Through his corporeity man is immersed in the realm of having¡possessing and does not own the power to reshape the situation. At the moment of death, however, the body takes leave of us and the soul is completely exposed. With this exposure, the withering away of all self-centeredness, the soul¡ is at last able to produce something definitive and lasting, something no longer menaced by the provisional nature of having. DEATH: A FINAL OPTION

Boros completes his demonstration by an analysis of the dualism in existence itself, in the poetic and kenotic (selfemptying) experiences. The analysis, he feels, shows that man throughout his life has anticipated death as a fully personal act. He would, therefore, revise the traditional definition of death by a final consideration of the destruction of the soul. The soul does disappear in the sense of undergoing an "annihilation," a violent removal from the body and its


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worldliness; moreover, it goes down to the roots of the world and acquires a cosmic relation to existence, a total presence to the world (and here he is indebted to Rahner's view of the pan-cosmic nature of the separated soul}. Relating these considerations to his earlier analysis he sees death as a total self-encounter and at the same time as a total presence to the world. In the very moment when it is possible for man to realize the dynamism of his essential being he is transported to the place where the whole of creation awaits God. Here he encounters the Lord of the world and makes his final decision, a decision that lasts for all eternity for the simple reason that it is not made in the midst of the dualism that marks our present existence. Act becomes being, decision becomes state, and time becomes eternity. Boros' new picture of death finally emerges: "Death is man's first completely personal act, and is, therefore, by reason of its very being, the place above all others for the awakening of consciousness, for freedom, for the encounter with God, for the final decision about eternal destiny." TROISFONTAINES: DEATH AND THE LAW OF HUMAN GROWTH

Roger Troisfontaines is perhaps the most distinguished disciple of the personalist philosopher Gabriel Marcel. In an earlier book he used the theme of personal growth to synthesize Marcel's philosophy; here he again employs the scheme in order to illuminate the mystery of death. Troisfontaines sees death not as a problem but as a mystery. A problem is susceptible of that complete objectification of which science is the master. A mystery, on the other hand, is a riddle in which I am so caught up that its solution lies only along the line of personal involvement. Involvement, or participation, are important words if we are to understand the structure that the author builds around and into death. For they epitomize the law of personal growth, and death is a pivotal moment in the growth process. If we are to understand this connection between death and


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personal growth we must follow Troisfontaines as he traces the path of the latter. As we shall see, personal growth is the passage from the level of existence (community) to the level of being (communion). The unborn child obviously is given an existence he did not request, a heritage and environment he could not choose. He did not select his parents or his race, or the time and place of his birth. He is borne along on the pre-existing cur· rents of family and society. Soon, however, the conscious self awakens and he rises high enough above the currents to ac· cept or to fight their obscure forces. Born into a community whose structure was imposed upon him, he gradually be· comes aware of his personal autonomy. His actions become increasingly independent; the environment that once held him widens; his self-consciousness deepens; he realizes more and more his capacity for determining the type of relation· ship he wants to maintain with his given situation. This process of determination is what Troisfontaines means by involvement, or participation. Man must live in participation if he is to grow. He has been thrown into existence by a combination of relationships in which he does not participate even as a subject. To expand fully his personal being he must consciously and freely as· sume another set of relationships. His personal growth then is a passage from the level of existence to that of being, and the point of passage is his choice for communion with God and man in faith and love. Failure to choose communion, therefore, is a refusal to grow. This law of growth can be observed all through human life, in adolescence, young man· hood, maturity. At first blush, however, it would seem to lose its validity in old age. Nonetheless, the law is still valid and it leads us into the mystery of death. DEATH: A PASSAGE TO BEING

In old age activity dwindles, the environment narrows, con· sciousness and freedom seem to diminish. The weakening body can no longer supply adequately the energy needed for


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the psychic and spiritual life. Formerly a necessary condition of subjective activity, the body has now become a hindrance. Nevertheless, similar situations found in earlier periods of human development suggest that the law of growth is still at work. The womb which was an absolute condition for life during the pre-natal period becomes an obstacle the moment that the human being is about to be hom. The same thing happens to later substitutes for the womb, like the mother's lap, home, family, school. The human being grows by tearing himself away from previous environments which have become like so many prisons. In old age the person is preparing to leave an environment no longer capable of supporting his growth. The passage takes place in death; here the body, a provisional womb so to speak, is abandoned so that personal growth may go on. The entire process of human personal growth, moreover, sug¡ gests that within the very phenomenon of death there is activity. In this hypothesis the human person, more conscious and free than ever, turns towards a limitless horizon. In elaborating this hypothesis of activity in death Troisfontaines recalls the phenomenology of human growth: growing activity, widening environment, deepening consciousness and liberation. As the human being progresses from conception to maturity the activity-passivity balance tips more heavily toward the activity side. Full activity, however, is beyond man so long as he lives. He is limited by the raw material of his body and its environmental extension. Full activity, therefore, would seem to be possible only on a departure from the body. And since the body is the center and symbol of every personal relationship, departure from the body will mean that every relationship, every value, will be questioned again in a most radical manner. Once again the human person will have to take a deliberate stand regarding the universe, God, his fellows, and himself. DEATH: A FINAL DECISION

Only in death does man come to a total intuition of him-


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self. For while the body is a condition of earthly existence it is also responsible for darkening the mind. As the infant must leave the womb to carry out its own biological functions, so also the soul must leave the body if it is to carry out fully its own proper activities. Grasping his own self to the very depths man will then discover the fnll dimensions of his relationships to himself and the world, preparing him for that one perfect act of freedom on which all depends. While on earth man can only mark the direction of his freedom. He is becoming free but he is not yet free in the full sense of the word. Every choice offered his precarious and developing freedom is only a rehearsal for a future final option. The life of the embryo is a preparation for the life after birth; so also this life is a preparation for that found in death and there is hardly any common measure between the two states. Life on earth represents in relation to our being what prenatal life represented in relation to our he¡ coming. If life is an "apprenticeship for death" then the all important act of our earthly life is its very last act, the act of death whereby becoming yields its place to being. At the moment of death then man is freed of his subjection to the world of determinism and restraint. He sees in their full reality God, the world, and his fellow man. What he does then is to constitute that reality for himself- his being with them or without them. In a consummate, irrevocable act of freedom he chooses communion or isolation, friendship or hatred. And his being (as distinguished from his existence) will be determined precisely by the stand he takes. Since the choice is made in perfect consciousness, there is no need for him to restate the question. His decision is beyond recall. THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS: UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION

As Boros points out, a philosophical hypothesis is of value to the Catholic theologian to the extent that it demonstrates the homogeneity of a theological truth or shows the interrelation of a number of these truths. When it does this, it suggests that the hypothesis itself is valid. Boros, like Rahner

j


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and Troisfontaines, shows the impact that their view of death can have all across the theological spectrum. The "salvation of the unbeliever" is a classic question in theology, and over the years theologians have given it various answers, appealing to a special revelation, baptism of desire, even an unconscious votum cf baptisn1. :rJure recently we have read of the "hidden encounter with God" and the "anonymous Christian." When death is viewed as a final op· tion, however, the old problem is placed in a new perspective. For at death each man encounters Christ personally and with the total power of his being chooses either to reject Christ or to establish a personal and definitive relationship with him. The ancient question of infant salvation also finds a new solution. A considerable literature in recent years has ex· pressed dissatisfaction with the notion of limbo and sought a way to salvation for the child dying without baptism. In the hypothesis of death as a final option the infant would have the opportunity for a fully mature decision at the instant of death. While countless children may leave us in infancy, therefore, no one dies an infant. PURGATORY

Two considerations must be present in any acceptable view of purgatory: the removal of venial sin and satisfaction for the temporal punishment due to sin. The first has always puzzled theologians for they wondered how a man, past death and merit, could have his venial sins forgiven. When death is seen as perfect self-fulfillment, however, the problem vanishes. In death, the final act of our state of pilgrimage, the just soul's strength flares up in charity, meeting God in loving devotion and wiping away all venial sin. The satisfaction for· the temporal punishment due to sin may also be seen in a new light. For the process of purification assumes the dimensions of an encounter. The basic decision for God made in death penetrates all the levels of our human reality, carrying along with it all that impedes or slows it down. These layers of reality are the modes of our existence built up in the course of our historical development. As the pure


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love of God burst forth these modes of being are swept away wherever they impede our movement toward God. In a sense our whole existence is broken up, a truly painful experience that could be a means of satisfaction. Seen in this way purga路 tory would be an instantaneous thing, the very passage which we effect in our final decision. CHRIST'S REDEMPTIVE DEATH

We were justified by Christ's obedience "unto death." But why is there this insistence on the importance of Christ's death? Why could not any moral act have been the adequate expression of Christ's redeeming obedience? In the hypothesis of death as a fulfillment, a possible answer emerges. The developing human reality of Christ reaches its perfection in death; it was only at this moment that he was able to give the fullest human expression to his redemptive obedience. The new view of death also offers an explanation for the long-recognized instrumentality of Christ's body in the work of our redemption. For by death man enters into a real ontological relation with the universe; he does not simply withdraw from matter but rather enters into a closer proximity with matter, into a relation with the world extended to cos路 mic dimensions. The metaphysical place where total presence to the world occurs may be described imaginatively as the "heart of the universe, the root of the world." In the hypothesis of a final decision death is seen as a descent into the unity at the root of the world. Thus Christ's soul in death "descended into hell," to the heart of the cosmos where it entered into an open ontological relationship with the universe. The cosmos in its totality became the instrument of Christ's humanity, the instrumental cause of grace for every man. When Christ's human reality was planted in death at the root of the world, it grounded a scheme of salvation which embraced the entire human race. At the moment when Christ descended into hell the world was transfigured and became a vehicle for man's sanctifica路 tion. This transformation is a present reality, awaiting only the parousia for the final revelation of what has already hap路


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pened in the depths of the world's being. This view of the descent into hell corresponds with Paul's allusion to Christ's disarming the principalities and powers. These intermediary forces (exegetes differ in seeing them as good, evil, or indif· ferent) had their place in the structure of the world as pow· P-r8 in the cosmos. Christ did away with them and himself became the inmost center of history. And from this divinized core of the universe new forces are already flowing into our existential environment. This idea, of course, is reminiscent of the intuition of Teilhard de Cbardin. In his world view Christ is everywhere present in evolution as the most inti· mate of all the energies at work in the process. Thus the universe is, in Teilhard's phrase, a "divine milieu." REsuRRECTION AND AscENSION

The ultimate finality of a world permeated and transformed by the spirit has already dawned although it is still hidden, awaiting its manifestation at the end of time. The sign that this working of the spirit has already taken place is Christ's risen body. His body, no longer subject to conditions of time and space, permeated by the spirit, is the archetype of a universe that has already been transfigured. Free of all the restraints imposed by spatial and temporal dimensions, Christ is able to reach men of every time and place and to make them members of his transfigured body. The ascension is the immediate consequence of the resurrection, coinciding with it in time and essence, for it is the entrance into the sphere of God's glory. Luke presents a problem for this view, of course, when he speaks of the forty days intervening between resurrection and ascension. The difficulty can be resolved by seeing two aspects of the ascension: the exaltation of Christ to the Father and the visible manifestation of this departure from the Mount of Olives. Seen in this way the ascension of which Luke speaks is a sign that the period of intimate association with Christ IS over and that he will come no more until the parousia.


