Spring 1967

Page 1

"ST. LUKE" William Severson, Sculptor


CIVITAS DEI FOUNDATION Episcopal Palro"' The Most Reverend Cletus F. O'Donnell, J.C.D. The Most Reverend Bernard J. Sheil, D.D. ' The Most Reverend Raymond P. Hillinger, D.D. The Most Reverend Aloysius J. Wycislo, D.D.

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

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

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

Clusrter Membera ACTA Rev. Walter F. Sommerville


CHICAGO

STUDIES

EDITORIAL STAFF

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Editorial Martin R. Borowczyk John R Clark Thomas F. Connery, S.J. Stephen E. Donlon, S.J. Robert H. Dougherty Joseph M. Egan, S.J. John F. Fahey Thomas J, Fitzgerald John J, Foley, S.J. John R. Connan David J. Hassel, S.J. George G. Higgins Stephen S. Infantino George J. Kane Julius F. Klose Edward H. Konerman, S.J. William P. LeSaint, S.J. Raymond 0.

Advisors Joseph T. Mangan, S.J. Thomas B. McDonough John P. McFarland, S.J. William E. McManus Charles R. Meyer Thomas J, Motherway, S.J. Norbert E. Randolph Robert A. Reicher Richard F. Schroeder William A. Schumacher Peter M. Shannon Eugene P. Slania Edward J, Stokes, S,J. Theodore C. Stone Thomas F. Sullivan William G. Topmoel!er, S.J. Gerard P. Weber Wicklander

CHICAGO STUDIES, edited by the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary and the priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago, with contributions by prominent scholars and authors, aims at an articulate presentation of the best that modem 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 editors welcome articles and letters likely to be of interest to our readers. All communications regarding articles and editorial policy should be addressed to the editors. Subscriptions should be sent to CIDCAGO STUDIES, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Subscription rates: $4.00 a year, $7.00 for two years, $12.00 for four years; to atndenta, $3.00 a year. Foreign subscribers: add 50c per year. CHICAGO STUDIES is published three times a year with ecclesiastical permission and copyright, 1967, 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 editors or editorial board. Indexed in The Catholic Periodica N estament Abstracts.

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VOLUME 6

SPRING,

NUMBER 1

1967

Content~ Articlru CREATION IN A DouBLE PERSPECTIVE

3

George /. Dyer

WILLIAM ]AMES ON THE

VIRTUES OF WAR "THE STRANGE WORI.J) OF FATHER TEILHARD"?

THE STATUS OF EucHARISTIC THEORY ToDAY

27 !ames Gaffney, S./. 39 Joseph D. CoUins, M.M. 55 Charles R. Meyer

CONTEMPORARY IMAGES FOR CoNTEMPORARY PREACHERS THE CHALLENGE TO CHANGE VATICAN II, THE ANAWIM AND CHRISTIAN HoLINESS

67 Thomas Lay, S.J. 75 Vincent A. Yzermaru 87

Edward G. Zogby, S./.

The Forum

A

DISCUSSION RETREAT FOR PRIESTS

SOME REFLECTIONS ON CHURCH CENSORSHIP

99 Gerard P. Weber 107 Ronald A. Sarno, S./.

OuR CoVER: "St. Luke,"

by William Severson


The need for a relevant ex- DOCTRINAL SURVEY 1 pression of Orristian doctrine is hardly a new idea in the history of the Church. Paul's speech in the Areopagus was a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to make the Christian message meaningful to the Greeks of Athens. Thomas Aquinas produced a theological synthesis that was superbly suited to his age. For a variety of reasons however, theologians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries failed at their perennial task of adequately addressing their contemporaries. And nowhere was the lapse more evident than in their pre+ sentation of the doctrines of the creation and the fall. The traditional theses De Deo Cremlle GEORGE]. DYER and De Peccato Originali look much the same whether we read them in the manuals of + 1850 or 1950. While nothing changed very much in the manuals, a great deal was changing in western civilization. There had been a time when a History of the World began with a chapter on the "Creation of the World." The event was dated at 4004 B.C. and described six days of furious activity during which the world and all its inhabitants came into being. To many edu-

Cealion in a

3


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CHICAGO STUDIES

cated men of the nineteenth century however, the biblical view of creation was no more than a quaint bit of Hebrew poetry. Philosophers smiled politely or otherwise at its blatant anthropomorphisms, while scientists spoke sagely of nebular, geological and evolutionary hypotheses as they discussed the origins of the world and its first citizens. The history of theology in the nineteenth century is extremely complex and anyone who judges it too quickly may miss the mark. But there seems to be some truth in the description of the manual theology of the period as a "fortress theology." The talents were carefully preserved, but not a great deal was done to invest them in a significant conversation with men of the contemporary world. The manualists' hesitation is understandable perhaps when we see that they spent much of their energy defending their doctrinal treasures from the depredations of liberalism and modernism. It seems ironic that both liberalism and modernism were attempts at an acculturated theology. Each of them too was finally repudiated by their coreligionists. Barth and Brunner gave the coup de grfice to liberalism in the disillusionment brought on by the first World War. Modernism of course was condemned by Pius X. Trumpets had been sounded however that echo to our own day. One of these was Schleiermacher's conviction that theology and contemporary culture must be interactive. It is a curious thing that liberalism aborted its own basic thrust, By emphasizing the immanent creative activity of God in man's cultural life, it became largely responsible for the present religious concern with culture. By rejecting the notion of a transcendent Creator it undercut the platform on which the values of man's cultural life rested. (Langdon Gilkey has written some beautifully lucid pages on the subject: Maker of Heaven and Earth, Doubleday, 1959.) STRIKINGLY DIFFERENT VIEWS

In their approach to contemporary man Catholic and Protestant theologians take strikingly different routes. Niebuhr, Tillich and Gilkey speak of the doctrine of creation not as an


CREATION

5

answer to a speculative question but as a response to man's anxiety about the meaning and security of his existence. In this they are much indebted to Soren Kierkegaard. More than any other man this melancholy yet witty writer taught Protestant theology to take man seriously as a creature caught up in existential anxiety. But of this we will say more later. On the other hand, a host of contemporary Catholic theologians, mightily encouraged by Teilhard de Chardin, have set themselves to spelling out God's creative role in the evolutionary process. With few exceptions (Karl Heim among them) Protestant scholars have shown little interest in the direction their Catholic confreres have taken. In Heim's words: "The main school of Protestant theological thought maintains an attitude of critical aloofness and declares that the entire dis· cussion is out of date." Nor has Teilhard de Chardin escaped Protestant criticism. Duyvene de Wit believes that "the spiritual motive power of his theoretical thought does not at all origi· nate from the central motive of the Christian religion" ( Crea· tive Minds in Contemporary Theology, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eeerdmans, 1964, p. 447). Of course, given the divergent methodologies, a difference of opinion is inevitable here. Nonetheless, each may learn something from the rich experience of the other. For that reason we will try to review not only the Catholic theme of creation in an evolutionary perspective but the Protestant concern with the existential anxiety of the creature. THE DIZZINESS OF THE EXISTENT

When Protestant theologians speak of anxiety, they mean existential anxiety. This is not the apprehension we feel when we sit in the dentist's chair, nor is it the baseless fear of the neurotic. Existential anxiety may be described in a variety of ways. It is the dizziness of the existent before the possibilities of his freedom (Kierkgaard). It is creaturehood experienced from the inside, an awareness of basic dependence (Tillich). It is the vulnerability of our contingency as it issues in dread (Gilkey).


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Gilkey sees man's creaturehood as fostering two basic fears. The feeling of dependence and contingency, of being subject to uncontrollable forces, forms the content of the one. The experience of temporality and mortality, of the approaching deadline to one's powers, forms the content of the other. Man sees his life determined by powerful forces beyond his control. Outside of him there are floods, wars and economic cycles. Within him there are hereditary weaknesses, neuroses, fatal flaws. Apart from this there is the frightening awareness he has of time as it passes through his being, "graying our hair, shortening our wind, softening our passions, and ultimately ending our existence." To the human being clutched by these fundamental fears the doctrine of creation brings a fundamental coherence and meaning to nature, history and individual life. Tillich states the case in more metaphysical terms. Finitude in awareness, he says, is anxiety; and, unlike fear, which is psychological, anxiety is ontological. It is the awareness of the finite self as finite. That this awareness has a strong emo¡ tiona! character indicates that the totality of being participates in finitude and faces the threat of nothingness. Falling back on the metaphysics of later German idealism, he elaborates on his theme of anxiety as it arises from the four main categories of finitude: time, space, causality and substance. In each of them we find a union of anxiety and courage, of being and non¡being. A glance at his analysis of the first two cate¡ gories will be enough to show us the drift of his argument. Man, says Tillich, must be the most courageous of beings to shoulder the anxiety imposed by temporality. Of all finite creatures it is hardest for him to affirm the present "because he is able to imagine a future which is not yet his own and to remember a past which is no longer his own" (Systematic Theology, University of Chicago Press, 1951, vol. I, p. 194). On the other hand the Psalmist himself expressed very well the relation between finitude and space when he wrote: "Its place knoweth it no more." No finite being possesses a space which is definitely its own. As a pilgrim on earth it must eventually lose every place it had or might have had. And to have no


CREATION

7

definite and final place is ultimate insecurity. Yet man's anxiety, says Tillich, is balanced by the courage to accept his onological insecurity. But whence does man get his courage? This, he says, is the cosmological question of God, the question about that which ultimately makes possible the courage to accept and overcome the anxiety of. categorical finitude. For Tillich the doctrine of creation is not the description of a past event; rather it is the basic description of the relation between God and the world, the correlate to the analysis of man's finitude. For it affirms that God is the creative ground of everything in every moment. Only in the power of being-itself is the creature able to resist non-being. Faith in almighty God then is the answer to the quest for a courage sufficient to conquer the anxiety of finitude. CREATION IN THE EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE

The contemporary Catholic theology of creation is mainly characterized by its insistence on the immanence of God in the on-going process of creation. The ideas of conservation and concursus, familiar to the students of the manuals, have been refurbished and brought into close unity with the act of creation itself, and especially with the creation of man. In its inspiration moreover this new emphasis within the Catholic community is quite biblical. For some time scholars have been pointing to the link in the Hebrew mind between the creation story and the history of Israel's salvation. Textually, the two notions are clearly linked in the priestly document which contains not only the first creation account but also the story of the alliances (Noe, Abraham, Moses). Within this document then creation is seen as the first step toward God's alliance with his people. Guelluy asks whether the Garden described in the Y ahwistic text (the second creation account) may not have been viewed as an anticipation of the promised land. If his suggestion is correct, there is another link between the creation narrative and Israel's sense of its history of salvation. Indeed Israel's salvation is


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promised in terms that recall creation: a new creation, a new victory over chaos, a new triumph over the abyss and darkness. Deutero-lsaiah, speaking to the disheartened Jews of the exile, reminded them that God, who shaped the world, shapes all history toward salvation. The Hebrews were thus made aware that they had been chosen for a purpose whose fulfillment was guaranteed by the past prodigies of the Creator God who ruled all of creation. This link in the Jewish mind between salvation and creation helped to prepare the Jews of the New Testament to see a connection between Christ and creation. For Paul the redemp¡ tion is a new creation, with Christ the beginning and the goal. The author of the Apocalypse uses the imagery of Genesis to describe the plenitude of the divine work achieved in Christ. The biblical link between creation-salvation-Christ in the sacred history of the Old Testament has had a twofold impact on current Catholic thought. Creation is no longer being viewed simply as a once-upon-a-time event but as the beginning of God's continuing involvement in the world and its history. Secondly the doctrine of Christ and creation are being brought closer together. In the space available here we shall be able to discuss only the first of these themes.

A

NEW VIEW OF EVOLUTION

The evolutionary ongm of man has been the subject of a striking theological development within the past ten years. W riling in a somewhat prophetic vein in 1958 Karl Rahner remarked that theological opinion will "change very rapidly in favor of freedom to maintain a theory of evolution. In relation to the tempo of Catholic theology twenty years is a short time." Events, it seems, have moved even faster than Rahner foresaw. M. Flick and Z. Alszeghy see 1960 as a watershed in the development of a Catholic theology of evolution. Theologians of the "fifties" viewed evolution as a biological phenomenon, "the theory ... of a natural genetic derivation of a more perfect and complex form of life from a more elementary form."


CREATION

9

And although they played down the splendor of paradise as a result, they still maintained that Adam was a "single person, adorned before his sin with supernatural gifts, the progenitor of all actually living men." This one man, having sinned, caused a state of pre¡personal sin in all men. Today however the concept of evolution itself has changed. It is no longer seen as a biological hypothesis but a cosmic law, embracing not only man and his social institutions but the solar system and its physical structures. Evolution has thus become a total vision of the world not an affirmation about one of its aspects. The theologian's problem has shifted therefore. He no longer strives merely to avoid contradiction between particular theological and scientific statements. His purpose is to determine if the evolution view of the world is a category in which the Christian message can be expressed. One of the focal points of interest within Catholic theology is the possibility of reconciling polygenism with the doctrine of original sin. Here polygenism is understood as the- theory that the human race descends not from a singular pair but from a group of human beings, each of whom crosses the threshold from the subhuman to the human condition. It is true that no respectable scientist would categorical! y deny the possibility that an evolving population could pass through the bottleneck of a single pair. As Teilhard de Chardin wrote, "At those depths of time when hominization took place, the presence and movements of a single couple are positively ungraspable, un¡ realizable to our eyes at no matter what magnitude" ( Phenomenon of Man, p. 185). Nevertheless the fact is that scientists consider the evolution of a population as much more likely than evolution from a single pair. As a result a number of Catholic theologians have begun to explore the theological implications of polygenism. These men have been motivated not only by a desire to speak more intelligibly about man's origins to the scientific community but to articulate Catholic doctrine in terms of a broader vision of evolution. Understood in this sense evolution embraces the whole world process from the atom to the emergence


10

CHICAGO STUDIES

of man who finds his own completion in the perfection of the life of grace. For these men the classic view of the single pair in Paradise squares badly with the evolutionary view of the world. Rather than moving from the less perfect to the more perfect, the classic theology of Paradise places man on a plateau from which he tumbled. The theologians of the "fifties" explained this remarkable parenthesis in the evolutionary process by the extraordinary intervention of God. More than a few contemporary theologians however feel uneasy about approaching the origins of the race with a "pocketfull of miracles." Of the various polygenistic hypotheses that have been proposed we shall review those of two Dutch theologians and two Jesuit professors of the Gregorian University in Rome. PIET ScuooNENBERG, S.J.

Schoonenberg's views on the possibly polygenistic origins of the race emerge from his consideration of the "sin of the world" and its relation to original sin (Man and Sin, University of Notre Dame Press, 1965; God's World in the Making, Duquesne University Press, 1964). Both Scripture and the Church's magistery have repeatedly emphasized human solidarity in sin. The Church's most emphatic statement on the subject is the dogma of original sin itself. Yet as it is generally presented the doctrine emphasizes only the mysterious bond between each child and the first father of the race. Nothing is said of the sins of the child's parents and of his environment and of the great sinful decisions of the past. Thus the classic presentation of original sin knows nothing of the history of doom and salvation between Adam and Abraham, when sin entered the world and increased in power, "since all have sinned" (Rom 5:12). Schoonenberg suggests that the consideration of the "sin of the world" might modify or even interiorly transform the classic view of original sin and with it our idea of Adam. The "sin of the world" is not merely the sum total of individual sins, nor is it effected by the guilt of one person passing to another. The link beween the sins of individuals


CREATION

11

is to be sought rather in the sinful situation, the sum total of •· the influences of one freedom upon another. One man's free decisions bring about a situation to which another must react by means of a free decision. The situation is the connecting link between one free decision and another, so that history may be defined as the interaction of decisions and situations. The formal element in the "sin of the world" however is not the sinful situation as such, but the fact that the person is situated. The former is an environmental thing, extrinsic to the person; the second affects him interiorly. Man's is a situated liberty therefore. This phrase does not imply that his liberty is determined by the situation, but that his freedom is affected in its field of action, in its possible objects, in the motives and insights presented to it. Man's situated liberty then is the crucial factor in mankind's solidarity in its long history of sin. Schoonenberg sees one sin as the very center of that history of sin-the Jews' rejection of Christ. He points to the speech of Stephen where the first martyr made it clear that the re· jection of the prophets found its fullest development in the rejection of the Messiah (Acts 7:25). But it is not only the blood of the prophets which will come down on "this genera· tion" but all the "righteous blood shed on earth" (Mt 23:35). Hence not only the sins against the prophets but those against one's fellow man prepare for the murder of the God-man. In this context both the sins against one's fellow man and the specifically religious sins (idolatry, rejection of the prophets) may be considered a progression toward the killing of Christ. The impact of that one sin however was unique. Throughout the whole history of salvation the grace man receives comes from Christ. The sins committed before his death were a rejection of his grace, but his crucifixion was different in that it was a rejection of the somce of all grace. It follows that from man's point of view he had lost grace in a way that was complete and final. The inmost core of sin consists in opposing the whole reality of God and world; and in crucify· ing Christ man refuses him access to the whole reality of


12

CHICAGO STUDIES

earthly existence. It is easy therefore to see why for St. John perdition was now as wide as the world itself. In the "sin of the world" man faced a situation deprived of grace, preceding his free decisions and encompassing them. ORIGINAL SIN AND THE "siN OF THE WORLD"

In the answer to four questions Schoonenberg suggests the possibility of equating the "sin of the world" with original sin. First, he asks, may we equate "being situated" as it was described above with the state of original sin (peccatum originale originatum)? "Being situated by the sin of the world" means the lack of the life of grace, death to all love and super路 natural life, powerlessness. And this is the content of the state of original sin. But original sin is also described as "sin" and "guilt," and present路day theologians would not easily use those terms in this connection. Insofar as "sin" is concerned Schoonenberg notes that the magistery itself considers original sin as previous to and distinct from even the slightest personal sin. And if theology should admit that original sin consists in "being situated," it should affirm that it is not at all voluntary. In a second question Schoonenberg asks whether the implies路 lions of "being situated" can be equated with the "sequels" of original sin, i.e., the loss of integrity and immortality. In fact theology has grown increasingly uneasy over the description of these gifts given by classic theology, for it makes the first human beings individuals of superhuman proportions. Per路 haps, as Karl Hahner suggested, integrity and immortality mean not that human nature was structured in a different way but that the human person could handle his nature differently. Thus integrity"s loss would have meant not a changed relation of soul and body but a change in the relation of man's freedom to the world. Immortality meant not immunity to bodily death but the fact that death had another meaning for man than it does at the present moment. Theology has much to do in its reconsideration of these primordial "gifts," but should it be possible to develop a theory in the direction indicated, there


