Summer 1971

Page 1


CHICAGO

STUDIES

EDITORIAL STAFF

Editor George J. Dyer

Associate Editor

Business lUa-nager

Richard J. Wojcik

John F. Dedek

Executive AssiBtant

Production Mamager

Marjorie l\L Lukas

Edmund J. Siedlecki

Editorial Advisors

Joseph A. Bracken, S.J.¡ Gerard T. Broccolo James P. Doyle John F. Fahey William 0. Goedert John R. Gorman Vincent C. Horrigan, S.J. Willard F. Jabusch George J. Kane Edward H. Konerman, S.J.

William P. LeSaint, S.J. Thomas B. McDonough George K. Malone Chal"les R. Meyer Gerald T. O'Brien Joseph J. O'Brien Robert A. Reicher Richard F. Schroeder Edward J. Stokes, S.J. Thomas F. Sullivan

CHICAGO STUDIES is edited by the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary and the priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago for the continuing education of the clergy. The editors welcome articles and letters likely to be of interest to our readers. All communications regarding articles 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; Foreign subscribers: add 50c per year. CHICAGO STUDIES is published three times a year with ecclesiastical permission and copyright, 1971, 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 1\Iicrofilms, Inc., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Manuscripts will not be retun1ed unless accompanied by self addressed stamped envelope.


VOLUME 10

SUMMER, 1971

NUMBER 2

Future Forms of Ministry

Articles PRIEST, CHURCH AND THE FUTURE FROM A SOCIOLOGICAL VIEWPOINT

115

Andrew M. Greeley

REFLECTIONS ON THE PSYCHOLOGY OF AMERICAN PRIESTS

131

Eugene C. Kennedy

MINISTRY IN FUTURE SHOCK

139

Carl J. Armbruster, S.J.

OUR GIFTS DIFFER ...•

155

John Tracy Ellis

\

CHURCH ORDER AND THE EMERGING FUTURE

171

John E. Biersdorf

f

FROM NEW TESTAMENT TEXT TO PRIESTHOOD TOMORROW

187

Quentin Quesnell, S.J.

PERMANENCY IN PRIESTLY MINISTRY

201

Thomas E. CU!rke, S.J.

ECCLESIAL MINISTRY FOR WOMEN

215

Agnes Cunningham, sscm

AUTHORS

224

I

OuR COVER: Father Lopez Memorial, Mission of Nombre De Dios, St. Augustine, Flo1·ida, sculpted by Ivan Mestrovic. Father Lopez offered the first parish mass in what is now the United States.


Andrew M. Greeley

Priest, Church and the Future {rom a Sociological Viewpoint Ours is a era in which l.ooking for B1tt the changed

\

profoundly religious men and 1vomen are religious leadership. are(L of mystery has from the physical to the 1Jsyclwlogical.

In this article it will be contended that, contrary to the popular wisdom, ours is an age of profound religious questioning and one in which the role of the priest is more critical and, to use a much overused word, "relevant" than any time in the past. On first reading, such a thesis seems absurd. "Everyone knows" that there is very serious reason to fear that the Church and the priesthood will be completely "irrelevant" in the very near future. The firm, tightly structured forms of immigrant Catholicism seem on the verge of collapse. There has been a large exodus from the clergy with 5 per cent of the 115


116

CHICAGO STUDIES

diocesan priests of the country leaving the priesthood in the last five years. Perhaps as much as another 5 per cent are likely to leave in the immediate future. It is also well known that many of the young clergy find the ordinary ministerial activities of the priesthood to be not merely "irrelevant" but also dull and uninteresting. There has been an appalling decline in recruitment of young men to the priesthood. Ecclesiastical authority seems to have lost credibility on a number of issues concerning which in the past it would not have been questioned for a moment. There has been some decline in church attendance and perhaps a decline in church contributions. Young people seem indifferent to organized religion, and young and old alike agree, according to the Gallup Poll, that religion is losing its influence in American life. One might quarrel with some of the data cited in the previous paragraph. For example, even though the church attendance figures are down, they are still substantially higher than they were in the 1930's. It might also be argued that, given the nature of the traumas that rocked Catholicism in the last decade, what is surprising is not the somewhat shaky state of morale but rather that the losses have been so small. But for the sake of argument, let us concede the validity of the description advanced in the paragraph before the last one. Let us concede that the organized Church has more than its full share of problems. It is still valid to argue that ours is a profoundly religious era in which men and women are looking for religious leadership. Only a few years ago Professor Harvey Cox was celebrating the glories of the secular city and a number of young Protestant theologians were celebrating the death of God. But Professor Cox has migrated from the secular city to the feast of fools. The death of God theologians have become silent. The secular sociological journal, Social Research, can devote a whole issue to the subject of "The Resacralization." Professor Cox will announce after an "out of sight" liturgy in Boston that anyone who does not see evidence of a revival of religious needs and interests is blind. The present writer agrees with Cox and with the articles in Social Resea,rch, only what is being witnessed is not a "resacralization" or a "revival" but rather a rediscovery by aca-


SOCIOLOGY

117

demics and scholars of the profound religious needs of contemporary society, needs that are no less religious because the churches have not yet been able to put ecclesiastical titles on them, or, if the truth be told, even recognize their existence. Cox and Peter Berger, the editors of Social Research, have rediscovered the sacred for the rather obvious reasons that the sacred has suddenly once again intruded itself in weird forms outside their office windows on the college campus. Witchcraft, astrology, oriental mysticism, Taro cards, divination, bizarre medieval cults have all become a standard part of campus life. Professor Gregory Baum, in a Social Research article, while arguing strongly for the religious nature of¡ the "youth culture," is skeptical about the depth and the significance of these "Neosacral activities." Whether they have depth or persistence, however, is a question which must be left to the future. Sociologists and anthropologists are forced to comment that by any definition of religious behavior we have available these superstitious phenomena are certainly religious. In addition, ecstasy is fashionable again, whether achieved by drugs, or by immersing oneself in rock music, or even by mystical contemplation, unaided either by sound or chemicals. Mystics of course we have always had with us and probably always will, but mysticism on the college campus in 1970 is something so astonishing that even members of the sociology department cannot deny their surprise. In the last two years there has also been a fantastic growth in the "commune" movement ranging all the way from nudity and free love to asceticism to rival that of La Trappe. The commune movement is a strange mixture of the odd, the kooky, the superstitious, and the generous, the sincere, and the profound. It is characterized by extraordinary naivete about the complexity of human relationships. Though most communes do not survive very long in their utopian community, nevertheless, the rationale offered by commune members is explicitly and specifically religious, and the rites of behavior they develop are often consciously religious. In one instance of which the author knows, a member of the commune who goes out of it into the city to purchase food must go through a decontamination period of at least one day at the entrance of the commune because it is assumed that his experi-


11 8

CHICAGO STUDIES

ence in the city will "mess up his head." One is reminded of Thomas a Kempis' comment that every time he left his cell to interact with men he returned to his cell a lesser man than he was. Finally, scientific rationalism and its offspring, technology, are in deep trouble with young America. Not only has science brought neither peace nor justice nor love to the world, it is also rapidly polluting the environment. Therefore, the scientific philosophy which viewed the earth as a closed system that could be both known and controlled by positive science, has been rejected in favor of an open universe in which the miraculous and the marvelous are almost taken for granted. One very distinguished American social scientist remarked to me that he would as soon believe a careful astrological analysis of another human being as he would a Rorschach or a TAT test. It was not that he denied the utility of the test but rather that he found the world too filled with surprises to be willing to put any limitations on the forms of human knowledge and insights. It is sometimes argued that the neosacrally ecstatic, the communitarian, and the nonrational are simply campus phenomena and do not represent a religious revival in the larger society, but such an argument igno1¡es the fact that the campuses are the places where intellectual and life-style patterns of a nation are set. It also ignores the fact that what is going on on the campus is but the tip of the iceberg. As Professor Martin Marty points out in his article in Social Research, the "occult industry" is delighted with its new respectability on campus but it views its respectability as an opportunity for even further growth of an industry that was flourishing before the campuses recognized its existence. What the occult explosion on the campus really shows is that if man tries to deprive himself of the religious and the sacred for too long then he is very likely to return to the superstitious or, to put the matter even more succinctly, if man determines that God is dead he may quickly discover that the devil lives. The sociologist is not particularly surprised at the persistence of religion in the face of the so-called secularizing trend. The father and founder of contemporary sociology, Emil Durkheim (a Jewish agnostic, incidentally), asserted quite calmly


SOCIOLOGY

l I

119

and confidently that there will always be a 1¡eligion. The reason for this confidence is that religion meets two fundamental needs: the need for an explanation of the mysteries of ¡life and the need for an intimate community in which one can share one's basic commitments with one's fellows. If man is deprived of his old religion, he merely seeks out new meaning systems and new communities and elevates them to a religious status. The anthropologist, Clifford Geertz, says that religion gives man his basic and fundamental "meaning system." It provides him with a conviction of tile interpretability of the meaning of the universe, a conviction in the absense of which life becomes intolerably chaotic. The sociologist, Thomas Luckmann, argues that man's religion is his "interpretive scheme," that is to say, a road map which enables man to put some kind of order and meaning into the vast array of experiences that impinge upon his consciousness. In other words, religion provides answers to the most basic and fundamental questions that man asks: Is life gracious or evil? Is it, as Shakespeare said, "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"? Or is one rather willing to agree with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin that "something is afoot in the universe"? Does life triumph over death or death over life? How does tile good man live? Is the Ultimate Reality inaccessible or accessible? (I believe that the Christian response to this question is to say tllat Ultimate Reality is really far more accessible than we'd rather like to have it.) What sort of ways are there available by which a man may unite himself with the fundamental processes of the universe? These questions may in most men's consciousnesses be only passive and implicit, but Geertz and Luckmann, and indeed almost any sociologist of religion, operating from the view that sees religion as a fundamental part of human culture, will contend that every man must have at least some implicit and rough and ready answers to these questions. But religion is an individual matter neither in its origins nor its exercise. We acquire our meaning systems or our interpretive schemes from our parents and, through them, from the larger society. Indeed, it seems very likely that we acquire them at the same time and in the same way that we acquire our language--by absorbing religion from the environment. But not only do we learn our religion from social behavior;


120

CHICAGO STUDIES

we also exercise religion in human communities and we seek out those who share our values in order that we might form community with them. The strain in the liuman personality towards association with "our kind of people" is rooted in the fact that we feel need for those kinds of human beings with whom we know we have common views of the nature of the universe and the meaning of life. A common religious commitment, then, is both an occasion for the forming of human communities and a ratification of the bonds which hold the community together. Interestingly enough, even in the highly secularized North American societies of Canada and the United States the proportions of denominational intermarriages has not changed in the last fifty years. About 80 per cent of the citizens of both countries are married to members of their own denomination no matter what that denomination is. The so-called secularization theory has argued that man no longer needs either a religious explanation of life or religious communities to which to belong. Secular man, we are told, is able to glory in the anonymity of the secular city. He does not require an interpretation of the universe other than those provided by empirical science. ¡However, careful social research has been able to uncover only a handful of such secular men and the neosacral phenomenon described earlier in the present paper would indicate that such secular men are by no means the wave of the future. In addition, anthropologists like Geertz are quick to point out that there is no reason to believe that men who have no religious needs are any more frequent in our society than they were in previous societies. Skepticism, agnosticism, atheism are present in primitive societies, too. In other words, primitive man is not as sacred as the secularization hypotheses would have us believe. On the contrary, when superficial differences are' peeled away, similarities between the men who created the observatory at Stonehenge or who painted the caves at Lescaux and their modern descendants are far more numerous and far more important than their differences; both modern man and primitive man need an explanation of the universe and of the community he belongs to. According to the "secularization" theory, man no longer needs to postulate a god to explain thunderstorms, the cycle of


SOCIOLOGY

1 21

nature, sickness and health, hurricanes and tornadoes, the fertility of the fields, or the success of the vintage. He therefore needs no "mythological" explanation of the universe. The fallacies of such an argument are so many and so obvious that one wonders how it has ever come to be taken seriously. First of all, to illuminate the mystery of thunderstorms or even the stars does nothing to illuminate the mysteries of life. Science does not enable man to answer the question of whether reality is gracious or benign, or how the good man ought to live, or whether life triumphs over death. But if some of the mystery has gone out of the physical universe there is a ¡good deal more mystery in the interpersonal universe than there ever has been in the past. The technological society has provided man with more leisure for human relationships than he ever had before, and psychology has provided him with more sophistication and self-consciousness about relationships than he ever possessed before. The complexities and intricacies of human relations seem now more mysterious than they ever were, and our expectations of finding fulfillment through relationships are increasing even more rapidly than our understanding of the dynamics of relationships. Man may be able now to answer the questions of whether physical reality can be understood and controlled (though many scientists will argue that the more we know about the world the more we know that we don't know), but no one other than the most naive communard thinks that we have ever begun to approach an understanding of the complexity of man's interaction with his fellow man. The problem is made even more serious by the fact that our complex industrial society requires greater cooperation and trust than any previous society. Friendship is not merely something desirable in this sophisticated, complex world; it is rapidly becoming essential. In other words, if there has been a religious change over previous eras, it is not that the mystery of life has declined nor that man needs explanations any less than he did in the past; it is, rather, that the area of mystery has changed from the physical to the psychological. Religious explanations must cope far more with the interpersonal problems than they ever did before (which ought to be considered a distinct asset by a religion whose fundamental theme is that Reality is not only


122

CHICAGO STUDIES

gracious but that it is love). Nor is it only on the college campus that evidence can be found of the persistence of the human quest for faith and for community. The suburban professional class, despised, it is to be feared, by many theologians and clergy, is becoming increasingly aware-however inarticulately-that it, too, has very serious problems finding meaning in life. It has discovered that success and excellence are not nearly enough for man to live by. As one corporation executive specializing in personnel work remarked to me, "Our airline is the most successful in the world, but we're up to our neck in religious problems. I don't think we can continue to function effectively unless a lot more of our personnel are able to figure out what in the hell their lives are all about." In other words, the need for an explanatory scheme (or faith) and for religious community seems to be a given in the human condition. It is certainly no less present in our era than it has been in any previous eras, and the intensity of the religious quest is greater than it ever has been in human history. It therefore follows that the role of the religious leader is certainly no less important than it has been in the past and it is in all likelihood more important. In every culture the role of the religious leader has been similar. Whether he is a magician, or a diviner, or a seer, or a prophet, or a religious, or a saint, or a priest, or a mystic, he has always been a man who inte1¡prets. If religion is fundamentally an interpretive scheme, then the religious leader has always been considered a man who either by charisma or by deputation has special access to the interpretive scheme. He is, in other words, a man who sees and explains. He does not, perhaps, see everything, and he may not, in fact, interpret completely; but nonetheless, he is expected to see and to interpret. His interpretation may sometimes be challenging so that it stirs men out of their complacency and narrowness; it may be sometimes comforting to reassure them in their uncertainties and their timidities; it may be a wild, bizarre interpretation; it may be filled with hatred, or it may be calm and serene and filled with love. In any case, the religious leader is expected by his people to see, to interpret; or to put the matter in Christian terms, he is a


SOCIOLOGY

123

man who is expected to preach the word. And it is precisely his teaching of the word that binds the community together, for he makes explicit and reinforces_those common values which the members of the community share and which, in principle at least, provide the source of their unity. The leader may or may not be the head of the community, but he is a man to whom the community turns for unity in times of stress and strain, uncertainty and confusion. A religious leader will preach the word and preside over the unity of his community at different times and in different ways in different human situations. A classic model of such leadership can be found in the ethnic immigrant parish of a generation ago. The basic message of loyalty to the faith in the midst of a traumatic transition, and the basic community structure of the comprehensive parish were, of course, less than perfect, for no human community will ever be anything than more or less perfect. But the imperfection and limitations of the immigrant parish and its clear inadequacy in the present situation of the Church ought not to blind us either to its authentic religiousness or the extremely important role it played in the lives of its members. Perhaps the best way to summarize the problem of Catholicism at the present time is that it has not developed a new version of its interpretive scheme or new organizational structure to meet the changing social and cultural situation in which the American Catholic population finds itself. But as I have pointed out elsewhere, Catholicism ought to be in the position of unique advantage in coping with the religious problems of our era. Its fundamental theme--Reality is Love--is in excellent harmony with the increasingly psychological nature of man's religious quest, and its religious community, based ultimately on Jesus' words, "I do not call you servants, I call you friends," is precisely the kind of community for which modern man is looking. It is obvious, of course, that the institutional structures and the traditional formulations of Catholicism need to be modified somewhat if full advantage is going to be taken of the richness of its resources. It is sometimes argued that such modification must await a change in the structure of authority in Catholicism; however, such an argnnient is historically naive. It is quite clear that


124

CHICAGO STUDIES

effective modification and renewal in the Catholic Church has always come from the grass roots up rather than from the structure down. Furthermore, in American Catholicism at the present time there is an openness to experimentation seldom matched in the past, if only because ecclesiastical authority has lost either the power or the will to inhibit innovation. While changes in the structure of authority are certainly necessary, it does not seem to the present writer that the current inability of the grass roots religious leadership in the Catholic Church to respond to the quest of its people can be blamed on insensitive ecclesiastical authority. Failures of authority, of course, contribute to the feelings of low morale and frustration among the clergy ; nevertheless, one cannot fall back on those failures as an explanation of why low morale and frustration persists in the face of what (if the analysis of this article is to be accepted) is one of the great religious opportunities of all human history. Three explanations of this puzzle must be explored in greater depth. There is first of all the sel"ious communication barrier between the clergy and their people (a communication barrier which would probably not be resolved by having a married clergy, however desirable such a development might be on other counts). The present writer, standing as he does, partly by his own choice and partly by the decision of others, on the fringes of his own archdiocese, knows of many parishes of which the laity behind the back of their clergy express powerful desires for religious leadership that will "preach the word.'' They lament the fact that their priests do not seem interested in "preaching the word.'' At the same time, the clergy in these parishes will speak of their frustrations in dealing with parishioners who are "materialists" and are completely uninterested in any sort of authentic religion. In such situations, it seems to me that frequently the problem is one of vocabulary. The laity, even the well-educated professional class (one might say especially the well-educated professional class), lack a set of categories in which they can communicate meaningfully to their clergy the depths of their t•eligious longing. Frequently, in fact, the longings do not even seem to the laity explicitly religious--as they have come to understand religion. Therefore, what a layman thinks of as a


SOCIOLOGY

125

profound and important human longing may end up sounding to a clergyman like crass materialism. One the other side of the coin, it frequently seems to me that the clergy--and especially the younger clergy-are not sensitive to the religious needs of their people. These needs are not always expressed in approved categories-those categories of the Old Theology or the New Social Action. Furthe1more, the clergy also seem to lack the poetic or rhetorical facu !ties which would be required to respond to the yearnings the laity express. For the suburban professional, at any rate, neither the Thomism of the 1950's and '40's nor the existentialism of the 1960's and '70's touches the core of their religious yearnings. This may be unfortunate, it may represent 'the lack of their intellectual sophistication; it is nonetheless a fact which anyone who attempts to interpret the word of God for these people must understand and cope with. In addition, one must face the barrier to communication that is created by the fact that the American intellectual has nothing but contempt for the "middle class." As Catholic seminarians and clergymen increasingly become part of the intellectual mainstream, they are more and more affected by such contempt. Since there is frequently no effort to hide the contempt it is small wonder that the laity is "turned off" by their clergy whom they feel are interested in sitting in judgment on, and denouncing them, but not in understanding them or helping them. As one young suburban matron put it to me, "I am over thirty, I am not black, I am not a hippy, I don't smoke pot, I am not a radical, and so it is perfectly obvious that my curate does not think I am where the action is, and he couldn't care less about me." One could leave aside the question of whether any meaningful social reform in American society is going to be attained without the cooperation of the middle class. One can even leave aside the question as to whether one really persuades a group of people to enlarge their vision by being contemptuous of them. One can even pass over the question of whether the hatred for the middle class among the American intelligentsia is not a form of snobbery. One is still faced with the irrefutable fact that a clergyman who does not have enough compassion to see the middle class and their problems from the "in-


