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William P. LeSaint, S.J. Thomas B. McDonough George K. :Malone Charles R. Meyer Gerald T. O'Brien Joseph J. O'Brien Robert A. Reicher Richard F. Schroeder Edward J. Stokes, S.J. Thomas F. Sullivan

CHICAGO STUDIES is edited by the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary and the priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago for t.he continuing education of the clergy. The editors welcome' articles and letters likely to be of interest to our readers. All communications regarding articles and editorial policy should be addressed to the editors. Subscriptions should be sent to CHICAGO STUDIES, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Subscription rates: $5.00 a year, $9.00 for two years, $16.00 for four years; Foreign subscribers: add 50c per year. CHICAGO STUDIES is published three times a year with ecclesiastical permission and copyright, 1971, by Civitas Dei Foundation, Box 665, 111undelein, Illinois 60060. Third Class postage paid at St. Meinrad, Ind. Views expressed in the articles are those of the respective authors and not necessarily those of thC 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, Michigan 48106. Manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by self addressed stamped envelope.


FALL, 1971




Norbert J. Rigali



Jack L. Stotts



Jared Wicks, S.J.



Jo.<eph A. Bracken, S.J.


Myra Lambert, sscm, and William J. Shields



George J. Dyer



John F. Dedek









Norbert J. Rigali

On Christian Ethics Does Christianity have anything to add to a "natural ethics?" The author explores a pivotal issue of the christian life.

Contemporary theological thought has been moving toward the position that there is no distinctively Christian ethics. The impulses generating this movement are diverse, and demythologizing and secularizing trends are probably the most obvious ones. One of numerous examples of the movement can be read in James F. Bresnahan's interpretation of "Rahner's Christian Ethics" in the special issue of America devoted to the German theologian (October 31, 1970). From Rahner's transcendental philosophical anthropology, mediated by his doctrines of the "supernatural existential" and "anonymous (or implicit) Christianity," Bresnahan concludes to a certain nondistinctiveness of Christian ethics. The nature of man, unlike that of things, includes both "essence" as the "limits and directions" of freedom and "personhood" as "the capacity to be.¡a self-aware and free, self-disposing 'subject.' " The will of God that all men be offered salvation in Christ has its created consequence (the supernatural existential) in eveiy 227



man and affects conscious subjectivity. "Man's conscious selfawareness and self-disposal involve, therefore, a universally experienced directedness toward the God who is offering himself in intimacy to man," but a person outside the Christian community "may be only implicitly aware of this directedness." Inasmuch as the supernatural existential is an implicit awareness of this directedness, it is the condition of the possibility of being a Christian "anonymously," that is, of accepting "God's self-offer" in some way other than in its "objective" revelation in Jesus. Bresnahan's conclusion from these Rahnerian philosophical and theological reflections is that "an ethics which consciously employs the resources of Christian revelation, the 'objectification' in Jesus Christ of what every man experiences of himself in his 'subjectivity,' does not and cannot add to human ethical self-understanding as such any material content that is, in principle, 'strange' or 'foreign' to man as he exists and experiences himself in this world." But, as it stands, this ethical inference is hardly cogent. Let it be granted that the subjectivity of all men, Ch,;stian and non-Christian alike, is constituted in salvation-history as a tendency toward the God who offers himself in intimacy; and likewise granted that everyone also derives from the universally salvific divine will-in classical terminology-sufficient grace to accept the self-offer of God. Nevertheless, it is still not evident that the Christian experiences his subjectivity inasmuch as it is directed toward him.â&#x20AC;˘elf and his fellowmen in a way that is essentially identical with that of the nonChristian. It is, however, precisely this identity in the subjectivity of all men with regard to themselves and others that must be presupposed before one can infer an identity of morality and ethics for Christian and non-Christian. For what morality and ethics immediately entail are men's relations to themselves and their fellowmen. Furthermore, the premises of Bresnahan's ethical position can just as easily support its counter-position. Because only the Christian, one could argue, unlike the non-Christian, receives God's self-offer through his "objective" Word, which is the man Jesus-his teachings, his deeds, his life, his history-



only the Christian is called to respond to the divine self-offer in terms of and in dialogue with the "objective" content of Jesus' teachings and deeds. Christians, therefore, must take into account the possibility that at least some of Jesus' moral teachings may apply only to themselves and, moreover, the possibility that they alone may be called to special morality, for instance, an imitation-of-Christ morality. The point here is neither to defend nor even to propose the counter-position. It is simply that this counter-position flows as readily from Bresnahan's premises as does his own position. Or, in other words, the leap from Rahner's transcendental anthropology through his conception of "anonymous Christianity" to the position that Christian ethics is really anonymous human ethics is gratuitous; the leaper can just as easily land in a directly opposite position. A PROBLEM WITH ANONYMOUS CHRISTIANITY?

All that has just been said notwithstanding, it seems that there is a profound truth in Bresnahan's argument and that the deficiency of the argument lies more on Rahner's side than ¡ on Bresnahan's. The t¡eal fault underlying the argument is Rahnet¡'s conception of "anonymous Christianity" (which is derived from a similarly inadequate notion of the "supernatural existential"). Indeed, if one has established that all men are called at least to a life that is authentically "anonymous Christianity," then the human life and particular human acts which the anonymous Christian is supposed to realize in himself are indeed an anonymous Christian life and anonymous Christian acts. And this fact, looked at from the standpoint of the explicitly Christian life, would imply that Christian ethics cannot add to human ethical self-understanding any material content that is foreign to man as he experiences himself in this world. Or in other words, Christian ethics is really anonymous human ethics; that is, under the name andjor formality of Christianity it treats of human acts in relation to the fulfillment of man as he actually and historically exists and experiences himself in this world. In a word, if Rahner's conception of "anonymous Christianity" really referred to a reality that could be fittingly so designated, Bresnahan's argu-



ment would have succeeded rather than failed. But Rahner's "anonymous Christianity" does not do this. Developed within the limited and basically individualistic. context of his early transcendental philosophy and unaffected (in contrast to many reflections of "the later Raimer") by the influence of process-philosophy, Rahner's notion of "anonymous Christianity" reflects its author's concern for and personal practice of dialogue with atheists. In his "Atheism and Implicit Christianity (Theology Digest, Sesquicentennial Issue, 1968, p. 51) Rahner states that his purpose is "to see how it is actually possible that there be a guiltless as well as a guilty atheism" and "to show that a guiltless atheism by no means rlestroys every real and fundamental relationship to God in a person" since a man's basic relationship to God is Hconstituted by his transcendental openness to God and this is always given." Rahner argues that "a guiltless, categorical atheism can be a transcendental theism" and that in the concrete order "this theism has been elevated by supernatural grace because of God's universally salvific will." The "transcendentality that belongs to man's essence, at least when it is freely accepted, has been orientated by grace to the God of eternal life." This free acceptance, then, of his transcendentality is for man an acceptance of "a divine offer of supernatural grace" and "takes place through a moral decision of absolute fidelity to one's conscience, through a good life, and so on." Thus, with the help of transcendental philosophy Rahner shows how an atheist can be an "implicit Christian," that is, how he can possess traditionally conceived "supernatural grace" and be "orientated by grace to the God of eternal life." "(A) good life" is seen in this context as a means, medium or condition for the atheist's receiving this grace. One need not dispute the content of what Rahner is saying in order to contend that the ¡individualistic phenomenon that he is describing does not deserve the name of Christianity, even when qualified as implicit. For the essence of Christianity is not simply an individual's supernatural relation and union with "the God of eternal life." Christianity is essentially both God and people, community, and it is no more conceivable without people than it is without God. Platonic con-



templation of the Good, Plotinian mysticism and similar experiences are a matter solely between an individual and the Absolute, but Christianity is different. The being of man is contingent, and God alone exists a se; but, if there is to be a Christianity, people are as necessary to it as is God. Therefore, when one is describing the implicit personal relation of an individual to God, one may be truthfully describing a reality, but not a reality that may without further ado be designated as "Christianity" of any sort. One can only employ the category "implicit Christianity" legitimately if one has in mind, besides an anonymous personal relation of the nonChristian with God, a relation to people which is anonymously identical with that of the authentic Christian. To designate a non-Christian's implicit 1¡elation to the transcendent God as "implicit Christianity" rather than as one dimension or an aspect of implicit Christianity is to incline toward the error that a partial truth is the whole truth and to risk distorting Christianity so that it appears to be, like mysticism and differing only qualitatively from it, essentially nothing more than a union of the individual with God. A PROBLEM WITH THE "SUPERNATURAL EXISTENTIAL"

As Bresnahan's ethical argument indicates, Rahner's conception of "anonymous Christianity" presupposes his notion of the "supernatural existential." The same criticism must be directed against the latter idea that was just made with regard to the former: Rahner's "supernatural existential" reflects the individualistic bias of the transcendental philosophical anthropology in which this theological notion is rooted. If Christianity is not merely a relation between an individual and God, one has not yet uncovered the "supernatural existential" which is compatible with Christianity, when one finds in all men a created consequence of God's universal salvific will, which consequence affects conscious subjectivity and brings about an experienced directedness toward the God who is offering himself in intimacy to man. If people are as necessary to Christianity as God, thls experienced orientation of man toward the God who offers himself can be, not the supernatural existential, but only a dimension or partial aspect of



it. The only supernatural existential which can correspond to Christianity is an experienced orientation toward the selfoffer of God which is inseparably also an experienc~ categorical imperative to offer oneself to others. For Christianity is not only a matter of people as well as God; it is precisely a religion of divine revelation in the world and history, a religion which teaches that he who tries to receive God's selfoffer without offering himself to his neighbor, who tries to love God without loving his neighbor, is attempting the impossible. As has been seen, Bresnahan wished to draw from Rahnet¡'s thought the conclusion that Christian ethics cannot add to man's moral understanding of himself any material content that is foreign to man as he experiences himself in this world. But to do this, Bresnahan actually restricted his purview to Rahner's individualistically biased transcendental anthropology and to theological notions that are immediately related to this philosophy and embody its bias. But this restriction was neither necessary nor helpful. For one can also find in Rahner, especially "the later Rahner," elements of an anthropology of greater social consciousness and more conducive to Bresnahan's conclusion than Rahner's early "transcendental Thomism." To prescind from the transformation of Rahner's thought through influences such as his more recent concern with eschatology, there was a point at which Rahner's transcendental anthropology transcended itself and resulted in a kind of personalism. This point was reached when Rahner applied his transcendental method to the phenomenon of love. He found that "the act of personal love for a human Thou is the comprehensive act of man that gives meaning, direction, and value to all others" ("The Unity of Love of God and Love of Neighbor," Theology Digest 15 (1967), 90). For if this love is authentic or "attains its proper being," it is so caught up by God's grace in the actual order of salvation that "it is also charity toward God-whether or not one reflects on this as such" (89). Moreover, such love is "the only categorical and primary act in which man reaches the categorically given whole of reality, actualizes himself in a totally correct manner with t¡egard to it, and therein comes to the transcendental and immediate experience to God (92). Thus, even if such love




appears prima facie to be devoted only to another individual, it actually encompasses all of reality and "the primordial totality, God" ("lgnatianische Frommigkeit und Herz-Jesu-Verehrung," Sendung und Gnade: Beitrdge zur Pastoraltheologie [Innsbruck, 1959], pp. 534f.) Indeed, it is "the birth of the true and definite individuality" of a person, which is not mere oneness but an image of the uniqueness of the Divine Persons (536) . . Consequently, instead of being one human act beside others, love for the neighbor is for man "the totality of his life"; it is "man himself in his total actuality" (The Unity of Love, 91). The love of neighbor is not only the basic primary act of man but also the pâ&#x20AC;˘ÂˇimanJ act of love for God, "which unthematically, but really and always intends God in Supernatural transcendentality" (92 f.). The thematic religious act, in which God is represented conceptually, "is and remains secondary." It follows, of course, that "loving communication with a human Thou" is both the one basic moral act and "the basis and the quintessence of morality" (92, 90). THE QUINTESSENCE OF MORALITY

In this incipient personalism one can discover the basis of a supernatural existential and an anonymous Christianity which adequately correspond to Christianity. For, authentic Jove for a human Thou is (1) the primary act of Jove of God, the supernaturally graced, unthematic response to God; (2) the allencompassing act in which the integral self is actuated authentically in relation to the whole of reality; (3) the achievement of genuine individuality or personhood in the image of the Divine Persons. Conversely, man's existential orientation in this world toward self-fulfillment or authentic personhood is a "supernatural existential" directing him unthematically toward the God who offers himself in intimacy; directing him toward not only a human Thou but also toward the recognition of the Thou in every man; directing him indeed toward relating himself authentically to "the categorically given \vhole of reality," which appears as a comprehensive, meaningful unity only through Jove; directing him toward the realization of his own personhood or person-in-act, which will be in fact an image of



the personhood and individuality of the Divine Persons. These directions, then, are so many aspects of one supernatural existential. It is man's existential orientation toward Being, not only toward the Transcendence who freely offers himself unthematically, but also toward the immanence of "the categorically given whole of reality," which has its ground in Transcendence and indeed is the condition of the possibility of the unthematic self-offer of Transcendence. Quite the opposite of being separated or separable from an individual's relation to others and the world, the unthematical experience of God's selfoffer is identically one with man's thematic experience of himse If-with -others-in-this-world. Because the supematural existential refers an individual not only to the God who offers himself in love but also toward the neighbor to be loved and toward human union in love, it creates the possibility of an authentic implicit Christianity, one in which a person freely accepts in their indivisible unity both God's offer of himself and the categorical imperative to offer oneself in turn to the human other. Since, moreover, on this view, love for the human Thou is "the comprehensive act of man that gives meaning, direction and value to all others" and the basic act in which a man achieves his personhood and relates himself in a "totally correct" way to the whole of reality, love for the human other is "the basis" of morality. And because this love is not simply one human act beside others but "the totality" of man's life or "man himself in his total actuality," it is also "the quintessence of morality." Finally, because this love is in the actual order of salvation, for Christian and non-Christian alike, "also charity toward God," the primary act of love of God, which, even if only unthematically, "really and always intends God in supernatural transcendentality," the basis and the quintessence of morality, caught up in "supernatural transcenctentality," are identical for both Christian and non-Christian. There cannot be, therefore, the dichotomy of a natural morality and a supernatural one. Thus, on this view, one must infer that an ethics which employs the resources of Christian revelation cannot actct to human ethical self-understanding any material content



that is foreign to man as he exists and experiences himself ¡authentically in this world. CURRAN: A CHRISTIAN ETHIC?

Taking as his point of departure the question "Is There a Distinctively Christian Social Ethic?" (in Metropolis: Christian Presence and Responsibility, ed. by Philip D. Morris, Notre Dame, 1970), Charles E. Curran also denies the existence of a distinctively Christian ethic. Curran understands his thesis in the sense that "the Christian and the explicitly non-Christian can and do arrive at the same ethical conclusions and can and do share the same general ethical attitudes, dispositions and goals" (114). Curran's denial of a distinctively Christian ethic is balanced by his assertion that the "explicitly Christian consciousness does affect the judgment of the Christian and the way in which he makes his ethical judgments." It is, however, not Curran's purpose to explain how Christian consciousness affects the judgment of the Christian. Such explanation along with that of the relation between this assertion and his main thesis is left an open question. His intention is to deny the existence of a specifically Christian ethic in this nuanced sense. Like Bresnahan, Curran also seeks support for his thesis in Rahner's individualistic notion of the "anonymous Christian." But for Curran this support is really only incidental. What is essential is the traditional theological notion that "somehow God, other than through contact with the historical Jesus, does offer his saving love to all men" (110 f.)-whether God's offer is made according to the way of Rahner's "anonymous Christian" or otherwise. The second basis of Curran's thesis is the way in which contemporary theology views the reality of the world. The world can no longer be viewed "merely in terms of the natural as totally distinct from the realm of the supernatural"; for "the world is not just the area of the natural but the world embraces all the different aspects of the Christian mystery---ereation, ¡sin, incarnation, redemption and resurrection destiny" (111 f.). Thirdly, creation and redemption in contemporary theology are not "totally separated"; on the contrary, "redemption



brings creation to its final fulfillment," and "the Christian brings the human to its own perfection" ( 113). These three areas of theological reflection, together with the fact that history and experience do not verify the claim that there is a distinctively Christian ethic (95), are the foundations of Curran's contention that there is no such ethic. Fm-ther supports for Curran's thesis could be gathered from other areas of contemporary dogmatic theology, for example, from the changed view of the Church and its relation to the world which has emerged in the thought of Vatican II, Baum, McBrien, Rahner, Schillebeeckx, Metz, etc. But, instead, what follo\vs is an attempt to contribute toward the clarification of the question of Christian ethics. What can it mean to say with Curran that the "explicitly Christian consciousness does affect the judgment of the Christian and the way in which he makes his ethical judgments"? For Curran this assertion does not mean that Christians arrive at different "ethical conclusions" ("ethical decisions about particular matters") or have different "proximate ethical attitudes, goals and dispositions" (e.g., "self-sacrificing love, freedom, hope, concern for the neighbor in need or even the realization that one finds his life only in losing it") from those of nonChristians. As has been seen ah¡eady, Curran's thesis means precisely the opposite. But at this point, it seems, a qualification should be added. NEED FOR A PERSONAL THESIS

Rahner has drawn attention to the need for an existential or personal ethics (Existentialethik, Individualethik), which is "a necessary complement" to but not a substitute for ethics in its classical form, essential ethics (Essenzethik). For "a man's moral behaviour is not merely an 'instance' of a general, essential moral norm but the realization of himself in his unique individuality and this fact can and must be systematically investigated" (Karl Rahner and Herbert Vorgrimler, Theological Dictionary, New York, 1965, 160). And "this positively individual element in the moral action" as individual must be considered capable of being "the object of a binding will of God"



since it would be absurd to think that God's binding will could be directed to the human act simply as a realization of a universal nature and not also as positive uniqueness ("On the Question of a Formal Existential Ethics," Theological Investigations II, 227 f.). There is, then, "an individual ethical reality of a positive kind which is untranslatable into a material universal ethics; there is a binding ethical uniqueness" (229). Accordingly, there must be a formal ethic of individuality. In his own kind of existential ethics Kierkegaard cited Abraham's being bidden to sacrifice Isaac and his decision to obey as a paradigm of the existential imperative and decision. The divine imperative touches Abraham precisely as Abraham. But if the divine imperative can be directed to an Abraham in an explicitly theistic way, it can also be directed to another individual anonymously, in an implicitly theistic mode. At least, this is the case if Rahner's previously discussed notions of the supernatural existential and the unity of love are true. A man's transcendence toward the Absolute is the condition of the possibility of the uniqueness of individuality. By transcendence a man's existence is established before the Absolute, in radical differentiation from the being of things, as the selfpresence-in-the-world and the freedom which are the power to clispose of oneself, to "create" one's genuine individuality or personhood, whicli, according to Rahner, is born in love for the human Thou. If a man's transcendence without the concrete ¡order of salvation is an unthematic orientation of the self toward the God who offers himself, it is, looked at from above, God's anonymous offer of himself to the human self. But God's self-offer to the human self is identically his demand for a response from the self. It is a primordial divine imperative which not only addresses the self but indeed, being indentical with the self's transcendence toward the Absolute in the order of salvation, constitutes the self as it actually. exists in this order. For Rahner, as was seen earlier, a man's fundamental acceptance of the divine self-offer occurs in his love for the human Thou, and the thematic religious response is secondary in relation to this fundamental acceptance, which is already charity toward God. Thus, the divine imperative to respond to God, which is identically God's self-offer, is also one with a divine



imperative that the neighbor be loved. For the fundamental, primary response to God exists only in and through love for neighbor. The love for a human Thou, let it be recalled explicitly, is for Rahner an all-comprehensive reality. Since it is the act through which the self is bom into the true individuality of a person as an image of the uniqueness of the Divine Persons, the imperative which directs the self to this love is identically an imperative directing the self to become truly himself. And since the love of neighbor is also the basis anrl the quintessence of morality, the imperative directing the self to this love is of a piece with an imperative directing the self out of childish, legalistic premorality or amorality into the realm of moralityan imperative that calls the self to authentic morality. Since an unthematic divine imperative not only constitutes the self as he exists in this world but also calls him to authentic individuality and true mm¡ality, and since the unthematic response of the individual to God which is present in love for the neighbor is the primary response to God, taking precedence over thematic religious acts, it would indeed be absurd to think that divine imperatives cannot be directed anonymously to a man as an 1:ndivirl1ULl in the course of his life. lt would mean that God's ability to reach the individual with anonymous imperatives is limited to a power to communicate demands only to the self who stands at the beginning of the process leading to authentic individuality, and that, conversely, only the self, not the self grown and transformed into true individuality, can hear the anonymous voice of God. As Rahner has noted, "an essential, basic function of conscience, which is for the most part overlooked by the usual scholastic ethics," is that "which does not merely apply the universal norms to each of my particular situations but which moreover grasps also what ... is precisely and as such what has to be done by me individually" ("Forinal Existential Ethics," 229). When a man's experience of what has to be done by himself as an individual is precisely that, i.e., the experience of a choice of good that he as individual not simply may but should realize, the experience is of an absolute ethical demand addressed to the individual. It is an experience of the Absolute's



directing an ethical imperative to the individual, an unthematic experience of a divine imperative issued to the individual. And the man who responds to the demand in absolute fidelity to his conscience opens his individuality to the Absolute's address to him and unthematically enters as an individual, in the depths of his being, into lived, personal dialogue with God. God addresses men not only as the God of the human race; he also calls each one by name. Individuality has many faces: uniqueness, transcendence, freedom, creativity and self-disposability are some of them. rresponsibility is still another. llfan not only can dispose of himself as an individual; he also has the duty to do so meaningfully. Duty is rooted in a man's individuality as well as in his "essence." A person must do not only what is required of everybody; he also must do what nobody else has to do and what he alone can do or is "called" to do. A man has the duty to act like a man; he also has the duty to act like himself, to be and to become himself in relation to the rest of reality. Creativity is. duty as well power.