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would be no collision at this point between original sin and the "sin of the world." It may be however that original sin and the "sin of the world" differ in their mode of transmission. Does not the transmission take place by procreation for original sin and by environment for the "sin of the world"? Schoonenberg notes that even if we were to translate the propagatione of Trent as "through generation" ("at birth" has been suggested as an alternative), it does not necessarily mean that generation is the direct cause of original sin. It may simply be the condition for its transmission. If that is the case, generation produces the man, but original sin is produced by the historic situation in which the parents live. In that sense the "sin of the world" may be said to be produced by generation. But what is the origin of the sinful situation? Does it lie in Adam or in the world? In other words, is biological descent from Adam necessarily implied in the doctrine of original sin? Two elements are involved in the question: the loss of the preternatural gifts and the universality of original sin. If the preternatural gifts are a biological determination of na· ture, monogenism seems almost a necessity. If they are the unifying influence of grace itself, their loss rna y occur gradually in the history of sin; and monogenism loses its dogmatic im· portance. Insofar as . the universality of original sin is con· cerned, it holds true for the time following the fall. Should that fall be seen as history however and not as something OC· curing in one well-determined sin, the possibility then exists for the gradual universalization of original sin. We should note that the Church has always taught this universality in function of baptism. Before baptism existed the universality of original sin must not be taken strictly. After Christ's death and resur· rection however, it is strictly universal. The sin which rejected Christ from the world and our existence makes original sin inescapable for all. If this explanation should prove to be correct, there would be no need to admit one sinning couple of first parents. And on this final and most important score there


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would be no difference between original sin and the "sin of the world." A. HULSBOSCH, O.A.A. Hulsbosch wants to substitute a dynamic view of man in the world for the old static conception (God in Creation and Evolution, Sheed and Ward, 1965). To this end he sets about disengaging the form and content of Genesis 2-3 and Romans 5. In Hulsbosch's view the dogma of original sin is a judgment about man, animated by the faith conviction that man's relation to God is not what it should be. Man is bowed by a deficiency that is both moral and physical by nature. This judgment in tum implies a norm by which the deficiency can be measured. For the author of Genesis the norm was a Paradise in which the first human pair were placed. For St. Paul it was primarily Christ, but with a definite reference to the progenitor of the race. A change of direction is thus discernible in Paul. While looking backward to Adam, he simultaneously looks forward to what will be in Christ. The author of Genesis on the other hand fastens his vision solely on the past. This change of direction, partly realized in Paul, becomes complete through the evolutionary image, while the norm which Genesis has for the first pair falls away under a critical analysis of the text. In Hulsbosch's opinion, there is no historical worth to the happenings in Paradise, at least in the ordinary sense of the word; no historical facts are related there. Scripture is not speaking about concrete persons. What emerges from Scripture is the image of man who must be regarded from the first mo¡ ment of his existence as "going somewhere, loaded with creaturely imperfection requiring perfection by Christ." Since the old static image of a single sinning progenitor fails to give us a real historical point of reference for a theological appreciation of the present human condition, Hulsbosch suggests that we turn to the historically accessible work of salvation done by Christ. The salvific work of Christ in¡ volves reconciliation and renovation (by which man possesses the germ of a future, completed mode of being). The same two


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15

elements therefore must be found in original sin. Original sin simplies that man as creature is unfinished and that man's relation to God is in need of reconciliation. THE INCOMPLETEDNESS OF MAN

In the primordial moment God called out of the world a subject who could be addressed by his Maker (in this sense the soul of man was "immediately created by God"). This capacity to be addressed by his Creator is man's "natural desire to see the God" who manifests himself in creation. Thus man possesses by creation an "inclination, suitability or disposition" for the supernatural end of seeing God face to face. He cannot of course reach this consummation unless God meets him in grace. In this view of things sin is seen as man's refusal to subject himself to God's creative will. God wanted man to reach his perfection by way of personal decision. When man appeared on earth gifted with a natural desire to see God, the gift became a proferred gift. Man's refusal to let the creative will of God complete itself is sin. Man wanted to stay where he was and seek his happiness on earth; so he refused the continuing creative action of God. What was at the start a not-yet-possessing becomes a sinful absence because the incompletedness 1s affirmed as a positive condition in conflict with God's will. REcoNCILIATION

Man thus turned against his Creator and all men are guilty before God. "The whole world is in the power of the evil one" (1 Jn 5:19 ) . But how is the individual involved in this general condition? If some influence is reaching him from the whole of mankind, must the origin of this influence be sought in the progenitor of the race? Hulsbosch believes that the common destiny of man in sin can be explained in another way. Man's common destiny and his unity are certainly bound together, but there is a much higher principle of unity than common descent from a single progenitor. Man is by nature an "asking after God"; and this natural desire for God in turn


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disposes man for an even higher principle of unity: " . . . you are all in Christ Jesus." Mankind's unity as an image of God therefore far transcends the unity deriving from common social origins. What has been said positively about unity, holds also negatively for community in sin. A man horn into a world of sinners belongs hy this fact alone to a sinful world. If the whole world lies in the power of the evil one, this power extends to the child when it is born, not in the form of personal guilt, hut as a datum which is codeterminative of his relation with God. In his mission of self-actualization therefore man must contend with several factors: self-conquest, his powerlessness for self-completion without God's help, and the negative sinful influence of the world. The lordship of the spirit is impossible unless God takes away the sin of the world and founds a community of salvation in which the perspective on the future life opens once more. In the traditional conception of original sin man's relationship to the sinful world is underestimated. The fact is that man's personal characteristics are not thinkable outside the relation to God and his fellows. Neither is original sin thinkable outside the framework of actual relations. Actual personal relations are more constitutive of what man is than common descent from one progenitor. When Hulsbosch is asked to define original sin then, he says that it is "the powerlessness arising from the nature of man in his incompletedness as a creature to reach his freedom and to realize his desire to see God, insofar as this impotence is put in the context of a sinful world." In this view then there is no need for the classic conception of the sin of a common progenitor of mankind. MAURIZJO FucK,

S.J., AND ZoLTAN

ALSZEGHY,

S.J.

These two authors erect their hypothesis on a number of presuppositions ("II peccato originale in prospettiva evo¡ luzionistica," Gregorianum 47 (1966) pp. 201-225). They assume that man emerged from inferior organisms and that he passed through various stages of mental development, the earliest of which corresponded to that of an infant incapable of


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thought or volition. When man at last reached the possibility of choice he stood on a new ¡threshold. For God from the beginning had ordered creation so that it should produce not just a rational animal but a man vivified by grace. Just as hominization itself however was beyond the needs or possi¡ bilities of inferior beings, so the leap to the divinized state surpassed the potential of the whole created order. More¡ over, it was not to be accomplished under the impulse of the evolutionary process, but through man's acceptance of a divinely proferred option. Then for the first time in history the evolutionary process was arrested-by man's free choice; and sin spread in the world. The refusal had no observable effects: man continued to develop culturally to the point where his technology mastered the earth. But a drastic change had taken place. Evolution had not indeed stopped, but it had taken a new path. Had man accepted the divine option he would as a person have perfectly mastered his own nature, eliminating suffering, and passed ultimately to his definitive perfection without death. As it was, God's plan for man's divinization remained unaltered. But now each man would be invited to share in the glory of the risen Christ through sharing in the death of the crucified Christ. All still remained possible: the dominion of person over nature, the triumph of suffering over death. But these could be realized now only in the eschatological order. As a result of the original opposition to God's plan, man must come into the world burdened by the spontaneity of a nature not totally mastered by the person (concupiscence), faced by the spectres of suffering and death. PARADISE AND ADAM's SIN

In the Flick-Alszeghy hypothesis of course there never was a man in the state of grace, endowed with integrity and immortality. Insofar as Paradise was meant to be the term of human evolution however, it had a virtual existence. The idea, as they mention, is not totally foreign to theology. Theologians have considered it an open question whether Adam was created


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in the state of grace. According to one opinion he had to prepare himself for grace; according to another, the preparation was interrupted by his sin. Oriented toward grace as he was however, his state could well be described by Trent as a state of original justice which was lost by sin. It is possible to identify Adam's sin with the "sin of the world"? It is a fact that the "kingdom of sin," of the "world" (in the Johannine sense), obstructs everyone's acceptance of the life of grace. By the mere fact of belonging to human society the development of supernatural life is impeded by a number of factors: our innate weakness, hereditary inclinations, and the scandal of sin surrounding us from our infancy. This "sin of the world" is an insuperable obstacle to grace which can be overcome only by Christ. In the complex of factors that make up the "sin of the world" not all sins are of the same efficacy. The rejection of grace by some has a special gravity. Thus in Romans 5 the first sin had a special role: it unchained a whole series of other sins and it set mankind in a state opposed to God. The refusal to freely take a step forward in the evolutionary pro¡ cess willed by God blocked the further evolution of the entire species. It extinguished in all mankind the instinctive and supernatural impulse place there by God toward the conscious development of the life of grace. THE TRANSMISSION OF SIN

In the Flick-Alszeghy hypothesis Adam is not the father of all men. How then can we explain how his sin effected men who were not his biological posterity? The authors note that even in the pol ygenistic hypothesis there was a solidarity in the race. All emerged from the inferior forms under the same creative concursus. All were directed to form together the, supernatural image of God which was the end of all creation. Secondly, the biblical notion of the corporate personality helps us to see the possibility of an individual by whose action the situation of the collectivity was determined before God. The community was incarnate in the individual, as it were. If this


19

CREATION

was true of the Jewish patriarchs and kings, it was all the more so of the first sinner. In the Flick-Alszeghy hypothesis he was the only one who could accept or reject the divine call. Nor is the teaching of Trent an obstacle to the hypothesis. The descent of all men from one father is deduced from two Tridentine ideas: the universality of original sin and its trans¡ mission by natural generation. The first is not so absolute that there could never have been men besides Adam who were without sin. Nor is generation necessarily taught as a cause of original sin in men; it would suffice to view it as a condition. In neither case is the hypothesis of the two authors seriously damaged. ORIGINAL SIN IN US

The traditional view of original sin was that of a disorder de~cribed in terms of ontic perfection, i.e., the lack of grace. The evolutionary view sees the disorder from the point of a perfection to which mankind is destined. Therefore it is the incapacity of man to love God above all, to enter into dialogue with him and so to reach the supernatural form of existence for which he was originally destined. The disorder is a sin because it is derived from the human resistence to the will of God that blocked man's evolutionary development. It is found in each man and can truly be called the death of the soul because it implies the privation of grace.

*

*

*

SCRIPTURE, THE MAGISTERY AND POL YGENISM

The typical theological manual of the "fifties" spoke of mono¡ genism as "theologically certain," if not implicitly defined by Trent. The position found solid support in the encyclical Humani Generis. Here Pius XII declared that "Christians cannot lend their support to a theory which involves the existence, after Adam's time, of some earthly race of men, truly so called, who were not descended ultimately from him, or else supposes that Adam was the name given to some group of our primordial ancestors. It does not appear how such views can be reconciled with the doctrine of original sin, as this is guaranteed to us by Scripture and tradition and proposed to us by the Church."


20

CHICAGO STUDIES

Theologians have repeatedly remarked that the encyclical does not appeal to scriptural or magisterial texts which speak of Adam as the progenitor of all men. Instead the pope uses an indirect argument: monogenism is logically presupposed by the dogma of original sin. Moreover, it does not declare that polygenism and original sin are irreconcilable hut simply that the reconciliation between the two is not obvious. In recent years a fairly extensive agreement among theolo· gians has appeared on the fragility of the usual scriptural and consiliar arguments for monogenism. Rahner, Renckens, DeFraine and O'Rourke fmd them lacking in force, even though they themselves consider polygenism uncongenial to Catholic doctrine. In Rahner's view the very fragility of the argumenta· lion may well account for the cautious wording of the encyclical which falls back neither on Scripture nor conciliar statements in its rejection of polygenism. THE DOCUMENTS OF THE CHURCH

Reviewing the "theological qualification" of monogenism in 1952, J. F. Sagiie wrote that theologians regarded it either as "of faith" or "proxima fidei." Rahner notes that most of the men he cites wrote before Humani Generis, i.e., before a moderate transformism was permitted by the Church. Furthermore they belonged to a period of exegesis when it was he· lieved possible to extract the historical content of Genesis l-3 without regard to its literary genre. He suggests that a critical revision of the methods employed would conduce to a greater restraint in assigning a theological value to the notion of monogemsm. Furthermore, while Humani Generis stated that polygenism was not a free opinion in the Church, it did not directly appeal to the magisterial documents which speak of Adam as the one progenitor of the race. This fact has caused theologians to look more searchingly at the conciliar documents and especially at Trent.


CREATION

21 THE CoUNCIL OF TRENT

Two points have emerged clearly from the reassessment of the Trindentine view of Adam. No one believes that the Council intended to define monogenism; the question simply did not occur to the fathers of the Council. On the other hand no one can deny that in the conciliar definition it is said that one individual stands at the beginning of human history; this man sinned and handed original sin down to his posterity by means of generation. There is no doubt that the entire teaching of the Council on original sin is formulated on this presupposition. But what is its theological value? There have been those who said that the presupposition was implicitly defined. Rahner disputes this. To maintain implicit definition, he says, it would have to be shown that what was concurrently asserted by the conciliar fathers about monogenism was for them so precisely and immediately a composite part of their doctrine of hereditary sin that their absolute affirmation of the one had to extend with the same force and unambiguity to the other-and this is doubtful" (Theological Investigations, I, p. 245). Schoonenberg has written some interesting pages on the notion of a presupposition. Among the presuppositions of a statement, he says, some are essential; they cannot be denied without making the statement meaningless. Others however are loosely connected with the statement itself. A non-essential presupposition can be dissociated from a statement without invalidating it. Thus "water boils at 100 degrees centigrade." This statement from physics presupposes a certain pressure, a certain mineral content, etc. The fact that the presuppositions may change does not invalidate the statement. Applying these reAections to the Tridentine document he suggests that the inAuence of the one first ancestor may be dissociated from the doctrine that children come into the world under sin and in need of redemption (Man and Sin, pp. 169, 174.) Flick and Alszeghy clearly admit Trent's teaching on the drama of Eden but ask whether it has the same dogmatic value as the Council's definition that every baby is born in sin. If the


22

CHICAGO STUDIES

dogmatic value of the canon describing Adam's sin is in doubt, they say, it is because the didactic purpose of the canon itself is in doubt. Recent studies have shown that the formula anathema sit used at Trent does not mean with certainty that the Council wishes to propose something as a revealed truth. It is possible then to doubt whether the Council fathers wished to define the Paradise story in itself. The canons of Session V, they note, are an organic unity, and the purpose animating that unity can be seen above all in canon 5. Here the Council declared in opposition to the Reformers that the justified man no longer had original sin. The preceding canons prepared the way for that declaration and served to avoid the impression that the Council had abandoned antipelagian orthodoxy. This can be said in a special way of the first canon since the fathers of Trent had no contemporary error in mind. A similar observation might be made about the third canon according to which original sin is transmitted "by generation not imitation." While it is certain therefore that the Council wished to affirm that all had original sin before they could imitate the sin of Adam, it is not at all so certain that the Council's didactic purpose put on the same plane the assertion that physical descent from Adam has always been necessary to contract original sin. CoNCLUSION

As we have seen, differing theological methodologies ( especially as they bear on the idea of revelation and the revelance of magisterial theology) account for the quite different views of creation taken by Protestant and Catholic scholars. It is no less true however that Catholic theologians have profited from the work done by their non-Catholic confreres, especially on such notions as "corporate personality" and "the sin of the world. We must place a high value too on the work done by Tillich, Gilkey, Niebuhr and others. Their view of creation as an answer to man's existential anxiety is a most timely one, especially for Catholic pastoral theology. While a learned discourse on the Genesis narrative and the paleolithic origins


CREATION

23

of man may leave a congregation somewhat stunned, the existential anxiety of contemporary man might well strike a more responsive chord. A glance at the various polygenistic theories is enough to signal the obvious differences among them. For Alszeghy and Flick, Adam is still an important factor in the theology of man. While he may not have been the first or the only human being on earth at the time, he was the one whose sin influenced the entire race, changing the course of evolution. Hulsboscb and Scboonenberg however feel that it may be possible to dispense entirely with Adam. All four authors agree that the usual arguments from Scripture and the magistery are too fragile to support monogenism with any degree of certitude. They concur too in placing the real problem of polygenism in its compatibility with original sin universally present in the race through generation. In the theory of Flick and Alszeghy however original sin is universally present after the fall, and by "the fall" they mean the one clearly determined sin of Adam. Schoonenberg on the other hand views the fall as an historical process, unfolding gradually until its climax in the rejection of Christ. Hulsbosch's views on this subject are not at all clear. All three theories suggest that there is a relation, even an identification, between original sin and the "sin of the world." But Flick and Alszeghy say that Adam's sin holds a unique place in this history of sin, while Schoonenberg and Hulsbosch feel that there may be necessity for postulating a single sinning progenitor of the race. For Flick and Alszeghy too the present human condition is the clear consequence of a primordial sin. Schoonenberg neglects the connection between the two, while for Hulsbosch, it would seem, the present miseries of the race are an inevitable phenomenon of evolution and not the result of an historical fault. All three theories are at one in suggesting that human generation is a condition and not a cause of original sin's presence in mankind; they offer different explanations however for that unity of the race that undergirds man's solidarity in sin.


24

CHICAGO STUDIES

The points of disagreement here are numerous and important enough to warn the reader that he is dealing with hypotheses that will bear a searching examination. Each of the authors has made it clear that he is only suggesting possible ways of rethinking the doctrine of original sin in an evolutionary perspective. That there are difficulties in the process they all admit; and in the space at hand I will point to a few of them. I for one wish that Hulsbosch and Schoonenberg would clarify their views of revelation. The subject is basic to their entire discussion yet the two authors handle it only parenthetically. Do they agree with Rahner, for instance, that revelation claims the whole of reality as its possible subject matter? Or do they feel that it is restricted to "events of faith" so that there is no prospect of disturbing the profane sciences or being dis· turbed by them? Are Catholic theologians prepared to admit, as Hulsbosch seems to do, that Genesis 2-3 is mythological aetiology, i.e., that it makes a permanently valid statement about man but without any historical underpinning. The objection that Humani Generis had to polygenism was its seeming incompatibility with original sin "properly so· called," "ex peccato vere commisso" (italics are mine). The paramount responsibility of any polygenistic theory therefore is to the integrity of the doctrine of original sin. Both Schoonen· berg and Hulsbosch seem open to criticism on this score. Schoonenberg suggests that original sin became universal only with the rejection of Christ. But an important emphasis in 1 and 2 John, Peter, Hebrews, and in Paul is upon Christ's as· sumption of human nature precisely as it was historically incriminated. Christ thus entered redernptively into our com· mon history of guilt. This does not necessarily mean that we must say, as' Rahner does, that the guilt was based on man's common biological stock; but it implies a common state of sin that antedated Christ. Nor am I comfortable with Huls· bosch's apparent willingness to forgo any connection between the present distress of mankind and a primordial sin. There


CREATION

25

is an element of the "deja la-the already present-in the history of evil that is not easily ignored in the Scriptures. The theory of Flick and Alszeghy seems to succeed the best of the three in respecting the integrity of the dogma of original sin. Yet the authors tend to solve problems posed by their hypothesis by introducing still further hypotheses. Thus they suggest that Adam's predecessors and contemporaries would have been saved much as an infant dying without baptism (it路 self a subject of endless speculation). What is the parish priest to think of these new and somewhat startling views of Adam and original sin? I can think of no better answer than that given by Schoonenberg himself. His efforts, he says, "go beyond a classic and venerable theological doctrine. They are quite new and must demonstrate their value. They should not be rejected only because they are new for it is possible that they may give a new voice to the ancient wit路 nesses. Nor should they be accepted without having demon路 strated their value. Until then there is a presumption in favour of the classic doctrine of original sin and also in agreement with the position taught by the encyclical Humani Generis against the theory which declares the existence of one couple of first parents irrelevant for the history of sin" (Man and Sin, p. 191). These authors have rendered yeoman service to theology by opening up the discussion of original sin in a way that has not happened in centuries. Even if original sin is not to be equated with the "sin of the world" their essays provide new and valuable insights into the dogma. It would be a professional dis路 service to them however to speak of their hypotheses as positions that have been established beyond question.


