Spring 1970

Page 1


CHICAGO

STUDIES

EDITORIAL STAFF

Editor George J. Dyer Associate Editor

Business Managet

John F. Dedek

Richard J. Wojcik Executive Assistant

Production Manager

Edmund J. Siedlecki

Marjorie .M. Lukas

Editorial Advisors Ge1¡ard T. Broccolo John F. Fahey William O. Goedert John R. Gorman Vincent C. Horrigan, S.J. Stephen S. lnfantino George J. Kane Edward H. Konerman, S.J. William P. LeSai nt, S.J. Samuel F. Listermann, S.J.

Thomas B. McDonough Charles R. Meyer Norbert E. Randolph Robert A. Reicher Richard F. Schroeder William A. Schumacher Edward J. Stokes, S.J. Thomas F. Sullivan Gerald P. Weber Raymond O. 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. Ali communications regarding articles and 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, 1970, by Civitas Dei Foundation, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Third Class postage paid at St. Meinrad, lnd. VĂŽews expressed in the articles are those of the respective authors and not necessarily those of the editors or editorial board. Indexed in The Catholic Periodical Index and New Testament Abstracts. Microfilms of current and backfile volumes of CHICAGO STUDIES are now available from University Microfilms, lnc., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Manuscripts will not be retumed unless accompanied by self addressed stamped envelope.


VOLUME 9

SPRING, 1970

NUMBER 1

Articles John F. Dedek

CELIBACY

3

lliORALITY IN GENERAL AND BIRTH CONTROL IN PARTICULAR

19

Peter Chirico, S.S.

DocTRINAL SURVEY, 1970

35

Charles R. Meyer George J. Dyer Joseph A. Bracken, S.J. Agnes Cunningham, S.S.C.M.

llfET!IODOLOGICAL AND ECCLESIOLOGICAL QUESTIONS IN MORAL THEOLOGY

59

Charles E. C1trran

BIBL!CAL FAITH

81

Ernest Lussier, S.S.S.

RESOLV!NG lDENTITY CONFL!CTS IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD

99

Ronald A. Sarno, S.J.

AUTHORS

111

OUR CovER: "Whither Thou Goest" wood sculpture by William Severson

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John F. Dedek

Celibacy What can be said to the seminarian who fee/.~ he has a caU to mini~try but not to celibacy?

It is not giving away any secrets to say that there is a debate

going on in the Church today over the question of clerical celibacy. But what might come as a surprise to sorne is that the rlebate is somewhat broader than they know. In fact, there sometimes appears to be two separate debates going on, side by side, with no attempt to integrate them. One debate is going on in the theological literature. It is being conducted by professional theologians from their point of view and with their sources of knowledge. In this debate it appears that the opinion favoring mandatory celibacy is winning. The other debate is going on among the ordinary clergy and laity, and it is being conducted in the mass media of television and news magazines, in formai colloquia, and in the informai talk of living rooms and cocktail parties. In this debate the argument runs mainly along pragmatic li nes, and it seems that here the opinion favoring optional celibacy is winning. In addition to the theological and the popular arguments there is also what might be called a political argument, such as that going on between groups in the Church like the Dutch Pastoral Council and the Holy See. It is the outcome of this 3

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sort of argument, of course, which will be decisive: Whether and to what extent the Roly See will in fact nilax the present legislation on clerical celibacy cannot be predicted with certainity. But for what it is worth I will make a prediction before I have finished. In the meantime, and to this end, it will be useful to try to understand ali the values that are at stake here. It will be necessary, in other words, to integrate the theological considerations with the practical ones. It is obviously not enough to debate the matter of clerical celibacy on merely pragmatic grounds, as if S?cred virginity were not fundamentally a Christian mystery, and as if theology and revelation had nothing to say. Nor, on the other hand, is it possible to define from an aprioristic stance the legislation of ideals, no matter how noble, without considering how such legislation will in fact affect men's lives. Before we begin listening to the argument, there is one thing more that should be noted. Although the popular or journalistic argument is often muddied with caricature, short-sightedness,. and muddled thinking, it cannot be presumed that the theological argument is necessarily more important or doser to the truth. When the theologians in the eastern Church were confused about the divinity of Christ and debating with subtle arguments whether Mary was the mother of God, the ordinary clergy and laity, who were fairly innocent of theology, we1¡e marching and rioting in the streets, hallering "theotokos" with a united voice. And while Thomas Aquinas and other great medieval minds could not see how Mary could possibly be immaculately conceived, the people, calmly ignoring the theologians, kept praying to Mary Conceived Without Sin and celebrating her feast on December 8th. God's Roly Spirit does not blow only into the ears of theologians. He blows where he wills. One place where the Roly Spirit has left his mark is Sacred Scripture, and it is there that we will first turn our attention. SACRED SCRIPTURE

In the Old Testament a cultic purity consisting in temporary abstinence from sexual relations was prescribed before exercising sacred duties (Ex. 19, 15) or before eating consecrated bread reserved for the priests (1 Sm. 21, 4). And virginity


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5

was highly esteemed in a bride (Ex. 22, 15; Dt. 22, 13-21). But virginity was never valued as something to be maintained. Christian esteem for permanent virginity as an ascetic ideal draws its inspiration mainly from the example of Jesus and 1\fary. But there are two texts from the New Testament that are adduced in support of this stance. The first is from St. 1\fatthew's Gospel, 19, 10-12: "The disciple said to him, 'If that is how things are between husband and wife, it is not advisable to man-y.' But he replied, 'It is not evm-yone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted. There are eunuchs born that way from their mother's womb, there are eunuchs made so by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.' "

Although Sixtus, Origin, and certain Egyptian monks took this talk about eunuchs in an excessively physical sense, the common interpretation of this passage is that given by John 1\fcKenzie in the Jemme Biblical Comrnentm-y: " ... it is possible for one to renounce marriage because of the reign of Cod." The invitation of Jesus, "let anyone accept this who can," was a da ring and revolutionary thought in a J ewish context. Before Jesus the ideal of permanent celibacy for any reason simply did not exist. The note in the Jerusalem Bible confirms this exegesis but expresses it badly. It says: "Christ invites to perpetuai continence those who would consecrate themselves entirely to the kingdom of Cod." It is an outmoded idea, of course, to think that ali Christians, married and celibate, are not invited to "consecrate themselves entirely to the kingdom of Cod." As Schillebeeckx points out, a comparison of the working draft with the final text of Lumen Gentium shows that Vatican II rejected this notion. The Council teaches that ali Christians, without exception, are called to total dedication to the kingdom; celibacy only gives a certain facility, makes it easier (no. 42). The common exegesis, however, is not the only one. Jacques Dupont and Quentin Quesnell find serions difficulty in reading Matthew 19, 12 as a cali to consecrated celibacy. Resurrecting an ancient interpretation of Clement of Alexandria, they read it rather as referring back to the preceding verses, 2-9, which


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conclude with these words of Jesus about divorce: " ... the man who divorces his wife--I am not speaking of fornicationand marries another, is guilty of adultery." According to Dupont and Quesnell the eunuchs for the kingdom in Matthew 19, 12 are those married men in Matthew 19, 9 who separate from their wives because of adultery and now, as long as the woman lives, are unable to marry again. This exegesis, of course, assumes as true what is only one possible and highly debatable interpretation of Matthew 19, 9. But with this assumption, the same teaching about the indissolubility of marriage runs from verses 1 through 19. Jesus teaches that divorce and remarriage is tantamount to adultery. The apostles abject against this hard teaching by saying that then it is better not to marry in the first place. And Jesus, rather thau accepting their objection, insists on his teaching and says that it is a mystery which the world cannat grasp but which stands as a challenge to faith and can only be accomplished for the sake of the kingdom. I do not deny that this is a possible interpretation and so I note it. But it is one that probably will not receive much attention from exegetes. In the first place, exegetes today are not so ready to accept the interpretation of Matthew 19, 9 as rejecting ali divorce even on account of adultery. Secondly, they usually do not see the saying of Jesus in verses 2-9 as the historical context of his saying in verses 10-12. Rather, they generally locate the two sayings as separate historical events. The other New Testament passage dealing with celibacy is 1 Corinthians 7, 25-35. It is a long passage but I will quote it ali: "About remaining celibate, I have no directions from the Lord but give my own opinion as one who, by the Lord's mercy, has stayed faithful. Weil then, I believe that in these present times of stress this is right: that it is good for a man to stay as he is. If y ou are tied to a wife, do not look for freedom; if you are free of a wife, then do not look for one. But if you marry, it is no sin, and it is not a sin for a young girl to get married. They will have their troubles, though, in their married !ife, and I should like to spare yon that. Brothers, this is what I mean: our time is growing short. Those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for;


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those who are enjoying !ife should live as though there were nothing to laugh about; those whose !ife is buying things should live as though they had nothing of their own; and, those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it. 1 say this because the world as we know it is passing away. 1 would like to see you free from ali worry. An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lord's affairs, ali he need WO!'l"y about is pleasing the Lord; but a married man has to bother about the world's affairs and devote himself to pleasing his wife; he is torn in two ways. In the same way an unmarried woman, like a young girl, can devote herself to the Lord's aff airs; aH she need worry about is being holy in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has to won-y about the world's aff airs and devote herself to pleasing her husband. I say this only to help you, not to put a halter around your necks, but simply to make sure that evet"ything is as it should be, and that you give your undivicled attention to the Lord." No long exegesis of this passage is needecl. Richard Kugelman in the Je1'0me Biblica/. Commenta>')! calls our attention to the eschatological framework of Paul's teaching here. For Paul the eschaton became a present reality with the resurrection of Jesus and is now advancing to its final stage. By faith and hope the baptized Christian already lives in the future, awaiting the second coming of the Lord. Paul counsels virginity over marriage during this period of expectation, because it is easier for the virgin to be detached from the things of this world which is passing away and so easier for him to devote himself singlemindedly to the Lord. In conclucling this study of Sacred Scripture I merely want to cali attention to the fact that in neither of these New Testamen texts is any connection made between celibacy and priesthoocl. The connection of celibacy is with baptism not orders. 1n the Pastoral Epistles Paul does not make celibacy a requirement for either priesthood or diaconate. lt remains a counsel for the clergy as for ali Christians. However, he does make his other counsel~that a widower not remarry-a strict requirement for both priests and deacons (cf. 1 Tm. 3, 2 & 12; Ti. 1' 6).


8

CHICAGO STUDIES SACERDOTALIS COELIBATUS

Celibacy became joined to sacred orders in the course of Christian history. How, when and why this occurred had been detailed for us by Schillebeeckx, and so we can skip over it here. Schillebeeckx traces the development from apostolic times to 1967 just before Sacerdotalis Coelibatus. From our vantage point two and a half years later, 1 think it is clear that Pope Paul's encyclical was issued prematurely. The argument was not yet finished and should have been left to run its course. The forces in the Church were such that the encyclical could not have eut off the debate and in fact did not succeed. Two and a half years later the argument is still running at near intensity pitch. 1 do not see anything disrespectful in this, if only for the reason that Church discipline is always open to reexamination. Howevet¡, any responsible discussion of the question after June 23, 1967 cannot be conducted independent of or without a r thorough knowledge of this important document. The pope begins by reviewing the principal objections that are being raised against the present discipline. He lists seven. 1) In the New Testament celibacy is optionalnot mandatory, and the New Testament should be our mode! today. 2) The ancient Church which tied celibacy to office had an overly pessimistic view of sex and so considered celibacy a kind of cultic purity for priests. 3) Sorne men ma,y have a call to ministry without having a cali to celibacy, since these are distinct charisms. 4) There is a shortage of priests in many areas today. 5) The infidelities and defections of priests are a scandai in the Church. 6) Celibacy is detriments! to the development of a mature well-balanced human personality. 7) A young man of 25 cannat make a free persona! choice of celibacy, since he does not have sufficient knowledge or experience to make such a momentous decision. The pope does not respond to these objections in order but touches on them passim, in the course of his letter. Rather he sets dawn at once the decision he has arrived at after prayer and reflection. He says: "We consider that the present law of celibacy should today continue to be firmly linked to ecclesiastical ministry." It is true, he notes, that the gift of celibacy is


CEUBACY

9

different from the gift of a priestly vocation ; but it belongs to those who hold office in the Church and who beat路 responsibility for the ministry serving the community to test and accept the vocation to the priesthood and to send into the ministry those candidates who are suitable and will best serve the cornmunit)' according to the conditions of time and place. The pope then outlines the reasons or motives which appear to him to justify maintaining the law of celibacy. The reasons he appeals to are the Christological, ecclesiological and eschatological significance of a celibate priesthood. By the Christological significance the pope means that since the priests of the New Testament share in the priesthood of Christ and his role as mediator, they ought to reflect him in his ministry as closely as possible. This means that the priest ought to imitate him in his celibacy which indicated his singleminded dedication to his loving service of God and ali men. The ecclesiological significance of a celibate clergy is the freedom and flexibility to dedicate oneself wholly and exclusively to the service of the kingdom. And the eschatological significance consists in the sign of the presence on earth of the final stages of salvation and the stimulus to the pilgrim people to look fonvard and upward. The pope then points to the ancient tradition in the Church, ,calling attention to the fact that neither in the west nor in the east are priests permitted to man路y. This brief historical sketch culminates in a quotation from Pope John XXIII, in which he expressed his deep hurt that "anyone can dream" that the Church today will depart from this discipline. Howeve1路, Paul notes that there is the possibility of ordaining marri cd路 men to the priesthood (i.e. Protestant ministers who becatne Catholics and want to exercise ministry in the Church) as weil as to the diaconate. But, he hastens to add, this is no prelude to the abolition of the present legislation which excludes those in sacred orders from marrying. He also adds that for very grave reasons and as a final measure dispensations will be given to priests and they will be allowed to retum to the lay state. However, he reminds priests of their serious responsibility in petitioning a dispensation in view of the grave scandai that often occurs.


10

CHICAGO STUDIES THEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

In a discussion on clerical celibacy among seminarians, priests, or sophisticated lay people I usually have found that anyone who takes a position defending mandatory celibacy fights a lonely battle. At !east as far as I can tell, it is almost the "received doctrine" today that celibacy, while admittedly a great value, is a special charism and so should be made optional, accepted by those who have the charism but not imposed on everyone who experience a cali to ministry in the Church. After ali, celibacy and priesthood are not necessarily connected; they are only connected juridically, by canon law. No\\' I do not want at this point to reject the conclusion of the argument. But I do want to cali attention to the fact that the argument leaves out one of the essential factors. One factor is that celibacy and priesthood are not necessarily connected. Another is the practical reasons for maintaining or repealing the present discipline. The thini factor, which is integral to the argument but often left out, is the theological affinity that exists between celibacy and sacre<l orden;. It is not enough, it does not do justice to the reality to simply say that there is no necessary connection; one must also add that there is a strong affinity, and it is only in the context of this affinity that the practical reasons can be weighed. Only when one understands and appreciates the affinity that exists between priesthood and celibacy is he in a position to rightly evaluate the more practical considerations. This is the point that is stressed in almost ali of the theological literature. It is, as we are aware, the central thesis in Schillebeeckx's book. ft is also stressed in the writings on this tapie by Karl Rahner, Bernard Haring, Marc Oraison, Alfons Auer, and Leonard Weber. One of the most interesting and impassioned discussions of this question cornes from Karl Rahner. It takes the form of an open letter to priests which is titled, "The Celibacy of the Secular Priest in Present-Day Conversation." After his customary involuted beginning, Rahner gets to the point on the 8th page of his letter. The point is this: celibacy is a theological question that cannot be adequately discussed in the abstract. "Celibacy in general" is seldom the question that


CEliBACY

11

bothers men; the question is rather about my celibacy, and rightly so. It is the way I realize my Christian faith, and it makes no difference that someone else may realize his faith differently. With this as a preface, Rahner gives the following persona! statement of his own celibacy. "Quite simply, I let go of a grand wonderful gift of this !ife because I believe in eternal !ife. . . . Precisely when and in so far as the experience of the deep mystery of marriage has a long history, and when thereby the persona! uniqueness of marriage and ali its human interpersonal meaning-over and beyond ali question of posterity and economie importance -becomes clearer today and in the future, then also the true nature of celibacy in its depths will appear more distinctly, and it will have very Iikely a future only among Christians ... who believe in the Crucified. The wonderful, unfathomably tender and gentle gift of !ife, which is marriage, about which man knows, which a whole lifetime experiences always anew as such a gift, is given up in the believing hope of eternal !ife, and precisely ¡in such a way that man knows that this eternal li fe 1¡emains a gift not only to this "I" but to ali. Folly? Yes, the folly of the love of God and of faith in the death which alone gives the \ife." Rahner rejects any accusation that he has just fallen from theology into pions talk. For a man only knows the meaning of celibacy by experiencing it. He believes in the Gospel beforehand and then lives celibacy foolhardily, bravely believing that the Gospel knows what it is talking about. Besides, he says, there are different kinds of theology. The question we are dealing with here is "a chapter of theology which is not mastered at the desk of reasoning theology, nor in the talk of the majority, nor in the average conversation of a parish house. It remains a piece of kneeling and praying theology." "I hope," he says, "that this kind of theology is still had among us priests." I think Rahner is quite right. Celibacy is a univocal term only if it is defined negatively-as abstention from marriage. But when the term is given positive content it is realized somewhat differently in the uniqueness of every persan. 1 can identify somewhat with what Rahner says but would describe the experience of my celibacy somewhat differently than he. In


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fact, I would describe my experience of celibacy somewhat differently than my theology of celibacy. I would not make my experience of celibacy my theology of celibacy, mainly because my experience of my celibacy does not make as much sense, or rather does not make as much universal sense as my theology of celibacy and therefore it is much more vulnerable to criticism and attack by others. What further complicates the whole matter is that (as Rahner points out) "everybody lives in his decisions concretely from a knot of impulses and non-reftected motives." So an articulation of one's experience will never be an altogether adequate description of one's preconceptual decision in the center of his subjectivity. If I were aske<l to articulate my theology of priestly celibacy, I think 1 wou id adopt the view of Schillebeeckx: it is the result of an existential inability to do otherwise because of a consumption of one's energies in singleminded service of the kingdom. I would adopt this view partly because to sorne extent I identify with it, but mainly because I think it has more universal validity and is Jess vulnerable to attack than my own experience. If I were asked to articulate my. own experience of celibacy,

1 would describe it rather as the result of a constant awareness that ali the magnificence and beauty of this world is passing away and will end suddenly, abruptly in insubstantial ashes. It will do this at the end of time, or what is the same for me, at my death. What is more, nothing in this world can satisfy one's hunger for the infinite; only God can do that when he cornes. This pe1¡ception and gnawing awareness of the finitude of this world and ali that is in it together with the expectation of the infinite in the next finds its expression in celibacy. This is for me the most authentic expression of who I am or at ]east of what is deepest in me. For by freely abstaining from what I suspect is the best that can be had here--interpersonal love of a woman and the fathering of one's own sons and daughtersI can best express what is perhaps my most genuine and central experience of existence--a fundamental dissatisfaction with this world and a believing hope in the next. It is a question of where your treasure is there your heart is also.

Now, aside from what a psychologist might do with this, it is


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also an inadequate theology, at least an inadequate universal theology. But I think that it justifies itself as long as it contains a part of a religious tru th. After ali, no theological statement, not even a defined dogma, can do more than inadequately express part of a tru th. If someone wou id say to me: "I do not identify with or accept your explanation of celibacy," I would reply: "I was talking about my celibacy not yom·s." In other words, I think Rahner is right when he suggests that we are dealing with more than any universal or abstract theology can bear. We are dealing with a highly persona! charism, which will be realized in each individu_al in a highly persona! way. Rahner goes on to say that the Church can select for ministry to the community only those who have their charism or gift of celibacy. In fact, because of the affinity or positive accord between ministry and celibacy, he believes that the traditional discipline should be maintained at almost any cost. He wou id even prefer moving the age for ordination back to 35 or later if that were ever proven necessary. He does admit that the pastoral care of souls is of primary importance in the Church and that celibacy of its clergy is secondary, so that if there ever is a genuine shortage of priests in the Church or in sorne at·ea, the value of celibacy would have to yield to the primary value. But he is quick to point out that we must be very careful in how we define "shortage of priests." Perhaps the Holy Spirit is telling us something today by the decrease in vocations to the priesthood: so many tasks, even apostolic ones, which were performed by the clergy in the past, really can and should be entrusted to the Christian laity. Throughout his article Rahner shows himself if not cynical at ]east suspicious of the real motivation behind much of the present demand for marriage among the clergy: he does not think that it is inspired by faith and selftess love but by persona! selfishness and the desire for one's own happiness. ln regard to the future, Rahner gives four persona] opinions: 1) The Church should not and in fact will not abrogate · the present law of celibacy. 2) She must improve the education of seminarians about the meaning of celibacy. 3) Shé should be largehearted in gran ting dispensations. 4) She may give the priesthood, as weil as the diaconate, to married men.