To retum now to Curran's proposition that "the Christian and the explicitly non-Christian can and do arrive at the same ethical conclusions [the same ethical decisions about pat1:icular matters (115)] and can and do share the same general ethical attitudes, dispositions and goals" (114). The proposition, as seen earlier, means that "there is not a strict dichotomy between Christian ethics and non-Christian ethics," or more simply, that there is no "distinctively Christian ethic." Curran, then, is maintaining that all men of good will can and do arrive at the same ethical decisions about particular matters. But this position can have validity only within the limits that Curran has in view, namely, "essential ethics." As soon as the terms "ethics " j'ethic" and "ethical" are seen as ' referred not only to "essence but also to individuality, it must be maintained that all men of good will cannot and do not arrive at the same ethical decision about pm1:icular matters. Such ethical consensus can exist only in what pet1:ains to man's "essence."



The Christian belongs to a community (or communities) to which the non-Christian does not belong. An adult's belonging to any community involves, of course, the decision to belong, which is really an on-going, constantly renewed decision, and responsibilities toward the community. A member of any community is faced with ethical decisions which arise in the context of the community and reflect its specific nature and which do not confront the non-member. Decisions, e.g., to become a Roman Catholic priest, to join the Order of Preachers, to participate in a eucharistic liturgy, to receive the sacrament of penance, to pray with others in the name of Jesus, if they are authentic, are serious ethical decisions which arise within the context of a Christian community's self-understanding but not outside of it. And decisions to proclaim the Gospel in places where it is not yet being preached, to establish a Catholic school or university, to maintain a papal diplomatic service, to create a Vatican Secretariate for Non-Believers, to form any kind of ecumenical group are important ethical decisions which emerge only within the context of a Christian community's understanding of itself in relation to other people. Thus, it is true to say that the Christian and the non-Christian cannot and do not arrive at "the same ethical decisions about particular matters." But the new statement means here that Christianity creates for the Christian particular ethical matters which have to be decided by him but do not even confront the non-Christian. Cm¡ran's proposition has to be reversed, then, as soon as the realm of the ethical is recognized as extending beyond essential ethics. Since Christianity is not given with man's "essence," the primordial Christian decision to believe, a profoundly ethical decision, can itself be explained only within existential ethics. Since traditional theology neither perceived this fact clearly nor indeed created the existential ethics by which the fact first becomes visible, its statements about the relation between man and faith have not always been successful. When traditional theology taught that anyone who recognizes the Church as the one true Church has a duty to embrace it, its teaching is really mere tautology: anyone who believes the Church to be a reality to which he should belong has the duty to belong to the Church.



That theology was trying to explain the ethical character of the faith-decision in terms of essential ethics becomes even clearer when the teaching is paraphrased again: all men, unless prevented through no fault of their own from knowing the one true Church as such, has the duty to belong to this Church. (Conversely, the Church is the ordinary means of salvation.) Faith, however, as traditional theology kne\v, is a gift, a grace, and not a necessary consequence of man's "essence." According to the New Testament, this gift is mediated by the Gospel-a fact which theology tended to overlook for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the transformation of the scriptural conceptions of faith into an ontic, preconscious habitus or virtue divinely infused into an infant at baptism. When it is recalled that Faith comes "from hearing" and that the proclaiming of the Gospel is always a proclamation made to particular persons at a particular time and place, it is less easy to lose sight of the fact that the offer of the gift of faith, which is identically the divine imperative to believe, touches men and evokes a response from them as individuals. WHY A "TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN ETHICS?"

Beyond noting that ethical decisions emerge for Christians within the context of the Christian community which do not exist for non-Christians and that the primordial Christian decision to believe lies inside the field of existential ethics, one must ask with regard to the question, is there a distinctively Christian ethic, why we have the question in the first place. The proximate reason for this question has to do with the fact that there are traditional realities known as "Christian ethics" (or "moral theology") , and the question asks what is the relation between an ethics which understands itself as having roots in Christianity and secular ethics. But there is an ulterior question involved here: why has there traditionally been a Christian ethic? If this ulterior question were pursued, certain conclusions could be established which can be here only hastily indicated. Concerned with man's life in the face of the Absolute, religious belief has a radical affinity to the ethical. If exceptions can be found, Christianity is not one of them. Christianity has



understood itself as based on the realities of sin, redemption, salvation, metanoia and a graced, divinized newness of human life and destiny. By its very nature, then, the ethical pertains to Christianity, and the latter is concerned with every aspect of man's moral life. Every community, as mentioned earlier, generates ethical decisions for its members which do not exist for non-members. But, of course, not every community brings forth an ethic. For the bond and basis of most communities is a limited goal or aspect of life shared by the members. Since Christianity, however, is concerned with man's life in its totality and its every human dimension, it is, in addition to being a faith-community, also an ethical community. But all that has just been said still does not account for the ethics which Christianity has actually produced or, specifically, the classical moral theology of Roman Catholicism, in which the theological virtues, the decalogue, the precepts of the Church, the sacrament and the clerical, religious and lay states of life are treated, each in turn, from an ethical standpoint. To understand why Catholicism produced a moral theology which includes both essential ethics (the "natural law" ethics asscciated with the decalogue) and ethics of the sacraments, etc., one must perceive Christianity as not only faith-community and ethical community but also as Church in the sense of an institution having preordained structures (divinely instituted sacraments, an authority structure that is a power other than merely representative power from the community, etc.), structures which do not originate in the decisions of the community members themselves. To the extent that Christianity is a Church in the above sense and has preordained structures directly relevant to morality (e.g., the sacrament of penance), to this extent there can and must be a distinctively Christian ethic, an "essential ethics of Christianity," which adds to the ordinary essential ethics of man as member of the universal human community the ethics of man as member of the Church-community. There is a tendency within contemporary Catholic thought, for example, in Gregory Baum's work, to define Christianity as a movement rather than an institution. But if, nevertheless, Christianity is an institution essentially such as traditional moral theology believed it to be, there is and must be a



distinctive Christian essential ethic of man-within-the-Church and of the Chul'ch in relation to the rest of mankind. SHARPENING THE IDEAS

At least because of existential ethics and a Christian essential ethics in the sense just mentioned (and with no consideration here of the further question of whether there is also a Christian existential ethics), the formulation of Curran's thesis that "the Christian and the explicitly non-Christian can and do arrive at the same ethical conclusions and can and do share the same general ethical attitudes, dispositions and goals," it seems, could be improved. If I understand Curran correctly, his meaning is really the same as Bresnahan's: "an ethics which consciously employs the resources of Christian revelation ... does not and cannot add to human ethical self-understanding as such any material content that is, in principle ... 'foreign' to man as he exists and experiences himself in this world." Bresnahan is stating very precisely that Christian revelation adds and can add no material contents to (ordinary) essential ethics, ethics based on man's "essence." ("Essence," of course, in contemporary thought is not the non-historical, self-contained essence which underlies the essential ethics contained in classical moral theology. Rather, it is "man as he exists and experiences himself in this world.") The use of the terms "ethic," "ethics" and uethical" within the restricted field of "essential ethics" can certainly be justified by an appeal to traditional thought. But traditional thought itself has been notable neither for an understanding of individuality as positive uniqueness nor for historical consciousness. And this is undoubtedly one of the reasons why scholastic ethics, as Raimer notes, overlooked for the most part that basic, essential function of conscience which grasps what has to be done by an individual as individual. Concern for an "existential ethics" is as young as adequate philosophical and theological reflections upon individuality.

That there is more at stake here than mere terminology seems indicated already by mention of the defect of scholastic ethics. Restricting the names "ethics" and "ethical" to "essential ethics" runs the risk of creating the impression that moral-



ity consists of conf01mity to universal no1ms and prescriptions and of inviting blindness to the moral responsibilities of individuality. On the other hand, the restriction runs an opposite risk. It can create the illusion that what a person does over and above the law is a kind of super-morality of "perfection." An examination of the treatment of topics like the "heroic act" or even "love for the neighbor" in traditional theological works would illustrate this point, but it cannot be undertaken here. Instead, the traditional theology of "religious life" and "the evangelical counsels" will be the subject of a few comments. DANGER OF A SUPER-ETHIC

As has been noted in recent years by Curran and other theologians, by creating a super-ethics of perfection for "religious" traditional theology reduced the layman to the status of second-class member of the Church, settling for something lESS than full Christianity and perfection. The attempt to redeem this unfortunate situation by insisting that "religious life" is more perfect in itself, not necessarily with regard to this or that person, was not notably successful. Nor could it be. For the inadequacy of the traditional theology lies precisely in its attempt to explain within an essential ethics a reality that can be understood only in terms of existential ethics. Inclined to identify the Church (indeed the Catholic Church) with ¡the Kingdom of God and the ordinary means of salvation, it was easy for the theology of the manuals to perceive Catholic existence as the norm for man. When the Catholic Church is seen and defined absolutely instead of in relation to "the world," non-Catholic existence can be understood as various kinds of existence which are more or less deficient according to their respective degrees of deviation from the Catholic norm. The attempt to explain "religious life" within this frame of reference and through essential ethics resulted in theology's combining contents of essential ethics and Christian essential ethics into "the life according to the commandments," which could then be distinguished from "the life according to the counsels." Obedience to the counsels, of course, presupposes obedience to the commandments, and in this sense the latter



life both includes and surpasses the former. Thus, the life of the counsels is a life of perfection (or striving for perfection), and the life of the commandments is unavoidably perceived as a kind of deficient mode of life. Lacking existential ethics, classical theology tried to explain "religious life" with the only ethical ways of reflection which it knew. But to interpret "religious life" through essential ethics was to wield a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the content of this life was seen as ethical perfection (or the ethical striving after such perfection) ; ¡and, on the other hand, this ethical perfection had to be dissociated from the ethically imperative (lest it be imperative for all, which "religious life" manifestly could not be) and seen as merely counseled. Classical theology, therefore, viewed religious life as the most perfect (in itself) in this world and as morally demanded of no one. The life that is perfect in itself is not only not demanded of everyone; it is only counseled of those who actually choose it. Far from preventing the layman from being a second-class member of the Church, theology's distinction between what is most perfect in itself (the life of the counsels) and what is most perfect for a given Catholic grounds this discrimination. For the layman is thus implicitly defined as the person who is not living the life that is perfect in itself. But it is only because the theology of religious life was an essential ethic that it perceived this life as ¡perfect in itself and could distinguish between the life perfect in itself and the life that is perfect for a given individual. For, if neither man as man nor the Christian as Christian but only a Christian as individual can be and is called to "religious life," then "religious life" is the "life" of the individual. A reference to individuality is involved in the ethical 1¡eality of "religious life"; this relation to individuality is constitutive of the ethical reality. From an ethical standpoint, the distinction between "religious life in itself" and "religious life" with regard to an individual cannot be made. For, ethically, "religious life in itself" is the "life" of the individual. COUNSELS AND PERFECTION

With his point of departure the fact that "Christian perfec-



tion consists simply and solely in the perfection of love which is given us in Christ by the Spirit of God," Rahner presented a new interpretation of "the evangelical counsels" ("Reflections on the Theology of Renunciation," Theological Investigations III, 47). To say that "the evangelical counsels" are "an 'in itself better means,' " Rahner concluded, does not mean that they are a better means toward this love as "the subjective perfection" of a person (56 f). Rather, they are the best means (indeed the only means) to represent this love with "ecclesiastical visibility" in the world as "an eschatological transcendent and ecclesiological love." Thus, the basic reason why Rahner can continue to regard "the life of the counsels" as "better in itself" is that he has transposed the traditionally common ethical understanding of "the more perfect life" into metaphysical view. The evangelical counsels are not a better means for achieving the love which is ethical perfection; they are a better and unique means to represent (phenomenally) the eschatologically transcendent and ecclesiological (noumenal) dimensions of the love, the Christian perfection, of every Christian. Precisely because Rahner moves from an ethical standpoint to a metaphysical one, it is possible for him to distingush "religious life" in itself from "religious life" with regard to the individual. It is no longer a question of the better ethical means to the ethical end, Christian perfection; it is a question of the metaphysical means of achieving the metaphysical end of rendering explicit, of translating into "ecclesiastical visibility,'' the transcendent and ecclesiological characteristics of Christian perfection. This end, the translation of transcendent features of love, is, of course, an ethical value--one among others. But precisely because it is neither the end, Christian perfection, nor a necessary means to the end, it is not the object of an ethical imperative directed to the Christian as Chn:,tian. Thus, as soon as note is taken of the fact that, while the Christian has the duty to achieve Christian perfection, he does not have as Christian the duty to make the particular translation of Christian perfection which is Raimer's "religious life" in itself, the ethical question of "religious life" immediately reappears-and as a question in which "religious life" is inseparable from individuality.




Whatever one may think of Rahner's metaphysic of "religious life," it makes no ethical sense, as classical theology thought it did, to say that "religious life" in itself is more perfect than "the life of the commandments." For, ethically, "religious life in itself" is a life of the individual; and to attempt to measure one authentic individuality against another is to misunderstand individuality profoundly by confusing it with essence. In summary, the above reflections were not intended to answer the question left open by Curran, namely, the question of the inter-relations among Christian consciousness, the ethical judgment of the Christian, and ethics. The purpose here has been to try to show that the first step toward an answer is to recognize the ethics itself in the light of the contemporary understanding of reality must be here a fourfold reality: essential ethics, existential ethics, Christian essential ethics and Christian existential ethics.

Jack L. Stotts

Dissent into the Apocalypse~

John's view of the four horseman is not unique to his place and time. America has its own apocalyptic perceptive.

In the sixth chapter of The Revelation of John four horsemen are released upon the earth. They thunder forth, bearing the judgment of the living God. The first two horses are white and red, and their riders sally out to conquer and "to take peace from the earth and make men slaughter one another." (NEB Revelation 6 :4). The third horseman, whose mount is black, holds in his hands the balances of economic justice. His judgment is against those who corrupt justice, preferring affluence for themselves to well-being for their neighbors. The last horse has two mounts, Death and Hell. Their burden is the release upon the earth of death "by sword and by famine, by pestilence and wild beasts." (NEB Revelation 6 :8). The apocalyptic imagery of John depicts a time of chaos and destruction. Sweet reason is banished from the realm of human discourse, replaced by the "grapes of wrath." The horrors of man's inhumanity to man pale into insignificance beside the terrors of God's threshing floor. There is wailing 249



and gnashing of teeth, for the judgment is quick and severe, sharper than the two-edged Wilkinson sword blade and as accurate as a computer-controlled moon shot. With the aid of such imagery we can see the smoke of cities curling upward, bearing the stench of scorched wood and scarred flesh. We can hear the wails and cries of those who thought themselves innocent of guilt simply because they fit in so well. We can hear the gleeful laughter of those who rejoice in seeing their enemies assaulted, and who do so until the very moment the abyss engulfs them. We envision the chaos of rampant death and disorder. The vision is one of imminent holocaust and total destruction. Through the acrid smoke we can just make out the cartoon figure bearing the placard "The End is Near," the reverse side of which now proudly proclaims, "I told you so." In John's Revelation the apocalyptic situation of chaos and destruction is one flanked on one side by a situation of desperateness and on the other by a situation of fulfillment. On one side is the plight of man as bearer and victim of evil. The presence of the apocalyptic judgment of war, death, famine, and fears is in one sense then an intensification of the already present, though not universally perceived, conrlitions of inhumanity, betrayal, exploitation, and injustice. On the other side of the apocalyptic event is the descent of the new Jerusalem, whose streets a1¡e paved with the precious jewels of fulfillment for all creation. There is the healing of the wounds of man's inhumanity to man. Yet if the apocalyptic vision represents an intensification of a previous condition, the difference remains one of kind, not degree. Pt¡ior to the apocalypse one "gets on" as best he can. Prudence measures his steps, and calculation of "more or Jess good or evil" is the coin of his moral judgments. Not so when the four horsemen ride. They trample everything under foot. There is only "hot" or "cold." Nothing lukewarm. John's apocalyptic vision is not unique to his place and time. He shares a mood and vision which others have felt and seen. Apocalypticism is always one giant step away from the world of everyday, where men traffic casually in inhumanity.



Yet the apocalyptic mood intensifies at certain periods of history. It becomes a viable option not just for visions but for activity, not just for isolated individuals but for groups, when what Arthur Schlesinger has called the "thin membrane of civility" that holds a people together, undergoes severe stresses and strains. We should not be so arrogant as to think ours is uniquely such a time. But we should not be so naive as to think our time is exempt from being such a period. Indeed, what I hear from those who live at the oute1¡ margins of dissent, near or across the boundary separating dissent from separation, is that this nation is "sick unto death." It is a land marked for destruction, a land where chaos is the result of failures of man's humanity to man, a land in which increasing numbers are withdrawing their consent and are either through an interior act of consciousness or an external act of overt behavior, or both, withdrawing from the social contract. They are convinced that destruction is inevitable, that the four horsemen have mounted, their spurs poised over their steeds' quivering flesh. For those so convinced, whether consciously or not, separation from the American practice moves in two directions. One alternative is withdrawal into privatism, a search for a center of meaning within limited circles of families andjor friends. Such a withdrawal may be practiced within paneled dens of suburban homes or within make-shift quarters of New Mexico communes. Wherever it occurs, the withdrawal from the public sphere into public apathy may be interpreted as a sign of despair over the possibility of the "system's" delivering on its promised goals and ideals. This separation withdraws precious commitment and energy from the public realm. It leaves things to continue on an assumed spiral downward into destmction. The second possibility is to push one's public activity of dissent from the "system" into separatist activity that one believes will trigger the holocaust. It may be that the recent bombings of government and corporation offices is an example of this type of action. The response of withdrawal and the espousing of violent resistance acts may be partners in a situation interpreted as apocalyptic.



Without implying agreement with such an interpretation, we can pause here to consider some elements of its social setting. I suggest that a useful way of organizing that setting is to discuss it in terms of a sense of failures and the challenge of successes. For that mood is not an immaculate conception. It is born out of the pain of contradictions present within the society. Professor Henry David Aiken of Brandeis University has written about the sense of failure that he believes in a pervasive mood among many residents of Western Civilization. For Prof. Aiken "the Spanish Civil War marks the beginning of a great sea change in the attitudes of Western men toward their whole civilization ... For this was the moment at which there 'set in a vague but sickening sense of general cultural disorder, of imponderable ideological conflicts and moral duplicities, of pervasive institutional incompetence and corruption. Nor was the malaise limited merely .to 'the others'; that is, to the Fascists, Nazis, Communists, and other 'totalitarean' monsters unlike ourselves. On the contrary, it also afflicted the liberal democracies, the Christian churches, the universities: in short, all the presumptive carriers of political and social progress, moral regeneration, and intellectual enlightenment." (Aiken, "The New Morals," Ha:>-per's, February, 1968, Vol. 236, No. 1413, pp. 58, 59.) While one may argue over the Spanish Civil War as the point of origin, he finds himself nodding agreement over the mood to which Aiken points. That subjective agreement is reinforced by a consideration of some objective structural conditions. For a subjective mood does not exist apart from objective conditions. And the presence of a mood of apocalypticism in some is an invitation to consider the structural conditions which provide its base. That is to say, in considering the reason for withdrawal from a social contact we need to statt not from a mood presumed to be present. Rather we need to start from an appraisal of the failures of the social system which have contributed to such a mood. For it is the dilemmas and malfunctions of our society that weigh upon our spirits with increasing potency. For many of the sensitive there has arisen a bankruptcy of enthusiasm for life's possibili-



ties and aspirations. For those victimized most harshly by the society, there is a sense of defeat if not frustration at the hands of the societal system. In such a time as this Isaiah's description of Jerusalem sounds strangely relevant: VIe all growl like bears, we moan and moan like doves; we look for justice, but there is none, for salvation, but it is far from us. "For our transgressions are multiplied before thee and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities; transgressing, and denying the Lord, and turning away from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth has fallen in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey" (Isaiah 59 :11-15a). The point is that it is not just a mood or a spirit that hovers in some disembodied fashion about us, causing many to inhale the pollutants signaling the impending apocalypse. That mood or spirit arises from and reflects grave societal malfunctionings. Our problems are lodged not in om· spirits, our loss of nerve, not just in our spirits, so that we can change the situation by taking heart, buckling down, cinching up, and Right(ing) On! Our need is not for spiritual cheerleaders who reassure us that everything will· work out if we will but hope. INSTITUTIONAL PATHOLOGY

Our problems lie in the institutions upon which we depend for a just and meaningful life-together. The issues are those of our common life. Institutions are those skeletons that tie our common humanity together and enable the various parts of the body to be held together and function cooperatively. Their function is to provide for the well-being of the whole social body. Yet we are residents of a period that may be characterized as affiicted by a pathology of institutions. That plu·ase is descriptive of institutions that do not function to provide for the health of the whole body politic. On what grounds can one make such a judgment? I will state as illustrative and suggestive only dichotomies between intended functions and actual delivery for several crucial"institutions in America.