126

CHICAGO STUDIES

side," who does not even think it is necessary to have this compassion, is likely to be a very inadequate clergyman. A second reason for low morale and frustration in the face of magnificent opportunities is that there may well be a lack of religious conviction on the part of many of the clergy. One cannot interpret unless one first of all sees, and one can certainly not reinterpret unless one sees clearly and confidently. As long as the Christian ariswet¡ to the fundamental questions for which an intepretive scheme is designed was something that could be memorized out of the theological manuals in the seminary, it was, one supposes, fairly easy to repeat these formulations even though the formulations bore less and less relationship to reality. But now one can no longer fall back on the old formulations and must think through new formulations. The difficulties of the interpretive role of the religious leader have increased dramatically. It requires more and deeper conviction than he needed even a decade ago. The religious leader finds himself faced with a religious situation for which he was not trained and needing depth that he does not possess. Indeed, it might even be said that he was trained in precisely such a way that he would lack both depth and the skills that the present situation demands of him. Finally, religious perfectionism makes it impossible for many of the clergy to see the opportunities of the pt¡esent moment. To say, for example, that there are deep religious hungers in the suburban professional class is not to say that all the members of a suburban parish are capable of admitting even to themselves the llilture of their hunger much less of accepting the bread of life which Jesus offers to them. At best, only a small minority are both ready and able to respond to authentic religious leadership should they encounter it. It has ever been thus in human history. The cleric who permits himself to grow discouraged because the vast majority of his parishioners will not respond to him even when his conviction is the strongest and his preaching of the Word most articulate and his compassion most sensitive, displays a very naive assumption about the nature of human nature and little understanding of the saving remnant of the Old Testament or of the "failure" of the mission of Jesus in the New. When the role of the clergyman was holding together the


SOCIOLOGY

127

immigrant parish, he could view himself as quite successful if most of his parishioners remained within the boundaries of the Church, but now that the goal is perceived as facilitating the development of Christian laymen who can bear witness to the Good News of Jesus in the world in which they live, or even merely as making a richer and fuller human life possible for one's parishioners, the priest is far more likely to experience disappointment, discouragement, and frustration. It is required of him, therefore, that he have a far more sophisticated realization of the complexity of the barriers of the social and psychological change, and a good deal more inner resiliency and toughness so that he might "bounce back" from what appears to be repeated failures. If this analysis of the present situation is correct, three changes are necessary if the priest and, through the priests, the Church are to respond to the opportunities of the present religious situations: 1. There must be much more sensitive, compassionate, and .open dialogue between clergy and laity. 2. The clergy must think through much more clearly and much more deeply the nature of their convictions on the Christian response to the ultimate or interpretive questions a man asks. If a man leaves the priesthood because he is no longer able to accept the Good News of love and life which Jesus brought, then one can only see that his departure is an honest act, and that it is far better for him to leave than to stay in the Church and pretend that he does accept the Good News. On the other hand, if a man leaves the priesthood on the grounds that the secular sciences made the Good News unbelievable, or that the authority structure of the Church makes it impossible to preach the Good News, it seems to the present writer that the man has rather missed the point. The Good News has always been difficult to believe (as is certainly evidenced by the lack of response to Jesus) and science doesn't make it any more difficult to believe now than it was at any time in the past. Furthermore, since the Church is made up of human beings, its structure will always be substantially less than perfect as was evidenced by the men that Jesus gathered around Himself. The prediction of the New Testament that the Bride will be without spot only when the Bridegroom re-


128

CHICAGO STUDIES

turns ought to put to rest the notion that somehow or other a perfect Church can be created before the Return. This is not to say that one should not strive for the reform of institutional structures. Ecclesia semper reformanda. But it is to say that if one waits to preach the Good News until the Church has been reformed, one will wait till Judgment Day. 3. The clergy must find means of mutual support in the face of the frustration and discouragement that they are bound to experience in the present transitional situation of the Church -or, in fact, in any situation in the foreseeable future. One might want to argue that the greatest single obstacle to the effective functioning at the present time is the lack of support mechanism either among the clergy or between the clergy and the laity. The individualism of American society, and the even more pervasive individualism of seminary spirituality has thus far inhibited the development of effective support mechanisms. On the other hand, attempts to shortcut the necessarily slow and complex process of developing such support mechanisms through the popularized social science of some of the group dynamics techniques is not likely to be very successful. Friendship is not achieved by storming a bastion, especially when that storming is expected to be completed within a weekend. It may be seriously asked whether the kinds of action envisaged in the previous paragraph are possible in the American Catholic Christian at the present time. Do we have the faith, the personal security, the humor, and the nerve to put down the barriers between us and the laity (which obviously involves far more than wearing a sport shirt or insisting that one be called by one's first name), are we prepared to seriously examine the depths of our faith and conviction, are we ready to develop the mechanisms of support and encouragement? Some will argue that our family backgrounds, our seminary training, and the structures in which we have been forced to live and work make such changes highly improbable. But the issue is not whether all priests can engage in the kind of changes that I have described. Some clearly cannot. And others just as clearly can. The pertinent question is whether enough priests can commit themselves to such modifications of their lives to take advantage of the opportunity


SOCIOLOGY

129

in the present religious situation. The results of the study sponsored by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on the sociology of the Catholic priesthood thus far seems to me to be such that one can be cautiously hopeful that the answer to the question is yes.


Eugene C. Kennedy

Reflections on the Psychology of American Priests

Priests have their biggest challenge and most serious difficulties in devewping to the fulness of their human potential.

"Yes," a learned Churchman was heard to ask in the midst of a recent discussion on the priesthood, "but what makes a priest different from other men?" Although the theological answer to this is one thing, the psychological answer is simple and clear: developmentally, the American priest is more like other men than different from them. This truth echoes the familiar insight of psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan: "We are all much more simply human than anything else." The long time cultural bias toward regarding the priest as some131


132

CHICAGO STUDIES

how exempt from the human condition and its frailities has led people to think that a special psychology is necessary for the understanding of priests. In the practical order many have concluded that only a Catholic psychiatrist or psychologist can adequately treat a priest or religious because they are somehow spiritually different. In truth, however, and to the relief of a great many priests, they do not seem on close inspection to be different from the rest of men. Perhaps this makes them more like Christ's original followers who came from the ranks of the average men of their time. American priests are bright, able, interested in people, and anxious to do what is right. Far from inhabiting a statir plateau on which the winds of life are stilled by the action of grace, priests have their biggest challenge and their most serious difficulties in developing to the fullness of theit¡ human potential. They cannot be described as sick or enfeebled by severe psychological difficulties. Rather, like their fellow American males American priests are confronted daily with the unfinished business of their own personal growth. Nothing, ¡ either in their training or through the action of grace independent of their own growth experiences, makes up for what may be missing in their personal development. Most priests, like most American J:llen, are fully mature and, while this may seem a scandalous indictment of them, it is hardly this at all. American priests stand up well in comparison with any other group of professional men: that they have similar growth problems, reflected in the special circumstances of priestly life and work, permits us to see them far more realistically and to retire the myths which placed the priest in an unapproachable supra-human psychological category. American priests are found at every level of personal development. A ve1-y small number suffers serious personality difficulties; these are generally the fruit of early distorted emotional experiences in their own families. Another small number of American priests is highly developed, men marked by intelligence, independence, and true productivity. That is about the way it runs with the general population and most men fall somewhere in between these two extremes. Just as there are relatively few feeble minded individuals, so too there are few geniuses; just as there are few men who must go through life


PSYCHOLOGY

133

crippled or in wheel chairs, so too there are few outstanding professional athletes or Olympic competitors. The greatest errors that the Church has made in dealing with man have come from distorted ideas about his nature, sometimes seeing him as an angel and at other times as a beast. Some of the images of man that have been used by the Church have led us to expect too much of him, while others have persuaded us that one could expect nothing good at all. The psychology of the American priest reminds us that the human person is not so easily simplified and that, as a growing and mysterious being, he is only understood if the essential unity of his personality is affirmed. The dynamic humanity that is evident in American priests, therefore, is a sign of the way all men grow. Man is always in process struggling to effect a richer integration of his intellect and his emotions, struggling, in other words, to make himself whole. Man's being in via, is a traditional Christian notion. Indeed, it can be thought of as an essential note of the Christian life and, if the priest seems more vulnerable because we now see him more humanly, he also reflects the way all men respond to the Spirit who gives life a growth. This viewpoint enables us to put aside the fixed notions of perfection which dominated Christian ascetism and priestly formation over the last several generations. These were based on mistaken ideas about man and, when applied in programs of training, they have complicated rather than enlarged man's possibilities of living the Gospel life. The unfortunate result of the distortions of personality which were built into seminary training had real effects on the psychological gt¡owth patterns of American priests. These did serious but not irreparable harm. Growth problems are, after all, problems which can be solved. That many priests are immature is not to say that they have a terminal illness; this revelation should not plunge people into gloom or pessimism. There is, in the Christian world in general, a slow recovery from the negations of man and his possibilities which have so dominated our view of the person in recent times. The age of renewal finds Christians everywhere reaffirming man and, although prophets of doom like to describe this age as one in which man has come close to destroying himself, it might better


134

CHICAGO STUDIES

be characterized as one in which man has become more conscious of his dignity than ever before. It is also the age in which man is, in the face of very great odds, trying to exercise his human freedom more intelligently than ever before in history. So it is with the American priest. While he may be described as struggling and in. conflict the American priest is actually demonstrating profound human aspirations for a fullness of life and a richer responsibility for himself. These are basic Christian attitudes that can hardly be put aside. It is unfortunate that at times the aspirations of priests for a fuller kind of life are caricatured as the wailings of spoiled children. American priests are sensitive men who realize that their growth is not finished and who want to be busy about completing it. Eric Hoffer, the longshoreman philosopher, recently wrote "how easier to self-sacrifice than self-realization." Many American priests, in their patient-efforts to deal with the problems of their own growth, have discovered the profundity of this phrase in recent years. They have learned that positive growth is a far greater challenge than the kind of short circuiting of the personality that is involved in massive self-denial. A new consciousness of this has come to great numbers of American priests who have re-examined themselves and their motivations in the light of new developmental insights into themselves. This is not to say that every priest is energetically trying to develop himself to his full potential. Some priests, like some men around them, simply sell out, withdrawing into personalities where hardened and defensive walls have kept them safe from real contact with life for many years. Others do not even suspect that they have growth problems. They, again like many men in the American population, live a dangerously superficial life, moving only in the shallows of human existence, protected against the ravages of ordinary experience by the sociological dimensions of the clerical state itself. The vital edge of the Amel"ican priesthood, however, has come to sense anew the personalistic glory of Christianity and to apply it, even unsuredly and in small doses, to their own life experience. Many of them have not progressed beyond the realization that they have missed a good deal of life because they have allowed their psychological growth to fall behind their chronological


PSYCHOLOGY

\ r

135

development. Some of them only sense a numb kind of pain, the sorrow of the unfulfilled man who does not know in what direction to look for a sense of real meaning in his life. Others, however, have truly come more fully alive and have taken up the quest for their own full development with a sense of integrity and purpose that makes this their most impot-tant business. What these priests try to move away from is the central problem in the lives of priests who have not yet come to terms with their lack of complete personal development. This is the problem of life th1¡ough adjustment. Life through adjustment describes the process by which men are forced, even without any insight into the situation themselves, to adapt themselves to a form of life that cuts them off from entering into what should be their proper human experience of themselves and other people. In other words the culturally conditioned form of recruitment and training which led men away from the world, rewarded both passivity and withdrawal from human beings, and then designed a professional life in which men were to live at a distance from the people they served : all this has prevented many priests from entering directly into life. These influences have demanded that the priest adjust to not entering into life, that he fashion a mode of existence which minimizes healthy self-expression because it so narrowly lim;ts the possibilities of human experience. Life through adjustment is something that may be bred by any large institution which necessarily places its own survival as an institution ahead of this individual development of those men who are its most important servants or officers. This may be true of the atmy and the business world as well as of certain aspects of the institutional Church. Institutional commitment of any kind demands a certain measure of adjustment but in the priesthood these demands have been exceedingly severe. In fact, for many priests, the possibility of a private life . has hardly existed. Any group of men so recruited and so trained would display the awkwardness in human relationships and the difficulties in being close to other people, which constitutes two of the chief complaints of American priests. Because these experiences were systematically controlled American priests


136

CHICAGO STUDIES

could only do their best within the limits that the discipline of their lives allowed. Oddly enough, the institutional Church, over many centuries, developed a high toleration for bizatTe adjustments and a very low toleration for healthy deviation from the stereotyped behavior patterns of the priesthood. In other words, as long as a priest met some of the basic expectations on his work, such as saying Mass and living in a rectory, he would be considered a worthy priest even though he did this at the price of a very peculiar adjustment. On the other hand, the priest who might break away from this arch-type of priestly existence, even though he did this in basically healthy human fashion, would hardly be tolerated with the same patience. Examples help here. A priest might waste a good deal of time on television, become expert in some thing totally unrelated to the priesthood, such as investments, or just waste a good deal of time on superficial activities and, as long as he did these within the general boundaries of the priesthood, he could maintain good standing. He might drink, not answer his mail, and not keep up on his theology but he would still be acceptable to a Church tolerant of unusual adjustments in the service of a stable facade. On the other hand, a priest who fell in Jove, which for humans can only be called a healthy deviation, would find himself quickly disciplined and perhaps exiled because of this departure from what was considered the code of acceptable conduct. Most of the adjustments, however, were not dramatically bizalTe, although there has been enough of that. Rather, most priests took up a sport, such as golf, or spent a good deal of time with brother priests, or took a great interest in planning and carrying out trips of one kind or another. These are the things that any normal person would do if he were in the same kind of limited life circumstances. These activities were also the things which drew most criticism to priests. They were not, however, wordly excesses as much as they were the symbolic language of the priest's effort to adjust himself to a humanly impoverished manner of Jiving. This model of the priesthood, the man who adjusted in order to serve the institution even at the price of unconscious self-immolation, has been rejected by many younger priests today. They want more actively to choose life and the concomitant

j


PYSCHOLOGY

l

II I I

137

painful and difficult self-realization that transcends any of these other modes of adjustment. A healthy impulse motivates the men who want to break away from this model and, while there are necessarily some adolescent manifestations involved in this effort to develop, the direction is basically forward. Something creative is at work in the lives of these men and new values, deeply Christian and strongly motivating, command their obedience far more keenly than the forme•¡ goal of propriety at all costs. That is why so many basic questions revolving around the personal life of the priest have come to be examined in recent years. Most priests would agree, for example, that celibacy is not the most important problem in the Church. It does, however, symbolize the. human strands of the urge toward fuller humanity that is clearly present in the American priesthood. Celibacy is a major issue more because of the human freedom that is at stake in the discussion t¡ather than the question of marriage itself. When sensitive men become aware of a newer theology of the Church which exalts the human person and underscores his need for respect and freedom in the most sacred actions of his life, then it should not be surprising to see that celibacy is in the forefront of consciousness for many American priests. It is the natural question through which the priest expresses his own concern for a fuller share of responsibility in directing his own life and work. It is the kind of discussion whose roots are not in impulsivity or lustfulness, but in Christian self-concern and a heightened commitment to personalism. No other question catches the basically human flavor of American priests' quest for full self-identity as does the celibacy question. It is as over-simplified in the press as it is sometimes in the responses of Church official. It is not so much a sign of rebellion that priests speak of greater freedom concerning marriage and celibacy; it is the sign of a more sensitive awareness of the genuine freedom that must be made available to all persons in the most sacred areas of their human experience. The question of celibacy is important because the major mode of adjustment that has been used by American priests in living out the condition of celibacy in their lives is the mechanism of isolation. This withdrawal from human contact


138

CHICAGO STUDIES

in order to protect the personality from the hurt that comes so easily in human relationships is a far more serious and damaging kind of adjustment than playing golf or buying a big car. It is, as a matter of fact, the most characteristic adjustment of American priests; these men claim many acquaintances but, in private, they admit to very few friendships. Priests want to be close to people but their greatest fears arise when they are presented with the challenge of being responsibly intimate with other persons. The discussion of celibacy is like an earth tremor giving evidence of conflict below, of a shifting of great forces beneath the surface that move at times blindly but with far reaching effects. Where there is genuine life in the American priesthood there is an effort to re-examine all those aspects of priestly existence that are a part of living in a truly human fashion in this world. The struggle, as it has been in the past, will be filled with tension and strain, the twin signs of human growth wherever it really takes place. So the questions of celibacy, the meaning of religious faith, and the genuine understanding of authority in the Church will continue to be discussed because these are major expressions of human beings who try to live their lives by the Spirit. The tension over the next generation between institutional expectations and the desire for greater individual personal growth will be described in short cut and superficial terms like a struggle for power, political moves, or adolescent rebellion. All of these designations will have something lacking in them. What we are witnessing and what we will continue to see is the very understandable movement toward finishing the business of personal growth in the lives of American priests. Some will leave as they develop their understanding of themselves more fully. This is hardly to be wondered at. Others, however, will continue to pt¡ess for the reforms in priestly life which will transform it into a mode of life in which fully developed men can give themselves without reserve.


Cm·l J. A·rmb?'u.ster, S.J.

Ministry in Future Shock.

A theology of adaptation of the priests' ndnistnJ ls not only desirable but necessary

FutU?·e Shock, a book by Alvin Toffier (New York: Random House, 1970), is a bestseller. His thesis, which he illustrates by an incredible range of examples, is that the most significant characteristic of our technological society is not so much the fact of change, but rather the unpamlleled acceleration of the •·ate of change. The counterpart of acceleration is transcience, the physical and psychological phenomenon that technology creates by its bewildering stream of innovations and seemingly endless possibilities of choice. To cite some homely examples, transciency is symbolized by the throw-away bottle, by the mobile home, by the high rate of job turnover, by the swift creation and dissolution of ad-hoc organizations, and by the rapid flowthrough of images and knowledge embodied in the paperback. The impact of acceleration and transcience upon the individual 139


140

CHICAGO STUDIES

person is an over-stimulation that leads to "the shattering stress and disorientation" termed "future shock" (p. 4). There are physical and psychological limits to how much overload a human being can tolerate. The shock to the human psyche is the more serious, since it may lead to " ... the deterioration of individual decision-making under conditions of environmental overstimulation" (p. 305). To cope with future shock, Toffier develops what he calls "a broad new theory of adaptation" (p. 5). The answer to change is not non-change, but a different type of change, through which " ... we can turn crisis into opportunity, helping people not merely to survive, but to crest the waves of change, to grow, and to gain a new sense of mastery over their own destinies" (p. 331). FUTURE-SHOCKED MINISTRY

If Toffier is right, and if the Church is not immune from the

stress and disorientation of the civilization in which it lives, then we have a future-shocked ministry. At this stage a voice of protest might be heard: "You have missed the point of Toffier's book. He talks about the accelerated rate of change, but the Church and its ministry is in a decelerated state of inertia. Priests suffer from past shock, not future shock." In response to this observation, I maintain that future shock has struck the Church's ministry, despite the deceptive appearance of tranquility in some quarters. We are now seriously discussing reforms in the ministry which were all but unthinkable two or three years ago: optional celibacy and the ordination of women are but two issues which are "shocking" the Church. But at an even deeper level, the priesthood is being shaken to its foundations by the changing role of the priest and the blurring of his image. Ten years ago most priests felt they knew what was expected from them; the laity knew how to relate to the priests. But now increasing numbers of priests are getting involved in ministries that by and large were foreign to them in the past: politics, the peace movement, the


FUTURE SHOCK

141

racial problems, and specialized ministries to the deprived and minority groups. At the same time, the liturgical renewal has come and gone, and left many disillusioned or disoriented priests and laity in its wake. The sacrament of Penance, once a powerful source for the priest's identity as a pastoral guide, is dying. In brief, the past forms of ministry az¡e crumbling, the present forms are unsettled and often ill-defined, and worst of all, as one expression has it: "The future ain't what it used to be." This is a ministry of future shock. A THEOLOGY OF ADAPTATION

Toffier strives for a theory of adaptation. Since we are dealing with questions of Christian faith, can we develop a theology of adaptation? The attempt must be made. However, what follows is not an exhaustive study, but merely some selected lines of development. I suggest that the theological concepts of communio, the presbyterate, and vocation have great potential for contributing to a theology of adaptation. At least by way of example, I hope to stimulate some further and richer thinking on the matter. MEETING PRIOR OBJECTIONS

But a prior set of objections must first be met, for they add up to the conclusion: we should not adapt the ministry any more than we have. If these objections are valid, then it is pointless to attempt a theology of adaptation. In answering the objections, I draw directly upon the data supplied by the American bishops' Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry which recently invested $500,000 in a study of the priesthood. The first objection runs as follows: "The priestly ministry

in the United States has always changed with the times; look at the spectacular growth of American Catholicism." In response, the book-length historical report edited by Msgr. John Tracy Ellis reveals a certain amount of change in the priestly ministry but precious little creative adaptation. This sobering fact is accounted for by the intellectual deep-freeze in which the American Catholic clergy lived until relatively recent times, and by the consistently poor relations between bishops and


142

CHICAGO STUDIES

priests. The bishop-priest relationship, as we shall see, is of crucial importance in the effective exercise of the priestly ministry and in the example it should give the laity of Christ-like cooperation. But the history of that relationship from colonial times to the present is a dismal chapter in the life of the American Catholic Church. Furthermore, priestly leadership potential was stifled by the lack of opportunity for intellectual development due to the generally inferior education provided by a fragmented seminary system, and due to the stagnation of thought that followed upon the Modernist crisis. Yes, change took place in the American priesthood, but it appears as a grudging retreat from entrenched positions, and not as a planned and spirited a<lvance to new terrain.

