Page 1


CHICAGO STUDIES EDITORIAL STAFF Editor

George J. Dyer

Business Manager

As.<Jociate Editor

John F. Dedek

Richard J. Wojcik

Production Ma-nager

ExecHtive Assistant

Edmund J. Siedlecki

Marjorie M. Lukas

Editorial Advisors Joseph A. Bracken, S.J. Gerard 1'. Broccoli Agnes Cunningham, sscm James P. Doyle John F. Fahey 1-:-John R. Gorman Willard F. Jabusch Edward H. Konerman, S.J.

Thomas B. McDonough Mary Peter McGinty, S.S.J. Charles R. Meyer Joseph J. O'Brien 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, 1973, 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 editor~ or editorial board. Indexed in The Catholic Periodical Index and New Testament Ab¡<~tracts.

Microfilms of current and backfile volumes of CHICAGO STUDIES are now available from University Microfilms, Inc., 300 N. Zeeb Road. Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by self addressed stamped envelope.


VOLUME 12

SUMMER, 1973

NUMBER 2

ACCOUNTABILITY: THE LISTENING CHURCH

Articles

PARISH ACCOUNTABILITY: WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE AT

115

Thomas P. Sweetser, S.J.

PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND THE PRIEST

129

James J. Gill, S.J., M.D.

155

Remi J. De Roo

FOR SPIRITUAL RENEWAL

173

Frank E. Bognanno

PASTORAL AND MANAGERIAL

195

F1·ancis Borgia Rothluebber,

ACCOUNTABILITY AND THE

GOSPEL PRIESTLY ACCOUNTABILITY

O.S.F.

ACCOUNTABILITY

PASTORAL CONCERN FOR PRIESTS

205

AUTHORS

224

John T. Fagan

OUR COVER: "Supplication" by William Artis through the courtesy of th"'e National Sculpture Review, 250 East 51st St., N.Y., N.Y. 10022


Thomas P. S1veetser, S..f.

Parish Accountability: Where the People are at Do we know our parishirmers' attitudes towards !itwrgical renewal, parish activities, moral and social issues? The author suggests a more effective way of listening to our people. Do the parish staff-priests, coordinators, teachers---know how their people feel about the Church and about their parish in particular? Do they have a grasp of how the people feel toward changes in the Church, toward liturgies, or parish activities? Most parish staffs say they do; that is their job, to find out what their people want and need and to try to meet those needs. Their role in the parish is to be accountable to their people. But what about the people that never let the staff know how they feel about what is going on in the Church? These are the people who come to Mass regularly but never take part in any other Church functions or volunteer any information about their own feelings and attitudes on how the parish is to be run. Can the patâ&#x20AC;˘ish priests and coordinators be so sure they know how these people feel? An attempt was made to uncover these attitudes and feelings in a study of suburban parishes near Chicago. The parishes were selected to give a representative cross section of Catholic¡ attitudes and backgrounds, and included all ages and socioeconomic status groupings. The study began by surveying the 115


116

CHICAGO STUDIES¡

parish staffs from ten parishes. They were sent questionnaires .and were interviewed in person in order to discover not only their own opinions and attitudes on religious, social and moral :issues, but also how they judged the majority of their parishioners felt about these same issues. The next step was to go to the people themselves and ask them about their feelings toward the Church, toward parish liturgies and activities and what were their attitudes toward various social and moral .issues. A random sample of all the people listed on the parish roles was selected and questionnaires were sent to those selected, asking their opinion on the same religious, moral and social issues that were asked of the parish staffs. A comparison was then made between the staff and lay responses in order to see how the two groups compared. The overriding question throughout the analysis was: "Is there a shift in Church identification and parish involvement by Catholics in the last few years and if so, how is this reflected in their attitudes and value orientations?" We began the analysis with the parish staff responses. What subjects did they stress in their sermons and instructions, what types of liturgies and pat;sh activities did they favor, how did they feel about the Changes in the Church and what were their own moral and social attitudes? We began with this group because an investigation of Church affiliation among the people must begin by looking at the positions of the Church leadership since this is the image of Church that the people experience on the local level and the one they must relate to. In looking at the parish staffs' responses, which involved twenty-two priests and one sister coordinator, we found that they are a highly dedicated and loyal group of people who spend most of their day in parish-related activities. Few of those surveyed were involved in non-Church affiliated groups or organizations. LITURGICAL RENEWAL

The majority were favorable to the newer liturgical forms of worship that have been introduced since the Vatican Council. Ninety-five percent favored participation-type Masses with singing and eighty-two percent favored guitar Masses with