First, economic institutions are to provide for the production and distribution of material goods among the social body in an equitable fashion. The American economic system is one of undoubted success materially. It is a system that has led to affluence for most. That is its success. Its failures are also obvious. Using conservative figures, twenty-five million persons still fall below the poverty level in this country. Malnutrition and hunger are rampant in city and countryside. An inflationary spiral robs the lower middle class of earnings and makes them suspicious and fearful of those "below them." The unemployed or marginally employed, those least able to afford it, pay the costs of "cooling the economy." To large numbers the economic system has not delivered equitably. It is a servant of privilege, not justice. The institutional contradiction between purpose and actual delivery is clear. Second, political instructions are ways by which government of, by and for the people becomes viable. Yet for many the parties which are the agents of political control appear arbitrary in their choice of candidates and lacking accountability to a broad range of the citizenry. The Democratic Convention of 1968 is the symbolic and, for many, symptomatic occurrence which dramatized for many an elitist control over political choices. The intensity around the Democratic Convention was a result of disappointment at a party which had been, theoretically at least, a part of "all the people." That convention signaled for many as well the inability of the political system to grapple with deep-seated political issues, especially the political issue of Vietnam which was and still is, in my opinion, draining what moral substance we had as an international power. Joined with the inability of the political party system to respond to pressures and neerls within the body politic has been what may be more foreboding still. That is the beginning appearance of evidence that the judicial system is in difficulty. The judicial system has been for years the moral arbiter to which dissenters have turned ¡in the face of legislative and executive indifference or hostility. Now the Chicago 7 trial and recent nominations to the Supreme Court have provided evidence that this branch of our political system is itself vul: nerable to assaults upon human liberties.



Third, the educational institutions of the society are supposed to provide both humanizing and technical knowledge to all the citizenry. The reading scores of major metropolitan public school systems are hard evidence of the failure of such systems to provide technical knowledge requisite for participation in a technological society. The figure of approximately 2% of the 1969-1970 college population as blacks, despite intensive recruiting programs by many schools, in a society where approximately 15% of the population is black, indicates the failure of the educational institutions to provide for all. The disproportionate amounts of money available for public education in suburban areas when compared to urban school systems cries out inequity. A growing cynicism about teachers' unions who settle for contracts calling for higher wages while tucking away class size to another year adds to the suspicion parents often feel that many teachers are more concerned with private gain than with children's education. The implication of major universities in the military-industrial complex convinces many students of the corruption of higher education. And other evidence could be cited as illustrative of the contention that the educational institutions are not adequately responsive to their constituencies. vVe could cite other institutional failures. The system of delivery of health services is clearly inadequate. There is general agreement all the way from the White House to the local Welfare Rights organization that the welfare system is a colossal failure. The charge of racism is hurled at all the dominant institutions of the society, from religious groups to economic corporations and is documented in job placement, attitudes, etc. The environmental pollution of air, water, and earth testifies to institutions of government and industry putting their own limited interests above those of the general welfare. And the presence of crisis administrative styles throughout the institutional order is draining off energies and creativity. The thesis is not a new one. The dominant institutions of the American society are not functioning as they are supposed to, either singly or together. They are not 1¡esponsive to the full range of the constituencies legitimate needs and desires. And



the depth and range of dissent is a function of the pathology of institutions. THE CHALLENGE OF SUCCESS

On the opposite side our social setting is one in which we face the challenge of our successes. This element of our common life may be illustrated by what Robert Bellah has called America's "third time of trial." The first time of trial was the period of gaining and consolidating independence. The second was the period of overcoming slavery. The third, which comes when we are still far from solving the problems arising and left over from the issue of slavery, has overtaken us due to our emergence as a world power. "This is the problem of responsible action in a revolutionary world, a world seeking to attain many of the things, material and spiritual, that we have already attained." (Robert Bellah, "Civil Religion in America," Daedalus, Winter, 1967, Vol. 96, No. 1, p. 16.) As we are emerging into and toward some form of world order, we find ourselves engaged in activities beyond our shores that plague our consciences and dishonor our heritage as the first revolutionary nation. Those who are sensitive to our tradition and zealous for our national ideals to be institutionalized at home dissent in the name of that tradition and those ideals from our misuse of power and therefore our misuse of ourselves and others, blatantly in South East Asia, and more subtly in othe1¡ locations. The sense of success and the consciousness of failure go together in our minds. There is a moral passion that ricochets between them. The height of the successes set in glowing relief the depth of our failures, and tighten the string of our moral passion or despair. In such a setting dissent from current policies and practices is intensified by the knowledge of the gains made and the tragedy of the failures. In a period of such extremities many sensitive persons experience simultaneously heightened concern, frustration and failure. They await impending doom as a certain visitant. They are those about whom Joseph Bensman has written: "In every period of historical crisis there are groups, occupations and



classes who are "accidentally' located in the nutcrackers of history. Such groups experience in extreme form all the crosspressures, tensions, and contradictions of a society in the process of tearing itself apart." Understandably, for such groups, the limits of civility placed upon dissenting activity are weakened if not cast aside. Talk of initiatory violence and of guerilla warfare becomes serious. It even filters down into the pages of popular magazines. Simultaneously, the threat of the four horsemen detonates among many of those, who presume that the practices of present institutions represent a close approximation of the promised land, a defensive mood that lolls around in its mind the possibilities and strategy of repression. Every step dissent takes toward what appears to many to be chaos, a pre-enactment of the apocalypse, others take a matching step toward tyranny. For chaos and tyranny are Siamese twins organically linked. What is ironic is that the apocalypticists and the fearful privileged are in lock-step toward a society of fear, persecution, destruction of the innocent, torture, the plugging of the springs of creativity, a society where "peace is taken from the earth and ... men slaughter one another." In the foregoing I have attempted to specify both a mood, and its structural location, that I would call apocalyptic. The intent of such a delineation is to hear clearly the authentic notes of radical criticism of our present plight. It is to affirm that much of such criticism is lodging in a trinity of (1) analysis of structural functionings, (2) psychic and physical injury suffered by minorities, and (3) a vision of co-humanity that it so intoxicating that when compared to present social reality it calls for destruction of the present. Now I want to take one more step in analyzing the current situation, but I do so by de-escalating our terminology. I affirm that we in America are residents of a revolutionary situation. I define that situation as one in which changing needs clash with previous institutional arrangements, creating a condition that makes it necessary to altar structural arrangements in order to meet the needs. I would cite the same evidence of systemic malfunctionings as noted above. I would



underline, however, that I am not defining revolutionary condition as one which necessarily requires or legitimates violent activity by any group. It is a condition which may be met by various types of activity, the moral measure of which is whether or not it produces a situation where needs are more adequately satisfied. By concentrating on the Hitaation I am underlining the necessity for structural arrangements that provide for a more humane order, not for temporary "relief" measures. The struggle for human dignity is inevitably a stl¡uggle for a more humane social condition. REVOLUTION: U.S.A. In a revolutionary situation I am persuaded that a spectrum of groups representing diverse opinions and needs arises within the social setting. The spectrum in America looks something like this: 1) Victims: Minority groups, Blacks, Indians, Browns, Economically excluded, Appalachian whites, Long tsrm welfare residents, etc. 2) Alienated: Radical students. 3) Bureaucratic Archives: Labor union members, White collar workers, Professionals, Government workers. 4) Victors: Elitist positions, Contemporary entrepreneurs. As with any spectrum this one has no clear breaking points between the groups. Rather they blend at the edges into one another. So also some would wish to add new categories or a different grouping. That would be possible. What I have outlined is designed to be illustrative of a revolutionary situation as I would envision it in the U.S.A. The "American Dream" has been one that suggested that through individual or group effort, one moved toward the Victor side of the spectrum. It assumed that institutional arrangements such as the public education system, an expanding economy, and an open political process would be sufficient mechanisms for that movement. What has actually occurred however, is that, for various reasons, the mechanisms have not had an appropriate "fit" with the material and psychic needs of a large minority of this population. These needs have not been met adequately for years. But there was a pervasive presumption that they could and would be met, given a little more time and some minor adjustments. What is


259 ,..

new on the spectrum is then the rise of the alienated, those separated or at least very suspicious of the possibility of the system's delivering on its promises. The student constituency provides the group which is the new social base for this mood. This is not to say that alienation is not present among the victims and the bureaucratic achievers to a more or less degree. Nor is it to suggest that gains have not been made. They have. But in the revolutionary condition, as the needs become more obvious to all components of the spectrum, the tensions on the system grow more intense. Revolutions occur when things are improving; when hopes are partially fulfilled, impatience accelerates. Further, in a society now of instant and total communication, the contradictions become more visible, the gaining of small victories in overcoming the plight of the victims makes larger gains more plausible and necessary. As the needs are dramatized and demands are made for altering current institutional arrangements still more, the spectrum begins to be squeezed in the middle and polarization emerges. The issue is: what is the nature of the polarization and its accompanying form of conflict? It is just at this point that I believe we need to give our most careful attention as Christian thinkers. For it is the answer one gives here that shapes policy and program if integrity is to be preserved. It is in the giving of the answer that social analysis and Christian commitment must be partners. And how one answers he1'e sets limits upon and gives direction for types of activity, including violence.

The clear answer of the apocalypticists is that, in such a situation as we have tried to suggest, the polarization and the consequent conflict moved toward absolute dimensions. There are two poles, those clustering around the victims and those embracing the victors. Each is identified with mutual clarity as "enemies." Clear lines of opposition are drawn and uselective humanism" becomes the ethical principle of relationships. The "we" group is pitted against "them." A social mechanism informs judgments. And the rhetoric on both sides escalates. This deformation of language reflects the socia) stresses of polarization. As Peter Berger has noted "when political op-




ponents call each other 'communist vermin' and 'racist pigs,' they are getting ready for what the military bulletins so nicely term a 'cumulative body count.' (Pigs are meant to be slaughtered and vermin to be exterminated). (Peter Berger, "Between Tyranny and Chaos," The Christian Century, Oct. 30, 1968, p. 1365.) In such a polarization and conflict model there arises an ideology of identity definition which moves toward assigning designations of human superiority and inferiority. People begin to define themselves abstractly by ideology or positions, rather than considering the dimensions of particular persons or problems. In such a model the movement toward legitimating violent action is made explicit by the implicit. if not explicit definitions of what constitutes "humanity.'' Let me be clear here that I speak of those both on the right and the left, to use those shabby but perhaps still somewhat useful terms. The slackening of such moral 1¡estraint on violent activity is a sign of a movement toward absolute polarization and the indiscriminate use of violence, whether by police or terrorists. A REVOLUTIONARY ALTERNATIVE

For those who reject such a polarization model, are there other ways of living faithfully and with integrity in a revolutionary situation"? I think there are. I will propose an alternative model. In a revolutionary situation an alternative model for polarization and conflict is the breaking down of absolute opposite poles and the establishing of a pivot point from which one revolves toward participating in a variety of concerns and issues. In this model one assumes the multiformity of social existence, the rich variety of institutions and issues that confront us, and the pliability of systems to change. One isolates out of this complexity various pressing and crucial issues that, while interlocked with other issues, nevertheless have their own discreteness. These are issues that press upon us, indicating a severe deformation of humanity andjor a great promise for a more humane and just order. In this model one recognizes that in a complex world there are no single or simple answers



to overall questions and dilemmas. There are only complex multiple answers to complex questions and dilemmas. Thus, a pivot point around and from which one may move is, to slip now into theological language, the gift of life in Jesus Christ which empowers individuals and groups to know all men as brothers and to seek for the remedy of all human ills and the material and psychic fulfillment of all their fellow men. Such a pivot point moves toward concreteness as it identifies particular issues and contributes toward the fruition of life by seeking their resolution. Thus, particular issues become magnetic poles which draw the attention and commitment of persons. For example, we are surrounded by issues that merit our attention. Vietnam, race, and economic justice are three. But even these become abstractions until they are broken down into concrete alternatives for behavioral activity. As that occurs, I am convinced, we find that particular issues attract people of diverse backgrounds and interests. The old labels, such as right and left, conservative and liberal, urban and suburban, become less descriptive, for issues are brought down from abstractions and located in a concretely human context which may appeal to people for different reasons. (An article by Amitai Etzioni in Transaction, Vol. 7, No. 11, September, 1970, provides data supporting the perspective that the American society is not as polarized as some rhetoric would suggest. Indeed, there is evidence that there are diverse perspectives on diverse issues.) Thus, what may be a possibility, and there is some evidence for it, is that if we can think of particular issues and concerns important for common humanity, we may find people from various places in the spectrum working together. On the ABM issue, fot¡ example, opposition to that weapons system was enlisted from suburbanite bureaucrats, academic types, and black leaders. They found themselves together for different reasons at times, but also at times one of similar motivation. And attention to that issue elicited concern for the militarism of Amercan society, and for national minorities. On the welfare issue one finds conservative and radical economists moving toward a consensus, though not an agreement on specifies. On the issue of police power, the self-interest and the moral con-



cerns of ghetto-resident and liberal high-rise resident may converge. In employment for the impoverished, we may find "conservative" business leaders more "radical" than liberal university professors. In such a model one is drawn to particular poles. There is conflict around that issue. Conflict and contention are inevitable in a revolutionary situation. But there is no absolute conflict. It is conflict about specific goals and changes. There is still a sense of frustration, but it is not a diffuse sense of "nothing can be done." It is tied down to a specific location where there may well be success as well as failure, fulfillment as well as despair. Struggle now centers around particular human issues, always with the goal of altering institutional patterns to make them more responsive to the legitimate needs of the persons. Revolution in this model is not violent overthrow of total systems, but it is a passionate commitment to a more humane social order. Out of that commitment flows activity to reorder institutions so that they are made for men, and not vice-versa. MET ANOIA

This polarization-conflict model is one of coalition and pragmatic activity. It assumes an urgency about issues and a serious and disciplined commitment to change. It goes against the American grain of wanting everything done yesterday and of assuming everything can be done. It assumes revolution as an ongoing task rather than as an apocalyptic occurrence. In that sense it is a model that is not inconsistent with what the New Testament meant by the Greek term metanoia, a radical turning in perspective and behavior, an alteration in the direction and style of life, the institution of new patterns of existence. This is life lived in the midst of a great revolution, where God is the primary actor and is summoning his creation to reconstitute itself to manifest his intentions. Such a metanoia is a movement from a partial humanism to a Christian humanism that embraces the friend and the enemy, that refuses to judge individuals in the mass, that restricts the use of violence in the name of brothers, that measures one's activity not by how one feels about a situation (whether apocalyptically or not) but by



an estimate of how one's actions would affect others. This is a metanoia that is willing to accept complementarity of activity, for we can trust that God is using other persons than ourselves and groups other than our own to effect his purposes. Not everything depends on oneself and his group. But finally this metanoia is a diligent working on behalf of a social order that pre-enacts the New Jerusalem that John points to in Revelations. It is an active no-saying to whatever harms men and an active yes-saying .to all that promises to contribute to man's fulfillment. And all of this is 'embedded in decisions informed by careful and humane analysis. Albert Camus' novel The PllL_gue depicts a city, Orans, Algeria, which has been gripped by the bubonic plague. It is a city sealed off from the rest of the world. Inside it the institutions can no longer be preserved. Men must establish some order in the midst of chaos and despair. They must give account of themselves, as it were, as if they were the first residents of Eden. In the novel one of the characters, Tarrou by name, tells his story, explaining by indirection why he has chosen to identify with those stricken by plague. He recounts the story of his childhood, and of subsequent years spent in struggles through¡ out Europe to achieve new political orders, and of his final resignation from such movements when he discovered his im¡ plication in murders that were abstractly justified. Sitting overlooking the plague-ridden city, stealing a few minutes respite from his chores of binding wounds and lancing swollen nodules, Ta1-rou concludes his autobiographical meanderings in the following ways: "All I maintain is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims, and it's up to us, so far as possible, not to join forces with the pestilences. That may sound simple to the point of childishness; I can't judge if it's simple, but I know it's true. You see, I'd heard such quantities of arguments, which very nearly turned my head, and turned other people's heads enough to make them approve of murder; and I'd come to realize that all our troubles spring from our failure to use plain, clean-cut language. So I resolved always to speak-and to act-quite clearly, as this was the only way of¡ setting myself on the right track. That's why I say there



are pestilences and there are victims ; no more than that. If, by making that statement, I, too, become a can¡ier of th,e plague-germ, at least I don't do it wilfully. I try, in short, to be an innocent murderer. You see, I've no great ambitions. "I grant we should add a third category: that of the true healers. But it's a fact one doesn't come across many of them, and anyhow it must be a hard vocation. That's why I decided to take, in every predicament, the victims' side, so as to reduce the damage done. Among them I can at least try to discover how one attains to the third category; in other words, to peace." I think Tarrou's words are a parable for our time. His place of standing must be the place of standing of Christians and the church, with the victims, no matter who they are. But the Christian and the church refuse to divide the world into pestilences and victims, for they know themselves as somehow both simultaneously. Christians and the church live therefore not only with a dream of but with a confidence in and loyalty to, One who is the Healer, who binds up the wounds of life and enables us to be his agents of healing. But we only learn how to be healers when we take the victims' side and let them prompt us as to what it is that will make for the peace of wholeness, health and security for all people. It is only as we identify with those victimized by the pestilences that surround us that we should learn the ways of healing. It is in and through commitment to particular human issues and concerns that we shall be taught what it means to live in God's great revolution. We are residents today of a time not unlike the first century of John's vision, and not unlike the time of the reformation, when to some it seemed that all things were coming apart, while to others it appeared that all things were becoming new. Both were right. But the future was created by how one interpreted the situation and then acted in it, and particularly by those who with boldness saw a new creation, a new possibility for reconstruction in response to human needs. \Ve are residents of just such a period. How we interpret and respond to it is crucial for the re-creation of our life together. Our time is a time of beginnings, of invention, of new creations, of the



eighth day. We are to be c<H:reators of a new web of life. We require alternative analyses and strategies for our activity. A principal moral benefit of the Christian faith in such a time as ours is that it permits us a 'confrontation with the age in which we live, girded by a perspective that transcends the age, that puts it into perspective, that safeguards against fanaticism, and that mediates moral courage to engage in the serious tasks before us.


,, '

The Movement of Eucharistic Theology Thanks to a flood of new insights a whole series of fresh and appealing explanations of the Eucharist are available to the pastor.

