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VOLUME 7 - NUMBER 1

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SPRING, 1968


CIVITAS DEI

FOUNDATION

Epi..copal Patroru

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. TrusteeJ

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 Founders

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. Ryzner Rev. Joseph I. Schmeier Rev. Harold H. Sieger Rev. Andrew T. Valcicak

Charter MembeTJ

ACTA

Rev. Walter F. Somerville


CHICAGO STUDIES EDITORIAL STAFF Editor George J. Dyer Associate EdiloT$

John F. Dedek William 0. Goedert . Business Manager

Vincent C. Horrigan, S.J. Production Manager

Richard J. Wojcik Edmund J. Siedlecki Editorial AdW.oro John D. Baggarly, S.J. Gerard T. Broccolo John R. Clark Robert H. Dougherty John F. Fahey Thomas J. Fitzgerald John R. Gorman David J. Hassel, S.J. Stephen S. Infantino George J. Kane Julius F. Klose Edward H. Konennan, S.J. Williiam P. LeSaint, S.J. Samuel F. Listermann, S.J. Joseph T. Mangan, S.J.

Thomas B. McDonough John P. McFarland, S.J. Charles R. Meyer Carl J. Moe!!, 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 Gerald P. Weber Raymond 0. Wicklander

CHICAGO STUDIES is edited by the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary and the priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago for the con路 tinning education of the clergy. The editors welcome articles and letters likely to be of interest to our readers. All communications re路 garding articles and editorial policy should be addressed to the editors. Subscriptions should be sent to CHICAGO STUDIES, Box 665, Munde路 lein, Illinois 60060. Subscription rates: $5.00 a year, $9.00 for 1\1~ years, $16.00 for four years; to students, 84.00 a year. Foreign sub路 scribers: add SOc 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 the editors or editorial board. Indexed in The Catholic Periodical Index and New Testament Abstracts. Microfilms of current and backfile volumes of CHICAGO STUDIES are now available from University Microfilms, Inc., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106.


VOLUME 7

SPRING, 1968

NUMBER 1

Co11le11~ Artick• AcADEMic FREEDOM REVISITED

3

George K. Malone

THE WoRD oF GoD AND MASS MEDIA

15

Ronald A. Sarno, S./.

THE STATUS OF GRACE TODAY

27

Charle• R. Meyer

SOME MORAL MINIMALISM

53

I ohn F. Dedek

FROM CEREMONY TO COMMUNICATION

69

Christopher Kiesling, O.P.

THE THEOLOGY OF THE PARISH: THE PROBLEM

89

Peter Chirico, S.S.

THE CHALLENGE OF THE THOUGHT OF PIERRE '):'EI!,HAR!i DE CHARDIN

101

CORRESPONDENCE

Francis/. Klauder, S.D.B.

109

OuR CovER: Silver Crucifix by Hein Wimmer in Youth Center Chapel, Munster, Germany.


APOLOGETICS SURVEY, Ill

In the first article of this series (Summer, 1967) we discussed the questions of academic freedom in relation to the ordinary magistery and of church- credibility. In this study we reconsider these areas in the light of current developments.

_Academic Jreedom fevijileJ

A PLEASANT SURPRISE An extremely interesting What are the boundaries article recently appeared in to the academic freedom Seminarium, published under of the Catholic the auspices of the Pontifical theologian? Society for Priestly Vocations at the Sacred Congregation of + Seminaries and Universities ( "Obbedienza al Magistero ordinaria," VII, 3, July-SepGEORGE K. MALONE tember 1967). Written by Bishop Carlo Colombo, presi+ dent of the Theological Faculty of Milan, this study examines the question of obedience to the ordinary magistery in all its varied manners of expression. After considering the relation of Catholics to the Pope, to the episcopal college, and to the individual diocesan bishop, he turns his attention specifically to the relation between the ordinary magistery and the theologian. He asserts a twofold dependence of the theologian upon the magistery: not only does it judge the validity of the results of theological research and their com3


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CHICAGO STUDIES

patibility with revealed teaching, but it also serves to place the theologian in touch with the historic patrimony of Christian reflection. Up to this point there is nothing astonishing or exciting. But, Colombo continues, the function of the theologian is special-he is more than a believer, since by vocation and office he is also a scholar rendering a precious service of re· search. Such research must be free. He then describes his concept of this freedom which is so necessary for true theological research: .· "In this moment of research one is not obliged to start from the teaching of the authentic non·infallible magistery as from a certain definitive dmum: one can place it in discussion, using methodical doubt, as in any scientific discussion, and one is not obliged to arrive at conclusions always and under every aspect conformed to the teaching of tradition expressed in the ordinary magistery. One could indicate in it some insufficiencies or per· haps even some errors of interpretation of divine truth. (Think of the literal interpretation and common presentation for so many centuries of the first chapters of Genesis). In such a case, which is not a daily occurrence, one would have the right and the duty not only of suspending his religious assent as a believer, but also of proposing the reasons which lead to doubt· ing some truth of the common teaching, in order to aid the entire Church, and particularly its teachers, to attain a more exact knowledge of the truth (pp. 528·529)." Let us pause for a moment to reflect upon these remarks and their implications. First of all, in Colombo's judgment the theologian can and, by implication, should subject the teachings of the authentic non·infallible magistery to questioning and methodical doubt. Such teachings should not be regarded as certain and definitive data. In other words, the theologian must guard .against what some have called a "creeping infallibility'' -a tendency to assign greater doctrinal weight to positions than they actually deserve. Secondly, depending upon the results of his research, the theologian has "the right and the duty" of suspending his own religious assent. Most older


APOLOGETICS

5

manuals had insisted that the theologian continue giving such internal assent to authentic non-infallible teaching as at least probable. Colombo, however, speaks in terms of simply¡ "suspending" assent. Finally, the theologian also has the right and duty of proposing the reasons which have led him to his position of suspended assent. That is, the research scholar does not work in a sort of hermetically sealed ivory tower, but must expose his views to the scrutiny of others in order to validate or invalidate his conclusions. We feel that these remarks are most significant in that a theologian of Colombo's stature and position should publicly take such a forthright stance in defense of the theologian's academic freedom. A PASTORAL PROBLEM But while the right to academic freedom is quite clear on the theoretical level, a practical pastoral problem arises. The sys¡ tematic theologian has a twofold social responsibility towards the entire faith community. On the one hand, as we have seen, he must be faithful to his service of academic commitment, which demands a seeking of truth in complete intellectual honesty. But on the other hand, he must also remain faithful to the creedal commitment which is his even as a teacher, a commitment which extends nof only to matters of faith assent but also per se to items of purely religious assent. Thus, for instance he is not perfectly free to discuss the whole of Vatican II simply because the conciliar documents belong to the authentic non-infallible magistery. In teaching the non-profes¡ sional the theologian acts as prophet, speaking on behalf of the teaching church. In conducting his research he acts as academician, questioning the teaching church. In his daily life, then, he must seek a balance between the two. The major problem area in attaining this balance is that of publication. While Bishop Colombo asserts the theologian's right and duty of proposing his reasons, what precisely does he mean by this? He replies: "A very delicate problem arises when from the moment of research one passes to that of the communication of one's


6

CHICAGO STUDIES

results by means of teaching and writing. . . While scientific research, which takes place in competent circles and their technical journals, must enjoy the freedom of discussion nec¡ essary for the confrontation of ideas and for the not always easy weighing of arguments, publication constitutes an im¡ portant and delicate pastoral problem: a re-enforcing and strengthening or a diminishing and even a crisis of the com¡ munity's faith depend on the manner and the timing in which it takes place. The magistery, which has the task of guarding the faith of the Christian community-not only the content, but also the spirit and the virtue of faith-has then certainly a right of judgment and of control over the pastoral aspect of theological publication" (pp. 539-540). A colleague of mine laughingly commented on this, "It looks like he's an Indian-giver! He gives with one hand and then takes hack with the other!" Seriously, though, we must ask whether such an interpretation is valid, for it hits at the very heart of today's problem. We think not, for we understand Colombo to be distinguishing between responsible and irresponsible publication. To publish the fruits of one's research in Theological Studies or Revue Thomiste is one thing. To employ mass communication media to express the same observations is another. The first is in the mainstream of responsible scholarship, for in it the research scholar is proposing his ideas to his peers for their professional analysis and critical evaluation. It is quite properly assumed that his methodical doubt and possible withholding of religious assent will not effect any diminishing of, or crisis in, the cognitive aspects of their faith commitment. The second, quite outside the scholarly mainstream, appears academically irresponsible, for in it the research scholar is addressing himself to the general non-professional public. What exactly is he seeking? "A few bucks!" remarked a cynical midwestern hook reviewer. Such remarks aside, whatever his goal may he, it is not primarily the professional analysis and critical evaluation of his peers. Academically, then, it is irresponsible. Moreover, since the non-professional may,


APOLOGETICS

7

and presumably does not, know the many facets of the disputed question, a true faith-crisis can result. In such an event, this type of publication would also be pastorally irresponsible. This notion of responsible and irresponsible publication is quite in keeping with the American Association of University Professors Statement of Principles regarding Academic Free路 dom and Tenure. With regard to this very point, the statement reads: "The college or university teacher is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institu路 tion. When he speaks or writes as a citizen, he should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a man of learning and an educational officer, he should remember that the public may judge his profession and his institution by his utterances. Hence he should at all times be acccurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that he is not an institutional spokesman" [Sect. on Academic Freedom, (c)]. That is, if the university or seminary professor of systematic theology arrives at a position counterindicated by magisterial pronouncements, he is obliged by academic standards to present both sides of the question. There are reasons for asserting it; there are reasons against asserting it. The reasons on both sides must be fully explained. To propose one side without proposing the other amounts to nothing other than intellectual dishonesty. What then of academic freedom for the Roman Catholic theologian? With regard to the authentic non-infallible teach路 ings of the ordinary magistery, we contend that it subsists in all its entirety, as long as it is done according to commonly ac路 cepted academic standards: I) that it be the result of scholarly research. We regret the attitude of the young associate pastor who had proposed many new and interesting ideas, hut who remarked that he would not research them because "my ideas should stand on their own merit, regardless of what others may


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CHICAGO STUDIES

think." 2) that the results be published in a responsible way. Ordinarily this will involve presentation in a paper delivered to a professional society or publication of an article in a technical journal. This will also involve describing one's results precisely as what they are-a tentative exploration and solution of a problem. For just as one should not start from magisterial teaching as from a fixed and definitive datum, neither should one propose one's own view in the same manner. FURTHER DIFFICULTIES

However, even granting this ideal of responsible publication of scholarly research, one encounters two additional problems which are, perhaps, the very heart of the entire academicpastoral difficulty. First of all, does not the non-professional theologian have a right to know what is going on in profes· sional circles? Secondly, does not the non-professional theologian have a right to be consulted about theological problems, especially those which may affect him directly? While these are knotty problems, we feel that this whole question of academic freedom and the ordinary magistery ultimately centers about them and indeed cannot be resolved until they are answered. The general right of the non-professional to know current questions and responses is questioned by no one. Indeed the subscription lists of Theological Studies, Bijdragen, and the others are open to all who are able and willing to pay the annual subscription rate. But the right to know is not explained this easily. For the days are gone, perhaps forever, when the theologian could enjoy the relative obscurity and consequent freedom of purely technical publication. A continental Euro· pean theologian described this quandary aptly when he lamented, "Today you publish in Tijdschrift-a month from now you're all over Time magazine!" This problem is not peculiarly theological. One recalls the great excitement created several years ago when a national periodical ran a feature story replete with photos about DMSO, an allegedly "miraculous" new experimental drug. At that time a physician remarked,·


APOLOGETICS

9

"Half the men on our staff could throttle that editor! Patients are griping and threatening never to come back. It does no good to tell them that the drug is still experimental and not cleared .for general use as yet. They've read the article. The doctor can't give them the drug. Their confidence is shaken. Totally irresponsible!" As a result of the mass media "picking up" stories from the technical journals, it is reported that some theologians are beginning to eschew these same journals and to circulate pri路 vately duplicated manuscripts among their colleagues. Now such private circulation is most regrettable for several rea路 sons. First, it leaves an almost "sneaky" impression of a small clique attempting some sort of cloak-and-dagger operation. It has already been alleged that some sort of "Rhenish coalition" was able to dominate Vatican II. Thus Wiltgen remarks, "The work carried out by the European alliance at Fulda was very impressive, and it is to be regretted that all national and regional episcopal conferences did not work with the same intensity and purpose. Had they done so, they would not have found it necessary to accept the positions of the European alliance with so little questioning. The Council would then have been less one-sided, and its achievements would truly have been the result of a world-wide theological effort" (The Rhine Flows into the Tiber, 1967, pp. 79-80). Secondly, such private circu路 lation gives rise to all sorts of wild rumors. Thus a renowned author is alleged to hold a certain opinion. Does he or does he not? One searches in vain for a witness who personally heard the opinion expressed; one looks in vain for this opinion in the author's writings. Yet the rumor continues unabated. The author is not ruffled, since he can always deny路 the alleged opinion. The professional is not disturbed, since he puts no confidence in free rumors. The only one to suffer confusion or faith-crisis is the non-professional who hears conflicting reports and does not know just who is saying what at any moment. Finally, and most important, private circulation necessarily entails a drastic limitation of the very audience-his fellow professionals-whose critical evaluation the theologian most needs and seeks.


10

CHICAGO STUDIES

It is circulation of my ideas among colleagues whom I do not know which most effectively fertilizes my own thought. When I circulate them only among my own friends and acquaintances, I run the danger of entering a very closed circle which cannot but narrow my professional insights and vision. THE RIGHT TO BE CONSULTED

The right of the non-professional to be consulted poses another and different problem. Briefly the problem itself can be stated in the form of a seeming dilemma. On the one hand, Vatican I defined as a dogma that ex ctahedra definitions "of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church" (Dogm. Const. on the Church of Christ, DS 3074). On the other hand, such highly respected authors as Cardinal Newman and Karl Rahner, S.J., have spoken about the vital necessity of consulting the faithful in matters of doctrine and of encouraging the free expression of public opinion in the Church. Is a contradiction involved here? No, for Vatican I in asserting "non ex consensu Ecclesiae" was intending to preclude the necessity of some sort of referendum to ratify solemn ex cathedra definitions. It did not intend to exclude the possibility and desirability of consultation in theological matters. Quite to the contrary, the so-called "sensus fidelium" has always been regarded, even in the most conservative and traditional presentations, as one of the most important loci theologici. Theoretically, therefore, there is no problem. The non-professional does have a certain and definite right to be consulted. However, the practical implementation of this right is the heart of this problem area. Let us cite two theoretical examples. If the ordinary of a recially prejudiced diocese takes a vigorously dynamic civil right stance, is he violating the right of the faithful to be consulted? If the ordinary of an extremely "hawkish" diocese adopts a stance vigorously supporting Vati¡ can Il's condemnation of every act of total war as a "crime against God and man," is he violating the right of the faithful to be consulted? We distinguish. All the faithful do have this


APOLOGETICS

11

right to he heard, and it is part of the theologian's academic mission to listen to and truly hear the opinions of those opposed to him. Simply to dismiss an individual as a "segregationist" or a "hawk" is professionally incompetent. The major difficulty seems to be this. In these days of random samplings of public opinion, by both professional pollsters and radio-TV stations, there is still no structured method of ascertaining public opinion within the Church. There is no reason to fear. At best, it supports and confirms "church policy," as in the few random samplings of public opinion about recent liturgical changes. At the very worst, it indicates those areas of possible or actual conflict which are most in need of discussion. In conclusion of this already too lengthy section, then, let us assert the following. First, in accord with the norms laid down by Bishop Colombo, the theologian, when his research so demands, has the right and the duty both to suspend his religious assent due to non-infallible magisterial teaching and to propose his reasons for suspension of assent in competent circles. Secondly, it is a matter of fact that the mass media of communication can and do pick up and publicize articles published only in once obscure and little known technical theological journals. Thirdly, pastoral problems can be and are caused by such mass dissemination of technical discussions. Fourthly, two alternatives are offered to the magistery or "teaching Church"-to prohibit publication of scholarly research when it counterindicated magisterial pronouncements or to permit it. But prohibition of scholarly research publications is undesirable for the reasons mentioned above, especially those concerning private circulation of papers. Permission, therefore, would seem to be desirable both from a theoretical and from a practical point of view,-theoretically, because from the point of view of both Bishop Colombo and the AAUP responsible publication seems inseparable from any viable notion of true academic freedom-and practically, because the magistery has at its disposal both the same mass media of communication and also the local pulpit and diocesan publications as well. If research papers are not picked up by the mass media,


12

CHICAGO STUDIES

there is no pastoral problem. If they are so picked up, tlie magistery can then respond on the same level. By such pro¡ cedures the magistery would beautifully decrease, rather than increase, any posssible "credibility gap."

A TALE OF TWO MEN In the light of the preceding remarks, let us consider the most recent writings of two theologians--Charles Davis and Richard McCormick, S.J. Davis, currently visiting Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alberta, found Pope Paul's 1966 remarks about birth control (Oct. 29) an "ignit¡ ing spark" in his consequent decision to leave the Church. Davis regarded the Pope's remarks as "callous," showing disregard of persons and their present feelings, as an indication of the Pope's having acted "with insensitivity towards the sufferings of people." McCormick, currently Professor of Moral Theology at the Jesuits' Bellarmine School of Theology in North Aurora, has examined the same papal pronouncement and published his results in Theological Studies (Dec., 1967). McCormick's study concludes with the observation that he feels the alleged "majority report" of the Papal Commission "could lead one to believe" that its report "should be regarded as intrinsically the more probable and acceptable opinion" (p. 797). Moreover, he asserts, "I would agree with the many theologians who contend that the matter of contraception is as of now, at least for situations of. genuine conflict, just where it was before the papal address-in a state of practical doubt" (p. 800). Davis had interpreted Pope Paul's remarks in one way, as indicating a lack of credibility. Thus he quotes himself as asserting, "One who claims to be the moral leader of mankind should not tell lies" (A Question of Conscience, 1967, p. 101). This is a real challenge. Was the Pope telling lies? The theologian's answer is, in a way, oversimplified. No, because the Pope is discussing authentic non-infallible teaching. The assent given to such teaching is from the beginning conditional, one which can be suspended. Can this teaching be changed? Of


APOLOGETICS

13

course. Does it rise above the level of authentic non¡infallible teaching? Of course not. Therefore, does it remain on the level where it can be questioned and subjected to methodical doubt? Indeed, yes. And can the theologian propose the reasons which prompt him to suspend his religious assent. Again, yes, How? In a technical journal, which is precisely what McCormick has done. Now in interpreting McCormick's contribution, two separate questions are raised, and they must be kept separate. What is the intrinsic value of his argumentation? This question must be resolved by the moralists. Does he have a right to raise this question and to propose this solution? This is a question for the ecclesiologists and to this we respond with a very definite affirmative. This affirmative response is based upon the previously mentioned criteria for responsible publication. Does McCormick's article represent the results of scholarly research? Yes. Any reader of his regular "Notes on Moral Theology" in Theological Studies knows and appreciates the depth of his research on this subject. Are they published "in competent circles"? Again, yes. In these United States of America, what more competent technical journal could one find than Theological Studies? McCormick's responsible publication of his research findings is of great importance. His arguments may be weighed and found wanting by his peers, but his manner of presentation will stand as a true monument to the academic freedom of the Catholic theologian.