ACCOUNT ABILITY

117

contemporary songs. Three-fourths of the groups favored informal Masses in homes and 68% were in favor of communal penance services. Only 40% were in favor of Benediction and Evening Devotions and only a few favored quiet Masses with no responses. In other words, the majority of the parish staffs are in favor of liturgical renewal even in its more innovative forms. For example, half of the respondents were in favor of laymen receiving communion in the hand and 36% were strongly in favor of this practice. This is in contrast to the laymen's own response. Table 1 shows the comparison of attitudes toward various liturgical practices. The minus sign before the last two percentage-differences indicates that the laity's favorable response was greater than those of the staffs' response. TABLE 1: Comparison on Staffs' and Laity's Favorable Attitudes Toward Various Liturgical Activities.

Liturgical Activit-Y:

Staffs'

Laity's

Percentage

1-'avorable Resporn~e F'utâ&#x20AC;˘oraO!c Rt!3PfJTI36 I>iffcr~n~G

Rnnk:

Pet.

Rnnk:

p~

1.

96%

1.

74)-~

22%

Contemporary Songs: Infonnal Masses in Homes: Prayer groups and Services: Communal Penance Service: Laymen Distributing Communion: The "Kiss-of-Peace" in Mass:

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

82% 73%

3. 8. 5. 4.

26% 26% 18% 44%

7.

64%

Baptisms during Mass:

8.

59%

9. 6.

56% 34% 47% 50% 24% 26% 38%

50%

12.

20%

30%

41%

7.

36%

5%

41%

2.

70%

-29%

9%

9.

26%

-15%

Participation Mass with Singing-: Guitar Mass with

Laymen Receiving Communion in the Hand: 9. Mass with no Singing but with Responses: 10. Benedictions and Evening Devotions: 11. Quiet Mass with no Singing or Responses: 12.

73%

68% 68%

11.

39%

38% 21%

It becomes obvious, from the comparison between the staffs' and laity's response, the different tastes that are operative between those whose job it is to run the parish and those for whom the parish is in operation. If the above list were rearranged in order of the laity's preference, the more traditional


118

CHICAGO STUDIES

forms of liturgy would receive a high ranking. Benediction and Evening Devotions, for instance, would become second on the list. The percentage differences between the staffs and the people are also revealing, showing a spread of almost 45% in the case of laymen distributing communion and of almost 40% in the cases of Home Masses and the "Kiss-of-Peace." PARISH ACTIVITIES

Differing reactions to parish activities by staff and people is also significant. Table 2 shows the staffs' favorable response to various parish activities as well as the laity's reaction to these same activities and the percentage difference between the two groups. TABLE 2: Comparison of Staffs' and Laity's Favorable Response toward Various Parish Activities.

Parish Activity:

Staffs'

Laity's

Percentage

Jo'avorable Response Favorable Reeponse Differencfl Rank: Pet. Rank: Pet.

Religious Education Activities 1. (Adult Discussions, Bible Study, etc.) Liturgical Groups 2. ¡ (Choir, Commentators, etc.) Administrative Groups 3. (Parish Councils, School Boards, etc.) Recreational and Social Groups 4. (Bridge clubs, sports teams, etc.) Parish Service Groups 5. (Holy Name, Women's Club, etc.) Social Action Groups 6. (Civil Rights, Peace Organizations, etc.) Prayer and Devotional Groups 7. (Prayer meetings, Pentecostals, etc.) Parish School 8. Experimental Personal Growth Groups 9. (Sensitivity, Encounter Groups, etc.) Fund Raising Groups 10. (Bake Sales, Bazaars, etc.)

96%

5.

62%

34%

91 ')',

3.

70%

21%

82%

5.

62%

20%

59%

1.

75%

-16%

55%

4.

66%

-11%

55%

8.

29%

26%

50%

7.

49%

1%

36%

8.

29%

7%

27%

10.

25%

2%

23%

2.

72%

-49%*

"' The minus sign indicat...s the Jay rt.'!IPOnse is highl!r percentage than the clergy.

