Summer 1969

Page 1


CHICAGO 'STUDIES EDITORIAL STAFF

Edit or George J. Dy er Associate Editors John F. Dedek

William O. Goedert

Business Manager Richard J. Wojcik

Vincent C. Horrigan, S.J.

Production Ma=ger Edmund J. Siedlecki

Editorial Advisors Gerard T. Broccolo John F. Fahey John R. Gorman Stephen S. Infantino George J. Kane Julius F. Klose Edward H. Konerman, S.J. William P. LeSaint, S.J. Samuel F. Listermann, S.J. Joseph T. Mangan, S.J. Thomas B. McDonough

John P. McFarland, S.J. Charles R. Meyer Norbert E. Randolph Robert A. Reicher Richard F. Schroeder William A. Schumacher Peter M, Shannon Edward J. Stokes, S.J. Thomas F. Sullivan Gerald P. Weber Raymond O. Wicklander

CHICAGO STUD!ES is edited by the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Semniary and the priests of the A rchdiocese of Chicago for the continuĂŽng education of the clergy, The editors welcome articles anrl letters likely to be of interest to our readers. Ail 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, 1969, by Civitas Dei Foundation, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Third Class postage paid at St. Meinrad, Ind. Views expressed in the articles are those of the respective authors and not necessari)y those of the editors or editorial board. Indexed in The Catholic Periodical Index and New Testament Abstracts. Microfilms of current and backfile volumes of CHICAGO STUDIES are now available from University Microfilms, Inc., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Manuscripta will not be retumed unless accompanied by self addressed stamped envelope.


VOLUME 8

NUMBER 2

SUMMER, 1969

Articles

A

THE CRISIS OF FAITH AND PRIESTLY !DENTITY

115

Charles R. Meyer

THE UNITY OF THE MORAL OROER

125

Norbut J. Rigali, S.J.

THE VANISHING Goo IN THE FILMS OF INGMAR BERGMAN

145

Richard A. B!JJke, S.J.

DEUS ABSCONDITUS

163

Joseph A. Bmcken, S.J.

LAMENNAIS' UNDERSTANDING OF THE SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL

177

Richard Wightman Fox

CATHOLIC THEOLOGY AND THE DEATH OF GOD: A RESPONSE

189

E>~c

MASS MEDlA AND CHURCH TEACHING

205

George K. Malone

BLUEPRINT FOR A CURRICULUM

217

John F. Dedek

C. Meyer, C.P.


DOCTRINAL SURVEY VIl

Charles R. Meyer

The Crisis of Faith and Priest/y ldentity There is hardly a )>riest ?Vho at Rome tinte o·r another

ha.• not felt that, no matter· how you tr?t to present it. religion se ems qui te LI-relevant in today's 1vorhl.

Everywhere today Catholics are asking: "What is happening to our priests 1 Why a1·e they leaving?" No doubt there is no single, simple answer to this question. Many who leave do so to man·y. As priests they extolled for others the beauty of the married state. Thel' pointee! out how Christian marriage symbolizes in the most effective way known to man the perfect union that exista between Christ and his Church. They showed how the partners become in a very palpable way images of God himself in his creativity. So they could not possibly fail to appreciate the deep religions significance as weil as the reassuring human consolations the married state affords. Y et the fact remains that Christ himself, the mode! nonpareil of religions !ife as weil as of human perfection, never married. 115


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Then again today's priests are much more aware of the history of the priesthood than were their. predecessors. Recent research emanating especially from France has pointed up the fact that during the times of the most phenomenal growth of the Church the witness of celibacy was not in evidence among those bishops and priests who worked most closely with the people. It is only natural then to question whether such a witness is really needed today. Recent societal attitudes toward sex might weil indicate that it is having no effect whatsoevet· upon most Christians. Sorne might even argue that ali it does is to cast aspersions upon priestly masculinity.. But on the other hand, sorne Catholic spouses wonder why they have to be faithful for !ife to their marital commitments while sorne priests who have also sworn an oath before Cod can at times in a seemingly cavaliet· manner dismiss theirs. I think, however, that most people would agree that the problem of celibacy is only one symptom in a whole syndrome of difficulties facing the priesthood today. And if we search for an etiology of the disease, we cannat avoid the question of faith, for it has to be the wellspring from which the priestly !ife tlows. THE MEANING OF FAITH

Modern theologians have not attempted to redefine faith. They still see it as an assent to what has been revealed by Cod precisely because it is Cod who is the revealer. But there is a shift of emphasis from what the scholastics would cali the material abject to the formai abject or motive of faith. Whereas yesterday's theology stressed what was revealed, today's concentra tes on the persans revealing. Faith is seen primarily as a commitment to One who is all-knowing and all-truthful. It is only because of this prior commitment that a persan can assent to what Cod says. THE AMBIVALENCE OF FAITH

There is hardly a priest who at sorne time or another has not felt that, no matter how you try to present it, religion seems qui te in·elevant in today's world, Y et at times one can perceive what seems to be an air of expectancy in the Church. Chris-


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tians seem to be waiting for sorne miracle to happen that will restore the faith of yesteryear. People seem to be hoping for a new appearance of God in the world today. Then they will believe, or their faith will be vindicated. But it is not really true that faith springs from miracles. Rather miracles spring from faith, as the New Testament indicates. But the hard fact is that faith demands God's hiddenness just as much if not more than it demands his self-disclosure. It is founded on his absence as weil as his presence. It is this ambivalence of faith that has divided believers today into two camps. FAITH IN AN ABSENT GOIJ'

One group sees faithfulness today requiring the banishment of God from the world, the secularization of society, and the promulgation of the notion that as far as believers are concerned God must be seen as dead. For these the meaning of the Incamation, imd in particular that aspect of the Incarnation which Pauline theology terms the kenosis (the concealment of the glory of the Godhead of the Word in human guise), is that true faith in God demands that man face up to the responsibilities that God has entrusted to him. lt is cheap faith just to believe in a God. It is genuine faith to believe in the fact that God has placed the management of the world entirely in the hands of men, to believe that God wants man to live without him, without the reassurance of his divinity to fall back on. It is God's faith in man that is really the central fact of ali revelation. The Church's liturgy constantly reminds us of this for ita central symbolism reveals us as identified with Christ in his Mystical Body, as one with Christ in communion, as doing the "thing" of Christ in acting out his¡ paschal mystery, etc. God trusts believers to continue the work of Christ. He is confident that they will not mis use their freedom to reject the promptings of the Spirit. Yet man cannot really accept this fact. He prefers just to believe in God; he cannot have faith in himself and so cannat believe that God has. So the Christian today has become as faithless as the Jew of old. He has not really accepted God's word. He cannot believe in God as he really is. He has fashioned for himself a god according to his own image. He has made God just another idol. In the name of faith he has committed the ultimate sin of unfaithful-


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ness. He has deified himself and his own ideas. He cannot abide by the idea of Bonhoeffer that the Cod who is really with us is the God who has abandoned us. FAITH IN A PRESENT GOD

The other group of believers views faithfulness as adherence to the traditional interpretation of Cod's revelation-to that primordial •¡evelation of God to Moses when he styled himself as Yahwe, the one who is ever present. The true believer is one who in his !ife witnesses the presence of Cod, not his absence. He lives in such a way that if there were no God his !ife would have no meaning. His !ife itself is the miracle that springs from faith and at one and the same time is the foundation of that faith. Without God his !ife would be absurd. He is not ashamed of the fact that he really needs Cod. Only God can relieve his existential Anost. He is honest with himself. He is humble. He knows that to banish Cod from his !ife leaves no alternative but to apotheosize himself. To believe that Cod has had such faith in him as to withdraw from his !ife is to found his faith ultimately not in God but in himself. This for him is the ultimate crime of pride and idolatry. He would rather see God as a projection rooted in his own needs than to destroy himself in the Narcissistic pool of his own arrogance. THE PRIEST IN THIS DIALECTIC

To be a priest in the world today means to live at the very vortex of this dialectic. It means to have an ultimate concern that is and must be in the final analysis ambivalent. It may mean having an identity that is basically schizoid. It may be that because of this confusion, because of this uncertainty, it is easier to be a Christian today than it was in the past. But it is harder to be a priest. A priest is cast by others in the role of responsibility and leadership. And he may weil seem to be presiding over chaos. lf today it is difficult to be a priest, it is much more difficult to be a priest who is a genuine person. The priest of the past felt !hat his priesthood was rooted in the celebration of Christ's paschal mystery. He was the official representative of the whole people of Cod in the re-enact-


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ment of this mystery. His role was seen as a truly prophetical one. The Church was believed to be the Body of Christ on the current scene. It commanded the priest's loyalty, for it was apprehended as the continuing revelation by God of himself in Christ for peoples of ali times and ali places. The priest as a minister of that Body uttered a word that was interpreted as God's own. Inasmuch as his !ife too reflected that word the priest was considered, as much as anyone can be, to be truly another Christ. Here was his mission. Here was his dignity. A NEW !DEA OF THE PRIESTHOOD

But in today's divided world sorne priests are of the opinion that ali this is changed. They see the priest as the witness not of the parousia, but of the kenosis. Can there be any real celebration or prophecy in a world stripped of an awareness of the presence of God? Can there be meaningful prayer in such 'a world? Does not existence itself have to be a ki nd of prayer -indeed the only one that can have significance when God is understood as having freely sought to be other to himself in the kenosis? And is not existence a cali to man to imita te God, to stand out from himself, to be other to himself, to risk himself, his vet¡y being and personhood, to sac ri fiee li fe itself in what appears to be in the final logical analysis totally absurd? If God in sorne sense died to himself, mortified himself in the kenosis, if he ceased to prize what man has always desired, his immortality, when he freely chose to be other to himself, to be man, th en this was the absurdity of ali absurdities. So sorne say that the priest today is not called to witness the paschal mystery, much less to celebrate it. His task is a much more difficult one. If God is in the words of the Orestean theologians the failure of man, then the priest is the failure of God. Maybe his calling is to be a failure. He cannot dedicate himself just to act out or celebrate the paschal mystery. That would be meaningless in a world that still cannot appreciate it and evidences its rejection of it. As the unique, irreplaceable, responsible and totally human person that he is, the priest today is called to live the paschal mystery. And he must live it in its stark reality and absurdity-on Calvary, not in the magnificence of the temple; in nakedness, not in the caparison of high ritualism; in the ambivalence of suspension be-


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tween heaven and earth, not in the reassuring solidity of a marble pulpit or oaken professorial chair; in the useless and wasteful spilling out of his !ife, not in the comfort and security of a meaningful existence. He must today live it without prop or mask. He cannot resort to priestcraft. He cannot find cornfort in shiny chalice, blanched host or soul-stirring song. He cannot distract himself from its opprobrium by shamanism. As priest he can possess no special persona! powers. He cannot nse evil eye or a magnetic personality. He is not a counsellor or community builder. He is not a humanitarian or philanthropist. His !ife must f01·ever proclaim that God is not what man would be if man were God. Rather man is what God chose to be when he decidee! not to appear as God. The priest today is perhaps called to do what he did not bargain for. He must have the courage to come face to face with the t-remendum. and fascinosum of the paschal mystery. And in fear and trembling he must pronounce over his own being the awesome words of its consecration: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'' But his deep faith must tell such a priest that what he is living is really the paschal mystery, and the paschal mystery is basically a message· of hope to th ose who can accept the ir humanity. For through death it leads to resurrection, through absurdity to real meaning, through risk to security, through ignominy to glory. FAITH IN THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH

The cmTent cns1s of faith assumes even more imposing proportions when one considers that it is necessary not only to believe in God and one's own humanity, but a Iso in the Church. Here there seems to be an impassible credibility gap. For the Church does not seem at times to believe or to act upon its own doctrine. lt appears to disbelieve its own power to believe. lt often responds to challenges not at ali like a credal community of love, but after the fashion of a worldly organization, a state, with laws and punishments. It refuses to take the risk of trusting that the doctrine it received from Christ will be understood by men or will be able to inspire them. It speaks of the Spirit, but seems to put more reliance on pm·ely human deviees. It can live comfortably only with


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the self-concept of statehood suggested to it by the territot¡ial donations of Pepin and Charlemagne. It feeds on its history more than on its doctrine. The Council of Trent, for example, . _,under the guidance of the Spirit, defines against Luther the orthodox doctrine that human nature is basically good and not totally corrupted. But then the very same Council seems to give the lie to its own doch'ine by multiplying laws, regulations and punishments. So it is that theologians like Charles Davis might say with sorne modicum of truth: "For me Christian commitment is inseparable from concern for truth and concern for people. I do not find either of these reprensented by the official Church." Or Rosemary Reuther: "Now to be for the Church means to be against the Church in a more ultimate way. The exercise of authentic sonship must be conducted under conditions of rejection by that very structure which has mediated the faith to us. This dilemma is experienced in its most radical form by the prophetie young Roman Catholic priest. It is such a person who experiences the ambiguity of being for the Church by being against the Chmch in its most extreme fm¡m, under conditions of crucifixion that may be approximated but scarcely equalled by prophetie ministers of other Jess authoritarian churches." AN OLD DISTINCTION

No light can be shed on the problem by introducing, as Charles Davis might be suspected of doing, a new distinction between the official and charismatic Church. There is and can can be in reality only one Church. And in that Church there is as a matter of fact and by divine intention a magisterial authority, specially assisted by the Spirit when it performs its proper task, if not when it acts like a state or other secular institution. But there is an older distinction that might be of sorne use. Paschase Radbert, for instance, in the ninth century wrote: "One cannot say, properly speaking: 'I believe in my neighbor, or in an angel, or in any creature whatsoever.' Throughout Roly Scripture you will find the correct use of this profession of faith reserved for Cod alone ... Therefore do not say: 'I believe in the Roly Catholic Church, but I believe the Roly Cath-


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olic Church.' " N ow we do and must say that we believe in the Holy Catholic Church inasmuch as it is a divine institution: i.e. its roots, basic structure and sorne of its prerogatives are divine. But the distinction may still be valid if it is applied to the Church existentially, for it is also formally a human institution-composed of men-and so, though basically authentic and good, capable of error, evil and inconsistency. Though its faith will reject Pelagianism, its !ife may reflect it. Faith in God, reftecting as Paul Tillich would say ultimate concern, demands total self-commitment. This kind of faith has to be reserved for God alone. Faith in the Church, on the other hand, demands acceptance of it as the means God has established through Christ to Jead men to himself. While such faith is certainly concernee! with ultimates, it is not in itself an expression of ultimate concern. It is only in the light of sorne such distinction that we can interpret the actions of sorne of the Church's leading protagonists as faith and not disbelief. Take, for instance, St. Catherine of Siena ; or Peter the Chanter who warned that the word of God even in the Church could be made void because of the traditions of men. THE IDEAL CHURCH

I wonder if the most pernicious ecclesiological error of our time is the same which characterized other eras of the Church's development-a false idealism which cannat accept or coexist with the human element in the Church. Idealists, whether unorthodox like the Manichaeans, Cathars and J ansenists or perfectly orthodox like St. Francis of Assisi have found that their notions cannat be totally assimilated by the Church because it is human; it is weak and sinful. A Church that would be perfect could not exist because it would ipso facto become an idol; it would itself become a matter of ultimate concern. Sorne of the Fathers dwell on St. Paul's description of how God chose to deal with men. He selected the weak and poor things of this world for his work: not Marcus Aurelius the philosopher-emperor, but the uneducated carpenter's son; not Seneca, but Peter. To point up this idea sorne maintained that Christ must have been a very ugly, repulsive persan. It is not fair to question just the Church of our times and ask about its failings. We must question Christ himself. Was not Judas' question


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about the poor a valid one? What did Christ do or say about one of the grea test social abuses of his time--slavery? We must question the apostles. Did not St. John author a gospel that for centuries was seen as a justification for a cruel, blind and relentless anti-Semitism? Did not Paul's pharisaical zeal lay upon the backs of the gentiles burdens commensurate with th ose he lifted from the shoulders of J ews? Those who cannot abide by a credibility gap in the Church and leave it might weil ponder the words of Billy Graham: "If you find a perfect Church, by ali means join it! Then it will no longer be perfect." To those who can really believe in the Incarnation and ali that it implies the humanity of the Church will not be seen as an obstacle to faith but as a demand for love. Precisely, because it is so human, the Church has need for the concern, the efforts and basic trust of its membership, particularly of its priests. Precisely because it is so human, the Church is lovable. If sorne priests today find the Church of our time best described in the words of Savonarola as a harlot, then maybe their mission is the same as that of Osee the prophet. HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

As Christ predicted, scandais there are in the Church, and scandais there will always be. But through the power of the Spirit the Church of our time is changing for the better. And change presents a challenge, a challenge which can make being a priest today an exciting and thrilling thing. I say that the Church is changing for the better. It is beginning to reform itself. It is taking the first steps toward the realization of that image of itself projected by the Second Vatican Council. It is emphasizing more and more its role of service to mankind. It is starting to reorganize sorne of its structures in the light of that objective. The image of Christ washing the feet of his disciples is becoming ever more discernible in it. But never more than at the moment when it begins more clearly to apprehend itself as Christ with his job to do in the world is its faith put to the test.


Norbe1路t J. Rigali, S.J.

MORAL SURVEY V

The Unity of the

Moral Order ln the task of bringing theo/ogy down to ea;rth and the unity of the moral ordeT into sight, it can be of help to theologians to ponder the ,路efiections of their speculative col/eagues on the naht>路e of o1路iyinal sin.

Underlying much of the philosophical and religious thought of the ages is a vision of man's present !ife as in sorne way inferior to a previous form or design of existence. The opening chapters of Genesis and Plato's famous doctrine of the fall of the pre-existing sou! into the body come immediately to mind. For Gregory of N yssa, it was only because God foresaw th at man would sin that he created man as sexual. Otherwise God would have arrangee\ the process of human reproduction in a more angelic fashion. In medieval times Thomas Aquinas in accordance with a long tradition c\istinguished two states of nature in which man has existee\: the state of integral nature of Adam and the state of corruptec\ nature of Ac\am's posterity. In the former state, Aquinas thought, ferocious animais were obedient to man, and the latter was dependent on them not as 125


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food, sources of clothing or instruments of transportation, but only as abjects for human knowledge. Children, for their part, would have had greater use of their reason and better mastery of their bodily movements than do present-day children. It has been remarked of a figure of the Enlightenment, the early Jean Jacques Rousseau, that he looked upon "social and political man as a fallen angel, and the biblical story of the expulsion from Eden might easily be a poetical account by Rousseau of man's fa li from the paradise of a separa te and individual existence into the state." DUALISM AND ORIGINAL SIN

These are but a sampling of the myriad elements in our secular and Christian heritages of speculative thought in which the notion of a !ost era of ideal innocent existence is operative. Only recently has Catholic dogmatic theology, in answer to the challenge of evolutionary thinking, begun to move consciously and systematically away from this vision of man's past. Pierre Smulders, for example, writes: "In teaching that concupiscence and death result from sin, Scripture and the Church indirectly teach that Adam was preserved from concupiscence and dea th. But there seems to be no obligation to hold that Adam possessed these privileges with full perfection rather than as dispositions open to improvement. By tidelity to God, could not the tirst man have progressively freed himself from the law of concupiscence and dea th? Scripture and the Church teach no more than a preservation from concupiscence and death such as they reign in our experience. The Bible restricts itself to dea th such as we know it: the anguished end of our !ife and projects ....The same considerations can be applied to freedom from concupiscence .... Perhaps Adam's freedom from concupiscence was compatible with struggle and tensions which he could gradually bring to perfect moral integration" (Evolution and Original Sin," Theo/ogy Digest 13, 1965, 176). Through different argumentation Km¡! Rahner reaches a similar conclusion: "With the data which the Church's doctrine requires to be maintained regarding Adam's history until his sin, it cannot be demonstrated that his empirically tangible situation need


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have been essentially different from ours." And he adds that "many mediaeval speculations about the condition of Adam in Paradise, which must not be confused with the t¡eal doctrine of faith, show themselves for this reason to be false, as a projection of the condition of ideal perfection back into the beginning" (Hominisation, pp. 104-5). Likewise, other Catholic scholars of our day, like Alszeghy and Flick, say of the perfection in which man was created that it "included the gifts of sanctifying grace, immortality, and integrity in a real, though perhaps only virtual way-as a baby's intelligence possesses the activities of a developed intellectual !ife" ("An Evolutionary View of Original Sin," Theo/ogy Digest 15, 1967, 200). Since practical and moral thinking must occur within sorne world view, and especially since the notion of a !ost era of innocence directly relates to moral considerations, it woulrl indeed be surprising if the ethical thought of the centuries harl remained unaffected by the pervasive speculative idea of paradise !ost. It was presupposed in Augustine's rather pessimistic ethics of sexuality and marriage. Although conjugal intercourse to generate offspring, he held, was not in itself a sin, nevertheless "in the use of the generative act the wound of sin is justly present." The wound of sin was the concupiscence resulting from Adam's original sin. Fot¡ Aquinas, man in the state of integral nature was not dependent upon sanctifying grace to avoid ali morta! and venial sin, even though this is not the case in the present state of human nature. And in the eyes of Ford and Kelly, two eminent moralists of the era immediately preceding Vatican Council II, the psychiatrist can be aided immeasurably through the vision of man in the !ost era of innocence: "Since original sin took away only our supernatural endowment and left our nature intact. it is not necessary, generally speaking, for a psychiatrist to know about original sin in order to diagnose a mental illness .... On the other hand, since the psychiatrist aims at the integration of the human personality, it would benefit him immeasurably to know the revealed doctrines pertinent to the Fall of man and to his restoration in Christ. The psychiatrist who knows and accepts these doctrines will t¡ealize that, though his therapeutic helps are valu-