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A PROTESTANT VIEW OF DEATH John Macquarrie approaches the problem of death in a way that offers numerous points of similarity and contrast to his Catholic counterparts. Like Boros and Rahner he is deeply in Heidegger's debt (Professor of systematic theology at Union theological Seminary he was one of the co-translators of Heidegger's Being and Time, as well as the author of a study of Bollmann and Heidegger- An Existential Theology). Like Troisfontaines he follows a phenomenological route into the problem, addressing himself to both believer and unbeliever. But his method also displays some striking contrasts to the Catholic theologians we have studied. As we saw, Troisfontaines tried to show contemporary man that death follows the law of growth of the human personality. Boros sought to prove that death is a vital personal activity prefigured repeatedly in the human situation. Macquarrie does not search into the inner nature of death. Rather he views it as the final inescapable crisis for man as he seeks to make sense of the disorder of human existence. In other words he sets himself to meet head on the challenge of Sartre and his philosophy of the absurd. His then is a reponse to the dilemma of the secular man a theme that is much the con¡ cern of contemporary Protestant theology. For reasons far too complex to detail here Protestant theo¡ logians long ago abandoned natural theology. Recently, however, some of them have come to feel that in doing so they had blown the bridge between theology and the world of secular experience. One effort at re-establishing this vital communication has been in the direction of a so-called philosophical theology, a sort of propadeutica to faith. While philosophical theology does not try to demonstrate the existence of the God or the immortality of the soul, it does try to bridge the gulf between daily experience and the content of theology. Its movement then is from ordinary situations that can be described in secular language to situations of the life of faith. Thus we will find Macquarrie discussing death and human destiny from two points of view. First he will try to


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show how the analysis of man and his death will lead quite naturally to a religious interpretation of life. By thus guaran¡ teeing the intellectual underpinnings of theology he hopes to achieve the ideal of a reasonable faith. Then he will discuss the Christian response to the question of human destiny. The shape that Macquarrie gives the "new natural theology" is existential and phenomenological. These are formidable terms and they have made a bloody entrance into the Anglo-Saxon world, wedded as it is on one side of the Atlan¡ tic to British empiricism and linguistic analysis and on the other to the pragmatism of John Dewey. Phenomenology is a descriptive process. It does not "prove" anything but rather lets us see what is really there by removing distortion and camouflage. Existentialism is similarly analytic but what is analysed is human existence. DEATH AND THE DISORDER OF HUMAN EXISTENCE

The jumping-off point for Macquarrie's analysis is the question of what differentiates man from other beings in the world. He answers the question in terms of man's existence. While men, cats, and trees all are, only man is said to exist, for only man has his being disclosed to him (and in this sense he stands out - ex-sists) . In other words man has a responsible relationship to himself. Two conclusions follow from this responsibility. The first is that selfhood is not ready made but is always on its way, always incomplete at any given moment. A further conclusion would be that man can either attain to authentic selfhood or miss it and so fall below the kind of being that can properly be called existence. While the concept of existence sets up a certain tension between man and nature, further analysis shows that there are tensions within existence itself that create a massive disorder in human life. Among these polarities we may speak of possibility and facticity, rationality and irrationality, individuality and community. Obviously man never faces unlimited possibilities. In his geographical and historical context his freedom may be very restricted indeed; thus he may be


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limited by his knowledge, heredity, or environment. His pos¡ sibilities in freedom, therefore, are limited by his factual situation (facticity). Man's rationality, moreover, is as lim¡ ited as his freedom. His mind moves in the light of truth; yet at the same time he moves in untruth, error, and deception, never fully aware even of his own motives. Man's communal nature too is a source of tension when it is brought up against his need for privacy and autonomy. A final polarity is that existing between responsibility and impotence. He may clearly see what he must do yet cannot bring himself to do what is demanded of him. Disorder enters human life in one of two ways. Either a man may refuse to accept the limitations of his existence, the facticity of the situation; or he may retreat from possibility, decision making, responsibility. This massive disorder observable in human life has been variously characterized as an . inbalance, falling, alienation. The first implies that a balance has not been maintained between the polarities of human existence; the whole structure has thus been pulled out of joint. The second suggests a failure to attain authentic possibility, while the last speaks of the alienation from oneself (effected by turning away from one or another of the poles of human existence) and so from others and even from the whole scheme of things. In Sartre's view what we see here is not simply massive disorder in man but flagrant self-contradiction. Man in Sartre's view is a "useless passion" for his very existence is such as to make nonsense of his aspirations. He sees death bringing the chaotic tensions in man to their final absurd conclusion -the triumph of nothingness over the few sparks of affirmative being. Macquarrie faces Sartre's challenge squarely and admits that we must either go along with Sartre and hope at best to reduce the oppressiveness of existence or we must frankly acknowledge our need to go beyond humanity itself if we are to make sense of human existence. The universal impulsion of men to make sense of things is at the root of


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religious thought. Macquarrie's development of this idea piv¡ ots around the notion of the self. 5ELFHOOD AND DEATH

Macquarrie rejects the Platonic conception of soul or self that he feels has dominated western thought. According to Plato the "substantial" soul existed prior to the body and continued to exist after its dissolution. For most of its history, Macquarrie feels, theology tended to follow the Platonic doc¡ trine, seeing the substantiality of the soul as a guarantee of the stability and immortality of the self. Macquarrie rejects the notion of a substantial self because the model underlying the notion of substance is that of a solid enduring thing. But thinghood cannot be an enlightening model for selfhood. What is distinctive in selfhood is personal being and we cannot hope to get a proper conception of selfhood in terms of subpersonal being. Neither substantiality nor thinghood is a model for the understanding of self but rather temporality. What constitutes existence or personal being is a peculiar and complex temporal nexus in which the three dimensions of the past, present, and future are brought into a unity. Man differs from a thing or even from an animal insofar as he is not only aware of the present but remembers the past and anticipates the future. In an existence that is disrupted and scattered, man has cut himself off from one of these dimensions. In an existence that is fulfilling its potentialities the three dimensions are held together in unity and balance. The authentic present does not shut out the past or the future but, open to them both, it forges them into a unity. Authentic selfhood therefore implies a unified existence in which potentialities are actualized in an orderly manner and there are no loose ends. This unity can be achieved only when there is both com¡ mitment and acceptance, bringing into balance the tension between possibility and facticity. Commitment views some master possibility toward which the self is directed and to which other possibilities are subordinated. Acceptance has to do with the situation in which man actually finds himself. If


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the commitment is to be realistic, the facticity of the situation bas to be accepted in its entirety. And if the factical situation is to be accepted in its entirety then we must face the fact of death, to see, as Heidegger does, its positive potentialities. In Heidegger's analysis death appears as the most significant element in the factical situation, as the horizon that closes off the future. It thus becomes central to the commitment and acceptance that condition the achievement of self¡ hood. Although in one sense death is destructive, it is also creative of a unified responsible selfhood. For the concerns of self become ordered in the face of death. It exposes the true value of our concerns, uncovering the trivial and superficial. It makes dramatically clear the transient character of the achievements of the man who does not take into account the full range of facticity and possibility. If these considerations have allowed us to see a positive even creative, side of death, they do not remove the negativity of death. Are we not then driven ultimately to the Sartrean position, where death is seen to reduce the life of the statesman and the drunkard to equal pointlessness? No, we are not, for the universal impulsion of man to make sense of his existence brings us rather to a religious attitude, to a point where we can say that human existence makes sense only if there are resources beyond our human resources to help us fulfill the claims that existence lays upon us. Faith then is not a luxury because the religious attitude arises from the very structure of human existence itself, from our innate quest for selfhood and meaningful existence despite tensions, disorders, and alienations. And having said this we have said that faith is not a strained perversion of our nature but an attitude that belongs with an existence such as ours. What Macquarrie has done at this point is to have built a bridge between our own experience and the Christian response to man's quest for meaning. Thus he has found a point of insertion for a religious dialogue with secular man. He has shown that the Christian solution responds to a ques¡


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lion that the secular man must ask: what sense can be made of human existence confronted as it is with the apparent absurdity of its own division and faced with the inevitaLility of death? The religious attitude, he points out, is not an adolescent posture long since left behind by a mature culture but the response to a need in the very structure of human existence_ Having discovered the point of insertion for religious dialogue Macquarrie can now ask in what way Christianity responds to the question of human destiny_ THE CHRISTIAN RESPONSE: MAN'S DESTINY

Macquarrie sees the destiny of the cosmos as the gathering up of all things in God- Brought to the fulfillment of their potentialities for being, they would be one among themselves and with the being from which they came and for which they are destined- When he comes to the impact of this cosmic process on the individual, however, Macquarrie is hesitant_ Any worthy conception of the ultimate destiny of the individual must be purged, he says, of every trace of egocentricity. And this might mean that the individual vanishes entirely, for love loses itself in pouring itself out. If this were the case, however, creation would seem to have been pointless. Macquarrie prefers to see the end of the creative process as a commonwealth of free and responsible human beings united in love. But what shall we say of the man who failed to achieve selfhood? The implication would seem to be that one who fails in the achievement would fall back into the nothingness from which he came, a doctrine of conditional immortality. Macquarrie feels that this would be preferable to the "barbarous doctrine of an eternal hell." Nonetheless, he feels that Christian hope can carry us further. If God has the power to overcome the risks of dissolution, then we may hope that no individual existence will return to nothing but move nearer the fulfillment of its potentialities as the horizons of time and history continually expand. In other words he prefers universalism to a doctrine of conditional immortality.