The second object¡ion claims: "Our structure of ministry is basically sound. Why tamper with it?" By way of refutation, the massive sociological study of American priests done by the National Opinion Research Center with Andrew Greeley as Pmgram Director concludes that " ... the priesthood has certain very serious problems, most of them centering around the highly volatile subjects of power and sex, which indicate trouble and conflict in the years ahead." (Summary of American Priests, by NORC, Washington: USCC, 1971, p. 85.) The power issue centers basically around the relationship between bishops and priests, and the sex issue is expressed in the controvery over optional celibacy. And yet the report also concludes that "there are many strong and positive forces at work in the priesthood .. ."(ibid.). The need for adaptation is clear; the resources for it are there. The last objection can be stated as follows: "More adaptation just accelerates the pace. It will induce more future-shock in the priest." On the contrary, the psychological study of the American priest conducted by Loyola University of Chicago under the direction of Eugene Kennedy makes this concluding recommendation: "Greater accountability for the manner in which a priest discha1¡ges his obligations of service can only increase maturity; greater freedom in his personal life can only enlarge his opportunities to use it in a self-developing and responsible manner." (Summary of the psychological study, Washington: USCC, 1971, p. 127.) The report shows that


FUTURE SHOCK

143

priests will be greatly helped in their psychological development toward personal maturity if they are granted a much larger measure of accountable freedom or responsible flexibility in their life and ministry. In a word, not to freely adapt is not to grow. The point of appealing to these carefully researched studies is to demonstrate that a theology of adaptation of the priest's ministry is not only desirable, but necessary. THEOLOGY OF COMMUNIO

The Church never throws anything away; one might define "tradition" in this sense. Karl Rahnet¡ often likes to rummage around the Church's cluttered, dusty theological attic in search of "forgotten truths" which may have contemporary relevance. Following his example, I propose as a starting point for a theology of adaptation the ancient concept and practice of communio among local churches. The best historical treatment of this lived unity of localized churches is the article by Ludwig He1-tling, "Communio urul Primat" (first published in Miscellanae Historiae Pontijicis, Vol. VII, 1943, pp. 1-48. My references are to a private translation by Jared Wicks). Communio was something the early Christians lived and experienced rather than theorized about. He1-tling describes it as follows: "Communio is the bond that united the bishops and the faithful, the bishops among themselves, and the faithful among themselves, a bond which was both effected and at the same time made manifest by eucharistic communion" ('Wicks translation, p. 1). Multiple strands comprise the bond of unity, and none of them alone constitute it: sharing a common Christian vision, fraternal affection, pa1-ticipaticm in the Eucharist, and a recognition of authority as evidenced by the negation of communio by excommunication. Since this ecclesial unity depended upon a variety of elements, communio was not an eitherjor proposition, but admitted of degrees of strength, and thus left room for diversities within the overall unity. ¡ An excellent example of the practice of communio in the early Church were the "letters of communion." When a Christian of our diocese travelled to another diocese, he could obtain


1

144

CHICAGO STUDIES

from his own bishop a letter, a kind of passport, which requested the diocese visited to extend hospitality and Eucharistic communion. Apart from some not inconsiderable financial advantages, this practice enabled the bishops to keep a rather constant and close contact with one another. In addition to being an ancient custom of the Church, the idea of communio has found its way into the decrees of Vatican II, where it shed light on several questions, especially the collegiality of the bishops ( Cf. Constitution on the Chu1¡ch #2224, 26). The Council states that a bishop becomes a member of the episcopal college by virtue of his consecration "and by hiei¡archical communion with the head and members of the body" (Ibid., #22). The importance of this statement is that the identity of a bishop springs from an inseparable tw<>-fold source: his identity as head of a local church and his identity as a member of the episcopal college in communion with his brother bishops. The Council clearly indicates the importance of the local church: "In and from such individual churches there comes into being the one and only Catholic Church. For this reason each individual bishop represents his own church, but all of them together in union with the Pope represent the entire Church joined in the bond of peace, love, and unity" (Ibid., #23). At the literary risk of inserting a long quotation, I cite the comments of one theologian .who clearly draws out the implications of comtnunio in regard to episcopal collegiality: "What episcopal jurisdiction is, whence it comes, and how it is to be exercised, is determined by the very nature of the Church as a plurality of Churches in communion with one another. This is the real content of the doctrine of collegiality. Any kind of absolute centralization is foreign to the nature of the Church, since the reality of the many Churches within the one Church is part of her unchanging God-given structure. We shall see later that the local Church or diocese is not just an administrative unit of a larger organization, but contains in itself the total mystery which the Church is, and for this reason is also called an ecclesm. Episcopal collegiality in a consequence of the Church's mystery as an ecclesm ecclesiantm: the bishops united in one group or college represent their various and di-


r

FUTURE SHOCK

145

verse Churches throughout the world, at the same time assuring their unity in the one unique universal Church of God through their communion with one another and with their head." (Seamus Ryan, in Vatican II: The Constitution on the Church, a commentary edited by Kevin McNamara, Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1968, pp. 181-182.) The Council itself almost waxes poetic in its description of the ideal local Christian community united around its bishop in charity, prayer, and holiness-all the while stressing the identity of the local congregation: "This Church of Christ is truly present in all 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 ( cf. 1 Th. 1 :5). . .. In these communities, though frequently small and poor, or living far from any other, Christ is present. By virtue of Him the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church gathers together" (Constitution on the Church, #26). But as Karl Rahner wryly comments on this idyllic picture of the local congregation gathered in peace and charity around the Eucharistic altar-table presided over by their bishop: "Behind the description of the activity of the bishop looms, of course, the great question of how big a diocese should be at present ... " (Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, edited by H. Vorgrimler, Vol. I, New York: Herder and Herder, p. 217.) By that he means that the large size of many dioceses obscures and frustrates the true role of the bishop as the bond of unity among his people, the personal pastor of his flock, and instead reduces him to the status of an impersonal administrator of a unity of a larger organization . . Prescinding from the troublesome but legitimate question of the proper size of a diocese, what does the history and theology of communio have to do with the structures of a "futureshocked" ministry? In one word, it points to decentralization. The local, specified church, whether it be determined geographically or some other way, is where the concept "church" is verified, because that is where it is lived. On Sunday the universal Church does not assemble for Eucharistic worship.


146

CHICAGO STUDIES

What happens is that local congregations all over the world come together in their own localities to celebrate the Eucharist, but united to each other by the bonds of communio. The universal Church is a reality, it is the fullness of the Body of Christ; but it is experienced in a local community that possesses its own individual characteristics, identity, and needs. While Vatican II opened the door to this richer understanding of communio, the concept was not pursued to its logical conclusions which are in consonance with the best and earliest traditions of the Church. The Council overshadowed the notion of the local church by its heavy emphasis on the responsibility of the episcopal college to the Pope as head of the college and to the universal Church. The other side of that coin is what remains to be explored, namely, the responsibility of the bishop to his local church.

C ommunio as part of the concept of collegiality provides a solid theological basis for a healthy decentralization of authority and structures. Such decentralization, in turn, offers the local Christian communities a chance to find a deeper, more specific, and hence, more stable identity in a world reeling from future¡shock. A top-heavy, overly-centralized universal Church runs the risk of encouraging the impersonalism, standardization, disposability, and anonymity of the priestly ministry, even on the local level. A decentralized ministry would provide the possibility for healthy diversification and responsible flexibility in meeting the needs of God's People. THEOLOGY OF THE PRESBYTERATE

Rummaging through the musty attic of theology's forgotten or half-remembered truths, one sooner or later stumbles across the theology of the presbyterate. In some of the earliest extant ordination rituals, for example, that of Hippolytus from the early third century, it is evident that the presbyter is ordained into the order of presbyters. The ancient symbolic gesture of reception of the newly ordained priest into the ranks of "college" of his fellow presbyters still survives in the ordination ceremony when the priests in attendance impose hands upon the ordained. The college of presbyters or presbyterate is not the same as the college of bishops, but is analogous to it, in


147

FUTURE SHOCK

that it is composed of head and members, the bishop and the priests of the diocese, and ordination means entry into this collegial body. Before proceeding further in this discussion of the college of priests, we should have a word on terminology. The Latin word is presbyte1¡ium, and various authors translate it as "presbyterate" or "presbytery" or 'presbyterion." Here the presbyterimn referred to is the local college of priests headed by the local bishop. Joseph O'Brien of Mundelein Seminary has made an interesting theological case for a presbyte1ium which is universal in character, that is, embracing all the ordained priests in the world, just as the episcopal college is universal. (Cf. "Theology of the Presbyterium," Proceedings of th CTSA, Vol. 24, 1969, pp. 151-160.) However, the presbyterium pi¡oposed here is at the local level. 1

The Second Vatican Council lays the foundation for the presbyterate in its Constitution on the Church when it says of priests: "They constitute one priesthood with their bishop, although that priesthood is comprised of different functions" (#28). But it is in the Decree on the Ministr11 and Life of Priests that the concept of the presbyterate is more fully elaborated (#7-8). Because of their communion in the same priesthood and ministry, the bishop should regard priests as his brothers and friends. Furthermore, "He should gladly listen to them, indeed consult them, and have discussions with them about those matters which concern the necessities of pastoral work and the welfare of the diocese. In order to put these ideals into effect, a group or senate of priests representing the presbytery should be established" ( #7). All priests, whether diocesan or religious, are by their ordination united "in an intimate sacramental brotherhood," and they "carry on one priestly ministry on behalf of men" despite the diversity of their duties, "whether they are engaged in a parochial or supraparochial ministry ... " ( #8). History reveals the tradition of the presbyterate, and Vatican II affirms its present reality and calls for its sh¡uctural implementation. Can theology articulate its underpinnings in the economy of salvation?


1

148

CHICAGO STUDIES

Just as salvation is achieved through community, that is, by a person somehow, explicitly or implicitly, being joined to the redeemed People of God, so too, ministry is communal. Bishops exercise a collegial ministry for the whole Church as members of the episcopal college, and priests do the same in an analogous fashion as members of the presbyterate. For neither episcopacy nor priesthood is the private possession of an individual, since the Holy Spirit confirms and confers the charism of ministry within and for the community ( Cf. Seamus Ryan, op. cit., pp. 191-192, 226). Karl Rahner insists that this corporate exercise of ministry is not simply due to the fact that the Pope and the bishops cannot be everywhere at once and do everything them-. selves, and so require the assistance of a college of collaborators. He points to the imperative of imitating the corporate structure of ministry initiated by Christ Himself. Each holder of office whether pope or bishop, " ... must have a council of advisors around him on the model of the archetype of all ecclesiastical authority: the apostolic college with Peter at its head." (Theology of Pastoml Action, New York: Herder and Herder, 1968, pp. 79-80, 96-97.) Nor was it a mere arbitrary whim or a natural desire for a convenient mode of organization that led Jesus to structure the ministry of His followers in a collegiate pattern. Rahner seems to say that Jesus established a communal or shared form of ministry not only because salvation itself is communal and shared, but principally because the Godhead itself is "collegiate" in that it is Trinitarian. "The Trinity of the economy of redemption is the immanent Trinity" (Ibid., p. 33). In other words, the two processions of the Son and the Holy Spirit within the Trinity represent a sharing of truth and love, and sharing takes place only within a community. We seem to have come a long way, from what might at first appear to be a juridical or sociological organization of episcopal and priestly ministry along collegiate lines, to the innermost life of the Trinity itself. A sobering thought indeed. Consequently, it is understandable why one theologian remarks: "It is important for both bishops and priests to see the presbytery and its voice as a theological1¡eality rather than as an unwelcome or uncontrollable 'political force.'" (Thomas O'Meara, "Towards a Roman Catholic Theology of the Presbytery," Heythrop Jou?'nal, Vol. X, Oct., 1969, p. 391). On the one hand,


FUTURE SHOCK

149

we realize the all too-human reluctance of many of the ordained ministers of the Church-pope, bishops, and priests alike--to share the responsibility of the ministry with their fellow ministers and with laity .. The ministry has taken on trapping of power and authority and prestige which are not easily relinquished. But on the other hand, unless some real sharing of this God-given responsibility takes place, then the Church's official ministers will not be genuine witnesses to the way to salvation, namely, a personal sharing, a self-communication in truth and life in imitation of the Triune God. Nor does the collegial dialectic of sharing between the head and members of the college undermine the position of the head anymore than the processions within the Trinity endanger the position of God the Father, the First Person of the Trinity. PRESBYTERATE AND PARTICIPATION

We began with ancient but rusty theology of the presbyterate, dusted it off, oiled it up, and polished it to reflect the "collegial" life of the Trinity itself. How does this theological principle help us adapt to ministry of future shock"? At the conclusion of his book, Toffier calls for a "strategy of social futurism." The key factor in this strategy is participation, as he clearly states: "In short, in politics, in industry, in education, goals set without the participation of those affected will be increasingly hard to execute" (op. cit., p. 422). Extrapolating this statement into the realm of the priest's ministry, one can say that a genuine participation of the presbyterate in the decision-making process of the local church is the only way to guarantee that its ministry will be an effective witness and agent of the reconciliation of all men in Christ. By a collegiate sharing of ministerial responsibility within the presbyterate, the leade1¡ship of the bishop is actually strengthened, for all will have contributed input to the decision-making process and thus have a personal stake in the successful execution of policies. Although the final word of authority rests within the bishop, the total responsibility does not, and his presbyterate can provide a broader range of wisdom, experience, and ideas than one man with a small chancery staff. However, in terms of Toffier's "social futurism," the


150

CHICAGO STUDIES

most significant point is not that participation guarantees foolproof planning and super-efficient execution, but "the subjection of the process of evolution itself to conscious human guidance" (op. cit., p. 429). This is the basic humanizing process that restores dignity to the persons involved by alleviating their sense of helplessness. At the same time, from the perspective of faith, the harmonious sharing of responsibility by both bishop and priests transforms the presbyterate into a living symbol of a Christian community united by the bonds of truth and love. THEOLOGY OF VOCATION

The last item retrieved from our cluttered theological attic is the old-fashioned idea of vocation. I term it "old-fashioned" because the incredible drop in the number of priestly and religious vocations make a theology of vocation appear as relevant as the service manual for the Stanley Steamer. This impression is strengthened by one of the most significant findings of the NORC sociological survey, namely, that among priests themselves "there has been a considerable decline in enthusiasm for vocational recruiting, a phenomenon that may be far more serious than the resignation" ( op. cit., p. 81 ; cf. also p. 57). However, an attitude toward vocation is not the same as a theological of vocation, and the latter can contribute to the theology of adaptation for a future-shocked ministry. Vocation is here limited to vocation to the priesthood, not to religious life. Vatican II does not elaborate a theology of vocation as much as it encourages the fostering of vocations. But the foundations for such a theology are there in various documents, especially in the Decree on the Church's Missiona111 Activity. Although the context is the life of the missionary to foreign lands, the principles apply to any priestly vocation. The Council states that it is through the Holy Spirit " ... who distributes His charismatic gifts as He wills for the common good ... " with the result that there are persons " ... who are endowed with the appropriate natural dispositions, character, and talents." "These souls are marked with a special vocation" (#23). The way in which a person becomes aware of a call from


r FUTURE SHOCK

151

the Spirit is not ordinarily by means of a vision or some extraordinary spiritual experience. "It is rather to be detected and weighed in the signs by which the will of God is customarily made known to prudent Christians" (Decree on Priestly Life and Ministry, # 11). Once the Holy Spirit has endowed, selected, and called the individual, and after he has responded affirmatively to this divine invitation, the vocation process is finally completed by a call from the Church through the ordaining bishop, supposing of course the testing and development of the vocation by an appropriate educational program ( Cf. Decree on P1¡iestly Formation, #8). The vocation is finally sealed by the Holy Spirit Himself in the sacramental act of ordination. However, the Council realized that the vocation-ordination event is not just a once-and-for-all moment, but an on-going process which involves the growth of the priest in holiness. "True, the grace of God can complete the work of salvation even through unworthy ministers. Yet ordinarily God desires to manifest His wonders through those who have been made particularly docile to the impulse and guidance of the Holy Spirit" (Decree on the Minish¡y and Life of Priests, #12). In other words, growth in holiness is simply a prolongation of the action of the Holy Spirit which began with the stirrings of a vocation, led to its sacramental solemnization by the Church, and continues to sustain the priest in his ministry. Every priest has profoundly experienced the touch of the Holy Spirit in these three stages. What can theological reflection contribute to a deeper understanding and appropriation of this experience? In an article originally written back in 1942, Karl Rahner points out that the events of vocation and sacramental ordination are explicable " ... only on the assumption that the determinate, concrete content of that official power which is precisely here in question essentially affects the existential kernel of the person concerned ... " ("Priestly Existence," Theological Investigations, Vol. III, Baltimore: Helicon Press, 1967, p. 254). What Rahner is getting at is the fact that the reception of Holy Orders, which is the logical conclusion and completion of the vocation process, touches a person in the core of his existence in a way that no other professional


152

CHICAGO STUDIES

man is touched, such as a lawyer or a doctor. The reason for this lies not so much in the cultic powers of the priest, for it is conceivably possible for them to function ex opere operato, but rather in the priest's responsibility to proclaim the Word of God. Rahner concludes: "Hence the proclamation of the revelation of God, by reason of the specific concentration of truth in its content, demands as an intrinsic element the existential commitment of the proclaimer" (Ibid., p. 2"60). In brief, the priest cannot effectively proclaim the Word of God unless he himself has heard and responded to it. The process that began with an individual experiencing a -vocation ends with that person's existence "being profoundly altered. He now has a priestly identity. VOCATION AS A PERSONAL STABILITY ZONE

What does vocation have to do with adapting to future shock? Toffier points out that many people whose lives are seemingly a flurry of activity manage to cope with constant change by carving out "stability zones" in their lives-" certain enduring relationships that are carefully maintained despite all kinds of other changes" ( op. cit., p. 335). Transposed to a theological view of the priest, a stability zone would be a relatively stable process which enables him to keep a grip on his identity. The priest's vocation, understood as an on-going dialogue with the Holy Spirit in terms of invitation and response, might very well serve the function of stability zones, " ... patterns of relative constancy in the overwhelming flux" ( op. cit., pp. 338339). This, of course, supposes that the priest prayerfully reflects upon the pattem of his life, discerns there the vital, personal activity of the Holy Spirit, and consciously reaffirms his commitment to the call. In so doing, he keeps in touch with the core of his existence, of his identity. To put it another way, he keeps in touch with himself, a self that has been graced by the Holy Spirit who is the Consoler that will provide a zone of spiritual stability. CONCLUSION

We began with ministry in future shock and searched for a


FUTURE SHOCK

153

theology of adaptation. We ransacked the Church's attic of half-forgotten theological doctrines and dusted off the ancient concepts of communio, presbyterate, and vocation. We found that the application of these principles contributed to a theology of adaptation in terms of decentralization, participation, and stability. We conclude with a word from Vatican II, for the Council, in speaking of the life of missionaries, anticipated a number of Toffiers' insights. The context is the Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, but the statements apply to every priest: "He needs a noble spirit for adapting himself to strange customs and changing circumstances. He needs a sympathetic mind and a responsive heart for cooperating with his brethren and with all who dedicate themselves to a common task ( #25) .


John Tracy Ellis

Our Gifts Differ.... "lf you m¡e a Catholic today, or a Catholic priest, and you want to continue being that, you may have to make your O'Wn options."