The parish staffs and the people share the same reactions to prayer groups and sensitivity sessions and their responses are


119

ACCOUNTABILITY

similar in their reactions to the parish school (not at all favored by the majority of either the staffs or the people) and parish service organizations. But there is a great discrepancy between the staffs' and people's attitudes toward adult religious education and social action groups, in which the staffs' response is about 30% more favorable than the laity's, and fund-raising activities, in which the laity's favorable response far outstrips the staffs' reaction. Despite this difference of opinion, it is still the pastor, however, who exercises control over these activities. When asked about the extent of lay participation in the policy-planning of the parish, not one pastor indicated that the laity of his parish had full powers for initiating policy in all areas of parish life. (Sixty percent of the Protestant ministers who were interviewed at the same time as the pastors said that their laity did have this power.) But there is a noticeable shift in the power structure of the parishes in recent years. Half of the pastors said that the laity did have power for initiating policies in at least some areas of parish life. The parish councils are also becoming more vocal in their ideas of how the parish is to be run. Forty percent of the pastors reported having serious disagreements over policy with their lay boards and in one case the board was dissolved over such disagreements. TABLE 3: Moral Issues; Percentage of Staff and Lay Responses who Agreed with Five Moral Value Statements. Statement:

Staff A !Jreemen t

1. It is wrong for married people to have sexual relations with persons other than their husbands or wives: 2. It is wrong for people to have premarital sexual relations: 3. It is wrong for a woman who wants

an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy to have one: 4. Divorce is wrong: 5. The Church should enforce a strict standard of moral conduct among its members:

Lay

Percentage

Agreement Difference

100%

80%

20%

87%

51%

36%

81% 54%

41%

40%

28%

26%

36%

38%

-2%


120

CHICAGO STUDIES SOCIAL AND MORAL ISSUES

The next step in analysing the parish staffs' approach is to discover the expectations the parish priests and coordinators have for their people in social and moral areas. Both the staffs and the laity were asked to react to various moral and social issues. The results of their response are found in Table 3 and Table 4. It appears from Table 3 that the clergy and coordinatorS generally uphold the moral traditions of the Catholic Church. There is no slippage on the extra-marital question, although there is some in other areas, especially on the divorce question. This substantiates the findings of the National Survey of priests commissioned by the American Bishops, (Andrew Greeley, The Catholic Priest, Sociolouical lnvestiuations, (U.S. Catholic Conference Publications, 1972) .) This report said that while "there seems little reason to doubt that support among the clergy for the Church's teaching on birth control and divorce is waning ... there is little evidence of a change in position on either pre-marital sex or abortion." (p. 125-126) Nor are the clergy willing to hold out for a strict moral code as an absolute which is to be enforced without compromise. Only 36% felt that a moral code should be strictly enforced as did a like percentage of the people. This seems to indicate that the staffs are willing to give direction and counsel and then allow individuals to make up their own minds on specific moral issues. The majority of the parishioners also appear to favor this approach. In comparing the staffs' response with the laity's response in the other issues, the contrast is more striking. The vast majority of the laity are still willing to consider extra-marital sexual relations as wrong but they are not so willing to label the other actions as wrong. In the case of divorce and abortion, many of the laity seem to consider these as open questions. Nearly half of the respondents in the case of divorce and 40% in the case of abortion indicated that they either had mixed feelings about the morality of these acts or that it depended on the circumstances of the case. How these attitudes are related to their Church affiliation will be dealt with in the latter part of this article. In looking at the social attitudesof the staff and people (See


1 21

ACCOUNTABILITY

Table 4) nearly all of the clergy and coordinators are supportive ¡of efforts to integrate the suburbs and the parishes and are amenable to applying Christian principles to social and political issues and movements. They are not so universal, however, in declaring the Vietnam War as immoral, though a larger percentage of the parish staffs than of the parishioners were willing to criticize America's involvement in Vietnam. TABLE 4: Social Issues; Percentage of Staff and Laity Response \Vho Agreed With Four Social Value Statements. Statement:

Staff

Lay

Agreement Ag1¡eement

Percentage Dilferen~e

1. Christian Principles can provide

a Basis for Protest Movements: 2. Parishes should include all Races and Classes: 3. Suburbs should be racially Integrated: 4. American Involvement in Vietnam has been Immoral:

82%

30%

52%

77%

58%

19%

77%

35%

42%

37%

28%

9%

The contrast between the parish staffs' and the people's attitudes reveal the great difference of opinion that exist in this area. Only a little better than a third of the laity, for instance, were willing to accept racially integrated suburbs, compared with over three-fourths of the priests and coordinators. The gulf between the two groups is even greater in considering the use of Christian principles as providing direction to social action groups and movements. INVOLVEMENT IN SOCIAL ISSUES

Another way to uncover the differences in opinions on social and political issues is to look at the way the two groups feel about their parish becoming involved in these issues. Both groups were asked about the !"Ole the parish should assume, ranging from the parish taking an official stand on social and political issues, to staying away from any kind of involvement at all. Table 5 gives the responses of the staffs and laity to this question. Both the parish staffs and the laity are more willing to let


122

CHICAGO STUDIES

TABLE & : Comparison of the Staffs' and Laity's Response to the Role of the Parish in Public Policy Issues.