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Macquarrie prefers the expression eternal life to immortality when speaking of human destiny. The latter is defective, he thinks, for two reasons: it implies some kind of substantial soul (imperishable and therefore enduring) ; it sug· gests a soul that carries on apart from the body. While im· mortality connotes a shadowy kind of sub-existence, like that of Hades or Sheol, the New Testament speaks rather of resurrection and thereby ensures that a full existence is meant. Eternal life is the limit of selfhood. As selfhood develops one becomes less and less a creature of the moment; one attains more and more a unified existence that transcends mere succession of "nows" and integrates past, present, and future. Eternal life is the limit toward which this experience of transcending the "nows" points. This limit of selfhood is Christhood, for Christ is the one who brought to fulfillment all the possibilities of selfhood. In Macquarrie's view then heaven would be the upper limit of human existence and the fullness of being. Hell would be the lower limit and the loss of being, though it need not speak of annihilation. Purgatory points to the process by which we are fitted for the union with God that is our ulti· mate destiny. Heaven, purgatory, and hell, therefore, form a sort of continuum through which the soul may move from near annihilation of sin to the closest union with God. The process, of course, supposes a universalism in which God would finally be all in all. CoNCLUSION

If we have dwelt perhaps overlong on the methodologies of these theologians it is because they typify several approaches to what may well be the central problem of con· temporary theology - the problem of meaning. If theology is not to retreat to the cloister or to the university, it must learn to speak to contemporary man in a language that is meaningful to him. Much of our traditional religious language, including such terms as "sin, guilt, grace, justifica· tion," have lost their significance for a host of our contempo· raries. A simple explanation of the terms will not suffice to


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remedy the loss; somehow the content of our theology must be related to the substance of contemporary experience. Each of the theologians of death has responded to this challenge in his own way. With what success they have done so I leave the reader to judge. None of them, however, has escaped criticism. There are obvious limitations, for instance, to personalism as a theological tool, and Troisfontaines is aware of them. If personalism probes dimensions of reality that are difficult to capture in the categories of scholastic metaphysics, it also reaches a boundary beyond which it cannot move. It can suggest the survival of the human person after death, but it can do no more than this; here Troisfontaines falls back upon the more traditional metaphysics. He faces a more serious objection than this, however. For it is indeed anomalous to hear a personalist saying that the soul apart from the body is in a better position to be a person. Without a base in a more traditional metaphysics Macquarrie too hesitates about the survival of the man who fails to attain authentic selfbood, although he is typical of Protestant theologians in preferring to speak of the resurrection of man rather than the immortality of the soul. A Catholic theologian, of course, would object to his vision of a soul's progress from hell to heaven. A question that might trouble him more is whether existentialism is too alien to the American context to serve as a bridge between theology and secular experience. Some of the more fundamental intuitions of the Catholic theologians, fascinating as they are, have also drawn the criticism of their colleagues. If the reader was puzzled by the idea of the separated soul's pan-cosmic relation to the unity of the material world, he is in good company; some of our most astute theologians are also troubled by the idea. Nor do they like Rahner's generalization of the notion of matter in his account of the soul-body union; for it would seem to dissolve the only means of establishing the personal identity of the separated soul. Rahner and Boros have been criticized too for assigning the death of Christ too positive a function


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in the redemptive process apart from the resurrection. Inneither New Testament view of the relation of Christ's death to his resurrection (that of Paul and John) could it he said that a new positive relationship to the world was established by the fact of death itself. And Christ, it is further suggested, did not reach the root of the world by his descent into hell but rather by his exaltation at the right hand of his Father. There also seems to he a hit of theological slight-of-hand in Bcros' solution to the problem of the baptized infant's final option. "In sensu diviso even infants who die in their baptismal grace can make their decision for God or against him; in sensu compos ito (cum gratia baptismatis) their deci¡ sion, in actual fact, is made for God" ( p. 185, n. 54). In recording these criticisms I wished only to bring the contemporary picture of death somewhat into focus. For these theologians not only expect but hope for the judgement of their colleagues, koowing that only in the collision of ideas can theology hope to progress. READINGS

Boros, 1., The Mystery of Death, N.Y.: Herder and Herder, 1965. Troisfontaines, R., I do not Die, N.Y.: Desclee, 1963. Rahner, K., On the Theology of Death, N.Y.: Herder and Herder, 1961. "On the life of the dead." Theological lnvesti¡ gations, IV., Baltimore: Helicon, 1966. Macquarrie, J., Principles of Christian Theology, N.Y.: Scribner's Sons, 1966.


The rather pedantic title of this article could be more simply stated: "For the Bible it takes two to he right." It is not that the Bible ever stops and works out a theory of truth or of human knowledge. It presumes this and the content of that presumption shines through every page of its writings. Biblical truth, the word of God as it comes to mankind, appears Overview, 1: Scripture. in and through a dialectic of - a talk given in opinion, a clash of different Chicago theology analyses, an unresolved destudy days. bate, and an ongoing discussion. The Bible does not present us with a succession of monolithic statements whose proponents seem primarily in+ terested in proving their lack of contradiction, their coherDOMINIC CROSSAN, O.S.M. ent logic, and their eradication of all doubt and development. The presence of dia+ lectical analysis completely riddles the presentation of theory and fact in the Biblical writings to an extent so widespread as to be self evident. But like many self evident things it can easily be ignored and has usually been forgotten in epistemological discussions. The thesis of this article is precisely the assertion of that fact. The word of God came to the people of God through a dialectic of discussion in the Bible. 297

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To indicate the extent of this biblical dialectic seven major examples are chosen from the Bible itself. The number seven denotes plenitude in the Scriptures and here indicates that many more such examples might have been taken. THE CREATION ACCOUNTS

The Bible might well be expected to have begun with an account of creation and of the basic relations of man and woman to one another, to the world, and to their Creator. In fact it begins with two accounts. The narrative in 1: 1-2, 4a belongs to the traditions of the sacerdotal circles at the Temple in Jerusalem. The account in 2: 4b-3:24 stems from the historians who assembled the monarchic traditions of Judah. The first account is the more recent but it never oc· curred to its authors to eradicate the older and more primitive narration which they conserved after their own tradition. The analysis of man's being in 1: 1-2, 4a teaches clearly that God created all things in goodness and beauty. This pri· mary teaching is shown in the schematic and stereotyped repetitions which characterize this account. In artistic con· struction three days of division receive their "inhabitants" in three successive and corresponding days of decoration. The division of light and darkness (1:3-5) is ruled by the sun and the moon (1:14-19). The separation of sky and waters ( 1 :6-8) prepare for the arrival of the fishes and the birds (1:20·23). The establishment of seas and earth (1:9-10) cov· ered with plants and trees (1 :11-13) receive their completion in the advent of the beasts ( 1 :24-25) and man, the lord of creation ( 1:26-31). The total control of God over this proc· ess is further indicated in the repetitious serenity of certain key phrases which, as might be expected in the Bible, turn out to be seven in number. There is a phrase of (1) introduc· tion, "And God said"; ( 2) commarul, "Let there be"; ( 3) execution, "And it was so"; (4) description, "And God sep· a rated"; ( 5) blessing, "God blessed," or naming, ' "God called"; (6) praise, "And God saw that it was good"; and


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( 7) conclusion, "And there was evening and morning." The divine omnipotence is expressed in this account through lit¡ erary rhythms and stereotyped repetitions. There is also a secondary teaching which appears in the very structure of the account in order to inculcate fidelity to the Sabbath. The priestly traditions have God rest on the seventh day (2:14a) after six days of work (1:1-31). This is a dramatic way of expressing the theological truth that man's creational posi¡ tion obligates him to offer God a tithe on time, that is, a pause to remember his destiny. In this narration man's relationship to woman is stated clearly in terms of equality, for both alike are in the image of God, that is, together they are God's representative on this earth, God's vice-regent before creation. The relations of man and God are also stated very positively in terms of man's responsibility for evolution: "God said, 'Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of our ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts, and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth.' "God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth' " ( l :26-28). In the second exploration of man's primordial destiny in 2: 4b-3:24 we are dealing with a very different mentality, no less profound but much more graphic and descriptive. Here also we meet the distinction of primary and secondary teachings. Once again the primary teaching is that God created all things in order and beauty. But this now appears under the symbol of a desert oasis, a garden of lush trees growing amid flowing waters beyond even a desert nomad's needs. In this analysis man and woman are closely and intimately related but woman does not appear as man's equal to the same degree as in the more developed theology of the


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first creation account. But the major difference is in the negative way that man's relationship to God is depicted- It is not stated in positive challenge as in 1:26-28 but in negative and tragic failure in 3:1-19_ Man is not only shown as called to cooperation with God (l:l-2,4a) but his constant historical disobedience is also told in archetypal symbol and summary ( 2 :4b-3 :24). The secondary teaching in this parable of human metaphysics is an oblique diatribe against the fertility cults of Canaan. Man's disobedience to God is summed up in one event whose details are chosen with a view to this attack. The serpent, for example, is the symbol of the fertility worship which promised the people of God a share in divinity, in the control of nature's power. As ironic punishment, such endeavors did not obtain fertility of womb and field, but rather left women to bear in anguish and men to labor in sweat and toil. This scenario expresses dramatically, nega· tively, and polemically the abstract truth that cosmic discord comes from man's refusal to accept his mandate over creation in the responsibility which God gave him. But what is most striking in all this is that the Bible chooses to begin with two accounts of creation and that the more recent one can live side by side with the older and more primitive ver· SIOll.