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able for emotional integration, they do not suffice in themselves for the adequate rebuilding of the human personality" (Contempomry Moral Theo/ogy, vol. 1, 343 note). However, unlike their colleagues pursuing speculative theology, contemporary Catholic moralists have yet to free their science deliberately and systematically from the traditional view of Adam's life in Paradise. This fact accounts in part for the enduring presence in much contemporary moral literature of a kind of dual m01¡ality, in which moral demands are ¡ seen simultaneously in terms of what the world supposedly should be and of what the world actually is. One example of this type of moral theology is the "morality of tension" of Peter Chirico. ("Tension, Morality, and Birth Control," Theological Studies, 28, 1967, 258-85; abridged in Theology Digest 16, 1968, 104-10). TENSION 1\IORALITY AND TRADITION AL 1\IORALITY

"In his current condition," according to Chirico, man "is incapable of freely affirming or denying in a complete way the reality of his own Christ-image, the reality of his relationship to his fellow men, and the reality of his relationship to Gad in Christ. A total affirmation is possible only at death." Until dying "each man in varying degrees is only partially capable of affirming and implementing, or denying, what his concrete nature demands in itself and in its relationship to Gad and to other creatures." There exist, then, a dichotomy and a contradiction in the moral demands upon man: the impossible demands which his "concrete nature" makes upon him and the demands which in his "current condition" he is capable of affirming and implementing. This is the tension in "tension morality." This morality, then, recognizes "that man is continuously facing obligations that he cannat immediately fulfill"; "that there are individual moral imperatives that man cannat perfectly fulfill"; and "that man is often faced with a combination of imperatives of such nature that the accomplishment of one makes morally impossible the accomplishment of one or more of the others." Caught in a web of conflicting moral obligations and imperatives, the traditional moralist extricates himself by rec-


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ogmzmg the precedence of one obligation, which nullifies others, in the concrete situation. Nemo tenetur ad impossibile. The solution of the dilemma, br which the moral demand of the moment emerges freed of apparent contradiction and possible of fulfillment, is available through proper and full understanding of pertinent principles and relevant data in the concrete situation. Chirico, however, alreadr ruled out in principle the possibilitr of this kind of solution when he identified two sources of conflicting demands as man's "concrete nature" and his "current condition." Since each of the demands is concrete, here and now, it would be self-contradictory to resolve the dilemma by alleging a merely abstract contradiction and then finding one of the contradictory demands removed from the concrete situation. This problem is faced squarely by Chirico. Of such conflicting moral demands he states that they "are absolute moral norms and these absolute moral norms hold both in abst¡racto and in concreto. Their infringement always involves moral harm to persans.... But [a persan] may contravene them, not because these imperatives have !ost their validity in the specifie case, but because the persan involved is placed in a moral dilemma in which he is morally incapable of living up to ali the imperatives of the moral law. The act done in concreto is subjectively without biarne, even though there are aspects to it that contravene moral absolutes." The conflict of moral obligations is, according to Chirico, not merely abstract but concrete. None of the contradictory imperatives !oses its validity, its conscience-binding and obligatory character, in the specifie situation. Letting the contradiction inherent in rea!ity stand, Chirico resolves the dilemma by seeing the persan violating such an absolute moral imperative as free of guilt. The persan is blameless because it is impossible for him to fulfill the contradictory demands of reality. Again, nemo tenetur ad impossible. But now the adage has a new meaning. These words were understood in traditional moral theology to mean that reality does not place impossible moral demands on an individua! in any situation, although it may appear prima facie to do so. For Chirico the dictum has to mean that, although rea!ity does indeed make impossible moral demands upon an indiviclual, he is excused in violating


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such obligations for the simple reason that it is not possible for him to do the impossible. Having begun with the laudable pm·pose of reconciling traditional moral thinking and contemporary insights into a higher moral synthesis, Chirico appears ultimately to fail by negating important valid insights in the tradition. If reality truly puts impossible, contradictory moral demands to individuals, is not reality then self-contradictory, irrational and absurd from a moral stand point? Is there not an inherent contradiction in a concrete moral obligation which binds an individual in conscience to act here and now in a certain way, which however, the individual is morally free and even moJ•ally obliged to contravene here and now by acting in a contrary way, and from which the person bound by it is simultaneously excused because it is impossible for him to fulfill in the first place? THE DUALISM OF TENSION MORALITY

If Chirico's them·y of mm·a!ity ends in intrinsic contradiction, the chief reason for this failure is that the moral subject with whom he begins is man in insurmountable, irreconcilable contradiction with himself. The present demands of man's "concrete nature," as seen earlier, contradict those which his "current condition" enables him to implement. His current condition demands even that he "contravene" what his concrete nature demands. Such is the structure of man's existence until he enters the act of dying when for the first time "a total affirmation [of what his concrete nature demands] is possible." The "current condition" of man is, then, his incapacity before dying to affirm and implement "in a complete way" his relationship to himself, to God and to other creatures. On the same page where the conftict between man's nature and his cmTent condition is defined, Chirico writes: "Regarding inorality in general, we can make the following statements. First, man's freedom and his dynamic nature are its foundation. For it is man's freedom that makes it possible for him to grow by affirming values presented to him .... But the dynamic nature of man, his inner cali to growth, places upon him a moral obligation. He must grow. He must affirm and not deny


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the values inherent in himself and in the relationships that confront him." Noteworthy in the preceding quotation are: (1) man's nature is seen as a "dynamic nature"; (2) man's dynamic nature is equated with an "inner cali to growth"; (3) growth is understood as a process of affirming encountered values; and ( 4) affirming values is understood as man's relating himself properly to himself and to other realities. This dynamic view of man's nature is generally accepted by contemporary moral theologians. A man's !ife, according to this view, is a process of growth, a process of entering ever more deeply into relation with ali reality. It is his human nature which orients the person toward this continuons growth. And if a person had entered in a complete or total way into relationship with ali of reality, then by definition his human existence would have been transcended. To return now to Chirico's previous description of human nature on the same page: "In his cm-rent condition [man] is incapable of freely affirming or denying in a complete way the reality of his own Christ-image, the reality of his relationship to his fellow men, and the reality of his relationship to God in Christ. A total affirmation or deniai is only possible at death. Until then, each man in varying degrees is only partially capable of affirming and implementing, or denying, what his concrete nature demands in itself and in its relationship to God and to other creatures." This quotation is a complete paragraph with only the first sentence, the topic sentence, omitted. To this sentence attention will be given shortly. Meanwhile, worthy of note in the paragraph are: (1) man's "current condition" is viewed as the source of his incapacity for relating himself "in a complete way" to reality; (2) this incapacity is dissolved in sorne unexplained way at dea th; (3) du ring his lifetime man can relate himself only partially to reality, whereas his "concrete nature" is demanding that he relate himself in a complete way. The view of man's nature presented here does not square with the "dynamic nature" discussed above. Here the reason for man's incapacity to enter in his lifetime into a complete relationship with reality is not his dynamic nature itself, ori-


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ented towards continuons growth in this relationship; the reason is man's "current condition," which is opposed to his "concrete nature." This incapacity, seen previous)y as natural, an aspect of human nature, is perceived now as unnatural, a state opposed to man's true nature. Whereas the basic moral obligation imposed upon a man by his nature was conceived as an obligation "to growth" toward the fullness of relationship to ali reality, it is here viewed as an obligation to relate himself completely now to ali reality. In a word, Chirico presents even on the same page two different concepts of human nature: the one dynamic, the otl1er static. And it is upon the latter, static conception that Chirico builds his them¡y of "tension morality." Since Chirico cannot have formed both of the antithetical notions of human nature through reflection upon human existence, the source of at !east one must be other than human experience. To solve this problem, the topic and first sentence of the static definition, omitted from consideration above, is presented now: "Man is concupiscent." This sentence occurs in a sub-section headed "The Nature of man," which opens: "To lay a foundation for the meaning of morality and moral laws, we must indicate sorne aspects of man as he exists in the modern world of sin and redemption." There follow seven paragraphs, each with an italicized topic sentence the subject of which is "man." This is the sixth of these sentences. It appears evident to the reader, then, that the aspect of man which Chirico intended to discuss in the paragraph under consideration is man as he is affected by original sin even after redemption. Attention is directed explicitly toward concupiscence (and, as seen earlier, to sorne extent also toward dea th). The mention of concupiscence, however, is associated immediately with the traditional notion of a negative, defective cmTent condition of man, implying a time when man existed in a perfect condition ("In his current condition he is incapable ... "). This traditional notion in turn is then linked directly to a contemporary insight about man. This insight, however, is the Heideggerian dynamic conception of man's existence as Sein-zum-Tode, which has influenced both Karl Rahner and Ladislaus Boros. Positively, the insight sees man's exist-


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ence as a process of growth toward his final act, the act of dying, in which man becomes completely himself. Because human existence is a process of becoming oneself, the same dynamic insight, from a negat.ive standpoint, views man as incapable of becoming fully himself in any act before death. lt is this negative statement of man's dynamic nature which Chirico, in the paragraph on concupiscence, opposes to man's "concrete nature" and identifies with man's "current condition" and concupiscence. And yet on the same page he sees this same dynamic nature, from its positive standpoint, for what it in fact is. The point at which Chirico went wrong was his considering, in traditional fashion, the effect of original sin, concupiscence, as a current condition opposed to another radically different, ideal human condition. Hence his two moralities in tension: the one an ideal morality with its impossible imperatives, and the other a real morality imposing only what man can do. BRINGING MORAL!TY DOWN TO EARTH

Ultimately, then, the foundering of the mm路ality of tension appears to result from the author's insufficient reflection on the importance in moral theology of the concept of original sin. The manner in which this sin is understood can determine the way in which the moral subject, man, is seen. And the moralist who appropriates the contemporary speculative theology of original sin will discover, it seems, not an ideal, impossible morality in tension with a real and possible morality, but only the latter. Traditional moral them路y was right when it saw that there is no such thing as an impossible moral obligation and that a man is mm路ally obliged to do only what he is capable of doing. Yet, traditional moral them路y, based on static conceptions of man and original sin, is in need of being reconstructed on the foundation of the dynamism and historicity of the person. It is, however, not a task which can be accomplished by juxtaposing the modern insight of historicity with a static conception from the past. Rather moral theology needs to be purified of its static, unreal and impossible elements. ln this sense it must be brought clown to earth. Helpful in the process of bringing considerations of mo-


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rality down to earth is the existential thought of Robert O. Johann on moral obligations and rights. Taking exception to Josef Pieper's them·y that "man has inalienable rights because he is created a persan by the act of Cod, that is, and act beyond ali human discussion," Johann replies that "the existence of rights depends essentially on the reeiprocity of persons." He explains his position as follows: "It is only because I am in your presence--yon who are a person endowed with objective awareness and called by your native share in reason to respond to beings in terms of what they are and do -that the reality of my persona! !ife takes on the character of a claim or right. My rights are thus founded on your obligation, as a rational agent, to treat me as a person. Rooted in your rational nature, they depend on your presence and are removed from your wilfullness .... The act, therefore, by which a person first of ail acquires rights is not his creation as a person by Cod but rather his insertion as a person in a society of persons" (Ame•·ica, 112, 805). Johann himself was concerned to point out the falsity of the egoism and individualism implied in the rejected theory, in which "a man has rights prior to his contact with his fellows" and "cornes into the world, as it were, already endowed with them." But in showing that moral obligations come into being and exist through reciprocal human "presence," he simultaneously reveals the inadequacy of the perspective, historically nourished by the traditional understanding of original sin, which finds human rights and duties and the norms of behavior lodged at !east partially in a transcendent, "ideal" realm which is supposed to have been or to be now in sorne way a reality. THE PRINCIPLE OF OVERRIDING RIGHT

Seeking the solution to the same kind of moral dilemma to which Chirico addressed himself, Denis E. Hurley, Archbishop of Durban, fot·mulated his "principle of overriding right": "When the infringement of an obligation is necessarily involved in the exercise of a proportionate right, the obligation ceases" (The Furrow, 17, 1966, 19-22). Against this principle, however, Richard A. McCormick has brought two criticisms. "It seems that one's basic objec-


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tion against Archbishop Hurley's 'principle of overriding right' might be that it is not a principle at aiL That is, it does not provide the means of solving a problem, but simply formulates a solution at which one has already arrived. Under ananlysis, the 'princip!e' only asserts that if one duty is more important than an other and I cannat do justice to bath, then I must discharge that which is more important" ( Theological Studies, 28, 1967, 757). The second objection is that Hurley's formulation "builds on the idea of a clash between right and duty," whereas "a genuine clash is only possible if there is not inherent limitation on rights and duties. But there are such limitations." Replying to the criticisms, Hm¡!ey adroits that, since "a genuine or objective clash is not possible," it "would have been better tO speak of an apparent clash." But he continues to regard his principle as truly such: "My argument against McCormick cornes to this. It is not enough to know that \ife is more important than property, and that property is for man, to reach the conclusion that in extreme need I may take the property of another. I also need a principle persuading me that when my right to !ife clashes with my duty to respect my neighbor's property, the right annuls the duty" (Theological Studies, 29, 1968, 306). ¡ Hurley's solution of the moral dilemma differs from Chirico's. For the latter, each contradictory moral demands retains its validity in the specifie case, but the persan is subjectively blameless in contravening one of the valid obligations. Hurley, on the other hand, finds that in the specifie situation one of the contradictory demands overrides and thus annuls the other. What Hurley overlooks, however, is that his solution bath begs the question of McCormick's second objection and contradiets his own reply to the first objection. When McCormick had indicated that in the concrete situation there is no genuine, real clash of moral demands, Hurley admitted that the clash is only apparent. Nevertheless, he then went on to find that in the concrete situation one of the moral demands is annulled. McCormick's point was precisely that contradictory moral requirements are only apparent in the first place and what is merely apparent need not and cannat be annulled.


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McCormick argues that there are no real clashes of right and duty even if there appear to be such. There is, to this extent, only one real moral arder, and it is brought "dawn to earth." If, however, while accepting verbally McCormick's correction, Hm路ley remained in his thinking unchanged by it, the reason for this must be in part that McCormick's theory itself, having touched ground, bourrees back into the sky. THE QUESTION OF INHERENT LIMITATIONS

It will be recalled that McCot路mick's first objection to Hm路ley stated that "under analysis, the 'principle' only asserts that if one duty is more important than another and I cannot do justice to bath, then I must discharge that which is more important. Immediately McCormick adds: "Fair enough. But that does not tell me and cannat tell me which duty is more important or why it is so. This a genuine principle should do." But this is in fact not what a genuine moral principle should do, because a man does not and cannot have contradictory moral duties in the first place. McCormick's "fair enough" grants too rouch to Hm路ley. While arguing that there cannat be a genuine clash between a duty and a right, McCormick himself assumes that there can be a conftict between one duty and another. His solution to the latter clash is to "do justice" to the more important duty. But to presuppose that one duty can clash with another is to imply either that there are two contradictory moral orders in which mutually exclusive duties originate or that there is one self-contradicting moral arder in which contradictory duties arise. In either case reality is fundamentally irrational and absurd. Having stated that a genuine moral principle "should tell me which duty [of two contradictory duties] is more important or why it is so," McCormick proceeds: "For example, in the case of extreme need, to say that my right to !ife predominates over my duty to respect my neighbor's property is simply a way of saying that we have a basic grasp on the significance of human !ife and material goods and have decided, correctly of course, that material goods are for man. It is this judgment [rather than the principle of overriding right] which is the basis for my decision-my principle, if you wish. Once we have understood the relationship between human !ife and


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material goods, we are able to assert the inherent limitation on the right to material goods. Therefore, it is only after I have taken a position on the hierarchy of values that I am . positioned to see whether a certain form of conduct involving t~e values is promotive of human growth or not." This passage reveals severa! problems. (1) To illustra te how a genuine principle, as opposed to the principle of overriding right, serves in rliscerning which of two conflicting rluties is more important, McCormick offers a case which he sees as a right in contlict with a duty. He thus equates the contlict of a duty and a right with the conflict between two duties. Ultimately, it seems, no rlifference is seen here between a right and a duty. (2) McCormick states th at to say that a certain right predominates over a particular duty is "simply a way of saying" that we have "a basic grasp on the significance" of the two realities involved and have taken a position on their "hierarchy of values." Asserting that the right to !ife predominates over the duty towarrl a neighbor's property is simply to assert that "material goods are for man" or, in other words, that the value of human !ife predomina tes over the value of material goods. Duty and right, therefore, are simply other names for value or significance. It is now clear why McCormick could use a case which he regards as a conflict of right and duty to illustrate what he originally saw as a conflict of duties. He can equate the one contlict with the other because they are identical. For both right and duty now mean simply value. However, at this point one must realize that something is radically awry when the contrary moral notions of right and duty become identical in a moral the01¡y. (3) Having found the assertion of the predominance of a given right over an indivirlual duty to be equivalent to taking a position on the hierarchy of values, in his last sentence McCormick sees that it is only after taking such a position that an individual can determine whether a certain form of conduct involving these values is conducive to human growth or not. Presumably, however, it is only by determining whether a certain form of conduct is conducive to human growth or-not that a person first discovers his duty and right in any 'situation. For it is inconceivable that an individual knows his rluty anrl right in a given situation before he knows whether


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a possible form of conduct will promote or destroy human growth. What McCormick is saying in effect is: only after a person in such a case has seen that the right predominates over the duty, thus finding the "inherent limitations" of the duty, is a person in a position to determine what his right or duty is with regard to a certain form of conduct. More sim ply: only after he has settled the question about the right and duty involved in a situation is a person in a position to determine his right and duty in the situation. Since McCormick began by confusing right, duty and value, this self-contradictory position can, of course, be easily rectified: only after a pet·son has settlect the question about the values involved in a situation can he determine what are his right and duty. (4) But McCormick's mistake, ultimately identical with that of Hm·ley, reaffirms the traditional two different orders of morality. When, therefore, in his final words against Hurley's principle McCormick asserts that for Hm·ley "to adopt a formulation which speaks of a clash is both to suggest the illimitability of rights and duties," it is not completely unexpected that McCormick is again doing exactly what he is simultaneously repudiating in Hm·ley. To adopt a formulation which speaks of the moralist's task as one of delimiting rights and duties suggests indeed the illimitability of such rights and duties. It suggests that the moralist first finds rights and duties in an unlimited state and then proceeds to delimit them. Since no one can delimit what is non-existent or what is already delimited, rights and duties apparently exist first in sorne undelimited way. Rights and duties are, of com·se, limited in the sense that ali creation is limited. God alone is unlimited and illimitable. But this is not the sense in which McCormick means illimitability. What McCormick means is that Hurley's theory implies that a right or a duty applies somehow in any situation in which it is involved, whereas for McCormick rights and duties have inherent limitations which prevent their application in certain cases. "For example, in the case of extreme need ... my right to !ife predominates over my duty to respect my neighbor's property." In sorne cases rights or duties because of their inherent limitations are predominated over and therefore inoperative. Rights and duties exist in two states:


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they exist in themselves and they exist as they are operative and applicable in concrete cases. The task of the moralist, having found them outside of concrete situations, is to determine how they are applied and exist within such situations. The manner in which McCormick, with countless predecessors in the history of ethical thought, established these two different orders of morality has already been indicated when it was shawn that he failed to distinguish value from right and duty. When this confusion is seen for what it is, it appears that the moralist's task is not one of delimiting preexistent rights and duties by finding out where they apply and where they do not and which predominates over the other in real situations. On the ĂŠontrary, the moralist's work is to determine by weighing the values involved in concrete possibilities what rights and dulies come into being and exist in varions situations in which persans are present to one another in different ways. The task of the moralist is not to tailor the duties and rights of an antecedent, transcendent, 'ideal' order to the real world; it is to discover what rights and duties are created in and by the varions interpersonal presences in the world. THE PR!NCIPLE OF COMPROMISE

Being of the mind that Catholic moral theology must speak more than it has in the past "to the reality of the world as we know it," Charles E. CmTan views moral dilemmas, Ă la Thielicke, in the light of a theory of compromise: "In the face of the sinful situation man must do the best he can. The destructive and disruptive influence of sin frequently prevents man from doing what he would want to do in the given situation. The business-man might be forced to make kick-backs in arder to stay in business. The laborer might have to kick in so much a day to be hired. The word 'compromise' seems to fit such situations quite weil" (Homiletic and Pastoml Review 67, 1967, 828). At first sight Curran's princip le of doing the best one can in the situation appears too unscientific, nontechnical and common-sensible to be a genuine principle of moral theology. Moral theologians are accustomed to more abstruse principles, such as those discussed earlier. The simplicity of the theory, however, can seem a point in


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its favor if it is not assumed that morality is fundamentally a transcendent order from which professionals must deduce a secondai-y moral order suited to !ife in the world. If the work of the moral theologian is seen as a work in common with that of the human conscience itself, instead of as a highly technical undertaking which only academicians are supposed to comprehend, then it is to be expected that moral principles, effecting an immediate reasonance in the human spirit, will indeed appear as basic, self-evident truths. Aquinas, for example, sees as the fh¡st ethical principle: "good is to be done and pursued, and evil to be avoided." If the sinful dimension of the world, from which the Thomistic principle prescinds, is taken into account, a second principle, presumably as simple as Currnn's, would have to be introduced immerliately. And just as it would imply a misunderstanding of the nature of moral principles to argue that Aquinas's principle is not genuine because it does not designate what are good and evil in concrete situations, the same misunderstanding is involved in the repudiation of Curran's principle on the basis that it rloes not indicate what compromises should be made. Curran's principle regards the world as we know it to be, a world in which man is inescapably involved in harmful situations. Traditional moral theology also recognized this world when it saw, for example, that a man may under certain conditions perform an act which has indirectly a harmful effect. But this older theology simultaneously kept the transcendent moral order intact by insisting that the evil effect was not what the will intends directly or by other similar reasoning. Curran's them¡y, however, implies that there is only one moml order, the order of concrete human situations, sorne of which are radically sinful. "When one must kil! to protect innocent victims of mass hatred," he writes, "there is something sinful and wrong about the situation." ln this situation the alternatives with which a man is confronted and between which he must choose are themselves established by "the destructive and disruptive influence of sin," and another possibility established only through the power of love and grace in the world is not there. The limitations of the situation prevent the graced person from acting in a truly loving way toward every person to whom he is present and from giving


