Spring 1965

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CIVITAS DEI FOUNDATION Epucop<Jl Patroru His Eminence Albert Cardinal Meyer, D.D. The Most Reverend Bernard J. Sheil, D.D. The Most Reverend Raymond P. Hillinger, D.D. The Most Reverend Aloysius J. Wycislo, D.D. The Most Reverend Cletus F. O'DonneU, J.C.D. Trwre~

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

Founder& Rt. Rev. Msgr. Thomas J. Burke RL Rev. Msgr. T. A. Meehan Rt. Rev. Msgr. D. F. Cunningham Rt. Rev. Msgr. Eugene V. Mulcahey Rt. Rev. Msgr. Francis J. Dolan Rt. Rev. Msgr. James V. Murphy Rt. Rev. Msgr. John B. Ferring Rt. Rev. Msgr. Martin E. Muzik Rt. Rev. Msgr. James D. Gleeson Rt. Rev. Msgr. Gerard C. Picard Rt. Rev. Msgr. Patrick J. Gleeson Rt. Rev. Msgr. Stanley J. Piwowar Rt. Rev. Msgr. James C. Hardiman Rt. Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Smaza RL Rev. Msgr. James D. Hishen Rt. Rev. Msgr. James A. Walsh Rt. Rev. Msgr. Michael J. Kilbride Rt. Rev. Msgr. Richard F. Wolfe Rt. Rev. Msgr. Francis I. Lavin Rt. Rev. Msgr. Raymond J. Zock Rt. Rev. Msgr. John A. McMahon Very Rev. Msgr. J. D. Connerton Rev. Raymond J. Ackerman Rev. Francis R. Krakowski Rev. Anthony Chisek Rev. Edward T. Kush Rev. Francis M. Coyle Rev. Joseph J. Mackowiak Rev. William R. Doran Rev. Francis C. Murphy Rev. Arthur E. Douaire Rev. Stanley R. Petrauskas Rev. Francis D. Hayes Rev. Stanley A. Rozak Rev. Alfred J. Henderson · Rev. Harry C. Rynard 'Rev. Edward M. Hasty Rev. Stanley L. Ryzner Rev. John J. Kane Rev. Joseph I. Schmeier Rev. Claude E. Klarkowski Rev. Harold H. Sieger Rev. Andrew T. Valcicak Ch4rrer Member& Rt. Rev. Msgr. Stephen E. McMahon Rev. Walter F. SommerviUe

ACfA •~






George J. Dyer Archdiocesan Editor

John F. Dedek

Faculty Editor Carl J. Moell, S. J.

Busine$S Manager

Production Manager

Richard J. Wojcik

Edmund J. Siedlecki

Editorial Malachy P. Foley Martin R. Borowczyk Thomas F. Connery, S.J. Stephen E. Donlon, S.J. Joseph M. Egan, S.J. John F. Fahey Edward P. Fitzgerald Thomas J. Fitzgerald John]. Foley, S.J. 1ohn R. Gorman David J. Hassel, S.J. Georjle G. Higgins Julius F. Klose Edward H. Konerman, S.J. Joseph T. Mangan, S.J. Thomas M. McDonough John P. McFarland, S.J. WiUiam E. McManus


William P. Le Saint, S.J. Charles R. Meyer T. Joseph Mohan Thomas ]. Motherway, S.J. William J. Quinn Norbert E. Randolph Robert A. Reicher .William A. Shumacher Peter M. Shannon Thomas M, Shields, S.J. Edward J. Stokes, S.J. Theodore C. Stone Thomas F. Sullivan William G. Topmoeller, S.J. Robert F. Trisco Raymond J. Vonesh George E. Von Kaenel Gerard P. Weber

CHICAGO STUDIES, edited by the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary and the priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago, with contribu· tions by prominent scholars and authors, aims at an articulate presents..

tion of the best that modern scholarship has contributed to the professional knowledge of the priest in the fields of scripture, theology, liturgy, catechetics, canon law, philosophy, sociology, and related sciences. The

Forum, a regular feature of CHICAGO STUDIES, presents brief com· ments based primarily on personal experiences in the apostolate. · 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 aent to CHICAGO STUDIES, Box 665 Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Subscription rates: $4.00 a year, $7.00 for two years, $12.00 for three yean; to students, $3.00 a year. Foreign subscribers: add SOc per year. CHICAGO STUDIES is published three times a year with ecclesiastical permission and copyright, 1965, by Civitas Dei Foundation, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Third Class postage paid at Newark, Ohio. Views expressed in the articles are those of the respective authors and

not necessarily those of the editors or editorial board. Indexed in The Catholic Periodical Index and New Testament Abstract.!.


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SPRING, 1965






Anthony /. Vader



John A. Rohr, S.!.



lames C. McDonald fames E. Biechler


Barnabas M. Ahem, C.P.


Thomas ]. Motherway, S.!.

Christopher Kiesling, O.P.





George /. Dyer (;erard p, Weber



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The Liturgy in the Modern World The liturgy can preserve sanity, hope, and joy in authentic human experience and counteract the modern world's tension, confusion, and despair.

What is the place of the liturgy in the modern world? All too often answers to this question show the place of the liturgy, not in the modern world, but in an imaginary Catholic world which does not exist or which existed at most for a few centuries in medieval Europe. The answers are not completely satisfactory even for the world of the nun in her convent, the monk in his monastery, or the youth on the Catholic campus; for the Catholic world, insofar as there is one today, is built upon and within the modern world. If the answers to the question at hand do not take into account the characteristics of the modern world, then the liturgy will remain an oddity in the life of modern man, including the Catholic. The inadequacy of the answers to this question comes from a failure to take into account the meaning of the word world in the question. World can mean the totality of things which we view very dispassionately and objectively, the way a scien-


4 Chicago Studies

tist looks at chemicals or at the stars, or even at the biology of his own body or at the patterns of his emotional behaviour. The world understood in this sense is filled with all kinds of things which we classify in various ways: there are animals, weights, colors, movements; substances may he living or non¡ living, and the living are further subdivided into plants and animals, and these in turn are divided in numerous phyle and so on, down to distinct species and subspecies. In this objective world we can discern a community of human beings who, we believe, are graced by God in Christ and gather to worship with Christ in a unique worship, the liturgy. CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE OBJECTIVE WORLD

All this is true, hut when we ask about the place of the liturgy in the modem world, do we ask about the place of the liturgy in that objective world? Is not the objective world a world I reach only by a second look, as it were? Is it the world of which I am first conscious, the world in which I first live? What we seem to mean by world in the question at hand is the totality of things as we are conscious of them in their relationship to us and in our relationship to them. The chair over in the comer of the room is made of birch, upholstered in a checkered green fabric, shaped according to a Bauhaus design - but am I not first conscious of it as something I can si-c in? Every person has his or her own world. One's world is, in the ultimate analysis, very personal; and each one's world is different. This we acknowledge when we say that no two people see everything in exactly the same way, or that nothing has exactly the same meaning for two different people. But each self's world is not totally different from the world of others, for the things that go into each world are the same things objectively. And each person is human, fundamentally like the others, so that each is conscious of the same things and sees them as related to self in similar ways. Moreover, by speech the conscious world of one person is com-



municated to others and shapes the consciousness of the others, so that there arises a common world of consciousness of tmcouniered reality in its relationship to self.

Hence, when we ask what place the liturgy has in the modem world, we are asking where the liturgy fits into contemporary man's consciousness of encountered reality in its relationship to himself. This raises a further question: Where can we find this world and its contents, so that we can decide what place the liturgy has in it? Who will tell us about this world of consciousness of reality and self in which modem man lives, by which he evaluates everything new that he encounters, and into which the liturgy must be inserted if it is to be an integral part of modem man's life? SPOKESMAN OF THE OBJECTIVE WORLD

Above all, the creative artists of our time reveal this world of consciousness to us, and we find the contents of this world in dramas, novels, poems, movies, paintings, sculptures, and other forms of artistic expression. By "creative artists" I mean not mere! y skillful craftsmen and technicians who can produce entertainment for our leisure hours, but the pace-setters of craft and technique who struggle to express their own consciousness of encountered reality in its relationship to themselves and their fellowmen. In their works creative artists are expressing, articulating, interpreting men's first consciousness of what reality means to them in a particular age, even though many refuse to admit this meaning or only dimly recognize it. But more importantly in many respects, creative artists are shaping the world of men's basic consciousness of reality and self. A movie grips thousands and millions of minds and imaginations, fills up thousands and millions of memories, and leaves traces in as many subconsciousnesses, so that those thousands and millions of men tomorrow will see newly encountered realities in a new context, in a new world of consciousness. To express this new world, many of these thousands and millions will write other movies and plays and novels, will paint other pictures and carve other statues. Much of this work will be

6 Chicago Studies

inferior; but inferior or superior, all this art permeates the culture and shapes the consciousness and subconsciousness of other thousands and millions. Thus a world evolves and spreads, not the objective world of things "out there" which the scientist calmly calculates, but that world "out there" as we are conscious of it in its relationship to us. And what are the creative artists telling us today about the modern world? (I should say "our world," for Catholics share in this world as much as the next man: we see the same movies, read the same novels, study the same paintings, listen to the same music.) They are telling us remarkably the same message, each in his own medium of expression. They are telling us that man's world of consciousness of reality and self is a world torn in two directions, is confused and confusing, driving man to destruction. Modern man is torn between the claims of technical reason on one side and the claims of the mysterious depths of human nature on the other. Technical reason feeds on clear and distinct ideas and seeks to dominate reality by science and technology. The depths of human nature embrace sensation, intuition, emotion, feeling, instinct, the deep, dark caverns of memory and the subconscious, all of which escape the grasp and control of technical reason, and are ignored or driven undergrounds by technical reason, only to erupt in ulcers, and skin rashes, in neuroses and psychoses. THE INNER AND OUTER WORLD

Man today, the modern artists tell us, experiences technical reason's claim upon himself in technology, the corporate organization in business, the welfare state, which more and more control man's life, even his marriage, family, and home. Modern man is conscious of the claim of the depths of his human nature: this has been 1¡evealed to him by the depth psychology of Freud, Adler, and Jung, and he has experienced it in the terrible upheavels of two World Wars and the shambles left behind. Man is pulled toward each of these claimants, but each of them brings disaster if chosen exclusively: the nineteenth century's choice of reason with the suppression of the depth; of human

Liturgy 7

nature did not prepare man for the shock of two World Wars, totalitarian dictatorships, and concentration camps; surrender to the instiuctual depths of human nature and rejection of reason's control does not bring satisfying happiness, as Federico Fellini's movie La Dolce Vita and William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies graphically demonstrate. The whole of Ingemar Bergman's movie Wild Strawberries is a symbolic revelation of modem man's conscious world. Bergman tells the story of an old doctor traveling by car with his daughter-in-law to the university to receive an honorary degree for fifty years of service to medicine. The doctor has been a man of reason, of science, all his life; he lost the woman he loved as a youth because of his lack of passion: he lost the affection of his wife because he could not sympathize with the fraility of human nature. The travelers pick up three teen-age hitch-hikers, two boys and a girl. In one scene the two boys, one a student for the ministry, the otlier studying medicine and an atheist, are arguing about the existence of God, almost coming to blows. The girl with the old doctor are some distance away watching the boys arguing. In reference to their arguing about the existence of God, the girl remarks with a sigh that she wishes they would pay more attention to her. Woman in Bergman's movies is often a symbol for the mysterious depths of human nature. In this scene in Wild Strawberries, as well as throughout the whole picture, Bergman suggests that the answer to man's search for happiness is not to be found in science and in equally rational considerations of God; the answer is to be found in the mysterious realms of the non-rational. But in subsequent films, Bergman is perhaps saying that the answer is not to be found there either, or if it is, it is most obscure and not at all certain. THE GLOOMY PRODIGAL

The flight from reason - not the reason of the ancients and the medievalists so much as the reason of Descartes, the English empiricists, the French encyclopedists, Hegel and his followers is evident everywhere: atonal music, abstract


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expressionism in pamtmg and sculpture, modern poetry, the breakdown of respect for authority and diminishing regard for law in the name of freedom. But when man abandons himself to the swirling currents of instinct and passion, life becomes chaotic, as is no small measure of modern music, painting, poetry, and freedom. Then life becomes meaningless in the sense that what is encountered in reality cannot be fitted into the context of a coherent inner world consciousness of reality and self in their mutual relations. The result is increasing confusion, insecurity, difficulty in establishing lasting relationships with others, then isolation, loneliness, inability to cope with the inexplicable, and finally despair. . The modern artists tell us that modern man is a prodigal son questing for happiness, but their message is gloomy because all they can see, to borrow the words of Stanley Romaine Hopper, "is that moment in the quest just prior to the moment in which the prodigal comes to himself - the moment when the groundwork cracks, when the abyss opens ... He has reached the nadir of moral isolation: he is lost. And he knows it" ("Problem of Moral Isolation in Contemporary Literature" in Spiritual Problems in Contemporary Literature, ed. Stanley Romaine Hopper, New York: Harper Torchbook 21, 1957, 161-62). Most frightening is that creative artists are not only interpreters of the world of man's consciousness of reality in relationship to self, but they are shapers of that consciousness. Creative artists of our time are developing and spreading among their contempraries a consciousness of reality and self in which man is fundamentally aware of himself as doomed either to a sterile life directed by technical reason, or to a .dark pit of instinct and passion, or to being madly shuttled back and forth between them. If this is the conscious world which will be inherited by future generations, if this is the fundamental idea that man will have of himself in relationship to reality in the post-modern and post-Christian era, as our period has been called, a very dark age indeed lies ahead for mankind, regardless of the standard of living and literacy. ¡




This tension between technical reason and the mysterious depths of human nature is not absent within the Church. A tension exists today between authority in the Church and the individual initiative, between the law for the whole Church laid down by distant legislators for the common good and the keenly experienced needs of the locality or the concrete situation. Perhaps we find the struggle especially apparent in our efforts to formulate the theology of Christian life and perfection for the layman in the Church: we find it difficult to convince ourselves that perfection lies in the life of the layman, a life which usually includes marriage and all the ties of human affection which marriage involves, a life wherein at times reason finds it reasonable to allow instinct and deep emotion full liberty, though not license. The problems arising over birth control in the Christian family reflect this this tension between reason and the non-rational side of man's nature. On the one side are the rules which reason lays down for the marriage act, valid rules indeed. But on the other side are all the claims of the deeper recesses of the personality in concrete situations. If we close our eyes to the latter and insist blindly on the rules, there will be revolt. If we cast aside the rules and surrender to the claims of the non-rational and the situation, there will be chaos. Until some solution is reached, people in the Church will be torn two ways, driven into confusion. The deeply faithful will accept the Church's stand as it is presented to them and follow it; but they will, nevertheless, feel intensely an inner struggle, for it will be nourished in a thousand ways by the magazines they read, the movies they see, the discussions in which they become involved. Instinct and feeling and emotion can be controlled, but they cannot be swept under the rug and ignored. LITURGY AT WORK IN THE WORLD

Having seen some of the implications of the word world, we can now attempt to answer the question: What place does the liturgy have in the modern world?


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(The answer about to be given, it should be noted, will not attempt to persuade anyone that the liturgy has a place in the modern world. Nor are directions going to be given about how to persuade someone else. We will simply state certain facts in the light of revelation, indicative of the point where the liturgy can be meaningfully inserted into the modern world. It will remain the task of the teacher, the catechist, the preacher and the apostolic Christian to devise the most effective means of making this insertion of the liturgy into the modern world of the people with whom they are concerned.) The answer we propose is this. The place of the liturgy in the modern world is to preserve sanity, hope, and joy in authentic human existence. This obviously demands explanation. As we have seen, the modern world is pulled in two directions, toward technical reason on the one side and toward the mysterious depths of human nature on the other. Such a world confuses the individual and drives him to resolve the confusion by taking refuge in one or the other of the poles toward which he is pulled. But adherence or surrender to one or the other pole exclusively is destructive of an integrated, balanced personality, destructive of sanity. The modern world repeats to itself in drama after drama, novel after novel, movie after movie that there is no escape from continual tension and confusion and the final destruction of sanity. The only hope is to accept the situation responsibly. But this in truth is no hope, but despair, surrender to meaninglessness. In such a world, laughter never flows from a deep well of joy. A world without joy intensifies despair by creating a congenial atmosphere for it and by driving man all the more forcefully to seek joy through technical reason or in the depths of human nature, neither of which can provide deep and lasting joy. One can, of course, flee from the tension and confusion into the noisy and gaudy distractions of modern culture. But this ruse will never succeed totally. And, to the extent that it does succeed, it involves inauthentic human existence, loss of the authentic self in the common, impersonal "they" of the



crowd. Because the liturgy can preserve man's sanity, hope, and joy in authentic human existence, it has a very important piace in the modem world. Of course, not every person feels himself caught in this tension and confusion. Not everyone is on the verge of despair or insanity. Nor is everyone living a totally inauthentic human life. Fortunately, most people have not progressed so far. But the threat of being caught in this tension and confusion and of being pushed to despair and insanity, of living inauthentic¡ ally, is present to everyone living in the modem world, to everyone being conditioned by the art that surrounds us. Nor is the liturgy the only preservative against this threat to man in the modern world. Fortunately again, many forces protect man, forces within and without. But among the forces which can save man in the modern world, the liturgy is a significant one. LITURGY RECOGNIZES REALITY

What reasons are there for this assertion about the liturgy? First of all, the liturgy recognizes for what they are the mysterious forces in the depths of human nature and the events which flow from them. Unlike technical reason, the liturgy does not reduce what a person is and what he experiences to a unit in the line, to a number, or to a file card. Guilt, for example, is recogni.zed by the liturgy as a personal burden which cannot be educated out of existence by more science, but which must be acknowledged and discharged in a personal act of confession and expiation in intimate communion with another human being who knows human weakness from experience and who can understand human guilt. The liturgy regards human love between man and woman (to give another example) as a mystery which is not adequately recognized simply by living together for mutual support and consolation, with or without registering the fact with the local civil authorities; human love between man and woman has depths of meaning that are adequately recognized only by its ritual insertion into the life and history of the community which issues ultimately from

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him who first made man, male and female, to his own image and likeness. Recognizing the forces and events rooted in human nature, the liturgy does not run roughshod over them like technical reason, but ministers to them. The liturgy ministers to man's loneliness by giving him the companionship of his fellow Christians in the weekly celebration of the Eucharist; it ministers to his desire to go beyond himself to find the fulfill. ment he cannot find in himself, by giving him the Eucharistic sacrifice in which he offers himself with Christ to God; it ministers to his guilt by providing penitential days and seasons as well as the sacrament of penance; it ministers to his fear of death by anointing and prayers; it ministers to his craving for immortality by funeral rites for the deceased; it ministers to his need for security and pleasure amidst the confusion and tension of human existence by blessing his home and his automobile, thus reassuring him that all these things are indeed good. · While recognizing and ministering to the mysterious forces and events in human existence, the liturgy does not, like the flight from reason, abandon man to chaos and the dark, inescap· able pit of the non-rational, but shapes and directs these forces and events. Guilt is discharged in confession and penance, and its energy channeled to concern for others rather than brooding on self. The craving for human companionship and human love is molded in the image of Jesus' love for mankind - made sacrificial rather than selfish. Fear of death is turned into an instrument for taking hold of one's own existence in responsibil· ity and becoming authentically human. Despair over the human condition is reshaped into hope through baptism, and forged into courage and confidence by confirmation. Through the Eucharist celebrated in memory of Christ's paschal mystery and as a pledge of his parousial mystery, the yearning to go beyond self to find fulfillment is directed to the kingdom of God and its justice. LITURGY CONFRONTS REALITY

This capacity ef the liturgy to recognize, minister to, shape,

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and direct the mysterious forces and events of human existence appears most marvelously in the liturgical year. Each year the liturgy leads the Christian through a course of varied reflections on his human situation with corresponding emotional responses, so that the whole of human consciousness and feeling is exercised with integrity, balance, and purpose. The Advent season combines a strain of guilt and sorrow mingled with a surging, expectant hope of future fulfillment grounded in the memory of a past event, all suffused with a delicate joy that becomes deeper and richer with the Christmas celebration itself. This period is followed by the Epiphany season with its awe, reverence, and hopeful fear before the mysterious wisdom and mighty power of the Savior-King. Then comes the period of Septuagesima and Lent in which the Christian is compelled to recognize the human condition and personal responsibility, to feel the anxiety and guilt of human existence, but always with the hope of deliverance. Sadness reaches its depth on Good Friday when men seem to stand stupified before the enormity of their guilt and to peer into the abyss of despair, hut then suddenly on Easter joy cascades down upon the spirit to sweep away sorrow and despair and to fill the spirit with bubbling gladness. Paschaltide and Pentecost swell with joy and enthusiasm, hut never without a reminder of the sorrow through which this joy and enthusiasm were made possible in the past and are actualized now. The year between Pentecost and Advent is a period of calm reflection on life's responsibilities and of sober emotion, neither depths of sorrow nor heights of joy, hut peace, not a static peace that generates boredom, but a dynamic peace that accompanies the incessant striving for the kingdom of God and its justice among men. This annual round of reflection and emotional response is not only integrally human and admirably balanced, but also solidly grounded and purposeful, for it occurs within the community of men, is founded on historical events of the past, and moves toward a future fulfillment whose main lines, at least, are clearly drawn. Despite its recognition of, and ministering to, the mysterious


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forces and events of human nature, the liturgy does not reject technical reason or its control. In shaping and directing the forces and events of human existence, the liturgy acknowledges and accepts order, reason, logos, the ground of technical reason. The liturgy blesses the products of technical reason and gives them a place in the kingdom of God. At the same time, however, technical reason is assigned its place in the human personality, and man is reminded that human existence in its depths escapes the competency of computer and bureaucracy. The liturgy has the power to preserve sanity, hope, and joy in the modern world in authentic human existence. The liturgy is not flight from the sources of tension and confusion which threaten man in the modern world. The liturgy is not escape from the responsibility of personal freedom by loss of self in an impersonal "they" created by television, slick magazines, socially conscious suburbia, and the rest of mass culture. Every liturgical celebration, on the contrary, recognizing and ministering to the mysterious forces and events of human existence, confronts the participant with the contingency of his heing, with the fact that he must die, that until death he holds his existence in the hands of his own freedom to squander on transient trivialities or to spend on the welfare of his fellow men. Every liturgical celehration wholeheartedly participated in calls for a responsible taking hold of the whole of one's life in an affirmation of Christian faith and in a commitment of Christian love. The liturgy thus preserves sanity, hope, and joy in authentic human existence. THE VOCABULARY OF DIALOGUE

This answer ab,out the place of the liturgy in the modern world may he disappointing or even shocking: nothing has been said ahout the liturgy's incorporating men into the mystical body of Christ, infusing divine life into men, making them sharers in Christ's priesthood, being the source and summit of the Christian life and the activity of the Church. The answer which has been given could have been given almost as well by a Jungian psychologist.

