Summer 1970

Page 1


CHICAGO

STUDIES

EDITORIAL STAFF

Editor George J. Dyer

Associate Editor

Business Manager

Richard J. Wojcik

John F. Dedek

Executive Assistant

Production Manager

Marjorie M. Lukas.

Edmund J. Siedlecki

Editorial Advisors Joseph A. Bracken, S.J. Gerard T. Broccolo James P. Doyle John F. Fahey William O. Goedert John R. Gorman Vincent C. Horrigan, S.J. George J. Kane Edward H. Konerman, S.J.

William P. LeSaint, S,J. Thomas B. McDonough Charles R. Meyer Joseph J. O'Brien Robert A. Reicher Richard F. Schroeder Edward J. Stokes, S.J. Thomas F. Sullivan Gerald P. Weber

CHICAGO STUDIES is edited by the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary and the prlests of the Archdiocese of Chicago for the continuing education of the clergy. The editors welcome articles and letters likely to be of interest to our readers. Ali communications regarding articles and editorial policy should be addressed to the editors. Subscriptions should be sent to CHICAGO STUDIES, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Subscription rates: $5.00 a year, $9.00 for two years, $16.00 for four years; to students, $4.00 a year. Foreign subscribers: add 50c per year. CHICAGO STUDIES is published three times a year with ecclesiastical permission and copyright, 1970, by Civitas Dei Foundation, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Third Class postage paid at St. Meinrad, Ind. Views expressed in the articles are those of the respective authors and not necessarily those of the editors or editorial board. Indexed in The Catholic Periodical Index and New Testament Abstracts. Microfilms of current and backfile volumes of CHICAGO STUDIES are now available from University Microfilms, Inc., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Manuscripts will not be returned unless aecompanied by self addressed otsmped envelope.


VOLUME 9

SUMMER, 1970

NUMBER 2

Shared Responsibility in the Local Church

Articles SHARED RESPONSIBILITY-SOME NEW TESTAMENT PERSPECTIVES

115

Geo1·ge lV. MacRae, S.J.

SHARED RESPONSIBILITY IN THE EARLY CHURCH

129

Robert B. Eno, S.S.

AN AMERICAN ANOMALY: BISHOPS WITHOUT CANONS

143

Robert F. Trisco

ECUMENICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN SHARED RESPONSIBILITY

159

J. Robert Nelson

AND LEGAL FOUNDATION

171

James A. Coriden

RESPONSIBILITY FOR ÜTHERS

183

Thomas O'Meara, O.P.

ECCLES!ASTICAL AUTHORITY AND THE SENATE OF PRIESTS

201

Anthony T. Padovano

AUTHORS

223

SHARED AUTHORITY: RATION ALE


George W. MacRae, S.J.

Shared Responsibiliiy --Sorne New Testament Perspectives

The au thO?' probes some New Testament Princip/es that offer a theological basis for shm¡ing responsibility in the local Church.

Before introducing sorne of the New Testament evidence that may form a basis for a theology of shared responsibility in the structure and function of the local church, sorne more general observations are in order. These deal with the role of the New Testament in current theological debate, and I should like to formulate them as a series of theses. Behind each thesis lies an important emphasis in recent exegetical or theological scholarship, which for reasons of space we can 115


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do no more than allude to. Also in the background of each lies a misconception of the rel evan ce of the New Testament, and for this reason the theses are expressed negatively. 1. The New Testament is not a blueprint for the !ife of

the church in our day. Not only was it not written as a plan for the future, but it does not even contain anything like a code or constitution. The New Testament writings are proclamation, exhortation, expia nation; they are salvation-history and apocalytic vision. We can no more reconstitute or recreate the church of the New Testament than we can undo history. Recent biblical scholarship has emphasized the manner in which the message and teaching of the apostolic age is cultm¡ally conditioned and therefore-properly understood-subject to a legitima te degree of "demythologizing." Recent theology of revelation has stressed that God's speaking to men is always in men's language, and human language is subject to change, growth. obsolescence, translation, and even exegesis. (See G. Moran, Theology of Revelation. New York: Herder and Herder, 1966, especially pp. 95-114.) 2. The New Testament is not in¡elevant to the !ife of the church today. On the contrary, it is the indispensable and unparalleled source before which both subsequent ecclesiastical history and developing theology must stand in judgment. The church is the people of God in history and can remain true to . its historical mission and identity only by constantly renewing its awareness of its origin and commissioning. It is the New Testament writings which contain the inspired record of the age of persona!, direct communion with the person of Christ, understood as risen Lord of the faith-community of his fo\lowers. The canon of the Bible is not first of ali a "list" of books accepted as inspired, but a "measure," a nol"!ll or rule of faith against which the faith of any age must be tested. Thus even though no mere citation of a New Testament text should ever put an end to a theological discussion, no theological discussion should be unrelated to the New Testament. (See H. Kßng, The Church. New York: Sheed and Ward, 1967, pp. 15, 24.) 3. The New Testament is not uniform. The commonest misuse of biblical data or texts is to neglect the individual


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differences among the books or authors, differences which arise from circumstances of time, place and culture as weil as from the theological orientation of the author. The current emphasis on the methodology of redaction-criticism has taught us to distinguish with caution and growing clarity even among the theologies of the Synoptic Gospels (see N. Perrin, What is Redaction Cristicism? Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969, especially pp. 67-68). The New Testament period is one of development and diversity in the understanding and formulation of the Christian message, and no "disembodied exegesis" can adequately serve the purpose of theology. 4. Las tl y, the New Testament does not invite us to choose a preferential "canon within the canon," at !east not in an exclusive sense. This issue is more delicate, for even those who would vigorously repudiate the expression "canon within the canon" do in fact exercise preferences in respect to the diversity in the New Testament. This is the case, for example, in preferring a Matthean or a Pauline attitude towat¡rl the Law, a Pastorals or a Corinthian church structure, a Johannine or a Markan eschatology. The Catholic Church never professes to regard sorne New Testament books as "more canonical," in the sense of more normative, than others; but it has in fact in its history, guided by the Spirit, been inlluenced in structure and theology more by sorne books that by others, for example by Matthew, Acts, the later (or Deutero-) Pauline Epistles more than by the earlier Paul. Th us, even though choice cannat be avoided, the¡ challenge of the canon to the church is that the latter be open to the diversity, conscious of its own historical evolution, and always ready to confront the totality of the scriptural witness when making theological or disciplinary decisions in any existential situation. (On the theological problem of the canon, see R. E. Brown, Jerome Biblical Commentary, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1968, vol. II, pp. 531-534.) These four "theses" about the role of the New Testament in theological rellection are admittedly very generic-space dictates that-but they are also somewhat paradoxical. At the root of the paradox lies the mystery of revelation. Without the countereffects of the others, any one of these principles is capable of distorting our theological rellection, and therefore


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ail four must be kept in mind. Their applicability to any aspect of New Testament ecclesiology, such as the one proposed for our consideration in this volume, will¡ become readily apparent when we move on to discuss detailed issues. THE CHURCH OF GOD WHICH IS AT CORINTH

The pages that foilow have a modest purpose, merely to discuss sorne examples of shared responsibility in the local church in the New Testament and then to probe sorne New Testament principles that offer a theological basis for sharing. This cannot be a systematic theoretical exposition of the subject, for the New Testament itself does not deal with the question in this fashion. In fact, ¡ in questions of church order-structure, office, function-the New Testament is singularly lacking in adequate evidence, especiaily for. the earliest period, as the perennial debate between Catholic and Protestant theologians bears witness. Perhaps the primitive church was so busy growing that it did not pause to reflect in writing on the stages of its growth. But where evidence is lacking in a question of enduring importance, there the danger of the argument from silence is strongest, and in theology that argument has been used nowhere so frequently as in New Testament ecclesiology. That there are differences in church order within the New Testament needs no demonstration. The relatively highly structured churches of the Pastorals, with their bishops and/or presbyters, deacons and orders of widows are often contrasted with the churches of the major Pauline Epistles with their "charismatic" functions apparently shared in varions ways by ail members of the community. Again, there is a sharp difference, as we shail see further below, between the almost exclusive concentration on the local community as the body of Christ in 1 Corinthmns and the application of the image to the unity of the universal church in Ephesians. Since it deals at length with problems of the Christian community as a community, 1 Corinthians is a fitting source of Pauline teaching about the local church. Indeed it has long been the object of somewhat fanciful reminiscence about the pristine and idyllic "church of the Spirit" as contrasted with the hierarchicaily organized church of "early Catholicism."


SCRIPTURE

Paul addresses the Corinthians as "the church of God which is at Corinth," using the word ekklÍsia with the same ambiguity our word "church" has. In fact, the New Testament does not distinguish verbally between the church as local and the church as universal. But the problems at Corinth are local, howeve1¡ aptly they may serve as paradigms of more universal issues in the church at large, and the context of their solution is an interesting mode! of the interaction between local responsibility and apostolic authority. Rather thau survey the varions issues dealt with in 1 C01inthians, let us consider a single example which is a representative one, not because the solution is utterly clear, but because it is characteristically complex. The passage in question is 1 Cor 5, the directive for the expulsion of the incestuous man. Paul has heard the report that a member of the Corinthian community is living in an incestuous relationship which even pagans would not tolerate. The Apostle is indignant, but the real object of his indignation-and this point is often overlooked-is the complacency of the community which is actually arrogant about its ability to tolerate such an aberration, no doubt as part cf its misguided notion that Christian¡ liberty is absolute li cense: "All things are lawful for me" (1 Cor 6 :12). Paul reacts decisive! y: in defense of the community's own integrity, the incestuous man must be banished from the community so that he may finally be saved as a result of having realized through punishment the gravity of his wrong. It is not the precise nature of this "excommunication" which interests us here, but rather the authority which determines it. The passage is a notoriously difficult one to punctuate since it contains severa! modifying phrases that might be taken with severa! of the actions in the process. Again, it is not vital to our purpose here to argue the case, and we may regard the following rendering as at !east a probable one: "For my part, though I am absent in body, I am present in spirit, and my judgment upon the man who did this thing is already given, as if I were indeed present: you ali being assemblee] in the name of our Lord Jesus, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus over us, this man is to be consigned to Satan for the destruction of the


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body, sa that his spirit may be saved on the Day of the Lord" (1 Cor 5:3-5, New English Bi.ble). The ambiguity of the situation is reftected in the commentaries. The two most recent important ones are completely at odds. H. Conzelmann points out that the action is Paul's alone; the community is the forum in which it is carried out but has no share in the judgment (Dm¡ erste Brie! an die Korinther. Giittingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht 1969, p. 117). C. K. Barrett, on the other hand, emphasizes that Paul does not simply impose his will as an apostle on the local church of Corinth but rather urges them, strongly to be sure, to make a solemn judgment of their own and thus assume the responsibility for the expulsion of the notorious sinner (A Comrnentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians. New York: Harper and Row, 1968, pp. 124-125). I thi,nk the evidence-the text and the context-inclines toward Barret's position, though we may .Prefer ta nuance it differently. In the text, Paul's emphasis on the solemnity of the proceeding, on the fact that the power and authority of ¡christ resides in the assembled community and on his own spiritual presence in the assembly strongly suggests that the decisive act is not his own judgment but that of the community. In the context especially of the discussion about the apostle's relationship to the community (ch. 4), the imposition of Paul's will on the Corinthians would be incongruous. If he sounds auto cratic here, and often elsewhere in this epistle, it may be Paul's own strong personality that we have to deal with, not a kind of absolute apostolic authority. In fact, what this passage illustrates best of ali is precisely the practice of shared responsibility which rests on the interaction between Paul and the Corinthians, between apostolic authority and local communitarian decision-making. Such an interaction is a key, it seems to me, to the whole Pauline correspondence with the Corinthians, though we cannat demonstrate here its consistency. As for the structure within the Corinthian community which might implement juridical matters such as this one, we must simply bow before the Jack of information. Very probably the community was not completely unstructured: such allusions as 1 Cor 16:15-16 and the list of "offices" in 12 :28 imply a structure of sorne ki nd, though


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it seems to me misleading to suppose, as Allo did, that the instructions about the banishment of the incestuous man were intended only for the community's leaders (E.-B. Allo, Première Épître aux Corinthiens, Paris: Gabalda, 1934, p. 122). The epistle is not addressed to any group of leaders but to the church at Corinth as a whole, and in this passage as in others where the point is unmistakably clear, the whole community participates in the responsibility. THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW

The closest New Testament parallel to the situation in 1 Cor 5 is found in the well-known "church order" passage in Mt 18, which also serves to illustrate the existence of shared responsibility in the local .church. The relevant section is a Matthean composite of verses which (except v. 15) have no parallel in the other Synoptics: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say tO you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Mt 18:15-18, RSV). The procedure for dealing with offenses within the community (vv. 15-17) is generally regarded as a church regulation elaborated in the Jewish-Christian community of Matthew from a saying of Jesus which has its parallel in Lk 17:3. A procedure similar in many respects was followed in the Qummn community (see JQS v, 25-vi, 1; CD ix, 24). The disciplinary action taken by the community ("the church," ekklësia) amounts to an expulsion that is similar in principle to the action urged by Paul in 1 Cor 5. In Mt 18 it is also significant that such action is a community decision; no mention is made of any church officiais in whom such power might reside. The responsibility is therefore one shared in the -;local community, but in the context of Matthew's Gospel it ''~~.'depends on an interaction between the hierarchical leadership


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of the universal church and the local community itself. This conclusion rests on a chain of inferences which we shall sketch very su'mmarily. First, Matthew appends to the disciplinary regulation another saying of Jesus which asserts th at the community's . power to make disciplinary judgments is related to God's own authority. One should compare the Pauline reference to "the power of our Lord Jesus" in the Corinthian assembly. It is sometimes alleged that Mt 18 :18 does not in fact confer the power of binding and loosing on the ekklÍsia but on the disciples alone, to whom the discourse in Mt 18 is addressed (see v. 1). Schnackenburg, for example, argues vigorously that because v. 18 is a distinct saying, separate in the preMatthean tradition, it must be taken as addressed to the disciples only and not linked with v. 17 (The Church in the New Testament. New York: Herder and Herder, 1965, pp. 74-75). But this seems to me to neglect the redactional activity of the Evangelist who, by inserting the saying at this point in his composite discourse, clearly links it to the action of the community in passing judgment on the recalcitrant member. Of course, the whole discourse is addressed to "the disciples"; the same is true of ali the major Matthean discourses except the teaching in parables. But just as the contents of. the Sermon on the Mount are clearly not intended for the leaders ¡of the church only, so the contents of Mt 18 are not restricted in this fashion. Moreover, it is apparent from the injunction in Mt 28:19 to "make disciples of" ali nations that Matthew does not understand "the disciples" as limited to the Twelve, especially in the discourse sections of the Gospel. On the other hand, the Gospel of Matthew clearly highlights the role of Peter and consistently provides solid arguments for the Petrine primacy. And the passage with which Mt 18 is often-and rightly-linked is that in which the power of binding and loosing is promised (in the singular) to Peter as leader and spokesman for the disciples, on the occasion of his confession of supernatural faith in Jesus (Mt. 19 :19). It is legitimate to conclude that Matthew uses the key saying about binding and loosing in both these contexts precisely to emphasize the interaction between hierarchical and communitarian¡ authority in the church. (We need not attempt here

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to settle the question of whether the original setting of the logion was a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus which Matthew has transposed into a public !ife incident; see R. E. Brown, New Testament Essays. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1965, p. 212.) lt would be a gross oversimplification to conclude that the Matthean and the Pauline ecclesiologies are identical, bnt I believe that both have an awareness of the concept of shared responsibility in the church. THE THEOLOGICAL BASIS

What we have attempted to do so far is to establish, by way of a single example in each case, that shared responsibility existed in the Pauline and Matthean communities of the New Testament. It remains to suggest a theological basis for this concept of authority and responsibility, and for that purpose we shall return to Pauline theology. Again we must forego any attempt to provide a complete theological exposition in favor of evoking merely a few aspects of Pauline ecclesiology which are relevant. First, according to Paul, the principal theological justification for shared responsibility in the Christian community is the common possession of the Spirit. This is an area in which the usage of the Pastoral Epistles differs sharply from the earlier and certainly genuine Pauline letters. (For the substance of this paragraph see especially KĂźng, The Church, pp. 179-191.) In the former the gift of the Spirit, the charism is "institutionalized"; it is conferred on the minister by the laying on of hands, and no other sharing in the charismatic functioning of the Spirit is mentioned in the Pastorals (2 Tim 1 :14 and Tit 3:5 refer to the indwelling of the Spirit). Timo~ thy is reminded "to rekindle the gift (chat~sma) of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control" (2 Tim 1 :6 :7). But in 1 Corinthians it is repeatedly stated that each member of the church has his own charism (e.g. 7 :7) and that the purpose of ali the manifestations of the Spirit is unified: it is the service of the community. "Now there are varieties of gifts ( charismata) but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the


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same Cod who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (12 :4-7). It is the common possession of the gifts of the Spirit fm· a comrnon pu·rpose which grounds our principle of shared responsibility in the church. Even in analyzing Paul's discussion of the charisms in 1 Cor 12 we are accustomed to distinguishing between official functions in the church, for example apostles, teachers, administrators, and occasional charisms such as miracle-working, healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues. One of the most striking things about the text, however, is that Paul does not make this distinction. AlthoÙgh the first list, 12 :8-10, may be sa id to conta in only the extraordinal-y charisms, the second, 12 :28-31, clearly ranks both kinds without .differentiation. This means that Paul places his theological emphasis on the common sharing of the Spirit as the unifying bond that justifies communal participation in the responsibility of the Christian community, not only on the part of the officially designated leaders such as Paul himself as an apostle, but also on the part of ali members in whom the Spirit acts. The second theological basis for shared responsibility in Pauline ecclesiology is closely related to the unity of the Spirit's action and is first elaborated f01·mally in the same context in 1 Corinthia.ns. This is the genial and highly original Pauline doctrine of the body of Christ (see for example Küng, The Church, pp. 203-260). If we look aga in first at the full y developed concept of the church as the body in later Paulinism we may see more sharply the impact of the earlier formulations. In Colossians and Ephesians the image of the body is applied to the universal church whose vital unity is stressed in the attempt to define the relationship between the heavenly Christ and the collective body on earth via the image of the head. Here the doctrine of the body has taken on cosmic proportions, just as the Christology of these epistles has its cosmic dimensions, reflected best in the hymn of Col 1 :15-20. Cod has put ali things under Christ's feet "and has made him the head over ali things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills ali in ali" (Eph 1 :22-23). The unity of the whole church is major concern of Ephesian.•

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( e.g. 4 :3-6) and it is understandable that the body idea should have been universalized for the purpose into the magnificent image which has inspired the modern doctrine of the church as the "mystical" body. But aga in in 1 Corinthians, which is the earliest Pauline use of the body idea, the picture is rather different and somewhat more relevant to our central theme. There the theme of the body seems to underlie man'y of Paul's major concerns such as the evil of fornication (6 :12-20), the danger of idolatry in the question of idol meats ,(10 :14-22), the profanation of the Eucharist by factionalism (11 :27-32). In ali these cases the relationshi p of members of the community to each other and to Christ in the body Pl'Ovides a theological argument against varions abuses. But it is in the context of the gifts of the Spirit that Paul attempts to elaborate the notion more systematically (12 :12-27; see also Rorn 12 :4-8). "For just as the body is one and has many members, and ali the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we \vere ali baptizeil into one body -Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--arid ali were made to drink of one Spirit" (12 :12-13). Paul then takes up a wellknown rhetorical image, that of the "body politic," and elaborates it to show the necessity of inner hm路mony in the body 12 :14-26) and concludes with the startlingly direct statement: "Now you路 are the body of Christ and individually members of it" (12:27). Let us note four particular assertions, among others, contained in this development of the body idea. First, the body image asserts the unity of Christians who by one baptism in which the same Spil'it is given are joined together. It is easy to see how essentially the same unity that in 1 Corinthians !s predicated of the local community can in Ephesians be uscd to grou nd the unity of the universal church. But in the context of 1 Cm路 12 the unity also implies a unity of pm路pose amid diverse functions within the body, a purpose of service. to the community as a whole in which each member shares in his own way. Secondly, Paul's use of the classic metaphor explicitly asserts the interdependence of ali the members: "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you ... .' " Thirdly and correlatively, the doctrine of the body asserts


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the dignity of ali the members which is rooted precisely in their sharing in the Spirit, their identity as members of the body of Christ, their interdependent functions: "The parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable.... " Fourthly, the doctrine of the body asserts that the authority by which the body functions is that of Christ himself, for here Paul is at his boldest in transforming the traditional metaphor into a statement of· identity with Christ himself: "So it is with Christ.... " (On the "realism" of this identification with Christ see J. A. T. Robinson, The Body. London: SCM, 1952, pp. 49-55; L. Cerfaux, The Chu1·ch in the Theology of St. Paul. New York: Herder and Herder, 1959, pp. 262-281.) The implication of these four assertions for establishing a theological basis of shared responsibility are obvions and need not be spelled out further here. What is perhaps most significant of ali about the doctrine of the church as the body of Christ is that it was first elaborated by Paul in the context of the local church. It is the local community that is the body of Christ just as the universal church is, for the extension of the body image does not nullify Paul's original insighL In consequence, the importance of Christ's presence and action in the exercise of local church responsibility must not be sacrificed to a total concern for central authority in the universai church. The bond that links local churches together is not merely an organizational structure: in fact, in the New Testament there is very little evidence of any such structure. Rather, the bond is the oneness of Christ, the common sharing in the Spirit, the profession of one Lord, one faith, one baptism. It is a corollary of this principle that the one Lord and one Spirit are fully present and active in the local church a~. in different ways, in the universal church. It is in this sense that ·Paul is careful in the addresses of his letters to the Corinthians to specify "the church of God which is at Corinth" (see Küng, The Church, p. 86). It has been the intention of this essay on New Testament perspectives to be suggestive rather than conclusive. Obviously, a theology of shared responsibility in the local church must be built on the many factors which enter into theological discussion and will be considered in the various chapters

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that follow. In the light of the principles of New Testament interpretation outlined at the beginning of the present essay, however, it is to Pauline ecclesiology that we can first look for a formulation on which to build, appropriating the Pauline metaphor of "building up the body of Christ."


