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CIVITAS DEI FOUNDATION Episcopal Patrons The Most Reverend Cletus F. O'Donnell, J.C.D. The Most Reverend Raymond P. Billinger, D.D. The Most Reverend Aloysius J. Wycislo, D.D.

Trustees Rt. Rev. Msgr. John D. Fitzgerald Rt. Rev. Msgr. J Gerald Kealy 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. 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. Edward M. Hosty Rev. Claude E. Klarkowski

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Eugene V. Mulcahey Rt. Rev. Msgr. James V. Mul1>hY 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. l\!sgr. Richard F. Wolfe Rt. Rev. Msgr. Raymond J. Zock Rev. Francis R. Krakowski Rev. Edward T. Kush Rev. Joseph J. Mackowiak Rev. Francis C. Mu11>hy Rev. Harry C. Rynard Rev. Stanley L. Ryzner Rev. Joseph I. Schmeier Rev. Harold H. Sieger Rev. Andrew T. Valcicak

ChaTter Member ACTA

Rev. Walter F. Somerville


CHICAGO

STUDIES

EDITORIAL STAFF

Editor George J. Dyer

Associate Editors John F. Dedek

Vincent C.. Horrigan, S.J.

William 0. Goedert

Business Manager

Production Manager

Richard J. Wojcik

Edmund J. Siedlecki

Editorial Advisors Gerard T. Broccolo John R. Clark Robert H. Dougherty John F. Fahey John R. Gorman Stephen S. Infantino George J. Kane Julius F. Klose Edward H. Konerm:m, S.J. William 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 Norbert E. Randolph Robert A. Reicher Richard F. Schroeder William A. Schumacher Peter M. Shannon Edward J. Stokes, S.J. Thomas F. Sullivan Gerald P .. Weber Raymond 0. Wicklander

CHICAGO STUDIES is edited by the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Semniary and the priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago for the continuing education of the clergy. The editors welcome articles and letters likely to be of interest to our readers. All communications regarding articles nnd editorial policy should be addressed to the editors. Subscriptions should be sent to CHICAGO STUDIES, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Subscription rates: $5.00 a year, $9.00 for two years, $16.00 for four years; to students, $4.00 a year. Foreign subscribers : add 50c per year. CHICAGO STUDIES is published three times a year with ecclesiastical permission and copyright, 1969, by Civitas Dei Foundation, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Third Class postage paid at St. Meinrad, Ind. Views expressed in the m¡.ticles are those of the respective authors and not necessarily those of the editors or editorial board. Indexed in The Catholic Pe>¡iodical Index and New Testament Abst1'acts.

Microfilms of current and backfile volumes of CHICAGO STUDIES are now available from University Microfilms, Inc .. 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. accompanied by self addressed


VOLUME 8

SPRING,. 1969

NUMBER 1

Articles

(2)

3 Edmund Siedlecki

THE OPEN CHURCH

17 Avery DuUes, S.J.

RENEWING THE SACRAMENTS

YoUTH AND THE "FAITH CRISIS"

AMONG SEMINARIANS MoRAL THEOLOGY: OLD AND NEW

29

George J. Dyer

41 Norbert J. Rigali, S.J.

A NEW THEOLOGY?

59

Charles R. Meyer·

KARL &AHNER'S THEOLOGY OF THE SPIRITUAL L!FE

71

John Carmody, S.J.

THE CHURCH AND THE SICK

89

Nathan Kollar, O.Carm.

The Forum AsSOCIATION OF CHICAGO PRIESTS

103

AUTHORS

109

REPRINTS

110

Richard Philbrick

Our Cover: "HEAD OF CHRIST" by Juan Cruz. Welded Steel


' A previous issue of Chicago Studies (Summer, 1968) discussed the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Matrimony. This article will treat of proposed changes in the celebration of the Sacraments of Penance, the Anointing of the Sick and Holy Orders.

LITURGICAL SURVEY IV

THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE

In October, 1968 the Consilium met in Rome to discuss the Rite (s) of the Celebration of the Sacrament of Penance. Under consideration were three types of celebration of Some proposed changes in this Sacrament: a) the whole the celebration of Penance, rite as it would be celebrated the anointing of the Sick by the priest with each indiand Holy Orders. vidual penitent, b) a group or communal celebration of parts of the rite with the private confession of sins, c) a comEDMUND SIEDLECKI munal celebration with a general and public confession of sins. Several options for some of the details of these rites were proposed and voted upon. The decisions of the Consilium will be known only when an official text of these rites is published either for limited testing in various dioceses throughout the world or for general use. In the individual celebration of this Sacrament the following procedure was proposed: 1) The minister, in the usual ecclesiastical vesture, and, where customai'Jl., ...~earing a stole (no .·

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CHICAGO STUDIES

color is determined), receives the penitent at the place designated for administration of this Sacrament of Penance and greets him with words which would allay his nervousness or fear; he then invites him to sit or kneel. (The traditional confessional is not ruled out but freedom would be given for other arrangements, e.g. a small conference room in the church or in some other buildings.) 2) It is desired that the minister and penitent pray together for a short time. 3) Then the minister can give the penitent a blessing with a formula such as this: "The Lord be in your heart so that you might confess your sins with a contrite spirit." 4) The penitent would then confess his sins. 5) Having received his confession, the minister would remind the penitent of the mercy of God, encourage him to a true or deeper contrition and counsel him in the way to amend his life. 6) The minister should then exhort the penitent to make reparation for his offenses against God, his neighbor and himself. He would impose upon the penitent an apt penance as would be suggested by pastoral charity. 7) When the penitent has accepted the penance, the minister would say: "May the almighty and merciful Lord grant you the fruit of true penance, the amendment of your life, the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit, and perseverance in good works." The penitent would respond "Amen" to this or a similar formula. 8) The minister stands, if he wishes, and extending his hands (or at least raising his right hand) over the kneeling or' bowed penitent says one of the following formulas of absolution: a) "May our Lord Jesus Christ, who offered himself to his Father for us and who gave to his Church the power to forgive sins, absolve you from your sins by the grace of the Holy Spirit and restore you to the perfect peace of the Church. He who Jives and l'eigns forever and ever." b) "May our Lord Jesus Christ, who redeemed the world by his passion and resurrection, remit your sins by the grace of the Holy Spirit and through my ministry, and restore you to the full life of the Church. He who lives and reigns forever and ever." c) "May our Lord Jesus Christ remit you your sins by my ministry and fully restore you to the peace of the Church. He who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit." The penitent responds "Amen." ( Consilium will decide whether only one of these formulas should be used or whether the minister would


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have a variety of formulas for his use. 9} The minister would then dismiss the penitent with a formula such as: "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace." This rite can be adapted for the use of a group in this way: After the greeting and opening prayer one or more passages from Scripture would be read. The homily of the one presiding would try to excite a penitential spirit. Then there could be added other optional penitential rites, prayers (e.g. a common act of contrition} or songs. Their variety and length would be left to sound pastoral judgment. The confession of sins, the admonition of the penitent and imposition of a penance would take place individually and privately. The absolution could be given individually or, if this is judged to be opportune, to the whole group simultaneously. ln the latter situation the one presiding would extend his hand above the kneeling or bowed penitents and say one of the formulas of absolution given above. The rite would conclude with a recited prayer or song of thanksgiving and the dismissal of the penitents. The rite of the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance with general con[ession would proceed in this manner : 1} After the community has come together, the celebrant enters, and one of the penitential psalms, some other psalm, or popular hymn is sung. 2} The celebrant greets the faithful with a formula from one of the New Testament Epistles, e.g. "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." 3) The celebrant invites all to kneel down and pray. All kneel for a short period of silent prayer. 4} The celebrant closes this prayer by reciting (or singing} a prayer for God's mercy. 5) One or more passages from Scripture should then be read. A list of readings appropriate to this situation has been prepared by the Consilium. A song or short period of reflection may follow the reading or take place between the readings. 6) The readings should be the starting point for the homily of the celebrant. Other points to be developed in the homily are: a} hatred of sin that has offended God, the community, and one's neighbor, b) the mercy of God, c) the necessity of interior penance, d) reparation for sin by works of penance, but especially by an intensified love for God and one's neighbor.


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7) The celebrant is to remind the penitents that if they are conscious of any personal serious sins they are to confess them in a future confession, even though these sins will be remitted in the present celebration of the Sacrament. He should also recall for them the spiritual value that can be derived from confessing sins that have been forgiven in the past. 8) The faithful are then invited to make an examination of conscience in silence. The one· presiding can help them in this by interjecting some questions on how in fact they have responded to the love of God in their lives. 9) All then would kneel or bow and at the direction of the one presiding recite a general confession of ·sins: "I confess to almighty God .... " 10) A Prayer of the Faithful would follow this general confession. The Lord's Prayer would always conclude the Prayer of the Faithful. 11) After the Our Father the celebrant would remind the faithful of the obligation of restitution if anyone has committed an injustice as well as the obligation of making fitting satisfaction for their sins. Extending his hands over the kneeling or bowed faithful. he would impart the general absolution by using, in plural·form, one of the formulas of absolution given above in the individual celebration of this Sacrament. The faithful would respond "Amen" to this formula. 12) The faithful would be dismissed with a formula such as: "The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord turn his face toward and give you peace. Amen." 13) The rite could conclude with a hymn of thanksgiving. These revisions will satisfy, substantially, the requests of many in the Church for changes in the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance. They bring out more clearly the personalist as well as the communal aspect of this Sacrament. They give the stamp of full official approval to many practices that are already taking place, very frequently with the approval of the local bishop, e.g. the communal celebration of Penance with individual confession of sins. These revised rites allow for some flexibility in their celebmtion in regard to the place for the administration of the Sacrament, the choice of readings and prayers, and, if the


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Consilium so decides, several formulas of absolution. This flexibility allows for some adaptation of the rite to children, adolescents, and special groups. Testing of these rites might indicate that further adaptation is necessary for these special groups. ·Some might find the rite too long as it would be celebrated by a minister and a single penitent. Although somewhat longer, the revised rite attempts to make clearer the dialogical nature of this rite and thereby to enhance the celebration of the Sacrament. On those occasions where very many penitents would want to receive this Sacrament, the group method of celebration should take place or the rite of general confession with general absolution. When should children approach the Sacrament of Penance for the first time? What should be the frequency of devotional confession? What pastoral reasons would indicate that general confession with general absolution should be the manner of celeb1·ating this Sacrament? The revised rites do not answer these questions, but they provide different solutions to these questions than those thought Of in the past.

THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK

The Consilium has not as yet published a revised rite of the Anointing of the Sick. The Constitution on the Sac1·ed Litw·gy calls for the adaptability of the rite to various conditions of the sick. J. ·D. Crichton summarizes the thoughts of those who have considered the revision of this rite: "It is envisaged that this Sacrament will be given in a variety of circumstances. Some will receive this Sacrament who are near death or who are suffering from incurable diseases. It would be grotesque to be praying that 'they may return to their former duties.' The old need comfort and reassurance. These and other conditions of life should be taken into account in the compilation of the prayers. Further, the number of anointings is to be adapted to the occasion. In an earlier age the anointings were applied to those places where the pain was greatest. No doubt this would not be appropriate always.with


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our modern medical knowledge, but evidently the intention was to underline the healing properties of the Sacrament. These new anointings should have different "forms" also emphasiing this. At present the form speaks only of the taking away of sin. Although one does not want to see an unduly lengthy rite, it is to be hoped that room will be found for a number of scripture texts which could be read ad libitum for the comfort of the sick person." John Corrigan is a little more specific: "Certain changes in the present practice of the Anointing of the Sick should be based on a re-evaluation of the purpose of the Sacrament. What is the purpose of the Sacrament? If the primary purpose is not the forgiveness of sins, then the following conclusions seem valid: a) The anointing of the five senses-the avenues of sin-should be changed to a single. anointing of the forehead. b) The prayers accompanying the anointings should speak not to the forgiveness of sin but to the purpose of the Sacrament-healing. c) This Sacrament should be denied to those under the age of reason who are seriously ill." Frderick McManus¡ offers these proposals: "The physical expression of the Sacrament should draw attention to the laying on of hands as a sign of curative power and prayer. There is no reason why this gesture, rather attenuated in the present rite and ordinary practice, cannot become an effective sign. At once it is a very human way of showing comfort, strength, and sympathy and a concrete bond with the practice and action of Jesus: 'My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her to make her better and save her life' (Mk 5:23)." "A distinct possibility is the blessing of the oil of the sick on the occasion of the anointing itself. Obviously the proposal is not intended for emergency cases, but a better orientation of the Sacrament to the beginning of serious illness would provide the opportunity." Others suggest that opportunities be given for the family or bystanders to participate more actively, perhaps by inserting a litany into the rite. The prayers for the dying have such


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9

opportunities but not the rite of the Sacrament. Perhaps a still simpler rite ought to be composed for those occasions when this Sacrament would be periodically administered to a person in a prolonged sickness. A truly contemporary rite might come into existence only when a theolog;• gap is bridged. Theologians have demonstrated that this Sacrament is clearly a continuation of Christ's ministry to the sick. How this ministry is related to the ministry of healing of modern medicine has not been adequately developed. Should not this relationship be expressed in the Sacrament of the Sick? HOLY ORDERS

On June 18, 1968 Pope Paul VI issued the Apostolic Constitution; Approval of a New Rite for the Ordination of Deacons, Priests and Bishops. This Apostolic Constitution was the covering letter for the Consilium's revision of the rite for the confenal of these three sacred Orders. The purpose of this revision was "to add,. delete, or change certain things, either to restore texts to their earlier integrity, to make the expressions clearer, or to describe the sacmmental effects better." ORDINATION TO THE DIACONATE

Pope Paul summarizes the revision of the rite of conferring the diaconate thus; "In the ordination of deacons only a few changes were to be made, taking into account both recent prescriptions concerning the diaconate as a proper and permanent grade of the hierarchy in the Latin Church and also a greater . simplicity and clarity of the rites." The revised rite would be celebrated in this manner ; 1) The rite should take place in the presence of a great number of the faithful, preferably, on a Sunday or Holyday, at the cathedral or a parish church. 2) Within the cathedral the ordination ceremonies would be perfonned at the bishop's chair or, if that is in a poor location, at a chair between the altar and the edge of the sanctuary. 3) The ordination is performed after the Liturgy of the Word for which appropriate readings


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have been provided. 4) The ordinands are called by a deacon and presented to the bishop by the superior of the seminary; their names are recorded by a notary. 5) The laity are to appwve the choice of the ordinands according to the custom to be established in each country. The allocution, since it substituted for the homily, can be an original composition. The three examples given in the revised ritual quote liberally from Scripture and the documents of Vatican II. 7) Each of the ordinands places his hands in those of the bishop and promises his respect and obedience. 8) All the invocations of the litany are said or chanted by the assisting ministers; the bishop concludes the litany with a short prayer. 9) The bishop silently imposes both hands on each of the ordinands. 10) A consecratory prayer (no longer in the form of a Preface) follows the imposition of hands. It contains the form of the Sacrament: "Send forth the Holy Spirit upon them, we ask you, 0 Lord, that they may be strengthened by him, through the gift of your sevenfold grace, for the faithful discharge of your service." 11) The stole and dalmatic are placed on the new deacons by the assisting priests or deacons. 12) The bishop places the book of the Gospel in the hands of each deacon with a revised formula that explains the role of a deacon in proclaiming the Gospel but not stating that he now receives the power to preach the Good News, since that power was given through the imposiiton of hands and the consecratory prayer. 13) During the Liturgy of the Eucharist some of the new deacons would present the gifts of bread and wine; one or more assist the bishop; all would receive under both species; one or more would assist in presenting the chalice and in the distribution of Communion to the laity. ORDINATION TO THE PRESBYTERATE

The Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI states: "In the ordination¡ of priests, as found in the Roman Pontifical, the mission and grace of the priest as a helper of the episcopal Order has been clearly described. Yet it seemed necessary to restore the entire rite, which has been divided into several parts, to greater unity and to express in sharper light the central part of the ordination, that is, the imposition of hands and the consecratory prayer."


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The modifications in the rite of conferring the diaconate (numbers 1-9 above) are also applicable to the rite of conferring the priesthood. The rite then continues thus: 1) After the imposition of the hands by the bishop, the priests who are present impose hands. 2) The consecratory prayer is said by the bishop. Its content is like the consecratory Preface of the rite with a few textual changes and additions. It contains the form of the Sacrament: "We pray you, almighty Father, confer the dignity of the priesthood on these ¡your servants; renew in their hearts the Spirit of holiness; may they obtain the office of second order received from you, 0 God, and, by the example of their lives, inculcate the pattern of holy living." 3) The assisting priests cross the stole and place the chasuble on each of the new priests without saying any formula. 4) The bishop anoints the hands of the new priests with Holy Chrism rather than the former Oil of Catechumens with the formula: "May these hands, consecrated by the gift of the Holy Spirit, remain worthy of sanctifying the Christian people and of offering sacrifice to God." 5) The bishop plaees in the hands of each newly-ordained the paten, host and chalice filled with wine and water with the formula: "Receive the oblation of the holy people, which will be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you perform and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord's cross." 6) A Kiss of Peace concludes the ordination¡ rite proper. 7) The newly ordained concelebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist; some would help in the distribution of Communion. The most notable change is the deletion of the ceremonies that occurred after the Communion of the Mass, including the imposition of hands with the formula: "Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive ... " because this power has already been conferred in the essential rite of ordination. This same reasoning governed the changes of the formulas that accompany the anointing of hands and the presentation of the altar gifts. ORDINATION TO THE EPISCOPATE

The revision of the rite of ordination to the episcopate was


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undertaken to express better and more accurately the apostolic succession of bishops as well as their duties and functions as these are described in the documents of Vatican II. "To achieve this," Pope Paul states, "it appeared appropriate to take from ancient sources the consecratory prayer which is found in the document called the Apostolic Tradition of Hippo/.ytus of Rome, written at the beginning of the third century, and which is still used in the ordination rites of the Coptic and West Syrian liturgies. Thus the very act of ordination may witness to the hat¡mony of the tradition in both East and West concerning the apostolic office of bishops." The insertion of this consecratot¡y prayer into the rite is the only major change; the other changes help to simplify and unify the ordination. The rite would be celebrated thus: 1) The consecrating bishop and at least two co-consecrators are to perform the ceremony, but all the bishops present may be invited to take part in the ordination and concelebrate the Eucharist. At least two priests from the diocese which the new bishop will serve are also to concelebrate to show the unity of the episcopate and presbyterate. 2) These two priests or two other priests assist the bishop-elect. 3) The episcopal ring, pectoral cross, and mitre are blessed beforehand. Since the use of ceremonial gloves is now optional, they are not formally given in this rite. 4) After the Liturgy of the Word a request for ordination is addressed to the principal consecrator by one of the priests assisting the bishop-elect. 5) A notary reads the mandate. The laity are given an opportunity to show their approval of the selection of the bishop-elect. 6) The principal consecrator gives a talk on the duties of a bishop and then questions the bishop-elect on how he intends to discharge these duties. 7) The Litany of the Saints is sung; the principal consecrator only recites its closing prayer. 8) The bishop-elect kneels before the principal consecrator and the senior co-consecrator. The principal consecrator places the open Book of the Gospels upon the head of the bishop-elect. Two deacons then hold the open book over the bishop-elect's head through the consecratory prayer. 9) The principal consecrator imposes hands upon the hearl of the bishop-elect in silence. The other consecrating


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bishops do the same. 10) The principal consecrator recites the consecratory prayer, but all the bishops join him in reciting that part of the prayer which constitutes the form of the Sacrament: "Now pom¡ out upon this chosen one that power which flows from you, the perfect Spirit whom you gave to your beloved Son, .Jesus Christ, the Spirit whom he gave to the apostles, who established the Church in every place as the sanctuary where your name would always be praised and glorified." 11) The principal consecrator anoints the head of the newly ordained bishop with Holy Chrism, while saying: "May God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has made you a sharer in the high priesthood, imbue you with this mystical anointing and make your ministry fruitful by his blessing." 12) The principal consecrator gives the newly ordained bishop the Book of the Gospels with the formula: "Receive the Gospel, preach the Word of God in season, out of season. with much patience and with the concern of a teacher." 13) He gives him the ring with the formula: "Receive this ring as a pledge of fidelity. Keeping faith, guard and protect holy Church, the Bride of God." 14) He places the mitre on the new bishop's head without any formula. No formula is used because the mitre is an ornament rather than a symbol of the bishop's functions and duties. 15) He gives the pastoral staff to the new bishop with the formula: "Take the staff as a sign of the shepherd's office, to sustain the weak, reassure the hesitant, redress the wicked, and direct the good on the way of eternal salvation." 16) The principal consecrato'r leads the newly ordained to the bishop's chair, where he receives the Kiss of Peace from all the consecrating bishops. 17) The Liturgy of the Eucharist is concelebrated. After Communion the Te Deum or a similar hymn is sung. The newly ordained may address the people of his diocese and give them his blessing. Even this rapid survey indicates the revision of these three ordination rites has achieved its goals of simplicity and clarity. The thoroughly biblical inspiration of the changes or modifications is also evident. Although the congregation would have adequate opportunities to participate actively in the Mass, perhaps there are not many occasions where they might so participate in the ordination rite proper. With regard to the


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diaconate ordination, more consideration should have been given to the fact that some permanent deacons would be married men. A FINAL ASSESSMENT

In rev1smg the rites of the Sacraments the Consilium fulfilled substantially and admirably the mandate given it by the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Was the mandate interpreted too narrowly? The renovation of the liturgy was debated in the first session of Vatican II. In later sessions the understanding that the Church had of herself and of her role in the contemporary world was remarkably enriched. That this self-realization should express itself in the Church's liturgy is indicated in the Constitution of the Church in the ModPrn World: "There are many ties between the message of salvation and human culture. For God, revealing himself to his people to the extent of a full manifestation of himself in his Incarnate Son, has spoken according to the culture proper to diffe1¡ent ages. LiviJ!g in various circumstances during the course of time, the Church, too, has used in her preaching the discoveries of different cultures to spread and explain the message of Christ to all nations, to probe it and more deeply understand it, and to give it better expression in liturgical celebrations .... In pastoral care, appropriate use must be made not only of theological principles, but also of the findings of secular sciences, especially of psychology and sociology. Thus the faithful can be brought to live the faith in a more thorough and mature way.... Let the Church also acknowledge new forms of art which are adapted to our age and are in keeping with the characteristics of various nations and regions. Adjusted in their mode of expression and conformed to liturgical requirement, they


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may be introduced into the sanctuary when they raise the mind to God. Thus the knowledge of God is better manifested and the ¡ preaching of the Gospel becomes clearer to man's mind and shows itself to be relevant to man's actual conditions of life" n. 58 and n. 62). The Consilium did not, and- perhaps as yet could not, revise the rites of the Sacraments in the light of these principles. The work of the Cons iii urn is a first step and, as a p-roverb reminds us, even the longest journey must begin with the .first step.