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witness with his own li fe and acts only to the unlimited love of God for ali men. Both of the possibilities entai! involvement in and a manifestation of man's alienation from his fellowman and from God. In this sense, whatever a person does in such situations "will add to the force of sin in the world." The best that a person can do in a situation of this kind is to actuate the possibility which witnesses most to the love of God and to the universal brotherhood of mankind in Christ and witnesses !east to the sinful alienation of man from his fellows and Gad. Since in these cases even the best "action is wrong" under one aspect, "the Christian must always have an uneasy conscience." SINFULNESS AND ORIGINAL SIN

Certain human actions of even the graced person, therefore, are ambivalent and in sorne sense sinful. This was the conclusion reached also by Chirico. But the sense in which such actions are sinful is not the same fo1¡ CmTan as it is for Chirico, and the difference is analogons to that between original and actual sin. For Chirico the "evil aspects" of such acts are that the acts "contravene moral absolutes," "absolute moral norms, 71 absolute "imperatives," absolute "obligations." Although persons performing such acts are "subjectively without biarne," they are nevertheless violating asolute norms of morality which have not "lost their validity in the specifie case." For CmTan, however, such an act is not in violation of an absolute moral norm. Its "sinfulness" is a matter of its showing "the presence of sin in the given situation." On this view, it could be said that it is the fact that a person is not violating an absolute moral norm which constitutes the "sinfulness" of the act. The act, understood as an act-in-the-world (a way in which a person relates himself to the world, thereby actuating the self and the other in a ce1-tain relation heretofore nonexistent), is "sinful" because it actuates and manifests the sinfulness of the world. It actuates a moral order in which, to return to Curran's example, a persan must relate himself to others in such a way that he must kill persons to protect innocent victims of mass hatred. His act creates a relationship to people victimized by sinfulness, to aggressors motivated by sinfulness, and to himself as a freedom whose possibilities are


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limited by sinfulness. The sinfulness of this person's act is, as it were, that the drama of the charitable act must be presented on a stage designed by hatred. Here love can be actuated only within limita set by hatred; love can be realized only in relation to hatred; love can show itself only together with hatred. The action is determined by not only the love of the doer but also by the sinfulness of the world in which it occurs. It reveals again the sinfulness through which there is for men no universal, absolute right to !ife itself nor universal, absolute duty to refrain from taking it. Thus, its sinfulness is not that it contravenes an absolute moral obligation to refrain from taking the !ife of another; it is rather that it reveals anew the absence of such an absolute moral imperative and the relativity of human life due to sin. The world of man's experience is the result not simply of God's creation and the power of his gifts and grace in man but also of man's sinfulness. The world not only manifesta the glory of God; it also bespeaks the sinfulness of man. The one world is partly the work of love and partly the work of sin, and there is no island to which any man can retreat to find only what is of love. It is in this one world that the Christian finds himself and to which he necessarily relates himself through his actions. When the sinfulness of this world presents itself and determines his situation, it prevents the graced person from actuating in his relating to the world only what is of love, just as it has kept the world, the given totality of human relationships, from reflecting only the glory of God in the first place. On this view, then, the "sinfulness" in such cases is not a subjectively blameless but conscious infringement of an absoJute moral imperative, a kind of persona! sin which is not really a persona! sin. It is rather a sinfulness which determines the world of which the Christian is part, the one moral order of this world, and the given situation which he must relate to himself here and now. Since the latter conception of sinfulness has a pronounced affinity with contemporary approaches to original sin of many dogmatic theologians, the opening thought of this paper again suggests itself. In the task of bringing theology down to earth and the unity of the moral order into sight, a task rendered


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difficult by the perennial dualistic elements in the Christian and secttlar traditions, it can be of help to moral theologians to ponder the retlections of their speculative colleagues on the nature of original sin.


Richa;rd A. Blake, S.J.

The Vanishing Cod in the Films of lngmar Bergman A comprehensive view of the idea of God in the development of Bergrnan's fil1ns.

No film-maker has ever drawn the theological attention that

Ingmar Bergman has ; articles on his work are as likely to appear in The Clagy Review as in Film Qua;rterly. Once his sexual frankness was so surpassed by later and Jess skillful directors that it was no longer shocking ot¡ offensive, he has become standard fare at college film festivals sponsored by religions groups. Frequently, too, he is recommended for adult discussion groups. The reason is quite simple; religions furniture clutters ail his films: the crucifix, crises of faith, pilgrimages, prayers, processions, pauline references, heroic pastors and unscrupulous seminary professors. Christians have accepted Ingmar Bergman as their own. But surely his is a Christianity which demands severe scrutiny. He has written, "To me religions questions are continuously alive. I never cease to concern myself with them." However, the fact that his films abound in religions image and language, coupled with the fact that his father was an Evangelical Lutheran minister in Stockholm, should not lead us to 145


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overly hasty conclusions about his religiosity. He has issued a warning: "[My films] are not concerned, as sorne critics have theorized, with God or his absence, but with the saving force of love." If Bergman is consistent in these two statements, then he must consider the possibility of religion without God, a religion whose core is man himself. This then is the problem of the secular and sacred in the films of Ingmar Bergman. He is driven by accidents of birth and culture to traditional statements, couched in the language of Christianity; yet he continua]] y purges the statement of its Transcendent Referent. A crucifix, for example, refers to the inner turmoil of a Knight in his quest for knowledge or of a pastor in his search for love. Christ crucified is a handy image, filled with rich connotations for an audience in the Christian tradition; it cannot be automatically understood as a sign of union between sutfering hero and suffering Christ. So, in considering Bergman's work careful distinctions are in order. The artist works within the Christian tradition, but is a man whose thinking tends to the post-Christian. In a sense he reacts against Christianity, with its strangely worded, other-worldly answers to unreal problems. He says, "My father and mother were certainly of vital importance, not only in themselves, but because they created a world for me to revolt against." The words of Pastor Tomas in W¡inter Light might well have an autobiographical ring to them, for at the time of the Spanish Civil War, Bergman was in his late teens: "I refusee! to accept reality. I and my Gocl lived in one world, a specially arranged world, where everything made sense. Ali around were the agonies of !ife, but I didn't see them. I turned my gaze to a God who guaranteed every possible security ... a God I' d suggested myself into believing in, a God fabricated with my own hands." The final blow for Bergman, as for many other young Swedish intellectuals, feil when the Christian churches failed to offer effective opposition to the Nazi movement. In the midst of the crisis, the Lutheran doctrine of separation of the Kingdom of God from the earthly Kingdom of Man permitted churchmen to remain silent, since the ir con cern was the realm of faith; political matters were equated with "works" and could therefore be of little concern to the church. Religion, then, in any ordinary meaning of the


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word, appeared useless in facing the problems of twentiethcentury man. His final verdict: "Religion is kept alive as a conventional politeness toward the past, as a benign democratie solicitude on behalf of nervous citizens enjoying more and more leisure time." ExoRCISING Gon

Exorcising God from religion and art is no simple task, especially when one is unwilling to replace him with sorne kind of a devotion to collective mankind, as, say, Marxism. Bergman has often been criticized for a solipsistic concern for the self, divorced from the issues of the day. Although references to poverty and war in Persona and The Silence do limit the validity of the criticism somewhat, Bergman has yet to make a film whose central theme is a political or social problem. He remains the individualist of the Romantic tradition, the artist who juclges the world in his own terms. The starting point for his "religions" concern lies in the individual himself, seeking sorne meaning in a world of elusive meanings. ln these days, when cinema has plunged into the political m¡ena and found its manhood there, Bergman has backed away, and thus is dismissed by the younger more social-minded critics. His themes and interests are considered irrelevant to the times. While young intellectuals berate him, the quest continues in ever new and ever more probing terms. His exorcism of God is now ali but complete. In The Seventh Seal, the Knight pt¡ayed: "Why can't I kil! God within me? Why does he live on in this painful and humiliating way, even though I curse him and want to tear him from my heart? Why in spite of everything is he a baffiing reality I can't shake off?" In the ten years that followed this script, his prayer has been answered. By the time he completed The Silence, the climax of his "God-trilogy," he concluded that God is himself the silence, and in Persona he discovered that true meaning is not found in a God-myth, but in man's honesty with himself. With identity established, he can board the bus with Sister Alma, the nurse, to go forward into an unknown future with complete serenity. To trace that development from the traditional "crisis of faith" to a new secular freedom, it will be helpful to trace a


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few themes through the films of his theological period, from The Seventh Seal ( 1956), through the harsh ambiguities of the Cod-triology, to Persona, his final proclamation of man's radical independence: his ability to "live as though there were no Cod." Although many of his earlier films contain references to theological questions, it is only in 1956 that he crashes into the problem head-on. We can follow the evolution of his concept of religion, from Christianity in the normal sense of the ward to a religion of human concerns. Closely allied to his concept of religion is his concept of Cod, which begins in vital search, passes into ineffable Mystery, and ends by becoming totally irrelevant. Most interesting of ail is his concept of love, which in the early theological period is redemptive, but later becomes a goal subsistent in itself. The attempt to treat three themes in seven films (The Seventh Sea1, Wild Stm?Vberries, The Vi1·gin Spring, Through a Glass Dœrkly, Winte1· Light, The Silence, and Persona) must necessarily li mit the discussion to broad topic areas, despite the recognized value of a tight textual analysis. RELIGION: FROM ÜRTHODOXY TO ABSURDITY

Organized religion does not fare weil in Bergman's films. In The Seventh Seal, the church blocks the Knight's quest for knowledge of Cod with its medieval insistence on superstition. The monks, wandering through the countryside with bands of hysterical flagellants, disgust him. They decorate the churches with reminders of the plague to keep the people terrified of death and consequently subservient ta themselves. They troture and burn a young girl for alleged "carnal knowledge of the devil," and it was Raval, the seminarist turned gravembber, who originally persuaderl the Knight that he could find his Cod by joining the Crusade. Death himself is disguised as a monk when he tricks the Knight into revealing his secret strategy for !ife. The images associated with the Church are ample negative commentary: a crucifix with a horribly mutilated Christ, devoid of hope and on the verge of death, an image reinforced by the crucifixion of the young witch; smoke from censers, which masks and distorts reality; darkness inside the church building; blood smeared on the outside wall,


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where the girl is chained: her cruel dea th and the Church are irrevocably fused in this image. The medieval morality-play motif of this film gives us the illusion of distance while contemporary meanings crowd in upon us. Antiquity is merely the husk, which, when peeled away, is seen to cover modern realities. Contemporary man, like the Knight or like Bergman, regards much churchly activity as superstition; he suspects churchmen of duplicity, of feeding on the fear and insecurity of the ignorant, of encouraging their anxiety and guilt as a means of preserving their own status. Yet despite this distrust of religion, where are the alternative methods for probing into ultimate meanings? The artist, at !east in this film, must pose his questions in religious contexts. Mere rationality is not sufficient for questions which transcend reason; Jons, the Knight's squire, is much more outspoken in his contempt for religion, but his is the route of cynicism and nihilism. The Knight will have none of that. He wants knowledge of Cod and must search for it in the Church, even though he finds it more confusing than helpful. Wild Strawberries is set in contemporary Sweden and the Church is much Jess obtrusive in man's struggle for meaning and value in this time and place. When Isak Borg and his daughter-in-law Marianne are discussing her marriage, he tells her to go to a minister for "spiritual masturbation," since it is quite fashionable these days. For the crusty old professor, religion is a way to find the solution to persona! problems, without the expense of a psychiatrist. Later, after a near collision, Mr. and Mrs. Alman join them in the car; he announces that his wife is hysterical and he is a Catholic, so they each have their little quirks. A pair of young men and a girl join the trip, one of the men a medical student and the other a candidate for the ministry. Their arguments about Cod are endless, violent, unresolved and a bit silly. The minister-to-be has nothing to say to the man of science and vice versa. In each reference to religion, hostility provides the context; religion separates and does little good, save to provide a refuge for the neurotic. The Virgin Spring recaptures the saga quality of The Seventh Seal and like it also contains the ritual journey. Karin


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is on the way to deliver sacred candies to the shrine when she is raped and murdered; her quasi-religions task was an exercise begun in pride, vanity and even flirtatiousness rather than devotion. These characters act out the prescribed rubrics and practices with little understanding; their devotion is cultural rather than religions, and through them perhaps Bergman is passing a judgement on contemporary churchgoers. The shallowness is exposed when the father, Tore, discovers the murderers and reverts to paganism to work the retribution. Again, the indictment of religions people strikes uncomfortably close, for many Christians are willing to offer sacred candies, but when it cornes to practical decisions or persona! crises, 1¡eligion has no place. The most effective prayer is Ingeri's curse of Karin, entrusted to the workings of Odin. When the crisis has passed and the revenge is complete, Tore returns to Christianity; he asks for forgiveness, and when the spring rises, he promises to build a church in reparation. When the task of man is do ne, God may be served. FOCUSSING THE PROBLEM

Bergman moves the problem of religion straight to the center, in his own time and place, with his brutally austere and penetrating God-trilogy. Here there is no lovely scenery or medieval imagery to veil the tru th from us; there is nothing to ease the pain as he removes the eyelids and holds a mirror up to our honesty. He puts the mace to conscience and in the wreckage holds up shards of illusion, self-deception and hypocrisy. Through a Glass Darkly (1 Co!'. 13 :12) portrays a quest for God in the form of madness ; no religions practice can help the young girl; rather¡ she must search for God in her own tortured sou!. God is within. lier father, a novelist, tries to assume the priestly role by exposing God for his son in the evils they have encountered together. "God is love," sounds overly facile and, naturally, the boy cannot understand and chooses to forget the discussion by running on the beach. The husband emerges as the most heroic of the characters; he plays the "man of science" role, since he is literally a physician, and can help his wife by administering the sedative. This is a clear change for Bergman. Jons, in The Seventh


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Seal, was a "man of science," but Bergman treated him as a cynic, while expressing respect for the poet, Antonins. ln Wild Strawben¡ies, Isak Borg is a scientist and is totally cold, while the two young men, scientist and poet, argue to a standstill. Here, however, the poet-novelist is cynical, self-centered and labelled by the doctor as "monstrous." Bergman's love shifts from the poet-mystic, who contemplates other worlds to the man of science, whose roots and ideals are practical and earthbound. While the Church had been safely medieval in the earlier films, Winter Light maves the argument right up to the present. Pastor Tomas conducts a ritualistic ceremony before a starkly vacant church. A fisherman cornes to him for help, for he fears that the Chinese will destroy the world with their new atomic bomb, but Tomas has nothing to say to him and instead unburdens his own doubts and insecurities. The fisherman kills himself and the pastor has nothing to say to the widow; if the Church is a source of consolation, it is not apparent to either Tomas or Bergman. The role of physician is taken by the local schoolteacher, whose love has been rejected, but who takes him to her home to offer medicine for his cold. She is able to help with human means, while his divine powers at¡e useless in the face of human suffering. Tortured with doubt and illness, the pastor is preparing for evensong, when the crippled sacristan delivers an impromptu sermon on Christ's dereliction on the cross. The words do not move him at ali, but he stolidly procedes with the ceremony. His closing words, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. Ali the earth is full of his glory," is a terrifying ambiguity. Is it the ultimate act of faith, when al! human props of understanding and consolation have been taken from him? Or is it a grand act of hypocrisy, by one too immersed in the routine and its security to keep basic options open? We do not know. This much is clear: religion and sacrament offer no sure access to God. If Pastor Tomas has made his act of faith, it is in the midst of excruciating doubt and his Church is, if anything, an obstacle. Bergman has never returned to any treatment of religions practice or Church; he can say no more of it. Each believer must tear hypocrite from hero in his own sou!; those who stand on the outside cannat presume to j udge.


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One would scarcely think of The Silence as a religions film, were it not the conclusion to the triology. At this climax, both Cod and religion are quite dead. As Through a Glass Darkly explores the possibility of finding Cod through an interior experience, which is imaged in terms of madness, and Winter Light the possibility of finding Cod in a Church, so The Silence looks for Cod, but changes the area of inquiry to a world where Cod has disappeared. A friendly, but utterly ineffectual hotel steward plays the role of physician-priest; he speaks a strange and mean i ngless tangue, and ali he can give is a few words on a rumpled piece of paper, which may be Bergman's comment on the value of a book religion. The little boy reads these as he continues his journey. Ali Cod gives us are fragmentary words; he cloaks himself in silence. In PeTsona the traditional religions questions of meaning and identity are relegated to psychiatrie medicine. Science, through the activities of the doctor and nurse, has provided answers that religion never could. The young nurse, Alma, purges herself of guilt, symbolized by a lengthy narrative of an adolescent sexual experience. At the end of the film, she is able to rejoin the world as a healthy and deeply enriched persan. These fragmentary jottings reveal Bergman's graduai emergence from a religions milieu to a world of science, where psychiatry is proved more pertinent than theology. His questions were at first clothed in a religions or mystical garb. but as the "man of science" figure assumes new stature in each successive film, the mystic shrinks. Bergman's initial equation of intellect with coldness and cynicism, like Jons or Isak Borg, has mellowed, while the religious poet vanishes with Winter Light and is a mere mockery in The Silence. Religion has been exorcised from his thought and science, a trust in human means and methods, has taken its place. COD: FROM MYSTERY TO IRRELEVANCE

Although religions questions often overlap the question of Cod, we have become familiar enough with the idea of a "religionless Christianity" and A "Death-of-Cod" theology that we can treat the tapies separately. For Bergman, as for many contemporaries, these are two distinct questions, for he pro-


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fesses a belief in sorne kind of God, but rejects any form of doctrinal Christianity. As his retlection probes more and more deeply into the content of a "belief in Gad," the very notion of a persona! Gad slips fm¡ther and further toward the peripheries of man's experience. Like so many post-Christians, he has learned to give up his quest for knowledge of God and to live and create "as though there were no God." The Seventh Seal illustrates Bergman's autobiographical dictum that "the religious problem is an intellectual one for me." The Kinght's quest for self-identity is at the same time a quest for knowledge of Gad; he cries, "I want knowledge, not faith, not suppositions but knowledge. I want Gad to stretch out his hand to me." His motivation is not merely curiosity, but an intuition that without Gad, his life, and especially his dea th, will be meaningless, empty and terrible. Twice the Knight expet¡iences dea th: when the young girl is burned alive, Jons calls attention to her blank expression and comments that now she sees beyond death and realizes that there is nothing. The Knight denies it emotionally but irrationally. Also, at the climax of the film, when Death enters to lead the Knight and his company into the darkness, he calls out to a Cod who is "somewhere, who must be somewhere." God is needed in his world if the whole thing is to be saved from absurdity. The title, of course, cornes from Revelations, which the Knight's wife is reading as Death enters. When the seventh seal is broken "there was a silence in heaven for about the space of a half hour (Rev. 8 :1), and th us is reinforced Jons' statement that beyond death there is nothing. The Knight makes his last act of faith in the context of this silence, but ten years later, Bergman has succumbed to the emptiness in his film titled aptly enough The Silence. The importance of the Knight's quest lies in the sem¡ch itself, not in the abject of the quest. He is a noble character because of his fidelity and honesty; yet in the end he can only make a blind leap into the arms of a God who must be there. Bergman seems to say that God, as radically other, cannat be found in this life, but what is of pre-eminent importance is the quest of him. In Wild Strawberries, Isak Borg is tao old and tired to continue the quest. He, like many men of science, has pushed


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God to the fringe of his !ife and is, in the director's mind, impoverished for it. God is merely a cultural residue for Dr. Borg. When asked if he believes in God, he quotes a hymn from an old Lutheran hymnal, used in Sweden at the turn of the century: "Where is the friend l seek everywhere? Dawn is the time of loneliness and care. When twilight cornes, I am still yearning, though my heart is burning, burning. I see his trace of glory and power in an ear of grain and the fragrance of flower." Even in the twilight of his years, God is somehow providing the context for his !ife, but he always has more important things to reflect upon: his work, his career, his diary. Along with forgetfulness of God cornes egotism, inability to love, a coldness, like death, and terrible loneliness. CLOSE TO PAGANISM

The characters in The Vù·gi.n Spriny lie close to paganism and their philosophie knowledge of God is negligible. Like religion, God is a natumlly accepted part of their ethos. Tm·e, the father, asks God for forgiveness for his triple mm·der, and yet accuses him of permitting his daughter's death. God responds with the Spring, as a sign of forgiveness and pm·ilication; yet the problem of evil remains. Tore accepts this situation without further questions; he does not see the contradiction. To correct evil in the world, one must be the pagan, the secularist, and punish the murderers; to honor God, one must ask forgiveness and builrl a church; for Tore, as perhaps for many Christians today, the inconsistency is easily accepted. In the tert"ible Trilogy, Bergman attempts to explore more deeply and explicitly the connection between God and man. In Th?-ough a Glass Darkly, Karin, the schizoid daughter, is the one who yearns to see God. She waits for God to come to her in an attic room, and when he finally does come in the midst of her hallucinations, it is in the form of a monstrous spider-gad who attempts to ravish her. The mystery deepens as Bergman cornes back to the theme of The Virgin Spring: the problem of evil. God is the monster who permits murder, mad ness and loneli ness. He is terrible, a spider in his very