"His discontent was ignored at first, then evaded, then rather suddenly .... Father Gilhooley was given permission to leave parish work and become an ombudsman for people with problems." The words are those of Joan Barthel in her attractive story in LTFE for April 30, 1971, about the new type of apostolate of Father James J. Gilhooley, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, and her own Catholic girlhood, the point of the story being, as she said, "that if you are a Catholic today, or a Catholic priest, and you want to continue being that, you may have to make your own options." Miss Barthel and Father Gilhooley, each in her and his own way, have made their own options, and very constructive ones they are, even if few precedents may be found for them in the experiences of the Catholic community of the United States. But if these two dynamic 155


156

CHICAGO STUDIES

members of that community could find little by way of precedent for their manner of witnessing to the Master in the Church's history in this country, they could well answer that their case rested on far firmer precedents, namely, on the life experiences of a man called Paul, a citizen of ancient Tarsus in Cilicia, a tentmaker by trade, whose credentials as a witness were vouched for by none less than Jesus Himself Who¡ reassured Ananias, worried about Paul, "this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel." It was the same Paul who some years later wrote to the Christians at Rome: "Our gifts differ according to the grace given us. If your gift is prophecy, then use it as your faith suggests; if administration, then use it for administration; if teaching, then use it for teaching. Let the preachers deliver sermons, the almsgivers give freely, the officials be diligent, and those who do works of mercy do them cheerfully" (Romans, 12, 6-8). Moreover, if Paul's gifts embraced all of these expressions of the Spirit, his extraordinary qualities did not prompt him to abandon the lesser gifts of his early years when the latter could be turned to good account. Thus when he met Aquila and Priscilla at Corinth and learned that they, too, were tentmakers, "of the same trade as himself, he lodged with them, and they worked together" (Acts, 18, 1-3). The apostle of the Gentiles was nothing if not versatile. If ever versatility was needed for the effective exercise of the priestly ministry, the time would seem to be now when the revolutionary condition of this late twentieth century in both Church and State has, so to speak, stood the traditional and the routine quite clearly on their heads. Yet conformist as the Catholic ministry had become and had remained in its American setting down to the 1960's, i.e., conformist in the sense of close adherence to the canonical regulations that bound men to one or other of the priesthood's three-fold implementations represented in parish work, teaching, or the bureaucratic service of chanceries and social welfare organizations, the history of the American Church offers a number of exceptions from these traditional roles; and in almost every instance the exception was related to a pragmatic motive. In this as in so many other


HISTORY

157

aspects of their lives, the priests of the United States revealed how thoroughly American they were in their pragmatic approach to the solution of their own problems and to the problems of the people they served. It was a characteristic noted of Americans by most discerning visitors to this country, and Archbishop Gaetano Bedini, Apostolic Nuncio to Brazil, was of his company when after an eight-month stay here he remarked in a report for the Holy See dated July 12, 1854, "The most outstanding priest is the one that has built the most churches and begun the most institutions." If this was true in almost every case, the priest's exceptional

occupation or ministry, howeve1¡, had about it an element of compulsion or neeessity. The first group of priests to take up permanent residence within the thirteen original English colonies, for example, had no choice but to take out patents to lands in Maryland like any lay settler, and in consequence they were compelled to deal in real estate, to supervise plantations, and to trade like their lay neighbors. That this type of activity should have caused them some uneasiness in view of the hostile attitude toward the Church of a number of their non-Catholic fellow colonists, should occasion no surprise. As early as September, 1639, Mutuius Vitelleschi, General of the Society of Jesus to which these priests belonged, noted this fact, but he sought to excuse his subjects when he told Henry More, the English provincial: "In Maryland, I understand there is no money, but only exchange of goods; and, in consequence, that such exchange may be practised by others without incurring the reproach of trading. And I know that elsewhere too in more places than one it is in use; nor is it blameable, if exercised in just moderation." Nearly a century and a half later at a time when the successors of Maryland's pioneer Jesuit missionaries had long since become an accepted fact on the colonial scene as landowners who conducted profitable tobacco plantations, the sons of Saint Francis were encountering similar problems on the other side of the continent. In this instance it was issues such as rations for the neighboring military personnel, controversies over the amount of wages owed by the friars to the Spanish colonists, and angry exchanges about the prices charged for


158

CHICAGO STUDIES

grains grown on the Indian mission lands, that occupied no small part of the time and energies of Fray Junipero Serra and his fellow friars. There was nothing to suggest normal priestly ministrations, for example, in the lengthy letters that Serra addressed to Commander Fernando de Rivera y Moncada in October, 1775, in reply to the latter's complaints about Franciscan management of the mission properties. Would the missions, Rivera had asked, supply the necessary foodstuffs to the Spanish military and their attendants? To this Serra answered on the following day: "In such a case, which I trust to God will not occur, the missions will do that which they have done on many occasions, that is, give provisions to the soldiers as much as they need and as much as the missions have to give. Your Honor knows and many people know that in past years when the guards at Missions San Diego, San Gabriel, San Luis, and San Antonio were in need of food, in all those missions at the least hint from Captain Farges the Fathers killed cattle belonging to the missions so that the soldiers could eat, while the Fathers themselves did not partake of the same meat, and that they did the same for the men of the Anza expedition. _.. "Finally, any day it happens that at Mission San Luis or San Antonio the food supplies of the guards are consumed because the mules bringing their supplies have come late, whenever this is found out, the missions will supply the rations." The priests of colonial America would not have found the concept of diversity of ministries a strange one, for in their work an1ong the native Indian tribes great diversity was at times demanded of them, a variety that extended all the way from the imagination expected of an architect to the more prosaic skill of a carpenter. Serra's final report on the California missions signed on July 1, 1784, just a few weeks before his death, illustrated that fact when he wrote: "In the first few years we worked hard and well on the church and the rest of the buildings. (They were made) of paling with flat earthen roofs to minimize fire danger, but no matter what we did they always leaked like a sieve and between that and the humidity everything would rot. So we decided to build of


HISTORY

159

adobe and thus today all buildings are (of that material)." If with the passage of time the construction of adobe buildings no longer figured among the occupations of priests, their ministry often embraced, nonetheless, activities that were quite remote from the offering of Mass and the administration of the sacraments. Not all, of course, could demonstrate the variety of talents and tasks of Father Gabriel Richard whose blend of the spiritual and temporal aspects of his ministry in frontier Detroit was the source of no little astonishment to JosephOctave Plessis, Bishop of Quebec, when he visited there in June, 181"6, and observed of the French-born Sulpician: "He has the talent of doing, almost simultaneously, ten entirely different things. Provided with newspapers (gazettes) well informed on all political questions, ever ready to argue on religion when the occasion presents itself, and thoroughly learned in theology, he reaps his hay, gathers the fruit of his garden, manages a fishery fronting his lot, teaches mathematics to one young man, reading to another, devotes time to mental prayer, establishes a printing-press, confesses all his people, imports carding and spinning wheels and looms, to teach the women of his parish how to work, leaves not a single act of his parochial register unwritten, invents an electric machine, goes on sick calls at a very great distance, writes letters to and receives others from all parts, preaches on every Sunday and holyday both lengthily and learnedly, enriches his library, spends whole nights without sleep, walks for whole days, loves to converse, receives company, teaches catechism to his young parishioners, supports a girls' school, under the management of a few female teachers of his own choosing, whom he directs like a religious community whilst he gives lessons in plain-song to young boys assembled in a school he has founded, leads a most frugal life, and is in good health, as fresh and able, at the age of fifty as one usually is at thirty." And one might add, Bishop Plessis said nothing here of Richard as publisher of Michigan's first newspaper in 1809, of his choice in 1817 as vice president of the institution that would become the University of Michigan, and of his election in 1823 as the delegate of Michigan Territory whch brought him the distinction of being


160

CHICAGO STUDIES

the first Catholic priest to sit in the Congress of the United States! Yet the brief political career of Gabriel Richard was the exception, for Alexis de Tocqueville was in the main correct when he observed in his famous treatise, Democracy in America, that Catholic priests of the United States had divided the intellectual world into two parts, in one of which, as he said, "they place the doctrines of revealed religion, which they assent to without discussion; in the other they leave those political truths which they believe the Deity has left open to free inquiry." The French visitor of 1831-1832 saw the priest as sovereign in the realm of religion, "out of which," he remarked, "he takes care never to go." He then continued: "Within its limits he is master of the mind; beyond them he leaves men to themselves and surrenders them to the independence and instability that belong to their nature and their age." The American bishops had sought to foster that kind of stance on the part of their priests, and the latter had probably been influenced by the clear directive of the hierarchy's pastoral letter of October, 1829, from the First Provincial Council of Baltimore--the only document of its kind in the history of the American priesthood. In the single passage of that letter that touched on the subject of the present paper the priests had been told: "Your flocks may find sufficient relaxation and amusement in their intercourse with each other : from you they expect instruction for the service of God, not suggestions as to the regulation of their own temporal concerns with which you should scrupulously avoid any entanglement." For the most part this admonition was observed in the varied expressions of priestly ministry, save in the case of the priests who were journalists. Here the priest editors of Catholic weekly newspapers could scarcely have been expected to avoid suggestions that pertained to the 'temporal concerns' of the laity. Father Edward Purcell, editor of the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati, for one felt no hesitation about forcefully exercising that prerogative of his ministry as a journalist, and three months after the presidential emancipation proclamation of January, 1863, Purcell took a strong stand in a lengthy editorial supporting Lincoln's freedom for the black slaves, even


HISTORY

161

though he knew many Catholics were opposed to it. He declared: "It is not in a factious spirit or a fanatical spirit that we write, but under the strong conviction that a great change is a hand in the political welfare of the country, and that it is of some consequence to Catholics to decide wisely what part to take." There was another aspect of the priestly ministry of the same Father Purcell that did not have so happy a sequel. In an age that knew no federal guarantees for bank deposits bank failures occurred with a frightening frequency, and often those most injured were the poor who had tried, as the old expression had it, to put away a few dollars for a rainy day. Financial ruin visited upon relatives and friends made the immigrants especially wary of banks, and in the wake of the panic of 1837 many of these Catholic families in Cincinnati brought their savings to Bishop John B. Purcell for safekeeping. The latter, who made no secret of his lack of ability in business affairs, turned the sums over to his brother, Edward Purcell, who inaugurated in 1838, the year of his ordination to the priesthood. an informal savings and loan company that operated with great success for forty years during which he handled in excess of $13,000,000. All went well until the great panic of 1873 when the universal depression that swept the western world entailed numerous bank failures, the ruin of countless business enterprises, and a spiraling rate of unemployment. Cincinnati, of course, did not escape, and the failure of several of the city's financial houses, plus a series of unwise investments on the part of Purcell, caused his banking business to come tumbling do\vn late in 1878. The results for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati were catastrophic, and even though no one questioned Purcell's fundamental honesty, his bad investments, unbusinesslike management, the high interest payments he had to meet, and the shrinkage in value of his assets brought a sudden and shocking end to the whole venture. Twelve years before the bishops of the United States in the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore in October,- 1866, had legislated against priests practicing medicine or surgery either for gain or for charity, the decree itself indicating that there probably had been some abuse on this score. At the same time


162

CHICAGO STUDIES

the bishops prohibited priests from receiving money from the laity for investment or for conducting banks without their bishop's permission. Edward Purcell, to be sure, had had the permission of his brother, but as it turned out it would have been better for all concerned had the Purcells heeded the conciliar decree's warning note. Nor was Cincinnati the only diocese during this period that witnessed Catholic clergy involved in the banking business. The same causes that had brought into existence the Purcell bank-plus a large diocesan debt for the payment of which the bishop had not been able to secure a Joan--occasioned the establishment at Saint Louis in 1846 of the so-called Bishop's Bank by the ordinary, Peter Richard Kenrick, with Father Ambrose Heim placed in active charge. So successful were they that this institution not only withstood the heavy pressures of the panic of 1857 when neighboring banks were crashing all about it, but Archbishop Kemick was able to loan Saint Louis' straitened city government the sum of $150,000 to help it weather the crisis. Although Kenrick also had his anxious moments and was the subject of criticism for his banking operations, in the end no one lost any money in consequence of their transactions with the Bishop's Bank. It was the archbishop's forced absence from home for Vatican Council I that brought an end to the institution in 1870. The historian of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis stated, "As the Archbishop would not break with his practice of personal attention to all phases of his business, he felt that the only alternative was to close his banking establishment." The involvement of American priests in one or another kind of business or commercial enterprise was a fairly constant phenomenon throughout the nineteenth century, and that in spite of fairly frequent prohibitions such as that of the Fourth Provincial Council of Baltimore of May, 1840, where the tenth decree regulating the clergy's life stated that priests should abstain from various activities, "necnon saecularibus negotiis." For the most part, however, supervision was rather lax, distance from the seat of authority in the see city was often great, communications were at best primitive, and in the final analysis many priests, confronted with extraordinary demands


HISTORY

163

on their talents and time in the frontier settlements of the early century, carried on pretty much as they pleased. The real estate operations of Father Stephen T. Badin, the first priest ordained in the United States (1793), were a case in point, operations that were continued regardless of strong remonstrances on occasion from Benedict J. Flaget, S.S., Bishop of Bardstown. In fact, while Badin had his failures his overall success on the Kentucky and Indiana frontiers, the chief scene of his activities, in the end left the Church the gainer. For example, when John Cavanaugh, C.S.C., President of the University of Notre Dame, spoke at the unveiling of a statue to Badin at Loretto, Kentucky, in May, 1912, he acknowledged that it was a duty for him to proclaim publicly his religious congregation's debt to Badin, for, he said, "It is he who procured from the government the large domain on which Noti¡e Dame is set . ... " A contemporary of Badin, Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, carried on a similar series of transactions in western Pennsylvania where he spent a large personal fortune in buying and selling real estate. Hopeful of an inheritance at the time of his mother's death ( 1806), the famous Princess Amalia Gallitzin, the Russian-born convert priest embarked on more ambitious projects which prompted one biographer to remark: "Instead of paying off his old debts as much as possible, he contracted new ones; at least, he resurrected various undertakings that had been given up, such as building a church and house, remodelling farm buildings, and the like." Gallitzin's business methods did, indeed, leave much to be desired, and yet no one could deny that in the final reckoning he had rendered a great service to the infant and impoverished Church in areas that today lie within the prosperous Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Greensburg. The secular employment that at times absorbed many priests' energies in the nineteenth century was in almost all cases induced by an eff01t to be of assistance to their people. For what Archbishop Bedini observed on his visit to the United States in 1854 about the Irish priests could just as truly have been written of the priests of other immigrant groups. Remarking


164

CHICAGO STUDIES

that the Irish priest had his defects, Bedini stated: "Yet, however imperfect he may be, he is the only one who can guide his flock; for the Irish people see in their priests not a simple minister of Religion; but their father, their magistrate, their judge, their king, their 'Papa,' their idol." Mutatis mutandis, the same kind of story was told, for ex-

ample, by those who wrote of the Poles. Thus after a visit of two years (1876-1878) Henry Sienkiewicz, the novelist who later was to win distinction and be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, described the leading part played by the Polish priests in founding rural colonies at Warren Hoino, Arkansas, and New Posen, Nebraska. "Almost without exception," said Sienkiewicz, "priests serve as such envoys for our colonists, and were it not for them, settlements like Radom, Czestochowa, and others would never have arisen, for peasants would not know how to handle these matters." He had written in detail of these colonies, he explained, "to show the imoortance of the role and activity of the Polish priests in the United States,'' and he added, "it is clear that the clergy are largely responsible for such organization as exists among the Poles residing in America." Testimony of a like kind could be cited of the varied ministries of priests of German, Bohemian, Hungarian, and other national strains. A single example--a rather amusing one--from the German immigrants will suffice to illustrate the point. In 1846 the original Benedictine foundation in this country was made by Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B., heading a group of Bavarian candidates for the order, at a location some forty miles east and¡ south of Pittsburgh where they began what is today Saint Vincent Archabbey. Two years later Father Thaddeus Brunner, O.S.B., arrived on the scene and was put in charge of the education of the clerical candidates. Brunner and Wimmer were soon at odds, and the former complained to Abbot Gregory Scherr of the Abbey of Metten, their motherhouse, that Wimmer had "thrown himself into a great stream whose waves have covered him, and as a result he cannot see what is going on around him." Wimmer, he maintained, had "entirely given himself over to business affairs, acquiring more land, more cows, and more sheep,'' with the result that he had "quenched

. '


HISTORY

165

every sense and desire for monastic solitude and learning." Moreover, the superior was "seldom at home," and when he was at the monastel"y he was "always in the kitchen where he laughs and jokes about everything." But worse was in store for the grave-minded master of clerics. That same year one of Wimmer's nephews had emigrated from Bavaria and had appropriated several hundred dollars intended for the Benedictines by Joseph Mueller, court chaplain at Munich. To repay what he owed the monks the young man bought a tavern and a brewery at Indiana, Pennsylvania, about thirty-five miles from Saint Vincent's, quickly failed in business, and the whole had then reverted to the monks. When they clecided to cat-ry on the business, however, they encountered the stout opposition of Michael O'Connor, Bishop of Pittsburgh, who as a strong temperance advocate was horrified at the prospect of monks running a brewery in his diocese. The result was a head-on collision between O'Connor and Wimmer with the latter betaking himself to Europe to gain support in Munich and Rome, hoping in the latter city also to gain the status of an exempt religious house for Saint Vincent's. The bishop's indignation was at the boiling point when he told Tobias Kirby, Rector of the Irish College at Rome, in a letter of August 13, 1851: "The superior of a Benedictine monastery here had the impudence to open a common public house of which he gave charge to a scapegrace of a nephew who had robbed him of some money which he got from the Bavarian Mission Society." O'Connor wanted it distinctly understood that he would give no approval to the monks' petition for an exempt house. He had infmmed the Congregation de Propaganda Fide, as he told Kirby, that he hoped that "instead of a mitre" Wimmer would be given "what he wants more badly: a good lesson in the shameful manner in which he acted." In the sequel Wimmer agreâ‚Źd to give up the tavern but not the brewery, and at length Propaganda consented to make Saint Vincent's a non-exempt priory with permission to continue the brewery, "providing that every disorder is avoided," and that the beer should not be sold in taverns but only distributed wholesale. Meanwhile Wimmer bided his time and when O'Connor resigned the See


166

CHICAGO STUDIES

of Pittsburgh in May, 1860, the brewery was opened at Saint Vincent's. A recent historian concluded his account of the episode by stating that although the brewery business "never became a major source of income for the community, it did, for a period of about sixty years, produce the 'St. Vincent Beer' which in its own way helped make the monastery famous." If the California Jesuits and Christian Brothers have had no such exciting conflicts with the local ordinaries over their famous wineries, they could doubtless match the Pennsylvania Benedictines' experiences on the level of financial and commercial concerns. Real estate, banking, and brewing-all had their turn among the varied occupations with which American priests had diversified their ministry at one time or other, and all had drawn fire now and then from superiors or critical observers. But what seemed to have aroused most opposition was the suggestion or threat of a priest moving into the political arena. Much of the sensitivity of bishops and religious superiors on this score stemmed from their fears of offering a handle to the Church's numerous enemies in this country whose suspicion and hatred surfaced three times during the nineteenth century in organized campaigns of bigotry that made life very unpleasant for the Catholics. Nativists (1830's-1840's), KnowNothings (1850's), and the American Protective Association (1880's-1890's) were ever ready to make the welkin ring with denunciations of the peril to the Republic from 'foreign agents,' 'priest spies,' 'minions of Romanism,' etc. That was the background-in addition to the deepening crisis then dividing all Americans over slavery-from which the eight bishops of the Ninth Provincial Council of Baltimore in May, 1858, warned priests in their pastoral letter when they said: "Our clergy have wisely abstained from all interference with the judgment of the faithful, which should be free on all questions of polity and social order, within the limits of the doctrine and law of Christ.... Leave to worldlings the cares and anxieties of political partizanship, the struggles for ascendancy, and the mortifications of disappointed ambition. Do not, in any way, identify the interests of our holy faith with the fortunes of any party." That most priests of the United States held themselves aloof


HISTORY

167

from involvement in politics was true, whether or not they would consider themselves to have 'wisely abstained,' not being clearly a matter of record. But there were exceptions such as Father Edward McGlynn's role in the New York mayoralty election in 1886 in behalf of Henry George, an action that brought on his suspension by Archbishop Michael A. Corrigan for refusing to desist and an ultimate excommunication by Rome for disobeying a summons to the Holy See to explain his teaching on private property. And the early years of the New Deal witnessed the very active part played in national politics by Father Charles E. Coughlin of the Archdiocese of Detroit until his increasingly controversial policies brought a threat from the Department of Justice and his forced removal from public life by his superior, Archbishop Edward A. Mooney, early in 1942. The McGlynns and the Coughlins were, however, very much the exception among American priests until the emancipating influence of John F. Kennedy's election to the presidency in November, 1960, heralded the entrance of Catholics into the mainstream of American life and their acceptance, so to speak, by their fellow citizens of all religions and racial strains. The Catholic priest was still far from occupying the position of his French counterpart who, as Denis W. Brogan has said, is 'part of the national furniture,' but the election of 1960, nevertheless, made a difference. And that difference was vividly portrayed in the congressional elections of 1970 which found three priests standing as candidates for Congress, and that in spite of a statement of official discouragement from the hierarchy. In the election two of the three were defeated in their bid for a seat in the national House of Representatives, but the third, Robert F. Drinan, S.J., of Boston College, was elected from Massachusetts. What the future of American politics may hold for the priests of the United States, no one can foresee. Should it prove that the 1970's had ushered in a new chapter of their history in this regard, they would have some striking precedents for the role among their predecessors in other lands. For part of the fame that attached to the names of men like Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler, Bishop of Mainz, Felix Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans, Jean-Baptiste-Hem¡i Lacordaire, O.P., and others arose from their presence as elected members of par-


168

CHICAGO STUDIES

liamentary bodies such as the German Reichstag and the French National Assembly and Senate. In similar fashion certain priests of this post-conciliar age who have sought service in occupations that a decade ago would have been considered unthinkable in this country--one hears now of priest taxi drivers, for example--can and doubtless have cited the precedent of the worker priest of France whose unusual apostolate has continued to the present, even if in a form modified from that born in the 1940's under the inspiration of the remarkable Cardinal Suhard of Paris. Parenthetically, it might be said that running a gas station was not thought an unworthy position from which to recall a bishop to the more conventional role of a vicar general, when the Archbishop of New York in 1939 restored Bonaventure F. Broderick to the episcopal dignity in which he lived until his death in 1943. However diversified as the ministry may ultimately become among Catholic priests in the United States, in all likelihood it will not stray very far from an external expression of the national characteristic that has fastened itself so firmly upon most priests in this country. It is now nearly a century since George Conroy, Bishop of Ardagh in Ireland, visited here in 1878 and then wrote a report for the Congregation de Propaganda Fide. Among his critical comments there was included the norms that governed the choice of priests for the office of bishop, Conroy stating, "priority is given to financial abilities, rather than to pastoral." The American priest of 1971 will not be surprised by the Irish visitor's conclusion. He wrote: "Whenever there is deliberation to choose a candidate for the episcopacy, the Bishops of a province feel constrained to seek, at all costs, a man skilled in financial administration, indeed, it has too often happened that the most valued gifts in the candidate proposed to the Holy See were properly those of a banker, and not of a Pastot¡ of souls." In fact, so not¡mal and accepted a part of clerical life had that sort of thinking become that William Stang, first Bishop of Fall River, published a volume entitled Business Guide for Priests (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1899). When one reads the comment of Kenneth L. Woodward, religion editor of Newsweek (May 10, 1971) to the effect that, "Most big-city

.,

.....


