Spring 1969

Scroll for more

Page 32



would prefer a society in which collective decision making in small groups is the rule, where equals meet in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. The seminarian's dedication to personalism helps us to understand his demand for a voice in shaping the policies that govern his own formation, both theological and spiritual. It explains his dislike for "rules"-those of the seminary or of Canon Law-that seem to have little consideration for the unique needs of his own human situation. If there must be rules and laws-and he admits this is the case--then let him have a voice in shaping them. Mobility, peer identification, personalism are general categories and they admit a broad spectrum of intensity and appropriation among our seminarians: but they are present everywhere to some extent. If seminary personnel are to do an effective job they must recognize the worth of the seminarian's values and respond to his questions. For they are real values and the questions hard questions. Our task, as I see it, is to capitalize on the true potential of these values and thus nudge the seminarian through youth to full maturity. At no time perhaps has the theologian been better equipped for the task. He too cherishes the values of personalism and mobility; he can show, moreover, that they find their full actualization only in commitment to community. And he can sympathize with youth on another score, for he has known a generation gap of his own.


Theology's discovery of its own generation gap has been an unnerving experience. Typically the problem was one of communications. The bridges linking theology to the creative centers of culture were down; and the theologians themselves had blown them.¡ Their research was impressive and their questions important; but the questions were not those central to contemporary society; and hence the research seemed arcane, as alien as a Zen Buddhist roan (sample: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"). Contributing to the communication lag was