A priest today frequently finds himself giving informal explanations of the Eucharist. In greeting the people at the beginning of Mass, in homilies, and in the brief introductions one may intersperse before the Eucharistic Prayer or the Communion rite, the presiding priest often wants to communicate succinctly the structure of the Eucharistic action, the direction of its prayer, and the style of involvement the people should strive to have. It is no longer enough to carry out rubrics; one must communicate with people in a way that leads them to prayer and facilitates their unity and participation in the Mass. A clear and up-1;(}-date understanding of the Eucharist has become a daily pastoral tool. 267



The following pages offer a sketch of the ways Catholic Eucharistic theology has moved in the recent past. Because of this movement, theology offers us today a rich diversity of approaches to the Eucharistic action. I hope an overview of these will provide a useful orientation for priests seeking to help people enter more deeply into the rich world of the Eucharistic "mystery of faith." DEVELOPMENT OF A TRADITION

. Up to 1960, the textbook tradition of Catholic Eucharistic theology rested on two principal dogmatic pillars: the affirmation of the presence of Christ by transubstantiation and the teaching that each Mass is a sacrificial action. The main doctrinal developments that crystallized convictions together with tertru;, theses, and explanations in this tradition occurred in the 11th and 16th centuries. It seems important to dwell for a moment on the hiBtorical character of this textbook tradition. We must recall how its doctrinal f01mulations were hammered out as answers to 11th and 16th century questions. Only then can we grasp the justification for the recent movement and for the many attempts to provide fresh and appealing approaches in the latter half of the 20th century. In the 11th century, the question was posed by the monk theologian, Berengarius of Tours. He sought to derive rational, or dialectical, conclusions from the patristic view of the Eucharist as the sacramentum (signum, figm¡a) of the body and blood of Christ. In the 11th century (in contrast to earlier times), this language seemed to thin down or even deny the presence of Christ. Reactions to Berengarius' work came from many quarters, and in 1059 a Roman synod, under Pope Nicholas II, imposed on him a fmmula of faith including these unmistakable terms: "the bread and wine placed on the altar are after the consecration not just the sacrament but also the true body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and his body is handled physically (sensual iter) by the priest's hands, not just sacramentally, but truly, and it is broken and torn by the teeth of the faithful." Almost immediately after Berengarius subscribed to the statement of Eucharistic faith, he and other theologians began




to be disturbed by the grossly physical language of the formula. Out of this ferment of dissatisfaction and a series of new arguments, Pope Gregory VII had a new formula prepared in 1079 which contained one of the foundation-stones of modern Catholic doctrine: "I profess that the bread and wine placed on the altar are by a mystery of sanctifying prayer and the words of our Redeemer substantially changed (substantialiter converti) into the true, proper, and life.:giving flesh and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ .... " Later the formula spoke of Christ being present not just in sign or in power but in his natural and true substance. This second formula of 1079 soon gave rise to the term "transubstantiation," which was then used by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. It is often forgotten that this way of speaking about the Eucharistic presence of Christ came into the Catholic doctrinal tradition for the purpose of protecting against an excessively physical conception of presence. The sacramental presence affirmed is neither just symbolic nor is . it crudely physical, but is a more subtle and mysterious presence of Christ to give us life, a fact soon forgotten as the medieval scholastic began to apply Aristotelian notions of substance, quantity, and place to the Eucharist. The second great stage in the growth of the Catholic doctrinal tradition came in the Reformation controversies of the 16th century. This requires a brief look at the doctrine of the main Protestant Reformers and at the response of the Council of Trent. Luther rejected the medieval scholastics for their excessively technical treatises on the presence of Christ and attacked the popular piety of his time for turning the Mass into a meritorious human work for getting grace. Against the latter he ';aught that one comes to Mass rightly only in the attitude of receptive faith. The Mass is essentially a way the Gospel is preached, as when we hear that Jesus' body is given for us and his blood poured out for us. Our response to such a word is not offering and working, but hearing and believing we are forgiven. At the Last Supper Jesus made his last will, or testament, bequeathing to us the forgiveness of sins as the fruit of his imminent death. His body and blood are offered to us as the seal that validates and confirms what the testament



promises us. Here we do not offer sacrifice to win grace, but only extend the empty hand of faith to receive consoling forgiveness. Ulrich Zwingli became known in the mid-1520's for his argument that a true eating of the body of Christ is ruled out by John 6:63 ("It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail"). Rather, the eating of bread and wine is the way we are stin-ed to recall and ponder what Jesus did for us. Zwingli's most outspoken opponent in the years 1525-29 was Luther himself, who argued that the real presence of Christ is an irrefutable teaching of Scripture, where we read, "This is my body," and not, "This signifies my body." Luther found 1 Cor. 10:16 an especially convincing testimony against Zwingli: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" Ironically, Luther approved the first Berengarian confession of 1059 and once spoke of Pope Nicholas II as one of the better teachers on the presence of Christ! John Calvin's writings on the Eucharist were extensive and varied. Risking oversimplification, we can say that he insisted on the reality of our communion with the life-giving flesh of Christ, "while vigorously denying that bread and wine are transformer! and made worthy of reverence and adoration. The elements remain purely instrumental, while the hearts of be: lievers are lifted by the Holy Spirit and joined to Christ at the right hand of God. After some years of controversy anrl debate, the Council of Trent finally met in 1545 to take up the task of clarifying Catholic teaching. A decree on the Holy Eucharist was drawn up in 1551 which affirmed the doctrine of the real presence against Zwingli and Calvin. The body and blood of Christ become truly, really, and substantially present through a marvelous change (conveJ"Sio 1nimbilis) of the bread and wine. Sensitive to the difference between reality and language, the Council noted that this change is "aptly and properly called" transubstantiation. Another Tridentine document on the Eucharist came in 1562 in the decree on the sacrament of the Mass. It was taught that Jesus gave himself in the Eucharist to be offered by the Church




in commemoration of his passage from the world to the Father. The Church received a sacrifice which represents, that is, makes present again, Jesus' self-offering on Calvary-with the same victim and the same priest of his past offering being operative in each Mass. These two Tridentine decrees became the essential ingredients of the doctrinal tradition preserved in the textbooks on the Eucharist down to our own day. A typical dogma text began its treatise on the Eucharist with the doctrine of the real presence. This was affirmed as taught by Fourth Lateran and Trent anrl as found in Scripture in John 6:51-58 and l Cor. 10:16 and 11:27. The textbooks generally resisted the temptation to indulge in extended philosophical speculation about the real presence. The problems were mentioned, but not much energy was expended, for example, in theorizing how .the accidents of bread are supported after the substance of bread is changed. Further development of the treatise on the real presence consisted in an extensive and detailed review of the earliest patristic witnesses to belief in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The second part of traditional Eucharistic theology concerned the dogmatic affirmation of the sacrificial character of the Mass. Trent's teaching was backed up by early liturgical and patristic evidence. St. Pauls' words in 1 Cor. 10:18-22 received attention for the way they implied the existence of a Christian sacrifice. Dogma gave way to theological reflection as authors tried to give a coherent and satisfactory account of the inter-relation between the Last Supper, Calvary, and the Mass repeatedly celebrated in the Church. Different "theories of sacrifice" were examined, shown to be wanting, and forced to give way to the author's own way of thinking through this difficult matter. This is the shape of the tradition dominant in Catholic seminaries and colleges down to a decade ago. From the vantage point of today we see the problems that were brought on by beginning with the real presence before explaining the sacrificial character of the action within which Christ becomes present. In the textbooks, his presence appeared inevitably to be "something," to be static and immobile. As a result in practice, veneration of the Blessed Sacrament and even Holy Com-



munion itself could become totally separated from the dynamic movement of the Eucharistic action. Also, in gathering its evidence, traditional theology paid little attention to the liturgy as a source from which the Eucharist could be understood. This led to neglect of the tight connection between the Eucharist and the Church. The Eucharist was something (among others) that the Church did or had; it was seldom seen as the action in which people are made into the Church and in which they express and share precisely that which they are, the body of Christ. The optic of the textbook was narrowed by the antiProtestant orientation that made one examine Scripture and the Fathers with an eye for only those things that helped refute the 16th century Reformers. Still this older tradition must be commended for the clarity with which it presented Catholic convictions of faith and for the way it served as a doctrinal backdrop for a living and deep devotion to the Eucharistic Christ. A NEW SITUATION

In the past decade, the theologian of the Eucharist has been all but innundated by a totTent of newly discovered (and recovered) themes and ideas about the Mass. Works by Scripture. scholars, liturgists, philosophers, historians, and ecumenists have provided a variety of new approaches which deepen our understanding of the Eucharist. What follows is a brief account of this new input that has enrichened-and complicated-the way we explain the Mass. The results of recent Scripture studies concerning the Eucharist can be grouped under five headings: the Paschal theme, "memorial" in Scripture, the covenant context, St. Paul's ethical insistence, and St. John's linking of present with future and word with sacrament. Although it can be argued whether the Last Supper was a Paschal meal or not, it is clear that the general thematic of Israel's Paschal feast is woven- into the New Testament accounts of Jesus's last meal before his death. This means that the Eucharist must be linked to the Exodtis in which Israel was liberated from Egypt and brought before the Lord as his elect people. At the center of the Paschal feast was the family meal in which believing Jews recapitulated their own history of



grace and election at the hands of the Lord. Thus, our understanding of the Eucharist must include the themes of liberation from bondage and election of a community by God. We must also highlight the narrative aspect of the Eucharistic prayer, where it relates the history of Christ's passage to the Father to which we renew our attachment in each Mass. The fact that Christians celebrate the Eucharist has always been seen as fulfilling the words of Jesus at the Last Supper: "Do this in memory [or, as a memorial] of me." Biblical theology has sharpened our understanding of the notion of "memorial" Jesus would have had in mind. A biblical memorial is not located primarily in the minds and memories of the participants, where some past event or personage is recalled and pondered. Rather a memorial is a complex of words, things, and gestures that are carried out with a view to letting some past even become operative and effective in the present. The Paschal meal was such a memorial: by the ritual eating and by the recital, the Jews of later generations came to be associated with the deliverance of their forebears from Egypt. The predilection of the Lord for Israel became operative with a new impact on these later generations which celebrated the Pasch. When Jesus called for memorials of the Supper, something similar must be intended: his last days on earth, climaxing in his death and glorification, are to become operative again so as to include later generations of his disciples within the ambit of their meaning and effectiveness. Paul brought out the focal point of the Eucharistic memorial in 1 Cor. 11 :26, "As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes." When Jesus passed the cup at the Supper, he spoke of his "blood of the new covenant." This suggests a whole cluster of Old Testament themes that should be included in our understanding of the Eucharist. For the covenant was the main bond and the focal point of Israel's relation to its Lord. Abraham's life was dominated by the covenant the Lord had granted him (Gen. 17). At Sinai, the Lord articulated the terms of Israel's covenant loyalty in the Ten Commandments (Gen 19-20). The prophets repeatedly excoriated Israel for not living up to the covenant and its requirements. Our Lord's words over the cup



recall Ex .. 24 :3-8 where Moses sprinkled blood over the altar and over the people in a rite that sealed the covenant relation. The hopes for a ne1V covenant had been articulated by Jeremiah and Ezechiel. Especially Jer. 31:31-34 depicts the way the new covenant will bring forgiveness of sins and the inner transformation of God's people as he impresses his law on their hearts. Again, our understanding of the Eucharist grows, as we see in it the renewal of God's new covenant with the people assembled in Christ. In the Eucharist we express our loyalty in response to God's gift of a new covenant, and we gain the interior grace to live up to the commitment entailed in this form of community relation to God. Scholars working on St. Paul's letters are accentuating today the tight connection he made between the Eucharist and certain ethical obligations of the Christians to whom he wrote. In chapter 10 of First Corinthians, Paul develops an incisive argument against Christian participation in pagan sacrificial meals. "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons" ( 1 Cor. 10 :21). The Eucharist makes them sharers with Christ (1 0:16) ; there can be no compromising this commitment by sharing in the civic cults of Corinth. "Do not be idolaters as some of them were" (10 :7). In chapter 11 of First Corinthians, Paul speaks of the Eucharist in the course of an argument against the factiousness and unkindness then rending the community. To show how wrong this is, Paul cites the Eucharistic formula in which one hears that Christ gave his body and blood for othe1·s. The mystery the Corinthians celebrate expresses how self-effacing Jesus was. What a contrast with the cliqueishness and neglect of the poot· that threatened the life of the Col'inthian community! Thus, St. Paul's only two direct references to the Eucharist both show him insisting on the close link between worship and life, between the Eucharistic action and a Christian's conduct in the city and the ecclesial community in which he lives. Recent work on the Gospel of John, especially on chapter 6, is bringing out how the Eucharist links the present with the future and faith in Jesus' word with eating his life-giving flesh. The gt·eat problem in modern Johannine studies is that of eschatology: does John stress the present event of grace or



judgment to such an extent that the future is absorbed and made irrelevant? This seems to be the case when Jesus says, "He who believes is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already" (Jn. 3:18, emphasis added). It is the Eucharistic discourse in chapter 6 that helps balance that picture by the repeated statement that the true bread not only gives life now but also guarantees resurrection on the last day ( 6 :39 f., 44, 55). Here we have one of the great "forgotten truths" of Eucharistic theology: we eat Christ's body now in anticipation of a final, fuller sharing with him in eternity. The Eucharist turns us trustingly toward the future and gives us a central certainty amid the unknowns and threats the future often seems to hold. When the final touches were put on chapter 6 of St. John's Gospel, the author achieved something Christians have found difficult ever since. His literary success lay in his elegant connection of two discourses hanrled down from the time of Jesus. Verses 35 to 50 are a homily in which Jesus called for faith in his word, a word in which God was making his ultimate selfrevelation to men. Here "bread of life" is primarily a metaphor for the word of God spoken by Jesus. Then, verses 51-58 speak directly of the Eucharist as Jesus' flesh and blood offered for the life of all who come to him. The latter discourse may well have come from the Last Supper itself, but the author chose to connect it with Jesus' homily on faith and revelation. The artistry of the author is manifest in his subtle blending of the two passages, making each one richly suggestive of the other. He seems to be underscoring for our benefit how the Word of God is not just an appendage to the Eucharist but is (or should be) intimately related to it. For only, by devout hearing and by a deep response of faith are we rightly prepared to participate in the Eucharist and receive Christ as food and drink. Living faith and a sacramental rite are not disparate but interwoven, at least in John 6, the New Testament's most penetrating exposition of the Eucharist. LITURGICAL THEOLOGY

If we are really concerned to deepen our understanding of the Eucharist, we must be ready to hear from men, like Josef A. Jungmann, who have spent their lives developing the the-



ology inherent in the prayers and forms of the liturgy. For our present survey, two contributions of liturgical theology can be singled out: the "eucharistic" form of prayer, and the role of Christ as our present mediator with the Father. Historical studies have made it clear that the context or setting in which we speak the words of consecration and carry out Jesus' gestures from the Last Supper is a bemknh, a Jewish prayer of blessing directed to God. The prayer does not bless the bread and wine but rather praises and worships God by thankfully recalling what he has done for his people. At the Last Supper, Jesus would have prayed such a thanksgiving ("eucharistic") prayer to his Father before passing the bread and wine as his body and blood. Thus the outer framework of the Eucharist is a worshipful prayer of praise, and the movement of the ¡action is directed upward. We recapitulate this in the doxology of honor and glory to the Father through, with, and in Christ. Christ is among us less to receive our homage than to assimilate us to his worshipful approach to his Father. The Eucharistic Prayer sets us moving in this direction. Closely allied is the contention of liturgists that Christians have long neglected the glorified humanity of Christ out of exaggerated concern to defend his divinity. Our apologetical efforts have distorted our vision of the mystery of faith. Soon after the Council of Nicea (325) affirmed against Arius that the Word is of the same substan'ce as God the Father, there was a marked tendency to concentrate theology and prayer on the Triune God, on Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sharing equally the one divine life. Later piety related to Jesus, but to him as the babe of Bethleham or the man of sorrows in the Passion. Lost was the sense for the present role of Jesus now glorified as Lord and now active as our living High-priest and human mediator. This is the original emphasis of liturgical prayer and is essential for rightly situating the Eucharistic community before God. We have access only through the living Christ, who can assimilate us to the worship and self-dedication he offered to the Father in the moment of his death and continues to offer in the glory of his risen life. Because Christ remains human after his glorification, a bond of communion can link together his high-priestly worship and our offering in the Eucharist.



The obset-vation and reflection of philosophers upon certain fundamental human experiences has opened other well-lighted avenue for approaching the Eucharist. The phenonwnological method has proven the usefulness of its disciplined and, penetrating analysis in treating three key topics : gift-giving, festivity, and sharing common meals. It is relatively simple to note the special kind of presence and expression entailed when one person gives a gift to another. The giver does not simply pass on "something" but strives-sometimes successfully, sometimes not--to make the gift serve in personal communication. The utilitarian purpose of the article given becomes secondary to the giver's expression of regard, esteem, and love. The exist. ence of the giver focuses for a time on the person of the recipient. The gift becomes part of the language by which the giver opens up his existence for contact with the other. In exptâ&#x20AC;˘essing how precious the other has become, the giver makes himself vulnerable and risks rejection. It is easy to see how Eucharistic theology can be enrichened by applying such a reflection to Jesus' gift of himself under the f01m of bread and wine. Another topic under analysis is celebration or festivity. There is something deeply and universally human about our attempts to make certain days or certain gatherings expressive of "peak experiences" in our lives. We mark off a segment of life and activity for existence on a richer and humanly more fulfilling plane. We take effort to raise the quality of both personal experience and our relations to others, if only for a short time. We exclude mundane cares and rule out planning and pursuing practical action for a day or a few hours. We marshal our powers of emotion and fantasy to express what is best in ourselves. Celebration often leaves us more aware of the deeper meaning of life and more disceming of what is insignificant or trivial. Again, one senses how the Eucharistic liturgy can take on fresh and appealing contours when seen in this light as the fundamental celebration of a Christian community. Eating together is a human phenomenon that can express and heighten a number of human relationships. Sharing a common nourishment can establish a bond of friendship and solidify some degree of common purpose. In our earthly existence



our relationships are never perfectly stable, but constantly subject to growth or decline, deepening or deterioration. Thus, a meal taken together usually expresses both a degree of friendship already realized and the desire for a more intense and more genuine relationship. These are clearly elements in the Eucharist, where Christ is both host at a meal and the food partaken. Celebrating the Eucharist together should promote deeper sharing between Christians and occasion the dismantling of barriers between them. Because Jesus died for aU men, the Eucharist reaches out beyond any particular group assembled to celebrate. There goes forth a proclamation of the actual possibility and realy beginning of a universal reconciliation of men and women with each other and with God. Those who eat with Chl"ist become involved in his work of gathering men from the highways and byways to share in the banquet God has prepared for them. PATRISTIC STUDIES

We saw above how the lith and 16th centuries gave us the key formulations of recent Catholic Eucharistic doctrine. It is not surprising that investigation of the great theologians of the earliest Christian centuries has yielded ideas that are infusing new vitality and bringing new depth into our thinking about the Eucharist. Certain early Fathers made a great deal of 1 Cor. 15 :45 (the "last Adam [Christ] became a life-giving spirit") for understanding the resurrection and, consequently, the Eucharist. When we confess that Jesus rose from the dead, we do not mean that he returned to the limited and fragile kind of life we experience daily. Rising from the dead entailed a transformation of Christ's humanity, as he became endowed with new spiritual power. This is not to suggest a ghostly life, but that he became able to communicate with all humanity and influence people in a variety of new ways. As glorified man, Jesus sends the Spirit and becomes present to men through this Spirit. A moment's reflection will indicate that the Eucharistic presence of Jesus under the forms of bread and wine will owe its possibility to his new way of existing after his Easter glorification. The early Fathers, especially in the East, did not begin their



exposition of the Eucharist with presentations of the "real presence" of Christ. Their thought of the Eucharist was dominated by stress on Christ's "actual presence,'' his activity and operation, as that is interwoven with our activity in the Eucharistic celebration. They presented the Eucharist as a festive meal at which Christ acts as the host who serves and cares for his guests. The presiding bishop or priest represents Christ in this role as "Lord of the Supper." The other central activity of the Risen Lord is his mediation on our behalf before his Father. He carries on high our offering and praise and makes it acceptable worship. Within the ambit of this "actual presence," the patristic writers come to speak of the "substantial presence" or "somatic presence" of the body and blood of Christ. This conceptual scheme of two kinds of presence, both fully "real," can clearly aid us in drawing together a satisfying and appealing view of the Eucharist for people of our day. MEDIEVAL AND MODERN HISTORY

Another phase of historical work merges with the ecumenical developments of our time. We have learned much about the low state of both Catholic Eucharistic worship and theology on the eve of the Reformation. When this is coupled with a realization of the poor quality of the initial Catholic responses to the Reformers, the road is opened to a more sensitive appreciation of the Protestant reform of worship and Eucharistic theology. Studies of more recent times have given us a further perspective on how our recent theology lacked the eschatological emphases found in the New Testament. Let us briefly explain both of these historical insights. The late medieval Church of Western Europe was marked by a mania for celebrating as many masses as humanly possible. A city church would have a great number of chapels and sidealtars (35-40, in places) for the daily masses of the many "alarists," or mass-priests, of that church. These men ha.d sought ordination principally to receive a daily stipend for saying mass. Most had no theological education and only a few had any pastoral duties like preaching, sick-calls, or confessions. The implication was simply "the more masses the better" with each mass seen as gaining at least some grace, usually



for a departed soul. Such practices clearly contributed to the ideas Luther opposed so vigorously with his insistence on devout hearing and trusting faith in response to Christ's testament of forgiveness. The people's masses were clerical affairs, often splendid in chant, vestments, and processions, but not transparent as the Church's thanksgiving banquet with the Risen Christ. Reception of Communion was only an annual practice for most, and the devotional focus had shifted to living veneration of Christ at the Elevation. Great hopes for blessings were associated with seeing the consecrated Host. Given such a situation, we can appreciate the pastoral intent of the Reformers' efforts to focus Eucharistic piety on what Christ was offering to give us and on our response of trusting faith in his gift of grace. Catholic opposing the Reformers' polemics and denials were hamstrung by their own education in a scholasticism addicted to speculation about substance and quantity in the Eucharist. They had precious few resources for arguing against the new theses which were often backed up with extensive biblical arguments. Sobered by these historical considerations, the Catholic Eucharistic theologian will seek to underscore the positive elements in the Reformers' theology, such as Luther's rugged defense of the real presence or Calvin's impressive teaching of the Holy Spirit as the agent of our union with Christ. Another historical insight can stimulate us toward recovery of the long-lost futurist dimension of our theology. A survey of the Christian theologies of 1850-1950 reveals a long fascination with past history, as in the Protestant quests for the historical Jesus and in the Catholic stress on tradition and medieval scholasticism. A few prophetic voices spoke at the dawn of the 20th century about the eschatological preaching of Jesus and St. Paul's lively hope for Christ's glorious return. Only recently in the "theologies of hope," have these elements been taken with due seriousness. Regarding the Eucharist, we can grasp afresh Paul's words about proclaiming Christ's death expectantly until he comes (1 Cor 11 :26). We see how the image of the heavenly banquet (Mt. 8:11 f; Lk. 14:15-24) can provide a backdrop for understanding the anticipatory char-




acter of our union with the Eucharistic Christ today. Even St. Thomas Aquinas saw the future orientation as important, where he spoke of the Eucharist as "pledge of future glory" in the prayer, 0 Sacntm Conviviwm. The great challenge of our day is the integration of futurist thinking all through our theology, so as to restore something of the balance found in the New Testament. This is one of the main tasks shared by Catholic and Protestant Eucharistic theology in our day. Pastors explaining the Eucharist should help shape Christians into a "people of hope" moving ahead trustingly toward God's Kingdom nourished by the body and blood of Christ. ECUMENICAL CONSIDERATIONS

The flowering of ecumenical dialogue since Vatican II has given Eucharistic theology new accents and posed some new problems. Many now see the Eucharist as the longed-for event of reunion. Others are asking about the possibility of limited "intet¡communion" as an apt means of promoting unity between the separated churches. Finally, recent Catholic writers have reflected on the religious meaning of the Eucharist celebrated in Protestant churches. These considerations might not appear relevant to a Catholic pastoral ministry, but I believe a moment's reflection will show their contribution to our understanding of the Church and of the Eucharist as the "churchmaking'' sacrament. It is no accident that we speak of Christian divisions as the