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But we must remember that the question proposed was not about the liturgy and its powers apart from any particular situation or in every situation, nor about the liturgy in the modem world as one thing among many other things to be looked at and described with complete objectivity; the question was about the liturgy in the modern world in the sense of a place for the liturgy in modern man's consciousness of reality in relationship to himself. The modern world will not listen to, much less accept, an invitation which, without the light of faith, appears as wishful thinking, fantasy. "Mystical body," "infusion of divine life," "sharing in Christ's priesthood" - how often have we heard theoe words in the movies we have attended? How often have we seen these words in the novels we have read, even if the movies or novels had religion as their theme? Experience in the •ecu¡ menical dialogue quick! y teaches us that words and phrases and statements which mean ¡so much to us as Catholics are little more than sounds to our fellow Christians. How much more empty of significance are those words, phrases, and statements to the man of the modern world! These expressions are not false nor useless, but we must face the fact that we cannot succeed through them in inserting the liturgy into the modern world, at least initially and integrally. We must not think that this does n<lt concern the Catholic, that the liturgy can be integrally inserted into his life without regard to the terms we chose to present the liturgy to him. Catholic life must be formed in the modern world. Youth can be shielded from the modern world to some extent by controlled surroundings; but the modem world continuously seeps into the most hermetically sealed environments through the media of entertainment and education, through weekly magazines and textbooks. Catholic young men and women must eventually live fully exposed to the modern world in their adult lives. Moreover, the young girl brings some of the modern world with her into the convent and the young man brings some of it into the seminary. Catholics - including laymen, religious, priests do not restrict their reading exclusively, or perhaps even

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principally, to Sign, America, and Theology Digest; Time and Life, Redbook and Seventeen contribute as much or more to shaping the consciousness of Catholics, and shaping it according to the image which modern man has of his world. HEALING GRACE OF THE MODERN WORLD

Unless the Catholic sees the liturgy as having an integral place in the modern world in which he lives and by which he judges, the liturgy will remain for him an appendage to his life, something in which he participates, but which has no meaning in his daily life. He may know what is meant by "mystical body" or "infusion of grace"; he may be able to put all the words together in pmper sequence; but it may be a game played in another world which is not the world of every day existence. But we can regard the liturgy as a preservative of sanity, hope, and joy in authentic human existence, as a kind of healing grace, in order to insert it into the modern world, which is marked by tension, confusion, and gloom, crying out to be made whole. The liturgy is elevating grace, incorporating men into the mystical body of Christ, infusing divine life, and all the rest. But if we look at the liturgy, not first as elevating grace, but as healing grace, binding the wounds of man in his human condition, reintegrating his nature, especially in its deepest recesses, re-establishing him in the human community and its destiny - if we look at the liturgy this way first, perhaps we can make it more meaningful to modern man, Catholic, Christian, or of some other religious persuasion or of no religious persuasion at all. We should not despise this view of the liturgy as of little significance. Healing grace restores man's integrity and pre¡ pares for elevating grace, which is not a veneer of precious value laid over worthless nature, but a quality transfusing nature itself, intensifying its participation in being. Is not the message of Genesis that "God saw that all he had made was very good" (1 :31)? Is not God's first gift to us our own human natures? Has not God himself designed to save us by becoming man, like us in all things save sin, experiencing



sorrow and joy, rejection and friendship? Did not Jesus go about healing bodily sickness and mental illness? Surely he did not do this merely to attract attention to his preaching about supernatural salvation: Jesus did not "use" people for his own ends, however lofty those ends¡ are; he healed bodies and minds because they are good and participants in eternal life. To overlook human nature and human existence and point to a supernatural order when we consider religion is to risk a meaningless supernatural, a world of fantasy which is only an escape from the reality into which the Son of God entered when he took flesh in the womb of woman. If the liturgy as a preservative of sanity, hope and, joy in authentic human existence is inserted into the modem world to counteract the modem world's tension, confusion, despair, destruction, and inauthenticity, we will perceive gradually and experience ever more deeply that in healing us and conserving our human integrity, the liturgy also unites us to him in whom "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17 :28) and leads us into an ever more profound participation in that mystery of divine wisdom of which it is written that "eye has not seen or ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him" (l Cor. 2:9).

Anthony 1. Vader

The Catholic Church and the Negro Community Report on a jour-dar •ludr conference whi<:h di>cru&ed new areas oJ experimentation in pori>h life.

One fifth of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago are undergoing a racial change - part of the great social revolution that is shaking up the long-established patterns of ·life in the city. The parishes are also beginning to feel the impact of the new theology, the revival of the liturgy, the kerygrnatic approach to religious formation: How these developments affect parish life and how the parish should adjust to them are the biggeSt questions facing the Church today. To attempt at least a partial solution 153 priests from eighty-three parishes gathered Jor four days to discuss "The Catholic Church and the Negro." With the encouragement of Cardinal Meyer the conferenCe was held at St. Mary of the Lake Junior College, Niles, Illinois. The firsi two days were given over to lectures, followed by small group discussions and a question 'period. To these sessions all of the priests· of the Archdiocese were invited. by .priests actively The last. two days were attended principally .. . 19


Chicago Studies

engaged in the Negro apostolate. They asked what new approaches might he found through our increased knowledge of the Negro community and what the new theological aspects of the Church mean to the Negro apostolate. In his welcoming talk Cardinal Meyer discussed the problem faced by the priest who must avoid becoming simply a social ref01mer or social worker and who at the same time must not isolate himself from the social structure in which his flock exists. The priest's task in the community, said the Cardinal, is primarily the missionary work of saving souls. Christ was involved in his milieu, yet the social problems of the times did not cause him to forget that he came as the redeemer. Neither must the priest allow himself to be submerged in present-day problems. His function is to restore the community to God through Christ. Through this institute the Cardinal hoped Chicago's priests would learn primarily how to bring their people to Christ but also how to reorganize the community with justice through charity. THE NEGRO PERSONALITY

''The Negro's Collective Consciousness" was the subject of the first day's agenda. Dr. Robert Johnson approached the theme with a paper on "The Negro Self-Image." Professor at the School of Social Work at New York University, Dr. Johnson is also director of research for the National Conference of Christians and Jews. According to his thesis the civil rights movement has clarified the Negro's self-image. Heretofore, the Negro has reacted to his frustration in three. ways: by fright, in accepting his inferior status; by flight, in running from the conflict; by fight, in fighting against injustices. This latter reaction is predominant today. In knowing who he is the Negro can function better as a person. Thus the behavior patterns of college students have been measurably improved by their involvement in civil rights movements, e.g., by less delinquency in Southern cities during times of protest, by a rise in grades,. and a return to classes. The present civil rights movements, moreover, mark only the beginning of the Negro revolution. Beyond the immediate goal of the Negro protest

Negro Corrrmunily


movement, there is the mystique of purifying all of society. This mystique is the foundation of the philosophy Q{ passive resistance. A second talk, by Dr. Daniel Thompson, discussed the Negro religious mentality, the emphasis and the value that the Negro puts on religion. Dr. Thompson, who has degrees in sociology and divinity, is professor of sociology at Howard and Dillard Universities and author of the recent Negro Leadership Class. In Dr. Thompson's view the Negro Protestant Church has been the most important factor in the development of the Negro in America. Historically, the "Bush Arbor" Church came first. Besides filling their need to worship, this "church" enabled the Negro slaves to socialize, to protest, to exercise creativity, and to develop leadership. In the second stage of development Negroes were taken into white churches, Methodist and Baptist. When churches were unable to satisfy the Negro needs for social life, protest, creativity, and leadership, most Negro people withdrew and formed their own Protestant Churches (Baptist and Methodist). From these Negro Protestant Churches have emerged all the Negro colleges, most Negro-owned businesses, and most Negro leaders. These churches have successfully withstood conversion efforts by white churches for a hundred years. Unfortunately the rural churches were unable to make the transition to the cities (and more than half of all Negroes live in cities). By failing to fulfill the basic needs of their people they are losing their influence. They have not mounted an effective attack on the social evils besetting their people and have provided neither the leadership nor the organization to help the Negro adapt to urban life. Nor have they helped the integration process. Thus the Negro church has become less and less relevant to the Negro in the large cities. THE NEGRO FAMILY

The paper with possibly the greatest appeal was that given by Cyril Tyson on "The Negro Family: Structure, Stability, and Authority in the Home." Mr. Tyson is the project director


Chicago Studies

of Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited, a member of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and a professor at New York University. Acknowledging that all family struc. tures are undergoing cultural changes, Tyson stressed that the Negro family especially is disrupted because of the continued emasculation of the Negro male. The pattern of Negro families is matriarchal in structure, and this for two reasons: 1) the disruption of family life under slavery; 2) the frustration and consequent sense of inadequacy on the part of .the Negro male because of his inability to provide for the needs of his family. The. solution to this problem lies in the area of education, employment, and housing. Unless the Negro male is provided with opportunities to support his family adequately, all is lost. Ironically the situation is deteriorating rather than improving. Since 1960 there has been a three percent increase in male earning power as against a thirty-four percent increase in female earning power. The Church must be as deeply involved in this serious social problem as it was in the early days of the labor movement. THREE GENERATIONS OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO

Many social movements today disturb the ordinary citizen because he does not see them as the logical outgrowth of the stresses of previous generations. On the second day of discussions Dr. Herman Long, president of Talladega College, Talladega,. Alabama, and director of Race Relations Institute of Fiske ¡University, described four generations of the American Negro. The ¡first generation (the grandmother of today's Negro) dates to. 1865, with the appearance of the first real family life. (The scars of previous disruptive "family" life still remained.) Emancipation brought the Negro great expectations, but lacking the promised ownership of land he had no solid foundation and his expectations soon collapsed. Eighteen ninetysix marked the end of this era. In the second generation (his father) Negro life reached its nadir.: The South dominated Congress and thus dictated a

Negro Commuioily 23

national policy toward minorities which was racist. The violence emploved to control the racial situation was "institutionalized" -· . th~ Negro who did not "stay in his place" was liable to death. An accomodation of necessity became the Negro way of coping with realities. "Uncle Tom" took on an aura of· the heroic under the circumstances. The one positive note was the effort to organize the capabilities within the Negro community. As education became the vehicle of Negro class structure, a Negro middle class began to emerge. The third generation (himself) experienced a remarkable development. With neither of the two previous generations· was it possible to believe the Negro had a chance. The youngsters, like Dr. Long himself, were taught: "Never get into trouble with the ·white person." The Negro· movement to the North· brought many changes. In 1900 ninety percent of the Negroes lived in the South; today the figure is about fifty percent. For the first time the Negro has the power to influence national policy· as it affects him; and ironically segregation is the source· of his strength. In the presen( generation (his children) the protest ··move· ment is the Negro's response to all who would oppress him. His is the first generation to be taught they are not inferior; and the idea that he is as good as others is the substance of his ·protest movement. This will not change. The Negro is closer to his goal now than ever before. SACRAMENT OF THE CHURCH

The third and fourth days were taken up by group diseussions among priests assigned to predominately Negro parishes. On these days only two talks were given. The first of these,' by the Reverend Leo T. Mahon, a priest of the Chicago Archdiocese and pastor of the Church of the Redeemer, San Mignelito, Panama, discussed "Approaches to Building a Christian Com· munity." In his challenging talk, Father Mahon asked if we have the Sacrament of the· Church. The Church in Chicago ·has been built on nationality groups and held together by a minority' con-


Chicago Studie•

sciousness. On what can we build the Christian community today?. It _cannot be on the ghetto, nor on the upward mobility drive, e.g., school system; for the Church will soon cease to be a place of "arrival." Therefore, we must build the community on the Word of God; and to do so will require drastic changes in apologetics, parish structure, and liturgy. Apologetics must he presented dynamically, as an action, a thrust outward from Christ our center. In this perspective faith is seen as a call to unity and a commitment to building the Christian community. The rationalistic approach to faith must go; faith can no longer be viewed simply as a doctrine in need of proof. In Father Mahon's opinion the large parish structure is dead. The parish must become an intimate community in which people experience a love relationship. Perhaps the large parish church can act as the cathedral of the neighborhood. The liturgy must become more than a mystic rite. There must be not only a change in language but also a change in form. What we need then is disestablishment. The role of the priest is a demanding one. He must be a catalyst of change, not a functionary but a creator. He must be a revolutionary not a modernizer, an innovator not a renovator. His task is to discover not to administer, to be a creator of liturgy not a performer. No longer can he hope to be all things to all men in the accepted sense of the phrase. THE NEGRO IN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

The final talk, by Bernard Cooke, S.J ., dean of the School of Theology of Marquette University, explored "Aspects of the Church found in Scripture and the liturgy that should be reflected in our thinking on the Church and in our work with the Negro." What, asked Father Cooke, is Christianity meant to be? The response is fivefold. I. Christianity is a community based on the Risen Christ. It preaches hope to those who are without hope, not just for the hereafter but also for the here and now. The Christian task

Negro Communily .25

is to preach hope to men in this life. Thus far we have¡ not evangelized as well as we might have, hP.C~n~e we have tied ourselves to structures. There is as much need for adaptation in American cities as there is in Africa. Our danger lies in clinging to outmoded structures, making them more important than people. 2. The Christian community is a people who hear the Word of God in the liturgy. If the Word does not reach those to whom we speak, we cannot succeed. We must, therefore, make the Word of God pertinent to the liturgy, if it is to be a living, communicating liturgy. 3. The Christian community must be seen as an emerging community, and it must be permitted to develop in its own way. Since the Church emerges out of non-Christian situations, tlie cultural forms of others must be allowed to come into Christianity. Genuine christianization touches all institutions, not just individuals. 4. Christianity is a community sharing Christ's own mission of overcoming evil. There is no theoretical answer to evil, and Christ never proposed one. The only answer is the Risen Christ who passed through death; and thus the only Christian response to evil is practical. The Gospels of set purpose show Christ meeting every kind of evil and overcoming it. 5. A Christian community is a real union of people based on identification with Christ and with one another. This is the most profound principle with which we must work. The real question is how we find identity with all who are in Christ. Christ finds identification by becoming one of us and deepens it by¡making us one with him. The priests taking part in the discussions of the last two days were divided into three groups concerned with social action, liturgy and catechetics, and the organization of the parish. Their conclusions and recommendations were voted on by the entire assembly at the last session. LITURGY AND CA.TECHETICS

It was the consensus of the group that identification with the Negro people, their aspirations, problems, and hopes is


Chicago· Studies

essential for any missionary· work. It is absolutely necessary to understand Negro people before we can make our message meaningful to them and before we can love them with Christ's own love. Consequently, we should spend a good deal of time talking with the people of the parish; but, more importantly, we must listen to them. In our instruction classes we should not merely lecture but encourage the people to express their feelings and ·ideas. The time we spend with them individually and in groups will pay dividends in a clearer understanding of the Negro people - a knowledge we can refine with the help of sociologists and other specialists. The ·Church in the Negro community must be renovated as a sign of Christ's presence in the world. The work of renewal must be tempered and responsible, however, so that it does not destroy the good that already exists .. Large scale experi· mentation should be undertaken only in parishes which are already in serious difficulties to avoid endangering successfully operating programs. The priests and people who have the responsibility for the renewal of the Church in the Negro areas must always be conscious of the needs of the entire diocese. We are only a part of the Church in Chicago. Pre-evangelization is the process by which the Church is made meaningful in the Negro community. If the Church does not identify with the Negro, his goals and needs, we cannot expect him to see any relevance in the message of the Church. Through evangelization a man comes to accept Christ who is risen and living amongst us. It is a conversion which includes acceptance of Christ, repentance, and commitment to him. Catechesis is the full instruction following evangelization and conversion. For the most part the Negro people have been evangelized and baptized. It was suggested, however, that we treat all of them as though they need evangelization. Even if they have been baptized, they may need a reconversion or a deepening of their commitment to Christ. In our present situation in which evangelization and catechesis will be simultaneous, apologetics and the traditional catechisms




are not the best tools. The liturgy should be used in the evangelization process; in it people can encounter the living Christ whom they hear about in the instruction classes. These classes should not be mere lessons; they should he accompanied by simple para-liturgical services in order to involve the whole man, feelings and will as well as intellect. A retreat or a day of recollection would be extremely useful in preparing people for baptism; perhaps too some of the principles employed by the cursillos would be helpful in our instructions. THE PAIUSH AND THE NEGRO

The function of the parish is to help the people of God live the faith in love, spreading their light and warmth to. the total community. For parochial and financial reasons which we will explain below pastors and assistants agreed that the parochial unit must refer to a numerically large total population. The Negro community is, at best, seven percent Catholic. Only those parishes, therefore, which include large numbers of people can garner a sufficient number of Catholics to insure an efficient parish operation. Since a relatively large number of parishioners is needed to support a parish, to form efficient Ia y organizations, and to yield a number of dedicated lay apostles, parishes with a relatively small total population suffer seriously from lack of support and personnel. The people in those parishes feel a sense of isolation and insignificance. The needs of the missionary parish are great and they demand the maximum of creativity of everyone involved. A carefully structured team approach which involves not only the pastor and the assistants but also the Sisters and lay teachers should be evolved. Because of the need for maximum creativity, the present authority-structure must be rethought, so that the mem¡ hers of the group can exercise the greatest amount of freedom consonant with good order. It was recommended that an experimental "parish" should be formed by combining small, fumbling parishes without the potential to develop a Christian community. One of the present church units would be the center of activities for the total


Chicago Studies

community, e.g., ''The Catholic Church of Englewood"; the other churches would serve as "sister-churches." A team of priests, given proper attitudinal formation, with a variety of specializations, psychologically apt for team-operation, would direct the formation of the Christian community. The justification for disturbing the present parochial struc¡ lure relates not only to the current situation (pastoral and financial) but to positive values envisioned for priests and people concerned.¡ Priests would find strength in numbers as well as the encouragement to be encountered in a mutual challenge. They would have a chance to specialize, to concentrate upon specific worthwhile goals, an opportunity to grow by surrendering to a group rather than to an individual, be he pastor or fellow-assistant. People would be numerous enough to train for specialized Catholic action groups. They would have greater opportunity for a varied program, involving more intimate associations with the possibility of deeper penetration of the community through the charity of the various action groups. The solidarity of a minority number of Catholics, e.g., in ''The Catholic Church of Englewood," would break down the notion that the Church is a "white man's church." Financial problems of the diocese would be greatly reduced, if the experimental parish were successful; no new buildings would be constructed; perhaps some of the present buildings could be eliminated. THE CHURCH AND SOCIAL ACTION

No problem grips the Negro population today as much as the civil rights struggle. Not even the economic inequality suffered by most of them moves them as do the dogs and firehoses of Birmingham. Since race prejudice, segregation, and unequal opportunities in jobs, schools, housing, etc., are immoral-in fact the greatest social immorality plaguing our nation today - the Church cannot but make a wholehearted effort to remove this moral evil completely. The task is so huge in dimensions, so important in its effects on Christian living, that it cannot be left to certain groups within the Church; it must be an effort of the total Church.