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I am inclined to agree with Rahner's prediction about the future of the law of celibacy. I suspect that in the not too distant future we will see the Church ordaining married men to both the diaconate and the priesthood. Dispensations from celibacy together with laicization will be granted more freely if not routinely. But I cannot fm路see the Church ever allowing priests to marry and retain the exercise of their office. As Schillebeeckx has pointed out, from the very earliest times until today, in both the east and the west, the Church has never done that. There have been pressures as great if not greater than there are today for the abolition of this discipline, but the rule has always and everywhere remained the same: no marriage after ordination. I do not expect that in the fot路seeable future the Church will reverse a tradition like that. Ail things, of cout路se, are possible. But what I am talking about is 路 a prudent expectation or hope. PRACTICAL CONCLUSIONS

Let us turn our thoughts now to sorne practical considerations. The first that occurs is this. If it is true that there is no prudent hope of the Church allowing priests to marry, then the practical course for seminarians today is obvious. Let me put it this way. If I were a seminarian today and felt that I had a cali to ministry but not to celibacy, my first comse of action would be to pray to God for the gift of celibacy, believing that he is generous with his graces. But if in the end 1 still did not fee! that I also had a cali to celibacy so that I could freely vow it before him, then I would leave the seminary and get married. This would be a painful decision. But it would be better than accepting sacred orders now with the hope that the law of celibacy will soon be changed, so that in five years or so 1 will be able to get married. We are dealing here with practical knowledge and prudent estimations. But we have to live out our lives in a world of probabilities. We cannot count . on mere possibilities or make important decisions based on imprudent hopes. lt is difficult enough to avoid making serious mistakes in !ife even when we remain hardheaded and realistic. But the re seems to be another possibility. If the Church does not change the law of celibacy within 5 or 10 years, one could


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apply for a dispensa tian then and retum to the state of a Christian layman. This plan deserves sorne comment. First, it is true that the Church does grant dispensations now and is likely to be even more Jenient in the future. In the past the discipline was rigid and rigidly administered. When I was in the seminary we were told a story, which I suspect was spurious and something of an exaggeration, but which did accurately reflect the mood of that period. According to the tale, a bishop wrote a petition to the Holy See asking for a dispensation from celibacy and Jaicisation for one of his priests. The bishop outlined ali the grave reasons, and argued th at the priest's etemal salvation was at stake; and so he ended his letter asking for the dispensation "ne pereat" (lest he perish). The Holy See answered the petition with one ward: "Pe1¡eat" (let him perish). Now, of course, a priest can be dispensed without too much trouble. There is no universal pattern, but ordinarily, with a minimum of red tape, a man can expect a favorable reply within 6 months. There is no problem with this practice at the theoretical leve!. The commitment that a man makes at ordination is not an absolute one. It cannat be. Only an absolute being can effect anything that is absolute. A vow is a promise about the future, but many of the contingencies of the future remain hidden from us. The Church or any human authority cannat make a law which binds absolutely in ali possible situations precisely because a human authority cannat foresee ali possible situations. Neither can an individual legislate for himself, as it were, in any absolute way. He will change and so will his circumstances in ways that he cannat forsee. And sometimes this change will result in a persona! situation in which he can not and should not remain a priest. In fact, if the Church did not grant dispensations from her law, 1 could imagine a situation in which an individual would still not only be permitted but obliged to get married without a dispensation, making a prudent use of epikeia; for if there is a conflict between the good and the law, a man is bound always to the good, not to the law. N onetheless, to say that the Church can, does, and should give dispensations from celibacy after a man has committed himself to it at ordination, and to say that no man can make


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a truly absolu te commitment is not to tell the whole story. For while the Church does grant dispensations ex parte post, that is after ordination, she still requires and expects a total, final, permanent commitment ex parte ante, that is before ordination. And it is essential to understand that while this commitment cannot be permanent in any absolute sense, it is permanent humano modo, in a truly human sense. To say that there are no absolute commitments among human beings is not to say that there are no commitments and that they are not truly commitments and that none of them are in any sense final, permanent and binding. A promise is a promise and demands fidelity, even though there may be extraordinary circumstances in which its binding force breaks down. It would certainly be inexcusably dishonest to feign this promise from the beginning. And it would be wrong to go back on it when one encounters difficulties. Celibacy is not only a gift; it is a Iso a task and a goal always still to be achieved. To put this in another way, a priest is obliged to celibacy by both a juridical bond and a moral commitment; and these two are not the same thing. The Church can dispense from the juridical bond, but she cannat touch the moral commitment: that is between the individual persan and God. Therefore, it is conceivable that a priest might go through all the proper legal channels and forms and be released by the Church from his juridical bond, with a smile and a warm handshake from his bishop, and still be quite guilty before God because of infidelity to his moral commitment. There are certainly good reasons, as I have said, why a priest may not be any longer obliged to his original moral commitment, so much so that he ought to leave the active priesthood and marry. But it would be a sign not of Christian charity but of heterodox doctrine to whitewash ali cases in general and automatically, as if there is no sin ever involved. As someone recently remarked, the only sinners in the world are not just the generais in Vietnam and Mayor Daley. Priests also can sin, and one of the sins they can commit is infidelity to the commitment they made at ordination. Because of the high moral value in a commitment Bernard Haring argues that a priest who rejects his celibacy should never be allowed to return to the active priesthood. He argues that after having made a solemn promise in which he affirmed


CELIBACY

17

his knowledge of celibacy and his free acceptance of it, how could he proclaim the morality of covenant, which is a morality of fidelity. A priest is not only a functionary; he is a witness of that which is at the heart of his message. ln summary, the principal conclusion 1 would draw from ali this is that while there is no necessary connection between celibacy and ministry, there is a strong af!inity, a positive accord, a suitability or fittingness. The reasons given for the aflinity prove only that, not more. To object to them because they do not prove any necessary connection, because there is another way possible, and so forth, is to misdirect one's aim and to confuse the argument. One can only listen to the reasons and through them try to estimate the strength and value of this aflinity. And then, in this context, with an appreciation of this positive accord or suitability, and only then, can one rightly evaluate the practical reasons for maintaining or changing the Church law. 1 would like to conclude by quoting this paragraph from Richard McCormick. "One would suspect that in this area we are more than ever

liable to the inducements of an unrecognized utilitarianism. Celibacy participates in the mystery of Christ and in the folly of the cross in a way which at least partially resista analysis by theological argument and counterargurnent. Furthermore, as a form of witness, its effects are in the spiritual order and impervious to the type of empiricism we cling to so ardently. Does this not mean that the full value of celibacy is hard to come by? Does it not therefore mean that a judgment of the obsoleteness of a law requiring universal celibacy would be a very harrowing undertaking? 1 would not conclude from this that a conclusion of obsoleteness can never be drawn, or that it will not become clear one da.y that a celibate priesthood is a luxury we cannot afford. This is a possibility and we must remain open to it. 1 mean rather that there are value-factors about celibacy and a generally celibate priesthood which run rather deep. It is deceptively easy to be triggerhappy when discussing the usefulness or uselessness of a law which, drawing on these value-factors, prescribes celibacy for ali priests."


Peter Chirico. S.S. MORAL SURVEY 1970

Morality in General and Birth Control in Particular

Theologians should begin to gmpp/e with papal documents in a manner anawgous to thei-l' g1¡appling with Scripture.

This article is basically an effort to clarify the context within which operate the laws of morality in general and the laws pertaining to marriage and birth control in particular. Failure to grasp this context, I contend, has led to a fundamental confusion in the minds of many Christians and has, in addition, caused an unnecessarily extreme devaluation of the past theo. logical tradition and the present magisterial teaching in the birth control question. Accordingly, I will take up three basic points: the general nature of the laws of the uni verse and their applicability to concrete cases; significant aspects of the laws we cali "moral laws ;" and an application of the principles discussed in the first two sections to the particular case of birth control. 19


20

CHICAGO STUDIES THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE

In this section I shall treat four general characteristics of general laws, the uniqueness of each concrete case to which general laws are applied, and sorne practical conclusions regarding these characteristics of general laws and their applicability. For the pm¡poses of clarity I shall attempt to illustrate the points to be made by a simplified usage of generally known physical or mathematical laws. General laws, as exemplified in physics and mathematics, have four characteristics that concern us: they are universal, abstract, ideal, and co-present. First of ali, they are universal, that is, they are applicable to the totality of occurences or things of a given type. Thus, the law of gravitation ( I prescind for simplicity's sake from the qualifications necessitated by Einstein's work) applies to the relationship of ali material bodies to one another. Any two such bodies in the universe are drawn to one another in direct proportion to their respective masses and in inverse proportion to the square of the distances between them. There are no exceptions. Secondly, general laws are abstract. Each such law refers not to the totality of relationships of the concrete objecta considered but to one specifie relevant aspect among these relationships. Thus, the law of gravitation refers only to the attraction existing between two bodies. But any two bodies may have a whole host of other qualities in themselves and in their interrelationships. I am a body and the moon is a body. Gravity does describe one aspect of my relationship to the moon. However, there are other relationships between myself and the moon; for it furnishes me with light; it has been associated with important events in my historical development; it has t¡ecently been the focus of attention as a result of man's touching on its surface. Further, bath the moon and I are constitutecl by elements that are intelligible in terms of a large number of physical, biological, or even psychological laws that are in no way comprised in the law of gravity. To switch the illustration to mathmatics, let us consider that Eucliclian geometry deals with the sizes and shapes of objecta. However, no physical objecta exista that does not have mass and color of sorne sort. Universal geometrie laws simply abstract from these other qualities.


MORAL

21

Thirdly, general laws are ideal. They presuppose that unattainable condition of "ali other things being equal." Thus, the law of gravity presupposes a pet¡fect vacuum; and the geometrician's cit¡cle possesses a center having no dimensions ami a circumference having neither width nor depth. In concrete reality a perfect vacuum is only approachable, not attainable; and the geometrician's perfect circle cannot even be imagined. Fourthly, general laws are co-present. By this 1 mean that the explanation of what occurs in a given concrete case (this is true of the physical uni verse rather than of the mathematical one) invariably involves the invoking of more than one law. Hence, what occurs is explicable only in terms of a combination of laws in an appropriate order. Thus, in order to determine the orbit of a rocket circling the earth one must take into account the law of gravitation, the laws of resistance, and the la,vs of inertia. THE CONCRETE CASE

Keeping in mind these four characteristics of general laws, let us now turn to the uniqueness of each concrete case. The intelligibility of that uniqueness sp1¡ings from a number of factors. In the first place, each class of cases is understoad by combinations of different laws. Orbits are understood in terms of the laws of gravity, inertia and resistance; but the movement of gases is understood in tenns of a different set of laws. However, even where we find the same set of laws is at work, we shall note that each case is unique. lnvariably the relevant data explained by the same combination of general laws differs in each case. Thus, although the determination of every orbit involves the usage in proper order of the laws enumerated above, yet the position, speed, weight, size, and atmospheric resistance that pertain to given satellites will differ. This difference in the significant data of each concrete case means that each case will represent a unique orbit despite the orderly applicability of the same general laws. ln short, because there are many general laws, because each concrete case represents intelligibly a combination of a set of these laws, because each concrete case involves a unique set of empirically


22

CHICAGO STUDIES

determined measurements, concrete cases (as a general rule, at !east) are as concrete uniquely intelligible. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, I would conclude this section by pointing to two practical conclusions from the above discussion. First, the uniqueness of each case in no way invalidates the general law. That an airplane does not fall to the ground in no way invalidates the law of gravity. Secondly, it is incorrect and practically dangerous to attempt to amalgamate ali the relevant laws in a given type of case and to attempt to treat these cases as instances of one general combined law. One must constantly keep in mind the distinct laws that make the given case intelligible. Th us, to amalgamate the laws involved in an orbit into a single law applicable to this concrete orbit is incorrect in that it would attempt to understand the orbit in terms of a prior stage of our knowledge when laws tended to be undifferentiated and combined into a single fOl¡mulation. In the case in hand this would be to return to the ancient notion of the separate movements of the bodies of the heavens in place of the advanced conclusions of science enunciated in the distinct correlations of the laws of inertia, mass, and resistance. Moreover, such a reduction to a simplified law is not only theoretically unsound; it cou id have practical disastrous consequences. One has only to imagine a scientifically naive spaceman who has no knowledge of the distinct law of gravity and who consequently slows down his rocket ship in order to get a better view of the earth. Quite literally, because of his ignorance he would be riding for a fall. SIGNIFICANT ASPECTS OF MORAL LAWS

In this section I shall touch on four points: the basic moral law; the meaning of specifie moral laws; the combination of moral laws in concrete cases; and the particular reason for the increased difficulty in ma king moral decisions toda y. First, the basic moral law is enunciated in the two great commandments by Christ. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole sou!, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets" (Mt. 22 :37-40; cf., Mk. 12: 29-31; Lk. 10 :27).


MORAL

23

This basic moral law indicates that man must grow toward a total relationship of union with his fellow men and with his Creator. Translated into more abstract te1ms this implies what I would cali the law of perfection and the law of integration. On the one hand, the law of perfection demands that man move toward the completion of every aspect of his being-biological, psychological, intellectual, and volitional. He is to love God and neighbor with his whole heart, 1uhole sou!, 1vhole minci, and wh ole will. On the other hand, the law of integration demands that this love of self in love of God and neighbor be a love of the persan as a unit. This means that varions aspects of the one man-biological, psychological, intellectual and volitional -should operate in an integrated and unified way so that it is truly one man who emerges loving with a single integrated love. In summary, the basic moral law sets forth an ideal (the ideal of the perfected communion of saints) according to which each man is called to totally and unifiedly love himself, ali other men, and ultimately his Creator. Jesus Christ enters necessarily into this schema because he is at once the Man among men and the very expression of God amongst us. Secondly, specifie moral laws are simply expressions of limited aspects of the general moral law enunciated in the two great commandments. "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets" (Mt. 22 :40). Accordingly, specifie laws represent abstract ideals, attempts ta manifest in a more precise way the values expressed globally in these two comandments. Thus, the prohibition of lying and the corresponrhng demand for truth-telling inculcate a single aspect of the concrete relationship of persans in themselves ancl ta others. I must tell the truth, on the one hand, in order to preserve and foster my persona! integration by making my speech accord with what I understand. Fmiher, I must be truthful because it is only in this way that my meaning-conveying speech will allow another to understand as I understand and hence bring about our unity in understanding. However, since the truth conveying aspect of any concrete speaking is never the total meaning of that speaking, the command to tell the truth is but a specifie law representing a single abstract ideal out of the total number of abstract ideals that are globally expressed in the first and second commandments.


24

CHICAGO STUDIES

Thirdly, in concrete cases there are often present a number of values, each of which is represented by a specifie moral law. This is the moral analogue to the characteristic of copresence that we illustrated in the realm of physical laws. M01¡eover, this co-presence of a number of values and a number of laws means that individual concrete cases bear a unique moral value and must be judged uniquely precisely because the persona! aspects of the data that come under the laws in question ditfers in each case. Just as the combination of the same physical laws leads to different orbits because of different physical data present in the cases of two satellites, so too the combination of the same moral laws leads to different moral evaluations because the moral data (freedom, awareness, relative wotth of the values involved, etc.) in concrete cases differ. To clarify the above paragraph we may take an extended example. In the old moral textbooks killing in self-defense is justifiee! as moral under cettain conditions; and it is generally agreee! that one ma)• heroically refuse to defend oneself and thereby Jose one's !ife. However, one is apparently never obliged to lay down one's !ife in these cases. I would like to suggest that such an analysis is a bit too simplistic and that a more searching study along the !ines of various moral laws at work in the same concrete case will both manifest the value of the theory of the co-presence of moral laws and reveal the inadequacies of sorne of the old presentations of the theory of self-defense. VARIOUS LAWS AT WORK

First of ali, one is obliged to love himself. Therefore, he must protect his own !ife. On the other hand, he is held to promote union with his neighbor; hence, he must make every effort to safeguard and promote his neighbor's !ife. However. in the extreme case of self-defense, one either kills his assailant or he !oses his life. Assuming that the one attacked has control of the situation, in either case he foregoes a real value inculcated by the set of abstract moral laws applicable to the case. This is a case in which two laws express the moral intelligibility of a concrete event. Moreover, the manner in which these laws actually apply will differ in each case. Thus, in one case I as the one attacked may be a man with six children and


MORAL

25

a wife who have no other means of support whereas my attacker may be a single man who as insane cannot be expected to make any great contribution to society. In such a case I will probably be obliged to defend my !ife even at the cost of my assailant's. However, it is quite possible that a different set of facts will dictate a different moral evaluation involving the same two laws of preserving my !ife and that of my neighbor. Suppose that I am a man with no depenclents. Suppose further that my whole !ife has been dedicated to peace and to turning the other cheek in the face of violence. Suppose that I have become a world-wide symbol of such a value in addition to having the value mark my whole being. In this case, should I be attacked, I would be destroying my very integrity as weil as my witness value to the world by defending myself. If I were in possession of my senses, I would have no moral choice but to give up my life. Admittedly this is an extreme case. It is chosen, however, because it weil illustrates in a time of pacifism the manner in which the co-presence of abstract moral laws can lead to different moral evaluations in different cases involving the same laws. A further clarification of this case may illustrate more clearly what is to be done when moral laws are co-present in concrete cases. ln the first place, an attempt must be made to implement each value involved and expressed by each law. In the case in hand, I would be obliged to work to save both my !ife and that of my assailant. Thus, if I am capable of disarming him, 1 must do so. By such an action 1 manifest in physical movement my intent to preserve both values and both laws. Thereby, 1 live u p to the total command of the two great commandments as 1 see it manifeste<! in the specifie commands to preserve my own life and the life of my neighbor. However, it may happen that 1 cannot implement ali the values and ali the laws in the given instance. 1 simply cannot preserve both my !ife and the life of my attacker. In this case, I will be forced to make a choice, and the choice must be in the direction of the preponderance of moral values in the concrete. Th us, in the one instance citee! above, 1 would have to take the li fe of my brother; in the second instance, I would have to lay down my own. Exactly which law and which concrete value are to receive the preference cannot be determinee!


26

CHICAGO STUDIES

beforehand but must be decided according to the concrete facts of each case. Nor is this ali. I may not simply choose the greater value and act if the moral laws in this case had amalgamated into a single law permitting the taking of !ife. l may not simply state that self-defense is moral路 and that. therefore, I may wholeheartedly give myself to the activity of saving my !ife by killing another. Rather, l must regret taking the other's li fe even as l take it. I may rejoice that my own li fe is saved; I may not rejoice that the other's !ife is !ost. l must strive to keep alive in my mind the realization that taking another's !ife is always a disorder that never may be simply accepted and l must work in the degree possible to eliminate conditions under which the taking of life becomes a moral necessity. In general, I must see those cases in which it is impossible to 1路ealize the values represented by co-present laws as so many challenges to be met and so many disorders in the human condition to be overcome. Because of the total exigencies of the first two commandments that represent the final goal towarcl which ali mo>路ality moves, I may never be content with an~i;hing Jess than perfection. I have to proceed according to my capabilities, and this will involve many imperfect acts that constitute the best that l can do. N ev er may I rest in su ch imperfect acts in a self-satisfied wa)', even though they may not be sinful. To do so would be to mistake a partial and imperfect means for the full and perfected end. And this in itself constitutes what is one of the worst of sins, if not the worst. Fourthly, it will not be amiss to mention briefty the particular reason for the increased difficulty in making moral decisions today. Due to the complexification of society and of the people who constitute it, there is an increase in the number of factors and the corresponding abstract moral laws that pertain to concrete cases. The co-presence of a greater number of laws as weil as the g~路eater variability in the actual data that these laws render intelligible make it inevitable that the moral evaluations of situations today will on the whole be far more problematical than such evaluations were in the past. If this complexity causes us problems, it is also the circumstance that allows us to see more clearly than in the past the factors that enter into any moral decision.


MORAL

27 APPLICATION TO BlRTH CONTROL

ldeally a treatment of birth control should occur within the context of a whole theology of marriage. Unfortunately, Jack of space makes this fuller treatment possible. Here we can only treat the act of intercourse itself. However, we can brief!y place the act of intercourse within the whole context of marriage by indicating that it is the supreme expression of the meaning of the ma!Tiage and as such epitomizes what the marriage stands for as a relationship of a man and a woman, as the womb from which olfspring derive, and as a basic unit of society having responsibilities of that society. Although there are further values to be expressed by the act of intercourse in a Christian marriage (e.g., the values of a rela.tionship to Christ and what I would cali the "transcendent value"), we shall have to be content with the treatment of the three indicated above. l ntercourse, th en, in the con crete expresses three values: the value of the relationship of husband and wife; the value of their creative movement toward olfspring; the value of their responsibility to their already existing chilclren and to society as a whole. Moreover, because each of these relationships represents an aspect of the supreme law enunciated in the first and second commanclments, each of these relationships is renderecl intelligible by an abstract, universal, ideal specifie la"·· Finally, since ali of these values and laws pertain to the same concrete act, we can speak of the co-presence of th1·ee laws which we shall denominate respectively as the law of integral persona! relationship, the law of integ1·al (whether procreative or not) intercourse, and the law of total responsibility. ln the ·remainder of this section we shall clarify the meaning of these three laws, their co-presence in concrete cases, anrl the solution of the conflicts engendered by their co-presence in certain instances. The act of intercourse falls under the law of integ1·al persona! relationship. This means that a married couple is called to g1·ow to be one f!esh and one spirit. FU!'ther, this oneness is to be expressed supremely in the act of intercourse in an integ1·al way. This means that intercourse is not to be simply a union of bodies but a total union of persons in which the bodies of the couples, their psychological attitudes, and their intellec-


28

CHICAGO STUDIES

tuai and volitional self-giving ali mesh and re-inforce one another. The law of integral persona! relationship regarding intercourse is, therefore, the expression of an ideal. It is a specifie aspect of the first and second commandments. Like these two commandments it will never be completely realized. But like these two commandments it may never be denied in the sense that the couples become satisfied to rest in the mediocrity of their sexual union. Rather, they are continuously challenged to see intercourse as the supreme expression of their persona! relationship that mirrors the inadequacies of that relationship. Then the law of integral persona! relationship becomes a demand to grow toward closer persona] union and through that union to more integral sexual expression. In summary, a married couple is held by the total exigence of the two great commandments to perfect their persona! relationship to one another. To the extent that sexual intercourse as the supreme expression of the meaning of that relationship is needed to foste1· that relationship, intercourse is an obligaion as weil as a privilege. Finally, if intercourse is to fulfill its proper function in the marriage, it must be an intercourse that unites man and wife physically, psychologically, intellectually, and morally in the fullest degree. The act of intercourse also falls under the law of integral intercourse. By this I mean that the physical act has or has not certain procreative qualities and that the man and woman involved are to express themselves in an integral way by psychologically, intellectually, and morally accepting those procreative or non-procreative qualities. Thus, when the physical act is known to have no procreative qualities, the couple may not desire a child through it. On the other hand, when procreation is known to be a certainty, then the integration of the act would demand that this creative thrust of the act be fully accepted by the husband and wife. The point is that idealy each persan should always act in an integrated way. Body, sou!, minrl and will should not be working at cross pm·poses but should be in hm·mony with one another. The law of integral intercourse simply applies this to the act of physical union of the spouses. THE MEANING OF RHYTHM