Parish Role in Public I asues:

Percentage Who Agreed with the Statement Staff Laity Percentage Agreement Agreement Difference

1. Encourage people to fonn

Unofficial Parish Action Groups: 2. Take official Stands on Public Policy Issues: 3. All our Parish Buildings to be Used for Social Action Groups: 4. Encourage People to form Parish Discussion Groups: 5. Encourage People to Participate in Community Action Groups: 6. None of These Options

23%

17%

6%

36%

7%

29%

73%

30%

43%

82%

28%

54%

100% 0%

47% 23o/o

53% -23%

the Church encourage individuals to participate in community social action groups than they are to allow the Church to become actively involved with social issues. The percentage difference that lies between the staffs' and the people's reaction is revealing. For instance, although all of the parish staffs agree that at the very least the people in the parish should be encouraged to become involved in non-parish affiliated social action, less than half of the people themselves felt this way. In fact, nearly a fourth of the people went so far as to say the Church should take no stand whatever on public policy issues. To put it another way, for the parish staff the line is drawn at the Church taking an official stand on public policy issues or agreeing to the formation of parish-sponsored social action groups but they are in favor of giving encouragement to individuals to become involved in social action on their own or to let people discuss the issues informally in the parish. The emphasis seems to be on the parish providing an example and a direction to the people rather than become directly involved itself. For the laity, however, the line is drawn much further back from social involvement. Less than half are willing to let the parish give support to individuals to become involved in such activity and less than a third were willing to let the parish be-


ACCOUNTABILITY

123

come associated in any way with social action groups, even to the extent of allowing the parish building be used by social action groups. This feeling was reinforced in the responses to the statement, "The American Catholic Church should take public stands on political issues." Sixty percent of the laity rejected this statement, almost half of whom expressed strong disagreement with this position. The staff disagreement was only 18% and no one expressed strong reactions against Church involvement in social-political areas. It becomes apparent from these resulta that a closer look at the lay response is necessary to see how their reactions to these religious, social and moral issues are related to their level of involvement in the parish. We will begin by looking at the people's identification with the parish and how this has changed over the last few years. There are many ways to learn about a person's parish identification, ranging from the more obvious indicators such as Mass attendance, size of contributions and level of participation in parish activities and programs, to the more subtle indicators such as how comfortable a person is in Church and at liturgies, what were the reasons for the discomfort he may have felt, whether he went to other Churches and worship services and for what reasons and how he felt about changes in the Church that have been introduced in the parish in recent years. It is also important to find out if there is any relationship between the level of a person's parish identification and his moral and social value orientations to see how the two influence each other. In other words, is a person's membership in the parish reflected in his daily life and in his attitudes? DIMINISHING INVOLVEMENT

In order to determine the extent of a person's involvement in the parish, the amount of a person's participation in parish . activities was combined with the frequency with which he attended Mass in the parish. From this combination, four categories of parish involvement were constructed: nuclear members, modal members, marginal members and nominal members. The nuclear members, which in our sample consisted of about 12% of the parishioners, were those who not only went to Mass at least once a week but also took part in at least two


124

CHICAGO STUDIES

other parish functions or activities. The modal members, amounting to about 60% of the parish, were those who fulfilled their obligation of attending Mass each week but did not become involved in parish activities on a regular basis. The ?IUI;rginA<l members, about 13 o/o of the parish, were those who attended Mass somewhat sporadically, on an average of once or twice a month or less. The last group, the nominal members, which contains about 15% of the parish membership, are those who come to the parish only on rare occasions, i.e., Easter or Christmas, or not at all. In breaking these four categories into age and social status groupings, the younger ages (34 and under) and the lower sociÂŤ:>-economic status individuals have a greater percentage of their number in the marginal and nominal categories. They are, in other words, closer to the border of parish membership than are the older and more affluent and educated members. It is also possible to find out if there has been a shift in parish involvement in the last few years by asking the parishioners to compare their Mass attendance, size of contributions to the parish and degree of participation in parish activities five years ago with their present level of involvement in the parish. The results of this comparison showed that 71% of the parishioners said they either are more active now than previously or that their level of parish involvement has remained unchanged. Nineteen percent said they were less active now than previously and 9 o/o said they were much less active now than five years ago. This gives an overall drop in parish involvement of almost 30%. The next step was to look at the reasons people were pulling back from parish involvement. The people were asked whether they ever felt uncomfortable in Church and if so for what reason. Over half of the people admitted that they sometimes felt uncomfortable and the reason most often given was the changes that have taken place in liturgical functions since Vatican II. There was also a connection between this discomfort over changes and their withdrawal of support of the parish. As Table 6 indicates, a greater percentage of those who said they experienced discomfort due to the changes were less active in the parish now than previously.