THE PENTATEUCHAL TRADITIONS

After the fleeting Golden Age of David and Solomon the people of God were split into a northern and southern division. The Bible itself is not particularly impressed by either side's innocence in this dispute. It laconically faults both monarchs with: "Solomon rested with his ancesters, leaving one of his stock as his successor, the stupidest member of the nation, brainless Rehoboam, whose policy drove the nation to rebel. Next, Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, and set Ephraim on the way of evil" (Eccl 47 :23-29). But this split resulted in a bifurcation in the legal and histol·ical traditions of the people. The legal sections of the Pentateuch are composed of the law codes of the south, the Priestly tradition, and the law codes of the north, the Deu-


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teronomic tradition. The historical narratives of the Pentateuch are from the historical sagas of the north, the Elohistic tradition, and the historical sagas of the south, the Y ahwistic tradition. Once again one is struck by the fact that in combining all this vast assemblage into one continual narration, the authors were not afraid to place contrasting and conflicting accounts more or less side by side. One example from the legal codes and one from the historical narratives will have to suffice. In the southern legal tradition there is a law which states in the name of God: "You must not uncover the nakedness of your brother's wife; for it is your brother's nakedness" (Lv 18: 16). This law expressly forbids marriage with the wife of a dead brother, that is, it forbids marriage to a widowed sister-in-law. But in the northern legal tradition there is a law from this same God which explicitly commands the opposite: "If brothers live together and one of them dies childless, the dead man's wife must not marry a stranger outside the family. Her husband's brother must come to her and . . . make her his wife" (Dt 25:5). The law which forbids marrying one's widowed sister-inlaw is best explained as stemming from the nomadic and desert situation. When family units lived together in close and common quarters it was probably as well that certain possible marital relationships be ruled out from the very beginning. If a brother could never marry a widowed sister-inlaw it would certainly dispel the temptation to fratricide if desire were to get out of control. On the other hand, the opposite law looks to a farming and landed situation where property distribution and alienation are of extreme importance. If property is divided between married sons, the widow of one such marrying outside the family would alienate family property. The results might well be land war. The laws cont:adict one another because the truth does not reside in either but is discernible in their dialectic. The law's purpose is peace in either case. In a desert situation, to keep peace / between brothers, this necessitates forbidding a certain type


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of marriage; in a farming situation, to keep peace between brothers, this necessitates commanding a certain type of marriage. But the word of God contains them both, unexplained, forever. In the historical sagas concerning the patriarchs there is an even more interesting dialectic. There are five texts in question. In Gn 12: 10-20 there is a dispute betwen Abraham and Pharaoh over Sarah, the wife of Abraham. In Gn 20: 1-18 there is a similar dispute between Abraham and Abimelech, king of Gerar, again over. Sarah. In Gn 21: 22-34 there is another dispute between Abraham and Abimelech but this time concerning water rights. Then the narrative shifts to Isaac, the son of Abraham. In Gn 26: 1-ll there is strife between Isaac and Abimelech concerning Rebekah, the wife of Isaac. Finally, in Gn 26: 12-33 there is a quarrel between the servants of Isaac and the shepherds of Gerar concerning the rights to wells of spring-water. A close look at these five incidents as well as a general knowledge of the growth of folk traditions renders what has happened fairly clear. One actual historical event lies behind all five accounts, and this "is the morally prosaic but humanly vital dispute between the semi-nomadic Abraham and Abimelech of Gerar over rights to springs and access to fresh water supplies. The basic story is thus told in Gn 21: 22-34. As the tradition develops there is a desire to pose a moral problem in the debate; so the quarrel is now over Sarah, and God must intervene to pro" teet the marital rights of Abraham and the destiny of his descendants. At a still later stage, in the tradition now preserved in Gn 12: 10-20, these same rights must be protected against an even more important person, Pharaoh of Egypt. This imaginary relocation and dramatic extension of the tale serves to increase its moral lesson as it shows that God would protect Abraham even against Pharaoh. Continued recitation seldom tends to minimize size in such sagas. The last two stages of the story's growth and tradition stem from the fact that almost nothing was known about Isaac, the son of Abraham. So two events associated with Abraham are retold con-


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cerning Isaac, with appropriate nominal changes. The quarrel between Abraham and Abimelech over Sarah in Gn 20: 1-18 is retold as a quarrel between Isaac and Abimelech over Rebekah in Gn 26: 1-11. And the dispute between Abraham and Abimelech over water supplies in 21: 22-34 is now retold as a similar dispute between TRaac and Ahimelech over springs of water in Gn 26: 12-33. But all five accounts are still in the Bible and nobody has erased the conflict. The truth is v found by placing all the traditions down side by side and trusting the intelligence of the reader to find the word of God somewhere within the contradictory words of man. THE MONARCHIC HISTORIES

It is obvious to even the casual reader that the books of Kings and of Chronicles deal in large part with the same events. The books of Kings detail the tragic decline of the monarchs of Judah and Israel until divine retribution hurls the entire people into exile. The books of Chronicles narrate ~ these same happenings but are very interested in all this as suggesting the basis for a future restoration. It would be easy if we were only dealing with different points of view, minor differences of opinion or fact. But the Chronicler has a certain set of theological principles and at times facts are rather severely damaged in order to suit these presuppositions. Once again a single striking example will have to suffice. In the theology of the Chronicler there is a certain corre- v lation between sanctity, or obedience to God, and a long life, and a certain corresponding contact between sin or disobedi¡ ence and a short life or sudden death. Because of this theory the Chronicler finds two kings of Judah whose recorded reigns present him with a major theological crisis. Manasseh v of Judah ( 687-642) was as bad a king as Judah ever pro¡ duced, and yet he reigned for forty-five years, longer even than David himself. On the other hand, Josiah of Judah ( 640- '"' 609), whose "memory is like blended incense" (Eccl 49: 1) was killed suddenly in a rather foolish attempt to stop the northward passage of Neco of Egypt at the pass of Megiddo.


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The Chronicler decides such facts cannot be correct and the following discrepancies now appear between the regnal narratives of those monarchs as told in 2 Kgs and 2 Chrons. The reign of Manasseh is first told in 2 Kgs 21: 1-18 and then retold according to a different theological interpretation of history in 2 Chrons 33: l-20. Both narratives begin with an account of the various sins of Manasseh in 21: 1-9 and 33: 1-9. But then the two narrations start to diverge. In 21: 10-15 there is a divine threat uttered against Manasseh and his people for these sins. In the corresponding 33: 10-13 it is ./said that Manasseh was deported to Baby Jon, there underwent a conversion, and was afterwards restored to his ancestral throne in Judah. In 21: 16 there is a further mention of his sins after the threat is recorded, but in 33: 14-17 there is simply a record of all the good deeds he did in Jerusalem after ~is conversion and restoration. Finally, the closing assessment in 21: 17-18 mentions only the sins of Manasseh while that in 33: 18-20 records both the sins and also the fact that afterwards he repented. The long reign no longer represents a theological problem for the Chronicler! With the reign of the reforming king Josiah the problem is reversed. The first account of the monarch's reign is given in 2 Kgs 22: 1-23,30, and the theological rewriting takes place later in 2 Chrons 34: 1-35,27. The story of the good king's death is told in 2 Kgs 23: 29 as follows: "During his reign Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt was on his way to the king of Assyria at the river Euphrates when king Josiah intercepted him; but Neco killed him at Megiddo in the first encounter." Since good monarchs should not die like this the Chronicler reinterprets the event in 2 Chrons 35: 20-22 as follows: "After everything had been done by Josiah to set the Temple in order, Neco king of Egypt came up to fight ' at Carchemish on the Euphrates. When Josiah marched out to intercept him, Neco sent him messengers to say, 'What quarrel is there between you; my quarrel is with another dynasty, and God has told me to hurry. Do not oppose the God who is with me any more, or else he may destroy you.' But


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Josiah continued to challenge him; he was in fact determined to fight him, and would not listen to the words of Neco from God's own mouth." This explains quite sufficiently why a re路 forming king like Josiah could be killed suddenly. For the Chronicler he must in some way have been disobedient. Once again there is no explanation of this contradiction gi veu by the Bible itself. It simply records both views and leaves us to study their dialectic. THE POST路EX!LIC SOLUTIONS

When Israel returned from the punishment of exile in Babylon a harsh task of restoration faced the remnant who had survived the deportation. One can appreciate the neces路 sity for strong measures and iron security precautions. An immediate problem seen by both Ezra and Nehemiah was the influence of contacts with pagan neighbors upon the re. turning exiles and the concomitant danger of theological and moral contamination. This was particularly acute in the area of mixed marriages where pagan wives might lead believing husbands away from God. There is an amusing difference of approach between Ezra and Nehemiah in regard to this latter point. Ezra records his own reaction as follows. "The leaders approached me to say, 'The people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, have not broken with the natives of the countries who are steeped in abominations . . . but have found wives among these foreign women for themselves and for their sons; the holy race has been mingling with the natives of the countries; in this act of treachery the chief men and officials have led the way.' At this news I tore my garment and my cloak; I tore hair from my head and beard and sat down, quite overcome" (Ez 9: 1路3). But where Ezra tore his own hair and beard, Nehemiah used a more direct form of guidance. "At that time I again saw Jews who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. As regards their children, half of them spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, but could not speak the language of Judah. I reprimanded them and called down curses on them; I struck several of


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them and tore out their hair and made them swear by God, 'You shall not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters either for your sons are for yourselves'" (Neh 13: 23-25). Whichever method was the more successful, both men agreed that separation from all pagan contacts and the complete divorce of all pagan wives was a strict and immediate obligation imposed by God on the people. A solemn renewal of the Covenant is recorded in Neh 9-10. After the long historical prologue of Neh 9: 5-37, the Covenant is recorded in Neh 10. It is accepted by "all who have broken with the natives of the countries to adhere to the law of God," and after this general statement follows the first precise obligation: "In particular, we will not give our daughters for our sons" (10: 30-31). InEz 10 the account is even more strict but one wonders if there was not a slight gap !Jetween legal absolutes and human realities. Certain theological imperatives seem to be giving way to the exigencies of the rainy season. "All the people gathered in the square before the Temple of God; the occasion itself, and the heavy rain, had them trembling. Then Ezra the priest stood up and spoke, 'You have committed treason by marrying foreign women; you have added to the sin of Israel. But now give thanks to Yahweh, the god of your ancestors, and do his will by separating from the natives of the country and from your foreign wives.' In a loud voice the whole assembly answered, 'Yes, our duty is to do as you say. But there are a great many people here and it is the rainy season; we cannot stay out in the open; besides, this is not something that can be dealt with in one or two days, since many of us have sinned in this respect' " (Ez 10: 9-13). From the accounts of Ezra and Nehemiah it would seem that all agree God demands two things from his people, namely, separation from their pagan neighbors and the divorce of all pagan wives, and that all immediately perform these obligations. Yet, once again there is a very subtle, very quiet, but very effective dialetic performed by two extremely