The real meaning of rhythm and its basic shortcomings


MORAL

29

should now be more clear. Rhythm is basically not a method of contraception at ali. Rather, it is a backhanded way of stating that intercourse should alwiys be based on knowledge so that the couple can fully enter its meaning. It would be a more human and expressive act if a couple would know that procreation would follow. This very intercourse would then be both an expression of union of man and wornan and a known and willed procreative act. On the other hand, if they knew that procreation would not follow, they could and would realize that the act had only unitive pm·poses, and it is these pm·poses that would constitute the total focus of their attenion. The problem with rhythm is twofold. On the one hand, it does not yet furnish us with fully reliable information on the procreative possibilities of intercourse in vast numbers of cases. On the other hand, it has been regarded as a perfectly valid means of contraception that is to be perfected in any way possible. Thus, we have a number of Catholic doctors who are using ali sorts of pills to regulate cycles of women. Renee, the very interference with biological processes that is condemned in the case of birth control pills, condoms, etc., is invoked to estsblish rhythm. We would suggest that the interference with physical processes by anything from birth control pi lis to LSD for purposes other then the restoration of the physical organism or its integral preservation is always a dangerous procedure. (To estsblish why this is so would be to extend this paper beyond limits. I am preparing a much more detailed and scientific account that will take up this question.) What is needed is not the regularizing of the cycle (unless that could be proved to be medically desirable in its own right), but the achievement of knowledge of the procreative capacities of intended acts of intercourse. If that knowledge could be attainable through a cyclical knowledge of a woman's system, weil and good. But if it can be attainable in other ways, then these should be explored. Knowledge is always of value. Knowledge always permits one to perfect the vm·ious aspects of his make-up and to integrate them. Regulating a cycle or completely interfering with the procreative processes may have side-effects of dangerous magnitude in the long run. In any case, the ideal of integrated intercourse is not achieved by these


30

CHICAGO STUDIES

means but only by a much greater knowledge of the human person thau we now possess. Finally, the act of intercourse falls under the law of total responsibility. By this we mean that like each human act the act of intercouse has effects that reach out to others and that insofar as these effects are known they must be taken into account. Th us, if intercourse is probably going to be procreative, the couple has to consider whether they as a family unit can suppo1t another child without depriving the already existing children of necessities required by their culture. Futther, they have to consider the effects of adding another pet¡son to a country that has living human beings starving for Jack of food or psychologically crushed for Jack of space. Ideally, then, the couple should realize the consequences-procreation or not--of their intended intercourse; and if the total situation in which they find themselves indicates a responsibility to bring forth additional children, they should seek procreative intercourse. If, on the other hand, the human situation warrants an avoidance of fmther offspring, they should limit their intercourse to non-procreative times. Such are the laws of integral persona! relationship, of integral intercourse, and of total responsibility. Taken in abstract isolation, they are simple enough. The problem arises because each of these three laws affects the same concrete act of intercourse and their application will lead to a great variety of resulta due to the variable factors in the differing concrete human situations. THE UNIQUE HUMAN SITUATION

Human situations are unique. Couples have different physical, psychological, and intellectual powers and different capacities of loving at varions stages of thei r li fe togeth er. Local and world situations as weil as family situations change almost daily. The procreative capacities of couples differ and even the same husband and wife have different capacities at different times. 1\foreover, explicit knowledge of ali these factors is always far short of the ideal, although it may be better in sorne cases than in others. The point I wish to make is that each couple in each act of intercourse sta1ts from a unique situation in which the unlimited demands of the first and second corn-


MORAL

31

mandments as expresserl abstractly in the three laws mentioned above must be uniquely applied so as to yield the greatest possible growth for the couple and for society. In each situation ali of the laws hold !!nd none may simply be disregarded; nor may they be amalgamated into a single law such as "Every act of intercourse must be procreative," or "As long as couples love one another and are generally responsible with regard to offspring, it is simply ali right to use contraceptives." Instead the husband 'vife are held in each act of intercourse to foster their integral love for one another, to maintain the integrity of the act, and to take into consideration the conditions of their already existing family and the world situation. They have to strive to realize ali these values insofar as they are able in their given situation. If they cannat realize one of the values such as the value of integral intercourse, they may not simply accept contraception as a good just as a man who must take the !ife of another may not simply accept that lifetaking as a good. Contraception, thus, can only be tolerated to the extent that their are other and greater values that necessitate intercourse here and now and yet also dictate the avoidance of fm-ther children. But one must mani fest one's reluctant acceptance of contraception by a constant effort to overcome the conditions in one's persan and in one's society that make it an unf01-tunate necessity. One must be seeking in the measure possible as an individual and as a member of the Church the knowledge that would render intercourse fully integral. And one must be attempting to grow toward being the persan who can real ize the other values inherent in marriage ( persona! union to one's spouse and regard for the rest of the family and world situation) without contraceptive intercourse. It is this constant drive toward the fulfillment of ali laws inherent in the act of intercourse that is the expression of a couple's acceptance in their limited circumstances and for this limited act of the unlimited cali of the two great commandments. Two fm-ther clarifications may be added by way of a conclusion. First, I shall explain why I have said nothing of sin. Sin is inevitably found only in a concrete act. It is a failure in a given case of a person to move from his limited condition toward the total love of God and man demanded of him. Because concrete starting points for concrete persans performing


32

CHICAGO STUDIES

concrete acts are unique, no general principle can ever establish that a given physical act is a sin. To set up such a principle would be to deny the complexity of the concrete. Unfortunately, theologians speak of "objective sin." This phrase, I submit, is misleading. It can only refer to a deviation from sorne abstract ideal law and so it, too, is an abstraction. Thus, I may say that an act of intercourse in which there is not expressed the whole giving (physically, psychologically, and intellectually} of husband to wife is objectively sinful. What I mean is that the abstract idea,J of the law of integral persona! relationship is not realized. There is a deviation in this concrete act from the abstract ideal. That deviation may righly be called an objective disorder, something to be overcome with the growth of the couples. But to cali it sin (even if one says this is only "objective sin") is to begin to insinuate a moral judgment that can only emerge from the total value of the concrete act in the !ife of the persan in question. HUMANAE VITAE

Secondly, I would add that I believe that the views here advanced are consonant with the views expressed in Humanae Vita.c. To pt¡ove such an assertion would require an exegesis far beyond the scope of this article. What I can do is to suggest that we theologians begin to grapple with papal documents in a manner analogous to the grappling we do with Scripture. We do not say that St. Paul condemned slavery as an institution. It is obvious that he did not. At the same time we go beyond the explicitations of St. Paul. We develop various aspects of his thought. We arrive at conclusions that build upon what he did say and we declare that it is a legitimate development of St. Paul and the other New Testament writers to say that slavery should be condemned. I would suggest that we follow the same procedure with rega.rd to Pope Paul VI. It is not enough simply to state what he said (and I believe what he said in Hmnanae Vitae has been vastly over-simplified in the average interpretation we have seen in the United States) and then proceed to criticize him. Instead, theologians should read this and other papal documents creatively. They must find out what is said, but they must build upon it. They must supply the larger context that may be lacking. (In this connection it


MORAL

33

is interesting to note that Paul VI admitted a few days after Humanae Vitae that it was an incomplete document.) Not to do so is implicitly to accept that a given answer to a complex human situation is advanced as a final answer and not as a stage in the process toward more complete understanding. I find such a mode of operation contrat-y to the ve1-y dynamism of human understanding and to the biblical notion of the Church as an ever growing reality. If we believe, as we must, that o.nly God has final and total answers, then we should act acC()_rding to that belief. We must admit and have recognized .that even the infallible statements of the past can be developed and filled out in their meaning. How much more should we recognize the same with regard to encyclicals such as Humanae Vitae. In short, I would see any official statement in the Church as one element in the Church's process toward total self-understanding. To see this one element as sorne sort of absolu te that must be either accepted or rejected or to assume that one issuing such a statement thinks he is articulating the final word of God is both to mistake the meaning of the theological enterprise and to take the articulator (in this case, Paul VI) for a fool. Renee, when I state that the view I have advanced is consonant with H1tmanae Vitae, I have no intention of claiming that it is precisely the mind of Paul VI. What I do claim is that the general context it sets up is such that within it one can make sense of the more limited view expressed in the encyclical. I would claim, then, that my view does not deny the content of Humanae Vitae. Nor does it repeat it. It is, rather, an attempt to fulfill it.


Charles R. Meyer George J. Dyer Joseph A. Bracken, S.J. Agnes Cunninuham, S.S.C.M.

Doctrinal Survey 1970 1

Seveml professors of theolouy brin.q you here some of the most interesting Ăšleas they have encountered in current theological literature.

THE THEOLOGY OF HOPE

1

1 1 •

Dazzled like a child with a new toy, theologians today are revelling in what almost seems like a new discovery. Man is the only being who hopes. In the manuals of twenty years ago the treatise on the theological virtues looked like a hamburger order at sorne of the popular drive-ins. If one searched carefully he could find a skimpy consideration of the virtue of hope sandwiched in between the two customarily massive disquisitions on faith and charity. But the theologians of the sixties have developed a taste for the elusive meat of hope. Moltmann, Pannenberg, Sauter, Benz, Braaten and Metz, among others, have contributed generously to this erstwhile parsimonious area of theological speculation. Even the atheistic Comrnunist 35


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philosopher Ernst Bloch has gotten into the act and cross-fertilized Christian expectations of a better world to come with his noch nicht (not yet) view of the present one. The tifth volume of the paperback series New Theo/ogy edited by l\'!artin Matty and D. G. Peerman (N.Y., Macmillan, 1968) is pregnant with new ideas relating to the cmTent attempt to restore homeostasis between the traditional Christian eschatological world-view and the Jater trend toward the Nietzschean concept of Diesseitigkeit, bowdlerized to mean a theology of secularity, or concern for man in his present Jife. Existentialist philosophers Jike Jean-Paul Sattre and l\'!artin Heidegger have pointed out that man is essentially a being who lives in the future. His past is gone. As past it is absolutely irretrievable. lt can never again be experienced exactly as it was. As best it can only be memorialized. But such memorialization has, of course, to be colored by the present. It is and has to be selective. Only what is signiticant to present thought is retained from what happened in the past. As it is relived, it is tempered by the mood of the present. The past really is not. At best we can only say that ît was. On the other hand the future is not yet. It can only be projected. As it will never be réalized exactly as it îs projected. Disdaîn for the meagerness of the past and fear of the resj:JOnsibilîty for the future has undoubtedly produced what people so glibly cali the "now" generation. But as Sartre has poînted out, the present too is not. It makes itaelf present precisely by fleeing. Before I can fully conceptualize it, it is gone. Today's psychologists have pointed out that the most important dimension of man's Jife is not spatial, but temporal. l\'!an exista in time, and this fact conditions his whole being and behavior. The renowned Abraham l\'!aslow contends that man lives and loves as intensely as he does, that his whole emotional apparatus is as exciting as it is, precisely because he is always at least subliminally aware of the ftight of time. The existentialist rletinition of man as Dasein (being there, located being) is coming to be seen more and more with reference to time rather than space. l\'!an is the reality whose being is always ahead of him in the future. Man can be simply detined as the being who has a future (and this despite the fact that most of the existentialists do not believe in an afterlife).


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Cur·rent theological thought has been profoundly influenced by the soul-searching reflections of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Protestant theologian who was executed by the Nazis in 1945. Bonhoeffer challenged the traditional idea that belief in Christ's resurrection is sufficient of itself to generate a real hope for the future of mankind. The transcendence of God is not the transcendence of man, but only a mode! for it. "What is above the world," Bonhoeffer wrote from prison, "is in the Gospel intended to exist for the world." If it is to be real our hope cannot be rooted wholly in the eschaton, but has also to be referred to the present !ife. He goes on to make a telling point. The whole brunt of the Church's teaching in the past has been vectored toward an eschatological hope. Heaven and ali it implies--especially resuiTection of the body-has been dangled in front of the Christian like a bone before a hungry dog. The Church has taught that death should hold no fear for the dedicated Christian. In his initiation rite the Catholic has already embraced his death with joy. Symbolically he has already died and risen with Christ. He already lives with the life of the eschaton. To witness constantly to himself that he has already welcomed death, the Christian was encouraged, and at times forced by law under penalty of damnation, to mortify himself, to die to himself. Thus was he to give evidence of his hope. Y et the Church itself did not really believe its own doctrine. Nothing clings as tenaciously to !ife as does the Chur·ch. It fights tooth and nail to preserve its own secure and comfortable way of living. lt shows itself to be afraid to die to old forms. lt changes only when it is forced to. It finds security only in safe, traditional modes of existence. It lives in the past, not in the future. It fears to risk, and so has betrayed its own real Jack of hope. The bad example of the Church has nullified its own teaching. If it has no hope, neither can its members. As Bonhoeffer says: "We no longer live in the age of martyrs." The Church has failed to memorialize the fact that baptism with water in the course of its history became really a substitute for martyrdom when persecution ceased. The real Christian is one who through faith seizes upon the saving events of the past. By means of charity he responds to the needs of the present. Through hope he projects himself into the future. Because he is a man it is really the future dimen-


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sion of his life that is the most significant and fascinating one for the Christian. But the future is not a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is totally dependent upon the present. It is grounderl upon the present. Paradoxically enough, the Christian is the one who lives in the futm¡e right now. This is the source of his hope. DEATH-SOURCE OF HOPE

Modern theologians have heederl the voice of Bonhoeffer. Christians have always lookect upon the Jews of olct as a people who hoped. The essence of their religion which tinctured every aspect of their !ife was the expectation of the servant of Yahweh who was to come as their saviour. Y et as Bonhoeffer says: "Is there any concern in the Old Testament about saving one's sou! at ali?" Images of the afterlife among this people were, to say the !east, vague, and could hardly have formed the underpinning of their hope. Following the guidance of philosophers like Martin Heidegger theologians today are coming to realize that, sb¡ange though it may seem, it is not the future !ife precisely as such, but death itself that is generative of hope. Death, as Heidegger teaches, is innermost to man. It is invincible and universal. It is absolutely irrelative. It will stand though everything else falls. There is no truth that is phenomenologically so apparent to man than the fact of his death. Nothing is more certain. Yet death is not just something that happens to man. It is (as researchers like Dr. Elizabet Ross confirm) an act of his personhood. As his goal it is a factor inftuencing every moment of man's existence. But really one has no persona! experience of it. One witnesses it in others, but must believe in it as relating to oneself. The dread and anxiety that such a belief engenders is most intimate, bonegnawing, absolute and uncompromising. So often it is reduced through psychological. counter-phobic me<!hanisms. If one is not to be paralyzed, it must be avoided. So often according to Heidegger people make use of the "one like many" rationalization to conceal the¡ horror of the ir own death. "Others have faced it; when my time cornes, I too will be ready." Even this rationalization .itself can be a source of the hope and courage man must have togo on living. But a more authentic view also resulta in hope. Though death is absolutely certain and


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deeply persona!, it is actually not definable as to its what, when and how, as Heidegger puts it. Death's facticity is obscurable. And this condition leads ineluctably to the formation of the distinctively human passion of hope. Death, as Heidegger states, is "not-yet-for-the-time-being." The only realistic attitude toward death according to Heidegger is one of "running fm¡ward in thought" to encounter it. But in this very act one becomes aware of the fact that it is "not-yet-for-the-time-being." And one also cornes at that moment to realize the importance of the "now." It is this realization that strikes at the roots of man's tendency toward selfapotheosis. It is this realization that brings man to accept his own humanity-the Christian might weil add-as God accepted it. Perhaps Heidegger's elucubmtions about death and hope stem from his own Christian background. At any rate theologians have found a marked similarity in them to what ought to be a Christian's attitude toward death. And from them they have gleaned a new anthropotropic dimension of hope that makes possible dialogue with men like Ernst Bloch. But the eschatological orientation of the Christian !ife is not thereby totally eradicated from the writings of theologians like !Vloltmann, Pannenberg and Metz. Far from it. Like Malraux they view de ath as transformation of !ife into destiny. And man's destiny can be appreciated fully only from God's revelation. More in the vein of Teilhard they apprehend the Gospel message to mean that the whole cosmos has become the instrument of God's own humanity. They see the world really as a divine milieu and death as the final appropriation of the paschal mystery. And they are able to hope more than ever, because in the words of Carl Braaten they know that the Christian "no longer has to die alone on a Godforsaken hill." C.M. THE UGLY AMERICAN

There is little doubt that the Sixties saw the "human persan" take its place among the paramount values in American society. Among the young especially there was not only an intense concern for self-fulfillment but a resentment of any authority that seemed to suppl'ess human values. Locked in every


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functionary, it was felt, there was a person waiting to be set free if only we could strike the chains of a depersonalizing society. Paradoxically, along with the development of this new humanism, the Sixties saw the birth of a new savagery: the assassination of the Kennedys and King, the fiery riots of Watts, Detroit, Chicago and-the distant guns of Vietnam. The paradox is causing sorne, like theologian Roger Shinn, (The New Humanism) to ask if our image of man has gone soft. Is the new humanism too indulgent, too utopian? Is it unwilling to look as the ugly side of man? In his recent book, Love and Will. psychiatrist Rollo May suggests that this is indeed the case. Anger, rage, sex, the craving for po,ver, he writes, are aH, functions of the human personality. Any one of them, moreover, has the power to usurp the whole persan and with devastating results. Western man, however, has no stomach for looking at this unpleasant side of himself. He prefers to repress it, seeking refuge in the herd-an anonymity easily open to him in our society. But a society in transition is poor refuge from the "daimonic"; for it is primarily in moments of transition that psychic defenses a1¡e weak or broken down altogether. And the repressed daimonic erupts in sorne other form: violence in the streets, assassination, the "murders on the moor." May's analysis of the daimonic is based on his own extensive psychiatrie practice; nevertheless, it is strongly reminiscent of a classic theme in Christian theology, that of concupiscence. Concupiscence has hardly been a fashionable topic in recent theological writing, although Paul, Augustine, and Luther saw it as a shattering power weighing down upon man in his struggle for salvation. This fact itself tends to confirm Shinn's suspicion that our image of man is going soft. Contemporary theology prefers to center on the power and not upon the weakness of man, a curious remove from the minds of Paul and Augustine (cf. Thomas Ogletree in New Theo/ogy, n. 6). Psychiatrist May might weil be offering the theologian a valuable corrective for his emerging mode! of man. For if I am not mistaken, concupiscence has unexpectedly reappeared as the "dainwnic" in the pages of Love and Will. May does not see it as the villain in the drama of persona! salvation but rather as a


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virus contributing to the malaise of our sick society. Nevertheless, the points of context between theologian and psychiatrist are interesting. THE DAIMONIC

The daimonic, May writes, is initially experienced as a blind push, driving us to the assertion of ourselves. lt is the drive to affinn, assert, perpetuate, and increase om¡selves. Since it is blind, the daimonic must be channeled and directed, integrated and made persona]. Like Plato's snorting horses, it demands ali a man's strength to control; yet, it can never be fully mtional. At once creative and destructive, it can lead men to heights undreamed of, or it can erupt in war and violence. ln itself, however, it is neither good nor evil, but bivalent; it becomes ev il wh en it overpowers the whole person without regard to its integration or the need that others have for integration. May's point is that the corrosive potential of the daimonic is sm¡facing in our society. We dislike this cruel side of ourselves and tend to hide it. But since the repression is painfully futile, men tend to welcome its eruption in war and mass violence for these both satisfy the daimonic and shelter man from responsibility. For here there is the excitement of surrender -no more isolation, _or persona! responsibility; "they" (the group mind) are responsible. CoNCUPISCENCE

Concupiscence is addmittedly one of the most difficult topics in theology. It is the result of sin, Trent teaches, and leads to sin; yet in a sense it is "natural" to man; (as Pius V taught against Baius) freedom from concupiscence is an unexacted gift even for man before the fall. N ow sm¡ely there is a paradax here. How could God have fol'llled man with a "natural" inclination to sin? Catholic theologians, of course, reject the question out of hand because it grows out of a misunderstanding of concupiscence. Their analysis, largely basee] on Karl Rahner's essay of twenty years ago (lnvestiaation. I) is in sorne respect strikingly similar to Rollo May's. Concupiscence, they point out, is both blind and bivalent; it is the spontaneous reactive attitude of the human person that necessarily precedes


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free decision and can even persist in the teeth of it. Rahner disagreed with the traditional manualists who labelled this phenomenon "evil concupiscence." The label, he said, moves the question too quickly from dogmatic to moral or ascetical theology, and makes unintelligible the primordial gift of integrity. M01¡eover, it fails to consider the bivalent character of concupiscence, which can be a deterrent to the evil as weil as to the good that we would do. The instinct of panic and flee in the face of danger, for instance, may weil deter a bank robber from his crime; of course, it can also lead the solrlier to abandon his post in the face of the en emy. Our human experience, therefore, makes it clear that both . good and evil decisions can encounter the resistance of the spontaneous act that precedes them. The gift of integrity is poorly understood when it is seen as the elimination of "evil concupiscence" for it would require a series of divine interventions blocking the spontaneous act when it resisted a good decision. Rahner secs it rather as actuating man's possibility of integrating, making persona! even the spontaneous acts that precede free decision. In this case the person so wholly assumes the human act that there is no remnant of the pre-persona! to resist his decision; otherwise inaccessible depths of his being are thus integrated into his decision. Since integrity is a gift, however, concupiscence must be seen as somehow "natural" to man; yet with integrity's Joss through sin, concupiscence can be said to result from sin and to lead to sin. There is a temptation here for the Catholic theologian to see concupiscence as harmless, since it is "natural" to mana far cry certainly from the intuitions of Paul and Augustine. Here again May's analysis of the daimonic can serve as a valuable corrective for the theologian. Whatever else it may be, the daimonic is not harmless. Because of it men carry within themselves the seeds of their own destruction; they must ha te as weil as love. For this reason May rejects Fromm's Al't of Loving. He agreed with Douglas Morgan that no "calisthenic healthy-mindedness, no liberal utilitarian technology will bring peace on earth." What is needed is a toughminded view of ourselves that admits the existence of the daimonic and sb¡ives to integrate it, to personalize it. If May is correct, men in our society refuse to recognize the daimonic; they flee from it or


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repress it, thus making themselves accomplices of its destructive possibilitie. For when the daimonic is repressed, it tends to erupt elsewhere. In our society, he points out, the most effective way of evading the daimonic is by losing ourselves in the herd. Conformism and anonymity relieve us of our daimonic urges while insUt¡ing their satisfaction. But anonymity can lead to loneliness and alienation; and so young men in the streets band together in violent attacks to make felt their self assertion. The only way to get over the daimonic, says May, is to possess it by frankling confronting it, coming to terms with it, integrating it into the self system. While both Rahner and May agree that man must stt¡ive to integrate the daimonic into the self, both see final success eluding man. Rahner places the dilemma in a Christian setting. Christ in his agon y knew fear and apprehension; nevertheless he completely personalized these blind forces. Man makes his own \\Testling with the daimonic salvific by uniting it to the passion of Christ. As we move into the Seventies, few ideas will be as crucial to sound theology as our image of man. Theologians have their perennially difficult task of keeping the theological mode! in balance by rej ecting both the pessimistic and the utopian.