"breaking of communion" or as ~~only partial communion" between separated churches. Members of the same parish or the same Church are clearly "in communion" with each other, and the Catholic bishops of the world are "in communion" with the bishop of Rome and with each other. People "in communion" can and do share a common Eucharist. This language is our legacy from patristic theology, which underscored how being one church was both brought about and manifested by sharing the Eucharist. This theology of communio afford a helpful understanding of the goal of ecumenism. We need not strive for a single, allencompassing ecclesiastical organization, but rather for bonds of full communion between the now separated ¡churches. A



central basis of agreement must be found, but the actual reunion in one Church is not organizational but sacramental and Eucharistic. Sound ecumenical theology lives from the hope expressed in Cor. 10 :17, "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the same bread." But does this not also say a great deal about the meaning of the Eucharist in an existing Catholic parish or diocese? This same line of thought about Christian unity has given rise to the question whether there should not be special occasions on which a common Eucharist can even now be celebrated by separated Christians. Vatican II has stated that there 'is partial communion because of the common elements in the respective heritages. Vatican II also approved common services for unity. Now it is asked whether such services should not at times include celebrations of the Eucharist, so Christ himself can seal the partial unity achieved and give efficacious help in promoting further unity. A number of unanswered questions are holding back official acceptance of these arguments for intercommunion. The Orthodox Churches, with whom intercommunion would be easiest to understand, have not yet welcomed these proposals. Many have seen a major obstacle in the acceptance of Protestant ministers as celebrants of a Eucharist, because they are not ordained by bishops standing in apostolic succession. But even on this last point, recent Catholic theology has come up with a number of ingenious and significant positive statements. Catholic teaching by no means requires that we judge Protestant celebrations of the Eucharist in a negative manner. We know how Vatican II spoke positively of the importance of the separated churches in the mystery of salvation (L1<men Gentium, n. 15: Unitatis Redintegmtio, nn. 3, 19-23). If these ecclesial bodies are significant means of grace and salvation, then their ministry and sacraments cannot be without value, The absence of episcopal ordination, while implying some lack of fullness, does not simply negate the Protestant ministry as an important bearer of Christ's Word and grace to the people of these churches. Specifically regarding the Eucharist, there are a great number of biblical and patristic themes Catholics can unhesitatingly



apply to express how Protestant Holy Communion is an event of grace. Surely Christ's "actual presence" brings about a renewal of the new covenant, forges a bond of union in Christ stemming from a shared meal, deepens faith and devotion, and stirs trust and hope in the future resurrection. There is no trouble at all in seeing Calvin's Eucharistic theology as an excellent account of how Christ and his Spirit are active in a Protestant celebration of the Lord's Supper. But does the remaining absence of episcopal ordination mean that we must deny or doubt the "somatic presence" of Jesus under the forms of bread and wine? The question is complicated by the widespread denial of such presence outside the High Anglican and Lutheran traditions. But at least on the question of Ol'dination and ministry a number of significant proposals are being discussed. An important point of departure is the New Testament, especially St. Paul. There is no mention of "overseers" or "presbyters" (bishops or priests) in his letters to the Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans. Especially in Corinth, we would expect Paul to have called on such officials to help settle the pmblems racking that church. We have no proof that ordained presbyters were on hand to preside at the Corinthian Eucharist. It is 1 Cor. 10-11 that gives Paul's most incisive arguments about the implications of sharing Christ's body and blood. Some have argued that it was Corinth's charismatic ministry that opened the doors to all the troubles and confusion of that church, but this does not obviate the historical question about seeming fact of non-ordained persons presiding at .the Eucharist. The charismatic gifts Paul describes in 1 Cor. 12:1-11 point to impressive powers granted to individnals by the Holy Spirit. One can easily see the possibility of the Spirit granting the Church such an "extraordinary ministry" in times of special need, as in the churches of the Reformation. Such a discussion makes us also aware of the abiding importance of charisms for the priestly work of men whose ministry is rooted in ordination by a bishop standing in apostolic succession. The Catholic conception of the ordained ministry has obvious roots in the Acts of the Apostles (especially 13:1-3 and 14:2123) and the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. Written well after Paul's main letters, they mirror the conviction that one enters



the ministry equipped with graces granted by apostolic or episcopal laying on of hands. These later New Testament documents show us the ministry that became and remains normative in the ordinary circumstances of the Church's life. But the earlier letters of Paul were also taken into the canon of the New Testament and they can serve today to suggest "forgotten truths" applicable to the ministry and Eucharist of the churches and ecclesial communities outside the Catholic and Orthodox traditions of Christianity. Our overview of recent Eucharistic theology has ranged widely and often only been able to catalogue new ideas without¡ fuller development. Still, it seems important to communicate something of the emban-assment of riches one has today for building a Eucharistic theology and for pastoral explanations of the Eucharistic liturgy. After such a survey, one understands why a recent synthesis, such as the article "Eucharist" by J. Betz in Sacramwntmn Mundi, differs so much in language and structure from the textbook account of only a few years ago. Ultimately each one must mould his own cluster of central ideas and convictions into a personal synthesis. Certain ideas will inevitably be central, others more peripheral. The danger, of course, is that some themes become so dominant as to exclude others, as in Luther's stress on the word we hear fa1¡ above the meal we eat. So today work exclusively from the phenomenological analysis of gift-giving and forget and realistic words of the New Testament on receiving the body and blood of Christsomething the resurrection makes eminently possible. Thus, the valid Eucharistic syntheses that emerge from the current movement will be marked by their openess to all the riches our sources offer. For the pastor, the flood of new themes and insights makes possible a whole series of fresh and appealing explanations of the Eucharist. There is no excuse for dull repetition of one or two dogmas. The Eucharist is clearly a many-splendored gift Christ has left his followers.

Method in Theology: From Apologetics to Hermeneutic

Joseph A. Bracken, S.J.

The theologian is the conscience of the Church as the prophet was the conscience of Israel.

Theology ¡has always been an instrument in the service of the Church. The needs of the Church, however, have not always been the same. In the primitive Church, for example, there was need for apologists like Jus tin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origin, etc., to expose the faith in a rational, coherent manner to the pagan unbeliever and to defend the faith against the false doctrines of heretics. In the high middle ages, on the other hand when the awakening Western civilization was exclusively Christian, there developed a need for a broad rational synthesis of theology with philosophy and the natural science of the day. In a loose sense of the word, theology remained even then apologetic, since the aim of Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure and the other great medieval theologians was to demonstrate the compatibility of faith and reason to all men of good will. This latter goal has, moreover, remained the ideal of speculative theology up to the present generation. 285

286 .


Nevertheless, there are new factors on the contemporary scene which argue that theologians are in need of a new definition of their role first of all within the Christian community, but likewise as part of the larger civil community. Theology, for example, has in large measure ceased to be polemical, for the simpla reason that there are few, if any, clearly defined "adversaries" or theological opponents any more. We all welcome the new spirit of friendship and co-operation which characterizes Protestant-Catholic relations at the present time, but the same spirit of ecumenism creates an identity problem for the old-style theologian, who is no longer called upon to engage in a war of words with a well-knO\vn "enemy" of the Church. Furthermm¡c, since Vatican II there have appeared in print a veritable avalanche of works on theology: the theology of culture, the theology of leisure, the theology of dissent, the theology of revolution, etc. Not only to the average layman, but likewise to the pmfessional theologian it is often perplexing to decide what is the method and scope of theology at the present time. What is it that distinguishes the theologian from his academic colleague in psychology, sociology, or the philosophy of religion? For at least these two reasons then, the drop-off in polemical theology writing and the enormous increase in works on "theology" in the extended sense of the te1m, there is need for the contemporary theologian to take stock of what he is doing and how he feels he is contributing to the general well-being of the Church as a community of believers. In the following pages I will first offer a preliminary definition of the role of the theologian in the Church today and then seek to justify this concept in the light of recent developments in Protestant theology, particularly in Germany, during the twentieth century. Finally, in the concluding paragraphs of the paper I will return to the initial definition of a contemporary theologian and try to expand upon it in view of the proceding historical survey. First of all, then, I would suggest that the role of the theologian today is to "interpret" the Word of God to his fellow-Christians in the faith-community which is the Church and also to his fellowmen in general, as far as that is possible. One might here object that this has been the aim of theologians in all ages of the Church. Nevertheless, I be-



lieve that in this age of the Church especially the theologian must see himself as a mediator or official interpreter of the ongoing dialogue between the Church as a faith-community and the Word of God, which is present to the Church in the Scriptures, the pronouncements of the magisterium, and finally the sacred liturgy. The theologian therefore is not called upon to construct elaborate systems of theology, as in the past, but rather to create the conditions for a dialogue between the Church and its own tradition in the light of new and unexpected situations in which Christians find themselves today. For this reason the contemporary theologian should be regarded as an interpreter or "hermeneut" of the Church's self-understanding to itself, and theology may properly be regarded as a special type of interpretation or "hermeneutic" of the Word of God, as it manifests itself in Scripture and in the ongoing tradition of the Church. ''HERMENEUTICS''

We may begin the second part of the paper, the historical survey of mooern Protestant thought, by asking ourselves what the word "hermeneutic" means. The Greek verb hermeneuein, from which the English noun hermeneutic is derived, refers to the Greek god Hermes, who was the messenger of the other gods to men. The Greeks credited Hermes with the discovery of language and writing-the tools which men employ to grasp meaning and convey it to others. According to Richard Palmer in his book He1¡meneutics (Northwestern U. Press, 1969), there are three basic meanings to the verb hermeneuein: to express aloud in words, to explain, and to translate. These three meanings obviously refer to three different speech situa. tions, yet in all three cases "something foreign, strange, separated in time, space, or experience is made familiar, present, comprehensible; something requiring representation, explanation, or translation is somehow 'brought to understanding'is interpreted" (p. 14). The first theologian to be considered in our survey is Karl Barth, who perhaps more than anyone else has influenced the direction of Protestant theology in the present century. The problematic out of which Barth did his theologizing especially



in his early years was, beyond any doubt, the question of hermeneutic or the true interpretation of Scripture. At the beginning of the First World War in August, 1914, Karl Barth was a young country pastor in the Swiss town of Safenwil in the Aargau. He had been educated in the liberal Protestant theology which is associated with the name of Adolph Harnack in his celebrated book, The Essence of Christianity. Barth was then profoundly shocked by the news that Harnack and other leading German intellectuals had signed a "Manifesto" in support of the Kaiser's \var policy in the same fateful summer of 1914. He writes in The Epistle to the Romans: "It was this miserable situation that compelled me as a pastor to undertake a more precise understanding and interpretation of the Bible" (Epistle to the Ronwns, Oxford U. Press; London, 1933, p. 9). Liberal theology had clearly failed to make a deep enough impression upon the minds even of its leading exponents so as to prevent the catastrophe of the First World War. Hence a new hermeneutic of Scripture was needed to compel Christians to listen to the Word of God and be led by its inspirations. Barth's response to tills situation was to launch¡ a direct frontal attack against the purely psychological, subjectivist interpretation of Scripture, originally proposed by Frederick Schleiermacher a hundred years earlier: Barth's starting point was his unshakeable belief that Scripture is the inspired word of God. "Once it has pleased God to speak, all theology, being human speech about God, can only be a stammering repetition, a spelling out of what God has said, a thinking over of his thoughts. The theologian cannot derive the truth of God from historical study, nor can he deduce it psychologically from the pious consciousness of man, or by speculation from some philo-sophical concept of the infinite or the absolute. There is only one thing he can do, and that is to listen to the word of God and expound it-in opposition to all history, psychology, and speculation" (H. Zahrnt, The Question of God, pp. 19-20). Barth did not, indeed, totally reject the canons of historical method or the research of philologists into the Bible as a religious document of the ancient near east, but he held that all these scientific disciplines were only a propaideutic to the main work of Biblical interpretation, which is, as noted above, "to listen to the word of God and to expound it" in terms which



will inspire faith and a loving response in the mind and heart of the average Church-goer on Sunday morning. There is, of course, a grave danger of fundamentalism or a too literal interpretation of Scripture in Barth's approach. Especially in his early years as a theologian, Barth himself was so zealous to reaffirm the transcendence of God and the 'powerlessness of man to understand anything about God except insofar as the latter revealed himself to man, that he pushed aside all objections to the effect that the Bible is a human as well as a divine document. One of his early disciples, however, Rudolph Bultmann, was not to be detened from pursuing a new hermeneutic of Scripture which would mediate between the extremes of liberal theology with its strong emphasis on scientific method in the analysis of Scripture and Barthian neo-fundamentalism. Bultmann's "existential" hermeneutic of Scripture will be the next item for discussion, after we have made a brief excursus to indicate the contributions of Frederick Schleiermacher, Wilhelm Dilthey and Martin Heidegger to a new philosophical concept of hermeneutic as a generalized theory of understanding. ON THE WAY TO BULTMANN

To the end of the eighteenth century, the term hermeneutics was almost exclusively employed to designate the study of the various rules and methods for the interpretation of Holy Scripture. Hermeneutics in this traditional sense was related to exegesis as theory to practice.' The heyday of the discipline took place precisely in the eighteenth century, when new books on the at"!; of scriptural hermeneutics appeared almost every year (cf. Jam.os M. Robinson and John B. Cobb, The New Hermeneutic. New F-rontiers in Theology, II, New York, 1964, p. 17). Beginning with Frederick Schleiermacher's lectures on hermeneutics in 1819, however, the term hermeneutics came to embrace more than simply the theory of Biblical exegesis. Schleiermacher maintained, on the one hand, that there were many different hermeneutics to conespond to the various types of literary composition, but on the other hand, there should exist an overall theory of human understanding which would theoretically justify the art of hermeneutics as practiced in Biblical studies,



law, poetry, prose compositions of various types, etc. This theory of human understanding rested on the assumption by Schleiermacher that a careful study of the text could mediate a meeting of minds between the original author and the reader. In Schleiermacher's opinion, therefore, hermeneutic or interpretation consisted in an imaginary dialogue between author and critic on the basis of the printed text. Wilhelm Dilthey, writing at the end of the nineteenth century, advanced one step further this new concept of hermeneutic as a generalized theory of understanding for a whole range of textual studies. First of all, he distinguished between explaining (ErkUircn) am! understanding (Ve>¡stehen). The former is an operation of the mind which is proper to the natural sciences and mathematics and is governed by the impersonal logic of these disciplines. The latter, on the other hand, is a mental process proper to the so-called human sciences ( Geisteswissensahaften) in which the data, e.g. books, documents, monuments, etc. are really intelligible only in terms of the human spirit, i.e., as the concrete "expression" of human beings, who have transformed nature to suit their own purposes. The function of understanding as opposed to explanation is therefore to grasp this higher, spiritual reality of the human spirit in and through its objective expression in history; literature, philosophy, and the other human sciences. Thus far Dilthey's approach to he1meneutic closely parallels that of Schleiermacher almost a century earlier. Dilthey, however, lays much less stress than Schleiermacher on the inter-personal character of hermeneutic and focuses instead on the understanding of the objective world-view of the author or artist as expressed in his literary or artistic creation. These world-views moreover can be roughly catalogued into types. Dilthey was attempting, in other words, to restore objectivity to the art of hermeneutic: not indeed the impersonal objectivity of the natural sciences, but an historical objectivity based on the recurrence of basic patterns in human thought. In this way he was able to avoid the extreme subjectivity of interpretation which Schleiermacher's theory of hermeneutics seemed to allow or even encourage. Martin Heidegger, writing in Being and Time in the 1920's, brought to fruition this new concept of hermeneutic as a genI'



eralized theory of textual interpretation. On the one hand, he continued the trend, begun by Dilthey, to seek historical objectivity in the act of understanding or interpretation. But, on the other hand, he consciously removed the limitations placed on understanding as opposed to explanation in Dilthey's scheme of things. Understanding for Heidegger is an Existential, the specifically human way to "exist" or "be-in-the-world." Thus Heidegger took up again Schleiermacher's project of a universal hermeneutic, which Dilthey had effectively negated by his contraposition of understanding and explanation, the human and the natural sciences. The terms, "existence" and "Being-in-theworld," as used by Heidegger, required, however, further explanation. Whereas Dilthey had laid stress on "life" as the universal matrix out of which all the "expressions" of the human spirit are born and to which they are ultimately referred as their ultimate source of meaning, Heidegger posited the even more inclusive category of Being as the necessary horizon for all human understanding and "existence." Being is here to be understood not as the first and most universal concept of scholastic metaphysics, but rather as an ontological totality which is revealed only in and through the specific beings that come-t<>-be in virtue of the power of Being itself. Man as Dasein reveals Being in and through his "existence," i.e., his conscious participation in a "world" which is in part peculiar to himself and in part shared with other men. He finds himself as one already "thrown" into this "world" and forced to work out his "destiny" in c<>-operation with other men, past, present and future, who affect, and are themselves affected by, his dayt<>-day decisions. In this existential "situation," man as Dasein achieves "authenticity" by becoming reflexively aware, on the one hand, of his finite, contingent Being-unt<>-death, and, on the other hand, of his responsibility to Being itself to accept this finitude and contingency. without flinching and thus to testify by his way of life to the primacy of Being over beings, including man himself. EXISTENTIAL HERMENEUTIC

Rudolph Bultmann found in this existential approach to human existence, as advanced by Martin Heidegger, the key which he needed to a new he1meneutic of Scripture, which



would indeed emphasize the primacy of the Word of God, as Barth had taught, and yet be more sensitive to the fact that the sacred .writings were a human as well as a divine composition. The advance which Bultmann made upon Barth in this matter of an "existential hermeneutic" of Scripture can perhaps best be indicated by juxtaposing a comment of Barth out of the celebrated Epistle to the Romans with Bultmann's commentary on the same passage. Barth writes in the Epii!tle to the Romans: "The critical historical method of Biblical research has its validity.... But my whole attention was directed to looking through the historical to the spirit of the Bible, which is the eternal Spirit. What once was serious is still se1~ious today, and what today is serious, and not just accidental and peripheral, stands in direet relation to what was once serious. Our questions, if we understand ourselves aright, are the questions of Paul, and Paul's answers, if their light illumines us, must be our answers .... The understanding of history is a continuous, increasingly open and urgent rliscussion between the wisdom of yesterday and the wisdom of tomorrow, which are one and the same" (K. Barth, The Epwtle to the Romans: in Robinson and Cobb, The Ne10 Hermeneutic. pp. 22-23). Thus Barth is urging that the student of Sacred Scripture attend, not so much to the literary style and grammatical form of Paul's epistle to the Romans, but rather to its basic content which is presumably as valid for the 1¡eader today as it was in the first century A.D. Bultmann, on the other hand, in the following quote questions whether Paul himself was master of his own subject matter, i.e., whether the message does not in some sense transcend the sacred writer and his medium of expression: "'When in exegeting Romans, I identify tensions and contradictions, heights and depth, when I exert myself to show where Paul is dependent upon Jewish theology or upon common Christianity, Hellenistic enlightenment, or Hellenistic sacramentalism, I am not merely carrying on historical philosophical criticism .... Ratllet¡ I do it to show where and how the subjeet matter comes to expression, in order that I may lay hold of the subject matter itself, which is greater even than Paul. And I am of the opinion that such criticism can only aid the clarity of the subjeet matter. For the more strongly I sense that with thw subjeet matter it is a question of uttering the unutterable ... the



more clearly I also sense and as exegete point out the relativity of the word. And it is a matter not only of the relativity of the word, but also of the fact that no man-not even Paul--can always speak only from the subject matter. Other spirits also come to expression through him than the Spirit of Christ. Hence criticism can never be radical enough." (Rudolph Bultmann, review of the 2nd edition of Karl Barth's Epi.stle to the Romans, Ch?-istliche Welt XXXVI, 1922, 372 ff.: in Robinson & Cobb, The New Hermeneutic, pp. 30-31). Thus Bultmann tries to go beyond Barth to isolate within the text of Scripture the essential message, the true Word of God, which is valid for all men in all ages of the world. The key or hermeneutical clue to this basic "kerygma" of the Scripture lies, in Bultmann's opinion, in the philosophy of existence proposed by Heidegger. Bultmann's hermeneutic was intended, in brief, to "demythologize" the Scriptures, in particular the New Testament. But by this term, "demythologize," Bultmann clearly did not mean to reject mythology as simply erroneous, but rather to give it its true existential interpretation. In and through the mythology of the day, e.g., the three-storey universe, the existence and activity of angels, demons, etc., Paul and the other New Testament writers were appealing to the reader for faith in God through Jesus Christ, for an existential decision, in other words, remarkably akin to the decision, suggested by Heidegger in Being ancl Time, to live "authentically" in the face of Being. Hence, even though Heidegger himself is a purely secular thinker and on occasion has explicitly repudiated the suggestion that his philosophy of existence can serve as the basis for a new interpretation of Scripture, Bultmann by his use of Heidegger's philosophy to carry through his project of "demythologizing" the Scriptures, has effectively made Heidegger one of the most fruitful thinkers for theology in the twentieth century. The full significance of Heidegger for theology as he1meneutic, however, will only be appreciated, after we have taken up the later Heidegger's reflections on language as the self-revelation of Being. In his writings after the publication of Being ancl Time in 1925, Heidegger focused more and more on the reality of Being as a process of self-revelation and of self-concealment in and



through the particular beings that come-to-be and then disappear in the course of history. In one sense this represented an extension of his original project, announced on the first page of Being and Time, of probing into the mystery of Being. Yet, from another point of view, it meant that the focal point of Heidegger's philosophy was shifting from a phenomenological analysis of the invariant structures of human "existence" to a more strictly ontological interest in Being itself as an historically conditioned process. As part of this shift in his philosophy human speech or language took on a new importance for Heidegger. Whereas in Being and Time Heidegger regarded language as a secondary or derivative mode of existential self-understanding, in his latter philosophy he tended to give language, understood rui a self-communication of Being, a certain primacy over man. Man now achieves authenticity in responding to language as a word-event in which Being is revealed. As Heidegger says in a collection of essays on language (Unterwegs zur Sprache), "Language is in its essence neither expression nor an activity of man. Language speaks (in man)." (M. Heidegger, Unterwegs zur Sp1¡ache, p. 19: quoted in Palmer, He1-meneutics. p. 154). THINKING DIALOGUE