Robert B. Eno, S.S.

Shared RespQnsibility •

ln

The Early Church

"Fro·rn the beginning of my emscopate l decùled to do nothing ... without your advice and the consent of the people." Cyprian to h"is clergy.

On September 26, 426, an elderly Bishop Augustine enterecl the Basilica Pacis in Hippo Regius to tell his flock that he wished ·to appoint his successor and, following time-honored Christian tradition, to ask for their approval of his decision. In so doing, he was being faithful to the practice that the whole people of God should have a share in choosing their leaders. By 129


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Augustine's time, the basic structuring of the local church had been settled but the principle of popular participation had not yet been totally stifled. Most of the structures of the Church which later came to be accepted as fundamental were already to be found in embryonic form in the New Testament period. With surprising swiftness, many of these structures were endowed with the mantle of divine or at !east apostolic origin as the minds of men bestowed antiquity on those institutions whose beginnings they could not recall. The reality, of course, was not so simple. At first, forms of church government and ministry had developed and changed to meet developing and changing circumstances. The first Christians of Macedonia, sem¡ching the skies for the early return of the Lord, did not view with alarm the Jack of an organizational chart in the knapsack of the itinerant evangelist. A fundamental change came when the early Christians realized that the Lord might not be returning in triumph quite so soon as they had expected. One by one the Twelve and the early disciples fel! asleep in the Lord. Yet the word continued to spread powerfully and new peoples from ever more distant cities became followers of the way. New threats arose; new teachings challenged the ideas of the past. In short, a new situation demanded new answers. COLLEGIAL RULE

The process of growth reflected in the Scriptures did not stop when the New Testament writings were completed. The early patristic documents recorded the culmination of the initial stages of development. Inevitably there was a certain hardening that set in after the more fluid situation of the New Testament. The late canonical books such as the Pastoral epistles show the beginnings of the process while the earliest noncanonical pieces mark the end of the transition. In the Didache, for example, the charismatic, itinerant ministry of the prophets and teachers was giving way to the stable, local institutional ministry of bishops and deacons. This development did not take place at exactly the same rate in every part of the Church; nor were the structures quite the same in each city. This im-


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portant fact must be constantly kept in mind since we tend to assume that once a certain structure has appeared in one area, it must exist uniformly in other parts of the Church as weil. this early period, this cannot be assumed so easily.

In

Like the Pastorals, the early literature was increasingly concerned with structure and aulhurity. Cl<iment of Rome (c. 96) rebuked the Corinthians for turning out sorne presbyte1-s. Ignatius of Antioch (tc. 107) stressed the importance of submission to the leader of the Christian community. The tluid situation of earlier decades was beginning to jell, to take shape, to grow Jess flexible with each generation. Whether it be called the Church's "reconciliation with time" (Charles Williams) or the process of "the routinization of charisms" (Max Weber), the result was inevitable. It was not only necessary but beneficiai. lt should not be viewed as one more step in tlle Church's fall from grace nor as the transformation of the Church from a perfect democracy to an episcopal dictatorship. As we must abstain from romanticism in historical judgments, so should we avoid anachronisms. ¡ Centralization is a fact prominent in the history of the development of the Church's structures. The earliest non-canonical writings show that the governing of the local church was still basically a canonical affair. The thrust, however, was toward the monarchical episcopate, a tendency already manifest in the Pastorals. Strong evidence for the monarchical episcopate is fol)nd in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch. For him, the bishop was the dynamic center and preserver of the church's unity. Ali the church's activities stemmed from and revolved around him; without him, they were illegitimate. Once more we must stress the Jack of uniformity in this development. Many communities were still governed by a conncil of presbyters or presbyter-bishops. (The terms vary from one city to another.) The presbyter-bishop relationship was vague, as in the letter of Clement of Rome. Ignatius, in writing to varions churches, normally addressed himself to the bishop. The only exception to this was his letter to the Romans. This noteworthy omission has led to the hypothesis that Rome was one of the churches which held on longer to collegial rule than others. Support is given to this conjecture by the Shepherd of


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Hermas, a document of Roman origin, in which it is staterl that Hetmas is to "read (his revelation) to the presbyters who are in charge of the church." (Vis. 2.4) THE STRONG BISHOPS

The futu1·e, howeve'r, lay with a strong episcopate. The ascendancy of this office reached its culmination in Cyprian of Carthage (t258), the theologian of episcopacy pa1· excellence among the Fathers. For him, the bishop was responsible to God alone. (See his opening remarks to the council of Carthage, 257.) Similar and even more extreme statements are found in the contemporary Syriac Dirlascalia Apostolonnn. "Love the bishop as a father, fear him as a king, honor him as God." (ii.34) "Thou shalt require no account of the bishop, no•· observe him, how he dispenses and discharges his stewardship, or where he gives, or to whom, or when, or whether weJl or ill, or whether he gives fairly; for he has one who will l'P.qui re (an accounting), the Lord God .... " (ii.35) "This is your chief and your leader. He is your mighty king. He rules in·the place of the Almighty. Let him be honored by you as God." ( ii.26) These statements retlect a tendency toward an ever more powerful episcopate with correspondingly Jess and Jess sharing of responsibility as a consequence. To explain this clevelopment, various theories have been proposecl, but the one commonly accepted today sees the bishop emerging from within the college of presbyters. ·One man. in this group exerted leadership, first perhaps as the chairman of a committee, then finally subordinating the others completely to his office. The reasons for such a development are numerous, e.g. the need for stronger leadership in repelling heresy and division which could not be supplied by a communal arrangement. Whatever the reasons, the development of a strong episcopate contrasts with the previous situation of collegial rule. The first exercise of episkopé in the Christian Church was a collegial one, with the board of presbyters representing the people. The most obvious precedent for this arrangement was to be found in Judaism where each synagogue was governed by a board of eiders. But once the bishop arouse from this group, 1

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he stood out not only as the leader of an administration but even more clearly as the leader of worship and the preacher of the community. Here it is weil to recall that in speaking of the local church we refer to an institution that, in this early period, is more like our city parish than a modern diocese. ln this rather small community, it was the bishop who baptized, presicled over the Eucharist, dismissecl sin ners from the congregation and received them back as penitents. lt was the bishop who instructed the flock through his preaching. In these activities, he was assisted principally, not by the presbyters, but by the cleacon. Herein lies the problem. Previously, the presbyters had _a collegial 1·ole in the administration and leadership of the community. As they were le ft behind by the ad vance of the bishop, what new role did they assume? The earl y evidence shows that the presbyters had no Jiturgical role to play other than being seated around the bishop at the Eucharist or, perhaps, substituting for him on occasion. (See Tertullian, De BaptiBmo 17, where the presbyter is allowecl to baptize in the absence of the bishop.) This the01·y is strengthenecl by the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome (c. 215) in which the ordination praycrs for bishops are fillerl with sacerdotal references from the Old Testament. The bishop is the high priest of the community. The praycrs for the ordination of a presbyter, on the other hand, ask simply that the spirit of counsel be given him. He is exhorted to goven1 with a pure heart. His membership in a college is emphasized by the fact that his fellow presbyters impose hands on him 8.1-2), a ceremony not fou nd in the ordination of deacons, si nee the deacon is ordained for the bishop. (9.2) The presbyte1-s, then, if no longer rulei"S in the full sense, are the "counselors and assessors" of the bishop, the "moderators and counsellors of the church." (Didascatia ii.34,28) They are to be present in ali the judgments of the bishop. (ii.47) The typology of Ignatius in which the presbyters were compared to the twelve Apostles is still maintained in the Didascalia. ( ii.26) TRANSFORMATION OF THE PRESBYTERATE

With the continued g1·owth of the Church, there came the


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next significant development. It became increasingly difficult for the bishop tO remain the sole liturgist of the expanding Christian community. The presbyters were ca!led upon to baptize, to preside at the Eucharist, to preach in places far from the mother community. By the mid-third century, the presbyters had become the ordinary minister of most of the liturgical functions save for ordinations and, in the West, confirmation. The devolving process had gone even fmiher with the institution of minor orders to fulfill varions functions in the church. Pope Cornelius (251) reported the presence of 46 presbyters, 7 deacons, 7 subdeacons and 94 ·in mi nor orders in his church. (Eus. H. E. vi.43.11). The general process of development can be roughly described as an exchange. As the presbyters became the priests of local communities, they took on almost ail of the liturgical and teaching activities of the bishop. At the same time, they lost even those advisory capacities they had held since the emergence of the bishopc The last vestiges of collegial government of the local church by the presbyters slowly slipped into canonical oblivion. The original function of the college of presbyters was the most significant form of shared responsibility in the local church. As the presbyterate transformed itself through time and necessity into something rather different, there stiJl remained other f01·ms of shared responsibility in the local church. One of the most notewolihy of these was the institution found in the Nolih African church known as the Seniores laici or lay eiders. LAY SENATORS AND TEACHERS

This structure seems to have been peculiar to Nolih Africa but must have been of sorne antiquity si nee it was fou nd in both Catholic and Donatist churches. It was a lay group and seems to have been quite similar to what the college of presbyters itself had once been in the Church as a whole. The existence of the lay eiders gives evidence of continued lay responsibility for the functioning of the church. They are referred to by Optatus of Milevis (4th cent.) in his treatise on the Donatist schism (1.17) as "fideles seniores" as weil as in two of the documents collected by Optatus fot· his anti-Donatist dossier, the Gesta


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apud Zenophilum ("seniores plebis") and the Acta Purgationis Felicis ("seniores christiani populi"). In writing to his community in Hippo Regius, Augustine addressed the eiders after the clergy but before the people. (Ep. 78) lt is an inscription from the same city which leads scholars to the conclusion that these eiders were eiected by the people. They seem to have formed a lay senate in each church, taking part in the administration of church property and perhaps even wielding authority of a judiciai and disciplinary nature, acting as a check on the authority of the bishop. In 392, there began the Maximianist schism within Donatism when, at the insistence of the eiders, the bishops convened a cou neil to investigate charges against Primian, the Donatist primate. In a Catholic community, Nova Germania, the eiders filed a complaint against their bishop which a council presided over by the bishop of Carthage considered. (Can. 100 Codex canonum eccl. Aj1路ic.) In addition to the eiders there were also the dejens01路es ecclesiae, lawyers appointed to work with the bishops to prevent the oppression of the poor and to 路act as the church's advocate in lawsuits. Finally, laymen were often treasurers of local churches. Perhaps because of abuses, the council of Chalcedon (451) ru led that the treasurer should be a priest. ( Can. 26) Another important aspect of the !ife of the local church in which responsibility was shared was the area of teaching and doctrine. According to Oiigen, in the beginning, each Christian went about spreading the good news. (Contra Celsnm 3.9) There were also itinerant charismatic teachers such as the prophets found in the Didache. Laymen like Justin in Rome and Clement in Alexanclria openecl their own schools of Christian doctrine to instruct those who came to them. But it is not un til Ciement's pupil, Origen ( 185-253), that we fincl a iayman given official sanction as a teacher in the local church of Alexandria by bishop Demetrius. Ot路igen, the ieading theologian of the day, was not ordained a presbyter until he was 45 years old. Long before that, however, he had become the theological oracle of the Greek Christian world, being invited, while still a layman, to investigate the orthodoxy of various figures including bishops, and to preach in


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the church of Palestine. (Eus. H. E. vi.19.16-18). One can gather from his writings the importance that he attached to the office of teacher in the Church. lt would not be going too far to say that for Origen it is the teachers rather than the bishops who are, to use the modern term, the magisterium of the Church, the guardians of the faith. He did not have a high opinion of the intellectual acumen or spiritual elevation of the clergy of his day. They might be the administrators of the Church but the teachers were the real leaders. There is no small amount of snobbery in his statement: "If the kings are those who govertl, ali those who govern the churches of Gad deserve to be called kings, but more justly still, those who by their words and writings govern the governors of the Church." (Hom. in Nu'm. 12.2). ¡ As time went on, this prerogative of teaching too was reserved to the bishop or at !east to the clergy. While the Apostolic Constitutions ( Syria, 4th cent.) allow a skilled and reverent man to teach even if he is a layman (8.32), the Statuta Ecclesiae Antiqua (Gaul, 5th cent.) forbid the laity to teach in the presence of priests. (Can. 98). In the matter of councils, there is Jess evidence of shared responsibility. There is no record of laymen voting though they were frequently allowed to be present, as at the council of Elvira in Spain (c. 306). Occasionally priests signed the documents of councils, though usually as representatives of bishops who could not attend. CONSULTING THE COMMUNITY

Despite the Jack of evidence of participation by the lowe1¡ clergy and laity and rlespite the trend to ever greater centralization and concentration of authority in the hands of the bishop, there remained a basic sense of sharing which is summarized in the legal principle: "Quod omnes tangit, ab omnibus tractari et approbari debet." A good example of this principle in action can be fou nd in the recently discovered transcript of a discussion between Origen and Bishop Heraclides. The meeting, which combined the characteristics of an interview, inquisition and mini-council, was attended not only by neighboring bishops but also by the whole congregation of the church. At one point, Origen said to the bishops: "If you are

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in agreement on these points, with the solemn adherence of the faithful, they will henceforth be rules having the force of ·làw .... " If it cannot be said simply that the whole community ·made the laws, it must be admitted that from the patristic point of view something was lacking to the force of the law, if the whole community had not first been informed and consulted. Even so authoritarian a figure as Cyprian could write to his clergy the fa mous lin es: " ... From the beginning of my episcopate, I decided to do nothing of my own opinion privately without your advice and the consent of the people." (Ep. 14.4). ELECTION OF BISHOPS

The most obvious example of this sharing of responsibility on the part of the entire Christian community constituting a local church is to be found in the election of bishops. The earliest non-scriptural documents commanded the Christian people to "elect bishops and deacons of the Lord." (Didache 15). Clement of Rome, it is true, rebuked the Corinthians for ejecting their presbyters. lt should be noted, however, that he did not so much deny their right to depose them as object to their action against innocent and well-deserving ministers. In speaking of the Apostle8' appointment of successors, he added that it was clone "with the approval of the whole Church." ( 44.3). That this practice did not die out as soon as did other structures of shared responsibility can be seen from the evidence of later centuries. The Apostolic Tmdition of Hippolytus spoke of the ordination of bishops who had been "elected by ali the people." (2.1). A few decades later, Cyprian wmte that it is of divine authority "that a bishop be chosen in the presence of the people before the eyes of ali and that he be approved as worthy and fit by public judgment and testimony." (Ep. 67.4). Going beyond this, Cyprian urged the people to repudiate bad bishops. " ... A people who obey the precepts of the Lord and fear God ought to separate themselves from a sinful leader ... especially since they themselves have the power either of electing worthy bishops or of refusing the unworthy." (Ep. 67.3). Nlmost contemporaneously, Origen in Egypt affirmed the same practice. The bishop must be ordained "in the presence of the whole laity in order that ali may know for certain that the man


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elected to the priesthood (episcopate) is of the whole people the most eminent ... and to a void any subsequent change of mind or lingering doubt" (Hom. in Lev. 3). The method of election might differ from one church to another, but the principle of popular consultation remained valid. In sorne places, the people and the local clergy presented a candidate to the bishops of neighboring dioceses; in other places, the provincial bishops presented three candidates to the people. The princip le was recognized by canon law as weil. The bishops at the council of Nicaea (325) in attempting to settle the Melitian schism in Egypt wrote to the Egyptian churches about the possible unification of Catholic and Melitian hierarchies. "When it may happen that any of those holding preferments in the Church die, then let those who have been recently admitted be advanced to the dignity of the deceased, provided that they should appear worthy and that the people should elect them, the bishop of Alexandria also ratifying their choice." (Socrates H. E. 1.9). The Apostolic Constitutions (8.4) further affirm the necessity of popular approval for choosing bishops. In this matter too we must be wary of anachronism. lt would be misleading to think of the election of bishops in this era in terms of voting booths and counting ballots. The assent of the people was usually given by shouting their approval, or, to use the technical term, by acclamation. These shouts were common at public gatherings and a good illustration can be found in Augustine's letters. On September 26, 426, in the incident mentioned at the beginning of this article, he announced to his flock that, before he died, he wished to nominate a successor. He told them of what had happened at Milevis. The bishop there had named a successor but because he had informed only the clergy and neglected to tell the people, there had been trouble. In order to avoid such difficulties, Augustine now named the priest Eraclius as his successor. "'Therefore that no one may complain of me, I make known to ali of you my choice' .... The people raised a shout : 'Thanks be to God! Praise to Christ! ... It is right and just!'" A little later, he asked again: " 'I need your assent to this; show me sorne agreement by your acclaim.' A shout was raised by the people: 'So be it."' (Ep. 213).


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Though it is true that this form of popular consent by acclamation later degenerated into a pure formality before disappearing altogether, it was not yet so. This can be shawn by the cases of popular rejection of bishops. The 18th canons of bath the councils of Ancyra (314) and Antioch (341) deal with the problem of what to do with ordained bishops whom the people have refused to accept. Even as late as the middle of the 5th century, when the saintly bishop of Narbonne, Rusticus, ordained his archdeacon, Hermes, and sent him to be bishop of BĂŠziers without consulting the people of that town, they sent him right back. Similarly, in the East, though somewhat earlier, when the Christians of Cyzicus were no longer able to stand the pedantic as weil as heretical sermons of their bishop, Eunomius, they drove him out. (Socrates H. E. 4.7). This prerogative of the people was later neatly summarized in the West by Pope Celestine I ( 422-432) in writing to the bishops of the province of Vienne in Gaul: "Let no bishop be imposed on people against their will." (Ep. 4.5). The warning was to be repeated a few years later by Leo the Great (440-461). "No one, of course, is to be consecrated against the wishes of the people and without their requesting it. Otherwise the citizens will des pise and ha te the bishop they do not want and thus become Jess religious than they should on the grounds that they were not permitted to have the man of their choice." (Ep. 14). With the Latin genius for succinctness, Leo put the principle very simply: "He who is to be in charge of ali, should be chosen by aiL" (Ep. 10). CENTRALIZATION OF POWER

The electorate was described as the "clerus et plebs." Unfortunately abuses crept into the election process. As early as the third century, Origen had complained about bishops who tried to appoint their relatives to succeed them and sought to influence the people by money or by violence. (Hom. in Num. 22). The danger of factionalism grew. ln late 366, serious rioting in Rome accompanied the election of Damasus as Pope. In one incident, 137 people were killed in an assault upon St. Mary Major where the followers of Ursinus, the unsuccessful candidate, had barricaded themselves. Perhaps, it was with this


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type of disturbance in mind that the 13th canon of the so-called council of Laodicea (4th cent.) commanded that "the election of th ose who are to be appointed to the priesthood ( episcopate) is not to be committed to the multitude." These riotons proceedings fortunately remained somewhat exceptional and the traditional common responsibility remained in force a while longer in the West. The Statuta Ecclesiae Antiqua stated: " ... A bishop must not ordain anyone without the advice of the clergy and must seek the acquiescence and testimony of the citizens." (Can. 22). It would not be much longer before this ideal, already weakened by factionalism, would die out, leaving only the formalized shell of its former self, the stylized acclamation by the people of a candidate already selected by the powers of the day, the high ecclesiastical authorities, and increasingly, the civil rulers. Distorted as it was, this participation of kings and princes in the selection process was the last vestige of participation, one that was a caricature of the original. Faced with this growing abuse in which the Ch urch became one more pawn on the chessboard of the rich and powerful, it is understandable that the hierarchy would struggle that the Church might regain something of its independence. In the process, however, over the long centuries, shared ecclesial responsibility became one of the victims. The structures of the Church became more and more the monopoly of the clergy, above ali of the higher clergy, first the bishops, then the Pope and Curia, so much so that the word Church became synonymous with hierarchy. The process is an understandable, if not always a happy one. The question today is: To what extent can the trend be slowed and then reversed? THE FUTURE

To what extent cau "the old tradition wherein the Church spontaneously regnlated her !ife in such a way as actively to involve the whole community, each according to his condition" ( Congar, Lay People in the Church p. 233) be resto red? Can we regain an atmosphere in which the notion of general consultation is as pervasive as it was when Benedict made iCpart of his Rule that the Abbot should consult ali the monks. on matters of importance? (Cha p. 3). Can we recreate that milieu of


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spcntaneity which saw the Christian people draft men like Ambrose and Augustine for the episcopate and force the bishops to ordain Martin of Tours even though they were unwilling to do so because they thought him "a despicable individual and qui te un fit to be a bishop, with his insignificant appearance, his sordid garments and his disgraceful hair." (Sulpicius Severus Life of St. Martin, 9). Can the leaders of the Church once more have that openness which brought priests and laity into c0uncils and that trust which Augustine showed as he calmly reported to his congregation the full facts of financial or sexual scandais arising in his clergy? (Sermon 356; Lette1¡ 78). Can we sho"¡ once again that freedom and indifference to honors and power which John Chrysostom showed when he said: "We are appointed for the teaching of the ward, not for power nor for absolute authority .... If you have suspicions concerning me, 1 am ready to retire from office and resign it to whomsoever you may choose. Only let the Church be one." (Hom. in Eph. 11.5-6). The past is gone. It can never be regained or repeated exactly, even if such a thing were desirable. But when we speak of shared responsibility, it is weil to pause and note that the structures of the Church were not al ways what they are today. If the spirit is not bound by the chains of historical and sociological inevitability, then perhaps what was once can flourish again in the last years of the twentieth century.