HISTORY

169

bishops I have met ... resemble nothing so much as the corporation executive who is wed to his job and protected by dependent bureaucrats," and contrasts it with that of Bishop Conroy, he is reminded of the old French axiom, plus ca change, plus c'est Ia meme chose!

The future is always shrouded with uncertainty for every man in every walk of life; but that uncertainty is felt in an especially keen manner by the American priest of the 1970's, as it is, indeed, by his fellow priests all over the world. The external expression of his ministry is in some instances undergoing almost startling transformation, a condition that may produce a deep apprehension for some priests. Here the history of the priesthood, the story of diversified ministt¡ies of another age can have a helpful effect on those who will read it. Obviously, history cannot solve the problems of priests any more than it can solve the difficulties of other men, but it can demonstrate that the revolutionary condition of our time¡ may not be as new as one may at first think it to be, for in many aspects of the rapidly changing scene the priest, like those in other walks of life, can say "we have been here before." That knowledge will serve to focus his mind and motivation on an informing principle outside himself so that he will see his ministry in whatever expression it may take in the spirit of Saint Paul who told the Colossians: "Whatever you do, work at it with your whole soul, doing it for the Lord rather than for men, because you know that you will receive the inheritance from him as your reward" (III, 17-18).


John E. Biersdorf

Church Order and the Emerging Future

In a world of ovenhoice nten need the 1¡esou-rces of faith to find di1¡ection and focus among a bewildering surplus of opportunities fo,¡ fulfillment.

The ministry of our Lord on earth-" ... To preach good news to the poor ... to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4 :18-19)-was only partially accomplished by what He said., He also healed, formed a small enduring community, and lived, shared bread and wine, and died to show forth the depths of the revelation entrusted to him. Even his words, apart from the tears and anger and tenderness which he offered them, do not faithfully record the new being he demonstrated. But above 171


172

CHICAGO STUDIES

all, by his mighty acts, he founded communities of men and women to be harbingers of the Kingdom of God. In turn, the ministries of these communities were only partially accomplished, and partly understood, by what was said. They also healed, formed small groups, and in time, complex organizations, and lived, shared bread and wine, and trie<l to show forth the revelation entrusted to them. And even their words, apart from the conflicts and the love of their community life, do not faithfully record the new being they attempted to demonstrate. ¡ In recent years much attention has been paid to the language of the gospel. That is not simply because Americans speak a different language than the first Christians-although faithful translation is a serious concern. It is also because we speak many languages-the fruits of specialized discourse, often scientific-that seep into our common life and greatly influence our assumptions and beliefs about ourselves and our world. Because we view life differently than ¡did the women and men of Corinth, theologians are concerned to restate the proclamation of faith-in order that it will proclaim the same faith. Because we believe that the risen Christ is also with us, we trust that it is possible, in a different language, and with different world views, to preach the same gospel. But the ministry of the men and women of Corinth, and elsewhere, was only partly accomplished by what they said. They were also concerned to order their common life in the worldin all its processes and structures-to show forth the new being. As Eduard Schweizer wrote, "The New Testament's pronouncements on church order are to be read as a gospelthat is, church order is to be regarded as a part of the proclamation in which the church's witness is expressed, as it is in its preaching." (Eduard Schweizer, Chtu¡ch Orde,- in the New Testament, London: SCM Press, Ltd., 1961, p. 14.) Although discussions of church order often emphasize such special problems as the relationship of the ordained ministry to the ministry of the whole body of Christ, I mean the term here to include the range of processes and structures by which the church orders itself to carry out its ministry and mission.


ORDER

173

Church order is the form in which the gospel is proclaimed by the actions of the church in organizing itself and carrying out transactions with its environment-its mission in the world.

It can be shown that the organization of the early church was heavily influenced by the organization of the Jewish synagogue-just as it can be shown that the languages in which the gospel was preached were also used for a variety of other purposes. In both cases-in preaching and in acting-the church was dependent upon the resources of specific cultures in order to embody the gospel in relation to the felt needs of the cultures. Church order changed through time and place as it used the organizational resources of various cultures to address the needs of those cultures for the new life in Christ. What is ¡stable is only the remarkable persistence of God's grace in using many forms' for the purposes of the Kingdom. It might be helpful to look at a couple of examples in which church order embodied the faith in specific organizational forms in response to specific social cultural situations. The monastic community translated theological convictions into specific organizational forms and personal styles of living in dealing with the fundamental human issues of sexuality, power, and economics. Gabriel Moran holds, "The Religious order was an unusual kind of social organization held together by the acceptance of a single authority principle. Everything depended upon a belief that the whole mechanism of rules and superiors was in accord with perfection and to God." (Gabriel Moran, "Religious community: A Call To Be Born," National Catholic Repm¡ter, December 18, 1970, p. 9.) Moran believes that both theology and culture have changed so greatly that monasticism is dead and new Christian communities need to be born which will deal in more open ways with sexuality, which will substitute a variety of personal relationships for hierarchical power arrangements, and which will make economic survival a matter of community decision. A second example of church order is that of congregational autonomy. Paul Harrison in his study of the American Baptist Convention analyzed the historical beginnings of that doctrine among Baptists. According to the writings of early Anabap-


174

CHICAGO STUDIES

tists, democracy in the free churches was a method for discovering the will of God. (Paul lVL Harrison, Au.tlw>"ity and Power in the Free Church Tradition, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1959, p. 159.) There could be no limits to the freedom of the local gathered church to discover that will, such as they had experienced in the hierarchical organization of the Roman Catholic Church (Ibid .. p. 53). Thus congregational autonomy was a specific organizational form founded upon a theological principle about how God makes himself known to his people. Harrison noted that congregational autonomy is no longer an accurate description of how the American Baptist Convention actually works. Specifically the executive at the national and regional levels has a great deal of power to influence the life of the local church. But since congregational autonomy is a matter of church order, there is no doctrinal way to recognize what actually is happening (Ibid., p. 57). In addition, when autonomy is ineffective for development of new mission or when it creates problems in intemal organization, Baptists cannot admit to themselves that it does not work, because there is no doctrinal altemative (Ibid., p. 6 and 192). Baptists, according to Harrison, keep looking at anarchy and seeing democracy (Ibid .. p. 157). Since cultures change, no church order can be etemal. VVhat is needen is an understanding of chm¡ch order which recognizes the necessity of continuous evolution in church organizational forms. There are intriguing resources in contemporary culture for ordering the church. The sociology of organizations, the disciplines of organizational development and management training, and other areas of the social sciences have begun to influence church organizations. The claim of the social sciences is that human behavior, including corporate behavior, to an increasing extent, can be understood, and shaped according to conscious puqJOses. The ways we live together are not simply given to us by the past-we can change them. Nor are they totally mysterious and beyond the grasp of our reason. To some extent we can fathom underlying principles and consequences of different ways of communicating and organizing. And if all this is true, the way is open to developing church orders which


ORDER

175

are intentionally evolutionary, in response to different felt needs, and in fidelity to the gospel. According to one contemporary source an organization is "the coordination of different activities of individual contributors to carry out planned transactions with the environment." (Paul R. Lawrence and Jay W. Lorsch, Developing Organi. zations: Diagnosis and Action, Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1969, p. 3.) Each of the phrases of that definition carry special meaning. "The coordination of different activities" implies that an organization must differentiate specialized subsystems, such as clergy and laity, to do different parts of its task, and then integrate them into an effective whole. Many of the issues of church organization develop around these two organizational imperatives of differentiation and integration. "Individual contributors" implies that an organization, after all, is made up of persons, who cooperate .to give of themselves through the organization in return for felt satisfactions. And finally, "planned transactions with the environment" means that organizations exist to intentionally give and receive in relation to the larger social wo!¡ld of which they are a part. Historically, the distinctive transaction of the church with its environment has been to offer a symbolic canopy for the social world at large, i.e., a set of comprehensive symbols, ideas, and values by which persons could integrate and give meaning to their own personhood, their social relationships, and the world in which they lived. But over the centuries, the breakup of Christendom and the emergence of modern civilization has changed the felt cultural needs for the gospel mediated through preaching and church order. In our present time of permanent social and cultural change, the felt needs for the meanings religion has to offet¡ are in continuing transition. If it is to be faithful, the church, which offers those meanings, must continually evolve its organizational forms and its understanding of its own heritage and symbols. We are living in a time of accelerating change. In the recent book Future Shock Toffier reminds us that if mankind has lived eight hundred lifetimes, 650 of those lifetimes have been spent in caves. It is only in our lifetime, the eight hundredth, that


176

CHICAGO STUDIES

change is more important than stability. The fundamental cause of rapid change is science and technology. Because of the invention of the method of invention, every new technological advance makes possible more technological advance in shorter periods of time. Toffier detailed three characteristics of the future modern science and technology is bringing upon us. The first is the acceleration of change. The time lag between the invention of a new idea, its application, its diffusion to a mass market, and the feedback to another new idea is geometrically speeding up. (Alvin Toffier, Future Shock, New York: Random House, 1970, p. 27.) To take one example, around the time of the Reformation Europe produced perhaps a thousand books a year. Now this country produces a thousand new books a day (Ibid., p. 30). The second dimension of the coming future is increasing transcience regarding things, people, places, organizations, and ideas. Things and ideas become obsolete faster. People are more mobile geographically, and relationships and organizational affiliations shift more rapidly. The combination of acceleration and transcience produces the third characteristic, novelty. Toffier holds that there are identifiable psychological and physiological maladies, that can be called future shock, which result from persons being exposed to more novelty than can be dealt with. " ... There are discoverable limits to the amount of change that the human organism can ¡absorb and ... by endlessly accelerating change without first determining these limits we may submit masses of men to demands they simply cannot tolerate ... " (Ibid., p. 90). Symptoms of future shock include anxiety, unreasoning hostility to authority, violence, apathy, erratic swings in life-style, and withdrawal (Ibid., p. 290). The Massachusetts Institute of Technology study of the effects of technology concluded that it is not science and technology alone but the combination of that factor with population growth that is producing a crisis in relation to change. The combination of these two forces will make our social world radically different from anything we have known before. It will create serious value conflicts when people hold to old organizational patterns which do not work with new technology,


ORDER

177

or'when they attempt to respond to new technology and are dislocated from their own personal values and styles of living. One way to look at the effects of science and technology on the social world we are moving into is to understand it as the transition from an industrial society to something that can be called a post-industrial society. Glimpses of how that new society might look and feel were offered by McLuhan and others who believed that new methods of communication carried their own content and encouraged new (or old) personality characteristics and social groupings. The Industrial Revolution geometrically increased man's power through the invention of such machines as the steam engine. Social organizations were built around machines and called factories. They relieved man of the necessity and of the pleasure of handcrafting by harnessing him to machines for the routine and multiplied production of goods. The assembly line developed by Henry Ford was the final refinement in the factory as a paradigmatic social organization of the industrial age. The factory was a bureaucratic organization, with hierarchical authority, the fitting of people into specialized jobs that intermesh as the parts of the steam engine do and the performance of routine roles for maximum reliability and repetition. Clearly this type of social organization was more compatible with certain kinds of personalities than with others. George Leonard in Education and Ecstasy insisted that throughout history the purpose of education has been socialization, to prepare the child to play appropriate adult roles in society. Education and socialization in an industrial society dampened the creativity and spontaneity of the child in order to make him content to perform a narrow and routine social role. In industrial society the utilitarian ethic developed which stressed the consequences of acts as against the moral intentions of the actor or the conformity to certain approved social models. (Alvin W. Gouldner, The Coming Crisis i:n Westem Sociology, New York: Basic Books, 1970, p. 66.) The utilitarian ethic had at least three dehumanizing dangers. The first is a drift within itself, toward anomie or normlessness, because "In some part utility was always a thinly disguised rationali-


178

CHICAGO STUDIES

zation for avarice and venality and the uninhibited pursuit of self-interest" (Ibid., p. 70). Morality becomes increasingly subverted to the drive for power and to serve the private interest. Secondly, persons are increasingly regarded both in their own eyes and the eyes of others for their social utility. This functional view of man leaves out personhood, or that dimension of being human which is not useful either to one's self or to the other (Ibid., p. 75). Finally, as Max Weber especially feared, the charm, the spontaneity, and the variety of the world began to disappear in the increasing efficiency of bureaucracies, and the world became gray, uninviting, and uninteresting. The basic machine of industrial society, the social organizations it needed, the personality structures it rewarded, and the ethics it taught are radically different for post-industrial society. Now and increasingly in the future the paradigm machine will be the computer, which multiplies not only man's power, but his reasoning capacity. The qualitative and fundamental way in which we are different from any other people in history is that man's relationship to resources has reversed itself in our time. Toffier defines it: "It is no longer resources that limit decisions. It is the decision that makes the resources" (Toffier, op. cit., p. 15). Society has the power to do almost anything it wants to, and the key question is what to do. It is unclear what types of social organizations will be most congruent with post-industrial society, but they probably will be temporary systems. Warren Bennis believes that work teams in the future will be comprised of" ... relative strangers who represent a set of diverse professional skills ... differentiated not vertically according to rank and role but flexibly and functionally according to skill and professional training ... " (Ibid., p. 129). Work groups will exist only temporarily to do a specific task, will then disband, and new ones will form around different tasks.

Toffier describes the worker of the future as a multi-specialist, who knows one field well, but can apply his skills in other fields as well, in temporary but high commitment work teams. He will not describe himself occupationally by the job he holds


ORDER

179

but by the kind of trajectory he is projecting through a variety of jobs and even careers (Ibid., p. 99). What is needed in the future are " ... men who can make critical judgments, who can weave their way through novel environments, who are quick to spot new relationships in a rapidly changing reality (Ibid., p. 357). In the emerging post-industrial society the utilitarian ethic is being submerged in the value confusion resulting from the acceleration of value turnover and the increasing diversity of values. The implicit ethic of the youth culture articulated by Charles Reich, the utilitarian ethic, and other definitions of the good now exist alongside each other. There is and will be a bewildering number of subcultures with diverse values from which to choose to live one's own life. Toffier believes that the emergence of the idea of "life-style" is a way of coping with this diversity of values. Since there are so many choices one must make in living, over-choice becomes a critical problem, and one way to deal with the problem of over-choice is to choose a life-style which sums up within itself a way to dress, a set of values, patterns of relations, and so forth. According to Toffier, " ... the choice of a life-style model to emulate is a crucial strategy in our private war against the crowding pressures of over-choice (Ibid., p. 278). \Vhat psychologists call searching behavior becomes increasingly important as the self moves through a variety of value commitments and life-styles. The great problem in this society of over-choice and increasing novelty is personal integration and social integration. Toffier is least sanguine about the future on the question of how postindustrial society will develop the social integration which will allow it to survive. A final note: few of us now live in the future. Toffier estimates that perhaps 70 percent of Americans still live in traditional society. About 25 percent live in the latter stages of industrial society, and perhaps 2 or 3 percent in various pockets in government, aerospace, and the university live now in postindustrial society. But this 2 or 3 percent are facing now the problems that an increasing number of the population will face in the future (Ibid., p. 37). Another important dimension of contemporary changes in


180

CHICAGO STUDIES

our social world is that the assumed cultural consensus that bound our society together is disappearing. Probably any culture survives, only as it shares some fundamental beliefs about itself and some common perceptions. Common perceptions include what is recognized as part of social reality as well as what is overlooked and considered not to exist. This combination of shared perceptions and shared blindspots began to disappear in our society after World War II. It disappeared in relation to the oppression of black people and other minority groups. Beginning with integration in the armed forces, and growing through the civil rights movement, selective inattention was replaced by the realization that the nation's pretensions of equality of opportunity stood in glaring contradiction to the reality of the oppression of blacks. We also noticed in the fifties that we were no longer a Protestant Christian nation. Will Herberg discovered civil religion, which underlaid the supposed distinctions, in Protestant, Catholic, and Jew. We discovered that we lived in a pluralistic society in which Christianity, Judaism, other religions, and secularism could exist side by side. The selective inattention of the richest country in the world to millions of her citizens who were either suffering from malnutrition or actually starving also began to disappear. Finally, the end of World War II brought us awesome world responsibilities, which we discharged with a series of adventures which brought into question the credibility of our nation's values. Like the Roman Empire at its peak we became involved around the known world in a series of wars, economic aid programs, and secret attempts to strengthen or to subvert other governments. The most serious of these adventures, Vietnam, has lasted the entire lifetime of the young men who are being asked to fight in it. Three successive presidents have now been elected with the hope of ending that disaster, and yet it continues to spread throughout Southeast Asia. The effect of all these developments has been to erode the common values and assumptions that underlie our social world, to destroy the selective inattention that allowed us to exist with poverty and racial opposition in our midst without noticing, and to separate us into increasingly polarized social groups who perceive America in contradictory ways. Obviously, there have been deviant subgroups before in our society, but never


ORDER

181

before have the power arrangements among these groups broken down so that all of them can lay equal claim to knowing America as it really is and changing or maintaining it according to their demands. Those groups which are most oppressed by society at large or who have least to gain or most to lose by upholding the status quo of power arrangements and cultural assumptions are those which have moved furthest away and precipitated the disappearance of common perceptions and shared values. I have elsewhere described the factors that led one such group, radical youth, to perceive the contradictions between the values they were taught and the behaviors of the institutions that officially represented those values. The result of the radicalization of oppressed or alienated groups is the conscious delegitimation of these institutions that enshrined the cultural consensus, but are now regarded as the agents of repression. In the 1950's we could celebrate diversity and call it pluralism. In the 1960's we became frightened by the disappearance of consensus and called it polarization, because we now realized the very existence of society depends upon some shared assumptions and values. I think it is significant that the term paranoia, which clinically refers to a psychosis in which there is a delusional system without halucinations, has come to refer in common speech to a pervasive distrust of other persons and groups in our society. Our paranoia as a culture is real. Yet without trust that other persons and groups will share basic assumptions, it is impossible to negotiate, even over the redistribution of power. And if the only criterion is force, the repression from present power structures will destroy the fabric of our culture. The foregoing is one very general picture of possible futures for our society. The church must learn to project such possible futures and move in an orderly fashion toward them, revising directions on the basis of continuously updated information. That is the implication of what it means to minister in a society in constant change. This does not mean that the churches should be impulsive or fragmented in their response to change. In responding to the problems of social mobility and com-


182

CHICAGO STUDIES

munal isolation after World War II and into the sixties, religion and the church became more popular in this country. Church organizations grew, and the ministry found himself confronted by increasing demands and pressures. The church's reaction to its new popularity was impulsive and fragmented. Denominations built whole mission strategies upon this shifting social need. One church executive could say, as Harrison quoted him, "We want them to build new churches. We want them to be loyal to the convention and make a contribution in all kinds of ways. Beyond that we don't have any rules" (Harrison, op. cit., p. 155). While any self-respecting theologian would tear his hair at that statement, churches went on building and expanding, and the in-house critics of religion were unable to offer effective alternatives. A new model of the ministry, the pastoral director, was based on the church's response to this social need. When it became obsolescent, along with high potential churches, it left no foundation for effective response to new situations. Essentially the same problem is upon us now, with the demise of the church strategies and models of ministry developed in the civil rights movement. Instead the church must be closely in touch with the changing needs of the culture for meaning and healing, and critically appropriate the organizational resources of the same culture to embody the gospel in response to those needs. Following are some very sketchy notes to occasion a hopefully continuing dialogue and experimentation around examples of emerging church order in our changing society. Our modern situation is not entirely incongruent with the New Testament world of apocalyptic threats and promises in which men have a vision of a new humanity so intriguing they must share it with others. The earliest church was the fore-taste of a time when God would dwell with men. And there have been many times in the history of the church when that foretaste was a reality, and not only personal lives but social structures and world views were transformed by the power of faith. The church has no other purpose than to be an occasion for those experiences. Christians know that they cannot produce that experience by their own efforts alone, for it is a matter of what is called grace. But Christians also know that in every age