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short and extraordinarily beautiful books written at this same period. The Book of Jonah is a calm polemic against the first easy solution, and the book of Ruth is a serene question mark placed beside the second harsh imperative. The story of the anti-prophet Jonah is a marvelous satire on one of Israel's most sacred institutions. The worst character in the book is the prophet Jonah himself. Ordered by God to preach to Ninevah, he "decided to run away from Yahweh" ( 1: 3). This action scandalizes the pagan sailors on the boat who later acknowledge the justice of this god with: "you, Yahweh, have acted as you have thought right" (1: 14 ). Over against this disobedient and recalcitrant prophet, this contradiction in terms, are the inhabitants of Nineveh, the Assyrians, the classic representation and personification of all that Israel despised and feared. Yet as soon as Jonah delivers God's message, "The people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. The news reached the king of Nineveh, who rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes" ( 3: 5-6). The satire reaches its climax as God decides not to punish Nineveh because they have repented. At this Jonah pouts and tells God that it will make a fool of him and his preaching. Jonah goes out into the desert and God gives him shade under a caster-oil plant. But Jonah's happiness is short lived as the plant soon withers and he becomes angry. The concluding ironic dialogue between God and his runaway prophet is as follows: "God said to Jonah, 'Are you right to be angry about the caster-oil plant?' He replied, 'I have every right to be angry, to the point of death.' Yahweh replied, 'You are only upset about a castor-oil plant which cost you no labor, which you did not make grow, which sprouted in a night and has perished in a night. And am I not to feel sorry for Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a 120,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, to say nothing of all the animals?'" ( 4: 9-11). The point of the¡ book


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" is quite obvious. The prophet of God is worried only about himself, while God is concerned about the pagans as well. It is a very subtle dialectic against the over-simplicity of Ezra's and Nehemiah's absolute imperatives of separation from all pagans. The Book of Ruth makes its point even more quietly. The pagan woman Ruth is depicted with a few short strokes as a woman of delicate and loving fidelity. When Naomi, her mother-in-law, must return to her own country from the homeland of Ruth in Moab, her daughter-in-law makes her choice: "Wherever you go, I will go, wherever you live, I will live. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Wherever you die, I will die and there I will be buried." After this decision in 1: 16-17 the couple returned to Bethlehem, the ancestral home of the family, and the pastoral parable unfolds. Eventually Ruth is married to Boaz who replaces her dead husband. The point of the author is clear from two details. The fact that Ruth is from Moab is indicated over ten times either by stressing the start of the narrative in the land of Moab or by using the phrase Ruth the Moabitess. Secondly, when a son is finally born to Ruth, the book notes: "And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name: 'A son has been born for Naomi' they said; and they named him Obed. This was the father of David's father, vJesse" ( 4: 17). Nehemiah could fulminate against foreign wives, for example, against a wife from Moab (Neh 13: 23). But the author of Ruth ironically records that the great grandmother of David was herself a pagan wife from Moab. As ,;usual in the biblical dialectic the two positions, that of Ezra and Nehemiah and that of the unknown authors of Ruth and Jonah are never reconciled. They are simply juxtaposed. THE SAPIENTIAL THEOLOGIES

The main stream of the wisdom literature of Israel flows from Proverbs, through Ecclesiasticus and into the Book of


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Wisdom. It represents a carefully worked out attempt to restate the ancient Y ahwistic faith of Israel in a new conceptual and linguistic dress which would have opened it far more easily to the international intellectual climate of its period. The movement was abruptly and unfortunately aborted when the Sel.,ucid persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes attempted to force Greek religion as well as Greek culture on Israel. Here we are primarily interested in a certain dialectic of opinion between the authors of the books of Job and Ecclesiastes and the more orthodox and official theology of the authors of Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus. The viewpoint of these latter books is asserted with equal certitude and similar serenity in those psalms which treat of the same sapiential problem of divine retribution. The difficulty is how a just God sanctions his laws here on earth. How has Yahweh established rewards and punishments for his prescriptions? Caught with a view of human existence which had not yet broken through to a vision of personal continuance beyond the grave, their sages perforce concluded that God sanctioned his commandments within time. They established what might be called the "Law of Mundane Sanctions." This declared, almost as if it were a self evident fact, that sinners were punished upon this earth and that the just were likewise rewarded during their earthly existence. It was a necessary dogmatic conclusion for theologians who were trying to combine their belief in a just God and their lack of belief in any real life beyond the grave. A few examples of this "law" will have to suffice for our purpose here. In Prv 3: 33-35 it is worded as follows: "Yah¡ web's curse lies on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the virtuous. He mocks those who mock, but accords his favor to the humble. Honor is the portion of the wise, all that fools inherit is disgrace." In similar fashion the two sides of this theory are presented in Eccl 40: 12 and the exemplified in 40: 13 and 40: / 17: "All bribery and injustice will be blotted out, but good faith will stand foreover. The wealth of wrong-doers will


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dry up like a torrent, will crash like a clap of thunder in a downpour. Graciousness is like a paradise of blessing, and generosity stands firm forever." The doctrine appears again in certain psalms which have been influenced by this dogma of mundane retribution. Be¡ sides Pss 49 and 73, 48 and 72 respectively in Vulgate and Breviary, there is an almost classic serenity about the dec¡ larations of Ps 37(36): 25, 35-36: "Now I am old, but ever since my youth I never saw a virtuous man deserted, or his descendants forced to beg their bread; he¡ is always compassionate, always lending: his children will be blessed. I have seen the wicked in his triumph towering like a Cedar of Lebanon, but when next I passed, he was not there, I looked for him and he was nowhere to be found." Such statements from the sages of Israel would seem to indicate that all was well and that experience bore out their dogmatic thesis of mundane rewards and punishments as sanctions for God's decrees. But over against this theory and in dialectic with it is placed the experience of Job and Ecclesiastes. Where the orthodox theology declared the just are rewarded here on earth, Job declared emphatically that a man can be just and still suffer in this world. On the other hand, Ecclesiastes opposes the second half of their proposition. How can one claim that sinners are punished here on earth where all things are passing and transitory and where just and unjust will soon go down to death together? Job is declared to be a just man by God himself ( l: 8; 2: 3). When all goes wrong in his life, three friends appear who maintain against this innocence and classic position of sapiential orthodoxy. He must have sinned or he would not be suffering. Eliphaz of Tenan offers his solution in 4: 7: "Can you recall a guiltless man that perished, or have you ever seen good men brought to nothing? I speak of what I know: those who plow iniquity and sow the seeds of grief reap a harvest of the same kind." The second friend also opposes dogmatic security to human suffering. In 8: 20 Bildad of Shuah speaks: "Believe me, God neither spurns a stainless


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man, nor lends his aid to the evil." The third member of this theological committee is equally certain of the rectitude of their orthodox solution. Zophar of Naamath states in ll: 13-14: "Come, you must set your heart right, stretch your hands to him. Renounce the iniquity that stains your hands, let no injustice live within your tents." For all his friends Job cannot be innocent and suffering at the same time. His refusal to admit some heinous and hidden crime is but stubborn pride. But at the end of all the dialogues the last word is spoken in the theology of the official dogma: "When Yahweh had said all this to Job, he turned to Eliphaz of Tenan 'I bum with anger against you and your two friends', he said, 'for not speaking truthfully about me as my servant Job has done. So now find seven bullocks and seven rams, and take them back with you to my servant Job and offer a holocaust for yourselves, while Job, my servant, offers prayers for you. I will listen to him with favor and excuse your folly in not speaking of me properly as my servant Job has done.' " It is not that Job knows the real answer. It is simply that he knows that the official theology has not found it. In the same way Ecclesiastes does not have the solution, but he likewise can recognize the bankruptcy of the classic position. In Eccl 7: 15 he says: "In this Heeling life of mine I have seen so much: the virtuous man perishing for all his virtue, for all his godlessness the godless living on." Then in 8: 11-14 there is an even better example of his argumentation. It is also a moot question whether the central section in 8: 12-13 is an act of blind faith despite all his experience or a somewhat sarcastic jibe at the official dogma, in the tradition of the Book of Jonah: "Since the sentence on wrong-doing is not carried out at once, man's inmost hearts are intent on doing wrong. The sinner who does wrong a hundred times survives even so. I know very well that happiness is reserved for those who fear God, because they fear him, that tbere will be no happiness for the wicked man and that he will only eke out his days


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like his shadow, because he does not fear God. But there is a vanity found on earth; the good, I mean, receive the treatment the wicked deserve; and the wicked the treatment the good deserve." It is of course true that much later the hook of Wisdom would offer a solution to this clash of opinion. But this does not effect the present point. Nobody considered it mandatory at that later phase to erase either of the earlier views. Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus on the one hand, and Job and Ecclesiastes on the other, were still allowed to stay together as witness to the fact that truth is found by a debate of different opinions and not by the prior deletion of any one of them. THE GOSPEL NARRATIVES

The point which we have tried to establish in the Old Testament receives its most striking confirmation from the New Testament itself. The climactic event of the entire biblical narrative, the one, unique Good News that God has permanently and abidingly revealed his being as love in Jesus, is told in four accounts, and not in one carefully integrated narration. These four analyses are not just one account told in ways differing only accidentally or linguistically. They are four views of the one historical event. Their differences arise not only from divergences in origin and audience: Jewish or Gentile, Greek or Roman; and not only from earlier or later moments of the early Church's historical experience. They arise as a new manifestation of the basic biblical intuition which we have been studying. It represents their belief that the full truth about Jesus Christ can only be told as a dia/ lectic of confessional commentary, as a clash of credal witness to the meaning of the Event of human history. A basic dialectic appears, for example, concerning eschatology, the hope of the future. The view of imminent apocalypse, that Jesus would soon return in triumphant majesty to end human , time, and the view of realized eschatology, that Christ's dwelling in his Church was what counted, are left to be read