Jhe 'Wo,.J o/~J and lhe rl!/ajj rf/edia

The Word of God is dynamic; it rushes into a static and smug community of men like an Olympic runner. It deeply alters that society, and drives its new adherents to spread the vital dynamism of the Word further. "Pray . . . that the Word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, as it did among you (2 Thes. 3: I). "Religious communicators can The Word enters men's hearts, sparks their own generosity, no longer, it seems to me, and impells them to work as satisfy themselves solely apostles among their fellow with ... Herder men. True Christians never Correspondence, America, divorce the Word from activiCommonweal, and the ty. Christianity is not neatly Christian Century. They must divided into theory and pracfind some way to make their tice. "But be doers of the product viable for the mass Word, and not hearers only, media."-John McLaughlin deceiving yourselves (Jas 1:22). The Word of Christ is not intended for mere publicaRONALD A. SARNO, S.J. tion and admiration; he meant :; us to employ its precepts in + our everyday activity. He wanted his Word to strike a deep and personal response in his listeners; so he frequently compared the doing of his Word with their normal daily routine. The men in his audience readily understood his frequent references to casting fish nets, sowing seed in the ground, harvesting the grain, building a house, and the anxious waiting at a market place for a job. The women understood the allusions to

+

15


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CHICAGO STUDIES

supervtsmg children's games, kneading and baking dough, sweeping the house, and lighting lampstands. The Word of God began in a Mediterranean culture which was primarily oral. In an oral culture the spoken word has a much more formative impact on the people's society than it would in a literary culture, such as ours, in which most of the people can read and write. A new speaker in a first century Jewish village could cause a sensation such as we would only experience by reading a startling news leak in the daily papers. For us an item is not important until it is printed. For the ancients, it became important as soon as it was spoken. "And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching" (Mt. 7 :28). "And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan" (Mt. 4:25). In an oral culture there is no theoretical division between word and action, such as we have. This is why the ancients had such a fear of cursing, because the spoken word did not merely indicate a wish or a momentary spat of anger. The spoken word was one with the accomplished fact. This is also why the preaching of the apostles so fascinated the early Christians. The Word of the Gospel brought them into immediate contact with the actions and personality of the Word of God. It was the Word which permeated the totality of their society and that Word had spoken out loud and clear, revealing himself to man. "I have given them the words which you gave me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you did send me" (Jn 17:8). Christ was known as the Word of God because the spoken word formed a profound un-ion with the Person who uttered it. The spoken word was a clear symbol to the ancients, a sign of the deep unity between speech and actions and actions and personality. What a man spoke told what he did and what he was like as a person. So the Word of Christ is seen as one with the Person and activity of God. "Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells


MASS MEDIA

17

in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves" (Jn 14:10¡11). The primitive Christians heard the Word spoken by oral preachers, such as St. Paul the Apostle and St. John Chrysostom. Because it was spoken, the Word was intimately united with their own personal actions. The Word told them what Christ had done and what they were expected to do in return. The Word of God, the Word of Christ, and the Word of the Gospel were all one reality to them. There could be no divorce between person and action or theory and practice as long as the Word was such a complete unity in the everyday experience of the People of God. THE FRAGMENTING oF THE WoRD

After Christianity became the established religion in the Roman Empire, the Word took on new cultural patterns. Some of these were very beneficial and some were not. For the purpose of this paper, I wish to trace the general history of one of the harmful changes. This is not a denial of the many benefits which also came from this establishment. It is merely a means for clarifying one specific problem, the fragmenting of the Word. As the Word gained social prestige, it gradually entered the cultural milieu of the nobles and educated. While the majority of the faithful remained in an oral culture, the 'Word took on the form and appearance of the literary culture. The literate never considered the Word their exclusive prerogative; yet it was theirs in a way which the oral faithful could no longer claim. For instance, "cleric" originally meant "one who could read and write." The literate tried to bring the Word to others; statues, mosaics, paintings and stained glass windows were built to inform and edify those who could not read the Gospels for themselves. Popular preaching was also used extensively, but in quite a different manner than before. Since the Word had now been estranged from the oral culture, it was proclaimed in a manner which only the learned could recognize. For example, in the


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CHICAGO STUDIES

early Middle Ages, the sermons were modeled on Cynic diatribes, a form of moral instruction which originated with earlier pagan philosophers. Many of these "complaints" are still extant today. In them preachers engage in long-winded denunciations of abstract evils which had little to do with the listeners' everyday life. Later, during the High Middle Ages, sermons deteriorated into community entertainments. In England, historians date the decline in morals almost simultaneously with the abandonment of good homilies from the pulpit. "And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher" (Rom. 10:14)? Thrown back on their own spiritual resources, the oral faithful began to feel the Word, especially the person of Christ and his Gospel, was too elite and abstract for their daily lives. They turned to popular devotions which were more immediate to their daily lives and more oral in character. Ideally these devotions should have brought the people closer to the Word. But private devotion; as Pius XII wrote in Mediator Dei, is never totally effective unless united with a strong liturgical piety and a solid knowledge of the Scriptures. Because they were in Latin, the language of the educated, the liturgical and Scriptural texts were for all practical purposes inaccessible to the oral faithful. For them, the Word became the domain of the clergy and the nobles. The educated were the ones who could comprehend and put into practice the precepts of the Word. The rest would learn by imitating their leaders, who often caused them to go astray. So began the sad division between the hearers of the Word and the doers of the Word, a separation which would have profoundly puzzled the the early Christians. The mendicants made a valiant attempt to heal this unnecessary division by their vigorous preaching of the Word. For a while, they succeeded in establishing certain reforms. But too many of the clergy failed to follow their example. The almost universal neglect of solid preaching on the part of the ministers of the Word in the fifteenth century paved the way


MASS MEDIA

19

for more radical reformers. The evangelists of the Reforms¡ tion insisted on popular preaching of the Word. They had an immediate and dramatic impact on the people. People turned to the new preaching because it was the only oral presentation of the Word they had ever experienced. Hungry for the Word of life, they listened to the many voices which proclaimed the Word. Separated from its source, the Word fragmented into many sects. This loss of unity was anticipated in the first break between the oral Word and the literary Word. It had taken many centuries for the initial problem to take on its full import. This fragmenting of the Word occurred just as man began to enter a whole new culture. THE WORD IN A LITERARY CULTURE

Whim the Renaissance began, the Word had already been separated into theory and practice for many of the faithful. As the literacy rate climbed higher and higher, this initial problem became even more complex. Oral proclamations of the Word had always been immediate and personal to the early listeners. The Word expected a practical choice at once. The Word may have been rejected in this situation, but that hap¡ pened precisely because the audience understood that it in¡ volved them personally and completely. They were not only being asked to believe some new creed; they were also being asked to act on it and they fully realized the scope of this demand. "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God" (Lk. 9:60). The Renaissance gave birth to our modem non-oral culture in which the spoken word has lost its former prestige and the written word has taken its place. Ideally, this would have been the opportunity to restore the full meaning of the Word to the faithful. Unfortunately, a further fragmenting took place instead. As literacy spread throughout the masses, what men read became far more important than what they heard. The written word grew in power and helped to form our modem literary culture. In a literary culture, man compartmentalizes his life. Prose reveals a rich treasury of knowledge and fiction creates


20

CHICAGO STUDIES

multiple vicarious experiences. But both prose and fiction separate man from his own experiences. Literature creates a world which is remote and theoretical. Prose is mentally stimu· lating and fiction is escapist, but neither are personal nor actual experiences. A man isolates what he has read from what he is or has done. The scientist puzzling out a physics treatise and the housewife pouring over a romantic tale are fundamentally doing the same thing: they are leaving the world of here and now for someplace else. Both hold certain things theoretically but not practically. He knows that the mathematical formulas are ideal and that he will never ex· actly reduplicate them in his laboratory. She separates her personality and its exciting vicarious experiences from her daily round of dull chores. It is this unconscious separation of reading from real life which Renaissance men brought to the Word. THE PROBLEM OF PRINT

Print in itself created another problem. Print appeals to the mind and the eye. Appealing to the mind, it fits into the theoretical cultural pattern of a literary culture. The reader of the Word can come to the Word in an unemotional and im· personal manner which was impossible for the earlier listeners. Print is read by the eye, one line after another. This sets up a temporal sequence which is more subtle but also more integral than the time in which one hears something. One can go back in print, in order to strengthen the time sequence even more in the memory. Before, now, and after become very important considerations. What is in print becomes part of an age, iso· lated in a particular time in history. Unfortunately, placed in this historical perspective, the Word became a moment in his· tory, rather than the meaning of history. Considered theo· 1·etically instead of practically, the Word offered no personal challenge to one's own set of values. Reading the Word was meant to bring people closer to the person and precepts of Christ. But now that the Word appeared in print, for most people, the original wedge between the theory and practice


MASS MEDIA

21

of the Word and the person and acllvity of the Word grew wider. The Word became static and remote instead of dynamic and immediate. Furthermore, the Reformers' dramatic and turbulent use of the written word increased the depth of the problem. The Word appeared in cheap pamphlets and hand Bibles. It came from Wittenberg, Geneva, London, and Rome. Each acclaimed its own interpretation of the Word as the sole voice of Christ in the modern world. For a while, Europe rocked with the bloody wars of religion, since each group tried to eliminate the other. When this proved impossible, the conflict subsided. Economics, science and culture took over as the dominant formative factors in modern society. Man felt it best to keep his religion individual and personal, not social. At the beginning of the Renaissance, Erasmus and St. Thomas More had tried to integrate the Word with the new literary culture. The atmosphere was tense and their own efforts were frequently suspected as heretical by their fellow Catholics. They enjoyed an initial success, but the hesitancy of their co¡ religionists and the fragmenting of the Word into so many rival sects prevented their program from spreading out on a universal scale. To a certain extent, St. Ignatius Loyola and his Jesuit sons brought the Word in a dynamic way to the new literary culture. In the schools they formed men who were both literate and active Christians. Yet their own efforts could not stem the new tide of secularism which was sweeping the world. Too, much of their energy was exhausted in combating the evangelists' proselytizing. The Word was expounded through polemics and apologetics. In this sad situation. interpretation of the Word became more important than the Word itself. This was not the intention of any of the polemicists, but today we can understand that this is what happened. The Word was identified with a culture; its various sects with certain nations and personalities. For both Catholics and Protestants the Word was part of their literary, national and familial heritage. This created the "tribal


22

CHICAGO STUDIES

Christian" who could feel a certain nostalgic loyalty to the Word but never look on it as a way of life. Yet the true Word can never be limited by these human boundaries. It is beyond our nations and cultures and families. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). It is natural for man to try to put his own cultural limitations on the eternal Word. Yet the Word survives and develops because it is from God and not from man. It is important for us to realize that the Word can never be limited to one culture, either national or global. It originated in an oral culture and we received it from a literary culture, but it is not in any way limited to either. THE TECHNOCRATIC CULTURE

It is probably a bromide to tell modern Churchmen that we live in an age of transition. The popular press has exhausted us with the wearisome slogans of "change . . . or else." But the real problem for us, I feel, is that in rejecting the slogans we are tempted to overlook the genuine truth which puts them on men's lips. We are ministers of the eternal Word, but we must fully realize that the culture which gave us that Word is temporal, in fact, is dying before our very eyes. Our world is changing, changing so rapidly that we have yet to choose a satisfactory term to describe our culture. Father Chardin suggests "noosphere." In this view, world-wide electri¡ cal communications are an extension of man's central nervous system. Through them man can be present anywhere on the globe. Thus emerges the "noosphere" or global consciousness. Individualism yields to community; nationalism to a united world. Marshall McLuhan suggests that we live in a "tactile cui¡ ture." In a literary culture, he claims, print appeals mainly to the eye. Visual perception dominates and the other senses are put to minimum use. The way in which man perceives affects the way in which he thinks and acts. Aural perception had appealed to the whole man, involving him immediately and


MASS MEDIA

23

dynamically. Visual perception minimizes the other senses and does not evoke man's total involvement. In a literary culture man is more aware of his self than his tribe; he becomes individualistic instead of communal. He is more aware of ideas than of actions; he becomes theoretical instead of practical. His culture is more open to analysis than synthesis; it becomes scientific instead of experimental. Because print creates a much larger audience than the village orator ever enjoyed, countries become nations instead of isolated tribes. In a "tactile culture" the audio-visual mass media require a unification of the human senses. This coherent perception heals the fragmentation caused by the previous dominance of the visual. This coherent perception restores the dynamism and immediacy of the primitive oral culture. Man is once more open to total involvement, but now on a global scale. Modern technology does not create tension; tension is caused by the individual trying to cope with two cultures at once. I find both of these authors overly optimistic. By now man should realize that no matter what culture he is in, he is still a Son of Adam, that it, still prey to the destructive forces locked within him. This is why I prefer the term "technocratic culture," which is neither too optimistic nor too pessimistic. The term means that man can control his world by his technology. It also implies that man is affected by the very tools he invents. It leaves posterity to judge whether man used his technocratic culture for good or ill. Technocratic man is faced with a bewildering array of moral choices. His dilemma is magnified because he can no longer act alone. His decisions affect men everywhere, not just himself. Will he become the citizen of .a global democracy or a member of a totalitarian world? Will he share his bounty with the developing peoples of the world or exploit them out of existence? Will he conquer outer space and explore new worlds or start a nuclear holocaust and destroy his own? TELEVISION AND TECHNOCRATIC MAN

For the purpose of this essay, let us limit ourselves to one


24

CHICAGO STUDIES

item. What is technocratic man going to do with television? In a very short while, in fact, by the time the current crop of altar boys graduate from high school, man is going to have global television at his disposal. What is he going to do with it? If McLuhan is right, television appeals to oral primitives. Technocratic man is reaching right out to the entire globe and converting all of mankind to his technocracy. What are the values which technocratic man communicates and encourages, especially to cultures which have not been deeply influenced by the Word? We in the West have already seen what our technocratic revolution has done in Japan and the Communist countries of East Europe. Among the young lhere is an immediate repudiation of traditional values. Traditional society is seen as non-technocratic and therefore as irrelevant. In order to enjoy the technocratic wonders, there must be an abandonment of rural occupations for the steady income of an urban job. Man measures his worth not by his moral fiber but by his earning power. He experiences wide-spread acceptance of materialistic values and an unspoken assumption that re· ligion is hopelessly identified with the non-technocratic culture. What does television have to do with this? At the present it is the transistor radio which is making the rural people of the world aware of technocracy. But television in itself can have and will have remarkable repercussions on a country's economy. For example, the economists in Italy trace the "Italian miracle" in their own gross national product right back to a twelve-minute television show called "Carousel." "Carousel" was the only commercial permitted on the govern· ment·operated station. It was actually a parade of products available in the Northern industrial towns. People stared in disbelief, packed their luggage and went to see for themselves. Within a few short years, the rural South had lost almost all of its ambitious youth to the jobs-and the products-which were up North. It is important to keep in mind that the North had almost all of these opportunities before. Travel was re· stricted under Mussolini but few wanted to leave anyway. Then they could see for themselves on television what tech·


MASS MEDIA

25

nocracy can do for man and off they went. Italian families are now no longer home-orientated hut job-orientated. And this is the very revolution which is taking place all over the world as aborigines cram ten deep on Bombay streets to watch television in shop windows. No man wants to go back to a mud hut and munch rice after he has seen the wonders of technocracy. Technocracy beckons to man because it is man being fully human. Yet it has its dangers as well as its delights. Television not only expands man's consciousness; but it also has a negative effect. It does not treat its viewers as persons who can make moral decisions but as consumers who can buy products. Basically, this increases man's ego needs. Selfsatisfaction becomes the primary motivation in man's behavior. Television makes man unhappy about his present status and eager to earn more money to buy more products. Man must never be satiated; if all his needs are satisfied, television must create more needs. It is the zest for buying products which is the fuel of technocratic man. Just what is technocratic man going to do to his global village? Is he going to end disease and ignorance just to increase his market output? !ue we going to be faced with a world full of unhappy people grasping for trinkets? THE WoRD IN A CHANGING CULTURE Before we answer these questions we should first ask ourselves: is the Word of God going to be a dynamic influence in this new technocracy? Aie Christian values going to be a formative factor in this new world which is being created? Is it possible for us, the ministers of the Word, to have a dynamic impact on this technocratic world? Have we been blinded by excessive optimism or excessive pessimism to such an extent that we do not see our place in this world? Let us recall that economic improvement does not necessarily destroy a man's desire for moral values, especially in those cultures which have been vigorously influenced by the Word. The Word is eternal, the culture is not. We know this, we accept it, and we preach it one way or another every Sunday from the pulpit. We preach the Word,


26

CHICAGO STUDIES

and we complain that our listeners admire the theory and then practice what is basically a secular code. Why has this dichotomy occurred between the theoretical acceptance of the Word and practical rejection of its moral demands? I think that we preachers create the very dichotomy by our preaching. If the reader is tempted to reject this statement, I would ask him to think hack to the sermon he gave on last Sunday's Gospel. Did he prepare it by checking some pertinent informa¡ tion in. The Jerusalem Bible or Pius Parsch or the Pastoral and Homiletic Review, or a current newspaper item, or did he follow the pastoral guidelines in the chancery bulletin? No matter what he did, he probably began by reading. He used a literary source and his entire presentation was delivered in a logical manner. Here is where the problem, I believe, lies in our preaching. We think in logical terms; we find our informa¡ tion in literary sources--and yet the majority of our listeners are technocrats. They no longer live in a literary culture. Some of them may, but the majority of the youth does not. And they are the culture of tomorrow. We preachers act as if we were still in a literary culture. We preach the Word from written books; we check our sources in textbooks; we prepare our sermons from our perusal of scholarly journals. But this does not have to he. The ministers of the Word can make a dramatic and total investment of men and finance into mass media. There is nothing about the Word which prevents it from being expounded by the kinetic image. Since the media itself is conducive to total involvement, we might well be able to recreate the moral dilemma Christ posed to his disciples. Once again there could be a dramatic confrontation between man and the Word of God. Perhaps man will reject the Word, but at least it will be the Word he is rejecting and not a cultural hangover. Or man might accept it, and we can help to bring all men to the Word of eternal life.