In his philosophical classic, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, Henri Bergson drew a sharp distinction between two types of society, the closed and the open. The closed society, he wrote, is one "whose members hold together, caring nothing for the rest of humanity, on the alert for attack or defense, bound. in fact, to a perpetual readiness for battle" (p. 266). Such societies, according to Bergson, are rooted in a deep natural instinct comparable to that¡ which rules in the beehive or the ant hill. The members cling together for self-protection against other groups, by which they would as isolated individuals be overcome. The morality in a closed society, as one might expect, puts prime value on what promotes the inner discipline and cohesion of the group; it is predominantly an ethic of conformity or repression. Bergson calls it a static, as contrasted with a dynamic, morality.

Did Vatican lJ sponsor religious indifferentism?

AVERY DULLES, S.J.

Opposed to this is the open society-one governed by love, aiming toward a larger future, tending to promote freedom and responsibility. The open society, since it does not live off opposition to any extemal power, is in principle capable of embracing the whole world. 17

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Although he wrote as a Jew, Bergson was convinced that Christianity had brought into the world the notion of the open society. On his premises it is evident that the Church must possess the attributes of the open, rather than the closed, society. And I believe it could be shown from theN ew Testament that Christ was intent on forming such a community. He denounced the rigidity and exclusiveness, pride and legalism, of the scribes and pharisees. He shocked "religious" people by his friendliness with publicans and sinners; he had words of praise for those who stood beyond the pale of official Judaism, including Samaritans and even pagans. When the apostles wanted him to forbid exorcisms to be performed in his name by one who was not a member of their own group, Jesus replied: "Do not forbid him ... for he who is not against us is for us" (Mk 9 :38). And when asked to call down fire from heaven upon the inhospitable Samaritans, he replied, according to one reading of the text, "You do not know of what manner of spirit you are; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Lk 9:55 f.). Like the Church under John XXIII, Jesus himself preferred to use the medicine of mercy rather than of severity. In the course of history, partly by reason of the instinctive clannishness of human nature ¡and partly because of extet-nal pressures from hostile groups, the Church has often taken on certain features of the closed society. Especially in the Counter Reformation, the loyalty of Catholics was frequently fanned by appeals to xenophobia-which meant, perhaps especially, fear and hatred of Protestantism. Many Catholics have come to look upon their Church, in a sectarian way, as a particular group defined by its opposition to others. The whole Church became implicated in a spiritual tug of war, in which every inch of territory gained by Protestants was understood as a loss for Catholicism, and vice versa. Foreign missionaries took on the role of spiritual conquistadors. Engaged in conquering souls for Christ, they tended to forget that the Church's true mission was to be an agent of unity and reconciliation among all men, to serve and not to conquer. While its foreign legions were achieving gains abroad, the


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home Church dug in behind a Maginot line of doctrinal and disciplinary intransigence. The Church of Europe, and by extension in the Americas, resembled the community of the apostles before the resurrection, gathered behind closed and bolted doors "for fear of the Jews." By withdrawing into a voluntary ghetto the Church shielded itself against the challenges of Protestant and secular culture. But it paid the price of isolation as it became increasingly antiquated and out of touch with the modern secular mind. This defensive, closed, static Church of the Counter Reformation is the one in which most of us were raised and trained. Although there was an ecumenical vanguard of Catholic theologians in Europe since the middle 30s, we were practically untouched by it. Nothing in our formation prepared us for the action of the Pope who suddenly proclaimed in 1959 that it was time to open the windows of the Church and to restore positive relationships with the contemporary world. Vatican Council II, under the benign leadership of John XXIII, initiated the task of transforming the Church so that it reflects the gracious features of Christ and visibly embodies the spirit of the gospel. The Church today is seeking once again to take unto itself, as Paul exhorted the Philippians to do, whatever things are tt¡ue, just, pure, lovely, and wot-thy of praise (cf. Phil 4 :8). This text might almost be used as a definition of the open Church. A NEW OPENNESS By the new openness of the Church I understand three things, which might be called openness of mind, heart and hand. Openness of mind in this context means the readiness to acknowledge all the authentic values which exist by the grace of God outside the borders of the Roman Catholic communion. If we rightly understand the universality of the Church, we shall not be reluctant to recognize these values. We shall have no reason to belittle or resent the spiritual substance that others have.

Openness of heart involves the disposition to receive and


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gratefully accept all that others have to give us. The catholicity of the Church, according to Vatican II, consists not so much in its present fullness as in its unlimited capacity to absorb. Just as Christ was receptive to the entire religious heritage of the Old Testament, which he appropriated as his own, and just as Paul was not ashamed to make himself a debtor to both Jews and Greeks, so the Church today should he ready to learn from non-Catholics, from non-Christians, and even from those who do not profess any religious belief at all. We should be quite uncatholic if we proudly close our ears to all that we stand to gain from protestant biblical scholarship, Anglican Patristic theology, Oriental spirituality, and the concern of the free Church tradition for human freedom and dignity. Thirdly, the Church should be openhanded. It should imitate the heavenly Father who makes his sun shine, P.nd his rain fall, on believers and unbelievers alike. It should follow in the footsteps of Christ who loved us when we were as yet hi~ enemies. In this perspective we should rethink the concept of ¡Christian mission, which should not be seen as an effort primarily to recruit new members, but rather to spread the beneficient influence of Christ's coming everywhere. Vatican II, as the Council of the open Church, went far beyond all previous official pronouncements in the stress it put on two crucial points: first, that the Catholic Church, in its actual historical realizations, is in some ways defective; and secondly, that there is a true ecclesial presence of Christ in other Christian communities. On the first point we have the well known texts from Lumen gentium n. 8 and De Oecumenismo n. 6, declaring that the Church, insofar as it is a human institution, is always in need of repentance, renewal, and reform. On the second point, there are the pronouncements of Lumen gentium n. 15 and De Oecurnenisrno n. 3, regarding the life-giving endowments of the Church which are available in other Christian communities. Among these gifts are listed: "the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, along with other interior


INDIFFERENTISM

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gifts of the Holy Spirit and visible elements" (Abbott ed., p. 345). Among these other visible elements one would surely have to include baptism, preaching, prayer, liturgical worship, and the like. The Decree goes on to draw the conclusion that the acts of worship performed in these Churches "can truly engender a life of grace, and can be rightly described as capable of providing access to the community of salvation." These two key affirmations lay down a solid basis for genuine dialogue based on mutual respect, with hope of mutual enrichment and a deepening sense of solidarity.

THE ONE TRUE CHURCH?

As a result of Vatican II, many are asking, does the Catholic Church still claim to be, in an exclusive sense, the one true Church? Lumen gentium in n. 8 took pains to say that Christ founded a single Church, described in the creed as one, holy catholic, and apostolic, and that this Church "subsists" in the Catholic Church of today-i.e. in the ~hurch governed by the successors of Peter and by the bishops in union with him. As the commentators explain, the Council evidently meant that in Roman Catholicism you have the full institutional patrimony bequeathed by Christ to his Church-the complete doctrinal and sacramental heritage together with a hierarchical ministry with fully legitimate apostolic succession. Other churches and ecclesial communities must be judged from a Roman Catholic point of view to be institutionally deficient. But this is not to say that they are in every respect inferior to Catholicism. In spite of their institutional imperfections, they may at times achieve a fervor of faith, worship, and Christian life which Catholics would do well to emulate. Thus we are far from being in a position to look down on other groups. If it is true that more is given to us, we should be the more ashamed that we have not made better use of those gifts. The question may be raised: was Vatican li sponso1¡ing religious indifferentism"! Indifferentism, as generally understood, is the view that it makes no difference to what religion or denomination one belongs. Vatican II made the point that the grace of God is available in religions other than Chris-


22

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tianity and even to men without any formal religion. It stated that Christian faith and many of the blessings of Christian worship are available in other communities besides the Catholic Church. From all this it follows that it does not make the ureatest possible difference whether you are a Roman Catholic or not. But the Council also insisted that the patrimony of Christ is available in its fullness only within Roman Catholicism. Hence it makes a difference whether you are a Catholic or not. To a Protestant or Orthodox Christian this may sound patronizing. Perhaps we Catholics have not yet hit upon the right way of speaking about the matter. But as I have already said, even if it be granted that we have an institutional fullness that is not available¡ elsewhere, we are still faced by the task of rightly administering what Christ turned over to his Church, and in this respect we are perhaps doing a pretty poor job. We need all the help we can get from our brethren of other traditions. They can help us to put the structures to work so that we can get within the Church something approaching the desired plenitude of Christian faith and life. We shall have to remould some of the secondary structures which have been built up in the past, to simplify or adapt them to our times, and to purify the Church of any accretions foreign to the gospel. If you look simply at the relations between Catholic and non-Catholic Christianity, you might have the impression that Vatican II, while it did not endorse religious indifferentism, took a step in that direction. It did stress the reality of Christian values outside the Church, so that the opposition between Catholic and non-Catholic is not a matter of all or nothing.

ANOTHER INDIFFERENTISM

On the other hand there are many forms of indifferentism besides the denominational indifference of which ecumenists are often accused. There is such a thing as ecumenical indifference. If a man says, "I don't care about what God is doing in other churches," he is exhibiting a shocking callousness toward


INDIFFERENTISM

23

the spiritual good of his fellow Christians and a woeful failure to re<:ognize the difference between them and, let us say, pagans. As you think more about it, you can see that e<:umenical indifference often involves a lack of concern for the best interests of the Catholic Church itself. As a result of our failure to listen to what God is saying through other Christians, we may be failing to renew and reform our own institutional structures and theological views . .Finally, this ecumenical indifferentism, as I call it, is productive of indifference toward the whole Christian phenomenon. It keeps Catholics and Protestants bogged down in acrimonious disputes about issues that are no longer vital today. The disedifying spe<:tacle of intrachristian dissension is what keeps many unbelievers from accepting Christianity in any form. Religious indifferentism, in the most sweeping ami radical sense, is simply a reaction to an excessively close and polemical view of the Church. By perpetuating this inadequate ecclesiology we foment religious indifference. Vatican Council II has in my opinion given excellent guidance for those seeking a safe channel between the Scylla of an arrogant exclusivism and the Charybdis of an amorphous latitudinarianism--or, in our context, between denominational inrlifferentism and ecumenical indifferentism. But it is not enough that the documents have good things to say. Nothing is accomplished by documents unless they are read, believed, and put into practice; and it is here that our troubles begin. At the risk of being ungracious and unfair, I should like to give a somewhat pessimistic sketch of the present ecumenical situation. as I am inclined to judge it. The great majority of Catholics, both clergy and lay, both by instinct and by training, are still at home only in the exclusive, closed Church of Counter Reformation theology. While they may have read the documents of Vatican IT, and even ex-


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pressed approval of them, they have never really caught the vision from which these documents sprang. Lacking any real ecumenical experience, they look on the unity movement with fear and distrust. While they pay lip service to ecumenism, and gladly participate in safe and well regulated services of prayer for unity, they tend to stave off anything that might radically challenge the present structures or undermine the full autonomy of the denomination to which they belong. Unable to conceive of Christianity except in a static and possessive way, they feel no enthusiasm for the ecumenical movement insofar as it is dynamically oriented toward an indefinite future. Most Catholics are incapable of conceiving Christian unity except in terms of the old-fashioned concept of a return of the straying sheep to the one fold of Peter. They see no value in ecumenism unless it succeeds in luring other Christians back to the Roman obedience. At the other extreme you have a few intellectuals, both clerical and lay, who take the ecumenical movement with absolute seriousness. Although they do not wish to forfeit their Catholicism (any more than their opposite numbers on the Protestant side wish to renounce Protestantism), they are convinced that the present denominational barriers are obsolete. They feel more kinship with like-minded ecumenical Christians of other denominations than with their fellow Catholics who lack the ecumenical spirit. Occasionally this new elite promotes ecumenical services of worship or even so-called ecumenical parishes that are equally open to Protestants and Catholics. There are individuals who drift in and out of various churches at random, receiving communion now here and now there, without regard for regulations of ecclesiastical authority. The kind of freedom represented by this new anti-denominational ecumenism holds considerable attraction for eager and restless spit¡its. Thus we are witnessing the emergence of a new ecumenical underground that prides itself on being avant-garde and unhampered by superannuated restrictions. FURTHER FRAGMENTATION

Although this new type of post-ecumenical Christianity is


INDIFFERENTISM

25

not without its merits, I feel bound to call attention to certain dangers. To the extent that its members become cut off from their parent churches, they lose influence and fail to leaven the whole mass. Their efforts excite suspicion and antagonism; they do not feed back into the existing churches. Forced into isolation, the ecumenical vanguard could easily find itself contributing to the very fragmentation it deplores. This would not be the first time in history that new divisions have been spawned in the name of Church unity. Early in the nineteenth •,;~;;ntury, for example, Thomas Campbell and his associates · s6ught to overcome sectarian divisions on the basis of the simple teaching of the gospel. But they found that their own interpretation of that teaching was not accepted by other Christian groups, including their own fellow-Presbyterians from whom they came, and as a consequence the Churches of Christ became, for all practical purposes, just another sect. Thus the rejection ·of denominationalism, while it has often sprung from an authentic thirst for Christian unity, has never proved itself H viable ecumenical formula. Summarizing the present situation, one might say that there are two major factions, drifting further and further apart. On the one hand you have a denominationally committed group, who pay lip service to ecumenism but are fundamentally preecumenical and pre-conciliar in their vision of the Church. This group is very large, and probably includes the majority of church-going Christians, as well as their priests and ministers. On the other hand you have an ecumenically enthusiastic but denominationally indifferent elite, who are rapidly losing patience with the inherited confessional structures, which they dismiss as anachronistic and irrelevant. The tension between these two groups could easily be a source of further schism in the Christian family. As so often happens, the extremes are mutually generative of each other. The more nervous the official churchmen become, the more radically the ecumenists react. And the more irresponsible the ecumenists become, the more rigidly the denominationalists react. It is imperative to find some way out of·


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the vicious circle. The excessively negative and conservative spirit of some ecclesiastical bureaucrats, while designed to keep the situation under control, is actually having the reverse effect. It only produces impatience with the official Church. It might be more prudent, at the present juncture, deliberatively to encourage ventures involving new ecumenical experiences. It would seem desirable for small and official groups to work out fresh forms of encounter without¡ being forced to go underground or to separate themselves from their respective churches. In this way the fruits of such experimentation could be fed back into the existing structures so as gradually to transform them. It is not my intention to propose any specific program, but merely to make the point that the times in which we live would seem to call for imaginative ideas, pluralism, and initiative. If these qualities are not encouraged in the churches, the men possessing these qualities will drift outside. ¡ Our task then, is to steer clear of both denominational and ecumenical indifferentism. We must neither idolize the present denominational structures of the churches nor seek to behave as if they did not exist. Taking a realistic view of the present situation, and beginning where we actually are, we must seek to move responsibly forward. In this effort we can make excellent use of the theology which came to expression in the documents of Vatican II, including very definitely its Decree on Ecumenism. But the documents themselves make no pretense to being the unsurpassable last word on the subject. They must be read with a sense of history, of development, and of openness to future possibilities. The Decree on Ecumenism, in its closing paragraph, encouraged Catholics to "go forward without obstructing the ways of divine Providence and without prejudging the future inspirations of the Holy Spirit" (p. 365). In this forward movement of the Church into the future which God is preparing for it, the clergy have a special responsibility for leadership. They ought not to think of .themselves primalily as policemen, issuing prohibitions and condemnations of false moves. The recent Vatican Council made it clear


INDIFFERENTISM

27

that the bishops and clergy of the Church can rise to the occasion with sound and positive directives. In the wake of the Council, we must not allow ourselves to succumb to tedium and lethargy.


Is there a crisis of faith in the seminary today? I do not think so. There is a problem certainly; but to label it a c1·isis of faith is to miss the central problem and preclude any effective solution. What we are seeing is a crisis of growth. The same phenomenon is apparent on campuses across the nation. In the special environment of the seminary, however, it takes on a specification that has been described, badly, I think. as a crisis of faith.

[!/ouiA an/lie ~~,;;{

gJist!" ti1111JIJ9

~minaJians. Is thae a c1-i.•is of faith or a crisiB of opportunity m today' s serninary?

Religious psychologists have long ago pointed to the impact ·that a growth crisis, that of adolescence for instance, can have on faith. The more precise our knowledge of the GEORGE J. DYER <levelopmental process, therefore, the more accurate can be our theological response to the crisis. And here we return to our seminary problem. If I am not mistaken, we are witnessing a new stage in human personal development-a plateau between the adolescent and the adult that Kenneth Keniston has calle<l youth (The Young Radicals).