Negro Community


The "total Church" means not only the juridical structure of authority but the totality of its membership as well. Every Catholic must make serious efforts to remove the immorality of segregation. Many white Catholics, however, do not realize their obligation. Most Negroes (Catholic and others) are vividly aware and deeply scandalized at the prejudice among white Christians.. Negroes are rightly convinced that their struggle for equality will make a more perfect moral person of their white brother. In the mind of the Negro community the struggle for civil rights cannot be separated from the morality undergirding it. The Church must identify herself actively and directly with this struggle or fail in her role of teaching all men, both white and Negro, the ways of truth and justice. One of the great glories of the Church in America is her role in the formation and development of the labor movement. The priest today cannot stand on the sidelines while the Negro struggles to claim the rights that are his. If the priest is not present, no amount of preaching will ever convince the Negro that the Catholic Church is his church. RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE SOCIAL ACTION GROUP

The social action group made several recommendations: l. The priest should join and actively participate in any neighborhood organization. He is not to be simply another picket in the civil rights movement but a spiritual leader. He enters the movement to legitimize it, to help form its policies as a member of the community, to keep its program within the framework of the natural law, and to manifest his respect for the Negro leadership. As John F. Cronin of the NCWC stated recently, "clergymen should be in the forefront of demonstrations to show our support for the civil rights movement." 2. A committee of priests should be fanned; its purpose would be to report to the archdiocesan authorities and to all priests on the issues involved where there is a question of direct action by civil rights groups, such as selective buying campaigns, sit-ins, etc. The committee would also recommend

30 Chicago Studiu

whether or not to join in the direct action involved. Not merely a fact¡finding group, the committee would make recommenda¡ tions on policy as well as on tactics. It would, moreover, concern itself not only with segregation in public institutions but in Catholic institutions as well. Since it is imperative that our own hands be clean, the committee would quietly try to remedy any instances of segregation in Catholic institutions and agencies. Only when no other solution is possible would it recommend demonstration tactics; the cooperation of outside civil rights groups is seen as a final and desperate step. 3. Because of the importance of involving the "total Church," parishes with white congregations should be informed of the committee's decision when these have received the bishop's approval. In this way priests in white parishes can not only keep their parishioners informed but encourage them to greater cooperation in the Negro's struggle for equal rights. In turn, the Negro population would see the concern of all Catholics for interracial justice and their willingness to ]Om the struggle against prejudice and segregation. 4. The social action group also urged continued and increased cooperation with interracial lay organizations which have already been formed. Where these do not yet exist, they should be formed. 5. As a leader in the Christian struggle for interracial justice, the priest should use his influence to change the unchristian, prepudiced policies of stores, restaurants (and caterers), construction companies, recreation facilities (golf courses and athletic clubs), which do not hire or service Negroes. The priest should not use facilities that refuse to change their policy. Public announcements to avoid such organizations are seen as a further step where the immoral policy continues, but these steps are always to proceed from a spirit of true love and with every effort to avoid embarrassment for those involved. This study week is only the first of many that must follow. Those involved in the first session will welcome the criticism of their confreres.

John A. Rohr, S.}.

Birth Contf'ol in IUinois A Study in Church-State Relations

An analy.i.! of Church-SUlk relation.s in the light of argument. u.oed by Catholic opponent.< in the current Illinois controversy.

The current interest in Church-State relations centers on such highly speculative issues as the nature of these two societies and what course of action would be followed by a hypothetical Catholic official receiving hypothetical orders from an equally hypothetical bishop. The dialogue is in danger of foundering on the reefs of abstraction unless the participants occasionally rethink their positions in terms of the hard data of how Catholics actually conduct themselves in public controversies involving politics and religion. The pages that follow essay a presentation of such data with an analysis of Church-State relations in the light of the factual presentation. The first part of the essay simply tells the story of the Illinois controversy that developed when the state's Public Aid Commission (IPAC) decided to use public funds for the distribution of information and devices conducive to artificial birth control; part two indicates the main arguments pursued by IPAC's Catholic¡ opponents.



Chicago Studies

I. HISTORY OF THE CONTROVERSY In September of 1962 IPAC asked its Medical Advisory Council for recommendations concerning birth control for relief clients. The following month the council recommended that IPAC "provide payment for preventive medical services, including family planning." During November open hearings were held in Springfield and Chicago with thirty-one persons and organizations favorable to the suggestion of the Medical Advisory Council and eight opposed. Seven of the eight opponents represented Catholic organizations. On December 5 IPAC voted 6-4 "that this commission adopt a policy of providing financial assistance for family planning for any recipient with a spouse or child who requests such assistance, including payment for services and prescription of physician" (Planned Parenthood, Chronological History of the Birth Control Controversy in Chicago). The four negative votes were cast by the four Catholic members of the commission. One of the four, James Cleary, resigned in protest the following day. The other three were ex efficio members: the state treasurer, the state financial director, and the state auditor. The policy voted by the commission was to go into effect on April l, 1963. When the Illinois legislature met in January, 1963, Senator Morgan Finley introduced a hill that would forbid the use of public funds for birth control services. Finley is a Catholic from Cook County and widely acknowledged as a protege of the powerful mayor of Chicago, Richard J. Daley. The Finley hill was a clear indication of the mayor's position. The first week in April, the time proposed for the beginning of the birth control program, wa& also the time for Chicagoans to elect a mayor. The atmosphere at Springfield, rife with charges of bigotry and clericalism, could not be ignored in Chicago, where the overwhelming majority of the state's relief recipients and Catholics reside. Benjamin Adamowski, Daley's Republican opponent, brought a taxpayer's suit in Superior Court to enjoin the use of public funds for birth control devices for the unmarried. The suit brought angry recriminations from Arnold Maremont, the controversial and outspoken chairntan

Birth Control 33

of IPAC, and hopelessly confused the political picture. Mare· mont.' an annointee of Governor Kerner.. who himself was al· ... ... legedly "sent" to Springfield by Mayor Daley to look after the mayor's interests in the outlying areas of the .realm, is found attacking Adamowski, the mayor's Republican opponent, who has brought a suit to produce the same result that the hill introduced by Daley's senate lieutenant, Morgan Finley; would bring about! THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ANSWERS

Adamowski's suit, brought just three days before the election, involved another prominent Democrat, William G. Clark, at· tomey general of Illinois. Clark agreed with Republican Adam· owski that "the disbursement of public funds for contraceptive devices to girls and women who, recipients of public aid, are not living with their husbands, he temporarily enjoined." Since, however, Clark as attorney general was the official attorney for IPAC, he was subjected to severe attacks from the pro-birth control organizations for allegedly deserting his "client." Mare· mont and the other members of the commission favorable to the proposed birth control program retained at private expense the legal services of Thomas McConnelL The new, private at· torney for the commission charged that Clark was following the "dogmas" of his Church rather than his duty as attorney general. Clark answered the charges in a closely reasoned press release which pointed out that the attorney general is the attorney for the state auditor (Michael Howlett) as well as for IPAC. It was his legal opinion that "if the auditor should honor state warrants vouchered by the IPAC in payment of contraceptive services and devices for unmarried girls, he might well incur personal liability since such warrants would represent an im· proper and illegal expenditure of taxpayers' funds." His opinion was based on the Illinois Criminal Code which lists as crimes "indecent liberties with a child" and "contributing to the sexual delinquency of a child." A child is defined as one under sixteen for the former offense and under eighteen for the latter. Since Arnold Maramont had defined a "recipient" of contra·


Chicago Studies

ceptives as any mother, whether married or not, of twelve. years and older, it seemed that the state auditor would he authorizing public funds for criminal acts. Secondly, in at least some cases it would be likely that the issuance of contraceptives would lead to acts of fornication and adultery which were sufficiently "open and notorious" to be crimes under Illinois law. Finally, since "contraceptive devices cannot be used to cure rheumatism," since "they have only one purpose," to distribute such devices to the unmarried would surely lead to acts which, though not sufficiently "open and notorious" to be considered criminal, would nevertheless be "illicit, unlawful, and against public policy." McConnell was not .satisfied that Clark's position was based on law and not religion and decided to present a motion disqualifying Clark as counsel for the defendants, i.e., IP AC. In the Superior Court of Cook County, Judge Lupe denied McConnell's motion to disqualify Clark and granted the injunction sought by Adam· owski forbidding the State of Illinois to support with public funds the distribution of information and devices to the un· married for birth control purposes. The fact that Judge Lupe was also a Catholic did not go unnoticed by those who had hoped for a contrary ruling. The Lupe ruling accomplished at least temporarily by judical fiat what the Finley bill, still struggling through the legislature, would accomplish by statute. INTEREST ON THE RISE

The birth control controversy had been front page news throughout the month of April, but by the end of the month it dwarfed every other public issue. The interest crescendo began with the Senate's confirmation of Arnold Maremont as chairman of IPAC. Maremont, a wealthy Chicago industrialist and the darling of Planned Parenthood, had received an interim ap· pointment from Governor Kerner in June, 1962. It is his opmwn, expressed in an address at the Annual Meeting of Planned Parenthood-World Population in New York City on October 16, 1963, that the governor chose him because he "fitted the description of the hard-headed-later some said

Birth Conlrol 35

hard-hearted-businessman who would cut through the miasma of problems and red tape which was costing the taxpayers of lllinois $350,000,000 a year, about a million dollars a day." Despite the heat of the birth control controversy, the Senate recognized Maremont's adminstrative talents in confirming the appointment by the generous margin of 35-7. The very next day, April 24, Maremont held a press conference in Chicago where he excoriated Republican opponents of his welfare budget, accusing them of "Hitlerism" and of "venting their spleen" upon Negro welfare recipients because of the large Negro vote for Mayor Daley in the recent Chicago election. The Senate changed its rules to extend the period for reconsidering a senatorial confirmation of an executive appointment and proceeded to "deconfirm" Maremont. A further row over placing ceilings on welfare benefits for any one family led to a complete breakdown in the state's welfare program and finally to the demise of IPAC itself. The commission ceased to exist as an independent agency; it came under the governor's cabinet-¡-technically a "code" department - and therefore became more subject to political maneuvering than it had been as an independent commission. A compromise edition of the original Finley bill passed the Senate with no Catholic senator opposing it. The bill permitted State subsidies for birth control purposes only if the recipient was a married woman living with her husband. It also provided a special commission of ten legislators and five appointees of the governor to study the original proposal of the now defunct IPAC-state support of contraceptives for all who were interested, whether married or unmarried, divorced or widowed. II. THE ARGUMENTS This brief introduction to the facts of the dispute leads to the main point of this essay-the analysis of the arguments presented by Catholics in a specific, concrete Church-State controversy. It is of interest to note the broad cross-section of Catholics who appeared to present "the Catholic position." Some were explicitly Catholic apologists - Msgr. George Casey, vicar

36 Chicago Studies

general of the Archdiocese of Chicago, in a written statement submitted to IPAC November 6, 1962, which purported to "make the Catholic stand perfectly clear"; Msgr. John Kelly and Father William Graney of The New World, the archdiocesan newspaper; Father Thomas McDonough, priest of the archdiocese and member of the Illinois bar; John Philbin, chairman of Cana Conference; Paul Twine of the Lake Mea路 dows Council of Catholic Men; Most Reverend Loras T. Lane, Bishop of Rockford; Dr. Brice Buckingham of Cana Conference; Dr. Bart Heffernan of the Catholic Physicians' Guild of Chi路 cago; Professor Urban H. Fleege, vice-president of DePaul University and research chairman of the Catholic Family Move路 ment. Other prominent Catholics, for the most part men in public life, joined the controversy, not as Catholic spokesmen, but as public servants and interested citizens-Attorney General William G. Clark, State Auditor Michael J. Howlett, Cook County Welfare Director Raymond Hilliard, IPAC member James Cleary, Senator Morgan Finley, and Representative Paul Elward. To be sure, these names do not exhaust the list of the Catholic participants in the controversy, but it is sufficiently representative to determine how Catholics approached this dispute, both officially and unofficially. CATHOLIC THEMES

Several themes run through the testimonies and policy statements of all the Catholics who addressed the public debate: ( l) Catholics have no desire to impose their religious and moral views on others; thus no one favored the State of Illinois restricting the sale and use of contraceptives as is the case in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The thrust of the attack is upon the use of public funds to subsidize the dissemination of birth control information and devices. This distinction is usually couched in terms of "public and private morality." Private morality seems to refer to the citizen's purchase and use of contraceptives-whereas public morality deals with the state's endorsing and subsidizing such action. The fact that no one seriously suggested that Illinois follow Connecticut and Massa路

Birth Control


ohusetts is a concrete indication of the traditional Christian jurisprudential principle that not everything contrary to natural law must be forbidden by positive law as well. (2) Catholics tend to look upon improvements in housing, education and employment as alternatives to birth control in attempting to solve the soaring welfare costs and the rising rate of illegitimacy. This approach occurs with such striking regu. larity that one must conclude that papal exhortations to develop Catholic social thought along lines of "reconstructing the social order" have not fallen on deaf ears. ( 3) There is a sharp difference between the positions defended by official Catholic spokesmen and those Catholics in public life who speak in their capacity as public servants. The latter are quite willing to compromise on the issues of state subsidy for contraceptives for married women living with their spouses, but strongly oppose such subsidies for women unmarried, divorced, or widowed. They contend their opposition is based upon law and not upon religion. In at least some cases the distribution ofcontraceptives will lead to acts of fornication and adultery that are sufficiently "open and notorious" to fall under the prohibition of the lllinois Criminal Code; in other cases they would be given to girls under eighteen which would lead to violations of the statutes proscribing indecent liberties with a child and contributing to a child's sexual delinquency. In the remaining cases, when the contraceptives would be given to women over eighteen whose offensive conduct was not sufficiently open and notorious to be criminal, the state would nevertheless be encouraging acts that are contrary to the public policy of Illinois. The official Catholic spokesmen have a twofold objection -they ag1ee with their co-religionists in public life that under no circumstances should the state provide contraceptives for the unmarried, hut they also object to subsidizing the dissemination of contraceptives to married persons living with their spouses. The fact that the Catholics in public life, Clark, Howlett, Hilliard, Finley, et. al., fail to concur in the latter objection goes a long way toward refuting the charge that their

38 Chicago Studies

freedom is impaired by the doctrines of their Catholic faith. If this were the case, the public officials would have to, eJ<tend their objection to the married women living with their spouses because this is the distinctively Catholic doctrine; in limiting their objection to the unmarried, the divorced, and the widowed, they present at least prima facie evidence that they speak not as Catholics but as public servants of the people of the State of Illinois whose laws artd public policy prohibit extra-marital sexual relations. To be sure, their religion undoubtedly "colors their point of view" as Raymond Hilliard admits in his own case. This admission simply confirms the obvious; if it were not so it would say little for either Mr. Hilliard or for his religion. One can go further and conjecture that their position is ultimately rooted in the fact that their Church is so notoriously negative in its attitude towards contraception. They bring to their public duties consciences formed in Catholic traditions and when questions arise that challenge consciences so formed it is only natural to expect them to look for legal and social reasons to support what their conscience tells them. To criticize this attitude is to imply that all Catholics should be disqualified from all public offices. Even Attorney General Clark, who effectively parries the charge of improper religious influence, would probably concede this much. Such influence would become improper only if Catholic public officials used their positions of public trust to oppose on religious grounds alone policies which offended their Catholic conscience. Thus, had the attorney general or the state auditor opposed IPAC in its attempt to provide contraceptives to married persons living with their spouses, the charge of improper religious influence would be a point well taken, since there is no evidence that such action is a violation of the laws, the public policy, or even the consensus of the citizens of Illinois. On the other hand, the position taken by the spokesmen for Catholic organizations that Illinois should not subsidize the use of contraceptives at all seems to be a reasonable exercise of the rights of a minority group in a pluralistic society, just as no one can quarrel with

Birth Control


the right of the clergy and laity of other religions who appear before ¡congressional and legislative committees to insist that parochial schools be excluded from National Defense Education Acta and that parochial school children be kept off state and county busses. In both cases we simply observe taxpayers following the altogether reasonable course of telling their representatives not to spend their tax dollars on policies they consider unconstitutional, unjust, immoral, or whatever negative label one chooses to fasten on the issue in question. The three themes of not imposing Catholic morals on others, reconstructing the social order, and the different approaches of Catholics in public and private life appear in the statements of all the Catholics involved in the controversy. The other arguments offered by Catholics do not enjoy such universality, but many occur with sufficient regularity to be considered representative of how Catholics conduct themselves in a specific Church-State debate. THE "LARGE SEGMENT" ARGUMENT

When spokesmen for Catholic organizations protested against all forms of state subsidy for contraceptives-for both married and unmarried alike-their position relied on the "large segment" argument. Briefly, the argument complains that using state subsides for contraceptives means appropriating the tax dollars for a policy considered immoral by a large segment of the political society. The argument is not without merit, but those who employ it fail to clarify the basis of their objection. Is the key word large or segment? That is, is it undesirable for goverment to appropriate monies for purposes considered immoral by many of its citizens, or must one go further and say government should not appropriate tax funds for purposes considered immoral by any of ita citizens? In other words, does the argument appeal to the consensus required for sound legislation or to the inviolibility of conscience? If the argument appeals to the inviolability of conscience, the Catholic spokesmen must face the a pari rejoinder that fills the pages of Planned Parenthood literature-what about the pacifiist


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whose dollars go into national defense or the Christian Scientist who must support public health programs? The rejoinder is as obvious as it is valid; Catholic spokesmen failed to provide a satisfactory rebuttal. If, on the other hand, the "large segment" argument emphasizes the adjective, the grounds of the argument shift from conscience to sound legislative policy. The context in which the Catholic spokesmen develop this point would seem to suggest that such is their intent and if it is reasonable to conjecture that the "large segment" is a translation of the pars notabilis of the canonists, the argument finds deep roots in scholastic jurisprudence. However, Catholics must use this argument with their eyes wide open, because in effect they are saying that it is unwise for IPAC to distribute birth control devices at public cost because there are a great number of Catholic taxpayers in Illinois. Obviously, the argument would be meaningless in North Carolina where there are few Catholics and where, incidentally, publicly supported birth control pro¡ grams have taken root and flourished. In Illinois Msgr. Casey could make a thinly veiled threat to Governor Kerner, reminding him that he bears a "full and certain responsibility to the public good and to the electorate." Such a threat would be absurd, if not foolhardy, in North Carolina or Arkansas. Thus the real question for Catholic leaders in states similar to Illinois is whether to fight a hoiy war over birth control, a war in which their cause would probably triumph, or whether after indicating their disapproval to acquiesce in the name of pluralism and ecumenism. The decision must be made on prudential grounds and will vary from state to state. THE "CAMEL'S NOSE" ARGUMENT

Another approach frequently used by Catholics involved in this controversy is the "camel's nose" argument, a reductio ad absurdum. It is stated most forcefully by Dr. Buckingham of Cana Conference who fears the birth control program is IPAC is "the opening wedge for related, far-reaching and frightening assaults upon the human person." These assaults would include sterilization, abortion, and euthanasia. IPAC