ORDER

183

there are distinctive tasks that can be done to nurture that vision in the personal lives and social world of their time. Fundamental theological categories have to be appropriated in new ways. For example, in a world of scarcity men need the resources of faith to endure deprivation, and to sustain hope even though fundamental human needs cannot be met. In a world of over-choice men need the resources of faith to find direction and focus among a bewildering surplus of opportunities for fulfillment. Organizationally, the church has to be able to move in new directions without losing its identity. It must be able to give up its apologetic obligation to pump breath into obsolete forms and irrelevant symbols and ally itself freely with whomever is nurturing the new humanity. It still needs to learn from oppressed and alienated groups how to critique its own self-interest and how to ally itself with integrity with the felt needs of different groups in a polarized society. Church organizations need to live for mission instead of for institutional maintenance; to accomplish something in the world rather than trying to keep everyone happy, or at least paying their pledge. There can be churches, in Toffier's terms, which are zones of stability, or even enclaves of the past, as well as radical groups and enclaves of the future. But conscious choices have to be made, and risks taken. Perhaps, most of all the church must give up any pretensions of authority or permanance. It will exist, if at all, in post-industrial society, strictly on its own merits, as a series of temporary systems to address such fundamental human problems as learning, relating, choosing. To use a tet¡m from the applied behavioral sciences, the vital church will be a series of training events, most broadly understood, on the quality of life, nothing more, and hopefully nothing less. The minister in emerging church orders might still have specialized tasks, both on the turf of the church and on the turf of the society around him. On both turfs he would work with individuals as a counselor, helping persons with fundamental problems of living, particularly with the clarification of values in an increasingly complex society. Working with groups he would be a trainer on how to love, on how to realize the human potential, on how to develop visions for a new so-


184

CHICAGO STUDIES

ciety, and how to gain power to fight oppression. On the turf of the social world outside the church, he would also work with individuals and with groups. He would work with individuals as a street worker or a pastor in the community seeking out those in need. With groups he would be an organizer and a linking person to catalyze felt needs in the community for information, resources, po\ver, and common action. One of the most interesting emerging concepts of church order is that of collegiality. In many different areas of church life the idea of collegiality is developing as a new way of organizing for ministry and mission. Collegiality implies a leveling of hierarchical authority in f:wor of peer teams who define their work by mutual feedback and support. It also implies the opportunity of contributing according to one's unique abilities and interests, rather than fitting into predetermined roles. And finally, it suggests that one ministers with others in mutual healing and growth rather than giving or preaching to others in a one-way transaction. An interesting and developed example of collegiality is Interseminarian Incorporated, founded in Boston by a group of seminarians in 1967 to develop institutional responses to the drug problem and runaways in the .Boston area. Their first project, called PLACE, established an emergency switchboard, counseling services, and an overnight crash pad for runaways. PLACE grew so rapidly that the founders were forced to develop a complex organization while still insisting on movementstyle decision-making in their working relationships. They believe they have been able to continue reliance on individual responsibility and group decision-making in an effective organization. Experienced persons move "horizontally" rather than "up the ladder." The salary scale is the same for all, $5,000 per year, with adjustments made collegially for differing personal needs. In the course of their work at PLACE the students felt the necessity for developing communal living arrangements for themselves and others as a way of expressing collegiality in living situations as well as work. Communal living could also be a growth situation through which persons could learn to cope with the rapidly changing world. Thus Interseminarian


ORDER

185

founded New Community Projects to help people who may need a cooperative rather than an individualistic style of life. New Community ProjectS is developing counseling services for individuals and groups interested in communal living and consultative services for groups in the process of commune formation.


Quentin Quesnell, S .J.

From New Testament Text to Priesthood Tomorrow What help does the New Testament give us in shaping the ministries of today into the ministries of tomo1'1'01V?

Widespread concern over the identity of the priest today has once again set scholars to collating the New Testament texts which might conceivably be pertinent to the subject. The results have been as meagre as ever, interpretations have again begun replacing expositions, and, as a result, official and dogmatic positions seem once again likely to remain unaffected and unchanged. So true is this that one hesitates at this time to attempt still another presentation of New Testament ministry and priesthood. Still, among theologians there is another concern today, ultimately even more significant than the present popular excitement over priestly identity. It is the concern over method in theology. Perhaps explicit attention to method can be united 187


188

CHICAGO STUDIES

with another rehearsal of the New Testament evidence in such a way that results will be more fruitful. Taking more than a hint from Lonergan, one can say that the most important requirement for sound method is to know what you are doing at each moment of your study, why you consider doing that a valid and valuable enterprise, and what you hope to end up with as a result of your doing it. Let me say then that in a first step I will be simply reviewing briefly the New Testament evidence. In a second step, I will analyze certain recent characteristic theological uses of that evidence and attempt to situate these among Lonergan's eight "functional specialties." ("Functional Specialties in Theology," Gregoriaun. 50 [1969] 485-504.) Thirdly, I will suggest that the exercise of these particular theological functions by themselves cannot meet the need of the Church today, and that the attempt to exercise these functions which will meet the Church's current need are still being hampered by the asking of questions proper to the other functions. Finally, I shall attempt to ask the right questions and draw some conclusions. I. THE NEW TESTAMENT EVIDENCE

a. There is an abundance of New Testament references to recognized roles and specialized functions within the christian communities of the time and to the people who exercised those functions or fulfilled those roles. There are, for instance: "apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers" (Eph. 4, 11). There are, in another list: "first, apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then 'powers,' then charisms of healings, helpings, governings, kinds of tongues ... " (I Cor. 12, 28). There are "various char isms": "prophecy ... ministry ( diakonia) ... the one who teaches ... the one who encourages ... the one who shares ... the one who is in charge ... the one who has mercy" (Rom. 12, 6-8). There are a "diversity of charisms ... of ministries (diakoniai) ... of works" ([Cor. 12, 4-6), which can be listed as "the word of wisdom ... the word of knowledge ... faith ... charisms of healings ... workings of 'powers' (miracles) ... prophecy ... distinguishing of spirits ... kinds of tongues ... interpretation of tongues" (I Cor. 12, 8-11). At other places in the New Testament there are evangelists


NEW TESTAMENT

189

(Acts 21, 8), heralds (2 Tim. 1, 11), ministers(diakonoi: masculine [1 Tim. 3, 12] and feminine [Roma~. 16, 1]), slaves (of Christ, of God: Rom. 1, 1), fellow-slaves (Col. 4, 7), workers (Mt. 9, 38; 2 Cor. 11, 13), co-workers (Col. 4, 11). There are also elders (presbuteroi: Acts 15, 6), "youngers" (masculine: neoteroi, and feminine: neote1¡ai-1 Tim. 5, 1), old men (presbutes; Tit. 2, 2) and old women (presbutis: Tit. 2, 3), widows (1 Tim. 5, 3 ff.).

We find also leaders (hegoumenoi: Heb. 13, 7.17), supervisors ( episkopoi: Phil. 1, 1), "those laboring and in charge and admonishing" (1 Thess. 5, 12), "those elders ... in charge, working in word and teaching" (1 Tim. 5, 17). There are also "the twelve" (I Cor. 15, 5) and "the seven" (Acts 21, 8). b. No one can be sure that all of the above titles were technical terms applied to recognized classes of persons or functions. In many instances the titles can equally well be read as merely descriptive of what some one happened to be doing. At any rate, the title "priest" does not occur among them. "Priest" never is used in the New Testament in connection with any class, role or function in the christian community of that time. There might have been a class of men regularly called "evangelists." There is certainly New Testament evidence for the existence of a recognized class of men called "elders." There is no New Testament evidence for a class of christian men called "priests." c. Did the members of any of the classes we do find perhaps in fact perform the work which is generally attributed to priests today? Yes, their very names indicate that some of them did. "Teachers" presumably taught, and so do priests. The terms "rulers" and "those in charge" and "governings" and "supervisors" and "shepherds" suggest that some members of the community felt a special responsibility for the community as a whole and were recognized by others as possessing this responsibility; the same is frequently true of priests. "Elders" could be called in to pray over the sick and anoint them with oil (James 5, 14 ff.), and so can priests. Elders could lay hands on others that they might be graced for a particular task (1 Tim. 4, 14), as could also prophets and teachers (Acts 13, 3); so today can priests. Some then "en-


190

CHICAGO STUDIES

couraged" and some "had mercy" and others "shared," and so today should priests. From some was expected the "word of wisdom~" the Hword of knowledge," faith" and the "discerning of spirits"; the same things are hoped for from priests. 11

Supervisors and ministers were not to be "addicted to drink ... contentious ... lovers of money" (1 Tim. 3, 3.8), and neither should priests. Elders were to be "watching over the flock willingly as examples of the flock" (1 Pet. 5, 1-3), "tireless in their concern ... as men who must render an account" (H eb. 13, 17) . These same words could describe good priests. "Youngers" were told to obey "elders" (1 Pet. 5, 5), the community was told to submit to "leaders" (hegomnenoi), and "so act that they may fulfill their task with joy and not sorrow" (Heb. 13, 17) and people are taught the same about priests. Those elders who were in charge were to merit double pay if they did their work well (1 Tim. 5, 17), and be publicly reprimanded if they offended (1 Tim. 5, 20), and these practices may still flourish in some dioceses in regard to priests. d. On the other hand, we must not overlook the fact that these New Testament ministers of various sorts did many other things as a part of their functions and roles which priests do not do at the present time. Priests today are not generally called on for "prophecy/' for "speaking in tongues," for "interpreting tongues," for 'healings," for working "powers." Priests are not "apostles" if being one means having "seen the Lord" (Acts 1, 21; 1 Cor. 9, 1). Priests do not, according to present canon law, meet in council with the apostles and all the church to decide important legislation for all the churches (Acts 15). Priests are not "men of one wife" (1 Tim. 2, 1), and are not expected to "manage their own household well, keeping their own children under control" on the grounds that "if a man does not know how to manage his own house, how can he take care of the church of God?" (1 Tim. 3, 4). Nor do priests who go on missionary tours take christian wives along with them, for the example of "the rest of the apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas" (1 Cor. 9, 5). 1

e. Moreover, there are many things associated with the name "priest" today which we do not find listed among the functions or associated with any of the classes of christians


NEW TESTAMENT

191

mentioned in the New Testament. For instance, there is nothing in the New Testament about any special class saying mass or offering sacrifice or presiding at the eucharist. (There was a eucharist, but nothing is ever said about anyone "presiding" at it, much less any suggestion that doing so was the special prerogative of a certain group.) There is no New Testament indication that any special class of persons heard confessions or baptized or confirmed or were witnesses at marriage (although baptism certainly was practiced and christians certainly were matTied). There is no indication in the New Testament that any of these classes wore distinctive clothing or recited certain appointed vocal prayers that others did not or abstained from marriage. There is no indication that any of them received years of specialized training for their tasks. They are not said to have lived in tax-free church property, or to have erected special buildings for church purposes. There is no evidence that members of these groups were assigned their ministries by bishops or were expected to practice any special obedience toward their bishops. Their is no sign that they were addressed as "Reverend" or "Father." II. THEOLOGICAL USES

Those are the facts. What are we to make of them? Theologians of differing religious traditions have in fact been making many different things of them for centuries. The most frequent use is an aspect of the theological function Lonergan calls "doctrines" ( cf. "Functional Specialties in Theology," p. 491). In this theological moment, one begins from the existing reality of one's own church, and then looks back and sees how this same reality can be found in one form or another in the church described in the New Testament. Thus people of a pentecostal tradition note the presence in the New Testament church of "divm¡se tongues," "interpreters of tongues," "discerners of spirits," etc. A congregationalist or presbyterian theological tradition may rejoice to find such clear evidence that many of the New Testament churches were under the direction of a group or college of elders, who, as a group, acted as leaders, shepherds, supervisors of the community as a whole.


192

CHICAGO STUDIES

Episcopal theologians are impressed by the resemblance between the Greek word for supervisor and the later derivative "bishop." They are inclined to feel that when the elders are said to be "episkopoi" over the church (Acts 20, 28), bishops are being identified at Ephesus. They sense at once how fitting it is that when the type of man to be appointed elder is described (1 Tim. 3, 5), that man's character should be analyzed in terms Of the qualities needed by a "supervisor" (1 Tim. 3, 6). They see at once how this may imply that "episkopos" is an already known office with distinctive duties of its own. They can feel power of an argument from this to some New Testament familiarity with an emerging monarchical episcopate. Certain christian churches are more impressed with the fact that there seems to be a class of "evangelists" and feel they can quite satisfactorily carry out the Lord's mandate (Mt. 28. 19; 16, 15) with no more ecclesiastical apparatus than this. Lutherans respond to every mention of the "ministry of the word," and are impressed by the overwhelming frequency of New Testament references to it. To them there is nothing imolausible in seeing the whole sweep of apparently diverse ministries and missions as reducing essentially to this one. Hill-country sects point with confidence to tl!e four marks of the church in Mark 16, 17 f.: "And signs shall follow those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new tongues, they will take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them." Roman Catholics recognize in "JH¡esbnteros" the etymological origin (though not the translation) of our priests; in e]Jiskopoi and diakonoi the antecedents of om own bishops and deacons; in the commands, laws and directives given, the authority-structures of catholicism. We tend to see in the laying on of hands our sacrament of Orders; in the prayers over the sick our sacramental anointing. And ;n the repeated promises of our Lord (that¡ Peter's faith would not fail-Lk. 22, 32; that the gates of hell would not overcome his church-Mt. 1"6, 18; that he would be with his disciples all days-Mt. 28, 20) we find assurance that the visible historical succession of persons and ministers from New Testament times to the present is a guarantee that genuine christianity lives in our church today.


NEW TESTAMENT

193

This theological "doctrinal" approach is at work, for instance, in a study like Raymond E. Brown's recent P1iest and Bishop: Biblical Reflections (Paulist Press, 1970). As exegete and historian, Brown draws the inevitable conclusion that there is no mention of christian priesthood in the New Testament, no evidence for the existence of a class resembling today's Roman Catholic priests, and in fact that the very nolion of christian priesthood did not arise until about 200 years of christianity has passed (pp. 17-19; p. 43). As a theologian of "doctrines" however, he then reflects on the modern day Roman Catholic priesthood as it exists, in order to compare it with what can be found in the New Testament. He concludes: I. Modern day Roman Catholic priesthood can be understood, and if necessary, justified; as uniting functions from several different offices and classes named in the New Testament (p. 20-21; p. 44) ; 2. at the same time, it must be admitted that Roman Catholic priesthood today omits many of the functions belonging to these and other offices named in the New Testament (pp. 21-44); 3. the Roman Catholic priesthood today includes many functions which are never mentioned in the New Testament at all (p. 20). Within doctrinal theology, this is valid and valuable. It shows the links and at the same time the developments which connect the New Testament with the Roman Catholic ministry of today. Of course similar links al)d developments can be¡ pointed out by the theologians of all other christian churches for the ministries of their own communions. All christian churches use some of the terms and preserve some of the roles and functions found in the New Testament. All of them omit others. All of them add something from other traditions outside the New Testament. The theologians of each church, in performing the doctrinal function of theology, simply reflect on the existing reality within their own respective churches, and attempt to show that what they have or do is at least somehow understandable as a growth or application or natural development from what is found in the New Testament. Pope Pius XII called this "the noblest task of theology; to show how that which is taught by the Church is contained in the sources" (Encyclical "Humani Generis") .


194路路

CHICAGO STUDIES

Another theological function identified by Lonergan is the one he calls "systematics." In this function one tries to synthesize all that one knows in the light of one's faith. Brown's book practices "systematics" in such conclusions as the following: "The affirmation that the episcopate was divinely established m路 established by Christ himself can be defended in the nuanced sense that the episcopate gradually emerged in a Church that stemmed from Christ and that this emergence was (in the eyes of faith) guided by the Holy Spirit" (p. 73). He knows from study of the texts and from history that "The affirmation that all bishops of the early Christian Church could trace their appointments or ordinations to the apostles is simply without proof" (p. 73). But he is now concerned to explain that history in the light of the Catholic faith which is his starting point: "I am intet路ested primarily in what did emerge in the Church of which I am a member. I ... accept them [papacy, episcopacy, priesthood] as given institutions of grace within the Roman Catholic Church whose development has been guided by the Spirit" (p. 4). Historically there is "the fact that the episcopate is seen as a structure that gradually developed in the Church rather than as something that was within the expressed directions of Jesus ..." (p. 82), and " ... the process of appointment or ordination was almost certainly quite varied in the early centuries ... ; ordination by the laying on of a bishop's hands is simply the standard way of conferring recognition in episcopally structured churches ... " ( p. 84) . Nevertheless, there remains "our belief that episcopacy evolved in the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit ... " (p. 84)' One knows the historical facts; but one looks on them in the light of one's faith in the present-day Church as God's creation: "I would not know what guidance of the Church by the Spirit could mean if it did not include the fundamental shaping of the special ministry which is so intimately connected with Christian communal and sacramental life" (p. 4). As in the previous function analyzed ("doctrines") the parallel faith-affirmations by systematic theologians of the other christian churches about how the Spirit has guided their respective traditions to their present form would be easy to draw.


NEW TEST AMENT

195 III. ANOTHER THEOLOGICAL FUNCTION

Beyond mere history, but also over and above "doctrines" and "systematics," there is another theological function which christian tradition has always assigned to Sacred Scripture and the exegete. It is the role not only of helping today's Church understand her present state in relation to the past, but also of bringing to the living Church "two-edged sword," the "word of God" which "abides forever." For in the christian faithtradition, "every scripture inspired by God is useful for teaching, for rebuking, for setting things straight again ... " (2 Tim. 3, 16). . In this theological function, theologians (and through them the Church) put themselves into the state of hearing the word of God. They do collate what is in it, interpret it, see how its elements develop in the course of the ages-but they do so with an eye to discerning in those later developments, so numerous and varied, the ones which are healthy, progressive and good, and those developments which are in fact sick, worse, a falling away from the challenge of the gospel. In this function, exegetes work "toward a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of sacred Scripture, so that through preparatory study the judgment of the Church may mature" (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Ve1¡bum #12). For the word of God coming to us does not address itself exclusively to individuals. It also challenges the community, the Church as a whole, "to that continual reformation of which she always has need" (Decree on EcU?nenism #6). This too is a mighty task and function of theology. It runs through Lonergan's first four functional specialties and it climaxes in the existential decision of communal conversion: "In what manner or measure am I to carry the burden of continuity or to risk the initiative of change?" ("Functional Specialties in Theology," p. 490, 494). IV. How? How does one do this? If one is looking for help from the New Testament for reshaping the ministries of today into the ministries of tomorrow, what does one do? What are the steps


196

CHICAGO STUDIES

from the text to the imperatives? That is, what is the connection between, on the one hand, "They did this then," "They said that," and, on the other hand, "We should do this or that or something different now"? This is a long study and ultimately demands book-length treatment. But perhaps if we limit ourselves strictly to reflections and examples within the one limited area of ministry, we may be able to pick out at least some general lines of an answer. 1. No one any longer seriously suggests taking every directive within the New Testament as God's command to us. The order to Timothy to "No longer drink water, but use a little wine" (1 Tim. 5, 23) is not really felt as laying down a binding norm for church administration today. Or, if a precept still more universally breached than observed would be a better example, there is the directive to choose supervisors from among men who "keep their own children under control" (1 Tim. 3, 4).

2. The move from text to imperative cannot be accomplished on the level of words alone. We do not feel bound to re-establish all offices and functions we find described or mentioned in the New Testament. The Roman Catholic church does not feel inferior to those churches which still¡ have "evangelists" or "interpreters of the tongues," nor to those which faithfully "take up serpents" and "drink deadly things." The principle of reform cannot simply be archaism: "All that they did then, we must do today." 3. Moreover, the serious listening to the New Testament as the word of God cannot be accomplished simply by digging out of it (and other first century sources) all the historical facts we can: not if we then store these facts in our historical memories as interesting antecedents, but not essentially different from the facts one could uncover about the American constitution and the political structures operative in the late eighteenth century. If we find that a certain practice has lasted from then to now, we are thrilled at this link across the centuries. But we know that it is no "proof" that the practice should continue, any more than the fact that many practices have changed over time is a proof that our present practices are wrong.