Robe1路t F. Trisco

An American Anomaly: Bishops without Canons

Many American bishops of the nineteenth centw路y we1路e reluctant to share responsibility with their priests. The reasons are instnwtive for the p1路esent situation.

Almost from the beginning of the hierarchical organization of the Catholic Church in the United States it was evident that the responsibilities of a bishop were too vast to be borne by one man alone in each diocese. In the early decades, therefore, certain episcopal duties were regularly discharged by one or more vicars-general and sometimes also by a coadjutor, but authority was not given to the priests to be exercised in their own name. Until the latter part of the nineteenth century, 143


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while the geographical extent of the dioceses was large, the size of the clergy was small, and even more limited was the number of reliable and trustworthy priests. Most of these "missionaries" came from Europe, and many, especially among the Irish, showed themselves to be so insubordinate or intemperate that the bishops did not dare to entrust them with more authority than was required for the pastoral care of souls within a circumscribed area. There were no pastors of parishes properly so called, but only rectors of missions who were mere delegates of the bishop. Not being consulted on questions of broader import but being affected by the decisions, the priests soon began to suspect and to accuse the bishops of despotism. The priests' desire for a share in the government of the diocese was only one of four demands that were voiced ever more insistently as the nineteenth century progressed; the other three were participation in the choice of candidates for the episcopacy, fixity of tenure or irremovability of pastors, and canonical procedure in the trials of clerics. Since both bishops and priests thought in tenns of recognized ecclesiastical institutions they did not conceive of other ways to share in the administration of the diocese than the creation of episcopal councils (or boards of consultors) on the à ne ha nd and cathedral chapters of canons on the other. The pm¡pose of this article is to study the attempts of the Roly See and of the American bishops ( collectively and individually) to allow the diocesan priests, and the efforts of the latter to obtain, a legally constituted share in the bishop's responsibility and authority for the government of the diocese. The first American prelate who attempted to erect a chapter of canons was the third Archbishop of Baltimore (the only metropolitan in the United States at that time), Ambrose MarÊchal. He envisioned this body of priests as having ali the rights and privileges of cathedral canons but as not being obliged to recite the divine office in choir. It was his intention that they should guide him in the administration of the archdiocese and after his death should elect a vicar-capitular who could govern during the vacancy. When he requested authorization to execute his plan, the Sacred Congregation de Propaganda Fide replied in May, 1821, that the kind of chapter

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he had proposed was unknown to canon law and could not be established without special permission of the Holy See. The cardinals of the Congregation failed to see the need for such a body anyway and reminded Maréchal that he was free to appoint consultors. The archbishop does not seem to have sought the support of his suffragans for this petition, perhaps because he did not rega1·d canons ·as necessary in the other dioceses. His friend and confidant in England, however, Bishop William Poynter, Vicar Apostolic of the London District, interceded with the Propaganda on his behalf and, having achieved nothing, remarked in a letter to Maréchal: " ... th ose Roman Canonists are too much attached to certain accidental formalities, to know how to make allowances for Countries where the Catholic Religion is not publicly adopted in ali its external fm·ms." In the English prelate's opinion, a chapter would have added dignity to the clergy and supported the archbishop's authority. As it turned out, before any further attempts were made in the United States, cathedral chapters were erected in England along the ]ines sketched by Maréchal; they were included in the restoration of the hierarchy in that country in the middle of the century. Meanwhile the first episcopal council in the United States had been created in the Diocese of Mobile. At Bishop Michael Portier's first synod, celebrated at Spring Hill, Alabama, in 1835, it was decreed that two priests, appointed by the bishop, together with the vical-general, should constitute the episcopal council, should meet on the second Thursday of every month, whether the bishop was present or not, to discuss affairs pertaining to the welfare of the diocese, and should be invested with the faculties granted by law "in pari casn" (which probably meant that they should have sorne of the rights and duties possessed by cathedral chapters). Episcopal councils, nevertheless, did not become common, even in the large dioceses, until after the First Plenary Council of Baltimore. This council, which was held in 1852 under the presidency of the Archbishop of Baltimore, Francis Patrick Kenrick, decreed (No. VI) that bishops should be exhorted to choose priests, suitable by reasons of their age, knowledge, blameless life, and administrative ability, and to appoint them consultors and then to request their opinion, when there was need of it, in


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the administration of the diocese. The council also praised t)le custom, which existed in sorne places, of holding a meeting of the consultors at !east once a month on a fixed day to discuss the affairs of the diocese. Afterwards one of the conciliar fathers, James Oliver Van de Velde, Bishop of Chicago, was commissioned to take the decrees to Rome and to have them approved by the Propaganda. He told the consultor appointed by the Congregation to evaluate and criticize the decrees, the distinguished J esuit theologian, Giovanni Perrone, that the decree exhorting bishops to name diocesan consultors was designed to keep bishops informed of diocesan affairs as weil as to guard against episcopal arbitrariness. In his report Perrone suggested that the words "where it is possible" be inserted into the paragraph, because he doubted that properly qualified priests could be found in ali cases. His advice was heeded when the decrees were confirmed by the Roly See. That modification, added to the hortatory nature of the decree, left bishops free to govern their dioceses without the assistance of consultors if they wished. Archbishop Kenrick, however, who had promoted the decree, wrote to his brother, Peter Richard, Arch bishop of St. Louis, that although a cathedral chapter could not be established for the present, "a few priests, rectors of churches, or others holding office in the diocese could be asscciated with the bishop "as a counseling board according to the Law" (apparently the civil law) "or in sorne other way constituted by a charter." Francis Patrick was concerned about securing the temporal goods of the Church and advised his brother to bring the matter "before a provincial council for full consideration in order to insure the approval of the Roly See.'' Both Kenricks held councils in their respective provinces in 1855. Francis Patrick and his suffragans in the Eighth Provincial Cou neil of Baltimore, without intending to lay down any fixed law, exhorted bishops to increase the number of consultors to ten or twelve and to refer each question that might arise to three or four of them at !east, since the fathers did not consider it necessary to solicit the opinion of each consultor on every matter even if it should be an important one. In case of a vacancy in the see the consultors would also recommend candidates to the bishops of the province. In the First Provincial

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Council of St. Louis, on the other hand, Peter Richard Kenrick and his suffragans assigned a different function to the consultors; according to a new procedure for the trials of priests accused of crimes, two, or if necessary three of the consul tors were to be chosen by the bishop to assist him (or his vicar-general) in judging the defendant. Afterwards the Propaganda modified the decree to ensm¡e that the same consultors would not always be chosen for this pm¡pose. Before these councils took place, the Roly See had commissioned Archbishop Gaetano Bedini, who was on his way to Brazil as apostolic nuncio, to visit the United States. After traveling extensively and speaking with many priests as weil as bishops, he drew up a long report on the condition of the Church in this country in 1854. One of the observations that he submitted to the Cardinal Secretary of State and the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda was the following: "The Jack of Chapters put ali the administration of the Diocese in the hands of the Bishops. Their priests therefore have no knowledge of the progress nor eyen of the resources of. the Diocese. They only know that the Bishop controls what he is doing (if you pardon the terms) and so it causes them to fear his arbitrary power; and in that country more than others, this is the most horrible supposition. To tell the truth, though, there was no reason to think that any Bishop was guilty of this injurious supposition. They are ali loved by their priests.... " Many priests wou Id undoubtedly have agreed with ali but the last two sentences of this paragraph. Over the years Peter Richard Kenrick remained convinced of the need for chapters. When his brother's successor in the metropolitan see of Baltimore, Martin J. Spalding, invited his colleagues to propose topics for discussion in the forthcoming Second Plenary Council, the Archbishop of St. Louis offered severa! suggestions, one of which was that "a bishop ought to have a Chapter of Canons" as bishops in England and Ireland had, and he added this reason: "At present too mu ch power and too much responsibility are placed in the ordinary." The Archbishop of Baltimore also desired the establishment of canonical chapters and thought that Rome would permit it in the form adopted in England. In the final draft of the decrees, therefore, that he prepared with the assistance of canonists and


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theologians in 1866, Spalding included the following proem in the section on cathedral chapters: "Since bishops, especially in these Provinces, are so burdened with work and strained by responsibilities for the administration of their dioceses both in spiritual and in temporal matters, that by themselves they are hardly capable of properly fulfilling the grave duties incumbent on them, it is necessary that they cali to their a id priests conspicuous for the ir pi et y, zeal, prudence, and learning, who may help them by wise advice and willingly take on their own shoulders sorne of the heavy bm¡den and solicitude of the bishops. By acting in this way, the second order of the priesthood will come to the relief of the first order, and by the cornrnon consent and approval of ali, the unity of administration will be strengthened, and everything will be accomplished more agreeably and sm¡ely unto the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls." The authors of this paragraph did not assert that the priests of a diocese possessed any right to share in the responsibility of their bishop but simply that bishops needed the assistance of their priests. The.advantages of the proposed arrangement were also pointed out. The draft went on to say that by the First Plenary Council's hortatory decree regarding episcopal consultors, the way had been paved to set up in the United States "that ancient and praiseworthy system of administration which has already been established alrnost everywhere in the Catholic world, and the chief functions of which are performed by cathedral chapters." The decree of the Council of Trent about chapters of canons was quoted in part, and their ciuties, rights, and privileges were set forth. Although certain obstacles of the full observance of the canon law in this regard were acknowledged, the faculty of establishing chapters in the form permitted in England was to be requested of the Holy See. Once it would be granted, rnetropolitans were to establish chapters as soon as possible, while bishops could defer action for a while. Archbishop Spalding's plans, however, were wrecked in the council. During the deliberations the Archbishop of New York, John McCloskey, and 'the Bishop of Wheeling, Richard V. Vl'helan, advocated omission of the paragraphs concerning cathedral chapters. Thereupon a rnajority of the fathers, agree-


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ing that the time had not yet come to introduce this novelty, voted in favor of deleting that chapter of the draft. After the council Spalding commented to the Propaganda that in spite of this negative decision the metropolitans and bishops could still be permitted to establish chapters little by little; hence, he recommended that the decree be retained but that the words "as soon as it may seem good to them in the Lord" be substituted for "as soon as possible." When the cardinals of the Propaganda, however, met to approve the decrees, they rejected Spalding's request. Consequently, there was no mention of cathedral chapters in the published decrees. The First Plenary Council's decree on consultors, nevertheless, was re-enacted in 1866. A few years later, as tensions mounted between the first and second orders of the priesthood, a campaign for "parochial rights" (meaning the irremovability of rectors or pastors except for a canonical cause established in a formai ecclesiastical trial) was waged in the pages of the New York FTeeman's Journal, which was an independent Catholic weekly of nationwide circulation. The clerical contributor who hid behind the pen name of "Jus" (actually a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland and pastor in Youngstown, Eugene M. O'Callaghan) inveighed against the arbitrariness and callousness shown by bishops in transferring priests and he demanded the full introduction of canon law into the United States. Although he did not specifically insist on the establishment of cathedral chapters, in one of his dozen long letters to the editor he attempted to prove that the bishops were persisting in a system of government which was opposed to reason; he upbraided them for disregarding the advice of their counsellors, saying: "He [the bishop] has, indeed, counsellors in nomine tantum. but if he treat them as the pagans sometimes treated their gods-rebuke them if their decisions differ from his own, and spurn their deliberations to follow his own darling ideas-is it then to be wondered that the counsellors of a Bishop say: 0, these councils are ali a humbug and a farce; we and the Bishop understand each other, the Bishop never thinks of accepting our deliberate advice, hence we never think of deliberating; we are called in sim ply to say-yes, to whatever

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the Bishop proposes, and by doing this we save a double annayance." [August 28, 1869] "Jus" predicted that the result of such government would necessarily be "dissatisfaction, murmuring, confusion, and scandai, if not schism and heresy." His protracted and inflated literai-y endeav01·, however, produced no practical results. The subject of episcopal councillors or consultors was also treated-but in a more dispassionate and judicious mannerby one of the best-known canonists in the United States, Sebastian B. Smith, a priest of the Diocese of Newark, in his Notes on the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore (New York, 1874). Although he admitted that by then most, if not ail, of the bishops had councils, he insinuated that they were still not complying with the spirit of the conciliar decrees of 1852 and 1866, remarking: "Y et we venture to ask, does it [the cou neil] exist generally also in reality, or merely in name? Are its members f01·mally consulted or called together at stated times?" A few years later Smith published an article on "Cathedral Chapters as Adapted to the United States" in the Arnerican Catholic Qum·terly Review (III [October, 1878], 709-721). After reviewing the origin and history of chapters and describing their structure and functions, he contrasted them with the bishops' councils or quasi-chapters recommended by the Second Plenary Council. He concluded that with the permission of the Holy See, which could readily be obtained, chapters, modeled after those in England, "coule! easily be introduced into nearly every diocese of the United States." In the remaining years prior to the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore the American priests seemed to be more intent on securing a voice in the nomination of bishops and a guarantee of irremovability for pastors than participation in the government of their dioceses. The Holy See, however, came to favor the erection of cathedral chapters, both because it wished to bring American Catholics into closer conformity with the discipline of the universal Church and because it expected in this way to curb the arbitrary absolutism of the bishops which not only provoked many complaints and appeals to Rome from the priests but also sometimes caused serious financiallosses due to unwise investment or management of funds. Hence, when the Propaganda summoned the American archbishops and a


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few others bishops to Rome in the autumn of 1883 to draft decrees for the plenary council which it had decided to convoke in the following year, it proposed that a chapter consisting of at !east six canons with a provost or dean be established in each diocese; in case of a vacancy the chapter would have the 1¡ight to elect a vicar-capitular and to propose candidates for thesee. Where it was impossible to establish a chapter immediately, four or six consultors were to be named; onehalf of them were to be chosen by the bishop independently and the other half also by the bishop but only from among those nominated by the clergy of the diocese. The bishop would have to convoke the chapter or the consultors as often as he might need their ad vice or consent, but at !east four times a year; they were to consider only the matters that he would lay before them. The main difference between canons and consultors was that the former would enjoy permanent tenure but the latter could be removect at the will of the bishop. The American prelates attending these preparatory sessions in Rome maintained, on the contrary, that it was not expedient to establish chapters. Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, the Archbishop of Baltimore, James Gibbons, presented the following reasons for their position: (1) that chapters were not in accord with the character of the American people ( w hile the priests assertect that they were in accord, because they constituted a more democratie form of government than the solitary rule of the bishop); (2) that qualified candidates were not readily available because the priests, scattered in districts far removed from the cathedral, could not be brought together for meetings without serions inconvenience and great expense; (3) that it was to be feared that once priests would be raised to the rank of canons they might become insolent in their attitude toward the bishop and try to .demanrl unwarranted privileges; and ( 4) that there was a risk of controversies between bishops and canons, as experience had shown to be the case where chapters existed. The cardinals of the Sacred Congregation attempted to answer these objections by explaining again the nature of the proposed chapters, which would not be moral bodies independent of the bishops but only their sena tes; the cardinals did not foresee any danger of unwarranted interference by the canons in the affairs of the


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diocese, and they pointed out the good results that had come from instituting such chapters in England and Holland. In the end the American bishops agreed to consider the proposai of setting up chapters in the forthcoming council, and the officiais of the Propaganda promised to be content if at !east the appointment of diocesan consu !tors in ali dioceses should be made obligatory. Sorne of the prelates still disliked the provision by which the priests of the diocese were to be permitted to propose candidates to the bishop for one-half of the positions to be filled. The Archbishop of Boston, John J. Williams, asked the cardinals what should be done in case a bishop might think that the candidates proposed by the clergy could not or should not be appointed. In response to this question the method of nomination by the clergy was determined more exactly: the clergy ( that is, as later specified, each priest who was engaged in the sacred ministry within the diocese) were to submit to the bishop a list of those priests whom they deemed suitable or capable of preforming the function of consultor but they were to give more names than the number of vacancies; then the bishop would choose from that list those whom he preferred. (Even this arrangement was Hable to two interpretations, as will be seen.) Once the members of the Sacred Congregation had yielded on these points, the American prelates in Rome pressed them to restrict the rights of the consultors as much as possible. The cardinals had presented a list of cases in which a bishop would be bound by law to obtain either the consent or simply the advice of the chapter or of the consultors. The representatives of the American hierarchy at the meeting were willing to allow the requirement of the consultors' consent only for the acquisition and alienation of church property ( valued at more that $300), for the appointment of a new consultor or of extrasynodal examiners, and for the imposition of a new tax for the bishop. They insisted, on the other hand, that a bishop should need no more than the advice of his consultors in summoning a cliocesan synod and publishing its acts and in dividing parishes and missions and entrusting them to a religious order ( especially sin ce in the Iatte1¡ case the permission of the Holy See was required anyway). On these terms the discussion with the Propaganda was concluded.


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After the American prelates returned home, Archbishop Gibbons, who had been appointed ¡apostolic delegate for the council, sent to ali the bishops a revised draft of the decrees and assigned each of the chapters of this schema to one or another of the ecclesiastical provinces of the country for comment and development; with the help of their animadversions a final draft, which wou id be debated in the council, wou id then be prepared. In compliance with this request the bishops of the Province of Boston considered the chapter on canons or consultors, and afterwards the metropolitan, Archbishop Williams, wrote to Gibbons that in their opinion "the number of the .Consultors should depend on the number of the clergy, or of the parishes in each diocese." The comprovincials of New England also suggested that the advice of the consultors be asked in the appointment of permanent or irremovable rectors. The bishops of the Province of Cincinnati also commented on this chapter in addition to the one assigned to them; they "agreed that the consent of the Consultors should not be required for the acquisition of property, but only for its alienation" and that it should be required only for contracting debts of more than $3,000 in any one transaction. Their metropolitan, Archbishop William Henry Eider, remarked to Gibbons: "Inrleed, as far as my observation has extenrled, the abuses would have peen hindered, if only the older priests had possessed an official 1¡ight to know what the Bishop was doing, because they could have drawn the attention of the Metropolitan or other authority; so that in the whole matter I prefer consilium to cons ens us." Perhaps Eider was thinking that if the consul tors of his predecessor, John Baptist Purcell, had known how the archbishop's brother, the Reverend Edward, was managing the archdiocesan bank, they might have intervened to prevent its failure and the consequent Joss not only of the savings of thousands of the faithful but also of their attachment to the Church. The question of diocesan consultors was discussed at length in the council itself. In regard to the number of nam es that the clergy were to propose, the bishops agreed unanimously, upon the motion of Archbishop Williams, that as a general rule, since the number of consultors would vary from diocese to diocese, the clergy should propose three names for each


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consultor who was to be chosen by the bishop. Then the AĹ“hbishop of Milwaukee, Michael Heiss, moved that wherever the word "consent" was used in the draft, it should be replace<! by the word "ad vice." Not ali the bishops shared this view. One of them, Henry P. Northrup, Bishop of Charleston, argued in favor of the wording in the schema. for by requiring the consultors' consent the bishop's mind was freed from won¡y, or, in other words, his responsibility was lessened. Another spokesman of this persuasion, Joseph G. Dwenger, Bishop of Fort Wayne, assured his colleagues that the consultors would never refuse their consent if what was proposee! was just and reasonable. Dwenger and Bishop James O'Connor, Vicar Apostolic of Nebraska, maintained that the Propaganda would insist on requiring the consultors' consent in the specifiee! cases, while others who had attended the preparatory meetings in Rome asserted that the Congregation had left the matter to the judgmen of the council. Accordingly, Archbishop Heiss's motion was carried. It was also decidee! that the consultors should give their opinion in writing and as a body (not individually). Finally, the provision according to which the consultors would have been permanent after they were once appointee! was modifiee! to read: "Let the consultors be chosen for a three-year terrn." In these ways the sharpest teeth were drawn from the consultors before they were fully grown, and they were left as harmless pets in the episcopal household. In the first paragraph (No. 17) of the final version of the chapter on diocesan consultors the conciliar fathers, perhaps as a theoretical concession to the Propaganda and to the clergy, stated that it was greatly to be desiree! that the canons regarding cathedral chapters coule! be carried into execution forthwith in the United States but that the circumstances of the dioceses did not permit it at the present time. Renee, it seemed good to them to institute diocesan consultors un til other provision be made ("donec aliter provideatur"). Thus the fathers acknowledged that the consultors were to be regardee! only as temporary surrogates for canons, and this point was not forgotten by the priests in the years to come. After the council, when the decrees were examinee! by the Propaganda, sorne of the cardinals disapproved of the substitution of "counsel" for "consent." In the end, nevertheless,


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the Sacre<! Congregation acquiesced in the will of the majority of the American bishops and allowed them ali to contract major financial obligations after having heard merely the advice of their consultors. This outcome meant that the Roly See's original plan to have the bishops share their responsibility with sorne of their priests was to a large extent frustrated. The main right accorded to the consultors (along with the irremovable rectors) was that of designating three candidates when the see became vacant or there was need of a coadj utor, but even this was withdrawn by the Sacred Consistorial Congregation in 1916. Three years after the Third Plenary Council Richard L. Burtsell, a pastor in New York and a canon lawyer who had attained fame by defending certain priests against their bishops, published a series of articles in the New York Tablet and then republished it as a booklet entitled, The Canonical Status of Priests in the United States (1887). Here he carefully balance<! his severe criticism of the American hierarchy with revet¡ence for the Propaganda. In regard to diocesan consultors Burtsell stated that it was the unanimous wish of the committee of the Third Plenary Council to which this section of the decree had been referred that the clergy should be assembled to designate three names for each position to be filled and the bishop should choose one of these three; instead, it had become the practice in sorne dioceses to have each priest individually send in three names for each vacant position, so that a great number would be nominated and the bishop would then have an almost unlimited choice. The¡ increase in the number of nominees meant a decrease in the clergy's representation on the board of consultors, which was the pm¡pose of allowing such nominations in the first place. In Burtsell's opinion, moreover, the fact that the consultors were appointed for only three years at a ti me rather than for !ife (as the Propaganda had originally intended) inhibited their freedom in designating candidates for a vacant see, because those who had not voted for the man eventually named bishop might not be reappointed by him when their terms expire<!. Apparently this writer did not advert to the possibility of a secret ballot, which was expressly permitted by the Third Plenary Council (No. 21). Similar strictures were expressed toward the end of the