G.D. THEOLOGY: GOD-TALK OR MAN-TALK

"What often has been called modern man's 'crisis of faith' also can be referred to as a 'crisis of language.' For men of faith, 'the Ward' still is clear and resonant, but the 'words about the \Vord' are blUtTed and indistinct, ]ost in a conf,Jsion of tongues" (Roy Larson, "New Words and 'the right Word,' " Chicayo Sun-Times. Dec. 24, 1969, p. 14). The newspaper columnist, referred to above, certainly expressed the felt j udgment of many priests and lay people in the Chuo¡ch today. Never in the long history of Christianity has there been so much written in theology and about contemporary theologians, and yet the net effect for many people has been largely "a confusion of tangues." One of the leading American . theologians, however, John Macquarrie of Union Theological


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Seminary in New York, offers in his book God-Talk· (New York: Harper and Row, 1967) a key to the intricacies of theological language today, a basic logic of theological discourse, which bears furlher investigation. Maequarrie suggests, first of ali, that ali language derives its meaning from a given "discourse-situation," and that theological language is no exception. Theological language is namely intelligible only within that discourse-situation, in which people try to articulate and share with one another their existential understanding of that reality which lies deepest in their consciousness, namely God as holy Being, t11e ground of one's own persona] being. Sacred Scripture and works of theology which are based upon it are only instrumental to this persona! understanding of God which ali have and yet which no one can perfectly articulate. In the following pa1·agraphs, I will analyze further the discourse-situation of theological language, as Macquarrie understands it, and then add a critique, in which I hope to make clear sorne of my own reservations about this identification of Gad with holy Being and the existential !agie of theology which is derived from it. Every discourse-situation, according to Macquarrie, in volves three tenns: the persan speaking, the persan spoken to, and the object about which something is said. Language is the medium which constitutes the discourse-situation by linking these three tenns in a dynamic unity. This does not exclude the possibility of non verbal communication between the speaker and the one spoken to, nor does it deny the reality of perconceptual experience of the abject. But the discourse-situation as such is linguistic; hence it exists only in virtue of spoken or written language. Theology or God-Talk, therefore, is the bond of communication between two or more persans who are trying to communicate to one another their persona! unclerstanding of an objective reality, God as holy Being. What distinguishes theological language from other fm·ms of discourse, however, can best be understood from a closer examination of each of the tel"lllS in the discourse-situation of theology. The first term, the speaker, is seeking to express something about God; but he is also, according to Maequarrie, in a unique way giving expression to himself as a concrete being-in-the-world. Ali language is se!f-revealing to sorne

,,


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extent; but theological language is especially revealing of the selfhood of the speaker, since it involves a commitment of the entire person to a reality which is strictly commensurate with one's "total existence." Whereas scientific language almost dispenses with the persona! element in knowledge because of the strictly defined, impersonal character of its object, theological language is highly persona! precisely because its "object," Cod, cannat be fully distinguislted from the subject, the speaker himself in his existential reality as a being-in-theworld. In his analysis of this first term of the theological discourse-situation, Macquarrie is clearly relying upon the phenomenological analysis of Martin Heidegger in Beina and Time on the subject of Dasein or human "existence." In my critique I will return to this point in order to point out sorne of the limitations for objective knowledge of Cod which are implicit in this approach. The second tetm to be considered is that of the person adrlressed or spoken to. Communication between two persons in any discourse-situation presupposes a mutual unrlerstanding of what is being talked about. Theological language too presupposes that the person addressed is at !east familiar with the concept of Cod. Furthermore, the deeper the persona! experience of Cod which the individual has, the more receptive he will be to the language of the speaker about his (the speaker's) un· derstanding of Cod. Macquarrie relies chiefly upon J osiah Royce for his explanation of this second term in the theological discourse-situation. Communication, according to Royce in his book The Problem of Ch1·i•tW.nity (University of Chicago Press, 1968), always takes place within a "community of interpretation," the members of which share a wide spectrum of common interests and mutual experiences. Fina]ly, the third term in the discourse-situation of theolo!P· is that of the object spoken about, namely Cod as holy Being. Macquarrie is consciously seeking a middle-ground position here between the logical positivists who deny that the word "Cod" has any empirical significance and scholastic metaphysicians who claiin that analogical language about Cod is meaningful in virtue of the causal relation between the unseen God and His visible creation. On the one hand, Macquarrie deplores the narrowness of the verification principle, as the logical posi-


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tivists have conceived it, since the principle itself cannot, strictly speaking, be "verified" through empirical tests and observations. On the other hand, he has accepted the Heideggerian critique of classical metaphysics; in Heidegger's view the "ontological difference" between Being and beings was ignored in scholastic or theistic metaphysics because of an over-riding preoccupation with God as the Supreme Being or First Cause of the visible universe. In consequence, Macquarrie finds himself in the same middle-ground position on the question of the meaning of Being as Paul Tillich. Tillich suggests that God is Himself Being, not indeed the Supreme Being of classical metaphysics, but the power or ground of Being, in virtue of which ali particular beings have the ir being (cf. Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, I, Pt. 2, University of Chicago Press, 1951). Macquarrie's (and by implication, Tillich's) identification of God with holy Being will be one of the principal points of criticism later in this essay. At the moment, however, sorne additional remarks must be made about Macquarrie's use of this theological discourse-situation in arder to c1¡eate an "existential logic" of theology. THE EXISTENTIAL LOGJC OF THEOLOGY

His argument is that Sacred Scripture and theological works of earlier centuries are often difficult to comprehend because the basic idiom in which they were written is unfamiliar to modem man. Both Scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers, for example, contain considerable mythology and symbolism which is no longer meaningful, since the world-view and the cultural conditions on which these thought-fmms were based no longer exist. Hence there is need for a basic logic of theology which corresponds to man's existential condition as being-in-the-world and which can thus serve as the key or interpreter's guide to the understanding of the manifold types of theological rliscourse in which Scripture and other theological writings abound. Here Macquarrie tu ms to his analysis of the discourse-situation of theology, described above. If the "abject" of theological discourse is God as holy Being, which each individual experiences in the depth of his being, then the needed fundamental logic of theology can sm¡ely be worked out with the aid of philosophical categories derived from Heidegger's


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analysis of Dasein or human "existence" in Being and Time. The he1meneutical principle for the interpretation of Sacred Scripture and other theological writings is then to be found in this basic existential understanding of human nature, which the sacred writer (or the theologian of an earlier era) was indeed able to a1-ticulate only in a symbolic mode of discourse, but which the contemporary reader can "de-mythologize" with the aid of these new Heideggerian categories of human "existence." Thus Macquarrie has, at !east in principle, solved the problem of the "confusion of tongues," to which allusion was made at the beginning of the m-ticle. That is, he has grounded theology or God-Talk in an idiom which by reason of its reference to the basic existential conditions of man transcends the limitations of culture and language peculiar to different peoples and ages of the world. In the next few paragraphs I will attempt a brief criticism of Macquarrie's position. First of ali, one should acknowledge that his analysis of the ·discourse-situation of language in general, and of theological language in particular, is quite valuable for placing theology or God-Talk in the proper existential context. That is, Macquarrie makes care that theology exists to reinforce faith, to make the latter more intelligible by a systematic presentation of commonly held beliefs. By implication therefore theology is the work of the Church, if by "Church" one intends the community of believers who keep the common faith alive by articulating their understanding of it to one another. Macquarrie only hints at this ecclesial dimension of God-Talk, but he recognizes in any case the need for a "community of interpretation" as the practical presupposition of theological discourse. (Cf. on this point Frederick Ferré, Language. Logic and Gorl, New York: Hat·per and Row, 1961, pp. 78-93). The "logic of obedience" described in these pages is a deliberate attempt to take account of the ecclesial dimension of theological language. At the same time, there is in my opinion a dangerous ambiguity in Macquarrie's identification of the "object" of theology, namely, the triune God, with holy Being. Macquarrie himself, however, seems to be at best only pat-tly aware of its existence. Jn the final chapter of his book, he admits that the existential logic of theology tends to demythologize the latter so complete-


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ly that it virtually becomes indistinguishable from philosophical anthropology, i.e., an analysis of "the structures of human existence and (of) the possible ways of heing that belong to such an existence" (God-Talk, p. 240). His solution for this serions problem, however, is to point to the writings of the later Heidegger, in which the philosopher made his celebrated turn (Kehre) to a philosophy of Being from a philosophy of human existence. Macquarrie argues that if Heidegger was able to make a transition "from the language of existence to the language of heing," then the theologian should likewise be able to infer from¡ the statements about man in the existential logic of theology certain ontological truths about God as the proper "abject" of theological discourse. GOD OF THE PHILOSOPHER

To my way of thinking, Macquarrie's argumentation here misses the point. Even if the theologian can "think" with Heidegger the "ontological difference" 'between Being and heings and hence "retrieve" the original insight into Being (as distinct from beings) which the Greek Pre-Socratics like Heraclitus presumably possessed, there is no good reason to believe that Being (even as holy Being) is to be identified with the persona! God of Christian revelation. There are, in fact, very good reasons for believing that Being, though admittedly more than human, is still finite. On Heidegger's own hypothesis, Being is limited in its "existence" by the beings in and through which it comes-to-he. That is, it cannat be a separate being or have an individual "existence" apart from the finite beings in which it comes-to-he. Otherwise, it ceases to be Being, i.e., the power or ground of Being for ali particular beings. If the Being is not God, then what is it in itself and what is its relationship to the tri une God? Within the compass of the present article, I can only state my answer without offering any proofs or arguments to substantiate my claim. I believe that Being, as understood by the Greek Pre-Socratics and as "retrieved" by Heidegger in his critique of Western metaphysics, is the world itself understood as a subsistent totality in process of becoming. Accordingly, the relationship of God to Being is that of Creator to creature, where the creature, however, is understood to be


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not a being or even a whole series of beings, but rather a universai process in vitiue of which ali particular beings in the world come-to-be. God himself is therefore neither Being (the process of creation) nor a particular being, not even the Supreme Being of scholastic metaphysics, since the philosophical categories of being apply strictly to beings within the world, not to the world itself as Being, and still Jess to God as the transcendent Creator. Difficult as it is to conceive, one must nevertheless affirm that the triune God is beyond Being. God "exists" in the Reideggerian sense, only insofar as Father, Son and Roly Spirit reveal themselves in their creation: in the world as Being, i.e., as the process of coming-to-be, and in various creatm·es, principally of course in Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God. This poses problems, naturally, for the retention of the "ana!ogy of being" as a principle of natural theology, a principle to which 1\'[acquarrie also appeals for knowledge of God as holy Being. Without going into details, I would suggest that the analogy of being is still applicable in theology or God-Talk, if it is used as a regulative principle of theological language rather than as a constitutive principle of metaphysics. That is, it can be used with profit to exclude certain anthropomorphic expressions about Gad ( e.g., that God is a Rock or a "pillar of fire") which little accord with his persona! nature as known through Christian revelation. (Cf. on this point Ferré, Language. Logic and God, pp. 76-77). It should not be used, however, as a strictly metaphysical principle to establish certain indisputable "facts" about the nature of God in the rational order, a part from revelation. (Cf. here my article, "Deus Absconditus," in Chicago Studies, Summer, 1969, pp. 163-7.5). A realistic philosophical theology should begin, in my opinion, not with the God of the philosophers who is in somé way identified with Being, but rather with the God of Ch1·istian revelation, the Eternal Father, who has revealed himself in his Son, Jesus Christ, through the action of the Roly Spirit. In clarifying the trinitarian nature of God as far as possible on the basis of hu man models ( e.g., the mode! of human community), the philosopher-theologian is using reason to support and clarify revelation. The God of the philosophers is, on the other hand, an artificial p!·ojection of human thought and has, in


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fact, been recognized as such by militant atheists from Ludwig Feuerbach to the present day. THE GOD OF REVELATION

At this point we may return to the discourse-situation of theology, as Macquarrie describes it, in order to see what changes are necessary in view of my critique of God as holy Being. First of ali, the "object" of theological language is not God as holy Being, but the triune God of Christian revelation who has revealed himself to man in Jesus Christ through the action of the Roly Spirit. The community of interpretation, secondly, which is constituted by the discourse-situation, is to b!' understood as the "Church," i.e., the community of believers who profess that God is triune (namely, Father, Son and Roly Spirit), even though they may differ among themselves as to the ontological explanation of this belief. Non-believers may, of course, also participate in the disocurse-situation of theology, but the point to be made is that theology exista pre-eminently in and for the Church as a faith-community. Finally, Macquarrie's hypothesis for an existential logic of theology needs careful qualification. While it is certainly true that there is a considerable amount of popular mythology and symbolism in the text of Scripture and in theological writing in general, it would be very dangerous to interpret these writings, especially the sacred text, too strictly in the idiom of existential philosophy. The latter is, after ali, only the latest in a long series of philosophical answers to man's perennial quest for self-understanding, and there are signs that it has already been surpassed in favor of a new philosophy of man as ens sociale. (Cf. for example Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1966; • Alfred Schutz, The Phenomenolgy of the Social World, G. Walsh & F. Lehnert trs., Northwestern U. Press, 1967, etc.). What¡ is, moreover, unique about Sacred Scripture and the works of theology based upon it is not the understanding of man which is reflected in these pages, but man's reflection upon God's self-revelation in Christ. Certainly there is a definite reciprocity here; the writer's understanding of himself, even in the case of Sacred Scripture, is an important factor in the transmission of divine revelation. But there are


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certain constants or basic dogmas of Christian revelation which cannot be "de-mythologized" without reducing theology to an ersatz philosophical anthropology, and among these is surely the belief in Cod as persona! and as tl-iune. Provided, however, that these essentials of Christian belief are carefully safeguarded, then contemporary theology can certainly profit from the stimulus of an existential re-interpretation of the Christian message, such as Dr. Macquarrie suggests. J.B. NEW TRENDS IN PATRISTIC THEOLOGY

The March, 1969 issue of Worship magazine carried an article by Thomas M. Finn entitled, "Baptismal Death-Resurrection: a Study in Fourth Century Eastern Baptismal Theology." My first impression, on reading this article, was that it seemed amazingly like a research paper submitted just two months earlier by a first theology student in my course on Christian origins. Examination of both texts disclosed differences, as weil as similarities, but I would have found it difficult to choose the better of the two papers. I experienced a somewhat shame-faced embarrassment at the thought that I had not given my student an "A." This simple coïncidence might weil serve as evidence that "primitive" Christianity is "back in style." Granted, evidence as meager as this is not conclusive. Nevertheless, other trends in theology point increasingly to the fact that early Christianity merits to be taken more seriously than it had been, at !east on the American scene. We are gradually witnessing a resurgence of serious interest in the growing respect for the times and teachings of the Fathers of the Church. If we can speak of new trends in patristic theology, it is because of new perspectives in the whole realm of theological investigation which have beat¡ing on the study of the Fathers. These perspectives have to do with renewal in liturgy, in Christology, in ecclesiology. They are related to the question of. doctrinal development. They have come aboyt, mainly, because of the Second Vatican Council's summons to "return to the sources."


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The theologians of renewal in the period following Vatican 1I did not ali immediately perceive the post-neo-testamentary age as belonging to the sources of Christianity. Efforts to move toward li turgy "as it was in the beginning" led to a rediscovery of non-scl"Ïptural documents which bear witness to the fonns of early Christian worship. The incorporation of aspects of the Apostolic TTadition of Hippolytus (c. 215) into the first of the new eucharistie canons enables us to measure the validity of the early Christian modes of prayer as one norm of liturgical renewal (cf. NC News Service, Jan. 12, 1968). The proclamation of the "dea th of God," sorne few years ago, pointed, among other things, to the dearth that prevailed in contemporary Christological thought. At the same time, the emergence of a "theology of earthly relatives," such as is exemplified in the concerns of Gaudimn et Spes, called for clearer understanding of the implications of the Incarnation in a I"evalorization of man's tenestrial experiences. The most appropriate movement was backward to Nicaea (325) and Chalcedon ( 451). in m·rler to examine once a gain the hmnoousios controve1·sy and the Christological formulary of Leo's Tome to F/auian. Theologians were aga in reminded that conciliar definitions are meant to be a point of departure for a constant searching of the Scriptures in regard to what they say about Christ. They are meant to stimulate theological reflection in terms of the total present of each succeeding generation of believers. In general, believers themselves have become aware of the teachings of the Fathers as they experience the more painful aspects of the Church's growth toward increasing self-consciousness. Clement of Rome (c. 96) still speaks to us of ecclesial structures. Ignatius of Antioch (t 107) and Ambrose of Milan (t 397) outline the role of the bishop in the Christian community. It·enaeus of Lyons (tc. 202) and Cyprian of Carthage (t 258) strongly affinn collegiality. The sea1·ch for an authentic, contemporary ecclesiology must take inspiration from the age of the Fathers. To neglect to do so would be naïve and dangerous. The present fervor in theological renewal has already, in some instances, risen to fever-pitch and we find ourselves often


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before "broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jer. :2 :13). Where this has happened, it is frequently due to a pseudosophistication that rejects indiscriminately what "has been," in favor of what is "to be." In itself, the past has no more claim on value than the future. Naive theologizing, however, is disastrous, no matter what direction it takes. From the Fathers of the early Church, we can Jearn a lesson about the plurality and temporality which interact in the phenomenon of doctrinal development, as a fruit of genuine theological study. Plurality, as distinguished from mere relativity, takes into account the validity of any interpretation of Scriptural revelation. The note of plurality as a dynamic in the process of theological speculation affirms both the message of revelation and its transmission in the apostolic JJamdosis as normative in the evocation of a faith-response. Again, the principle of plurality in patristic thought tends to establish a fine distinction between unity of faith and uniformity of practice. In this realm, we can fee] quite comfortable in the presence of the Fathers. If the Fathers speak out of a context that has at times seemed too distant from us, it is precisely because they were immersed in their own historical moment. Their intent in this regard establishes temporality as a necessary element of theological endeavor. Temporality takes into account the dialectic operative between continuity and discontinuity in the historical dimension. It affords a locus for the preservation of that which must not be discarded, as well as for the rejection of that which is no longer acceptable. It is the horizon against which Olthodoxy is distinguished from heterodoxy. Temporality can be an authentic theological element because it is a continuai summons to the total present. Because of this element, we see that onr own theology, like that of the Fathers, is called to openness in possibility even as it is bound to limitation through finitude and contingency. The developments noted above have, in fact, assured renewal in theology, at one leve!, through recognition of the values of patristic thought and through recourse to these values as guides in the project of contemporary theology. 'We must now consider the impact of this recognition and recourse on patristic theology itself and on the study of patrology.