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brute otherness, and his attempts to communicate with men lead to madness. The father explains that "God is love," but this seems too simple; the film has no evidence of love, merely the perverted act of sister and brother in the hull of a decaying ship. Minus, the son, with the experience still fresh in his mind, reacts by leaving his father for "a run along the beach." His comment, "Daddy spoke to me," is ambiguous in the light of recent events. He may mean "God is love," as his father maintains, or he could have discovered the hatefulness of God in the evil he has just encountered. This is an ambiguous experience in the lives of most men; so Bergman, being honest or uns ure, refuses to judge the boy or comment on his remark. Winter Light is again a study of evil and loneliness, but in this film God does not speak at ail. Tomas entered the Chnrch to please his parents, has worked comfortably in it for many years, and suddenly reaches an unexpected "crisis of faith." He compares the experience to being frightened by a train as a child: "I got out of bed, ran around ail the rooms looking for Father. But the house was empty. I shouted and screamed but no one answered." Het¡e God is a father-figure, a comforter in time of need, but as one entet¡s adulthood, the Father-Comforter no longer answers. Honesty is crucial. If God is merely a father-surrogate, a projection of a lonely imagination, then, of course, he is to be rejected; if he is real despite his silence and absence, then he demands a radical and blind leap of faith. Pastor Tomas tries to make that leap and Bet'gman refuses to comment on his authenticity. The pastor functions quite weil in his religions role without any contact with God, either because his faith is pm¡ged and heroic, or because he is a fool. Each believer must pose that question to himself. A WAVING FAITH

The Silence, originally entitled God's Silence, echoes Revelations and the climax of The Seventh Seal. Ten years have taken their cruel stipend from Bergman's faith. In the earlier film, the knowledge of God was the most important quest in the Knight's life, even though he is doomed to failure. In The Silence, it is an accepted fact that God is silent and no one


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seems to care very much about it. The sh¡ange country of Timokas is filled with frantic attempts at understanding, through sensuality, music or translation, but it is an understanding of man not Cod. The journey goes on; Ester, the intellectual who tried to understand, is left behind to die amid her books and notes in this stt¡ange land. Anna goes on, caring only for the cool rain on her face and the breeze in her hair, and Johan, the boy torn between his love for both of them, goes on too, but carrying Ester's strange legacy with him. So, says Bergman, modern man goes on about his business of living, with a few mysterious words from a distant land. The words are left to dying intellectuals. Persmw dismisses Cod altogether; Cod is no longer silent, but, simply, there is no Cod. Cuilt, experienced as a real element in !ife, is purged by art and psychotherapy, not by pleading for forgiveness to a myth. A world where television shows the self-immolation of a Buddhist nun strikes terror into the young actress, but does not move her to praye!'. Her medical experience teaches her how to live with evil, and grow despite it. Honesty, openness to the other, and human love are the way to peace of sou!; Cod has nothing to do with it. Bergman's conception of Cod then is one of silence and mystery. At first the mystery is maddening, especially since this Cod-myth permeates the culture so deeply, but as the years go on, the mystery !oses its ten¡or and importance. No one, not even Pastor Tomas, really needs Cod. If a persan can believe in him, Ber,gman will not condemn, but for most men the question is thoroughly irrelevant; it makes no difference wh ether there is a Cod or not; !ife goes on qui te weil without him. LOVE: FROM SALVIFIC TO IMMEDIATE

Without religion and Cod, Bergman's landscape is desperately bleak; the one light which illumines this dismal scene is his constant pre-occupation with human love, an abiding trust that !ife can be tolerated if there is human communion. "Hell together is better than hell alone," voices a character in one of his early films, The Prison, and perhaps that summarizes what little optimism there is in his works. This concern for man's groping for communion explains


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the oppressive ¡presence of sexuality in many of his films. Sexuality is the sacrament of love, and man's search for love can frequently best be imaged in the sexual metaphor. Sexuality, if fruitful, brings with it new !ife; if thwarted, death; if frustrated, hostility; if perverted, degradation. So traces of incest, lesbianism, abortion, infidelities and masturbation cloak his films like original sin. His treatment is frank-and at !east in the early days, thoroughly misunderstood; it is occasionally sensational, but only when the audience must face an emotional brink to understand the depth of the character's agony. At the beginning of this theological period, love for man was a condition of possibility for reaching God; after the "God is love" speech at the end of T/urough a Glass Da-rkly, God has nothing to do with love, either as a cause or a result. The ability to communicate with another is ali that matters, since God has withdrawn utterly. In The Seventh Seal, the Knight reaches sorne sort of a salvation, or meaning in his li fe, not because he has achieved sorne knowledge of God, but because of his love for the family of actors. By helping them escape Death, he has performed his "one meaningful deed." They, in turn, were alone able to escape because of their love for one another, which has produced a new li fe: their baby son Mikael. The Knight has been separated from his own wife for years and they have no children; he longs to return to her. and when he does the quest is terminated by death. Their reunion is cold and formai, a mere prelude to the entrance of Death. Had he not found love and peace with the actors, his death would have been an ultimate fl¡ustration, but, with them, he finds sorne minimum of meaning in his !ife. Thus, he is saved. Wild St>¡awbe1Ties is Bergman's clearest statement of the salvi fic nature of love, for when Isak Borg enters into his final tranquillity, he is led there by the only girl he has ever been able to love, his Cousin Sara. The film itself is something of a meditation on the Hymn to Charity in 1 Cor. 13, for as he journeys to his reward through ali the scenes of his youth, he sees the emptiness of his achievement. He has not loved; his great scientific renown is tinkling brass. In a dream-trial he cannat distinguish even !ife from death. The daughter-in-law, Marianne, is pregnant, and thus func-


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tions as a !ife image throughout the film; she brings love and !ife into Isak's world and that of his spiritually moribund and unloving son. His son is demanding an abortion for Marianne and her love of !ife is repelled by his drive toward death and destruction. She leaves him. Both men are dead, until she confronts them with her womanly affection and teaches them the meaning of !ife and love. In another dream, Isak watches his wife commit adultery, but his love for her is so shallow that he cannot even fee! anger or outrage; he says, "There is nothing to forgive." A young girl he meets along the road reminds him of his cousin Sara and he remembers his deep love for her and the pain he experienced when she chose his cousin Sigbritt over him. That memory is enough for salvation; she can lead him to the water's edge and his reward. THE SEXUAL METAPHOR

As The Virgin Sp>·ing opens, the servant girl Ingeri is already in an advanced stage of pregnancy and has fallen into disrepute with the family because the child is illegitimate. The daughter, Karin, is a virgin, which seems to indicate that she has not yet learned to love. She is a smug little girl, proud of her beauty and virtue and contemptuous of Ingeri, who is hatefully jealous. The rape and murder are particularly heinous crimes because of her girlish innocence and t!irtatious naïvete; Ingeri, who is wiser because of her experience, is able to escape injury. If the father, really the central character, is able to obtain forgiveness so readily, it is because his revenge was motivated by love of his daughter. The crime of the goatherds was motivated by Just, a perversion of love, and so they are condemned to death without forgiveness. Isak's reward in Wild St1·awbe1-ries was imaged by the peaceful lake, and Tore's by the Spring; both water images con tain the element of purification and fertility, poetic commonplaces. The Christian tradition has frequently described the lifegiving love between God and man through the sexual metaphor; we need only recall many traditional interpretations of The Canticle of Canticles and the Bride of Christ spirituality to see the obvious implications of such a comparison. The fre-


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quency and intensity of the sexual images in the Trilogy should be expected. In Th1"ough a Glass Darkly, Karin starts to disintegrate rapidly after she seduces her young brother, Minus. It is a loveless, mechanical and sick type of activity. Her desire for union with God has driven her to seek it anywhere, from any possible source, and the intensity of her desire leads her to an outrageous crime. She repeats the experience spiritually when she retums to her attic room and in hallucination of a rape by the spider-gad shows her desire as filled with fear. While we long for Gad to come to us, we are terrified by his footfall, for love, either human or divine, can make tet'l'ible demands. Her attempts at love then are frantic, destructive and filled with illusion, and since she cannot really love, there is no hope for her; her madness is incurable and the beloved never cornes. She is taken away in a helicopter, which could be a form of assumption, but it is ali quite ambiguous. There is no mention of redemption or forgiveness stemming from her frustrated love. Her loneliness and isolation are imaged in the island setting for the action. Goo NOR MAN Pastor Tomas in Winter Light is also eut off from human love, but here, rather than human love being a source of divine, the two are parallel. He can love neither Gad nor man. He is locked in his sanctuary and cruelly rejects the teacher, Marta, who fills the role of loving physician by treating his cold. She is capable of great love, and gives herself completely to him, des pite the humiliations she su tfers from him; he mocks her myopia and eczema and bluntly tells her of his contempt: "l'rn sick and tired of the whole thing, of everything that has to do with you." Her love does not bring reward, for at the end of the film, she sits in the back of the empty church, quite alone, only with the consolation of knowing that she is able to love. Loveless and joyless, Pastor Tomas is condemned to the bleakest type of faith, which is scat¡cely distinguishable from fraud or fear of change. In The Silence, love of God has no place, for one cannat love a myth, or an absentee landlord of the uni verse, who torments his tenants with his cruel silence. In his absence. huma!' NEJTHER


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communication is ali important, and the characters in such a deserted world must grovel frantically for it. Ester, the introspective dying intellectual, shows her Jack of communication in a terrifying and explicit scene of masturbation; Anna, a child of the senses, seduces a waiter who cannat speak her language, and thus shows the frustration of a union that is merely physical. After her night with him, she decides to Jeave Timokas and thus permit her sister to die alone. Even Johan, the little boy, has a mild sexual experience when sorne midgets put a dress on h im and dance with him. He is not destroyed by the experience; he is mere] y puzzle<:! by it ali. Ali three are desperately lonely, Jike Pastor Tomas, but in The Silence Bergman assumes the role of secular humanist and laments the Joveless condition of mankind. Alienation is not pathetic because it separates men from God, but because it can lead men even to war, as the constant rumbling of tanks and artillery in the streets reminds us. Persona is not nearly as gloomy, for psychotherapy can help two women learn to communicate, and in this lies human hope. The physician role, the husband in Through a. Gla.ss Darkly, Marta in Winter Light, and the foolish waiter in The Silence have al! failed to break through to another persan and thus heal. Human means are mere gestures of desperation when one lives in a universe where divine providence is a real possibility, despite its mysterious silence. But in Pe1¡sono, the doctor and especially the young nurse Alma take the place of God; they cure with human concern and human science and by so doing are themselves cure<l. No longer does the hero look into another world, a world above the clouds, and waste energy in longing to be ravished by a spider-gad, in trying to tind God in a Church, or in deciphering his mysteries from a fragment in a book. Love of man has nothing to do with love of God, and so man can turn his full force upon the problems of this world and triumph. The added baggage of a God has been jettisoned. In Persona man relies exclusively on his own resources, anf! by so doing, can learn to live quite productively. SUMMARY: THE ARTIST AS THEOLOGIAN?

lngmar Bergman is scarcely a systematic philosopher or theologian; he is an artist and a man of the theatre. Strindberg


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and Ibsen are his teachers, not Bultmann and Gogarten. Y et through experience and his efforts at artistic expression, he has reached many of the same conclusions. Born in 1918, he grew up during the Great Depression, studied the history of literature when Kafka, Hemingway and Joyce reigned supreme in Sweden, agonized through the Spanish Civil War and the Nazi holocaust. These, more than theological retlection or biblical exegesis, are at the root of his pessimism. His father, a rigid and unfeeling man, performed his ministerial duties weil. but with his pre-occupation with sin and his distrust of the twentieth century, he succeeded in turning his son forever away from Christianity. As a young man he explored the themes of youth: roman tic love, art, problems of maturity, but the religious background was too deeply engrained in him, so in his mid-thirties, theological questions returned to haunt him and dominate his work for ten years. He exp\ored Christianity and the Cod of the Christians as one set of possibilities, and he found them wanting. He searched, like the Knight, but in the end, he seems to have made a discovery: Cod is irrelevant and man rules the universe.


Joseph A. Bmcken, S.J.

Deus A bsconditus A new philosophical structure for the rational concept of God.

Martin Buber in his influential work, 1 and Thou, notes that the individual becomes a person to the extent that he accepts others in their totality as subjects, not therefore as objects of rational analysis or manipulation (M. Buber, 1 and Thou. New York, 1958, p. 11). lmplicit in this description of this act of acceptance of another as other is the idea that the other in his subjectivity is partly hidden, not fully comprehensible. Every human being, for example, is accessible to others, exteriorized, capable of description according to physical characteristics, normal behavior patterns, etc. On the other hand, he remains closed off to the outer world in his inner thoughts and aspirations. Even closè friends, or man and wife after years of marriage, cannot fathom one another's personalities completely. For these and similar reasons, Buber maintains that no one will ever 1¡eally understand himself or others until he accepts this hidden character of subjectivity in his dealings with people. These same ideas on the nature of human subjectivity, when applied with due qualification to God as a persona! reality or autonomous Subject, may help to explain better why modern man cannot arrive at a concept or rational understanding of 163


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God, satisfactory to ali Christians. On this hypothesis, God is to be understood as a free Agent or autonomous Subject, who reveals himself in the works of nature and in human history in a manner corresponding to his divine subjectivity. Ali attempts at a rational understanding of God are therefore to sorne extent hypothetical; that is, they cannat penetrate with absolute certitude the subjective reality of God behind sensible appearances. On the other hand, given the concomitant belief in God as Creator and Lord of the universe, man can with the aid of varions rational structures assemble objective evidence for the presence and activity of God in creation. Persona! religions belief and objective rational inquiry are thus combined in the mind of the concrete individual to produce practical conviction about the existence and nature of God. Here perhaps a ward of caution is necessary before proceeding fm路the>". Our pm路pose in this article is strictly philosophical. Hence we a void deliberately any references to the teaching of Vatican Ion reason and revelation (DB 3004 tf) and to the Oath on Modernism re the demonstrability of the existence of God (DB 3538). Obviously these documents and others in the same tone represent the minci of the Church, until such time as competent ecclesiastical authority judges that a new statement is required. On the other hand, it is the right and duty of Catholic philosophers and theologians, continually to reexamine those philosophical and theological presuppositions for official pronouncements which were not themselves the abject of magisterial definition. If it can be made clear that these premises are one-sided or in any way questionable, then it devolves upon the teaching authority of the Church to redefine its position with reference to the matter in dispute. It is therefore the sole pm路pose of the present article to off er a new philosophical structure for the rational concept of God. We leave to the p1路oper authorities the .i udgment of its value and pertinence to the Chnrch's teaching re the existence of God. THE THESIS

Our thesis then is that opaque to rational analysis his presence and activity in rational structures, ali of

God (like man, his creature) is in his inner subjectivity, but that creation can be studied via varions which contribute to an indirect


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knowledge of God but none of which enjoys a privileged position with reference to "proving" from reason alone the existence and rational nature of God. The reasoning which led to this position can be summarized in five steps: a) God is known to be persona\, in fact tri persona!, through divine revelation. Hence the basic philosophical structure or rational concept of God should reftect, if possible, this ilersonal nature of Gad, his reality as a subject. b) At the same time, analysis of human subjectivity reveals that the human subject is known by others not in his rational essence as homo sapiens o•· <tnimal ·mtionale. but only through external manifestations of words. gestures, actions. Via these sensible appearances conclusions can be formed as ta the real (as opposed to the pm·ely rational) "essence" of this or that individual, but never with such certitude that the rational concept so established could furnish a priori certitude about the necessary cause of the individual's free activity. The hidden subjectivity of the other, his basic freedom ta vary even normal behavior patterns, would make impossible an a priori dete•·mination of his personalit>• on a rigorous cause-anel-effect basis. c) These observations on the hidden nature of human subjectivity should apply a fortio,.; to Gael, the divine Subject and transcendent Lord of Creation. Quite the contra1-y, however, Christian thinkers have in the past consistently fm·med a rational concept of Gad which in effect depersonalized him, i.e., which reduces Gad in concept ta the first principle or ultimate ground of intelligibility for a human system of metaphysics. Furthermore, this system of metaphysics normally explains, not the inner reality of God as such, but the concrete world of human experience with reference ta Gad as its first cause or transcendent principle. As Immanuel Kant pointed out in his C1-itique of PuYe Rewwn, man hasan innate tendency to hypostatize the principle of sufficient reason and then uncritically identify it with the God of persona\ belief. d) Hence a new philosophical structure or concept of Gael must be set up which distinguishes on principle between Gael in his inner subjective reality and God as he is rationally conceived via his sensible appearances in nature and human histm-y. On this hypothesis, each metaphysics or rational system


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of explanation for the sensible world should contribute valuable insights into the presence and activity of God in his creation, but none should be definitive for the inner subjective reality of God as the autonomous Lord of creation. e) There should be therefore no privileged system of metaphysics operative in Catholic philosophy and theology, which alone establishes with rational certitude the existence and nature of God, and which thereby furnishes the indispensable metaphysical framework for ali further philosophical insights whether into the nature of man and created reality or into the rational concept of God. ln principle there should be as many ways to make the existence and nature of God intelligible to man as there are clear and logically consistent systems of explanation for human experience. So much for the theory of our position. What is needed now is a methoct of verification, whereby the theory can be tested for its validity. The method which we have chosen is the following: we will defend our position by offering a brief critique of the classical scholastic system of natural theology which was articulated by Thomas Aquinas in Book 1 of the Summa Theologica. The objection posed to our hypothesis by St. Thomas is of course that true and certain, even if negative, knowledge of God can be had from reason alone via the Aristotelian principles of causality. The aim of our critique is not to discredit the arguments of St. Thomas as such, but rather to show that these same arguments are probative not from reason alone, but only within the broader religions context of the Christian faith. This is not a disguised petitio p>-incipii but simply a recognition that the existence of God and other theses dealing with natural theology are not purely academie questions, to be solved by appeal to principles or logic andjor metaphysics. Assent to the propositions involves a persona! commitment, which in its turn presupposes the active cooperation of both faith and reason to produce practical conviction. At the same time, if the natural theology of St. Thomas is not based on pure reason, i.e., on principles of "being" 'vhich are a priori certain, then the system does not enjoy ipso facto a privileged place in the philosophical interpretation of human experience. Renee the natura! theology of St. Thomas may be j ustly sa id to offer a sound and sensible approach to the problem of man's

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knowledge of God, but by no means the approach par excellence. After these introductory remarks we can consider more in detail the principal features of St. Thomas's natural theology. We will treat in arder the "Five Ways," then St. Thomas's own concept of God as "He-Wh o-ls," i.e., the Being wh ose essence is to exist, and finally the Thomistic doctrine on the '"Divine Names." In ali these instances, we will attempt to show that Thomas is working, at !east implicitly, within the broader context of religions belief. That is, he presupposes a certain fund of knowledge about God, which is ultimately derived from revelation, but without which the arguments from reason would be inconclusive. THE F!VE WAYS

We begin with the Five Ways (cf. ST, Q. 2, a. 3 c). In each of these arguments from reason to prove the existence of God. St. Thomas concludes with virtually the same phrase: "And this ali understand as being 'God," "This being we cali God," etc. We may weil ask from what source this common sense knowledge of God is derived. As Etienne Gilson remarks in his book Elements of Christian Philosophy, "eve1-y demonstration of the existence of God presupposes the presence of a certain notion of God which is itself not the conclusion of a demonstration" (p. 51). Gilson conclu des that this common-sense notion of God is due to a "spontaneous inference ... in virtue of which eve1-y man finds himself raised to the notion of a transcendent Being by the mere sight of nature in its awesome majesty" (ibid.). Without contradicting this eminent Thomistic scholar, we would nevertheless suggest that this "spontaneous inference" of reason in man is itself powerfully aided by at !east an incipient faith, or openness to believe, in God's existence. Only the two working in combination wou Id produce in the mind of each individual that conunon sense knowledge of God, which is the touchstone of the Thomistic "Five Ways." Moreover, without this concomitant common sense knowledge of (andjor belief in) God, the Five Ways would clearly be inconclusive. Is the Prime Mover, the First Efficient Cause, etc. in fact God? Could it not also be the Uni verse itself, conceived as a process unlimited in extent and duration and there-


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fore "infinite" (in the sense of being beyond human comprehension)? Even if we admit that the Fifth Way proves the existence of a Being with reason and will to act as First Cause of the arder in the universe, there seems to be no obligation from reason alone to identify this Orderer of the Uni verse with the persona! God of Christian revelation rather than with sorne Platonic demiurge or other preternatural demonic power. Our argument then is that the Five Ways as such are pm¡ely formai. They only establish the rational necessity of a metaphysical Absolute, but they do not determine in themselves the true nature and reality of this Absolute. This is reductively a matter of persona! belief. Even the "spontaneous inference" of reason, which is suggested by Gilson, must be guided and supported by concomitant religions belief. On the other hand, what the Five Ways really "demonstrate" is not that Gad exists but rather that the world is governed b~¡ Aristotelian principles of causality as by so many ontological principles of being. That is, given the fact that has reader already believed in the existence of Gad, St. Thomas really proved in the Five Ways a) that the proper rational concept of God is that of First Cause or ultimate grou nd of intelligibility for the world as caused, and b) that these same principles of explanation for sensible reality are in fact universally valid principles of being itself. We have, in other words, the singular situation where the conclusion of a line of thought is already known as certain from another source, namely religions belief; hence it follows that the demonstration really pro v es the validity of the reasoning involved rather than the conclusion. Supposing, for example, that God is the Prime Mover or the First Efficient Cause, there seems little reason to doubt that change here in the sensible order is in fact governed by the Aristotelian principle of efficient causality. A similar case could be made out for the validity of formai and final causalit~¡ in the sensible order because they too are "proven" in the Fourth and Fifth Ways respectively. The proofs for the existence of God are therefore the foundation-stones for the Thomistic edifice and natura! theology. They are su ch, however, not because they prove the existence of God, but because they