ACCOUNTABILITY

125

TABLE 6; Parish Involvement Trends of the Laity Compared with Their Discomfort in Church due to Changes. Involvement Trends: Discomfort Due to Changes: 1. No Discomfort: 2. Discomfort:

Same or Greater Less or Much Less Invol-vement Involvement Total.~ 76% 24% lOOo/o 62% 38% 100%

While this is an important relationship, what is more important is to try to discover what types of liturgical changes are causing the discomfort. Was the discomfort a reaction against the innovative liturgical forms that have been introduced into the pat~sh in recent years or was it a reaction against the priests and coordinators for not introducing more of the newer liturgical forms? What was uncovered in the survey was tliat both reactions were present and in almost equal proportions. Both the traditional and progressive groups felt discomfort. For example, over. three-fourths of the people favored participation Masses and the majority favored Guitar Masses but at the same time a large majority, 70%, favored Benediction and Evening Devotions. (See Table 1). It appears from this that the shift in parish identification is a mixed reaction, coming from both the traditional and progressive sides of the parish membership. This is an important aspect of the parishioners' reaction to the parish and deserves a closer look. What, for instance, is the relationship between the parishioners' liturgical preferences and their involvement in the parish? Table 7 gives this relationship. TABLE 7: Liturgical Attitudes of the Laity Compared. With Parish Involvement Trends in the Last Five Years. Involvement Trends: Liturgical Attitudes: 1. Traditional Attitudes:

Greater or Same Less or Much Less Involvement Involvement. Total.q 65% 35% 100%

(Desiring Return to Older Fonns)

2. Status Quo Attitudes: (Satisfied with present folT!1s) 3. Progressive Attitudes: . (Desiring new forms be introduced)

72%

28%

100%

73%

27%

100%


126

CHICAGO STUDIES

Table 7 shows that there is a slight indication that those with traditional liturgical preferences tend to be less involved in the parish now than previously. But it also shows that a large percentage of all the groups are withdrawing their support and involvement in parish life. Although their reasons for withdrawal may be different--those with traditional tastes stop coming to liturgies because they are too innovative and "disrespectful," while those with progressive tastes are disenchanted with parish liturgies because they are not innovative enough-still, the result is the same, a drop in parish participation. Nor does it appear that those who stop coming to the parish attend other churches or worship services. Only 4 o/o of the respondents said they attend other than their parish Church because they dislike their own parish liturgies and 1 o/o because they did not like their own parish priests or parish activities. It appears from this that those who choose to stay away from their parish Church stay away from Church altogether. ATTITUDES AND INVOLVEMENT

The next step in trying to understand how the people are identified with the Church is to look at how their own attitudes on moral and social issues are related to their affiliation with the Church and the parish. In other words, is there a connection between the people's parish involvement and their social and moral attitudes? Tables 3 and 4 have shown how the people's response compared with the staffs' on various moral and social issues. We will now relate their responses to their affiliation with the . parish. Table 8 shows the relationship between the people's value orientations and their shift in parish involvement. The tables were constructed by combining the scores on the moral and social value statements that appeared in Tables 3 and 4. From these scores three categories were constructed ; Tâ&#x20AC;˘Âˇaditional Value Orientations, which included the responses that were most in line with the Church's traditional teaching on moral and social issues, Mixed Value Orientations, which included those responses that either expressed mixed feelings about these statements or said that it depended on circumstances, the Non-traditional Value Orientations, which included


127

ACCOUNTABILITY

those responses that were least in line with the Church's teachings in these areas. TABLE 8: Moral and Social Value Orientations of the Laity Compared with Parish Involvement Trends.

MORAL VALUE ORIENTATIONS Parish Involvement Trends: Same or Greater Less or Much Less M&ral Value Orienta.tions: Invol,vement Involvement Totals 1. Traditional Value Orientations: 100% 76% 24% 2. Mixed Value Orientations: 100% 65% 35% 3. Non-Traditional Value Orientations: 59% 41% 100% SOCIAL VALUE ORIENTATIONS Parish Involvement Trends: Same or Greater Less or Much Less Social Value Orientations: Involvement Involvement Totals 1. Traditional Value Orientations: 100% 79% 21% 2. Mixed Value Orientations: 100% 71% 29% 100% 3. Non-Traditional Value Orientations: a7% 63%