+ +

If the adult is psychologically and sociologically mature, and the adolescent is neither, the youth stands somewhere between these two poles. The youth has achieved psychological but not 29


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sociological maturity. He has a strong sense of his own identity and his solidarity with others. He has a demonstrated capacity to work and play and love. But he does not have the primary charactet¡istic of the adult--commitment to the institutional structures of society, to career and to marriage. Youth, says Keniston, is very much the product of our affluent society. Just as industrial society made adolescence possible and even necessary for those between 12 and 18 by demanding skills that could be taught only after childhood, so our postindustrial society has made youth possible for a privileged few between 18 and 26. Contemporary America tolerates their deferring both marriage and career, so long as they are in school. Tt sanctions their continued experimentation and self-exploration before a final plunge into "adulthood." ¡ It is true that Keniston's study is limited to a relatively few talented and privileged young people but it indicates, I believe, pressure points that are discernible in society at large and in the seminary especially. These pressures give rise to certain characteristics of youth that can create obvious problems of faith: their mobility, personalism and strong sense of identification with their peers.

MOBILITY A"ID PEER IDENTIFICATION

The youth's prime charactel"istic is his mobility, his openness to the future: he is dedicated to process and quite uncomfortable, therefore, with anything that suggests rigidity, whether it be fmmula, theological "systems," or dogma. Perhaps, as Keniston suggests, this fluidity is both his response to historical flux ann his methon of coping with it. Thanks to the technological revolution society itself has been in profound upheaval for two decades, the youth's entire life. The waves of change smashing across contemporary history threaten anything that stands too rigidly in their path. Youth's instinct for survival suggests that he sit loosely in¡ the saddle; it is the time for the building of boats not of houses. And even though he has a strong inner sense of identity this identity is itself tied to change, to process, to an on-going psychological


YOUTH

31

development. His fluidity dictates an openness to the future, an unwillingness to burn bridges and close doors shutting off possible options. When the youth is a seminarian, his mobility poses special problems. He dislikes scholastic theology because it is modeled on a static Aristotelian world view, and he is uneasy with dogma because it suggests a rigidity that he finds unintelligible in a world of process. His reluctance to close off his options makes him unhappy in a seminary structure that moves him up through minor orders to priesthood in four years or less with no possibility of getting off the escalator. Perhaps more than any other generation youth today feels itself psychologically disconnected from its elders, their values, traditions, ideologies. He identifies with his peers rather than his parents. And if he is to accept at all the values of the older generation it will only be when these values have passed the test of relevance to the contemporary world. This strong sense of peer identification explains, I believe, the seminarian's distaste for history and tradition. He has little patience with a "dead past" that seemingly has no bearing on the living present.

PERSONALISM

Perhaps youth's most cherished value is personalism. He places the highest priority on the interrelationship possible between two unique human individuals. An important part of his personalism, Keniston points out, is his faith that all men and women are capable of self-transcendence, that there is hidden in each man beneath his social role a "real self" waiting to find expression. What is demanded of everyone, therefore, is a willingness to be one's self, an ability to avoid stereotyped role-playing. Youth's goal, therefore, is to change the world so that self-transcendence and genuine personal relationships become the rule rather than the exception. As a consequence he anathematizes social structures or organizations that impede or subvert the development of the person or interpersonal relations. He¡ is suspicious of authority because so often it seems manipulative, impersonal. Subordination, control, domination are violently at odds with the personalism he professes. He


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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 GENERATION GAP

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


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33

the tendency of Catholic theologians, especially, to operate out of a worlfl view that was no longer intelligible to their contemporaries. Man's images of himself, of his world and God are necessarily drawn from his experience. The experience has unrlergone a startling evolution in recent centuries. Copernicus rlisplaced man's earth from its center-point in the universe; Darwin suggesterl man was more risen animal than fallen angel. Marx and Freud saw religion as an important step in human development but now inhibitive of progress. The technological revolution struck a final blow at the old world vision. Cybernetics is doing for man's cerebration what the industrial revolution once <lid for his musculature. Where man had through all his history been at the mercy of the forces of nature, he now saw the possibility of mastering his worlrl, indeerl of extenrling his sovereignty to the moon and the planets. While man's view of himself and his world was in accelerating evolution, theological models, tied to the older views, became increasingly unintelligible. The theology of the high Middle Ages would have made little sense to Justin or Irenaeus. For somewhat similar reasons the theology of twenty years ago made little sense to our contemporaries. A cultural shift was underway and the theologian had failed to move with it. Theology's generation gap is well summed up by Jencks and Riesman in The Academic Revolution. They can see the advantage to Union Theological Seminary in its association with Columbia University in terms of faculty, staff, academic standing. But then they add : "The advantages of such an arrangement for Columbia are less clear, but presumably a theological affiliation helps protect a university against charges of godlessness .... " Once "Queen of the sciences" theology is now tolerated, for political reasons, on the periphery of university life. Theologians are hare! at work today building bridges into the life of secular society. They begin not with the data of theology but with the needs of men. For it is only by showing their contemporaries that they are concerned with these needs that they can capture their interest or even their attention. American society is troubled by black militancy, student riots, poverty and violence. These are behavioral problems, certainly the province


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of the sociologist, psychologist, political scientist. But the theologian can also demonstrate that they have a religious dimension to which there is a uniquely Christian response. Once he has done this, he begins to speak to some of the deepest needs of contemporary society. He becomes relevant. For, pace Marx and Freud, man is religious in the fabric of his person. It is the theologian's task to search out this responsive chord at the core of mankind. It is precisely this new sensitivity of theology to the needs of men that equips it to respond to youth as we find it in the seminary. If these young men value the traditional only to the extent that it passes the test of relevancy, theologians today can sympathize from the anguish of their own recent experience of isolation. But they can also point out that relevancy is not the whole story. The theologian and the priest must also challenge society. For Christianity is not a new humanism. There is a transcendent element in the New Testament that calls men and society to respond to God's loving invitation in self-surrender. As Bonhoeffer said, a theology that is concerned only with relevancy has already sold out.

PERSONALISM AND THEOLOGY

Today's theology has learned another recent lesson, that of sensitivity to the values of its contemporaries. To the extent that theological models can incorporate these values they will entrench themselves in modern life. And certainly one of the central preoccupations of western culture today is man himself, the human person. Personalism is hardly new, of course; it has its roots in Kierkegaard. But only in the decades following the Second World War did it find a point of insertion into an entire culture. The obvious reaction to totalitarianism, personalism took root in the bloodied soil of Europe and flowered .in a way that profoundly affected its art, its theatre, its literature and philosophy. It can be found in the atheist Sartre and the Catholic Marcel, in the theatre of the absurd. But wherever it appears there is a dramatic emphasis on the value of the human person.


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35

Catholic theologians on the continent were moved by the same forces that touched their countrymen. And their reaction was in the tradition of a long history of Catholic theology. Sensitive to the values of their contemporaries, they structured their theological models to incorporate these. The impact of their efforts across the whole theological spectrum is well known. God's grace was seen as his loving presence to men; the sacraments as encounters with Christ, faith as men's total commitment in response to the divine invitation, the individual ethical imperative as a counterpoint to the ethics of law. Here again theology is in a position to speak to today's youth in their concern for the person. But it is also in a position to remind them that man is not simply a person. He is a fellow man, living in community, possible only in community. And in the Christian community that is the church there is an apostolic witness against which he must check his values, his conclusions if he is not to spin off into doctrinal sectarianism.

PROCESS; MOBILITY

It is obvious from what we have already said about the recent history of theology that it cannot be a static thing. If it re-

mains immobile, society moves away from it because society itself is in motion. It must be flexibly responsive, yet challenging, if it is to remain alive. This important dynamic of the science received new reinforcement from the Second Vatican Council. Theologians received an implicit mandate from the Council for a massive reinterpretation of the Christian dogmatic. Massive, because nothing remains beyond scrutiny; reinterpretation because while the substance of the dogmatic is inviolable it is capable of both further penetration and more precise articulation. Theology is aware today, as it has not been for seven centuries, of the truth of Aquinas' remark that human nature is not immutabk~a quality he ascribes only to God. If this is true of man, it is all the more true of man's view of man and of God. The wealth of contemporary philosophical insight precludes a univocal philosophical posture. Theology has a pro-


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found respect for the nee-platonism of Augustine and the neoAristotelianism of Thomas, but it is alive and sensitive to the suggestions of other philosophical models as well: to personalism, existentialism, linguistic analysis, to the process philosophy of Whitehead and the pragmatism of Dewey and James. It is also alive to the secular transcendental-to the gropings of the artist, the poet and the dramatist, the Picasso and Beck¡ ett and Ionesco, and the Dylan Thomas. It believes profoundly that the Spirit of God breathes where he wills. And it listens for his whisperings in the agonizings of the human spirit trapped between the finite and the instinct for self-transcendence, between what is and what might be. Theology today shares youth's sense of mobility, its sense of incompleteness, of openness to the future--yet with the difference of institutional commitment. Rooted in the past, as it must be, sensitive to the apostolic witness, it is now clearly alerted to what Pope John called the signs of the times. The openness of theology today is both an asset and a problem. For it must move between the twin fallacies once described by John Courtney Murray as archaism and futurism. Archaism would reject the notion that the Christian understanding of the affirmations of faith can and indeed must grow. The futurist fallacy rests on the notion that the affirmations of Christian faith are so open-ended that they may move in any direction, even to the dissolution of the original affirmation. Theology's task is to move between this Scylla and Charybdis. But move it must, if it is to serve a pilgrim people.

THE THEOLOGIAN AND THE SEMINARIAN

When the seminary theologian addresses himself to the pmblem of faith as youth experiences it, he does so out of the context of a theology that profoundly respects yet must challenge the basic ¡values of youth. If it is to succeed, he must, like any good paedagogue, keep his objective clearly in view. As I see it, he is not dealing simply with a crisis of faith, but with a crisis of growth with a faith dimension. If Keniston is correct, youth is not sociologically mature. Possessive of its mobility, its openness, its high value of the human person, it is unwilling,


YOUTH

37

perhaps unable, at this stage to commit itself to the institutions of society, whether secular or ecclesial. The theologian's task is to open the seminarian to the possibility of another and larger dimension of these values and thus challenge him to maturity in community. For man is not merely man, he is a fellow-man; his existence, his self-transcendence, is to be found not merely in being, but in being-with, being in communion. He is neither possible nor intelligible except as man in community. His self-transcendence is conceivable only in the community of family, of city, of culture--and in the community of believers. As Rahner has said, the reality of God never addresses itself to man as isolated individual but always as a brother of the Son of God, as a brother among many brothers, as a member of nations called to belief. This community, this Body of Christ, is thus a single reality-a reality which in certain respects takes precedence over the individual. It sustains him and without it he could not be the person that he is. The Church therefore, is the milieu, the environment of faith. As the milieu of faith, the Church is first of all the bearer of the message of faith. She has received the Word of God in trusteeship and she transmits it faithfully to every age. This Word is not unguided in its movement through history, swept on in the current of profane history. It is responsibility transmitted by guardians who have their authority through the Apostles. In its coursing through the centuries the Word is announced, interpreted and preserved by the Church, by her teaching office which rests on the bishops and the Petrine See. The Spirit of God is indeed to be found in the people of God at large. But it is also and in a special way to be found in the apostolic witness that serves the people of God.

TWO COMPLICATIONS

The developmental process occuring in the seminary is complicated by two factors: one in society at large, the other in the older generation. Monden has pointed out that a growth


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crisis, always a turbulent event, is profoundly affected by its historical context. If the historical moment is one of relative tranquility, the crisis itself is surmounted with relative ease. When the historical situation is one of flux, or rapid change, the effect is to accentuate the growth problem of the individual. The calm periods of mankind are those in which man's life and his image of the world give evidence of a certain solidity and afford a sense of equilibrium. Crisis periods on the contrary are those in which the picture changes so fast that all thinking, acting, living seems in constant flux. It is quite clear that we are all living in a period of almost convulsive change both in the civil and ecclesial order. Confronted with this rapid development, faith is continually faced with new questions. They are not yet formulated with enough precision to be answered unambiguously, yet they are real enough to stir up a sense of insecurity. The picture is further complicated by what we might call a crisis of limits. This is an affliction of the older generation -and the theologians are among them. Whenever ecclesiastical organization and those who inhabit it cannot keep pace with this rapid evolution-and normally they cannot--they give the impression of rigidity, of conset-vatism; and these are factors that breed distrust among the young. The older generation was fotmed in a faith theology that was born at Trent and which reached maturity in the Church's battle against the rationalism of the nineteenth century. Judged against this norm, the crisis of youth as it matures in faith, may be unintelligible or alarming. Youth, it seems, is too impatient of dognll., too little concerned with the content of faith. The older generation, on the other hand, may be reacting out of a theological model that overemphasized the intellectual element of faith. Theology today is coming to see that faith is in the first instance a response to God's self-communication in love and only secondarily a response to determinate truths seen by the light of grace. If the temptation of the young is futurism; that of its elders is archaism. Here it is the theologian's task to warn his peers in the older generation against the temptation of the Israelites in the desert--the temptation to settle in where the grass is green and the water fresh. He must remind them


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39

that they are a pilgrim people; and at the sound of the trumpet they must be willing to break camp and move on to a fuller vision of the truth. CONCLUSION

A bishop once suggested to me that we close all seminaries until youth had reached adulthood. Many a harried seminary professor has undoubtedly toyed with the idea in his more depressed moments. Actually we can no more close our seminaries than we can our universities because of student protests. As Riesman and Jencks have shown, moreover, there is much on campus that deserves protest. Among the countless questions that youth is asking, there are heard real questions that we can ignore only at the peril of the Church and society. Youth's crisis of growth is, I believe, a developmental moment for both the Church and theology.


It has frequently been said

MORAl SURVEY IV

that even the devil can quote Scripture. And today, in a time of great advancement in biblical studies, we are very a ware that not every fundamentalist appeal to the authority of God in Scripture is in fact validated by the authority of God. Through a history which includes such unfortunate episodes as the notorious Galileo case we have come to realize that appeals to the authority of God in the Bible can be at times the taking of the name of God in vain.

G1tdt~al

Jj;{,(}lo?t;:

((}//an/

CJ!,w As it reaches back to its biblical roots, moral theology begins to take a new shape.

But appeals to the authority of God are made not only on the basis of Scripture. Divine authority has been invoked traditionally also in matters of natural law. For instance, Pope Pius XI wrote in his encyclical Casti Connubii:

NORBERT J. RIGALI, S ..T.

"Since¡, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious. Small wonder, therefore, if Holy Writ bears witness that the Divine Majesty regards with--greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times punished it with death." 41


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One can find clearly in these statements concerning natural purpose, Holy Writ and the Divine Majesty not only an appeal to the authority of God in Scripture but also an appeal to God's authority in natural law. GOD'S SEAL OF APPROVAL

Within recent years, however, many have begun to wonder whether our tradition might not include some appeals to the authority of God in natural law which in fact are not validated by the authority of God, just as it includes such appeals to the authority of God in Scripture. The quesion has arisen: is there in our history a natural-law fundamentalism paralleling the biblical fundamentalism? Speaking in the context of the birthcontrol question, the papal birth-control commission last summer answered this question affirmatively in these words: " ... The concept of the natural law, as it is found in traditional di.scussion of this question, is sufficient; for the gifts of nature are considered to be immediately the expression of the will of God, preventing man, also a creature of God, from being understood as called to receive material nature and to perfect its potentiality. Churchmen have been slower than the rest of the world in clearly seeing this as man's vocation. Little by little, however, the Church has freed herself from this inadequate concept of nature and the natural law." it is the opinion of the papal commission that a traditional way of conceiving natural law is inadequate. This understanding of natural law has considered the gifts of nature just as they are to be a direct expression of the will of God. Things as they are in their raw state are the way God wants things to be. One easily discerns an analogy between this naivete and the naivete of biblical fundamentalism, which considers the raw meaning of scriptural statements, for example, those concerning the events in Paradise or the standing still of the sun, to be the meaning which God reveals to man. Natural law and the will of God can be read directly and literally from nature; revelation and the will of God can be read directly and literally from Scripture. In neither case is there any need for man's creative intelligence to intervene in order to discover


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just what it is, what behavior or what truth, that God authorizes. MAN'S SEAL OF APPROVAL

Such a fundamentalist conception of the natural law, the papal commission realized, prevents man from understanding himself as called¡ to perfect the raw potentialities of the gifts of nature. And this process of perfecting nature, humanizing nature, the commission stated, pertains to the human vocation itself. In other words, the commission sees an inadequate understanding of natural laws as necessarily involving an insufficient understanding of the vocation of man. And this is true, for the way in which one conceives man and his vocation determines the way in which natural law is understood. Despite the numerous differences of opinion concerning natural law all who accept its reality are agreed that it is the source of man's obligation to act in ways that promote rather than negate his vocation as a person. If, therefore, there is within our tradition a natura1-Iaw

fundamentalism, there must be also a certain anthropological naivete (a self-understanding which contemporary man has outgrown) on which this natural-law fundamentalism is based. The question, then, is this: in what way is the traditional selfunderstanding of man inadequate in the light of contemporary reality? The answer proposed here: traditional self-understanding 1) is unhistorical, 2) lacks insight into the positive character of man's individuality, and 3) overlooks the reality of personal wholeness. The moral significance of each of these three inadequacies will now be discussed in turn. It is the thesis of this paper that an adequate understanding ancl evaluation of the morality of human activity must have a basis in the contemporary understanding of man's historicity, his positive individuality and his personal wholeness. HISTORICAL CONSCIOUSNESS

The traditional self-understanding originated in a Greek world, which was experienced as eternal and eternally identical. It may be argued that some makers of the Western mind, like Augustine, possessed a genuine sense of history. Nevertheless,


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historicity has specified the collective consciousness of our culture only since the century of Darwin, Hegel and Marx. Aquinas, one of the principal architects of the Christian tradition, of course, believed that the world has a beginning and an end. However, understanding the world as having a beginning and an end is hardly the same as historical consciousness, although that Christian belief was historically a prerequisite for the gradual emergence of historical consciousness. Historical consciousness is fundamentally a matter of how what occurs between the beginning and the end, the start and the stop, is conceived. And between the start and the stop Aquinas saw a basically unhistorical world. Although his faith told him otherwise, the world as he experienced it was eternal: there was nothing in his experience, any more than in that of Plato or Aristotle, from which he could understand through rational reflection that the world was not eternal but historical. But what difference does it make for man's self-understanding and morality whether the world is experienced as eternal OJ" historical?

