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CHICAGO STUDIES

apart from living situations and living people. There is not and cannot be any ideal concrete structure. Rather, the ideal structure for any given local community is that structure that best enables it to fulfill its christian function of mission, of growing to greater unity and of reaching out in service and love to all others living in the area and ultimately to all mankind. It is the performance of this function that is the very raison d' etre of structure; and it necessarily dictates the forms structures will take. Since people, communities, and situations obviously differ according to time and place, it seems evident that difference in structure are to be expected and even welcomed. Does this mean that there are no enduring structures? Our answer needs to be qualified. On the one hand, there is a necessity for structures because of the imperfection of the present time; and it is necessary that these structures follow a broad general pattern etched out in the very nature of man. There will always have to be verbal structures such as the Creed that we know so that the necessary articulation of common understanding may occur. There will always have to be personal structures, men who will unify the community by expressing in their persons the common goal that animates its activity. Finally, there will always have to be an expressive common activity that manifests the total striving of the community to be o~e in Christ. On the other hand, the precise form that these verbal, personal, and liturgical structures will take is to be determined by the needs of the local community in the context of the whole Church and, indeed, in the context of the relationship it bears to all mankind. The word-structure of a profession of faith, the way of acting of a pope or bishop, the rubrics of the liturgy are all subject to immense variations. There are no absolute credal, personal or rubrical structures even if there must always be a creed, a bishop or personal unifier, and a liturgy. The absolute resides in the meaning toward which structures point; it does not reside in the structures that point toward and express it in an imperfect manner.

Profile for Chicago Studies

Spring 1968  

Volume 7:1

Spring 1968  

Volume 7:1

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