In inviting the attention of readers to certain of William James' opinions about war, I am conscious of raising is· sues which are subordinate and peripheral to the main field of current ethical controversy over war and peace. The point of view James asks us to adopt is one which, in contrast with those momentous moral ques· tions that have been raised with unprecedented clarity and Can the moral exigency urgency by adherents and op· fulfilled by war ponents of pacifism in our be also found time, may seem too trivial or in a " moral equivalent too obsolescent to merit our of war"? interest or even our patience. Let me begin then by conceding that James' observations + about war are secondary considerations. Whether or not they are also irrelevant and JAMES GAFFNEY, S.J. negligible considerations is however another question and the one that has seemed to me + worth raising. James' characteristic reflections on the subject and. problem of war were products of the last decade of his life, the first of the present century. They were expounded somewhat as a digression in the celebrated chapter on the value of saintliness in The Varieties of Religious Experience in 1902, taken up again for his Remarks at the Peace

on

lhe

27


28

CHICAGO STUDIES

Banquet at Boston's Universal Peace Congress of 1904, and finally made the thesis of The Moral Equivalent of War, prepared for the Association for International Conciliation in 1910. The last named work is the most extensive statement, and its title is probably the most succinct formula for his postlion which, like most of his philosophical positions, is at once theoretical and practicaL ATTITUDES TOWARD WAR

In order to enter into James' thought on this subject at all, it is necessary at least to appreciate, even if one cannot share, an attitude which many of us are understandably tempted to suppress. It is an attitude of unashamed enthusiasm for certain aspects of war. Most of us are learning, and the rest of us must learn, to think of war in discomfiting terms of gratuitous misery and brutality clamoring for vindication, of that "heavy reckoning to make when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped oH in a battle, shall join together at the latter day," and of that recurrent case of conscience we can no longer pretend is solved by King Henry's facile disjunction, "every subject's duty is the king's; but every subject's soul is his own." Still without denying that these a1¡e, at least for us now, the most urgent ways to think of war, one can deny that they are the only decent ways to think of it. The gross fancy of Othello for "the big wars that make ambition virtue" may be simple-minded, but is not in itself anomalous or fantastic. Like the exhilaration of St. Crispin's day, it is recognizable as an appropriate response to certain of the good things about the bad thing that is war. For if war is hell it is not simply hell, and if the martial virtues come at far too high a price they are not on that account depreciated to vices; and if we must indeed feel shame that some men are obliged to be soldiers, we must still feel pride that some soldiers are able to be heroes. It is for this point of view that James solicits our sympathy, and not for the sake of admiring war, but for the sake of understanding it. Granting and deploring all the diabolical features


WAR

29

of war, he would have us still give this devil his due and recognize frankly that it is in part a moral due. It is abundantly clear that James himself was anything but a "hawk." More than half a century ago he was among the sensitive few who had learned and were passionately teaching the lesson for which most of his countrymen required far bioodier instructions than in that era could well have been imagined. "When whole nations are the armies, and the science of destruction vies in intellectual refinement with the sciences of production, I see," he wrote-long before the phrase "world war" had come to coinage-"that war becomes absurd and impossible from its own monstrosity." All his beliefs on this subject drove him, as he said, "squarely into the anti-militarist party." And yet the direct thrust of his writings in this field is not against war but with characteristic pragmatism against "certain deficiencies in the programme of pacifism." The main burden of their exhortation is not that militarists ought to become pacifists but that "pacifists ought to enter more deeply into the aesthetical and ethical point of view of their opponents." James was convinced that the recurrence of war derived not simply from the mindlessness of distraught masses and the heartlessness of real-politik but as well from a genuine moral exigency which war was supposed, more or less con¡ sciously and not altogether wrongly, to be able to fulfill. It was on this account that he believed war could never simply be abolished but must rather be in a manner successfully replaced: that the peace movement required for its ultimate efficacy, among other and more obvious things, a "moral equivalent of war." AssESSMENT oF ASCETICIS!\1

It is instructive to recall the context in which, judging from available evidence, James appears to have developed this line of thought, namely, his assessment of the value of saintliness, and in particular of that most hotly controverted traditional attribute of saintliness known as asceticism. Ready as he was to regret the ascetical enormities practiced by certain saints and relished by certain hagiographers, James was resolute! y


30

CHICAGO STUDIES

opposed to those who would "treat the general tendency to asceticism as pathological." The argument he developed for this position in the 14th and 15th of his Gifford Lectures which comprise The Varieties of Religious Experience is essentially the one to which he returned on subsequent resumptions of the topic. What is absent from later presentations is the explicit indication of his original point of departure and source of inspiration in the study of religious behavior. A favorite pedagogical device of James, nowhere more exploited than in The Varieties, was to introduce consideration of particular traits of personality and behavior by citing examples of the exaggerated forms such traits can assume in relatively exotic instances. Certain vagaries of religious personality are in this way virtually caricatured from the lives and writings of spectacular, fanticial, and even at times clearly pathological cases in point. It is in this context that James has been found offensive by certain Roman Catholic readers for presenting as a kind of distraught sentimentality the visionary preoccupation of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and as a kind of obsessive prudishness the cautious chastity of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Whatever lack of delicacy or spiritual insight can be charged against James on these and similar counts, he certainly cannot fairly be charged (as in some Catholic writings he has been) with satirical intent; he is pre-eminently a rational defender and secular admirer of the saints, and an eloquent if unconventional pleader for the esteem and pursuit of sanctity in individual lives. It is in this role of advocate for sanctity that he came to deal with the problem of war. James introduces his description and discussion of the ascetical factor in saintliness by presenting in his customary fashion some examples of religious mortification apparently run wild. These somewhat disconcerting extreme instances are supplemented with accounts of more discrete practices of asceticism adopted by saints in whose lives self-chastisement had a more plausible functional and less seeming! y compulsive character. Still, when all is said, the asceticism of the saints


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betrays, even at its most genteel, a severity and relentlessness which James well know to lie beyond the ready sympathy or easy comprehension of l'homme moyen sensuel for whom he wrote. The combination of pitying condescension with annoyed perplexity that marked the discovery of Lord Chancellor More's hair-shirt has ever been the reaction of ordinary people to such extraordinary measures; they provoke pity because obviously uncomfortable, perplexity because obviously superfluous, condescension because obviously foolish, and annoyance because obviously stubborn. When such usages are defended at all it is usually on theological grounds, supposing therefore the acceptance of at least some premises contingent upon faith. From such recourse James was barred both by the nature of his work and by the absence of dogma from his personal religion. SYMPATHETIC REACTION

James states the position of cultivated secular common sense in face of the paradoxes and grotesqueries of religious asceticism with a fairness born of respect for that province of opinion: "If the inner dispositions are right, we ask, what need of all this torment, this violation of the outer nature? It keeps the outer nature too important. Any one who is genuinely emanci¡ pated from the flesh will look on pleasures and pains, abundance and privation, as alike irrelevant and indifferent. He can engage in actions and experience enjoyments without fear of corruption or enslavement." James recognizes too the inhospitality of his own native religious culture to ascetical proclivities: "The general optimism and healthy-mindedness of liberal Protestant circles today make mortification for mortification's sake repugnant to us. We can no longer sympathize with cruel deities, and the notion that God can take delight in the spectacle of sufferings self-inflicted in his honor is abhorrent." These are the arguments and express the attitudes not of shallow hedonism or hardened nihilism, but of reflective in¡ telligence, moral earnestness, and practical moderation; they are objections neither of knaves nor of fools, raised not


32

CHICAGO STUDIES

against a clearly functional ascetiCISm aimed at correcting such perversities of character as impede civilized living, but against supererogation, that deliberate overplus of avoidable discomfort that disconcertingly pervades the annals of Christian sanctity. It is from this eminently respectable point of view that James, the pragmatist, dissents. The grounds of his dissent are indeed pragmatic, but with a pragmatism of unusual subtlety. Leaving aside its unfortunate extravagances and distortions in particular cases, the ascetic way of life had for James in the first instance the value of testimo¡ny borne to what he usually calls the "twice-born philosophy": a view of the world that entails a tragic sense of the human condition, a keen conviction that powers of darkness contend for the human family and human heart, and a solemn duty of hoping and striving for deliverance from evil. The overtones here of traditional Christian eschatology are not misplaced, for James drew heavily and consciously upon the formulae and conceptions of popular theology. Yet, for all that, what he intended to profess was not a creed imparted by revelation but a conclusion imposed by experience: that . nature is in travail he held not as dogma but as fact, and that man needs no regeneration he denounced not as heresy but as folly. What he called the "religion of healthy-mindedness," for which the religion of "positive thinking" would be among our contemporary equivalents, seemed to him always a callow ideology and a myopic view of life, never evocative of moral greatness and never creative of lasting good. His own position was at once somber and resolute (always somber, it had become resolute only as the outcome of moral and psychological crisis), soberly persuaded that things were by no means all right, but determined to do what he could to better them. To such a view of life the careers of the great ascetics bore a witness radically sympathetic, dramatically arresting, and incontestably sincere. THEATRE FOR HEROISM

But the ascetic response to the world as he saw it was not for James merely a symbolic expression, a welcome advertise-


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ment for his point of view; it is intrinsically valuable and human! y constructive. The same ascetical response that bore outward testimony also afforded, James believed, an effective interior witness. Not only did it symbolically correspond to reality under its graver aspect but, by involving a man more deeply in this reality, it attuned a man more closely to it. One does not discern the lacrimae rerum but in shedding them. One could say that James, like the Christian mystics, esteemed asceticism as fitting a man for contemplation. But what James intended was contemplation precisely of this world: a less trivial sensitivity to and a less fictional perception of man's here and now, apprehended as "neither farce nor genteel comedy," but "essentially a theatre for heroism." The two phrases just quoted give a nice epitome of James' position. The first represents his conviction about what sort of world this is, and the second his opinion about what this sort of world implies for human behavior. Because it is a world at whose very heart lies conflict, a man is "really inside the game" only through being in some sense a combatant, one, that is, who takes sides, strives to uphold, and seeks to overcome. Moreover, man at his best is man at a combatant's best. And, as all the world knows, a combatant's best is heroism. Even in an age that cultivates disenchantment, "better a live coward than a dead hero" is seldom felt to be self-evident. But the stamp of heroism is precisely its overplus, its extravagance in risk and excessiveness in rigor, its supererogation -"beyond the call of duty." Presumably in the experience of most of us, ascetic Christians are no oftener come upon than chivalric soldiers, but at least as ideal figures both have wellknown essential attributes; these include, as a common authenticating element, the deliberate pursuit of heroism. It seems to have been along such lines of thought as these that James' objections to the unpopularity of asceticism led to his characteristic reflections on a kind of popularity en joyed by war. If indeed heroism represents a climatic realization of man's coming to proper terms with his environment, then a deliberate pursuit of heroism, a determined quest of heroic opportuni-


34

CHICAGO STUDIES

ties, and the conscious cultivation of a hero's disposition cannot be denounced as aberrations, but must be viewed as a pattern of life which, whatever the foibles of its idiosyncrasies, is in itself quite consonant with reality. Moreover, if nature is such that heroism is essentially congruous with it, it is only to be anticipated that heroic action should be among the objects of men's normal spiritual hungering, their primitive and unformu¡ lated ambitions. It might be expected too that where so fundamental an appetite is impeded and frustrated, as by the restric¡ tion of its opportunities or the discredit of its worth, men will be the less and the worse for it. James was convinced that this ascetic impulse or heroic drive both needed and deserved adequate outlets in every human life. He was convinced too that in many lives it was sufficiently imperious to seek and find outlets constructive or otherwise, and that all too often destructive outlets were much the readiest to hand. Paramount among the latter, it seemed to him, was war: war that ofiered scope and satisfaction to an exalted moral impulse only to debase its character and pervert its ends. '

HEROISM AND WAR

Traditionally in the history of Christian civilization, the heroic or ascetic propensity has had available two notable institutional opportunities, enjoying the approval and support of the prevailing culture: the monastery and the military. For various reasons, the religious alternative, especially in post-Reformation times, has been culturally estranged from increasingly many people, and seems moreover in recent times to have been increasingly disassociated from popular ideas of the heroic. To the majority of non-Catholic Christians, religious life has always seemed foreign, while to a growing minority of Catholics it has come to seem unexcitingly bourgeois. Marital idealism has likewise greatly waned. As the waging of war has become increasingly dehumanized by the ever-greater indiscriminacy of its destructiveness and the ever-greater automation of its processes, the attitudes of chivalrous combat have seemed more and more legendary imd contrived. Nevertheless,


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35

it is war which has remained the prime field, if not for heroic deeds, at least for heroic symbols, associations, imaginings, and pretensions. Heroic soldiery is for the average man (or child) a far more appealing and less recondite conception than heroic sanctity; such was not always the case. Lurid, melodramatic iives of saintly ascetics do not now enjoy a popular market, whereas equally lurid, melodramatic lives of military heroes continue to reward their publishers; such, again, was not always the case. In comparing the recruitment propaganda of the re¡ ligious communities with that of the military services one finds that for both the main tenor of the hallowed call, whether of God or of country, is the career of open-ended opportunity for personal fulfillment and public service in the company of alert young people almost as amiable as oneself. Nevertheless, one finds too a subordinate appeal to heroic and ascetic impulses far more frequently and frankly employed by the armed forces than by religious congregations, which increasingly stress the everyday hearty normalcy of their way of life. The marine depicted in the poster may have a somewhat smeared face and a rather tense expression, but the seminarian or scholastic will be antiseptically scrubbed and euphorically grinning. All of this is simply to suggest that if anything it is truer and more obvious for us than it was for James that when the average man casts about for a public sphere of life in which ascetic attitudes might seem to be expected, cultivated, and esteemed, a military life is the likeliest to come to mind. James believed that in war ample scope was indeed provided for the ascetic temperament, but he believed that it was provided at an intolerable cost, the cost of kindness, fraternal sympathy, humane generosity, the cost of men's "spiritual selves." James would have condemned as psychologically naive the reproach once voiced by another ethical appreciator of the virtues of war, C. S. Lewis, to the "sort of semipacifism you get nowadays, which gives people the idea that though you have to fight, you ought to do it with a long face and as if you were ashamed of it. It is that feeling that robs lots of magnifi-


36

CHICAGO STUDIES

cent young men in the services of something they have a right to, something which is the natural accompaniment of couragea kind of gaiety and wholeheartedness" (Mere Christianity). To James there seemed to be no gainsaying Moltke's chill reminder that to dedicate oneself wholeheartedly to the busi¡ ness of war is to dedicate oneself wholeheartedly to the work of human destruction, and dedication of such a kind, he believed, was one that the better part of a man could not for long easily survive. To hunt men without malevolence, to slaughter men without disdain, and to hide from men without loathing constituted, in James' view, something very like a psychological miracle, and this opinion which he entertained with anguish he could cite from authorities on military ef¡ ficiency who entertained and propounded it with icy equanimity. Indeed, it is not easy to reconcile Lewis' advocacy of "gaiety and wholeheartedness" in the waging of war with his reminder shortly afterwards that "we may kill if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating. We may punish if necessary, but we must not enjoy it." As a psychologist famous for his theory that physical reaction determines emotional experience, that how we feel about things depends on what we do about them, James could have put scant hope in the combined martial wholeheartedness and moral halfheartedness that Lewis seems to require. THE ASCETIC DILEMMA

The problem had then, as James envisioned it, two critical dimensions, first, that the ascetic impulse flourished in militarism and thus contributed to the admiration and cultivation of war as an institution, and second, that it flourished so little elsewhere and contributed to so little else. For James was as convinced of the basic sanity of asceticism as he was of the basic insanity of war. The hospitality of war to heroism was the paradoxical case of an immoral institution's rendering unique moral service, and in so doing rallying its partisans and enhancing its prestige. A largely unsuspected part, therefore, of what was needed to dissuade men from war, seemed to James to be other agencies capable of performing war's gen-


WAR

37

uinely good offices. "What we now need to discover in the social realm is the moral equivalent of war: something heroic that will speak to men as universally as war does, and yet will be as compatible with their spiritual selves as war has proved itself to be incompatible." Having argued that a "moral equivalent of war" is a thing worth seeking, James did not pretend lo know where to find it or how to contrive it. He did however suggest some of its likely attributes. He was at one with Christian tradition in considering the pre-eminent and in a sense all-embracing form of asceticism to be voluntary poverty. At the same time, he did not fail to note the social insensitivity which has in times past characterized a Christian asceticism that "paid little heed to social righteousness," so that "to leave the world to the devil whiles! saving one's own soul was then accounted no discreditable scheme." In his own day, however, as in ours, "helpfulness in general human affairs is, in consequence of one of those secular mutations in moral sentiment.... deemed an essential element of worth in character." Accordingly, poverty and social benefit must be joint constituents of any moral equivalent for war, the former to be moderated and directed by the latter, but without being undermined by it. The last consideration is a major one, because of the banal but partial truth that one is enabled to be of greater social benefit by becoming less poor. This can be only an inadequate truth, if there is substance in James' basic contention that asceticism produces humane assets peculiarly its own in the form of an outward witness and inward illumination that can benefit society in no mean fashion by enlarging its apprehension of essential truth. Once James' premises are granted, the danger of sacrificing material ends to ascetical means becomes no more real than that of sacrificing ascetical ends to. material means. The latter sacrifice moreover would entail precisely the renunciation of a moral equivalent for war as James conceived it. Poverty and service were for James the twin at¡ tributes of the fabled knight-errant, his idealized symbol of the virtuous warrior, spared by the delicacy of legend from the


38

CHICAGO STUDIES

soiling realities of war, "owing nothing but his bare life, and willing to toss that up at any moment when the cause commands him." To foster some viable, practicable, and constructive con¡ temporary version, no more prosaic than it need be, of this chivalric archetype was essentially what he appealed for as a moral equivalent for war. To appreciate the motivational potency of the impulses embodied in that archetype was what he meant by pacifists' entering "more deeply into the aesthetical and ethical point of view of their opponents." AN AMERICAN ANSWER

Only once in my memory has something like a public implementation of James' idea been undertaken in this country. That was in the brief period of the Kennedy administration, 1 when subtly but unmistakably ascetic, heroic, and indeed chivalric motifs assumed curious familiarity in the presidential rhetoric and curious influence in the public imagination. 1t was with multiple appropiateness that The Oxford History of the American People closed its account of those years with the verses of Camelot. The Kennedy appeals to a gratuitous strenuousness in ordinary living and a sacrificial devotedness in patriotic service, whatever may have been their practical results, evoked little overt cynicism and much obvious sympathy. The product of that atmosphere which has survived into a time when the presidental leitmotiv is not conspicously ascetic is of course the institution of the Peace Corps, a project whose title precisely captures the connotations of "a moral equivalent of war." It may be that by this and similar enterprises James' theory can be validly tested, and it may also be that by James' theory such enterprises can be usefully enlightened. In any case, it is at least intellectually gratifying to find one of American psychology's most imaginative theories so functionally fitted to one of American government's most imaginative experiments. It is a sort of thing that rarely happens here.