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furnish Thomas with the necessary principles for his system ·of metaphysics. Here it may well be objected that St. Thomas in the next Question of the Summa departs from the te1minology of the Five Ways in order to set up his own concept of God as the Being whose ·essence is to exist, that is, "He-Who-ls" (ST, Q. 3, aa. 3 & 4). This is unquestionably true, and due credit must be given to St. Thomas for his metaphysics of existence, in which no longer form or essence, but existence, is the supreme category of explanation or "principle" of being. However, the same methodology of causal inference is used here as was employed in the Five Ways. God as infinite or uncreated Existence is the First Cause or ultimate ground of intelligibility for al! contingent beings, whose finite act of existence is limted b~· a created essence. If moreover, we examine the positive content of this rational concept of God as Infinite Existence, we find once again that we gain therewith no real insight into thP. true nature of God. As St. Thomas himself :idmits, we do not directly know what "existence" applied to God really means, any more than we know God's "essence.". We sim ply know that the proposition, God exists, is true, because God as Uncreatecl Existence is the First Cause of al! things that exist by participation in his existence (ST, Q. 3, a. 4, ad 2). The concept of God therefore as Uncreated Existence is basically just. as much a functional or "systematic" concept as the notion of Gocl as Prime Mover, First Efficient Cause, etc. 1n each case, what is asserted of God is that he is the ontological ground for a principle of being, operative in the explanation of created reality. That is, supposing that "existence" is the supreme principle or category of explanation for al! created l"eality, al! finite beings must be composed of essence and existence in a relationship of potency to act. This however demands on the principle of sufficient reason that there exist, a First Being, whose essence or nature is simply to exist, and who thereby becomes. the First Cause or ultimate ground of intelligibility for al! finite beings that exist by participation in its uncaused Act of existence. Once again, Christian belief enters in to make the identification with the persona) God of revelation. However, the rational concept itself, i.e., the Being whose essence is to exist, could be applied with equal cogency to an-


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other metaphysical Absolute, such as the "infinite" universe noted above, since it too would be understood as the First Cause or ultimate ground of intelligibility for ali beings that exist through participation in its Act of Existence. Our pm·pose thus far has clearly not been to cast doubt or suspicion on Christian belief in the existence of God, but simply to show t.hat both the Five Ways of St. Thomas and his own concept cf God as He-Who-Is or the Being wh ose essence is to exist having meaning and significance only within the broader context of Christian revelation. That is, given the concomitant belief in, andjor knowledge of, God as revealed in the Christian dispensation, then these same proofs for the existence of Gad and this concept of God as He-Who-Is make eminent good sense. These arguments from causality in the sensible order furnished quite acceptable rational evidence for the presence and activity of God in the world of human experience. Without, howeve1·, this concomitant belief, or at !east inclination to believe, in God as Lord and C1·eator, then thesc same arguments assume a purely formai character. That is, they establish merely the rational necessity for a metaphysical Absolute, which will be ex hypothesi the First Cause and ultimate ground of intelligibility for a system of metaphysics intended to ex plain sensible reality. We will now take up the doctrine of the divine Names in St. Thomas. Here too our investigation will be guided by the one question: is genuine knowledge of God possible through reason alone, i.e., a part from the content of Christian revelation? St. Thomas distinguishes between the positive and the negative names of God (ST, Q. 13, a. 2 c). As St. Thomas himself notes, "negative names applied to God or signifying his relation to creatures manifestly do not at ali signify his substance, but rather express the distance of the creature from him ... or rather, the relation of creatures to himself" (ibid.). That is, negative names or attributes of God, such as simplicity, infinity, immutability, eternity and unity, do not express anything positive about God in his inner reality, but only that he is different in this respect from his creatures. Whe•·e they are composite, he is absolutely simple; where they are fini te, he is infinite, etc. What simplicity, infinity, etc. positively mean in themselves, when applied to God, remains to us a mystery.


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Even in his description of God as eternal, St. Thomas can use only a negative definition drawn from human experience of being in time: "the simultaneously whole and perfect possession of interminable !ife" (ST, Q. 10, a 1 c). Renee, on the basis of the negative names or attributes of God, we cannot atfhm any positive knowledge of God as such. We mar carry the argument one step further. These negative names or attributes of God are purelr formai or "systematic" concepts which in themselves define only the formai characteristics of a given metaphysical Absolute, with reference to the system of which it is the necessary principle. That is, given the structural principles of act anrl potency on various levels of being (essence and existence, matter and form, substance and accidents, etc.), the Absolute or metaphysical princip le of Thomistic-Aristotelian metaphysics would in any case be simple, infinite, immutable, eternal and one. Renee these concepts do not describe the inner nature of God any more than they would describe the inner nature of the Universe, if this were the Absolute of the system. On the other hand, given the concomitant belief in Godas the "Absolute" of Thomistic metaphysics, these negative attributes or names do give rational structure and order to the data of revelation. The rational understanding of God as etet"llal gives meaning, for example, to the scriptural text that God is "Alpha and Omega," he "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev. 1, 8). Combined with the data of revelation, therefore, the negative attributes of God have a definite structural value in the rational articulation of the Christian message. Apart from revelation, however, the same concepts are purely f01mal in character and thus ade! nothing to man's genuine knowledge of God. We pass now to the positive names or attributes of God. Rere at !east Thomas seems to predicate of God attributes which are proper to him alone, and not simply to a given metaphysical Absolute. St. Thomas says for example that wisdom and goodness can be predicated of God "substantially ," i.e., as pertaining to his essence (ST, Q. 13, a. 2 c). Thereby he means not only that God is good, insofar as he is the cause of our goodness. Rather, because God is good in himself, he is the


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ontological source of our gooclness. A similar line of reasoning could be usecl with reference to the divine wisdom. Because Gael is antecedently wise in himself, he is the cause of ali createcl wisclom and orcler. Wisclom and gooclness therefore are necessary attributes of Gocl in his own nature or "essence." Ail this is certainly true. The question however remains, from what source, reason or revelation, St. Thomas ultimately knows that Gocl is wise and goocl in his own nature. On the one hancl, he emphasizes that we know Gael only through his created effects (cf. ST, Q. 3, a. 4 ad 2). On the other hancl, he denies that Gocl is (or has) a body, even though he is the First Cause of ali created bodies and then affirms that he is Infinite Gooclness in himself and, in consequence, the cause of ali created goodness. Even if we admit that Gad as Pure Act is absolutely "simple," i.e., without composition in the arder of essence and existence, there is no reason, a part from revelation, why the First Cause of ali material reality should not be itself "matter" in sorne extenderl sense of the word; a process for example is a material reality and yet not a "body" in the metaphysical sense of the term. Furthermore, when the terms, Infinite Wisdom and Goodness, are applied to God as the First Cause of ali createcl wisrlom and goodness, one really begs the question, since what one believes to be true instances of wisdom and goodness in human experience is indirectly guidee! by the concomitant belief in Gad as the ali-wise and good Creator. Choose another standard of comparison, and one's human notions of wisdom and gooclness in the world around one would be correspondingly modified. St. Thomas employs therefore in his choice of names or attributes proper to Gort as such an underlying concept of God as spiritual and persona!, which is not derived from "reason" as opposecl to persona!, which is no reason which is alreacly operating within the larger context of supernatm¡al faith. That is, here as elsewhere in his natural theology, St. Thomas uses the arguments from reason to structure and clarify what is already common knowledge about Cod on the basis of Christian !ife and worship. CONCLUSION

We conclude our critique of St. Thomas's natm¡al theology with the following summary statement. The system of rational


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arguments for the existence and nature of Cod which Thomas presents in the Summa Theologica is coherent and logicall~¡ consistent. The context, however, in which these arguments are set forth, is clearly theological, as the title, Sunww Theo/ogica, itself implies. St. Thomas's intention was evidently to explain the body of Christian doctrine in an orclerly and systematic manner with the aid of philosophical structures borrowed from Plato, Aristotle and other "philosophers" (Etienne Gilson, Elements of Ch1¡istian Philosophy, p. 12 tf). Accordingly, even in these questions and articles which are at first glanee purely philosophical, St. Thomas is consciously or unconsciously relying upon a fu nd of knowledge about Cod, which is ultimately a matter of religious belief. Upon closer examinalion, therefore, St. Thomas's natural theology does not repudiate, but rather confinns, our hypothesis that Gocl in his inner subjectivity is opaque to rational analysis andjor demonstration, but that man can through philosophical reflection in the light of persona! belief find objective evidence in nature and in human history for the presence and activity of Cod. Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics illuminates, for example, the intelligible relation existing between Cod as transcendent First Cause and the various systems of causality (efficient, formai and final), which can be proven to opera te in human experience. At the same time, this single system of metaphysics does not ipso facto present the necessary metaphysical framework within which ali further rational knowleclge of Cod must be articulated. Other systems e.g., one based on a dialectical princi pie or one the analysis of inter-subjectivity, are, at !east in principle, of equal value with the Thomistic Five Ways to make the presence and activity of Cod in creation intelligible to me. POSTSCRIPT

The essa,y which we have just concluded was by its very nature somewhat negative in character. Our intention was incleed not to discredit the natural theology of St. Thomas, but only to show that its theses are not strictly probative from reason alone. At the same time, since we pmpose no other system of metaphysics as the basis for a new natural theology, the net result seems to be a logical and psychological vacuum. In place of strong rational conviction about the nature and existence


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of Cod, one can now off er only a theoretical ideal, namely metaphysical pluralism, as a result of which all thought systems are equally suspect. Hence, in these concluding paragraphs we will present a few of the guide !ines for an alternate system of "philosophical theology" which will then have to be worked out in detail later. First of all, however, we will have to make clear what we mean by "philosophical theology." By this term we intend a rational understanding of Cod, based on reason and the data of revelation. The older system of "natural theology" purported to be based on reason alone; in point of fact, as we have seen, it presupposed a concomitant belief in the existence and nature of Cod as One. Our starting point in philosophical theology will be God as triune, since we know from revelation that God is not simply "Cod," but Father, Son and Roly Spirit. Hence it seems reasonable to begin philosophical speculation about Cod with his triune Hnature." Our first major thesis will be directed at this key tenn "nature." Examination of the Fathers of the Church and of the early Trinitarian Councils show that the prevalent notion of the nature of Cod at that time was that of spiritual substance. Christ, for example, is said in the Nicene Creed to be homoousious. of one substance with the Father. But what is spiritual substance and how is this conception of the divine nature to be reconciled with the opposite understanding of Cod as a "Trinity" by nature? Our solution to this question will take the form of the following hypothesis: the nature of Cod is to be the Trinity; hence Father, Son and Holy Spirit constitute one nature in that they live a single Trinitarian !ife. The unity of the divine nature is thus no longer understood statically, i.e., as the unity of a single substance, but dynamically, as the unity of a single !ife or way of being, namely being-in-community. Our second thesis will turn on the nature of man as a beingin-community. Here we will draw to our assistance the strictly philosophical insights already at hand in the writings of men like Buber, Gabriel Marcel and Josiah Royce. In this way our new insight into man as being-in-community will deepen our understanding and practical belief in the Trinity as Being-incommunity par excellence. On the other hand, the speculative knowledge gained from a study of the Trinty as a paradigm


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of community !ife should suggest certain goals for human lifein-community on various levels, the family, the local community, the state, etc. Further ramifications of these two "theses" could be spelled out, but the above should make clear the direction which this new philosophical theology will take. Furthermore, it should be clear that there exists no logical or psychological vacuum as a result of our earlier speculations about the role of natural theology in the knowledge of God. What was needed before this new philosophical theology could properly be introduced was a recognition of the limitations of human reason before the mystery of the living God. On the other hand, given the fact of revelation, there is no reason why philosophical analysis cannot be used to articulate and systematize God's own utterances about himself.


Richard Wightman Fox

Lamennais' Underslanding of the Spiritual and Temporal Like LILrnenn<tis, tod4y'.• ChTistians ILnd humiLnist.• ILre Be1L1'Ching for ILn institutioniLl /1'1Lmework which can foster and [01·ti[y the spirituiLI growth of men.

The turbulent !ife of Abbé Félicité de Lamennais was inextricably tied to the sto1my development of French Catholicism after the Revolution. From the beginning of his career he was an aggressive participant in, and significant cause of, the religious crisis of the period. Without doubt hi.s influence upon subsequent Catholic history was unparalled by any of his French contemporaries. Disagreement can come only in determining the number of religious movments for which, either wholly or in pa1t, this contentious curé was responsible. In the development of Catholic apologetics and journalism, the regenm·ation of religious communities, the weakening of Gallicanism and ultimate triumph of ultramontanism, and the growth of modem Catholic liberalism, Lamennais was continually at the forefront. The constant refrain in the writings of Lamennais is this: French (and European) spiritual !ife has been dissipated by 177


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the Revolution and the Napolenoic \\'ars; it is in desperate need of regeneration. Y et while he always retained this basic insight, his horizon of understanding continually developedas he searched without rest for an institutional framework to foster and fortify the Renaissance. First he located it in the Royalist monarchy, then in the Papacy, and then in the Church as a whole. Each of them, he found in time, was incapable of leading the rebirth. Finally, in a last gesture of hope, he left the Chm·ch and turned to "Le Peuple." Regeneration would come on! y through the people, through further revolution. In the meantime, perhaps, Cod would allow the Church to be transformed beyonrl recognition, in order that society would not be reborn without strong spiritual roots. Attempting to describe the course of Lamennais' thought, Charles Sainte-Beuve commented that such a task was extremely difficult. Particularly ha1·d to grasp, said Sainte-Beuve, was Lamennais' view of the "two societies,'' the 11 SpirituaJ" and the "temporal." No problem is more important for an understanding of both Lamennais' doctrine and his persona! religions faith. The relationship between the spiritual and the temporal realms was a major preoccupation for him, in one form or another, throughout his career; his understanding of it led directly to his break with the Catholic Church. The crisis point of his view of the "two orders" came in the four-year period between 1829 and 1833. In those years, in the midst of strong attacks upon him by the French hierarchy, he state<l his mature idea of liberal ultramontanism-a new attempt to deal with the conflict of the sacred and secular. He was convinced that his new prog1·am of action, based upon a new conception of the "two orders," was the Church's only hope for maintaining its vitality and for regenerating society. Let us now observe more closely the growth of Lamennais horizon of understanding up through the climax of 1833. Abbé de Lamennais' first work, completed in 1809, was called Réflexions sur l'état de l'église. While attacking the sceptical philosophers of the eighteenth century (he called Diderot's Encyclopedia a "veritable Babel of philosophy"), Lamennais made clear his hope that Napoleon would become a true Christian monarch, re-establishing the "Gallican Church in ali its splendor." He was urging Napoleon to accept the traditional


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"holy" alliance between the ecclesiastical authority and the civil authority. Both authorities, deriving their power from God alone, would cooperate harmoniously in the strengthening of the Christian (i.e., Catholic) faith. THE CHURCH AND THE STATE

At this, the earliest stage of his writing career (he was at this point 27 years old and not yet a priest), Lamennais had already painted in broad strokes a theme that recurs throughout his !ife as a member of the Church. The only path which society could follow in arder to avoid the decay of its vital roots was the acceptance of a dynamic Catholic faith. Religion had to become the rallying point of renewàl if modern man was not to fall prey to the anarchists-the anti-clerical, sceptical liberais. Social stability required a reborn faith. Already in Réflexions, therefore, a clear distinction was made between the temporal and spiritual powerH, the Church and the state; but at this stage no attempt was made to rlelineate the respective administrative responsibilities of each. Their goal was a common one: the regeneration of society through religion. But at the very moment when Lamennais was preparing to publish Réfiexioru;, he was notified that Napoleon, his projected Christian monarch, had annexed the Papal States. Shortly thereafter, on June 11, 1809, Pius VII excommunicated Napoleon. Dul"ing the next few years, Napoleon tried to wrest away from the Pope (who was now his prisoner) the complete authority to appoint bishops within the French empire. Y et Pius helrl firmly to his right of canonical sanction, earning the lasting admiration of Lamennais. Napoleon's audacity enraged Lamennais. Although Napoleon had failed this time to subjugate the spiritual power, another time he might succeed. In the face of this threat, Lamennais began his movement toward the ultramontanist position. In his next book, Tmdition de l'église sm l'institution des é·vêques (published in August, 1814, after Napoleon's fall from power), he argued that the papal right to institute bishops came not just from ecclesiastical practice, as the theologians of St. Sulpice held, but also from divine law. However, said Lamennais, the Pope still had to share his God-given authority


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with that of the king; the authority of bath was derived immediately from God. "Let them remain sincerely united without seeking to in vade one another's authority." Lamennais was now convinced that the health of society depended upon the secure authority of the Roman Pontiff, but he was not yet sure how far that authority m..-tended in practice or should extend in theory. He did not yet grasp what form of civil government-temporal power-would best ensure the freedom of the Pope. In his next major work, the Essa.i swr l'indifférence en ma.tib·e de 1·eligion, of which the first two volumes appeared in 1817 and 1820, he reiterated his hope for a regeneration of society through a universal embracing of the Catholic faith. Here he emphasized the logical necessity for an infallible Church, without developing any further his conception of the "two orders." He still believed that "there are two societies, the political or civil, relative to time, and the spiritual, relative to \'ternity. Therefore there are two authorities, each of them unchallengeable in its own arder." Lamennais still claimed that the monarchial political authority was divinely ordained to carry out God's law in the temporal arder. Yet he was curiously reluctant to spell out precisely what the role of the temporal authority should be. He was sure that the temporal and spiritual powers were distinct, but he was having trouble identifying their respective roles. With the sharp recollection of Napoleon's attempt to subjugate the Church, he was above ali trying to find a way to preserve the Church's freedom of action. If he wet·e ever to become convinced that the political power was a lasting obstacle to the Church's freedom, he would have to take one of two steps. He would either have to admit the Papacy's right to coerce the temporal power, or he would have to urge that the Papacy proclaim its total independence, administrative and financial as weil as spiritual, from the tempoml power. But in fact, Lamennais took both steps, choosing first coercion, and secondly autonomy. In De La. Religion considé?·ée dans ses ra.pports avec l'ort!?·e 11olitiqne et civile, which he published in two parts in May, 1825 and February, 1826, he adopted the former course. The spiritual power was superior to the temporal powet·, Lamennais


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wrote, in the manner of a sou! to the body. Moreover, whenever doubt arose as to which power had primacy in a particular case, it was for the spiritual power to decide. He still held that the temporal power was of divine origin, but the spiritual power had now become the primary (if not the sole) interpreter of God's law. A government like that of Charles X, which maintained a virtual monopoly over secondai-y education, which prohibited national synods of bishops, which even interfered with the teaching in seminaries, could expect to incur the legitimate opposition of the Holy See. Y et how would the Papacy succeed in coercing a recalcitrant government? At this point, as Sainte-Beuve pointed out, Lamennais' argument was unrealistic. He suggested that the spiritual power could threaten to allow citizens to withdraw their allegiance from an unrighteous ruler. Sh01i: of militai-y force, it was unclear how the Papacy could back up its threat. LIBERAL ULTRAMONTANISM

Lamennais himself was gradually disabused of this opinion. He was led to accept the other alternative: the total administrative and financial independence of the Church from the state. Later he admitted that this course had been, practically, just as unrealistic as the coercive approach. But in the fouryeat· period fmm 1829-1833, he threw himself with ali his force into a program of liberal ultramontanism. Encouragee! by the growing successes of the Belgian independence movement--in which by 1828 Catholic and anti-clerical liberais hacl f01med a common front against the rule of Rolland-and enraged further by legislation hindering Catholic education in France, Lamennais announcecl publicly, in 1829, his support for the notion of the liberal state. It was clear both to Lamennais and to the Gallican bishops themselves that the royal government was no longer content simply to maintain the inherited relationship between the temporal and spiritual powers. The government had now shown itself intent upon increasing its effective control over the Church's a.ctivities. In a rare example of agreement between Lamennais and the body of French bishops, the Mémoire l'résenté au 1·oi, Relatives aux écoles seeondaùes écclésiastiques, was published on August 1, 1828. Lamennais had now