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Three major trends can be noted as characterizing the present status of patristic theology. These trends can be expressed in terms of history, of relation and of autonomy. In the first place, patristic theology has responded to the challenge of the questions being asked of it by assuring the historical dimension of Christianity. An introduction to patrology is frequently an introduction to the concept that theology must be historical and that the history of the Christian experience must, somehow, be theological. Significant contributions along this line have been made by Irenaeus and Augustine, but the body of patristic thought, in its entirety, tends to support this position. The importance of this fact can be appreciated when we consider that Teilhard de Chardin's intuition of historical perspective as proper to Christian revelation finds its underpinnings, without cavil or ambiguity, in the study of patrology, for example, in the writings of Gregory of Nyssa. Secondly, the Fathers of the earl y Christian er a speak to us in terms that are relational. In other words, their theological thought exists as the result of questions to be asked or queries to be answered. Their writings come to us as discourses, dialogues, refutations, disputes, letters and homilies. Patristic theology is not an abstract exercise in intellectual isolation; it is response to persons. Today, we tend to shy away from apologetics and catechisms. We find such ideas distasteful, because we have come to see them only in terms of aggressive proselytism and offensive polemic. The Fathers demonstrate that vigorous thought is born out of confrontation with other vigorous thought. From a study of their writings, we can further perceive that their theology has been enhanced by such confrontation, even when they do not explicitly state this fact. Patristic thought tends, finally, to affinn the principle of autonomy. The Fathers make no apology for their faith in the Apostolic Tradition. They refuse to deny the reality of their histo1¡ical moment by simulated assimilation of the categories of an earlier epoch. They are not embarrassed by the incomplete or unsatisfactory answers they bring to sorne questions. The~¡ rio not hesitate to acknowledge truth, wherever they


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recognize it. They are not distressed when the current mood of a given milieu labels them unpopular. They come to us today in the same spirit they brought to the world in which they lived. They will not force themselves upon us, but it is we who will be the poorer if we do not seek them out. lt seems, however, that ours will not be an age to rej ect or neglect the Fathers, now they have been discovered. Their appearance in English translation and in paperback editions heralds a new opportunity for the possible emergence of a rich and viable theology on the American scene. To say this is to recognize that the most vital and dynamic theologies of Christianity have been formulated by those who knew how to "stand on the shoulders of those giants of Christianity, the Fathers," as Denys Gorce observed. Of especial interest and help to students of the Fathers are the Paulist Press series, "Guide to the Fathers of the Church" and the St. Norbert Abbey Press series, "The Fathers On .... " The series, "Ancient Liturgies and Patristic Texts," edited by André Hamman, is being published in English by Alba House. Hamell's, Handbook on Patrology (Alba House) and The Teachings of the Church Fathers, edited by Willis (Herder and Herder) conveniently provided texts or information not readily a vailable elsewhere in a single volume. · SIGNIFICANT ASPECTS OF TRENDS PERCEIVED

What is the importance of su.ch trends as have been noted above? Two points can be suggested here. The importance of patristic thought as a positive influence in theology lies, tirst of ali, in the fact that theirs is a non-scholastic theology. The faith-reflection of the Fathers came into existence prï'or to the systematization of Christian thought. Clearly, there are disadvantages in this. There are also advantages. Not the !east of the latter, at the present moment, is the attraction such a theology holds for persans weary of the structures and sterility of the traditional theological theses and methodologies. Persans who would too readUy reject ali theology on the grounds that what prevails is in·elevant and unrealistic, might weil be introduced to the Fathers. It is perhaps not inappropriate to point out that more than one outstanding movement of reform(re-


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newal m Christianity began with a reading of the early Fathers! A second aspect of the importance of a renewal of interest in the Fathers, along with their increased availability to us, lies in the philosophical climate into which they conduct us. Clement of Alexandria claimed to be an eclectic. The term seems to describe weil the timbre of many contemporary thinkers. Too, the Neo-Platonism which colored the climate of early Christianity favored attitudes and perspectives regarding nature, reality, time and destiny which often approximate present-day philosophie postures more readily than do the mincisets of the high or later middle ages. From this, we can arl'ive at sorne notion of the manner in which non-scholastic thought can men cl itself to the transmission of revealed tru th. The point is germane to the proclamation of Christianity in our age. The intuitive, non-systematic, frequently imprecise (to our way of thinking) theologizing of the Fathers is, nonetheless, deep and strong. Their fidelity to the Apostolic Tradition and their care in preserving and transmitting it gave rise to a body of Christian literature which is still to be adequately explored and appreciated. Given the moods of human enthusiasm, it seems wise to add to an exhortation to seek out the Fathers a word of caution for those who would study them with purpose. A WORD OF CAUTION

lt would be an error to esteem the Fathers if one's admiration refused to recognize the actual limitations of their theological thought. Such misguided emulation can be identified in severa! traits which must be rejected. The first of these traits is an uncritical adoption of the teaching of any of the Fathers on a specifie theological question. True, the 11 patristic argument" has always carrierl weight in the detetmination of the Church's teaching. Still, it must be admitted that the age of the Fathers, their !ife-situation, theil¡ faith-response were all conditioned by influences which do not directly bear on our times and cultures. The limitations of patristic thought must be recognized if the riches of the Fathers' theology is to be justly appreciated. The second error in promoting the Fathers is the tendency to assume that they asked the questions we are asking today, that


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their manner of sem·ching Tru th is identical to ours; in a word, that their frame of reference and perspective in no way differ from ours. This error stems from a tendency to remain at the leve! of the pseudo-question and a refusai to face the ambiguities which historical research at times seems to posit regarding the Christian way of !ife. In addressing the Fathers, we must haî! the likenesses between their articulation of theology and ours, even as we admit the disparities of both positions. Our ability to formulate probing questions and to penetrate their background will be enhanced if we can describe the boundaries beyond which the Fathers did not move. A third possible error in advocating study of the Fathers is the temptation to "canonize" them too enthusiastically, making the patristic age a kind of "in illo tempore," held in nostalgie esteem. This viewpoint would, for ali practical pm·poses, negate the historical interim between Chalcedon and Vatican II. Once again, it must be repeated that, if the Fathers have one thing to say clearly, it is that history does matter for theology. This cautionary note must not deter us from a return to the Fathers. In his excellent little book, L'actualité des Pères de l'Eglise ( Cahie1·s Theologiques 47, Delachaux & Neistlé, 1961), André Benoit discusses the importance of the Fathers for contemporary study in biblical exegesis, dogma, liturgy, churches-in-mission and ecumenism. Hamman, in Guide Pratique des Pères de l'Englise (Desclée de Brouwer, 1967), considers the same point in terms of specifie contributions made by one or another of the Fathers to areas of contemporary concern: Origen and Augustine in Scripture, Ambrose and Basil in liturgy, Athanasius and Hilary in Church-State relations. We do not have to wait for the specialists to speak, however. Recent behavioral and societal patterns have led sociologists and anthropologists to an interest in evidences of a new Gnosticism and a neo-Arianism. The sacralizationjsecularization debate raises issues thàt suggest we have been here before, if we are in any way familiar with patristic theology. The most interesting trends in patrology and the'theology of the Fathers in the next few years will continue to be an appropriate and necessary response to the questions that emerge from the trends in human !ife. A.C.


Charles E. Curran MORAL SURVEY 1970

Methodological and Ecclesiological Questions in Moral Theo/ogy

Moral theo/ogy faces two major problems today: methodology and the magisterium.

The strong negative reaction to the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae condemning artificial contraception brings to the fore the two major problems facing moral theology today: moral methodology and the teaching function of the Church in moral matters. The ecumenical aspect of ali theological scholarship today is also emphasized by the fact that in the current literature these are the major problems facing Protestant ethicians. Methodological problems are central in most sciences today because of the new and different circumstances in which we are existing. MORAL METHODOLOGY

The methodological question in Christian theological ethics surfaces most perceptibly in the recent debate over situation 59


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ethics, but the same question lies behind the need to develop a Christian social ethic to come to grips with the problems confronting our society today. One of the difficulties in the recent situation ethics debate has been the predominant place to more individualistic ethical problems with a resultant onesided methodological approach which is not adequate in the area of social ethics. Methodological questions, especially in view of a more inductive approach in general, cannot be considered merely in an abstract and a priori. fashion, for there exists a reciprocal relationship between ethical them¡y and the concrete problems of human existence. We need a more historically conscious methodology but have not fully developed any one particular methodological approach. Recent studies have shown the inadequacies of past approaches-especially the concept of natural law found in the manuals-and have indicated sorne ways (e.g., personalism, relationality, transcendental methodology) in which newer methodological approaches are being developed. This appears to indicate the state of the discipline of moral theology today. Recent studies also have developed sorne more particular approaches to the problems arising in the contemporary debate, since theology is constantly confronted with these questions even while searching for more adequate overall methodological approaches. There are in my view tln¡ee different and complementary ways of coming to grips with the problems raised in the debate over situation ethics. First, there remains a meaningful and important distinction between the objective and subjective aspect of mm¡ality, which results from the complex nature of the human act itself and its multiple relationships. This approach develops the concept of invincible ignorance proposed in the manuals and recognizes the need for a morality of growth according to which the person here and now for a number of reasons might not be able to do what the fullness of objective morality requires. The greater complexity of human existence today and the increased realization of the many psychological and sociological factors limiting man argue for a greater use of this approach although realizing that other factors (e.g., the good of other persons, the good of society) must be taken into consideration. For example, in sorne conntries polygamy has raised questions for missionaries. Should


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people be excluded from entry into the Church because they practice polygamy? lt ¡seems that in the world as we know it today the practice of polygamy does create a climate in which the equality and dignity of womanhood suffers. At the present timc in these countries I believe that Christians can go along with the prevailing custom of polygamy while working for its ultimate change and abolition. In such an approach it is always necessary to keep in mind the existing tension, for otherwise there will be a tendency to accept the present polygamous situation as perfectly moral and normal. It appears that the early Christian Church adopted a somewhat similar approach to the question of slavery but unfortunately forgot the tension in the situation and too eaSily accepted slavery as a social reality. A second distinct but complementary approach to sorne of the problems raised in the situation ethics debate is the the01-y of compromise which is based on the theological realization that sin continues to exist in man's heart and in the structures of society so that at times an individual will be preventecl from doing what he would ordinarily do if it were not for the existence of sin. This theory thus takes into consideration the ambiguity and the tension which will always mark the human condition, but at the same time realizes there are certain values which cannot be sacrificed because of the existence of sin. The Christian can never rest content with the sin filled situation, for he is called through his participation in the redemption to overcome sin; but in this world the struggle against sin will never be completely successful so that a the01¡y of compromise is necessary in Christian ethics. A third way of approaching the problems often mentioned in the contemporary debate about ethics raises questions about and ultimately rejects the identification of the moral action with the physical structure of the act. Thus I would deny the existence of negative moral absolutes when the act is described only in terms of its physical structure. (Such an approach denies the validity of a theory that begins bv clescribing the moral act in terms of the physical structure of the act, but it cloes not deny that for truly moral considerations the moral act may be identical with the physical structure of the act.) This of course, calls for changes in the way in


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which Catholic theology has approached such problems as medical ethics, contraception, sterilization, conflict situations such as abortion solved by the principle of the double effect, euthanasia, divorce, and sexuality. The fact that it is easier to point out the deficiencies in the older approaches without being able to elaborate any systematic newer methodology remains symptomatic of the problems facing Christian ethical reflection today. The moral methodology presented in the manuals in the Roman Catholic tradition is not the only source of difficulties in contemporary thinking in Christian ethics. I personally am in basic agreement with the thrust of the Catholic tradition which has constantly maintained that there is a source of ethical wisdom and knowledge existing apart from the explicit revelation of God in the Scriptures and that through reason man can come to sorne understanding of the destiny which is his in striving to build the new heaven and the new earth. But the older approach of the manuals did not properly understand the theological and philosophical limitations of human reason, did not properly relate the natural with the supernatural, and also feil into the "a-historical" error of identifying reason with just one philosophical understanding of man (the Thomist philosophy) which despite ali its merits remains culturally and historically limited and unable in its totality to claim the title of the perennial philosophy. Many difficulties and errors have also surfaced in sorne of the contemporary responses and approaches to Christian ethics. SOME FAULTY APPROACHES

A first difficulty a1¡ises from a Christian vision or horizon which is too exclusive. The Christian posture or stance, a most important component in any theological ethics, as mentioned in the earlier essays, looks at reality in terms of the total Christian mystery of creation, sin, incarnation, redemption, and resurrection destiny. Christian thought in the past has frequently succumbed to extreme ¡temptations of either an eschatological irresponsibility which has not given enough importance and value to the reality of the present or of an uncritical acceptance of the present and a naively optimistic feeling that man can bring about the new heaven


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and the new earth by his own efforts in the very near future. The eschatological aspect of Christianity confirms the incompleteness and limitations of the present; the Christian view of sin reminds man that sin affects ali human reality. (This criticism also applies, for example, to the Roman Catholic ethics of W. H. van der Marck, Toward a Christian Ethic, Westminster, Md., Newman Press, 1967). Christian theological ethics must avoid the danger of a deniai of transcendence resulting in an overly immanent approach. Transcendence reminds man that there is something beyond the present situation and the present !ife, but if properly understood in terms of eschatology also reminds the Christian of his cali to cooperate in bringing about the new heaven and the new earth. Symptoms of this deniai of transcendence can be illustrated by the failure of sorne contemporary theology to discuss certain tapies, e.g., prayer, suffering, death. Those who forget the transcendent aspect easily fall into a naive triumphalism which paradoxically shows itself in two almost diametrically opposed forms. On the one hand, there is a tendency to unquestionably and smugly accept the present and the social structures of thĂŠ present as almost perfect mirrors of the reign of Gad and to resist and resent any efforts to change the present. On the other hand, those who rightly perceive the great limitations and sinfulness of the present sometimes live in the naĂŻve hope that by their efforts within a very short span of time they will usher in the new millenium. Both approaches suffer from the same basic triumphalism. The limitations and sinfulness of the present cali for constant conversion which at times is truly revolution and rebellion against the present, but which will never perfectly succeed. The Christian living in the era of redemption and looking forward to the fullness of resurrection destiny knows that he is called upon to overcorne the limitations and sinfulness of the present but with the realization that the final stage of the kingdorn will corne only at the end of time. The present efforts to change his heart and his world with its frustrations, setbacks, and sufferings rnake the Christian ever more conscious of belonging to a covenant people living in the hope of the promise that Cod in Christ will bring to cornpletion the work he has begun.


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A second source of erroneous approaches stems from a too exclusive emphasis on a particular aspect of what have been the traditional dichotomies or emphases in Roman Catholic and Protestant theologies. Today there is a general tendency toward convergence on these matters, but at times sorne of the older emphases appears in an exaggerated way. (For an example of a contemporary Protestant approach which departs from sorne of the theological bases proposed in o1-thodox Protestanism, see James Sellers, Theological Ethics, New York, Macmillan Co., 1966). Protestant theology has traditionally given more importance to faith, whereas Catholic theology has stressed the importance of works. Protestant theology has emphasized the transcendence of Cod and his freedom, whereas Catholic theology has upheld the goodness of natural man and his efforts. Protestant theology has underscored the freedom of the transcendent Cod and the Christian freedom of the believer, while Catholic theology has always admitted that man's reason is a source of truth. Catholic theology has thus developed a natural theology and a natural law, whereas Protestantism with its emphasis on the transcendence of Cod and the Scriptures as the sole norm of truth has downplayed and even opposed the rational and the philosophical. Modern studies have pointed out the errors in the extreme emphasis in Catholic theology which too often has embraced Pelagianism, legalism, and an unwarranted trust in the goodness of man's reason. THEOLOGICAL ACTUALISM

In sorne contemporary Protestant ethical approaches, the traditional Protestant emphases lead to a dangerous theological actualism. This is true of the ethical the01¡y of Barth and Bonhoeffer as well as Lehmann and Sittler in this country. In the Barthian tradition there is a severe critique of ethics as such, since ethics looks for goodness in man, his reason and his virtues; but James M. Custafson points out that "the critique of ethics is never as drastic as the language in which it is made would sometimes lead one to think." (James M. Custafson, CMist and the Moml Life, New York, Harper and Row, 1968, p. 28. The brief description of Barthian ethics in this paragraph is based primarily on Custafson's summary, pp. 13-60). In theological ethics of this type there existR


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a tendency to play clown the notion of obligation and the imperative as exemplified by Paul Lehman, who speaks of the indicative rather than the imperative and phrases the ethical question in terms of what God is doing and not in terms of what man ought to do. (Paul L. Lehman, Ethics in a Christian Context, New York, Harper and Row, 1963, pp. 131 and 159161). "For Barth, command becomes permission because God enables us to do freely and thankfully what he requires us to do. Above ali Barthian theology insista that the response of the Christian is always concrete and particular. Although the theological ethics of this approach are much more complex than sorne would believe, nonetheless, such ethics are ultimately too simplistic. This coĂŻncides with the judgment made on Barthian ethics by James Gustafson: "The moral actor faces exasperation if he turns to the ethics of Christ the Redeemer-Lord for sorne objectiv.e, authoritative answer to the question, 'What ought I to do in my situation'" (Gustafson, p. 59). Ethicians must develop othcr criteria for trying to determine what God is doing in the world here and now. These other criteria developed through faith and reason will not usually furnish absolute certitude, but they should form part of the necessary process by which the ethician considers the way in which Christians make their ethical decisions. Thus in Barthian ethics, which is still present in sorne ethical approaches, there lurks the danger of a theological actualism which tries to perceive the concrete will of God here and now without giving enough importance to the other criteria, including those of a rational nature which the Christian must employ in trying to discern his -response. As already pointed out, rational criteria in the form of norms will not often give that specifie an ordering to our concrete actions, but such criteria at !east can be helpful in eliminating sorne possibilities and establishing the area in which the concept of prudence and the role of the particular discernment of the Spirit begin to operate. This theological actualism often brings with it an unwarranted specificity about the will of God in particular situations which reminds one of the Puritan spirit of old. Paul Ramsey has criticized statements of Protestant Churches and Protestant theologians especially in the area of social ethics for making too specifie judgments about particular actions and


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not leaving enough room for prudence. (Paul Ramsey, Who Speaks for the Chu:rch?, Nashville and New York, Abingdon Press, 1967, pp. 58-118). A theological actualism is logically connected with such a specifie approach. This type of Protestant approach shares with an older Catholic approach the same triumphalistic spirit of claiming to know with too great a certitude what the precise will or design of God is in this particular situation. There are not only theological and philosophical problems but also ecclesiological problems connected with such specificity in the area of social ethics according to Ramsey, since there is the danger of saying that someone is acting in an unchristian way when there is no Christian criterion for making that judgment. Ramsey believes that the Churches instead of making such specifie moral judgments on complex, particular problems-e.g., the war in Viet Namshould rather concentrate on those criteria or norms, if you wish, on which ali Christians can share agreement and leave the practical decisions in the area to the matter of prudence. A theological actualism easily leads to the conclusion that Christians and the Churches can easily arrive at the most complex moral decisions. Also the ad hoc problem-solving technique so often followed in statements by Church groups tends ta concentrate on the need for very precise and particular solutions. One can appreciate the problems connected with such a theological actualism without totally agreeing with the approach of Ramsey. Ramsey seems to argue for a distinction between "Christian moral judgments on the one hand and particular political, legal, and military judgments on the other ;" (Ibid., pp. 118-147) but such a distinction is unacceptable. From a theological viewpoint ¡ali man's truly hu man decisions (not, for example, the pm¡ely mathematical decision) are ultimately moral and Christian decisions. Morality cannat be relegated to a limited sphere in man's !ife which does not include the political, legal, and military. From a practical viewpoint we have experien'ced the real problems created when the military or legal areas are withdrawn from the sphere of the moral. (Ibid., p. 53. Ramsey earlier acknowledged that sorne would wrongly brand him as "one who believes the church to be a spiritual cult with no pertinent social outlook", p. 20,


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but the distinction made above seems unfortunate precisely because creation, nature, and history do have a relationship to the reign of God in Christ). Individual Christians must make very precise decisions in human !ife; nations and governments are called upon to make such choices. Christian theologians and the Churches should not shirk from making such judgments, but such judgments must be made in the light of more general criteria by which one moves from the very general notion of the particular decision and with the realization that such particular judgments may be wrong but seem to be the best possible response within the Christian perspective. The problem with theological actualism is the danger of coming to a very specifie decision without the help of more general criteria which mediate the ultimate Christian understandings and of proclaiming such specifie judgments with an unwarranted certitude which at times is reminiscent of the crusading spirit itself. CoNSEQUENTIALISM

Consequentalism appem·s as another very real difficulty in sorne Christian ethics today. Paul Ramsey has accused Joseph Fletcher of being a consequentialist, for accol·cling to Fletcher morality is ultimately determined by weighing the consequences of our actions. (Paul Ramsey, Deeds and Rules in Christian Ethics, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967, pp. 187 tf). Two reasons have often been adduced in philosophical circles to show the inadequacies of pure consequentialism: no one can know beforehand ali the consequences of his action, and there always remains the problem of appraising the hierarchical importance of the various consequences involved. Consequentialism appears to be a rather congenial approach in a highly technological society which is accustomed to measure success in the exclusive terms of results and consequences. Just as society must resist a pm·ely technological approach, so too theological ethics must point out the shallowness and ultimate "a-human" character of consequentialism. Consequentialism in an overly simplistic manner reduces ali reality to the mode) of means and ends, but not ali human reality can be made into mere means to be manipulated for varions ends. Human persons, for example, cannot be treated


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as mere means employed and manipulated for the sake of other ends. For the Christian the thrust of consequentialism runs counter to certain basic Christian assumptions. The Cod-man relationship is revealed in the Scriptures in terms of the covenant, but the love of Cod for man' depends only on Cod's goodness and faithfulness. Despite man's refusai and sins, Yahweh remains ever faithful to his commitment which is thus in no way dependent upon the consequent response of man. Likewise the value that Christianity attributes to men in no way ¡depends upon his works, successes or failure. The fact that the privileged people in the reign of God are not the rich and the powerful but the poor, outcasts, children, and sinners emphasizes the fact that human worth and value do not ultimately depend on man's deeds and above ali are independent of his successes. The technological and managerial spirit may judge man exclusively in terms of what he does or accomplishes, but such a judgment can neve1¡ be the ultimate judgment for the Christian. Consequentialism as a success-oriented posture too easily fm¡gets about the fact that frustration, suffering, tragedy, and ultimately death itself are important elements in the Christian understanding of human existence. The Paschal Mystery of Christ remains for the Christian the salutary I'eminder that immediately successful consequences are not the most important values in human existence. It is true that one could avoid the dangers of consequentialism mentioned in these paragraphs by emphasizing the Paschal Mystery and the Pauline strength in weakness, joy in sorrow, and !ife in death; but as a matter of fact consequentialist approaches in Christian ethics do not seem to follow such a course. There appears to be a real connection between the deniai or underemphasis on the transcendent aspects of Christianity and an exclusive consequentialism. Consequentialism accepts the fact that the end does justify the means, but the end cannat always justify the means precisely because ali reality cannat be reduced to the one mode! of means-ends. Catholic theology, however, has erred in the past by detining the means in terms of the physical structure of the act itself and by failing to realize that in certain circumstances the end does specify the means. An example of such and erroneous approach on the part of consequentialism


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is the justification of the dropping of the atomic bomb as a means of bringing the war to a quicker conclusion. (For apparent approval of the dropping of the atomic bomb, see Joseph Fletcher, Sit1mtion Ethics, Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1966, pp. 167-168; W. Van Der Marck, O.P., Love and Fertility, London, Sheed and Ward, 1965, pp. 61-63). Such problems raise the more basic question of the proper way of describing the human act. An older theology rightly stressed the importance of three elements: moral object, end, and circwnstances. Consequentialism seems to forget about everything except the end. In somewhat the same way an extrinsicist or voluntaristic approach to ethics likewise overstresses the aspect of intention or end and fails to give enough importance especially to the moral object. Th us one may rightly point out that the dropping of the atomic bomb cannot be described in terms of an act of winning the war and reducing Joss of !ife. SOME FURTHER DANGERS

These considerations suggest another ctangerous emphasis in sorne contemporary theological ethics of failing to give enough importance to the physical and material aspects of reality. lt is true that an older Catholic theology erred by identifying the moral object with the physical structure of the act itself, but the opposite danger of not paying enough attention to the physical and the material aspects of reality appears in sorne approaches today. This contemporary neodualism or neo-angelism overlooks the importance of the physical and the material world, since ali m01¡ality cornes from outside the object itself. A Christian ethic, however, must stress more than just intention, for what we do, and not mm¡ely why we do it, remains a necessary ethical consideration. The Christian is called upon to build up the new heaven and the new earth by his actions which means that good intentions alone are not sufficient. The complex ethical problems facing our modern society such as the concept and use of power, redistribution of wealth, international trade relations, equality of educational opportunity for ali the people in our own country and in the world cannot be solved merely by good