It seems clear from this table that a greater percentage of those who do not follow the Church's traditional teachings in social and moral issues are also to a greater extent withdrawing their support from the parish. In other words, there appears to be an inter-connectedness between a person's Church affiliation and his pet-sonal value orientations. There are, however, a few notable exceptions to this relationship. The people's reaction to integration of the suburbs is one example. In this case, there does not seem to be any relationship between parish affiliation and attitudes toward suburban integration as Table 9 indicates. TARLE 9: Parish Membership compared with Laity's Attitudes on Integration of the Suburbs. Integration Attitudes: Pnrish Membership: 1. Nuclear Members: 2. Modal Members: 3. Marginal Members: 4. Nominal Members:

Agreement

47% 36% 37% 39%

Mixed F eelin,q!-1

33% 41%

36% 38%

Di.wgreement 20% 23% 27% 23%

For instance, less than half of the nuclear membel"S agree


128

CHICAGO STUDIES

that the suburbs should include all races. This is the group which forms the core of the parish and provides the lay leadership. Among the modal members, i.e., those who come to church at least once a week, only 36% are on the agreement side of the suburban integration issue. In other words, at least in this one issue of integration of the suburbs, attendance at Mass or involvement in the parish has had little influence on the formation of the people's social attitudes. What conclusions, then, can be drawn from these findings"? At least this much can be said: 1. There is a sizeable drop in parish involvement over the past few years. For some this means attending another church or worship service but for the vast majority it means no Church involvement at all.

2. A large percentage of both traditional and progressive Catholics find it difficult "fitting-in" with the new Church. It does not fulfill their needs, varied and diverse aS they may be. 3. Catholics are making their own decisions on moral and social issues which once were reserved to the authority of the Church. They feel free to consider their own situation as unique and they act accordingly. 4. The influence of Catholic hierarchy, especially as exercised by the parish clergy, is being challenged by the power and the indifference of the laity, i.e., the directives of the Church are being directly confronted or simply ignored by many of her people. .â&#x20AC;˘ 5. The majority of Catholics feel the Church should stay out of socio-political matters and concentrate on more traditional spiritual matters. These then are the results of the study of ten suburban parishes. A project has been designed to allow other parish staffs to do a similar study of the feelings and attitudes of their parishioners; it is called the Parish Evaluation Project (P.E.P.). Those who wish to learn more of this technique for listening to their people are asked to write to P.E.P., c/o National Federation of Priests' Councils, 1307 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, Illinois, 60605.


James J. Gill, S.J., M.D.

Personal Accountability and the Priest Rich, poor, black, Chicanos, white, diocesan, national and universal Church: can all these competing allegiances be a sow¡ce of creative inspiration for the priest?

I see something happening in the way Catholic laymen and women are regarding us today as priests. They seem to be taking us less for granted than they did just a few years ago. Perhaps the number of widely publicized departures from our active ranks, coupled with a marked shortening of the line of candidates moving into our seminaries, has prompted many people to give some appreciative thought to our mere presence. During ¡the past few months I have heard more individuals, scattered aU over the country, make more complimentary remarks about priests in general than I had previously noted during the sixteen years that have passed since I was ordained. I have heard American priests called generous, and courageous, and unflagging, and alive. (That's not saying, of course, that everything I heard about us is flattering. We are still called by many "self preoccupied.") For years I had been listening to people speak about priests as if the supply were inexhaustible, as if lay Catholics are simply entitled to the lives and services of tens of thousands of celibate men who would be doing something morally reprehensible if they were to turn away 129


130

CHICAGO STUDIES

from their rectories or chancery offices to pursue a different career with the prospect of finding greater personal happiness along with peace of soul. I suppose most of us have listened on countless occasions to so many inn ividuals complaining about money-talk from the pulpit, about the quality of preaching, the way the liturgy is celebrated, tl1e parish is managed or the diocese is led, that we long ago ceased to remind the complainants that our brother priests whose performance they were finding unsatisfactory are, after all, volunteen who are trying to be of help to souls God wants to reach Heaven, and that they and we are only men, limited men, despite our long and highly specialized education in seminaries. I was deeply moved in Los Angeles to hear dozens of individual C.C.D. workers at their annual Congress (which 10,000 attended) speaking spontaneously about the gratitude they feel toward the priests of that archdiocese. Many of these lay people express a clear awareness of their need for strong leadership and their recognition of the fact that they are getting it from their enthusiastic clergymen. I am sure that such an attitude on the part of parents will do much to foster a respect for priests in the hearts of their sons and will perhaps b1¡ing large. numbers of them into seminaries during the years ahead. But there is another effect of this sort of expression of appreciation. A priest who knows he is doing something very valuable and important with his life, and who realizes that he is doing his ministerial job well, can't help but thereby derive motivation toward improving himself as a man and as a priest, with the result that he will go on to render even better service than that which he sees is already successful and recognized. A competent and successful professional is, in other words, usually destined to become an even ntore competent and more successful professional. And since we have so many well educated and competent men in the priesthood serving the faithful so generously here in our country, if the laity are beginning in fact to appreciate us and our brother priests and not take us any longer for granted, I would not be at all surprised if we discover ourselves to be on the brink of an era in which priests will find themselves impelled to strive for a level of both holiness