DOCTRINAl SURVEY. Ill

Piet Fransen shocked his mother when he informed her that he had been assigned to teach the treatise on grace in the Jesuit college at Louvain. Like any mother she showed concern for her son. She did not want him to get into trouble. When she heard the news about Piet she could only think of what she had experienced as a college girl in Brussels. The old priest who taught religion in the pensionnat where she studied became very solemn when he took up Theologians today are the matter on grace. While he beginning to perform had been somewhat free and the basic task of relating easy in his lectures in other the theology of grace areas of theology, he dictated to the culture of everything that he had to say our time. about grace. He instructed the girls in his class to memorize what had been given to them without changing so much as a CHARLES R. MEYER word. "In matters of grace," he explained, "one falls very + easily into heresy, before even becoming aware of the fact that something wrong has been said." I would surmise that even the Church of the aggiornamento, bold and daring as it is, is still haunted by the specter of Pelagius. While great strides have been made in other areas of theology by recent research and speculation, the field of grace is still largely unplowed. Where progress has been made by

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27


28

CHICAGO STUDIES

highly skilled technicians, there have been few attempts to popularize findings. As a result, Fransen states that many priests still feel anxious and uneasy in speaking about the subject. Some even bluntly refuse to preach on it. I would suspect their feelings do no more than mirror the insecurity of those theologians whose stock-in-trade is haute vulgarisation. For they seem to have been thwarted in an attempt to translate the Teutonic subtleties of men like Rahner into the patois. A few periodicals, nevertheless, have tried to keep their readers abreast of some current developments in the field of grace. Bernard Forshaw and Patrick Fannon in the Clergy Review (Aug. 1961, p. 449-462; May 1967, p. 331-336) as well as T. Coyle in the Proceedings of the Catholic Theological Society of America (1961, p. 161-170) have presented surveys of some of the most important trends. John Hyde, S.J. has offered a bibliography relating to some key issues in the Irish Theological Quarterly (1965, p. 257-261). From a considera¡ tion of these articles as well as other literature I would see six areas of significant development in the treatise on grace in the post-war Church. I shall consider these here under the following headings: 1. New views of the supernatural; 2. Centrality of the Incarnation; 3. The primacy of Uncreated Grace; 4. The impact of personalist theory; 5. Spiritualization and the Holy Spirit; 6. Grace and freedom. In this article I propose to summarize some of the ideas of current writers on these topics. In future articles I hope to be able to elaborate some of my own reflections on a personalistic theory of grace and on the problem of grace and human freedom. NEW VIEWS OF THE SUPERNATURAL

When it is seen as possible that man could have had a purely natural end, that he could have wound up in an Eden of delight where all his natural desires would have been per¡ fectly fulfilled or adequately sublimated, where he could live forever in perfect knowledge of and a satisfying relationship with God, his fellow man and all creation, the notion of the supernatural becomes easy to understand. If God actually


GRACE

29

destines man for something better, for an intuitive vision of divinity and a resultant total transformation of the human person in happiness and ecstasy, this is clearly perceived as something wholly above man's natural capacities and desserts, as a completely gratuitous gift of God surprising all purely human hopes and expectations. To be sure, since intellect is a capacity for the infinite, he might well have conceived of the possibility of such a situation, and even elicited a provisional desire for it, but, of course, this would make no demand upon God, since man's nature itself as created by God would in no way re-enforce or substantiate such a thought or such a desire. But the trouble with this conception is that no less an authority than St. Thomas has thrown a monkey wrench into it. In his Contra gentiles (III, c. 57) St. Thomas speaks of a desire for the beatific vision, and describes it not as an elicited one, but a real natural desire, i.e. as prior to all consciousness and rooted in human nature itself. He argues that the beatific vision must be possible for man because such a natural desire cannot be frustrated. God could not be conceived as being a good and wise Creator, if, having authored such a tendency in nature, because of the metaphysical impossibility of the object itself, he lacked the ability to fulfill it. It was Marechal who shattered the complacency of twentieth century theology by thrusting the question that had motivated the reasoning of St. Thomas on the possibility of the beatific vision before it. The most significant response was that of Henri de Lubac, S.J. At the end of the second world war he published his masterful study entitled Surnaturel. By this time acceptance of the idea of a natural desire for the beatific vision might have been simply a matter of course. But De Lubac went further. He seemed to ally himself with Bains who taught that it would be impossible for God to create an intelligent being without such a natural desire for the beatific vision. At any rate, De Lubac maintained that the notion of a mankind which would not be created for the beatific vision was totally unreal and should be discarded by theologians. De Lubac, of course, was careful not to accept any of the conclusions of Bains, namely, that all the gifts


30

CHICAGO STUDIES

that had been designated as supernatural by theologians were as a matter of fact in some way or other owed to man. His investigations reveal Cajetan as the author of the so-called system of "pure nature" which had been the basis of older explanations of the supernatural. In this system it was necessary to view the supernatural as something extrinsic to human nature, something granted to man by decree from above, and imposed upon him as a kind of additive to his natural being, The resultant "layer cake" mentality dichotomized man, made the real significance of the Incarnation more difficult to see, and rendered more viable the popular conception of God as a kind of "big daddy," who surprised his children at Christmas with something they did not even dream of having. Reaction to De Lubac's theological enterprise ranged from firm rejection by the encyclical H umani generis in the forties to the current quiet acceptance of at least its basic premise. Hans Urs von Balthasar ("Der Begrifi der Natur in Theologie," Zeitschrift fur Katholische Theologie, 1953, p. 452-461) finds himself in fundamental agreement with De Lubac, but sees a need to retain the concept of pure nature to facilitate understanding of the fact that, even if it were not revealed that this is actually the case, God's grace is always freely given and cannot be looked upon as in any way being owed to human nature. U. Kiihn (Natur und Gnode), Guardini (Welt und Person, Christliches Bewusstsein, Freedom, Grave and Destiny) and others (like De Broglie, Brugger, De Guillou, Gutwenger, Ternus, Bruch, etc.) find themselves under the influence of De Lubac's magic. Only a few like Malevez ("La gratuite du surnature!," Nouvelle Revue Theologique, 1953, p. 561-586; 673689) continue to sound the klaxon of H umani generis, and maintain that only the possibility of having a rational creature not destined for the beatific vision safeguards the complete gratuity of the supernatural order. While the dispute was being waged and seemed headed for a stalemate, most theologians seemed to have forgotten the ideas of a Spanish Jesuit by the name of Juan Martinez de Ripalda. He lived at a time when the Inquisition was in full spate. Yet


GRACE

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he was never condemned. He was a scholastic among scholastics. Yet he dared to side with Scotus and challenge the prevalent Thomistic notion of the specification of acts by their formal object. His most startling contribution to theology went far beyond the premises of the twentieth century dispute about the supernatural. For Ripalda taught the possibility of pure super¡ nature. He defended the idea that it would be possible for God to create a being whose very essence and substance would be supernatural. Then too, he had a most unusual view of faith which had always been considered by theologians as a kind of door to the supernatural. He said it might be possible for an act of faith in God which would be purely natural in its content and in no way embrace revealed truth (fides larga) to be elevated by grace and so rendered supernatural. Thus it might be possible for those who had never heard the Gospel message to have faith and be saved. In thus positing a supernatural order free to move within or outside the confines of the world of essences, natures, acts and ends, in establishing a kind of supernatural existentialism, Ripalda opened the way for a new consideration of the problem of man and his elevation through grace. And the great Jesuit theologian of our time Karl Rahner seemed to be well aware of this. In two articles in his Theological Investigations Hahner ad¡ dressed himself to the question of nature and grace. Through the use of a brand of existentialism not unlike that of Ripalda he plots a clear course between Scylla and Charybdis. If the natural desire for the beatific vision is viewed as just a pos¡ sibility for transcendence of what human nature itself offers, as a kind of polenlia obedienlialis, then the pure extrinsicality and arbitrariness of the supernatural order is vindicated. On the other hand, if the natural desire is such as would really demand fulfillment, then the gratuity of the supernatural vanishes. But if the natural desire is seen as something more than a mere polenlia obedien1ialis and less than a demand, as a natural openness to the supernatural, a middle position is attained. Analogies are sometimes confusing; but perhaps one will be helpful in this case. If we conceive of nature as a


32

CHICAGO STUDIES

sealed balloon, it has the objective potential of being inflated with helium through the use of a hypodermic needle. It will stretch and be able to do something it could not have done before--rise from the earth. By something extrinsic which found a possibility of application to the balloon, but no more than a possibility, it was given new capabilities. But if we conceive of the balloon as having an opening or mouthpiece, then there is something within it that invites, but does not demand inflation. Viewing the balloon from a scholastic stand¡ point, one might say that its end and destiny is to be inflated. Looking at it existentially, however, no one would say that by the very fact that it is open for inflation it actually demands inflation. Openness is an internal existential condition. It is neither a mere potentiality for fulfillment nor on the other hand a demand for fulfillment. Yet it can indicate to a person inclined to philosophize in the scholastic manner a destiny and an end. This openness of the rational creature to the order of grace Rahner has termed the "supernatural existential." It was the wedge driven by Ripalda between the existential and the essential in the matter of the natural and supernatural orders that rendered possible his conception of a supernatural act with a purely natural content. He thus visualized the pos¡ sibility of salvation for those whom the Christian message had not reached. Similarly from his concept of the supernatural existential arises Rahner's notion of the anonymous Christian, the person who is able to respond supernaturally without having formally committed himself to Christian teaching. Undoubtedly of all the phrases that Rahner has contributed to current theo¡ logical jargon, this has seen the most service. Its underpinning is easily exposed. If the supernatural is in some way grounded in human nature, in man himself, and not merely in a purely juridical order established by what would seem to be not just a perfectly free but somewhat arbitrary God, it would be possible for man to contact this new reality through his nature itself. Understood in this light the old scholastic aphorisms Gratia supponit naturam and Facienti quod in se est Deus non denegat gratiam might be given a new and slightly more


GRACE

33

credible twist by Catholic theologians. The ultimate reason for the possibility of this contact would not be the supernatural existential alone, of course, since it is only man's nature itself viewed as openness toward the supernatural. The real point of contact with the supernatural is rather the Incarnation which is in fact at one and the same time God's greatest supernatural revelation of himself, and his greatest supernatural grace, upon which traditional theology has always made every other grace contingent. To be sure, it is precisely because of the Incarna· tion that there can no longer be such a thing as the purely natural. I will have more to say about this in the second part of this article. Though like De Lubac he removes the supernatural from a purely juridic order, Rahner does not side with his fellow Jesuit in favoring the total discard of the idea of pure nature. For Rahner pure nature becomes a Restbegriff, i.e. a notion which through comparison makes it easier to apprehend the full significance of the supernatural. It is something like a mathe· matical constant or chemical catalyst, not really significant in itself, but instrumental in achieving an effect. I do not intend to institute any criticism of Rahner's new notions about the supernatural. In his article in the Proceedings of the Catholic Theological Society of America (1965, p. 8194) Carl Peter has presented a summary of opinions pro and con. In the Spring 1965 issue of Chicago Studies (p. 97-103) Thomas J. Motherway, S.J. has offered a theological analysis of and a series of objections against this view of the super· natural. CENTRALITY OF THE INCARNATION

The idea that the whole Christian concept of grace is rooted in the doctrine of the Incarnation is not at all new to theology. The Fathers, particularly those of the Alexandrian school, see the newly baptized person as an image of Christ, as an· other Christ, with his job to do in the world. In the relation· ship between God and man that is the Incarnation, earth gave God his humanity; in the relationship between God and man that is grace, heaven bestows upon man a share in the divinity.


34

CHICAGO STUDIES

In both cases the result is quite similar. Fortman in his The¡ ology of Man and Grace: Commentary (Bruce, 1966), a series of readings on grace from sources old and new, includes an excerpt from Baumgartner's La grfice du Christ (Desclee, 1963) which emphasizes this fact. But today more attention is being focussed upon it. S. L. Dockx, O.P. (Fils de Dieu par griice, Desclee, 1948), C. Moeller and G. Philips (The Theology of Grace and the Ecumenical Movement, Mowbray, 1961) and P. Fransen (Divine Grace and Man, New American Library, 1965) as well as E. Mura (L'humanite vivifiante du Christ, Vitte, 1951) take account of this recent trend, while it is all but ignored in works constructed along more traditional lines like F1ick-Alszeghy ll vangelo della grazia (Libreria editrice Fiorentina, 1964), Cuttaz Our Life of Grace (Fides, 1961) and Gleason Grace (Sheed and Ward, 1962). I suspect that the current liturgical renewal might have a good deal to do with the resurgence of interest in this aspect of the theology of grace. More and more liturgists are coming to explicitate what the sacred rites are themselves insinuating subtly-that by acting out in symbolic form the mysteries ,of the life of the God¡man the Christian proclaims and externalizes that identity with the God-man which has already been internally achieved through grace. The sacraments truly effect what they signify. According to the teaching of Vatican II Christ is both present in and signified by a sacramental rite. So what is effected in the participant is an image of Christ through the sacramental grace. This is most evident in the Mass. The gifts of the community represent it. The people are symbolically present in their gifts; their lives are signified by the food and drink that sustains them. Through the faith of the Church and the acting out of the ritual of the Last Supper these very gifts are converted into the living Christ. So the community is shown in the rite what has happened to them through faith. Christ is as truly present in them as he is upon the altar. Only the mode of presence is different. Then as it were to drive home the point, the sacramental Christ is introjected during the communion rite. Here once again union


GRACE

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and identity is signified and effected. This precisely is the grace of the sacrament. Once again it is Rahner who has most significantly explored the centrality of the doctrine of the Incarnation in the theology of grace in our time. As I mentioned before, it is closely connected with his concept of the supernatural existential and the possibility of having an anonymous Christian. The Incarnation is really the proto-grace, the archetype and basis of all grace. The humanity of the divine Word is the Ur-Sakrament, the prime analogue of all sacraments. But this humanity is not to be viewed, as seemingly it often is, as just a kind of mask or livery for the divinity. Nor is it to be seen as a kind of freak, so unique because of its attribution to the divine Word that it ceases to be in the fullest and truest sense human. The divinity was not forced upon the human nature of Christ; no violence was done to the humanity in the hypostatic union. Rather, because human nature as such is radically and naturally an openness to God and supernatural action, the mystery of the Incarnation can he understood to be at one and the same time God's most perfect and sublime revelation of himself and the validation of man's anthropomorphic projections upon God. For, as Rahner says, it is precisely in the humanity of Christ that God reveals himself truly and most perfectly. And still that revelation of the one who is totally Other required a selfalienation, a kenosis as Paul would have it, that rendered possible a relationship between God and man that never could have existed without it. It is this revelation of God in Christ that reverses the whole flow of theology and substitutes for an anthropomorphic concept of God a theomorphic view of man. For we must believe that Christ is truly human, that in this nature he is like other men. In so making us his brothers in the flesh he showed us what we really are. So Rahner defines man as the self-alienated God. Man is the cipher of God, the abbreviation of God. It was when God decided to be something other than God, when he decided that the totality of love which he is should he reflected in the nothingness outside of him, that man arose.


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CHICAGO STUDIES

This theological orientation then introduces a new vector into the traditional analysis of the supernatural and the grace life of man. Instead of peering at God from the viewpoint of man, it attempts to see man from the vantage point of God. From this angle the supernatural is by no means obliterated. But it is no longer in center stage. It becomes the backdrop which gives orientation to the drama. Attention is now rightly focussed on the actors and the action. It is through faith and love that the transformation of his person which we call grace is made possible for man. This transformation is rightly seen as a kind of divinization of the human person. For it is possible for man to love God in the way God wants only if man is made in some way equal to God. Amor amicitiae pares aut invenit aut facit. And belief in the possibility of such a transformation is grounded in the Incarnation. A man transformed by that belief truly mirrors the revelation of God's love that is in Christ Jesus. THE PRIMACY OF UNCREATED GRACE

Since Maurice de la Taille launched his theory about the possibility of a created actuation by uncreated Act, a flurry of speculation and analysis has swept it from its original setting into many areas of theological research. The intention of the author was to offer some kind of explanation of the possibility of the Incarnation. But because of the analogy between the hypostatic union and the life of grace, the theory was soon extended to the question of justification. Couched in the terminology of scholastic philosophy its basic notion is briefly this. The divine nature can in no sense be a true form. On the other hand, no created form can truly divinize. Yet the tradition of the Church has always recognized a divinization of some kind in three cases where human nature is joined to, brought into immediate union with God: the Incarnation, the beatific vision and the life of grace in which the possibility of the beatific vision is rooted. The theory of De la Taille states that man's natural relationships with God always lie within the ambit of efficient causality. But in the supernatural


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order it is different. Because acts which are intrinsically super¡ natural must be elicited from a principle that is not solely human hut immediately joined with a divine co-principle, one must postulate that God can directly actuate a created potency, functioning as its act without in any sense being limited by it. The divine nature is viewed as a "quasi-form," as possess¡ ing eminenter whatever any form might have in the way of possibilities for actuation and being received in a created nature. Though the union and actuation would be limited from the human standpoint, and thus perforce be only a participation in the divinity, these human limitations would in no way affect the divine Act in itself. Such a conception would, of course, do away with the notion of a created grace whose only function would be to act as a buffer between the unlimited Act that is God and the divinized human being and his supernatural actions. H. Rito considers this question in his Recentioris theologiae quaedam tendentiae ad conceptum ontologico-personalem gratiae ( Romae, Herder, 1963). He maintains that in all tradition no great theologian was willing to call grace a creature without qualification. Grace was always considered to be a kind of unique reality under one aspect manifesting uncreated and under another created attributes. Thus St. Thomas in asking the question whether grace is a created entity prefers to answer it by avoiding a direct yes or no, and stating that grace can be said to be created in the sense that men are created "secundum ipsam"-i.e. through it they become a "new creation" (I-II, q. llO, a. 2 ad 3). Nor did the Council of Trent settle the issue when it defined against the Protestants that grace is a reality that truly inheres in the soul of the just person. In fact the insistence of subsequent theology upon the notion of a created grace, to the extent that inhabitation of the Trinity is made a formal effect of it, is a misreading of the intent of the Council. All Trent defined was that grace is truly in man. It is not something extrinsic to him, as it were covering his sinfulness and hiding it as a blanket might shield from view the ugliness of a mangled body. Grace must be seen as something within man, something


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that transforms him and makes him truly just in his own right. The bishops and theologians at the Council were well aware of the explanations of the Fathers of the Church who insisted that what is primarily in the grace relationship is the transforming presence of the divine Persons. Post-Tridentine theologians, at a loss to explain in the light of scholastic doctrine how this presence could be a source of action without any intermediate form or habit began to stress the necessity of a created grace. M. Donnelly in Theological Studies and P. De Letter in the same periodical as well as in the Clergy Monthly and more recently in the Irish Theological Quarterly and Gregorinum have assayed to explore the philosophical and theological bases of De la Taille's theory. Their ideas have not gone unchallenged. Notable is the opposition voiced by B. Kelly and K. O'Shea in the Irish Theological Quarterly. De Ia Taille's position is also rejected by Tonneau in the Bulletin Thomiste (XI, p. 179192) and Lonergan in his De Constitutione Christi (Universitas Gregori ana, 1956, p. 63-4). ]. Beumer would retain created grace as a disposition for the uncreated Grace ("Das Verhiiltnis von geschaffener und ungeschaffener Gnade," W issenschaft und Weisheit, 1943, p. 22-41). Gleason would seem to subscribe to the ideas of De Ia Taille while still holding to the older notion of the primacy of created grace as the root of the divine indwelling (Grace, Sheed & Ward, 1962, p. 144ff). Apart from Gleason we can discern three positions in those who apply De la Taille's theory to the question of the relationship between created and uncreated grace. The first would hold that grace simply is presence, the indwelling of the Trinity; nothing further is needed to explain the condition of the justified person. The term "created grace" might be retained better to illustrate the results of this presence from the human stand¡ point. The second position would state that created grace is needed as a preparation for the uncreated Grace. The third would view created grace as the transformation brought about in the human person as a preparation for and a result of the uncreated Grace. Through the application of the principle of mutual


GRACE

39

causality it can be seen that no contradiction is involved in seeing created grace both as antecedent to and consequent upon the divine presence in different orders of causality. The common element, of course, in all three of these positions is that the uncreated Grace and not the created grace, even if it is still seen as necessary or useful, stands in the limelight. Grace simpliciter, grace par excellence would in all three of these views be described as a new supernatural presence of God in man, as the possession of the divine Persons themselves in faith and love. THE IMPACT OF PERSONALIST THEORY

Of course by this time the reader has perceived that all six areas of development in the theology of grace are closely interconnected. He might well suspect then that if emphasis has shifted from created grace to the uncreated Grace or presence of the divine Persons, the ever popular "!-Thou" notions current in psychology would begin to appear in the literature on grace. Neither the great scholastics nor pre¡war theologians were unaware of the personalist implications of the divine indwelling. St. Thomas seems to have indicated that the just person experiences the Trinity in a really personal way in wisdom and charity. He becomes aware not merely of the divine nature but of the Son and Spirit in their personal properties. The sense of his passages has been researched by Auer and Landgraf, and some attempt to analyze the experience he describes has been made by theologians like Gardeil, Galtier and Garrigou-Lagrange. Jean Mouroux in what might be described as the first Catholic attempt at a synthesis of the whole Christian life ex¡ perience has relied on the findings of half a dozen researchers, theologians and mystics. Nor is it true that the focussing of this Christian experience and the validation of it as a love relationship is precisely a modern phenomenon. Great theologians of the past like Scotus, Molina, Bellarmine and Vasquez have argued for the identification of grace with charity. But what the modern commentators have tried to do is to explore these basically scholastic ideas


40

CHICAGO STUDIES

in the light of present-day psychological considerations. Alfaro ("Persona y gracia," Gregorianum 1960, p. 5-29), Rito (op. cit.), Cooke (Personal Development through Grace," Catholic World, 1964, p. 371-377, Falardeau ("The Personalistic Approach to Grace," Emmanuel, 1964, p. 120-124), Cuskelly ("Grace and Person," Australasian Catholic Record, 1961, p. 114-122 and "Actual Grace: Personal Attraction," ibid., p. 195-206) among others have assayed to do just that. But most notable are the efforts of Fransen ( op. cit.) and Meissner (Foundations for a Psychology of Grace, Paulist Press, 1966). Fransen makes use of a parable to illustrate the analogy of human love and grace. Based upon the scriptural story of the prodigal son, it illustrates well the attractive and trans¡ forming efforts of human love even upon the most calloused person. The story drives home with considerable impact the principle of St. Augustine that Fransen considers to be at the heart of the whole treatise on grace: "Quia amas me, fecisti me amabilem." It is the conscious experience of the fact that God has first loved in so complete and transcendent a way that brings a human person to the response that will transform him. A deeper knowledge of psychology (e.g. an acquaintance with Fromm's book The Art of Loving) would undoubtedly have permitted Fransen to proceed from this analogy to a more profound analysis of the theology of grace as a loving response to the divine Persons. Goldbrunner (Realization: the Anthropology of Pastoral Care, Notre Dame University Press, 1966, p. 111-117), armed with Jungian theory, sees the beginning of love as a pre-personal projection. Using the archetypal notions of animus and anima, be describes the transformation of the beloved in the eyes of the lover through such an archetypal projection on her. Analogously we can see grace as the projection of the image of the Verbum (really effected, of course, because it is God who projects) upon the human person. This projection becomes conscious to the beloved through faith and triggers a response of love. Meissner's goal is to present various psychological perspectives of man, to relate them with theological data about grace


GRACE

41

and then to attempt an integration of the two views. Excerpts from famous psychologists reveal man as dynamic being open to tentative identities, always in process, hut always governed by an integrating principle, the ego. Man's greatest boast is his openness, his possibility for self-transcendence. This open路 ness is rooted in his freedom. Freedom really is not a giver, not something to be presupposed as an attribute of human nature. Rather freedom is something to be achieved. It begins in the restlessness of man's nature, in man's realization, as Sartre would put it, that one is always "not enough." It is perfected in a growing identity crystallized through continuous self路 affirmation. It is grace precisely that affords man an op路 portunity to see his identity as merged with that of God through Christ. The re~ulting "spiritual identity" serves to bring into focus psychological characteristics which result from the ef路 fective operation of grace. Thus Meissner would seem to agree with Rahner that grace can never be entirely unconscious, and is in a better position than the scholastic theologians to define more exactly what the Christian experience is. SPIRITUALIZATION AND THE HOLY SPIRIT

The concept of spiritual indentity vindicated by Meissner is described in the most modem psychological terms. But as Amiot contends (The Key Concepts of St. Paul, Herder & Herder, 1962) the transformation effected in the soul by grace is referred to by St. Paul as a kind of spiritualization. The just man is a spiritual man: he is spirit, whereas the worldly man is just flesh. The work of bringing about the marvelous change from flesh to spirit, from old man to new, is, appropriately enough, the task of the Holy Spirit. Despite what St. Paul wrote, theologians of the past have been reluctant to consider the process of justification and the inhabitation of the three divine Persons in any other light than that of an operatio ad extra of the Trinity. Consequently they have insisted on the notion that the whole grace operation is carried out by the common efficient causality of the three Persons. Certain aspects of it, however, they say, are correctly attributed to one or other of those persons.