DEFINING INDIVIDUALITY

All ordinary conscious experience occurs in what Karl Jaspers has called the subject-object dichotomy. All experience of the self is simultaneously an experience of a correlative of the self, an other; and conversely, all experience of an other is also an experience of the correlative of the other, the self. Thus, Leslie Dewart can say of man's psychic life: "It is the mind's self-differentiation of its-self out of a reality with which it was originally continuous and united in un-differentiation. Consciousness is a process. . . . Consciousness cannot be ... unless by the continuous differentiation of the self fJ"Om ob. t s .... " JeC

Man experiences himself only in relation to the other; he identifies himself (that is, he discovers continuously a reality to call "I myself") only in relation to the other. Consequently, man can define himself reflectively only in relation to the other. This is why Heidegger has defined man's being in tortuous, hyphenated fashion as being,in-the-world, with wo1¡ld

I J


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45

understood as the name of the manifold which a person continuously experiences as object or other, that is, not-self. Since man can define himself only in relation to the world of other, his understanding of himself and his vocation is radically affected by the way in which he experiences that world. If he experiences it as eternally identical, he must understand himslef as being-in-an-eternally-identical-world; and if he experiences his world as historical, he must understand himself as being-in-the-historical world. It seems evident that the human vocation of that ·being who is being-in-the-historicalworld cannot be the same vocation as that of a being who is being-in-the-eternally-identical world. How man understands his world necessarily determines how he understands himself, his own nature and the natural law, which is the law or vocation of his being. The world is not merely something indifferent which man happens to see out there, something in front of himself; the world is a reality of which man is part and which is part of him and from which he derives meaning for himself and his vocation. Man and world are experienced and understood only as correlatives. In an eternally identical world man's vocation is eternally identical; in a historical world it is historical. THE BRAVE NEW WORLD

If we consider ourselves to be living in a new era, which has been called the post-modern world, we should be aware that the modern world, at whose threshold stands· Descartes, was even more unhistorical than the ancient and medieval worlds. It is important to realize this if one wishes to understand why traditional moral theology, which comes to us directly from the modern era, is characterized by greater rigidity than either the ethics of Aristotle or the moral thought of Aquinas. Descartes, of course, believed that by his cogito, ergo sum he had succeeded in understanding himself without any relationship whatsoever to a doubtful world outside. His selfunderstanding was that of a •·es cogitans, a thinking substance. What Descartes did not realize, however, is that he was under-


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standing and defining man very much in relation to his own experience of the world. And the world which he experienced was still the eternally identical, unhistorical world out of which our culture arose. Accustomed as a brilliant mathematician to dealing with ideas, Descartes, as Plato and Augustine before him, experienced himself in relation not to one world of the other but to two distinct worlds of the other: the pure world of eternal ideas and the eternally identical but contingent world in which those ideas are embodied as essence. It is precisely because Descartes lived in a world which was still experienced as eternally identical that he could think that the criterion or norm of reality is what is eternally identical and thus opt at the outset for the pure world of ideas as more real, because more eternal, than the eternally identical but contingent world. In other words, only because the world in which Descartes lived was still unhistorical could Descartes 1) experience instead of one world two distinct worlds of the other, 2) regard the less historical world as more real, 3) define himself in relation to this seemingly more real world, which in fact was only ideas in his own mind, and 4) thereby understand himself not only unhistorically but also as an unworldly and impersonal, isolated thinking substance. Although Aquinas' self-understanding had also been necessarily unhistorical, Aquinas was far too committed to the incarnational character of Christianity for his self-understanding to be unworldly and far too committed to the value of charity for it to be impersonal. CHALLENGING THE REAL WORLD

But besides making the self unworldly and impersonal, Descartes also made the modern world more unhistorical than the worlds of antiquity and medievalism. Having discovered himself as a thinking substance, Descartes proceeded to validate the reality of the contingent world. This reality was guaranteed for him by clear and distinct ideas within his own mind: there had to be an outside world corresponding to these ideas within. The criterion of reality became clear and distinct ideas, and reality itself became clear and distinct essences corresponrling to the ideas. The world was now a neat


MORAL

47

world without any loose ends, a world of clear and distinct essences, a world much more static and unhistorical than that which Aquinas had known, an essentialistic world which was to remain until the advent of existentialism. And it is within this neat, essentialistic world, the modern world, that the traditional moral theology, as it has come to the present, developed. In this tidy modern world every possible kind of human act was a clear and distinct essence, capable of being classified timelessly as absolutely good, evil or indifferent. Like the rest of reality, human actions were understood as universal essences, readily and completely accessible to the investigating eye of reason. The moral relevance of the circumstances or situation in which an action is done was not ignored, but each possible set of circumstances was itself considered mainly as a kind of accidental form or essence added to the substantial essence of the action itself. And moral theology developed as the science of deducing the relationship among all these moral essences. The moral realm, like all other reality, could be penetrated completely with Cartesian, mathematical certitude because it was constituted exclusively by Cartesian clear and distinct essences. For the rationalist world, what could not be known with certainty could not be really worth knowing. Completely forgotten was the warning of Aristotle at the beginning of his ethics that "precision cannot be expected in the treatment of all subjects alike." THE DELUSION OF CERTITUDE

Not only moral theology but also theology in general, as Bernard Lonergan has pointed out, became instead of a quest for understanding, according to the classical formula of Anselm, a quest for certitude. Philosophy, of course, as handmaid of theology, underwent the same transformation. And it is out of this intellectual climate that there developed in the Church what Michael Novak has called nonhistorical orthodoxy, the kind of commitment of which John Courtney Murray gave an example when he said apropos of the minority report of the birth-control commission: "They transfen¡ed the problem of birth¡ control from moral grounds-not arguing about birth


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control at all-to argue about certainty and the authority of the Church." The age of unhistorical certitude gave rise also to an auxiliary moral science, moral casuistry. Since moral reality was composed merely of moral essences, a moral theologian, being a person who possessed proficiency in relating these essences, was expected to be able to say what anyone in any given circumstances should do. What should be done in any possible case could be known clearly and distinctly because it depended only on an understanding of clear and distinct essences. And because such understanding was precisely what constituted the competence of the moral theologian, for him to admit doubt concerning what should be done in any given case was tantamount to confessing professional incompetence. ·

DISCERNING THE FACTS

Generally speaking, the moral theologians of yesterday would have found the following statements of Karl Hahner, at best, unintelligible and, at worst, heretical: "There are cases of moral decision in- which moral theology based on universal essences, and ... the Church's magisterium, are not in a position to offer the Christian unmistakable precepts in the concrete case.... The scope for .freedom and responsibility which the moral principles of the Church and of Catholic moral theology, based on essences, must concede to the moral conscience of the individual (even if they did not in fact wish to do so) has become considerably. greater [in our age]." Historical _consciousness has inevitably brought man to a greater awareness of his individuality, which in turn has intensified in our time man's sense of personal freedom and re-. sponsibility. And out of the. existentialists' understanding of human· freedom and transcendence there has emerged for the first time in our history what is at least the beginnings of an adequate, reflexive interpretation of human. indi'{iduality, personal uniqu~ness. ·· · · ·· .Despite his profound Christian commitment to the dignity


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of the individual and despite his surpassing of the essentialism of Plato and of the substance-philosophy of Aristotle, Aquinas could not explain human individuality except as negativity. He saw man, like every other material substance, as essentially constituted by prime matter and substantial form. In the case of man the form is the human soul; and like any form, the human soul is established· in individuality by matter. But prime· matter, for Aquinas, is, literally, the closest thing to nothing. In the last analysis, then, Aquinas was explaining human individuality as almost nothing at all. Duns Scotus, on the contrary, was able to recognize the inadequacy of the Thomistic position and the very positive character of individuality. But the modern world in its epistemological concern for certitude ignored the question totally, and moral theologians developed their science of human actions with no better understanding of human individuality ·than that of Aquinas. And it was not u~ti! th.e thought of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, who had addressed themselves with insight and passion to the question of human uniqueness, permeated our culture, that it became an historical inevitability that a new approach to moral theology would have to be found. A FRESH LOOK AT LOVE AND LAW It is to the great credit of men like Bernard Haring and Gerard Gilleman that, perceiving the need of the times, they became pioneers in meeting the need. But the project, of course, is vast and complicated; and like every other scienci', a new moral theology will undoubtedly come into existence only gradually and through the collective efforts of man. In the meantime, while the old is inadequate because outdated and the new is inadequate because immature, one must expect to see a· variety of intellectual attempts made to meet the need, including some unsophisticated, superficial mental experiments like the situation ethics of Joseph Fletcher, who seems to believe that love by itself resolves all moral dilemmas.

The new theology will have to be a fresh approach which sees mora]· reality. as· not constituted exclusively· by in oral essences and which takes into explicit account the moral relevance of man's historicity and individuality. Understanding


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CHICAGO STUDIES

human individuality in its positive value, the new moral theology will be, paradoxically, not individualistic, in the manner of traditional moral theology. For, recent thinkers such as Martin Buber have impressed on contemporary man's mind the fact that I and Thou exist only in interrelation and that personal individuality is achieved and fulfilled only in truly personal community. It should be evident that the emerging moral theology will not take the form of treatises in which what was evil yesterday is proposed as good today and what was good yesterday is proposed as evil today. The current re-thinking may indeed require corrections of this sort. But the new moral theology will not be a new code of morality; it will not be a code of moral laws and precepts at all. Realizing with Paul Ramsey that Christian morality is not a code-morality primarily, it will not be characterized by a tendency to apply a do or a don't to every conceivable human act. It will arise out of the realization, expressed by the former editor of New Blackfriars, Father Herbert McCabe, that there is much truth in the contention that Christian moral teaching, which began as an antilegalist ethics of love, has degenerated down the centuries into one of law." In passing it might be remarked that it is not without significance in this regard that in the not-too-distant past the task of the moral theologian was not always clearly distinguished from that of the canon lawyer.

INFORMED AND AUTHENTIC LOVE

The new moral theology, then, will have no inclination toward¡ substituting moral principles for conscience. It will have to present a new kind of moral education, education in personal freedom and individual responsibility, education which prepares an individual to meet with Christian maturity cases of moral decision to repeat Rahner's words, "in which moral theology based on universal essences, and ... the Church's magisterium, are not in a position to offer the Christian unmistakable precepts in the concrete case." The new moral theology will discern clearly that its task is not to present a complete set of recipes for decisions and actions in all possible cases; and the


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51

new moralist will be aware that his science is not one which can paternalistically tell Christians what to do and not to do in every conceivable life-situation, but rather is a science through which the individual learns how to decide for himself in mature Christian fashion what to do and not to do. Thus, the new moral theology will see clearly that moral principles must inform the individual conscience but not replace it. And rejecting the unhistorical certitude proper to a world of essences, it will recognize with Kierkegaard that the Christian must at times make his moral and religious decisions in fear and trembling and it will prepare the Christian to do so. It follows, of course, that individual conscience will have to

be regarded with much greater respect and seriousnes than has been the case in the past. Accustomed to a moral theology of .abstract, universal essences, many Catholics are still not a little apprehensive about the very notion of an appeal to individual conscience. Such appeals hardly fit into the traditional system of essence-morality. Nevertheless, these appeals are being made today with unprecedented frequency, and it is obvious that they will neither conveniently vanish from the scene nor be intimidated out of existence by authority. ¡ When the limitations of traditional moral theology are perceived, it is not surprising that only as recently as Vatican II has there been within the Church official recognition of an individual's right to conscientious objection to war and of his right to religious freedom. Concerning the conciliar Declaration on Religious Freedom John Courtney Murray has said what mutatis mutandis could be said also of the conciliar statement on conscientious objection: "Its achievement was to bring the Church, at long last, abreast of the consciousness of civilized mankind, which had already accepted religious freedom as a principle and as a legal institution." The official teaching of the Church regarding individual conscience could lag behind the consciousness of civilized mankind only because its moral theology of essences, considered as an exhaustive science of what to do and not to do, left little or no place for the reality of individual conscience.


52

CHICAGO STUDIES THE WHOLE MAN

As a sense of positive, personal individuality accompanies historical consciousness, so a sense of personal wholeness and identity accompanies the awareness of individuality. It is not an arbitrary fact that psycho-analysis, depth psychology and existential psychology, all of which regard the person in his wholeness, came into existence only in a world which had become historical. For, in an unhistorical world of essences his own wholeness as well as that of his world is concealed from man. Man in an essence-world must inevitably identify himself in terms of his functions and qualities, which he can clearly and distinctly objectify to himself. Descartes was able to objectify clearly and distinctly his function of thinking and thus identified himself first as a thinking substance. Subsequently he recognized the validity of his own objectifiable quality of extension and so identified himself also as res extensa, an extended substance. And because these two objectifiable realities, as clear and distinct essences, were irreducible ultimates and mutually exclusive, Descartes could never see man in any other way but dualistically. Obviously, a sense of human wholeness cannot exist within a mental framew01¡k of human dualism. But the point to be emphasized is threefold: 1) Cartesian dualism developed out of the presupposition that man's identity is a matter of what man can clearly and distinctly objectify about himself; 2) this presupposition about human identity is based on a more fundamental presupposition, namely, that reality is clear and distinct essences; and 3) this fundamental presupposition is in turn derived from experiencing the world as eternally identical, unhistoricai. THE PHILOSOPHERS ACT

If Descartes was unable to understand man's identity in

its wholeness, it was David Hume who, accepting the Cartesian presupposition that human identity must be a matter of what can be clearly and distinctly objectified, brought this presupposition to its ultimate conclusion by denying that man has a continuous self-identity. "When I enter most intimately into


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what I call myself," said Hume, "I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. 1 ... never can observe anything but the perception." Man is, in Burne's words, "nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions," "a kind of theatre where several perceptions successively make their appearances," and "we have not the most distant notion of the places where these scenes are represen'ted . .. /' With Hume modern man became nothing but a faceless x confronting a stream-of-consciousness bundle of objectifications. The modern world of clearly and distinctly objective essences had robbed man of both wholeness and identity and had prepared the way for Hegel, who would later view man as completely submerged and absorbed in the dialectical movement of the self-realization of the Absolute. THE THEOLOGIANS REACT

Because of their Christian commitment modern moral theologians, of course, did not accept the conclusions of the philosophers. But this does not mean that they were not influenced by them. The theologians experienced the same unhistorical essence-world from which the philosophers drew their conclusions. And in the last analysis, the theologians could do no more than insist from the basis of common sense or Christian faith that the conclusions are false. The moral theologians had no better reflexive understanding of human wholeness to substitute for the philosophers' conclusions than that of Aquinas, who had understood¡ the principle of man's wholeness as something not experienced¡ by man. Against those who thought that there are three forms in man, vegetable, animal and human, Aquinas had brought arguments to demonstrate that there is only one substantial form in man, the human soul, which is the principle of man's unity. It is, of course, only because substantial form as well as its correlative, prime matter, are, by definition, not experienced by man that there could be an argument in the first place, an argument about whether that which is not experienced is really three or one.


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The wholeness of man, then, with which Aquinas was concerned, was not an experienced wholeness but a wholeness which had to be reasoned to. It is understandable that through different reasonings Descartes split this wholeness into halves and Hume abolished it altogether. Meanwhile, the philosophy which educated the moral theologians was able only to maintain that Aquinas is right and Descartes and Hume are wrong about the unexperienced wholeness of man. And since the only human wholeness under consideration was unexperienced, anyway, the subject was easily relegated to the academic discussion of the philosophy classroom, while theology was able to go about its business, untroubled by any consideration of human wholeness. A THEOLOGICAL BLIND SPOT

This ignoring of human wholeness cast theological considerations of man's activities into the categories of a faculty-psychology, which tends to regard human activity exclusively as clear and distinct acts of clear and distinct human faculties. ln dogmatic theology, for instance, faith was explained primarily as the assent of the intellect, under the influence of the will, to the truth of certain propositions authorized by God rather than as a total personal commitment to the personal God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. And in moral theology, sin and conversion, for example, were seen primarily as different kinds of human action rather than as different personal states of being. Quite understandably, this moral perspective is that of the epoch-making Council of the modern world, the Council of Trent. Upholding the sacramental character of the confession of sins, Trent stated: "If anyone says that, to obtain remission of sins in the sacrament of penance, it is not necessary according to divine law to confess each and every mortal sin that is remembered after proper and diligent examination ... let him be anathema." Serious sins are understood here exclusively as distinct actions, which can be forgotten and may be recalled only after diligent efforts to remember.¡ -Concerning conversion, which it naturally understood in a manner paralleling its understanding of sin, the Council said: "If anyone says that


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the contrition which is engendered by the examination, consideration, and detestation of sins, as a person reviews all his years ... meditating on the seriousness of his sins, their number and heinousness ... is not a true and very beneficial sorrow ... let him be anathema." Contrition is seen as a sorrow for distinct sinful acts, whose number and seriousness are known to the penitent, at least in principle. But contrition is more than sorrow for past sins; it is, again in the words of Trent, "a deep sorrow and detestation for sin committed, with a resolution of sinning no more." Sin, then, according to the understanding of the Council, is so many evil actions committed, and contrition is sorrow and detestation with regan! to those actions, accompanied by the determination to commit no similar actions in the future. In a word, sin and conversion are seen. completely within a. context of clear and distinct human actions. Moreover, it does not seem possible that sin and conversion be understood otherwise in an unhisorical world. This does not mean that the doctrines of Trent are not true. It does mean that they cannot be the whole truth about sin and conversion and that a tendency to regard them as the whole truth is an erroneous tendency. And it means, further, that the truth of Trent may not be the most profound, biblical truth about sin anil conversion.

THE DISTURBING DATA

It seems, for instance, that the personal sinfulness of which

St. Paul was aware extended far beyond his consciousness of clistinct evil actions which he had committed into an unobjectifiable depth of his being, from which proceeded his doing of the evil he did not want and his not doing of the good which he wanted. And similarly, the Psalmist's plea to God to create a clean heart in him, besides being a prayer for sorrow, detestation and resolution regarding evil deeds which he had done, is primarily an appeal for God to transform the very depths of his person, the unobjectifiable depths which he indicates even more clearly in his very next words: "Breathe new life, true life, into my being."


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It is a sense of personal wholeness which enabled Paul to be aware of the profound sinfulness of an I from which all his

sinful action and inaction stemmed, and which made it possible for the Psalmist to realize that the very core of his being and identity yearned for transformation through the healing presence and action of his God. Influenced by existentialism and depth psychology, moral theologians are beginning to see the moral 1路elevance of this sense of personal, unobjectifiable wholeness. As an example, it might be in order to quote at some length recent remarks of Father Joseph Fuchs: " ... Conversion is always on the level where a person is present to himself, where you cannot fully reflect on it .... I cannot Jove God without knowing it; as subject I am aware and conscious of it but this Jove of God is not as an object of reflection. For full reflection is impossible .... I cannot go out of myself and' with conceptual clarity certainly know that I am living in grace. True conversion occurs in the subject as subject, not as object of reflection .... Not every sinful act nor every good act is in the full sense of the word either sin or conversion, but only those acts which engage the person precisely as a person, as a whole. From the moment of his first perfect human act, an adult person is always, continuously, freely, and as a whole engaged, .either giving himself as a whole to God, or refusing himself as a whole to God. A morally adult man is never indifferent; he is always committed as a total person." 路 These words of a contemporar~路 moral theologian, serving to illustrate how moral theology today is beginning to take into explicit account the moral meaning and. relevance of a sense of personal wholeness, seem simultaneously to bring us back to our religious roots in biblical experience, the religious experience of the Psalmist and St. Paul. 路 If a sense of personal wholeness develops only in an historical world, it should be noted that the biblical world, unlike the Greek world which succeeded it, was an historical world. For


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the chosen people and the first Christians, the world was understood as God's world and God was understood as the God of history. The God of the Bible is not an eternally immutable Greek deity but the God who acts for and with his people in their history.路 BJ!:ING TRUE TO THE TRUTH

It is, then, our contemporary historical world which can put us in contaCt with our religious origins and thus purify and 路 _re-vitalize our Christian li.ves. It is a well-known fact that the so-called new theology, which came into public view at Vatican II, is more profoundly biblically oriented and less rationalistic than the dogmatic theology of the modern world. A similar transformation will occur in moral theology and is, in fact, already in process. Until our time the use of Scripture in moral theology was largely incidental. And lacking any essential biblical foundation, Catholic moral theology. was a science not substantially different from philosophical ethics, based exclusively on human reasoning. (And this, incidentally, explains why not a few Catholic college~ and universities today still require every students to take a- philosophical course in ethics, while they do not even offer students a course in moral theology.)

.

Being essentially identical in methorl with moral philosophy, the trarlitional moral theology is only as valid and adequate as are its philosophical presuppositions. To show-how and to what extent these philosophical presuppositions are inadequate and what new philosophical premises must路 be recognized in the light of contemporary experience before any .science, philosophical or theological, can understand adequately the moral 路 meaning of man's activity, has been the limited and circurnscriberl task attempted here.