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side by side and no reconciliation is effected within the New Testament pages. For illustration one single clash of theological opinion can be noted. This concerns the apostolic comprehension of Jesus' .being before the death and resurrection. Mk is extremely caustic on this subject. In 6: 52, after the walking on the wa· ters, he notes, "they were utterly and completely dum· founded, because they had not seen what the miracle of the loaves meant; their hearts were hardened." Later, in 8: 17, Jesus upbraids them on this same subject with, "Do you not yet understand? Have you no perception? Are your hearts hardened?" Mk uses the strong verb "to harden" for this state of apostolic incomprehension in both instances. This verb is used five times in the New Testament, and in the other three it refers to those of Israel whose hearts are hard· ened. In Jn 12: 40; Rom 11: 7; 2 Cor 3: 14 it is used for rooted opposition to truth. It is very interesting to see how the parallels to these statements in Matthew and Luke re· phrase the indictment. Mt. 14: 33 is the parallel for Mk 6: 52 Jo· and he changes their ignorance to an act of faith. When Jesus joined the disciples in the boat, "The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, 'Truly, you are the Son of God'" (Mt 14: 33). Lk does not mention this incident at all. The comment of Mk 8: 17 has its parallel in Mt 16: 5-12, but the precise accusation of Mk 8: 17 has absolutely no trace in Mt. Once again Lk 12: 1 has no parallel for the Marcon note of apostolic ignorance. After the second prophecy of the Passion in Mk 9: 30-31 the evangelist again records their misunderstanding. "But they did not understand what he said _and were afraid to ask him" (9: 32). The synoptic parallels to this prophecy appear in Mt. 17: 22-23a and Lk 9: 43-44. In this instance Mt 17: 23b says nothing of incomprehension but records instead, "And a great sadness came over them." But Lk 9: 45 has a better solution. He admits their ignorance this time but hints that it was a mystery in any case and so beyond all human comprehension. "But they did not understand him when he said this; it was hidden from them so


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that they should not see the meaning of it, and they were ./afraid to ask him about what he had just said." So Mk accuses them of culpable incomprehension, while Mt records instead their faith, and Lk admits their incomprehension but says it was inculpable since the mystery was hidden from them. This is but one very small instance of a dialectic between the three synoptic evangelists. Very often their agreement is itself in contrast with the Johannine tradition. But in any case, the greatest event of human history must be recorded not by one confession but by four credal interpretations. THE APOSTOLIC TENSIONS

I

The same phenomenon of dialectical analysis is found in the letters of the apostolic church. The almost classic example is the clash between certain teachings in the letters of Paul .. to the Galatians and the Romans and the general letter of James to all the church's Jewish Christian converts. Where <'Paul insists on faith as the basis of salvation, James insists on works. It has always been noted that essentially these two teachings could be brought to unity, since Paul did not mean faith without good works and James did not intend works devoid of faith. But no theological streamlining should be allowed to obscure the fact that this most essential doctrine of salvation is phrased as a clash of two opinions and not as one nicely rounded theology. The emphasis of Paul on faith appears primarily in Gal 3: 1-4,31 and Rom 3: 21-4: 25; while that of James on the value of works is reiterated in 1: 22-27 and 2: 10-26. But the dialectic between the two apostles finds its most acute manifestation in that both writers \use the Old Testament example of Abraham to make their points. In Gal 3: 6-9 Paul mentions the patriarch to argue: "Take Abraham for example: 'He put his faith in God, and this faith was considered as justifying him.' Don't you see that it is those who rely on faith who are the sons of Abraham? Scripture foresaw that God was going to use faith to justify the pagans, and proclaimed the Good News long ago ¡when Abraham was told: 'In you all the pagans will be


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blessed.' Those therefore who rely on faith receive the same blessing as Abraham, the man of faith.'' But James can quite deliberately use the same ancestral figure to maintain his own side of the controversy. In 2: 2-23 he argues: "Do realize, you senseless man, that faith without e:ood deeds is useless. You surelv . know that Ahraham our father was justified by his deed, because he 'offered his son Isaac on the altar'? There you see it: faith and deeds were working together; his faith became perfect by what he did. This is what scripture really means when it says: 'Abraham put his faith in God, and this was counted as making him justified'; and that is why he was called 'the friend of God.' " The two apostolic writers use the same Old Testament personage, and the same biblical citation from Gn 15: 6, "Abram put his faith in Yahweh, who counted this as making him justified," in order to support their different points of view. And in case this theoretical discord went unnoticed, the New Testament records another and more personal clash between Paul and James. On Paul's last visit to Jerusalem in Acts 21: 18-21 James upbraids him: "The next day Paul went with us to visit James, and all the elders were present. After greet路 ing them he gave a detailed account of all that God had done among the pagans through his ministry. They gave glory to God when they heard this. 'But you see, brother,' they said 'how thousands of Jews have now become believers, all of them staunch upholders of the Law, and they have heard that you instruct all Jews living among the pagans to break away from Moses, authorizing them not to circumcise their children or to follow the customary practices. What is to be done?" It is not claimed that these two positions are irrecon路 cilable. It is rather our point that the Bible was quite satisfied to leave them side by side together. It felt no impulse to reconciliation. It was courageous 路enough to trust history./ to find both reconciliation and truth. In reading through these random examples of the dialectical processes whereby God sent his biblical word to man路 kind, one question repeatedly asserts itself. If the word of ~


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God in the Bible came in and through a clash of human opinion, a tension of theological analysis within God's peo¡ pie, why are things so different today? Should not the word of God in his Church he found in the same way and through the same¡ processes?


The statements in the following test are to be marked true or false: 1. Everyone should be free to accept and profess that faith which his own conscience demands. 2. Men can save their souls in any religious group or ecclesial community. 3. It would not be good today to have Catholicism as a state religion. 4. Taking away political Overview, 2: theology power from the Church would -a talk given in Chicago greatly facilitate its freedom theology study days. to pursue its real mission. 5. The Roman Pontiff ought to reconcile himself with the progress, liberalism, and secu+ larity of the modern world. If you have judged most CHARLES R. MEYER of the statements to be true, consider yourself to be an up.+ to-date theologian, for many of these views have been espoused by Vatican II. But had you lived one hundred years ago, you would not have been in accord with the latest pronouncements of the magisterium unless you had marked every one of them false, for all of them were condemned by Pope Pius IX in his famous Syllabus of Errors (Dec. 8, 1864; DB 1715, 1716, 1776, 1777, 1780).

Overview

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Let us consider a few more magisterial pronouncements: l. "The Blood of Jesus Christ cries out against the Jews! Christians may not kill them: the divine law forbids this. But they should be made to wander homeless on the face of the earth until they are filled with shame, and are brought to confess the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord. How can Christian leaders aid or assist blasphemers of the name of Christ in oppressing the servants of the Lord? Should they not instead force them into servitude, into that slavery of which they made themselves deserving when they raised sacrilegious hands against Him who had come to confer true liberty upon them, and called down His Blood upon themselves and their children" (Innocent III, Bull "Ut esset Cain," Jan. 17, 1208, Potthast Register n. 3274). 2. The mayor or city council is hereby ordered to force all captured heretics to confess their crime and accuse all their accomplices. He shall do this by the application of such torture as will not imperil life or do permanent damage to limb" (Innocent IV, Bull "Ad extirpandus," May 15, 1252). 3. "Anyone pertinaciously presuming to defend the error that it is not sinful to take money for the loan of money is, we hereby decree, to be punished as a heretic would be punished" (Clement V, Constitution "Ex gravi ad nos," DB 479). 4. "The sun is the center about which the world revolves -This is a proposition foolish and absurd in philosophy and formally heretical inasmuch as it expressly contradicts the opinions found in Holy Scripture in many places according to the proper sense of the words and the common explanation and interpretation of the Holy Fathers and learned theologians" (Holy Office of the Inquisition, Condemnation of Galileo, 1616). 5. In the lands conquered by Alphonse, the King of Portugal, and the Enfante Henry (the Navigator) many people from Guinea as well as other Negroes are being held in captivity. Others too are being taken to these lands because they have been purchased as slaves either by legitimate contract or by an exchange of articles not considered contraband. A


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goodly number of these slaves have already been converted to the Catholic faith. So we hope that the divine clemency will prosper the continuation of this project until either the whole people is converted or at least many more souls be won for Christ. . . . But we have heard that some Christians are thwarting the efforts of t.l,e said King and his Enfante. . . by supplying contraband materials through which these en路 slaved peoples are able to become stronger and resist more fiercely. This, we declare, cannot be done without serious of. fense to God and grave insult to the whole of the Christian world. . . . Since we have granted with our Apostolic Au路 thority to Alphonse and his successors the right to invade, conquer, destroy, make war against and subjugate these lands and reduce their peoples to perpetual slavery . . . . we want it known that no other Christian has any right whatso路 ever without the permission of the said King to interfere in this project. . . . Should anyone do so, besides the penalties he might incur for giving arms to Mohammedans, he would fall automatically under the sentence of excommunication (Nicholas V, Bull "Romanus Pontifex," Jan. 1454, Bul路 lorum . . . . Taurinensis Edito, V, p. 111-115). Again, would some of the following ideas seem to be those of Hans Kiing, Edward Schillebeeckx, Karl Rahner, William DuBay, Charles Davis, or Robert Francoeur? l. The Christian is not bound to believe what is neither contained in the Bible, nor can be inferred by necessary and manifest consequence alone from things contained in the Bible. 2. Human authority is by no means to be relied on in those things which pertain to faith, because our faith is above the human intellect. 3. God is not the God of clerics alone, but also of laymen. 4. The papal office is not a dominium, but a ministerium. 5. The election of bishops, as a matter of fact, has become the prerogative of prelates; but this does not negate the orig. inal right of the community. No community should ever have a ruler imposed upon it against its will.