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committed himself to the termination of the government's close ties to the Church. He turned to the Pope, waiting, for the latter's leadership. Lamennais, who had gained the support of the Gallican bishops in supporting the Church's traditional prerogatives in primary and secondary education, now received a deep shock. On September 6, Leo XII's Secretary of State wrote a letter to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs-it told the bishops, in effect, to withdraw their opposition to the government's ordinance. In a celebrated passage from one of his letters, Lamennais responded: "Rome, Rome, where are you? What has become of that voice which supporte<! the weak, awakened the sleeping? That word which permeated the world to give to ali, amidst the greatest dangers, the strength to tight and to die? Ali it can say now is 'Submit' !" But he was careful not to biarne the Pope, for he still hoped the Pope would spearhead the battle to free the Church from the confines of the state. Although he was in momentary accord with the French bishops, he knew that coulct not last-he still needed the Pope. The bishops would surely balk at his suggestion, soon to be announced, that they renounce the salaries given to them by the civil government. In February, 1829, with the publishing of Des Progrès de la révolntion et de la guerre contre l'église, he once and for ali abandoned the traditional view that the state was ordained by God to aid the Church in its mission to sanctify society. The new book was an immediate best-seller and caused such a furor that it was attacked by the Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor Quélen, within a week of its publication. It marked the beginning of Lamennais' active commitment to liberal ultl·amontanism which lasted until 1833. No longer, declared Lamennais, should the civil government. the temporal power, confer any special privileges upon the Catholic Church. Nor should it maintain any administrative or financial arrangement with the Church which it does not also maintain with other religions bodies. Lamennais was not here altering his view that only the Catholic Church was empowered to carry out the spiriual rebirth of society; he was proclaiming on the contrat-y that the Church could only can-y out its mission if, like other religions bodies, it was unencumbered by special


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links with the state. Liberty of education, liberty of the press, and total liberty of conscience and worship must be possessed by ali individuals and religious groups. Lamennais was calling on the state to be consistently liberal, to operate in society as a strictly secular administrative agent. Lamennais thought it obvious .that Europe was heading toward a new series of revolutions. The liberal movements were sure to triumph, and their victot-y would initiate a cataclysmic power struggle between the forces of despotism and those of liberalism. The Church could survive this battle only by dissociating itself immediately from the forces of despotism. A new alliance between the Church and state would be conceivable at sorne future time, but for the time being such a goal would be chimerical. Lamennais was not perfectly clear in Des Progrès how the Church should react to the emerging liberal movement which was largely anti-clerical. But later in 1829, he wrote, "So Catho li cs are trembling before liberalism; ali right,. Catholicize it and society will be reborn." Lamennais "¡as preparee! to lead the campaign. In October, 1830, Jess than three months after the "Three Glorious Days" and the election of Louise Philippe, he began publishing L'Avenir. a daily, ultramontanist journal whose motto was "Gocl and Libetty." THE CHURCH AND DEMOCRACY

In the December 7, 1830 issue of L'Avenir he wrote an article entitled "Des Doctrines de L'Avenir," outlining the platform of liberal Catholicism. He clemanded first the complete separation of the Church from the civil government. The Concordat shoulcl be revoked, the clergy's budget discontinuer!, and the state's right to nominate bishops withdrawn. Seconclly, he called for liberty of education and association. Neither of these libetties was espoused by th~ anti-clm¡ical liberais, for both liberties were felt to be of advantage to the clerical party. Thirdly, he asked for liberty of the press, then for universal suffrage, and finally for a decentralization of the administrative functions of the government. L'Avenir therefore supporter! not only a liberal religious cause (in opposing the state's administrative ties with the Church), but also a democratie cause. The journal went beyond the question of Church-state relations and treated the


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question of the people's role in the temporal government itself. However, the democratie theories came to occupy Lamennais in a significant way only after the conclusion of his controvers~· with Rome in 1834. In the first of the 22 articles in L'Avenir signed by the name "F. de Lamennais," an article entiled "De la separation de l'Eglise et de l'Etat," Lamennais stated that "the spiritual order should be completely outside of the temporal order." Later in the same article he continued by addressing an anxious word to Rome: "Y our power is failing, and with it the faith. Unite them both to humanity. Y ou m:ed to reign over kings, but now those same kings have made a servant of you. Separa te yom·self from them and hold out your hand to the people. They will support you with their robust arms and, better yet, with their love." ln one of the last of his articles in the journal, "De l'Avenir de la Societe," he suggested that in the new society "the Pope will be the sole tempomlly spiritual powe1·" (italics mine). Taken side by side these th1·ee statements reveal the essence of Lamnnais' mature understanding of the spiritual and the temporal. Du ring the period of L' Avenir's publication, from October 16, 1830 to November 15, 1831, Lamennais was above ali seeking a way to obtain freedom from the state for the Church. But at this point the Church's freedom could be obtained only by an embracing of the cause of the people by the Church. The people's robust arms would be a surer foundation for a spiritua! society than the silk-covered arms of princes. The Revolution of 1830, said Lamennais, had come direct! y from Cod. Moreover, far from having to decide whether to participate in this liberal movement, the Church was itself the principal moving force behind the development. One had only to look, thought Lamennais, at the popular (and Catholic) rebellions in Belgium, Ireland, and Poland fot· adequate verification of that fact. Catholicism could be saved as a vibrant force only by liberty; and liberty could be securely founded only by Catholicism. Lamennais did not wish to say, however, that the spiritual sphere of men's lives would be distinct from the temporal sphere. Lamennais was not always careful in distinguishing


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the two separate uses of the spiritual-temporal dichotomy, but the difference between them is clear. Lamennais called for the freedom of the spiritual power in order that it could ope.-ate more effectively in the concrete, temporal realm in which each man lived his daily !ife. Through education, liturgical !ife, works of charity, and the development of a vibrant theology and apologetic, the Church would permeate and spiritualize the tempoml order. It would work as a "temporally spiritual" force. Lamennais tried to outline the prospective relationship between the tempot·al and spiritual powers, but did not attempt a detailed analysis of their respective mies. In a romantic flourish he predicted that in the new society "the government will be a simple regulating agent." It would become "an administrative order totally independent of the Church and having no authority over the family, commune, or province." But the arena of practical politics and economies was neve1· Lamennais' native territory. Unlike his German contemporary Karl Marx, whom he otherwise resembles in a number of ways, Lamennais was not in close touch with the economie realities which lay beneath those social evils for which he sought spiritual solutions. Moreover, he was at a great distance from the ecclesiastical realities which were soon to bring down upon him the condemnation of his own spiritual leader, the Pope. His theory of the ideal spiritual society had been constructed without consultation of the man he sought to place at its head. At long last, after stopping the publication of L'Avcni1·, Lamennais and his two associates Henri Lacordaire and Charles Montalembert decided to consult Pope Gregory XVI. On December 30, 1831, they arrived, uninvited, in Rome. VISIT TO ROME

Lamennais' visit to Italy, which lasted until July 10, 1832, marked the last turning point in his career as a Catholic. For almost twenty years, since the publication of the Tradition de l'Eglise, he had fought persistently fot· the freedom of the Church fmm the civil power. He had sought to free it in order that it might inject its renewed vitality into the !ife of the concrete temporal 01·der. But ali that time he had assumed that


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he himself was free within the Church. In 1832 he was to discover that his fight for freedom had to take a new direction. The question was no longer freedom for the Church, but rather freedom in the Church. In the course of this new battle, Lamennais would discover still another distinction between the temporal and the spiritual. For within the Chm¡ch itself the1¡e existed an ill-defined mixture of temporal and spiritual power. On November 12, 1831, before their departure for Rome, Lamennais had told Montalembert that approval of their activities, or at least acquiescence in them, by the Roly See was certain. But after the Pope gave them a cool reception in a private audience on March 13, 1832, Lamennais began to have his doubts. And after observing the papal armies in action against rebels in the Papal States themselves, he commented that: "fear reigns supreme in Rome. The Pope is a pions man, but he is led by men who are not, who are occupied solely with temporal interests, which they do not even understand. They found all their hopes on the bayonets of the powerful enemies of the Church, and consequently, the Church is sacrificed to them without hesitation." Lamennais had up to this point devoted his entire adult life to a study of the temporal and spiritual spheres in society. He now turned to a new question: What is the relationship between the temporal and the spiritual within the Church itself~ On April 26, 1832, Lamennais left Rome for a retreat at Frascati, Italy. During his stay he wrote the major portion of his essay Des Maux de l'Êglise. The work was prophetie by design, and predicted an unfortunate ending for the reign of Gregory XVI. When the Church disregards its high calling and sinks into worldliness, said Lamennais, God acts directly to reform it. If those who guide the Church are unwilling to go along with such reform, they too will be replaced. In a letter he wrote at the end of the year, he said that: "Providence has sent Gregory XVI to close a long period of crime and disgrace, to show the world the depth to which the human part of the divine institution can descend. Let him achieve his task, and achieve it quickly. Quod [acis, [ac citius." From the beginning Lamennais had sought the spiritual regeneration of society. In 1829 he decided that he could no longer hope to look to the civil govemment for positive aid in


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that program. And in 1832 he came to see that the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and particularly the Papacy, would likewise be of no help in God's plan to revitalize the world. The only positive force left in existence was that of the people, whose cause was liberty. Lamennais had no intention at this point of leaving the Chu l'Ch. Nor did he in tend to leave it when in 1834 he published Pa-roles d'an croyant, vihich brought down upon him the specifie condemnation of his persona! activities and writings in the encyclical Singulari Nos. But he was willing to remain in the Church only on the condition that he remain totally free, in his conduct and his opinions, in what he called "the purely temporal order." Here he drew his first clear theoretical distinction between the spiritual and temporal orders within the Church. In the realm of doctrine, he said, ali Catholics are bound to strict obedience; but in the realm of practical (e.g., political) beliefs and activities, the Catholic was free of any control from the hierarchy. It was ultimately this distinction which led to Singulari Nos and Lamennais' decision to cease the practice of the Catholic religion (he was never formally excommunicated). But in rejecting the contemporary Church Lamennais was not denying his goal of a spiritually renasceni society sustained by the charitable presence of a reborn Church. This had been his consistent position since his first book in 1809. But he now saw that God had been forced to intervene, conceivably by destroying the existing ecclesiastical structure. In a letter to Vuarin he wrote: "Men of vision can foresee destructive punishments and catastrophes in the near future, from which God will draw out his remedy to the extreme evils which those men deplore. There is no longer any papacy." (Lamennais' stress) "The Church must be reborn or the world will perish." For the immediate future, tl1ought Lamennais, the concrete, temporal world in which men live would have to suffer God's destructive punishments. During this period the Church would be unable to provide society with spiritual sustenance. Until the Church itself could be spiritualized, the lasting spiritualization of society woulcl have to be postponed.


Eric C. Meyer. C.P.

Catholic Theo/ogy and The Death of God: A Response. l s a Catholic death-of-God theo/ogy 7Jossible?

This essay is an effort to reftect on sorne of the problems raised by Dr. Thomas J. J. Altizer's serious attempt to show that a Catholic death-of-God theology is possible. Dr. Altizer explored this possibility in a paper that he read in the summer of 1967 at the Catholic University workshop on the problem of God in contemporary thought. The paper was printed in the 1967 issue of Cross Cu1--rcntB but mistakenly entitled "Catholic Philosophy and the Death of God." My intention is to show why Altizer's careful arguments in favor of the possibility of a Catholic death-of-God theology are inconclusive. This essay does not pUl¡port to be a fully adequate encounter with Altizer's radical theology; but however small, I hope it will be a genuine contribution to the on-going task of responsible theological reaction to the eamest questions and challenges put to the Catholic faith by members of the death-ofGod movement. I shall begin by underlining sorne of the most important 189


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things Dr. Altizer has said in addressing himself directly to Catholic theology. I will follow this by a critique of his understanding of the category of analogy in Catholic theology and of his arguments to show the evolutionary nature of God. After that, I will recall the central thesis of his paper and then summarize and respond to each of his efforts to answer the three objections he himself considers against his project of showing that a Catholic death-of-God theology is possible. CHRISTIAN ATHEISM

. Altizer's probe of the possibility of a Catholic death-of-God theology is a real venture in creative ecumenical thinking. It is perhaps the most important attempt to date to bring deathof-God theology out of the pm¡ely Protestant theological world into the center of Catholic reflection as a Catholic program and not just a Protestant curio requiring at the most an occasional Catholic commentary. There is a film and practical acceptance of the unity of Christian theology in that Altizer concedes that if death-of-God theology is not a possible option for Catholic theology, then he must reluctantly admit that no Chrisian death of God theology is possible and that atheistic theology is a "destructive aberration." This serions confrontation with Catholic theology, which he explicitly recognizes is a Church theology, is also an ecumenical breakthrough for Altizer's own radical theology, bĹ“ause this means that Altizer has relented somewhat from his very negative attitude toward the Christian Churches and Church theologies, which in The Gospel of Ch>-istian Atheism he pronounced thoroughly demonic because of their alleged efforts to return to or cling to past forms of God's revelation of himself. He now grants that it might be possible that it is atheistic theology which is demollic. Beyond this initiation of direct discussion between Catholic theology and death-of-God theology is possible and that atheistic theology is estants to occupy a common theological frontier with regard to atheism-examining together if it be a genuine possibility that atheism might be the final stage in the development of Christian faith. Altizer doubts that real ecumenicity with the modern secular world is possible until Christianity can see how atheism might be accepted theologically. The most important concern in Altizer's thought is the sig-


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nificance of the problem of atheism. He does not simply take note, as so many have, of the pervasive and seemingly irreversible rise of atheism during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in everyday life, in literature, philosophy and, indeed, ali throughout our culture. He emphasizes the Christian and theological character of the rise of atheism. Modern atheism is a Christian problem in part because it has evolved quite specifically in the Christian West and because it often bears the Christian characteristics of humanism, optimism and a hopefui forward-or:ientation. The negative efforts of traditional Christian apo!ogy against atheism have only further removed Chrstian faith from the modern secular wortel. Even within the Christian Churches there is growing admission that it is more and more rlifficult to cali on the name of Corl anrl that the experience of Cod's absence is overpowering. Altizer rejects many of the more recent positions toward the problem of atheism: th at we need a long moratorium on Coc\-talk, that Corl is somehow eclipsee\ for a time but will return, that what Corl is in himself is eternally unnameable, that what has died is sorne idolatrous idea of Cod, that there never was a Cod and now he is unthinkable because any neecl for such an idea has passed. Altizer contenc\s that an in-depth examination of the nature and evolution of Christian faith will show that atheism can be a final stage in the development of Christian faith and theology. He argues that it is possible to reconcile Christianity and atheism because something really happens in Cod which explains his demise in our consciousness. In his view this happening is that the transcendent Cod becomes incarnate as Christ and dies once and for ali to his transcenclence with the death of Christ to become universally immanent in man and cosmos. As Cod's immanence in man continues to evolve toward a final apocalyptic goal of the complete identification of everything so that Cod eventually will be ali in ali, the memory of the transcendent Corl becomes ever more distant and alien. 1 believe it is true and important to maintain that the ex-

perience of the absence of Cod is today our principal problem, a Christian problem and a theological problem that requires a positive theological answer. Nonetheless we will see that the manner in which Altizer attempts to open up the possibility to


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his kind of death-of-God theology for Catholicism must be judged inconclusive. In his paper Dr. Altizer appeals for a systematic theological assimulation of cosmic evolution and of the developmental character of historical consciousness. He insista on a general revelation in nature (and that therefore its character must be evolutionary) and that the Church's unity with the world be thought out. Most importantly, Dr.¡ Altizer places the Incarnation at the center of any theological consideration of atheism, maintaining orthodoxly enough, that Christian theology must be Christology. The concreteness, fullness and irreversibility of God's Incarnation and death in Jesus of Nazareth is one of the most striking elements of Altizer's Christology and an important departure from the merely moral rendition of the Incarnation's meaning that one seems to encounter in so much of modern Protestant systematic reflection on the Incarnation. For Altizer, God quite actually and historically became Jesus and died in Jesus' death to any transcendent separateness. The Incarnate Word now is not a resurrected Jesus as in any way distinct or individual or persona!. The Incarnate Word is present as having become universally and immanently one with ali cosmic and human energy and !ife, and this entire dialetically evolving process of energy and !ife is gradually moving forward beyond ali past and present fonns to a Final Totality or coincidence of opposites that will be in its ultimate condition a perfect identity of oneness. An important aspect of Altizer's Christological thinking is systematically to unify Incarnation and Eschatology by way of his them-y of the dialetical movement of transcendence into immanence and on to a final apocalyptical irlentity. This Jast aspect of Altizer's eschatologr is not clearly developed in his essay; howevet¡, it must not be !ost sight of if we are to avoid the en¡or of thinking that he proposes that the present immanence of the Incamation process is the final condition of God's dying to transcendence so as to be ali in ali. THE THEOLOG!CAL CATEGORY OF ANALOGY

Altizer is correct when he says that Catholic theology is attempting to go beyond relating God and world in a merely negative way by its use of analogy. The analogons relation of


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God and world does claim to express a relation with positive content. lt t1·ies to bridge over absolute dichotomy. lt does not affirm a mere dualism. The analogons relation is even "integral," at !east from the side of the world in its complete dependence on God. But in Catholic theology "analogy" fully intends to preserve the polarity of that relation and even to include the negative as weil as the positive aspects of the polar relationship of God and world. What is commonly attl"ibuted to God and man is said of God in a manner essentially different from the way in which it is said of man. Even if we might speak of both analogues as in process with relationship to one another, such a process is only similar in the analogues, not essentially the same nor identical. Analogy is not the kind of a dialectical relation that terminates in complete coïncidence or identification. Analogy is necessarily relational, but relation is eventually destroyed in identification, in becoming an identical one. The concept of analogy cannot be mainpulated to overcome relation between God and world. It presumes and stt·ives to cope with distinction and relation. In view of his supposed rejection of any static logic of identity and contradiction, it is not without interest that Altizer cannot aclmowledge a dialectical relationship that cornes to terms with a coïncidence of real opposites but only with such an understanding of dialectics as will lead to its own destruction by the annihilation of the polarity in a final, post-historical, permanent identity. In Altizer's concept of cosmic and historical process as initial monism (the Original Totality) falls into the related parts of God and world which slowly merge again by the entire and graduai process of Incarnation into a final monism (the Final Totality). Now, as we have said, analogy within Catholic theology is at base relational. It is not inimical to process and transformation and unification, but it is opposed to monism. In this essay Altizer uses varions arguments to contend that God's nature is dialectically evolving process, the progressive process of the transformation of transcendence into immanence. I believe that these arguments may be summarized in three syllogistic forms for pm·poses of a tidy discussion. Proceeding in this manner does sorne injustice to Dr. Altizer's ftuidity of thought, but I think this injustice is neither major nor completely avoidable. Of that we will let the reader who


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has the industry to reread Altizer's paper as well as this c>¡itique be the final judge. THREE ARGUMENTS

The first summary may be ph1¡ased in this way. God is "analogously or integrally" related to the cosmos. But the cosmos is in evolution and undergoes transformation. Therefore, God evolves or undergoes transformation. We have already argued that the Catholic understanding and use of ::malogy cannot be put in service of Dr. Altizer's position because he miscalculates the Catholic stance on analogy. The Catholic theologian would conclude no more than that God may be said to evolve from the side of the cosmos' relation to God, but that evolution in Goct would be essentially different from what it is in the cosmos. Fm-ther, since Altizer already holds that everything (God included) arises by way of th0 fall of creation from an Original Totality without distinctions before that fall, his argument does not proceed with the Catholic idea of the analogons relation of Goct and the cosmos. The second summary may be made in the following manner. Faith bears such an essential, necessary and integral relation to its object (God) that God cannot properly be said to exist independently of what faith apprehends him to be. But what the faith is has undergone and continues to undergo historical and evolutionary transformation. Therefore, God has undergone and continues to undergo historical and evolutionary transformation. The evolutionary movement of faith is a consequence of the evolutionary movement of God. Can we asse>-t of anything we know ( that is not pm¡ely a logical construct) that it has no independent existence from what we apprehend it to be? To say so would require that we know it with an exhaustive intuition of its total presence. This would appear to dispense with fai.th in the sense of evidence of things unseen. Besicles, if we cannot validly conclude with Anselm to the real existence of God even though our idea of him as perfect being includes existence, how can we validly conclude with Altizer to the evolutionary nature of God because our cmTent idea of him as living includes process and transformation? Still fm-ther, one must recognize that if God exists in no other way than what our faith apprehends him to be,


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then, because there are today simultaneously many different and conflicting faith-apprehensions of God (even among Christians), God would be nothing other than many different and conflicting things at one and the same time. It was with this problem in mind that the German Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa tried to elaborate the principle of coincidence of opposites. God in himself exists as an identity that somehow reconciles ali of the many conflicting ways in which we know him, but we do not grasp that identification itself. Altizer uses this idea but only as the ultimate goal of a dialetical process that has already emptied the transcendent God into man and cosmos and will eventually pour every opposite into a final identity. However, if God really has no existence inde-pendent of what our faith apprehends him to be and if the evolution of faith is a consequence of the evolutionary movement of God himself, it would seem more logical to conclude that at the present t¡ime God is moving in many different and opposed directions. On the basis of these two ifs, a return to polytheism would have the edge over pantheism or atheism. I think one must grant that God's revelation of himself, his-saving presence for us, has truly evolved-at !east in the lncarnation. But one cannat argue that because God is one, the-refore this presence is ali there is to God (and then accuse dissenters of having to posit two natures in God-one really revealed and one still "other"). Revelation is the way in which God is present to us and for us. Catholic faith and theology see world, scripture, Church and Christ (the sacrament) as sacraments of God-as body in which, by which and through which man (because man is body) receives God's presence and returns his love. God remains himself even in his increasing presence or immanence. The tension of this dialetic is intellectually agonizing (as is faith). but it does not stumble into the non-encounter of a deistic dualism or a pantheistic monism. It would seem to me that Altizer's position is perilously close to being the equivalent of the latter, at !east in his concept of origin, of the Incarnation and the apocalypse. Panentheists of the Whiteheadian and Hartshornean variety have much to offer at this junction (since a very explicit effort is made to re-concile classical theism and pantheism), but considering that position would be a digression from our purpose here.