42

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To be sure, St. Thomas (1, q. 43, a. 5 ad 2, 3) seems to have hinted at some proper action of the divine persons in the relationship of grace. As we indicated above, he speaks of the assimilative action of the inhabiting Trinity in which there is created not only a likeness to the divine nature, but to the distinct Persons themselves. Through the Verbum the just per¡ son enjoys the gift of wisdom; through the Holy Spirit he ex¡ periences love. The Persons themselves become known precisely in this assimilative action. Other passages, however, seem to found the more traditional view of this action as appropriated and not proper. More recent ideas are considered by Forshaw and Rito. In the greatest actio ad extra of the Trinity there could be no possibility of a mere appropriation. The Incarnation is the prototype and exemplar of all missions. So why do theologians insist upon appropriation when considering the operation of the divine Persons in the grace relationship, modelled as it is upon the Incarnation? Once again Rahner comes to the rescue. Appropriation is in order when there is a question merely of efficient causality. All operations in this line of causality are common to the three Persons. But when there is a question of formal or quasi-formal causality, there is no reason to deny the possibility of proper relationships with the divine Persons. In fact, in a relationship such as that established through grace, a personal relationship, the use of appropriation would seem to be totally inadequate. Moreover, describing the relationship established by grace in terms of appropriation would seem to belittle the mysterious¡ ly divine and absolutely supernatural character of it. The mysterious element in grace, its likeness to the hypostatic union, rests precisely on the fact that it is a personal relationship, person to person, with God. Then too the relationship of grace is the beginning of a situation that will flower into the beatific vision. But the beatific vision would hardly seem to be the most intimate and immediate possible if it were in no way personal and each divine Person were not playing his own proper part in it.


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Those who oppose the concept of a proper relationship with the divine Persons do so because they want to keep hypostatic union as something absolutely unique in as many ways as possible. They are afraid that any approach to it in the relationship of grace would detract from the stupendous marvelousness of it. This is quite obviously the position of Galtier in the matter. Rahner, however, dismisses this objection quite summarily. It remains to be proved that all proper personal relationships of the Trinity with men would necessarily be in the hypostatic order, or would tend to minimize our appreciation of the uniqueness of the relationship in the incarnate Word. After all, in the relationship of grace we are dealing with a human person in the fullest sense of the term. The hypostatic union will always be most singular in that it involves no human person. Rahner opines that much of the difficulty arises from too abstract a conceptualization of just what personhood is. If at least in the beatific vision we do enter into a concrete relationship with the Father as Father, Son as Son and Spirit as Spirit without any intermediary whatsoever, and this is possible without any hypostatic union, why the difficulty about grace? Scripture, moreover, describes grace precisely in personal categories. When Christ indicated that he and the Father would abide with the just person, why did be say just that, and not point more accurately to God's presence? Modem theologians, tben, see grace as founding a proper relationship with the tbree divine Persons. But it is especially the Spirit that deserves attention since the relationship is most properly one of love, and is best described in terms of spiritualization or liberation of the human spirit from the trammels of the flesh. And the Holy Spirit is precisely the Spirit of freedom. GRACE AND FREEDOM

The Gospel of St. John compares the Holy Spirit to the wind which blows freely where it wills (3,8). St. Paul makes an even more direct reference to the connection between the Holy Spirit and freedom when he says: "Where the Lord's Spirit is, there is freedom" (2 Cor 3:17). He indicates that Christians are called


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to live in freedom (Gal 5:13), and all through his first letter to the Corinthians and the one to the Romans he contrasts Ia w and grace (e.g., Rom 6:14). He describes grace precisely in terms of freedom both from the law and the judgment of those who live by it (e.g. I Cor 10; 29-31). St. James speaks of the new law of perfect freedom (e.g. 1:25; 2:12). The Fathers of the Church pondering the text of Genesis see man originally created as the image of God. It is precisely in man's spiritual nature, they say, that this likeness is to be found. To pinpoint it more closely some aver that in the final analysis man is like God simply because he is free. Cyril of Alexandria states that freedom was given to man so that he could really be like God and have dominion over the whole earth. Ephrem has a similar reflection. Tertullian writes that in no other facet of man's nature does he find a closer resemblance to God than in the exercise of free choice. In the second creation through grace, where man is truly divinized, man's will becomes identified with God's. Man is truly liberated from his imperfections in sur¡ rendering his will to God. He thus participates in God's own freedom. The original natural likeness of man to God ( eikon) reflected especial! y in his natural freedom is greatly enhanced through his election to identify himself with the project of God's own exercise of freedom. This absorption, as it were, of man's own original liberty in God's is due to man's free action under the inspiration of God's Spirit. It makes possible an even more perfect resemblance of man to God which is properly called divinization. Its dynamic nature is indicated by the use in the Greek of a more active word homoiOsis. So Clement of Alexandria says: "The divine will is injected into human souls." This is precisely what modern theologians of grace like Baumgartner emphasize. He writes: "Fred om is a fundamental trait of God in man resulting from man's resemblance to God and perfected when man becomes an image of God." The theologians of yesteryear were at pains to reconcile grace and freedom. Current writers are beginning to see grace precisely as freedom. Guardini (Freedom, Grace and Destiny, Pantheon, 1961) Fransen ("Grace and Freedom," Homiletic


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and Pastoral Review, 1965, p. 731-754), Hawkins ("Two Con路 ceptions of Freedom in Theology," Downside Review, 1961, p. 289-296) Bourassa ("Freedom under Grace," Theology Digest, 1959, p. 103-107), Hopkins ("Grace and Commandments," The Priest, 1964, p. 37-40), Most ( N ovum tentamen ad solu路 tionem de gratia et praedestinatione, Editiones Paulinae, 1963), Flick-Aiszegy ("L'opzione fondamentale della vita morale e Ia grazia," Gregorianum 1960, p. 593-619), Farrelly (Pre路 destination, Grace and Free Will, Newman 1964), and others addressed themselves to the classical problem and at least touch upon some of the newer ideas. In general their works follow one of two lines. A few theologians would seem to stand by the old definition which Molina gave of freedom: "When everything is readied for action, one can act or not act, choose one alternative or the other without any compulsion or determination." The fact that man enjoys such a freedom, they say, does not detract from God's absolute dominion over the universe. When God decided to give man freedom he accepted the consequencs of it just as he accepted the possibility of sin. Sin is as a matter of fact in no way attributable to God. Nor does its existence in any way reduce God's power or majesty. The problem about free will appears only when freedom is seen as a possibility of dissent from God's will. In other words, there is no conflict between God's absolute dominion and man's free will except when there is question of sin. But sin must be viewed formally as a purely negative thing, as resistance offered to grace, and therefore not properly within the order of being over which God has dominion. Grace on the other hand is viewed as the foundation for the proper exercise of freedom, as the divine assistance given to man enabling him to liberate himself from the negativism of sin and to choose for being. In his work Most sees no real problem in relating this view with the doctrine of divine foreknowledge and predestination. When all is said and done, however, metaphysical difficulties seem still to remain. Of couse, if the post-metaphysical God of Dewart comes to be universally recognized, the classical difficulties will be seen as mere theo路


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logical tiddly-winks. For Dewart God lies outside of being as its ground or meaning. Proof of his existence can no longer be a point at issue. The existence of physical beings is empircally verifiable. That of metaphysical being has to be proven. But there can be no question of existence for that which lies outside the realm of being itself. Such a God, of course, would not pose a problem for any conception of human freedom whatsoever precisely because he cannot be thought of as a being. It is perhaps only the positing of such a truly "totally other" God that will completely resolve all aspects of the dilemma. The greater number of current writers seek a solution to the problem of grace and liberty by postulating a new definition of human freedom. They rely on modern psychological research and the speculations of today's philosophers to assist them in formulating a new idea of freedom, an idea that does not reject every kind of determinism. Hawkins rejects entirely the idea of Molina. A truer conception of the reality is had in Banez' praedeterminatio physica. Ordinary actions are free in the sense that they are not opposed to the personality or self-image of the agent. I am per¡ fectly free in such an ordinary action as going to dinner. Yet if I analyze my subjective state, I would realize that, given the circumstances, my habits, etc. though I had the physical power to stay away, I really could not have refrained from going. Grace, implying a praedeterminatio physica, is one such circumstance of an action. Hawkins admits, however, that at times there are more significant decisions that have to be made. In these there would be a question of real deliberation. In cases where one's fundamental option is at stake what Hawkins calls a gratia versatilis is given. So when pushed down to the wire, though he seems to want to give a new definition of freedom, he is forced to join the other camp and solve the basic problem in the same way as the theologians mentioned above. Hawkins would challenge the idea of those who contend that God's knowledge cannot in any way be derived from his crea¡


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tures. Those who say that God would not be God unless he knows all truth in himself, in his own being, actually belittle God's knowledge. For the most perfect knowledge is that of things in themselves. The supposition that a knowledge of things in themselves would involve some kind of imperfection in God is based upon the mistaken notion that there is some kind of activity or causality on the part of the known object in relation to the knowing subject. But such a notion is simply an unjustified extrapolation from the area of sense knowledge to the area of cognition in general. To apply it to God's knowledge is to make him an Aristotelian deity, and not th_e God of Christian revelation, before whose eyes "all things are naked and open" (Heb 4:13). The description of human freedom given by Gustave Weigel (Thought, 1960, p. 165-178) strikes a much more responsive chord among modem theologians. He describes freedom simply as self-affirmation (or perhaps more accurately, as the power of self-affirmation). Liberty in man, he says, does not mean absolute indifference to either of two alternatives, though it does presuppose that one has the physical power to chose one or the other. He would describe freedom empirically and existentially as modern psychologists do. With them he would call it the human capacity to develop in accordance with one's self-image, the power to become what one is. This view of freedom rejects the abstract and metaphysical underpinnings of the Molinist definition which must focus attention away from the agent and concentrate upon the act and the objective alternatives open to it. But this is not to say that Weigel's opinion is metaphysically without roots. The postKantian idealist systems of philosophy have brought the subject, the agent back into the center of the picture. The agent, they say, is knowable not just as one of a species, but as an individual, unique and concrete in his personhood. And it is this personhood which gives rise to his individual being insofar as it is knowable by another. Typical is the idea of Schelling, who depicts the intelligible character of the individual as being due to an original self-positing of the ego through a choice or


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option made in definite and determined circumstances. Ordi路 narily one gets to know a person through his actions. But the opposite is also true. I am capable of really understanding a person's acts only when I get to know him as a person. A man's actions precisely as emanating from his ego are then predictable if one knows perfectly who he is; but they are also absolutely free if through them the person is able to express who he is. So Schelling states that necessity and freedom are mutually immanent in one and the same act, but appear only when human actions are considered from different perspectives. Thus Judas' betrayal of Christ was inevitable in the light of their personalities and the connected circumstances. Yet Judas acted willingly and with complete freedom, because through his ac路 tion he manifested his own distinctive inner affirmation of himself, his own personal ego-synthesis. R. E. Hobart ("Free Will as Involving Determination and Inconceivable without It," in Free Will and Determinism edited by B. Berofsky, published by Harper & Row, 1966, p. 63-95) shows how in order to assign responsibility for human acts it is necessary to attribute them to the ego. If as the anti-determinist would want to say, the subject remains absolutely indifferent after deliberation, the self cannot be considered responsible for a choice. A choice is made responsibly only if the ego expresses itself in the act through a causality that reproduces it in some way and makes it perceptible in the object elected. Perfect knowledge of both the person faced with a choice and of the objects to be considered would make the election predictable. Freedom must be identified in some way with re路 sponsibility; it cannot be confused with spontaneity. Man is not like a hungry dog before two bowls of attractive food. The dog to be sure has the physical power of going to the one or the other. He spontaneously and irresponsibly goes to one rather than to the other. But everyone would recognize that this is not freedom. There can be no doubt that a man, on the other hand, is considered responsible for a choice precisely because in his volition he is conscious of having been able to have done other路 wise, had he so willed. But this alternative is not conceived


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except in terms of another disposition. What the person who senses his responsibility for an act really says is: "Had I seen myself in a different light, I would have willed differently." So he sees his freedom as always related to his self-concept. This new view of freedom would certainly settle for the theologian many of his problems with God's foreknowledge and will, seen from the heavenly vantage point as predestination and from the earthly position as law. Though it is a mystery sometimes even to the person himself, tbe ego cannot be hidden from God. And if it develops from preconscious supernatural as well as natural conditioning that does not in any way impair the freedom of the acts that emanate from it, acts which are perceived to be free and responsible precisely insofar as they express it and not enslavement to some external object, predestination is in the bag. Moreover, since law perceived as God's will is an external circumstance which can be introjected by the developing ego and made a part of it, there can be no true opposition between perfect freedom on the one hand and full adherence to the norms of morality inherent in one's conscience on the other. In this view too, grace can be seen as an identification through faith and love with God. The Christian in his self-concept sees himself fundamentally identified with Christ. His fundamental option, about which he is constantly reminded by the Church in her liturgy, is precisely to identify himself radically with that project of God for man which is Christ. His ego-synthesis revolves about Christ as its central and unifying point. In him Ch1¡ist becomes present in faith and love. And this is the truth that makes him really free. The only problem about this philosophy of human freedom, it seems to me, is whether it is really valid. It is certainly new and refreshing. It is in accord with many of the facts established by psychological research. But is what it describes just a fredom from, and not a freedom to?

A

NEW SYNTHESIS

An integrated view of many of the points I have been considering as well as an attempt to correlate them with the


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evolutionary concepts of Teilhard de Chardin is to be found in E. R. Baltazar's Teilhard and the Supernatural (Helicon, 1966). While Baltazar's criticism of scholasticism and of some recent theologians like De Lubac and Rahner, who in his estimation have not sufficiently broken away from it, casts an aura of negativism over his work, his approach to the question of grace and the supernatural through the philosophies of process and personalism is positive and constructive. What is primary in Baltazer's reflections on grace is that it is a personal relationship. Grace is simply God's love proffered to man. Love (taken presumably in a concrete way, i.e. the kind of love God offers in present situation, personal love, love of friendship) is de rigeur free. No one can lay claim to this special kind of love; there can be no demand for it. So if grace is love, it must be gratuitous. There is, however, im¡ manent in every human person an openness to love and a need for it. By eschewing too metaphysical an outlook and focussing upon the personal aspects of man's relationship with God, one is able to see how the supernatural is at one and the same time totally gratuitous and yet intrinsically rooted in man himself. Similarly Baltazar considers the Incarnation as God's freest and most gratuitous presentation to man of his love. But from Teilhard's philosophy he points out that God's creative act precisely as expressed in an evolutionary process is orientated and directed to the transcendence that is Christ; that creation itself in its continuous surpassing of older forms is an open¡ ness toward the Incarnation. So the Incarnation sets the pattern for grace. CoNCLUSION

Theologians today are at least beginning to perform the basic task of relating the theology of grace to the changing culture of our time. They are making at least halting and tentative efforts to extricate from rampant existentialism and personalism larval forms of Christian truth. In addressing themselves to the problem of grace they have become more aware, I think, of their inability to compartmentalize it, to see it as a separate "tractate." They are coming more and more to


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consider it as a perspective of the Christian life in its totality, to see it as the freedom and dignity of the Christian, which is in a sense God's own freedom and dignity communicated to men through faith and love. It might seem strange that the new Dutch catechism devotes only five or six pages out of five hundred to the subject of grace. But I believe here too the same insight is evidenced. Grace is not a thing. It is the Christian life. This is what today's theology is saying. I believe that in the area of grace there is an inchoate response by theologians to the demand for transcendence of the old expressed in its most radical form by Bernard Catiio, O.P.: "All the forms which Christanity assumed in the past were merely provisional. ... With the deeply felt needs of modem man as our starting point, we will have to re-invent the Church with its institutions; we will have to discover a new theology and new moral laws" (IDO¡C, 67-34, p. 9-10).


MORAL SURVEY II

On these pages the reader will find some thoughts on racial discrimination, the divine office, mortal sin, the New Law, and frequent confession. The unity that exists among these five topics comes largely from the pagination and binding of the magazine. It is hoped that the reader will find at least some of them usefuL RAciAL DISCRIMINATION

What is the mznzmum that can be demanded by the confessor in some difficult moral situations?