Birth Control 41

apologists resent this argument as totally unreal and unfair. One Planned Parenthood official complained to this writer that too many Catholics were addicted to Aristotelian logic and as a result were unable to discuss the issue at hand without pointing to an imaginary chamber of horrors. The point would be ·well made if.the horror chamber were indeed imaginary. Fortunately, most birth control proponents have no intention of locking our society in such a chamber, yet there are occasional rumblings from birth control supporters that are extremely disconcerting. One alarming example is the answer of Dr. Alan Guttmacher, national director of Planned Parenthood to the question: "What would publicly approved abortion do for girls caught by an 'inconvenient accident' and wanting to avoid its consequences? Would you make legal facilities available to them?" "Answer: Not yet! I think that in the area of social change we must arrive by evolution, not by revolution. Fifty years from now we might be in the position that we might desire to abort. such girls, but I think that we must come to a critical change of policy step by step. . . . We dare not traumatize the ingrained feelings of our culture by just dumping over the Christian·Jewish philosophy in this area in one fell swoop." More relevant to the Illinois question is the recommendation to the !PAC by one of its own members, William L. Rutherford, a Peoria attorney and one of the original IPAC supporters of the Maremont birth control proposals. Couched in terms of reducing the cost of public assistance and the suffering of in· nocent children "raised in places of immorality and prostitu· tion," Rutherford recommends that the "Illinois statutes re· garding prostitution should be amended to provide that: (1) Persons convicted of being prostitutes should be sterlized. ( 2) Male frequenters of prostitutes, including procurers there· fore, should be classified as prostitutes. ( 3) Persons who bear more than one illegitimate child are prostitutes. ( 4) Any male proved to have sired more than one illegitimate child shall be classified as a prostitute." While such positions by no means represent the consensus of those supporting IP AC, the simple fact of their being stated


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by persons in responsible positions proves that the· "camel's -nose" argument cannot be dismissed as an Aristotelian chimera. Two UTHOLIC REACTIONS The Illinois birth control controversy also provided an ex· ample of a Catholic resigning from public office rather than associate himself with what he considered an immoral policy. James Cleary submitted "in sorrow and in anger" a letter of resignation to Governor Kerner because of IPAC's refusal to consider his motion to ask for a ruling from the attorney general on the legality of contraceptives going to 'the unmar· ried. The resignation did not fit the classic situation of a young public official sacrificing a career in government rather than transgress his principles, since Cleary was an unsalaried, re· tired advertising executive, whose resignation was based partially on his disapproval of what he considered Governor Kerner's plans to undermine the independence of IPAC by making it a code department responsible to the governor. Nevertheless, in explaining his resignation to the press, Cleary stated, "It isn't a religious issue at all. It's a moral issue. It's also the law of Illinois." The statement is interesting for its stark simplicity. Taken literally, it seems to suggest that Cleary feels a resignation from office is in order when an official has moral objections to a given policy. A less rigid opinion would argue that Cleary had satisfied his conscience by voting against the proposal, and since he would not be responsible for its execution, no further protest is necessary. A second question is whether the simple ·immorality of the policy was sufficient to wa rrent resignation or whether the parley of immorality and Illinois law was the deciding factor. In marked contrast to Cleary is the position articulated by Raymond Hilliard, Cook County Public Welfare Director, in his testimony before the commission set up to investigate the advisability of supplying contraceptives to the unmarried: "At the outset I think I should say, as perhaps you· .know, that as a Roman Catholic, I do not favor a program of. birth control by artificial contraception. I cannot draw the same line

. Birth Control


with regard to birth control by either abstinence or use of a method such as the rhythm method. "As a. public official, however, I and my department have placed into effect meticulously whatever policy with respect to this delicate issue has been determined." If Cleary's resignation seemed too rigid, Hilliard's "twohat theory" of immorality is an unreasoning simplification open .to the same criticism levelled against the statement of then Seootor John F. Kennedy in the famous Look interview of March, 1959: "Whatever one's religion in his private life may be, for the office holder nothing takes precedence over his oath .to uphold the Constitution and all its parts."

No MEETING OF MINDS One of the most interesting aspects of the Illinois birth control qmirrel is the apparent breakdown in communication between the adversaries in the public debate. Catholics involved in the debate reflect the traditional ethical maxim that an immoral·act may not be used as a means for some greater good"no.matter how desirable that good might be, whereas their opponents seem to take a more existential view of the problem, weighing the good and the evil involved and dismissing the nice distinctions of means and ends as "sophistry in its purest form.!' The frequency with which this lack of mutual understanding•. recurs is nothing short of astounding .and until this barrier is broken the arguments on either side may well appear meaningless to the opponent. Without some fundamental grasp of how the adversary approaches a moral issue, the participants in the public debate may create nothing more than a new Tower of Babel with their reams of committee hearings, press releases, and partisan publications. There is abundant evidence for this fundamental misunderstanding, but in the ·interests of breviiy this essay will concentrate upon the hearings of the special commission on birth control established by the compromise bill of Senator Morgan Finley. The.• commission, commonly called the Finley Commission, was created by the legislature to study the merits of the original

44 Chicago Studies

Maremont proposal to g1ve contraceptives to all mothersmarried or unmarried, adults or children-provided the request came from the recipient The legislature has already approved the distribution at public expense of contraceptive information and devices for married women living with their spouses. It should be noted that the Catholics involved are not speaking as representatives of their Church, since the specifically Catholic issue-the distribution of contraceptives to married couples--has already been settled. The point at issue is what to do with the unmarried, the divorced and the widowed. It is likely that distribution of contraceptives to these women will abet fornication and adultery, vices which Catholics are obviously not alone in opposing. Despite the universal agreement that such vices are indeed vices and undesirable, immoral conduct, the Catholics involved in the hearings stand out as the opponents of the proposal. An analysis of the committees suggests why this is so. SENATOR FINLEY AND MR. BROWN

Foil owing the testimony of Ralph E. Brown, vice-chairman and legal counsel of Citizens for the Extension of Birth Control Services, the following exchange took place: Senator Finley: "In your opinion then, from what I heard and understood, don't you feel that we necessarily condone an illicit act if we give information and actual contraceptives to women who are not married, such as divorced, separated and single women? Would not the State then be condoning this sort of action?" Mr. Brown: "No, I don't think so. I think what we have is a choice, in terms¡ of general conduct we have a choice of evils. The experience of the State, and I think the experience of this Commission, demonstrates that the moral interdiction against extra-marital intercourse does not prevent women from becoming illegitimately pregnant and from repeated illegitimate pregnancies. "The positive law says that this is not a crime. The consensus of the community certainly says it is immoral.

Birth Comrol


"But the community is then put in the position of choosing whether they are going to condone on the one hand the distribution of contraceptive devices at public expense, or support the progeny of these women indefinitely and incredibly. It is a growing problem, Senator." Setultor Finley: "Do you not feel that it is de facto approval by the community if the State provides these funds to unmarried women, single and divorced and separated women?" Mr. Brown: "I would call it de facto recognition rather than approvaL In the same way that the State recognizes that people have venereal disease and makes an effort to treat these people. It does not condone their illicit intercourse and it does not condone their improper conduct, but at the same time they say these people are a source of infection and themselves are suffering. - - _ "It would be, I think, similar to say that when someone is mentally ill, the State does not approve of mental illness, but the State tries to cure it ___ " Senalor Finley: "And you feel the same analogy applies to Li rth control?" j'f ., r. Brown: "Yes, s1r. - " Senalor Finley: "I think the greater majority of adults in this state realize how children are brought into this world. I believe in giving these contraceptives we are actually condoning illicit acts." Although he is acting as a public official, Senator Finley is obviously-though probably unconsciously-relying upon the training he received in Chicago's parochial schools, De La Salle High School, and De Paul University. His former teachers would have little trouble in recognizing his concern about ''condoning" and "approving" immoral-if not illegal-----1:onduct as the principles of ends and means and "co-operation in evil" which he learned from them long ago. SENATOR FINLEY AND PROFESSOR ALLEN

A similar exchange took place between Senator Finley and Professor Francis A. Allen of the Law School of the University


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of Chicago. The professor had made the point that the ques· lion of sithsidizing immorality is irrelevant because the Stale of Illinois' Child Act authorizes private agencies to provide care for· unmarried mothers and for illegitimate children. Hence the State already "subsidizes immorality." At the end of the professor's statement, Senator Finley began: "Thank you very much, Professor. I would like to ask you one question. You mentioned about condoning and subsidizing prior to the fact and after the fact. You draw an analogy between the two of .them, I believe." Actually, the distinction is Finley's, not Allen's. Allen cer· tainly implied such a distinction when he argued that the State's support for pre-natal and child-bearing care of un· married .women was an indication that Illinois was already using pithlic funds in such a way as to encourage immoral acts, but the. thrust of his argument is that there is no difference between granting the subsidy before or after the child is con· ceived. For Finley this is the crucial point; the terms in which he couches the distinction-prior to the fact and after the factis siguificant. For Finley the "fact" is the act with moral relevance, the sinful act in which the illegitimate child is con· ceived,. whereas Allen does not seem to pivot his thinking on the immoral act, but on the sociological phenomenon ·of the illegitimate child resulting from the act, the child whose birthright is a place on the ADC list and who may continue to need public. assistance until he finds his way into reform school or the penitentiary or until he begins to sire illegitimate offspring of his, own. Finley continued: "In your opinion, do you feel that subsidizing· and condoning after the fact with illegitimate children is on the same level as condoning or encouraging before the fact, which would be with the contraceptives, to not conceive the illegitimate child [sic]?" Professor Allen: " ... Now I agree that there are differences, whether you pay for hospitalization or whether you pay for contraceptives. There is no question these are different kinds of governmental activities.

Birth Control 4 7

"If you ask, are these two different in the sense that there is a difference in the quality of the condonation, my answer IS no. "My answer is that by failing to provide the means by which people who want to avoid pregnancy can avoid pregnancy, you are in effect condemning large sections of the population to a life which involves the kinds of standards in sexual relation' ships that we do not approve of." Senaor Finley: "Even if this so-called before the. fact condonation and subsidizing includes unmarried women and those who are single, divorced and separated?" Professor Allen: "My position on this is that if you do not provide contraceptive infonpation to these people, that the great majority of them will indulge in extra-marital relationships anyway." Senator Finley: "So in your opinion, regardless of whether it is before or after the fact, it is the same condonation, it is no more immoral in one instance than the other?" Professor Allen: "I would say that it is extremely hard for me to understand the proposition that extra-marital sexual relationships are more immoral because they occur under conditions which will not involve the interest of innocent third parties, yet unborn." Allen's final statement is ample evidence that there was no meeting of minds between him and Finley. The latter did not say the action of those engaging in fornication or adultery was more immoral because no children would be conceived. (Throughout the controversy no one mentioned the rather esoteric point of Catholic moral doctrine that fornication com¡ mitted in such a way as to impede conception by artificial means adds a specifically new malice to the sin of fornication. The reason for this teaching is not that failure to conceive is sinful, but that the already sinful act was performed in an unnatural way.) Finley was not concerned with the degree of guilt incurred by the. recipients in using the contraceptives; his point is that society may share in that guilt if public funds provide means which may facilitate the undesirable action.


The same fundamental misunderstanding centered around the testimony of Attorney General Clark. Senator Fawell ques· tioned Clark's reasons for opposing the policies of IPAC. He asked: "Now, what about the State spending money for pre· natal care for childbearing expenses, for post-natal care, all of which referred to undoubted illegtimacy of children? We are spending money in that direction, aren't we?" Attorney General Clark: "I can see nothing illegal about that because there is nothing illegal in taking care of a child that is either sick or may need assistance before or after delivery. · "I· would see nothing wrong with that whatsoever. We are talking about the money that is being used to provide the tools with which to do the job. It is illegal." In criticizing the attorney general's position, Thomas Me· Connell, the private attorney retained by IPAC when Clark ruled their birth control program was illegal, told the Com· ffiiSSJOD:

"If the attorney general's reasoning were taken seriously, it could be argued with equal force that existing provisions for obstetrical care and· money payments for the support of illegitimate children also places the state in the position of encouraging and approving adutery and fornication. But not even the attorney general has urged this view." It seems that both McConnell and Fawell hold that if it is wrong to encourage immorality in one set of circumstances, it should be wrong to encourage immorality in all circumstances. This argument is meaningless to Clark because Clark's educa· tiona! background in Catholic institutions has trained him to think in terms of the double effect. The relevant consideration for the attorney general is not the simple fact that fornication and adultery are encouraged, but rather how these acts are en· couraged. If this evil results from the praiseworthy practice of feeding starving children, there is no moral problem, be· cause along with the evil effect is the good effect of sustaining the ·life of these children. It is, however, an entirely different

Birth Control 49

question if the encouragement comes from the state supplying devices to the unmarried which can have no use independent of sexual relations. If McConneli and Fawell deny the relevance of this distinction, they will never understand the Catholic mind. And if the attorney general fails to reflect that his basic moral and legal orientations stem from a definite intellectual tradition, a tradition not shared by Fawell and McConnell, they will always he an enigma to him. In a letter to a constituent in Elmhurst, Senator Fawell states his "humble view of Christian witness on the subject": "What is the greatest immorality? To give this birth control information to the unfortunate relief mothers who have not one percent of the advantages of life we take for granted, or sitting idly back (as all of us and our churches are doing) as we vote larger and larger appropriations for the wholesale subsidization of prostitution, illegitimacy, relief as a 'way of life,' and its attendant results of more crime, promiscuity, dope addiction, debauchery, mental break-down, and pathetic and wretched conditions of debased living which, one by one, breaks the lives of these unfortunate babies who are offspring of this culture."

Senator Fawell seems to approach moral questions in terms of results--an approach one might call "an ethic of responsibility" or pragmatism depending on the ecumenical tone of the dialogue. At any rate, it is obvious that Fawell's Christian con· science starts from presupposition alien to the Christian con· science of the attorney general. In confirmation of Senator Fawell's position is a brief state· ment by George Sisler, former president of the Church Federa· tion and a member of the Finley Commission. While Arnold Maremont was being questioned by the Commission, Sisler interjected the following comment: "Mr. Maremont was asked a question as to the Protestant Church's position with respect to this question, not to this question we have here, but with respect to sexual relations among unmarried people.

50 ChiCago Studies

"The answer is obvious, that the Protestant Church's belief is that it ·is wrong; "The question we are now discussing is their attitude on birth control.... I would say this: that they have some qualms about this, but that they recognize that there are greater· wrongs probably than this intercourse between unmarried people. "In other words, something that affects society as a whole. They· believe that this matter of children being unwanted, children being born into a situation where they are bastards and where they have to grow up under all these conditions, they feel that this is the paramount consideration. · "And they believe, and of course, there are some individuals who take exception to this, but the official body of most of the Protestant churches, it is their position that prevention is better than trying to cure this situation, as we have to do at great ex· pense and as you know not very effectively in taking care of these illegitimate, unwanted children until they are seventeen years of age, and maybe much longer if they become criminals and so on." Although the ex tempore circumstances of Sisler's statement impede precision of expression, it is quite obvious that his ap· proach to public morality is based on weighing evils rather than on the degree to which society may encourage any evil at all. The same position is taken in more measured terms in an official policy statement by the Springfield Council of Churches. AND THE FUTURE

The Illinois birth control controversy is still in progress. The report of the Finley Commission is not due until March, 1965. In the meantime the city of Chicago may adopt its own birth control program independently of Springfield. Whatever the final outcome of the dispute-if such disputes ever have a final outcome-the spokesmen on both sides reflect attitudes typical of the participants in similar disputes throughoui the United States; Birth control is already an issue in foreign policy and constitutional law as well as in state and local government. Hopefully, the dispute will develop into a dialogue

Birth Control 51

avoiding the shoals of prejudice and misunderstanding, but first the respective spokesmen must take a hard look at the presuppositions and intellectual traditions with which they approach the public argument.

* * *

NoTE: Grateful acknowledgment is made to Planned Parent-

hood's Chicago office, to the Attorney General's office, and to Representative Paul Elward for supplying data upon which this article is based.

]arr..es C. J'fcDonald /ames E. Biechler

New Horizons in Canon Law The Canon Law Society of America seelu to meet the Council's cholknge in the area of renewed Church law ba..ed on service and love.

Canonical prospects were noticeably brightened when the Canon Law Society of America held its annual meeting in New York City in September, 1963. For a quarter century the So· ciety's members had been exchanging experiences in the teach· ing of canon law, the religious life, chancery and tribunal matters. New responses from the Holy See were discussed in the official sessions of the convention and in private "shop· talk" at meals and social hours. Learned papers on varied legal subjects were read, mostly by fellow canon lawyers, and many of these papers found their way into The Jurist, a quarterly published by the School of Canon Law of the Catholic University of America. In recent years, panel discussions and workshops on specific problems became a part of the annual program as the Society tried to respond to the wishes of her members and the needs of the times. The New York meeting left no doubt that twenty-five years of activity had effectively prepared the Canon Law Society to make positive contribution to the 53


Chicago Studies

forthcoming revision of the Code of Canon Law announced in 1959 by Pope John XXIII. , In addition to the annual national conventions, various re¡ gional meetings bad been held throughout the United States. These meetings generally followed the pattern of the national convention but were less elaborate. It was at one such meeting prior to the New York convention that several priests rose from the floor and in the presence of the local bishop asked what the Canon Law Society was going to do about the revision of the Code of Canon Law. To many, this type of question was unheard of. "What right has the Society to do anything about the new code unless a specific request were to be received from the hierarchy of the United States? After all, the Society is not running the Church in America or anywhere else and it should not try to do so." The discussion went on into the night with the bishop taking an active and liberal part in it. Stimulated and encouraged by this meeting, a segment of the membership carried this spirit to the national level. There they were happy to learn that they were not alone. The New York convention started and progressed like any other-meeting old friends, discussing "the latest," attending the conferences. Everything was well planned and well executed. But the last day at the business session, the climate changed. Just previous to this final session, a few men spoke among themselves of their dissatisfaction with a new constitution previously proposed for adoption at the New York meeting. Without any real planning, the new constitution was over¡ whelmingly defeated, apparently not because most men present saw any need for drastic change (although many did), but because the membership, in the spirit of the Council fathers, did not want the new constitution jammed down their throats at the first session without any chance to change one word from the floor. The committee which prepared the constitution and argued for its total adoption by one ballot surely had worked harder on the ideas contained therein than did the vocal members pres¡ ent, who almost spontaneously rose to their feet in opposition.