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A third summary of Altizer's argumentation is the following. The Christian must believe that the transcendent God emptied himself into Christ and became fully present in him. But Christ was fully flesh and really died on the cross. Therefore, in Christ's !ife and death the Christian must believe that transcendence was fully transf01med into immanence ancl finally died to itself. It is not at ali clear why the Christian must accept so literai an interpretation of the kenosis doctrine. Exegetical options with regard to Philippians 2 and John 1 do not demand such extreme literalness. Certainly the great Christological Councils do not present the kind of a kenosis Altize1· says the Christian must believe. It would seem that by Christian here Altizer means that radical Christian atheist. But Altizer robs his own argument of strength when he says that the fonvard-moving pt·ocess th at is God " ... cannot full y and forever be identified with any one of His manifestations, nor even with a particular series of such manifestations .... " I would point out that he says "fully" as weil as "forever." In another place he tries to say how God in sorne manner remains the same in that " ... as God moves f01·ward his full !ife and energy are carried into new f01ms or expressions so that his energy remains itself even while undergoing transformation." Therefore, even though he sometimes seems to contradict himself about whether or not the energy of God is reaHy fully present in patticular fonns as it passes through one or a series of them, he does hold that the fotms and the energy are distinguishable in that God remains one with himself in as much as he is this total on-going energy. Therefore, Altizer does have a kind of a transcendence in his concept of God as fOl·wardmoving process, but tlzat tmnscendence seems to have or be the very forms of cosmos and man now, even though the forms of cosmos and man at·e passing away as the energy moves on to a final identity of ali opposites. Altizer's literai interpretation of the Incarnation in this third argument seems ultimately even more self-destructive than Origen's well-intentioned but much too literai interpretation of Christ's words to his disciples about those who have the courage to make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 19 :12). Not only does God as the transcendent Christian God die to himself in Altizer's thought, but Christ dies completely to any individual


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personality and continues only as the universally immanent dynamism (which Altizer names the Incarnate Word) which gradually converges everything dialetically toward apocalyptic identification. As for ourselves, every form or particle of ego or individuality or persona! consciousness must be extinguished in that final absorption of every distinction. This would seem to be the castration of everything we know as self and cosmos. THE CENTRAL THESIS

The following quotation from Dr. Altizer's article is from pages 271-272 and states the thesis. I have added the numbers and capitals. "I propose to examine ... with the pm-pose of asce!i:aining whether or not it is closed to the Catholic thinker: the possibility of an atheistic or death-of-God theology. Many critics have charged: 1) THAT A DEATH-OF-GOD THEOLOGY CAN HAVE NO POSSIBLE GROUND IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH, 2) THAT IT IGNORES OR SIMPLY NEGATES THE CHRISTIAN TRADITION, AND 3) THAT IT COLLAPSES THEOLOGY INTO A NATURALISTIC OR HUMANISTIC ANTHROPOLOGY. Now if these charges are true I can see no possibility of a Catholic death-of-God theology, nor for that matter cou id 1 then see the possibility of any form of Christian atheism. But 1 believe them to be untrue, and 1 shall approach these charges by way of taking up the question of the inherent possibility of a Catholic atheistic theology." Here we can raise three questions: 1) Can Altizer's death of God theology have a possible ground in the !ife of the Church? 2) Does it ignore or simple negate Christian tradition? 3) Does it collapse theology into a merely naturalistic or hu man istic anthropology. In the rest of this article we will comment on these questions. A GROUND IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH

In part, Altizer seems to be contending that God already is dead even within the life of the Churches. He would argue ab esse ad posse. He says that Catholic artists are no longer producing life-giving images of God, that Church people are


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themselves admitting that even in their rare moments of prayer they cannot evoke the image of God nor cali on his name (because these are inextricably linked with transcendence) and that many of the Church's own radical prophets and seers have witnessed to the death of God and to the fact that we can speak of God only when we speak of Christ. Could one argue that Cod neither existed nor was known to Jews or Moslems because he was never pictured in their noniconic art? Besicles, the state of Catholic art would not seem to be theologically very different from the past. The old man and dove symbols were never very life-giving. Christian art has always found its real life-giving images in Christ. As to the second point, "Lex orandi est lex credendi" for the Catholic, and the Church has consistently prayed "through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord." Even the words of the "Our Father" were remembered as the words of Christ addressed to the Father Jesus reveals. Further, the liturgical revival, the growing interest in Scripture, in retreats and in new forms of group prayer and apostolate would seem to indicate the opposite of what Altizer argues. It may be true that contemplative prayer is waning today. However, even if it were clear that contemplative prayer and Cod as transcendent must stand or fall together (and that is not clear) one would have to point out that it is strange that, if the transcendent Cod died fully and finally to his transcendence in Jesus of Nazareth, contemplative prayer should have flourished so vigorously in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, not to mention the classical theistic theologies of the fourth and tifth centuries and the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Finally, is it a departure from the uncompromising Christocentrism of Pauline and Johannine theology for the Church's latter-day prophets and seers to say that we truly speak the name of God only when we speak of Christ? In his more important argument Altizer says that Cod's dying to himself so as to become fully one with ali men can have a ground in the very !ife of the Catholic Church in that the Church is not only not bound to any past images of herself, but her very goal and mission is to open up to and be incorporated into the entire world. The Church is to be the body of Christ. But the total body of Christ involves ali the cosmos


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and ail human !ife and energy and consciousness. Therefore, the Church is not restricted to its merely institutional forms but becomes one with ail men and the entire cosmos. Underlying his argument is Altizer's basic belief that the Christ that is now present (that has negated and moved beyond the fonns of the historical Jesus and the Christ of the Gospels) is an Incarnate Word that is fully immanent in the world now and in ail human energy and !ife and progress. The Church is the whole body of the present Incarnate Word. Therefore, the Church must become the whole world and must die to any form separate from the wortel. Catholic theologians have often spoken of "the natural Christian" and "the anonymous Christian." Christ is confessee! as both creator and redeemer, and it is claimed that he has already won the victot-y over death and begun the renewal of ail things. I think, therefore, it must be said from the Catholic viewpoint that the saving pt¡esence of Christ is everywhere immanent (without annihilation of his persona! unity), but this presence is not automatically unitive in such an opere opemto manner that it requires no human involvement nor choice. In this sense, it seems to me that we may say that ail men are potentially and even virtually members of Christ already, but the presence of Christ is not a demonic suppression of human selfhood and its freedom. Even if one attempts by subtle arguments to show that somehow men really accept Christ in their very seeming rejection of him (because the Christian witness they encounter is either unworthy or incomplete and so on), the re is still al ways the possibility of sin, of closing in on oneself against Christ. If there were no such possibility, there would be no possibility of any free, persona! acceptance of Christ either. Therefore, although the institutional Church is not exhaustively the entirety of the body of Christ, this fact does not require that the Church have no explicit and definable expression whatever nor that the Church must be willy-nilly everything. As a matter fact, redemption or the new creation should radically change the old creation; and the completion of the new creation is not simply independent of man's response. Furthermore, Altizer himself has argued in etfect that the institutional Churches are not in the Church because they are


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not members of the body of the present (and therefore the only) Christ. He judged them to be fundamentally guilty of heresy by their clinging to the transcendent God and to the Christ of the Gospels. This "religions" faith and theology of retum to past f01¡ms separates them from the only true Incarnate Word of Christ of the immanent present. Therefore, if it is possible to separate oneself in this way, then the whole world cannat simply be the Church. Altizer has not shown that the !ife of the Church can be full~­ absorbed into the cosmos as he proposes. Therefore, he has not been able to demonstrate convincingly that it is really possible in this regard for his brand of death-of-God radical theology to be grounded in the !ife of the Church. IGNORE OR SIMPLY NEGATE TRADITION'?

Altizer contends that Christian tradition is not simply negated but dialetically negated, i.e. that precisely by negating its past and static forms it is affirmed in a transformed way so as to bring the entirety of its !ife and energy forward into the present and future. This continuing dialectical transformation nioves toward a culmination in Christian atheism precisely because authentic Christian tradition must reflect the dialectical movement of God, who emptied himself into Christ and by the death of Christ became universally immanent in cosmos and consciousness and continues there to move on toward the final identity of opposites in which God will be ali in ali. Therefore, although everyone experiences the absence of the transcendent God, it is only the Christian who can really know and name this absence as the death of God. Confessing God's death is, then, a Christian profession of faith which moves Christian tradition forward to the atheistic evolution of its own intrinsic destiny in a final apocalyptic Totality. First of ali, l would like to point out \vhat seems to me the logical conclusion of Altizer's contention that tradition must follow the movement of energy beyond every particular form in the direction of an apocalyptic identity of opposites in which God will be ali in ali. If this were merely another form of the dialectical process of energy and !ife--rather than the energy and !ife itself-it would be static and require the fixation or death of process or movement. Therefore, if the process of


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!ife and energy is not to go on endlessly negating every new form in order to move beyond it, if a final coïncidence of opposites is nctually to be achieved, then that coïncidence would have to be formless or pure energy or !ife. But such an absh·action or fotmlessness of energy and !ife is the equivalent of the "Pure Act" concept of God, an actuality that has realized every possible f01m. The method of arriving at this concept is certainly different, but the result seems largely the same. This idea of God, however, is so excessively abstract and even deterministic that it seems foremost among the perishing or deceased God-concepts. Secondly, Altizer's idea of God's tinally becoming ali in ali is an ultimate identification of opposites that annihilates ali distinctions. But from our viewpoint as persons, this differs in no practical way from a final nothingness. God again becomes a monster-God that devours us. Thirdly, traditional Christian faith has always stood on Paul's either;or proposition in 1 Corinthians 15. "If our hope in Christ has been for this !ife only, we are the most unfortunate of ali people" (1 Cor. 15:19). Christian tradition stands or falls on a persona! salvation beyond the brutal collapse of death. \Ve puzzle over how that trust could be realized. We puzzle over the nature of Christ's resurrection, and the locus of the resurrected Christ is extremely problematic, but in so merging Christ with cosmos and consciousness that he has no personality of his own in any sense, Altizer certainly seems to have negated Christian tradition. At any rate, he has not shown us convincingly that his death-of-God theology meaningfully affitms Christian tradition. A

MERELY NATURALISTIC OR HUMAN!STIC ANTHROPOLOGY?

Altizet· argues that Catholic theology has always recognized a general revelation (besicles the special revelation of Scripture), that it has never separated God the creator from Cod the redeemer and that it has always grounded itself in philosophy and natural theology. But if this is true, then it cannot now separate its doctrines of God, Christ, Church and Faith from the historical development of human consciousness and the fact of cosmic evolution. But evolution in volves transformation and takes us beyond past forms much as the living stream of present-day biological !ife has left behind the dead fossils of


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its past. Therefore, Catholic theology can be open to the possibility of becoming one with death-of-Cod theology and leave the transcendent Cod himself behind as a dead fossil. However, this does not mean that theology becomes a mere naturalistic or humanistic anthropology, because even while undergoing kenotic transformation Cod remains one with himself in the sense that the totality of that forward-moving energy and !ife can be said to be God and always remains the process of energy and !ife, and because, if I may add this point from The Gospel of Christian Atheism, death-of-God theology demands a real wager of faith in the totally present and immanent, evolving Incarnate Word as the only Christ (risking complete Joss if Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever). If Altizer has not ab·eady reduced theology to a naturalism, it still seems to be the goal of his dialectic, for Gad and man are

moving toward a final coincidence which will be a dialecticallyattained identification of opposites-not a coincidence of juxtaposition or harmony or even of union. It is not at ali cleat· how with this eschatology he avoids the objection that he reduces theology to a naturalism. The God of the end will not be different from anything else. Even at this present, pre-apocalyptic stage of Altizer's Incarnational dialectic it is difficult to see how Altizer has avoided the charge he seeks to offset. Perhaps he might answer by describing this dialectical movement as a mutual one, as he often does in The Gospel of Christian A thei._•m, th at the spirit becomes flesh and the flP..sh spirit. However, if this is to be more than a mere switch in pales, then bath spirit and flesh must pass into one another and becomes sorne third thing (a synthesis or coincidence of the two that is a new identity rather than a tensive relation of the two in union and distinction, since Altizer appears to reject the latter idea of coincidence). But if this is the case, then man should have already correlatively died to himself as man just as much as Altizer claims that God has died to himself as Cod. Since Altizer claims the transcendent God has fully and finally died to himself, this hardly seerns very believable. If Gad dies to transcendence or separateness and becomes fully and irreveJ·sibly immanent in man and world, in the movement of human consciousness and cosmic evolution-and so much so that Al-


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tizer often repeats the words of Blake that God exists and acts only in existing and acting men and that he can say in this essay that God has no separate nor independent existence apart from what faith apprehends him to be-then, it appears unclear why this consciousness should still be called faith, since it is the very consciousness of God become man. It would seem that the process of energy and !ife which God still remains is, at !east in the passing present, the evolving cosmos-man form of God, even if this form is to be dialectically negated and gone beyond in the future. It is clear that Altizer is not a positivist in the notmal sense of the word, but humanism or naturalism need not be so restricted. It also seelllS clear that de facto most humanists find that Altizer's explanation of our experience of being without God demands too much faith, but my point is that this demand for faith is not clear from within Altizer's own system, because he asserts that God !tas through Christ quite fully emptied himself into cosmic evolution and our human consciousness. If God now does not exist nor act except in existing and acting. men, then faith is only another word fo1¡ human consciousness. Altizer !tas not effectively clarified how his death-of-God theology avoids reducing theology to a merely naturalistic and humanistic anthropology. Therefore, on this count also it does not seem that Altizer has shown us the possibility of a Catholic death-of-God theology.


Geo>·ge K. Ma/one

APOLOGETICS SURVEY VI

MassMedia and Church Teaching The current c>·isis abont the ?"ole of official C hurch teaching centers amund the area of communications and three specifie problenLB.

The visiting priest, a pastor in his early forties, had returned to visit the seminary after severa! years. After about an hour of conversation 1 suggested that he might like to walk around the grounds and possibly meet sorne of the seminarians. Hesitating for a moment, he replied, "Weil, to tell you the truth, I don't know any of these young guys-either priests or seminarians--and I don't really know whether I even want to! They seem to be so different that they almost scare me at times." After meeting and chatting with a number of them the visitor felt quite reassured and understood that the differences which he had feared were neither as great, as many had said, nor as slight as sorne few had thought. Because of fears such as those expressed above it has for sorne time now been fashionable for authors to deplore a seeming "gap"--caB it what you will, "gene1·ation,'' ''communication," "credibi!ity"-between hierarchy and c!ergy and Jaity, 205


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between older and younger priests, between priests and seminarians. Evidence for the existence of sorne such "gap" is sm¡ely not lacking-priests publicly protesting bishops' statements and directives, seminarians occupying semina1-y buildings and conducting sit-ins within chancery offices, lay parishioners protesting pastoral appointments. The list goes on and on. Now sorne would suggest that such incidents bespeak a super-conservative attitude on the part of the older, a traditionalism unwilling to confront changes in both Church and world. While this is sm¡ely true in sorne instances, we fee! that they more often bespeak a deep-seated confusion weil exemplified by the pastor who recently lamented, "In 1950 everything was just fine--the Holy Year, the definition of the Assumption, the sh¡ong Iine of Humani Generis. Now here we are, not over twenty years la ter, and everything's changed! Where did we go wrong? Just what happened ?" There is indeed an urgent need for both older and younger alike to know "what happened" with such apparent suddenness. It must be admitted that most theologians have not been very helpful in explaining the phenomenon. Let us take a case in point. Father John, ordained 30 years, is pastor of a large suburban parish and is deeply concerned about theological and liturgical changes. Visiting a large Catholic book store and inquiring about the best in contemporary theological writing, he is given volumes of K. Rahner, Kiing, and Schillebeeckx to read. Returning home to the rectory, he begins his reading and suddenly encounters terminology and thought patterns with which he is not at ali familiar. Si nee he is a busy man, he does not have the time to read and reread, to reexamine, question, and retlect. After severa! weeks of good honest work, undertaken with the best of intentions, he becomes discouraged and somewhat frustrated. The "gap" grows wider and deeper. Much the same can be said about students beginning their sturly of theology today. Since there have been so many changes during their years of primary and secondary schooling, many fee! that the past is simply a closed book and there has been a complete and total disassociation with past theological writing. Again the "gap" grows wider and deeper. To avoid such unfortunate frustrations and negative hostile feelings which they may engenrler, we strongly recommend


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two books which otfer excellent overviews of recent theological development. Theology in Transition, edited by Elmer O'Brien, S.J., (Herder & Herder, 1965) surveys the crucial decade 19541964 and describes that period's most significant books and articles pertaining to scripture, patristics, liturgy, and systematic theology. CwTent Trends in Theo/ogy, edited by Donald J. Wolf, S.J., and James V. Schall, S.J., (Doubleday, 1965) is a somewhat more comprehensive overview of the more recent contemporary scene. While both of these books are severa! years old, we fee! that they still otfer solid adventages. The older reader will gain an excellent overview not only of the changes themselves, but also of their causes. Both older and younger alike will perceive more clearly that most recent changes are not sorne sort of disruption of a sacred heritage, but rather an organic development of tradition. It is within such a context that Father John can return to contemporary theological writing without unnecessary feelings of anxiety or fear. The same problem is faced by most members of the hierarchy. An American bishop underlined the difficulty very honestly when he recently remarked, "Most bishops in the United States are busy men who studied their own theology twenty or more years ago. When ali of this talk came up about dissent from non-infallible teaching, I went back to the books and, sure enough, it was ali there-in footnotes and in scholions! It wasn't even underlined! The same thing goes for the collegiality of bishops and for varying opinions about development of doctrine. Can you honestly expect any busy person simultaneously to keep up a constantly on-going review of the past, keep. up his contemporary reading, and still carry on his own daily professional atfairs~ I think not!" We agree with you completely, Bishop. Such would be a super-human task, one which we have attempted to study in the body of this paper. In order to solve any problem or to cure any malaise efficiently, it is necessary first of ali to make a correct diagnosis of the condition's nature and cause. Wh ile many have correctly diagnosed the Church's cm¡rent crisis as one of communications, we fee! that this diagnosis is just too general to be of any practical value. Working on this general hypothesis, sorne have


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suggested increased "sensitivity" training to facilitate dialogue. Others have urged that every "official" church spokesman have a secretary for public relations. Still others have recommended a fuller deployment of professional advertising techniques. Although these and similar suggestions are good, they seem to be symptom-oriented and tend to avoid the heart of the crisis, which we see as including three problem areasthe fact of a gigantic information explosion, the full impact of mass media of communication, and the more recent deve\opment of multi-media communication techniques. Let us briefty consider the tirst two of these and try to perceive the effed which they have on the work not only of theologians and magisterium, but also of pastoral ministers and teachers. The third will be ti¡eated later. THE "INFORMATION EXPLOSION"

Man is rapidly approaching fultillment of the age-old dream of having ail the world's knowledge at his very tingertips. The total amount of research and technical publication alone has expanded to almost incredible proportions. Surveying the whole area of such publications, the Library of Congress in a rather conservative appraisal of severa! years ago estimated that about 30,000 scientitic and technical journals are being published on a continuing basis throughout the world. If this estimate is even roughly accurate and if one reasonably postulates a range of from 30 to 70 articles and papers per journal per year, we reach the staggering total of something between 900,000 and 2,100,000 articles being published each year! (One shudders at the very thought of those who assert that the Library of Congress estimate falls far short and that the actuai total of technical journals is anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000). Even in specialized individual areas the annual number of published journals and articles makes one pause. Thus it is conservatively estimated that medicine counts 9,000 journals annually publishing sorne 220,000 articles and papers; chemistry and agriculture, each 8,000 journals with 150,000 articles (confer Charles P. Bourne, Methods of Information Hundling). We note, moreover, that these statistics refer only to periodical literature and do not include books, technical reports, or seminar and conference proceedings. Including


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these latter, sorne have estimated that each and every year approximately 500,000 pages per minute are added to man's deposit of data and information. But wh at of theology? An analogons situation exists here and has existed for sorne time. lt has been remarked that 30 years ago, in pre-Humani Gene1¡is times there were about 25 internationally circulated Roman Catholic theological journals. It was a reasonable assumption that if one kept abreast of these one was weil "up to date" in one's theology. By the way, it is interesting to recall that such cm-rent theological staples as the United States' Theological Studies and Spain's Revista Espanola de Teologia did not begin publication until 1940. Fifteen years ago, the number had more than doubled, to over 60 such journals. Today there are at !east 150 of the same. Now add to this severa! other factors. One can no longer think of "systematic" theology as separated or isolated from "Biblical" theology. Thus the "list" must include journais of Biblical studies as weil. Nor can the ecumenical dimensions of theology be ignored. Therefore Protestant and Orthodax journals must also be included. One must also consider the ever-increasing use by professional theologians of ali faiths of such non-technical periodicals as America. Cmnmonweal, Christian Centu1¡y. Although it is difficult to pinpoint the precise total, one could conservatively estimate the number of theologically relevant periodicals regularly published throughout the world as weil over 600. If we conservatively assume as a minimum 30 articles per year per journal, we arrive at a conservative estimate of 18,000 articles each year for the theologian to digest. We note here also that this total refers only to periodical literature and does not include books, magisterial pronouncements, papers given at seminars and conferences. Nor does it include another type of publication being more frequently used today for serions theological writingthe newspaper, both diocesan and national, such as the United States' National Catholie Reporter. In brief, theology also is confronted by the same information explosion which threatens to engulf the other sciences. We would like to underline severa! immediate results of this proliferation of data publication and then indicate an extremely serions pastoral problem resulting therefrom. First of ali,