•

j


Tke Lord of the Absurd by Raymond J. Nogar, O.P., a "noted lecturer in evolution, science, and religion," includes perhaps the most recent censure of the thought of Teil· hard de Chardin. The hook's overall propo· sition is the rejection of the classic argument for God's ex· istence from the order of the cosmos and more specifically from the dynamic order of evolution, and an appropria· tion of an argument from dis· order and absurdity. Nogar abandons for three reasons the approach from order, once his

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~i/haPJ''? An examination of Raymond ]. Nogar's critique of Teilkard de Chard in on tke point of absurdity.

own. + First, the twentieth century scientist views the assertion of an orderly and harmonious JOSEPH D. COLLINS, M.M. cosmos, of a universe, as "the medieval system in modern dress, . . • a mythical anthro· + pomorphism that must be ex· orcised from any realistic understanding of the world" (Tke Lord of the Absurd, p. 121). Heisenberg's Indeterminancy Principal, Einstein's Theory of Relativity, contemporary reevaluations by philosophers of science, especially second thoughts about the certainty and the applicability of so-called scientific laws, and the exposures of the many abortions and 39


40

CHICAGO STUDIES

wasteful blind alleys of the evolutionary process have shaken nearly every cosmologist. Nogar does caution that much of this "sounds far more revolutionary and catastrophic than it really is." He explains: "There is a great deal of dynamic order in the universe; it is just far more in determined and unpredictable than we imagined. There is a natural, lawful, orderly unfolding in the organic realm; there is just a much larger play of chance than we once thought" (p. 106). Secondly, contemporary men of letters and other thinkers voice the modern horror and radical insecurity in face of the immense waste, frustration and irrationalities which grate the very nerve of human existence. Finally, Father Nogar believes that even Christ, the ultimate available source of man's understanding, "reveals himself as the eccentric, the Lord not of the expected order, but the Lord of the Absurd . . . Christ, when you come right down to it, was intrusive upon a world of order" (pp. 124, 152). ARGUMENT FROM ABSURDITY

Accordingly, Nogar in no way finds the contemporary re¡ jection of a unified, rational cosmos disconcerting; rather he celebrates it as his own experience of reality and as truly Christian. He perceives that it is precisely the atheistic evolutionary humanists who opt for the view of the universe as a wholly ordered whole, since it is only such a universe that can carry Julian Huxley's label, "self-creative, self-transforming and self-sufficient." From a picture of order alone, there is no sense of dependence in being ... In fact, the very aesthetics of order may be the greatest impediment of all, obscurring the dependence of our existence by generating an illusion of self-sufficiency"

(p.78). Although Nogar once argued for the existence of an intelligent God from the dynamic order of evolution, he now believes his basic insight into human and divine existence to be found in the palpable authenticity of waste, unpredictability, disorder, frustration, and absurdity of the world. It is in just such a


TEILHARD

41

world that we become aware of how amazing It IS that after two billion years there is anything but chaos. Nogar expresses vividly his existentialist insight: "It is from the awareness of contingency, the 'queasy' feeling that your existence is leaning hard on nothing, balanced upon the precipice of nonbeing, that calls into question your self-sufficienr.y. Ynn'v"' got to sense your creatureliness, not order, to know how dependent and insufficient you are . . . Waste, mess, terror and frustration bring us face to face, not with self-sufficiency, but with the mystery of contingent existence . . . " (pp. 78-79). Nogar, in short, has swapped arguments with the atheistic humanists. The atheist has appropriated the old argument from order as demonstrating that God is irrelevant, an "unnecessary hypothesis." Nogar, on the other hand, founds his "philosophy of waste" on the old atheistic argument from chance, disorder, and cosmic-wide evil as demonstrating "that it is unthinkable that creatures could hang long on the thread of contingency, on the threshhold of nothing, without being sustained" (p. 81) by the "Lord of the Absurd," the God who is made fully known to us in the realistic drama of fragmentary existence only by revelation. TEILHARD'S LORD OF ORDER

Where does Nogar fit Teilhard de Chardin into all of this? In a special chapter entitled "The Strange World of Father Teilhard" Nogar sums up and expands upon his passim comments on Teilhard into his "culminating vision of a Teilhardian anti-Teilhardism" (the hook-jacket blurb). Nogar enrolls Teilhard into the old school of illusionaries who espouse the Lord of Order. In Teilhard's "Grand System" the rational cosmic order is one in which "Jesus Christ presents himself as the God of order, emerging as the ruler of the harmonious, dynamic evolutionary epigenesis" (pp. 149-150). "What seems to me to be the basic illusion in his vision in this: When Father Teilhard looks out (and inward) upon reality, he sees everything, without exception, as part of an orderly, harmonious whole" (p. 119). Nagar's attack on Teilhard is forbearingly worded: "I


42

CHICAGO STUDIES

just cannot see," he declares, "what he says he sees" (p. 118). Nogar claims that Teilhard is not keen to the disorder, the waste, the absurdity, the frustration of the universe, but optimistically envisions the "pristine phenomenon" to be an orderly, monolithic universe whose God is the "Lord of Order." "I have strained my eyes along the sweep of Teilhard's arm into the cosmis distance ... The universe may, in point of fact, be one; when God looks upon the universe he may see it to be one; but when I look out upon the universe of matter, of man and of God's handiwork, I do not see it as one" (pp. 118, 122). Along these same lines Nogar claims Teilhard sees Christ as "quite logical and expected." "To me, the only question is whether Father Teilhard gives full value to the contradiction, the intrusion, the absurdity of the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ" (p. 123). In a recent article in Continuum (Summer, 1966, p. 275) Nogar charges Teilhard with a "kind of preformism" in which it is claimed that Christ can be seen in the discernible cosmic pattern. Furthermore, Nogar holds that revelation alone brings ultimate meaning for man. Michael Novak in his review of The Lord of the Absurd suggests that "perhaps the underside of Teilhard's argument ... could be developed more fully, to meet Father Nogar's strictures" (Critic, October-November, pp. 113-114). Indeed after reading The Lord of the Absurd I found myself agreeing with Nogar's basic thesis that the argument for God's existence from universal order or from the dynamic order of evolution has irrevocably collapsed, leaving the way wide open to the experience of God in contingency; but serious study of Teilhard's books and correspondence and of the commentaries of his friends and of scholars raised several questions about the possibility of an underside to Teilhard not reducible to Nogar's classifications. The answers to these questions resulted from the following analysis of the role of absurdity in Teilhard's thought, an analysis which digs up the radicle of similarity between Teilhard and Nogar (which I believe Nogar


TEILHARD

43

passed over) and the real rift which flows from the very nucleus of agreement. ABSURDITY IN TEILHARD

Anyone not a stranger to the world of Teilhard de Chardin cannot but have a vivid impression of Teilluu·J'• mot-level and realistic awareness of disorder, absurdity, anxiety, suffering, death. If not so much The Phenomenon of Man, in which Teilhard states he did not consider it necessary to bring out the negative underlining, then definitely The Divine Milieu and his personal correspondence have convinced many (Mooney, de Lubac, Crespy, Chauchard and others) of Teilhard's "natural disposition towards extreme pessimism." A fellow Jesuit and a close friend wrote that "Teilhard in daily life, in what con· cemed him personally, was far from being an optimist . . . how often in intimate conversation have I found him depressed . . . "(Leroy, Letters from a Traveller, pp. 35-6). It is fairly common knowledge that Teilhard's life was not that of a sheltered medieval monk. He felt the full force of suffering (his sister Marguerite with whom he frequently corresponded was a life-long invalid), world war (during World War I Teilhard was drafted as a stretcher-bearer, served four years at the front, and was decorated three times for his bravery), and, not least, the absurdity of his own exilic, lonely life. The following excerpts from Teilhard's writings are among those which reflect the "pristine phenomena" of life for Teilhard. "With Boussac [a very close friend killed at the front in 1916] one of the pillars of my future is gone. At first I could see myself rejecting with spite everything I had ever worshipped. Instead of working for the improvement and conquest of the earth . . . wouldn't it be better to abandon to its own sort of suicide this absurd world which destroys its own best pro· ductions? . . . ( The Making of a Mind, p. 123). At the death of another close friend in China twenty years later, Teilhard experienced a "sharp and concrete realization


44

CHICAGO STUDIES

of the utter vanity of human effort . " (Letter of April 10, 1934 in Letters from a Traveller). Mooney tells us that this deep personal insight into the apparent futility of human effort, initially provoked by the shock of the war, remained as an integral part of his outlook up to the time of his death (Mooney, Teilhard de Chardin and the Mystery of Christ, pp. 21-22.) "The world is a heavy thing indeed for someone who is welded to it yet unable to give any life to its mass! Who is going to cure us of this pain of loneliness?" (Letter of January 6, 1917 in The Making of a Mind). "The problem of evil . . . our failures, even the pure! y physical ones ... will always remain one of the most disturb路 ing mysteries of the universe for both our hearts and our minds" (The Divine Milieu, pp. 85 87). "At every moment we see diminishment, both in us and around us, which does not seem to be compensated by advantages on any perceptible plane: premature deaths, stupid accidents, weaknesses affecting the highest reaches of our being ... " (The Divine Milieu, p. 82). "Death is the sum and consummation of all our diminishments: it is evil itself-purely physical evil, in so far as it results organically from the material plurality in which we are immersed; but a moral evil too, in so far as this disordered plurality, the source of all strife and all corruption, is en路 gendered in society or in ourselves . . . " (The Divine Milieu, p. 82). For Teilhard his experience of the world of nature was always "so much more disturbing than satisfying." "There is the crazy indifference and the heartbreaking muteness of a natural environment in which the greater part of individual endeavour seems wasted or lost, where the blow and the cry seems stifled on the spot, without awakening any echo. But more painful yet are the passivities which are internal, for these form the blackest residue and the most despairingly use路 less years of our life. Some were waiting to pounce on us as soon as we awoke; natural failings, physical defects, intellec路 tual and moral limitations, as a result of which the field of our


TEILHARD

45

activities, of our enjoyment, of our vision, has been ruthlessly limited since birth. Others were lying in wait for us later on and appeared as suddenly and brutally as an accident, or as stealthily as an illness . . . Sometimes it is the cells of the body that rebel or become diseased; at other times the very elements of our personality seem to be iu conflict or to run amok. And then we impotently stand by and watch collapse, rebellion and inner tyranny, and no friendly influence can come to our help" (The Divine Milieu, pp. 54-55, 60). SIMILARITIES

These insights into Teilhard reveal the core of similarity between Nogar and Teilhard: they both experience and recognize the radical absurdity of existence. Nogar's belief that the "pristine phenomena" for Teilhard are ¡orderly and harmonious, that Teilhard in his system merely "looks out and inward and describes what he sees" is not supported by full examination of Teilhard. We must realize, if ultimately we are to say either yea or nay to Teilhard's culminating worldview, that it was, as Mooney calls it "in every sense a victory of faith" (Mooney, p. 15). In other words, in their primordial perspectives and orientations, Father Teilhard's world is not at all strange to the world of Father Nagar. To a great extent, what Father Nagar fails to recognize is that Teilhard could well be included among those contemporaries who primarily are sensitive to the fragmented quality of reality. Although Teilhard does share Nogar's "awareness of contingency, the 'queasy' feeling," he differs from Nogar precisely in how he reacts to this anxiety. Teilhard's lifetime project centered on moving away from this anxiety. The work of Mooney and others clearly establishes that the telling thread of Teilhard's thought is a determination (for which M. Barthelemy-Madaule (International Quarterly, l :657) feels he paid a high price) to transcend the "evil-on-every-level" which, like Nogar, he experiences as the "pristine phenomenon." Teilhard's determination to resolve the primary "perception of multiplicity into some unity" (Comment je crois, p. 5) is


46

CHICAGO STUDIES

dramatically set forth in the all-important Preface to The Phenomenon of Man: "Seeing . . . to try to see more and better is not a matter of whim or curiosity or self-indulgence. To see or to perish is the very condition . . . I repeat that my only aim in these pages, my whole driving, is to try to see; that is to say, to try to develop a homogeneous and coherent perspective of our general experience extended to man" (pp. 31, 35). Teilhard's anxious search for homogeneity, for coherence, for a resolution of absurdity is most often expressed by his search for what he calls in French issue, which is variously translated as "way-out," "outcome," "solution." Teilhard's repeated fear is that modern man cannot throw his energies into "building the earth," into furthering the "rise of the noosphere," unless he is certain there is some opening at the end of the march. "Man," he observes, "will never take a step in a direction he knows to be blocked" (Phenomenon, p. 231; see also Mooney, pp. 13-32). Teilhard resolved this anxious search for a "wayout" through a curious three-level method. THREE-LEVEL METHOD

The first level consists of his "hyperphysics" or "generalized physics," a phenomenological analysis of the process of evolution based on all the data of the sciences on the whole phenomenon of man, particularly both the "within" and the "without." On this level the paleontologist proposes his "Law of Complexity-Consciousness." The only assurance he sees given on this level is that in the past there has been and in the present there is a discernible pattern. But although the pattern has so far been unreserved, we have no assurance that it is irreversible, for, in Nogar's words, "there is no intrinsic, unalterahle absolute !awes of nature" (Nagar, p. lOS) and the Law of Complexity-Consciousness is no exception. Teilhard the scientist-observer saw a universe without any guarantee of a successful outcome. One other phenomenon further threatens the desired assurance of a successful outcome: through man evolution has not only become conscious of itself but is now


TEILHARD

47

free to destroy itself (The Phenomenon, especially pp. 230, 232). It is Teilhard's great dread that the world in its disorder, frustration, absurdity will seem to have no successful outcome and will thus be truly absurd. "Either nature is closed to our demands for futurity, in which case thought, the fruit of millions of years of effort, is stifled, still-born in a selfabortive and absurd universe. Or else an opening exists . . ." (The Phenomenon, p. 233) . Here at the end of the third book of The Phenomenon of Man Teilhard announces a most essential leap from the "scienttific" perspective. He goes on to say: " . . . on neither side is there any tangible evidence to produce. Only, in support of hope, there are rational invitations to an act of faith" (see also Comment je vois, p. 23.) This "faith," which is not supernatural faith, Teilhard in another place defines thus: "I mean by 'faith' any adherence of our intelligence to a general view of the universe . . . The essential note of the psychological act of faith is, in my opinion, to see as possible and to accept as more probable a conclusion which, because it envelopes too much in space and time, goes far beyond all its analytical premises. To believe is to achieve an intellectual synthesis" (Comment je crois, p. 2) This "psychological act of faith" is an intellectual perspective which in face of the impossibility on the level of science of finding in the analysis of evolution any affirmations of the future of the world and with an awareness of the possibility man has to dispose of evolution, refuses to accept the possi¡ hility of the failure of evolution and postulates "convictions strictly undemonstrahle to science" (The phenomenon, p. 284). Teilhard arrives at the object of his psychological act of faith, the Omega, by doing something alien to hyperphysics. He questions, "What should the future he like in order to give us the strength or even the joy to accept the prospect of it and to hear its weight?" Teilhard's answer to this question is "whatever is vitally necessary . . . for in the last analysis the best 0


48

CHICAGO STUDIES

guarantee that a thing should happen is that it appears to us as vitally necessary" (The Phenomenon, pp. 229, 234). In the context of the noosphere and the dynamics of human freedom Teilhard goes on to describe how love is the highest form of radial energy and the only force capable of moving man's will in the gigantic effort of closer union. "A universal love is the only complete and final way in which we are able to love" (The Phenomenon, p. 267). But if "amorization," as he calls it, is going to conquer man's tendency to repulsion, it must depend upon our ... "making up our minds to accept the possibility, indeed the reality, of some source of love and object of love at the summit of the world above our heads ... Unless the modern impetus towards union is leading us towards 'Someone,' it must certainly end up by plunging us back into matter. In order to tum this failure that threatens us into success, what we must do is to recognize not only some vague future existence, but also, as I must now stress, the radiation as a present reality of that mysterious Centre of our centres I have called Omega" (The Phenomenon, pp. 267-268). Teilhard's "psychological act of faith" figured crucially in his personal struggle to move away from the anguish of fragmentary existence. For as he stated in The Divine Milieu (pp. 117-118), "The immense hazard and the immense blindness of the world are only an illusion for him who believes." The final level of Teilhard's thought has its source in Christian revelation. The Absolute demanded by the contingency of all existence and discovered in his "psychological act of faith" is a "faceless God" (Mooney, p. 56). "This pole Omega is reached only by extrapolation; it remains of its nature an assumption and a conjecture . . . which nourishes our hope on traits that are vague and ethereal." We must therefore "support our muddled extrapolations with some positive facts" (The Phenomenon, p. 308). Revelation gives Teilhard the "positive facts"; he identifies the "Someone" with Christ. Thus ultimately by revelation only is the demand for the stable Absolute fulfilled. "The universe can find only


TEILHARD

49

in him [Christ] the guarantee of its stability" (Letter of September 23,1947 in Letters from a Traveller, p. 290). PROBLEM OF EVIL

"Evil-on-every-level" is another manner of expressing Teilhard's and Nogar's primary confrontation with absurdity every¡ where. Teilhard's approach to the problem of "evil" (in this full sense of "on every level") illustrates bow it is Teilhard's total system which serves as his "way-out" in the face of absurdity, of evil. "Evil" for Teilbard is an all-inclusive abstraction, the specifi¡ cation of which depends on the level of existence involved. "To begin with we find physical lack-of-arrangement or derangement on the material level; then suffering, which cuts into the sentient flesh; then, on a still higher level, wickedness and the torture of spirit as it analyses itself and makes choices. Statistically, at every degree of evolution, we find evil always and everywhere, forming and reforming implacably in us and around us" (The Phenomenon, p. 310). Teilhard's single objective is to eradicate the scandal of evil as both a purely intellectual problem and as a problem that strikes the very heart of man. For Teilhard the intellectual problem is solved once we see evil to be inherent in the essential nature of his system (The Phenomenon, p. 309), once we grasp and assimilate so thoroughly that it becomes part of the very habit and nature of our thought the basic truth . . . that being far from representing a terminal and isolated notion is in reality definable (genetically, at least, if not ontologically) by a particular movement toward union ... being ( etre) -being united . . . " (Jubilee, X, 21 and Commem ie fois, cited in Crespy, La Pense theologique de Tailhard de Chardin, p. 87). For Teilhard God in choosing creation in and through cosmogenesis chose "evil" as a necessary consequence, a "byproduct" of the process (The Phenomenon, p. 311). Or in other words, to understand evil Teilhard asks us to see what he sees through his science, psychological act of faith, and the gift of revelation. As if to convince by repetition, Teilhard