Among the many criticisms leveled against moral theology during recent years one of the most serious has been that it is not Christian. The great charter of Christian morality, the argument goes, is the Sermon on the Mount. And yet + in N oldin, for instance, the Sermon on the Mount is not JOHN F. DEDEK even entered in the index. Rather, what one finds in a + typical moral theology textbook is a discussion of such things as probabilism, the indirect voluntary, excusing causes, epikeia, material cooperation in evil, and calculations of the precise lines between mortal and venial sins. It is true, the critics contend, that some pages are given over to the virtue of charity, but the main thing one takes away from a reading of them is that caritas non obligat cum gravi incomodo: charity does not oblige under serious in53


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convenience. Whatever else may be said of this, it does not sound very much like the Gospel with its radical demands. Our Lord said we should lay down our life for our neighbor, and that, after all, is a certain inconvenience. In an effort to meet this challenge of moral minimalism Richard A. McCormick, S.J., has pointed out that while it is true that charity can be minimalized out of existence, it is also true that it can be maximalized out of existence. To illustrate his meaning Father McCormick gives two analogies. To require a tubercular patient to recover his health immediately under the penalty of not recovering it at all would be to condemn him to a lifetime of illness; or to require that a child master all the subtleties of nuclear physics at once under the penalty of being taught nothing at all would condemn him to a life of ignorance. Similarly, to demand the ideal and perfection of Christian charity under the penalty of mortal sin, that is under the penalty of the loss of supernatural charity, would be to condemn most Christians to a life without this virtue. For our charity will always be imperfect in this life, and its perfection is an ideal that we must grow towards. In their enthusiasm for charity and justice toward the Negro some good people may be tempted to confuse the distinction between the ideal to be pursued and the strict binding moral obligation. Here as in any other area a priest may not impose on the consciences of the faithful moral obligations which in fact do not exist. And one must remember that only a certain obligation is any obligation at all and that one can not be selective in applying this principle. The precise lines of our question should be carefully noticed, so that our conclusions can not serve as a rationalization for the racist conscience. What we are after is the minimum that can be demanded by the confessor in certain difficult situations. We are looking for what is clearly and certainly sinful in a very complicated moral area. It will be immediately apparent to anyone who reads the newspapers, watches television or hears the pastoral teaching of our bishops that there is much more that must be said about racial discrimination than can


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be said under the limits imposed by our question. It is in this larger context that the following pages must be read. For just as it would be one-sided to affirm only the ideal and the general obligations without adverting to possible exceptions and excusing causes, so it would also be one-sided to consider only the moral minimum and the exceptions while prescinding from the ideal and the general positive obligations. The unequal treatment of a person belonging to a particular racial group precisely because of his race is generally what is meant by racial discrimination. Generally speaking both justice and charity oblige us to give equal treatment to members of any racial group. But it is possible that in a given instance a person will have a serious reason that will excuse him from this obligation, so that by practicing racial discrimination he is only a material cooperator in the evil already present in society. He has an obligation, of course, to do what he can to alleviate this social evil, but this will not always be an obligation to give equal treatment to a particular Negro at a particular time. It is certainly conceivable that a person who has no prejudice himself is morally coerced by the present evil in society to deny equal treatment to a member of a minority race. Of course, one must always be on the lookout for rationalization in this matter. It is always possible that the application of the principles of material cooperation and an appeal to excusing causes might merely be a masking of one's own sinful rash judgment and racial prejudice. In his Catholic Doctrine on Race Relations Joseph Farraher, S.J., discusses some practical cases and is careful to distinguish ideal from precept. For instance, an apartment building owner in a certain prejudiced neighborhood could be justified in trying to avoid accepting Negro tenants if he knows that he would not be able to rent his other apartments and so would suffer serious financial loss if he rented one of his apartments to a Negro. The same is true of a realtor. If he knows that he will be forced out of business if he sells to Negroes, be may be justified in not accepting applications from them. In fact, the realtor may judge that it is better for him and for


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the Negroes that he stay in the real estate business and try to work for racial justice in his area rather than leave all the real estate business in his area to those men who are themselves prejudiced against Negroes. Dentists in certain neighborhoods may find themselves faced with the same problem. They too could be justified in refusing Negro patients for the time being, meanwhile doing what they can to break down the spirit of prejudice in their neighborhoods. Also employers could be justified in not hiring qualified Negroes if hiring them would cause disproportionate harm to their business. Similarly, a young person could be justified in refusing to date a member of a minority race. For dating in our society ordinarily has the romantic implications of being at least a remote preparation for marriage in the sense that the person dated is considered at least a possible partner for marriage. Therefore since in our society a young white person could reasonably exclude Negroes as marriage partners without any personal prejudice but simply because of the grave social and economic problems that would be involved for them and their children, he could also reasonably discriminate against Negroes in accepting or asking for dates. And although one should not refuse a request for a dance at a school party simply because of race, a person might be excused from accepting the request if it were to have the same romantic implications as dating. In this context it might be useful to note that demonstrations to promote racial justice are also subject to moral norms. Obviously the good purpose of the demonstrations does not justify the use of physical violence against other people or the destruction of their property. What is more, as Father Farraher points out, while demonstrations which are merely a way to insist on receiving a service, like sit-ins at lunch counters, can be legitimate, demonstrations which directly aim at preventing the carrying on of business as a form of economic pressure in order to force the management to agree to a certain practice in hiring do not seem morally justified. Demonstra-


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lions of this kind are certainly immoral if it is not certain that the management is guilty of injustice. And it will not be easy to have such certitude about management being unjust. But even if it is certain that the owner is guilty of unfair hiring practices, it is not clear that on this account others gain the right to cause him financial loss by physically obstructing his business. THE DIVINE OFFICE

Following the lead of Suarez many of the early twentieth century moralists understood epikeia as the benign interpreta¡ tion of the mind of the legislator who is presumed in a particular case not to wish to urge the observance of his law because of special circumstances. From this they distinguished excusing causes due to moral impossibility or serious inconvenience. And so they applied epikeia to the cases in which the legislator did not wish to urge the obligation and excusing causes to the cases in which the legislator was not able to oblige. St. Thomas Aquinas, on the other hand, did not regard epikeia merely as a reasonable restrictive interpretation of the law but rather as the moral virtue controlling the correct application of the law in a way that is contrary to its literal sense. For the positive law simply affirms what is normative in general and so binds "ut in pluribus." But it does not and can not assert the true moral good for every instance and in every situation. The virtue of epikeia, which is part (pars potior, Thomas says) of legal justice, finds the true moral good in the concrete situation in a way that is opposed to the words of the law. Epikeia, therefore, is not just a loophole, a way out of moral obligation; it is a true Christian virtue, and not to practice it when it obliges is a sinful act. For we are obliged to seek and practice the true moral good in our existential situations and not simply to observe the letter of positive laws. According to this explanation there is no need to distinguish epikeia from excusing causes or moral impossibility. If there is a disproportion between fulfilling the law as it is expressed on the one hand and the inconvenience or damage connected with the fulfilling of the law on the other, the virtue of epikeia


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will rightly apply the law to the situation in a way that will contradict the words of the law. In canon 135 the Church requires that clerics in rna jor orders recite the entire divine office every day. There is little doubt that the Church wishes and is able to impose this work as a grave obligation. (An interesting question .might be raised here: Can an analogy be made between the present mean¡ ing of this law and the law of abstinence, so that a substantial or habitual violation of it would be grave but not a single non¡ observance? How this should be answered videaru sapieruiores). But there is also no doubt that this law, like every other posi¡ live law, is a universal prescription which may or may not represent the genuine moral good for an individual cleric in a concrete situation. To give a list of excusing causes, as the earlier manualists did, is ultimately not useful. For this is merely an attempt to specify further the meaning of the law. But any specification of words with more words still provides only a general not a concrete or individual norm. No amount of verbal specification can make the law so concrete as to provide the existential imperative that is necessarily relevant to the individual. It is always necessary for the individual to apply the positive law to his situation making use of prudence and sometimes epikeia. Without attempting any detailed casuistry Bernard Haring, C.SS.R., indicates the general spirit a priest should have in this matter. In The Law of Christ he writes: "Should a priest binate or even trinate on Sunday, he must have time for quiet recollection, so that he can worthily and devoutly carry out the noble rites and utter the lofty words of the Eucharistic celebration. In view of our limited psychic energy, it may be counselled in many instances that the priest do not attempt to recite his entire office on such days. For in no instance may we violate the command of the Gospel: 'In praying, do not multiply words, as the Gentiles do' (Mt. 6:7). It would seriously offend our Mother the Church to interpret her positive law regarding the breviary recitation in such a way as to violate the prayer in spirit and truth. The effort for a meaningful


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prayer must always be first. The Church does not demand mechanical spiritless obedience, but childlike trustful submis¡ sion which penetrates to the innermost purposes of the law," This, of course, does not imply that any pastoral work takes precedence over the offioe. To pray the office is pastoral work of great importance, and ordinarily one's day should be arranged in so far as possible to include time for the breviary, even though other pastoral work might be left undone. But in the last analysis the individual cleric must bear the responsibility of prudently discerning the true moral good that represents the will of God for him in his situation. It is not enough for him to mechanically obey the words of the law. While there is no difficulty with this in theory, difficulties will be found in making the right practical decision in the concrete. But man will never be relieved of the necessity of making responsible moral decisions, no matter how many or how few are the positive laws at any time in history. It is no secret that an increasing number of objections against the recitation of the breviary are being raised today especially by young priests and seminarians. One can not take seriously the Quietistic objection that prayer can not be prescribed or made obligatory. But an objection that one must take seriously, if only because he hears it so often, is that the breviary is not a meaningful prayer for a number of priests. Some, of course, have found the breviary more useful now that they can read it in English; but others say that the English translation has only revealed to them that they were not missing anything before. It is not an adequate answer to say that as long as one recites the words and intends to pray he is performing a human act and that act is an act of prayer having ex opere operantis Ecclesiae a value beyond one of personal meaning for oneself. For some priests have found that unless the prayer is personally meaningful its ritual performance is a destructive influence in their spiritual life. It consumes time that could and would be given to more useful prayer and makes them resentful toward the Church authorities who place this burden upon them.


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If such is truly the case, it seems that one must conclude that the purpose of the law has ceased for them and that it has ceased in a way that its observance is not only useless but harmful to them. And it is an old juridical axiom that when the purpose of a law ceases in this way the law ceases to bind. A person, of course, has an obligation not only to obey a law but to take the ordinary means necessary to make its observance possible. Here ordinary means would seem to in· elude an effort to understand the meaning of the psalms as Olristian prayer. But if after proportionate diligence a man still has not solved his problem, he can not reasonably be ex· pected to obey the words of the law. The virtue of epikeia would require him to discontinue an activity that is a destruc· live force in his spiritual life. Also, it might be added, even if an individual does not find the recitation of the office harm· ful but finds it considerably less beneficial than some other prayerful activity, he can apply to his bishop for a com· mutation of the office to this other practice. MORTAL SIN

When talking about the diffrence between mortal and venial sin one must inevitably face the question that bothered St. Augustine: if every sin is a violation of God's will, why is not every sin against the love of God and therefore grave? The nominalists and Bains answered that the difference is simply due to the decree of God who freely decides that some sins are mortal and some venial. Unsatisfied with such an extrinsic explanation many theologians argued that the difference is real and is rooted in the matter of the sins: grave sins are substantially opposed to the order willed by God, .whereas venial sins are not. A growing number of modern writers, like Josef Fuchs, S.J., and Piet Schoonenberg, S.J., are not entirely satisfied with this explanation. They prefer to say that the gravity of a sin does not depend primarily on the gravity of the matter but rather on a man's disposition of himself in relation to God his last end. A sin is therefore grave or mortal if the op· position to God which is present in every sin is penetrated by


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a man in the deepest center of his person, so that he freely and consciously, though not reflexly, denies love to God above all things else. According to this explanation, therefore, a man's relation to God is determined by his fundamental option. For it is by his fundamental option that a man totally disposes of himself either for or against his last end. The fundamental option normally is not present explicitly or in the reflex consciousness. It is rather implicitly involved in a moral act concerning some particular object, and it takes place consciously and freely but in a way that is not reflex or thematic. Therefore it is possible to commit a mortal sin in slight matter, not only because of an erroneous conscience, but because in the sinful act a man so penetrates its evil and opposi¡ tion to God that he determines his fundamental option away from God as his ultimate end. It is also possible to commit a venial sin in grave matter, again not only because of an er¡ roneous conscience, but because of a lack of personal pene¡ !ration of the act. For even though one has conceptual knowledge and advertance to the material malice of an act plus the free consent of the will with reflex consciousness, he rna y not have a sufficiently deep and intense perception of the moral value involved or at least implicitly and non-reflexly of the relation of this act to his last end. The most that can be said about the matter of the act is that it establishes a presumption: if the matter is grave the sin is ordinarily mortal; if the matter is light the sin is ordinarily venial. A man can not normally perceive in the depths of his soul the relation of his person to his ultimate end in an act which is concerned with slight matter. Hence this act will not normally be a true total disposition of himself in relation to God. And ordinarily a man has evaluative knowledge and an implicit and non-reflex apprehension of the relation of a grave act to his last end. So this act ordinarily will represent a determination of his fundamental option. It will be noticed that in this theory a mortal sin is not the same as a sin committed out of contempt of God. For the


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contempt involved here is not present explicitly but rather nonreflexly and non-thematically in the depths of the soul. Nor is a mortal sin only committed out of malice. For it is possible even in a sin of weakness that there is present in the soul a change in one's fundamental option, even though such a change may not take place as readily as has sometimes been thought. Also, in this theory the distinction of sins according to the gravity of the matter does not lose its importance, since the gravity of the matter establishes a presumption which can serve as a good working norm for judging what is ordinarily true. Of course, one can not be absolutely certain in his reflex consciousness whether a particular action is gravely sinful. But that is probably what St. Paul meant when he said that only God can judge our acts with such security. THE NEW LAW

Love is a fashionable virtue these days. At least there is a lot of talk about it. Not only is it preached by the Hippies; it seems to dominate most of the ethical conversation of our day. Joseph Fletcher is telling the world that love is the only ethical norm and that only love is always good. And it is taken for granted that this love monism is the ethics of the Gospel. Even some Catholic parishioners are beginning to complain that love is all they hear about from the pulpit these days. The tacit assumption seems to be that the new law of Christ is primarily the law of love. This assumption is perhaps worth examining at least for the reason that St. Thomas Aquinas denied it. In his Summa Theologiae (I-II, 106, l and 2) St. Thomas says that the primary element of the New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit and that any precept, including the precept of charity, is only secondary. Without the power of the grace of the Holy Spirit the moral precepts of the New Testament are no better than the moral precepts of the Old Testament. Not only are they not salutary; they are as deadly as the Mosaic law. Without the healing power of grace, St. Thomas says, even the letter of the Gospel would kill. Apart from grace the


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law of love is lethal, and all that St. Paul wrote about the Mosaic law would have to be said of it. To grasp Thomas' full meaning one has to understand in what sense the grace of the Holy Spirit is a law. It is obvious that grace and precepts are not said to be law in a univocal sense. It is primarily the grace of the Holy Spirit that is normative for the actions of a Christian, and in this sense both habitual and actual grace are the primary element of the New Law. Habitual grace is the ultimate perfection of the Christian man, and therefore he is to act in accordance with this new nature. As his human nature is normative of behavior to the extent that a man is morally obliged to live in accordance with it and realize its perfection, so too is his new life of grace. Since he has been made a son he must behave as a son. Similarly, actual grace is also normative for a Christian, since it directs his mind and will in doing God's will. For, as everyone knows who has not been tainted with Pelagianism, our good actions are the actions of God's Holy Spirit in us. This inner law of grace, therefore, is what is primary in the New Law. External precepts and rules are only secondary and totally, as Thomas says, in the service of the primary element (ad usum gratiae). The external precepts serve to explicate in a legal way what the Spirit moves us toward in¡ temally. Since in our present state we are still in danger of rationalization and misinterpretation of the inner motion of the Spirit, the external precepts are useful to oppose such falsifications. But primacy in the New Law belongs to the grace of the Holy Spirit. Grace justifies and saves, not external rules and precepts, not even the precept of love. Apart from the law of grace and the charity given with grace even Christ's great commandment to love God and neighbor is deadly, in fact the most deadly of all. To believe otherwise is not Christian but heterodox doctrine. Christ did not come primarily to give us commandments or to teach us rules of morality. Men already had all the rules they needed, including the golden rule. He


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came to bring us something much more important than that. What is more, if the grace of the Holy Spirit is our inner law, the person of Christ is our external law. It is important to get the meaning of this clear. When theologians say that Christ is our norm of morality, they do not mean merely that he is an example for us to imitate. Jesus was a unique person with his unique role in history. He could not and did not leave us an example to follow except in a very generic way. God does not want us to be carbon copies of Christ; be wants us to live out our unique roles according to his special plan for us. Neither do theologians mean that Christ is our norm of morality in some poetic or metaphorical way. They mean it in a profound metaphysical and theological sense. They mean that Christ is the prime exemplar, the exemplary cause if you will, of all created reality. All things were created in him. Since he is the exemplar of all reality, he is the exemplar of all goodness. So when one conforms to the objective moral good he is in fact conforming to Christ its exemplar. What is more, many theologians believe that it is Christ the God-man and Redeemer who is this exemplar. For they do not think that God primarily intended to create man and then, forseeing hi~ fall, decided on the incarnation. They rather believe that God's primary intention was the incarnation and so, because of that, he determined to create man. And so it was in Christ the Godman ¡and Redeemer that all things and all goodness were created. The importance of finding out the true objective moral good and of avoiding even material sin comes as an obvious corollary from all this. For it can not be a matter of indifference to a Christian that he is not conforming to Christ even when this occurs without any personal fault or culpability. FREQUENT CONFESSION

It is no secret that the lines in front of the confessionals are shorter these days and that there is a growing uncertainty among many priests, seminarians and laymen about the value and meaning of frequent confession of venial sins. In "The Meaning of Frequent Confession of Devotion" (Theological


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Investigations, Ill) Karl Rahner, S.J., raises the question about the special meaning and proper role of devotional confessions. Perhaps the following summary of this thought will be useful to the priest in his own spiritual life and in explaining this matter to the people. First of all, we must admit that the traditional reasons given in favor of frequent confession-spiritual direction, forgive· ness of sins, and increase of grace-are not able to explain its special meaning and value. It is true that spiritual direc· tion, for instance can be given in the sacramental forum and in fact has an important place there. But it also can be given outside and independent of sacramental confession and often with better effect. Therefore spiritual direction can not be alleged as the proper function and special value of devotional confession. Neither is forgiveness of sins an adequate explanation of the special meaning of frequent devotional confession. At least imperfect contrition is required as a necessary disposition for sacramental forgiveness of venial sins. But imperfect contri· tion is sufficient for tlie forgiveness of venial sins even out· side of the sacrament. Therefore it seems that our venial sins are already forgiven in every case before we receive sacramental pardon. And one can hardly be motivated to receive an optional sacrament by an effect which is already had without it. What is more, according to the Council of Trent the Eucharist brings pardon of our "daily sins." And since the Eucharist is a sacra· ment of the living and penance a sacrament of the dead, it seems that it is the Eucharist which is directly aimed at over· coming those sins which retard rather than kill the supema· turallife of grace. Neither is an increase of grace a good explanation of the proper identity and special effect of devotional confession of venial sins. For an increase of grace is an effect that is common to all the sacraments and one that can be had extrasacra· mentally. The special meaning and value of devotional confession is that it brings not merely pardon of sins but sacramental pardon.


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Over and beyond the mere forgiveness of sin sacramental forgiveness adds three things. One is a clear and dramatic manifestation of the gratuity of God's forgiveness. A man who in the privacy of his room examines his conscience and is sorry for his venial sins is forgiven by God. But the reception of sacramental absolution in a confession of devotion visibly demonstrates the important truth about all forgiveness-that it is not the work of the good repentant sinner but of the free God of grace, who brings about in the repentant sinner even his own acts of repentance. Another thing that the sacrament adds is a visible manifestation that the grace of forgiveness, like all grace, is a free, unique, historical break-in of God. Forgiveness is not given to man by a transcendent, always merciful God according to some general, univocal law. It is the free action of God showing mercy to whom he will show mercy, incalculable, unpredictable, unique and historical. This truth is visibly accentuated in the sacramental event. Finally, sacramental confession also signifies and effects not only pardon by God but pardon by the Church. Since even venial sin is an offence against the Church, devotional confession has a special meaning in that it is a visible sign of a man's reconciliation and deepening communion with the visible Body of Christ. These three things seem to identify the specific value and meaning of frequent confession of venial sins. But exactly how frequent devotional confessions should be can not be decided in a univocal or mathematical way. Rahner suggests that the present practice of the Church can serve as a good general norm. But in every case the judgment will have to be made by the individual according to his own devotional needs. We might note, in conclusion, that another useful contribuiion to an understanding of devotional confession has been made by Brian Kelly, C.S.Sp. Writing in the Irish Theological Quarterly (1966) he asks: how can there be further forgiveness in a devotional confession of what has been already forgiven? The answer, he suggests, is that sacramental forgiveness


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is not merely a legal statement of non-imputation or de-imputation, which once validly made makes any further restatement superfluous. Rather it is an interior refashioning of a person by which he is set apart from sin both psychologically and ontologically. The subjective acts of repentance by which a sinner prepares for absolution are the psychological beginnings of this process of withdrawal from sin. The sacramental grace imparted in confession effects an ontological reversal of sin: it makes the sinner more unlike what he was when he sinned and more united to God from whom his sin created a distance. This ontological reversal of sin generally results in renewed penitential acts and so in a fresh psychological turning to God and away from sin. Forgiveness of sin, therefore, means not merely making a judicial statement about the sinner. It means changing him sacramentally. This process of ontologicill and psychological conversion from sin to God can go on indefinitely. And this Kelly sees as the proper aim and work of devotional confessions.