CantJn U.W 55

Yet, amid all the confusion and lack of order, it was apparent that time and effort did not necessarily spell the best result•. T'ne membership was not just being righteously indignant; their spirit of responsibility was aroused and the Holy Spirit within them was evidently at work. Although this proposed constitution was obviously an improvement over the old, it did not reflect the membership's awareness of the present spirit of aggiornamenlo in the Church. It began to appear that even those members who had felt no need for change and who had been perfectly satisfied with the whole structure and work of the Canon Law Society were awakening. The new officers were ready to appoint a new. committee for the revision of the constitution and to solicit suggestions from the membership that would remedy the grievances voiced at New York City. What the Society as such would do about the revision of the Code of Canon Law was mentioned at this final session but was lost in the altercation on the constitution. Yet, the spirit engendered among many members by the forthcoming revision of the code had made itself felt. RESPONSIBILITY IN THE SOCIETY

One of the papers read at the New York meeting was a stimulating essay on the changing emphasis in the concept of authority in the Church. Father Hilarion Cann of the Diocese of Wheeling, the author of the paper, pointed to the relevance of this development in the meaning of Church authority. to the work and responsibility of men trained in canon law. Historical events and circumstances in which the Church has found herself during the many centuries of her existence have contributed to "an overly juridical notion of authority," so evident in the Code of Canon Law itself though it is less than fifty years old. Many factors have contributed to this overemphasis and certain unhappy results, now entrenched in the Church, have been produced. Not the least of these results has been the preeminence that the Christian virtue of obedience obtained in the "hierarchy" of virtues. It is this notion of obedience to authority and the relation-

56 Chicago Studies

ship between the two that seems to be the basis for the different concepts of the role of the Canon Law Society and her members. The "traditional thought," if it may he called that, has been to keep one ear cocked to Rome and the other to one's immediate superior, and to speak only when asked to do so by the hierarchy. One might not like the maze of procedures which the law prescribes, and one may not like many of the laws themselves, but until authority changes the law, the subject, be he a cleric or layman, is helpless. Surely he can write articles on the subject or ask Rome or his bishop for a special favor, hut to have any substantial influence on the authorities of the Church is an impossibility unless the initiative comes from authority itself. In the spirit of Vatican II, and as a result of a fuller understanding of individual and collective responsibility toward the Christian community, happily a new and vital concept of authority and one's relationship to it has arisen in the Church and has already made itself felt in the Canon Law Society. Certainly it cannot he given the name"anarchy" as some puerile and surface-level observers have surmised. A much more accurate term is "responsibility." Members of the Church have a responsibility to one another and to the entire community. If one is trained or talented in a particular field, he has a special responsibility. If he belongs to an organization with a special purpose, this structural group has an added responsibility. One may well ask whether the Canon Law Society cannot legitimately he an organization for the sole benefit of its mem¡ bers and their work. Cannot the Canon Law Society simply carry on the good work it has done in the past without trying to pole-vault into the area of a collective responsibility to the entire Church above and beyond merely individual problems of law and procedure? In one way or another, each Christian must make a response to authority that includes, hut goes beyond, the notion of obedience. But do particular societies as such have the same obligation? Many members felt that the activity of the Canon

Canon Low 57

Law Society must transcend its private needs, first of all because the responsibility o! an indhidual itself must transcend private needs, and secondly because the Society is organized for the welfare of the Church and any activity which promotes the Church's well-being falls within the ambit of the Society's responsibility, provided of course such activity lies within the group's special competence. This notion of responsibility fans out into the area of the relationship of canon law to other ecclesiastical sciences, especially Sacred Scripture and theology. It would be absurd to say that there never has been a relationship between these sacred sciences. But it would he equally absurd to say that Church law, although admittedly important, has adequately reflected the truths of theology and Scripture. As has already been indicated, canon law, and the emphasis upon it, has contributed to an excessively juridical concept of the Church. This in turn has made legalists of our Catholic people. LAW OF SERVICE AND LOVE

If, as the Bible tells us, Christ set up the Church and gave it authority to serve the people of God; if, as Sacred Scripture also tells us, Christ said the greatest commandment is the law of love, the laws of his Church must reflect this service and love. That they¡ have done this to some degree in the past cannot be denied, but the new notion of responsibility in the Church has brought increasing numbers of Catholics, including canon lawyers, face to face with one of the most pressing problems of aggiornamento, namely, the generally paternalistic and coldly juridical nature of the laws of Christ's Church. The canon lawyers in New York City, by seeking to implant the spirit of renewal in the constitution of its own organization, had begun a mild protest against the Society's own ineffectiveness in the face of a changing world and a reforming Church. This small beginoing, this mild protest, though unrecognized by some, grew to a substantial and organized movement within the Society. At a regional convention held in the spring of 1964, the


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notion of authority in the Church was discussed in a formal session involving not only canon lawyers but also a noted theologian and a well-known Catholic layman! Out of that meeting came a small but significant resolution, a first for the Society. This resolution, adverting to the proposed revision of Church· law, called for a "total re-evaluation of the nature and purpose of Church law insofar as it perfects the people of God." The assembled lawyers overwhelmingly adopted the resolution, which also specified that revised Church law draw inspiration from the current scriptural and theological clarification on the nature and mission of the Church and the need for· a continued correlated development of Church law and the other sacred sciences. Although segments of the Canon Law Society were beginning to recognize a greater responsibility than had heretofore been imagined, the voices of these men for the most part were not heard. A national Catholic news medium simply ignored the resolution, although it was sent to them. Even if wide publicity had been given to the efforts of these members of the Canon Law Society, the fact remained (and still remains) that the present structure of the Church, though well-organized from the top down, is pitifully unorganized from the bottom up. Some wise men familiar with the politics of the Church claim that Rome will decide the changes to come in the Code of Canon Law, and the efforts of a group such as this are relatively ·meaningless. As an example they point to the struggle of the world's bishops against the controlling influence of the Roman curia. But the cloudy future does not obscure the present recognition in the consciences of the Society's members of a duty to respond to the needs of Christ's Church here and now and to do all in their power to help the Church grow not in spite of the present law of the Church but because of a new and vital law. If the Church does not listen to the sincere and thoughtful deliberations of the Canon Law Society it will not be because the Society will not have tried to make its voice heard.


Between the time of the regional meetings and the national convention for 1964, an editorial on Canon Law appeared in one of the leading Catholic newspapers of the United States. The editorial paid tribute to the Code of Canon Law and to the entire history of Church law. It called ''The Code" a monu· mental and necessary work that "reduced, simplified and clari· lied countless laws that had arisen throughout the history of the Church." In the spirit of Pope John XXIII, who appointed a commission for the revision of the code, and in the spirit of renewal in the Church itself, the editorial called for a re· form in the system of law and questioned whether the Church's laws had to be patterned after the forms of civil law. The author asked why canon law cannot have "a unique code of its own that would emphasize the 'law of charity' which Christ himself preached." This editorial was prompted by the resolution of the afore· mentioned regional meeting of the Canon Law Society. In a way, it was an idealistic presentation, a dream-like hope, but the progress of a vital Church calls for men to dream dreams and to make ideals real. The paper on authority given at the New York convention said much the same thing about chang· ing the code: "We should think now in terms of a completely new law, based on the circumstances of Church life today and expressed in the contemporary idiom." . What has this to do with the Canon Law Society as such? As already indicated, the Society is not a law-making body. But it can suggest. And this is what was done by the members who attended one of the regional meetings prior to the canon law convention in New York. Suggestions for specific revisions in the code were presented by many teachers, chancery and tribunal personnel from a large number of dioceses and re· ligious orders. These in turn were painstakingly reprinted and, without editing, sent to each bishop in the country. Although it would be too much to expect a bishop or any other busy person to read the entire compilation, which included much repeti· tion and overlapping, this project clearly indicated a desire

60 Chicago Studies

on the part of the canonists to play a vital role in the Church. At the same time it pointed up both the monumental t!lsk before the special commission for the revision of the code. and also the impracticality and impossibility of a complete revision of law being by the Canon Law Society itself as a "suggested code." More important however, was the result that the actual need for a total revision become more apparent. A "tidying up" of the code would not fulfill the needs of the Church today. Throwing out certain laws and changing others would have a good effect, but would be ineffective in stemming the stifling tide of legalism. As one European author (Orsy) has put it: "That a reform of canon law is necessary cannot be put into doubt. It will soon be fifty years that the present-day code has been promulgated. Since that time, the world and the Church have undergone profound transformations. Our juridical system cannot ignore them." It appears now to many of the canon lawyers who are so vitally interested in contributing to the Church through the law they practice that a "profound transformation" calls for a "total revision." A NEW CONSTITUTION The seeds of reform planted at New York were quick to bear fruit in the structural renewal of the Canon Law Society itself. Under¡ the able chairmanship of Monsignor E. Robert Arthur of Washington, D.C., a committee was appointed to draft a new constitution for the Society. With a true spirit of collegiality the committee solicited suggestions from the entire membership and produced a document for presentation to the 26th Annual Convention held in San Francisco in October of 1964. The committee's proposal produced a lively but amicable discus¡ sion and the final results was a totally new constitution in the J ohannine spirit-an apt and effective instrument for the promotion of canonical reform and education. The constitution's spirit and tone is set immediately by its Preamble: "We, the members of the Canon Law Society of America, ever anxious to fulfill our role in the Church through the proper use of canon law, hereby proclaim our desire to pro-

Canon· Law


mote the use of every method of serving God's people that comes under the concept of law. Mindful that Church law ought to be pastoral in character and made only to serve the people of God, we accept our responsibility as Christians. trained in canon ·law to continue research and study and to assist any members of Christ's body singularly or collectively, laity or clergy, who will welcome the deliberations, research and corn· mon opinion of this Society. With these thoughts in mind and invoking the help of God, we adopt the following constitution." Aware that the Church's prime office is the munus pastorale and that the hierarchy's role is one of diakonia, the Canon Law Society reassessed its purpose and goals. As reflected in the new constitution, the organization now sees itself existing pri· marily to assist the Church in its pastoral ministry, to be of service to the hierarchy in canonical matters, and to participate in the constant renewal of the law by canonical· research and proposals for revision. Since no science exists and flourishes independently of other disciplines, the Society's members wished to make evident their desire to establish bonds of interest and interchange with other similar professional or scientific groups. They did this by the adoption of a new paragraph stating that one of the purposes of the Society is "to cooperate with individuals and organizations doing research in other sacred sciences for the promotion of mutual interests." Already several such groups have expressed their willingness to cooperate. A man with vision might well see in the future a federation of such societies for the accomplishment of goals which lie beyond their individual power as they exist in quasi-isolation. Some members were aware that a similar federation was being discussed over ten years ago; apparently the time was not then suitable. Recent trends, however, indicate the unmistakable value of such an "organization of organizations," and this reawakened concern among canon lawyers may well mark the beginning of a profitable venture. THE NEW OFFICERS

The best constitution in the world is no guarantee that an organization will be effective. To implement their new consti-


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tution, the members displayed a remarkable initiative in the election of a slate of officers. Anxious to assert their new spirit, the membership nominated a group of "popular" candidates in opposition to most of the slate offered by the "official" Committee on Meetings and Nominations. With unprecedented in· teres! and vigor, complete with nominating and seconding speeches, the membership elected all three of the popular candidates. The only unopposed candidate nominated by the official committee was Monsignor Clement Bastnagel, the perennial general secretary-treasurer and dean of the Canon Law School at Catholic University, who was re-elected. Father Paul Boyle, C.P., professor of moral theology and canon law at Sacred Heart Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, was elected president, defeating, although reportedly by a nar· row margin, Bishop John Ward of Los Angeles, also nominated from the floor, and two official candidates. The election of Father Boyle signified the unwillingness of the membership to continue the policy of selecting a prelate, usually a monsignor, as president; it further pointed up the Society's desire to call upon talented and dynamic religious for leadership. In the previous twenty-five years of its existence, the Canon Law Society has taken only one if its presidents from a religious order, despite the vital contribution the religious have made to the Society from its inception. Father Boyle is vigorously striving for new and effective means of fulfilling the mem· bership's clear-cut mandate for change. ·As vice president, Dr. Stephan Kuttner, former professor of Canon Law at the Catholic University and presently holding the newly established chair of Roman Catholic Studies at Yale University, is the only layman ever elected to office in the Society. His reputation in canonical scholarship is world· wide and despite his special interest in the Middle Ages, he is passionately committed to twentieth century canonical renewal. The new recording secretary of the organization is Father Peter Shannon, pro-synodal judge on the tribunal of the Arch· diocese of Chicago. Like Father Boyle, he is no ivory-tower canonist but is a member of the Chicago Inter-religious Council,

Canon Law 63 secretary of the Chicago Archdiocese's Board for Urban Affairs, and active in other movements of the lay apostolate.· REFORMING THE LAW

The San Francisco convention can be described as having a "one~track mind"-all its attention was focused on ecclesiastical renewal and the forthcoming revision of the Code of Canon Law. The membership was convinced' that a very extensive revision is necessary if the work of the· Council. fathers is to be fully implemented. Most of the ·general sessions of the convention were devoted to reform topics. Many o'f those who thought that the proposed revision of the code could be ade· quately accomplished canon-by-canon were soon convinced 'that only a total reappraisal would suffice. It goes without saying that the far-reaching reforms already formulated by the Second Vatican Council demand an adequate juridical structure. The present structure cannot support the edifice envisioned by the Council fathers. The consideration of such subjects as the possible revision of· the present laws regarding the form of marriage,· the prenuptial promises, communicatio in sacris, formal nullity procedures, religious exemption and ecclesiastical penaltiesall subjects discussed by the group in San Francisco--only served to emphasize the futility and impracticality of attempting to govem these areas solely by means of universal legislation. It is not irreverent or unrealistic to say that regional ecclesiastical authority is more competent to legislate for local conditions than is the entire body of bishops in union with the Supreme Pontiff. Universal authority should be concerned with universal structure, local authority with local matters. Only thus is the principle of subsidiarity respected. Finally, it is neither ignorance nor mere naivete to affirm the practical impossibility of producing a code of canon law as extensive as the law presently in effect, which will be adequate to handle the multifarious problems of the present time. The Church of today is simply too complex to be governed by 2414 canons, even if it is to be governed in the centralized and specific man-


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ner presently set forth in the Codex /uris Canonici. The total revision of the code becomes even more imperative when one considers the relatively new principles of collegiality, ecumenism, and personalism which, for the most part, were not notably developed when the present law was formulated and thus could hardly be incorporated. Developments in ecclesio¡ logy alone force us to question the role of positive law in the Church. This question must be thoroughly studied before any extensive revision of the positive law is undertaken. In this age of efficiency experts, advertising analysts, and image makers, the Canon Law Society of America has shown itself responsive to the charitable, though at times stinging, observations of perceptive and articulate critics of ecclesiastical affairs. Many of the present-day ills of the Church are laid at the doorstep of canon law. "Chancery Catholicism" and "ecclesiastical bureaucracy" are epithets too widely in use to be without some foundation in fact. Whether the ultimate cause lies with the law or with a theology long too sterile to produce anything but legalism is a question best left to God. These critics may rest assured that their darts were aimed well. The San Francisco convention amply demonstrated that the Canon Law Society of America has been goaded into ac¡ tion. PROGRAM OF ACTION

Plans are now being laid for a threefold program of action which will involve ( l) cooperation with other societies, especially those concerned with other eccelesiastical sciences, (2) continuing education and formation of canon lawyers and chancery personnel in the problems and principles of ecclesiastical renewal and ( 3) positive and concrete suggestions for the revision of the Code of Canon Law. To accomplish this program the Society will be able to draw upon the vast experience and intellectual ability of more than 800 active members, many of whom hold responsible positions in chanceries, tribunals, and seminaries. Many have already indicated their willingness to write articles, deliver lectures and engage

Cano" Law 65

in research projects. Several influencial publications have ex· pressed not only their willingness but their desire for articles and other material on the subject of canonical reform. Lines of communication with other learned societies are being formed that the Society's work may profit by their un· derstanding and experience. There is great need for studies by theologians and Scripture scholars on the subject of law and its meaning and place in the life of the Church. Ecclesiasti· cal law is almost totally dependent on other sciences for its principles. Hence, the value of intersocietal rapport can hardly be overestimated. The suggestion has already been made that our organization send official representatives to the meetings and conventions of these sister groups. No doubt there is even now some sort of unofficial interchange of ideas. Crossing organizational or professional lines to attend summer biblical institutes, theology study weeks and other workshops has al· ready produced a kind of cross-pollination, and canon lawyers, no less than others, are to be counted among the "New Breed." But a more fruitful yield will be produced if there is some official interchange, for in this way studies and research pro· jects could be coordinated and direction could be given to the activities of renewal. Under the present approach to local aggioramenlo, many of the reforms suggested by the fathers of Vatican II are implemented through legal decrees drawn up by the members of the diocesan curia. It would be unrealistic to think that the age of episcopal decree is over-laity, clergy, and hierarchy are not yet prepared for such an advanced approach to the Christian life. Nevertheless, these decrees could often be more evangelical and Johannine in content and tenor. If these docu· ments are to reflect consistently the Good News of the kingdom of God preached by Jesus, canon lawyers themselves will have to be purged of much legalism. The continuing program of education and formation to which the Canon Law Society has committed itself will help to achieve this purgation and, on the positive side, will cultivate an understanding of the authentic role of positive law in a society which has been


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freed from servitude and finds its true order only by following the law of the Spirit. Finally, it seems clear that the Canon Law Society should exercise its responsibility by offering concrete suggestions for the revision of the Code of Canon Law. Moreover, it should make such an offering spontaneously and generously, without adopting the narrow and self-centered attitude that no move should be made unless someone in authority requesta it. It would be a sorry world and a sad Church if every individual and organization followed such an unenlightened policy. No doubt the Society could continue to exist without taking such initiative in the cause of canonical revision. It rna y not even be the target of criticism if it refrains from making such proposals until invited to act by the hierarchy. But the Society could hardly be considered responsible to the needs of the hour, if seeing brethren in need, the members waited for an invitation from the hierarchy before offering to extend a helping hand. Needless to say, not every member of the Canon Law Society would subscribe to this view but most will be generous with time and talent when the organization calls upon them for assistance. There is no question here of any lack of respect for ecclesiastical authority. On the contrary, such an unsolicited offer of assistance indicates the highest kind of respect and concern. A truly docile and obedient son an¡ ticipates the wishes of his father and the needs of his brothers.

Barnabas M. Ahem, C.P.

Sacramentality Its Biblical Background The Bible &how& God alway& a1 work to engage man in vital etu:ounter

through word& and deed& which bear hi& truth, love, and &aving aclion.

Day after day the priest celebrates the mysteries of the Church and performs her rites. The new Constitution on Liturgy in its opening chapter makes clear that this ministerial role shapes the pattern of priestly virtue and strengthens it with power. "Every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others." As the chosen as路 sociate of Christ and as the ordained representative of the Church, the priest plays a unique part in "this great work wherein God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified." Therefore he is to he holy like the High Priest to whom he is united; he is to be very holy because he is "Keeper of the Eucharist": qualis Missa, talis sacerdos. Sometimes, however, seminary courses in liturgy and sacra路 mental theology leave the impression that in administering the sacraments a priest deals only with "things." The路 word res, emphasized so frequently in the classroom, tends to conjure up images which may later galvanize ministry into automa路 67


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lion. The realization that every sacrament is a vital encounter between Christ the Savior and a responsive human heart is apt to be obscured by gross material images of instrumental causality working effectively through res et verba. Fortunately, inspiring works on sacramental theology, like those of Schillebeeckx, Haring, and Tillman, have recently injected a new elan into this important tract. Moving in the direction of this impetus, many seminary professors have begun to place emphasis where it really belongs, on the living Christ who works through res et verba to engage each Christian in loving encounter and to enrich him with the best gifts of salva¡ tion. This vital trend guided the conciliar fathers at Vatican II in formulating the new Constitution on Liturgy. All its doctrine and directives were prepared under momentum of the guiding principle, "Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations." This sacramental activity of Christ is a reality in the Church because of the priest. Through his words and deeds he brings Christ into the hearts of all who desire him. This priestly ministry requires something more than a valid contribution of matter and form. As "servant of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God," the priest is responsible for wholehearted and trustworthy cooperation: "This is what we look for in choosing a steward; we must find one who is trustworthy" (1 Cor 4:2). To be worthy of his charge, the faithful "steward" inust treasure the "mysteries of God" and must play his part in the sacramental action with alert mind and fervent will. In each sacrament Christ works for a special end and with a unique self-giving, just as in each miracle of his life he con¡ £erred a special gift of salvation. In those wonders everything depended on what he did and on the way in which his action was received. That is why each miracle seemed like something entirely new, awakening a fresh surge of wonder and grateful love. When the disciples themselves became agents of this mercy of Christ they thrilled to its every manifestation and returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the devils are subject to us in thy name" (Lk 10:17).