50

CHICAGO STUDIES

states frequently in his writings: Necessarium est ut adveniant

scandala." Teilhard is confident that "evil" can be understood by men in a perspective of necessity and even utility in such a way that ultimately evils are not really evils. This is even clearer in his attempt to remove what he considers to he the inevitable grief, emptiness and debilitating despair which result from the absurdity, the evil-on-every-level of life. Teilhard is certain that death, like all other manifestations of evil, will make it psychologically impossible to carry on the struggle of life and, for Teilhard, bring evolution to a halt. "As long as our constructions rest with all their weight upon the earth they will vanish with the earth. The radical defect of all forms of belief in progress, as they are expressed in positivist credos, is that they do not definitely eliminate death. What is the use of detecting a focus of any sort in the van of evolution if that focus can and must one day disintegrate?" (The Phenomenon, p. 270) . Teilhard, therefore, out of a "psychological need to find some positive value for the evil of death" finds death in his "intellectual synthesis" to be another "critical point." Having crossed this barrier we are free "from that whole limited framework of experience within which we were born" and "by this metamorphosis we move into a sphere of a centre of a higher order. This escape, however, is not without the pain and struggle of crossing a threshold" ( cf. Mooney, p. 112 and note 14). Teilhard feels that nothing is truly absurd or evil for whatever is there in the end (and that is Good) must be there in the beginning. (Dewart criticizes Teilhard on this concep¡ tion of "at bottom nihil novum sub sole." The Future of Belief, p. 44-45). Nogar questions "whether Father Teilhard gives full value to the contradiction, the intrusion, the absurdity ... of Christ." He judges Teilhard to present the Cross as "not unexpected" in the normal course of evolving events and to claim that Christ can be seen in the discernible cosmic pattern and not to


TEILHARD

51

give full consideration to the role of revelation. To me it seems, however, that Teilhard sees Christ as "logical" only once one has assimilated his total "intellectual synthesis"-which is no solely natural discernment but a positive reliance drawing upon a psychological act of faith and a supernatural faith. Not only is Teilhard's Christology in the context of this total system and method, but Teilhard carefully qualifies his statements such as those N ogar is criticizing: "The sublime aspect of the law common to all life"; "the royal road of the Cross is no more nor less than the road of human endeavour once it has been supernaturally righted and prolonged." DISSIMILARITY

Looking at this carefully, we can conclude that there is a significant difference between Teilhard and Nogar. This dissimilarity discloses itself in their respective reactions to the "pristine phenomenon" of absurdity: Nogar celebrates it, while Teilhard looks for a "way-out." The "philosophy of waste" of Nogar confirms itself in the reality of absurdity; the "psychological act of faith" is for Teilhard the way to make the universe no longer appear absurd to man. In all fairness to the sincerity of Teilhard I suggest that Teilhard gave his life struggling to create his system on account of at least two assumptions: first, he was convinced that men, in the face of absurdity, would choose to be passive out of defiance or anguish; and, secondly, he conceived of Christian revelation as demonstrating efficient, logically understandable, and, above all, unified patterns of reality. (Mooney, p. 51, gives a striking exposition of Teilhard's life and work as "a passionate search for unity . . . born of a deep Christian faith.") Precisely at these two areas Nogar aims his criticism of Teilhard. First, Nagar, in contrast to Teilhard, believes "we are no longer looking for a system; we are looking for fragmentary insights which are realistic" (p: 126). Nogar charges that Teilhard, the man and the paleontologist, despite his initial experiences of life and of the world, tried in the end to present a


52

CHICAGO STUDIES

harmonious whole. Nogar, however, claims that scientists, "men like R. A. Lyttleton and G. J. Whitrow insist, 'our idea of the universe as a whole remains a product of the imagination.' Indeed, the structure of science rests upon the assumption of the applicability of cosmic laws and theories. If, then, we are to assert only what we know, what we can see at present, no such cosmic harmony and whole exists in the world of matter, let alone in the world of psyche, spirit and the supernatural" (p. 121). What is more, Nogar is confident that the collapse of the possibility (and the longing for) a system does not necessarily result in a "fundamental anguish of being" nor "nausea" nor "a final agnostic anxiety." On the contrary, Nogar avows that although order might be "tremendously satisfying . • . it's not something you can believe and hope in. [For] to a mother whose tiny child has just died of cancer, the suggestion that, in spite of all, the celestial spheres still sing in cosmic harmonies, has the consolation of a mouthful of ashes" (Nogar, p. 128)Secondly, as we have already seen, Nogar makes clear that for him Christ is the Intruder, the Upsetter of order and expectations. Not only does Nogar refuse to agree with the implications in Teilhard's thought and method that Christian revelation demonstrates a God of Order, but he declares the real alternative happens to be particularly relevant in these days. "Those who think that they have to establish an ordo universi . . . . have not grasped the kind of unbelief into which we have become entrapped . . . A god of a harmonious cosmos, of aesthetic beauty, truth and goodness, of a great chain of causes, of finalities and vital forces, we do not need today. We don't need a God we can admire; we need a God we can believe in, one in whom we can place our trust and love . . . To underscore order, intelligence, power and finality today cannot possibly provide the symbol of a personal, loving God who communicates with us in our frustrations, misery, failures and disorders. After all, when the plant is running smoothly,


TEILHARD

53

who needs the superintendent? It is when the machine breaks down that his personal presence is required" (Nogar, pp.

138-141). SUMMARY

Here in No;;ar's The Lord of the Absurd lies one of the most novel and insightful negative critiques of Teilhard. At a time ( 1) when most men are neither waiting for a Grand System before acting nor will accept such a system and ( 2) even though Christian revelation neither discloses nor points to such a system, Teilhard presents a system seen by the majority of scientists as necessarily (in view of our present capacities to know) based primarily on imagination. Possibly if Teilhard had realized the first two points which Nogar scores in countering Teilhard's dare "to see or to perish," he would not have been compelled by anxiety to construct his system. But would not the world without its "touchstone of our age"as Nogar honors him-be the less for it?


Is the modern Catholic com· pletely shock-proof? He seems to be adjusting to most things in the "new" Church that were unheard of twenty years ago. He tolerates well the singing of Protestant hymns, down· pia ying of the Blessed Virgin, upgrading of the laity and diatribes against the Mac· chiavellian vagaries of the "in· A survey stitutional Church." He is no of current discussions longer inconsolably nostalgic on the manner about the passing of novenas, of Christ's Eucharistic the rosary and the Requiem presence. Mass. He may even smile about the death of God. But he won· ders about the Eucharist. After all, the line has to be drawn + somewhere. The theologian of today is sensitive to the problems CHARLES R. MEYER created for so many by the aggiornamento. But he has • been more concerned about the effect of a Catholic ghetto· mentality upon the world at large. He worries about the compartmentalization of theology, the relegation of it to inactive areas of the mind that are not at all relevant to life as it is lived in the world today. He is aware of the fact that Catholic theology has been marking time and the world has passed it by. He sees the anomaly of his position. People today crave theology.

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And he has very little that is palatable to offer them. Already in the sixteenth century Leonard Lessius complained that theologizing was simply a matter of memorizing manuals that gave prefabricated answers to difficulties. The knowledge explosion has made it absolutely impossible for Lessius' remonstration to go unheeded today if theology is to survive at all. The "new breed" theologian is not trying to destroy our faith in the Eucharist. On the contrary, he is trying to deepen it, to make it more personal and more intelligible. He is trying to bring it into line with modern progress in every field. DoGMATIC PHYSics

Thirty years ago theologians began having serious difficulties about aligning traditional medieval notions about substance and accident with the finding of modern physics. There appeared in the German ecclesiastical reviews a plethora of articles on what was called Dogmatische Physik. Science had shown that the ultimate constituents of material reality were not what the scholastics called substance, but precisely what had been considered accidents: quality and quantity. Heimo Dolch issued his interesting little book on the problem as relating to Catholic dogma. Soccorsi showed how even by scholastic standards bread and wine could not in any way be considered to be substance. But it was Henri Bouillard who first sounded the rallying call of the modern theologian when in 1944 he wrote: "In order to preserve in new intellectual contexts the purity of an absolute affirmation, theologians have spontaneously expressed it in new notions. When the mind evolves, an immutable truth is maintained only by a simultaneous and correlative evolution of all notions which thus maintain mutually an identical relation. A theology which would not be contemporaneous to its age would be a false theology." Needless to say, there were repercussions in the Vatican. The house cannot be beaten when roulette is played with Denzinger numbers. But even then the authorities were not all reactionary. In an address to ecclesiastical students in Rome in 1939 Pius XII stated: "We thoroughly approve and recom-


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mend that the ancient wisdom be brought into accord, if need be, with the new discoveries of scholarship." Under this man¡ date, following Rouillard's lead, theologians applied themselves to their task. John's open window fanned the spark. Today we sample the results. SCHOLASTICISM AND MODERN PHILOSOPHY

The new ideas about the Eucharist are really more philoso¡ phical than theological. Tbe Dutch Catholic theologians who set them forth obviously have not rejected Catholic dogma. They believe that Christ is really present in the Eucharist. The only thing that they question is the traditional scholastic understanding of that presence. Scholasticism, they say, has been laid to rest by men like Heidegger and Jaspers, who are existentialists, and Monnier, who is a personalist. Personalism and existentialism are philosophies of our own time. Modern man laughs at the ideas of Aristotle about the physical constitution of the universe upon which his metaphysics was based. If today we are going to accept the idea of substance and accident, why not go a little further in wrapping ourselves in the cocoon of the past? Why not defend the old Hebrew idea of a triple-decker universe? Existentialism really is not a single philosophical system like scholasticism. It comprises a number of different views of man in relation to the world agreeing only in one areathat the traditional philosophy has been superficial, purely academic and remote from real life-in a word, inhuman and unreal. The existentialist is concerned with man as he really is-particularly and peculiarly with the limitations of his being and with that which is at one and the same time his greatest glory and his most weighty burden, his free will. Personalism is a philosophy which reacts against the mechanizing tendencies of modern industrial society. It is a product of Marxism, humanism and psychoanalytic phenomenology. It proposes the idea that a human person is fully himself only in a personal relationship to another. Human beings are essentially oriented toward and open to other per-


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sons. The idea that in transubstantiation the Eucharist now containing the divine person Christ would acquire a new objective relationship to things is totally repugnant to this philosophy. In a sense however the scholastics anticipated this philoophy when they maintained that Christ in the Eucharist is not localized. He in no way acquires a new relationship to the corpora ambientia, but is present without any contact with the place in which he becomes present. But if the scholastic explanation on this point agrees with personalist theory, it runs afoul of existentialism. For in the Eucharistic Christ is present not merely as a divine person, but also as a human being with a body ,albeit a glorified one. NEW THEORIES OF PRESENCE

To obviate these difficulties new theories of the Eucharistic presence have been proposed .. These new notions emphasize one aspect of Eucharistic doctrine which is quite traditional. _;Christ's presence in the Eucharist is a sign and symbol of his presence in the community. In the Eucharistic banquet bread and wine initially are symbols of the life of the community. 'Food and drink sustain us and so aptly represent our very lives. This was very apparent to the Jew whose daily fare was bread and wine. When he made an offering of bread and wine, he knew that symbolically he was giving himself, his life, all he had. I have often thought that this idea of selfgiving might have much more meaning to the man of today if the words of consecration were pronounced over a $100 bill instead of bread and wine. This is the sentiment that Christ was trying to evoke in instituting the Eucharist. But even in the beatnik parlance of our time money is called bread; so I suppose that this symbolism would not be entirely lost on our congregations. J In the Mass then it is the very thing that we offer, that is, ourselves in this symbolic way, that is transformed into the body of Christ. Really the very purpose of the Mass in the ' ultimate analysis is to impress upon us in a very dramatic way what we really are--that is, the body of Christ. We members of the Christian community are really Christ in the world


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today. As Paul Tillich says, we are responsible for him in so far as he is in the world today. The words of consecration are not pronounced primarily over the bread at all; they are pro· nounced over the congregation. This facet of our belief is brought out beautifully now that we have altars facing the people. At the sacred anaphora the people of God are told that they are the body of Christ. It is only as in a reflection, in a secondary way that what has happened in the assembly is effected also in the symbol of the assembly upon the altar. So the bread is also now the body of Christ. The bread because it represents the total self-giving of the assembly is that perfect body without blemish, the body which the community must strive always to be, but never can be perfectly in this world. But even now the community is reflected in the consecrated elements. That is why the priest can still bless them. 5CHOONENBERG's TRANSIGNIFICATION

Piet Schoonenberg, 5.]., takes advantage of these ideas when he says, "Christ's presence primarily means not Christ's body being there in the species, but Christ's presence in the Eucharistic community." He goes on to explain that presence is of two kinds. Objects (Vorharulene) are present to one another; but they can be present only by spatial contact. Persons are v also present to one another; but they are present in another way-by their will to be present and their very being in a place, or "being there" ( Dasein). Personal presence does not necessarily imply spatial contact, but merely "being there." The risen Christ is present as a person wherever there is belief in him. He is present because he wills to be present and has a human nature which can "be there." This is his personal • response to the personal commitment of his followers to him in their acceptance of him in faith. The Eucharist objectifies • that personal commitment of the Christian community; it is the most perfect expression of the faith of the assembly. In it the faithful have invested everything they are and have. So Christ wills to become really present in it. In it he objectifies his personal Dasein.


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From their original condition as the externally objectified representation of the community's faith, the bread and wine pass over into the external and real objectification of Christ's presence in the community as a result of that faith. The Eucharist thus makes real Christ's presence in the assembly. vit is the instrument through which contact is made between the community's faith and Christ's will to be present where there is faith. Through the anaphora then the bread acquires a new v meaning. As it was the perfect sign of the community's faith and self-giving, it now becomes the perfect sign of Christ's love and self-giving. This is the transignification or transfinalization about which Schoonenberg speaks. v

SMITS' THEORY OF EXISTENTIAL MODES

Another Dutch theologian, a Capuchin by the name of Luchesius Smits, proposes about the same ideas. I think however that he is trying to say that what happens in the Eucharist is similar to what happened in the hypostatic union. Bread and wine, remaining what they are, bread and wine, are taken up into a new mode of existence. Really they are not the body and blood of our Lord, but just part of his heavenly corporeal nature. They are added on, as it were, to his glorified nature. This explanation to my mind is fraught with all sorts of difficulties. Of all the theologians who propose transignification, Smit walks closest to the brink of unorthodoxy. NEW THEORIES OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION

A second Jesuit, Steffen Trooster, deepens the insights of Schoonenberg. Unlike Smits, Trooster says that after the consecration it is no longer possible to speak about bread and wine. The substance of bread and wine has been changed. But ~ substance is not something that is determined by a configuration of atoms or the ideas of some ancient Greek philosopher. In fact, it is not determined by anything purely physical at alL Bread is bread by reason of the function of nourishment which it provides for man. Bread is created by man for his nourish" ment. So also substance is in a sense created by man in as much as man gives meaning to material reality.


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Here in a way Trooster's ideas approach those of another great Jesuit philosopher and theologian, Bernard Lonergan. Lonergan teaches that man does not encounter the physical world in which he lives in a purely objective fashion. Man's world is and must be mediated by meaning. And the meaning which a man attaches to reality is determined by his hackground and culture and a million other things. A Chinese and an American experiencing the same reality can come up with two different definitions. The same thing might seem to be two very different substances to Aristotle and to Oppenheimer. So, according to Trooster, in the Eucharist the Lord changes · the substance of bread in the sense that he. changes its reality in so far as it affects man. For Trooster substance does not mean· a particular configuration of atoms and molecules. Nor does it refer to some mysterious stuff that acts as a substratum beneath the frosting of appearances (like tapioca pudding for the little girl in the C. S. Lewis story). Substance is reality as meaningful for man. Through the Eucharistic action • bread is removed from the context of the transitory world; it is placed in the ambit of Christ's salvific energy. Earthly bread becomes heavenly food. Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., studies the problem of transsubstantiation from a more historical standpoint. What did the Council of Trent mean by this doctrine? It is significant that the Council did not speak of accidents, but of appearances (species) as the correlative of substance. The Council then obviously did not want to canonize scholastic philosophy in offering some explanation for the mystery of the Eucharist. What the Council teaches is that the Eucharistic bread, while retaining the appearances and all the physical characteristics of bread, now is a new substance, a new reality. If the word substance had been used by the Council in its scholastic sense, then at least part of the scholastic explanation would have been canonized. So substance for Trent must mean reality. The Council wants to say that although what I see, taste, feel and otherwise experience is bread, what is really there is the body of Christ. This is the heart of the dogma. If the shell


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of the scholastic explanation that has grown about the kernel of revealed truth does not fit into the philosophical molds of the present day, it can he stripped away with no harm done. v Schillebeeckx would not agree with those who explain the Eucharistic conversion without postulating any ontological change whatsoever. The bread really and independently of man's viewing of it becomes the body of Christ. The term transubstantiation expresses this ontic change very welL Therefore it should be retained. PASTORAL LETTER OF THE DuTCH BISHOPS

In passing we might mention the pastoral letter issued by the Dutch hierarchy in relation to these doctrines. It was highly commended by Pope Paul in a letter which he sent to Cardinal Alfrink. Once again it established the basic status quaestionis which some (perhaps Smits) seem to have for¡ gotten. In part the letter said: "Belief in the genuine presence of Christ in the Eucharist belongs to our Christian inheritance which never can be abandoned. If today in the Church there is discussion about the presence of our Lord under the Eucharistic species, the point at issue is not whether he is really present. In the Church a discussion of this kind can only consider the question of how we may he ahle to explain more fully this mystery of our faith and how we can describe it. We think that the question of the mode of Christ's presence can be left open to discussion among theologians as long as the change of bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord and the reality of his presence in the Eucharistic species . d." are recogmze DAVIS' NOTION OF BREAD AS SUBSTANCE

Early publicity gave Dutch thologians all the credit for advancing new Eucharistic theories. But English and American theologians too have written on the topic. Charles Davis, late of the institutional Church, following the general line of Schillebeeckx, has considered the Tridentine doctrine. He claims that by substance the Council meant the intimate and basic