In his profession of faith Pope Paul VI said : "The Church, most assuredly, has always the duty to carry on the effort to study more deeply and to present in a manner even better adapted to successive generations the unfathomable mysteries of God, rich for all in the fruits of salvation. But at the same time the Will the devewpment of new greatest care must be taken, insights, new philosophical while fulfilling the indispensabases lead to a new ble duty of research, to do no theology? injury to the teachings of Christian doctrine." Again the bishops of the province of Baltimore and Washington in a CHARLES R. MEYER letter to their priests stated : "Theology apparently is embarking upon a period of renewal which may prove as promising and exciting as that of the sacred liturgy. Instead of merely repeating what others have said in the past, today's theologians are grappling with new problems, asking new questions, and using new techniques to discover answers. They have at their disposal resources which were not available to their predecessors. There is nothing wrong or even unusual about this--they are simply doing for our day what the Fathers and Scholastics did for theirs." Our first thought in trying to understand and reconcile these statements is to make a basic distinction between theology and faith. Faith is a kind of divine knowledge based upon God's revelation to DOCTRINAL VI

+

+

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man. As something divine it is permanent and immutable. Theology, on the other hand, though concerned with the data of revelation, is formally human knowledge. As such it is capable of modification and development. We might even go so far as to say that theological knowledge which no longer serves any purpose should be discarded. But the close relationship and interconnection between theology and the data of revelation often render this distinction difficult to apply in the concrete. Theology is scientific reflection on the truths of revelation. It would not be valid theology if it were to deny or water down what has been revealed. This is clear enough. But a problem arises when we consider the fact that the truths of faith themselves do not exist in some pure and absolute form, distinct and apart from the modalities of human thought ami expression. No religious truth is completely free from the trammels of some kind of theology, howsoever simple and rudimentary that might be, for to exist truth must be understood; it has to be given an interpretation. It is only through interpretation that man can take possession of truth and in turn be possessed by it. Without previous understanding it is not possible to understand. This is the simple and yet paramount¡ finding of modern psychology. One cannot understand music unless one is to a certain extent already musical; one cannot make sense out of a book of pure mathematics unless one has. already learned to some degree to think mathematically. So one cannot really possess a truth of faith unless one has learned at least in some crude way to think theologically. Faith necessarily depends upon theology. That is why so much time was spent in class on the praearnbu/i, fidei. But wherever there is need for interpretation, myriad meanings and reflections are possible to men of different upbringing and background, in varying cultural and educational milieux. FAITH WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE EASY

God's revelation of himself in the bible accordingly does not exist in a pure and absolute form. Few thinking men have eve1¡ seen the bible as a letter fallen from heaven or dictated by God to his agents on earth. Every word in the bible reflects the philosophy, thought and expression of a patiicular people at a definite time of their cultural evolution. Every thought is


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couched in the modalities of interpretation and understanding indigenous in a concrete situation. The so-called Sitz-i1n-Leben has become for the modern scholar the key to arriving at the essential message given by God to men in his dealings with them. It is only through the word of man that one can arrive at the word of God. This admittedly is a tenuous and risky way of proceeding. But the fact is that God has chosen to deal with man in this way. And faith was never meant to be easy. It demands much more of a sacrifice than was commonly understood, for it requires not merely an acceptance of what God has revealed but also of the vehicle of that revelation. Faith presupposes the abandonment of all ultimate human security. A Linus-blanket type of theology would not actually be working in the service of faith, but at cross-purposes with it. So Karl Weich, S.J., asking whether Sacred Scripture is to be viewed as the sovereign word of God or the theology of man, points out that we have too easily distinguished faith and theology. We have tried to separate events from themes about events. We have believed the event. We have tried then to justify our helief by elaborating themes about the event which seem to make it logically more palatable. But the fact is that an event can never be completely relived or fully captured in subsequent thought or word. He concludes: "To believe is not the sterile handing on of truths or the mere acknowledgement of an event as having truly happened in the past, but it is the ever creative understanding from the "now" and its environment reaching nut to and reflecting the event of the presence of the hidden Father in the Son and in the Spirit. It was alrearly that way in the New Testament." The whole ethos of the New Testament is humanistic in its orientation. Man is seen as the image and reflection of God. The constant excoriation of Phariseeism focuses attention away¡ from absolutes like sacred time, sacred places, sacred objects and directs it to the dignity and value of the human person. It is love for nu111 as the concretized expression of one's love for God. that constitutes the very quintessence of the Good News that Jesus came to announce. And this Good News becomes significant fact and event, becomes truly historical, as Sartre would say, only when it is memorialized and applied in the


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present. The exegetical basis of the Alexandrian school of theology, the playing down of the letter and extolling of the spirit of the Gospel, has become the key principle of every modern philosophy of history. Past fact as past fact can never be resurrected; res gestae can never exist again in their purely objective facticity apart from interpretative reflection. As fact¡ the past is insignificant. As memorialized fact influencing the present it is history and becomes the basis of faith. Karl Rahner, S.J. points out that the New Testament was already a theology, a history, a memorialization, an interpretation in which event was given a human meaning for the now of that time. He writes: "The theology of the Sacred Books is a surprisingly complicated system of propositions and proclamations, an astonishingly intenvoven fabric of interpretations, of sometimes conflicting points of view, of presuppositions and distinctions which frequently are at cross-purposes with one another, and are not easy to reconcile; any attempt to synthesize them leads to even more intricate distinctions."

EVOLUTION VS. RIGIDITY

So through the course of history this initial theology, this theology which is our closest point of contact with the divine and is leagued most intimately with the sources of our faith was adapted and developed. It was fitted upon a successive series of lattice-works to be more easily grasped and contemplated by peoples of different eras and cultural backgrounds. It was given a Gestalt, a structure, a philosophical setting which rendered it more accessible to various peoples and thus more capable of memorialization. But although the Church in principle always acknowledged the adaptability of the data of revelation entrusted to it to any culture or philosophy of life, the rigidity with which it guarded theological forms and hallowed religious expressions, at times, paricularly during the Scholastic era, in fact thwarted its own mission. Arnold Toynbee has remarked that the world situation today would be entirely different had the Roman Curia given its blessing to the missionary endeavors of Roberto de' Nobili and Matteo Ricci in the seventeenth century when they tried to adapt Christianity to the culture and mentality of India and China. The tendency of


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Rome at that time to idolize expression, apotheosize formulas and feel secure by holding on to the past instead of looking forward in true Christian hope to the future deprived the two most populous of the world's nations of Christianity. In the name of faith faith was defeated. For the sake of man's Jaws the Gospel was made void. But the total history of the Church demonstrates this attitude to be an exceptional aberration. After New Testament times the data of revelation passed through Gnostic hands to the Platonists, for whom, contrary to our views, the material world was not the real world at all, but only a reflection and symbol of it. For the Platonist Fathers the only reality was spiritual. Their doctrine, for instance, on the Eucharist, epitomized so well by Ratram of Corbie, might well be considered heretical if interpreted by modern standards. For they could not hold an identity between the Eucharistic body of Christ and his histodcal one. Christ's presence in the Eucharist was real because it was a spiritual presence; on the other hand, the historical, material body of Christ was merely a symbol of who and what he really was. Eventually this view changed. Tt had to change because evolution is part and parcel of human existence. This too has always been at least implicitly accepted by the Church. For it was seen that he1¡etics became heretics precisely because of their devotion to traditional forms, by their refusal to accept change, by their inability to grasp the fact that old formulations which were sufficient for one generation could become quite inadequate for another. The Gospel of St. John had to be written against heretics who resented the promulgation of the message of Christ in Greek thought-forms rather than Hebrew ones at a time when, as a matter of fact, more pagans were being converted than Jews. The sacrosanct and traditional slogan of St. Cyril: "The one incarnated nature of the Son" became heretical when conservative elements refused to change their understanding of it after the Council of Chalcedon. J ansenists refused to accept the minimalist position on charity, still advocating the need of contrition for the forgiveness of sin after the definition of the Council of Trent. And so they became heretics. In the thirteenth century Aristotelianism began to replace Platonism and has dominated Catholic theology up until very


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recently. Its bent was to objectify. Its aim was to be scientific. Emphasis shifted from subject to object, from spiritual arche- type 'to a material one, from persons to things, from the inner to the outer. Ultimately it culminated in the Cartesian distinction between the subjective and the objective. Metaphysics was simply physics purified by further abstraction. For Aristotle such a reality as personality wa~ quite incomprehensible. It could be understood only as ¡an adjunct of nature rendering it concrete in the indi~idual. The one could be apprehended only in terms of the many. A being in flux would be totally unknowable. The teT1nini a quo and ad quem alone could provide polarities upon which the mind could be fixed. To be being had to be static. The less a being was subject to change the more perfect it was in the order of being. Aristotle's accent was on mechanics and justice in the world of change. Each individual was seen as a self-contained mechanism essentially able to achieve its purpose, or if it is conscious, it would at least have the right to acquire from others what it would need in pursuit of its goal. Since¡ nature was considered an absolute and being static, so truth had to be irrelative and permanent, for it was seen as nothing more than the confonnity of the mind to the reality of nature. Truth is attained most perfectly when the mind attends to unchanging essences or natures. The semantics of the system allow only for a literal or metaphorical understanding of words in relation to thoughts and corresponding essences.

TOWARDS PHILOSOPHICAL PLURALISM

Aristotelianism was laid to rest by Kantianism, by subjectivism and the modern philosophies which emanated from it, and were confirmed in large measure by recent psychological research. With the demise of Aristotelianism the pendulum swung back again toward the spiritual, the subjective, the personal. Not that there was a recrudescence of Platonism; the pattern followed more the Hegelian historical dialectic. Newer philosophies represented a synthesis which tended to break down the absolute dichotomy which had been postulated between the subjective and the objective. Reality can be grasped by man only in terms of the meaning he attaches to it. What is


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must be significant for someone in order to exist as far as he is concerned. An object represented in one's mind in as much as it is represented belongs to the sphere of the subjective. To represent the mind does not, as Aristotle contended, become all things; it must remain forever mind. We live in an era of philosophical pluralism. The newer-systems agree only in their rejection of the old. They are united in challenging the validity of the assumption upon which Aristotelianism and Scholasticism are based-the objectivity of metaphysical being, i.e. a being that lies beyond the phenomenological universe and the scope of the empirical sciences which attempt to categorize and explain it, a being that lies beyond the physical and yet is not purely intentional, a being possessing properties belonging to both the physical and intentional orders and f01ming a bridge between them. These new philosophies reject the analogy of being, the concept which is the core doctrine of Scholasticism. What are these philosophies? I can mention only the principal ones. There is personalism which sees man in his subjectivity as the hub around which all philosophy must revolve. There is historicism which views the cultural development of humanity as the key to the understanding of all reality. There is existentialism which invites man to employ his freedom to make himself be, rather than just to be. There is evolutionism or pt¡ocess philosophy which contemplates change and development as the very substance of the universe. There is linguistic analysis which sees language as a form of life, words as prior to thought, and the study of the use of words as the key to all understanding. Each succeeding philosophical system implies a shift of emphasis from the polarity stressed in the previous system, or the system against which it specifically reacts, to its counterpart: from object to subject or from the subject-object dichotomy to subject-object identity, from thing to person, from rigidity to flux, from thought to word. Apart from the gnosiological and noetic implications of these new philosophies for the development of theology as a science there have been more practical consequences too. Any idea is


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truly viable only if it influences life. When people lived in the grasp of philosophical" orientations whose emphases were upon the many, upon essence and nature, upon mechanics and justice, the individual person was submerged. He experienced himself as but little more than nothing. He was only a cog in a gigantic juggernaut. He felt threatened and insecure unless he fit himself into the machine. His transcendence of self was seen only in terms of what was bigger than himself. His responsibilities were kept at a minimum to reduce threat. The leader, the one in authority, assumed responsibility. This was the burden of his office. He had to take the weight of decision-making from the shoulders of his subjects. Dostoyevsky at a time when democracy was beginning to influence the world reflected this attitude so well in the Grand Inquisitor scene in his Brothers Karamazov. Scripture has captured it so poignantly in 2 Sm 13, 28 ff. when Absalom reassures his henchmen: "Wait till Amnon is bemused with wine; then when I say 'Strike!' slay him. Have no fear; you do but execute my orders; take heart and show yourselves to be men of mettle!" But today's world is too much filled with memories of Dachau and Buchenwald and the Nuremberg trials to accept such a doctrine. Today's woi¡ld is too much influenced by existentialism, personalism anrl democratic idealism to believe that an individual's personal responsibility can be so easily alienated; Democracy is too much a goal of today's society to permit belief in the divine right of kings. So today's moral theology stresses the responsibility of each individual in a decision-making situation and his inalienable right as a Christian, as one freed by Christ from servitude to law, to chart his own course in accordance with his conscience.

CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY

It would be an etTor to think that the orientations of culTent philosophies have been formally accepted by the magisterium of the Church. But it would be equally wrong to conclude that at least some of the tenets of these new views have not been influential in galvanizing the theological revolution we are now experiencing. In America bishops are chiefly administrators and chancery men; in Europe and elsewhere many are theo-


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logians. As such they were well aware of current developments. Rome's dream of itself as a little bit of eternity upon earth was shaken .when Pope John called these bishops together in the Second Vatican Council. They used these cuJTent ideas in fonnulating in a dogmatic constitution a new view of the Church. It is that view of the Church that has made possible current developments in theology. The Second Vatican Council pointed out the pressing need for a shift of emphasis from the divine, unchanging, eschatological elements of ecclesial life to the historical dimension of God's people in today's world. It called attention to the fact that the Christian community is caught up in an inexorable process of establishing its identity and discerning its responsibilities in a world not at all unlike that of ])l;mitive Christian times. It viewed the people of God as nomads, pilgrims, wayfarers rootecl in the past through faith, looking toward the future in hope and tâ&#x20AC;˘esponding to the present with charitable concern. Thus it restored with appropdate demythologization the original biblical pastoral image of the Church which presents it as a true community concerned with its present needs and not primarily with the preservation of its past; a community not in full possession of, but developing its identity; a community preserving precisely through the interaction of its heterogenous membership the positive values of its ideological and cultural heritage. In seeing itself once again in the humble figure of a flock, in seeing itself as imaging for the world of today the servant Christ, in recalling its hierarchy to a true posture of ministry, it dispelled, hopefully forever, the poisonous effects of triumphalism upon our society. Undoubtedly through the guidance of the Holy Spirit this new attitude of the Church, this new view of itself responds perfectly to the needs of present-day society which, as Yale professor¡ Kenneth Keniston says, is disintegrating ann becoming increasingly more alienated 1) in its blind cult of the pt¡esent for lack of viable future goals and a relevant past; 2) in the fragmentation of its identity through a preference for a negative rather than a positive self-definition; 3) in its fanatic pursuit of fusion as a substitute for true community; and 4) in its quest for positive values in a methodological mistrust of methodologies.


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Like the Church, theology too today has to see itself in service of people. To do this in accordance with good pedagogical principles it must begin with what the people already have. It must begin with that real, but quite distorted and thus inelevant, image of itself that society still entertains in the archetypal patterns as yet influential in daily life. It must extricate from the apotheosis of personal needs that is called faith the costly notion that true faith in God demands belief in the fact that God has placed ¡his trust in us, indeed that he has given us Christ's job to do in today's world; and pursuant to that task, has rendered us, in the words of the Fathers of the Church, real creators, men formed in his own image and likeness. It must extricate from legalism the true basis of morality and from ritualistic formalism the real meaning of man's commerce with God. It must recall Catholics from the Narcissistic perspective of Greek philosophy, from an Aristotelian parallax in which microcosmic movement is too rapid to be perceived and macrocosmic movement seemingly too slow, to the biblical purview of human life, to the panorama of revelation which is existentialist and personalist, concerned with love and interpersonal relationships, and not mechanics and science. But in full accord with current cultural and scientific patterns, purged as they now are of Hellenistic, static Gestalt, it must see the divine as modified by the human matrix into which it is received in the light of the scholastic principle "Quidquid recipitur per modum recipientis recipitur." Theology has to be perceived as dynamic and progressive in order to be correlated with the modern intellectual's universe whose very substance is motion and change. Thus modified, updated and demythologized theology will be apprehended by Christians today as a true tool of service. It will be a handy and ready instrument for the formation of society. And thus it will actually make present again for the "now" and for the future the unchanging elements in the truth of the past. As Karl Rahner says so trenchantly: "It is only one who is willing to accept responsibility for the future who can faithfully preserve the past." In summary, then, I wish to state that because of its connection with faith and 1¡evelation there can be no such thing


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as a new theology. But because theology is a human science it ¡ can develop new insights, new understandings, new philosophical bases. And if its progress is under the aegis of Vatican II, these new insights, understandings and structures can be salutary and beneficial for the people of God. True, professedly the Council did not concern itself with doctrinal issues as such, nor rlid it issue any dogmatic pronouncements. But the tenor of its teachings in the pastoral vein betrays an uneasiness about an ecclesiological error that has long been rampant. Hopefully it laid to rest forever the conception of the Church as an institution that is primarily and formally eschatological, transhistorical, immutable, omniscient, impeccable, invested with absolute and supreme authority, a surrogate for the divine, an idol in the fullest sense. Happily it excoriated an even more subtle and pernicious error, that the ideal Church would be one frozen forever in the Tridentine paradigm. Yes, to refuse to 1¡espond to the teaching of Vatican II would not be heresy; but woulrl it lean to the brink of ecclesiological suicide?


Karl Rahner is a theologian in whom it is easy to see that theo-logy is man's impassioned living-with God's word. Throughout Rahner's prolific writing there is a constant concern for the concrete; saving meaning in the topic at hand., This theology' is unabashedly "existential"riveted to the being-roots of man, where grace and freedom decide Christ's reception. The publication of· the third volume of Rahner's Theological Investigations (Theology of the · Spiritual Life) underscores this preoccupation with the personal implications of revelation. The essays colMan finds true freedom lected there are formally "asin. opening his heart cetical," but the biblical, dogto Gods sovereign r-ule., matic, and moral themes of Rahner's other scientific articles play in them. Because Rahner does express much of JOHN CARMODY, S.J. his thought in the cast of asr, ·• cetical or spiritual theology, and because the Christian in search of profound religious doctrine has no excess of sources, it may be useful to offer Rahner's maih insights as they apply to the personal spiritual life. I shall try to indicate the major theses of Rahner's overall '.'synthesis," analyze the sub-themes of his spiritual theology, . and then show the particular utility of his theology today.

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Man finds himself in an existence he cannot fathom: this might well be a succinct expression of Rahner's theological point de depa1¡t. On all sides, human life stretches out into the unknown, and what one makes of the unmasterable context, indeed stuff, of his life is the crucial option deploying his inmost freedom. For Rahner, the mystery man meets as the contextual, encompassing field of his consciousness is God's unbounded all. It is a blanketing presence, a silent immensity we cannot bring under our control. Rather, we are controlled by it: the mystery of Being is the foundation and constant presupposition of our human activity. No categorical, delimited object of knowledge would be perceived but for the mysterious back-drop of Being; no particular good would ever be loved but for the referential whole, the absolute Good which draws our freedom. So man's intelligence and love expose the transcendence which calls him forward. His spirituality is an opening out from space and time-a window onto the absolute which discloses a destiny inextricably tied to mystery. Even if a man should deny this destiny, claiming that his life is purely finite and merely the factitious product of casual evolution, his expression would presuppose the horizon Rahner names the existential mystery. But the very constitutiveness of this holding mystet¡y makes it ambiguous. Because man cannot be thought nor operate without the ground of his humanness, it is liable to be overlooked. Being has suffered various fates in the history of thought. Sometimes it is apprehended numinously, and thus deified as the holy mystery; other times it is called a void making life absurd. More frequently, man meets his grounding mystery only implicitly, and his stance toward it is ambiguous. He sees his own life as a question; he does not really know what death's finale will show it to have been. Sometimes it seems that the solid goodness of creatures has to imply a fontal creator, for so much being and value could not ~e spawned by a void. Other times the cracks in existence yawn cavernously, so that the puzzle is rather how anything manages to be at all: nothing,. rather than something, seems more likely. Less radically, the taffy-pull of good and evil in human history


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twists man into a rancid question mark. This is the moral puzzle in the mystery of human existence. Even if the existential ground is positive and good, does not our depravity condemn us as perverse products no Goodness could abide? An absolute who is holy must judge our sin; we are-then tempted to call his silence a stay of execution and our darkness a grace not to be troubled. Summarily, therefore, human experience reveals man as a question. He is the being of history who clearly knows intimations of all and nothing, condemnation and salvation. At the core of his self, he must wait and listen. Here, where the anchor-chain of his being slips from his sight, he cannot run from inscrutable mystery. It is present to his most frenetic distraction; it is necessary for his most pedestrian mongering. Man is the being held by Being. He is the one defined and categorized only by virtue of the undefinable. In this way, Rahner comes to the traditional theology of man as an obediential potency. Through his own existential phenomenology, he reaches what he takes to be the core of every "spirit-in-the-world." From theology's viewpoint, this makes man a "hearer of the word," the being who must listen to the mystery of Being, in hope that it may speak. Should the absolute, "horizontal" all disclose itself, its declaration would be a self-manifesting "word." Spirit-in-the-word only meets intelligibility when it is historical-when it takes a form proportioned to our fleshly containment. Thus, the disclosure of mystery, should it occur, will be a perceivable coming into our ambience. Event, action, word, speech-these are all variants on the symbolic presence the mystery must assume if it is to became clarified, disclosed mystery-for-us.