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intentions, since there are sorne ways more appropriate than others for solving these problems. Many of these erroneous approaches illustrate the trend in sorne situation ethics (note the many different ways in which this term can be used) which fails to give enough importance to the societal aspect of reality. A narrow situationalism often fails togo beyond the two persons involved in a particular action and the very immediate consequences of their actions. Catholic theology has not given enough importance in the past to the human person and his subjective development, but a narrow personalism is really only an exaggerated individualism. The mode! of I-thou rdationship has been emphasized with many important contributions in recent theological literature, but there remains a great danger in reducing ali moral reality to the mode! of I-thou relationships. The model of ethical thinking must include ali the aspects of reality including man's relationships to ali other people, institutions, and the cosmos itself as weil as his connections with the past and his responsibilities for the future. It is interesting to note that the fascination with the situation ethics debate has waned in the last two years precisely because ali today realize the greater importance attached to problems of social ethics, whereas situation ethics generally considered questions of an individual morality. Theological ethics needs a methodology which can deal effectively with both social and individual ethics. Another danger existing today concerns the very concept of obligation and "ought" in moral theology. An older Catholic theology overemphasized obligation especially in the forms of Pelagianism and legalism which viewed the Christian !ife almost exclusively in terms of the mode! of obedience to the laws of¡ Cod-the divine law, na tura! law, and positive law. In over-reacting to the past there is a danger of completely forgetting the aspect of obligation which-although it can never be the cornerstone of ali morality-remains an important element. The Christian has received the new !ife in Christ Jesus and has the obligation to grow in his understanding of the Christian !ife which is summarized in the death-to-life transition of the Paschal Mystery. There is truly no growth or development without implying the concept of obligation,


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for continuai conversion remains both a gtft and a demand for the Christian. There is need for an historically conscious methodology in approaching moral problems which avoids the difficulties in the classicist approach, but there is an erroneous tendency today of arlopting a sheer existentialism which is a philosophical actualism with sorne affinities to the theological actualism mentioned above. A sheer existentialism emphasizes the present moment with no connection to what has gone before and no connection with the future and without considering the horizontal relationships of the present that bind people to one another anrl to their commitments. Such an existentialism so highlights the singularity of the present that there are no adequate criteria for judging the present. Theological ethics has learned from its history the danger of uncritically accepting and baptizing the present moment, since everything in the present moment is not good. Theological ethics needs criteria by which it can judge and properly criticize the present. Any methodology which so concentra tes on the present that it cannot stand back to critically judge the present cannot be an adequate approach. The classicist approach erred by establishing many universal norms to which the individual had to conform, but sheer existentialism errs by not being able, even in principle, to establish sorne criteria for judging the present. LoVE AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

Many of the erroneous approaches in theological ethics as in other sciences do not arise from positive error but rather from an overly simplistic approach which fails to take into consideration elements which are important and necessary. The danger of over-simplification can be seen in sorne contemporary stresses on the function of love in the !ife of the Christian. No one can deny the centrality and importance of love in the Christian !ife, but it is overly simplistic to go immediately from love to the solution of complex human problems. There appears again an unwillingness to g~¡apple with the criteria by which one assesses the demands of love in concrete situations. H. Richard Niebuhr pointed out the impossibility of adequately describing Jesus and his ethics in terms of love of any other single virtue (H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and


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Culture, New York, Harper and Row, 1951, Torchback, 1956, pp. 15-19). The cri ti cal reaction to Joseph Fletcher's insistence · on love also illustrates the error in reducing ali Christian ethics to love in an overly simplistic way. The late Bishop Pike criticized Fletcher's concept of love as agape precisely because it did not give enough importance to the notion of love as e·ros. Agape signifies a love for the other which is independent of the person's own merits or goodness, but Pike rightly points out that at times a person needs to be loved precisely for what he is in himself and not merely because of the love of God (James A. Pike, Y ou and the New Morality, New York, Harper and Row, 1967, pp. 68-69). James Gustafson has criticized in Fletcher's work his confusing concept of love which takes on many dilfe1·ent meanings: "It is the only thing which is intrinsically good; it cqua/s justice; it is a formai princip/e; it is a disposition; it is a 'JYI"edicate and not a property; it is a ruling norm." (James M. Gustafson, "Love Monism," in Storm over Ethics, no place given, United Church Press, 1967, p. 33). Donald Evans has likewise pointed out the different and contlicting notions of love in the the01·y of Fletcher. (Donald Evans, "Love, Situations, and Rules," in Norm and Context in Christian Ethics, pp. 369 If). Si nee Fletcher reduces ethical them·y only to love and the concrete situation, it is ob,·ious that love must take on many different and ultimately contlicting meanings. Again the complex problems of social ethics argue against such an oversimplistic approach to Christian ethics. A very unfortunate aspect of the situation ethics debate has been the tendencr to view the Christian !ife almost exclusively in terms of law and its application, for the total moral phenomena includes much more than just laws. Ethical considerations must also consider the person, the dispositions which characterize the person, and his multiple relationships. Also the goals and ideals of the Christian !ife are most important. As the role of law or norms rightly becomes Jess in the !ife of the Christian, these other aspects such as the dispositions and virtues, as weil as the general horizon or outlook of the Christian on human reality, will take on even greater importance. There will always be sorne place for norms and principles in the Christian moral theory (although we would


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deny the existence of absolute norms in the form of negative, moral absolutes in which the moral act is describèd solely in terms of the physical structure of the act i tself). but Christian thinkers have consistently emphasized that the primary "law" for the Christian is the interna] "law of the Spirit." The external law remains always secondary and relative insofar as it points out sorne of the demands and criteria for recognizing the caU of the Spirit. THE TEACHING FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH

The most immediate problem raised by the widespread negative reaction to the papal encyclical on birth control obviously concerns the function and role of the teaching office in the Church. The recent debate has brought to light the fact that theology and the hierarchical magisterium did recognize in the past that Catholics could dissent from authoritative, non-infallible papal teaching when there are sufficient reasons for such dissent. Theologians today are also reconsidering the entire concept of infallibility, but this aspect of the question lies beyond the scope of the present consideration. There has never been an infallible pronouncement or teaching on a specifie moral matter; the very nature of specifie moral actions makes it impossible, in my judgment, to have any infallible pronouncements in this area. The hierarchical magisterium has taught in the area of specifie moral questions with an authentic or authoritative non-infallible magisterium. Even the terminology "authentic" or "authoritative" must be properly understood, for authentic does not necessarily mean that this teaching is always true. Such terminology is of comparatively recent origin, appearing for the first time in documents of the hierarchical magisterium in 1863. (Joseph A. Komonchak, "Ordinary Papal Magisterium and Religions Assent," in Cont-raception: Authority and Dissent, ed. Charles E. Curran, New York, Herder and Herder, 1969, p. 115). The very term "non-infallible," no matter how it is interpreted, still signifies that this particular teaching is fallible. In the light of these and other considerations, what is the future of the teaching office or function in the Roman Catholic Church 7 Should the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian Churches speak out on the moral problems facing man and


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society today? I believe that the Christian Churches have a responsibility to speak out on the issues, for the Church cannot withdraw from the reality and complexity of daily !ife in the world. The Church exists today in the service of !ife in the world and can no longer exist merely in sacred times and sacred places. The basic insight behind the theological position affirming the existence of natural law was the fact that man's daily !ife in the world is somehow meaningful and important, but the older approach with its dichotomy between the natural and supernatural did not arlequately express the relationship between man's daily !ife in the world and the kingdom of Cod. Also in an older theological pattern the Church was looked upon as more important than the world and as controlling the. world in sorne way, but contemporary theology stresses the importance and independence of the world. The Church can no longer dominate the world, but it must respect the integrity of the world and try to be of service in the world, which is constantly marked by the struggle against human limitation and sinfulness, in trying to cooperate in bringing about the new heaven and the new earth which will be in sorne continuity with the present but also in sorne discontinuity with the world and history. TEACHING MISSION OF THE CHURCH

How does the Church carry out its teaching function and mission in the world today? First of ali, it is important to point out that the teaching function and role of the Church belong to the whole Church and not just to the hierarchical and papal teaching office in the Church. A Roman Catholic admits the hierarchical and papal teaching office, but there has been a danger in the past of identifying the whole magisterial function of the Church with these offices. The ecclesiology ratified in Vatican II has pointed out that the Church is the whole People of Cod and not just the hierarchy; now ecclesiology is pushing fm¡ward with the realization that the teaching function of the Church, like the Church itself, cannot be restricted to and identical with the hierarchical teaching office. This realization appears in a seminal way in sorne of the emphases¡ of VatiCan II, which points out the many different ways in which the Church teaches and learns. There


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exists a prophetie voice in the Church which is not the same as the hierarchical teaching office (Constitution on the Church, n. 12). The Declaration on Reli{fious Liberty in the opening paragraph 1¡ecognizes a desire for religious liberty arising in the consciousness and experience of men and declares these desires "to be greatly in accord with truth and justice." The truth of religious liberty did not come into existence merely when the conciliar magisterium published a decree, but obviously had been true before that time. A familiarity with the many areas of change in Catholic teaching points out the importance of the prophetie voice in the Church and the role of the experience of men. The emphasis on dialogue in Vatican II-dialogue with other Christians, with non-Christians, with atheists, with the world-reminds us that the Roman Catholic Church does not have ali the answers to the problems facing contemporary man. Again history points out the many times in which the Church has learned from other Christians and non-Christians: for example, 1¡eligious liberty, interest on loans, the needs of the working man, and lately in our own country the importance of peace and the rights of the poor. Theologically, the fact that the teaching mission of the Church cannot be restricted to the h ierarchical teaching office stems from a number of accepted teachings in the Catholic Church. The primary teacher in the Church remains the Holy Spirit who dwells in the hem¡ts of the faithful and in ali men of good will, so that no one person has a monopoly on the Spirit. The Spirit is weil characterized by the biblical expression that he blows where he wills. A theology of baptism also illustrates that the whole Church is magisterial. The liturgical renewal in the Church is based on the fact that through baptism every Christian participates in the priestly office of Jesus Christ and thus ali are called upon to actively participate in the eucharistie life and worship of the Church. However, through baptism the Christian not only participates in the priestly function of Jesus but also in his prophetie - or teaching and ruling function. Just as the priestly function of ali believers is not incompatible with the ministerial priesthood, so too the magisterial character of ali Christians is not irreconcilable with the hierarchical teaching office in the


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Church. Thus theology supports the contention that the whole Church is magisterial. Catholic theology and practice can no longer simply identify the magisterium of the Church with the hierarchical magisterium, for the hierarchical magisterium is just one aspect of the total teaching mission of the Church. One of the primary difficulties with the encyclical Humanae Vitae is the insistence on identifying the teaching function of the Church with the hierarchical teaching office. With the exception of somewhat general citations from Sacred Scripture and one reference to Thomas Aquinas, ali the references cited in this document are to previous statements of the hierarchical magisterium. In fact, the primary reason for not accepting a different approach to the practical question of contraception was the previous teaching of the hierarchical magisterium (H.V., n. 6). This papal document like many others in the past relies almost totally on past teaching of the hierarchical magisterium, and thus is guilty of an intellectual incest. The papal "predecessors of happy memory" have made many important and correct statements in the past, but such teaching on these matters is subject to error and also needs to be relativized in the light of the full teaching function of the Church. A number of overly simplistic approaches should be avoided in this context. The magisterial function of the Church ¡can never be reduced to a mere consensus or majority rule, since the criteria for discerning the Spirit are much more complex than that. Likewise, one cannat merely dismiss papal teaching, but religions assent is the technical term used by the theologians in the past to indicate the respect that must be given to such teaching with the realization, however, that such teaching could be wrong and not cali for an intellâ‚Źctual assent. By objecting to papal teaching theologians are not setting themselves up as a new and separate hierarchical .magisterium but are merely carrying out their interpretive role in and for the Church. Precisely because the teaching function of the Church is not perfectly identical with the hierarchical teaching office there will always remain this tension which cannot be resolved in an overly simplistic f2shion either by maintaining that the Pope can never be wrong or by saying that the Pope is just another theological voice in the Church.


MORAL

77 THE STUDY OF PAPAL TEACH!NG

In the future, theological understanding of the relationship hetween the hierat¡chical teaching office in the Church and the whole Church as magisterial in a certain sense must change the methodological approach to the way in which papal teachings are studied and proposed. There was a tremendous difference hetween the methodological approach in the writing of the Pasto ml Constitution on the Church in the Modern Wodd and the methodological approach to Humanae Vitae. The Pastoral Constitution was written after consultations with leading experts, theologians, and only after years of dehate and consultation with ali the hishops of the. world. A papal commission was called into existence to help the Pope on the matter of hirth control, but obviously Hurnanae Vitae was not written with their help and collaboration. The non-collegial character of the methodology employed in writing Humanae Vitae is evidenced by the small and non-representative group of theologians who actually worked on the composition of the encyclical. Future papal teachings must realize better in practice the magisterial function of the whole Church and he elahorated in greater consultation and collegiality with the whole Church so that they speak in a more complete and adequate manner for the whole teaching Church, but ev(m then such teachings on specifie moral mattèrs will neyer enjoy an ahsolute certitude. Theology today is much more conscious than it was in the past that teachings on specifie matters cannat enjoy an ahsolute certitude. In the past a numher of factors contrihuted to a greater insistence on certitude in the teaching of the Church although the older theologians recognized in a somewhat guarded way that such non-infallihle authoritative teaching did not insure an absolute certitude which excluded the possibility of errot'. From a theological perspective, an authoritarian and overly hierarchical understanding of the Church together with a juridical understanding of teaching authority tended to give an authoritarian certitude to the pronouncements and teachings of the hierarchical magisterium. Better theological approaches in these areas ohviously show the more conditional aspect of such hierarchical teaching, but even more importantly theologians and philosophers today are


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much more aware of human limitations in arriving at certitude than they were in the past. The more historically minded methodology caUs for a more inductive approach which by its very nature can never achieve the certitude of a more deductive approach. AU sciences today reflect the changed scientific ideal which no longer even strives for an absolute certitude which would in reality be the enemy of any true progress in knowledge and science. Thinkers today are aware of the imperfections of human language in attempting to articulate and express our understandings of reality. These three aspects which are intimately connected with a more historically conscions methodology show the impossibility of arriving at absolute certitude on specifie moral matters especially those affecting complex social problems. Elsewhere we have discussed the reasons against the truth, let alone the certitude of negative moral absolutes described as actions in which the moral act is considered solely in terms of the physical structure of the act itself. CERTITUDE: IDEAL OR PROBLEM?

The fact that the teaching of the Church on such specifie • matters cannot claim absolute certitude follows from the incarnational nature of the Church with ali its inherent human limitations which are not overcome by its union with Christ. The pilgrim nature of the Church and the insistence on the dialogical quest for truth also argue against the possibility of such certitude. It seems to me that the very ideal or goal of such absolute certitude itself remains an obstacle in the Church's carrying out its prophetie and teaching mission. If one aspires to certitude in his statements and teaching, then he is condemned either to speaking in platitudes or to speaking long after the critical problems have arisen and been faced. If the teaching function of the Church-both in the eyes of its members and others-is freed from the shackles of absolute certitude in the area of specifie moral problems, then it can raise its voice in a way to help the world as it faces so many complex problems today. The complexity of problems and the swiftly changing aspects of contemporary !ife show the impossibility of any absolute certitude in these matters. However, the Church cannot merely stand back and


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say nothing, since the Christian Church does have a function in assisting men to do their important but limited role in bringing about the new heaven and the new earth. The Church must raise its voice on particular issues facing the world and society today with the understanding that it does not speak with an absolute certitude but proposes what it thinks to be the best possible Christian approach with the realization that it might be wrong. The Church should avoid the danget¡s of theological and philosophical actualism by showing the varions criteria and principles which enter into its judgment in this particular case. Many times the Church with more certitude will be able to point out in a negative fashion approaches which should not be taken. As the Church or anyone else cornes closer to concrete, particular decisions the danger of error becomes greater. The Church in its teaching must continue to do two things: to express constantly and continually develop the varions criteria, principles, goals, and ideals which the Christian incorporates into his decision-making process and at the same time, but in a more hesitant manner, propose sorne concrete solutions for the manifold problems facing contemporary man. In discussing the teaching mission of the Church it is most important to underscore the analogous concept of the very term "teaching." The dangers of understanding the teaching role in an overly authoritarian and juridical way have already been pointed out. The concept of teaching authority itself opens the door to a voluntaristic and extrinsic concept of teaching which downplays the fact that the tru th is the ultimate authority of teaching. Today and in the future one cannot discuss the teaching and prophetie function of the Church without understanding the changed concept of "teacher" today. In the past the teacher was the person who packaged knowledge anrl hanrled it over in easily digestible fo1m to his students who tended in a passive way to absorb this data. The teacher today is not primarily the person who imparts knowledge in this way, but rather the one who stimulates others to grapple with the questions of the day and thus to develop themselves and their society. The teacher is not necessarily an answer man, but rather one who stimulates his students by asking the right questions and pointing out possible avenues of ap-


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proach. Too often in the past the teaching or prophetie role of the Church has been seen in giving answers or pronouncements to particular questions. This approach wedded to a claim of absolu te certitude actually hindered the Church from properly fulfilling its teaching and prophetie function. The Church at times is in the best position to raise the embarrassing questions and also to show other institutions and society by its own actions what type of approaches might be taken to the problems of contemporary !ife. The understanding of the teaching function of the Cliurch described above has many important implications. From an ecumenical viewpoint, such an understanding of the teaching mission of the Church in these specifie moral questions should not be an obstacle to the union of Christians, for it closely resembles · many of the theoretical approaches adopted in Protestant cü·cles today. The müst important implications for the present involve the need for the Roman Catholic Church to realize not only in theory but also in practice such an understanding. The Roman Catholic Church badly needs the structures by which the magisterial character of the whole Church as weil as the special hierarchial teaching office will exercise their proper role in the teaching of the Church, which role can never be viewed primarily in terms of pronouncements but which must always include this aspect of teaching.


Ernest Lussier, S.S.S. SCRIPTURE SURVEY 1970

Biblical Farth

The theoretical problem of faith is more than ever today at the cente1¡ of theological investigation.

Ours are trying days even days of cns1s, and the basic problem both theoretically and existentially seems to be one of Christian faith. Existentially the question centers on the relevance of Christianity to modern man, on the relation between the sacred and the secular. The situation has been understood, even if it was not solved practically, by the fathers of Vatican II. The Constitution on the Sacred Litn1¡gy (no. 2) insists that it is of the essence of the Church to be both human and divine, visible yet invisibly endowed, eager to act and yet devoted to contemplation, present in the world yet mindful of the world to come. The Church must be ali things to ali men in such a way that in her the human is integrated to the divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek. The theoretical problem of faith, the only one we are con81


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sidering in this article, is more than ever today at the center cf theological investigation. This started as an attempt to restate the Thomistic position by the Neo-Thomists (Gardeil, Rousselot) or basic Protestant position (Bultmann, Barth). In recent writing, however, ·scholastic discussions or confessional preoccupations are largely forgotten, as scholars attempt reconstructions based especially on Scripture but also on tradition (Augustin, Luther, Pascal). Insistence is placed on the persona! element of faith (Ci rn e-Lima, Ebeling, Bonhoeffer). Man in faith becomes actually conscious of his eternal origin and destination, thanks to thP form that the word of God has taken historically. The phenbfuenology of the believing mind must succeed in conciliating in its description faith-in-a-thou (Dü glaube) with the traditional objective faith (Dass-Glauben, that is, to belicve that). Faith is essentially the encounter, a saving one, between man and God. Our analysis of biblical faith will here be centered around two important thinkers of our time, the Jew, Martin Buber (1878-1965), and the Lutheran, Rudolf Bultmann (1884- ), two men who have had a great influence in shaping today's practical approach to !ife. Leslie Dewart and especially Dietrich Bonhoeffer will also receive sorne attention. MARTIN BUBER

Martin Buber, a German religions existentialist, is one of the greatest religions thinkers of our twentieth century and a powerful intellectual influence on modern Judaism. Buber was always active in the Zionist movement; but unlike Herzl, for whom always the movement was essentially political, for Buber Zionism was above ali a cultural movement, and its essential pm·pose the inner renewal of Judaism. Buber for a long time (1924-1933) was professor of the philosophy of Jewish religion and ethics at the University of Frankfurt, holding the only chair in J ewish religion at any German university. In 1938 he left for Palestine where he was appointed professor of sociology at the J erusalem Hebrew University, where he constantly advocated peaceful co-existence between Arab and Jew. He opposed the formation of the J ewish State and constantly deplored lsrael's becoming "like ali other peoples, with flag and cannon," a very unpopular


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position among the modern Israelis, whose government refused to be represented at the funeral of this great man ( 1965). Comparing J ewish faith with Christian faith, Buber has underlined that the authentic Jewish faith was essentially the trust of a people in the Lord who had contracted a covenant with them and guided their history; the element "doctrinal adherence" of faith for him is quite secondm-y and not original since it is due to Hellenistic influence. Buber develops the thesis that the biblical covenant and messianic redemption mean the realization of the kingship of Cod in ali areas of communiai !ife, and that biblical faith is the unconditional trust illustrated by the Old Testament prophets and Jesus himself, "my great bwther", rather thau faith with a knowleclge content found in the Pauline and Johannine literature. Buber's basic insight, an insight that runs through ali his work and that determines his approach to everything he touches, is his !-thou theory, the realization that there is a basic difference between relating to a thing or to an object that I observe, and to a person or a thou that addresses me and to whose address I respond. The essence of biblical religion, as concei ved by Buber, is the dialogue between man and God in which each is the other's thou. The Bible is the record of Israel's dialogue with Cod. In an important religions book Two Types of Faith (English translation 1961, original German 1950) Buber coneludes that J ewish faith and Christian faith are two irreconcilable f01ms. He distinguishes between the Jewish emunah and the Greek pistis. the former of which is faith in the sense of trust, while the latter is faith in the sense of belief in the truth of propositions. Jewish faith as found in the Hebrew Bible is Israel's trust in the faithfulness of God's word as that word is spoken in dialogue. The faith of the New Testament, particularly in its Pauline version, is heavily influenced by Greek philosophical elements that are reflected in the emphasis on salvation as resulting from belief in the truth of propositions concerning the divinity and resurrection of Jesus. In Paul, Buber thus sees a profound departure from the Hebrew biblical spirit, a cleparture that is no more thau partial and implicit in the gospels, especially the Synoptics. Jesus was one of the greatest men in Israel's history, but