PERSONAL

131

and ministerial effectiveness unparalleled in our national history. A little appreciation is just likely to cause this sort of thing to occur. GROWING PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE

I see something else happening to priests today. Most of the young ones coming out of our seminaries are extremely good at dealing with persons. And they have some training and experience in helping people solve personal problems through pastoral counseling. They are at home and effective in performing the liturgy. And they know how to make older priests a little bit envious of them, wishing that they too could be given the chance to learn the latest good things in theology and update their pastoral skills. In many dioceses, of course, older priests are given the chance to participate in seminars, workshops, "deanery days," and the like. These are fairly well attended and are often considered profitable. They have some desirable side-effects too. They promote an atmosphere of mutual support and encouragement for all the priests who participate. But perhaps even more important in the long run is the message they give the laity-that their priests are continuing to study, to Jearn, and to develop themselves and their skills so that they will be even more helpful to them in the future than they have been in the past. I firmly believe we should be letting the faithful know that we are devoting our time, and our energies, and developing our talents the way we believe God wants us to do so for them. What the laity and the world are witnessing is the gradual emergence of a well-prepared, highly motivated group of increasingly specialized priests who will not be judged as successful or failures on the basis of their membership in the clergy but on their professional competence. These same people are beginning to wonder out loud whether priests who hear confessions, or who counsel in rectory parlors, or who visit families at home, or serve as moderators of various groups or organizations cannot also be obligated to strive for excellence in their performance, with their human resources developed in a disciplined way to the maximnm. People are watching to see how we direct our efforts and our energies. Some men work well with young people. But our


132

CHICAGO STUDIES

aging parishioners wonder whether they do not deserve a little more time and interest on the part of these men. The poor and the exploited minorities are served well by many priests. But if you listen closely you hear (don't you?) the voices of those who happen to have been financially successful and those born into "the majority" complaining that they and their loved ones have souls too and deserve some help from their clergy. "After all," they argue, "1ve are the ones who made sacrifices to put money in the collection basket when the bishop asked us to keep the seminaries open so these men could be trained and ordained." I suppose we would have to admit that in most parishes there are many individuals who are being more or less neglected by us. Their needs and problems are hardly at all attractive to us who chose to concentrate our attention on others and preferentially exclude them. I am sure there are millions of Americans who would like to tell us a thing or two about our ministries and ourselves if only they had a chance to get a hearing from us. Well, the day seems to be drawing very near when we will be listening to the people whom we profess to serve in the way Christ would pastorally serve them. The concept of accountability has become during the past few years a popular one in the field of education, among the military, in communes and communities under religious auspices, and in various professions such as medicine and our national aerospace program. In the world of business and industry, of course, it has played for a long time a backbone role in the functioning of every successful corporation. The concept entails (at least the way it is generally understOOd in organizational management theory) that one is obligated to give an account, or furnish a justifying analysis or explanation, of his work performance or behavior. More precisely, accountability can be considered as a process by which each organizational member is expected to answer to someone for doing specific things according to specific plans and against specific timetables to accomplish tangible performance results that are related to the organization's purpose. Today many of the thoughtful laity as well as many bishops and priests are thinking more and more frequently in terms of this concept as they see us priests enjoying a greater freedom in the selection and performance of our ministries. They want


PERSONAL

133

our organization, and theirs, the Church, to operate efficiently as well as effectively, and they do not see how this can happen unless accountability becomes a prominent feature in our corporate functioning. PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