(


NEW TESTAMENT

197

4. We have to find how to read the documents of the New Testament as God's word to us, even though we know they were written by men at another place and time. How it this possible? The explanation would take us beyond even hermeneutics into theories of inspiration, revelation and canonicity. These too require a full-length treatment, which cannot be given here. But the simple how can perhaps still be outlined. For no matter what theory of revelation, inspiration and canonicity one uses, at least reading the scriptures as word of God means trying to enter through them into God's revelation in Christ. But nothing in the New Testament or elsewhere inclines us to believe that God's revelation in Christ consisted in directives on how to organize a church. The fluidity in the New Testament structures. we know of would be utterly unintelligible if in fact there had been some master-plan laid down by Jesus of Nazareth, which his followers had only to go out and implement. There are references to church offices and officers and ministers in various New Testament documents, because church offices and officers did in fact exist. But no master-plan is set down as to what offices and officers and ministers there in fact must be, because in fact no master-plan was known or thought of. 5. Listening to the scriptures as God's word to us also begins with careful attention ¡to the history and background of the documents. But this is only to enable us to grasp better why each of them was written and what it probably meant to the church of its own day. Attempting then to take these documents as they are, we discover that some of them are actually concerned in large part with christian ministry and the people who exercise it. They mention ministry and ministers not casually but deliberately. They are exhortations to the church of their own day, with some notion that they will be "useful to teach, to rebuke, to set things up right again" (2 Tim. 3, 16). I suggest that to listen to the Scripture as God's word on the Church's ministry today means 1. to focus on those parts which were written to tell about ministry; 2. not to ask our questions about which offices existed, which ones had authority


198

CHICAGO STUDIES

over others, which were sacramental, etc., but 3. to attend to the questions those documents were written to answer. The pastoral epistles (1 and 2 Titn., Ti.t), read in this light, are concerned with the living of the clu·istian life and the right performance of ministries which exist, rather than with sketching mechanical details of external practice. But other texts speak even more loudly. Take, for instance, 2 Corinthiam, especially from 2, 12 to 6, 11, on the "ministry of the Spirit," the "ministry of reconciliation," the "ministry of the new covenant." Paul is explaining why he acts as he does. He gives the meaning he sees in the work he does of preaching, teaching, consoling, helping. Take the gospel chapters on the sending of the apostles: Matthew 10 and 28, 16-20; Mark 6, 7-13 and 16, 15-20; Luke 9, 57 to 10, 20; John 14 to 16. These should be read not merely as conflicting accounts of Jesus' words and actions. They are descriptions by an author of the late first century of the ideal church ministry and mission, preserving in the description some sayings from Jesus, adding much from the experience of the church. Other gospel passages, written to warn christian ministers and church officers of the perils and pitfalls which might attend them are important for our reform today. I refer especially to Matthew 23, Luke 11, 37-52, and in general every description of our Lord's attacks on the Pharisees, Scribes, Herodians, priests, etc. Of course these reflect struggles in Jesus' own life. Of course they reflect the late first century church's disputes with normative Judaism or the time. But beyond that they also reflect the church's thoughts on the false exercise of responsibility, teaching and leadership and they are written into the gospel in order to make that point. Of similar value here are the gospel passages about the twelve and especially Peter, John and James, great names in the ea1·ly church (Gal. 2, 9). Taking the gospel of l\'lark and reading in sequence every refe•·ence to them in chapters eight to ten one sees how every word attributed to them is some kind of a mistake or misunderstanding of the nature of Jesus' message and mission. Their errors provide the occasions for Jesus to rebuke them and explain what he is really about: 8, 31-38;


NEW TESTAMENT

199

9, 15-13; 9, 30-50; 10, 13-16 10, 21-45: This is hardly written in order to teach the interesting but curious fact that Jesus chose a lot of nincompoops for his inner circle of disciples. There may have been (and be) a certain satisfaction in realizing that fact, but the repeated recurrence of the theme could hardly be without some conscious attempt to show how hard it is for even great church leaders to keep their eyes on the true essentials of christianity. (Cf. especially Mk. 10, 35-45, and the Lukan parallel at the supper-Lk. 22, 24 tf.) If bread is to be broken "in remembrance of me," so are feet to be washed by those who would be the messengers of the Teacher and Lord who "gave you an example that as I have done so you must do" (John 13, 12-17). All these passages are about church offices and ministries. They are hying to tell the church something which is very close to the central message about life through death, joy in suffering, greatness through submission, gaining all by giving everything away, and all the rest that christians learn from meditation on Christ's death and resurrection as God's cenb¡al revelation to the world. In looking for this in the scriptures as we study them, we touch not only the concerns out of which the individual documents were actually written, but also upon intelligible reasons why these documents should stand in our canon as inspired scriptures. They are attempts by the church of the earliest age to reflect on their problems in the light of the central mystery of our faith. To the extent that we share that faith, these documents are an invitation and a challenge to us to reflect on our problems in terms of that same mystery. The concrete conclusions to which we then come may not be the same as the concrete conclusions to which they came. But to the extent that our conclusions embody the christian principles of service, self-sacrificing love, forgiveness, etc., they will be responses to the word of God. To the extent that they do not, the Scriptures will remain as a challenge and a rebuke to us for the future. 6. To sum up overhastily, I suggest that those New Testament references which are not merely casual can be reduced to three types: a. centering on the quality of the performance


200

CHICAGO STUDIES

of the man in the office, on how to fulfill a church responsibility if one has it; b. centering on the relation between the work of any responsible christian person, minister, officer and the general mission of christianity and of Christ; c. centering on warnings not to seek power, honors, titles, first places. 1 suggest that listening to God's word on our ministries consists in continuing these three trends, applying them to today's problems. The question is not, Are there priests in the New Testament? Are there bishops? Can women be ordained? How essential are elders? The New Testament questions are: What kind of virtues should a person with church responsibility possess? How should his ministry reflect the general mystery and mission of Christ and the church? How can he avoid focusing attention on authority, wealth, powe1¡, honor and other trivia? The questions it answers are not: \Vho has the first place? the pope or the bishops? the bishops or the priests' councils? the pastor or his laity •r their elected representatives'/ These are not christian questions. The New Testament is not about how to organize and structure your church. 1t's concerns are not organizational, but truth-centered and value-centered. Those who accept the truth and pursue the value will of course organize. But the New Testament does not tell them how to do it. 7. From where will the answers come to the practical questions of organization and structure? They will come fl'Om a serious consideration of the facts of the age in which we live, a weighing of the actual needs of the people of today (including their need to feel some identification with their own past traditions). The organization and structure, the ministry and priesthood, which will most bring the people of today to accept the truth and live the values which the New Testament proclaimsthose are the best. In a fin2.l note, Jet us return to "systematics." The realization that much has changed since New Testament times imposes a responsibility. Those who would be successors to the apostles ¡ and elders today must be willing to meet in council today to adjust immemorial customs to the needs of today. They will be able to do this in proportion to the strength of their own faith that the Spirit who guided the development of tradition through their fathers in the past will continue to develop it through them as they create the future.


Thomas E. Clarke, S.J.

Permanency in Priestly Ministry

Should the Church admit to priestly office persons who are not ready or apt for a lifetime commitment to service in that office?

Along with the issue of celibacy, and not unrelated to it, the issue of permanency has emerged as a central issue in recent discussions of priestly life and ministry. The present essay will deal with this issue primarily from a systematic point of :view, with some attention to the historical and pastoral aspects. The aim is primarily a clarificaton of the questions, both theoretical and practical, which touch on the issue.

It may be well to begin by asking why the permanency of the vocation to priestly office has become an issue at this particular time. A good part of the answer is to be found in the cultural context in which the issue has been raised. It has be201


202

CHICAGO STUDIES

come rather commonplace in recent philosophical and theological circles to signalize that a profound change in human consciousness has taken place in the past few or the last several centuries. Scholars like Joannes Metz, Leslie Dewart and Bernard Lonergan have noted and to some degree begun to deal with the grave implications of such a change for the problem of identifying Christian faith in its transcendence of particular cultural expressions. Later in this essay I will suggest one approach to this problem. Here I wish only to call attention to the fact that the issue of permanency is not an arbitrary or perverse one, but is rather inevitable, given our present cultural context. More specific to the theme of permanency is the change that has taken place in our society at the level of experience and at the level of conceptual and other expressions of experience with respect to fidelity, vow and promise. Uncommitment and transiency have become the name of the game. Two recent works, Kenneth Keniston's The Uncommitted, and Alvin Toffier's Future Shock, are among the best known of the studies of this phenomenon. Philosophies centered on evolutionary immanence, process, and the contingency of human existence have shaped contemporary man's thinking on human life precisely because they speak effectively to what he is experiencing-constant and accelerated change. The same kind of question being raised regarding permanency in the priestly office is being raised regarding those other two important Christian situations, marriage and the religious life. Though there are distinctive elements in each of the three situations e.g. the presence of children in marriage, a formal vow in the religious life, there is also a basic similarity. In different ways each is a realization of the covenant between man and the God who is irrevocably faithful to his promises and who calls men to fidelity to him and to one another. In each of the three vocations we are being challenged by our new cultural situation to a new identification of the covenant fidelity being asked of us, one that will successfully disengage the reality of Christian fidelity from mere constancy (to use the distinction of Marcel), and distinguish Christian pei"Severance in discipleship from mere material permanency. The present essay will not seek to relate those cultural de-


PERMANENCY

203

velopments regarding fidelity and commitment to the present question (I have developed some of the permanent ideas in an essay, "Jesuit Commitment: A Fraternal Covenant," in Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits, voL 3 (1971) no. 3). Instead it will: 1) expose five of the relevant aspects of the question of the permanency of ministerial office 2) in the light of such exposition, seek a clearer enunciation of the problem; 3) suggest very briefly an overall method for dealing with the pastoral and disciplinary issues. I. SOME ASPECTS OF THE QUESTION "'!

The five aspects to be considered are: 1) sacramentality; 2) sacramental character; 3) non-repetition of Orders; 4) functional andjor ontological nature of Orders; 5) secularity.

1) Sacramentality: Within the Roman Catholic tradition Orders is affirmed to be one of the seven sacraments instituted by Christ. From reflection on this dogma are we able to throw some light on the question of permanency? Such an effort will be made here, on the basis of an essay of Karl Rahner, "Priestly Existence," (Theological Investigations, volume 3, pp. 239262). Rahner himself is not directly concerned with the issue of permanency, but his discussion of Orders as a sacrament of vocation would appear to offer material for reflection on the issue.

Rahner begins the pertinent part of his essay with the fact that, according to Roman Catholic teaching, the conferring of Church office is a sacrament. This means that in the very act of assuming a specific role on behalf of the Christian community, the one called is touched in the core of his priesthood. This would seem to imply that the exercise of this office is no mere functional assignment, a job or profession, but calls for a deep existential commitment. Like marriage, Orders is a vocational sacrament, called for because the situation being entered upon touches the existence of the person in a new and deep way. Marriage and ordained ministry are the only two special vocations within the basic Christian vocation which are entered upon by way of sacrament. Rahner does not deny that the monastic or religious life is a basic vocation. But, he says, it is not a new calling in the sense in which these other two are.


204

CHICAGO STUDIES

"Monastic life is only a development of the baptismal life, and therefore in spite of the necessarily existential, but not necessarily new existential significance, not a new sacrament" (p. 256).

Rahner continues his somewhat subtle analysis of the priesthood as sacrament by asking what it is in the priestly ministry which calls for a new existential significance. His previous analysis had distinguished the cultic from the apostolic or "prophetic" aspect, with the latter conceived as flowing from the former. Now he argues that the cultic by itself is not immectiately and as such existentially basic. We will not here go into this aspect of Rahner's essay; let it suffice to say that his at•gumentation on this point seems to lack cogency, and there is a surprising tendency, despite careful qualifications, to divide cult and word. More interesting for our present effort is the positive side of Rahner's claim, namely, that the apostolic, "prophetic" element in the priesthood demands, in a new way, a commitment of the whole existence of the priest. The proclamation of truth calls for. existential commitment in proportion to the dignity of the truth being proclaimed. When the truth is God himself in his self-revelation, the commitment called for is total. The message delivered by a priest may be right, that is, correctly formulated by a duly authorized minister, but will not be trne and possessed of the power of truth unless he is truly and deeply committed to it. It is for this commitment in depth that the vocational sacrament of Orders touches the priest in the core of his priesthood. Other Christians, to be sure, are called to witness to the truth of the Gospel, and so must be committed to it. But whereas they witness directly to their own faith, the officially designated minister of the Word is witnessing directly to that Word of God itself. He speaks immediately in the name of Christ, and does so not just occasionally but always and everywhere, in season and out. Though Rahner is not dealing directly with the question of permanency, his analysis of priestly existence as a sacrament of vocation would appear to have implications of permanency. The least that one could say is that, given the assumptions-Orders as a sacrament of vocation calling for a profound existential commitment to the Word which one is officially empow-


PERMANENCY

205

ered to proclaim in the name of God himself-the ministerial pdesthood is normally to be approached as a life-time commitment, or at least, as an engagement which qualitahvely differs from the choice of and acceptance into a professional career, even one whose intrinsic demands advise that it not be lightly undertaken. The argument is far from apodictic, of course, as all such arguments must be. In a conception of priestly ministry, for example, in which not every priest would be called to a major involvement in the formal ministry of the Word, is the argument valid? Or if one accents the functional, as opposed to the ontological, nature of the priestly role, cannot sacramentality be sufficiently explained by saying that the priest needs special grace to fulfill a difficult office, without implying the kind of profound existential reorientation of life suggested by Rahner. In spite of these doubts, however, any effort at radical relativization of permanency in priestly ministry must deal with Rahner's basic observation: In the Chul"Ch, appointment to major Church office takes place through a rite sanctifying the person in the core of his existence. 2) Sacramental Cha1¡acter: Rahner explicitly refuses to base his posihon on the doctrine of the sacramental character. In this he represents an impressive group of theologians today whose reflections on Orders tend to relativize the influence of the traditional theology of the sacramental character. Until recently, the common teaching on the character gave strong expression to the inherently permanent nature of pdestly office. The principal basis of this position is found in the Council of Trent's description of the character: "Si quis dixerit, in tribus sacramentis, baptismo scilicet, confirmatione et ordine, non imprimi characterem in anima, hoc est signum quoddam spirituale et indelebile, uncle iterari non possunt, anathema sit" (DS 1609). And in the related canon on the sacrament of Orders we read: "Si quis dixerit, per saet¡am ordinationem non dari Spiritum Sanctum, ac proinde frustra episcopos dicere: Accipe Spiritum Sanctum, aut per earn non imprimi characterem, vel eum qui sacerdos semel fuit, laicum rursus fieri posse, anathema sit" (DS 1774). On the basis of this teaching, especially as regards signum


206

CHICAGO STUDIES

indelebile, theologians have commonly taught the character of Orders, like those of baptism and confirmation, involves on ontological or physical change in the recipient which will remain even in etemity (cf. LA. de Aldama, Sacrae Theoloaiae Sn1nma (BAC). volume 4, pp. 48-57; 719-721). More recent theological reflection on the sacramental character (e.g. Schillebeeckx, Moignt, Fransen, Ruffini) has more clearly differentiated common theological opinion from dogma, and, within dogma, contingent expression from basic affirmation. The details of this new understanding of the character of Orders will not be pursued here. Schillebeeckx's conclusion would enlist the support, I think. of a sizeable group of theologians: "The character is, therefore, only of intmerlinte importance to the office-bearer's offieial activities, because it is an indication of his having been t¡eally received into the college of those holding office in the Church (with all the powers of ministry that result from this). It does not, therefore, in itself refer to the whole duration of the office-bearer's life and does not apply to everything that he does, even though a distinction cannot always be made, in the case of a full-time office, between official actions and everything that the office-bearer may in fact be able to do in addition to these official actions. The mark cannot in any case be regarded as a reason for coming to a negative conclusion in the case of the modern problem of part-time priesthood; such a conclusion would be based on a misunderstanding of the fundamental significance of the character. If this is only directly aimed at the exercise of office in the name of Christ, the possibility of the temporary exercise of office in the Church is not excluded, and the realization of this possibility is to be judged from the pastoral point of view in the light of the Church's situation within a given society." ("The Catholic Understanding of Office in the Church," Theologica-l Studies 30 [1969] 585). . This does not mean, however, that the doctrine of the character is being discreetly jettisoned. It is, rather, being disengaged from scholastic ontology, and its ecclesial aspect e.g. the fact that ordination incorporates one into Church office where he speaks and acts in the name of the community and in the name of Christ, is being highlighted. JV!oignt (Recherches de Science Reliaieuse 58 [1970] 237-272.) interprets the in-


PERMANENCY

207

dele bile of Trent in the following senses: 1) the priest retains "spiritual power" even when he loses grace; 2) the priest does not lose aptitude for functions of his order when he ceases to exercise the ministry 3) the priest cannot by his own initiative break his ordination to service of the Church. 1\Ioignt suggests, however, that today the priest loses his priestly character when deposed from office; hence he ceases to be a priest. In the light of this position it becomes clear that, in this view, not only the permanency of character but the permanency of priestly status is to be nilativized. He does not ask whether a priest who has been deposed or otherwise laicized and who (according to 1\Ioignt's view), has ceased to bear the priestly character, would need to be reordained in the event that the Church should again invite him to office. An affirmative answer would seem¡ implicit in this position. 1\Ioignt's position (expressed with hesitance) goes the furthest of any I have seen in the direction of relativizing the tradition against reordination, though he does not himself draw this conclusion. But, whatever the variations of the more recent studies of the character of Orders, it seems clear that any argument from the sacramental character will have suasive force only to the degree to which it is associated with the next facet of permanency to be reexamined, namely, the tradition against reordination. 3) Non-repetition: In current discussion, the tradition of not reordaining previously deposed or otherwise laicized priests has not been called into question with respect to the praxis ecclesiae. Arthur Piepkorn notes, for the Lutheran tradition, "the present writer knows of no instance in the 16th century of the reordination of a clergyman who had received holy orders in the Church of the Augsburg Confession, had laicized or apostasized, and then sought readmission to the exercise of the priestly ministry" (Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue IV; Euchm¡ist and Ministru, p. 117). Consonant with this historical view is the consensus of the recent Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue: "In reference to what has been called 'character,' we are agreed that ordination to the Ministry is for a life-time of service and is not to be repeated" (Ibid., p. 13).


208

CHICAGO STUDIES

In his historical study of the sacramental character, Jean Galot relates the 13th century speculations of William of Auvergne relative to the loss of the character of Orders when a priest is deposed. William seems to leave himself open to the position that the Church may freely decide whether the character of Orders ceases when a priest is deposed, and whether readmission should take place by reordination. One is reminded here of the conception of Moignt. William of Auvergne had, apparently, no followers in this matter, and the tradition of no reordination is being considered in the present discussions of permanency as a firm datum. If it is so accepted, then one must accept also certain implications. It is already clear that the tradition of no reordination is not dependent upon any particular theology touching the nature of the sacramental character; the relationship is rather the reverse. A further conclusion would seem to be that ordination relates a priest to the exercise of ministerial office in a way which transcends his juridical empowerment for the exercise of that office. Otherwise it would make no sense to ordain sacramentally for Church office but not to reordain sacramentally after resignation or deposition. In other words, one seems forced by the tradition of no reordination to accept a certain duality between full and effective deputation for priestly ministry and radical empowerment for it. This is one important aspect of the general issue of permanency. If one accepts as firm datum that ministers are not to be reordained, then the priestly ministry is permanent in the sense that ordination.confers a radical empowerment for it which transcends effective and full designation, and which is lifelong in character. 4) Functional o1¡ ontological? This aspect is only partially distinct from the previous ones, but a brief discussion may help clarity. The question is generally placed thus: Is ordination merely a designation for a specific function in the Church, or is it a consecration to a new ontological state? The terminological contrast of functional and ontological has recently been prominent in Christology where, thanks especially to Oscar Cullmann, a contrast between the functional Christology of the New Testament (what Jesus did, or what he is for us) and the ontological Christology of the Church Councils (what Jesus is in himself) has become commonplace.