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reality of the bread as opposed to its appearances. Like the Dutch theologian be would consider this reality in relation to man. The substance of the bread is its reality as a human object, as food, and not its structure as an object of scientific investigation. It is the attribution to the same set of physical substances of a new meaning as a human object that constitutes transubstantiation. Another English theologian, Herbert McCabe, O.P., recently in trouble for calling the official Church corrupt, emphasizes what Trent said about the mystery of the Eucharist. It is hardly possible to express in words the way that Christ is present in the Eucharist. McCabe thinks that we will get a better idea of what happens in the Eucharist by-of all things in this time of aggiornamento--going back to Trent. We say that Christ is present in the Eucharist. Presence is a relationship. If Christ is present, to what or to whom is he present? Can we say that Christ is present to the altar as the monstrance which contains the species is present to the altar? If he were present that way, it would be metaphysically impossible for him to be present on many altars at the same time. Obviously Christ is present only to persons-and because presence in- ~ volves mutual recognition between persons, he is present only to those who believe in him. This type of presence is called sacramental presence. But this presence is truly an objective presence not because Christ is present as a physical object, but because his presence is not the 'result of the subjective dispositions of either the celebrant or any person in the assembly. He is present because of an objective fact: the faithÂĽ of the Church at large. If there were no faith or no Church, Christ could not be present. In that case the very purpose of his presence as well as the means of achieving it would be lacking. We might point out that even the scholastics recognize the importance of faith in the Eucharistic conversion. The old moralists considered the case of a renegade priest who would walk into a bakery and recite the words of consecration. Would all of the bread in the shop be consecrated? No, they


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said, because the atmosphere of faith, the setting of the liturgical act, is missing. McCabe says that for the Council of Trent substance means merely the answer to the question "What is it?" It is only the Church that can give the true answer to that question when it is posed in relation to the Eucharistic bread. The Council when it defines that Christ is substantially present in the Eucharist does not mean and could not mean that he is physically present. All it means is that after the consecration bread and wine are no longer physically present, but only their appearances. What is present then? Faith and only faith can give the answer. O'NEILL's PHYSICAL PRESENCE

In the January 1966 issue of the Catholic World a Dominican. Colman O'Neill, considers the problem of transigni· fication. He holds that the negative proposition which must be maintained to be true to the teaching of Trent, that is, that bread and wine are not substantially present after the sacred anaphora, demands a consideration of the philosophical notion of substance at a deeper level than merely from the aspect of human object. If bread and wine are not present any more, what is present? Seemingly he would reject the ideas of those holding the theory of transignification. He seems to hold that after the consecration we can no longer say that bread and wine are physically present. If then we do not say that Christ is physically present, what is? I think that there would he very few theologians today who would say Christ is physically present in the Eucharist. It seems that we have to say that bread and wine are physically still present: that is, as far as chemistry, physics and the other physical sciences are concerned, what is there is bread; other· wise we run into the old bete noire of Dogmatische Physik. He1·e again there is confusion of substance with physical reality. And O'Neill's confusion seems to outstrip that of the most avid scholastic. One question remains to be considered. If as Vatican II says there are in the liturgy five presences of Christ, in the


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liturgical action itself, in the bread and wine, in the celebrant, in the assembly and in the word of God, how does the Eucharistic presence differ from all the others? How is it a real presence as opposed to a moral or mystical presence? I think that the transignificationists would say that this presence '-" in the Eucharist, since it is not the primary presence (which is that in the believing community) but a reflection and symbol or sign of it, is actually a more real type of presence. It is the reification of the presence in the assembly through faith. In the parlance of the existentialist Christ is present in the Eucharist after the fashion not only of a person, but also after the fashion of a Vorhanden, an object for human use. He is v present as food. Nothing could be more real than that. MYSTERIUM FIDEI

So far so good. But what about the encyclical letter M ysterium fidei of Pope Paul? This letter restates in no uncertain terms the traditional Eucharistic doctrine of the Church. It praises the efforts of modern theologians to deepen our understanding of the Eucharist. It shows how tradition has always regarded the Eucharist as a symbol and placed its finality in the reflection of the perfect unity that exists in the mystical body. But the document scores four abuses: 1) the encouragement of Masses where a priest assists after the fashion of a layman to the derogation of Masses celebrated privately; 2) the position of such emphasis upon the sign value of the Eucharist as to give the impression that this is the total explanation of Christ's presence; 3) the substitution of transignification or transfinalization for transubstantiation; and 4) the acceptance of the Lutheran position that Christ is no longer present in consecrated hosts after the celebration of Mass is over. Because it does not enter into the philosophical explanation of Christ's presence in the Eucharist, but merely reemphasizes the traditional dogmatic position of the Church many theologians think that in regard to the points we have been discussing the encyclical missed the mark. Could the pope have thought that a large number of Catholic theologians had rejected the


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idea that Christ is present in the Eucharist? Or on the other hand is it really the intention of the pope to go beyond what the councils have said and canonize scholastic philosophy and terminology? In a recent issue of Worship Joseph Powers, S.J., discusses the encyclical at length in so far as it touches upon the question of transignification and transfinalization. Holding firm to , the ideas of Lonergan, he states that change in meaning and change in substance are not necessarily different concepts. Strictly speaking in scholastic terminology meaning is a psychic, subjective reality, while substance is an antic, objective reality. But modern philosophy (and particularly, we might add, that of Lonergan's masterpiece Insight) has come to believe that this distinction is not wholly valid. Meaning is not singularly a psychic reality; basically it is an ontic reality. We have been so influenced by the Cartesian dichotomy between the knower •/ and the known that we have failed to perceive that meaning is a real value in persons and objects that we come to know. Bread has a meaning for man, and this meaning is antic and ./objective. When the meaning has changed, something has changed in the bread. The term transignificmion aptly describes this change. But so also does the term transubstantialion, though it is the product of another era, of an archaic philosophy. Father Powers goes on to show how Christ took an existing ritual act and transformed it to give it a new meaning, a new substance. He shows how if Christ used the Aramaic words "This is my body" (Father Powers seems to have made a mistake here: he should have said "This is my flesh" because the Aramaic has no word to express the Greek idea of a living body) in relation to the Eucharistic bread, these words would have to have a symbolic and ritual and not a literal meaning. In a word he shows how the encyclical in no way settled the basic point at issue--how the mystery of Christ's ineffable presence in the Eucharist can be taught to a people who cannot accept a philosophy that is perennis in name only.










Years ago this February the late Emmanuel Cardinal Suhard penned a prophetic pastoral letter entitled Growth or Decline?-The Church Today. The late Archbishop of Paris wrote: "Something is dead on the earth which will not rise again. The war therefore assumes its true meaning. It is The faithful should be not an intermission but an epiprovided with the logue. It marks the end of a information they need world . . . The confusion, the to form enlightened feeling of maladjustment which results in all fields, opinions and guaranteed justifies the feeling so often freedom of expression expressed in the ambiguous in the Church. phrase: 'The world IS m revolution.' " About this same time an+ other prophetic voice was sounded from quite a different VINCENT A. area of the world. The Jesuit scholar, Teilhard de Chardin, YZERMANS an unfortunately quiet man in his lifetime, wrote in one of his many notebooks, "Today something is happening to the whole structure of human consciousness. A fresh kind of life is starting." From yet another quarter the same sentiments were voiced. Speaking to a throng of people in St. Peter's Square on February 10, 1952, Pope Pius XII exclaimed: ''The whole world must be rebuilt from its foundation, transformed from savage to

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human, from human to divine, that is to say, to make it as God would have it. Millions of men plead for a new way." More recently, the same message was uttered hy Pope John XXIII in his dramatic address on the occasion of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. He said: "In the present day Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations. By man's own efforts, and beyond the greatest expectations, we are being directed towards the fulfillment of God's higher and inscrutable designs." These are the voices of the prophets, if you will, that have pointed out for us the change that is upon us. One aspect of this change, as it affects the youth of the United States, was detailed in Time's "Man of the Year" article last January. Commenting on the nature of the "Now People," Time's editors wrote: "For better or for worse, the world today is committed to accelerating change: radical, wrenching, erosive of both traditions and old values. Its inheritors have grown up with rapid change, are better prepared to accomodate it than any in history, indeed embrace change as a virtue in itself. With his skeptical yet humanistic outlook, his disdain for fanaticism and his scorn for the spurious, the Man of the Year suggests that be will infuse the future with a new sense of morality, a transcendent and contemporary ethic that could infinitely enrich the 'empty society.' " The adjectives in that quotation are most revealing and, at the same time, somewhat disconcerting. To repeat: Change is "radical, wrenching and erosive." The Man of the Year is endowed with a "skeptical yet humanistic" outlook, a "disdain" for fanaticism and a "scorn" for the spurious-and he will infuse the future with a new sense of morality. It need not be pointed out that this description of the "Now People" is not so much evaluative as it is reportorial. We might not like it; we might very much be disturbed by it. Nonetheless, this is the world in which we find ourselves. This is the challenge to the Church which some have called a challenge to change and others have described as an upheaval of consecrated values.


CHALLENGE

77 FALSE SECURITY

The challenge to change has, I fear, caught most of us unaware. We have lived too long and too comfortably with the established Church, with its traditional through! patterns, its latent and sometimes obvious mistrust of "the world," with its protective ideological walls against Lhe "new," the Hdifferent," the "unusual." We have, as the religious men and women of the Christian tradition, built our fallout shelters too safely and securely. Perhaps we have never denied that the Christian life is a risk, a leap into the dark, hut actually we have lived in such a manner that we refused to recognize the fact. As the philosopher Leslie Dewart has pointed out, we deluded ourselves as Christian leaders and people into a false security attached to an outmoded system of philosophy, an ¡outmoded cultural form and an outmoded language. The denial of the drastic need for accommodation and renewal in our philosophical, theological and sociological thought and actions has left us not only irrelevant hut largely ignored. Certain writers claim that the reluctance of the Church to accept change has brought into being the "death of God" theology. Bishop John T. Robinson, author of Honest to God, expressed it bluntly in the headline to one of his articles, "Our Image of God Must Go." Thomas J. Altizer, in his essay, "America and the Future of Theology," stated his position by saying "the American who is in quest of a deeper form of existence must look forward to the future, not a future which is simply an extension of the present, but a future that will shatter all that we know as present." Although some theologians are already preparing their answers by embarking on "the living God" theology, both approaches converge remarkably on three points. There is a complete breakdown of the traditional, supernatural notion of God for an ever-growing number of people. The study of "the secular meaning of the Gospel" leads to the life, teaching and death of Jesus as the center for Christian life and faith. There is a revolutionary openness to the possibilities of the present and the future. At the same time it must he pointed out that both schools


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represent a change from our traditional approaches to Christian theology, and consequently, our daily thinking and living. We have, I believe, already come to that day described by Leslie Dewart as "one day" when he wrote: "The price that the Church would one day have to pay for resisting gradual change would he the need to undergo sudden, painful and traumatic change. The accumulated pressures in the Church were bound to find a sudden avenue of escape as soon as a crack in the monolith would develop." I submit for your consideration, therefore, that the present state of change within the Church and within society (the one working on the other constantly) has been sudden, radical and painful. This state of change is, as I see it, the challenge to the Church today. Philip Scharper, recently describing this change, remarked that "the fact of change is indeed characteristic of our time, but not change as a transition to a more stable order. What characterizes our time is change leading to change leading to change." It is a challenge in itself as well as in the tensions that it is producing among all of us. THE PILGRIM CHURCH

This change produced in all of us a state of crisis. We are, in fact, members of a Church in crisis. Nor is the situation necessarily unfortunate. We are, after all, members of a pilgrim Church, and what pilgrim has not had difficulties along the way? We are, too, members of a suffering Church, and the present status is perhaps God's way of purifying his Church. We are, finally, the followers of Christ and like him as in¡ dividuals and members of the community we must pass over the Mount of Calvary before we enter into the valley of the Resurrection. We know that the Church today is suffering a crisis of authority, not only between superiors and inferiors, between a philosophy of blind obedience and rational assent, but also a questioning of the very nature of authority itself. Few Christians would deny the Pauline maxim that all authority comes


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from <rl>d, hut that is not really the basic question. Many thinking Christians are asking about the very teaching authority of the Church, the immutability of doctrine, the difference between a development of doctrine and the total negation of a doctrine, the intellectual foundations of ecclesiastical infallibility. The Church, too, is undergoing a crisis of knowledge. Modern science and research have brought about profound insights into Christian teaching, insights that have shattered the simple faith of some as well as bolstered the more intelligent faith of others. The knowledge explosion outside the Church has outstripped the knowledge explosion within the Church, in some cases causing a serious credibility gap and in others a sophisticated write-off of the Christian catechesis of a previous era. Some have called this a crisis of faith. I am of the opinion, however, that the crisis of faith is an effect of the abstract manner in which the traditional Church has defined its dogmas. Looking at the question historically, Jeffrey Burton Russell observed: "The Christians, interest in abstract truth led them to try to define it in a system of orthodoxy, and since no definition of truth ever goes unchallenged, the inevitable companion of orthodoxy is dissent." The current dissent of the "Now Society" has brought about the crisis of theological knowledge. There are, to he sure, many crises within the Church today. We need not enumerate them all here, but one more should be mentioned, one which I would consider to be the most serious. This is the crisis of Christian love. If it be true that orthodoxy generates dissent and dissent generates repression, it is even truer when the orthodoxy is questionable, dubious or ill-defined. The repression that takes place in the Church is even more despicable than the repression exercised by other societies precisely because the Church is called to be the loving family of a holy God. This repression, perhaps beginning with suspicion and climaxing in hatred, is presently taking its toll among us. Sometimes without even recognizing it we are pitched into alien camps, we are drawing lines too straight, we are issuing ultimatums which are quite literally injuring the entire


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body of Christ. The Christian mark of love is sometimes so blurred that our fellowmen cannot see, much less understand, that ours is a community, a chosen people of God, a mystical body of Christ. This is ultimately the greatest crisis of the Church today. This is our most shameful scandal. AN ANSWER: COMMUNICATIONS

Up until now I have been writing as a journalist and have pointed out a few of the crises in the Church that this almost universal and almost apocalyptic change has forced upon us. The change, unfortunately, has found most men in the position described by Walter Lippman. He wrote: "The ideas and issues we have been so hot and bothered about during my lifetime have in these days become largely irrelevant ... The kind of life men are living today was not even imagined when they were still at school. Therefore, they are not prepared for it. Because their ideas are out of date while their lives are being bing changed so rapidly ... they have had to become 'pragmatic' in the sense that they deal with the details of living and making a living and have put aside the great issues of the world. They do not have the ambition to participate in history and to shape the future. They are preoccupied with the more immediate things which may help or hurt them. Their state of mind is marked by a vast indifference to big issues, and in this indifference there is a feeling that they are incompetent to do much about the big

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1ssues. "

This spirit of indifference is definitely to be reckoned with even if it is not the spirit of the "Now Society." This group is determined not only to "make a better world" but in the majority of cases, "a better world willed by God." They are questioning his image and his relevancy, but theirs is precisely the challenge to change that we must answer. If we do not project an intelligible image of God and if we fail to explain his revelancy then I fear we are doomed to be ignored. Never¡ theless I believe that we have a providential opportunity to meet the challenge through communications. It is a rather startling fact that all of us have lived and


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are continuing to live through a communications revolution the likes of which has never been witnessed before on earth. This revolution-and by no means have we come to its endranks in importance with the discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel and the perfection of the steam engine. A few figures might be presented for our reflection. In the world today there are printed each day 300 million newspapers; 200 million copies of periodicals appear either monthly or weekly. 170,000 movie theatres attract over 17,000 billion spectators each year. There are over 6,000 radio stations and over 400 million receivers. There are over 1,000 television stations transmitting to over 120 million people who spend 2,000,000 billion hours each year before their sets. The figures are staggering and ad· mittedly quite incomprehensible. I cite the figures, however, to point out that the communications media are not only part of our life but, in reality, for the greater part of mankind, the central part of daily existence. THE COMMUNICATIONS LAG

For far too long the Church has lagged behind in the under· standing, appreciation and application of communications he· cause, quite simply, "the cult of secrecy" has prevailed from the highest eschelons down to the smallest parish. This "cult of secrecy" has literally choked communications process on all levels. It would take an historian to document how and why "the cult of secrecy" was developed in the Church. It may be, as Dr. Russell insinuates in his book, Dissent and Reform in the Early Middle Ages, that secrecy was one means of repres· sion. It may be, too, as Leslie Dewart suggests, that the Church's concern for doctrinal rigidity could silence the opposition secretely and thus cut off those who would dissent from its tradi· tiona! doctrinal formulations. So firmly entrenched within the Church is this "cult of secrecy" that even today it is most difficult for us to escape traditional thought·patterns in the area of com· munications. The effect has been disastrous for, in the long run, it has hurt nothing more severely than the Church itself. That, I know, is a strong statement and therefore needs both


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explanation and documentation. The immediate by-product of healthy communications is the formulation of public opinion; the better the communications the healthier the public opinion. The Church cannot live and develop without this opinion. Pope Pius XII called opinion "a natural echo, a more or less spontaneous common resounding of acts and circumstances in the mind and judgment of people who feel they are responsible beings, closely bound to the fate of their community." In his address on February 17, 1950 he called public opinion "the mark of every normal society" and added that "by her attitude towards public opinion, the Church places herself as a barrier against totalitarianism." Finally, he said, "Because the Church is the living body, something would be wanting in her life if public opinion were lacking ... and the blame for this deficiency would fall back upon the pastors and the faithful." Karl Rahner, in his essay entitled Free Speech in the Church, directing his remarks to all who hold official posts in the Church, speaks more to the point. He writes: "If they do not allow the people to speak their minds, do not, in more dignified language, encourage or even tolerate, with courage and forbearance and even certain optimism free from anxiety, the growth of a public opinion within the Church, they run the risk of directing her from a soundproof ivory tower, instead of straining their ears to catch the voice of God, which can also he audible within the clamour of the times." Public opinion must he able to grow side by side with laws and institutions, acting somewhat in the nature of a collective ombudsman of the community. Public opinion is born out of a desire and need of man to meet his fellow, to understand him and to communicate with him in active participation in the life of the community. It must be spontaneous and free. This freedom will assure diversified opinions which may present complementary truths and values and thus assure a balance and an enrichment to the entire community. Thus Amleto Cardinal Cicognani in a significant letter to the French Social Week last July summed up these thoughts when he wrote: "This is to say that public opinion, in order to establish itself sanely, needs a true climate of liberty, outside


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the pressure of myths and all constraint which would strive to impose a uniformity whose appearance is the humiliating signal of dangerous regression." One of the conclusions drawn up by the participants in that French Social Week emphasized the responsibility of Christians in forming public opinion within the Church. It reads as follows: "The Chrisiian~s function is not confined to his presence in the world. Public opinion has a place-in fact and of right-in the very life of the Church. Opinion is no more infallible in sacred matters than in secular ones, but it is just as useful in so far as it is the reflection here and now of the people of God. Many of the faithful have as yet a conscience that is too little aware of their responsibilities of forming an opinion within the Church and speak too often without the necessary knowledge and reflection. A considerable effort of education must be accomplished among Christians so that individuals and groups alike may contribute to the formation of an informed and enlightened opinion. This presupposes that responsible authorities provide the faithful with the information they need and at the same time guarantee them freedom of expression within the Church." The point is simple: We must have communications within the Church in order to foster a healthy public opinion which will enable the Church to come to know itself better. This knowledge will help the Church resolve the crisis we have already mentioned. Furthermore, public opinion, serving as an ideological yeast within the Church, will also help all the members of the Church see more clearly the need to re-define roles and modify processes within the Church. QUALIFICATIONS FOR COMMUNICATIONS

The first of these is patience. If it is true that "the cult of secrecy" developed over many centuries, no one will achieve the complete and universal practice of communications within the Church overnight. Sometimes a small success is better than a total victory. Sometimes it is better to listen than to speak; and we must not forget that listening is at least half the process of communication.


