Spring 1969

Page 101

104

CHICAGO STUDIES

posed to the priests and their aims. The talk was the loose kind that must be taken into account because it can trip and injure sound, WOlthwhile eff01ts. The really shoddy comments were made by those who leaped to the conclusion that the priests were about to challenge their archbishop. They took a mean delight in the thought that there was going to be a rip-roaring fight. Those who wanted a battle have given up hoping. And those who spoke of mutiny and unionism are all but convinced now that the priests meant it when they said they were forming a professional organization in order to serve more effectively Christ and His Church. To the onlookers who expected the association to be a lively, fast-paced, colorful group it has proved a disappointment. In fact, the let-down feeling is shared by some persons who understand, as well as laymen can, the significance of problems such as retirement, rectory relationships, and authority. There was all almost unexpressed hope that the priests would, somehow, ally themselves with some gmup of laymen. The hope was based, no doubt, on a belief that the purpose of the A.C.P. and that of a lay group might be recognizably the same. Of course, there is a common cause--Christ and His Church -that priests should rally round. But whatever the questions priests ma,y be asking and however uncertain they may be in some m¡ea, one thing that they do know is that they are not laymen. Aware of what happens because so many Protestant clerics lack that knowledge, I applaud 'their sagacity. My guess is that a wholesome respect for that which divides is a major reason for the A.C.P. has not joined hands with the laity. As a result of the failure to ally some feelings have been hmt. One of the tasks the association will have with it always is that of convincing laymen that because it does not join with them no one should assume that it is separating itself from laymen. The best way of accomplishing the task, I believe, is