THE MYSTERY OF EXISTENCE

The foundations of Rahnerian thought are therefore a theological anthropology. Rahner keeps central focus on the experiential mystery at the heart of human existence. It is to this point that he shines the gospel light of free revelation.


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Consequently, his theology seldom ossifies into tidy propositions. It concerns the living God, always greater than our best concepts, whom we meet in our midst. This God speaks for our salvation--our deliverance from absurdity and sin. And the theology which confesses this God, in grateful praise of his goodness-drawn-near, sets both tradition and intelligence in the service of the word's salvific intent. It is what one might call a pastoral theology-a theology ever solicitous for the pain and possibility of man's inmost heart, where the Spirit judges the world and broods filial love. Such theology, as Rahner brilliantly performs it, has a human weight, an experiential strength which average dogmatics lacks. Surprisingly, it is the transcendental preoccupations which make it more satisfying. That is, Rahner's pastorally oriented expositions ring more true, more pertinent to salvation, because they keep present the mystery holding human life. Too much dogmatics confines itself to the categorical, predicamental domain-the area of conceptual clarification, where the mystery is splintered for our manipulative control. No doubt this categorical work is important, unavoidable, and sanctioned by a revelation that has assumed the space-time halters of a definite history. No doubt we need clear responses to the questions about particular articles of faith which (as the history of dogma shows) men are bound to raise. But saving revelation immediately addresses the fullness of our concrete existence, and experienced human existence makes mystery more primordially decisive than even the sum of its categorical declarations. So much for a persuaded exposition of Rahner's concern with foundational mystery. It will need no further defense for those who grant revelation a "pragmatic" (saving) priority-of-intent, and who agree that salvation is a matter of the inmost heart-the unity of man, below his channeling into mind and will, where the simple enfleshed spirit answers or refuses its one decisive call. It is Rahner's usual method to move from the foundational

experience of mystery to its definitive declaration in Christ. This move is really a swing or pivoting, for his attention to


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the inspired forms of God's speaking (primarily scripture) never takes him far from existential experience. This is really the point to his theology of revelation: the historical, categorical revelation which culminates in Christ is just the clarification of a self-communication God has chosen to work transcendentally throughout all human experience. It is a most gracious and useful clarification, for without it man turns his ambiguous experience into idols and perhaps despair, but it bears on an "intrinsic" sending by which the mysterious God is alreacly present to every human consciousness, in an unspoken approach which both offers and solicits Jove. Thus, the word-revelation of our Judaeo-Christian history declares a universal state of affairs. Rahner leans heavily on the dogma that God wills the salvation of all men (cf. I Tm 2), coupling it with the universal mediation of Christ to make the "supernatural existential" issue in the corollary of anonymous Christianity. This theological a prio1路i then moulds certain pastoral attitudes: one never preaches but to men who have some experience of grace; through all its tossings, faith can yet float calmly in the trust that the Deus sempe路r major lovingly pursues even those who reject him; the most important task is to locate the experience of grace and iilumine it with the gospel; the Incarnation gives the basic pattern or leit-motif to Christian life (including thought), because it is the permanent, definitive, irrevocable Urw01路t hypostatically joining the absolute God who gives himself tt路anscendentally to the categorical flesh of a "sacramental," historical revelation.

THE MYSTERIES OF FAITH

The simple, absolute mystery of God's self-giving is revealed by Christ to have an inner structure. That is, historical revelacan speak more definitely about God in himself and for us, because it expresses the ungraspable fulness of God's mystery in accurate, if always inadequate, categories. Rahner finds the basic structure of Christian revelation in the three mysteries of the Trinity, grace, and Incarnation. They are synthetic, integrated mysteries of God's active desire to give himself for our salvation. Because God gives himself to men, the immanent Trinity which God is in himself has come into our midst. That


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is, the threefoldness of God-for-us-the economic Trinity who work our salvation-may be predicated of God as he is in himself, apa1t from his unnecessary relation to our world, because "as who I am I shall be with you." Christian revelation discloses God-for-us as Father, Word-Son, and Spirit. The underived source of being, life, and salvation is "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." He is the reference of the New Testament Theos. The New Testament declares that the CreatorLord is the Sender of Jesus, the origin of his mission to inaugurate the Kingdom and the power which raised him to Lordship. Jesus is the revealing word of the Father, the enfleshed self. gift of God. Rahner makes much of the fact ¡that it is the Word who takes on flesh. Precisely the second person of the Trinity, spoken out into a finite other, bears God into our midst and accepts his will for men. Thus, the generation of the Word and the Incarnation are inevitably joined in our theological probing. One can hypothesize that the Incarnation gives creation its basic architecture--that God makes a world through his Word and with Jesus in mind. Fmther, a theological a priori makes man precisely that which occurs when God speaks himself out into a finite other. This is the top-side way of coming to the "hearer of the word" or "capacity. of God" defini-¡ tion of man which Rahner's anthropology attains from experience. So the Incarnation should be viewed as the perfect achievement of God's will to give himself to man. What God works in Jesus of Nazareth consummately, he works in all the just more incipiently. This may be expressed by saying that divinization equals sonship--that we share the Trinitarian >"elations "in Christ" (receiving the Father's speaking, bearing the referential stance of his Word, breathing a Spirit of love towards other men) . The Holy Spirit appears in Scripture as God given and accepted-as the fruits of salvation now immanently present to us. He is the Spirit of love, who gives life to the Church, so that God's people are always holy with his self-giving agape. The Spirit also presides over our prayer, ruling the ineffable


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desire at the depths of our souls and making us holy sons. It is important for. the correlation of grace and Trinity that Christians appreciate the relations they have to each of the divine Persons. Without taking these to be persons in the modem sense, and so unknowingly practicing tritheism, we should yet make real the perfect plurality God declares himself to be. For grace is essentially God's own presence in us-the gift of himself-and therefore it is Trinitarian. What our faith clings to in the dark surround of mystery is God's own perfect fulness of knowing and loving. The other cardinal features of Christianity Rahner relates to these three most fundamental mysteries. For instance, he sees the Church as the consequence of the Incarnation: it is the continuing historical locus of God's eschatologically victorious grace. In this people joined to Christ by faith and love. God keeps present in the world the declared, categorical form of his transcendental and efficacious revelation. The sacraments and scripture are principal channels by which this gathered people declares the essential grace and purpose which form it. The sacraments actuate the Incarnational communication of grace for important times of human life, while Scripture is read in the Church as the canonical form of the normative apostolic Church's self-understanding. This quick sketch of Raimer's move from the experiential mystery of human life to the main outline of Christian belief is an attempt to render the fruits of the concern of simplicity and integration that dominates his theology. Again and again Rahner insists that our time demands a profound, global faith and a short f01mula of belief which will exhibit the radical essence of Christianity as a gracious answer of God to the question we men are. God's mystery. is never abolished by theology, and the living declaration of his self-sending Word always begins and ends with a confession that he is incomparably more than our minds and hearts. But in Jesus Christ we have the concrete symbol on which our faith can focus, to assure it the balanced hope needed for divine sonship in the world. Theology should count it its greatest privilege to serve God's


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normative, sanctifying world of love, offering all its resources for the task of declaring that word winningly to its generation.

SPIRITUAL THEOLOGY

One can see, therefore, that Rahner will make no rigid compartments separating theoretical theology from lived Christian faith. He brings his dogmatic arsenal to bear on the combat uf the individual spiritual life, anrl even here his preference is for the big guns. For example, the theology of faith, grace, and the Incarnation figure prominently in Rahner's spiritual writings. In this preoccupation, however, they are exposed with pointerl reference to personal experience. Faith is a frequent theme of Rahnet路's more recent writings. He is constantly at pains to indicate the deep locus of Christian faith, in the depths of our confrontation with death and life's grounrl. Knowing that God is bound to be master and unmasterable, the Christian can venture a surrender to his existence, in t.路ust that life will bring him an indefinable strength to survive which he can believe to be Christ's helping Spirit. This relates to the experience of grace, and to a theology of discernment. When Rahner wishes to indicate God's coming in free self-giving, fot路 the saving supp01t of our lives, his predilection is for the less dubitable expet;ences. That is, he points to the occasions of "pure" consolation or unrewarded sacrifice, where it is more clear that the term of our gamble, the intent of our action, is no this-worldly thing. To stay in the dark silence of our horizon, spend ourselves in service no one will ever praise, choose a course our whole sensibility repulses (because it is simply, unconsolingly demanded)-these are the religious acts which confound the world and point to God's free presence in our midst. They explain somewhat the strange actions of the saints, who were always trying to love God more for himself than the happy this-worldly effects of his grace. Grace is therefore Incarnational (the juncture of t?路anscendence and history) in its psychology as well as its dogmatic ontology. That is, God comes into our experience ['reely, in a


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"word" which gives historical body to the agape no time can produce or capture, and we sometimes honor this freedom by responding sacrifice. The various inspirations of grace show the abiding presence of God's love in ever fresh manifestations, proportioned to a given here and now. That God does act in this free, gracious' way is the key to Rahner's existential ethics. Vital Christianity serves a God whose saving will is not fettered to the abstract, universalist rlirectives of rational ethics. God is present to our freedom in the concrete decisions of life, which are always more than mere instances of a general ethical rule. Discernment is therefore an important aspect of the spiritual life: how do I finrl God's will-which is my joy anrl salvationfor this unique moment? Rahner discusses the problem in the general context of the pneumatic, charismatic dimension of the Church, but his specific source is the program for decision embodied in St. Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. In Rahner's interpretation, the "consolation" which signalR anrl confirms a properly ordered choice is the existential rightness of a human freedom that is resting in God. It is the rule of God's mystery over our finite problem and decision, when we choose only what seems to obey the gospel. The same Incarnational balance which steadies Raimer's spiritual theology of faith, grace, and cledication preserves a peaceful twofoldness in his theology of vocation. Just as the enfleshment of the Worrl brought God's infinity into our world, so that his image has pitcherl its tent never to leave, so too the people of God stand in the world as the concrete focus of an eschatological (definitive) love which transcends the worlrl. The Church is a "sacrament" of salvation, testifying that God's mercy comes freely from "without" to consecrate and secure this worlrl. In complementary fashion, the religious anrl lay vocations among the people of Gorl manifest the unifierl twofoldness of an Incarnational realized eschatology. Each Christian life must balance the dogmas that God is always more, yet has drawn near for our handling. Lay Christians point in the first instance to the historical, this worldly presence of salvation .. They keep before the world the enlle$hment of the


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Word, and the practical demands of the gospel for secular justice, service, mercy, etc. The life of the counsels, too, must enflesh the gospel, but its first witness is to the free othemess from which God works man's fulfillment. By formal renunciation of secular goods, the religious professes faith that God alone fills man's heart, and that sinful man is divinized through a cruciform redemption. Rahner is aware of the practical problems of finding institutional forms which effectively channel this eschatological import (perhaps especially with poverty), but his view of the core meaning of religious life is clear enough: it reminds the world that human fulfillment is crosswon grace, and it is essential to the constitution of the Church, insofar as she must always show the transcendental otherness of the love which works salvation. Neither vocation can boast of any special privileges in Rahner's view. Both serve the good news of the kingdom in our midst, sanctifying those who make this call the beckoning which holds first place in their hearts. What Rahner has to say of ascesis (properly Christian renunciation and spiritual effort) is regularly set in the context of his theology of death. Death is the great trial of human life. It infiltrates our being progressively, as we feel the abrasion of time, finitude, and physical dissolution. Death moeks our aspirations for perfect existence; it makes man, whose dynamic finality stretches out towa,¡¡rls the vision of Gorl, wonrler whether his dark mystery is not really an absurrl. The consummate act of human faith is therefore the acceptance of death's sundering, in trust that God will show himself a merciful Father who comes at our dying to take all for his love. At the end of our lives, we shall make a final, summarizing use of our freedom, choosing or rejecting life on God's terms. Thus death shows the basic passion built into human existence. Throughout life, God is the sovereign master. True freedom is opening our hearts to his rule. As Christ descended into "hell," suffering the full despoliation of death, so the Christian descends into death's darkness freely, because his God of love demands this. He knows death is the wages of sin, and he pays the price of his passover from alienation to intimacy with hope. Indeed, he may anticipate death's final surrender to God's mercy and


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. begin the renunciation of his own autonomous sway over life early. In this way, Christian renunciation (e.g., virginity) has traditionally been linked with death. It is a more dramatic way of fulfilling the symbolic promise of every Christian baptism, where the regime of Satan and death is rejected: dying to death, Christ brings new, resurrected life. And just as death is but the prelude to full life, so to ascesis is not an end in itself but rather the servant of agape. It promotes the integrating domination of concupiscence which anticipates our immortal participation in the one cosmos of God's saving design.

CHRISTIAN LIFE

Rahner's treatment of prayer is also a balanced explanation of the Christian's poly-relationship existence. Prayer has a social, corporate side, such that the individual prays in the Church, while the Church can intercede on behalf of the individual, both now and after his death. Prayer also brings. into play the dialogue of God's grace and our freedom. While progressive entry into the Christ-mystery means God's fuller possession of our hearts, so that the koinania with the indwelling Trinity grows more rich, there never is a time when Christian freedom abjures the responsibility of continuing both to seek God's will in greater purity and to confess itself an unprofitable servant. Union with God is described by Rahner on the presuppositions of his theory that uncreated grace is a quasi-formal causality of God-his formative self-gift in the depths of our being. This means that growth in Christian life is indeed our fuller entry into God's life. Such a concentration on the essential element of Christian sanctification enables Rahner both to correlate infused contemplation with lower levels of union and to keep secondary phenomena, such as visions and prophecy, in their subservient place. The great grace of all life is God himself, whom Christ has brought to the world definitely. That the absolute mystery has joined himself to us in love is a good news we shall never sufficiently appreciate. Perhaps prayer is especially valuable because it meets God's mystery directly. It dares to call the unlimited sovereign who could annihilate its puny breath "father," believing that he numbers the very hairs of our heads. Thus, it actualizes the humble


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faith which conquers the world-perhaps especially a world which thinks God "missing." Rahner's own honest deportment in his religious wl"itings is also an indirect lesson in Christian conduct. His prayers are models of direct, uninhibited outpouring to God. They indicate, again, the basic realism of his Christian faith; our belief is the primary guide to how things are. So there is little artificial formality in Rahner's religious writings, and much concern for the concrete stuff of daily life. On the other hand, the presence of God, who should be adored simply because he is the absolute holy one, is a constant call for reverence. Thus, Rahner capitulates neither to sloppy modernity nor to stuffy classicism. His effort is to render things as they truly are, and to respond to this nuanced, demanding reality most honestly. Still, I see in his writings a preference for the solid, deep, ultimately ineffable and direct mystery of God's quiet presence. At the depths of a man's epitomizing heart, existence is unspeakably simple and full. The best "religion"-adherence to God-is the silent adoration which lovingly lets him be God. This is practice of what will be the Christian's eternal work and joy. Rahner's freedom from artificial constmints enables him to be traditional, in the sense of consciously respecting the regular teaching of the Church, yet responsive to the current problems of really Christian living in a time of drastic change. This is a happy combination, offering the reader some assurance that he is listening to a theologian too sel"ious to be concerned whether he is "liberal" and popular. Rahner sees Christ precisely as God's final word, defining the basic stance God bears towards us irrevocably. And he holds the core traditional interpretation of Christ which scripture and the magisterium present as an unchangeable pronouncement on the fundamental build of human existence. However, because God spoke his word into history, to a believing community on the march, there will necessarily be fluctuation and growth in Christian dogma.â&#x20AC;˘. Such a growth could never deny cardinal points of faith taught by ¡'the Church previously, but it might well augmeilt them, or set them into new relations, under the force of


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greater human experience. Thus ,the one simple yes God spoke in Cluist is identically addressed to us today, but it comes to a technological society with different overtones than those which echoed in the first century. Only the living, communicating faith of Christians who bring their New Testament belief into combination with twentieth century experience, under the afflatus of the Spirit, can make God today what he was for Augustine--beauty ever ancient, ever new: Christian spirituality today will therefore present the same essential visage as that of past ages, because all authentic spirituality reflects Christ, from whose face shines the one saving light. Basic charity, hope, and faith make Christians people who take life seriously, but with joyous expectation. Today we live in a unifying world, which growingly approaches one single shared culture. In this way, technology is really accomplishing a universalization of the gospel which myriad missionaries never could. Certainly the strands of western culture which accompany industrialization carry a questionable amount and quality of Christianity, but Rahner seems optimistic that this could well work on God's previous presence to non-Christian peoples in unknown grace, helping them towards a growing acceptance of life in Christian terms. This global, hopeful view is perhaps the most distinctive emphasis he places in treating of faith for today. We live in a world where God more obviously transcends all particular representations of him-where he appears only as the silent absolute who cannot be identified with the world. We therefore must believe that he who is greater than all who know or can imagine does indeed guide the world towards himself in love. We will exercise this belief by taking the history of our time seriously, viewing all men as brothers in a common human destiny, ann setting our Christian faith forth as the religion of the absolute future, which confesses Love to be the guarantor of man's time-its fulfilling horizon and final consummation.

CONCLUSION

After this brief survey of the main themes of Karl Rahner's


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theology, and of their balanced formation of his teaching on the spiritual life, we might conclude with an opinion about the peculiar utility of Rahner's views for serious Christian living today. I find them unparallel help in investigating the meaning of the gospel for a very complex time of transition. Pet¡haps the most satisfying characteristic of Rahner's theology is its balance. Passion and calm, simplicity and complexity, tradition and present needs, mystery and very particular concern all get their due. The overall impression is of a very vital personality setting all its resources in the service of mediating the gospel to men: for him the gospel is Christ's unique good news of salvation-the single absolute criterion of what is real and good, and men are variable spirits in the world, whose essential need for the absolute God is always expressed in changing, historical modes. It is at the exact juncture of time and eternity, gift and reception that the Christian, who lives by the Incarnation, participates in a theandric dialogue he should publish to all men. Rahner seems to see his priesthood and theology as one absorbing effort to foster this dialogue, whose importance is the measure of man's meaning. It is likely that Rahner will be read and praised by most

people because he does bring this sophisticated, balanced attitude to bear on the live problems of current Christian theory and practice. The application of creative, profound theology to real concerns of flesh and blood is a combination hard to beat. By comparison with the rest of contemporary theology, however, another characteristic strikes me as distinctive of Rahner, and perhaps instn>ctive for toclay's Christian. It very much amounts to the substance of Rahner's spiritual theology, and perhaps the reason why what he writes can so often be placed in this category. Far too seldom today does one find indications of a profound religious experience, which tutored intelligence sets at the heart of theology. Beneath the legitimate concem for empiri-


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cal questions of pastoral theology, and what might be called the theology of contemporary culture-which Rahner himself certainly has not neglected-is there not still a single, comprehensive question which theology can never long neglect without starting to trivialize the Christian dialogue? If Christ is the Word of God spoken to the depths of the human heart, where man is one throbbing query about meaning, then the neglect of man's deepest experience-that he is unlimited desire for all-healing love-is bound to devalue theology. It is no accident that Rahner comes almost to identify theology and anthropology, nor that all his writing lives off a basic concern with mystery. This mystery is no lazy fugue from the problems of the city, war, poverty, etc. It assumes them into itself, adding the strain of the mysterium iniquitatis to its overspilling of the mind, just as it undergirds all their workings and secondlevel presuppositions. This mystery, onto which we open in every significant experience of insight, making, freedom, love, or community, is our experience of God. We cannot meet God as God except in mystery, and if we rlo not meet God our lives at¡e worthless trinkets. The comprehensive problem of man is always to be human. Real humanity is alwa.ys the more-than-mere-facticity which issues in wonder-ful philosophy, art, science, issues in deep human relations of love stronger than death and in moments of quiet awe which one can only call prayer. Real humanity is therefore impossible without an awareness of mystery-a living with "all" which, by "faith," opens man to the existencestructure it alone can give. It seems to me the signal triumph of Rahner's theology that living, Christian encounter with the mystery of God always rules his predicamental concerns. This sort of theology once was unquestioned: it is the symbiosis of thought and love, science and piety unchallenged in the Church Fathers and canonized in the Church Doctors. Today this simple unity, where theology is just the express side of Christian life, dialetically in concert with wordless love for the deeper appreciation of substantial agape, is perhaps more difficult. Contemporary man must live pragmatically, for his world pushes upon him endless things to do. This implies that the


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gospel will only be respected when it gets results. Raimer's theology suggests to me that the results for which the gospel aims are diverse and several-leveled, but that the core of all its efficacy is the accepting of the absolute mystery of existence, which is our experience of God, as the saving love published by Jesus Christ. The efficacy of the gospel is its power to humanize, its ability to help men live the •·eality which is and make the reality which ought to be. The primary reality which is its enveloping mystery of existence. How good to find a theology which rests in this mystery (thereby making faith the universal human issue), and which then moves to all the many problematic ways in which the mystery, whose silence really grounds· and enables our human freedom, must be honored by responsible daily Jiving. Because Jesus Christ declares the essential mystery of human life, reminding us tirelessly that the kingdom of heaven is the sole pearl of great price, the unum necessarium, he is himself man's essential good news. Because he and his people draw the implications of this mystery for particular concerns of daily Jiving, theology must constantly hone its knife on the whetstone of private and social experience. Karl Rahner offers contemporary Christians a vast corpus of theological investigations which keep mystery and experience in constant interaction. I think this may be a good expression of the basic spiritual theology we need today, ani! for the foreseeable future.


c!!Ac~AutcA

an/ lAc ~th The sick must never be forgotten ..They a-re a body of people advancing the Kingdom of God on the earth.