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century by another canon lawyer, Petet¡ A. Baart, in his Legal Formulary (New York, 1898). Calling the proposition of candidates by the clergy nugatory when the vote was taken by letters sent by the individual priests to the bishop's office, this priest of the Diocese of Detroit stated: "Wh ile it might have been intended that a vote 'should be taken in synod and that the bishop should recognize the wish of the clergy by selecting those three for consultors for whom most priests had voted, still practice has developed something very different." Baart also thought that the short term of the consul tors had proved detrimental; he regarded as a defect of the law bearing on the practical efficiency of the consultors the fact that if they were "outspoken in meeting or oppose<! to sorne imprudent or illegal act of the bishop," they could be dropped at the expiration of their terms; thereby "one of the chief objecta intended by establishing" them was defeated. He pointed out the incongruity in the existence of chapters in England and other countries and their absence in the United States,' where the Church was in much better condition. His final judgment was: " ... the experience of the fourteen years elapsed since the council has shown that in most dioceses the establishment of¡ consultors has by no means satisfied the want of cathedral chapters." There can be no doubt that insofar as the peculiar arrangement which the Holy See had allowed to the American bishops fel! short of the ideal embodied in the law of the universa! Church, it failed to content a majority of the priests. The representative character of the diocesan consultors may still have been preserved to sorne extent during the next two decades, but it was finally destroyed by the Code of Canon Law in 1918. According to canons 424 and 426, the bishop is to choose the consultors and every three years either to reappoint thèm orto substitute new ones; if a vacancy in the board occurs during thethree-year term the bishop is to fil! it with the advice of the remaining consultors. These provisions abrogated the decrees of the Third Plenary Council which had granted the right of proposai to the clergy and correspondingly curtailed the bishop's liberty. Now he enjoys almost perfect freedom in choosing his advisers, although he can remove them only for a just cause and upon the advice of the other consultors before the end of their term. In this way, as in many others, the


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monarchical nature of the papal government of the universal Church came to be reproduced on the local leve! in the episcopal government of the diocese. How is the reluctance of the nineteenth-century American bishops to share their responsibility with their priests to be explained? lt seems that because of their theological education and their observation of their predecessors in the episcopate they regarded their responsibility as such a sacred trust reposed in them personally that they ha-d to bear the burrlen alone and could not let their priests carry any part of it for them. Renee, many of them tended to be jealous of their authority, unwilling to listen to advice, ard secretive about the atfairs of the diocese. In sorne cases, moreover, they were justified in suspecting that the priests were demanding a share in the administration of the diocese not to promote the welfare of souls or to improve the pastoral ministry but to increase their own power and to win a certain independence. The discussions of the proper measure and form of the pl"iests' participation in the overall direction of the diocese, however, were seldom conducted on the leve! of sound theology and were confined to a narrow area between the mutually accepted limits of such ecclesiastical institutions as cathedral canons and diocesan consultors. If the present rethinking of the relations of diocesan priests vis-Ă -vis their bishops is elevated to a higher theological plane and is opened to new possibilities, more wholesome results may be expected in the future than were achieved in the past.


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J. Robert Nelson

Ecumenical Considerations in Shared Responsibility

Relative/y few people understond the contemporary ecumenical movement as a leavenino power in the local Chu1¡ch.

Relatively few people understand the contemporary ecumenical movement as a leavening power in the local church. Its global manifestation has been well interpreted. The rise of the World Council of Churches, the convening of the Second Vatican Council, the reports of the many international conferences on Christian concerns are the ecumenical phenomena of which journalists and historians take note. Within the national scene there are also occurrences which dramatize the growing mutual recognition of churches: bi-lateral theological discussions, councils of churches, and cooperative efforts against racism and other injustices. Whenever it happens that members of diverse 159


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denominations get together locally for worship or common action, this is usually regarded as something extraneous to the inner !ife of the diocese or the local congregation. lt is an appreciated ecumenical addendum to the normal church !ife, which by and large J·emains untouched and unchanged. Few people who do perceive the local implications of the ecumenical movement, however, know that it can be a powerfui influence for the reformation of the diocese or the parish. And for more than twenty years there have been sorne singleminded ecumenists who have insisted that reform and renewal of the local churches constitute the primary value of the ecumenical awakening. In particular, the Department of the Laity and the Department of Evangelism of the World Council of Churches have persisted in study and guidance of this matter. Indispensable to any Christians who are seriously concerned about needed action for change in parish !ife is the report entitled The Church fo>· Others (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1967). In this and related literature is recorded the emergence of a virtual consensus on the nature and pm·pose of the local church. The practical effects of such agreement are being seen here and there throughout the world in varieties of denominations and social settings. The former pastor of one of the most famous avant-garde parishes, George W. (Bill) Webber of the East Harlem Protestant Parish, has described and interpreted this paradigm of a project in a most valuable book, The Congregation in M·i.•sion (New York & Nash ville: Abingdon, 1964). The widely recognized elements of this ecumenically determined concept of the church appear as follows. (a) The primm'Y purpose is mission. The church as clubhouse or closed fraternity is constantly castigated. lt must be the church in movement outside and away from itself. What does this mean? Is the appeal to mission a mere truism, or is it an explosive dynamism? There is much disagreement and debate today concerning the meaning of mission. The chief options for emphasis are witness to individuals for their salvation, extension of the membership of the church, or simply any kind of humanizing service in the name of Christ. But within the welter of opinions about mission in a so-called postChristian, pluralistic society, it is generally agreed that four forms are possible. It may be verbal in preaching and edu-


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ca ting; pastoral in ministering to persona! needs; diaconal in rendering aid and comfort to groups in distress; and political in affecting the policies of governments, institutions and commercial enterprises so that greater measures of justice may be enjoyed by ali members of society. The term which has come into its own, and which is in danger of being only a clichĂŠ, is "humanization," or its variant "truly human." When members of the local church share responsibility for an unrelenting and diversified mission for the sake of helping men and women lin cl the ir true humanity in Jesus Christ, th en they are furthering the primai purpose of the local Christian community. (b) Equipping the "saints" for the work of diaconia (Ephesians 4 :12) is the parishes' indispensable function if their mission is to be at ali fruitful. Protestantism arase in the sixteenth century with a clear doctrine of the laity; but the idea was obscured or distorted in many churches, and clericalism has become the dominant condition, no Jess than in large areas of the Catholic Church. Now tardily but in growing measure, the authentic ministry of the laity is being apprehende<! and exercised. Baptism and confirmation are seen as a kind of ordination to the universal priesthood. Full involvement in prayer and li turgy takes the place of the role of spectator; and li turgy itself is appreciated as the gathering up of ali of one's concerns -worldly as weil as sacred-in offering to God. Thus each person's secular vocation is recognized as his manner of ministry, so that mission is an integral part of his work and his leisure, and not a slight avocation. With this insight goes the concomitant policy of the local parish to regard its membership as being in dispersion in secular society, the leaven and the salt of the earth. (c) Most congregations and parishes are too large to function etfectively as a unity. Not only four thousand members, but even four hundred, constitute a body too numerous for concentrated effmt in mission. Small groups are thus required as regular and integral pa1ts of the structure of the church. Intimacy has its undoubted value for religions growth and mutual uplift. But smallness is also necessary for cloing the jobs which together amount to the whole mission of the congregation. This was discovered by the small sects of European Protestantism in the sixteenth century and by the Methodists of England in


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1 1

the eighteenth. In the impersonal collectivities of twentieth century civilization, the small groups with specially assigned tasks are even more useful than before. (d) Common sharing by members of the church is a theme which has justly received great attention in the ecumenical inquiry concerning the vitality of the community. The New Testament Greek word koinonia has become virtually debased by the popularization it has received, :("or it has been erroneously equated with persona! relations alone. But the word, with its various cognate forms, means literally "mutual participation" or "common sharing" in the goods and values which are most essential to the Christian !ife. Who or what is shared? According to the New Testament, especially in St. Paul's letters and the Acts of the Apostles, the members may share in a cornmon !ife in the Body of Christ, in the gifts and presence of the Roly Spirit, in suffering, in money and property and food, in the mission of the Gospel, and in the eucharistie bread and wine. Ali such sharing presupposes a large measure of cornmon faith and love. It is pointless to suggest such matters as a sentimental and idealized formula for the local church. But the amazing thing is the fact that these aspects of koinonia cau still fi nd expression in the present ti me. (Cf. my efforts to explicate koinonia in The Realm of Redemption, London: Epworth, 7th edition, 1964; and Criterion jo1¡ the Church, New York & Nashville: Abingdon, 1963). (e) The catholicity and unity of the church are to be found and expressed in the local community. Many Christians have long regarded the local congregation as a partial fragment of the Church of Christ. This is because they have thought of catholicity and unity in quantitative and spatial tenns. But the new consensus actually carries us back to an ancient belief: that the wholeness of the church inheres in each local congregation. Eastern Orthodox ecclesiology here agrees with Protestant Congregationalism, and recently many Catholics have joined the agreement. This insight gave great momentum to the unifying of divided denominations when it was concisely stated by the World Council of Churches' assembly in New Delhi, 1961. Categorically defined, the unity which God wills and gives was seen as including ali the faithful "in each place." And at the following assembly in Uppsala, 1968, a similar

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statement was made concerning the catholicity of the church. This two-fold assertion does not imply any retraction from the global and national dimensions of the church's calling, however. It should be seen simply as an overdue recovery of the reality of the church in each place where people live. Five general concepts thus make up the contemporary consensus on the local church: mission, Iaity, small groups, cornmon sharing, and catholicity and unity in Iocality. To move from conceptional consensus to practical expression is by no means clone with facility, however. Even where the right intentions are matched with committed talent and capability, frustration is felt. To know what form the local church should take, and yet, despite abundant good will, to suffer repeated defeats in efforts to realize it, is a most exasperating experience. And numerous writers, both friendly and inimical to the church, have explained why it is so difficult to make ideal and reality coĂŻncide. OBSTACLES TO SHARED RESPONSIBILITY

To be brief in mentioning what is generally familiar, we can indicate four main obstacles to achieving the shared responsibility for parish renewal. These are the inertia felt by the congregations which are habituated to traditional manners and ways; the reluctance of people, who often want to find only comfort in religion, to assume the harder disciplines of selfgiving which effective membership requires; the confusion in contemporary theology with the accompanying Joss of confidence in the proximate and ultimate goals to be sought, and the consequent weakening of faith itself; and the denominational st111ctures which usually inhibit local churches in their efforts to achieve needed changes. There is abundant evidence to show that churches of most of the major denominations- ¡ Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant--are suffering from these same disabilities. Relatively unatfected are sorne of the churches and sectarian movements of the Ieft-wing of Protestantism, such as the Pentecostal Assemblies of God, the Holiness churches, and the Iike. Wholehearted participation by the laity in their programs of evangelism and education puts to shame the diffident members of "main line" churches who maintain just a casual interest in the worship, mission and


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service of the community. It is th us a fact to be welcomed that sorne of the Pentecostal churches have recently opted to share in the membership in the World Council of Churches, even while the World Council and the Vatican are talking of closer relations. ¡ Do local churches of one particular polity or order enjoy an advantage over those of other polities in the realization of the proximate goals of renewal and mission through congregational participation? The official literature of ali denominations today emphasizes their intention to appropriate the benefits of the eeumenical consensus on a proper !ife and mission of each congregation. Y et the f01ms and structures under which they are constrained to exist and act are quite diverse. For Protestantism as a whole there is a triple typology of polity: three categories within which ali the denominations may be classified. Although denominational rivalry has generally subsided during this era of striving after unity, there remain large numbers of Christians who contend for the inherent superiority of their own type of church arder and structure. These we can examine in an objective, non-contentions way. The three are, of course, the congregational, the presbyteral, and the episcopal. Y et cnly in sorne t¡are instances can it rightly be claimed that one of the three forms exists in a pure state in a certain denomination. The three have tended inevitably in this era of ecumenical movement to interpenetra te and mutually modify one another. This will be shawn to be true especially with respect to the programs of organic union of unlike denominations. The tiu¡ee types are then subject to amalgamation, with the best genius of each hopefully preserved in the united church. Congregational polity is not the oldest of the Protestant types, but it has the most to con tribu te for the encouraging of shared responsibility of ali members. One of the most influential theologians of this ecclesiological movement was William Ames (d. 1633); he was an English divine who had to live and teach in Holland, but whose books were widely read and heeded in Massachusetts Bay Colony. Ames' designation of the proper form of the church was this : "Neither is this Church that is instituted by Gad properly national!, provinciall, or Diocesan, which formes were brought in by men from the paterne of civil government, especially the


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Romane; but it is Pamchiall, or of one congregation, the members whereof are combined among themselves, and doe ordinarily meete into one place to the publick exercise of religion." ( Quoted by Douglas Horton, Congregationalism, p. 59. London: lndependent Press, 1952). The commanding principle of Congregationalism is that no person or body beyond the local community can exercise authority over it. Thus ali responsibility for the atfairs of the church falls upon the members of each congregation. This means that financial stewardship is required of ali; that the calling and ordaining of ministers belongs only to the congregation; that the ordering of the church's internai program and external mission is wholly in the hands of the members. Lest this seem to make of the church a voluntary fellowship without higher authority, however, it must be stressed that obedience to Christ, mediated through the Holy Scripures, has always been professed by the congregation. Ideally the church is, in Karl Barth's felicitons term, a "Christocratic brotherhood," rather than a popular democracy. FORMS OF CONGREGATIONALISM

Congregationalism has taken two main fmms: the independent, and the consiliar or connectional. Independents are best exemplified today by churches of the Southern Baptist Convention as well as the strict Churches of Christ. They deny in them¡y, and try to exclude in practice, any ki nd of inter-congregational structure wbich might infringe upon the autonomy of the local church. They claim to find this pattern in the New Testament, although such claims are not beyond objective dispute by scholars. The most thoroughgoing independents even insist that no member may receive the Lord's Supper in a congregation other than his own. An admirable vil-tue of this kind of polity is that it afforrls full opportunity for each member to assume his responsibility for mission, as weil as for the domestic program of the church. The "lay apostolate" is vividly manifest when local church members must organize their own mission, fund it, and then give themselves for a time as the missioners. Of course, this is not made necessary by the polity alone, but also by the fervent evangelical faith held by the members.


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is challenged by a Congregationalism in which each local church is bound by solemn covenant with others like it. Douglas Horton argued that this is the authentic form of it, and that early Congregationalists had no desire to break the unity of the church by fostering independency and separatism. However admirable the shared !ife of a small congregation may be, and even when there is a sophisticated theological recognition of the catholicity of the church localized therein, its very autonomy may be idolized and its isolation promotes schism. This is avoided deliberately by the Congregationalists who link churches together in councils and a-ssociations. They keep a maximal degree of local autonomy without allowing the ecclesial solipsism of independency. This struggle between two versions of Congregationalism became most intense in the United States before 1957, when the Congregationai-Christian Churches were joining in union with the Evangelical and Reformed Church. The independents fought the uni ml and never joined it. Somewhat more calmly, in recent years the American Baptist Convention as weil as the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) have moved from radically congregational polity to a form of connectianalism. Often it is assumed by those who do not know churches of the congregational type that infant Baptism is rejected by them in favol' of believer's Baptism only. It is on this issue that Baptists and Disciples part company from those known as Congregationalists. The former insisted in the past, and many still maintain, that the practice of baptizing infants has wrought the highest mischief in Christianity. Nominal membership, especially in the European state churches and Volkski?¡chen, paralyzes the mission and inner vitality of the church; and nominal membership is what infant Baptism usually produces, tl1ey say. Moreover, being in strict obedience to the letter of the New Testament, they can find no warrant therein for such practices. Holding Baptism to be the rite whereby a mature, believing person confesses his faith in Christ, receives the sealing of the Roly Spirit, and a.ssumes the full responsibilities of membership, such churches conceive of each local church as an assembly of the committed. Congregationalists, on the other hand, have believed that the authentic local community must in volve children a.s weil as ma-


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ture persons, and that responsible membership can evolve through a process of education and nurture which begins with the baptizing of small children. The irony seems to be that a denomination of believer's Baptism, such as the Southern Baptist Convention, can by its very success in mission become a kind of Volkshrche. Then the ordinance of baptizing adolescents or adults may be as conventional and perfunctory as in other acculturated churches. Size seems to be a more critical factor than polity here. It is true that the committed devotion to discipleship and stewardship, which are regarded as the concomitant of believer's Baptism, are manifested in the smaller Baptist churches as weil as the Mennonities and Church of the Brethern. It is weil worth noting, however, that any number of pastors in the Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican and Methodist churches have come to question the value of infant Baptism on pragmatic grounds. And strong theological comfort has been given to ali who espouse believer's Baptism only by the last published work of the late Karl Bat-th. Although he was an ordained minister of the Swiss Reformed tradition, Barth's exegetical work and theological retlection drove him to reject infant Baptism. (Cf. Chnnh Dogmatics, Vol. IV, Part 4, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1969). Instead of rejecting infant Baptism as the cause of ftabby membership attitudes, sorne denominations are tightening the concept and practice of Confirmation. The Lutheran Church in America, for example, delays Confirmation until late adolescence, th us giving the person occasion to make his confession of faith and to undertake full responsibility for church membership. PRESBYTERAL POLITY

Presbyteral polity, the second main type, is so named because it places greatest impot-tance upon the governance of the church by eiders, the presbuteroi of the New Testament. The scholarly, orderly mind of John Calvin formulated this systematic the01-y of church order in the sixteenth century and imposed it upon the city of Geneva. From this root stem ali the Reformed and Presbyterian churches. Scriptural study convinced Calvin that the titles "eider" and


1

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"bishop" were interchangeable. So the ordained pn~byter who served as pastor was the same as a scriptural bishop. The office of bishop, the episkope, therefore was filled corporately by the presbytery. In addition, teachers, lay eiders, and deacons were provided for the upbuilding of the church through responsible patticipation of themembership. Three benefits may be claimed for this presbyteral polity, which many believing Calvinists have held to be God's own pattern for the church. First, the work of the lay eiders along with the pastor constitutes an indispensable relation of co-responsibility. (The highest executive position, for example, in the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., is that of stated clerk; and it is currently fi !led by a layman.) Second, the membership of the whole congregation is adequately represented in the governing body of the Church. Herein lies a pattern of representative democracy which has been borrowed not only by non-Calvinist demoninations but also by the civil government in Colonial and Federal America. Fina!ly, being especially sensitive to the need for discipline in the corporate Christian !ife, the Presbyterians have maintained a system of church coutts, in which admonitions and judgments are rendered by fe!low-members of the church. Without describing the other characteristics of the denominational structure in the presbyteral polity, it is enough to observe that the concept of the order and organization of the local church, as weil as the gathering of severa\ local churches called the presbytery, has enabled such churches to function with exemplary efficiency and effectiveness. The episcopal polity adopted by sorne demoninations of the Reformation is not ail of the same stamp. Obviously such churches have the ministry of bishops as an order, or office, of higher authority than that of presbyters. We have no need in this context to raise the vexee! question of the historie succession of bishops, but only to regard the effect of episcopacy upon the local congregation. And it must be noted first that the Protestant Episcopal Church, as American member of the Anglican Communion, grants by its canons very, very little authority to the bishop with respect to the local parish. He is primarily a pastoral and liturgical figure, who confirms new members, makes parish visitation, and conducts the business .


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of the diocese. But he cannot place or replace parish priests, nor interfere in parochial affairs. For ali practical purposes, it may be said that the Episcopal Church parish acts in a congregational manner when organizing the local vestry, altar guild, and various groups for education and mission. The Methodist episcopacy, which originated in the year 1784 in Ame1¡ica, is quite of a different character. The bishop supervises an area, which may be very large, including a thousand local churches. He selects superintendents of smaller districts, and these are closely related to the congregations. The key to the bishop's power is that he appoints pastors to the churèhes, usually with appropriate consultation with the congregation and superintendent, but sometimes at will. Mm¡eover, since the prope1ty of the local church is not owned by the congregation, but by the denomination, there is fmther practical leverage in the bishop's hands. The programmatic !ife of the Methodists revolves around the amlUal conference. This is a legislative body, to which ali ordained ministers belong, and to which each church sends lay delegates. The structure of the annual conference--its boards, commissions, agencies-is determined by the General Conference of the whole denomination, and a cognate structure devolves upon the local church. Methodist fame for organizing skill is justified. The intent is to involve as many members of the congregation as possible in ali aspects of the work of the church. Sometimes this is highly effective; other times the structure becomes so complex as to impede the worthwhile work. In any case, shared responsibility in ali aspects of the program is intended for members of ali age levels. The move for church union, finally, has been bringing these diverse polities and structures into a synthesis. Ever since the originating impulse for the Church of South India in 1919, it has been evident that the three polities tend to interpenetmte. An episcopal ministry with presbyteral parish structure and a good measure of congregational autonomy are now discerned in South India. The same in general is anticipated in the American union of nine denominations, fostered by the Consultation of Church Union. An emerging novelty in this lively plan is the concept of a parish. It is not to be coterminous with one congregation, nor conceived simply in geographical


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tenns. The parish will consist of severa! congregations in addition to small task groups with special objectives; but these shall ali be grouped into a working unity according to the nature of the mission in that city or place. With a strong emphasis upon the ministry of the laity as weil as the fraternal team of pastors and other fulltime workers, the parish promises to be a vehicle for action and mission more fruitful than currently enjoyed by conventional congregations. (Cf. A Plan of Union, Princeton: Consultation on Church Union, 1970). The ecumenical movement is thus bringing to participating Protestant denominations an impetus as weil as a structure for enhancing the achievement of a¡ disciplined !ife in Christ for members of the local communities.