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he negated his messianic status because he thought of himself as the Christ. For Buber, "the Mashiach does not come at a particular moment of history; his coming can only be at the end of history. In the faith of Israel, the redemption of the world is one and the same with the finishing of the Creation." Although he suffered this aberration, Jesus remains one of the great sons of the Jewish people. The break with Judaism came not with him but with Paul, who made the man who suffers for the work of Y ahweh into the God who suffers for the sake of men. From that moment on, the paths of J udaism and Christianity separated. To put it briefly, we have on the one side the Jewish faith ( emunah), a state of trust in which the community cornes before the individual and which is characterized by steadfastness, persistence (Behan¡en) ; this authentic Pharisaism is found in the Talmud and the Midrash and was th at of Jesus as witnessed in the Synoptic gospels. On the other hand we have the Greek pistis which is a persona! act of accepting and acknowledging a message of conversion, in which individuals domina te the community; this is the Hellenistic J udaism of Josephus and Philo, and the Hellenized Christianity of Paul and John. CRITIQUE OF BUBER'S CONCEPT OF FAITH

Buber has made a strong point by insisting on the moral aspect of faith. It is an unfortunate fact that medieval and later theological interest has often been nearly exclusively directed to the intellectual aspect of adherence to God by faith to the neglect of the elements of trust and persona] involvement. Faith is not only knowledge; it is also a way of life. In reaction Luther practically eliminates the intellectual trust of faith to keep only moral confidence; absolute psychologism replaces notionalism. Faith becomes a blind, subjective sentiment of trust, the sentiment of being saved. This error has influenced the post-Tridentine theology. On the one hand, theologians had to react to the confidence (fiducial) faith of Luther, and at the same time they naturally wanted to remain faithful to the richness of the gospel revelation. They were not totally successful, ali the more so since they were confronted also by rationalism. They became en-


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grossed especially by the particular type of knowledge represented by faith and gave relatively little attention to how faith affects and' even dominates ali the Christian's !ife. Faith is essentially a conviction, a fervent, effective enthusiasm. The recent progress of biblical studies and the rejection of an apologetic mentality of pure reaction or of counter-reform allow us today to see this aspect of faith in a more serene light. Against Buber it must be pointed out that although in faith the element of trust is essential, the Old Testament faith is not a pu rely subjective attitude of confidence; it ineludes an intellectual aspect, for the word of God to which men's faith is the answer, says something; it brings a revelation about the mystery of salvation and about the being of God. Faith implies a knowledge, a certitude of the intellectual order; it bears on an object, and it is transmitted from generation to generation (Ps. 78, 105, 106, 136) as a creed, a profession of faith, like the one that was recited annually at the feast of the first-fruits (Dt. 26 :5-10), a confession that is an answer to Israel's election (Dt. 7 :6). Mo1¡eover, there are permanent, objective signs that are the foundation of Israel's faith: those that are part of the ancient saga of Yahweh, the miracles of the Red Sea and of the wilderness of Sinai; those that are actnally visible, the dynasty, the temple, and the prophets (Ps. 74 :9) ; and finally, those that are part of the very rhythm of existence, the land promised to Abraham, a symbol of stability, the sabbath regulator of the economy, and circumcision which assures racial identity and moral communion. CONTINUITY AND DISCONTINUITY

There is substantial identity between the faith of the Old Testament and Christian faith, along with sorne discontinuity. There is identity of the psychological aspect, namely, adherence to the word of God (1 Sm. 3:7, Jer. 18:18, 1 Thes. 2 :13); identity of the motive of assent which is the truth, the fidelity of Cod (2 Sm. 7:28, Ps. 132:11, Jn. 3 :33); identity of object, namely, the mystery of God and of his Christ (a Sm. 7, Jer. 31 :31-34). We believe in Christ who has appeared in history and wrought man's salvation; the Jews believed in the Messiah to come promised and prefigured in divers manners (Heb.


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1 :1-2). Already in the Old Testament Gad made himself known to men by his wisdom and his ward (Prv. 8:13-36, Wis. 7:2526) and by his spirit (Is. 11 :2), active in the sanctification of men and the transformation of the world. The Old¡ Testament thus contained in seed a veiled anticipation of the final revelation of the Son, Ward (Jn. 1 :1-18) and Wisdom of God (Col. 1:15-16, Heb. l :3), and the Roly Spirit, the Artisan of the eschatological transformation of man (Rom. 8 :14-16). Faith, in the Old Testament, sm¡ely has pride of place; and it is in reference to the Old Testament that the New, especially Paul (Rom. 4, Heb. 11) and John (5 :45-46) speak of faith. The heart of the New Testament faith is a Jewish heritage. Y et between J ewish faith and Christian faith we must recognize discontinuity on severa! important points. Fundamentally the faith of the Christian places him before the mystery of Christ, the Incarnated Christ, Saviour by his death and resurrection, the Lord living in his Church and expected to return in glory. The Jewish belief in Gad becornes the Christian belief in Jesus Christ, without ceasing to be a belief in Gad. Consequently, the intellectual aspect in Christian faith is more important th an in J ewish faith. J udaism was a revealed religion and not . only a legislation; it demanded not only an 'orthopraxy' but also an orthodoxy. The Old Testament has professed sorne religions truths as the basis of belief. It remains true, however, that with the revelation of the mystery of Christ, Christian faith bears on a much more important number of truths; the dogma of the Blessed Trinity, the Incarnation and Redemption, the Church and the sacraments, grace and the theological life, eschatology and the last ends. Secondly, it must be noted that the faith of the Jew culminates in his expectation; it places Israel especially in presence of the messianic future towards which it tends, relying on the past exploits of Gad in favor of his people, and translating itself in the present especially by obedience and fidelity. Christian faith, on the contrary, if it remains an expectation is already a possession, because the essential is already given and is a present reality in the Incarnation of the Ward, the Paschal mystery of Christ, and the gift of the Spirit to men. This is evidently a capital difference which


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manifests the imperfection of the faith of Israel. St. Thomas (III q. 60, art.6) underlines this point wh en he compares the sacraments of the old law with those of the gospel which give the reality, the salvation promised and prefigured by the others; e.g. circumcision as compared with baptism, or the Paschal lamb and the Lamb of Gad. There are also not only these objective imperfections of Jewish faith but sorne practical defects in its expression. The principle of interior perfection recommended by the prophets was not generally accepted; at the time of our Lord we still see formalisn~ and excessive confidence in persona! works vaunted by the Pharisees. M01¡eover, an excessive nationalism often considered faith in the true Gad a sort of preserve meant exclusively ¡for Israel. Finally, Christian faith appears much better than the Old Testament faith as an interior grace, a persona! gift of the Roly Spirit. The prophets had already recognized the effusion of the Spirit, allowing man to know truly Yahweh, as a characteristic of messianic times, of the New Covenant. Gad himself would be then the teacher of his people (Jer. 31 :34) giving them a new heart and a new spirit (Ez. 36:25). the new economy of grace, of total interior renovation of man, mind and heart, the place of knowledge, of faith is clearly marked and focused on the Eucharist, the bread of !ife, which is not only a central abject of faith but also a completely gratuitous gift of Gad (Jn. 6). Y et notwithstanding these capital discontinuities, there exists an essential continuity between the faith of the Jews and that of the Christians. This continuity is affirmed by the New Testament itself; Abraham is called the father of believers (Gal. 3, Rom. 4); the biblical heroes are presented to the Christians as models of their faith, and Jesus as the fulfillment of bath the Old Testament and the Christian faith (Heb. 11 :1-12 :4). That the New Testament faith is not merely doctrinal but also deeply moral, personalist, and affective, not only in the Synoptics but a Iso in Paul and John, could easily be developed. It will suffice here to point out that for Paul to believe is to accept the kerygma, the primitive teaching of the Apostles (Rom. 10:16, 1 Cor. 15 :2), but also to give oneself completely to God, abdicate one's own !ife in favor of a

In


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new, strange life, ideal and real at the same time, which serves as principle, exemplar, and law of our natural life. "I live now not with my own life but with the !ife of Christ who lives in me. The !ife I now live in this body I live in faith: faith in the Son of Cod who loved me and who sacrificed himself for my sake" (Gal. 2 :20). Faith reshapes a man internally supplying him with a new principle of activity. By faith Cod gives man a new !ife, the promised Spirit (Gal. 3 :5, 14), the spirit of the sons of Cod (26). We also find this theme repeatedly in St. John. For him to believe is not only to accept the word of Christ (1 Jn. 5 :9-10) but also to receive Jesus himself (Jn. 5 :43) as the source of eternal !ife (39) which is already now in our possession (1 Jn. 5:11). RUDOLF BULTMANN

The German Lutheran biblicist Rudolf Bultmann (1884- ) has been diversely judged, even to the point of being considered in his own church, especially by the theologians of the older school, a heretic or even an apostate. Actually, reserving judgment on his doctrine, he is perhaps the most influential theological figure of our twentieth century. His thought shows traces of a number of influences, from the mythism of Strauss to the form-criticism of recent interpreters; yet two main influences seem basic to Bultmann's approach to divine revelation: his out-and-out Lutheranism and Heidegger's existentialism. Lutheranism appears in Bultmann's strong evangelical emphasis on the proclamation of the word of Cod, which accepted by faith is the only ground and object of faith and justification. The philosophical influence of his colleague Heidegger appears in particular in Bultmann's rejection of the so-called inauthentic existence, that is, man's natural trust in the illusory security of the world we live in. Authentic existence, a gratuitous gift from Cod, is achieved by persona! decision. "Faith is turning away from the world, the act of desecularization, the surrender of ali seeming security and every pretense, the willingness to live by the strength of the invisible and uncontrollable." Too put it briefly, his intention is to render faith acceptable to modern people. He remains part of the Lutheran tradition and his critique of faith is based on Scripture. He utilizes the contribution of the history


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of religions ami the hermeneutical principles of form-criticism, while adopting Heidegger's understanding of human existence. Bultmann's thinking on faith is found in four series of essays entitled Glauben und Ve1·stehen (vol. I, 1933, vol. II, 1953, vol. III, 1960, vol. IV, 1965). Volume I has just appeared in English translation: Faith and Understanding (1969). A key to his theology is understanding, the to-be-with-it. (Beisiech-sein) of the human intellect, which is active t·ealization and never purely passive registration. Another important Bultmann catchword is demythologizing, that is, existential interpretation. The myth, in this terminology, is the use of imagery to express the otherworldly in terms of this world. He warns that "I think it is irresponsible to discuss the theme 'demythologizing' in the presence of the laity. This is a theme which the laity either cannat understand or necessarily misunderstands because a previous theological education is essential to grasp its meaning." For Bultmann faith is the only important question torla~·. since it reaches the very head, the core of t·evelation aml of man's authentic existence threatened in ali kinds of ways in our stereotyped society. Faith is a decision. not the conclusion of reasoning; it is a pure decision for which no reasonable account can be given. Tt depends uniquely on the Word of God, an authoritative challenge, which demands uriconditional obedience. For Bultmann faith is also an existential act. It exists from instant to instant, and does not grow. Man constantly decides totally for himself anew. This excludes any concept of faith as a virtue or permanent quality. Faith is also surrender to God. To believe is to decide oneself for God, that is, to reject ali search for persona! security and to surrender oneself totally to the Word of God. He t·ejects not only the security that man finds in his activity in the world but even the security that would be grounded in a world vision in which man should simply have to find his place and consequent stability and meaning or in a faith considere<! as a spiritual !ife, as mystical communion with God. This for Bultmann is the worst thing that could happen to faith. Faith is a human act and as such cannot take man out of his temporality. Christian faith is not a world vision by which the enigmas of !ife can be solved, so that man would be dis-


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pensed from making his persona! decisions with full confidence in God's grace. Faith is not either a mystical union with God, reaching God in his own intimate !ife. This is an illusion, for God is always the obscure, the enigmatic power who encounters us in the world and in time. His transcendence is the transcendence of the power which makes our !ife and gives it its limitations: not the transcendence of a substance with which the sou! unites itself, or into which it can plunge by prayer, contemplation, or ecstasy. God encounters man only in man's temporality. Faith depends totally and uniquely on the Word of God. Faith is corelative to revelation, to the Word of God. God reveals to man that man by himself is nothing. The sin of man is to refuse this nothingness and to pretend to be worth something by himself before God. God reveals himself as judge, but also as savior. Faith is belief that God judges me and pardons me here and now. Revelation is in the act of revealing and God does not reveal himself. God cannot be reached by man's intelligence; he is always the One-who-iscompletely-other. It follows that the mystery of God cannot possibly be confined in dogmatic formulas or even be signified in a manner that is definitely and unchangeably valid. Just as God is invisible, so also the Word cannot express God's mystery even when it receives his revelation. Revelation is really a self-revelation of man and a challenge to decide either for belief or disbelief. Revelation is also 1Uithout criteria. God is only present to man in revelation, and revelation is only operative in faith. It is absurd to suppose that God has to prove himself to man. Revelation is the Word of God and is found in Scriptu1¡e and in the preaehing of the Church. For faith, Scripture is the Word of God, not a collection of truths to be believed, or a historical report on the !ife of Jesus. Scripture is an encounter between God and man, and offers salvation, authoritatively and unconditionally. The inspired Word of God is constantly proclaimed anew in the preaching of the Church. Faith is a sacred fire that is communicated and spread by Christian enthusiasm. Faith must demythologize Scripture not only to free revelation from the New Testament vision of the world, but from ali world vision. Preaching is not identified with God's Word: ¡For the preacher .¡


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it is an illustration of the Word of God he is proclaiming; for the bearer it is only a help to hear God's Word, and a guide for practical action, after the yes of faith. Finally, faith is Christian; it is faith in God revealing himself in Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God and hence the saving event. For history Jesus is only a man, having a completely human destiny as a J ewish preacher who died on a cross. For faith proclaiming him risen, Christ is the eschatological event accomplished by God, that is, God's judgment and salvation challenging man, here and now, and provoking his belief. The saving function of Jesus begins not with his !ife in Nazareth, but with the faith of the first Christian community, proclaiming him Christ and Lord. What saves us is the Word of God proclaimed today and received today in its concrete reality. And this Word of God is Jesus Christ, present as the saving event of God in the W ord. Man's existence by faith is libera tee! and renewed; he is freed both from the world and from himself, by recognizing that he is not his own master and that he is not at home in this world. The believer's existence here below is paradoxical, that is, contrary to appearances. By faith he is a new creature; yet he does not run away from the world but keeps an interi01¡ distance from it; his treasure and his heart are not bou nd up with this world (1 Cor. 7 :29-31). Faith gives him strength to meet his worldly responsibilities, and in particular opens him up to the needs of his neighbor. Man becomes fully himself in this relation of giving to and receiving from his neighbor. And the community that is born in faith is not only the ecclesial community of the elect, but also a community of love that is open to ali men. CRITICAL REMARKS

One must concur with Bultman in much that he says, even if sorne of his basic principles remain unacceptable, especially his deniai of the supernatural. The aspect of decision and risk is important in faith; in fact, his presentation of this point resembles the theology of risk now being elaborated by Karl Rahner. By faith man commits himself to God and to an unknown future with the only security of God's Word. Bultmann is also right in stressing the fact that the meiming


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of revelation is always of present value and interest, and that Cod in his transcendency and mystery always remains the completely-other. There is, however, in his theology a real restriction of revelation and a narrowing of the reality of faith which are not in agreement with the New Testament data. Scripture presents the Ward of Cod as a transformation of !ife, and as resulting in a !ife of faith (Gal. 2 :20). Jesus asks us to abide in him, to live with him for he is the way, the truth, and the li fe (Jn. 14 :6); his words are the words of eternal !ife (Jn. 6:68), a !ife available even now (54-56). Action, of course, is important and stereotype stifling, but one cannat possibly constantly operate at the peak of one's energy; the climax of any action cannat possibly become a permanent feature. Bultmann's faith in Christ seems especially defective. The meaning and significance of the Christ-event is ail important; yet if Jesus Christ is the 'Vord of salvation and salvation signified, it is because he is the Son of Cod made man. Faith in a saving Cod does not rest only on the Ward preached today but first of ali on Jesus of Nazareth himself, who revealed his origin and his being throughout his earthly !ife. If the Apostles, in their Easter-faith, were able to give Jesus the title of Christ and Son of Cod, it is because for them the title expressed clearly what they had felt more or Jess clearly rluring their !ife with Christ and what Christ himself progressively manifested, as he himself became more humanly conscious of his total vocation. Jesus is not only the occasion of our faith; his earthly !ife is also the source-event. Man's decision in faith is essential, but faith bas an abject which is its source, nam ely, Jesus Christ, the saving-event. And thus faith is the acceptance of a revelation about Cod himself and not only a revelation of what is in man. Revelation is a proclamation of salvation but it is also an unveiling of the mystery of Cod. Cod is ineffable, and "no one has ever seen Cod" (Jn. 1 :18); yet Christ came to make Cod known, in a valid manner based on persona! experience (Jn. 14:6-7, 9). In Christ, Cod proclaims precisely the fact that he is not Purely-Other (the expression is from Henri de Lubac and a polite way of not completely disagreeing


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with Bultmann). He is the God who in Christ revealed himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It remains true, however, that we know precious little about God and only by way of analogy and sublimation. The ideas we apply to God are true in a sense but the divine reality remains absolutely different and superior to our best conceptions. Finally, and this seems decisive against Bultmann's thought, a complete theology of faith and Christian revelation cannot rest uniquely on the concept of the Word of God. The Word, in fact, supposes of its nature an utterance in view of revealing a meaning; and it is the meaning alone which faith will retain, in our case, that God saves me. In this perspective the word itself as word has practically no importance; it is the meaning of the Word that matters; the signifier, even if we say that the Word of God is Jesus Christ, is there merely as support for the signified. Who is Jesus? lt really ctoesn't matter too much for Bultman. And yet the question seems to matter very much, as appears from the reading of the gospels (Mk 8 :27-30), from the faith of Christians throughout the ages, and from the preaching of the Word in today's Church. DIETRICH BONHOEFFER

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran minister, was 39 years old when on April 8, 1945 he was hanged by the Gestapo a few days before the allied troops reached his concentration camp. He hact been an active member of the band of conspirators who plotted the abortive assassination of Hitler. The name Bonhoeffer is not as weil known to the general public as Barth, Bultmann, and Rahner in Europe, and Tillich and Niebuhr in America; yet no theologian seems more popular with the young, intelligent Christian today. It remains true, however, that Bonhoeffer is not an easy thinker and that quoting him has become something of a fad. The phrases "religionless Christianity" and "worldly Christianity" derive from the fragmentary notes which he sneakect out from prison. Bonhoeffer poses problems which the whole of Christianity must answer if it is to survive the coming new civilization. His main works are: Lette1¡s and Pa pers from Prison ( 1962) ; The Cost of Discipleship (1963); Ethics (1965). Bdnhoeffer's chief contribution was to break dawn the


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separation between religion and real empirical !ife. He opposed ali thinking ¡which separates the religions and the secular into two spheres. He wanted to heal the rift between theology and human existence. He rejects the too radical split between nature and grace, and tries to correct the pseudo-Lutheran separation of two spheres, that of creation and that of redemption, of law and gospel, of Church and civil society. The man of faith does not live in two worlds that are more or less exclusive of one another. Bonhoeffer thus offers an important corrective to Bultman by stressing true humanism and a strong theology of secularity. Bonhoeffer did not think that man can encounter the reality of God except in and through the reality of the world and, vice versa, that man can discover the reality of the world except in and through the reality of God. There were many things he disliked about formai Christianity and he chose a paradoxical word to stand for them : religion which really stands for paganism. For Bonhoeffer much of the Christianity that is preached in churches today is not Christianity but paganism. Law is taught instead of freedom. The person is subjected to the organization. Codes and rules replace authentic moral development. The true God is replaced by the local deity, the patroit's god, the chancery's God. God is organized and made functional to a human system. In Bonhoeffer's perspective this should not be confused with radical faith in Christ or with a !ife lived according to the Gospel. Rather, such religion is precisely a corruption of such faith and !ife. It represents the futile efforts of the Church to retreat to the periphery of human existence, preaching a God to till the gaps, but a God with little or nothing to say about the central concerns of human society. God and Christ are not to be relegated to those boundaries of human existence which deal with death and eternity. God's place in Christ is at the center of human affairs. God is not "totally-other." On the other hand Bonhoeffer did not like the effort of Christian theorists who constantly point to man's weakness and need of God. "The attack of Christian apologetics upon the adulthood of the world," he wrote, "1 consider to be in the first place pointless, in the second ignoble, and in the third un-Christian." A Christian is not a special kind of man;


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Christianity adds nothing to basic human actions and God should not be used as a crutch. "I should like to speak of God not on the borders of !ife but at its center, not in weakness but in strength, not therefore in man's suffering and death but in his !ife and prosperity." There are, however, difficulties to Bonhoeffer's faith theology. First, we surely must recognize the secular saints and anonymous Christians, people who without believing in God maintain high human values and maintain them more faithfully than many Christians do. Y et the conclusion is not to reject organized religion which is a need for the majority, but to renew and purify it. Secondly, it has been said that Bonhoeffer and his followers are finally admitting whai atheists and agonistics saw long ago, namely that Christianity is no longer viable. The best of Bonhoeffer sounds exactly like the best an atheistic humanist might have to say. Y et, what Bonhoeffet¡ admired in the religionless men he met was this integrity, their love for human beings, their courage under suffering, their fidelity to intelligence: that some men at¡e faithful to intelligence, love, and honesty exactly as if there ¡were a God who revealed himself as truth, !ife, and love, and so confounded the believers who should know better. Worship and prayer are not exercises in magic but ways of penetrating through phantasy to reality, an gathering courage to act in faith. The mystery that Christianity teaches is that God is God and not a function of man's needs. Bonhoeffer's theological view of the Christian believer as deeply involved in this-worldly ministries is perfectly valid. At the end of his !ife, Bonhoeffer described the Christian as a worldly man who shares in the sufferings of Christ in the service of his brothers. "It is only by living completely in this worlct that one learns to believe, taking !ife in one's stricte with ali its ctuties and problems, its successes and failures, its experiences and helplessness. It is in such a !ife that we throw ourselves utterly in the arms of God and participate in his sufferings in the world and watch with Christ in Gethsemane. That is faith, that is what makes a man and a Christian." lt must be pointed, however, that faith and religion go together, not, of course, the religion that Barth or Bonhoeffer had in mind; that is a humanized, disguised pride. A faith which