If one accepts with Heidegger the hypothesis that Being communicates itself to man through the Event of language, then the consequences for hermeneutic as the art o~ textual interpretation are considerable. As Richard Palmer notes in his book H e>~neneutics, "it means that the discipline of interpretation becomes an effort to take a decisive step back from mere analysis and explanation to the achievement of thinking dialogue with what appears in the text. To understand becomes a matter not only of questioning which is willing to be open and undogmatic but also of learning how to wait and how to find the place (Ort) out of which the being of the text will show itself. Interpretation becomes a helping of the language event itself to happen, for the hermeneutical function of the text itself is emphasized as the place where being shows itself" ( p. 155). Two contemporary Getman theologians who have seen the theological implications of this new understanding of hermeneutic as a language-event are Ernst Fuchs and Gerhard




Ebeling. Both are disciples of Rudolph Bultmann, but both have sought to go beyond the "existentialist" hermeneutic of the master in which the individual remains a critic of the text, to a new position where the text here and now (in the languageevent) puts the individual reader in question, submits the critic, so to speak, to a revealing self-examination of his own preconceptions and values. (This same point is made by the German philosopher, Hans Georg Gadamer in his book, Wahrheit und Methode. Palmer dedicates two chapters to Gadamer in his book H ernteneutics) . Fuchs put the matter thus in one of his published lectures: "Who is now the object of demythologizing? Neither God, nor Jesus, nor the world, nor even language ... but rather man caught in a distorted relation to himself, at a standstill, indeed in collapse" (quoted in Robinson & Cobb, The New Hermeneut-ic, pp. 52-53). Elsewhere he says: "Being emerges from language, when language directs us into the dimension of our existence determinative for our life" (The New Hermene¡utic, p. 55). Specifying this last statement further, Fuchs offers the opinion that the language of the New Testament is the language of love, that the text "speaks" to us when it evokes in us a response of love (Carl Braaten, History and Hermeneutics, Nc1v Directions in Theology, II, p. 139). The historical Word of God, which is incarnated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the textual Word of God which is found on the pages of Holy Scripture are thus united into a single comprehensive reality which comes-to-be anew in the languageevent of the preaching of the word on Sunday morning or in the private reading of the scriptures. Gerhard Ebeling, more a church historian and dogmatic theologian than a scripture scholar, reveals to us the wider dimensions of this new principle of hermeneutic or understanding for the whole of theology. In an article for the Ge1man journal, Zeitsch?-ift fi&r Theologie und Ki¡rche, Ebeling says: "The question of hermeneutic fotms the focal point of the theological problems of today .... That Old Testament and New Testament scholars come up against the problem of helmeneutic in a special way is obvious at once. But the same is true also of the discipline of church history ... first in so far as it is




likewise continually concerned with the interpretation of sources, but then also and above all because of course the process of exposition of Scripture that goes on in the history of the Church presents the hermeneutical problem in its full compass .... Resting on the exposition of Scripture and the history of theology dogmatics has the task of bringing the church's teaching into contact and discussion with contemporary principles of thought, there to submit it to critical sifting and present it in its full inner coherence.... For so-called practical theology, above all in its teaching on sermon, instruction and pastoral care, the hermeneutical question presents the one central problem underlying all questions of detail, in so far as the apPlicatio must not stand unrelated and all on its own alongside the explicatio. More particularly also in the study of missions, with its difficult questions ... of translating the Biblical message into the languages of totally different civilizations, the hermeneutical problem proves to be of fundamental significance" (Robinson & Cobb, The New Hermeneutic, pp. 65-66). ¡ Thus in all the different disciplines of theology the underlying problem is invariably that of hermeneutic or interpretation of the word of God, as revealed in scripture and tradition. Even more thought-provoking, however, is the critique which Ebeling ¡levels against those who would resist the "new hermeneutic" as a danger to orthodox Christian dogma: "The critiCism to make against a theology that has become traditionalistic and positivistic is not that it abides by the given, . the tradition. Quite the contrary. It is precisely under the appearance of especially loyal allegiance to the tradition that de facto it is given up. For it is 'presented' as tmditum and thus as praeteritum, rather than by responding responsibly in pointing into the future with a word happening today, so that what is transmitted, the traditum, can take place as traditio. the act of transmitting. The traditum becomes what it is transmitted for only when it enters upon the act of transmission, i.e., when the text fixed in letters becomes the spiritual occurrence of the oral word" (The New Hermeneutic, pp. 6768). The weakness of the position thus taken by Ebeling is, of



course, that it is not quite clear what it is that is to be transmitted. Fuchs, for example says that the language of Scripture is the language of love, which evokes a response of love. Ebeling himself emphasizes the element of faith. The Scriptures reveal to us the faith of Christ with respect to His Father and evoke in us a similar existential decision to have faith in the Father (Carl Braaten, Hi<ltory and Hermeneutics, pp. 87-88). The continuity of the Christian tradition is guaranteed then more by the upbroken series of "believers" in one generation after another rather than by the perpetuation and gradual development of a common body of doctrine. There is, moreover, little need for systematic understanding in theology, when its only legitimate function is to stimulate or occasion the ad-hoc language-event, in which the Word speaks and the hearer responds in faith or love. THE NEW ROLE OF THE THEOLOGIAN

Despite these practical difficulties with the concept of theology as hermeneutic, there is, I believe, considerable merit to this new approach, especially since it offers to the individual theologian a new definition of his proper role in the Church. Tn this third part of my presentation, therefore, I will offer some reflections on this new role of the theologian in the Church under two headings: first of all, with respect to the subjectmatter of theology, and then with respect to the Chm¡ch itself as the faith-community which the theologian serves. From the historical survey which we have just completed, it is clear that the role of the theologian with regard to the subject-matter of theology is to be its "interpreter," to make the Word of God "speak" to modern man in and through the text or document to be inten>reted. What is not so clear from the above survey is that the Word of God speaks to the Roman Catholic, at least, not only through Scripture but also through the pronouncements of the magisterium and the liturgy. The work of theological interpretation cannot be restricted therefore to the text of Scripture; but, as Gerhard Ebeling himself notes, the entire theological enterprise, dogma, church history, pastoral theology, missiology, etc., is unintelligible except as a never-ending process of interpretation of the word of God to modern man.



At the same time, the strong emphasis among the German Protestant theologians on Holy Scripture as the "place" where the dialogue between God and man normally takes place should remind those of us in the Roman Catholic tradition that a distinction must be made, in theology as in other academic disciplines, between primary and secondary sources. The primary sources out of which a Roman Catholic theologian should do his theologizing are, as already mentioned, Scripture, the official pronouncements of the magisterium, and the sacred liturgy as the focal point of the Christian way of life. Yet it often happens that these primary sources are ambivalent with respect to a new and unprecedented situation within the Church. Here the theologian can and should draw upon the secondary sources of theology, i.e., the writings of other contemporary theologians, the findings of experts in fields related to theology, e.g., psychology, sociology, philosophy of religion, etc. To bring order and method, however, into the study of theology, these secondary sources should be continuously evaluated in the light of the primary sources, not indeed to defend the traditional interpretation of the sources, but rather to make clear the doctrinal tradition within which the theologian does his theologizing and to which he must make a contribution, if his opinions are to have any enduring value. Secondly, with respect to the audience addressed, the theologian should realize that he is addressing himself to a faithcommunity which is hierarchically ordered. Hence, while his general aim is to awaken each of the faithful, bishop, priest, and layman alike, to a new awareness of the Word of God in his or her existential situation, in practice he must remember that his own role as interpreter or "hermeneut" of the \Vord of God is subordinate to the magisterial teaching authority of the Church. This is not to say that he cannot take issue with some past decision of the hierarchy, if it seems clear to him that their decision was biased or at least one-sided. But his dissent from the official teaching of the Church must be expressed in such a way, that the authority of the magisterium itself is not called into question. The responsibility for the unity of doctrine in the Church is, after all, primarily in the hands of the bishops, and only secondarily the concern of the theologians, who seek to "interpret" the Word of God anew in each new situation.



If these qualifications both with respect to the subject matter and the audience addressed are kept in mind, then there is no reason why the theologian should not enjoy a position of eminence within the Church. As the interpreter of the Word of God for contemporary Christians, the theologian plays roughly the same role in the Church as the Old Testament prophet played in ancient Israelite society. He is, in other words, the "conscience" of the Church as the prophet was the "conscience of Israel" (Cf. the book by Bruce Vawter on the Old Testament prophets under the same title). The Church today, as the Jewish nation of old, needs to be reawakened to the riches of its own tradition, to be put in contact once again with the Word of God, present in the Scriptures, the magisterial pronouncements of the Church, and the sacred liturgy. The job of the theologian is to facilitate this dialog between God and His people.

Myra Lambert, sscm and William J. Shields

Criteria {or Membership in Team Ministry {or Priests and Sisters

Ford City's experienced "team" of priests and sisters reflect on thier pioneering ministry.

The authors of this article are Sister Myra Lambert, SSCM, and Reverend William J. Shields. Together with"Sister Connie Huhn, OP, and Reverend Christe A. Melone they comprise the Team assigned to Ford City Catholic Center. Ford City is a complex of about 120 stores, some factories and a series of apartment buildings with 320 units. Soon another 7 40 units will be added. The shopping Centet¡ has a public meeting hall called the Gold Room. Here the Liturgy is celebrated at 4:30 P.M. and 5 :40 P.M. on Saturdays and 11 :00 A.M. and 5 :10 P.M. on Sundays. The Congregation varies from week to week. The total attendance is about 1200. But there are about 400 of' these ~ho come every week and for whom Ford City Catholic Center is their parish. Many of these come from a great distance. 300



The past two years have placed great strain on every member of the Team. The relationships between members were constantly tried by the difficulties encontered in establishing what is essentially a non-territorial parish without Church buildings of its own.


But perhaps even more difficult has been the strain of learning to function as an effective staff thro~gh a process of trial and error. At first we were so determined to avoid the autocratic style of our past existence that we tried to be totally "democratic." Each of us would vote on everything. It soon became apparent that this would not work. Now every member of the Staff has designated areas of responsibility. Each week the team meets on Tuesday morning for about four hours. Chairmanship is rotated. The first half of the Agenda always contains a summary of what each has accomplished in her or his designated areas of responsibility. The second half of the Agenda usually concerns future plans. Only on those rare occasions when a totally new problem arises and different solutions are offered is a vote necessary. Three out of four are required for passage. When we began to form our Team two years ago, very little was available to help us in choosing participants. Throughout the Church many teams of priests and sisters are starting. We offer this paper as a way of developing a conversation that will enable us to discover ways of serving the Lord and His people more effectively. Obviously¡ much of what we say is colored by personal experience. Approximately three months ago, we sent a tentative set of criteria to a large number of priests, sisters and laity and asked them to criticize and suggest changes in content and style. Their responses have been invaluable in helping us to refine our ideas. The fact that so many took the time and effort to answer is an indication of a real felt need in the Church. PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES NECESSARY FOR EFFECTIVE TEAM MINISTRY

A. A peaceful acceptance of the life style inherent in their own vocation and a commitment to t¡ernain. Today there is



much unrest in out¡ lives. Many priests and sisters are questioning not only the specific task that is theirs but also the meaning of religious life itself. If an individual is grappling with the problem of the direction of his whole life, it is unfair to him as well as to the team and parish to join a ministry that puts so much additional strain on all involved. Maturity that has come from fidelity in living ones' vocation is so important that without it the team could not stabilize its apostolate.

B. A commitment to a celibate life {o1¡ oneself. There is obviously witihin the Church increasing dialogue concerning the values of celibacy. It is impossible for any priest or sister to be unaffected by the violence of this quarrel. But for someone reasonably to join a team of priests and sisters this problem must have been settled for him or her personally. A team develops a style of heterosexual living that places celibacy in a new context. Unless there is a clear understanding of where each member of the group is in his or her acceptance of celibacy, relationships will constantly be strained. It is obvious that the friendships developed in working closely together as well as sharing much of the rest of life are conditioned by the fact that each of the persons has a vow of celibacy. Only if the acceptance on both parts is relatively peaceful can such friendships between priests and sisters be valuable to the fulfillment of their vocations. C. A capacity to adapt with some ense to changing Institutions. Today time honored institutions are not only being challenged but dramatically changed. The Church as a part of America has been caught in this whirlwind. Many of us do not recognize how dependent we are on institutions to lend stability to life. To function well as a team member, it is required that change not cause so much tension that the person be rendered ineffective. The "track record" of the individual can give some clues as to how rigid he or she is. Even more clearly a danger sign would be a need on the part of the person for constant change without direction. It is very difficult to work with someone who is in internal disarray. Each member of the team must be able to engage in the process of creating new institutions as well as evaluating existing ones. The team exists not for itself but to carry on the ministry of the Gospel. There-



fore, it must provide for the parish a balance in bringing about the new world which is to come.

D. Health: I. Sufficient physical health fo>· the rather vigorous demands of this Apostolate. 2. Sufficient emotional stability to 1veather the increased stress to be expected. Experience has proved to all of us that heterosexual team ministry places great emotional demands on everyone. It would seem imprudent to subject anyone already having difficulties to a more rigorous test of their ability to handle strain. However, it is very difficult for us to judge how much of the strain of the past eighteen months has been caused by the unique combination of conditions of our experiment (e.g. non territorial parish, shopping center apostolate, no church building, new life style of sisters and to some extent priests, etc.). E. Finished with ordinary education. This reference is of necessity amhigious since it is dependent upon the person. Today, professional training is a necessity for much of the work of the apostolate. The task is so formidable that the energy necessary to pursue a full course of study would make membership in a team a practical impossibility. This does not rule out the possibility of having a deacon or a sister join the team as an intern in this type of ministry. F. Some experience in living ont ones' vocation. It is obvious that the past history of the person will be the clearest indication that they rlo or do not possess all the attributes already discussed. CAPACITY TO FUNCTION AS EFFECTIVE TEAM MEMBER

A. Proven ability to initiate some programs. The pastor must give the parish real leadership. But we envision a team pastor. Hence it is necessary that each individual possess some creative talent and be willing to risk the success or failure of new beginnings. Once again the past performance of each person is the clearest indication of this capacity. B. Capacity to choose gronp goals and 1vo>·k fm· them effectively. Perhaps the most difficult task of a team is that of choosing its goals and finding means of striving towards them. Most priests and sisters assume that they know the goals of a parish. But in the effort to concretize them it becomes clear



how naive this assumption can be. Agreement on priorities {e.g. use of time, money, personnel, etc. can be achieved reasonably only if there is a true consensus about the essential task to be done.

C. Flexibility .sufficient to adjust to changing perspectives. Because of the training that most of us have received, it can be difficult to adjust our visions and plans as living forces new perspectives. Working together as a group means that each individual brings an imput of perceptions that can alter group decisions. If the goals and methods of implementing them are rigidly set for one individual, it will be very difficult for him or her to adjust to the changing world of the others. His or het· tensions will be communicated to the team and become a handicap for all. D. Compatibility to live anrl work with the pe1"Sonalities of this group. It is not enough that the persons on a team be individually good, wholesome people. It is necessary that each person have a capacity to interact in a productive way with the others. Even though an individual could belong to some groups it does not follow that he or she would be at home with this particular group. Wherever possible, a team should be meeting and working together for months before accepting their new assignment together. Only experience can reveal the "booby traps" that may be hidden under a superficially adjusted team. Since the group must relate in so many areas of life-work, prayer, social-a team style of living imposes great strain on any relationship. Obviously what was said above on personal attributes has tremendous importance here. For instance, someone trying to work out a personal problem on celibacy would find working happily with the others almost impossible over a long period of time.

E. Pem~ission f-rom •·eligious superior to make those adiushnent.s in life style necessary in this expe1·iment. Religious orders differ from one another in the details of their rules and regulations. Obviously sisters from different communities living together must have enough leeway in interpretating them to permit a growth in community. The life style of sisters in team ministry can often times resemble in exterior that of lay women. Hence a sister joining team ministry must have the



consent of het¡ congregation to make the adjustments necessary for this mode of living without feeling guilt for not fulfilling the demands made by her own religious community.

F. Ability fm¡ mutual m¡owth tMough interaction with the other members of the team. It is only by living in a Christian Community that we can experience the way of life demanded by the Gospels. Since the members of a team are the primary support group for each other it is necessary to assure that the relationships are productive of growth if they are not to be destructive. Chance alone will not insure that each applicant will have the openness and honesty necessary if the team is to become a sign to the outside world of what it means for "Christians to live and dwell together in love." It is apparent how necessary it is for the team members to spend the time and effort necessary to really know one another. If during the period of formation the group discovers that one of the members makes such mutual growth impossible, then this person must leave the team no matter how painful such a decision may be for all concerned. Christian growth is more important than accomplishing tasks. G. Willingness to do 1vhat the team considers necessary for its survival. A team pastor is a loaded phrase. A pastor ordinarily made the decisions for his parish based on his scale of values. A team is made up of a number of people. Some goals will be clear cut to all and all will be able to embrace them easily. Some, however, are not so easily accepted by everyone. Yet each member will be expected and counted upon to work effectively for a goal he or she may question. This requires a concept of faith in the carisma of group ideas and an ability to put group above self when necessary. H. A basic theological-philosophical that all can work and live 1vith. The Church today embraces people with widely divergent philosophical and theological understandings. It is obviously very important that the members of a team sent to form a local Church have enough in common theologically that agreement on essential decisions does not become impossible. In working through together the criteria already discussed above, much of a persons religious outlook will become apparent.




A. Commitment of se1·vice to the institutional Catholic Chw·ch. B. A commitment to the orde1· o1· diocese from which the person comes. Today there is much questioning of the relation of priests and sisters to the Institutional Church. As the Church changes its own image a rigid' conformity enforced by law no longer really is possible. So the internal commitment to the service of the Church becomes even more important. A team that serves only itself is not a Christian Community at all. Obviously there will be other types of teams. But when a diocese accepts a priest or sister to accomplish part of its task, the priest or sister has a responsibility to this institution. At the same time a sister owes to her religious community some proof of her responsibility for its continued existence. C. A commitment to the experiment as existentially developed. D. Willingness to sacrifice personally because of conviction of the worthwhileness of experiments in team nLinistry within the Chw·ch. To function effectively, a priest or sister must be committed to the ministry as it existentially develops. True service can never be forced-it must be freely given. Every one can see the imperfections and deficiencies of the work accomplished. Reality forces us to modify our dreams. The "angst" of daily living is not avoided in this ministry. Only if each team member is truly dedicated to the total task can the team function effectively. With such dedication as an anchor, the team can then more easily modify the experiment .as the decisions and needs of the people demonstrate.



A. Applicant will be interviewed 11eTson1tlly by a nwmbe1· of the teant and subsequently by the 1uhole team. B. Applicant will be evaluated by a competent psychologist not connected with the experiment. C. Decision to join for a probationary period would Tequi1·e the unanimou8 consent of applicant and oI the tea.m. The living and working together of the team in ministry is intended to form a community of persons in witnessing the Gospel. If people unsuited to this type of ministry can be screened out, much suffering will be avoided. Of course, a great deal of prescreening is also necessary. The "Track record"



of each applicant in his or her former assignments should prove helpful. If possible, some people with whom this person has worked closely should be included in one of the team sessions. A competent psychologist with an adequate knowledge of the particular ministry could obtain through personal interviews (tests do not seem to be to helpful) a sense of the dynamics of this person, his strengths and weaknesses, needs and limitations, etc. Finally, of course, only the combined wisdom of the group should determine the acceptance of new participants. In the case of a totally new team it would seem wise to require that each person receive the unanimous vote of the rest. It is to help the group in making these decisions that the criteria above were developed. PROBATIONARY PERIOD

A. Six months shall be considered a time of probation. B. At the conclusion of this pe1"iod the gronp may deny membe1"ship o1¡ a new applicant may elect to leave. No matter how well screening has been done, only living experience will prove how well this group can function together. A probationary period would provide an opportunity for the team to really get to know each other. During these first months, it may well be. come apparent that one or more members simply do not belong in this particular ministry. It would be possible for any of the team to leave when this is discovered without any stigma attached. Six months would seem a long enough time for this process. C. Otherwise a commitment of at least two ?fears will be expected. For any work some consistency in personnel is necessary. It takes a long time for a group of people to become truly effective in working together. Only when there is a mutual commitment of lives can the dynamics of the group permit the effective use of the talents of all its members. Without a minimum time commitment it would also be impossible to stabilize projects. Nothing said here implies that anyone should consider two years as an optimum stay. If the project is successful at the end of the two year period it is quite likely that all or most of the team will elect to remain on for a much longer period.

George J. Dyer

Privatized Religion-- A New Phenomenon~

People are no less reUgious today but the patterns of tlwi?¡ religiosity seern to be changing.