PERMANENCY

209

In the matter of functional or ontological priesthood, some authors think that the question is badly placed or a false dilemma. Moignt observes that the sacramental character is both functional, as a social relation, and relational being, as a disposition to fulfill the function (p. 258). Kaspar points out that "in the realm of creatures interpersonal relations are the highest ontological reality. They determine not only what a man does, but also what he is as a human being. The function of community leadership, then, lays claim on the whole humanity of the person; it affects him not only in the concrete actions that he performs, but also in what he is as a human being involved in history and human society." (Concilium, vol. 43, The Identity of the Priest, p. 27 If.). . While it is quite true that the assumption of a new function in the Christian community, involving a new relationship to the rest of the community, has ontological significance, this is true of the assumption of a new role in any community or society. Hence the rest of Kaspar's statement, "the function of community leadership ... lays claim" etc., is not self-evident. Reasons must be offered to show that, whereas being president of General Motors does not lay claim on the whole humanity of the person so designated, there is such a total claim in the case of ordination to the priesthood. This is not to deny that such an argument can be made, but only to note that it must not be assumed. 5) Secu/lwity: The last aspect of the permanency question to be treated concerns the distinction of sacred and secular. The process of secularization in Western society has touched most, if not all, aspects of Church life. It would seem clear that secularization is one of the factors behind the raising of the permanency question in our times. \Vho in fact have been the figures of permanency in the past? Kings and priests. Both of these have been sacral figures, more personages than personalities, men drawn into the area of the divine in order to function ritually on behalf of their fellow men. In both cases pragmatic considerations such as effectiveness have yielded to the religious association of sacredness and permanency: Once a king, always a king; once a priest always a priest. The question here; of course, is whether the acceptance ¡of a relative desacralization in the life of the Church brings with it as neces-

I


210

CHICAGO STUDIES

sary and desirable consequence the same kind of desacralizing tendency which have caused kings consecrated for life to yield to presidents elected for limited terms. II. CLARIFICATION OF THE QUESTION

Our intention in the first part of this paper has been merely to indicate several of the questions petiinent to the issue of permanency in priestly ministry. The considerations introduced would seem to indicate not only the lack of any decisive argument for or against any single answer to the problem; they point to the conclusion that no reasonable answer is possible unless the question itself is clarified. What does it mean, then, to ask if ordination to priestly ministry is permanent? It can mean one of several things, and the answer, presently available or not, will depend on how the question is understood. 1) The question can be taken to mean: Is the sacramental rite unrepcatable in an absolute sense, so that, as in the case of baptism and confirmation, repetition of the sacrament in the same subject is simply and totally excluded? When the question is put this way, the answer is a clear negative, for, as a matter of fact, the sacrament of Orders is repeated in the successive stages of diaconate, priesthood and episcopacy. Just how this repetition is to be explained will not be discussed here. The unity of the sacrament of Orders shared by ministers of various ranks, together with the advancement of these ministers from one rank to another is a difficult question which is beyond the scope of this paper. 2) The question of permanency may be taken in the sense of a more relative non-repeatibility: Is the sacrament permanent in its effect, in such wise that the ordained minister who has been deposed or otherwise laicized and who would subsequently be readmitted to priestly ministry, need not and could not again receive the sacrament of Orders? A long and deep tradition, held in common with some other Christian Churches, gives an unhesitating affirmative answer. But there is a further question: Is this tradition .of non-repetition merely de facto (as William of Auvergne apparently suggested), or is it de i1<1¡e, inherent in the nature of the sacrament of Orders? Though the weight of argument would seem to


PERMANENCY

211

favor a de iure interpretation, one should be cautious about too readily absolutizing even a long and deep tradition. If recent theology shows itself open to the relativizing of the triadic structure of ordained ministry, should we not entertain a similar possibility here? 3) Is the sacrament of Orders permanent in the sense that an intrinsic and ontological change, understood according to the scholastic interpretation of the sacramental character, is produced by ordination? Recent scholarship and reflection would seem to place such an understanding of permanency in doubt. 4) Is the sacrament of Ot¡ders permanent in the sense that exclusion by the Church or withdrawal by the minister from actual priestly service is universally to be deplored or even prohibited? The question as placed in this more pastoral and disciplinary sense is obviously to be answered negatively, as indicated by the actual practice of the Church. 5) Is the sacrament of Orders permanent in the sense that no one should seek or be accepted for ordination without the understanding that he will, except in extraordinary circumstances, serve in the ministry as long as he is physically and psychologically able to do so? To place the question in this way is to raise the question of temporary ministry. Could or should the Church accept for ordination to diaconate, priesthood and episcopacy qualified persons with the understanding that, after ten or twenty years, without any extt¡aordinary reason, these persons would be fully free to withdraw from such official ministry? Or, to take a more particular example, could or should bishops be appointed or elected to limited terms of office, after which they would return to priestly ministry or even leave all ecclesiastical office? I would be inclined to think that, in spite of the weight of tradition to the contrary, and with due consideration for the kind of argument for permanency based upon Rahner's analysis, one cannot absolutely exclude the desirability of a temporary call to ministry in this sense. Life-time commitment to the official ministry certainly does, in general, enhance the power of the word of a ministry of the Gospel. That it is so important, however, that other considerations e.g. the paucity of persons willing and able to commit themselves for a lifetime


212

CHICAGO STUDIES

of official ministry, might not sometimes prevail, does not seem fully clear. The argument that the disciple who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is unsuited to be an official bearer of the Gospel might have weight were there not a baptismal call to discipleship whose permanency is beyond question. The retired priest does not cease to be a Christian. 6) Finally, is the sacrament of Orders permanent in the sense that one should not undertake to receive it unless he intends and commits himself to an engagement in priestly ministry which will be, barring extraordinary circumstances, lifelong? The question posed in this way needs to be answered in terms of fidelity and truth. Even given the large number of recent departures from priestly office (many of them unilaterally undertaken) it would appear that there is a clear public understanding today that the Church is accepting for ordination only persons who seriously intend and who commit themselves to serve for life. The acceptance of ordination in this context by one who was basically unwilling to commit himself for life would seem to be, barring extraordinary circumstances, a breach of truth and fidelity in covenant. Ill. THE NEED FOR DISCERNMENT

Theology is for understanding, and for action. A theological reflection on the permanency of priestly ¡ministry needs to feed into the decisional process now going on in the life of the Church, touching temporary and part-time engagement in ministry, celibacy, withdrawal from active ministry, etc. I would like to conclude this presentation with a brief suggestion which, though applicable to a broader field than that of ministry, has important application here. It is the suggestion that the Church, and pal'ticularly priests and bishops, should approach the decisions, personal and public, touching the permanency of priestly ministry, as major instances of individual and corporate discernment of spirits. For lack of space to develop this proposal in detail, I will be content with the reference and a few passing remarks. The theology of discernment, individual and. corporate, has recently experienced a new lease on life, particularly in the tradition of Ignatius of Loyola (cf. J. Futrell, "Ignation Discern-


PERMANENCY

213

ment," Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits vol. 2 [April1970] no. 2). Among the suppositions of a corporate discernment (to omit further elaboration on discernment by individual priests), are the following: 1) there is important matter for decision proposed to a Christian community or to the Church as a whole; 2) there is a real community capable of rational, free and basically pacific decisional process; 3) the data available for the decision is not so totally weighted in one direction as to exclude serious doubt as to the proper decision; 4) the Spirit of God moves a community or the Church as a whole to discern and follow his will, provided that the community or the Church creates for itself, under the guidance of the same Spirit, the natural and faith-conditions for such a free, Spirit-filled choice. From the considerations presented in the first two parts of this essay, it would seem that the Church as a whole is in a discernment situation with respect to permanency in priestly ministry. Perhaps the most radical question to be faced is whether she should admit to priestly office persons who are not ready or apt for a life-time commitment to service in that office. Other questions such as a temporary episcopal ministry, though perhaps not yet ripe for decision, seem to be on the horizon. Certain other related questions, touching celibacy, the conditions of withdrawal from official ministry, and readmission to such ministry of priests who have married after withdrawal, are related to the question of permanency. None of these questions would seem to be simply or clearly answered merely by a presentation of Biblical and historical data, or by direct argumentation from that data. This does not mean that the data or argumentation, because inconclusive, is irrelevant, or can be bypassed in a discernment process. Corporate discernment is not a spiritualist seance. It takes place on the basis of an historical identity which, while not of itself decisive for the future, is intrinsic to the discernment process itself. Nevertheless, no datum or argumentation so far presented on priestly ministry, not even the weighty tradition against reordination, should be permitted to inhibit an openness to non-permanent ordained ministers and to similar changes, if the contemporary good of the Church and of mankind seems to call for such changes.


Agnes Cunningham, sscm

Ecclesial Ministry {or Women

In some missiona1·y countries 1·eligious women have officially pe.·formed all the functions described as diaconal by Lumen Gentium.

THE STATE OF THE QUESTION

In any contemporary discussion of new forms of ministry, consideration must also be given to the possibility of new kinds of ministers. - Is it possible to speak realistically of ecclesial ministry for women? The question is, at least, debatable. On the one hand, it would seem that, in some areas, the admission of women to ministry is not yet a question. For example, a report published in France one year after the restoration of the permanent diaconate (Nouveau Monde, Nouveaux Diacres, Henri Bourgeois and Rene Schaller. Paris: Desclee et Cie, 1968) takes for granted that, "the sacrament of Orders, 215


216

CHICAGO STUDIES

which confers the diaconal character, can be given only to men ... (Preface, p. vi). The same volume devotes the greater part of its contents to penetrating and critical questions regarding the permanent diaconate. Concern is expressed for the wives of deacons. Reference is made to deaconesses, the "religious" of non-Catholic Christian traditions, who fulfill professional social services or who are employed by the church in view of diversified functions: educational, managerial, secretarial. Now here in the 199 pages of this book is the question of women in ministry posited. On the other hand, there are signs that, with the advent of the seventies, a new age has dawned. At the Fifth Plenary Assembly of the Pastoral Council of the Dutch Church Province (January 4-7, 1970), the question of women ministers was discussed and recommendations concerning the ordination of women were made. The Assembly was asked to support a statement which began with these words: "It is advisable that as quickly as possible women should be further admitted to all ecclesial tasks to which their appointment is not or hardly a problem. Further development should be directed towards their being able to fulfill all ecclesiastical functions, not excluding presiding over the Eucharist." Increasing numbers of theologians subscribe to the opinion that, not only are scriptural or dogmatic arguments lacking against the ordination of women to priesthood, by that some theological and pastoral reasons exist for doing so. In spite of such evidence, however, a resolution asking for the admission of women to the diaconate, over the signatures of some of the most eminent theologians of our age, failed to reach the floor at the CONCILIUM Brussels Congress in September, 1970. Instead, the assembly, in its final resolutions, by a vote of 143 to 35, accepted a proposal to denounce anti-feminist discrimination in church and society and seriously to provide a place for women in ecclesial ministries ( #12). The problem, it would seem, is one of moving from theory to praxis and of being able to support praxis with well-defined theory. Where principles are more readily discerned and articulated, application of those principles does not always


WOMEN

217

necessarily follow. Conversely, where experience and demonstration prevail as values, practice will frequently precede the process of analysis, reflection and speculation. Thus, for example, fewer European women actually seek involvement in ecclesial ministry and few American women manifest concern for a "theological" basis on which to establish their pastoral involvement. The European tendency to "cerebrate" leads to a clear formulation of basic principles from which action is to flow. The American tendency is, rather, to "try out an idea" in the practical order, after which it will be time enough to deduce principles out of the existential order. If the Church is to move realistically into new forms of ministry and to prepare for new kinds of ministers, a way must be found to integrate theory and praxis-that is, to provide appropriate theological reflection in view of realistic programs of pastoral ministry for men and women in the Christian community.

One manner of moving toward this integration is to investigate the real possibilities of ecclesial ministry for women in the light of both existing and emerging church structures. Once a traveler knows where he is to go, it is less difficult to plot the route and undertake the journey. In this project, we are indeed a pilgrim people. POSSIBILITIES FOR THE FUTURE

The Genesis creation account speaks of the bi-unity and duality of mankind before God. As relational beings, men and women are called to complementarity and collaboration in equality of nature and destiny. If woman is, in fact, to move into ecclesial ministry, it must be in terms of the life-preserving, life-renewing potentiality that prevails wherever man and woman are able to cooperate because they must do so in order to create and transmit life. Models for woman's ministry in the Church, then, can be projected in terms of complementarity and collaboration. The note of complementarity in heterosexual relations is an ontological note. It is naive to claim that the only difference between man and woman prevails in the physical order. So


218

CHICAGO STUDIES

too, it is unrealistic to suppose that, because men and women differ corporally, they are absolutely unlike in all ways. The biological distinction is real because it is a human, existential distinction. Because of this, the experience of corporality reaches beyond male-female differentiation into femininity and masculinity, embracing expectations and conditionings of religion, society and culture. Thus, complementarity calls for collaboration. At times, this will mean that men and women will engage most profitably in similar but unlike functions. At other times, the vitality of an enterprise may be best assured if both men and women undertake the same, that is, identical roles. In suggesting possibilities for future ministries for women, both complementarity and collaboration must be kept in mind. The current theological discussion of priesthood has drawn attention to the fact that ministry is a multi-dimensional, multifaceted reality. More properly, we speak today of ministries. Within the Christian community, there is a call for recognition of those activities which are non-institutionalized in the sense that they are so integrated into human behavior that they are not perceived as ecclesiastical (as opposed to ecclesial) actions. Within the actually existing structures of the Church, women do perform services that partake of ecclesial ministry. For example, religious women in some missionary countries have, since 1964, officially performed all those functions identified in Lumen Gentinm ( #29, Abbott edition) as diaconal (cf. The Church and the Second Sex, Mary Daly. New York: Harper and Row, 1968). The phenomenon, however, is not restricted to missionary countries. In France, the sisters of one congregation, for all practical purposes, act as chaplains to women in prison. In Holland, one woman has been officially appointed as associate pastor of an established parish. In the United States, the Vicar for religious women in the Archdiocese of Detroit is a Sister of Mercy. How are we to understand this situation? Clearly, there is a need in the church for new kinds of ministers, not admitted in present ecclesiastical structures. None of the women re-


WOMEN

219

fet-red to above is an ordained minister. Most of them are religious women. Some understand their roles in terms of ecclesial service, rather than as ecclesiastical assignment. Others among them have discerned in their lives a call to ministry in Orders. This need for new kinds of ministers has come to light along with the need for new forms of ministry. We are in a world where, it has been said, nothing but change is unchangeable. Technology and personalism have brought conflicting pressures to bear on members of every society. Vatican II and the vernacular not withstanding, the church speaks in a foreign language to people who do not seem to be listening. In fidelity to the Lord's mandate to proclaim the gospel, the church must seek new forms of ministering through Word and Sacrament. The mode must be pastoral; the tempo, human: new forms of ministries, new kinds of ministers in the new world of the seventies! The presence of women in parochial pastoral ministry, in chaplaincies (witness the campus ministries), in the application and interpretation of canonical legislation (increasingly delegated to major religious superiors) bespeaks an implementation of principles which, in many instances, are still to be enunciated. This is not necessarily unfortunate. Newman defended the role of the laity in the development of doctrine a century ago. What is needed, however, in terms of the future, is a clarification of the principles underlying ministry for women and an articulation of these principles in a manner which evokes affirmation. Reluctance on the part of clerics and resistance from the laity (women included!) point to the need for an expanded dialectic between theory and praxis regarding women in ministry. The need for an enunciation of principles suppm-ting ministry for women is generally acknowledged by women themselves today. A woman's recognition of her activity as ministerial awaits some norm of validation. A woman's discernment of her call to ministry seeks some authenticating criteria. In both instances, the role of the believing community is seen as indispensable in the process of affirming ecclesial ministry for women and in admitting them to appropriate roles. For


220

CHICAGO STUDIES

this reason, the repercussions caused by this question in the community-at-large are significant. One result of a suggestion that women be admitted to ministry is a reaction of diffidence and mistrust. The old cliches are summoned to ward off serious discussion: the danger of innovation in averted in clerical circles the threat of competition is dispelled. More positively, attention is focused on the need to pursue a deeper understanding of priesthood and priestly ministry in Christian tradition. If women are to be deacons, there must be no question about the validity of their diaconal status. If women are not to be priests, it must be for reasons that resonate. the gospel authentically. Another reaction to the suggestion of possible future ministries for women is the consciousness that ecclesiastical structures must be reexamined. What is the function of hierarchy? What is the meaning of pre-sacerdotal Orders? How does the extraordinary minister of the Eucharist (male or female) stand in relation to one called to diaconate as a permanent life style? To admit women to ecclesial ministry is to admit the necessity of a renewal of ecclesiastical structures. Such a renewal is, in fact, already underway. New concepts of church, new models of community, a new theology of ministry are beginning to emerge. Thet¡e is a clearer understanding of the role of the laity, since Vatican II. There are deeper expectations of ministries of leadership on the part of the many who are coming to see the importance of growth in prayer and the life of the Spirit. In this climate, the possibility of ecclesial ministry for women is no longer a question. It is a project to be programmed. THE INTERIM PROCESS

One step in a program of ecclesial ministry for women could well be the admission of women to preparation for the diaconate. Such a step is consonant with the best traditions of Christianity. In the early church, women shared importantly in the missionary, liturgy and catechetical activity of the ekklesia (cf. Chretiennes des Premie1¡s Temps, J.-C. Guy, S.J. and F.


WOMEN

221

Refoule, O.P. Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 1965, pp. 53 ff.). These functions were increasingly performed by those women ordained to the order of deaconess, especially from the beginning of the third century ( cf. "Diaconesse," H. Leclercq, Dictionnaire d'Archeologie chretienne et de Liturgie, IV, cols. 725733). Contemporary research and discussion of the question-as evidenced in the Catholic Theological Society of America committee, for example--has assured a certain maturity of thought on the question. The pastoral concern which, more than twentyfive years ago, prompted two German priests interned at Dachau to ponder an eventual restoration of the diaconate will enable the Church to recognize the potentialities of pastoral service that women can more appropriately, on occasion, offer in ministry. At any rate, the circumstances surrounding the "restoration" of this order would suggest that we are dealing here with an "institution" of the diaconate, not simply "renewed," but actually "new." This fact should allow for some development in current practice beyond that which can be established regarding the order in the early church. Admission of women to programs established for the education and formation of candidates for the diaconate implies admission of women to the diaconate. Such a decision would call for a clarification not only of the role and function of the permanent deacon in the Christian community. It would also necessitate an investigation of this role and function in terms of ministerial complementarity and collaboration. Since this second point would develop quite naturally out of the experience of those candidates who at¡e already married, light would be cast on a question which still provokes some confusion at the present time. Admission of women to the diaconate would suggest further steps in a program of women in ecclesial ministry. One such step must be the open acceptance of women (lay and religious) as students in schools of theology ordinarily reserved to candidates for ministerial priesthood. In this way, the doctrinal and theological education of women would be assured. Their qualifications would not be subject to question and doubt. They


222

CHICAGO STUDIES

would be recognized as competent for a more important role in the church. The presence of women in schools of theology would foster, anteriorly or posteriorly, the renewal and development of theological education. The interrelation of clerics and laity, as well as of different kinds of ministers in a world of increasingly diverse ministries, could be experienced and explored advantageously. In another dimension, the possibilities of ministerial roles for women might be enhanced through a dynamic portrayal of complementarity and collaboration in the area of religious life. A joint Conference of Religious Superiors, for instance, might be more creative and effective in renewing the life and structures of religious congregations than either of the two existing organizations, even though each has, separately, undertaken the challenge for aggiornarnento seriously. Such a venture might also provide hitherto nonexistent channels for leadership in the Christian posture regarding issues of import for human life and social justice. One such issue which should be of concern to the church today is the Women's Liberation Movement. \Vhat response can the church give to the questions, demands and challenges of women in search for an affirmation of essential values? What is needed, surely, is neither a dismissal of those aspects of the movement which provoke impatience or contempt nor an uncritical espousal of a platform which, in some instances, is certainly ambiguous. The church must know how to speak in honest response to the core-truth of what the women are saying. A theology student recently identified male chauvinism as a subconscious rejection of the spiritual, the transcendent to which mankind is called, especially as this reality is exemplified and symbolized in the "mystery" of woman. Total adhet¡ence to the feminine dimension is no more realistic or honest than total rejection of it, in the pursuit of the destiny of humanity. The norm of truth finds its locus between the polarized pseudosolutions to ¡unreal problems. In the Genesis account, man and woman stand together at the heart of the universe as body ;soul realities in creative com-


WOMEN

223

plementarity and dynamic collaboration. This is the image which calls for the effective development in ecclesial ministry of a role for women to begin in the future which is foreshadowed today.


AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE Greeley, Andrew M. Program Director, National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago; Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Sociology (of the Ad Hoc Bishops' Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry). Kennedy, Eugene C., M.M. Professor of Psychology of Loyola University, Chicago. Chairman of Sub-Committee on Psychology (of the Ad Hoc Bishops' Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry). Armbruster, Carl J., S.J., Professor of Systematic Theology, Bellarmine School of Theology, Chicago. Chairman of Sub-Committee on Theology (of the Ad Hoc Bishops' Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry). Ellis, John Tracy. Professor of Church Histo1¡y, University of San Francisco. Chairman of Sub-Committee on History (of the Ad Hoc Bishops' Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry). Biersdorf, John E. Executive Director of the National Council of the Churches of Christ. Quesnell, Quentin, S.J. Professor of New Testament; Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Clarke, Thomas E., S.J. Professor of Dogmatic Theology, Woodstock College, New York, member of Editorial Staff of A me rica. Cunningham, Agnes, S.S.C.M. Assistant Professor of Historical Theology, St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. Treasurer of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

224