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6. It would be exceedingly dangerous to entrust our faith to the will of one man. 7. I say that the faithful of Christ are not slaves under the law, but free men through grace. 8. We have only one thing to fear: that the Lord will say to us "You have voided God's precept of love in keeping your traditions." It may come as a surprise that the first four statements were made by William of Ockham (ca. 1285·1347), the next two by Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly (1350·1420), the seventh by Dietrich of Niem (chancery official and intimate of several popes, ca. 1340·1418) and the last by Peter the Chanter (pro· fessor of theology at the Cathedral School of Paris, d. 1197). All of these men were considered good Catholics in the SO· called "Age of Faith." Obviously in presenting these texts I have tried to create an impression, an awareness of the fact that the Church of Christ, like the human beings who compose it, is an historical entity, one conditioned by the era in which it becomes con· scions of itself, and yet wide·open to self.transcendence. It is a living thing, so dependent upon its environment, yet capable of adaptation and evolution. THE CHURCH: AN HISTORICAL ENTITY

I must say that I was reared on the old.fashioned type of theology. As you read this paper, it may seem that I have abandoned it. Really I do not believe that I have. For as I understood it, this oJd.fashioned theology permitted its culti· vators to be what they had to be - historical beings; and it viewed itself as an historical phenomenon, subject to all the vagaries of historical entities. It allowed, I believe, for its own growth and development- even for total self.subver· sion, provided that better vehicles for the expression of the ever·valid mysteries of our faith could be found. It viewed the Church as a living organism, one capable of growing his· torically in self·consciousness as well as in dedication to its mission. That is why I think the ideas of Teilhard de Chardin,


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so influential in the development of modem theological trends, could have been formed from it, could have arisen at a time precisely when this kind of theology held sway and little else was known in Catholic circles. So too, the philoso· phy which served that theology and supplied it with an epis· temology spawned a Bernard Lonergan, whose views on the operation of the human mind have knocked out the seemingly permanent wedge driven by Descartes between the knower and the object known, the so-called subjective and objective elements in human knowledge, as well as an Emmanuel Mou· nier, whose personalist views jibe so much with the findings of modern psychology. The theology I learned not . only left room for its self. development, but even allowed for a correctly understood evolution of the treasure that it guarded and studied: dogma. To be sure, the First Vatican Council taught: "If anyone should say that it might happen that as science progresses, another sense might be attributed to dogma than that which the Church has meant and means, let him be anathema" (DB 1818). Without the theology we learned, this statement could easily be misinterpreted to mean that there cannot be any progress in the area of dogma at all, or that new senses or understandings of dogma cannot be forthcoming. But really, as the old theology taught, what is meant is that only those understandings of dogma that have been received in the Church or are being received in the Church are authentic; that there can be no development of dogma apart from development in the Church itself. The fact that not only the past tense of the verb is used in the definition but also the present eminently provides for some kind of development, but of course not apart from the Church. If no development at all were possible, the Church would cease to be an his· torical reality, the Fathers' interpretation of the parable of the mustard seed would be denied, Pius XII would never have been able to say as he did in a talk given to Roman stu· dents in 1939: "We thoroughly approve and recommend that the ancient wisdom be brought into accord, if need be, with


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the new discoveries of scholarship;" or again in his encyclical H umani generis: "Each source of divinely revealed doctrine contains so many rich treasures of truth that they can never be exhausted" ( DS 3886) _ THEOLOGY IN A TEST TUBE

Respect for the creatiVIty inherent in the old theology is evidenced by such modern writers as Karl Rahner when he states: "The fact that the textbooks we used were so little alive, proclaimed and witnessed so little, is not due to the superabundance of scholastic and scientific theology in them, but because they offer too little of it, precisely because as relics of the past they were unable to preserve the past in its purity. For the past can be preserved in its purity only by someone who accepts responsibility for the future" ( Theological lnvestigmions, I, p. 7). The very essence of the old theology is captured by Gerald van Ackeren when in his article on the subject in the New Cmholic Encyclopedia he describes it as "the ferment within tradition where both laity and clergy reflect on the truths of revelation as they have been progressively understood in the Church in order to achieve under the guidance of the magisterium an understanding that is fuller, more accurate and more suited to the current age" (XIV, p. 40). Of course there can be no doubt that the old-fashioned theology, so full of possibilities, suffered in the way it was presented from what Dewart might describe as a lack of development. It grew less and less relevant to life as it was actually being experienced. What was emphasized in it by its exponents were those of its many facets which seemed incapable of growth and development. A kind of photo-finish mentality governed theological methodology. For the sake of clarity action had to be stopped. What was eventually inculcated in the unsuspecting student was that the picture was better than the reality. We actually came to believe that it is a more real and beter thing to look at the photo of the finish of a race in the morning paper than to go to the track.


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To borrow an illustration from another field, it was thought pedagogically better to learn medicine from the study of cadavers than from living human beings. And in the course of time, obviously, the science of medicine came to be identi· lied with the study of cadavers. It was men like MQrtimer Adler who pointed out the di· vorce between Catholic philosophy· and theology and real life. Catholic theology had become a kind of gnosis, perfectly logical and consistent in itself and patently intelligible to the initiated; irrefutable on its own terms; beautiful in the test tube, but isolated from human life as it has actually de· veloped during the past 50 years. I am trying to use the science of history to give a clearer view of the problem. We can see history simply as events, facts, res gestae: unchangeable, absolute, objective. Or, we can look upon history as an understanding, meaning, and sig· nificance that man gives to these events; thus history becomes something that is capable of development, growth, enrich· ment, and application to the current scene. These two views are actually so different that the German language has two different words to express them. The first view (which of course can only be seen as an ideal since it is absolutely impossible to recreate the past in its concrete actuality) was that of the Greeks about history: to be comprehended, reality must be seen as static and unchanging; life must be stopped to be examined and understood objectively. The second view is that of the modern historian: what happened in the past is unimportant just as fact; to be seen as significant, as worth the time spent in investigating it, it must have some meaning for the present and for the future. Like man himself, the past must be open to possibilities of development, to an infinite variety of interpretations, to unlimited significance. As bare fact, it cannot; as meaningful fact, it can. What is true in the area of history can be applied to human endeavor generally. Man simply cannot be limited in his ability to give new meaning to reality, to upend it, con· quer it, and use it. This is by no means a new view of man,


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though it is the very basis of existentialism. It is the one re· vealed in Genesis when Adam was invited by God to name the beasts, and to become the master of creation. To be sure this view was once lost. But it is being regained. There was a guy who said: "The sky's the limit." Today Pan-Am says: "The sky is not the limit." Strangely, both statements are true enough in context. MEANING AND REALITY

Bernard Lonergan, considering data supplied by psycholo· gists, states that human infancy is characterized by a pre· occupation with reality over meaning; that meaning for the infant is sought through the medium of contacting reality. But for the adult there is a reversal. The adnlt seeks to know the world beyond immediate experience. And here reality must be mediated by meaning. I know that the water at the North Pole is frozen because through scientific induction I have attached a certain meaning to water. For the adult reality is comprehensible only in terms of meaning; reality has to be sought in meaning. What has no meaning non· plusses the adult; he cannot comprehend it, real though it may be. Just think of the Picasso masterpiece in Chicago and the stir it has caused. It is big and real enough. What does it mean? The Greek world was that of philosophical and theological infancy. The modem world is one come of age. For the Greeks what was important was static and fixed real· ity to be given a meaning; for the modern world what is important is an ever deepening meaningfulness whereby re· ality is linked to man. The Greek world emphasized the total achievement that is man, man as object, man so perfect, man so mysterious and yet so understandable, man in whose image the gods were made. The modem world emphasizes the possibility of transcendence that is man, man as subject, so perfectible, so incomprehensible, man made in the image of God. Today it is understood more than ever that in every period of history man has been the measure of theology. Theology has responded to human needs. It has always been anthropo·


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tropic. Trinitarian doctrine, for instance, to put It m an admittedly oversimplified way, developed in the womb of the Gnostic world of the middle east and northern Africa; that of the Incarnation in the nee-Platonist dualism of the Greek empire, and so forth. If this is true, and historically it seems to be, then what should today's theology be like? What nrc the human needs of our time and culture? What areas of theology need to be developed and expanded to help man in his situation today? Tragically enough, formal scientific theology, the kind of theology we learned, has no acceptable answers to these questions. So some have concluded that God is dead. But fortunately, there is another type of theology, what I might term a larval theology, a theology which re¡ ceived its being from the past, but is developing into some¡ thing real and alive for the future. This theology could also be called an anonymous theology, a theology disguised, made more human, more real, more respondent, more relevant to human life as it exists today. Our culture has been too much conditioned by theology, too much involved with theology, too dependent upon theology for its existence, to have completely abandoned it. Theology has just been displaced into other areas of human concern than formally religious ones. It is developing in surrogate wombs, those of psychology, of existentialism, of per¡ sonalism, of empiricism. Here is theology in a much more palatable form for modern man. This is, I believe what modem literature is telling us. Look at Eliot's Cocktail Party where the psychiatrist is obviously a substitute for the priest, and where the happening itself is a substitute for liturgy. Consider today's craze and craving for psychedelic adventure. Here there is objectified the thirst of the modern world for an authentic new spirituality and a new revelation. On a more theoretical level think about one of Freud's greatest contributions to modem psychol-analytic dogma- the idea of transference, the idea that when two or more persons are thrown together in an intimate relationship there is a brushing off through introjection and projection of the personal


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traits of one upon the other. Could it be that this is only a disguised, and therefore more acceptable, form of what we have been trying to sell as the dogmas of the Incarnation and the grace life of man? It is the task of the theologian today to extricate and ex¡ plicitate this larval theology which seems to be so relevant to our culture, to validate it in terms of the past, to describe it in more meaningful words, and to hand it on for further modification and development to the researchers of the fu. lure. It is, to be sure, a difficult and, at times, a seemingly impossible task. But who would be a modem theologian worthy of the name and conscious of what happened in the Incarnation who would set a limit upon man's possibilities for self-transcendence?