Two weeks before the National Liturgical Week in Kansas City, Mo., last summer, the National Catholic Reporter printed an article by Daniel Callahan challenging not simply the liturgical renewal, but its theoretical basis. The article stirred up a flurry of protests and commendations. Whatever one may think of Hope fully the sacramental Callahan's thesis, there does renewal initiated by Vatican /1 appear to be widespread unwill reach the point where the easiness about the success of use of the word and the liturgical renewal, both sacraments can be a truly with regard to the actual celepersonal exchange bration of the liturgy and the between God and man. apostolic zeal which ought to result from it. + One factor contributing to the weakness of the liturgical CHRISTOPHER renewal is the unfamiliarity KIESLING, O.P. of many priests with modern sacramental theology. This + unfamilarity is not the only source of weakness, nor is it culpable. Nevertheless, this unfamiliarity with theory hinders sensitive implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and the changes introduced by the Consilium in Rome and the national Bishops' Conference. A review of the development of sacramental theology in the last dozen years may help priests whose seminary training is long past to see more clearly the import of the new liturgy.

Jrom

Leremon'1 to

Communication

69


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I began teaching sacramental theology in 1956. The content and approach to the sacraments in my courses I have con路 tinually changed over the years. I would not teach today what I taught in 1956. At that time two approaches generally held the field. Most sacramental theology took primarily a moral and canonical view of the sacraments. The tracts on the sacraments in the manuals of moral theology represent this approach. Some dogmatic truths with a pinch of speculative theology about the sacraments introduced a minute study of the requisites for the validity, licitness, and fruitfulness of the sacraments with respect to the matter and form, the minister, and the recipient. A few theses enumerated the effects of the sacraments in terms of sanctifying grace, actual grace, remission of sin, sacramental characters, and so forth. Even in the tradition of theological education in which I was formed and was teaching, that of St. Thomas' Summa Theologiae, canonical and moral considerations were of im路 portance, although much more emphasis was given to specula路 tive theology about the nature of the sacraments. Today this particular speculative approach does not appear much more attractive or helpful than the dominantly canonical and moral approach. It was a kind of "metaphysical mechanics" of how sacraments work to confer grace. SIGNS AND SYMBOLS

At the 1957 Liturgical Week at Collegeville, Minn., Godfrey Dieckmann, O.B.S., read a paper entitled, "Two Approaches to Understanding the Sacraments." He brought to attention the classical understanding of the sacraments as fundamentally signs effective of grace. He pointed out the poverty of the theological understanding of the sacraments which stressed so much the essential matter and form of the sacraments, condi路 tions for validity and lawfulness, and ex opere operato efficacy. Dieckmann's paper coincided with, and gave expression to, a strong emphasis which was beginning to be given to the nature of the sacraments as signs or symbols. Much discussion arose about the difference between sign and symbol, about the nature


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of symbols and the mode of knowing involved in their use, about the implications of this theory for the celebration of the sacraments. But this approach was still very abstract, meta· physical, and mechanistic. The problems debated were still much the same: the modes of causality involved in sacramental efficacy, the nature of the sacramental characters, their rela· tionship to grace, and similar questions. Analysis and precision of definitions to explain the current, generally unquestioned, liturgical practices of the Church were the main objectives. Recognition of the symbolic nature of the sacraments led to growing concern for the whole rite of a sacrament. Attention was not focused exclusively on the matter and form of a sacra· ment and the prescriptions for their validity and licitness, but was extended to the whole rite: the prayers and actions leading up to, and following, the essential actions and formulae. The sacramentals also become important because ol their relation· ship to the sacraments. They were seen as preparations of the matter for the sacraments, e.g., the consecrations of baptismal water and of oils; or they were seen as extensions of the sacraments, e.g., the blessing of women before and after child· birth relative to matrimony, the use of holy water relative to baptism. In other words, sacraments began to be seen in their total liturgical context and as part of the Church's wor· ship. With the other elements of the liturgy, sacraments were now considered as forming a system of signs or symbols of God's sanctifying activity, the Church's uniquely efficacious prayer, and Christians' worship of the Father with Christ. The sacraments having been recognized as fundamentally signs or symbols, the informative, instructional character of the sacraments or sacramental rites drew attention. If the sacraments confer the grace they signify, if they are the source of Christian life in accord with their significance, then from the sacramental signs we ought to learn what grace is, what the Christian life is, what role the sacraments themselves play in the Christian life, how they are related to Christ, and so forth. The sacramental liturgy itself now becomes a source of sacramental theology. Sacramental theology does


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not come from books about the sacraments, whether the Bible, the writings of the Fathers, the treatises of classical theology, or even conciliar and papal documents. No, the liturgy itself is the primary source in which Christian faith expresses its understanding of the sacraments and- from which theology must draw. The other sources must be used to help us discern what the sacramental liturgy itself tells us about the sacraments.

A

MOMENT IN SALVATION HISTORY

When we turn from the written word about sacraments to the actual celebration of the sacraments in the liturgy, we discover that we are dealing with a moment in the life of man, specifically in the life of God's People, a people with a history like any other people. But the history of this people is unique, for it is the result of God's intervention in history to lead men to salvation and eternal life. The celebration of this sacrament today, baptism or the Eucharist for instance, is the latest moment in this divine intervention in history. God's intervention in history has a peculiar character. God not only intervenes in history to save man, but history itself, human experience interpreted in the light of certain funda¡ mental convictions and values, becomes the means God uses to lead men to eternal life. God speaks to men, calls them, directs them through the events which befall them as these events are interpreted by God's prophets and understood by faith. God's saving revelation folds itself gradually through the events and prophetic words which stretch through the cen¡ turies and reach their climax in Jesus, in whom revealing event and word coincide in one person, God's Son incarnate. God's revelation in Jesus Christ continues to be proclaimed and announced in the life of the Christian community, the Church, especially in the preaching of the Gospel and the celebration of the sacraments. The meaning of the sacramental symbols, then, is really an accumulation of meanings. The flowing of baptism, for example, is not simply a reasonable symbol for the sacrament of baptism because water washes away dirt even as baptism "washes away" original sin. This sort of symbolism is ap-


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propriate to nature religions characteristic of pnm11lve peoples. The symbolism of water in baptism must be seen in terms of water as it was used by God in the history of salvation, interpreted by the words of God's prophets, and understood in faith. The water of baptism must be seen against the background of the water over which the Spirit hovered at the beginning of creation, the water of the flood which destroyed evil at the time of Noah, the water of the Red Sea through which the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt, the water of the Jordan through which they passed into the promised land, the water Ezechiel envisioned flowing from the Temple, and all the other instances in the history of salvation in which water figured and was interpreted by God's prophets. Not the least of these events is Jesus' own baptism in the Jordan and his reference to his passion and death as the baptism with which he must be baptized (Mk 10:38-39). Understanding of the sacraments, then, depends upon seeing them in terms of their biblical background which presents salvation history to us. The sacraments are not formal rituals which, if properly performed, unite us to God. They are, rather, the latest moments of God's saving word and action in Jesus Christ influencing us now. What God says to us now can be grasped fully only by looking back down the corridor of history to discover and understand what God said back in the past when he first began to speak to us. When we look down this corridor of history, we see God's saving intervention in history manifested first in the history of Israel, its institutions, its worship, its code of conduct, its ideals, hopes, aspirations, tragedies, and especially its prophets. Classical theology rightly paid more attention than post-Reformation theology to true sacraments in the Old Testament, visible symbols of God's invisible grace at work for men's salvation. Indeed, if a sacrament is an efficacious sign or symbol of God's saving grace, then Jesus, the man who is God's Son made flesh, is the sacrament of God's redeeming grace, the "primordial sacrament" or "primal sacrament." His Body, the Church, a visible community of men like Israel,


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also manifests the redemptive work of God in Jesus Christ as it is brought to men down through the centuries. The Church, too, has the characteristics of sacrament: it is the "fundamental sacrament." The familiar seven sacraments are symbolic actions of the Church in union with Christ. In these symbolic actions God's saving grace becomes visible and effective here and now for this particular community of men or this particular indivi路 dual. Christ, the primal sacrament, and the Church, the funda路 mental sacrament, brings God's saving grace in visible form to this community or individual in the celebration of the seven sacraments. HUMAN, PERSONAL, SOCIAL DIMENSIONS

In these developments we see an extension of meaning for the word "sacrament" to embrace, analogorusly, Christ and the Church as well as the seven rites with which we have custo路 marily associated the word. We see also the sacraments placed in the context of persons and community. The sacraments are actions of the risen Jesus, of the People of God as a society, and of particular Christians. Sacraments are signs or symbols not in the sense of things, hut rather in the sense of actions which may employ things. Even as actions, they are seen abstracted from the persons who perform them. They are symbolic actions of Jesus, of his Church, of particular men and women in this place at this time. Through these symbolic actions, Christ and the com路 munion of the faithful pray for God's redemptive grace for particular men and women, and they serve God in the bestowal of his grace in visible form; through these symbolic actions, men and women express their living faith and worship in response to God's bestowal of life in Christ. Human, personal, and social dimensions have been added to the sacraments which already have been situated in the dimensions of their entire liturgical rites, salvation history, and biblical meaning. We have come a long way from moral and canonical considerations of objective actions to be correctly performed, and a long way from metaphysical mechanics of how sacraments work!


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Once the sacraments are seen as moments in God's action manifest in history and as vehicles of personal action, expression, and mutual encounter, the nature of sacramental causality begins to need review. The sacraments are indeed moral causes of God's redemptive grace insofar as they express the intercession of Christ and the prayer of the Church. But as embodiments of God's saving action gracing man, they are also efficient causes. Their efficiency is intimately intertwined with their significative quality. In signifying, the sacraments cause grace. The sacraments should not be conceived as signs (whether things or actions) which happen to he used by God to confer grace, so that a kind of dualism is ascribed to the sacraments: on the one plane of visible reality are the sacramental words, actions, and objects; on another plane is the invisible action of God conferring grace. Sacramental action is not a smoke screen behind which supernatural grace-giving action occurs. The sacraments do not signify God's grace-giving action and the grace which results merely by reason of a pre-established harmony set up by Christ when he instituted the sacraments. No, the sacraments are the visible aspect of God's redeeming grace. God's action gracing man embodies itself in word, gesture, and the use of things, even as it embodies itself in the hu¡ manity of Jesus. When the divine action gracing man is present, it is present visibly, and its visible aspect signifies its presence to men. The visible aspect which signifies can be present only if that which it signifies is present, for it is by nature the visible side of this invisible grace. Some theologians propose a new kind of "symbolic causality" to explain this sacramental efficacy which is inextricable intertwined with the sacraments' signifying. Whether or not one believes that we have to speak of a new kind of causality to describe the efficacy of the sacraments, a pastoral conclusion of considerable importance flows from this new awareness of the intimate relationship between the sacraments' signifying function and their conferral of grace. Obscure, unintelligible, sloppily or indifferently performed


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sacramental rites can inhibit the effect of God's will to sanctify. God can justify and sanctify men apart from the sacraments and in spite of them, of course, but we have no right to expect him to do that. His ordinary way of approaching men is through other men and their words and actions, even though he knows many defects will occur because of the fallibility of men. The sacraments confer grace ex opere operata, but this means that there must be a true sacrament; and prior to that, there must be the conditions necessary for a genuine sacrament. Today we are aware that these conditions and a true sacrament involve much more human understanding of what is going on and much more intelligibility in rite and symbol than we had hitherto been accustomed to think necessary. The sacraments are not magic rituals whose efficacy depends on correct performances of unintelligible mumbo jumbo. They are not impersonal ceremonies for transferring grace from God to man. They are personal communication between a personal God and human persons. We can question their efficacy, indeed their genuine sacramentality, when they are perfunctorily celebrated as cold, formal rituals, with no attempt made at personal communication, even though firm faith in their efficacy may characterize those who celebrate them in this way. RoLE oF RECIPIENT

If the sacraments are personal communication between God and Christ on the one side and man on the other, man's role in sacramental action must be more positively conceived than we have. often conceived it in the past, and more importance must be attached to it for the existence of the sacraments and their fruitfulness. Routine, indifferent, mechanical participation or reception can no longer be tolerated on the grounds that behind the facade of valid sacraments received without the obex of mortal sin, some mysterious ontological change is being wrought in the essence of the soul and in its faculties. That change was defined as some increase of sanctifying grace, the virtues and the gifts of the Spirit, even though these powers for action are


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not noticeably active in granting fellow human beings their civil rights, food to stave off starvation, or forgiveness for their failures and misdemeanors. Personal communication with Christ in reception of the sacraments implies some change for the better in men's lives. It may not call for a change in one's station in life (businessman, missionary, husband or wife, and so on), though this can happen. It certainly does call for recovery from neglect of one's Christian obligations or for the fulfillment of those duties in a purer spirit or unselfish, Christlike love and compassion. Continuing participation in the sacraments without some improvement in Christian living must lead to questioning the efficacy of the sacraments, not in themselves, but for these recipients who show no change in their lives. Schillebeeckx and Rahner point out that ex opere operata refers to the sacramental symbolic action as an objective, outward sign of Christ's saving will, or of God's promised eschatological grace, extended to particular men. The coming into being of this visible embodiment of grace for this particular community or individual is independent of the minister's moral dispositions and his intentions, other than his intention to do what the Church wills to be done. This visible embodiment of grace is also independent of the recipient's dispositions. If the minister does what the Church wishes, God's saving grace in Christ is visibly present in the sacramental action for the benefit of the recipient. But the actual effectiveness for the individual or community of this grace visibly present in the opus operatum, the actual bestowal and reception of this grace, does depend upon the individual's or community's faith and devotion. The grace does not come from the recipient's faith or devotion, but from the sacrament, the opus operatum, for the sacrament is God's grace present in visible form; yet the grace is received according to the measure of the recipient's faith and devotion. Nor do these dispositions of the recipient arise from his native powers without God's grace; that would be a semipelagian view. The recipient's faith and devotion arise freely from his


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will under the influence of the grace visibly present in the sacramental action. His faith and devotion are his response, his answer, to God's address to him. But in his freedom, man can respond with more or less intensity of faith and devotion, with, consequently, more or less benefit from God's grace certainly present and offered to man in the sacramental action. The power to grace man, to justify and sanctify man, is inherent in the sacrament as this is God's or Christ's symbolic action inviting man to share in saving truth and love. This power however, is effective only in the measure of man's acceptance of the truth and love offered him, that is, his response of faith and love. This doctrine is not new. It can be found in the old manuals of theology, but it was neglected in our preaching and teaching about the sacraments because of our polemic approach which led us unconsciously to stress what Protestantism (we thought) denied and to play down what Protestantism (we thought) overly stressed, namely, the role of faith in the eflieacy of the sacraments. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican Council II has attempted to set this matter straight by pointing to the importance of faith and other dispositions for the fruitfulness of sacraments (n. 59; cf. nn., 11, 48). The recipient's role in sacramental action is not merely provision of dispositions for the fruitfulness of the sacraments. We see more clearly today that the recipient's actions constitute the symbolic action of the sacrament in conjunction with the minister's action. Holy Communion as a symbolic action does not consist only in distribution of the consecrated elements, but in their reception also. This is obvious: no one can give something without someone receiving it. But what we have overlooked is that rece1vmg is not pure passivity, but a kind of action. A person is baptized precisely to perform the action of receiving. Baptism consecrates one as a member of a worshipping community; it empowers him to carry out certain functions in that community, even as holy orders empowers a man


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to carry out certain functions in the Christian community. The baptized person's action is receiving compared to the priest's action of giving, but the baptized person's action is still action. Baptism itself is not only an act of the Church, ultimately of Christ and of God, incorporating a man into Christ and gracing him with the life of Christ; it is, for an adult, a man's personal profession of faith, a personal act visibly commiting himself to Christ. Holy Communion is not only a means of receiving God's grace. It is a public declaration of one's will to be united to Christ as victim, that is, totally dedicated to carrying out the Father's will. The sacraments are symbolic actions, not only of God's and Christ's grace-giving love for men, but of men's response of faith and love toward God. The sacramental symbolic action is a common action in which God-in-Christ meets man. The sacraments are personal encounters between God and man. To receive a sacrament in the state of serious sin, or without sorrow for sin in sacraments of penance and baptism, is a sacrilege, not because an unholy person handles a holy thing, but because one who is rejecting Christ and God in his heart goes through actions which express acceptance and welcome. Reception of a sacrament without proper dispositions is hypocrisy; it is the kiss of Judas. THE Woao OF Goo In personal exchange, bodily action is, of course, an es¡ sential element: we communicate with each other, more than we are normally aware, by the expression on our faces, the gestures we make, the disposition of our bodies. But the decisive factor in human communication is speech, the word. God has intervened in history for man's salvation not only in actions but especially with words, prophetic words which accompany and explain his actions. His supreme intervention is in Jesus Christ, wherein God's actions and words meet in the unity of one and the same person, his Son incarnate. Jesus. is the Sacrament¡of God and the Word of God. Sacrament and word are inseparable. Indeed, there is no sacrament without the word.


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The classical theological notion that a sacrament consists of matter (things or their use) and of form (the words of formulae) must be seen in the context of the role of the word of God in salvation history. God's word is enshrined for us in a special way in Sacred Scripture. God's word spoken by the prophets, by Jesus Christ, and by the apostles prompted by the Spirit of Christ are recorded for us in the Bible. The words or formulae of the sacraments are sometimes taken from the Bible, as in the case of the narrative of institution of the Eucharist or the baptismal formula. Sometimes the formulae express the spirit of the biblical word rather than simply appropriate it literally. In any case, the sacramental form or formula has its meaning from its context in the Bible, not apart from the Bible. After all, what would the essential words of baptism mean to someone who knew nothing about the Bible? Our familiarity with the words of the sacraments and their explanation inclines us to forget that the source of their mean· ing is not themselves or even their accompanying gestures and elements, but the word of God. If the formula is the decisive element for the meaning of the sacramental action, and if the formula derives its meaning from the Bible, then the sacramental action will be meaning· ful to those celebrating it only if it is accompanied by the biblical word. The biblical word is necessary for sacramental action to be personal communication between God·in·Christ and man. In emergency, or for canonical purposes, that is, the orderly social life of the Christian community (e.g., determin· ing validity of orders, marriage, and so forth), the minimal biblical word suffices, the so-called form of the sacrament. But normally, when God and Christ approach us personally, they wish to say more to us than a few words whose import is minimal apart from their context. The form alone suffices in emergency because, in the final analysis, the context pre· supposed in the normal celebration of the Church and in the memory of those conferring and receiving the sacrament. The biblical word in some form or other-reading, homily, medi· tative chants, prayers of the Church-necessarily accompanies


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the sacraments either in fact or in the memory of man informed by the normal usage of the Church. The Liturgy of the Word which precedes the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the Mass is not something tacked on to the sacra¡ ment of the Eucharist, but an integral part of it. Ceremonially the liturgy of the Mass is divided into the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharistic Liturgy. But this is a ceremonial division and does not correspond exactly to the deeper reality involved. For the word of God announced and explained and pondered over in the first part of the Mass is continued in the praise, thanksgiving, account of institution, and prayer of the Church in the Preface and Canon. The meaning of the formulae of consecration taken from the Scriptures is unfolded in the words which surround it, for example, in the expression of memorial and offering in the prayer immediately after the consecration. The intimate and necessary connection between the word of God and the sacraments is a development of sacramental theology which we have not yet caught up with. Our treatises on the sacraments should be changed to treatises on the word and the sacraments, for they are co-principles whereby God saves us in Christ. Our treatments of sacramental causality have to be redone to include due credit to the efficacy of the word of God. In this area of sacramental theology I suspect the practice has outreached theory. We are using the Bible much more in our worship and have grown in respect for the word of God. But we have not yet intellectually assimilated the word of God as efficacious for salvation and related it to the sacraments. INTELLIGIBLE LANGUAGE

Two practical consequences ftow from these ideas about the sacraments. Sacramental words and actions must he in¡ telligible to people. How can people regard the sacraments as Christ's personal address and invitation to them, how can they regard the sacraments as expressions of their personal response to Christ if they do not understand the sacramental actions and words? The answer is obvious: they cannot. The sacraments can rarely be more than formal ceremonies to be gone through