SacramentaUty 69

As a minister of the sacraments the priest, too, must be alive to the real meaning and full extent of Christ's salvific action. It is only through wholehearted cooperation in the divine en· counter .that he gradually makes his own the mind of Christ and grows in stature to the full measure of his priesthood. It is, moreover, the keen realization of Christ's loving activity in each sacrament that empowers the human minister to draw from the. recipient the generous response which every sacra· ment requires. BIBLICAL TEACHING ON DIVINE ENCOUNTER

One of the best ways to understand Christ's action in the sacraments is to read and re·read Sacred Scripture. The Bible is the story of God at work in the world, a study of his frequent rendezvous with man and an inspired presentation of man's reaction in thought and will. Again and again, through dynamic interventions, God made himself known to his chosen ones. His very nam~;-Yahweh, derives its meaning from these en· counters. Ac2-~-~-~~o the widely accepted translation, the divine tetragrammaton means "He who is always there," al· ways at hand to save his people with tender mercy and with the strong, loyal love of his covenant. The God of Scripture is a God·who·acts, a Father who reveals his boundless inner being through the saving light and strength which he pours into the hearts of his creatures. Whatever we know of him in Scrip· ture we know through his constant ·loving activity propter nos et propter nostram salutem. These manifestations of God filled men with compel! ing awareness of his presence. At the same time, however, the God of Scripture remains always "the God who hides him· self." No one has ever seen him face to face. "No one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" (Mt 11 :27). Each time he acts in the world God accomplishes his loving purpose through human utterance and earthly deed which both reveal and hide his presence. When he encounters man at the finest point of his being he does so through the


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whisper of a gentle wind and the brightness of flaming lire, through the clarion call of a prophet, and the living image of an outstretched ann. In the consummate work of his mercy, when all "the goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared" (Tit 3:4), he came in the feeble flesh of a little child whom men called Jesus. Sacramentality was the law of Christ's life as it was the law of all God's action in the Old Covenant. In the favorite expression of St. John Chrysostom, Christ like the Father "condescended" to save men through earthly things like mud and spittle, the touch of his hand, the sound of his voice. From first to last the God of Scripture works through visible signs which reveal even while they hide his invisible love..From the commanding voice and burning bush of Horeb to the plaintive plea and the burning heart of Calvary, God works always through the res et verba of human things.

res et verba The story of God's dealings with men teaches better than anything else can what is the true background of Christ's sacramental action in the Church. For the Bible shows God always at work to engage man in living encounter through words and deeds which bear his truth, his love, and his saving action into the depths of the human heart. In the opening chapters of Genesis God reveals the most basic principles of creaturehood. He teaches clearly whence man has come, why he was brought into being, and what are the responsibilities of the divine gift of personality. This revelation is a true manifestation of God's thought, yet a manifestation expressed under cover of human things. To point up the meaning of creation the divine author of Scripture has borrowed the imagery and thought patterns of the ancient Semite world; in his infinite wisdom he has used the language of the Enuma Elish, an epic poem of ancient Babylon. To show man how perfectly ordered is the good life prepared for him, the divine artist has drawn on a cosmogony devised by the minds KNOWLEDGE THROUGH BIBLICAL



of early Semites who were unfamiliar with the data of modern science.·· He has also taught the tenuousness of ·human happiness, showing how the deviation of man's will from divine governance· is· bound· to turn the halcyon peace of God's world into terrifying disorder. For this lesson the author of Scripture has drawn his words from the language of the prophets. Sin, he said;· would immediately loose the flood tides from above and from below, and the earth would convulse into "waste and void," the disaster with which Jeremia threatened the sin· ful Israelities of his day when they were menaced by the flood tide of invading Babylonians. God's intimate love for man finds expression on almost every page of the Bible. But always divine mercy, boundless and transcendent in itself, is made manifest through human images which man can understand. God speaks of himself as a friend, a father, a spouse. He becomes partner to his people in covenants sealed with the blood of animals and the smoke of burning flesh. Israel oftentimes saw only the human deed, a rite similar to the tribal pacts of neighboring nations. But where there was true faith God used the res et verba to enter into intimate contact with the people whom he had created for his glory. His fidelity to them manifested itself in abundant harvests of corn and grape, in the prolific increase of children and livestock, even in the victories of barbarous wars. These battles were fought like every skirmish in ancient times and were recorded in the very language with which Mesha celebrated the victory of the god of Moab over Israel. The nemesis of man's infidelity to God found expression in the metaphorical vocabulary of "wrath." God taught man what sin means and how it blights the whole person by employing the human object lesson of storm and hail, fire and flood, defeat in battle and exile far from home. These punishments were all real, but they did something more than make men suffer. Through these bitter experiences God taught men of faith the stark truth that sin destroys man himself. In the Scriptures everything God is and everything he would


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do for man find expression in human words and human events which God uses as cover while acting upon man in the very depths of his being. res et verba The Bible, however, is something more than a manual in which to study the record of past encounters between God and man. Were it merely a matter of gleaning thoughts from Scripture reading, a priest would soon discover that thoughts of themselves do not create practical and durable convictions. To achieve this interior strength one must personally encounter God who alone empowers the will and turns thought into last¡ ing and sanctifying conviction. This inward transformation through vitsl contact with God is also to be found in the read¡ ing of Sacred Scripture. Each word and deed recorded in the inspired text bear perennial power to fill man with light and strength. Christ himself assures us: ''The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (Jn 6:64). He is a God of unchanging will and power. What he has done for man in the past he renews constantly in the present. The story of his interventions in the course of Israel's history is at once a reminder and a carrier of the saving mercy with which he works in the life of every man: "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (Mk 12:27). The promise spoken to Abraham and the pledge of mercy uttered on Sinai, the victories which Yahweh wrought for his people Israel and the rich blessings which he bestowed upon them-all these acts of God, wondrous as they may have been, were but the beginning of still greater deeds, like pebbles dropped into the pool of human life to send out ever widening circles which would touch every shore. Israel appreciated fully this dynamic and perennial power of the deeds of God. That is why they rehearsed the events of their history over and over again, in the privacy of their homes and in the pageantry of temple worship. Their very law charged them with eternal remembrance: "Take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget POWER THROUGH BIBLICAL



the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from vour memorv as Ion!! as vou live. but teach them to vonr children and to your children's children . . . Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your foreheads. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and your gates" (Dt 4:9; 6:7-9). This was not a matter of mere remembrance. The devout Israelite was to recall the past with grateful memory that he might charge his life anew with the saving mercy of Yahweh who was always at hand to meet him. Rehearsing his words and promises Israel lived once more in the warm light of his truth; narrating his deeds men felt power coming forth from each memory to strengthen their present weakness. It was this perennial power of the divine deed to renew itself that prompted the prophet Michea to cry out, "As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt, show us wonderful signs" ( Mich 7:15). Here is the faith of Israel: the "signs" of God's might and mercy can always be renewed. This confidence was shared equally by the first followers of Christ. The Jewish Christians of Palestine treasured his words and recounted his deeds with full trust that the risen Lord living in their midst and acting through his Spirit would re-enact for them all the mercies of his previous earthly life. The fourth evangelist illumines his whole story of Jesus with the glowing faith of the primitive Church. For him the miracles of Christ are something more than the great wonders ( dyTUJmeis) which the other evangelists record. They are truly signs ( semeia) of the more mighty deeds which Christ is now performing in the Church. Each word uttered by Jesus was regarded by the first Christians as a "seed" containing vital power to produce present fruit. For each word-seed bore in it the living presence of the "sower" who is always at work to harvest a hundredfold in the heart of man. This was what Jesus himself had promised: "If anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come and make our adobe with him" (Jn 14:23). ~







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Is it too hardy to say of all Scripture what St. Paul has said of the gospel of redemption: "It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes" (Rom 1 :16)?



St. Paul's emphasis on the need for faith is all important for the priest who would encounter the power of God in reading the Scriptures. "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mk 9:22)-and to him alone. Living faith is essential for every encounter with God. He poured out all his graces upon Mary because she was a woman of faith and kept all his words, pondering them in her heart ( cf. Lk 2:51). Elizabeth immortalized the reason for the Virgin's greatness when she said of her, "Blessed is she who has believed, because the things promised her by the Lord shall be accomplished" (Lk l :45). When .on the other hand faith was lacking, the hands of Christ were bound and his power checked: "Because of their unbelief, he did not work many miracles there" (Mt 13:58). The faith required in every encounter with God involves an opening up of the whole man to his action. First, the mind must understand clearly what God means in the word he speaks and in the deed he performs. Secondly, the will must respond with a "yes" to the light which the word gives and to the deed which the word would renew. FIRST REQUIREMENT: TRUE UNDERSTANDING OF TEXT

Only the unique meaning intended by God has power to form correct attitudes and to nourish sound spiritual life. It is essential, therefore, that we seek in Scripture the message which God has put there and not merely the pious affirmations which we would like to find. Words in themselves, even divine words, are patent of many interpretations. It is easy to twist the word of God into a mere word of man. A verse gleaned from Scripture may be a favorite of ours simply because human preferences and preconceived ideas have silted the real truth which God intends to teach. A priest may be deeply im-



pressed by the text, "Gladly therefore will I glory in my ... ph·e~"U. Chn"•• m..,.... ..J "'"'~......... h.Y.a.ll ...... :; .... m I? l·n~;rm;•;~<~ ~ ....... .. ..........., tL.._t u:.:... tL m ............. ••c .. o~ ~ ..... •• .... ... ....." \ ..... Cor 12 :9); Interpreting these words in the liglit of personal weaknesses, a reader may miss the true meaning of this verse and may turn it into a soft cushion on which to rest comfortably while neglecting to wage war against predominant faults. To discover the unique sense of the scriptural word one must ask himself, "What does the sacred writer intend to say?" God enters into contact with us througli the inspired author. The res et verba which he proposes provide the human expression· in which God both hides and reveals himself. The message intended by the human writer under the light of the Holy Spirit is the carrier of God's message. Therefore; we truly encounter God in the scriptural word only when we understand rightly the thought of his inspired agent. Most often a single verse will not reveal the author's full mind. This is discovered only when the verse is read in the context of the whole accompanying passage and against the background of the writer's imagery and thought patterns. We shall take the forty-third chapter of Isaia as an example. While reading it a priest may be deeply impressed by verse 11: "It is I, I the Lord; there is no savior but me." This verse, with its affirmation of God's mercy and love, could buoy up courage for a whole day. But there is something more in the verse than a general reference to God's salvific mercy. The whole chapter deals with a concrete situation, the deliverance of the exiles from the Babylonian captivity. The prophet is concerned not with a vague, general, and abstract notion of salvation; his thoughts center in the agony of real people, many of them heart-sick for home. He is speaking of the sufferings of the whole man, not merely the blight of sin but the earthly frustrations of life in exile. This is the situation from which God will save his people. The "savior" of verse 11, therefore, is something more than a purely spiritual savior, something more than an omnipotent and omnipresent God on whose transcendent mercy man can count. Isaia speaks rather of a savior who is interested in the i:' ?



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human needs of real people here and now. This God is at work in the midst of men caught fast in the morass of human failure; he is vitally concerned in the piteous plight of exiles, in their loneliness and suffering. He is not a God afar off but a God near at hand. Transcendent in himself he is here engaged immanently in a very real human situation. It is in these cir· cumstances and for these people that God will be a "savior." The God of the Scriptures does not deal in generalities and in abstractions; he reveals himself in the res et verba of very earthly situations. A priest who has grasped this full meaning of the lsaian text begins to experience an encounter with God which il· lumines his mind with new insights into the ways of God. He sees the divine solicitude centered not only in a spiritual soul to be saved for the hereafter but in a crucial phase of real human suffering to be remedied as soon as possible. This insight into the word of God Ia ys bare a meaning which all the rest of Scripture urges the reader to formulate into a principle. To hear the cry of the poor and downtrodden, to come to the immediate assistance of the helpless and hopeless-this is always God's way. The words of Isaia to Israel are valid for all times: "0 People of Sion, who dwell in Jerusalem, no more shall you weep; he will be gracious to you when you c1·y out, as soon as he hears he will answer you. The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst" (Is 31 :19-20). SECOND REQUIREMENT: FULL· HEARTED RESPONSE

This precise dete1mination of the unique meaning of the lsaian text illumines the mind with God's truth. For perfect encounter with God, however, something more is needed than merely to store the memory with sheafs of holy ·thoughts, correct as they may be. The response of the mind to divine light must now be completed by a response of the will to divine action. The whole man must now speak the "yes" of complete surrender. This act of the will forms the second essential ele· ment of that living faith with which man cooperates in every



encounter with God, whether in the res et verba of Scripture or in the res et !'erba of the sacraments. Attentive reading of Isaia 43 has brought the priest to know God in a new way, as a father tenderly solicitous for the wellbeing of his people in every need. The priest must now affinn his faith in this special providence of God, affinn it with pointed reference to the truth that God is at work to save man from every suffering which could impede the action of his love: the Negro from racial injustice, the down-trodden from dehumanizing misery, the delinquent from the slums which make crime almost inevitable, children from the broken homes which crush their development. This assent of living faith comes from the will Lut does not rest there. Our God is a God who acts; to be one with him in will necessarily involves oneness with him in action. God's way becomes the priest's way. His belief in God's special providence will bring him to work with God in alleviating the sufferings of man. Isaia in heaven will glimpse a flashback to his own life when he sees the very earthly situations in which a priest, fresh from encounter with God in the res et verba of chapter 43, now finds God at work. Encounter with the Savior in the pages of Scripture could be the basis for working with him in a program of neighborhood rehabilitation. It could even be a glorious lift in shepherding a pack of cub scouts. THE WORD THAT BREATHES LOVE

Chapter 43 of Isaia provides one example of innumerable possible encounters with God in reading Sacred Scripture. He comes to the whole man and enters into vital contact with mind and will in as many different ways as there are res et verba in the pages of the inspired text. Each passage brings its own manifestation of something special in God and in his wondrous ways of dealing with men. If only a priest reads Scripture attentively with living faith he meets God at every turn and thus gradually schools himself to find God everywhere. St. Thomas has explained in one of the most beautiful




articles of the Summa (1,43,5) that the divine Word, in coming to souls, fills the whole man with that true wisdom which saviors and experiences the dynamic presence of God. The Angelic Doctor, a truly wise man himself, gives as reason for this a principle borrowed from St. Augustine, "The divine Word is not any kind of word, but a Word that breathes love." We may say the same in an analogous way of every word of God in Sacred Scripture. It fills the heart with the thought and the love of God, and when received with living faith, it charges the whole man with the experiential knowledge of true wisdom. A priest, therefore, like young Nepotian, the disciple of St. Jerome, must make his heart "a living library of God's word." Otherwise he will miss his best opportunity to learn the intimacy and the dynamism, the hiddenness and sacramentality of God's way in saving man; "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and today, yes, and forever" (Heb 13: 8). As in the long ago he revealed and hid himself under cover of human utterance and earthly deed, so today he is always present in the sacramental life of his Church. "He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of his minister; but especially under the eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word, since it is he himself who speaks when the Holy Scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for he promised: 'Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them'" (Constitution on Liturgy, 7).

Thomas ]. Motherwa'Y . .'i.f. "

Supernatural Existential A critical evaluation of recent theological attempt• to probe the reiDtionship belween nature and grace.

One of the most intriguing problems of modern theology is the question of the relation between the natural and the supernatural in man. The latter has usually been conceived as something added to nature, something which comes to man from outside him. And the question is asked how does this supernature fit into nature? Do they dovetail nicely, or is there not a sort of hiatus to be bridged over? To this question many theologians, even up to the recent past, have thought it suf¡ licient to answer that there is in man's nature an obediential potency for the supernatural. By this they mean that nature is "obedient" to God in receiving grace and, apart from man's free decision, does not of itself offer any resistance to grace, "has no repugnance" for it. Other theologians, not content with this negative sort of solution, have found in our intellectual nature a positive tendency towards the supernatural in the concrete, a natural desire of the highest and most perfect supernatural entity, the intuitive vision of God. Because of this natural "appetite" or "desire" no real hiatus exists between nature and super¡ nature; rather it makes the dovetailing or grafting process one 79


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which perfects human nature in Its profoundest depths. But what about !he gratuitousness of the supernatural gifts? If I have in my very nature a desire for !hem, must it not be satisfied? How can God deny me that which is natural? These questions can be answered only by a correct understanding of the natural desire of God, and that is not easy to come by. This much is certain: whatever it may be, the natural desire of !he vision of God places no demand on God, no "exigency," !hat the vision or the means to. attain it (sanctifying grace) be given to man. That point of doctrine has been nailed down firmly by Pius X and more recently by Pius XII. ST. THOMAS St. Thomas in several different places of his writings gives a phenomenological description of !his desire of God. It is always !he portrayal of the native curiosity of the mind, which is never satisfied till it reaches to the root of Ihings and finds the ultimate answer, the first cause of all phenomena. And even then it does not stop seeking. It does not rest before it comes to know what that first cause is in itself, that is, until it knows the very essence of God. Such knowledge is of course intel· lectual vision. Metaphysically speaking this restless seeking of intellect for more and more truth bespeaks an infinite ca· pacity which only the infinite object can fill. The truth of that object is the absolute good of the intellect. The will desires that good and quietly urges the mind on till it is obtained. St. Thomas never describes this natural desire as a yearning or craving in the ordinary sense of that phenomenon. Its non· fulfillment does not leave the soul in sadness, much less an· guish. Nevertheless the Angelic Doctor recognizes, and says more than once, that such a desire, because it is natural, can· not be in vain, cannot be frustrated. Does he mean that God, having gratuitously made intellect what it is, was constrained by his wisdom to provide man with the means of attaining com· plete fulfillment and fruition in the vision of the divine es· sence? It is true that St. Thomas never explicitly rejects such a conclusion, and there are several passages in which, as H.



DeLubac contended, he seems to concede it. But these places are usually in a theological context in which the argtunen!ation is not purely philosophical but based also on Scripture revealing the fact of the vision. In any case the holy doctor, at least at the time he was writing the Summa Theologiae, taught unequivocally that grace and glory are entirely above the natural powers and merits of man. And that fact is sufficient to explain why his argument from the natural desire ordinarily concludes that "it is possible to see the substance of God with the intellect." Interpreting St. Thomas, and in accord with his teaching and principles, we may say that the natural desire, which flows from the very essence of intellect, points to the openness of nature toward divine grace. It shows that man can be elevated to a supernatural life, which is perfectly attuned to his intellectual nature, nay more that he naturally desires this purely gratuitous elevation. You may quarrel about the adjective to be used to designate this desire, whether it be absolute or conditioned, but there can be no dispute about the fact that it is inefficacious. Nature of itself alone cannot come to the vision of God. And that too St. Thomas proved from reason. It is a necessity of mind, therefore, that it should tend naturally to that which is its own highest perfection, but at the same time should be unable to realize that perfection unaided by God's gratuitous help. Therein lies the antinomy, the unescapable paradox, at the center of the life of every created spiritual being. But that antinomy should not be construed as a hiatus between nature and grace. Much less should it be caricatured as a chasm which only divine power can bridge over. Given the revealed fact of the supernaturality of grace, a certain "extrinsicism" is unavoidable. But that does not involve disharmony. Grace perfects nature, gives it that climax of its own proper activity which, if left to itself, it could never reach. EDMUND BRISBOIS

The opinion we have sketched above had become fairly common among theologians in the first three decades of this


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century. But in 1936-39 Edmund Brisbois, S.J., of Louvain, in a psychological discussion of the problem came up with a novel idea which he attributes, though without sufficient evi· dence, to St. Thomas (Nouvelle Revue Theologique and The Modern Schoolman). Says Brisbois: "According to the Angelic Doctor this natural desire for the sight of God, considered in its essence, is not an act of the will, but a natural inclination which he clearly differentiates from every actual exercise of the will" (MS l3h). In these words Brisbois really interprets St. Thomas' "natural desire" in the sense of the pondus naturae of Duns Scotus and Dominic Soto. But what is more interesting is the way in which the object of this "natural inclination" is explained. It is not the divine essence as it is iu itself but only in so far as it can he known through created beings. To that object as an end man is finalized by his natural power of willing. But if man be raised to ·a supernatural end which consists in knowledge of God as he is in himself, this new finalization necessarily in· volves a "new subjective disposition, a new demand prior to every deliberate ·exercise of volition; prior too to faith and sanctifying grace. For in the form of a necessary, indeliberate need for an absolutely last end this disposition 'finalizes' hu· man nature to its supernatural destiny" (ibid.). Here, it would seem, is a truly new concept of what con· stitutes the actual elevation of the soul and consequently of the whole man to the level of the supernaturaL And it is a totally new concept of the natural desire to see God. For St. Thomas man by his natural powers "desires" the intuitive vision of God. This natural desire is not, in the mind of the Angelic Doctor, a supernatural "disposition" or "primal act of volition"· or ·"movement" of the volitive power toward the final end. Furthermore, in the present order· of Providence, according to a very ·common opinion of theologians, man is from the first moment of the creation of his soul gratuitously destined to · that supernatural end, the divine vision. But this destination is in the intentional (moral or juridical) order. It· is by a decree ·of God which of itself puts nothinK ontolo·



gical (physical) in man. The first physical supernatural reality which we receive is grace. Man is first physically directed toward his end in an habitual way by sanctifying grace. Before he receives grace he is indeed in the supernatural order by virtue of God's decree destining him to his supernatural end and obliging him even in the state of sin to attain it. But until grace is given the ordination to the vision of God involves no ontological or physical entity. Not so Father Brisbois. "God does not," he says, "impose upon man in a purely juridical and exterior manner the latter's supernatural destiny. . . . The divine call of man to his ultimate supernatural end is not simply an exterior calling. Prior to every exterior calling, God's call has already re· echoed in the depths of human nature, to arouse therein a new desire, a new primal act of volition, a need that human nature had never till then known, of possessing the perfect good as it is in itself. Man's call to· supernatural perfection has modified his nature ontologically, actuating therein some mysterious capacities and in a certain manner directing his nature to a good,_ the existence of which he had not even suspected. True, this direction is remote; for here we are not yet concerned with sanctifying grace nor with an act of faith nor even with the habitus fidei. We are concerned with that previous subjective diepostion which is the need of and a demand for the absolute nltimate end, expressed by a first act of volition" (MS 38-39). It would seem, therefore, that for Brisbois the ·call to a supernatural ·destiny places in man an ontological reality which is in itself a desire for the vision of God and at the same time a .need and demand of that visiOn and the grace which is necessary_. to arrive at it. . KARL RAHNER

Some fifteen years after Brisbois a very similar theory of the nature-supernature relationship was put forth by·Karl Rahner, S.J., of lnnsbruck, in an essay entitled "Concerning the Relationship between Nature and Grace" (first in the German


