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CHICAGO STUDIES

difficulty that the Church faces in attempting to modernize her structures and her mode of acting-the difficulty of overcoming the tendency to canonize a past way of acting.

AN EVALUATION

OF THE PRESENT PARISH STRUCTURE

In the light of the principles enunciated we will attempt a brief examination of the present parish structure to see if it really manifests and fosters the mission of the local Church to strengthen its interior bonds and go out in service to the whole world. This evaluation will be largely negative, not because there are no positive factors in the present set-up, but because we are interested in encouraging changes in the structures that will bring them more in line with their purpose. Our criticisms will cover four areas: the persons included in the parish; the religious formation imparted; the response of the parish and its organizations to the needs of the community; and the parish liturgy. First of all, the persons in the modern parish often have little or no relationship to one another. In many cases they hardly know one another by sight. Moreover, they have little sense of a common mission; in fact, the outlook or mentality of the parishioners may be as varied as that of persons from two different continents. How one can build a supernatural local community on the basis of such a non-existent natural com路 munity has yet to be established. It would seem that a reno路 vated local structure in the future may have to take into account other than mere geographical criteria if the structure is to be a true expressor of the local community and its functions. Secondly, the religious formation now imparted in the parish leaves much to be desired in too many cases. The the路 ological and catechetical revolution has not yet caught up with the pulpit and adult formation program. The faith is too often a series of abstract propositions or an acceptance of events and teachings of the time of Christ; it is not promul路 gated as a present christian understanding of reality entailing an involvement in a mission to the whole world. The parish is not yet forming on a large scale christians who do realize, for

Profile for Chicago Studies

Spring 1968  

Volume 7:1

Spring 1968  

Volume 7:1

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