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there is the danger that important research findings may be ignored or simply unknown. This danger in turn has two facets. On the one hand, there is the possible frustration of the scholar who has worked for months on a scholar!y paper, has presented it, and then has been criticized for not citing certain pertinent studies. On the other hand, there is the temptation to various forms of intellectual dishonesty. Plagiarism is the most obvious. But more important, there may be the inclination conveniently to ignore a relatively strong opposing view. Thirty years ago this would have been impossible. Today it is qnite easily doue. Secondly, there is a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, more people know more of "what's going on" than ever before because they have ready access to more bits of information than ever before. Thus the Council Daybook published by the then N.C.W.C. gave more information concerning an on-going conciliar process than had eve1¡ been known previously. On the other hand, more pepole know Jess of "what's going on" thau ever before because there are so many bits of information available that it is almost impossible accurately to correlate them ali and see them in proper perspective. Thus it is axiomatic that the documents of Vatican Council II represent many varying viewpoints ali supposedly drawn together through consensus into sorne sort of synthesis. Consequently one may observe the situation in which dissidents inform their ordinary, "Bishop, you are going against the spirit of Vatican Il!" To which the ordinary res ponds, somewhat testily, "Don't tell me that. 1 was on the commission that prepared that very document!" As the strings of available data grow longer and myriad, it becomes ali the more difficult to tie the ends together. The pastoral and theological problem resulting from the information explosion is therefore immediately evident. It has become practicaliy impossible both for the pastoral minister and teacher, as weil as for the professional theologian himself, to determine the presence or absence of a consensus of theologians. Moreover, despite its worldwide extent, it has become equaliy impossible for the magisterium as such, the college of bishops and its president the Pope, to determine the presence or absence of such consensus. What does this mean


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in practice? It is not that theologians be long to the official magisterium, but the consensus of theologians has been traditionally regarded as one of the principal theological "fonts," insofar as such consensus represents the faith of the universal believing community. The inability to ascertain such consensus representa, in our opinion, an extremely serious threat to the entire church both in its unity and its catholicity. But how to cope with this problem? How to make readily available sorne 18,000 articles and countless other books and other documents? Medicine has already faced this same problem and is weil on the way to solving it. The Index Medict~~. published under the aegis of the National Library of Medicine, in Bethesda, Maryland, appears quarterly and offers complete bibliographical data on ali cm-rent medical periodical Iiterature. Through its computerized data retrieval system it also pmvides upon request bibliographies on specifie topics. The legal profession has long been working on a similar data retrieval system to provide Iawyers with citations to ali relevant authorities and precedents in response to legal questions. But what of theology? Theologians have cited the need fo1· su ch a retrieval system. As early as 1956, Woodstock's John F. X. Sweeney called for a comprehensive listing of al! theological writing (Theological Studies); severa! years ago, in 1966, we ourselves called for the use of computers in making such a listing available (Arnerican Ecclesiastical Review); Catholic University's Patrick Granfield, O.S.B., in his excellent article "Ecclesial Cybernetics" cited the same need (Theological. Studies, December 1968). Y et, des pite these warnings, that vast overwhelming mass of printed matter remains, published in such diverse languages as English, French, Latin, Greek, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, to mention but a few. True, there are partial aids and we sm·ely express our gratitude to such journals as Theology Digest, New Testarnent Abstracts, Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et Theologiques, Revue Thorniste, the Catholic Periorlical Index, Religious and Theological Abstracts, and others, but they are ali only partial listings. Thirteen years after Sweeney's warning there is still no comprehensive listing and there is none in sight. There are three reasons why such a comprehensive listing is absolutely essential. First of ali, true scholarly research is

--·-·-


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impossible without it. Effective data retrieval will provide scholars with their dream, an "instant bibliography." Months of always tedious and frequently inefficient reseat¡ch will be eliminated. Secondly, truly ecumenical theology is impossible without it. Effective data reb¡ieval will enable the ecumenist instantly to know where and how to find points of agreement and disagreement among ali scholars and popularizers of ali faiths. It will enable the ecumenist to do away with what one wag has called the "Uncle Toms"-the "house Catholic" or the "house Protestant" always on hand for "liberal" conventions of "the other side." Finally, truly pastoral theology is impossible without it. As an instance of this let us cite Vatican Council Il in relation to cmTent discussions about dissent. The dramatic shift in emphasis between the first (1962) draft of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church and the final text (1964) is weil known. Less weil known, but equally public knowledge, is the shift in section 25, from which the original prohibition of dissent was omitted. Sorne Council fathers wanted a greater explication of Council teaching and posed severa! questions and suggestions to the Doctrinal Commission, which replied by referring the Fathers to "approved theological explanations" and to "approved authors." Y et even the auctores probati of 30 years ago admitted the possibility, at !east in private, of dissent from non-infallible teaching. Another American bishop recently shook his head and exclaimed, "The problems of 1969 might have been solved in 1964 if we had had a comprehensive listing of our own 'approved authors' and their opinions!" Since scholarship, ecumenism, and magisterium cannot flourish without such a listing, it is obviously necessary. But such a listing can be handled only by a computerized bibliographical data retrieval system. Obviously there are many practical and technical problems, which we shall discuss in another article now in preparation. Suffice it for the present to say that a mode! already exists for such a project in the Index M edicus and that many of our own theological problems have their medical counterparts which have already been solved. Closely related to the information explosion are the twin questions of the "mass media explosion" and the proliferation of multi-media presentations. Although these two questions


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go hand in hand, space limitations demand that we concental'te on the first in this study, leaving the second to a later article. THE "MASS MEDIA EXPLOSION"

The expression "mass media" has been used to describe many different techniques of communication which may be divided into two general categories-the printed and the electronic. The printed media include primarily newspapers and magazines; the electronic, primarily radios and television. Although we are ali acquainted with these media on a superficial leve!, a more careful consideration of them reveals significant changes. With regard to printed techniques, one notes first the constantly increasing use of duplicating processes. Mimeograph, xerox, and other duplicating machines enable articles and papers to circulate much more widely than ever before. The mimeographed bulletins of news services such as FRED spread news of a "radical" nature swiftly throughout the country. The "pass-along" readership of such items cannot even be estimated, five to twenty readers for each copy. Secondly, one must note the ever continuing growth of the "underground press," now including over 200 publications, from Minneapolis' Hai¡r (2,500 circulation) through New York's East Village Other (75,000 circulation) and Village Voice (122,000 circulation). \Vith its own wire service, the Underground Press Syndicate reaches many of the nation's most intelligent and sensitive young people. Regarding electronic techniques, we wish to note two factors. First of ali, the spread of television usage continues throughout the world. About 20 years ago there were roughly 175,000 televiseion sets; today world widc set ownership has risen to about 200 million. Interestingly, the United States accounts for less than one-third of these sets. Although pinpoint accuracy is out of the question, it has been estimated that the average young American has viewed sorne 18,000 hours of television by the time he reaches his 18th birthday! The psychological effects of so much exposure to vicarious !ife experiences, which can be tuned in or tumed off at will, have not yet been studied. Secondly, few adults realize the social impact of recorded music, both on albums and on tapes. Sorne of our nation's most perceptive and inftuential social critics are found among musical groups


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like the "Mothers of Invention" and "Country J oe and the Fish," which make only albums and are never heard on the varions "top-forty" type radio stations. Thus it is that the mass media today are able to reach out and inform and influence more people more quickly than ever before in history. One wonders whether the Church has fully realized the dynamic changes which have occnrred in this area of communications. Vatican Il's document on communications was generally criticized as the weakest of ail the conciliar documents. At a meeting of the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications last November 28, Pope Paul VI commented on Catholic achievements in the communications field, describing them as "insufficient and in any case disproportionate to the vastness of the field to be sown." An eastern playwright reeently commented, "The whole world of communications has been revolutionized, turned upside down and inside out. And yet sorne of your bishops still seem to regard television and movies as nothing more than audio-visual a ids for teaching the catechism !" PROBLEMS FOR THE MAGISTERIUM

Given the information explosion and the deployment of the mass media, a new problem has arisen for the magisterium, one which must be discussed soon and for which an at !east tentative working policy must be determined. I do not fee! that the Church is on the verge of widespread schism, since the great majority of the most vocal of dissenters admit the existence and the necessity of the ecclesial magisterium. A good beginning has been made in clarifying the relationship between theologian and magisterium. The Colombo article to which we referred last year (Chicago Studies, Spring 1968), the excellent paper delivered by Avery Dulles, S.J., at the 1969 Concention of the National Catholic Educational Association, and the fruitful dialogue between moralist Richard McCormick, S.J., and Bishop John Quinn of San Diego at the recent convention of the Catholic Theological Society are ali promising steps in the right direction. No, the heart of the problem causing won¡y about schism is elsewhere. It is common teaching today that the theologian in his research may both dissent from non-infallible teaching


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and propose the reasons for his dissent, as long as this be done responsibly. Thirty years ago such responsiblc dissent would have caused no great pastoral problem. But today this dissent will undoubtedly be reported by the mass media and relayed to millions and millions of non-professionals. Two different situations are possible. In the first, a theologian dissents and responsibly publishes his reasons. Time picks it up and broadcasts it to the world. Is the theologian at fault? Hardly, since he had acted according to the norms of his profession. What if a faith-crisis develops? Following the suggestion which we made last year, let the magisterium respond accordingly, employing the same mass media. In the second situation, a theologian deliberately seeks out the mass media precisely as a means of expressing his dissent. Such a technique is not without its supporters, and is very similar to techniques used by activists and demonstrators. Activists say, "Talk, talk, talk! In civil rights you've clone this for a hundred years and the black man is still a slave in a very true sense. You talk and talk about peace and here we are now, in 1969, with the very real possibility of destroying the entire human race. See where ali your talk gets us?" Now I see the point of this position and I fee] terribly saddened, for there is much tru th here. Y et I fee] very deeply that we as rational beings and as professionals must work out our problems through rational dialogue and discussion and that, if we cannot, there is something dreadfully wrong. Working on the presumption that such dialogue and discussion are both necessary and possible, my own conviction remains firm that deliberately to seek out the mass media as a means for expressing dissent is not responsible dissent and is not far removed from theological irresponsibility. So much for the professional theologian. But a pressing pastoral problem remains. In discussing the formation of a correct conscience, is it practical any longer to speak of varions moral systems such as probabalism? Discussions about extrinsic and intrinsic probability served weil in their time and helped to guarantee intellectual honesty and confrontation of opinions. Whether the professional theologian likes it or not, the information explosion and the mass media have given birth to a new "pop theology," which is now here and will be


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around for sorne time to come. 1 wonder whether the traditional systems are able to meet the very real needs posed by this "pop" phenomenon and raise this question from a pm¡ely pastoral point of view simply because I think it needs raising and discussion.


John F. Dedek

A Blueprint for a Curriculum

A new model of theological education is intToduced at St. Mm¡y of the Lake.

These pages carry a mode! of a new curriculum of seminary studies which will become real this fall at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein. It is a detailed description of the basic pastoral program leading to the Master of Divinity degree. No description is given of the program for candidates for the S. T.B. and S. T.L. degrees, which of necessity is somewhat different. Our faculty together with student representatives developed this program th1¡ough most of the past academie year. It is gratifying to see that it is in accord with the principles outlined by the Bishops Committee on Priestly Formation in its report of April, 1969. But the description given here is not of principles but of the elements in which principles are made concrete and come to live. lt is one way of specifying the principles and may be of some use to other seminary faculties as they undertake the arduous task of curriculum renewal. GENERAL STRUCTURE 217


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The new curriculum is designed as a four-year program of academie study and field work. Although it is possible for an exceptional student to complete the program in more or Jess time, the ordinary student entering his first year in the school of theology will spend nine quarters taking courses on campus and three quarters in supervised field work off campus. During each quarte1· on campus the student is expected to take th•·ee elective courses (nine hours of class work) and during his first eight quarters one area examination in core material. In his second or third year he will spend one quarter in an accredited Clinical Pastoral Eduation program or sorne other approved internship program. After his ordination to the diaconate at the end of his third year he will serve as a deacon in a parish, and during the fall quarter of his diaconate experience he will meet with his classmates twice a week f01· two three-hour periods to reflect theologically on his pastoral experiences. He will return to the seminary for the winter quarter to finish his ninth academie quarter before the reception of his M. Div. degree and ordinàtion to the priesthood. The requirements for the M. Div. degree, therefore, are twenty-seven courses on campus, three courses off campus, and the successful completion of eight area examinations in core material. Of the twenty-seven courses on campus twenty are in academie theology and seven are internship courses which prepa1·e more directly for pastoral work. Thus the ratio between academie theology and internship courses is two to one (twenty theology and ten internship). Each quarter on campus is a ten-week period including one week for examinations. Thus this year our fall quarter extends from September 29 to December 10; the winter quarter from January 9 to March 18; and the spring quarter from March :30 to June 6. Classes are 1\ftr-five minutes long, and each course is allotted three class periods a week. ELECTIVE COURSES ON CAMPUS

Of the twenty theology courses that a student must take during his nine quarters on campus none are specified. Each student is free to choose his courses from a number of courses offered each quarter in the departments of systematic theologr, moral theology, scripture, and church history. Ordinarily


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he is to elect live courses in systematic theology, four in moral theology, live in bible, and two in history, plus four other electives in any of these areas. And within each department he is expected ta diversify his courses as much as possible, sa that for instance he will not take ali of his systematic theology courses in the area of sacramcnts.

Since the core content that every student must know will be guaranteed by the eight area examinations, no effort will be made in the elective courses ta "caver the matter." The course offerings will not be the traditional tractates on Gad, Creation, Christ, Grace, Sacraments, etc., but will be on more specifie questions in such areas. These courses will lead the student to a certain amount of theological information, especially since even somewhat specialized tapies open up and explode into great number of connected areas. But the primary aim of these courses is to inculcate in the student a theological method, to discipline him ta the habit of thinking theologically in the various areas of Catholic theology. In addition to the twenty courses in academie theology the student will take seven internship courses on campus-one in canon law, one in homiletics, and five elective courses in canon law, homiletics, liturgical celebration, and pastoral care. Ordinarily this ratio of theology and internship courses taken on campus will be maintained. But ta allow for special needs or weaknesses of individual students in certain areas the academie dean may permit an exceptional student ta transfer two ft·ee electives from his academie theology program to his intemship program and vice-versa. AREA EXAMINATIONS

A student will take eight area examinations-one each quar-

ter for his lirst eight quarters on campus. Each examination will be administet·ed during four two-hom· periods on two days of the examination week at the end of the quarter. Of the eight examinations two will be systematic theology, two in Scripture, two in moral theology, one in church history, and one in internship. The lirst examination in systematic theology will caver the matter traditionally taught in the tractates De Revelatione, De Eccle.sia, and De Sacra-


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mentis; the second will co ver the matter taught in De Deo Uno et T1路ino, De Deo C1路eante et Ele1!ante, De V erbo lncarnato, and De Gm.tia. The first Scripture examination will co ver the propaedeutic and New Testament; the second will cover the Old Testament. The first moral examination will cover De Principiis. and the second De Praeceptis and De Sacmmentis. The internship examination will be on the basic material of canon law, liturgical celebration, and homiletics. And the history examination will take in the general data treated in a standard textbook like McSorley. The student, of course, will not be responsible for ali of the matter traditionally covered in these treatises but only for that matter which is described as core. Success in an area examinatioii will be equivalent to passing a lower division or 200 course. The sm路vey material covered in these eight examinations represents the minimum general information that should be possessed by every priest. Every priest, of course, must possess more than this general information; he also must know a certain amou nt of upper division material and develop the habit of doing theology, and he will gain this deeper knowlerlge and skill in theologizing in the upper division elective courses. But in addition to depth of knowledge and the theological habitm he needs a certain breadth of general theological information. Probably every course now being taught in seminaries is a combination of upper division and lower division material. To sort out these two elements is not a simple task, and judgments that are not always certain and clear have to be made. These judgments will be made by the faculty working in teams. Two professors within a department, e.g. moral, and one professor outside that department, e.g. a Scripture or history professor, will prepare a detailed point sheet and bibliography for each examination. The point sheet and bibliography will be given to the students at the beginning of the quarter in which the examination is scheduled. The point sheet will list the items that the student is responsible for, and the bibliography will list the 1路eadings on which the examination will be based. The bulk of the work in preparing the point sheets and bibliography will fall on the professors who teach in the area of the examination. The professors outside the area will help them keep their per-


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spective if their enthusiasm for their own field tempts them to overestimate the amount of matter that is lower division. So that the demands made on the students in preparing for the examinations will be realistic a practical rule of thumb has been adopted: the work required of students for one area examination should be equivalent to the work required for one course. The pmfessors preparing point sheets, bibliographies, ¡ and examinations are to keep this norm in mind. It is assumed that the average student can be expected to spend about twelve hours per course--three hours in class and nine hours of private study each week. Accordingly, the average student taking three elective courses plus one area examination each quarter can be expected to spend a total of forty-eight hours per week on his studies. The exceptional student, of course, may spend somewhat more or Jess time according to his abilities. It is obvious that the amount of time an individual spends in study can be neither predicted nor legislated. The only purpose of this rule of thumb is to remind the faculty that there are limits to what can be required of the students in these examinations and to indicate in a very general way what these limits are. It is expected that the ordinary student with the direction of the point sheet and reading list will be able to prepare himself for the examination scheduled each quarter. He can do this by studying alone or in small groups. The matter for the examination will be limited to what is contained in the assigned readings. At the same time, however, courses will be given by the faculty each quarter in the area scheduled for examinatian. Attendance will be optional. Sorne students may prefer to supplement their preparation for the examination by attending these classes; and the weaker students, who have difficulty in learning from reading, will be advised by their academie counsellor or the dean to attend. But ali students will not be required to be present. What matters is that they pass the examination at the end of the quarter. Finally, these examinations which are composed of "distinct parts, e.g. the dogma or internship examinations, will be graded per partes, so that failure in one part will necessitate the retaking only of that part and, conversely, so that high success in one part will not compensate for failure in another. For


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instance, if in the internship examination a student gets 80 in homiletics, 60 in canon law, and 70 in liturgical celebration, he does not pass the examination with an average of 70 but fails canon law and must retake an examination in that section. ĂœFF CAMPUS INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

ln addition to the seven internship courses he takes on campus the seminarian's direct preparation for ministry includes three quarters in field work. During his second or third year he will select one quarter during which he will take a C.P.E. course or enroll in sorne similar program. It is not enough that he go out and engage in sorne form of apostolic work. The program must be specifically designed for training in ministry; it must be staffed and directed by qualifiee! supervisors; and it must be a comse that is given a grade. Otherwise it will not be approved by the academie dean and academie credit will not be given. Each seminarian must take and pass such a course before he is given academie certification for ordination to the diaconate. At the end of his thire! year the student who has fulfilled ali requirements will be ordained to the diaconate. He then will spend the Summer and Fall quarters ministering as a deacon in one of the parishes in the archdiocese. During this time he will receive the help and encouragement not only of the pastor and priests in the rectory but also of area supervisors. Ali of these priests will sene! a written report about him to the rector of the seminary at the end of his diaconate experience. During the fall quarter the deacons will meet twice a week for two three-hour periods. Du ring at !east one of these periods he will participate in a theological laboratory, for which three hours of academie credit will be given. The theological laboratory has been explained in detail by George Oyer in the Fall, 1968 issue of Chicago Studies ("The Academie Express," Vol. 7, n. 3, pp. 317-324). Here groups of ten deacons together with a professional theologian, psychologist, and sociologist reflect theologically on their experience. Their purpose is to discover and isolate the theological questions that are at the bottom of the problems they encounter in their lives and to bring the data of Christian revelation to bear on these quesions. Ordinarily both periods during the week will be exercises


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in the theological laboratory. But deacons who want to spend the second three-hour period in sorne other form of active theological exercise, in a seminar for example, will be allowed to do so. THE FINAL MONTHS

The deacons will return to the seminary for the winter qual·ter to finish their academie work. In this qualier they will take their three final elective courses. For the M. Div. degree no comprehensive examination is 1·equired. lnstead, as a final project before receiving their degree, they must submit evidence that they have appropriated and are able to communicate their theology. This evidence may be given in a paper, an oral presentation, an original contemporary catechism, or in any other way they can demonstrate the pastoml use they can make of their theology. Examinations ad audiendas confessiones will be given at the beginning of the winter quarter. Those who fail this examinatian will be allowed to take it again at the end of the qualier. During the weeks that remain between the end of the winter quarter and ordinations to the priesthood in May, time will be given to optional review classes, retreat, and immediate preparations for ordination. As a final note it should be pointee! out that the new program will go into effect this September for all the students in the seminary. As described in the pages above the program applies to those entering first theology in the Fa!!. But adjustments have been made so that those already in the seminary can switch to the new progr&m. Ali students from now on, no matter where they are in the seminary, will have tln·ee quarters off campus for supervised field work. During each of their remaining quarters on campus they will take three elective courses and one area examination. Thus those entering second theology this Fall will take six area examinations (two dogma, two moral-canon law, two Scripture) and eighteen courses in their six remaining quarters on campus. Those entering third theology will take three a rea examinations (one dogma, one moral-canon law, one Scripture) and nine courses in three quarters on campus. And those entering fourth theology will take one area examination and three courses in one


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quarter on. campus. The area examinations given to these classes in this interim period will have to be specially tailored, so as to caver the basic survey matter that they have not had already in their earlier courses. Our faculty looks upon the coming year with bath hope and apprehension. The apprehension is that too much responsibility for his theological education is put upon the student, even if he works closely with his academie counsellor. The hope is that the student will assume this responsibility and end his years of training with a grea ter love of theology, a persona! appropriation of it, and a professional competence in ministry.