James A. Coriden

Shared Authority: Rationale and Legal F oundation Wider pa>¡ticipation in decisionmaking is no longer a luxury in the Church. The present state of Canon Law permits a return to the principle: quod omnes tangit ab omnibus approbetur.

i

Today, in both the civil and ecclesial spheres, there is a widespread demand on the part of those who are interested and info>med to be "let in on the action." They insist and expect that their voices be heard and their votes counted. Whether it is in shouts of "power to the people!" or by calm proposais for "maximum feasible participation," the desire is the same: "count us in." Wider participation in decision making and policy formulation is no longer a luxury in the Church. We have come of age, caught up with the times, and the old ways of un-shared, unresponsive, and un-representative government are no longer acceptable. To state it plainly (if a bit too categorically) : Every timea pastor decides alone to build a church or to change the times of the Sunday Masses he acts irresponsibly. Every time an assistant on his own statts a new parish organization or commits the pari~h to a program of human rights he acts unfairly and 171


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unwisely. Every time a Mother Provincial and her council close a convent or staff a new school without the thorough, advance consultation of the sisters involved and the people served she fails in leadership. Every time a bishop, by himself or with a few hand-picked advisors, spends large sums of diocesan money, closes a school, starts a new parish, or backs a lowincome housing program, he does violence to his pastoral office and fails the people he is commissioned to lead. Obviously the failures in these examples lie not in the decisions made, but in the manner of their making: "alone," "on his own," "without consultation," ''by himself or with a few hand-picked advisors." This style of leadership is occasionally brilliant and necessary in emergencies, but in the long run it is inferior, and, more importantly, it ill corresponds to the nature and present condition of the church community. The need to share pastoral responsibility should not be a dismaying prospect. It is truly a wonderful opportunity. It gives us a chance to look back and borrow from the rich variety of shared authority fOl-ms in the Church's history. We can look around at the successful forms of participated decision-making in contemporary government, business, and other voluntary associations. And we can look ahead in anticipation of new developments which will emerge from a creative community. It is one of those rare and exhilarating times in the !ife of our Church when we have a chance to renovate our structures intelligently and thoroughly, so that they might serve us bette!". In this present exploration we shall consider three points: A. The rationale for sharing responsibility in the local Christian community. Why should as many as possible in the local church take part in its determinations? B. The methods and manifestations of sharing accountability. How can eve1-yone be brought into the decisional process? C. The permissibility of changing present structures. What does the law allow?

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WHY SHOULD AS MANY AS POSSIBLE TAKE PART?

Ultimately the community is responsible for the ministry by which it is served. And that is what makes co-responsibility in the pastoral office both possible and necessary. Far from being a revolutionary or incongruous innovation, it is entirely fitting.

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Compare it to the choice the residents of a city have regarding their form of government. They can elect to have a mayor, a city manager, a town board, a city council, or any combinatian of these elements. There is no one perfect and changeless system. And such choices are not frequent nor whimsical. Y et when a community finds itself in a new situation or ente1·s into a new phase of existence, then it casts about for a more sui table style of govemance. The right to decide belongs to the people. The history of the Church is replete with evidence that the Christian community has selected, rejected, and altered many times over the forms and structures according to which its leaders are chosen and the exercise theii· minist>-y. (For sorne exampks confer: Y. Congar, "The Historical Development of Authority in the Church. Points for Christian Reftection," Problems of Authority, ed. J. Todd, Helicon, 1962, pp. 119-56; H. Hess, "The Early Expression of Ecclesiastical Authority and Its Development," Law for Libe1·ty, ed. J. Biechler, Helicon, 1967, pp. 28-37; J. Lynch, "Co-Responsibility in the First Five Centuries: Presbyteral Colleges and the Election of Bishops," written for a Symposium on Co-Responsibility in the Church. New York, April, 1970, and soon to be published.) In addition to the control it exercizes over its own internai structure, the ecclesial community must be responsible for the ways in which it witnesses to and serves the wider hu man community. "The mission of the Church and the spread of the gospel is the responsibility of ali the baptized." (M. Shepherd, "The Rights of the Baptized," The Ca.•e fo1· F1·eedom: Human Rights in the Church, ed. J. Coriden, Corpus Books, W ashington, 1969, pp. 33-45. Confer also: H. Kung, "Participation of the Laity in Church Leadership and in Church Elections," Jonrnal of Ecumenicnl Studies, Fall, 1969, pp. 511-33.) Consequently, we claim that both the conditions of ministry within the Church and the ki nd of ministry ( diakonia) the Church offers the world are rightfully subject to the determination of those who belong to the Church. There are a series of interrelated theological themes which support the assertion that co-responsibility is co-natural tù the Christian assembly. We give them only brief mention here: 1. Baptism and Confirmation-the sacraments of initiation which man ifest the faith response to God's invitation; the


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grace-filled encounter with Christ which produces in us a special configuration to him; the purification and reconciliation which accompany our common acceptance a.s sons in the family of the Father. 2. Possession of the Spirit-the indwelling which vivifies the individual and the whole body of Christ; source of the special gifts given to ali in varying mea.sure and kind for the upbuilding of the community. 3. Encharist-sharing in the sacrifice of Christ memorialized and celebrated in the Church; ali are invigorated and strengthened by partaking of the sacred banquet, the body and blood of the Lord. 4. Fnndarnental Equality within the People of God-the Father called and graced us a.s his own covenanted people; ali within this holy nation and purchased people have a common dignity. 5. Origin and Destiny--eoming forth from the creative power of God and directed toward reunion with Him; a common hope and striving as we press forward toward our goal in Christ; eager impatience for his return and our fulfillment in the future. 6. MiBsion-the threefold ta.sk of Christ carried on by the Church: to teach, sanctify and rule (as messianic prophet, priest and king) ; our common obligation to work toward the kingdom by our service to mankind. 7. CollegirÝity-the corpara te succession of the college of bishops with the pope to the place of the apostles with Peter extended by analogy to the presbyterial college around the bishop and the laity around their pastor. 8. Actual Exe1¡cise of Padicipated Responsibility -a practice so frequent and consistent in the ecclesial community a.s to indicate a theological datum within the historical fact, e.g., the "council of Jerusalem," the eiders and overseers exercising corporate guidance in the first three centuries, the universal practice of the election of bishops by clergy and people, the pattern of synodal deliberations, the patticipative function of religions and cathedral chapters, etc. (Confer papers by M. Bourke, "Collegial Decision-Making in the New Testament," R. Benson, "Election by Community and Chapter," and J. Lynch, "Co-Responsibility in the First Five Centuries" prepared for the Symposium on Co-Responsibility mentioned above.) 9. Cornrnunion---perhaps most pertinent and profound, the ancient and many-faceted concept of the Church as communion (communia, koinonia, not commune or community); a solidarity in Christ and his Spirit which implies belonging

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to (having part in) and contributing to (giving part of) a fcllowship or brotherhood; an ecclesial reality (anothcr name for the unity of the Church) rooted in the eucharistie communion; admission to the Lord's table as measure and criterion of sharing in the social and disciplinary !ife of the local church. (See J. Hamer, The Church is a Communion, Sheed & Ward, New York, 1964, esp. pp. 173 ff., 190 ff., and 209 ff. Hamer cites the key works on this theme by Hertling, Elert, and Congar.} Together these theological elements ground our common responsibility for what the local church does inwardly and outwardly. It would be an obvious overstatement to say that these notions demand or require any specifie form of Church order or govemance. History precludes such exaggeration. However, these central teachings about the Church !end strong support for and show strikingly the appropriateness of a broad sharing of decisional responsibilities in the local church. HoW GAN EVERYONE BE BROUGHT INTO THE DECISION PROCESS? Most of the

"

neV~-r

or renewed sb·uctures for sharing respon-

sibility at the diocesan leve! are already familiar on the American scene. However, it might be helpful to list severa! of the methods and organs of participation sim ply to cali to mind their variety of function and pm·pose. The list is admittedly selective and not exhaustive: 1. diocesan synods, assemblies o,- "little councii,"-large numbers of people representing ali segments of the diocese, convened rarely (i.e., annually or every two or live years} ; a major event with strong social and psychological impact; the lengthy preparations canin volve thousands of people and provide a pt·iceless educational opportunity. (A development of the diocesan synod, canons 356-62.) 2. diocesan pastOTal councils-standing groups, composed of clergy, religious and laity, meeting regularly (i.e., quarterly, monthly) "to investigate and weigh matters which bear on pastoral activity, and to formulate practical conclusions regarding them." (Decree on Pastoral Office of Bishops, art. 27.) 3. councils of the laity or lay associations-groups formed to speak for the laity of the diocese; varying degrees of officia,] recognition and actuai representation. 4. st$ters' senates, councils, or assemblies -to represent the views and the desires of the religious women


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serving in the diocese. 5. priests' senates, council.s, or association--elected to speak for the presbyterium and assist in the pastoral direction of the diocesan apostolate; can include or take the place of the board of consultors. (Canons 423-8, Dec. on Past. Off. of Bishops, art. 27; confer T. O'Meara, "Towards a Roman Catholic Theology of the Presbyte1-y," The Heythrop Journal, Oct., 1969, pp. 390-404, and T. Barbarena, "Collegiality at Diocesan Leve!: The Western Presbyterate," Concilium, Vol. 8, Pastoral Reform in Chunh Gove171ment, Paulist Press, New York, 1965, pp. 19-32.) 6. regional, deanery, 01· vicariate counci!.s-boards to represent the Iaity, religions, and priests of a given geographical area of the diocese, and help coordinate pastoral activities in th ose locales. 7. episcopal vican-priests, elected or appointed, and given episcopal authority for an area or special group in the diocese, to make the bishop present Iocally and represent the faithful of his area to the bishop. (Dec. on Past. Off. of Bishops, a11. 27; see W. Bassett, "The Office of the Episcopal Vicar," The JuriBt, July, 1970.) 8. personnel or appointment committees-specialists to assist in the assignment and transfer of priests; can afford hearings for ali the clergy involved as well as the parishes served. 9. boardB of nwdiation, arbitration. o1· g1·ievance-competent groups to deal with disputes and conflicts in the diocese by carefully designed methods of "due process." (Canons 1929-32; "Repm1 of the Ad Hoc Committee on Due Process" to the Canon Law Society of America, R. Kennedy, chairman, published in the Proceedings of the Thiriy-First Annual Convention, Oct. 20-23, 1969, and soon to appear in The JuriBt.) 10. boards of education, finance conwtittees. litœrgical and ecumenical commissions-groups of special competence with responsibility for important areas of the diocesan apostolate. 11. opinion 710ll.s, attitudinal sw·veys, 1·ejerendums-various modern techniques for consulting the laity on special issues. 12. elections-nomination and balloting procedures by which both clergy and laity can express their preference for leaders, e.g., bishop, vicar general, chancellor, members of councils, etc. 13. experimental parish structures -team ministries, co-pastorates, various non-geographical membership communities, attempts to adapt the traditional parish structure to ce1iain special needs. (Motu proprio Eccle·•iae Sanctae. art. 21.)

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The means are obviously available. Ali that is required for genuine sharing of responsibility is the will to do it--on the part of bath the bishop and the people (apathy and disinterest are greater obstacles than intransigent leaders)-and the effort to establish suitable procedures. It is being done now in many places. Good models and expert advice are widely available. One last caution: these means must be utilized honestly, consistently, and wholeheartedly. Beware of boards and councils made of papier-mache for purpose of window dressing! Groups designated for special tasks must be allowed and encouraged to do them. The precise label given to the ir authority ( e.g., advisory, consultative, legislative, etc.) is far Jess important than that their work be done weil and their decisions followed. Good judgments have an intrinsic authority because of their own worth and wisdom. Groups become erlucated to their tasks and develop expertise by actually doing their job and being taken seriously by those who deputed them. WHA1' DOES THE LAW ALLOW?

The Code of Canon Law is still in effect. That collection of regulations, promulgated in 1917 and in force since Pentecost of 1918, remains in force. This was explicitly affirmed in the Motu proprio De Episcoporum Mune1¡ibus (June 15, 1966). Very much of our present local church structure is derived from the law, e.g., the responsibilities of bishops, the rights of pastors, the discipline of the sacraments, the elements of a parish, etc. Together with the decrees and instructions issued after 1918, the Code still provides the fundamental legal framework for the local community. However, to ignore the present context of the Code is to be blind to reality. The j uridical situation has changed radically since 1918, and this new setting profoundly affects our freedom to innovate, experiment, and adapt. The broadest background is the changed world in which the ecclesial community now lives and witnesses. In the past fifty years the world and human living within it have been transformed by technological ad vance, improvements in communications and travel, nuclear energy, space exploration, population explosion, urban growth, health and welfare systems, uni versai education, etc. lt is truly a new world. That in itself does not


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invalidate the Church's law. After ali, in the United States we still claim to live under a constitution which is nearly two hundred years old. However, changed social, cultural and economie situations place great strains on legal systems, and the law of the Code has not been distinguished for its flexibility or adaptability. Of more immediate impact is the sweeping change within the Church itself. We are in the midst of one of the major reform periods in the whole history of Christ's Pilgrim People. Its swiftness astounds us ali. We often hear it asked, "Who would have thought it possible five or even two years ago ?" The depth, the thoroughness, and the ultimate suc~ess of the reform remains to be seen. But surely this renewal will be as profound as the embrace of the Church by the Roman Emperors, the Hildebrandine reform in the eleventh century, or the Reformation in the sixteenth. As in any other society, moments of reorganization demand new structures and reviser! legislation. The pressure mounts. • A stil: more proximate context is the revision of the law itself. The aggio1-namento of the Code was called for by John XXIII on the same Spirit-filled Sunday (January 25, 1959) on which he announced the rest of his vision for the Church: a synod in Rome and an ecumenical council. Pope John renewed the mandate for legal reform shotily before his death when he established the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code on March 28, 1962. Although it wns understood that the Commission's main task would necessarily await the end of the Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI named new members to it in 1963 and 1965. At the conclusion of the Council he set it to work in earnest, and nearly every document issued since that time mentions the work of legal revision currently under way. The Commission is presently progressing with "ali deliberate speed" towards its goal. The law-making is going on. Meanwhile, the 1918 Code has already undergone substantial modification as a result of the Council. Whole areas of the law have been officially revamped by the constitutions and decrees of the Council and by subsequent instructions and nonns, e.g., religious formation, fast and abstinence, matrimonial dispensatians, the permanent diaconate, ecumenical relations, etc., J.-M. Vermullen in a series orarticles in L'Ami du Clergé ("Modifi-

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cations Actuelles au Code de Droit Canonique," Nov. 3, 1967, Feb. 1, March 23, and Aug. 22-Sept. 5, 1968) lista more than two hundred and eighty-three canons of the Code which have been either completely abrogated, partially rescinded, or "surpassed" by official documents during and since the Second Vatican Council. And that analysis was made prior to the "Instruction on the Renewal of Religious Life," "The Basic Plan for Priestly Formation," the more recent liturgical reforms, the apostolic letters on the duties of papal legates and on the process of canonization, and the new norms for processing petitions for the declaration of nullity of marriages. The foregoing serves to establish the context, the atmosphere, the situation of Church discipline at the moment. It is a climate of change, a setting for creative response to the needs of the local church. The effort to innova te, to attempt new approaches to changed pastoral situations need not be an exercise in rebellion or disobedience to local authority, nor need it even resort to the noble principles of epikeia or of "customs outside the law." One of the most significant accomplishments of the Council was to restore authority to the local bishops. The leader of the local church is now once again able to be truly accountsble to his own community. The self-determination of the local church, seriously eroded through centuries of papal reservations (confer J. Lynch, "The History of Centralization: Papal Reservation," The Jurist. April, 1970, and Unity and Collegiafity in the Chm¡ch, Alba House, New York, 1971), has been reinstated. In a gesture of genuine subsidiarity a large measure of healthy autonomy was retumed to the diocesan community. This point is of central importance and should be clearly established. "This Church of Christ is truly present in ali legitimate local congregations of the faithful which, united with their _pastors, are themselves called Churches in the New Testament. For in their own locality these are the new people called by God, in the Holy Spirit and in much fullness (I Th. 1, 5). (Const. on the Church, art. 26) Bishops govem the particular churches entrusted to them as vicars and ambassadors of Christ. This they will do by their counsel, exhortations, and example, as weil, indeed, as by their authority and sacred power. . . . This power, which they personally exercise in


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Christ's name, is proper, ordinary, and immediate .... In virtue of this power, bishops have the sacred right and duty before the Lord to make laws for their subjects, to pass judgments on them, and to moderate everything pertaining to the ordering of worship and the apostolate." "The pastoral office or the habituai and daily care of their sheep is entrusted to them completely. Nor are they to be regarded as vicars of the Roman Pontiff, for they exercise an authority which is proper to them, and are qui te correctly called "prelates," heads of the people whom they goverr1 ( Const. on the Chnrch, art. 27). As successors of the apostles, bishops automatically enjoy (perse competit) in the diocese entrusted to them ali the ordinary, proper, and immediate authority required for the exercise of their pastoral office. Except when it is a question of matters reserved to the supreme authority of the Church, the general law of the Church gives each bishop the faculty to grant dispensations in particular cases to the faithful over whom he exercises authority according to the norm of law, provided he judges it helpful for their spiritual welfare" (DGc. on Past. Off. of Bishops, art. 8). The "matters reserved to the supreme authority of the Church" were quickly spelled out in one of the first postconciliar directives, the Motu proprio De Episcopor11-m Muneribus (June 15, 1966). The letter itemized those areas which were stiJl reserved to the Apostolic See, i.e., the laws from which the local bishops were not to dispense. Despite these limitations, the rightful replacing of responsibility at the local leve! was considerable. "A diocese is that portion of God's people which is entrusted to a bishop to be shepherded by him with the cooperation of the presbytery. Adhering thus to its pastor and gathered together by him in the Roly Spirit through the gospel and the Eucharist, this portion constitutes a particular church in which the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative. "The individual bishops, to each of whom the care of a particular church has been entrusted, are, under the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, the proper, ordina1-y, and immediate pastors of these churches. They feed their sheep in the name of the Lord, and exercise ¡in their regard the office of teaching,


CANON LAW

18 1

sanctifying, and governing'' (Dec. <>n Past. Off. of Bishops,

art. 11) .. The "Norms for Implementation" issued ad experimentum shortly after the Cou neil ( by means of the mo tu proprio E cclesiae Sanctae, August 6, 1966) urged the exercise of this restored authority by the local church. lt did not limit or restrict the responsibility of the local bishop. Instead it commanded the observance of the above-noted principles and suggested sorne directions to be taken experimentally. A few items are worth mentioning by way of example: 1) a new freedom for the bishops in conferring offices and benefices (a>-t. 18) ; 2) the power more readily to remove or transfer pastors (art. 20) ; 3) authority to establish, suppress, or change parishes (art. 21 ) ; 4) a fuller control over the apostolic activities of religions (arts. 22-40). The conclusion to be drawn from this subsidiary movement in the conciliru¡ directives is that there is adequate and ample authority in the local church for almost any pastoral adjustment or experiment. A reasonable understanding of the documents is that the individual bishop once again has the authority truly to govern the local community. An important corollary is that this governance may be exercised collegially. The bishop can distribute functions, arrange offices, delegate authority, and depute decision-making with great freedom. Responsibility can be shared as widely as is wise and beneficiai. The bishop t¡etains a special accountability to the college of bishops and its head, and he must remain the visible focus of unity and sign of faith in the diocese. But, beyond that, the power of the local community, derived from the lordship of the Risen Christ, may be freely channeled and expansively participated. The manner of exercising ecclesiastical authority may be adapted to meet the modern need for "inclusion." There is no reason today to retain a style that is baronial or paternalistic. We have permitted the widest range of substitution (e.g., administrators), vicarious control (e.g., vicars general), and delegation (e.g., for religious, for marriage dispensations) in the past. We need not now pretend that real legislative or administrative power cannot be exercised by diocesan synods, pastoral councils, arbitration boards, and personnel committees.


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We may sum up: there is solid theological reasoning for a wide distribution of responsibility among the members of the local church. The structures and methods are available. The present state of Canon Law permits a return to the centuriesold principle, quod omnes tangit ab omnibus approbetur .

...


Thomas O'Meara, O.P.