+ NATHAN KOLLAR, O.Carm.

+

Every age has a distinct religious emphasis. Today there is great concern for the poor of our nation and the world. The Church, along with politicians, sociologists, and the man in the street, is interested in the poor. There is another segment of our population which should be of interest to the Church and is in danger of being forgotten. This segment is the sick. These people are too often given perfunctory service within the Church. In addition, the present emphasis upon liturgical acts, which has led to the loss of various prayer services and novenas for the sick, has left a vacuum in the life of many people who are physically sick. This article is an attempt to present both a theology of the sick and to offer some specific pastoral suggestions regarding their care. I. THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS

In this section what is 'proposed is a theological construct regarding the relationship of the individual sick person to the ecclesial community and, in tum, the ecclesial community's relationship to the individual sick person. Basic to the understanding of this relationship are a number of concepts which must be treated: community, individual as a psychosomatic unity, representation, and healing. 87


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Community in the Old Testament is seen to enjoy four characteristics: election, covenant, consecration to God, and promises of assistance andjor fulfillment in the future. Through an examination of these concepts it can be seen that there is a particular biblical aspect of the corporateness of man. The community of man with man is at once the work of God and the responsibility of man. Adam's unity with his fellow man, for instance, or with himself exists only inasmuch as he remains faithful to the covenant with God. The consequence of his disobedience, as shown in the early chapters of Genesis, is not only physical hardship but a division with Eve and the continued spread of disharmony among the other members of his family as shown in the succeeding chapters of Genesis. With Abraham and his followers the story is the same: God creates a community but the maintenance of the community is dependent upon the community's living of the covenant. Mankind's unity as portrayed in the bible is, therefore, neither an accident of blind evolution nor is it the non-individual part of man. It is the relationship between God and his creature. The New Testament concept of community is intimately joined with the concept of the risen body of Christ. The unity of the community is such that with St. Paul the equation can be made that the risen body of Christ equals the Church and the Church equals the risen body of Christ. The consequences of the image of the Church as the Body of Christ gives a dimension to the concept of the community it never had in the Old Testament. The community is the actual body of Christ existing here and now. It is so much the body of Christ that the action of the community toward an individual in a moment of cdsis involving his salvation is an expression of the personal act of Christ saving this person. Because of the relationship of Christ to the community under the Body concept and because of the relationship of Christ to the individual under the concept of Sonship, which is a resultant of the body relationship, each individual and community of individuals has a special role vis-a-vis each other which we might call a representative role. When we speak of one who represents the community we


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usually think of someone who does something "for" the community, or acts "instead of" the community. This view is not entirely correct. If we look at Christ, who is the representative of man, we can see the perfect example of what representation is. Christ in his life, death and resurrection was not someone separate from the community of mankind, but what Christ did had a basic effect upon mankind as a whole. Christ was mankind in some mysterious way. In other words he did not so much act for the community or instead of the community, but he ?vas the community acting. As with Christ so too it is with individual Christians and the Christian community. The principle of representation is applicable among them too. Anyone who takes seriously Christ's concept of "neighbor" must see in this concept the individual as a basic representative of Christ and in turn of the Christian community (Cf. Mt 10:40 ff.; 18:5; Mk 9:38 ff.; Lk 10: 16; Jn 13 :30; Mt 25 :31-46). To concretize this principle even more within the work of healing we might say that it is Christ who heals; it is Christ who is healed. Christ's actions of healing, preaching, suffering and nsmg were effective signs. of his election by the Father. One who has entered into the Risen Christ through the rite of initiation has entered into this election. Thus it can be said that the healing, preaching, suffering and gradual growth in the life of the resurrection are at one and the same time both a means of assuming this life's election and a demonstration of one's election. When we speak of man as a psychosomatic unity we are using a medical term which expresses an intimate relationship between man's body and mind. There are many ways in which the mind can influence the body and also the body influence the mind. We are familiar with the extremes of such cases. A person can convince himself that he is sick and he will actually be sick: he will have a temperature, feel pain, etc. And anyone who has been sick knows how the sickness affects him as a person, not just as a body. There is a definite influence, no matter how many grey areas that actually exist, and there is


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a real unity between body and mind. The medical doctors who recognize this relationship will never treat the body alone, nor the mind alone, but will always include in their treatment the analysis and attempted cure of both mind and body-the cure of the person. Seeing man as a whole is at the same time a biblical concept. In an examination of the concepts of sarx and soma in the New Testament we see that man is considered as a whole. As a whole he is pointed to God or turned away from him. Man can never be treated as a type of spirit dwelling in a body, but he must be seen as a unity of body and soul. At the same time as man is seen as a unity he is seen as enmeshed in the created world around him. There is an interdependence. of man and creation (the concept of sarx). The created world is formed by the actions of man, as man is formed by the created world. Man is therefore seen as a unity of body and soul, and as united with the world around him.

SIN AND SICKNESS

This interdependence is seen in the concepts of sin and sickness. Sin in scripture is a multifaceted term: it can refer to the turning away from God, or it may refer to the effects of sin in the form of death and sickness. Sin in all its forms is seen as part of the kingdom of evil. The New Testament's concept of this relationship between sin and sickness can best be seen in Christ's healing of the man sick of the palsy (Mk 2:113). A man is sick. Christ forgives his sins. The Jews say this is blasphemy, for only God can forgive sins. Jesus answers this by healing the sick man. Jesus' response is conclusive only if he and the Jews agree that the man's sickness is closely related to sin. Otherwise the only other explanation would be that Jesus was giving a sign which overrode for its sheer wonder the scepticism of the Jews, and that it was just a mere coincidence that he healed the man, when, for instance, turning the sand into \Vater would have served even better. This interpretation is contrary to our knowledge of Christ's methods. Jesus' action shows his broad acceptance of the Old Testament belief in the close relation between sickness and sin. This rela-


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tion was to a large degree a communal relation, in which all men share in each other's flesh and sin, and bear about in their bodies the consequence of another's sin. A social pathology of disease is a normative assumption in the Old Testament and the final aetiological factor is Adam's and mankind's sin. Thus it is that we can say that the sick man, whom Jesus heals, is representing the community in its fallen-sickness-sin situation. ¡ When Christ shows that the Son of Man is a sin-beat¡er, he shows that man is a sin-sickness bearer. Christ does not reject the fact that sickness is the consequence of personal and communal sin. He accepts this fact and its consequences on Gethesemane; he makes what is a stumbling-block to the Jews and an offense to the Greeks the very corner-stone of individual and corporate redemption. It is by their response to the suffering of their representative who bears their sin, presenting their illness on cross or sick-bed, that the community is judged to salvation or rejection. (One must note here that it is not being said that there is an equation between sin and sickness so that anyone who sins is sick, or anyone who is sick has sinned. It is merely stated that we are in a state of sin and the consequences of sin, sickness. To this state all of us contribute by our own sins. The sick person is the representative of everyone's sins. Cf. A. Holsbosch, God in Cuation and Evolution, New York, 1965). Until now we have been considering concepts which are familiar to the general theological scene of this century-community, body of Christ, man as interdependent upon man. Perhaps what we are to treat next is not so commonly realized in modern theological thought. Thus we will treat healing in greater detail.

THE SIGN OF HEALING

Primary to our consideration of healing is the recognition of the fact that the healing aspect of Christ and the Church is one of the means, besides preaching, for the coming to be of the new messianic age. To see this we must look at the healing miracles of Christ and the early Church and then reflect upon these in a more theological context.

I .


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When one speaks of miracles today it is usually in the context of 19th century. polemic. There is immediate interest in the "scientific" nature of the miracle. Many times even the biblical scholar is guilty of treating the miracles of the gospels with his own mind-set conditioned by contemporary polemics. Monden's book, Signs and Wonden, gives us a more comprehensive outlook in regard to miracles and especially the miracles of Christ. We must realize that within the biblical context all power is supernatura.l, from God. All things existed only because of the ever sustaining hand of God. If someone did exceptional things it was because God acted in them in a special way. They were more apt instruments of that power of God which sustains every man. The healer, then, was. exceptional not so much in a special quality that he possessed, but rather in the degree that he was a special conductor of God's power. The question for the witnesses to Jesus' miracles therefore was not whether an extraordinary thing had occurred (their senses could tell them that) but rather what did tlutt wonder signify? What was it a sign of? In other words, who was this man and why was he wielding this power? This is the significance of Mt 12:22-32 and Lk 11 :14-22. When the Pharisees challenge Christ in regard to his casting out of the devil he answers them in their own logic. He says to them if you recognize (a) that demons have been exorcised and (b) that this has been my work, and (c) that I have done it by¡the spirit of God, .then it follows that (d) the Day of the Lord has come.

.â&#x20AC;˘

Christ here in his answer to the Pharisees, as in his answer to the disciples of John (Mt 11 :2-4), was saying that the signs of the kingdom were around them : the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear and the poor have the gospel preached to them. Thus Christ was, through his healing miracles, challenging the witnesses to thes:e miracles to accept the fact that they must repent and believe for the judgment day of salvation was at hand. The miracles of Jesus are powerful acts, mighty deeds, of such a nature that they are recognizable by the witnesses as signs and as a part of the present rule of God. Through these signs Jesus at one and the same time proclaims the coming of


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the Kingdom, portrays what the Kingdom is like and actually initiates and spreads the Kingdom. He does the same in the parables of the Kingdom (cf. Mt 13:33 If.; Mk 4:26 If.). Thus Christ's gift of healing was used to¡ announce, describe and institute the Kingdom of God. Extending this concept to the whole Church (cf. Mk 6:7-12; Mt 10:1-5; Lk 9:1-6; 10:1-20; Acts 3:1-16, 5 :15-16), we see that the Church's healing work throughout time is not only done in the imitation of the compassion of Christ, but as proclamation and description of the gospel, the announcing and bringing in of forgiveness and salvation. These signs (i.e. healing miracles and healing in general) are part of a developing situation bringing about the very thing of which they are signs-that is the Kingdom of God. The healing acts of Christ are not merely individual compassionate acts of Jesus or the result solely of personal acts of the faith of the sick person. Just as it is a mistake to take the "scientific" norms of the miracle back into gospel times, so it is equally a mistake to take the modern interest in the predicament of the desperately sick individual and the possibilities of his obtaining relief by appropriate personal acts of faith, and apply this mind-set on Christ's healing works. What is of primary importance to the gospel writers are the attitudes of the witnesses to the healing. Mark's version of Christ's healing of the epileptic is one example¡ of a miracle being performed in relation to the crowd primarily and only secondarily to the one healed. We see too in the gospel accounts of the healing miracles a great emphasis upon the "crisis" nature of the individual healed: the individual is confronted by Christ and his own need for faith, repentance and healing. But we must not forget that this healing work is also a "crisis" for the witnesses to the miracle. God's kingdom is being manifest through this particular act. His dynamic "Word" is being spoken through this miracle and it is calling fot¡ the response of repentance and covenant renewal. The healing work results not only in placing the community of witnesses in a state of crisis, but also of changing them as individuals whether they accept the miracle or not. Both from the concept of corporate personality, the


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Body of Christ, and from the philosophical concept of interrelatedness, the person can be said to be in the community and the community in the siCk person. Christ's healings therefore are healings and judgments of the communities in which they occur. THE VISIBLE PRESENCE OF GOD

In reflecting upon the healing works of Christ we see that the communities of men and women who experience these works were confronted by the visible presence of God. Their response is their judgment, and their judgment is their entry into a better quality of life (e.g. life eternal, new life) or a worse quality of life (e.g. death, separation). Either they suffer their eyes to be opened or they close their eyes to the light of God. The witnesses of healing works in the New Testament are as significant as the heale1¡ himself and the patient. These witnesses are confronted by the visible presence of God, in Christ, healing men arid women in their midst. Now is the time to recognize in Christ's healing work the presence of God unto salvation. We may conclude that for the New Testament sickness in an individual is a form of crisis which offers possibilities for good or evil to all who are involved in that crisis. Christ's presence, in perfect love, offers the widest possibilities for profit or loss in that crisis. To use the terms of a professional in mental health, "crisis in a group of people is a time of opportunity, for it will always end in new equilibrium." The quality of the psychological work done by those involved decides the outcome. What we get at the end of crisis is new equilibrium. "The new equilibrium, if the psychological work has been satisfactory, results in external adaptation and internal adjustment. If the psychological work has not been satisfactory, there is also a new equilibrium, but this equilibrium is one of regression. It is a regressed equilibrium in the direction of either a neurosis, a psychosis, or some form of alienation or disintergration" (I. Bennet, Delinquent and Neurotic Children, Tavestock, 1960, pp. 158).


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In summary we might say that the individual is related to the community in two ways: 1) the individual is a representative of the sinful community; 2) the individual is a representative of the resurrected Christ conquering evil and extending the kingdom. The community, on the other hand, is Christ extending himself in time offering a further entrance into his paschal mystery. These relationships call for specific attitudes on the part of both the patient and the community. The patient should understand his representative role. It is not passive. As a representative of the community his should be an attitude of acceptance of God's will and a willingness to accept this burden of suffering so as to further the progress of God's kingdom. Practically this means an acceptance of the realities of the sin and sins of mankind. The patient's role is to conquer sickness and further the kingdom. The conquering of sickness is not only a cure of the body through the use of pi lis and surgery. One conquers the evil of sickness by bringing together the split between man and God, man and man, man and himself. This does not always necessitate the here and now bodily healing of a person, just as the bodily healing of a person does not always signify the advancement of the kingdom. Health must be seen more in the light of the total vocation of man. It is that state in which man is able to respond to the call of God with the fullness of his being. Our healing act (whether as patient or community) must be a participation in the action of the one who is the Divine Physician. The situation in which the community and the individual are involved is one of crisis. The giving a center or uniting the split between man, God and the person is a situation filled with suffering. Ultimately it is in the depths of suffering that the split is healed. This was the experience of Christ himself who through his suffering cured the ill of mankind. This conversion of the suffering of the cross to the glory of the resurrection has been called "The Law of the Cross," and it is this law that is basic to the faith of those in the crisis of sickness. II. PASTORAL SUGGESTIONS

In the light of the above theology we would like to make some


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pastoral suggestions. The Church's involvement with the sick has taken many roads through history. She has been involved through each baptized person's care of the sick, especially the nurses and doctors. She has been involved through her prayer whether it be the personal prayer of the mother at the sick bed or the local church at its prayer of the faithful. In particular she has been involved through the sacrament of the sick, the anointing of the sick. All these various aspects of the Church's involvement with the sick should be looked into.

THE EUCHARIST AND THE LAYING ON OF HANDS

The eucharist as such is the center of the sacramental system. It is also the centet¡ of any healing situation. Healing, as defined above, can easily be seen to be related to the euc.harist. The eucharist is the sacrament which unites us with God and our fellow men. It is the sacrament in which we enter more deeply into the covenant established by Christ's Pasch. The participation of the sick in the eucharist is a necessity for their complete healing. The use of laying on of hands has been an inheritance of the Church from the Jews. In the Old Testament we see it used in many different ways. For instance it was 1) a rite of liberation from slavery, 2) an indicative gesture by which the offerer intended to make his own the sacrifice that the priests presented to God for him, and 3) a gesture by which a rabbinic teacher was given permission to teach. At the time of Christ we see in the documents the rite of laying on of hands used for healing. Christianity introduced two new meanings to the gesture of laying on of hands. This gesture also meant that a person was ordained to the priesthood or the deaconate, or it ,lso designated the coming of the Spirit in Confirmation. This briefly is the meaning of the rite of the laying on of hands in the early Church and among the Jews at the time of Christ. This rite used in the context of the healing liturgy can be seen as both an indication of the official role that this person is to play (i.e. as representative of the community and Christ in a sin-sickness situation), even though temporary, in the Church.


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It can also be seen as a gesture which calls down God's power

to heal. lt should be clear from the different meanings of the gesture of laying on of hands, that the gesture needs a context in order to be understood properly. In the context of a Mass for the Sick or of a home visitation we would see laying on of hands as a specification of the Church's healing concern. As a symbolic action it 1) designates the individual as a representative of the community, and 2) is an expression of the Church's concern for the person's recovery of health. The Church's concern for the sick makes itself evident in concrete situations. The following are three IISpects of the situations in which the eucharist and the laying on of hands should be considered .: 1) the visitation of the sick as. a preparation for Mass and the laying on of hands, 2) the Mass of the sick in the home, 3) the preparation of the Church for Mass and ' the regular Mass of the sick on Ember Saturdays.

VISITATION OF THE SICK AS A PREPARATION FOR MASS

A preparation is necessary for both the eucharist and for the laying on of hands. This is so necessary that one should be hesitant to allow anyone to the Mass who has not been prepared in some way. This is essential for the Mass and even more so for the laying on of hands. If one is not prepared there is a great danger that either a person's faith will be weakened (they expect a healing and it does not occur) or a psychological aberration will occur. A "healing" will occur in this latter case only because of the tension built up in a person and not because of an act of God. The result in this case, of course, may be both a physical and a psychological injury. The visitation of the sick is one way of preparing the person for the eucharist and the laying on of hands. The priest should be visiting the sick on a regular basis. At times these visits can be very short. He should make the point, however, of explaining to the sick person the meaning of sickness. This can be done by direct teaching methods, by the prayers said together, or on the occasion of his inviting the sick person to Mass. The time of sickness is not the best time


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to teacn anyone sometning in a formal way. One should be careful of this. What is said here is the end-point towards which the priest is trying to instruct the person. The method will depend upon his own personality and the individual patient. The reason for this preparation is to have the person understand his role in the sickness situation. He should have an attitude which sees the Mass, the sacraments and the sacramentals as a means of healing him as a person, no matter what the outward effect may be. Sickness itself should be seen as an evil, as something to be conquered by the Christ-life that dwells with us. It should be seen as being able to be conquered through Christ's law of the cross and by the achievement of physical health. At the same time, as part of the preparation, the sick should be visited by members of the parish. This in itself is an expression of the local church's concern. One must never forget in these visits to the sick to also spend some time with those who take care of the sick since they are also part of the sickness situation. Sickness is a real crisis in the lives of those who take care of the sick, as well as in the lives of the sick person himself. These people should also be invited to any Mass of the sick which may be had. Visitation of the sick, however, is not only a preparation for something to come. It is also a chance to offer the -people in the sickness situation an opportunity to participate in the eucharist and in the laying on of hands.