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periodical Orientierung, 1950, then in Schriften zur Theologie I, 1954: in English translation, Theological Investigations I, 1961). The two studies were produced with entire indepen· deuce of one another; Rahner admits to not having been aware of Brisbois' efforts towards a solution of the century-old prob· lem. The two differ considerably in their argumentation but agree on what is, at least for Rahner, the key-point in their opinions. That point is that the decree of God destining every human being to a supernatural end must have a real ontologi· cal effect in the soul of each man from the very first moment of its existence. This effect is what Rahner calls the super· natural existential. We shall try to give a summary of the principal elements of the latter's theory, as far as he has made it clear. Rahner dilates on what he calls the "extrinsicism" of the traditional opinions, all supposing, as they do, that we can have from philosophical analysis based on experience a well-de· fined concept of the essentials of human nature. He admits the possibility of the state of pure nature, but taking for granted, as he constantly does, his supernatural existential, he claims that we cannot have a complete concept of human nature as such. And if that nature is what has ordinarily been supposed by theologians, then, according to Rahner, "supernatural grace can only be the superstructure lying beyond the range of ex· perience imposed upon a human 'nature' which even in the present economy turns in its own orbit . . . Hence this nature is first of all merely 'disturbed' by the purely external 'decree' of God commanding the acceptance of the supernatural, a decree which continues to be a purely exterior divine ordina· lion so long as grace has not yet laid hold of this nature, justifying and divinizing it ... " (Theological Investigations I, 299). And again: "We admit the basic contention that there is widely prevalent in the average teaching on grace an ex· trinsecist view which regards this as being merely a super· structure imposed from without upon a nature in itself indifferent with regard to it. It would seem to be a genuine concern of theology to put an end to the extrinsecism" (303). The



usual theories representing this "extrincesist" view are for our author "a nominalism which has not taken ccgnizauee of itself" (312). Rahner's device for doing away with extrinsicism is, as we have said, the supernatural existential. His theory as well as his mode of reasoning by way of rhetorical questions and unproved assertions is well brought out in the following passage. "The ontological presuppositions of this extrinsecism are equally problematic. One in particular is quite unintelligible, though it is tacitly assumed, to the effect that where grace has not yet laid hold of the man who has awakened to freedom by justifying him, his binding [verpflichtende=obligatingl ordination to the supernatural end can only consist in a divine decree still external to the man. Even if this binding ordination is not counted among the constituent elements of human nature as such, who is going to prove that it could only be interior to man in the form of a grace already justifying, that an interior supernatural existential of the adult man could only exist in justifying grace already stirred into faith and love? On the contrary, must not what God decrees for man he eo ipso an interior ontological constituent of his concrete quiddity 'terminative,' even if it is not a constituent of his 'nature'? For an ontology which grasps the truth that man's concrete quiddity depends utterly on God, is not his binding disposition eo ipso not just a juridical decree of God but precisely what man is, hence not just an imperative proceeding from God but man's most inward depths? If God gives creation and man above all a supernatural end and this end is first 'in intentione,' then man (and the world) is by that very fact always and everywhere inwardly other in structure than he would be if he did not have this end, and hence other as well before he has reached this end partially (the grace which justifies) or wholly (the beatific vision). And it is entirely legitimate to start from this point in an attempt to outline the one concrete 'quiddity' of man (if not indeed his 'nature' as opposed to grace)" ( 302). Rahner, like Brisbois, rejects the widely accepted theory


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that prior to grace God's decree ordaining us to a supernatural end puts nothing ontological (physical) in us. He proposes an interior ontological constituent which is the term of God's decree elevating the individual man to the supernatural order. He does not use the word physical but that seems to be what he means by this distinct "ontological" effect. Furthermore it is not of the essence of man, but with the essence it makes up the "quiddity," that is, the "existent" reality which is man. In the above quotation Rahner gives no real, positive proof of his position. In fact all his own reasons for positing the supernatural existential are rather of a negative nature. But be does offer a positive argument in his approval and ac¡ ceptance of a general principle laid down by L. Malvez, whose opinion we shall outline later on. It is to this argument that Rahner seems to refer when he speaks of the "decisive argument for the existence of the. supernatural existential" ( 302 note). It runs as follows: "Every act of the divine will ad extra is defined by the term which it effects: .If therefore the divine decree which. presided over creation was a decree destining man to the kingdom;. this destination bad to be realized through a certain effect in the depths of our nature. Corresponding to the immanent .decree of the divine will was a certain disposition in us, an ordination to the good things which were promised to us." This argument seems to the present writer to be the¡ only one of real worth among the reasonings offered by the proponents of the supernatural existential. We shall examine it later and assess its possible value, if used in a modified form, for a conclusion quite different from that of Rahner and associates. The question¡ may be asked, in what category of beings does Rahner place the supernatural existential; is it substance or accident, is it a potency or an act or a habit? No definite answer is forthcoming. The thing is not defined philosophically. It is merely described as a "real determination," an "ordination to the beatific vision," a "real receptivity," a "capacity for the God of self-bestowing personal Love." It is also described as a "disposition" and a "potency," but .these terms seem to



be used in a general sense,. not in that of the precise scholastic categories. The supernatural existential is called "the centre and root of what man is absolutely" (311), hut it is not nature. It is distinct from nature and, though given with it, is entirely un· due or unexacted, that is, a strictly gratuitous gift. Nature has an openness, a disposition for the supernatural existential, but has no exigency for it, does not unconditionally demand it ( 315). Furthermore it remains always with nature, because all men have and always retain an ontologically intrinsic ordination to their supernatural end. The supernatural exis· tential is precisely this ordination. Given the supernatural existential in man, is grace, the necessary means to the beatific vision, demanded? Is it due to man. The answer is not easily formulated. Rahner never explicitly puts this question, but does so by implication, and seems to give a negative reply. He says, speaking of grace, uncreated and created: "God wishes to communicate himself, to pour forth the love which he himself is.... God must so create man that love does not only pour forth free and unexacted, but also so that man as real partner, as one who can accept or reject it, can experience and accept it as the unexacted event and wonder not owed to him, the real man" ( 310·11). It is not clear that here Rahner wishes to imply that we can have direct experience of sanctifying grace and the indwelling Trinity, but he does suppose the supernatural existential as prior to man's acceptance of grace and still speaks of that grace as "unexacted," that is, not demanded and therefore gratuitous. Not only is grace not demanded by the supernatural exis· tential, but according to Father Rahner, the unexactedness of the former depends on the unexactedness of the latter. If the supernatural existential were not strictly gratuitous· but due to man, grace itself could not be gratuitous but would be owed to him: "the longing for, the ordination to, God's Love, this existential for supernatural grace, only ·allows grace to be unexacted grace when it is itself unexacted, and at the mo-


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ment when, fulfilled by grace, it becomes conscious of it· self as supernatural, i.e., shines forth as unexacted by the real man, not owed to him" (313). Here Rahner seems to say that the ordination to the beatific vision, the desire of it, which for him is the supernatural existential, cannot be identi· fied with nature or the powers of nature. It must be super· natural. Otherwise the vision would be due to us. If this in· terpretation is correct, we have a theological position which, like that of Brisbois, is contrary to the opinion of St. Thomas, who clearly held a desire of the vision of God which is not supernatural but proceeds from the natural unaided intellect and will. The last words of the preceding quotation reveal Rahner's position on the perception of the desire of God. It takes place only in justification, when the longing for God becomes known as supernatural. And this perception presupposes revelation and faith, as is clear from the following: "Thus the man who receives this Love (in the Holy Spirit and thanks to the Word of the Gospel) will know this very existential for this Love as not owed to him, unexacted by him the real man" (313). Thus we seem to meet once again that which was essential in Cajetan's early sixteenth-century interpretation of St. Thomas, namely that the desire of the vision of God which the Angelic Doctor called natural presupposes the grace of revelation.

L MALVEZ The supernatural existential is expounded by L. Malvez, S.J., of Louvain, in two articles on "La gratuite du surnaturel" in Nouvelle Revue Theologique for 1953. He accepts in their essentials the ideas of Brisbois and Rahner. In fact it is he who furnishes most clearly the "decisive argument," as we have indicated above: every decree of God concerning creatures must have a created term. In this case the term is the relatively absolute desire of the vision of God ( 678). Malvez also accepts the· designation "supernatural existential," and classifies it as "an accident reaching to our very essence and not to our faculties only" (685).



In Malvez .also we find that the supernatural existential, the desire of the heMific vi9ion, is someLI,.ing added to nature. It is not constitutive of man's nature nor is it due to him in any way. Strictly speaking there is no such thing as a natural desire of vision. It is moreover an absolute desire, not a conditioned one; but since it is not efficacious, that is, it puts no demand on God to satisfy it nor can it by itself bring us to our supernatural end, it is not absolutely absolute but only relatively so. The vision of God and grace remain gratuitous ( 678.-The absolutely absolute desire of vision is from the infused gift of grace. Malvez, like Rahner, defends the possibility of pure nature, and in the nature a disposition or ordination to the supernatural existential. This ordination is conditional, not absolute, not even relatively so. In this connection Malvez is frank enough to admit that in his and Rahner's theoretical position all the old problems of the potentia obedientialis remain to vex the theologian. And he points out that Rahner shrugs off these problems because he seems to think them practically insoluble, due to his belief that we can know little from consciousness about our spiritual nature as such. According to Rahner many if not most of the elements of our psychological experience may, for all we know, derive not from our nature but from the supernatural existential added to it and from grace. Hence he is skeptical about the scope of our natural, philosophical know!¡ edge of human nature and its tendencies, especially as regards God and the natural law. Malvez does not follow Rahner in this skepticism, even though he perhaps should if he wished to be logical ( 685). We should not close this brief resume of Malvez's long essay without calling attention to his lack of clarity on one important point. We have said that he accepts what is essential in Rahner's opinion. Rahner himself thought that he did and says so explicitely (TI 298). Nevertheless, right in the midst of Malvez's reply to the question, "Shall we accept the supernatural existential of Father Rahner in the precise sense which he gives to it?" we find him saying: "There is


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therefore in the concrete nature of fallen man an absolute desire of the kingdom, and we understand by that the attraction which is correlative to the divine .decree, to that decree which in fact (en fait) though not by right (en droit) determined for all men taken collectively (fixait ii tous les hommes pris collectivement) their one and only end, the supernatural end ... This desire however is relatively absolute because conditioned in its individual fulfillment by the entirely gratuitous gift of sanctifying grace" (678). This statement is, to say the least, disconcerting. What is this collective destination to the supernatural end? How does it effect the individuals of the collection? We can only say that despite the confusion latent in Malvez's words, we still think that he conceived of the desire of vision as a supernatural entity produced by God in the creation of each individual soul and inhering in the soul's essence, the supernatural existential. J.P. KENNY Another defender of the supernatural existential, though he does not use the term, is J. P. Kenny, S.J ., of Australia, a disciple of Karl Rahner. In an article in Theological Studies, 1953, entitled "Reflections on Human Nature and the Supernatural," Kenny writes: "Perhaps, then, the problem of human nature and the supernatural may be solved in this way. In this supernatural order there exists in every human being an unconditional and positive tendency to vision. This tendency, which is a created ontological reality, is the counterpart in each man which answers to God's decree binding men to strive after their exclusive supernatural end. God's call to vision has not indeed left man indifferent. That summons is objectively most real; it has its echo in us.... Even before we receive our first gift of internal grace, already the supernatural is intrinsic to us. But-and this must never be forgotten-it is intrinsic to us through an element that is itself not natural but supernatural" (286). Kenny goes on to say this intrinsic reality "must be homogeneous with vision itself. . . . must belong to the order of vision . . . It is entitatively supernatural."

SuperiUIIUTaJ 91

For proof Kenny, following Rahner, tries to show that un· less you suppose this ~~trinsic aupcrnatural reality you can· not offer a plausible theological explanation either of original sin or of the punishment of loss in hell. But once again the main reason seems to be the necessity of an ontological entity prior to grace, corresponding to God's decree of elevation to the supernatural end. "An eternal decree of God establishes for me the beatific vision as my last end, and it obliges me to tend to that end. Now I raise the question, can I consider as truly objective a decree of God's that remains purely outside me and has no effect in me? Is it not Nominalism to insist on the one hand that I am obliged by God to tend to vision and on the other to rufuse to admit any created, ontological reality within me, the counterpart to God's eternal decree? Do not sound metaphysics demand that, if I affirm the reality of God's decree, I must also maintain that it puts something within me, some created reality? Briefly, unless the supernatural is intrinsic to me even before grace, then God's decree establish· ing vision as my destiny and laying on me an obligation to strive after it is fictitious" ( 281). CIUTICISM OF PRINCIPAL ARGUMENT

The main argument for the existence of the supernatural existential seems to be, as we have shown, that every decree of God's will for creatures must have an ontological term; so therefore the decree ordaining man to a supernatural end. The question spontaneously arises, how is this general proposi· tion proven? None of its proponents offers any proof what· soever. They all seem to take its validity for granted. But is it true that all God's decrees eflect a term in the ontological order and not merely in the moral or juridical? The ten commandments either are or involve decrees of God ad extra. They bind men to a certain way of acting. We ask the defenders of the supernatural existential, did these decrees imply an ontological reality intrinsic to the men directly affected by them? Do they imply such a reality in us who are also bound by them? It is true that God had to communicate


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the knowledge of his will to men, but that communication and knowledge presuppose the decrees as already made by God and existing ad extra. The commandments are definite entities in the divine intentional, juridical order, but it has yet to be proven that as decrees of God in the created order they are of themselves ontological as opposed to juridical realities. Let us take the decree of Almighty God calling the people of Israel to be the bearer of revelation and salvation, and ordaining them to an intimate share in the preparation of the Incarnation. This decree must have existed prior to the know!. edge of it which God imparted to Abraham, prior to the cove路 nan! first made with the father of all the faithful and often renewed in his descendants. Again we ask, how can it be shown that this decree and ordination involved an ontological reality which preceded God's revelation of his will? The prophet Jeremia speaking of his own call by God says: "The word of the Lord came to me thus: before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you" (Jer 1:4-5). The eternal decree regarding Jeremia was executed in time at the moment of the creation of the prophet's soul. It did not become known to him until one day in the thirteenth year of the reign of the king J osia, when Jeremia had grown to manhood (Jer. l :2). We should like to see it proven that his ordination to the office of prophet, which took place at the first moment of his existence or even later, was a distinct intrinsic, ontolo路 gical reality. But it would have to be such if the general principal laid down by Malvez, Rahner, and Kenny concern路 ing divine decrees were true. St. Paul also was called by God and destined by a special divine ordination to preach Christ to the Gentiles. This call existed as an effect of God's decree ad extra in the first mo路 ment of Paul's life and long before that fateful day on the road to Damascus when the will of God was made known to him and his will was moved to accept it. Paul says all this explicitly himself: "But when it pleased him, who from my mother's womb set me apart and called me by his grace, to



reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the 1 ·") " 'C·l "'rt.a• beg'····· S·l. G ~n•·le· ........ I ... u. •• .L.~. nu" pr·ot V .L e-n "d !Vt;jll tl··t Ui. Paul's call to be the Apostle of the Gentiles was in itself a special ontological entity which came into being in the saint's soul at the moment of its creation? And still that call was an effect of a decree of God ad extra. Until the contrary is demonstrated it seems to be the part of theological wisdom to assume, as the common run of theologians has long assumed, that a decree of God may have an effect only in the intentional, that is, the moral or juridical order. It is true that it is extremely difficult, if not simply impossible, to find in theological literature an extended discussion of the metaphysics of the intentional or moral order, and we admit it is not easy to substantiate the content of what we have just said about the common opinion of theologians. But we think there would be general agreement with these affirmations of the esteemed Innsbruck theologian Louis Lercher: "Frequently an efficient cause produces in another not a physical but an intentional entity. An intentional entity is said to be that which exists in as much as it objectively terminates the intention of the mind, that is, the act of understanding or willing or any ordination whatsoever of the practical intellect. Such are some objects (rationes objectivae) expressed by the mind or some good things (rationes boni) as the object of the will: obligations, jurisdictions, titles, dignities, assignments to certain offices, and other things of this kind which are ordained by the practical intellect without any physical change in the things concerning which the ordination is made. All these are intentional entities and pertain to the intentional order" (lnstitutiones Theologiae Dogmaticae 4, n. 203). Lercher goes on to say that these entities are sometimes qualified as moral, not as opposed to the real but only to the physical or, to use Rahner's terminology, to the ontological. That a man can be the recipient of a right, a power, or privilege without his knowledge or consent is evidently supposed in canon 37 of the Code of Canon Law, which reads: "A rescript can be requested for another even apart from his oJ•




94 Chicago Studies

consent, and even though he is free to use or not to use the favor granted by the rescript, the latter nevertheless is .valid before it is accepted, unless the contrary is evident from the clauses appended to the rescript." For the existence of the favor contained in the rescript all that is necessary, if no executor intervenes, is the decree of the ecclesiastical superior who makes the grant. The right of the beneficiary comes into existence at the moment in which the document containing the granted favor is sent out (Canon 38). Here you have an example of a very real entity which is not physical, produced in one man by the act of the will of another man. We can only repeat our question: if the decree were in the will of God instead of a man, would the effect necessarily be ontological (physical)? And if so, why? It may well be that if the metaphysics of "right," "duty," "titles," dignities," and the like were thoroughly explored we would find that these "moral" entities always involve a real relation and in so far an ontological reality. But it is not by such a line of reasoning that Brisbois, Rahner, and Malvez have arrived at the affirmation that every man's elevation to the supernatural end involves an ontological reality distinct from his nature. Perhaps on the basis of some sort of real re· lation we shall be able, before concluding, to suggest a theory of supernatural existential which would make that entity theo· logically acceptable. But before doing so we shall offer some comments on what may be called the auxiliary arguments of the theologians we have been criticizing. CRITICISM OF SECONDARY ARGUMENTS

Father Rahner asks for a more serious consideration of the role of his supernatural existential in the pain of loss suffered by the damned. "In fact," he says, "it [the pain of loss] cannot otherwise be explained. For the loss of a good which is pos· sible, hut not the object of an ontological ordination prior to free endeavor ('voluntas ut res'), can only be felt as a painful evil when the loser wills it freely (but the damned have no use for this and do not do it)" ( 312, note l). If we understand



him correctly, Rahner thinks that the damned suffer torment from the bumine loneine for God whir.h will n•wer be satisfied and that this longing is the supernatural existential. This existential, of course, remains in the soul always, even in hell. Such an explanation of the pain of loss would be admissible if you suppose that the desire of God is not natural, as practically all the great theologians have thought, but only supernatural. If, however, we have a purely natural appetite for happiness and a purely natural desire of the vision of God, as St. Thomas taught, then this appetite or desire remains in the separated soul. In the clear light of the Judgment the soul will know that although naturally and vehemently drawn to God as by an infinite magnet it can never come to him. Deprived of the assuaging conclusion of all created joys it will suffer the excruciating agony of its loss. To explain this pain the supernatural existential does not seem at all necessary. Father Kenny and R. J. Prendergast, S.J., both devotees of Karl Rahner, offer the supernatural existential as a theological explanation of original sin. For the former "original sin is internal to man because it sets up a conflict with an intrinsic orientation to the beatific vision" (TS 1953, 283-84); this orientation is, of course, the supernatural existential. For Prendergast "even though human nature as such has no exigency for the supernatural, the concrete nature of men as they exist in the present supernatural world order does have such an exigency and because of it the absence of grace in the souls of the new born is not a mere absence but a true privation . . . . This privation is real because the supernatural existential with which human nature is endowed from the moment of animation founds a real exigency for grace in the soul. It also founds a real exigency for the preternatural gifts, the privation of which is the second essential element of original sin" (Downside Review 1964). We submit that these explanations of original sin can hardly be admitted as theologically sound. First of all, Kenny seems to suppose the outmoded idea of original sin as some sort of physical force. One is reminded of the morbida qualitas of ~




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Peter Lombard and ¡William Occam. As for the opmwn of Prendergast, in asserting that the supernatural existential in¡ volves an exigency of grace it is certainly untenable and seems to be rejected by Rahner himself. FURTHER OBJECTIONS