In a psychological survey of Chicago priests Father Raymond Carey discovered that one of the critical problem they faced was their "inability to reach people." Anyone who has observed the American religious scene over the past ten years would be quick to sympathize with them. The "sixties" saw the radical theologians proclaiming a Godless Christianity and calling upon men to build the Secular City. The "seventies" were barely underway, however, when \Ve were confronted with the Jesus people, the Processans, the Pentecostalists and the witches. I am sure that the bulk of our parish populations lie somewhere to the right of the radical theologians and to the left of the witches. Nevertheless the same forces that produced the two polarities have also been at work along the continuum. It is not at all surprising, therefore, that priests may be having difficulty reaching people. 308



It is tempting to speculate that both the Jesus people and the witches are the logical products of the dialectic generated by the Secular City debate. By denying any verifiable experience of God the radical theologians unwittingly drew more attention to the subject than it has had since the days of William James (Varieties of Religious Expe1-ience, 1902). The result has been a growing interest in religious behavior on the part of theologians as well as psychologists and sociologists. Scholars have been in this field for years, of course, but never have their inquiries seemed so¡ timely as they are at the moment. What function does religion perform for our society and for individuals within it? What influence do cultural and historical forces have upon the religious "models" that men adopt? Have the patterns of religiosity been changing in recent years? Some indication of the answers that have been given to these problems may be useful in addressing the "people problem" uncovered by the Carey survey. RELIGION AND SOCIETY

Man emerges from history as an extraordinarily religious creature, one who saw his world as the manifestation of the Sacred. Indeed, it is this symbolic presence of the Sacred that Mircea Eliade sees as the essential characteristic of natural religions. The "things" of man's world were not merely natural or cultural objects but the manifestations of the Holy, the Other. Because of this symbolic contact with an ultimate cosmos man lived in a world that was meaningful and wellgrounded (The Sac;-ecl and the Profane, Harper, 1961). Viewing this sense of the sacred from another prespective sociologist Peter Berger attempts to show the relation between religion and society. Man's world, he notes, is not simply given to him as it is to other mammals; he must shape it for himself, he must impose his own order on existence. The results of his efforts are human culture and more specifically human society, the ordering enterprise. It is obvious that each individual does not create his own order, his own culture; he is born into it. As he matures he internalizes. the world view that he finds in his society. So important is this interpretive scheme to him that separation from society can cause him to



lose both his cognitive and moral bearings. In Berger's view then society stands as a shield against chaos. There are moments, however, when the shield itself is severely tested; these are the so-called marginal or limit situations, crises that seem to overwhelm the resources of society itself. The limit situation par excellence, of course, is death. Faced with the death of those significant to him man is driven to question the basic assumptions of order on which his society rests. Historically man has defended his threatened society -by rooting it in another, ultimate world, the Sacred. A mysterious and powerful reality, the Sacred undergirds man's world of meaning even in the face of death. He is assured that even an extreme crisis has its place in a larger universe that "make sense" even of death. Thomas Luckmann notes that in a simple society this religious worldview existed without the need of religious institutions to mediate it. Indeed the complete institutional specialization of religion entered man's history only in the JudaeoChristian tradition. With the advent of institutionalized religion man was provided with an "official" model for his religiosity, one that he was expected to appropriate as his own (T. Luckmann, The Invisible Religion, 1967). Up to the time of the Reformation, therefore, the Church performe<l a two-fold social service for western man. It buttresse<l his society in limit situations like the Black Death. It also helped in another of society's perennial tasks-persuading succeeding generations to inhabit the world of meaning craved out by their predecessors. Historically religion has been the most effective instrument in this process of legitimation. It is effective because it can locate social institutions in a sacred frame of reference. Thus political power reflects divine authority; human sexuality reflects divine creativity. In this way social institutions and human activities are given an ultimate sense of security and rightness. Viewed by a social engineer these were the functions performed by institutional Christianity up to the sixteenth century. Catholicism was the official model of a religious worldview that touched the total life of man, personal, ¡political and economic. But then the secularizing process got underway, and the picture began to change.



Secularization is the process by which entire segments of society have been removed from the domination of religious institutions and symbols. In this technological age man no longer sees his world moored to the sacred cosmos; and the institutional model of religion seems increasingly marginal to the political and economic sectors of his life. The significance of a man's performance in these areas becomes increasingly isolated from his performance in the religious sphere of his life. This lack of integration tends to diminish the importance of institutionalized religion. For the worldview presented by the Church was meant to give a pervasive sense of coherence to. individual life. In our pluralistic society, however, the Church's worldview finds itself competing for the individual's allegiance not only with other religious denominations but with a variety of secular worldviews from modern science to Playboy magazine. In this "buyer's market" the individual has the choice of simply appropriating the universe of meaning offered him by the Church or of constructing his own interpretive scheme. lf he chooses the latter he can gather the components for his pl"ivate world view from a variety of sources: institutional religion, popular psychology, popular science, etc. lf Luckmann's surmise is correct, we may indeed be witnessing the privatizing of religion. The end product of this process will be an unstable and eclectic pyramid of opinions with one or more central themes: the sacredness of the individual, sexuality and selfrealization, familism, etc. Although Luckman's theory is not easily demonstrable, it does lend an interesting perspective to the Catholic scene. Those who remember the pontificate of Pius XII may recall the seemingly endless volumes of papal "allocutions" that flowed year by year from the Vatican press. In hundreds of audiences the Pope addressed men and women from every walk of life; he spoke to learned societies of scientists and colleges of surgeons, to athletes and midwives and garbage collectors. A journal was published simply to keep Americans abreast of his pronouncements (The Pope Speaks). Nor did he limit himself to Catholic "piety"; as a result professional



theological joumals paid close attention. (No respectable treatise on baptism for instance could afford to ignore his "address to the midwives"). If ever there was a Catholic worldview, it clearly existed between 1939 and 1959-an official model of religiosity that touched nearly every dimension of human life. The reception given Humanae Vitae clearly signalled the end of this era. And when Newsweek's survey showed that only a minority of Catholics had any significant interest in the decisions of their bishops, there seemed little doubt that the Catholic worldview had lost much of its power. It would not be completely rash, therefore, to suspect the privatizing process may be underway in the Catholic community. If this is indeed the case, we may be sure that it will not be a uniform phenomenon. It would almost certainly have a varying impact on men and women, the young and the middle-aged, the student and the worker. To the exterit that the process implies a personal appropriation of one's faith, it is a healthy development. When it leads to an insular religious vision, cut off from the community of faith, it is self-defeating. Sociologists themselves have pointed to the difficulties encountered by groups whose cognitive or moral systems have little community re-inforcement. More importantly, an insular faith moves away from the Christian dispensation which summons us not simply to justice but to a community of the just. The problem uncovered by Father Carey may be rooted, therefore, in a pattern of Catholic religiosity. A priest who is sensitive to the possibility may have taken an important step toward a more effective ministry.


John F. Dedek

Abortion: A Theological judgment Until vm¡y recently Catholic theologians all agreed that one may never directly destroy or abort a fetus for any reason.

When a federal court overturned the Illinois abortion law as "unconstitutionally vague" on the grounds that it did not clearly specify what acts were violations, there was a brief surge of abortions in some Illinois hospitals until a stay was issued against the lower court's ruling by United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. The first woman to take advantage of the temporary unclarity about the status of Illinois law was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune, which reported that "having an abortion was an easy decision for her." The Tribune quoted the woman as saying, "I didn't even consider this a pregnancy. You either want it or you don't want it. I didn't think I was killing anything. I can't help the way other people think." An intelligent decision needs greater clarity than that. In 313



making human choices one ought to be clear on what one is doing and to what or whom he is doing it. There are many factors that will bear upon a decision for or against an abortion. One of them is the nature of fetal life. THE MAKING OF A HUMAN BABY

In the act of sexual intercourse about 3000 million sperm are deposited in the vagina. If an ovum has been released from the ovary, one of the sperm may reach and fertilize it. The ovum will live for about 24 hours; if fertilization does not occur during this period, both ovum and sperm will die. During the first 6 to 8 hours the sperm must be "capacitated" for fertilization by some substance in the uterus or tube. Fertilization usually occurs in the upper part of the fallopian tube, and it is not instantaneous but a process taking some minutes. The genes of the father are contained in a packet of 23 chromosomes in the sperm, and the genes of the mother are contained in a packet of 23 chromosomes in the ovum. When fertilization occurs these two packets of chromosomes unite to form a brand new genetic package of 46 chromosomes, the normal number in a human cell. This genetic package or genotype, which is absolutely new in the universe, is called the zygote. After a day or two the zygote, while moving down the tube to the uterus, begins a process of daily cleavage or mitosis, splitting into 2 cells the first rlay, 4 cells the second day, 8 cells the third day, and so on. The newly divided individual cells are called blastomeres, which at the end of 4 or 5 days form a cluster of cells called the morula. The morula begins what is called the blastocyst stage. It enters the uterus and starts the process of implantation in the wall of the uterus: one pole of the cluster of cells (the trophoblast) implants itself in the uterus and becomes the placenta; the other pole (the embryoblast) will become the fetus. The trophoblast begins to introduce hormones into the woman's bloodstream to prevent menstruation, which of course would be fatal to the new life. This process of implantation or nidation takes about 6 days. By the 11th day after fertilization the process is completed.



After two weeks the zygote has become more complex, is about ljlO inch long, and is now called the embryo. It seems that identical twins are formed sometime up to this point by the mass of cells splitting into two separate Jots. Perhaps twinning takes place a short time after this. Some embryologists believe that it frequently takes place at the primitive streak stage which occurs at the beginning of the third week. Recombination of split or twinned cells into one individual probably can occur during this same time. Therefore while a new unique individual genotype is formed at conception, it is not irreversibly an individual until around the beginning of its third week of life. The embryo stage lasts until the end of the eighth week. During that period the heart begins pumping in the third or fourth week. All the internal organs are present in rudimentary form by the end of the sixth week. Reflex movements occur by the end of the seventh week. At the end of eight weeks the embryo is about 1 inch long; it is fairly well formed with fingers and toes recognizable, and electrical activity in the brain can be detected in an EEG reading. After the eighth week it is called a fetus. Between the eighth and twelfth week reflex and spontaneous movement occurs; the fetus grows to about 3V, inches, and its brain structure is completed. After the twelfth week an abortion by scraping the inside of the uterus (D & C is dangerous to the mother. If an abortion is performed after this time it is by abdominal surgery or by injecting a saline solution into the amniotic sac which causes an immature vaginal delivery. "Quickening" (perception of fetal movement by the mother) usually occurs before the sixteenth week. And by the twentieth week the fetus weighs about one pound and is technically viable. A fetus delivered after twenty weeks has about a 10% chance of survival today, and so its delivery is said to be premature not an abortion. At the end of the twenty-eighth week the fetus weighs about two pounds, and its chance of survival outside the womb has increased substantially. Practically speaking it is considered viable from the twenty-eighth to the fortieth week, when natural birth usually begins.



The question that must be asked is: what is the nature of fetal life? Is a fetus a human person, merely prehuman organic matter, or something in between? This, of course, is not the only question that must be asked. Once it is answered we must inquire further: what value should we attach to it? does it have the same inviolability as mature human life or does it have less? We can ask these questions on two levels-the scientificphilosophical and the theological. We can first try to respond as far as human science and reason can take us. Then as Christians we can inquire whether the Christian faith has any further light to shed. This means for Catholics in particular that they ask whether magisterial teaching can contribute a better understanding here. But if a Catholic finds that the only source of his knowledge is his acceptance of papal teaching, then he cannot go into the public argument wondering why other men do not see or understand what even his own reason is unable to discern. And if Christian revelation is unclear, then he ought to raise the question: how does the magisterium get a certitude that goes beyond the available evidence. The first question is usually asked in this form: when does human life begin? Put in this way the question can be misleading if one is not aware that human life is not a univocal term. It means different things to different people and is applied to different realities in different ways. What is man? is a philosophical question that is settled differently by men. Some with Aristotle define man as a rational animal. Ensoulment by a human or spiritual form is decisive. Others set down different definitions, some going so far as to deny that one is a man until after socialization, that is until after one has been humanized by interpersonal I-thou relationships. However, we can ask the question in this form if we are alert to the philosophical content we are giving to the terms man, person or human life. In fact, asking the question in this form will reveal to us quite clearly the ambiguities that exist in the various stages of human development. Those who argue that individual human life begins at the



moment of conception find solid support in the teaching of modern genetics. Paul Ramsey says, "Indeed, microgenetics seems to have demonstrated what religion never could; and biological science, to have resolved an ancient theological dispute. The human individual comes into existence first as a minute informational speck, drawn at random from many other minute informational specks his parents possessed out of the common gene pool. This took place at the moment of impregnation. There were, of course, an unimaginable number of combinations of specks on his paternal and maternal chromosomes that did not come to be when they were refused and he began to be. Still (with the single exception of identical twins), no one else in the entire history of the human race has ever had or will ever have exactly the same genotype. Thus it can be said that the individual is whoever he is going to become from the moment of impregnation. Thereafter, his subsequent development may be described as a process of becoming the one he already is. Genetics teaches that we were from the beginning what we essentially still are in every cell and in every human and individual attribute.... What is this but to say that we are all fellow fetuses? That from womb to tomb ours-is a nascent life? That we are in essence congeners from the beginning.''

The argument from genotype comes to this. At conception a new and unique genetic package comes into being. This genetic package contains potentially everything that the adult man will become. Man's life is a process of becoming. It would be arbitrary to point to any other moment in this process and say that here a human being emerges. A human being is always emerging, and he is emerging from the intial genetic package which is in potency all that he ever will be. This position is not only reasonable and scientifically founded. It also most effectively protects the inviolability of human life. For as we shall see, if one tries to designate some point other than conception in the human developmental process as the point of inviolability, it is difficult to avoid arbitrariness in assigning that point. If one accepts in principle that a certain degree of development is necessary before inviolability is established, it is possible that the distinction between abortion and infanticide would become blurred and that dangerous dis-



criminations would be made among human beings of varying potentialities. There are, however, a couple difficulties that can be raised against this position. For one thing, it gives no weight to the fact that the potentialities in the genotype are conditioned and shaped by its interaction with the environment. A man, the phenotype, is not simply an enlarged or grown up genotype. One can reasonably argue that a unique human being is not only a product of his genes. He is a product of a genotype in intâ&#x201A;Źraction with other things and people. Hominization is a process which is dependent on more than biochemistry, and therefore genetic individuality alone is too narrow a criterion to establish that one is truly a human being. What is more, a zygote is not irreversibly an individual until around the end of the second or beginning of the third week of life. During that time it may split, forming identical twins (or triplets, etc.). And there is evidence that twinned individuals may recombine, forming again a single genotype. The Christian who adopts the position that a human person exists from the moment of conception can explain, of course, that at the moment of twinning God creates another soul for one of the twins and that when recombination takes place one of the individual human beings dies, even though there is no organic matter which ceases to live. But he must acknowledge that this scientific data considerably weakens his thesis on the beginning of human life. In a footnote to his argument that human life begins at conception Paul Ramsey admits precisely that. He says: "The case of the identical twins does, however, suggest a significant modification of any 'proof' from genotype. If there is a moment in the development of nascent life subsequent to impregnation and prior to birth (or graduation from Princeton) at which it would be reasonable to believe that an individual human life beuins to be inviolate, that moment is arguably at the appearance of a 'primitive streak' across the hollow cluster of developing cells that signals the separation of the same genotype into identical twins. Other moments in the developmental process have been suggested as the point of inviolability. One rests on the preinise that the existence of a functioning human brain is required



for the existence of a human person. Electrical activity in the embryo's developing brain does not start until the eighth week, and the cerebral cortex is not fully complexified until around the sixth month of gestation. If one takes the appearance of electrical activity in the brain of the embryo as signaling its inviolability, then one has a criterion for judging the beginning of human life which is consistent with the now commonly accepted criterion of death. In 1968 when the possibility of heart transplants made an exact definition of death more urgent, both a statement of the World Medical Association and a report of an Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School agreed that death should be defined as an irreversible coma or a permanently non-functioning brain. Both documents listed four criteria which signify that a person is no longer alive, even though vital processes like breathing and blood circulation are being artificially maintained. These are 1) lack of response to external stimuli, 2) no movement or breathing, 3) absence of reflexes, and 4) the confirmatory sign of a flat or isoelectric electroencephalogram ( EEG). Therefore, the argument goes, <Ieath is a complex process. It consists in irreversible coma or a permanently nonfunctioning brain. A sign of this is a flat EEG. The absence of electrical activity in the brain is evidence that a person is dead, even though other vital processes are mechanically continue<!. Therefore these vital processes may be te1minated for an organ or heart transplant. So also, at the embryonic end of life, a flat EEG should be accepted as a sign that an organism is not yet a living human person but only living tissue. Hence for a good reason these vital processes may be terminated.

This argument has a number of obvious weaknesses. One is that the othe1¡ signs of life, e.g. reflex movements, are present in the embryo. But more important is the fact that it is not the comatose state itself but the ineversibility of the coma that is the decisive factor in determining death. The absence of electrical activity in the brain is not permanent or final in the embryo. Just the opposite is true: its potentialities for all human life and personhood set it apart as quite different from a man whose permanently non-functioning brain signals that he is dead.



Joseph Donceel, S.J., thinks that in discussing the question of the beginning of human life we ought to take another look at the Aritoltelian-Thomistic thesis of delayed animation or, as he prefers to call it, delayed hominization. St. Thomas' teaching that the human soul is not created until some time has elapsed in the developmental process of the embryo, he argues, does not have its foundation in outdated biology but in sound philosophy. According to Thomistic hylomorphism the soul is the substantial form of man. But matter cannot receive its specific form until it is proportioned to it; that is to say, the human body must reach a certain stage of development and complexification before it can receive a human form or soul. In other words, the spiritual or rational anima cannot exist except in a highly organized body. Donceel argues that Thomistic hylomorphism, while probably not defined at the Council of Vienne, always has and still does occupy a favored position in the Catholic Church. What is more, delayed hominization is more in accord with modern philosophy's antidualistic explanation of man as embodied spirit, as the body of his soul as well as the soul of his body. Donceel concludes, "1 feel certain that there is no human person until several weeks [of gestation] have elapsed." Doncell's arguments have gained the interest and support of other Catholic theologians. Robert Springer, S.J., gives this verdict: "Donceel has uncovered strong historical evidence for his thesis, precedent in official teaching, and theological support to be reckoned with. Join to these his point of the kinship of hylomorphism with modern philosophy and his interpretation of the latest biological findings. It all adds up to a respectable case for delayed hominization. Taking a transtemporal view, we may conclude that the Catholic community enfolds a philosophico-theological pluralism on the question of immediate hominization." A fair conclusion is that we cannot be certain about the time of animation. The stronger case, I would judge, can be made for immediate animation at the time of conception or at least at the time of the appearance of the primitive streak. As Joseph Mangan, S.J., has pointed out, " ... if Thomas Aquinas had been aware of [modern] biological advances ... namely, that the



fertilized ovum is biologically a living organism of the human species with the intrinsic capability of developing into a mature human person, it is reasonable to conclude that he would not have held the Aristotelian theory of mediate or delayed animation. Further, it seems reasonable to judge that the human zygote as we understand it today with DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid) would in Thomas' understanding eminently satisfy as having the organized matter required for the infusion of a human spiritual soul." But to say "it seems reasonable to judge" is not to say it is certain. Therefore Mangan's conclusion is as modest as his promise: "I cannot see how anyone can simply be certain on the evidence presented, especially in the last thirty years, that the human person normally does not exist in the human zygote from the first moment of conceptieon.... [Threfore] we shall consider the opinion which maintains the new human person to be present in the human zygote from the first moment of conception is at least solidly probably true." The best answer, therefore, to the question, When does human life begin? is that one cannot be sure. In some sense of the term human life exists from the moment of conception. And it is quite likely that it exist from the beginning in the sense of being matter which is activated by a human soul. But there is no way that one can be certain from the evidence available. This, I think, is the only honest conclusion one can draw from the empirical and philosophical data. What one does with this conclusion on the practical ethical level is another story. TWO DIVERGENT ETHICAL CONCLUSIONS

Mangan is content to prove that the theory of immediate animation is "at least solidly probably true." "Catholic teaching on abortion," he says, "is not based on a clarity of vision which reveals the answer to all relevant theoretical questions. But it is based on sufficiently solid foundation for it to maintain in practice that all direct abortion, whether as a means or as an end in itself, is contrary to divine law and admits of no exceptions." The reason he can move so comfortably from solid probability of the evidence to a certain practical moral conclusion is his understanding of the doctrine of probabilism.