MASS OF THE SICK IN THE HOME

The Mass for the sick in their home should be prepared for by visitations of the sick. As many of the family and close friends as possible should be present for the Mass since they are the ones that make up the immediate community interested in the health of this individual. What manner of celebration may be desirable in this situation is hard to determine since the conditions will vary. The attitude to be airried for is an attitude of calmness, confidence in Christ's healing action and faith in his all knowing will. The Votive Mass for the Sick is the best Mass to celebrate. The constituent elements of this Mass are of ancient origin. The orations alone go back to the


SICK

Gregorian sacramentary. Because of this ancient tradition and the theology of the prayers themselves it would be best that it be used when possible. According to the lnstructio de Cultu Mysterii Eucharistici double species may be received. It would seem that the best place for the laying on of hands is after the homily. At this time the celebrant should end his homily in such a way that it would lead naturally into the laying on of hands. The laying on of hands should be something that the sick person should be used to. They can become familiar with this action if the priest always ends his regular visits by laying his hands on the head or shoulders of the sick person. For a prayer accompanying the action the following oration as taken and modified from the Gregorian sacramentary is good: "Lord, Holy Father, almighty and eternal God pour out your strength into this weak body, quicken this body and these limbs with your healing medicine, stretch forth your hand upon this your servant so that every bodily sickness may be driven out and he (she) may once again walk in perfect health and the fullness of your life. This we ask through your Son .Jesus."

MASS OF THE SICK ON EMBER DAYS

The community of sick in the parish should have an opportunity to gather together for the celebration of the eucharist. A time for this gathering is Ember Saturday of the four seasons of the year. This gathering should be prepared for by making certain that the individual patients ann their families have the proper attitune, and by special anangements of the Church itself. The Church which is used shouln have a wide enough aisle or sanctuary for the wheel chairs, etc. that may be used on this day. Special parking spaces near the entrance or side of the Church should be had along with ramps for the wheel chairs. The time chosen for Mass should be one at which most would be at the peak of their energies. Nurses and a doctor


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should be on hand in case of an emergency. Also any sick person present should have the permission of his doctor to be present. This permission is asked so as to avoid any conflict between the doctor and the priest. Also anyone who is sick and has not gone to a doctor should be asked to do so. A full preparation for anyone attending a Mass and in particular a Mass with the, laying on of hands would consist of several counseling sessions with one who is competent, the administrations of a medical doctor and the spiritual direction and confession by a priest. The ceremony of Mass and the laying on of hands would be a culmination of this preparation. It would ritually signify the h£aling situation they are involved in. The Mass itself should be much the same as the ordinary daily Mass. The music should be calm. The singing might be a problem; the Mass should be constructed with this in mind. However if the sick present form a numerical minorit~¡ -and they should if some of their family comes with themthe mood of the music can be strong, vibrant, but not anything to get them too emotionally upset. The offertory procession should include the doctor, a nurse, a member of one of the families and one of the sick persons. The sick persons should be placed near to the altar so that they can see and to emphasize their special role in the eucharist. If the laying on of hands is had, it is best after the homily or at the end of Mass. ln either case there should be a brief explanation of what is about to occur. The individual to be prayed over should come up, and the priest should place his hands on his head and pray over him. Or if it is necessary the priest should go to the sick person and pray over him. Since it is a good idea that the Mass for the sick be a regular affair, the Saturdays of the Ember seasons offer an excellent opportunity for this Mass. First, Saturrlay is a day when many people are free from work. Secondly, the theme of the Ember seasons is one of penance and joy. This was the original theme of the Ember days and it still is evident in the texts. Ember Saturday in winter asks for Christ to come to save man from his bondage to sin. The collect could have one addi-


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tiona] word, "sickness," included in it so that it might read: "0 God, you see that we suffer from our own sinfulness and our sicknesses. Please grant that we may be consoled by your coming.... " Such insertions should be permitted in all these Masses. When words Jike "sin," ¡"fasting'' and "enemies., are mentioned care should be taken to specify what we are praying for. The lessons of this ember day are 1) Is 19 :20-22. which puts an emphasis upon God's dealing with us and his healing grace, 2) Thes 2:1-8, which speaks about the mystery of lawlessness which reigns at the present moment and the fact that Christ will annihilate this lawlessness, and 3) Lk 3:1-6 which speaks of the herald's voice proclaiming the advent of God. The Ember Saturday of spring is much more difficult to work into the theme of healing. The readings of Ember Friday (Ez 18:20-28; Jn 5:1-3, 5-15) are much better. The first lesson of Saturday, Dt 26:12-19, can be seen in the light of the covenant we have all made with God; the second lesson, 1 Thes !\: 14-23, is a good example of the disposition called for by the state of sickness; Mt 17 :1-9 is an example of what we are to become, a foretaste of the resurrection. The lessons of Ember Saturday in summer are especially good (Jl 2 :28-32; and Rom 5:1-5; Lk 4 :38-44). It should be mentioned that Rom 5:1-5 should not be taken in the sense that God has sent these afflictions of the sick person as a test for him. This could be quite easy when the phras¡e "For we know that affliction makes for endurance, and endurance for tested virtue, and tested virtue for hope (Rom 5 :3)," is read. We might mistakingly see the sickness as God's way of testing the faith of this person. Rather a link should be made between Paul's boasting in his affliction (the affliction as a real joining with the crucified Christ) and Christ's cures in the gospel. Fall's Ember Saturday can be seen as speaking of the joy of the new creation. The readings ( Lv 23 :26-32 and Heb 9 :212) refer to the Feast of Tents which has been completed in . Christ. This feast for the Christian, because of its relation to . Christ, looks forward to the end-time which will be a time of


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joy and happiness because the people of God will be reassembled once more. There will be no sickness or suffering at this time. Further, the Church even now is the family of God which is bringing all people together, healing the split in mankind. One of the ways the Kingdom is advancing is through the conquering of sickness. Nearly all the orations of these days pray for a conquering of evil and a defeat of the enemy. They ask God to look at the people's sinfulness and fasting. In the light of the fasting God is asked to save his people. These are wonderful themes for all those who are sick. God looks at their suffering and sickness just as he looks at others fasting. There is a problem with the number of readings in these Masses. Ordinarily the added reading would be good. But in this situation the Mass should be as brief as possible so as to avoid weakening those present and making the atmosphere too charged with a revivalist atmosphere. One should consider, depending upon those present, whether all the readings should be had. When we speak of a "brief" Mass we do not mean a "fast" Mass. Care should be taken that things are said clearly and slowly. These pastoral suggestions are only a few ways in which the Church can show her concern for the sick in her liturgical action. The sick must never be forgotten. They are to the rest of the Church representatives of the sins of the Church, and they are a body of people advancing the Kingdom of God on the earth.


The Forum

PrieHts from the Pressbox

RICHARD PHILBRICK

To say that I have watched the Association of Chicago Priests from its beginnings objectively would be to start this essay in a puddle of hypocrisy and let its contents undermine all that I write. From the first the organization stirred my charitable feelings. The first meeting of the founders was scarcely underway before criticism began to rain upon them. Their motives were suspect, their method questionable, and their aims deplorable, said detractors. How could I help but feel pity for them as they came under attack? For if ever a group moved cautiously it was the young priests who first said, let's get together and examine some of our problems. And having met they put. aside any temptation to issue startling proclamations and began a very deliberate analysis of issues of common interest. Lacking any substantial basis for criticism, those who were made unhappy by the association chose to label it a union and an uprising of the disaffected. This sort of thing is cheapening their vocation, some said of the priests. Of course, many of those who spoke of the "priests' union" and of "mutiny" in the ranks of the clergy were not really op103


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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


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to keep the laity well infonned about what the organization is doing. The decision of A.C.P. members to let laymen and the press attend their meetings went against their instinctive inclinations and was, therefore, a hard one to make. It was necessary if laymen are to become sympathetic boosters of the organization. Had they followed their inclinations and maintained a comparatively cozy secrecy the laymen might have turned up later as enemies. "If you are not for them you are against them" is a cliche which shrewdly recognizes that neutrality is difficult to maintain. There is another endless task the priests face which those who spoke of "union" sensed or, perhaps, really recognized. The A.C.P. must concern itself with authority, . rectory rela~ tionships, placement of personnel, and kindred matters without even appearing to negotiate. For the priests are in no position to negotiate, and what is far more important, their Ordinary cannot negotiate. The A.C.P. has no resource all of its own from which it can offer value for value received, and assuming the Ordinary has one, he would demean his office by engaging in an exchange. To say the unspeakable, the A.C.P. cannot go on strike, it cannot sponsor boycotts, and there is virtually no way of appealing to higher church authority. Yet progress must be made. The fact that one can even consider negotiation in connection with the A.C.P. damns the organization in the opinion of some priests and laymen. Clerics who do not repose complete faith in the motivation, wisdom, and energy of their bishops hamper them in their task of shepherding, critics contend. Bishops, as the detractors see the church, must be sole possessors of authority. Any move to advise and inf01m them or to offer an alternative is a challenge to the prelates' leadership. I yield to few persons in my affection for the concept of the shepherd and his flock' which for centuries has served Christians so well. But after one has called attention to the rich

_j


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embellishment it has acquired through the years, remarked on the lovely patina usage has given it, and noted the stimulus it is to imagination one must acknowledge that its cast consists of one man and a number of sheep. With a bishop in his rightful place as the man, all others in the tableau are barnyard animals. The promise of the A.C.P. is that it will give its members an oppmiunity to be not sheep but human beings. Nor will they, if the pledge is realized, be under-age members of the family so dear to the traditional imagery of Christians. The association gives priests the chance to be men-mature and responsible in the church and in society. As A.C.P. participants they can speak out and grow in wisdom and in service. Those sturdy factors with roots in the distant past which favor immaturity can be trimmed, if all goes well, to their proper shape and size. But the A.C.P. has a difficult road ahead. Seeing that the association is severely hobbled, some of its most ardent well-wishers arc inclined to be pessimistic about its future. If it declines into merely a discussion group, they say, it will lack influence among priests and lose their respect. A study group. is not likely¡ to inspire a willingness to work hard ami sacrifice time, as the A.C.P. does now. My charitable impulses merely would make me wish the forecasts ill. Far more solid, definite reasons cause me to contend that the association can achieve progress and that it can continue to be worthy of the respect of all the priests in the archdiocese. Yes, and it can thrive without negotiation .... Study and discussion will continue to be the foundation for A.C.P. activities, I believe. And it is highly unlikely that issues will be defined in terms of personalities, specific parishes, and limited periods of time. Observers who expect to hear individual or collective gripes will be disappointed. For a long time to come the association probably will express its hopes and fears and explain what it has learned while looking into the distance at nothing in particular, as it were. In turn, Cardinal Cody or his successor as ordinary or the bishops'


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conference or the apostolic delegate will gaze at the horizon and make comments touching on the subject of the priests' remarks. After all the listeners have considered what they have heard there will be another round of statements addressed without a name or a zipcode number. So it will go, to the despair of newsmen. Somehow, possibly with open collaboration near the close of the oratory, steps will be taken and changes made without any definable background. The process will be slow and clumsy, as it has been whenever it has been used in the past. It will work because everyone who should hear will be listening. Anct ideas absorbed will have consequences. The factors that can be seen at a glance which will fuel the process are the times, the state of the church, and the world conditions. The less obvious ones can be summed up in the word, interdependence. Everyone knows that priests are dependent on the hierarchy of the church. The observers stumble only when they try to set forth all that this involves. The fact that it is only beginning to be identified is that the hierarchy is dependent on priests in ways never before recognized. It is as though generals were to have thrust upon them new reasons for taking enlisted men more seriously. In another way the fact resembles the situation created when officers of a business enterprise are compelled by circumstances to formulate a new concept of the importance of workers. Personally, I cherish the thought that bishops, priests, and laymen alike are placing more stress on and attaching more value to their relationships of love and brotherhood rathei' than those of supremacy and subordination. Because I have attended A.C.P. meetings I know that there are priests asking, who a1¡e we? ... what is our mission as priests? And as they ask they become increasingly aware of the men on their left and right and behind and ahead. Watching and listening to the priests at their meetings and at a symposium I became convinced that they are gaining a


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new appreciation of the problems bishops face. As familiar questions were brought for dissection from conversations among buddies to the rostrum of an association gathering they became truly formidable in dimensions and complexity. As a result, it seems to me, priests are looking at the men who must be immersed in the answers with a new respect and far more charity. I suspect that even the arthritic curia is seen in a less harsh light. The questioning under A.C.P. auspices is a long way from being finished. The years ahead will, I suspect, produce some interesting debates. I cannot believe that the debates-conflicts, if you wish-will damage significantly the association. What could make it dormant, or even destroy it, is indifference. Members will have to accustom themselves to setbacks and periods of slow and difficult going. The A.C.P. even at its most successful will not be able to boast periodically of victories freshly won. Without moments of triumph will the priests of the archdiocese continue to support the organization and involve themselves in its affairs? I believe they will. Even though I know very few of them, a surprising number have taken the trouble to tell me what a boost to their morale the mere existence of the A.C.P. has been. Surely, they will keep this new source of strength and energy alive. The question is will they make it as effective as possible.


AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE John Cannady, S.J. was an instructor in Philosophy Boston College, 1963 to 1966; now at Woodstock College, he is the author of numerous articles on spirituality. George J. Dyer is the Dean of the School of Theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois and Editor of Chicago Studies. Avery Dulles, S.J. is a member of the Commission for Christian Unity of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and a Consultor for the Secretariat for Dialogue with Non-Believers. Nathan Kollar, O.Carm. teaches high school and adult religious education in the diocese of Tucson. Charles R. Meyer is a professor of systematic theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. Richard Philbrick is the Religion Editor of the Chicago

Tribune. Norbert J. Rigali, S.J. is a research associate in Social Studies and Moral Theology at the Cambridge Center for Social Studies, Cambridge, Mass. Edmund J. Siedlecki is a professor of liturgy at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Niles, Illinois. 109


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REPRINTS The following reprints are available in limited quantities at a 40 'Yo discount; you may find them valuable for class work, study clubs, etc. Please send 20¢ for each reprint ordered: Chicago Studies, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Ahern, Barnabas M., C.P., Sacmmentality: Its Biblical Background Bastian, Ralph, S.J. Confinnation: The Gift of the Spi1·it Baute, Paschal, O.S.B. A Report on Pastoral Cou.nselor Trainmy

Bea, Augustin. Aspects of a Peaceful Revolution Bernard James. The Priest of Being Biechler, James & McDonald, James. New Horizons in Canon Law Boe, John. Church MuRic and Aggi01·nanwnto: An Anglican View Boyer, Charles, S.J. One Flock and Many ShepherdB Bray brooke, Neville. Voices in the Desert: Jung and Teilh<J>rd Buckley, Francis, S.J. Penance in the Church Camara, Helder. Vatican II: Reflections and Suggestions Chirico, Peters, S.S. The Theology of the Parish: The Problrm Collins, Joseph, M.M. The Smnge W01·ld of Father Teilhard Cougar, Yves, M.-J., O.P. The ChuTCh Seed.of Unity and Hope Connors, Joseph, S.V.D. Scinece of the Sunday Sermon Cooke, Bernard, S.J. Theological Education of Seminarians Crossan, Dominic, O.S.M. Biblical Tndh as Dialectical Analysis Danielou, Jean, S.J. The ChuTCh of the Poor Dedek, John F. An Excu1'Sion in Theological Methodology, Some Moral Minirnalism Della Penta, Joseph C., O.P. On Dante ""Cantabile" Dirscherl, Denis, S.J. Doestoevksy: Advocate of Ch1·istian Suffe,·ing Donlon, Stephen E. M anarchial Episcopate 110


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Dreher, John. Sacramental Aspects of Tradition DuBay, William H. Democratic Structures in the Church Dvornik, Francis. The PatJ·iarch Photius and Roman Primacy Dyer, George .J. The Unbaptized Infant ·in Etemity, Docb·ine Growth or Betrayal, New Emphasis in Sacramental The-. ology, The Theology of Deaih Ellis, John Tracy. A Seminary Jubilee Emanuel, Thomas, C.SS.R. The Nnmen and the Good News Fichtner, Joseph A., O.S.C., The Fellowship of the Saints Gaffney, James, S.J. William James on the Vi1·tues of War Geaney, Dennis J. The Chicago Story Gorman, John & McDonagh, Andrew. God's Disappointments Gray, Donald P. Sin and the Destruction of Community Haring, Bernard, C.SS.R. The Dynamism of Christian Life Hassel, David, S.J. Mediato1· Between Church and Secular Learning Heaney, Thomas W. Cosmic Resun·ection and .4pocalpse Hofinger, Johannes,· S.J. Contmeporary Catechetics Jedin, Hubert. Luther: A New View Keating, John R. Marriage of the Psychopathic Personality Kiesling, Christopher, O.P. Dewart on Faith, From Ceremony to Comnwnication.. The Church's Institution of Liturgy, Liturgy ·in the Modern World Klauder, Francis. Challenge of Thought of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Kreyche, Gerald. Philosophy and Contemporary Man Lambert, Rollins. Jewish Background of the Liturgical Year Lay, Thomas, S.J. Contemporary Images for Contemporary Preachers McClory, Robet·t. Modern Morality and the Natural Law McElwain, Hugh. Theology in an Age of Christian Renewal McFarland, John S.J. Polarity in Ce>·tain Existentialists McKenzie, John, S.J. Signs and P01ver: NT Presentation of Miracles Mahon, LBo T. Machismo and Christianity Malone, George. Mater, Si! Magistra, Si!, Academic Freedom and Apologetics, The Chu?'Ch Organization and Sbucture, Academic Freedom Revisited Mangan, Joseph, S.J. Questions on ''The Pill"


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Meyer, Charles R. Sorrow that Sanctifies, Lost Virtue? Obedience in the Modern World, Ordained Women in the Early Church, Status of Grace Today, Signs of Times: Theological Overview Motherway, Thomas, S.J. Supernatural Existential Munson, Thomas, S.J. Marxist A. theism: Reflection in the Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy in Ecumenical Dialogue Murphy, Roland, O.Carm. Divine Afflante Spiritu--Twenty Years After Reichter, Robert. Priest in Civil Rights Demonstrations, Collective Bargaining and Church-related Institutions, Social Origins of Seminarian.~, Priests and Community Organization : A Dissent Siedlecki, Edmund J. Liturgical Reform: Diagnois and Prognosis, Fifty Years Towards Breviary Reform, Renewing the Sacraments ( 1) Sarno, Roland A. S.J. The Word of God and the Mass Media Schiltz, Michael E. A Million More Catholics Schokel, Luis Alonso, S.J. Toward a New Synthesis? Schumacher, William A. Parish Summer Institute Sigman, Louis A. Roman Catholic Converts to the Episcopal Church Stevens, Clifford .. Portrait of a Contemplative Stokes, Edward J., S.J. The Aggiornamento of the Code of Canon Law Tavard, George H., A.A. Ecumenism and Religious Indifference Vader, Anthony J. The Catholic Church and the Negro Community Wassmer, Thomas A., S.J. Is Intrinsic Evil a Viable Term? Weber, Gerard P. Pastoral Catechetics, A Changing Parish Yzermans, Vincent A. The Priest and the Press, Cardinal Meyer's Interventions at the Vatican Council, The Reluctant Leader: Albert Cardinal Meyer 1903-1965 Zogby, Edward G., S.J. Vatican II, the Anawin and Christian Holiness Apologetic Survey nos. 1-5 Doctrinal Survey nos. 1-5 Liturgical Survey nos. 1-3 Moral Survey nos. 1-3

Spring 1969  

Volume 8:1

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