Responsibiliiy to Others There is a chance today that the local Christian communities may begin to correspond to the view of the Church found in the New Testament. Every question touching on the Christian and his community -from new liturgies to ethical options----eannot escape the omnipresent question about what is theology. Who theologizes, and what is the relationship of theologies and institutions to faith and revelation? If we see theology and faith incarnate in law and a few venerable institutions, then we will look at a challenging word "like shared responsibility" with the detached gaze of scholars or with the fear of churchmen with vested (i.e., persona!) interests. Without compromising our belief in Jesus Christ as the founder of a faith which is distinctively communal, we must see theology as something that is done, the creative con-elation of God's Ward with different times. Paul Tillich wrote that no great theologian simply sat behind his desk and said, "Let me now theologize a bit between breakfast and lunch time." Ali theology has come from a struggle between divine and demonic forces, skepticism and faith, the possibility of affirming and of negating !ife. (Paul Tillich, Pe1'Spectives on 19th and 20th Century Protestant Theo/ogy, New York, 1967, 115. Tillich's method of correlation, found in Systematic Theo/ogy, I, 8-35, is developed in T. O'Meara, "Where is Theology Going?", Thought, 44 1969, 5368). We have not only the freedom but an obligation to theologize creatively, to try to understand what new realizations of 183


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the New Testament message and community !ife awaits us as history moves into a decidedly new era, to find out where significant thinking and ideas are emerging. It is typical of this new cali to theologize actively, let loose by the practical demands and imperatives of Vatican II, that theology especially in terms of the mission of the church is found increasingly in doiny rather than studying. "Studying" recalls recent scholasticism. "Doing" intimately requires believing and thinking; but the discovery, the correlation, the new institution or medium of expression appears not a p1·iori. in a library or textbook, but emerges out of the experience of the people who stand within gospel and society. Can theology become actionoriented? What does it mean to "do theoloy ?" lt means that theology's source and place of realization is experimentation for the new. This action should not be confused with "doing good," nor with practical experiments, nor "apostolic activity." For what is at issue here is the very reality and presence of the gospel, what is at stake is whether the gospel of Christ in an evitably new form will be present at ali. The discovery of what a local church should be, by honestly placing priorities on really being a local church, cornes about in this very struggle. It is helped by books, guided by workshops and conferences, but the answer to the increasingly desperate and overwhelming question of what a parish church is ali about will not come by either episcopal decree or theological conference. It will emerge-as the lasting answers of other great cultures did--out of the dynamics of the situation itself. And the new written theology will be about what has already happened . . ("The End of Theology?", P1·ojections: Shaping an Ame1·ican Theology, New York, 1970). SHARED RESPONSIBILITY AND ECCLESIOLOGY

Shared responsibility within the community is an ecclesial topic. Ecclesiology is theologizing about the church; it will develop quite differently depending upon who we consider the church to be. A recent conference which brought urban pastors, sociologists and theologians together shared a confused expectation of roles. The pastor and transparochial specialists seemed to expect the theologian to re-assume his role prior to Vatican II as hoary librarian. He was sought as answer-man


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with solutions to the complexity of social, ·urban and religious cun·ents. There is a continuum in theological retlection with sorne tending more to the sociological and pyschological needs: others cl oser to the his tory of dogma and New Testament. Theology today can legitimately draw upon experience, praxis for its models. We learn by doing; within the wide range of how the church can be a real Christian community, we may choose best out of options by actual experience. Today's urban pastor or religious educator is a theologian. The opening pages of Hans Küng's The Chw·ch are devoted to showing how the church cornes into existence in different historical forms without losing its underlying reality, or breaking its Iink to the historical Jesus Christ. This methodology alone can explain and allow structural re-organization within the Roman Catholic tradition of ecclesial continuity. It moves between two excesses: the first, so well-known, says that every aspect of the church is either from Jesus Christ's mouth or definitely willed by God who speaks in the very functionaries under question; the second excess is to see the chmch as a pm·ely historical phenomenon with no connection to Jesus Christ or a special saving-history within (but not above) world histo1·y, with no tradition or lasting reality. The church may be or not be may be this or that; it has no form other than one based upon pragmatic or aesthetic criteria. Küng writes: "Our concept of the Church is basically intluenced b~· the form of the Church at any given time. AU too easily the Church can become a prisoner of the image it has made for itself at one particular period in history .... At the same time, there is a constant factor in the various changing historical images of the Church, something which survives however much the history of mankind, of the Church and of theology may vary, and it is on this we must concentrate. The1·e are fundamental elements and perspectives in the Church which are not derived from the Church itself; there is an 'essence' which is drawn from the permanently decisive origins of the Church.... In short, the 'essence' of the Church is not a metaphysical statis, but exista only in constantly changing historical "forms." If we want to discover this original and permanent 'essence,' given that it is something dynamic rather thau something static and rigid, we must look at the constantly chang-


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ing historical 'forms' of the Church." (Hans Küng, The Chu1·ch, New York, 1969, 4). The underlying permanent essence of the Church is present only through the different fm·ms. Essence and historical fmm are not the same nor are they separate. The underlying limits and nature of the Church discloses itself in a critical view of what history has allowed and not allowed the Church to be. We concentrate on this simply because no problem as emotional as the necessary sharing of responsibility and community !ife in the Church can be faced reasonably and theologically without learning to think about what the Church WM, is and can be. Not to think historically and critically means not to think believingly and creatively. Such non-thinking will doom the Church again to defensive insignificance within a world whose future is one of new !ife or death. lt will be due, as past eclipses of the Church are due, not to the mysterious will of God, but to the perverse minds of churchmen. POWER AND RESPONSIBILITY

Shared responsibility means the ability for severa! in different ways to be responsible, to respond to needs, to share. But to share wh at, res pond to what? What is the object of responsibility which bishops and popes say weighs so heavy upon them, especially now as others would like to share that responsibility? For wh at are they responsible, for what are we responsible? · lt could not be that Christian leaders are responsible over men and women as such, even over their souls. The power of the keys is a powerful voice introducing the new creation of Jesus. It is not physical power over men or women nor is it eschatological or religious power without limit and in·espective of human person. The Christian following the example and the instl'llction of his master eschews worldly, physical power. That kind of power is no longer allowed in the religious sphere. In an absolute sense (and power always tends to be absolutized) it is demythologized, both in. terms of the state and the temple, by Jesus at his trial. We have been discussing power until now in the negative sense, in a physical sense, and in the sense of control. In the last analysis physical, controlling power can only control the body. No convert was


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ever made through the lires of his auto-de-fe. As Martin Luther King and Karl Rahner show, recalling Paul's writing on the power of Jesus and the Spirit, Christian power is always positive, always born of an interi01· conviction. (Karl Rahner, "Theology of Power," Theological Investigations, IV, Baltimore, 1966, 391-409; Yves Congar, Power and Poverty in the Church, New York, 1964; Martin Luther King, Where Do We Go From He,·e. New York, 1967, 39. See also Paul Tillich, Love, Powm· and Justice, New York, 1954; P.M. Harrison, Authority and Power in the Free Chu1·ch Tmdition: A Social Case Study of the Ame1·ican Baptist Convention, Princeton: University Press, 1959; James Drane, Authority and Institution: A Study of Chu1·ch Crisis, Milwaukee, 1969; W. Banks, "Black Power and Church Power," J ow·n<tl for the Scientijic Study of Religion, 8, 1969, 263-69). It is witnessed to in its good works and recognizes its subjection to true community and to the higher way: simple love. How was it that negative power of control was confused with power to increase in faith and love, with the power of exuberance in the Spirit? This happened because, as the church grew, church authorities ceased to be leaders in a pilgrimage and become administrators of a status quo. Church power was unscupulously sought by the laity to be used for secular agrandisement. Power was exercised over kings and peasants, heretics and true mystics, with lengthy legal debate and theological intricacy, in order to preserve the status quo. For it was judged that the future -that sphere of the power of the Spirit, the "New"-was too danget·ous to be risked; eschatology was replaced by theocracy; the church ceased to be a prophetie voice of a new power broken into the world and became a defensive voice of warning not to change anything. (Jürgen Moltmann, "The Category of the New in Christian Theology," The Future as the Presence of Sha·red Hope, New York, 1968, 9-33). This negative, fearful power found itself in many historical scandais, ever more deeply embroiled with imperial concerns, even negligent of the rights of man and of the powerful dignity and potential of man, especially as Christian. ls this responsibility for the others in the community? To this central question we must answer yes and no. In as much as the Christian community has certain "responsibilities" to


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Jesus Christ, e.g., to be an eschatological sign of love and hope to the world, to nourish its members with word and sacraments to serve ali within and without its membership, ali according to their function have responsibility to him for this task. This task is difficult, demanding. It is stated as the first claimed goal of Christian churches, but history and study show that it is not always the first 1¡eal goal of church authorities. Selfpreservation often cornes first. The individual may be ignored or tortured as "the church" displays its responsibilities for him. Here we must stress the message of Jesus that with him man's religion has entered a phase of maturity. The Spirit is widely given; class distinctions born of superstition and magic (always concerned with control over things or people supposedly for God's sake, or for control over God) are gone. This maturity cannot happen immediately, especially with great social upheavals, but it is the goal-a more possible goal today, perhaps, certainly a mme necessary one. So the individual Christian has the same goals listed above and the power (grace and Spirit) to perform them; the community or one higher class does not condescendingly provide the means, the goals themselves or the terms of activity. The community is the milieu for a mature believer's growth. The relationship of the Christian to his community is one of mystery, and for us thinking about it, one of faith. We must try to understand how the Christian, even with his religions maturity and the Spirit, still needs essentially to be amid the community for help, inspiration, for light, for criticism. Responsibility in the church is shared responsibility of ali members of a community for each other, rlifferentiated uprm function, and with a goal outside of the Church itself. This latter is extremely important, for Church, responsibility, authority have been seen since the reactionary and worried period following the Reformation and Enlightenment as ends in themselves. The gospel is quite clear that the Church is by essence missionary, inviting, reaching-out and non-exclusive. It is not the Kingdom of God nor the eschaton, and so cannat exist for itself. The bishop's responsibility is different from the child's -but in the normal biblical and in today's Amm¡ican Christian community such responsibility is always for a mature Christian


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and within the responsibility of other Christians with other functions and gifts. "The New Testament really has little to say about authority in the Church; the New Testament is anti-authoritarian in a proper sense. It abhors that type of domination which in the New Testament world was seen in secular power or in religions autocracy .... The nature of authority in the Church and the use of authority are determined by the mission of the Church, which is to proclaim the Gospel. Authority is empowered to act within the terms of this mission and within no other terms. The mission of proclamation is the mission of the whole Church; it does not belong exclusively to the organs of authority in the Church. Authority exists within the Church and for the Church; authority does not determine its own constitution. Authority is one of the operations of the Spirit, one of the organs of the body. The full !ife of the body, moved by the Spirit, demands the healthy function of ali the merubers.... Authority in the Church belongs to the whole Church and not to particular officers. Authority is a gift of the Spirit; as such, authority is subject to the supreme gift of the Spirit, which is love." (John L. McKenzie, Authority in the New Testament. New York, 1966, 84f.) RESPONSIBILITY AND AUTHORITY

To whom is one responsible? We are tirst of ali responsible to God in Jesus Christ. The Church is Jesus' new creation, his body, ambiquously yet really his eschatological kingdom. The greatest sin of irresponsibility is not to leave matters on earth untidy, but to fashion scandai, schism, defeatism, or incredibility (before Christians and non-Christians). For this renders the very reality of the Church contradictory of God. Each Christian is responsible to the others, who are called "the saints." As the new priesthood they replace Israel with its asked-for groupings; as the "spotless" they are contrastee! with the citizens of the socially perverse or exploitive. Again, the early Christians made heroic attempts to enter upon the mature phase of religion in human history to expect that ali of their members would be worthy of this responsibility. As the "entire world" became Christian, compromise had to be made, and the officiais of the Church became caretakers of


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"children," who could not live up to the responsibility of their own calling. Unfortunately, the theological self-image of bishops has long been a-historical, remaining based upon the paternalistic periods. Each persan is responsible for the others and for the community as a whole. But this responsibility is not only for but to. The baptized Christian as new creation and saint can never be manipulated, subjugated, mocked, treated as a nonpersan, although the temptation of the Grand Inquisitor (the great temptation of the Roman Catholic tradition) is al ways there: to commit precisely this sacrilege (acting against the new law of persona! and cosmic holiness of the baptized) for the sake of the "greater good," the present state of the community as a whole. We can conclude with a paradox. As we consider our !ife, God must be put first; we move f01路ward in the Christian community because under God's many graces we live. But in our life's history we can never justify the manipulation of a man for the sake of God. The first is legitimate, but it may not (as it often does) lead to the second. The great reluctance among bishops and their assistants in the church today stems from an inability to try to understand the two above points: ( 1) The Church does have something permanent, but it is able to adapt to varions historical realizations. Community, charism and office in that community are permanent, but the institutional realization of those have different options; (2) Responsibility in a. normal, healthy, mature community is not ove1路 (the wrong sense of {o1路)-there is a great fear that no one can be responsible and free and not be a Protestant sectarian-but to man with the community for him and beyond to others, as service. "The central problem of the church today in America, however, does not consist simply in a clarification of the episcopal office. lt involves, rather, the inter-relation between the authority of the office and two other authorities. The second source and kinrl of authority is the auth01路ity of the fellowship. It cornes to every Christian through baptism, to the adult in its fullness, the children in seed. lt is given to each persan so that he may witness the reality of Christ in the world at large, his own community, and his individual !ife. lt derives from


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membership in and the mission given to the fellowship. It is a mission not only to others who are not explicitly Chtistian but to fellow-Christians as weil, that they live together in Christ until he cornes. It may seem to force words to use 'authority' in this way, but our present legalistic use of the word is far too narrow. In its intrinsic meaning it is related to 'authentic,' 'authoritative,' and 'author.' The medieval authority (auctor) was a source of new understanding and action. Each Christian is called to initiate a witness to Christ in his own radically unique and persona! way. Even the old theology spoke of the consensus fidelium, and the tenn needs to be taken more radically today. Each person is an authority within the fellowship, for he may bear a significance and importance which includes not only himself, but others. He may speak for himself or others who are not in a position to speak, or he may point to a neglected truth. The authority of the fellowship is the right of one, severa!, or many in the fellowship to be taken seriously, to be hem¡d, to initiate action and to bear the consequences. And with that right cornes the responsibility to see that it is recognized and exercised. This is the humility which St. Thomas called capax dei, the capacity of keeping open to one's own reality and that of others, the capacity of servi ng the Holy Spirit." (K. L. Schmitz, "Authority, Community, Communication," Cross Curreni8, 17, 1967, 472. On the topic of CoResponsibility see the papers held at the CLSA symposium in April, 1970, summarized in The Ecurnenist, Mat¡ch-April, 1970.) "Full communication involving Catholic Christians, however, requires the recognition of a third location and kind of authority: it is the authority which cornes sim ply with being an adult human person. It cornes not with a collegial commission m¡ the fellowship of baptism, but with the maturity of adulthood. It is the authority of maturity, the right to be heard, consulted, the right to speak for others who may not be in a position to do so. This authority has always been present and intrudes into the church by the fact that there are human persans in it. lndeed, it is this authoritative presence which impels the church into the world. The church denies its own mission every time it does not respect, listen to, and even ohey the legitimate demands of


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this authority, bath in and outside the fellowship" (Ibid. p. 480). OFFICE AND RESPONSIBILITY

There is not, then, responsibility and non-responsibility in the Christian community, but a great bm¡den and mission of responsibility for being and doing Christians. Office in the church has a particular kind of responsibility, but clearly could not have ali responsibility. It is, because of the deeply communal and mature nature of the Christian religion, the source of sharing its own responsibility. It is not the ultimate source of responsibility in the Church, and soit is a mistaken approach to this problem to see the present monarchical, highly intensified clustering of ali authority as normal or normative. The approach to shared responsibility cornes not from "breaking dawn" authority (not theologically, although that would be a practical problem) but in understanding the nature of being a Christian, the kind of religious breakthroughs Jesus and the Spirit were undertaking, and the root essentials of Christian community and its goals. "The fullest possibilities of communication rest upon two conditions: community and authority. Since full communication requires two mature adults. There can be no such communication unless there is authority on both sides" (Ibid., 468). We use the term "madel" in a legitima te way for social structures and psychological attitudes towards ministry, authority and community living. Two particular kinds of models evident in the church are the paternalistic and the maternalistic. A recent article on the paternalistic mode] and "partnership in the Church" conclu des: "Un der the ravages of historical developrnent, the idea of spiritual fatherhood broke loose from the spiritual-personal context and entered the stream of juridical power-poli tics. The self-concept of the church of the Enlightenment, for example, ran parallel to the prevailing concept of civil rule: the clergy saw themselves as exclusive pmclaimHs of the Ward and dispensers of sacraments, while the faithful were those to be taught, directed, and manipulated. Eighteenth century theologians then championed the notion of 'leader' and 'guide' who would see to the precise observance of holy laws. Vatican II marked a reversai but still lm¡gely confirmed the


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father-son madel-in its original form, however: bishops and priests are to be accepted and loved as fathers by believers who were given spiritual birth. The positive value of the father-son mode! is its effective signification of the salvific meaning of prièstly mediation in w01·d and sacrament. But this mode! is an historical hangover. The great secondat-y societies of modem industrial !ife no longer structure themselves on the mode! of primary family society; the public rea lm is no longer merely a widening of the family circle. Instead, more democratie models are used. Such a mode! recognizes the basic equality of ali participants, their maturity and capability for decisions, and the distribution of tasks to various representatives; and only the individual's service performance serves as parameter for the cot·porat" exercise of authority. So we must be critical of using the father-son mode! in the church. Granted its validity as symbol, it fails to conform to the understanding of modern man; so the church cannot impose it as authentic teaching." (F. Hengsbac, "Partnership in the Church," Theology Digest, 17, 1969, 220 f.) As strange as it may seem, church sociology can also be criticized for a "maternalistic" approach. During the late second and early third century the Churclt became mothet". (Yves Congar, "Preface" to H. Delhaye, Mate1· Ecclesia, Paris, 1962. Another mode! used at times in the church is the military madel, obviously undesirable; see Drane, op. cit., 48 tf.) Sorne would see this as coming from legitimate theological sources, citing the Blessed Virgin or brief mention by the New Testament of the Church as the bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11 :2-4; Eph. 5 :21 tf.; Rev. 21 :2, 9). It is more likely that it entered through the conscious and unconscious intluence.of the great mystery religions, for whom the maternai was so important, and through parallelism with the empire: Roma and ecclesia are both feminine. As psychology has shawn, men can be strangely influenced by sorne mothers. The Church moved from being at baptism the consoling mother of believing adults ta becoming an imperial ruler of men's lives. The believing and sutfering mother became a demanding mother. It demanded celibacy, unquesfioned obedience and ordered her household (at one time


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the world) as an empress with no room for adult, free, human !ife within it. Both ()f these tendencies, deeply entrenched in the political history of Europe, are indicated only to show the regression from the deeper, more mature view of the initial Church backwards to more primitive and protective ways. The conclusion fot¡ced upon us from so many sides is that we must at this point in history reclaim our right to pursue human maturity in society and religion-beyond the mother and the father to the adult. IMPORTANCE OF STRUCTURES

We see how lofty the religions calling of Jesus Christ is, how absolutely important the Christian is, how central yet how pluralistic the community can be as it is realized in different cultures. Now we can grasp the paradox that today, in the Roman Catholic Church, we have no crisis of authority, no crisis of anarchy vs. responsibility, no cali for sectarianism or romantic absolute freedom. We have something more aware of the Catholic traditions and of history, successes and mistakes. Lessons have been learned from the past, as they are being learned from today's Western capitalism and Eastern state-socialism.- The struggle is not over whether office, differentiation of roles, central focus will exist, but as to how they will exist in relationship to Church and society. A church has two problerns in the revitalization of its missionary and hermeneutical function as a role which can involve authority in the preservative sense and must involve it in the leadership role. The first questions the role which the correct theOt"Y and implementation of communications, management, social change, and social psychology can play. "Communication is the web of human society. The structure of a communications system with its more or Jess well-defined channels is in a sense the skeleton of the social body which envelops it. The content of communications is, of course, the vet-y susbtance of human intercourse. The flow of communications determines the direction and the pace of dynamic social ¡development. Hence it is possible to analyze ali social processes in terms of the structure, content, and flow of communications." (W. Pye, "Introduction," Communications and Political


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Development, Princeton, 1963, 4.) Here we can only pau.se briefly and speculate about the valuable easing of tension and other positive contributions which diversitled !ines of authority would make in the Church. This has been done in sorne religions orders in their post-conciliar renewal. One problem is language. In a pluralism of cultures and theologies, with the new emphasis on the local church with its own secula1路 and sacramental liturgies, language can be an enormous problem. Just as "black power" is a socially and politically explosive word apart from its intended meaning, so "individual conscience" means quite different things to different areas of the Roman Catholic Church (as does "authot路ity" or "ecumenism" in the Protestant churches). Twelve hours after Humanae Vitae was issued, theologians from Catholic University were appearing before tlfty million Americans on TV and explaining their coming protest. Clearly the dimensions of communication and social psychology have vastly changed since papal bulls were sent beyond the Alps by messenger. The second factor corresponding to communications and language is structure. In light of the many complaints against the "structural chui路ch," it is significant that Vatican Il did not diminish structures but rather called for their increase or revivification. Most of them are involved in the process we are describing: the world-wide bishops' synod, the national bishops' conferences, international secretariates, the diocesan presbytery, the diocesan council, the parish council, liturgical commissions. Active, open, non-ossified, creative structures serving the pluralism and complexity of church ]ife are essential. Y et, many look upon the introduction of structures and channels of communication as enough. They would neglect the theological dimensions here. The Church is more thau an organization; it is a community; from the understanding of Catholic theology, it is sacramental, including both the human and the divine dimensions. Personnel, goals, committees, meetings and their vast network路 of interchanges cannot Jose the theological dimensions, i.e., participants must be informed not only as men or women but as Christians. They are chosen not as a divertissement from a cleric, but because they represent


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sorne absent dimension of the community, precisely in its Christian dimension. Authority does not collapse under these multiple tensions. Actually, they allow it to exist, to ftout·ish to be be adequate. It is in openness to the entire Church as mysterious that office opens itself to the Spirit. Spirit tends now to speak in persons and movements rather than in periods of private meditation. Dialogue and tensions of this sort should give the greatest possible voice and representation without binding the Spirit by only democratie process. THEOLOGICAL REDISCOVERIES