Mangan's understanding of probabilism is in line with the thinking of the majority of Catholic moralists or at least the majority of American Jesuit moralists of the present century. According to this view, one may follow in practice a solidly probable opinion about the lawfulness of an action even when the opposite opinion is equally or even more probable. But there are a few exceptions to this general rule. One is in the area of human life. When there is probable danger of killing an innocent human being, one must always follow the safer course in practice. For no matter what the probabilities are about the presence or absence of innocent human life, one always has the certain obligation not to expose it to even probable danger. Edwin J. Healy, S.J., in his widely used Medical Ethics explains the relevance of this doctrine to abortion: " ... those who maintain that the soul is not present from the first moment of conception do not and cannot claim that their opinion is certain. They offer their opinion as something for which they think that some arguments can be adduced. But the opinion opposed to theirs, to the effect that the soul is present from the first moment of conception, is more commonly favored by moralists. Now, if it is probable, though not certain, that the object which one is attacking is a human being, the attacker is guilty of murder in his heart whether or not the object is a human being. A deer hunter, for example, sees toward dusk a moving object that might be a deer or that might be a man. If he tells himself that he will shoot first and find out later what it was that he shot, he is guilting of intending to murder even though he finds that what he shot was actually a deer. It is not necessary, then, that a physician should be able to say with absolute certainty that a soul is present if he is to be guilty of murder when he commits an abortion. It is sufficient that he should know and realize that a soul is probably present. If he inflicts a deathblow upon something that he knows may be a man, not caring whether it is a man or not, he incurs the guilt of murder." This view was commonly shared by the small fraternity of Jesuit moralists which dominated Catholic ethical thought in America during the first half of this century. For instance, Gerald Kelly, S.J ., admitted that the time of animation is



arguable: "Today, however, the general idea ... that there must be some development of the material before the infusion of the rational soul is proposed as the more acceptable explanation of the beginning of human life by many philosophers and theologians. The other view, also with many sponsors, is that the rational soul is always infused at the moment of fertilization." But this speculative doubt makes no practical difference: "We have no divine revelation on this point, nor any official pronouncement of the Church which clPzrly condemns or approves either theory. Catholics are still free to speculate on the matter. However, in the practical order, we must follow the safer course of action and always treat a living fertilized ovum, whatever be its stage of development, as a human person, with all the rights of a human being." Healy is consistent in applying this principle to all practical cases in which there is a prudent doubt the existence of human life. For instance, he proposes the case of a patient who is diagnosed as having a hydatidifotm mole in utero. The physician is not able to tell for certain whether a living fetus is present. He knows, however, that if a fetus is present in such cases it is usually dead, and if it is not it is very rare that it could survive anyway. Because of the danger of malignant degeneration of the tumor the physician wants to empty the uterus at once. Consistent with his principle which prescribes the safer course of action Healy says, "If ... the uterus even p1¡obably contains a living fetus, that fetus may not be directly attacked. . . . Even if the physician knows that the fetus cannot live much longer, he may not licitly remove it from the uterus, for so to act would be a direct and unjust attack on the life of an innocent human being." In a similar Cc:'lSe concerning a woman hemorrhaging severely after an attempted abortion and coming to a second physician who wants to do a curettage to stop the hemorThage and prevent infection, Healy's verdict is: "The physician may do a curettage only on condition that it is certain that the fetus is now dead or that it has already been expelled. The presence of a living fetus can ordinarily be established, but the results of laboratory and clinical examinations are sometimes equivocal. If there is genuine probability that the fetus is still attached to the uterine wall and that it is at least probably alive, curettage is not permissible, and every



means possible must be used to save the fetus. If the fetus is not certainly dead, the second physician by using curettage would intend to abort it even if it is alive." The approach of the American Jesuits has not been the only one in the Catholic community. The Spanish Jesuit, Marcillino Zalba, who was one of the principal architects of the minority report of the Papal Birth Control Commission and a strong supporter of the conservative position, notes that it is disputed whether it is permitted to cut out a growth in the womb when there is doubt whether it contains a living fetus. The arguable question, he says, is this: does the certain rights of the mother take precedence over the uncertain rights of a fetus? Zalba inclines toward the stricter opinion arguing that if there is a living fetus present its rights are certain, and one would violate these rights if he performed any direct action which he knew would" probably be destructive of innocent life. However, he says, if the tumor will prove deadly for the mother one can probably cut it out even if it probably contains a live fetus. Zalba's argument is that his case is similar to an ectopic gastation, where is is permissible to remove the whole fetal.sac killing the fetus indirectly. However, Zalba points out, there are other Catholic theologians who resolve the case differently. They plainly assert that when there is probable doubt about the presence of innocent human life one does not always have to follow the safer course. Rather, they say, the certain right of the mother prevails over the uncertain rights of the fetus. He lists as supporters of this view such distinguished names as Gâ&#x201A;Źnicot, Ferreres-Mondria, Prtimmer, and Miinoyerro. For instance, the Belgian Jesuit, Edward Genicot argued that when one is doubtful whether a uterine or extrauterine growth is a tumor or a live fetus and there is danger to the life of the mother, a surgeon may act as if it is a tumor, cutting out whatever it is that imperials the mother's life, for the "certain right of the mother to preserve her life seems to prevail over the merely probable right of the fetus to its life." And the German Dominican, Dominic Prtimmer, wrote: "But if the fetus is not certainly but probably dead, many authors cor-



redly teach that a crainiotomy is permitted to save the mother since a live mother does not have to give up her. life for a fetus which is probably already dead." The American Jesuits as a group had simply rejected this opinion of the European moralists. They believed that if one decides to perform a concrete action which may be directly homicidal, he is conditionally willing homicide: he will do this act whether it is murder or not. The matter is very subtle. However, I think that the view of the European moralists is quite reasonable and fits well within the system of probabilism. Of course it is psychologically possible for a physician who removes a growth from a woman's womb to conditionally intend to kill a human being, i.e. if the growth happens to be one. But he does not have to have this conditional will to homicide. He can simply intend to remove a lethal growth in the womb and run the risk for a proportionate reason that innocent human life will in fact be destroyed. In other words, he simply does not !mow whether this concrete action is homicidal or not. It may or may not be: he cannot be sure. Am I forbidden to perfmm this concrete action on the grounds that it is murder? is a question that must remain doubtful for the physician as long as the factual presence of human life remains uncertain. In the technical language of probabilism, the doubt about the fact creates a doubt about one's personal obligation, and doubtful personal obligations are in practice certainly not binding. In the presence of doubt about the existence of human life there is no certain moral imperative against murder but the general obligation not to run the risk of killing a human being without necessity. Respect and reverence for human life demands not only that one not deliberately attack it. It also requires that one not endanger it without necessity. But he may run the risk of destroying it for a pmpotiionate reason. It can be reasonably argued that this is precisely what one does when he is not certain whether human life is present or not: he runs the risk of killing an innocent human person. He does not, as the American Jesuits generally believed, con-



ditionally will to kill a man. Healy's deer hunter who shoots at a moving object that might be a man or might be a deer risks killing a man and does so without sufficient reason. And he is guilty of manslaughter precisely because he ran the risk of destmying human life without a pmportionate reason. But the case of a mother whose life is tlu¡eatened by some object which may or may not be a living human being is considerably different. She has a Jll"oportionate reason for risking the destruction of innocent life, since her own life hangs in the balance. Accordingly, if the theory of mediate hominization is true, as it probably is, then the conceptus is not from the first moment of existence an innocent human person 'vith the same rights as any other innocent human person. If it is probably not animated or hominized, it is probably not a human person with human rights. Therefore in situations of conflict between the life of the doubtfully ensouled conceptus and the life of the mother it is not easy to see why one must follow the opinion of the American Jesuits rather than the-opinion of the European moralists like Genicot, Prtimmer, et al. It seems that the certain rights of the mother prevail over the uncertain rights of the conceptus, so that in conflict situations one may run the risk of killing a human being because of a reason pmportionate to the risk. In 1957 Richard McCotmick published his doctoral dissertation on The Removal of a FetuR Probably Dead to Save the Life of the Mother. in which he concluded that "it is not against the exigencies of justice to remove a fetus in which the presence of life is positively a)ld invincibly doubtful to save the mother." He then went on to ask whether this conclusion implies a similar verdict in the case of probable animation. His answer was that most theologians would deny a parallel because the removal of a probably animated fetus would be either "against the sixth commandment (in some sense contraceptive) or the fifth ('anticipated' murder)." It is not easy to understand what is meant by anticipated 1nw¡der. Killing a human being is homicide; impeding the generation of a human being is contraception. That is the discrimination most moralists have always made. As for the malice of contraception McCormick raised the



crucial question: since many theologians allowed the evacuation of semen in the case of rape, would they not logically have to allow the evacuation of a non-animated conceptus in the case of rape if they accepted l\'lcCmmick's thesis? l\'lcCmmick saw the nexus and admitted, " ... this consideration could create a theoretical difficulty for the benign opinion in the case described in the thesis: sc. precisely ¡why would such a case be different from that of a probably dead fetus?" Now that many theologians, including McCormick, admit the lawfulness of contraception not only in case of rape but in many other cases as well, the same question has to be put: precisely why would such a case be different from that of a probably dead fetus? The only honest answer, I think, is that there is no substantive difference. The practical question that remains is: Up to what point in the developmental process is there solid doubt about animation or ensoulment? Certainly there is reasonable doubt up to the point of the appearance of the primitive streak. Whether there is solid doubt up until some later point of organization and complexification of fetal life wiser men than I will have to judge. CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGICAL OPINION

The fundamental premise behind the common Catholic teaching on abortion is that the child in the womb has the same right to life as any other innocent human person. In a public address delivered on November 26, 1951 Pope Pius XII said: "Innocent human life, in whatsoever condition it is found, is withdrawn, from the very first moment of its existence, from any direct deliberate attack. This is a fundamental right of the human person, which is of general value in the Christian conception of life; hence as valid for the life still hidden within the womb of the mother as for the life already born and developing outside of her; as much opposed to direct abortion as to the direct killing of the child before, during or after its birth. Whatever foundation there may be for the distinction between these various phases of the development of life that is bom or still unborn, in profane and ecclesiastical law, all these cases involve a grave and unlawful attack upon the inviolability of



human life." And a few weeks earlier (October 29, 1951) he said, "Now the infant is 'man' even though it be not yet born, to the same degree and through the same title as the mother." If one reads these words carefully he will see that strictly speaking the pope did not condemn the theory of mediate animation. But one who defends immediate animation is certainly more comfortable with them. Gerald Kelly, S.J., once observed: "I would not want to say that these words condemn the opinion that the rational soul is not infused at the moment of fertilization; but they certainly seem to favor the opposite view."

Once it is established as a premise that the life of the unborn child has the same inviolability as any innocent person, the conclusions come easily. The fetus may not be killed directly but only indirectly for a proportionate reason. Among contemporary Catholic theologians there have been some disputes about the application of the principle of double effect to particular cases. They generally have allowed one to remove a pregnant uterus for a proportionate reason, to use other surgical or chemical means to protect the mother even though an abortion may result, and to remove the fetal sac containing a live fetus (but not shell out the fetus) in an ectopic pregnancy. But until very recently they have all agreed that one may never directly destroy or abort a fetus for any reason. Recently among Catholic theologians there have been some murmurs of discontent with this doctrine. For instance, Bernard Hiiring, C.Ss.R., has suggested some refinements of Catholic teaching. He puts his opinion forth tentatively and does not recommend its use in practice, since, he says, the presumption is in favor of the official Magisterium and a doubt expressed by some theologian does not invalidate the official position. He then suggests two revisions. One concerns the case of therapeutic abortion. He reports the following case told by a gynecologist: "I was once called upon to perform an operation on a woman in the fourth month of pregnancy, to remove a malign uterine tumor. On the womb there were numerous very thin and fragile varicose veins which bled profusely, and attempts to suture them only aggravated the bleeding. ¡ Therefore, in order to save the woman from



bleeding to death, I opened the womb and removed the fetus. Thereupon the uterus contracted, the bleeding ceased, and the woman's life was saved. I was proud of what I had achieved, since the uterus of this woman, who was still childless, was undamaged and she could bear other children. But I had to find out later from a noted moralist that although I had indeed acted in good faith, what I had done was, in his eyes, objectively wrong. I would have been allowed to remove the bleeding uterus with the fetus itself, he said, but was not permitted to interrupt the pregnancy while leaving the womb intact. This latter, he said, constituted an immoral termination of pregnancy, though done for the purpose of saving the mother, while the other way would have been a lawful direct intention and action to save life. For him preservation of the woman's fertility and thereby, under some circumstances, preset-vation of the marriage itself, played no decisive role." Haring argues that the gynecologist acted correctly. For the malice of abortion, he says, consists in an attack on the right of the fetus to live. But the gynecologist does not deprive the fetus of its right to live because it would not have survived even if he did not terminate the pregnancy. What he did was to serve life as best he could in the situation: he saved the mother's life and preset-ved her fertility. For Haring, therefore, abortion in the moral sense means more than the physical interruption of a pregnancy. It implies that one deprive the fetus of its right to live. But if the fetus has no chance to survive anyway, the fact that the physician causes its biological death a bit early in order to save the mother does no hmm to the right of the fetus since it is not deprived of any personal activity. Haring's second suggested revision is even more tentative. He simply raises the question about aborting a totally deformed fetus in which there is no development of the central nervous system and brain. He asks if it would be abortion in the moral sense to abort human biological life if there can never be any expression of humanity in it. Charles CmTan also has expressed his dissatisfaction with the Catholic approach to therapeutic abortion. In conflict situations where the mother's physical or mental health is endan-



gered by a fetus which will not be able to survive anyway he suggests that the correct decision cannot be arrived at by considering only the physical act of abortion and its direct and indirect effects. Rather he suggests that a better solution can be achieved by weighing the values at stake. Robert Springer, S.J., takes the same view: "The prohibition of direct abortion is an excellent rule, though not unexceptional. He who would attack innocent life must clearly establish his right to do so. The basic question, then, is not: Is it direct or indirect abortion? Rather it is: How great a value must be present to countervail the sacrifice of life?" The same approach is reflected in the recent pastoral condemnation of abortion by the Dutch Catholic bishops. The bishops said that reverence for human life cannot be reconciled with abortion on demand. But, the bishops conceded, this does not ignore the occurrence of "grave emergency situations of conflict" in which one is forced to decide on the preservation of a human life. In deciding such conflict situations, the bishops said, "reverence for all human life must be the guiding principle." ¡ CONCLUSION

In a matter so serious as the taking of human life one is reluctant to trust his own judgment. Much less is one ready to set his judgment up as equal or superior to the teaching Magisterium. Nonetheless, it may be useful to express my own conclusions as clearly as possible. As Richard McCormick once said, "Our constant theological effort is to isolate and formulate the malice of forbidden theft, forbidden lying, forbidden sterlization and so on. We must do the same for abortion. . . . It would seem that no reading of Church teaching can be accepted which eliminates on principle this necessary theological task. And for this reason our constantly expanding understanding of reality and the reworking of our categories in light of this growth cannot be read as an attempt to change Church teaching. It is an attempt only to purify it, even if this attempt is clumsy and perhaps leads us to an honest mistake." One conclusion that I would draw is on the level of objective morality. The'other is a practical judgment about pastoral practice.



The current official Catholic position absolutely prohibiting all direct abortion no matter what the indication depends on two premises. The first is the principle of double effect and the assumption that direct abortion is intrinsically evil. The second is the conviction that probabilism cannot be applied in the area of human life. As we have seen, both of these premises are increasingly difficult to sustain. The principle of double effect in its classic expression is being reformulated in various ways, and moralists are increasingly reluctant to acknowledge moral evil in the physical make-up of any act. The best contemporary formulation is SchUller's preference-principle. Physical evil becomes moral evil only when done without a proportionate reason. Therefore the purposeful destruction of a fetus is not moral evil in the presence of a propmtionate reason. One must weigh the values at stake and make a preferential choice among them. Secondly, it is quite reasonable to hold, as many Catholic moralists do, that probabilism can be used in the area of human life. Taking a lethal action against what is only probably (and therefore doubtfully) a human person does not necessarily represent conditional intent to murder. It is not the will to homicide but the risk of homicide. And one may reasonably and lawfully run such a risk if he has serious reasons proportionate to the danger. One does not take chances with human life lightly. But that does not mean that he can take no chances ever or at all. These two shifts in ethical principle result in some significant changes in practical casuistry. The two principles-the preference-principle and probabilism-result in the general conclusion that one may directly cause an abottion for a proportionate reason. In the more specific casuistry one supplements the other. SchUller's preference-principle affects the whole period of pregnancy, even though it be certain that the fetus is an innocent human being with full human rights. It demands the most grave reasons for an abortion. The reason must be the preservation of some value that is proportionate to the disvalue of homicide. The only sufficient reason, I would judge, would be to



save the physical life of the mother or, what I would think equivalent, her mental sanity. Probabilism, on the other hand, affects only the earlier stages of gestation but demands less serious reasons for causing an abortion during this time. Here the reason need not be proportionate to the disvalue of homicide but to the degree of probability that one's action at a certain stage of gestation is in fact homicidal. To be concrete, I would think that circumstances like rape or perhaps even grave socio-economic reasons could justify an abortion before the beginning of the third week while the zygote is still not even irreversibly and individual. But as the likelihood increases that the conceptus is in fact an innocent person with full human rights, the reason for attacking it would have to be more serious. Further casuistry is very difficult. As we have seen, the criteria for deciding when the conceptus is significantly or fully human are unsure. Nonetheless, I would think that there is at least a prudent doubt until the twelfth week and perhaps even until the fetus is technically viable. Only very serious reasons, like grave danger to the physical or mental health of the mother or of some very serious physical or mental deformity of the child could justify an abortion during that time, since there is an inet"easing probability that the fetus is by that time significantly and fully human. In any event, instances of exception to the general rule would be rare. But this does not imply that the actually occurring situations of conflict will be rare. It is misleading to argue, as Catholic moralists have done in the past, that conflict situations are no longer an important practical problem since the advent of modern medicine. Most of the world does not have modem medicine. And this includes large areas of the West and even large sections of our American cities. Secondly, on the pastoral level one should be alert to the possibility of good faith in difficult situations. Even the older Catholic authors cautioned priests that good faith and invincible ignorance are quite possible in this area. This caution is even more important today, now that we understand better the kind of knowledge that is necessary for serious sin. One needs more than theoretical knowledge of the moral law. He needs evaluative knowledge, which includes the personal appropriation



of the values affirmed in the law, so that he not only is intellectually aware but emotionally feels that the action is sinful. Bernard Haring wisely reminds us that "pastoral prudence looks not only to the general principles but also to the art of the possible." If, for instance a girl pregnant through rape experiences deep feelings of revulsion against bearing the child, we should try to counsel her to do what is right, but we should also try to understand her feelings. And if she cannot accept or even understand our counsel because of the psychological and emotional effects of her traumatic experience, we may have to leave her in good faith, not demanding of her the performance of an objective duty which she is incapable of accepting as her own. In this and similar situations the sensitive counsellor will try as best he can to protect innocent human life and at the same time not demand of people more than they can understand or bear.

AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE Joseph A. Bracken, S.J., Ph.D., is a professor of systematic theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. John F. Dedek is a professor of moral theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois and associate editor of Chicago Studies. 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. Myra Lambert, sscm, former principal of Holy Family Academy, Beaverville, Illinois is a co-director of the Ford City Catholic Center. Norbert J. Rigali, S.J., is a research associate in Social Studies and Moral Theology at the Cambridge Center for Social Studies, Cambridge, Mass. William J. Shields is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, a co-director of the Ford City Catholic Center. Jack L. Stotts is a professor of theology at McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois. Jared Wicks, S.J., is a professor of systematic theology at Bellarmine School of Theology, North Aurora, Illinois.


INDEX TO VOLUME 10. (1971) n. 1 (Spring), 1-112

n. 2 (Summer), 113-224 n. 3 (Fall) 225-336

Armbruster, Carl J., S.J., Ministry in FutU?·e Shock .......... 139 Biersdorf, John E., Chu1·ch Order and the Emerging Future ............................................................ 171 Bracken, Joseph A., S.J., ·Method in Theology: From Apologetics to Hermeneutic ····---------------------·······--·--·--·-·· 285 Clark, Thomas E., S.J., Permanency in P1·iestly Ministry _201 Coleman, John A., S.J., Body Literal-Body Symbolic: The Body of Christ ·---·----·--------------···--------------------·---··--·-·


Collins, Raymond F., Doctrine and the Fi,-st Reception of the Sacraments-----·------··---------------·-··········-··----·-----------


Cunningham, Agnes, sscm, Ecclesial Ministry for Women 215 Dedek, John F., Masturbation -----·---·---·-----·---·---·--·-····-·--·-------


Dedek, John F., Abo,-tion: A Theological Judgment-··-··-··· 313 Dyer, George J., Privatized Religion---A New P henornenon ? _______ --· -·---------·· _.. -·-·---·- ------· ... -·-·--·-------------- 308 Ellis, John Tracy, Our Gifts Differ -··---------·-·-·---·---··------··----·· 155 Greeley, Andrew M., Priest, Church and the Future Form A Sociological Viewpoint -----·-----·--------··------·--··--···--·---··-· 115 Jabusch, Willard F., The Rise and Fall of the Pulpit----·----335




Kennedy, Eugene C., Reflections on the Psychology of A me>-ican P1-iests ........................ ····---·-·······--·-·---·-·-·-··-··· 131 Lambert, Myra, sscm, Crite1·ia for Membership in Team Ministry fo1· P1·iests and Sisters ··--·-·····················------- 300 Lussier, Ernest, S.S.S., Pet1"ine Primacy ----------------··----··----··


Munson, Thomas N ., Has Guilt a Role in Religion? ·--------·--


Pousset, Edouard, S.J., The Eucharist: Real P1·esence and Transubstantiation -·----·--·----·---·----·---- -------------·----------·-·---


Quesnell, Quentin, S.J., From New Testament Text to Priesthood TomOITOW ··----·---... ---------·· ----·-·----··----------- ______ 187 Rigali, Norbert J., On Ch1"istian Ethics··-·--··-·--·-·-------·---··--·- 227 Shields, William J., Criteria for Membership in Team Ministry for P•·iests and Sisters -·-----· ......................... 300 Stotts, Jack L., Dissent into the Apocalypse? -----·----·-----·----- 249 Wicks, Jared, S.J., The Movement of Eucharistic Theology 267

Fall 1971  

Volume 10:3

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