The supernatural.existential has been proposed as the solution of the problem of nature-supernature. We agree with E. Gutwenger, S.J. (Zeitschrift fur katholische Theologie 1953, 462), that this hypothetical entity does no more than shift the problem with all its difficulties real and imagined. Whereas formerly the question concerned the relation of nature directly to grace, now it must deal with the relation of nature to the supernatural existential. If nature as such is open to the latter, why is it not open to grace directly without an intervening buffer? What is there in the supernaturality of this mediating entity that with it man's nature has an affinity for grace, without it only repugnance? After all, grace is only a created supernatural perfection resulting from the self-communication to the soul of the infinite triune Love. Why cannot this communication be made to nature itself without the intermediary which the supernatural existential is supposed to be? And if grace, created as well as uncreated, would be an "intrusion" on nature, why would not nature feel always terribly uncomfortable because of its unavoidable and unshakeable union with the supernatural existential? If it be said in reply to these queries that the supernatural existential gives to the soul a tendency and ordination to grace and vision which it otherwise would not have, we may ask, how do you know that, you who hold that it is very difficult if not practically impossible to distinguish in our concrete psychological experience between what is rooted in the natural dynamism of the soul and what is due to the supernatural (Rahner 316)? St. Thomas thought that the desire of the vision of God was natural in the strict sense of the word. We invite those who doubt this to read with unprejudiced eyes ST l-2, 3, 8, where the Angelic Doctor presents the phenomenology



of the natural intellectual process which terminates in the desire to see God. Furthermore, as we have already insisted. if the soul in its own unaided nature has an ordination to the supernatural existential, why can it not have a natural tendency or ordination to receive grace directly and immediately? Such an ordination is posited, with St. Thomas, by nearly all the so-called extrinsicists, who hold firmly that it does not en¡ danger the gratuity of grace because, even if in some sense absolute, it is not an efficacious desire. Goo One of the most difficult aspects of the theory of the supernatural existential is that it seems to call into question and to minimize the natural power of the human mind to know transcendental truths. Not that it denies this power, but it limits our knowledge of it to an indefinite extent. Given in us the "potency" and "dynamism" which is the supernatural existential, we cannot be sure, they say, which of our concrete judgments and volitions are derived from it, which from our unaided natural powers of mind and wilL As long ago as January, 1939, Brisbois wrote that under the influence of the ontological reality involved in our supernatural destination "the actual psychology of human desire is completely changed and no longer bears resemblance to what it would have been had man been left in the natural state" (MS 40). What is implicit in these words is recognized by Malvez and drawn to a logical conclusion. After proving from psychological analysis and reason alone that man is a rational animal, Malvez continues: "Pure nature can without any possible doubt reveal by reflexive analysis at least some of its own unchangeable components. How far does this purely natural anthropology extend? Are we prepared to establish rights and duties the basis of which is no way to be sought in the effective ordination of man to a supernatural destiny?" (688). We subinit that these question marks reveal great diffidence in the capacity of our reason as such in the realm of fundamental moral philosophy. CoNCERNING THE KNOWLEDGE oF


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But most skeptical of all about the powers of "pure nature" is Karl Rahner. "We never,". he writes, "have this postulated pure nature for itself alone, so as in all cases to be able to say exactly what in our existential experience is to be reckoned to its account, what to the account of the supernatural. Where life is a matter of concrete yearning for eternal Truth and pure and infinite Love, of the inescapability of a free decision before God, of the pangs of birth, of concupiscence, labour, toil and death (hence of man's real essence and its achievement), all this is unquestionably experienced by a man who (consciously or unconsciously) is subject to the influence of the supernatural existential (if not of grace). Thus there is no way oftelling exactly how his nature for itself alone would react, what precisely it would be for itself alone. This is not to deny that in the light of experience and still more of Revelation it might not be possible in some determinate respect to use a transcendental method to delimit what this human nature contains. 'Animal rationale' may still in this respect be an apt description" (314). After this hesitating concession that animal rationale may be a good "description" of man, as though fearing he might have jeopardized the perennial philosophy of human nature, Rahner hastens to say that the "philosopher has his own well· grounded concept of the nature of man." But this disclaimer seems to be virtually withdrawn by what he adds: "When there· fore one undertakes to state with precision what exact con· tent is intended by such a concept of a pure nature, in parti· cular as regards God and his moral law, the difficulties, indeed the impossibility, of a neat horizontal ·once again becomes apparent for us, as the history of theology shows only too clearly. But these difficulties lie precisely in the nature of things: man can experiment with himself only in the region of God's supernatural loving will, he can never find the na· ture he wants in a 'chemically pure' state, separated from its supernatural existential." No one will deny that there are precepts of divine law based on our nature which are very difficult if not impossible to



determine apart from revelation and the light.that comes from grace. Tn _R,.h_ner's position, however, if pushed to its 1ogical conclusion, we simply cannot claim with certainty any actual knowledge of "God and his moral law" derived from reason alone. If this conclusion of ours is correct, the question naturally arises, what is the relation of the opinions we have been criticizing to the teaching of the Church and of theology con路 cerning human knowledge of God? It was defined as a dogma of faith by the First Vatican Council that man in any state whatsoever has the natural phy. sica! power to know God and the essential precepts of the moral law related to him, that is, the duty of reverence, thanksgiv. ing, obedience. The Council determined nothing about the exercise of the natural power which it defined, e.g., whether men in general actually do know God by reason, whether this knowledge is easily had, whether grace is sometimes given to attain it. It is clear, therefore, that the defenders of the supernatural existential do not offend against the Vatican definition. From what we have cited from the views of Malvez and Rahner it is not so clear, however, that they would concede to any man actual knowledge of God acquired by unaided natural powers and with facility.路 To be consistent it seems they would have to say that we can never know whether any man who actually cognizes God does so by his natural powers or by some special supernatural aid; for all we know, the judg. ment "God exists" is never made without the assistance of the supernatural existential or actual grace. It seems correct to say that this position of Rahner and Malvez is against the traditional opinion of theologians ac路 cording to which the natural ability to know God passes into act of itself and with ease. Chossat in his classic monograph Connaisance Naturelle de Dieu (DTC 4, 834) says that this traditional opinion is proxima fidei. The Council argued from the first chapter of St. Paul to the Romans, where the common run of pagans is presented as actually knowing from reason the existence of God and the obligation to acknowledge, rev路

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erence, and thank him. The fact that there is no special diÂŁ. ficulty in the acquisition of this knowledge is gleaned also from the way in which the Council contrasts it with a know!. edge of "divine things" requiring the special help of revelation. Of an internal supernatural assistance for the knowledge of God, "source and end of all things," there is not the slightest hint in the text of Vatican I. And of all the fathers of the Church who are wont to be quoted in this connection one or two speak of grace given to help fulfill the obligation perceived by natural powers, while only one, the uncertain author of De Vocatione Gentium, seems to require the "illumination of God's grace" for the knowledge of God itself. Even here it would have to be shown that "illumination" does not mean some sort of immediate internal revelation hut actual grace as we know it since the Council of Trent. To conclude this point of our discussion, it seems to be at least "common and certain" doctrine that the elementary knowledge of God defined by Vatican I as being within human power is the actual and easy possession of most men. There exists no serious reason for saying that this knowledge does not derive from nature alone. It seems gratuitous to affirm that we cannot know whether unaided nature ever attains to the knowledge of God and his moral law. The contrary stand, explicit or implicit, of the supernatural existentialists presents no small difficulty for Catholic theology. CoNCLUSION

Our criticisms are intended merely as an attempt to evaluate the most recent and novel solution of the problem of nature and the supernatural. Until its exponents put the supernatural existential on a more solid theological basis we do not see our way to accepting it. It is surprising what little attention theologians have given to this interesting and important opinion. It has stirred little if any dialogue, and in some instances very relevant consideration of it seems to have beeen eluded (cf. Gregorianum 1957, 8). More widespread discussion of this ingenious hypothesis might result in a useful reassessment of



our philosophical and theological anthropology. For one thing ., ., . . , I Iy satls.~.acto a compete .. j su1· ut1on o f li. 1t:: ~~;senilal·existentlal question as regards man will hardly be achieved without more extensive research in the sources of Tradition concerning the meaning and content of human nature. Such for example is the study of Pere Charles Boyer, "The Notion of Nature in St. Augustine," presented to the Second International Conference on Patristic Studies held at Oxford in 1955. In conclusion, having pointed out what seem to be the weak· nesses of the theory of the supernatural existential, we should like to propose an existential of a different kind with some reasons for its reality in the present supernatural order. It is common theological teaching that each individual soul as created by God has a real relation to him as the author of its being. This relation of dependence is an ontological reality. It refers man to God, his maker and natural end. Now just as we reason to the necessity of sanctifying grace as the founda· tion for a new relation of presence in the supernatural in· dwelling of the Blessed Trinity, so, it would seem, we should postulate a distinct foundation for the relation of man's soul to God as supernatural end. Accordingly there must have been in the souls of Adam and Eve at the very moment of their creation not only the juridical reality of their destination to the supernatural end but also an ontological reality referring them to God as their Father. This entity was of course the sanctifying grace which founded their relation to God as their supernatural end, really distinct from their relation to God as their Creator. But what about the rest of men, sons and daughters of the first man and woman? The answer to this question is to be found in the traditional doctrine of the fathers and theologians that the sanctifying grace of Adam was our grace also. It was not merely a personal gift. It was granted to him for every one of us. It was in Adam the foundation for the real relation which is the positive destination of every individual human being to the vision of God as his end. In this sense we may correctly speak of a collective ordination. And precisely in


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as much as Adam's grace was our grace, it would have been passed on in carnal descent from Adam to every single human being, if only he had not committed the fatal sin of disobedience. As things are we inherit instead original sin. This sin, precisely as our own sin, is a privation of our own sanctifying grace. Let us say it is a privation of our own actual reception of the Triune Love and all that involves. Original sin in us is a true sin because our privation is essentially related to our first father's sinful act. But by that privation taken in its total reality of grace due to us by God's design and lost through Adam's faithlessness we remain ordained to our supernatural end. Original sin is not the mere absence of the sanctifying grace by which we were destined in Adam to the supernatural vision of God. It is a real privation of that grace and as such is the foundation of our permanent ordination to our supernatural end. It is that privation in the soul, derived from Adam's sin, which makes unregenerated man displeasing to God, but leaves him with the debitum of striving for his eternal, supernatural destination. The supernatural existential therefore, to retain the term, is in each one of us original sin. Viewed in its entirety as the privation not only of sanctifying grace but also of the gifts of integrity and immortality as well, original sin explains "the profound inner dispersion" of which Rahner and the Existentialists speak, and "the radical experience of the universally human ¡tragedy of concupiscence and death." To this, we believe, Malvez would agree. In dissent from Rahner he writes: "It is a fact that we often experience within us hostility to the supernatural order. Our nature revolts against the call to a higher destiny ... But it would be a mistake to attribute this repugnance to nature itself taken abstractly, to a pure nature which would protest against the renouncement that the supernatural imposes. In reality this repugnance proceeds from our nature in the concrete, that is to say, from a sinful nature, more precisely still from a nature whose sin consisted in the refusal of the supernaturaL Hence it is very possible and even probable that the indifference, called natural, to the supernatural or the deaf hostility or the revolt, are in us the fact



of lost grace and, so to speak, its negative effect, the prolonged r~percussion of the ancient sin of the race" ( 686). Original sin, therefore, is that which in our opinion founds the relation of our individual ordination to our last end before our personal reception of sanctifying grace. It is not however, either in itself or its effects, our desire of God. Rather it may well be called a foil for that desire which before grace comes is purely natural. The concrete perceived effects of original sin tend of their nature to accentuate and sharpen the psychological experience of the need of salvation and the desire of God. 1ÂŁ a supernatural existential is required to explain man's destination to the vision of God we need not invent new entities. We have one ready-made in the storehouse of theological lore. It is the grace we received in Adam and were deprived of by his sin. It is our sinful deprivation inherited from him wh~eh singles us out as destined to see God even while despoiled of the means necessary to attain to our destiny. PosTsCRIPT

Just as we were finishing the last paragraph of this article the Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et Theologiques for July, 1964, came to hand. It contains an article by E. Schillebeeckx, O.P., entitled "L'instinct de Ia foi selon S. Thomas d' Aquin." We were indeed gratified to find ourselves in agreement with the distinguished theologian of the University of Nijmegen in his rejection of the supernatural existential and, partly at least, for the same reasons (397, 399). In Schillebeeckx' positive conception also we believe there is a confirmation of what we have said about original sin as the foundation of our relation to God as supernatural end. He writes: "The destination to the supernatural order is nothing else in man but the reality which is the fruit of the divine will, active and effective of salvation. It is assumption into the friendship of God, or, for the man who is not in the state of grace, his real situation as a sinner" (401).

The Forum The Seminary and the Dialogue George /. Dyer

"Firsts" have become almost a commonplace in the ecumenical dialogue, but on December 6, 1964, the University of Chicago was the scene of a "first-of-its-kind" institute that may have some very long range repercussions. Seminary men from Catholic and Protestant faculties gathered from across the nation to search out ways of involving seminarians in an interfaith ¡ dialogue. The institute, jointly sponsored by Loyola University and the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, lasted for three days and produced a mixed bag of results.¡ In a position paper John Courtney Murray, S.J., was able to rejoice in the papal mandate for dialogue even while he cautioned against the difficulties that lie ahead of the ecumenical movement. And indeed measures of both exhilaration and disapj:>ointment were discernible as the conversions proceded at Chicago. It soon became evident that many of the old battle flags had been furled and some hoary misconceptions laid to rest. Both Catholic and Protestant participants seemed intent on building their fences as far out on the horizon as their credal commitments would allow in order to insure the broadest pos105

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sible base of agreement. (This phenomemenon might be traced in part to the composition of the institute: the participants seem to have been drawn largely from right-wing Protestants and left-wing Catholics.) Disappointment was in the air, however, as the final day of the institute drew to a close. For the most part, the papers and panels had been stimulating, the discussion lively and even provocative, hut few ideas had come clearly into focus and no clear program had been formulated for introducing the dialogue into the seminary situation. I do not feel that the disappointment was wholly warranted. While the institute fell short of its goal (a long-range objective after all) something equally important seemed to be emerging from the discussions-the overarching impression that at the seminary faculty level at least the ecumenical movement has reached an important crossroad. At this juncture Catholics and Protestants seem .like two ships putting out from harbors where they have moored for centuries; as they gather speed each seems to be heading for the port the other has just abandoned. Protestanta have begun to search for absolutes with which to undergird the personalist ethic that has been theirs since the time of Kierkegaard; they are casting around for a philosophical structure about which to organize their systematic speculations. Some of themEpiscopalians-have begun to stress the sacrificial aspect of the Mass and to remove the emphasis from the Mass as a community meal. On the other hand, Catholics who are dis¡ satisfied with the legalism of their moral theology want. a more existential emphasis. In their enthusiasm for a more biblical orientation . they are breaking away from the philosophy .that underpins their systematic theology. They are beginning to shift the stress from sacrifice to agape in the Mass. At this stage of the dialogue we might well pause and ask our Protestant brethren the obvious question: why are you jettisoning¡ something we find so attractive? Our failu~e. to ask this question may endanger the one value to be found..in our centuries of separation. For several hundred years the fragments of the Christian

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world have gone down different liturgical, ethical, and doctrinal paths. Apart from their credal commitments Catholi~s have pursued certain options in teaching their moral theology, shaping their liturgy, and structuring their theology. Protes¡ tants have experimented with less uniformity and direction, and, perhaps, more theological imagination. It is here, I believe, that we may find the single profit to be discovered in this centuries-old division of the Christian community. By allowing us to experience in our different ecclesial bodies the advantages and weakness of our different options God may have allowed us to leap into the future. Instead of a single commitment over several centuries to one shape. of the liturgy and then another, to one ethical emphasis or¡ another, there have been numerous parallel experiences within the Christian world. We can profit from this varied experience only if we pause now and chart for one another the hazards of the VOY,ages we have made. .'


. .



Correspondence Editors: Father Reicher's article on civil rights demonstrations [Autumn, 1964] was very good. We can justify the participation of priests in demonstrations by carefully prepared, logical analyses of principles and official statements, but the real justification for such demonstrations seems to me to spring from the human situation. We have to ask ourselves whether, if we were the ones discriminated against, we would prefer our friends m,erely to talk or to act with us. A century ago when the Catholic immigrants in Philadelphia had to mount armed guards to protect their churches and convents they appreciated the words of moderation and tolerance which were spoken in their behalf by fair-minded Protestants. Imagine, however, what the effect would have been on those Catholics and on us today if a men's society from one of the neighboring Protestant churches armed with shillelaghs and shotguns had manned the ramparts with the Catholics! There are times when dramatic action is necessary to change the tide of history. For 400 years Christian preachers decried the butchery of the gladiatorial games; but according to legend, it was the action of a monk who, in protest against this savagery, jumped into the arena and got himself killed which led to the abolition of this brutal, inhuman form of live TV. In the thirteenth century preachers spoke eloquent words on the poverty of Christ. These words fell on deaf ears as the new merchant class piled gold coin on gold coin. Francis of Assisi realized that Christ meant his followers to take the counsel of poverty seriously and tried to do something about it while working for his father. His father protested to the bishop. The bishop advised prudence; and Francis, in a single




dramatic act, took off his rich clothes, gave them back to his father and strode off in his BVDs. Even the Lord felt the need for a dramatic act of protest. No doubt he had talked to his followers about the Temple and its sanctity as the house of Yahweh. But he upset the con¡ servative element of the Jews, and no doubt lost a lot of friends, when he made a little whip and stormed through the Temple, outraged that the house of his Father should be treated so scandalously. The Temple was a thing of stoue and yet was so sacred that Christ demonstrated, even though he knew that his outburst would cause the ruling cast to plot his death. How much more should we be willing to demonstrate when the liv¡ ing temples of God, who happen to have black skins, are desecrated and insulted by a society which condemns them as inferior and wants to keep them in "their place," e.g., in the dirty, crowded slums. When St. James told the early followers of Christ, "What will it profit a man if he says he has faith, but does not have works? Can faith save him? And if a brother or sister be naked and in want of daily food and one of you say to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' yet you do not give them what is necessary for the body, what does it profit?" he was telling Christians "to put their money where their mouths are." We cannot and should not call out the troops every time a Negro group decides to demonstrate. Not every demonstration is a manifestation of the legitimate aspirations of the Negro. But, on the other hand, we cannot rule out the possibility that some demonstrations are aimed at real and very serious evils. It is good to preach against these evils, but a bishop and his clergy on the picket line would do more than ten sermons to demonstrate to the world, and especially to Catholics, that the evil does exist. If we think that demonstrations are imprudent, we must come up with a better and more effective way of obtaining justice for the members of Christ who are suffering. We can¡ not heal their deep wounds by a few kind words on Sunday. Whether we like it or not, whether it is theologically correct or not, the clergy and the religious are identified as the


Chicago Studies

Church. In the eyes of the American people a Catholic layman on the picket line can be dismissed as just another crackpot. But when priests and nuns begin to picket,· it begins to sink in that "THE CHURCH" has a stand on this subject. When Harris polled Negroes as to whether or not they thought the Catholic Church helped or hindered the civil rights cause, most Negroes did not answer or could not answer. When he changed the question and asked it about priests, about seventy percent of those polled said that they thought the priests helped the cause.· The Church to them was a priest they knew. Thomas Merton has said, "The purpose of non-violent pro· test, in the deepest and most spiritual dimensions, is then to awaken the conscience of the white man to the awful reality of his injustice and of his sin, so that he will be able to see that the Negro problem is really a white problem; that the cancer of injustice and hate which is eaiing white society in racial segregation with all its consequences is rooted in the heart of the white man himself." It is our duty to our people to demonstrate in order to convince them of sin. It is true that if we do demonstrate some white Catholics will be upset. Maybe some will leave the ·Church. We have not been afraid to have people leave the Church over our stand on birth control or divorce. The scandal of· demonstrations haunts us, but we must be just as haunted by the scandal of inaction. We may be able to name a few people who cease attending Mass if. we stand up and are counted on the race question, but we can never count all those people who now close their ears to the words of Christ because we have not stood up. There is no way in a human situation to please everyone. Gerard P. Weber St. Carthage Church Chicago, Illinois

AUTHORS BarnaLa• M. Ahern, C..!'., well·known Scripture scholar, lee· turer, and author, is an expert at the Council and one of the editors of The Bible Today. James E. Biechler is secretary of the diocesan tribunal for the Diocese of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. George]. Dyer, general editor of CHICAGO STUDIES, is librarian and professor of patrology at St. Mary of the Lake Semi· nary, Mundelein, Illinois. Christopher Kiesling, O.P., teaches liturgy at Aquinas Institute School of Theology, St. Rose Priory, Dubuque, Iowa, and has written for Cross and Crown, Worship, and The Thomist. Thomas J. Motherwa y, S.J ., secretary of the Pontifical Theolo· gical Faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, lllinois, is professor of dogmatic and oriental theology. James C. McDonald is chancellor of the Diocese of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. John A. Rohr, S.}., studied Church·State relations under John Courtney Murray and the late Gustave Weigel at Wood· stock College, Maryland, and political science at George· town University and the University of Michigan. Anthony ]. Vader, assistant at St. Laurence. Church, Chicago, studied sociology at the University. of Chicago. I !


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