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in order to obtain some obscure salvation. They may be gone through with deep faith and ardent devotion and indeed be fruitful, but this faith, devotion, and fruit are being stimulated and shaped by some other factors in the Christian life besides the sacraments and the word. Once we depart from the word and sacraments, however, as the source of Christian orientation, we are liable to every kind of error, as the history of Christianity demonstrates. Not without reason does the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (n. 13) assert that popular devotions must be in accord with the liturgy, for in the liturgy the Church presents us daily with the word and sacra· ment which are normative for our spiritual nourishment. Another consequence concerns the actions of the minister of the sacraments. The minister of a sacrament is not com· parable to a merchant. The merchant's role is to ensure trans· fer of merchandise from manufacturer to customer by adher· ing closely to the formal procedures set up in the business world for this purpose: going through the catalogue of choices with the· customer, getting the correct catalogue number, send· ing the order in, recording the sale, providing a receipt, and so on. The merchant need not be friends with the customer or manufacturer, and he certainly is not concerned about the re· lations between the customer and manufacturer, whether they like or hate each other. The minister of a sacrament, on the other hand, is concerned primarily with the recipient's relationship to God, for the grace of which he is )llinister includes the right relationship to God. Personal experience attests to the importance of the minister's relationship to the recipient in establishing this right relationship. An impoverished if not false notion of grace underlies a view of the minister's task as primarily getting the right catalogue number for the grace needed by the recipient and filling out the proper forms to ensure delivery from God, with little personal involvement and with little concern for the actual thoughts and feelings of the recipient toward God. The minister of a sacrament is like a marriage counselor, not a merchant. The marriage counselor meditates between two


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!persons. He attempts to estsblish personal communication between two people who have ceased to speak to each other or to think and will harmoniously in some particular area of their married life or in regard to the whole of their life together. The marriage counselor's role is to get these people talking to one another again and sharing ideas and ideals, so that they can live together harmoniously. Similarly, the minister of a sacrament as Christ's minister meditates between a personal God and the man or woman who approaches the sacrament. The sacraments, we have seen, are personal communication between God and the recipient in Christ. God and Christ speak to the recipient in the sacraments and the recipient responds in the same sacraments. The minister's task is to promote this conversation, to open the recipient's mind and heart to God in Christ, to bring his thoughts and desires into harmony with God's thoughts and will. In the final analysis, the word and sacraments are the speech and gestures of a meditor seeking to establish communication between two personal beings. Unfortunately, they have been so formalized that they have lost their human and personal quality. Like the marriage counselor, the minister of a sacrament must be personally (not emotionally) involved in mediating communion between persons. He must attune his own thoughts, attitudes, feelings, choice of words, tone and volume of voice, facial expressions, bodily posture to the mediating activity. If he appears to be harsh, unsympathetic judge rather than a willing, understanding helper, he will not succeed in opening the heart of the recipient to the already open heart of God. If he appears not really concerned about understanding the situation but preoccupied with his own affairs or merely getting the day's business out of the way, he will not succeed in evoking any personal commitment to Christ from the reci¡ pient in response to Christ's proven commitment to him. The minister of the sacraments can frustrate or minimize the objective efficacy of the word and sacraments by his per¡ sonal influence on the recipients. His manner of acting in


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ministering the word and sacraments influences the people. If he is indifferent, they are likely to be indifferent; if he is sincere and enthusiastic, they are likely to be sincere and enthusiastic. The priest ministering the word and the sacraments can do a better or worse job of mediating personal communion between God and man in Christ, depending upon the way in which he acts. The more the priest appears to be and actually is personally concerned with serving the person of God and tbe person of the recipient in handling the word and the sacraments, the more successfully he will establish communion between God and man. The more successfully he will be using the word and sacraments as God meant them to be used. If the fruitfulnes of the sacraments is normally so independent on the minister's acts, then our sacramentalism is a form of docetism. Then God's grace is not coming to us in the sensible, human actions of Christ and his Church, but only apparently so. SACRIFICE

The Christ with whom men communicate in the sacraments is the Christ of the paschal mystery. The paschal mystery has become the keystone of Catholic theologizing in many areas of Catholic theology, including sacramental. This mystery of Christ's death and resurrection has been mentioned, discussed, preached so much lately that it is becoming tiresome. But the perspective we gain on the Eucharist viewed from the vantage point of the paschal mystery is particularly notable in regard to the sacrificial character of the Eucharist. Sacrifice is no longer conceived simply in terms of death. Sacrifice was never regarded as essentially destruction or killing; the destruction or death of a sacrificial animal was considered to be a necessary condition of sacrifice rather than sacrifice itself. Sacrifice itself was considered to be the total gift of some sensible object. The giving of an animal to God by removing it from human use, by slaying it, was a most expressive sign of the human self-giving motivated sacrifice and made the slaying of the animal a genuine sacrifice. Jesus' death was considered to be a sacrifice precisely in-


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sofar as the laying down of his human life at the hands of his executioners expressed his interior gift of himself to God in obedience and love. Jesus' sacrifice was not his violent death as a bodily phenomenon, but his offering of himself totally to the Father through death, which was inflicted upon him. Yet Christ's sacrifice was limited to his dying in our thought. His resurrection was considered a subsequent event, though related to his sacrifice. Modem studies in comparative religion and cultural anthropology regarding sacrifice, as well as intense theological study of Christ's resurrection and its significance, have changed this narrow conception of sacrifice. Sacrifice includes divine acceptance of the gift offered. Sacrifice involves communion between man and his God. Man not only offers sacrifice, but in most forms of sacrifice receives some of the sacrificial gift back in return. Sacrifice and sacrificial meal go together. God accepts the gift, takes it to himself, sanctifies it, and returns it to man, who by consuming it, assimilates the holiness of God. If man offers the gift but it is not accepted by God and sanctified for man's benefit, there simply is no genuine sacrifice. Man has not established communion with his God. Christ's sacrifice does not end with his death, therefore, but with his acceptance into glory by the Father. Jesus did not only do something negative, namely, lay down his life, but something positive, namely, go to the Father. Because he laid down his life in obedience, he was exalted by the Father and filled with the spirit, whom he could then pour out upon mankind. ("Because" in this last sentence does not signify merely an activity which is prior to exaltation and merits it, but signifies also the first part of a transition which must take place before the term of the transition can occur.) Jesus' sacrifice is not adequately defined as his dying out of love and obedience to the Father; that is only one part of his sacrifice, the term of departure of his sacrificial act. The positive term of his sacrificial act is his being accepted by the Father, his being made priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech, his being constituted a live-giving spirit.


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Jesus's exaltation, including his resurrection, is not something apart from his sacrifice, a distinct event, a wonderful but not integral part of his sacrifice. On the contrary, his exaltation is the ultimate, positive term of his sacrifice. Jesus's sacrifice of the Cross terminates in the glorious Jesus. The glorious Jesus does not look back upon his sacrifice. He is in his sacrifice, in its terminal phase. He does indeed look back to the negative aspect of it, its point of departure, his suffering and dying. But he is now in the positive phase of his sacrifice, that is, his acceptance by the Father, his glorification. To say that Jesus now in his glory is in his sacrifice is not to say that he continues to sacrifice himself or repeatedly sacrifices himself. Continuation or repetition of an activity implies temporal succession. But at his death, which concluded the initial, negative phase of his sacrifice, Jesus passed beyond the bounds of time and space. We cannot properly say that Jesus continues his sacrifice or repeats it, but only that he is in his sacrifice in its final phase or ultimate moment. This view of Christ's sacrifice as including not only his death but also his glorification simplifies our understanding of the Eucharist as making present for us the sacrifice of Christ. The Eucharist is celebrated in Jesus's name and by the power of his Spirit. The priest is Christ's minister. In Jesus' name he says: This is my body, given for you; this is my blood shed for you. The ~isen Jesus in his sacrificial condition (albeit the glorious term of that condition), through the ministry of men, presents us really with his body given for us and his blood shed for us under the appearance of bread and wine. The Lamb who stands as if slain before the throne by the power of his Spirit, through the ministry of men, expresses his sacrificial condition, not now in the bloody manner of Calvary, but in bread and wine separtely consecrated in commemoration of his bloody death. And insofar as he, in his sacrificial condition, is really present in the memorial of his death, we can speak of the Eucharist as making Christ's sacrifice present to us today. The Eucharist is Christ's one, unique,


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all-sufficient sacrifice of Calvary sacramentally present. This manner of explaining the Eucharist as a sacrifice is much simpler than the complicated procedures of the past. No longer do we analyze primitive sacrifices to find the essential elements, then try to discern the moments in the Mass when these are verified, and finally try to explain how this proper sacrifice does not conflict with the uniqueness and sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice. All problems are not resolved by this new line of explanation, but it is simpler and in line with the strictly sacramental nature of the Eucharist. It has the added advantage of simplifying our efforts to come to agreement with Protestants in their understanding of the Eucharist. In fact, the growing convergence of thought about the Eucharist as sacramental sacrifice and sacramental communion is one of the most hopeful signs of the ecumenical movement. CoNcLusiON Sacramental theology has developed in many more ways then have been reported in these pages. But the development traced here is critical for liturgical and pastoral renewal. The sacraments have ceased to be regarded chiefly as ceremonies to be correctly performed according to law for the conferral of grace and as occasions for pious union with God in Christ. They have come to be regarded as the very stuff of personal communication with God in Christ. The words, gestures, and elements of the sacraments along with the word of God constitute communion between God and man in Christ. They are not a screen behind which conversation takes place in whispered tones. They are the conversation, involving words, bodily gesture, use of things, tones of voice and facial expressions, and through these the exchange of ideas, ideals, courage, hope, and love. They are the visible aspects of God's grace which becomes a present for us in them, not behind or above them. The minister of the word and sacraments mediates between persons to establish personal exchange between God and man in Christ. He must "realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated,


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something more is required than the mere observance of the laws governing valid and licit celebration; it is [his] duty also to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects" ( Constitraion on the Sacred Liturgy, n. 11), that is, entering into a personal relationship with God which in¡ volves how they actually think, will, feel, and act. Hopefully, the sacramental renewal initiated by Vatican Council II eventually will release sacramental celebration from the bonds of ceremonialism, so that the use of the word and sacraments can be truly a personal exchange between God and man for life's needs where life is lived. The priest's vocation is to bring about this exchange through the word and sacraments, and there is no place, no time, no institution, no human enterprise in which this exchange is not desperately needed. FURTHER READING

Bouyer, Louis, Liturgical Piety, Notre Dame, Ind., University oÂŁ Notre Dame Press, 1955. Cooke, Bernard, Christian Sacraments and Christian Personality, New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965. Come, Let Us Worship, Baltimore, Helicon Press, 1961. Martimort, A. G., The Signs of the Covenant, Collegeville, Liturgical Press, 1963. Rahner, Karl, The Church and the Sacraments, New York, Herder & Herder, 1963. Schillebeeckx, Edward, Christ the Sacrament of the Encounter with God, New York, Sheed & Ward, 1963. Taylor, Michael ]., ed., Liturgical Renewal in the Christian t;hurches, Baltimore, Helicon, 1967.


To ask the wrong question often makes impossible the attaining of the right answer. Thus, if we are seeking to solve the problem brought on by the continuance in office of feeble pastors by asking at what age pastors should be retired, we may practically eliminate from consideration the most significant problem of restructuring the relation· ships that exist between peo· A change in parish pie and curate, between CU· structure is the war rate and pastor, and between to foster the very pastor and bishop. To ask a value the old structure limiting question may lead to was meant to serve. the failure to find the more complete answer that would have been sought by asking a broader question. + Hence, in approaching the question of a theology of the PETER CHIRICO, S.S. parish, we should be careful not to begin by asking the + theology of existing parish structures. It may be that such structures ought not to exist at all. Further, it may be that the parish structure as sucheven an ideal parish structure-is a temporally conditioned affair so that the very asking for a theology of the parish is to imply an answer that at best will be misleading, if not downright false. To avoid this pitfall we propose to begin not with the parish 89


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but with something in the undoubted christian tradition of the ages, the christian community at its term or the fulfilled communion of saints. After all the communion of saints is a doctrine found in the Creed, whereas one would be hard put to find the parish mentioned as an article of faith in even less weighty ecclesiastical documents. This is true even though there have been theologians in the past who saw the parish structure as definitely being of divine origin. In other words, what we would like to do is to begin with a known theological reality and progress toward that structure that we know as the parish. Rather than set up a thesis about the parish, we will attempt to follow a methodology now more common in the teaching of theology. We begin with what is already certain and draw out its implications insofar as they relate to the topic of interest. Only at the end do we make any direct assertions about the subject we wish to treat. Thus, our thesis is not the starting point of the investigation but a summary of the conclusions resulting from the investigation. We begin not with an attempt to justify the parish as it is, but we are moving from a known position towards a discovery of what should be. THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS

It is true that we have only the most general indications about the condition of the Church at the term of its development. Yet the little that we know enables us to say something about its qualities and structures. As to its qualities, we may say that the communion of saints will be completely catholic or universal in its membership, utterly personal in the depths of its relationships, and having a mission to be only itself in its stance before God. First, it will be completely universal in its membership: it will include all of those who, in fact, if not in name, are christians at the end. Secondly, the relationship of its members will be utterly personal. They will know one another to the very depths of their being and that knowledge will lead to the fullness of love. The biblical imagery of the heavenly Jerusalem lit up by Christ illustrates the openness of the members of the


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Church to one another and to the Lord at the end (Ap 21). The same thing is expressed in the doctrine of the general judgment, a teaching which implies that each man will know both the faults and the good points of his neighbors. This really means a recognition and understanding of what each man has become because to know what a man has done is to know who he is; for we are all the products of all we have ever done. Thirdly, the communion of saints has a mission only to be itself, to express its relationship of its members. There will be no mission to persons outside of itself; for the number of the elect will have been completed. As to its structures, we say simply that there will be no structures in the Church at its completion. There will be no creeds, no sacraments, no hierarchy. They will not exist because there will be no reason for their existence. When all see themselves and Christ face to face, there will be no need for a creed to unite understanding. When all are sanctified by the immediate presence of God in Christ, there will be no need of sacraments. When all will give themselves totally to God, there will be no need of a chain of command to bring about that dedication. This then is the christian community, the communion of saints at its term, the main community to be mentioned in the Creed apart from the Trinity. It will be a community universal in its personnel, utterly self-giving and other-receiving in its relationships, dedicated only to living out its own communal life in a structureless pattern. THE LOCAL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

What is the local christian community? In the present context it is the present, partial realization of the communion of saints striving toward its ultimate fulfillment. It is a community on the way, a community ¡that is reaching, striving, groping toward its ultimate destiny. ¡ The qualities of this local community manifest its partial and provisional character. First of all, it is limited in the extent of its personnel. It cannot include all christians for the simple reason that the present mode of existence makes

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it impossible for any one man to know and love more than a limited number of his fellow men. The local community includes all those who, directly or indirectly, are personally related in the sharing of a common christian understanding and a common striving toward a common goal. Secondly, the personal unity among these members is limited in depth. They lack a total personal unity. They do not and cannot know one another to the full because they do not and cannot know themselves to the depths in the present life that is shot through with incompletion. Finally, it is this incompleteness in the number of persons and this imperfection in the depth of human relationships that dictates the mission of the local christian community. This mission is twofold. On the one hand, there is a mission of each member of the christian community to all other members, the mission of deepening the personal bonds that unite them but imperfectly. On the other hand, there is the outgoing mission that is dictated by the limited membership of the local christian community. Since the call of God is to all men and since they will not themselves be completed without union to all others, the members of the community have a need to go out of themselves, to seek to be united in mind and will with other men in their area and ultimately in the whole world. No single man will ever be complete until he is united with all the elect in the communion of saints in the closest of bonds. So it is that each member of the present local community, bound to only a limited number of his fellow men in a limited way, is morally driven by his incompleteness toward the fullness of the communion of saints. From this rapid survey of the qualities of the local christian community we can begin to appreciate the necessity and the nature of its structures. A structure is a social expression that permits the local Church to grow precisely by acting out in a visible group way the social unity that she already is. A structure is thus to a community what a thought, a word, or a deed is to an individual. Just as a thought that really reflects reality and a word that really reflects a man's thought


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help to unify and perfect the individual, so too a proper struc· ture enables a community to grow toward the unity and per· fection that is its goal. Thus, a common authority makes pos· sible the common striving toward ends not yet achieved; a common profession of faith promotes the common understand· ing that is at the root of any real personal unity; and a com· mon symbolic activity such as the Eucharist extends to the whole psychological and physical make-up of man the unity he· gun in common understanding and the acceptance of a common authority. Not only are these structures to deepen the already existing unit of the local community by expressing it; they are to express the outgoing mission of the community, thereby making the sense of mission more and more a part of the constituent being of the members. Hence, the Creed needs to express the universality of salvation and the expectation of the total con· quest of the kingdom of God; the centers of unity that we call authority figures need to manifest a concern for the whole world; and the liturgy must really tell people to go into the world even though the Mass is finished. In short, all the struc· tures of the local community have the function of expressing in a realistic way the community's recognition of its internal mission of unity and its external mission of incorporating all men within the compass of that unity; and in the very act of expressing that twofold mission, the community grows in that presently imperfect state of unity to the full unity of the com· munion of saints. Thus, structures are necessary not by some inexplicable {ial of God but by the very nature of man as an individual and a community figure. Man grows only by expression. Structures are only communal expressions that make possible his growth until the day of fulfillment comes when structures will be no more, precisely because the imperfect stage that de· manded expressions will be no more. Moreover, this necessity for structures gives us the clue to the kind of structures that are needed. The reasoning we have followed indicates why structures cannot be pre-detennined


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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.