According to Time (10/13/ 67) Catholics are confessing less these days hut profiting from it more. The articie confirmed what priests them· selves have noticed- that the number of confessions they • hear has been falling off. One Pennsylvania pastor estimates that the use of the confessional is down about one· third. At the same time many renewal minded Catholics are approaching the confessional in a more meaningful way. They no longer view the sacrament as a mechanical means of cleansing their souls but Overview, 3: sacraments as a life-giving encounter -a talk given in Chicago with a forgiving God. That theology study days. final phrase epitomizes rather well an important develop· men! that has occurred in sac· + ramental theology in recent years. GEORGE J. DYER If we are to speak of the past and present of sacramen+ tal theology a good point of reference might be the two Catholic encyclopedias that have been produced in this country- the one in 1912 the other just this past year. In the old encyclopedia the sacraments are discussed in a way familiar to anyone who has ever taken the course De Sacramentis; the tractate is neatly compart· mentalized into "nature, origin, necessity, number, minister,

tn

Sacramental

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effects and recipient." The categories and the language too have a congenial ring for the older priest. The new encyclopedia, on the other hand, may leave us somewhat ill-at-ease; there are new terms, phrases, categories: "the worshipping Church, the Church as sacrament, sacraments as encounter." What has happened in the period between the two encyclo· pedias is really an old story in the history of theology - a new emphasis to meet the needs of a new age. To illustrate this point we might consider the phrase "sacraments as en· counter." THE DISCOVERY OF ~'THE PERSON"

Encoumer IS a word with obviously personalized overtones, for it denotes a meeting face-to-face. Its incorporation into sacramental theology is witness to the influence that personal· ist philosophy is wielding in our age. Personalism is hardly new, of course; it has its roots in Kierkegaard who lived a century ago. But only recently has it found a point of inser· tion into an entire culture. For personalism is the antithesis of the collectivist madness that overtook Europe in the "thir· ties" and "forties." Collectivism found its most extreme ex· pression in Nazism and Fascism- the totalitarianism that completely submerged the person as it glorified the state. The horror that collectivism unleashed on the world is something that every American experienced to some degree; there were few who did not lose a relative or friend in the Second World War. None of us, however, had the European experience: the firestorms that swept Dresden and Hamburg, the concentration camps that dehumanized millions, the hun· ger and homelessness that settled on a devastated land. Per· sonalism took root as never before in that bloodied soil and flowered in a way that profoundly affected the culture of Europe and the world in its art, its theatre, its literature. Personalism has many forms; it can be found in the atheist Jean Paul Sartre and the Catholic Gabriel Marcel, with ohvi· ous differences. But wherever it appears there is heavy emphasis upon the value of the person. Catholic theologians on the continent were moved by the


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same forces that touched their countrymen: Rahner and Semmelroth in Germany, Schilleheeckx in Holland, Congar and DeLuhac in France. And these were the men who began to reshape sacramental theology. Their response was in the tradition of a long history of Catholic theology. A new generation was living in Europe, one that was sensitive to the values of personalism; and the Catholic theologians of the continent responded to these values by speaking of the sacraments in a way that would make them intelligible and important to their contemporaries. As we might expect, the Anglo-Saxon world responded more slowly. A massive work De Sacramentis by Emmanuel Doronzo began to appear in America in 1945. Its first volume still reflected the thomistic pattern of the old Catholic Encycolopedia. But a new generation was growing up in America, and it too was strongly influenced by the re-discovery of the person. It is in response to their needs that a personalist dimension has entered sacramental theology. SACRAMENTS AS ENCOUNTER

As it is presented by Schillebeeckx, for instance, sacramental theology is rooted in the fact of our faith that God has come to us in Christ. The Incarnation, God's coming to us in Christ, is rooted in a long period of preparation. Israel's history is the history of God's desire for a personal relationship, a communion, between himself and the human race. Even in the face of defiance and betrayal God undertook to create a relationship with the race, a covenant, that would never be soiled by human infidelity. This relationship, this new convenant, is Jesus Christ himself, for he embodies this loving dialogue between God and man. Since the Ascension, of course, we are out of ordinary contact with Christ; Christian life is now a state of waiting for the risen Christ. That we wait at all, Schillebeeckx points out, makes sense only because we still enjoy a certain contact with Christ. This contact takes place not only through our memories and our faith in his invisible activity, but most especially through


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the Church. For the Church is the continuing presence of Christ in history. As Christ is the visible manifestation of the living God, so the Church is the visible manifestation of Christ in the world. The Church is Christ, sacramentally, and the Church's of. ficial actions- the sacraments- are Christ's own actions. They are Christ's gesture of love redeeming and sanctifying, reappearing in the setting of the Church, touching each one of us personally and palpably. Nor are they isolated from the rest of our life which is either a preparation for or a dissipation of our sacramental behavior. In the sacramental event, therefore, we have two elements- the visible manifestation of Christ's will to redeem and to sanctify and the visible manifestation of our plea for redemption and sancti¡ fication. Just how striking a change in stress has taken place in this view of the sacraments may be seen by a glance at the old Catholic Encyclopedia. Here man's role in the sacraments is discussed under the heading, the "recipient of the sacrament" a telling phrase that speaks a view of man as passive, nearly inert. What is required of man is his intent to submit him. self to the ex opere operata effect of the sacrament. In the newer view of the sacraments man's intention is seen as his plea for redemption, visibly manifested. When this plea meets Christ's visible response in the sacrament we have the moment of encounter. THE FATHERS, SCHOLASTICS, AND TRENT

The present stress in sacramental theology is not new in the Church. Augustine strongly emphasized the role of our faith in the sacramental event, and the Augustinian stress can be found in St. Thomas. At the time of the Reformation, however, Protestant theologians denied that the sacraments did more than symbolize God's grace; the role of personal faith was seen to be the only effective factor in the reception of the sacraments. The Fathers of Trent responded by defin. ing the ex opere operato efficacy of the sacraments; and for


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centuries afterwards Catholic theologians were a bit gun·shy about describing man's role in the sacramental event. The pendulum swung so far away from the Reformers that sacra· ments were sometimes viewed as grace machines producing their effect with little involvement on the part of man. If this description seems a bit of an exaggeration, my own experi· ence nevertheless tends to confirm it. I recall writing an essay on the sacraments my first year in the seminary in which I saw the sacraments as a sort of supernatural service station with seven pumps. Strangely enough the idea did not seem incongruous at the time even after years in Catholic grade school and high school. If I have spent more time on the genesis of the new sacra· mental theology than seems warranted, it was not entirely without purpose. For it seems to me that it is precisely in the area of sacramental theology that theologians have been engaged in their central enterprise- speaking meaningfully about Christ to contemporary man. Every age in the long history of the Church has developed its own theology; we find this happening in the patristic period, among the scho· lastics, and at Trent. Somehow, and theologians are the first to admit it, more recent generations of theologians have failed at this perennial task. The theology of the post· tridentine baroque period is not significantly different from that of the "forties" and "fifties" of our own century. Yet western man went through a cultural revolution in those years. If we have difficulty reading patristic texts, we have some idea of the problem western man has in understand· ing our theological language. The fathers responded superbly to the values of their own age, but those values are not ours and their theology seems alien to us. Our contemporaries too have their values and it is a large part of the theologian's work to create a theology that is sensitive to our culture. It is at this point that contemporary sacramental theology seems to be making its greatest contribution -the building of a bridge between the values of our civilization and the content of the Christian message.


AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE

Dominic Crossan, O.S.M. is a professor of Scripture at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. George J. Dyer is the Dean of the School of Theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois and Editor of CHICAGO STUDIES. George K. Malone is a professor of fundamental theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. Charles R. Meyer is a professor of systematic theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. Thomas N. Munson, S.J.: Calvert House (University of Chicago; doctorate in philosophy from Louvain; teaches philosophy at De Paul University, Chicago. Edmund J. Siedlecki is a professor of liturgy at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Niles, Illinois.

335


INDEX TO VOLUME

Collins, Joseph D.,

6

(1967)

"THE STRANGE WoRLD OF

FATHER TEILHARo"? --------------------------- 39 BIBLICAL TRUTH IN

Crossan, Dominic,

DIALECTICAL ANALYSIS ------------------------297

Dedek, John F., THE NEW MoRAUTY, CATHOLIC 5TYLE ____ ll5 Dyer, George J., CREATION IN A DoUBLE PERSPECTIVE____ 3 Dyer, George/., A NEw EMPHASIS IN SACRAMENTAL THEOLOGY-----------------------------------327

Dyer, George /., THE THEOLOGY OF DEATH ____________ 275 Gaffney, /ames, WILLIAM JAMES ON THE VIRTUES OF WAR- 27 Kiesling, Christopher, DEWART ON FAITH--------------127 Kreyche, Gerald F., PHILOSOPHY AND CoNTEMPORARY MAN 155 Lay,Thomas,CONTEMPORARYIMAGESFOR CONTEMPORARY PREACHERS--------------------- 67

Malone, George K., AcADEMIC FREEDOM AND APOLOGETICS 169 Malone, George K., THE CHURCH; ORGANIZATION AND

STRUCTURE------------------------------245

Meyer, Charles R.,

SIGNS OF THE TIMEs;

A THEOLOGICAL OVERVIEW ----------------------317

Meyer, Charles R.,

THE STATUS OF EucHARISTIC THEORY ToDAY _______________________________ 55

Reicher, Robert A.,

CoLLECTIVE BARGAINING AND CHURCH·RELATED INSTITUTIONS __________________ 207

Sarno, Ronald A.,

SoME REFLECTIONS ON CHURCH CENSORSHIP ___________________________ l07

Munson, Thomas N.,

MARXISM ATHEISM: A REFLECTION IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION ________________ 259

Siedlecki, Edmund /.,

LITURGICAL REFORM;

DIAGNOSIS AND PROGNOSIS-----------------------227 Stevens, Clifford, PoRTRAIT oF A CoNTEMPLATIVE _______ l99

Weber, Gerard P., PASTORAL CATECHETics _____________ 187 Wojcik, Richard/., THE NEw DESIGN OF LITURGICAL Music

-------------------------------------139 Vincent A., THE CHALLENGE TO CHANGE ______ 75

Yzermans, Zogby, Edward G.,

VATICAN

II,

THE ANAWIM

AND CHRISTIAN HoLINESS----------------------- 87

333