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The good communicator's second virtue is prudence. He will choose a rille instead of a shotgun, setting his sights on one object rather than ranging all over the field. He will see that a word of encouragement is better than a book of con¡ demnations. He will know that understanding another's problem is more effective communication than the presentation of his own arguments. The third virtue of a good communicator is knowledge. Personality wears thin; competency is solid gold. Communication demands that something be taught and something learned; some one must inform and someone must be informed. Knowledge demands a respect, a reverence for truth and beauty and the two always go together. Knowledge makes not only the communicator¡ but also his communication relevant. And knowledge is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The final virtue of a good communicator is a sense of humor. The tension and strife found frequent! y in the Church today could be less bitter if all of us indulged in a bit more humor and less intensity. I believe that all of us could profit by laughing at ourselves more often, by realizing that no one individual is so important that he must be taken that seriously, by recognizing that hope is still a Christian virtue and Christ's promise is with the Church until the end of time. Chesterton wrote, "All jesting is in its nature profane, in the sense that it must be the sudden realization that someone who thinks himself solemn is not so very solemn after all." He also wrote, "A sad saint is a sad sort of a saint." Most of us welcome the changes taking place around us for we recognize that through them "a fresh kind of life is starting." This attitude is perhaps our heritage as a nation. For as Henry James said: "The new world grasps me with its irresistible power of assimilation and creative courage. I saw the American courage to go ahead, to risk failures, to begin again after defeat, to lead and in action, to be open toward the future, to participate in the creative process of nature and history." Nor do we fear for the Church, for we share the feelings


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of Pope Paul in his opening words to the Vatican Council: "Let no other light be shed on us but Christ the light of the world. Let no other truth be of interest to our minds, but the words of the Lord, our only Master. Let no other aspiration guide us, but the desire to be absolutely faithful to him. Let no other hope sustain us, but the one that, through the meitation uf his word strengthens our pitiful weakness: Behold I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world.' "


The Vatican Council in the fifth chapter of Lumen Gentium summons all Christians to a new and deeper consideration of holiness and sanctity. It does so in a spirit of confidence and joy, because the Church is the model and teacher in Christ, the exemplary and efficient cause of our salvation. God is, through the Holy Spirit, preparing a new people pleasing in his sight, because there is an underlyWho is the "poor" ing feeling that holiness is Christ to whom we are called __ being manifested in the life of the Church (LG 39). The to conform ourselves? explicit intention of this chapter is to foster in the followers of Christ a growing interioriza+ tion of the truths of faith and a more intimate following and EDWARD G. ZOGBY, S.J. imitation of Christ. ''They are warned by the Apostle to live 'as becomes saints' (Eph 5:3}, + and to put on 'as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meakness, patience' (Col3:12), and to possess the fruits of the Spirit in holiness (cf. Gal 5:22; Rom 6:22)." But here we are going deeper than recent papal social encyclicals into the matter of Christian spirituality. This can be achieved only by a renewal and inner conversion in which "these people

Vatican

II,

lhe -.A-nawin

and Lhrijlian

_}jo~nejj

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follow the poor Christ, the humble and cross-bearing Christ, in order to be made worthy of being sharers in his glory." They must "follow in his footsteps and conform themselves to his image, seeking the will of the Father in all things," devoting themselves to "the glory of God and the service of their neighbor" {LG 40-41). v Christians are thus called to follow Christ in two things: in his poverty (patience, endurance, work, and self-sacrifice), and in his searching to do the will of the Father. Furthermore, there is to be a conformity to the image they find in their "' "teacher and model," and it involves their being a sign and a participation in that very love with which Christ loved his Bride and for which he delivered himself up for her. We are to bring a "spiritual fecundity" to the world by building "up "the brotherhood of charity." We are exhorted to interiorize by contemplation the same Christ Jesus, who "emptied himself, taking the nature of a slave . . . becoming obedient unto death" (Phil 2 :7-8) and because of us "being rich, he became poor" (2 Cor 8:9. "This is beyond the measure of the commandments, but is done in order to become more fully like the obedient Christ" (LG 42). This chapter of Lumen Gentium makes important the fact .; of Christ's poverty, but its intention, as I see it, is not to insist on actual poverty or to say that the poor social conditions of today are to be condoned, but rather to exhort men by prayer and the efficient example of Christ to formulate a Christian conscience and to actuate in it habitual modes of action which flow from the example of Christ. THE ANAWIM

Who is this "Christ poor" to whom we are called to conform ourselves? What did he do? What values did he propose? Where did he get them? What, in other words, are the precise qualities toward which Vatican II is urging us? I think the answer to all of these questions is to be found in the notion of the anawim, a particular brand of holiness which evolved by a sort of inversion in the Old Testament from the notion of the whole


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nation to a small remnant of "true Israelites" who were the religious nucleus of the nation, especially after the Exile. The late Father Albert Gelin, P.S.S., in his book The Poor of Yahweh, gives much of the information on the aTUZwin used here, though I have also consulted Schnackenburg's God's Rule and Kingdom and Leon-Dufour's Vocabulaire de Theologie Biblique. "The theology of the covenant is the Bible's center of gravity," says Gelin, and I think that it is in terms of the people of the Old Testament trying to conform to the norms set down by Yahweh and Moses, his mediator, that the problem of what to do about the poor became a twofold problem, sociological and religious. Tracing the notion of poverty through the cov¡ enant, prophetical and sapiential phases of the Old Testament, Gelin sees that words that once denoted merely a sociological " reality soon came to mean an attitude of soul; thus, concern with material poverty became one of spiritual poverty. Because of their belief in "elective justice," which was a power and loyalty within the framework of the covenant, the prophets, beginning with Zepheniah, began to rail against those "fatted" members of the nation who took no care of the poorer of their neighbors. Thus, the prophets, especially Jeremiah, began speaking of punishment, which would be both redemptive and educational. The Exile was threatened and happened. The prophets came to be rejected by the people hut from their winnowing there began to emerge the notion of the "remnant." The Psalms give much evidence that there were factions among the Jews (the "bulls of Basan") who resented the groups that were forming the hard core of believers, a group that truly felt that it had the real message of Yahweh: that for something that would be a salvific event in the future, their function was to preserve the theology of the covenant. They had a collective dream that they would be the new people, distinct from the present nation. This was especially true among the disciples of Isaiah. They saw that even the Exile had not sufficiently trans¡ formed the people; the "remnant" theme became even stronger. In the seventh century the group was given a name-"tbe poor


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of Yahweh": "And I will leave in the midst of you a poor and needy people; and they shall hope in the name of Yahweh. The remnant of Israel shall do no iniquity, nor speak lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed and shall lie down, and there shall be none to make them afraid" (Zeph 3:11-13). Gelin continues: "Zepheniah insisted that poverty be substituted for pride and made this the authentic spiritual attitude. This rectitude included the whole moral life. He used covenant vocabulary to clarify the vocabulary of poverty and justice ... This term ;ust defined the covenant man (Is 60:21) confronting all opposition to hoJi. ness of life; justice ( sedaqah) meant fidelity to a religious, moral and social catechism" (p. 33). The Exile saw a merging or equating of the terms people and remnant, and gradually that changed to equating people and poor. Isaiah goes on to show God as saying: "But to whom shall I have respect, but to him that is poor and little and of a contrite spirit, and that trembles at my words?" (Is 66:1¡2). Gelin adds: "When the latter (Second Isaiah) pleaded with the Israelites who were preparing to return to their own country, reminding them that they were 'the people who keep the Law in their hearts' (Is 51 :7) and whose 'sons have been all taught by Yahweh' (Is 54:13), he was doing no more than repeating the lessons of Jeremiah's basic oracles (Jer 31: 31-34) : the community of the future will be composed of specially gifted members, 'clients of Yahweh,' whose personal and mystical spirituality will closely resemble his own" (p. 31). IN THE PsALMS

The Psalms, though far too vast to consider here, yield a few thoughts for the build-up of this theme. "Two spiritual worlds meet in the Psalms, they face and study each other: the wicked who have their reunions and councils (Ps 1:1) and the circle of the 'just men' (Ps 110:1). We see here children of darkness and the children of the light: a foreshadowing of the Prologue of St. John's Gospel. But involved here are two basic attitudes: the scoffers resent those just men who


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see that reverses, that is, poverty, sickness, prison, exile, are so many divine interventions, a negative theophany ( Eliade), an expression of his displeasure, a trial sent from above, an invention to deeper thought and closer union with him" ( p. 40). The poor, however, loved to come together and enjoy communal life and one another's company. Gelin sees in this a probable beginning for the various religious communities like Qumran and the Essenes. The thought has been expressed that these groups eventually became the Christian Church in Jerusalem to which Paul was always trying to send money! Some phrases from the Psalms (149: 33; 36; 24; 50) give some of the qualities characteristic of the anawim or the poor: "those who fear the Lord," "those who find refuge in Him," "those who seek Him," "the just ones," "the poor are the servants of Yahweh " "the innocent " "the faithful " "the in· ' ' ' tegrated," and "those who trust in the Lord." Kittel, in writ· ing about Psalm 24:9 says that the anawim are those "who make a sincere profession of submission and obedience to God . . . v those who keep his covenant and his decrees, . . . who fear him, and hope in him • . . form the religious nucleus of the nation." Prompted further by what Spicq had to say about the terms anawalt in his commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Gelin continues: "It also expresses the dialectic of the Old Testament that transformed human derelicts into clients of Yahweh. In them Yahweh could find the 'crevice,'~ the receptivity that St. Paul describes in terms of hearing (Gal 3:2). Unlimited confidence (expressed in the key words batalt, yihel, and qawalt, which express hope) and joyous, radical humility-all this is contained in the anawalt concept" (p. 50). We see here the picture of the biblical man who lives in v God's presence, the poor of Yahweh who lived "in God's presence, totally committed, fully surrendered, blindly confi· dent" (p. ll). So from Moses on down through the prophets and the remnant to Anna, Simeon and Mary herself, we can come to see that from the Old Testament, Christ is drawing the Ariadne·thread into the New Testament: that poverty is a


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modality of faith. I I is what Vatican II is referring to in ' Chapter 5 of Lumen Gentium. It is joyous, humble, patient, trusting, abandoned and filled with the eschatological sense of hopeful expectancy. It is "charitative," its actions working towards the building of a covenant community of love and mu¡ tual self-giving. MARY, THE ANAW

In the eighth chapter of Lumen Gemium, we find a clear and unromanticized description of our Lady's role in the life of her Son and in that of the Church: "Wherefore she is hailed as a preeminent and singular member of the Church, and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity" (LG 53). Gregory Baum, in his commentary, would add holiness to the above passage, thus giving Mary a triple role in the spiritual life of the Church. Since she was born without the stain of original sin, holiness is hers in a very singular way. She is poor; she is anaw. The history of the anawim, as we have just seen, begins with the covenant history of Israel as a sociological problem of poverty which later fades into a religious one: from material poverty to spiritual poverty. Along with this transformation of life-style and religious concern, the vocabulary of poverty also underwent a spiritual transformation, denoting more and more man before God in the religious attitude of a client. Barnabas Ahern, C.P., in an article that appeared in Cross and Crown, entitled "Mary Queen of the Poor," says: "But the prophets' use of the vocabulary of poverty was never forgotten. They had employed it freely in a religious context; they had spoken of the poor with sympathy and had represented their misery as crying out to God for mercy. Thus they prepared the way for the transformation of the vocabulary ! of poverty into a vocabulary of grace. That basis for this transfer is the Isaian principle that God works his divine effects only when man recognizes human insufficiency. The occasion for transfer is any personal experience of human powerlessness. The miseries of life and the inability of most men to cope with them, the vicissitudes of social struggle


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and the readiness of the strong to trample on the weak, the instability of man's will and the radical weaknesses of all things human; these trying and humbling experiences came frequently enough into the lives of God's friends to fill them with poignant awareness of their own poverty and constant need for his help. They must depend wholly upon him and look to him for everything or perish. What was more natural then than that they should speak to God with the very words that sounded on the lips of the poor? Often enough these holy ones were poor in reality; always they were poor in spirit." Thus, the spirit of the anawim comes down to (for the psalmists) an awareness that "outer life flowed directly from the heart. Rooted distrust of self and unfailing confidence in God radiated the outward tranquility of meekness. This was the spirit that God looked for . in his people, a spirit that found analogy in the experiences of the poor. For the only attitude that rings true to man's creaturehood compounds a sense of personal powerlessness with unfailing confidence in the power of God and total surrender to the guidance of his will" (Ahern). It is in Luke's portrayal of Mary that we see clearly this change from the vocabulary of poverty to the vocabulary of grace. She is the culmination of the Old Testament concept and evolution of the anawim. The heightened religious context of Mary's Christ-centered life brought to completion the mean路 ing of anawim, and the pentecostal apostolic community com路 pleted the growing notion of remnant. Father LaGrange, in his Evangile de Jesus Christ, suggests the idea of tracing the influence of Christ's thirty years of living with Mary, the anaw, on what he had to say in the Beatitudes and in his whole ethical instruction. It is signi路 ficant that Christ gives so much stress to the poor in his teaching and that he will chide the apostles by saying that "who路 soever does not accept the kingdom of God as a little child will not enter into it" {Mk 10:15). Mary's Magnificat is really' the recapitulation of the essence of what it means to be an anaw: one totally abandoned and empty of self, a filled vessel

~


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vready to be poured out. This parallels the Pauline kenosis passage in Phil 2, in which our Lord empties himself of glory and takes on the dignity-less life of a slave. CROSSROADS OF POVERTY AND GRACE

Mary stands at the crossroads of both Testaments, and all that was foreshadowed is now accomplished in her. "She stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. With her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and after a long expectation of the promise, the times are fulfilled and the new economy is established" (LG 55). The Council here announces Mary an anaw. This is our gateway to the Lord, to salvation, redemption, reconciliation and sanctification. This, the lowly handmaid of the Lord, is obedient. Yet, who taught whom obedience; did the mother teach the Son? Lumen Gentium makes two significant points here: 1. "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, Mary loosened by her faith" (LG 56). 2. "After this manner, the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the Cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan (Jn 19:25), grieving exceedingly with her only begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart to his sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth. Finally she was given by the same Christ Jesus, dying on the Cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: "Woman, behold thy son" (Jn 19:26-27; LG 58). First, Mary's obedience seems to be her primary function in the plan for salvation. Her obedience is linked with Christ's obedience; she had to cooperate with him when his "hour" came and not try to lure him from danger and death, if it had to come to that. (The Temple incident of his youth must have begun Mary's steep climb to the hill of obedience.) Both of them had to be perfectly obedient to the will of the Father;


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their ears had to be attuned, as it were, to his every whispering and whistling down the wind. Yet, she is a woman, a mother; she could have become frenzied and distraught and worked Christ over emotionally until he was immobilized. She, unlike Eve, did cooperate in this type of obedience that was demanded of Christ. Christ came to make patience a constitutive element of the Christian life; the power to wait on God, to endure, not to set his own pace. His "hour" became the Father's hour. It selected and determined Christ's ultimate mission. Mary had to live a life of surrender of faith despite the full range of human sensitivity that she must have had as an integrated person favored by God. As an anaw, she had the Pauline quality of being skilled in listening with the ears of faith ( akoe pisteos, Gal 3:2), which is what St. Paul considers a fundamental religious attitude. Mary had to learn to imitate her own Son and to plumb the mystery that he was also her Creator and God. Incredible concept! She had to learn that to believe, to hope, to love means to imitate the faithful obedience, the self. denying patience of Jesus by which he brings the eternal into time. It is as an anaw that Mary was able to bend under this weight of divine action, so personally overpowering. Just as Christ on the Cross sealed off the Old Testament and began the New, so Mary now can undo the effects which Eve set in motion. It is a matter of fidelity. The former Testament had been a history of a dialeclical movement from fidelity to in¡ fidelity. Now on the Cross fidelity was secured forever. Von Balthasar says of this moment: "It is only because God and man met in a situation established by God himself that Christ can unite, once for all, divine fidelity with human fidelity to God." (A Theology of History, p. 43). Thus our fidelity is a constant fidelity to God in, with, and through Christ. ' Secondly, with Mary and all that she endured, poverty becomes a modality of faith. By her unparalleled detachment from all that she held so intimate and part of herself and hy her total self-surrender and presence at the events which brought about our ultimate salvation. Mary was totally emptied again, but as an anaw of the New Testament: hers is a fullness which


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empties without emptying-her fullness is to empty. As the first of the new anawim, she was a sign of hope and confidence that Christ would rise again. Hers was a type of holiness and sanctity which became a singular event in the life of the early Church. She could not have faltered without putting an end to the budding Church, so much was she a sign of its own faith and hope in Christ. CHRIST, PRE¡EMJNENT ANAW

"To the Messiah, therefore, belongs the title that Zepheniah (3:12) attributed to the people of the future and that postexilic men had applied to David. The influence of Second Isaiah seems likely. R. Kittel says: 'The ideal of humility became an integral part of the messianic figure after Isaiah'; and K. Elliger, considering the neighboring title of the 'just,' asks if it is not connected with the Servant of Isaiah" ( Gelin, p. 90). At his final stage, I would like to stress what I think is the special mode of existence which made Christ's exercise of poverty in the anawim vein vastly superior to all the types / that went before him. His poverty concerns a dynamic and deliberate obedience to the Father's will in time. Involved here is the mystery of Christ's mission: to undo what Adam had done to man. Hans Urs von Balthasar, in A Theory of History, proposes that the work Christ had to do was not to anticipate the will of the Father and therefore "not break out of time," which in Adam's case is precisely the sin of disq obedience. Christ must make patience the constitutive element of the redemption: to wait (religiously), to endure, to not put aside his hard-earned kenosis and plunge after the doxa that was rightly his, to show forth the meekness of the lamb that is led to the kill. Just as the anaw is such by his special knowledge of his relationship to God, so, with Christ, his very being-in-time is of the essence of his poverty-relation to the Father. Christ, by becoming man (in the sense of Phil 2), is involved in the humiliation of becoming a man by equality, similarity, and assimilation. It is the same process of interiori¡


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zation, but in reverse, that the anawim had to go through. Christ had to realize interiorly that "the raising of a man to the level of the unique, the only·begotten, calls for the yet deeper descent of God himself, his humbling, his kenosis or empty· ing into one man, a man who, unique though he is, does not cease to be a man among men" (p. ll). Christ goes beyond the suffering of the anawim by freely opening himself to the will of the Father and by living totally the truth that his very perfection is his obedience which refuses to anticipate. The use of his capacities had to be adapted to this standard. Thus, Jesus's "hour" (Jn 2:4) is the Father's hour: it is there from the beginning; it is there already and yet it is always just coming (the pattern in the growth parables) ; it has a determina· tive and selective character and cannot be summoned. "His refusal of anticipation is identical in meaning with assent to the Holy Spirit, by whom, moment by moment, the will of the Father is mediated" (p. 32). Finally, Christ, obedient, the personification of chesed, is lifted up on the cross: he brings to fulfillment, to new purpose, the remnant of the Old Testa· ment in the work of the New Testament. "It is only because God and man meet in a situation established by God himself that Christ can unite, once for all, divine fidelity with human fidelity to God." This is the Christ, the "poor Christ," to whom we must conform. How? Von Balthasar suggests: "To believe, to hope, to love means to imitate the faithful obedience, the self-deny· ing patience of Jesus by which he brings the eternal into time" (p. 42). Patience, endurance, work, and self·sacrifice- 'v all these are poverty in the most profound sense, because in them we have the poverty of selflessness and the richness of being totus ad laborem Patris. This, then, I submit, is the background against which the fifth chapter of Lumen Gentium is to be read and profoundly understood, so that there is a real conformity to an imitable image, the image of the poor Christ who is the rich Christ.