What are the theological rediscoveries which ai·e needed for a background to effective shared responsibility by members of a Christian community? It is not sufficient to let authority and law, even when following the enlightened directions, be the sole means of reforming ecclesial structures, for renewal should come from ali members. 1) We must be aware of the distinction between God's Word in Jesus Christ, his cali to community and his unique A post! es, and what follows in history. There are different realizations of "the Churéh" in the Greek and Semitic communities, in Rome as established religion, after the conversion of the Germans, in post-Tridentine Europe, in the United States. 2) We should accept the maturity, power, calling and dignity of each Christian under the Spirit and within the community -not just in his interior or next !ife, but as he stands as Ch1·istian above ail office-holders as authm·ities. We must value in young and old a new understanding of learning (as a task of theological education) how to theologize and study critical" !y yet respectfully the history of dogma. lt is necessary for the Christian pastor and bishop and for the theologian educator. 3) The knowledge and expertise of the social and behavioral sciences, and of management consultants can help set up adequate structures. 4) The above factors will help us to get beyond the many problems suffocating the role of the bishops today. Among them are the size and structures of a diocese. Is the bishop an administrator or a pastor, a preacher or a theologian, a prophetie· or conservative figure? · The selection and tenure of bishops and pastors is a crucial question


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if the severe threats in the exodus of clergy and younger Catholics in America in the next decade (relatively few episcopal sees are tilled in a decade) are to be avoided. 5) We must grow out of the Catholic predilection for absolu te dichotomies in administration. One of these is to see authOJ¡ity as vested either in one persan or in another. The legal documents of Roman Catholicism take such tortuous steps to avoid giving authority to anyone, whereas the communal nature of Christianity implies a more broadly based authority without rliminishing the central role of the office-holder. We know that, acc01¡ding to law, the discerning voice in the prâ‚Źsbytery or diocese assembled with its bishop rests with the bishop. And yet, to say that in the last analysis the bishop rules and al! others are at best merely consultative is to neglect the theological dimension. We can illustrate this point of view by the remarks of two different bishops. One of them, addressing a board of consultative laity and priests, said: "It is fine to have you present and to advise, but in the last analysis the decision rests with me." Another bishop said to his sena te: "Thcre is no reason why al! direction of policy of this diocese cannat come from around this table." The difference is theological and goes to the heart of what is the binding apostolic structure of the local church and what is its collegial realization torlay. Law is not theology, not the full expression of church !ife. Church structure is first of all theological, and only secondarily formulated into the historically Iimited constitutional expressions we cal! law. A legal formulation of the bishop's role does not exhaust the Christian relationship betwem bishop and community. There are two dimensions: the moral (meaning the relationship between persans in a group of Christian apostles) and the theological (this reality as an ecclesial institution for serving Christ). If the bishop consistently acts contrat-y to the majority of his people, he must ask why are his views different. Is he better informed? More creative and professionally knowledgeable? The "consultative" role noes extend into decision-making, for the normal, desired situation would be that al! agree in the dimensions of policymaking. This agreement seen theologically does not necessarily have to come about because the bishops's view is always ac-

1


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cepted. Rather, the agreement grows from the full community itself. 6) We usually think in tenns of two models of structure. The first (and later mode!) is one of a clerical state as contrasted with non-clerical or lay state. The "Catholic minci" may define the lay person not as the basic and normal Christian but as a negative entity, not-a-cierie. Clerics are ordained into a worthier "state" which sanctifies their !ife and actions. From the beginning of these pages, another mode! (that of the New Testament and its revolutionary idea for religion) has been dominant: that of function within a pluralistic community. As is weil known, the first Christians eschewed ali connection with religious or priestly states, and chose instead to emphasize the community with different function and roles. Already in Origen's times church's ministers are grouped together as clerics (sharing in the lot of the Lord, cast for Matthias), and at the period Origen is remarking on the difficulty of finding a bishop of a large city who associates with the poorer Christians rather than hiding himself behind dignities and powers. (Origen, Commenta1-y on John, 11, 3; Commentm-y on Matthew, 16,. 25; Contra Ce/swn, 3, 9; Homily 22 on Numbers, 4.) The reforms of Calvin and Luther could not fully succeed (and the Protestant churches therefore face today the same difficulties, surprisingly, as Roman Catholicism) because they tried to combine the New Testament ministerial mode! only with a diminishing of the state of !ife (lay-clergy mode!). Y ou cannot combine these two models, referring as they do to fonctions orto states of !ife. (The shift from ministry [priesthood] as state to function is illustrated in the contrast between Trent and Vatican Il, but it is not yet fully completed there. It remains for the "realization" of ministry to emerge with sorne new, specifically contemporary and American aspects on Trent to Vatican II. See H. Denis, "La théologie du presbyterat de Trente à Vatican II," Les prêtres, J. Frique and Y. Congar, eds., Paris, 1968, 193-232.) It is inevitable in the present questioning of ministry with its acknowledgment of secularization and effectiveness that the "state of !ife" will not survive. The ministry, as with the religious !ife, will survive ultimately only as supported by deep, zealous faith and as t·eali-


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zation of what is seen as an effective and worthwhile function of Christian service. It is the remnants of the Patristic and medieval sacral state which constantly confuses the cali for institutional renewal. These things and persons are consecrated and sacralized in such a way that they cannot be Jooked at critically or judged for Christian etfectiveness. Secularization might imply that change of dress is important. No, secularization of society has much greater import in making religious demands, such as the need for meaningful community not supplied by eight-hundred worshippers at a random liturgy. Secularization, revolution, radical honesty are the keynotes, but they refer more to institutional reform than to modest changes in !ife-style. Because they are aspects of history itself and because in themselves they are religious catalysts, they can either be acknowledged or foolishly defied. Space does not allow us to pm-sue the demise of sacred states. Intelligent commentators on the social and political scene would point out the parallels in government, the cali by the new politics fot· an honest and functional community leadership-ali of the same things needed by the local church. ÜFFICE AND CHARISM

One final area needs elaboration. This theologoumenon goes back to a controversy where Augustine made a very sharp distinction between office and charism. The Donatist controversy faces the unsettling and chaotic teaching that moral integrity was necessary for any Christian function. The dichotomy of textbook theology is sharper than Augustine and tradition. It gives the impression (related to ex ope1·e operato) that office and charism are completely separate. A compromise bridge was built with "grace of. office," but this grace is an added aspect, good but not necessary. Office is primary. The Tridentine mind set prophetie figures against office-holders (history shows few occasions wh en they agreed). The officeholders think that by doing nothing they are the mainstream, whereas it may be that God's grace has long by-passed them for they are unreachable. "The hierarchy of office is not identical with a 'hierarchy' of free charisms in the Church which also belong to the essence of the Church. Not only is nearness to God hardly a


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privilege of the clergy, but the clergy are not the only bearers of the Church's self~realization .... The ultimate, remaining unity between office and Spirit is not just administered but is a miracle which the Spirit alone works. Office is not the Lord of the Spirit and his charism, but the ir servant. ... There are deeds which God wills, demandee! from the conscience of individuals and which have to be begun before the church's office-holders give the signal to start, and also in directions which are not already officially approved and determinee!." (K. Rahner's Von Sinn des Kirchlichen Andes, Freiburg, 1966, 33, 35, 36.) We must overcome this dichotomy. Immorality (not just sexual, but in terms of people, money, zeal) and incompetency as weil as heresy show that an office-holder can become incompetent for that role in a Christian community. It is excessive to think that m01¡e scrupulosity must precede every act of a bishop or preacher, but it is also erroneous to think that no attention to real persona! and social virtue and achievement need be given. The office-holder like the charismatic but with different functions and terms and goals are both within the community. vVe need criteria to evaluate Christian performance of officeholders. Donatism involves asking not for sorne criteria, but for excessive ones. Orthocloxy and sexual sinlessness have been criteria; Paul lists more, which we neglect. Clearly, mental health, financial honesty, theological awareness, persona! stability, persona! and social openness are not criteria at present for office-holders. These criteria become difficult precisely because we are also concernee! beyond ordination to the period of office. Without criteria for selection of office-holders, granted the role of bishops and ¡communities within a wider sphere, shared responsibility can mean little more than a mona.rch's advisory council of friends and peers. At the same time, without the focus of authority in the community, shared responsibility will become a philosophy of action which sinks to the "democratie" leve! of common non-interest, or may go beyond to ecclesiastical fascism. Present criteria for different functions are almost non-existent. We are so unused to balancing 'off the strong directions of Catholic authority with other influences and groups, that it will be sorne time before we can understand how an intricate network of different agents with


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their own tasks, grounded on love and faith and service, can come to represent the nature of the Church. CONCLUSION

There is a chance that today the Church can regain and achieve that high religious vocation which Jesus gave to his followers and to their communities. The reality of local Christian communities may really begin to correspond to the view of the Church which Matthew and Paul had, and which the Epistles and Acts describe. We may be entering an age where the perennial compromise of the gospel with ecclesiastical reality may end-because it has to end. The credibility gaps between the Church and the crises of humanity become so great that the only options are radical renewal or insignificance. This is the choice: either to look with honesty and hope towards the New Testament models, or to expect more and more that men will say of the Church what Hegel said of the state: "There is no idea of the State.... Only that which is an object of freedom can be called an idea. We must, therefore, transcend the State. For every State is bound to treat free men as cogs in a machine. And this is precisely what it should not do; hence the State must perish." (Hegel cited in R. Marks, The Meaning of Marcuse, New York, 1970, 27.)


Anthony T. Padovanv

Ecclesiatical Authorily and the Senale of Priesls

The local bishop: ls he the one who unifies the authority of the presbyteri.um or the only one in the local ChuTCh with inherent authority?

Wherever there is human !ife, there is change. In fact, !ife cannot continue unless there is change. Correlatively, wherever there is human society, ecclesial or civil, there must be change. A community has no other choice except renewal or rigidity. By changing continually, a community preserves its identity and vitalizes its tradition. This change must be in accord with itself but it inust also be constant. Wherever there is faith, there is the Church. Wherever men assemble in the force of this faith, the Church becomes a believing community. This believing community bears a re203


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sponsibility to make itself believable since faith not only unites but seeks to share. Believability derives from concrete signs. Pre-eminent among these signs is the !ife of the local Church. The local Church is a microcosm of the Church universal. Whatever the universal Church hopes to be depends upon what the local Churches become. . Wherever the local Church is present, ministry is essential to its !ife. This ministry is a service in faith to a believing community. But this service in faith requires faith in ministry's mission as weil as in the God of faith. When ministry !oses faith in itself, the local Church is imperilled and, with it, the universal Church and the credibility of faith itself. There are sorne who believe, not wrongly, that ministry tends to Jose faith in itself when the local Church is not a sufficiently credible sign of faith's force and of God's Presence. Wherever ministry exists, it must take itself seriously and be taken seriously. One way to accomplish this is to intensify, in a vertical manner, our relationship with the God of faith. This cannot be accomplished adequately, however, unless, horizontally, ministry becomes credible to itse!f and to others in terms of the contribution it makes to the communal !ife of the local church on ali levels. The intent of this paper will. be the articulation of the manner in which the authority of the presbylerium can be made manifest. Although both the bishop and the presbyterium possess authority, the bishop is expected to use his authority more in the direction of unifying the local Church. The presbyterium otfers its authority in service by emphasizing variety and diversity in the context of this unity. AUTHORITY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

To affirm the need for authority is one thing; to endorse its particular form at one moment of history is another. If a community changes constanlly, so must the manne1¡ in which its authority is exercised. This need becomes urgent when a new approach to authority serves the pastoral mission of the Church better and yet does not negate the nature of the authority in question. In order to 'know how authority is to be structured, one


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must have an insight into the nature of the community it will serve. (cf. Johann, Robert 0., "Authority and Fellowship," America, April 23, 1966, p. 591) If the community is organic, functional efficiency is its objective. By "organic" 路we mean that the community defines itself primarily as a society. When the community is defined primarily by its societal structures, institutional elements and concrete, practical results are emphasized. If the community in question is a persona! community, persona! reciprocity is its intention. Unity of persons becornes an end in itself. Since Jesus made it clear that his disciples would love one another as a sign of their faith in路 him, persona! community is of the essence of the Church. This means that neither goals nor even the active apostolate hold first place in the Church. Communion, fellowship, and the reality of persons for one another are the motivating factors which assemble us in the name of Jesus. The apostolate of the Church tlows from this more fundamental reality. There is a place for societal elements and law in this scheme of things but they are secondary. Consensus is, therefore, more important than order, creativity more needed than organizational ability, charism more crucial than structural administration. The authority which serves persona! community seeks the unity of persons through love rather than rules. The effective leader, in this case, is not the one who gets the_job done but the one who is skilled at obtaining voluntary consent, allowing responsible dissent, and encouraging every legitimate diversity. 路The Church seeks to be a persona! community. This is both reassuring and dangerous. Commitment to persona! community is expected to be totaL Whether one is speaking of the family or the Church, absolute persona! donation is required since the pm路pose of being together is not the achievement. of specified objectives but the fulfillment and sacrifice of self. Those who exercise authority, in .the Church, therefore, are inconsistent when they operate organically, as leaders of a society rather than as community-formers, and still expect total obedience. They are self-serving when they look for docility in others without liaving made every effort to be at their service. This service must not be a societal and organic or even a ministerial service but a profound sense of solidarity and an incarnational


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identity with the community they are obliged to encourage. Likewise, thœe who do not hold positions of authority are misguided when they suppose that partial commitment suffices for persona! community. They become self-serving when they insist on being regardcd as persans but care little about a persona! regard for the community, for those who are weak in it as weil as for those who are strong. Persona! community cuts both ways in its demands. In a community which is persona!, authority does not seek primarily to be directive. It prefers to inspire, encourage and stimulate. This is true both in a family and in the Church. ~en ecclesial authority is the issue, there are concrete norms by which its validity cau be judged. The first of these is, of course, the Gospel as it reveals the mann er and words of Jesus concerning the exercise of authority. Another norm is the etfect authority is having on community not so much in terms of what is being accomplished as in terms of how persons are valued. To be specifie, the community should question itself as to whether authority is expecting, rewarding, and creating organic community. Are flexibility and multiplicity considered desirable or judged a necessary evil? Is loyalty defined as loyalty to the leader, persistence in the achievment of objectives, or fidelity to persons and faithfulness to community? We have been speaking thus far of authority in its juridic or structural.expression. This is not the only authority there is in the Church. There is also charismatic authority, the authority possessed by those whose vocation it is to teach or to minister or to witness prophetically to an evangelical value. In this paper, the term "authority" will be used in many senses. In harmony with the witness of Scripture, authority will not be limited to its juridic expression. It will include this but only as a result of an authority which exists on a more profound leve!. There is juridic authority in the Church only because there is, at !east as far as ministry is conceri).ed, a sacramental, charismatic, doctrinal, and pastoral authority present. The full concept of authority, then, includes, for each hierarchical structure in the Church, sacramental ordination, charismatic inspiration, doctrinal authority, pastoral ministry, and, finally, a juridic expression of these. In the recent past, the term "authority" was limited, in many cases to a juridic expression.


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This paper considers authority on ali the levels we have mentioned, and considers each of these levels part of the total and rich concept of authority witnessed to in Scripture and made manifest in the early centuries of the Church. There is no New Testament certification for the notion that one Christian in a local Church possesses ali its authority and that every other Christian is merely his consultor. In a special way, as we shaH see, the presbyterium possesses an authority of its own, not isolated from nor contradictory to that of the bishop but neither identified with that of the bishop nor only delegated by him. The whole people are communally and individually anointed. The whole Church is filled with the Spirit. Authority derives from the Spirit and is, in the caSe of the presbyterium, also imparted in sacramental ordination. This explains why St. Paul so frequently urges the leaders of the community to recognize the gifts of others and why he insists that the Church is built not only on the apostles but also on the prophets. Few have made the point more effectively than Cardinal Su en ens: "A statement about the Church, th en, which would speak only of the apostles and their successors, and fail to speak also about prophets and teachers, would be defective in a matter of the highest importance. What would our Church be without the charisrri of teachers or theologians? And what would our Church be without the charism of prophets, that is, men speaking under the inspiration of the Roly Spirit, who, speaking out insistently "on ali occasions, convenient and inconvenient" (cf. 2 Tim. 4,2) woke up the Church at times when she was asleep, to prevent the practice of the Gospel of Christ from being neglected? It was not in past ages alone, not only in the time of St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Francis of Assisi, that the Church was in need of the charisms of teachers and prophets and other ministries ; she needs them today as weil and needs them in her ordinary everyday !ife." (Congar, KĂźng, O;Hanlon ed. Council Speeches of Vatican Il. London pp. 19-20) THE COLLEGIAL PRINCIPLE AND Co-RESPONSIBILITY

The law of mutual dependence is a fondamental law governing the !ife of the Church. It justifies the principles of decentralization, subsidiarity, co-responsibility, and collegiality.


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The phenomenom of mutual dependence explains, in part, the doctrine of the Mystical Body and the reality of the Church as a community and as the People of Gad. Authority in the Church must be exercised in accordance with this law. In apostolic times, a variety of ministers served the Church, each according ta his own gifts and his own authority. There were, as we know, apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, and administrators. No one group in the Church exercised ali the Church's authority. It is, of course, undeniable that the apostles were given a unique authoritative ministry, sa unique, in fact, that no one could succeed fully ta the place they occupied in the Church. The Church is apostolic when it is faithful tO their witness, indeed ali apostolic succession requires fidelity ta their doctrine. When the apostles gave norms for the government of the Church, they were norms which had less relationship ta juridical authority than we now possess. Peter, for example instructs the Church eiders: "Do not try ta rule over those who have been given ta your care, but be examples for the ftock" (1 Pet. 5, 3). There are persuasive texts in the New Testament which certify that decisive authority is given ta Church leaders. But there are other texts, no less important, which accord even doctrinal authority ta the whole Church and which recognize the special charisms of prophets and teachers. (cf. Dulles, Avery "The Contemporary Magisterium," Theology Digest, Winter, 1969, pp. 299-311. I have found this article, actually a lecture, most useful in the construction of this section of the paper). Peter's Pentecost sermon makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is poured forth upon the entire community. Paul repeatedly instructs administrators ta be respecteful of the testimony of teachers and prophets. At Corinth, the prophets worked together with the apostles. They were esteemed, possessed directive authority, and were considered together with the apostles as the Church's foundation. In the early patristic period, there remained a sharp distinction among various groups in the Church with a consequent recognition of different authorities and diversifie<! gifts. Prophets, for example, continued to speak as they felt impelled by the Spirit. Teachers f01¡med catechetical schools and made significant efforts at the articulation of a theology for their


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time. Pastors, chietly presbyters and bishops, presided over the worship and discipline of local communities. Clement of Alexandria and Origen taught th at teachers ( didascaloi) stood, in their own way, in the line of apostolic succession. Cyprian, who was so conscious of the authority of the episcopale that he has been ca lied the doctor of the episcopacy, did not hesitate to write: "Bishops must not only teach but learn, for the best teacher is he who daily grows and advances by learning better." (Epis. 74, 10). Throughout the middle ages, theologians, Aquinas especially, exercised a crucial magisterium. At the Council of Constance (1414-1418), abbots, monks, friars, and lay leaders were given the same voting rights as bishops and cardinals (Tierney, Bt¡ian. Foundations of Conciliar The01¡y, Cambridge, 1955). A statement made in our century by Pius X would have seemed strange during much of Christian his tory: "The duty of the multitude is to allow itself to be led and to follow its leaders obediently." (Vehementer Nos, Feb. 11, 1906, Acta Sanctae Sedis 39, 8-9). Bishops in earlier centuries, as we shall see in section three of this paper, conducted their office, even in teaching, in respectful dialogue with presbyters and the faithful. This restraint was not as evident in modern times as it should have been. In protesting against this, Yves Congar charges in Lay People in the Church that ecclesiology has been transformed into hierarchology ih too many instances. Karl Rahner, furthermore, in his book Free Speech in the Church makes much of Pius XII's declaration that something would be lacking to the !ife of the Church if public opinion were not a force within it. The Dogm.atic Constitution on the Church, as we know, highlights the interdependent nature of the People of the God. Although it does not always qraw out the conclusions of its premise, its premise is that the Church is better defined by an ecclesiology of communion than by an ecclesiology derivative from the notion of the Church as a perfect society or an ecclesiastical organization. The whole people with its diversity and with its hierarchy has a great mission to accomplish. The pope and bishops function within the total context of the People of God. In such a relationship, the hierarchy is obliged not to sup-


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plant but to support and encourage the witness of the faithfui in their diversity. It must also recognize authority other than its own and charisms not easily subject to its control, interpretation, or comprehension. The observation made in the

Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World ought to apply, with equal force, to the Church: "Praise is due to those national procedures which allow the largest possible number of citizens to participate in public affairs with genuine freedom." ( n. 31). The time during and since the Second Vatican Council has led to a more intensive awareness on the part of the Church of how much it owes its own historical development to the language, culture, and social structures of the human family. There is no reason why contemporary fmms of government, teaching, and communication cannot mediate the message of the Gospel as effectively as absolutist or feudal, medieval or post-Reformation procedures. In fact, there¡ is every reason to insist that this transformation occur. Unless authority is structured according to new patterns, the Church will become not only Jess credible but even anachronistic. It will begin to regard as an absolute not the principle of ecclesial authority but one of its historical forms. Decision-making in modern secular society, as Avery Dulles reminds us, is democratie and self-critical rather than oligarchie and authoritarism. Society today is not organized in a paternal or patriarchal manner but in terms of the relative equality and the adult status of those for whom decisions are made and with whose participation they are formulated. The Second Vatican Council both in its Constitution on the Church (n. 32) and in its Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity ( n. 2-3) endorsed the fundamental equality of ali persans in the Church and also a diversity of gifts in a unity of missions: This fundamental equality requires posjtive and responsible collaboration in the common tasks of the Church and necessitates the recognition of the authority and the charisms attaching to those in the Church who are not members of the hierarchy. In a special way is this true of the presbyterium. Ordained to pastoral ministry, priests bear a responsibility with and under that of the bishop for the government of the local Church. Enough has been said of the fact that priests function under