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little by little wants to eliminate the external sign, worship, social institution, reference to history, or belief objectively formulated is not Christian faith. This is a deniai of the human factor in faith and the elimination of faith's foundation and of the elements of its growth. SOME RECENT BOOKS ON FAITH

Finally, sorne recent books on faith may be singled out briefly, even if their main concern is not biblical. Carlos Cime-Lima in Persona! Faith, a metaphysical inquiry ( 1965), studies the classical problem of the act of faith, namely the nature of the essentially higher grade of certitude which distinguishes the assent of the act of faith itself from the assent given to the preambula jidei. The essential difference between the act of faith and the motives of credibility is located not on the leve! of the concept and of the judgment but on the leve! of the free decision which precedes conceptualization and judgment. Leslie Dewart, in The Future of Beliet (1966), claims that the now in¡elevant Hellenic concepts that once created Christianity's dogmatic formulas can no longer be supported by contemporary intuitions. Scholasticism has slowed down the evolution of human belief. What Christianity needs is not demythologization of Scripture but dehellenization of dogmatic concepts. Traditional Christian thinking about God is "childish and infantile." The idea of Trinity smacks of tri-theism; the Incarnation suggests divine slumming in history; the concept of supernatural compromises nature and grace. God cannot today be conceived as the subsistent Being; he is the hidden God. Faith is not so mu ch a settled as an unsettling question, for the fact that God is infinite and utterly transcendent implies that he will never fully be reached even in eternity's confrontation. Faith is always-onthe-way, always a response to the disclosures of transcendence in conscious experience; it cannot be a resting-place, nor a set of propositions about God, nor credulity in such propositions. It can only be an ascent to God. For this reason dogmatic development must lie at the center of Christian consciousness; it must take account of the contemporary shi ft in conceptual orders, and must alter by novel and emergent con-


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cepts the language used to describe God's in-uption into human experience. Dewart's difficult book has been described as "death-ofreader theology." He is right in stating that faith cannot weil exist now and be fully genuine in any form except its modem fonn; yet one must also remember the relativity of the modern construction of the world and of !ife, which will be different tomorrow. We sm·ely are not ali ready to think of Cod as Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin! Dewart has addressed himself to a major aspect, if not the major aspect, of the malaise of that contemporary man who in Pascal's words is "wounded by mystery." Our task, however, is really to integrate the everyday experience of contemporary man with theistic belief and not vice versa, as Dewart and many others ·are doing. The theology of the sacraments, prayer, grace, the mystery of Cod and of Christ must constantly be renewed, but there can be no question of inventing new sacraments or a new deit~·. Dewart's The Foundation of Beliet (1969) is substantiall~· a reviewing of the same general themes. Thomas Aquinas now emerges as the precusor of modern philosophy and as a radical existentialist. Cod is redetined as "beyond being." The modern world invites a new style in Christian !ife to acclaim commitment, autonomy, cJ·eativity and joy, rather than superstition, authority, guilt, and fear. Modem belief will spiritualize the concept of Cod, defatalize the concept of reality, and integrate religion and ordinary experience. Another recent book, Faith and Doct·rine: A Conternporary View by Gregory Baum, (1969) does not present anything very new.


Ronaul A. Sarno, S.J.

Resolving ldenlity Con{licls in the Conlemporary World

Many a contemporary priest find8 his own "crisis of faith" the wellspring of almost all his difficulties.

"The crisis in self-identity" is a key term in the vocabulary in psychosexual maturity. Psychologists use it to refer to a teenager passing from aider adolescence into adulthood. The term describes a positive period in the teenager's development. The youngster realizes that saon he will leave the world of play-love (dating) and enter the world of real love (marriage). ¡He understands also that saon he will leave the world of playwork (studies) and enter the world of real work (jobs). At this realization he doubts himself because he fears that at this new stage he will not be able to be true to himself. He fears that a family or a company can become an external system of such power that it can threaten to disintegrate his internai essential personality. This "crisis" is nonnally followed by a "self-indentity resolution." By this resolution, the teenager slowly learns that his cssential personality will develop rather than deteriorate in 99


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these external systems. He assimila tes these systems and makes them his own. He becomes an adult, one who accepts his environment. He can work and love within it. His "crisis" naturally leads him to the final stage of his maturity. This term "self-identity crisis" has also taken on a popular connotation. Many people use it as a convenient self-definition when they do not want to cope with the real world. They daim they are going through a "crisis in self-identity," and so avoid any persona! decisions about real work or real love. For their own purposes, they have inverted the psychosexual term. They make it a negative rather than a positive experience. The crisis is meant to add to maturity; yet they act as if it makes maturity impossible. Much of the cm-rent literature aimed at priests discusses only the negative meaning of the term "crisis in self-identity." Thie article will explore both the negative and positive meanings. Jt hopes to point out the identity problems which priests are experiencing; and it also hopes to explore how priests are striving to resolve these problems. THE IRRELEVANT PRIEST

For a priest, practically every identity crisis begins with the fundamental suspicion that he is making no impact on the people around him. He has consecrated himself to the People of God; gradually he feels as if he has no meaningful effect on his people. Rev. Joseph O'Connor's satirical account of a meeting of Crosier Fathers contains a poignant description of this feeling. In a humorous way, he reflects on the thoughts going through his mind as the members of his religions order struggle with the problem of their relevancy to the 20th century. In a self-deprecating manner, he depicts himself as a priest with "a crisis in self-identity." He has yet to interiorize the ecclesial system. This ecclesial system threatens his individuality just as a family or a company would threaten his lay counterpart. He feels disassociated from these ecclesial men and their concerns. He can think about his persona! problems but not about the community's common difficulties. He sees this religions community of priests as irrelevant. He suspects that the ir concerns and solutions are pathetically absurd. The world of religion is crumbling ali around them; yet these men go on talking


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aimlessly "for two hours and the consensus is that we do not have to dissolve immediately-if the enrollment does not drop, if no more priests leave, if newly ordained priests are willing to sacrifice like 'we' did when 'we' were their age; if we do not antagonize the bishops, and if we do not take on any new apostolates. That seems to cover it. You fee! tired, your feet itch, your scalp is tingling and you can't salivate. You think you are coming down with a case of the glam. Your shoulders sag. Y ou think of asking to be raise<l to the lay state" (Portrait of a Radical as a Victim of Change," National Catholic Reporter, Feb. 5, 1969, p. 1). Any person in the lay state sustains his self-identity from the way in which others around him regard him. A father is in command at home not only because of the force of his masculine personality, but also because his wife and children expect it of him. He permits others to define his role, ·and does many things according to their expectations. So too a person in the clerical state can sustain his self-identity by the way in which the People of Cod look at him. If they regard a priest as a holy person in their midst, he responds to their expectation and he struggles to grow in grace. But if they begin to suspect that their priest is in·elevant-that he serves no real pm·pose in their lives-then the priest himself is forced to reevaluate his role within the Christian community. Today the People of Cod have many expectations and counterexpectations of what defines a pt•iest. Because of the short length of this article, we will have to limit ourselves to two definitions; the man of faith and the man for others. Each has the advantage of being traditionally acceptable. Each also is the core area of certain identity problems today. Let us explore these problems and their proper resolutions. It is these resolutions which help the contemporary priest maintain his proper role for the People of Cod. THE MAN OF FAITH: HIS IDENTITY PROBLEMS

In the past, the priest for the People of Cod was the man of faith pa1· excellence. For them he remained a rock of certitude in the midst of swirling eddies of persona! doubt and confusion. Y et today many a contemporary priest finds his own "crisis of faith" the wellspring of almost ali his difficulties


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with the Church and its ministerial priesthood. He too is caught up in the swirl of people's doubts. He does not remain a steadfast island of certitude. Instead of seeing himself as a supernatural minister of a transcendent faith, he sees himself so united with the immanent reality of his people and their problems, that he can no longer anchor them in certitude but is himself swept up by the same swift currents of change. Much of this change cornes not only from his own modern view of himself as one with the People of God, but also from a new view which many contemporary Christians have of their priest. Now they characterize and define their priest in the light of the intellectual climate created by a new popular theology. The misconceptions and half-truths of the popular theology of the past made the priest into a minor god. N ow the new popular theological Weltanschauung considers him as a man-amongother-men. His supernatural role is no longer presupposed nor taken for granted; he has to prove his worth to the Christian community by the extent of his persona] talents. So that the reader may understand this popular theological Weltanschauung better, this paper can briefly summarize two texts which helped to form it. The following summary is not meant as an interpretation of these books, but as an explication of the popular theology which they have delineated, if not initiated for sorne people. Leslie Dewart's The Futwl"e of Beliet (New York, 1966) and Eulalio Baltazar's Teilhard and the Supe1¡natuml (Baltimore, 1966) remain accurate barometers of much of this cm-rent popular theology. Both authors treat of God's presence to man in grace as immanent rather than transcendent. Both consider Ch1¡ist's salvific role more incarnational than eschatological. Thus many traditional-minded readers would find their theology extremely Pelagian, although both authors constantly try to distinguish their views from this ancient heresy. Yet they have created an intellectual climate in which there is no tension between the divine and the human, and in which the world is the source of redemption rather than the obstacle to its achievement. Their view of the immanent presence of God to man in grace creates, in the popular mind, the opinion that grace is debitmn naturae rather than gratuituous. As a result, the supernatural merges with the natural, and the sacred with the secular. M01¡eover, the


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eschatological Parousia is not the final divine intervention into human history but rather the supreme and final human effort to reach the evoluĂ™onary Omega. With this Weltanschauung. popular opinion reduces sin and the devi! to myths instead of realities. People think moral guilt has its roots in psychological disturbance rathe1¡ than vice-versa. They believe evil in the world is cured not by the action of sacramental grace but by social and psychological forces. So a modern man with feelings of persona! guilt searches for a psychological counsellor who can guide him to a socially correct decision. But in the past such a man sought a supernatural mediator between God and man, who forgave him his sins and restored him to the fellowship of the Christian community. ln the past, people viewed the priest as the man of faith with ali the answers needed for their persona! salvation. He remained certain wh ile they struggled with the ir doubts; he remained holy white they fought with sin and temptation. He represented God, the total! y Other, a transcendent J udge who dwelt in inaccessible light. Sorne of this transcendence illumined the priest's own !ife so that people automatically considered hi rn irreproachable; his role created an aura of respect and privilege. He was the servant of Christ, the divine Founder of the Church. They stood in awe of Christ's divinity and the priest who handled "holy things," the divine mysteries of the Mass and the Sacraments. They felt remote from God, and they were so aware of their inclination to sin that they frequently resorted to confession where the priest exercised his great divine power: the forgiveness of sins. They frequently made confessions of devotion, and the priest in turn spent severa! hours each Saturday in the confessional. They felt a deep need for MaJ"ian devotion, because Mary was for them their sole human link with the wholly Other God. She brought each sinful man to Christ, who in turn forgave him, and presented him so purified to the inaccessible Father. To reach this all-holy Father, they wrestled with Satan. They desperately needed the supernatural help of the sacraments and the grace attained from private prayer. They looked on private prayer as an ardent search fot¡ grace. This prayer was characterized by prescribed words, a ritualized method, and set times. It


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was discursive, verbal, impersonal, and ecclesiastical in structure. A NEW IDEAL OF MINISTRY

Today, contemporary Christians consider no one, even a priest, as a "man of faith." So many truths accepted in the past have been proven either unfounded or unworkable in our technocratie age that now people normally expect the foundations of today's thought to be disproven or unneeded before the seventies are over. No one has the answers: modems characterize contemporary man as doubtful and soul-searching. The poorly educated and little-read man stays arrogant and certain; the liberal, literate, and educated man grows uncertain and mlSure of hilllSelf. The cultured man questions his own intellectual presuppositions and constantly challenges his own values. This is what he expects of other cultured men; this is . what he expects of his priests. He does not want a man of aloof holiness; he needs an encouraging companion who knows the pain and anguish of his !ife. To stabilize today's world of confusion, contemporary Christians see their God as immanent, dwelling in the mi dst of men. He is the author of change and progress, not the unchanging Other .. God's will now becomes one with man's need for a universai social jus ti ce and a global society. The ir view of an immanent God radically affects their approach to his priest. The priest now becomes the neighborhood friend, one of the people, a genial fellow who could never have the effrontry to demand special treatment or preference. He still remains another Christ, but Christ as totally identified with his people. No longer is he the transcendent Other, but the popular Jesus of Nazareth, historical, human, and weak. No longer is he the Judge of man, but the constant friend. No longer is he the remote Founder of the Church, but its continuai spirit of love and fellowship. The priest discovers that in his people's spiritua! !ife the divine cali to union with the Godhead has merged in people's mil:'ds with Christ's urgent pleas for the needs of his abandoned brothers. So the priest now has a new ideal set for him by others: the service of humanity instead of the ministry of God. Today's Christians expect their priest to re-


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spond to their social and political issues, to involve himself in their temporal needs. For them, God has become read ily accessible. He is found in the nearest heart crying out for assistance. Their selfless service unites them with God. The Mass does not bring about this union, but rather is a communal expression of this union already fotmed. This union makes them so close to God, that they fee! their private sins melt away in theit¡ acts of charity towards the needs of others. Service to others replaces the need for sacramental forgiveness. Confession is needed only to restore them to the fellowship of the Christian community. They Jose touch with that community only by refusing to respond in love to others, not by a persona! inclination to evil. So the priest now finds few penitents on Saturday night. For them, Christ resides in the nearest poor man-or rich man-whoever needs the Christian at the ti me. There is little need for Marian devotion in their view, for Christians become her true sons by helping her other sons, just as Christ did. There is no need for a desperate fight for grace; it is not a created thing, doled out to man after a valiant struggle with sin's lure, but really God's-presence-to-man, readily available as soon as one reaches out in love and understanding to others. Prayer is not a retreat from others to find Cod and grace; prayer is fou nd where God is: in others, and so becomes spontaneous, non-verbal, contemplative, and highly persona!. Thus it happens that the ministerial priest has tost much of his unique role in their lives. THE MAN FOR OTHERS: HIS IDENTITY RESOLUTIONS

How does a modern priest attain a meaningful resolution to ali these confiicting expectations of what he is? How does he achieve a self-identity resolution which is capable of fulfilling himself and yet allows him to establish an effective relationship with contemporary Christians? Does he self-righteously castigate this "godless generation"? Does he redu ce himself to the "1-am-just-as-lost-as-you-are" buddy who conveniently forgets his supernatural ministry? Neither of these extremes is personally satisfying, nor for that matter quite effective with modern Christians. For one thing, they themselves change frequently. At one time they demand a traditional role from their priest. At another, they want a more contemporary one.


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A priest must understand that any mature resolution of these "identity expectations" will demand both of these raies. He must be able to exercise his priestly, transcendent, and supernatural role. He must also understand that, at other times, his people will want a counsellor, a man-among-other-men, not a transcendent minister, but an understanding friend. This means that he nwst train hhnself to accept thw tension in his /ife. This is nothing new, for the Christian priest has always lived in an ambivalent world. For centuries his Church emphasized the great vision of the Fourth Gospel in which St. John saw the world as an ally of the forces of ev il and destruction. Thus sanctity and salvation often meant withdrawal from the world. But his Church also had the complementary vision of St. Paul's Epistles in which the world was seen as redeemed by Christ. This incarnational world was intimately united with the eventual triumphal return of the Savim-. In this view, salvation was obtained by involvement with the world. N ow the Church of the modern priest is emphasizing this exhilirating Pauline vision, which inspired the contemporary writer Chardin to proclaim the sacramentality of matter. In this sacramental world, isolation is impossible. Modern men have taken up this vision of "the good earth." They understand that they must cooperate, strive for a fuller unity, and become part of something lm¡ger: they must "build the earth" (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Eni/ding the Ea:rth, WilkesBarre, Pa., 1965). But the vision of the Fourth Gospel is not a dead letter. The more the world advances, the more evil man is also capable of doing. This has been the great lesson of the assassinations of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King: modern Christians have learned of the reality of evil in their universe "striving for perfection and unity." An open priest must be attuned to bath the dangers of evil and the potentials for goocl in his technocratie world. So Chesterton once noted that the Christian cross had an intrinsic contradiction at the center, but was capable of being spread out to the four corners of the world. A priest can look at this cross in a moden1 sense. The vertical line (represented in John's Gospel) suggests the priest's


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persona!, unique, and lonely relationship with God. This relationship is the source of his spiritual strength, that inner tabernacle where only God can enter. It is the core of his selfidentity, which can never be yielded, since it is the essential note of his personality. It is the core self, that inner center which Thomas More refused to surrender to King Henry in Robert Bolt's play "The Man for all Seasons." It is also the unseen root of the apostolic drive. Take it away from a modern priest, and he can no longer see himself as a minister of the Word. The horizontal line (seen in Paul's Epistles and !ife) represents the social apostolate in which the priest shares his experience of God's love with others. The two do not really contradict each other, but they remain complementary. They must be kept in a delicate balance, an inner tension which crucifies and yet redeems. Total isolation puts the priest in danger of self-centered search for God, while total involvement with others can sap the priest's inner resources. A modern priest has committed himself to God and man. He should fee! that this commitment, although it creates an intrinsic tension, is not a running away from persona.! responsibility and man's social problems. Rather the commitment is a persona! dedication to their ultimate solution. A priest who serves a God uninterested in man's problems deserves to become obsolete. But this is not the priesthood he has dedicated himself to. He hils become a "man of God" because he feels that God wants him to speak both inwardly to him and outwardly to ali men of good will (H. Schmidt, "Private and Liturgical Prayer," Review /01" Religions, March 1967, 324335). So the priest must accept this tension within his own !ife, and recoguize that this ambivalence matures him rather than destroys him. SELF-DEFINITION: DIVINE AND HUM AN

In the same way, a mature husband accepts tension as a normal part of his marriage. A mature spouse can simultaneously love his wife and still understand that he will inevitably have violent disagreements with her. He can love her and at the same ti me accept the contrary experience of rej ection and conflict, because he realizes that such tension is an everyday part of !ife. A genuine marriage grows because of these contlicts,


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if they m·e accepted by each spouse as normal. A genuine and mature human love does not mean that two people melt into each other. They enter marriage \Vith fully f01med personalities. They cannot blindly accept ali the opinions and attitudes of the other. They grow in acceptance and adapt to each other by ex pressing these differences: openly and often loudly. A person cannot be logical and calm about what is truly a part of himself; so often these conflicts a•·e not logical and calm but emotional and violent. So a married man experiences persona\ tension as a normal part of his marriage. When both he and his wife personally accept this intrinsic tension, they exchange their romantic ideal of a tension-free marriage for a real one which is full of tension. Y et the persona! integration of this tension into their ma1·1·iage brings them to a plateau of true love, and this love is far stronger and more lasting than the initial romantic ideal with which they began their union. So too a priest ente1·s his o1·dination with an ideal approach to his ministry. He must be able to face the shock of the real world; he must be able to accept the tension he will fi nd there. lf he cherishes his romantic ideal too much, he will never be able to work with men-as-they-really-are. He will engage in a petulant search for men-as-they-should-be, and unsatisfied, he will find his ministry a bitter rather than a rewarding experience. By demanding too much of himself and his people, he \oses his hu mor and his ability to adapt to the needs of his times. He can stay true to his vocation and the needs of his people, if he accepta the intrinsic tension of his !ife. To do this prope1;ly, the modern priest must combine within himself a divine and human self-definition. He must live with a transcendent and immanent God. He must exercise the ministry of an incarnational and eschatological Christ. He must be available for a supernatural sacramental ministry and for a natural counselling service. He must be familiar with traditional and modern concepts of praye!". He must understand the needs of the grandmother lighting a votive candie to the Blessed Mother and the teenager strumming a guitar at a folk Mass, and he must appreciate the limitations of both. This does not denigrate him nor compromise the way he looks at himself. A man firmly established in his own self-identity is not threatened by others' definitions of what he is. He is avail-


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able for Scripture Service or a Benediction, for confession or counselling, for preaching a sermon or listening to a dialogue homily. He realizes that he has a multiple role in !ife. He must reach men-as-they-are if he ever hopes to bring them to the transforming effects of grace. He is "ali things to ali men," not to betray himself, but in order to fulfill the requirements of his priestly li fe: to bring men-as-they-are to God, who will eventually make them-if the priest truly believes in the effectiveness of grace and man's willingness to respond-into whatthey-should-be.


A UT HORS IN THIS ISSUE Joseph A. Bracken, S.J ., Ph.D., is a professor of systematic theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. Peter Chirico, S.S., is a professor of systematic theology at St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park, California. Agnes Cunningham, S.S.C.M., S.T.D., teaches Patristic Theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. Charles E. CmTan is associate professor in the School of Theology at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. His article is a chapter from his recent book ContemporaTy Problems in Moral Theo/ogy, Fides, 1970. John F. Dedek is a professor of moral theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminal-y, Mundelein, Illinois and associate cclitor of Chicltgo Studies. 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. Ernest Lussier, S.S.S., is a professor of Sacred Scripture at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois . •

Charles R. Meyer is a professor of systematic theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. Ronald A. Sarno, S.J ., is currently pursuing advanced studies in theology at Woodstock College in New York.

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CIVITAS DEI FOUNDATION Episcopal Patrons The Most Reverend Cletus F. O'Donnell, J.C.D. The Most Reverend Raymond P. Hillinger, 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 Founde1's

Rt. Rev. J\Isgr. Thomas J. Burke Rt. Rev. J\Isgr. 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. Murphy 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. 1\!sgr. Richard F. Wolfe Rt. Rev. Msgr. Raymond J. Zock Rev. Francis R. Krakowski Rev. Edward T. Kush • Rev. Joseph J. Mackowiak Rcv. Francis C. Murphy Rev. Harry C. Rynard Rev. Stanley L. Ryzner Rev. Joseph I. Schmeier Rev. Harold H. Sieger Rev. Andrew T. Valcicak

Charter M ember ACTA

Rev. Walter F. Somerville 112