"Retreat!" What does this THE FORUM word bring to mind?" To some priests it conjures up a pleas¡ ant vision of a time for rest and a chance to meet old friends while catching up on ::!Ji:Jcu:Hion the gossip of the diocese. To others it means a time of peace, quiet and prayer. But to an ever-growing group the word retreat brings to mind the yearly ordeal of marching off to the retreat house to hear pious platitudes and talks which do not confront the real needs of the twentieth century priest. + Most priests acutely feel the need to put aside the pressures of the active ministry in order to spend some time examinGERARD P. WEBER ing their relationship with God. The question is whether the traditional retreat structure of silence and a condensed ver+ sion of the Spiritual Exercises is the best way to meet this need. Until another genius like St. Ignatius appears to create a retreat structure ideally suited to the needs of the modern world, the priest who is dissatisfied with what he has been receiving must be willing to experiment with different ap¡ proaches to the annual retreat. No one really knows what is

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needed and what will work Therefore constant experimentation and evaluation is needed. Mistakes will be made; controversy will erupt; but gradually a structure or form will emerge which is satisfying to a great number of men. One such experiment which is being conducted at the Cardinal Stritch Retreat House and at various other places in the country is the so-called "discussion retreat." One of the retreat ants described this effort as a "do-it-yourself-together" retreat. The first question asked by those who hear of the discussion retreat is, "How does this type of retreat differ from a bull session, a seminar or a workshop?" To answer this question we have to study the inner structure of the traditional retreat, and see whether the discussion retreat is built on a similar structure. In all retreats there are four basic elements: presentation, meditation, prayer, resolution. The presentation is usually in the form of a conference in which the retreat master presents some idea for meditation. In a private retreat a book may well substitute for the retreat master. The meditation and prayer are done alone and in silence. The resolution is a private, personal decision to love God more in some particular area of our life. It has been commonly felt that perfect silence is most conducive to establishing a vital, deep rapport with God. ELEMENTS OF A DISCUSSION RETREAT

All four of these basic elements are found in a discussion ··retreat but in a different way because dialogue with one's fellow retreatants is seen as an essential element in establishing 1·apport with God. The presentation is still a talk or conference, but it is not intended to move the heart. The presentation, which may be given by a retreat master or by one of the retreatants, should be short, not more than fifteen or twenty minutes, and stimu' lating. It outlines the area of discussion, the problems to be faced and, if possible, some idea of where the solution to the •. problem lies. Its main purpose is to start everyone thinking along the same line. The presentation, however, flows over into the small group discussions which follow. Here each of the


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members of the group shares with the others his experience with and insight into the subject under consideration. This dis· cnssion mnst not be theoretical. It must reflect the life situation of the men in the group. Thus when discussing "what is a priest?" the men talked about their personal idea of the priest· hood rather Llc!an the general definition of the priesthood found in papal and conciliar documents. This discussion added a practical and realistic element to the presentation which no retreat master can capture. In the traditional retreat it is rare to find a retreat master who has something meaningful to say in all the conferences. By having a variety of speakers the discussion retreat has .a better chance of giving solid material in every talk. Even if the speaker is weak, the ideas and experiences of the men in the group will elucidate the subject. When priests of different ages, experience and work share their ideas and feelings some· thing helpful usually emerges. Most of the men who have made the retreats so far have urged that after the talk there be a short period of silence to allow each one time to collect and organize his thoughts. Some men have also expressed the opinion that there is room some· time during the retreat for an exhortation similar to the talks in a traditional type retreat. The discussion also offers an opportunity for a communal meditation. Together the group thinks about how the material presented can affect their lives and their dealings with God. They ask, "Wha! does this mean to us?" For example, after discussing the meaning of and the need for poverty in the life of a priest, the group would mull over ways of putting poverty into practice. It is at this point that a discussion retreat differs most from a study day. In a study day the group discussions v strive to arrive at truth or a common solution to a problem. In a discussion retreat the group is sharing ideas and ex·' periences for the sole purpose of helping each other come closer to God. Most of the discussions end with no definite conclusion, no set solution for a problem, no resolution adopted by all the members of the group. After the discussion each member of


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the group must continue the meditation on his own, either in silence or in quiet colloquy with a friend. He has heard the ·· ideas and experiences of others. Now he must look into his own life and see what needs to he done. In the traditional-type retreat the silence and removal from one's ordinary amhiant of activities were intended to help the individual talk to God. The retreat was highly individualistic. Each man said his own private Mass and prayers. In the tra· ditional retreat the celebration of Mass, which should he the unifying force in our lives and the means of deepening mu· tual charity, seems only to separate the priests one from the other. Community prayer was limited to a few Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Everything about the retreat was designed to isolate the individual from his brothers rather than unite him with them in love. A COMMUNAL SPIRITUALITY In the discussion retreat the community prayers contributed in no little way to the deep spirit of unity and fellowship which prevailed. In these post-conciliar days there can he no doubt that the Holy Spirit is directing the Church away from a highly individualistic type of spirituality toward a more communal spirituality centered in the liturgy. If the priest is to make the liturgy the focal point of parish life he himself must experience the powerful, unifying effects of the Eucharistic celebration. The daily concelehration and the com· munity prayers drew the group very closely together. Some of the men prayed Lauds and Vespers in common. At night there was a Bible Vigil, during which those who wished prayed out loud spontaneously. Everyone is free to say a private Mass if he so desires, hut a question has arisen whether concelehration should be with the entire community or whether each of the discussion groups should concelehrate by itself. The sentiment seems to he that there should be at least one Mass during the retreat in which the entire group participates; on other days there would be concelehration in small groups. Of all the elements in the retreat the most disputed is the form which the common


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prayers should take. Each individual has to work out his own schedule of private prayers. Perhaps each group of retreatants should work out a prayer schedule to fit its needs and preferences. The final element of the retreat is the resolution. Each man v has to make this for himself. Sometimes Ll:.e group will suggest possible courses of action which the various members will adopt, but usually each man must face himself and decide by himself what he thinks he should do. The schedule of the day differs from that of a traditional retreat. Two talks followed by periods of silence and of group discussion just about fill up the day. In the evening the entire group may get together and exchange insights and conclusions, or the small groups may convene either to continue the dis¡ cussion of the day or to talk about something which the group feels is pertinent to their lives. Those who have worked on the two retreats held so far at the Chicago retreat house have found several little things which, while not essential, contribute materially to the success of the retreats. They are consulted several months in advance about the subjects they want discussed, the retreat master who will give half the talks, and the members of the group who will give the other talks. The first year the discussions centered on "What is a priest?" The second year the men talked about the place of poverty, chastity and obedience in the life of a twentieth-century urban priest. They also planned the program for the day, the prayers and services to be held, etc.... The bells were not rung at either of these retreats. It was the responsibility of each man to be at the services on time. Those making the retreat met this responsibility amazingly well, although a few expressed a desire for bells to remind them. The discussion .,. groups were set up in such a way that each group had a cross section of men according to age and according to the work they did. A discussion leader was appointed, but he had little to do because all ¡of the men on the retreats had experience with small group discussions. On the whole the men were enthusiastic about the discussion. A group of religious


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who tried· a discussion retreat had some difficulties with the small group discussion because none of those participating had had much experience with small group discussions. They suggested that the discussion technique be explained, that the group leaders be given some training in conducting the dis· cussions and that the speakers give some questions for dis· cussion. This sort of preparation may well be necessary when a group does not know much about group discussions. How· ever, when the members of the group are experienced in this technique there is no need for formal questions and very little need for a leader. The group knows what to do and how to to go about it. The great majority of those who made the retreats did not want silence or reading at the meals because they felt that they would like to talk over the discussions with men from the different groups. Most of the men enjoyed the singing of folk songs and hymns which preceded the talks and general dis· cussions. Everyone asked that a period of complete silence be included in the schedule. The men found that if there was not such a period they would become engrossed in discussion and conversation, and not have time for their own thoughts and prayers. NuNS AND MARRIED COUPLES

One of the most rewarding sessions involved ten or twelve Mercy nuns who came to the retreat house and joined in the discussion on communication between the rectory and the con· vent, between priest and nun. Another night six married couples came and talked with the groups about what the layman ex· peels from the priest. Most of the men indicated that they thought these sessions helpful and indicated that they would like to have similar sessions at the next retreat. At each retreat the last evening session was devoted to an evaluation of the retreat, and every man was asked to give a written appraisal plus suggestions for improvements. In the two retreats at the Chicago retreat house all of the men had high praise for the discussion retreats. Several said they could never go back to the old retreats. Some said they would like


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to make both types of retreats. Perhaps the most telling com¡ ment came from an older man who said, "I don't like the singing. I have enough of bull sessions during the year. I can't stand the extemporaneous prayers, but this year was the best damn retreat I've made." !n the evaluation made by the religious eight men did not fill out their evaluation sheet, hut of those who did 22 rated the retreat as "excellent," 13 as "good" and only one said it was "so-so." Thirty-six said they wanted another discussion retreat, and thirty-five said they would recommend this type of retreat to their friends. The one thing that most men commented upon was the spirit of charity and understanding that prevailed. ~ They said that for the first time they really began to know and~ appreciate their brother priests. This fact in itself should recommend the discussion retreat. Many retreat masters have spoken of loneliness as one of the biggest problems in the life of a priest, and they have urged priests to associate with their fellow priests. This association with other priests often enough is on a very superficial level. We talk with each other, but seldom in depth. We do not reveal our feelings, our problems, ~ our doubts. We live within ourselves. During the retreat many men discovered the meaning of a true community. They learned that they could speak from their hearts to other priests and be understood. Men who had known each other for years were amazed to find that they shared the same desires, problems and aspirations. A sense of kinship developed, so that a man ordained for a few years found that he could talk to the gray-beards, and vice versa. DIFFERING DYNAMISMS

There is one final point: many retreat masters have asked why the traditional form of the retreat should be dropped when a discussion period could be added after night prayers. The men who have attended these discussions after night prayers have been enthusiastic about them, but one discussion a day does not make a discussion retreat. A different dynamic is at work in each type of retreat. In the traditional retreat the talks,


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the silence, the reading, the schedule are intended to help a ·· man find God in the silence of his heart. God comes in the soft rustle of the gentle .breeze when all is quiet. In the dis·' cussiol} retreat God speaks to us through our fellow retreatants. ·· He comes in the voice of the crowd. The Holy Spirit living and acting in each one present speaks to me not only in the silence of my heart but in the voice of my bothers. God reveals Himself to us through others. The traditional retreat and the discussion retreat approach God in different ways. They have a built-in dynamism which operates differently in the concrete. To mix these two forms is to dilute them, with the result that neither one has its full effect. No one should be forced to either type of retreat. • Every man should be free to seek God either in the silence of his heart or in the voice of the group. Most men who have made a discussion retreat have indicated that at times they would like to make a silent retreat. A man's needs are different at different times in his life. Men are not like nuts and bolts, which can be turned out exactly alike by one machine. Men need freedom and variety in their search for God. The discussion retreat is not the final answer. We are not sure it is an answer, but it is a step in the right direction to help priests satisfy their thirst for God.


Cardinal Ottaviani recently THE FORUM announced that the Index would no longer be published in Rome. Future guidelines for the faithful's reading of faith and morals, he said, would be left to the discretion of local hierarchies, who are expected to use this power rarely. This announcement has been widely interpreted as an official abandonment by Church authorities of the traditional rules of censorship. If this is a valid interpretation of the new policy, it raises some interesting questions. Why did the Index become obsolete? Has it done more harm than good while it was being used? + Has anything taken its place? Originally the Index was intended to protect the faithful RONALD A. SARNO, S.J. from heretical opmwns in matters of faith and morals. It would be an oversimplifica+ tion to lightly dismiss this traditional practice as if reading matter presented no danger at all. An author who offers his personal ideas and values in a clear and forceful style acts as catalyst in the reader's mind, and challenges him to accept or reject these values. A reader untrained or ill-informed is, in fact, quite susceptible to ideologies which may weaken or destroy his faith.

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Historically, we must admit that the Index failed in its original purpose. Unorthodox views were never confined to oblivion. They appeared in popular magazines, were tried and often put into practice in everyday business transactions, and were even satirized by contemporary entertainers. For all practical purposes, censorship drew attention to these new movements instead of obliterating them. They then created a trap for the poorly educated, who readily accepted these views because they formed the unquestioned basis of society's way of life. But the Church is no longer composed of a large number of ill-informed adherents. As the number of better educated and more carefully instructed Catholics has increased, the Church's hierarchial authorities have gained an ever clearer insight into the individual's responsibility for his own life. The Council Fathers at Vatican II put it this way: "In the various types and duties of life, one and the same holiness is cultivated by all who are moved by the Spirit of God, and who obey the voice of the Father, worshipping God the Father in spirit and in truth. Every person should walk unhesitatingly according to his own personal gifts and duties in the path of a living faith which arouses hopes and works through charity" (Lumen Gentium, c. 5, n. 41). As the faithful's knowledge of their own Church doctrine has become more exact, the need for the Church authorities to limit their reading has lost its urgency. One might even say that a large number of the faithful have developed that "sense of orthodoxy" which makes them instinctively aware of what will help the people of God as it moves toward its final goal. Many times there is bound to be doubt about a new idea or a new set of values. There has been an ambivalence in the past in this regard among the Church's officials. Popes and cardinals urged the reluctant Copernicus to publish his astronomical theories and a century later condemned his disciple Galileo for proving them true. Over the centuries Churchmen have learned that it is useless


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to try to shield the faithful from new ideas and scholarly developments, especially those which form the very basis of modern society. Whether or not a Church official or censorship board approves of a new idea or not does not really determine its effect. The new idea-in a book or article-will eventually enter into the Church's stream of consciousness. There it will be written about, debated, tried, and tested. If it does not strike a responsive chord in the people of God, it will be rejected. If, on the other hand, in the dialectic of personal experience and public confrontation, its true worth is validated, nothing will stop its progress. One has simply to glance at the recent history of liturgical renewal, scriptural form-criticism, and inter-faith cooperation to realize this. At this point in her history, the pilgrim Church has learned she must grant the same privilege to new ideas and values which was once given to her when she began her journey. It seems we have finally learned the truth of Gamaliel's words in the New Testament: "For if this plan or work is of men, it will be overthrown: but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow it" (Acts 5:39). This does not mean that everything now accepted as true by God's people will have the same duration as the revealed word. But whatever is true is ultimately from God; it cannot be destroyed simply by concealing its existence. As philosopher Bernard has so clearly explained it, our own partial appropriation of any truth never totally comprehends its full sweep, and it must be revised and tested again and again. As Father Newman (the future Cardinal Newman) pointed out a century ago, it is a more exact metaphor to compare truth to a living plant which must be continually renourished rather than considering it a dead coin which is constantly repolished but never permitted to have its "currency value" challenged. Values and ideas which are continually rethought and revitalized by questioning and controversy become an intimate part of one's self. They never lose their permanency because they are constantly brought to consciousness in each new


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dialectic. They have never been permitted to stagnate. On the other hand, a belief never tested is liable to be very weak. This is made painfully clear by the tragic loss of faith suffered by so many fundamentalists when they encounter their first course in college biology. They are faced with a bleak choice: atheistic evolutionism or ignorance. Up to. then, their whole intellectual life has been a history of passive acceptance. They have never learned to stare objections in the face, and to accept, adapt, or reject them. A PRUDENTIAL JUDGMENT The new approach by the Church's authorities encourages readers to make a prudential judgment about a particular work, and this demands a more critical evaluation on their part. This active mental role replaces the older passivity, and brings the readers' personal critical energies into focus on the rna路 !erial presented. The faithful no longer meet ideas in a pro路 tective climate which encourages passive acceptance. They now are expected to discover them in their original sources, and personally decide for themselves wheth!Jr such ideas are to be accepted, remolded, or rejected. The1路e is more risk involved in this approach, but the results are far more rewarding. They will form a people of God who are unafraid to face any in路 tellectual challenge to their faith, because they will be keenly aware of what is essential and what is not. If this responsibility is expected of the reading public in the Church, if they are considered capable of coping with challenging books and articles, it would seem there is even a stronger case for arguing that the writers in the Churchspecifically the priests and religious--should be capable of deciding what they should publish. A large portion of the laity surely are aware that they cannot expect unanimity among their clergy in matters of faith and morals involving open theological questions. We should recognize a dual role these writers have. When they are treating of defined dogma and acting as delegates of the hierarchy, that is, assuming the teaching role of spreading


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the Gospel which was commissioned by Christ, their works should reflect the unity of the Church, and some form of vigilance by legitimate authority is expected. But when they are treating of their personal opinions, of open questions or of the relationship of doctrine to their personal spiritual life, it would be unneccssarv to cP.nsor these works . • Logically, it is expected that the Church's officials will eventually abolish needless forms of censorship. Perhaps particular works will cause a brief flurry and then be lost in time. Perhaps others will ignite a new fire in the Church, giving her a fresh insight into her salvific role, and inspire God's people to strain forward to their final destiny. In either case, we should be willing to face them. If a writer is willing to risk putting his views before the public eye, the responsibility for this should fall on his own shoulders and not on official censors.


AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE George J, Dyer, editor of CHICAGO STUDIES and professor of dogmatic theology and patrology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, has done post-doctoral research in theology at the University of Chicago. James Gaffney, S.J., currently preparing a doctoral thesis at the Gregorian University, has published articles in Review for Religious, Revue de l' Universite d'Ottawa, Theological Studies, The Thomist, and Worship. Joseph D. Collins, M.M., a Maryknoll student for the priesthood, is currently studying at the Missiology Institute of the University of Miinster, Germany. Charles R. Meyer, archdiocesan archivist and librarian at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, is professor of Church history and Christian archeology. Thomas Lay, S.J., currently completing theological studie& at St. Mary's College, Kansas, received his Ph.D. in speech from Northwestern University. Vincent A. Yzermans, director of the NCWC Bureau of Information, has edited several volumes of papal documents in translation. Edward G. Zogby, S.J., is pursuring graduate studies in theology at Woodstock College, Maryland. Gerard P. Weber, assistant at St. Carthage Church, Chicago and vice-president of ACTA, is co-author of Life in Christ, Beyond the Commandments, and other books. Ronald A. Sarno, S.J., teaches English at Xavier High School in New York City and has published articles in Review for Religious, Classical Folio, and other journals.

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