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the authority of their bishop: it is time to declare the fact that they also function 1Vith him in government. Contemporary approaches to decision-making and the recognition of a diversity of authority in the Church will enable the Church to signify more clearly that no one member of the Church nor one group in the Church cau claim exclusive authot~ty or the total gift of Spirit. Sorne change in the way authority is exercised will also allow the Church to recognize nonessential elements in the historical development of its structures and ta correct sorne of the inevitable defects which every institution encounters. In any case, the pastoral mission of the Church demands a new attitude toward its own authority, an attitude not, as we shall see, at odds with tradition. Granted the validity of the points we have been making, a number of observations are in order. The ministry of the bishop in the local Church is not organization as such nor unification through rules and law. He must bring into focus the life of the local Church and harmonize it. Thus, he will not say the last word on a particular issue in a way which serves the Church weil unless he encourages others to say the next ta the last word. A bishop who speaks ali the words says none of them weil. The harmonization of !ife in a local Church is not achieved by restoring ta uniformity. The more diversity the better, so long as this diversity develops within the periphery of an acceptable horizon and according ta a certain broad definition of what it means ta be Catholic and ta serve God's People. This diversity even in matters of theology, let alone discipline, is neither undesirable nor unfamiliar. Cardinal Newman observes that the histary of the Church in the patristic era was the tale of two cities, Antioch and Alexandria, each of which had a very distinctive theology. We are ali acquainted with the diversity of discipline, worship, and law which both Eastern and Western Christianity evidence. We must ask ourselves anew how the Gospel can be presented as good news for the men of our day. One way certainly is to cease eulogizing the past and lamenting the evils of these calamitous times. We can also structm¡e the expt¡ession of the Church's authority according to the needs ta which we must minister rather thau expecting those needs ta cede to


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our need to remain comfortable with accustomed ways of thinking and behaving, legitimate in their own day, perhaps, even profoundly serviceable to former ages of the Church but not necessarily required either by the nature of the Church or the times in which we live. There is no reason for despair in this endeavor. ¡ Although we have only begun to re-structure the Church's authority, we have begun. Nations and regions in the Church have assembled their hierarchies into collective units. The internationalization and reform of the Curia continues. Two international Synods have already taken place in Rome with a guarantee that they will occur at !east every two years. The international commission of theologians is a reality. The pastoral¡ letters of the bishops of the world responding to Humanae Vitae. the declarations of the Dutch and Brazilian bishops on celibacy, and the interviews granted by Cardinal Suenens are promising signs. In the United States, the principle of due process has been put into operation, recognizing as it does the possibility of administrative review and the diversity of legal traditions in the Church. The NFPC is a further indication that authority in the Church cornes not only through the hierarchy but functions together with its legitimate and decisive authority. We might say, in conclusion, that the more unilateral authority in the Church may be, the more defective the community. This does not mean that authority cannot act unilaterally and validly at the same time. It does mean that such unilateral action occurs either because the community is too immature to be consulted and to collaborate, or that those in authority recognize only their own authority and, hence, misuse it. In line with this, we might add that there is no theological reason why the Pope alone could not agree to make no further major decisions for the Church. The normal course of events could be one in which the international Synod of Bishops, with the Pope, would make major decisions and that the Pope would ratify these unless, in extraordinary circumstances, the charism of his office or his conscience would not allow conCUITence. Likewise, on the leve! of the local Church, there is no theological reason why the bishop could not allow ali major decision to be made by the Senate of Priests and the Diocesan


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Council unless, in extraordinary circumstances, his charism or conscience would dictate otherwise. THE PRESBYTERIUM

There are persuasive· historical and theological reasons to support the idea that the collegiality of presbyters pertains to the essènce and the organic structure of the local Church. The "Explanatory Note" attached to the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church and in the light of which the document was accepted maintains that there is a proportionality, between the college of the apostles with Peter and the college of the bishops with the Pope: The relationship is not one of identity since the post-apostolic leaders of the Church do not succeed to the unique position nor to the extraordinary perogatives of the Twelve. In a roughly similar manner, we contend that the ,collegium of the presbyters of a local Church have the local bishop as their head. The collegium of the presbyters does not succeed, howevet·, to the unique position nor to the prerogatives of either the local bishop or the universal episcopate. Nonetheless, they h;we an authority of their own as we shall see. Since the local Church is a microcosm of the universal Church the local bishop is bound to the college of priests in somewhat the same way as Peter's successor is bound to the college of his brother bishops. There remain, of course, fm·ther theological distinctions to make but since the intention of this section of our paper is a clarification of the authority of the presbyterium rather than a careful analysis of the respective roles of bishops and priests, the pm·allel we have drawn is · valid as far as it goes. St. Paul, as we know, did not envision what we now call the local Church as a pyramid but rather as the Body of Christ. The New Testament, in fact, gives considerable prominence to the presbyters or eiders of the Christian community. It is commonplace to maintain that the distinction between episcopoi and presbyteroi given to us in the New Testament is vague. A period of time elapsed before one leader of each local Church emerges as the norm of Church government. This process is certainly ended, however, before the apostolic age, broadly defined, is closed and before the canon of the Scripture is complete. We are not concerned in this paper with


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either the distinction between bishop and priest or with the validity of episcopal leadership of the local Church. We are interested, however, in determining whether all the authority of the college of elders and presbyters which ruled the Church in the beginning was transferred to the office and persan of the local bishop. Our contention will be that it was not. We shall argue that the authority which pertains to the presbyterium is a directive authority and a deliberative authority. The basis for this authority will be the sacramental ordination of the presbyterium, its inseparable connection with the office of bishop, the nature of ministry, and the charism of priesthood, which is, of course, a charism for leadership and governing. This authority is not, as we have said, to function against but together with that of the bishop. In Acts 20, 28-31, the ruling college of Church leaders is described as guardians of the flock. They are expected to lead the community and to care for the preservation of its orthodoxy.' Apparently, the idea of a college leading a local community is the most original form of Church government. Paul and Barnabas appointed colleges of presbyters in the varions communities they established during their first voyage (Acts 14 :23). When he returns from his third missionary journey, Paul sends for the presbyters of the community at Ephesus (Acts. 20:17ff). They are described as a body of episcopDl:presbyteroi, appointed by the Holy Spirit to shepherd the Church of God ( Acts 20 :28). They seem to be a college of both pastors and teachers of the faith. The college of presbyters constitute Timothy in office by the imposition of their hands (I Tim. 4 :14). They appear in ali the early communities described in the New Testament; they are always presented in the plural; and they act as a body rather than singly. In the first chapter of Titus, Paul gives instructions that a college of presbyters must be appointed "in every town" where the Church is established (Titus 1 :5) . Du ring the absence of the apostles who were often on the move, episcopoi, elders, or presbyteroi celebrated the Eucharist and govern the local community collegially. The observation of Giuseppe D'Ercole concerning the nature of these colleges is judicious: Together with the apostles they resolve the controversy about the obligation of the Law and circumcision. While the word may seem


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extravagant, they are in substance legislators, alongside with the apostles with whom they issue the doctrinal and disciplinary decree decided by the Council. (D'Ercole, Giuseppe, "The Presbyteral Colleges in the Early Church," Concilium, v. 7, n. 2, Burns and Oates, London 1966, p. 12). In order to trace the development of the presbyteral college through those times in which the authority of the presbyterium was more effectively realized it would be weil for us to offer documentation from each of the first six centuries of the Church's history and from the middle ages. The Didache suggests that each local community had its own episcopoi who appear in the plural and are responsible for worship and liturgy. When Clement of Rome writes his famous letter to the Corinthians who were rebelling against their presbyters, he does not write from one bishop to another but from one Church to another: "The Church of God which is in Rome to the Church of God which is ¡in Corinth." Clement exhorts those who receive his letter to obedience and unity in charity since the college of episcopoi-p>¡esbyteroi succeeds the apostles. He makes no mention of a presiding bishop in Corinth. This is unusual in a document dealing with the unity of a local Church and indicates that, very probably, a collegiate presbyteral government prevailed in Corinth. In any case, the presbyters must be respected since a certain stability attaches to their office (Cor. cc. 42-44). In the writings of Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop has assumed a pre-emenent position in the loca( Church. There is no doubt that the letters of Ignatius witness to a unique unifying office which the bishop, now seen in the singular, occupies. We do not contest this evidence; indeed we affirm it as a legitima te and altogether desirable apostolic development. There are other realities, however, in the letters of Ignatius which must be taken into account. Before we continue, we note that ali references to deacons will be omitted in our consideration since, as in the case of bishops, we wish to limit ourselves to one reality, that of the presbyteral college, a reality sufficiently complex to warrant a study in itself. Ignatius gives the impression that obedience is owed to both bishops and presbyters. In his Letter to the Trallians, he presents the .presbyters as a coilege of ministers, a senate of God,


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who surround and support their bishop (Trallians 2 :2). Though the presbyterium must be submissive to the bishop, others owe it honor and obedience as God's senate: the presbyters must be respected "as God's high council and as the Apostolic College" (Trall. 3 :1). In three letters, Ignatius urges the faithful to be subject to the presbyterium as they would be to the apostles of Jesus Christ (Magn. 13 :1-2; Trall. 2:2; Smyrn. 8 :1). Nothing can be achieved without both the bishop and the presbyters. Ignatius sometimes adds "kai sun autou presbyterois" ("and with his presbyters") in speaking of the government of the bishop, an indication that the presbyters have a governing role in the Church. The presbyters have been named according to the Spirit of Christ. They are a stable institution placed in office according to his will by means of the Holy Spirit (Phil.: preface). Presbyters are, therefore, an essential component of the local Church. Without them, one cannat even speak of the Church (Trall. 3:1). The faithful owe a single-rilinded obedience to the bishop and the presbyterium. It is noteworthy, however, that the bishop alone is not cited as the only source of authority, apostolic mission, or government. We may conclude our testimony from the second century by citing Polycarp. Polycarp writes to Philippi without mentioning the bishop but exhorting the faithful to obey the college of presbyters: "Polycarp and those who are presbyters with him to the Church of God which resides as a stranger at Philippi" (Phil. Preface). Evidently a collegial regime still prevails in Philippi. Polycarp identifies himself as a bishop by referring to those who are presbyters with him. Later, these same presbyters at Smyrna are sufficiently conscious of their authority as a college to summon Noetus, interrogate him concerning his orthodoxy, and expel him from the Church when he proves obstinate (Hippolytus: Contra Noetum, c.1). There is little doubt that by the third century the bishop of each local Church is seen clearly as the head of the presbyterium and of the faithful in that Church. He possesses persona! prerogatives of government not derived from the presbyterium. Nonetheless, Cyprian writes that he made a rule from the beginning of his episcopate to do nothing without first having informed his presbyters (Ep. 14 :4). In the year 250,


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he writes to the presbyters and deacons to inform them that for urgent reasons, he ordained a sub-deacon and reader, not initiating the action on his own but merely putting into effect what had already been decided by ali. ("Nihil ergo a me absentibus vobis novum factum est, sed quod iam pridem communi consilio omnium nostrum coeperat, necessitate urgente promotum est." Cf. Letter 29 and also Letters 8, 9, 20, 27, 30, 35, 36). We observed earlier that Cyprian was vividly conscious of the authority of the episcopate. Yet, sede vacante, he corresponds with the presbyterium at Rome and sends documents to demonstrate his compliance with their opinion in questions of discipline. The presbyters at Rome, in their turn, realized that their proposais were subject to their future bishop for definite solution. This case is one more indication of two important themes intluencing the construction of this paper: the decisive office exercised by the bishop and the relationship of that office to the authority and reality of the local presbyterium. At about this same time in the third century, the Didascalia Apostolorum states that presbyters must also be considered a type of the a post! es. After the third century, the place held by the presbyterium becomes Jess significant on both the consultative and deliberative leve! of decision-making. The reason for this is not difficult to discover. In the earlier centuries, the presbyters lived near their bishop in the larger cities where the first local Churches clustered. Later, as Christianity expanded to the villages, the presbyterium was broken up and !ost its sense of corporate identity. Priests were sent to proclaim the Word and celebrate the sacraments in areas distant from both their bishop and their fellow presbyters. Traces of the colligium and its former influence do, however, manage to survive. For example, Jerome maintains that the difference between a bishop and a priest is not of divine ordination. The Council of Trent, latet¡, wishing to respect Jerome's opinion, did not undertake to define the pre-eminence of the bishop over presbyters to be of. divine law (Session XXIII, canon 7; DS1777). If the difference is not of divine dispensation, the reservation of the power of ordaining ministers would be a church decision. In fact, there are instances of priests ordaining other priests and evidence that the Church accepted and recognized the ministry of priests so


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ordained. ( Lennerz, H. De Sacrœmento Ordinis, editio secunda, Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana, Rome, 1953). In the fifth century, the Canons of Hippolytus deriving from the Traditio Apostolica of Hippolytus of Rome, refer to the virtual identity in the ordination rite of bishop and priest: "Ali is do ne with him in the same mann er as with the bishop except that he does not occupy the throne." ("Omnia cum eo similiter agatur ac cum episcopo nisi quod cathedrae non insideat"). It is not unsual to find the observation that ordination does not consist in the reception of persona! powers except insofar as one has membership in the presbyterium. The original Tn!ditio Apostolica contains an ordination prayer which re-in forces the theology of presbyteral government: "Look upon this your servant and impa1t to him the spirit of grace and counsel that he may share in the presbyterate and govern your people with a pure heart," (T,rœditio Aposto/:ica 8, 2). To complete our references to the influence of the presbyterium in each of the early centuries, we can recall that in the sixth century at the Council of Braga ( 572), presbyters emerged as the controlling body designated to prevent abuses by the bishop in the distribution of ecclesiastical property (cc. 14-15). During the middle ages, Hugh of St. Victor writes (1134) : "Among the clergy ... there is divine power" (P.L.176, 417-8). Innocent III, in 1206, reminded the bishop of Pisa that the legal privileges held by the clergy in medieval society were not conceded to them as individuals or for their own advantage but only insofar as they comprised an ecclesiastical college ("collegio ecclesiastico"-PL. 215, 876). The same Pope convoked the Fourth Lateran Council in 1213 and summoned to it not only ecclesiastical prelates but also representation from the chapters of collegiate Churches. We mentioned above that in the early centuries priests remained in the city with their bishop and formed a college of presbyters with him. This tradition survived in the institution of the collegial chapter which reached its zenith during the middle ages, especially in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The members of the collegial chapter were collaborators with and advisors to their bishop. They took part in the election of


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bishops, supervised provisions for benefices, and were empowered to impose ecclesiastical sanctions. Indeed, the same tradition led to the institution of the presbyteral cardinalate in Rome. These men were originally representatives of the preshyterium for their local bishop. Today they are a senate to the Bishop of Rome and elect him. There remain relies of the one-time collegiality of the local presbyterium other than the collegial chapter and the college of cardinals. The priests of a diocese continue to he invited to impose hands on the new members of the presbyterium, as a sign of their incorporation into the college of priests, during the ordination ceremony. This probably derives from St. Paul's reference of "the imposition of the presbyters' hands" ( 1 Tim. 4 :14). Indeed, in the Tmditio Apostolica, the bishop actually ordained new priests while the presbyters also imposed hands ("contingentihus etiam presbyteris"). Finally, one sees a remainder of the once significant authority of the presbyterium in the institution of the diocesan synod. Trent insisted that a diocesan synod should meet eve1¡y year and assigned it important tasks (Session 24, canon 18; Session 25, chapter 10). The present Code of Canon Law, developed in an age preoccupied with episcopal and papal authority, is Jess mindful of the authority of the presbyterium. It limits synods to intervals of ten years and reduces the functions it is empowered to perform (cc. 356-362). It is evident that we need a more complete view of the presbyterium. This will include systematic thinking on the nature of its collegiality and its inherent authoi¡ity. It may weil he that even the collegiality of the episcopate depends as much upon the nature of the priesthood which hishops share as on the collegial structure of the Twelve and consequent apostolic succession from them. The collegial reality of the local preshyterium ought to be so emphasized that the authority of priests will be manifest. At their ordination they received, in the words of the Tr-aditio Apostolica, "the spirit of grace and counsel to help and govern the people with a pure heari:." In thinking more deeply about the presbyterium, we must ask ouTselves a number of crucial questions. Ought not the local bishop he seen as the one who unifies the authority of the preshyterium rather than as the only one in the local Church

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who has inherent authority? If the local Church is a microcosm of the universal Church, ought it not retlect, in its own way, the essential collegial structm¡e of the uni versai Church? Does this not demand that a local church never be established unless there by a presbyterium in whose collegial structure the bishop functions? Is not a bishop, therefore, accountable in a special manner to his presbyterium? THE SENATE OF PRIESTS

A few remarks concerning the Senate of Priests are now in order. We limit our scope to the presbyterium and its representative body although much 11eeds to be said concerning the Diocesan Council and the laity. Unfortunately, however, one carinot say everything that must be said every time he speaks. The Sacred Congregation for the Clergy reminds us that "the presbyteral Council shou Id express the whole prebyterium of the diocese" (Ci>¡cular Letter, April 11, 1970). Since the presbyteri um is not merely a consultative structure in the Church but performs an essential ministry, indeed the ministry of the Eucharist as weil as leadership of the Christian community, we might argue that its representative body is not merely consultative. The prebyterium possesses pastoral, charismatic, and sacramental authority. It exista as a collegium, as we have s~>en. Only if one's ecclesiol,ogy is expressed in j uri die categories which center ali authority in the local bishop and envision priests as merely his extension can one conclude that the Senate of Priests is consultative and nothing more. In this view, the bishop delegates to every Christian the authority each possesses. Ali these Christians, no matter how many, are his delegates and, at best, his consultors. If authority, however derives from charism and is rooted in the sacraments of baptism and orders, then the Senate of Priests posses its own authority. This authority, as we have repeated, is meant to harmonize with that of the bishop but is not merely delegated from him. One cannot, in fairness, cite the Decree on the Ministry and Li[e of Priests to support the observation we have just made. It is weil to note, however, that this decree does not hesitate to speak of authority in the case of the presbyterium. We rearl, for example: "Inasmuch as it is connected with the episcopal

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order, the priestly office shares. in the authority by which Christ himself builds up, sanctifies, and rules His Body" (n. 2). "Priests, in their own measure, participa te in the office of the apostles" (n. 2). Indeed, "priests exercise the office of Christ to the degree of their authority and in the name of their bishops" (n. 6). The Second Vatican Council and subsequent legislation allows the local bishop to function independently of many of the general laws of the Church. He now has more freedom with regard to his clergy, e.g., the elimination of the privileges of irremoveable pastors. This situation can create a gap at the diocesan leve! in which the bishop may have too much power for his own good and the good of the Church. Although the Ci?¡cukJ:,. Lette,. from the Second Congregation for the Clergy limits the Senate of Priests to a consultative function, it calls the Senate "a special consultative organ because by its nature and its procedure it is pre-eminent among other organs of the same character." The same document adds that the bishop may "in individual cases" give "a deliberate vote" to the Senate. An effective Senate of Priests with sufficient authority can serve the local Church better than a situation in which all authority resides in one man. The mode! by which a deliberative structure can recognize a superior authority is provided in the relationship of the episcopal college with Peter's successor. The Pope does not draw ali the authority of the Church to himself; the bishops are not merely the delegates and consultors of the Roly Father. The relationship of the bishop of a local Church with his prebyterium should imitate without obviously repeating in all details the relationship which prevails in the episcopal college between Peter and his brother bishops. Just as the episcopal college succeeds the apostolic college only by virtue of a certain proportionality, so the presbyteral college repeats the episcopal college only according to a limited propm1;ionality. There are, finally, sorne practical proposais we may consider. Ali the officers of a local Church, since they are members of the presbyterium, should be nomina.ted by the Sena.te of Priests. No major decisions should be made without dialogue with the Senate of Priests. Proposais for a. legislative and judicial voice for the presbyterium through its Senate should be given se-


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rious consideration. There are ways to do this without denying the traditional and necessary authority of the bishop. On the death, resignation, or retirement of a bishop, the Senate of Priests should continue in existence and the care of the diocese should cede to the Senate who will select someone to guide the diocese until the competent ecclesiastical authorities elect a new bishop. In offering these observations and suggestions, we must keep in mind that we are striving for what Karl Rahner calls "the happy medium between revolutionary factionalism and mere pious devotion to authority" (Cf. "Schism in the Catholic Church ?" Theology Digest, Spring, 1970, p. 7). No responsible theologian and no responsible priest wishes to deprive the bishop of a decisive voice or a unique unifying ministry. To state this much is at least to begin but it leaves much unsaid. We have spoken almost exclusively of the authority of the presbyterium in this paper and not of the bishop, partly because it was necessary to limit our topic, partly because enough has been said of the authority of the bishop. One need not repeat forever what has been said and weil received. In any case, we need a change of attitude even more urgently than a refOJm of structures. Authority can be administered as badly by many as by one. We have suggested that the presbyterium through its unique representative body, the Senate of Priests, have restored to it its original and traditional power so that, paradoxically, we might respond suitably to the signs of the times and the needs of the contemporary Church.


AUTHORS lN THIS ISSUE James A. Coriden, S.T.L., J~C.D., is Assistant Professor in the School of Theology at the Catholic.University of America. Robert B. Eno, S.S., S.T.D., is Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Catholic University of America. George W. MacRae, S.J., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of New Testament Studies at Weston College School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. J. Robert Nelson, Ph.D., the first non-Catholic to teach at the Pontifical Gregorian University, is presently Professor of Systematic Theology at Boston University School of Theology. Thomas F. O'Meara, O.P., Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Aquinas lnstitute of Theology, Dubuque, Iowa, visiting Associate Professor, Notre Dame University. Anthony Thomas Padovano, S.T.D., Ph.L., is Professor of Dogmatic Theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington, N~w Jersey. Robert F. Trisco, Eccl.D., is Associate Professor of Church History at the Catholic University of America and Editor of the Catholic H~torical Revimv.

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