PARISH

95 THE MEANING OF THE PARISH STRUCTURE

In the light of what we have said we can define the parish as the de facto local community structure whose function is to manifest and express the community's striving toward the fullness of the communion of saints. Once we have said this, however, it becomes apparent that anyone who is asking for a theology of the parish is asking the wrong question. One should not ask for a theological explanation of our present ter· ritorial or national parishes. Rather, one must ask whether the parish structure as now existing truly realizes the goal that a structure is supposed to realize in the local community. Does the present structure really manifest and foster the mission of the local Church to strengthen its interior bonds and to go out in service to the whole world? Before attempting to answer this question, I would like to make three general remarks: structures are necessarily im· perfect; in a changing world such as we are now living in structures need changing; in the Church and the real need of structural changes faces a peculiar difficulty. First of all, structures are necessarily imperfect. A struc· ture is a finite expression of a communal reality composed of finite creatures. A finite creature can never express him· self perfectly; he can not, as it were, pour his total being into a verbal or material expression. Every sentence that he utters cannot possibly convey all the subtle nuamces of his thought; nor can any single activity of his person reveal com· pletely the inner workings of his heart and mind. If this is true of the individual, how much more does it apply_ to a group of individuals. Thus, there is not and there cannot be some ideal perfect structure that will fully express all the strivings of the local Church at any moment of time. Hence, the task with regard to structures is not to make them perfect, for that is impossible, but to continuously aim at making them less im· perfect. Secondly, in a changing world such as we now inhabit struc· tures must be continuously changed. Structures reflect or are supposed to reflect real men and real needs. The fact ts,


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however, that men and needs are changing. Man is becoming more and more complex through the process of education and communication; and the development in his person is paralleled by a development in his economic, political, and cultural needs. If structures are to truly express and foster real men and real needs, then they must change to meet their task. Moreover, as the speed of change in men and needs ac¡ celerates, so too must the speed of change of structures. Finally, in the Church the real need of structural change faces a peculiar difficulty. That there is a need of structural change is obvious. Vatican II has said as much by its deeds. Nor is the reason to be sought in some esoteric theory. The plain fact is that the world of men has changed incredibly in the past few centuries whereas the structures of the Church have changed but little. Until only recently, for example, the central administration of the Church was what it had been for centuries, whereas practically every government on the face of the earth bad profoundly changed its political forms, if not its ideals. Secular structures have changed, slowly it is true, to meet changes in men; the structures of the Church hardly changed at all. However, structural changes in the Church face a peculiar difficulty. For centuries it has been believed that the structures of a prior age have a mystic quality about them. These struc¡ lures have been invested with a value that no structure can ever posses. In the popular belief, if not in explicit theological formulations, there has lingered the feeling that the operation of structures is "traditional," that the patterns followed in former ages somehow have the sanctions of divine law, that even the prescriptions of Church legislation are sacred canons. The difficulty is compounded when the structure in question is partly of divine ordination because it is grounded in the very nature of redeemed reality, and when it is partly of a temporally conditioned situation. In such a case, we have tended to see the whole complex structure as being of divine ongm. Perhaps an illustration will make the point clear. In the


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textbooks long used in seminaries the monarchical episcopate was consistently taught as belonging to the constitution of the Church by divine ordination. In fact, it is safe to say that from this teaching there arose in the ordinary catholic's mind the impression of the bishop as a kindly but absolute ruler whose word was the very fiat of God. Yet if we would search for the origin of this concept of the monarchial episcopate, we would find it not in the New Testament but in the medieval concretization of the episcopal reality reflected in the apostolic scriptures. In other words, in medieval times the bishop ful· filled his role by acting as a monarch. He did so, however, not because the monarchical mode of operation had been can· onized by God once for all but because the exercise of his function of unifier of the Church in the circumstances of his time demanded that he act as other rulers, as a monarch. With the limited communications of the time and the limited edu· cation of the vast majority of Catholics and their general ac· ceptance of a passive role in society, it would have been im· possible, practically speaking, for a bishop to obtain any kind of unity higher than the conformity to his wishes of the members of his flock. Hence, to fulfill his role he acted as a monarch, and in the main rightly so. However, when the theology of the Church came to be written (at a very late date, long after the great medieval times), the concretization of the role of the bishop as monarch became part of the asserted enduring role of the bishop. Instead of speaking of the bishop in terms of overseer, unifier, father, the ecclesiologists spoke of him as monarch. By this they made "traditional" not only the enduring aspects of the bishop but also a temporal mode of acting, a structure, a stance that should have passed with the passage of time. Thus it is that we are still trying to free ourselves of an antiquated notion of the great office of bishop. We are still trying to reach an under· standing of the role and activity of the bishop that will enable him to be the father and center of unity for a people who are educated, who are well-informed, and who have the capacity for self-direction. We are still trying to overcome the peculiar


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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


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all their weaknesses, that their religion is not a series of ecclesiastical prescriptions¡ such as Sunday mass and Easter communion and individ11al charity but a total attitude of mission to the world and everyone in it. Thirdly, parish organizations rarely reflect the present needs of the community. How many parishes have societies organized to take care of the altar, to prevent the misuse of the name of Christ, to entertain the non-married parishioners? Many undoubtedly. Yet can we say that these are the pressing needs of the time? Is it not far more important that parishioners be concerned with the plight of the Negro, with the issue of peace, with the problem of local public education, with involvement in government? Does it not seem to be a fact that most of our parish organizations were established at a time when individual needs of a poorly educated and non-influential people were paramount? The poor we shall always have with us, but does this mean that the poor will always take the form of those who have need of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society? Is it not possible that the mentally disturbed, the lonely, the outcasts of a conventional society are the "poor" of our times? And if they and those like them are, should not our local communities minister to them? Should there not be organizations to bel p them? Finally, the liturgical structures of many a parish community are ineffectual as media of worship. In some cases the fact is rubrical. The words and gestures of the mass and the sacraments reflect another age. Not only youth but even some thoughtful older people are beginning to find them meaningless, even in translation. To speak of grace being poured out on us smacks of magic to many a teen-ager. To speak of shunning the earth for the joys of heaven sounds to him like abdication of responsibility. The reality referred to is as relevant as ever, but the words no longer convey the reality. On the principles that we have spoken of it is obvious that much needs to be changed in our local community structures. Just what changes will have to be made will depend, of course, on the factors in each situation, especially personal factors.


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It will take much planning and the use of modem scientific methods. If theology can furnish the basic principles that guide us in understanding the goal to be reached, it will be religious sociology and its allies that will have to be called in to accomplish the job of implementation. Yet in the task of change one thing must he uppermost in our minds. We must change in such a way that we preserve the integrity of persons and the unity of the Church. Here we encounter a formidable undertaking; for within the Church in the ranks of laity, religious, priests, bishops, and the Roman Curia as well there are untold numbers who see structures as traditional, as instruments to be maintained at all costs. We are, therefore, confronted with the problem of working for necessary changes in the face of honest men who consider these changes of structure, at least implicitly, as the very betrayal of Christ. I would suggest that there is but one tactic open to us. It is not the tactics of sarcasm and vituperation; it is not the tactic of threat, condemnation, or subtle pressure; it is not the tactic of chicanery and trickery. These are unworthy of a christian dealing with fellow christians of good will. Rather, the tactic to be used is the far more difficult tactic of christian persuaswn. If we advocate change, we must show that we advocate it not for the sake of a new structure, nor for the sake of revolution, but simply because a change in structure in the given case is the way to preserve and foster the very values the old structure was meant to serve. We have to show that we love Christ more than any time-conditioned structure and that we seek that Christ be manifested and expressed in the best possible way by appropriate structures of our day. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever; the structures through which he expressed himself in this world are not and cannot be forever the same.


The works of Teilhard de Chardin are becoming more and more known. It is a truism to say that some aspects of his thought present serious prob¡ !ems for Christian thinkers. For one thing, the distinction between matter and spirit tends to be blurred in his thought. For another, how is the natural related to the supernatural? Clearly Teilhard's whole pur¡ pose is to fuse into a basic unity the various distinctions traditional in the perennial ... "in the heart of this philosophy: matter and spirit, formless mass You have nature and supernature, love planted an irrestible aml of the world and love of God. sanctifying urge which makes The serious problem is to each one of us cry out "fuse" without confusing. 'Lord, rruike us to be orw !' " us to be one!', On the one hand we must hold to the diversity in nature Teilhard de Chardin between matter and spirit. in "Mass over the World." Therefore, we cannot attribute spiritual power to matter, FRANCIS ]. if we take these conceptions in KLAUDER, S.D.B. a strict and literal sense. On the other hand we must recognize the actual powers of nature as we find it in the world, attributing its dynamic to intrinsic causes. In a wider perspective the question arises: to what extent can the spiritual and supernatural become evident in their effects on matter? Can there be a kind of phenomenology of the spiritual? This article is an attempt to answer these questions.

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In his evolutionary theory Teilhard speaks of "the spiritual power of matter." The phrase is reminiscent of the philosophy of Henri Bergson, who envisions an "elan vital" or ·vital im· pulse at the basis of evolutionary development. This principle is somewhat identified with God, although it is not clear to what extent. Is the conception of an "elan vital" or of a "spiritual power in matter" compatible with "perennial philosophy"? The following considerations suggest an affirmative answe1 to the question. This answer is developed according to the principle followed usually in theological matters--the analogy of faith. But here, instead of proceeding from a matter of faith to another matter of faith, we intend to proceed from a matter of faith to a philosophical hypothesis. The theologians speak of supernatural, sanctifying grace as a divine gift, by which God is present to the soul in a supernatural way. It is a gift, resulting in effects which are not due to a created nature, chiefly, God's presence in a new way. God becomes present to the spiritual creature in a way that is above the natural power or potency of such a creature. It is a completely supernatural situation. It is the communica· tion of divine life to a spiritual being which of itself is in· capable of generating such life. Theologians conceive of sanctifying grace as being infused into the soul by God at Baptism. As a result of this infusion, the soul possesses a new principle of life and activity over and above its natural status, over and above everything that is naturally due to its nature. In virtue of this new life, the person stands in a new relationship to God, no longer a simple creature of God but an adopted son. Consequent} y, the person is loved by God in a special way and is enabled to love God as Father. Because of its new orientation towards God, the soul receives the power to act towards a goal beyond its natural capacities in the attaining of God's own life in heaven. Hence grace is called the seed of eternal life. It is a diviniza· tion of the creature. Saint Peter calls it a "participation in the


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divine nature." By this "participation" God becomes immanent to his creature. Nevertheless, the natural immance of God through his ordinary conservation and concurrrence remains intact. God becomes immanent in a new way; and all the natural activities of the person continue as before. But hence: forth they have a new direction because of the changed condition of their agent. We may say that the person is in a radically transformed condition, although the e:ffects of this transformation are not immediately visible and will achieve fulfillment only in the next life. Could there be a similar situation on another level of reality? I do not mean a communication of grace as such to matter. This would be impossible, since God's supernatural gift of himself through grace can be communicated only to an intelligent creature. But I am suggesting an "analogue" of grace. Could a principle superior to matter be communicated to matter causing it to be a condition not due to its nature? As a result of this, matter would be in a radically transformed condition, although this would not be immediately apparent. In fact, the full achievement of this transformation could take place only at the end of time.

AN ANALOGUE OF GRACE I am suggesting that in the very heart of matter, in the beginning of time, God could have infused a power superior to the natural exigency of matter-a power in itself superior to the realm of matter and, probably speaking, of the order of spirit. Like sanctifying grace, this "analogue" of grace would make God present to matter in a new way, not in the supernatural way He is present to rational creatures, but in a way unsuspected for irrational creatures. This real, created principle would then account for "divine" activity in matter, i.e., for activity seemingly over and above the natural powers and exigencies of inert matter. In this conception, there would be almost nothing inconceivable as happening in matter. So viewed, the created universe stands in a new relationship to God, ordained intrinsically to the divine will in a way not due to


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its nature. As such it is an object of divine complacency in as much as it tends through its own activity towards "a new heaven and a new earth" which God has set for its destiny. Just as it is (naturally) inconceivable that a created spirit might be divinized, so it might be granted that we should not naturally expect matter to be in any sense "divinized" in this lesser way. We know of the divinization of rational creatures through revelation. We might conjecture or conclude to the "divinization" or "spiritualization" of matter by the observation of power within nature beyond the range of its own expected and recognized competency. Is this what pantheistic philosophers have sensed in matter, confusing God's presence (both ordinary and "extraordinary" in the sense now suggested) with God Himself? Is this what the evolutionists have been baffled by, even the Marxists who have been so enthralled with matter? They have passed beyond matter and recognized its superior power; they should have proceeded one step furtherfrom the mysterious "analogue" of God to God Himself, the omnipotent giver. If we adopt this point of view, the whole process of natural development and its relationship to the supernatural take on a new aspect. At the end of all history and development stands the Risen Lord of the Transfiguration drawing all things to Himself. But He does so, not merely by drawing matter from without. No, from within the hidden recesses of matter itself, there surges the impulse of a divinely implanted urge in virtue of which the whole creation is in travail until it effects its own triumphant transfiguration by which God will he "all in all." I conceive the original creation of God as constituted in being through its own material and formal principles (sub¡ stantial and accidental), leaving open to the discovery of philosophy and science a more detailed description of this original creature of God in the material order. But I conceive it as immediately raised by the divine power to a condition superior to its condition as matter. By an accidental quality, by the "analogue" of grace (i.e., the "vital impulse" of Berg¡


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son or the "spiritual power" of Teilhard, call it what you will), I conceive this creature of God as ordained from the start to the divine order (as far as this is possible for a material being as such) through this marvellous free gift of God by which God Himself is present to matter in an unsuspected way, directing it towards even higher heights without intervention at each new stage of development. Through this created, accidental principle, God is present to matter in a mysterious, unfathomable way, similar to (but inferior to) His gratuitous presence in the soul by sanctifying grace. And as in the supernatural order "the spirit breathes where He wills," so in the natural order (in virtue of this gratuitous and superior principle) God leads the whole creation "where He wills" to the inscrutable manifestation of His glory. PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE SPIRIT

The basic manifestation of God's glory is the presence in the world of God's intelligent creature, man, capable of coming to know and love God through the knowledge and love of His material creation. Notwithstanding the fundamental power of man to reach this goal, God saw fit to help him to reach not only this but even a higher goal, revealing Himself to man in a special and supernatural way, especially through the appearance in the world of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the mission in Christ's Mystical Body, the Church, of His own Holy Spirit. Similarly, while the material universe has the capacity to reach its own objectives by its own inherent powers, God is directing it to a transfiguration and glorification not due it. In the course of time the mysterious plan of God unfolds itself. This plan is summed up in the phrase of St. Paul: to re-establish all things in Christ-those in the heavens and those on the earth. Although this objective is to be fully achieved only after the second coming of Christ at the end of time, meanwhile there is a build-up of His Mystical Body on earth. Thus we must recognize the tremendous truth that humanity (and through humanity, all creation), is plunged in space-time


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duration in order to provide Christ with the material for His Body, in an analogous way that Mary provided the flesh and blood for the physical Christ. The visible effects of this over-all plan of God are observable in human history, in the establishment, growth and sufferings of Christians over the face of the earth. The consciousness of the inevitable victory of God's plan, amid ever so many difficulties, must be reckoned as an important contributing factor to the realization of the goal itself. Simultaneously, the manifestation of the fulfilling of God's plan necessarily occurs. Furthermore, the expectation of further fulfillment and manifestation is not only in order, but a requisite for the development itself. Without pretending to predict the complicated details of the future, the Christian nevertheless should expect to come to an ever clearer realization of the meaning of the plan that God has set in motion, not merely from the appearance of Christ on earth, but from the very beginning of time. Is it not natural to suppose that this development should occure on the material as well as spiritual levels, on the natural as well as supernatural plane? Such a supposition is a basic conviction of Teilhard. If this point of view is accepted, then a convergence of the various lines of development within the natural and supernatural spheres seems inevitable. Hence we should expect that God's evolving plan will become more and more evident to observers, even on a phenomenological level. Not only human history itself, but all of nature (if raised up to a supernatural destiny) should be driven to its goal from within-a direction that necessarily becomes manifest as the centuries pass on. The thought of Teilhard de Chardin, and the re-appraisals of traditional thought that it provokes, can be an important asset here. Or at least so it seems to the present writer. The optimism with which Teilhard views the universe could be the spark to enkindle a new vision of the universe, born of the desire to understand and fuHill God's plan in creation, with a genuine love for the universe and for man, which we should conceive as endowed not only with their natural goods, but


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with. the very presence of the Spirit of God, who through His grace and through His vital impulse leads the universe to its destiny of re-establishment in Christ. ANTIDOTE FOR OUR TIMES

If we compare our times with those of St. Thomas Aquinas, we can recognize similarities among the many differences. Aquinas was anxious to incorporate the insights of Aristotle into his Christian vision of the world. However, he did this against the background of a well-established Augustinianism whose proponents in some respects were bitterly anti-Aristotelian, even though they themselves were to some extent influenced by the rediscovery of Aristotelian thought. Aristotle's thought overemphasized the transcendence of God and neglected His immanence in the creation- an essential part of the philosophical outlook of St. Augustine. Today we find that the presence or immanence of God in the world is almost completely overlooked against the background of the marvelous discoveries of the modern age. God is far away-"God is dead" as far as the thought of many contemporaries go. Do we not need to restore the sense of the presence of God in the face of the prevalent agnosticism and secularism of our day? One way to do this is to restore the consciousness of God's hand at work within the very recesses of nature itself. Teilhard's point of view certainly concen¡ trates on this objective. On the other hand, some modern philosophers (such as Bergson and Whitehead) adopt a similar viewpoint. Should the insights of these philosophers be lost, especially since the sense of God's immanence has been lost in the world at large? We need to remind the world of God's immanence to it not only in the ordinary sense of conservation and concurrence, but also in the special way that impressed men like Bergson and Teilhard. We are not of course suggesting a neglect of God's transcendence. But a genuine appreciation of His immanence will lead to a deeper realization of His transcendence. Teilhard looked upon the world with eyes full of wonder over the intrinsic power of nature to progress and develop.


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Yet behind all this development he saw a "spiritual power," a vital impulse within matter indicative of God's special presence. In virture of this presence, all development will ultimately culminate at the end of time in the transfiguration of the world in Christ. Can we not similarly combine these two points of view of immanence and transcendence? We easily apply the two concepts to God. It is imperative to apply the two concepts to God's creation. God is superior to his creation and he is leading it to a supernatural goal. God is immanent to his creation and provides that creation itself moves to the pre-destined Goal beyond itself. In both cases he makes use of created reality-the created humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ which has already reached its glorification and is transcendent to the world. But through his continuing presence in the world-he is immanent, through the Eucharist and through his Holy Spirit in the church. Teilhard suggests another mysterious immanence which, while within nature, stretches beyond its natural confines. It is this mysterious immanence, this "analogue of grace," this "spiritual power," this divine "vital impulse" within nature that we have tried to single out in this essay. Christian faith teaches us to love our neighbor because he has the seed of future glory impressed within his soul through sanctifying grace. We of the Christian faith should not forget, however, that even in the natural order man is made in the image and likeness of God, which accounts for his intrinsic value. The modern world is well aware of this value. Similarly, the world has become cognizant of the intrinsic powers of nature and has come to value them highly. Can not Christians learn this lesson from their contemporaries? Teilhard's thought challenges us in this respect; but his challenge is not merely to love the world for the sake of the world but to love it for its mysterious relationship to God-Omega, because it has within it the seed of its future glory.


Correspondence Dear Editors: In the Summer, 1967, issue of your publication there is an article by Father Wojcik which contains a reference to me that I find personally a little embarrassing. You would greatly oblige me if you would kindly print this communication, the purpose of which is to clear the record. I am not offended, only mystified. Father Wojcik was not the only one to misread the text of my Milwaukee address. Frankly, while it might be flattering, I cannot understand how I came to be considered one of the coryphaei of the "New Era" in Catholic (or any other) church music. The first thing I stated in my address was that I was speaking as a historian of music; the theological, liturgical, and pastoral aspects of the current trend in church music are not within my competence. I respectfully submit that no music historian and critic can accept the compositions advocated by the leaders of this trend on their artistic merits. If, however, the argument for inartistic music in the church is advanced on pastoral grounds ("we must reach the people"), I won't attempt to dispute it-I do not have the right to do so. But when I am presented as one of the flagbearers of the movement, I must protest. While I realize the fallacy of our great democratic creed that everybody is capable of appreciating great art, I still want to see it fostered by the Church, and I deplore the current catering to the lowest level of taste. Nevertheless, I do not believe in doctrinaire attitudes and view the efforts of the diehards who want nothing but Palestrina with as much skepticism as I do the Universa Laus society. But here again I speak as 109


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a historian who knows that the arts cannot be regulated or promoted by edicts and monopolies; it has often been tried and has never worked. Appreciation of the arts is a matter not of legislation but of education. Finally, may I say that I was associated not with The New York Times but with the New York Herald Tribune of happy memory. Paul Henry Lang Columbia University in the City of New York New York, N.Y.

Dear Editors: I apologize for the error of fact in assoc1atmg Dr. Lang with the New York Times rather than the New York Herald Tribune. Concerning Dr. Lang's disavowal of influence and leadership among church musicians, their high regard for Dr. Lang is a fact. Within the limits of the size of the article I feared that justice could not be done to the principles and integrity of Dr. Lang. It is apparent to all who heard or read Dr. Lang's talk or enjoyed any contact with him that he is disturbed about the lack of artistic content of most-perhaps all--<>f the "new era" music and the cultural and liturgical pollution such inartistic music breeds. No guilt by association was intended and an attempt was made to prevent such implication. It is apparent from his own words that Dr. Lang is the voice of artistic integrity in evaluating and creating liturgical music even in its simplest forms and styles of expression. I am grateful for the occasion to dispel the false implications that cursory readings could create. I welcome the opportunity to acknowledge and salute again the hard-earned integrity that Dr. Lang enjoys m the world of music. Richard J. Wojcik St. Mary of the Lake Seminary Mundelein, Illinois


CORRESPONDENCE

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AUTHORS Peter Chi~ico, S.S. is a professor of theology at St. Thomas Seminary, Kenmore, Washington. John F. Dedek is a professor of moral theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois and associate editor of Chicago Studies. Christopher Kiesling, O.P. teaches liturgical theology at Aqui¡ nas Institute of Theology, Dubuque, Iowa and has written for Cross and Crown, Worship, The Thomist, and Chicago Studies. Francis]. Klauder, S.D. B. is dean of philosophy at Don Bosco College at Newton, New Jersey. George K. Malone is a professor of fundamental theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. Charles R. Meyer is a professor of systematic theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. 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;

Profile for Chicago Studies

Spring 1968  

Volume 7:1

Spring 1968  

Volume 7:1

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