Individual accountability on the part of the priest would necessarily entail a performance evaluation program. Such programs have already been developed and are being introduced in several dioceses. Their principal purpose is to improve the performance of each minister. If his performance improves, it is naturally expected that his personal satisfaction will be enhanced and he will be motivated toward further growth and achievement. Thus, the whole organization stands to benefit as a result of his being held accountable. But who will do the evaluating? Those who are in a position to help the minister look closely at his performance and its degree of effectiveness-his Ordinary, his fellow priests, and the people he serves. They will be telling us what they are observing in regard to such factors as our professional competence, our dependability, our spiritual and emotional maturity, our interpersonal style and leadership, our initiative and zeal, and our degree of "organization identification." They will let us know how well we are rendering the services we offer, and we will, as a result, be able to determine whether we are viewing ourselves and our ministerial functioning â&#x20AC;˘Âˇealistically. There is much to be said in favor of establishing such a practice. Through it a priest can learn to recognize his strengths, his weaknesses, and areas where there is room for improvement in his performance. He can also be prompted to commit himself to a program of personal growth and development. The scope of his accountability will have to be carefully designated so that the priest will have defined for him precisely the functional, administrative, and financial duties he is expected to perform. (In other words, the mission entrusted to him by his Ordinary). Moreover, standards of performance will have to be carefully provided for him in writing-that is, descriptions of how well a minister must perform the specific tasks of his ministry and how well he must adapt to working condi-


134

CHICAGO STUDIES

tions if he is to be considered completely effective. The priests will no longer have to wonder whether he is performing according to the needs and expectations of his bishop, his peers, and his people. The system will also keep him in touch with the way they view his progress. To a conscientious, ambitious, and dedicated man moving up the ladder toward the level of "excellence" these can be extremely helpful realities. But to the less conscientious, less ambitious, or less dedicated priest this whole process will be, to say the least, threatening. Furthermore, every priest whose life and ministry are affected will have a chance to verify for himself what organizational analyst Amitai Etzioni has observed: "Accountability is likely to increase efficiency, but it also often produces tensions." I have already hinted at some possible sources of "tension," which can be somewhat mildly defined as "a state of psychic unrest, often with signs of physiological stress." For example, a priest feels called to work among the poor in his parish. He dresses as much like them as he can. His middle class parishioners are embarrassed by his attire. He feels accountable to .both groups. So he experiences an inner tension-a pulling in two ways that is painful. Another example: A priest believes that cultivating the faith of youth is badly needed. He spends a lot of time with them, singing their songs. Older people feel neglected and complain that they too have a right to his care. He knows he is accountable to the old as well as the young. He is torn-with tension. Example: Other priests maintain he ought to be participating in work within the diocese. He sees that men and women in military service overseas need chaplains. He feels accountable to his peers--his fellow priests-as well as to those in service. Result: tension. Or: His bishop is trying to maintain the high quality of the faculty at a diocesan secondary school. The priest feels that many corporation executives downtown are being neglected and need his help in relation to important moral issues. He feels accountable to his Ordinary as well as to these influential laymen. Again-ten-

sion. PRODUCTIVE TENSION

Priests, like any people experiencing inner conflict (or ten-


PERSONAL

135

sion), can feel under such circumstances that they are being destroyed. They will tend naturally to feel frustrated, angry, resentful, guilty, depressed, apathetic, or overwhelmed. On the other hand, tensions can become productive. They can be used creatively. If I want to achieve this, I have to look at my own feelings and inclinations. I have to recognize what inner forces are pulling me in which directions. Then I need to establish my long range goals and immediate aims realistically. Finally, I have to take the appropriate steps to attain them. Let me exemplify this. Let us suppose that I am a priest working in a parish as an assistant pastor. I feel a lot of tension and am not very happy. In fact, I am frustrated and confused. There are so many people with problems here. Unemployed, marital crises, dt-ugs, widows, the helpless aged, the ghetto. I'm supposed to be dealing principally with the youth, but they hardly give me a chance. What do I do? I take a careful look at my feelings. I see that I'm happy over the things I find I can do for the young people. I feel worthless when I see they do not want me around. I feel a distaste for the aged, especially the sick ones. I am afraid of the ghetto. Principally, I resent the way all these different people feel they have a claim on my time and my services. There is just too much work for any one man to do. What are my inclinations? I want to do youth work. I do not want to work with the aged or in the ghetto. Next I ask myself honestly: Why don't you want these last two? Truthfully, I don't know how to relate to old people, and I am afraid of getting hurt or even killed in the ghetto. What are my alternatives? I can put in a request for a transfer from the parish.¡ I can suggest to the pastor that he should 1¡equest that the bishop assign another priest who will work with these groups. Or I can face my accountabilities. I am not doing all I should for the aging and the people in the ghetto area. What do I require? Somebody to help me learn to understand the aged, their needs, and how to communicate with them. I also have to learn how to get over my fear of the ghetto scene. Maybe I can find and enroll myself in a pastoral workshop on taking care of the aging. Perhaps I can find a priest or group of priests or laymen familiar with the ghetto who will teach me how to get along safely there. My acknowledging my ac-


136

CHICAGO STUDIES

countabilities has helped me develop motivation to take the necessary steps to fulfill these apostolic goals. These will demand time and effort, but at least I will not be running away from my responsibilities and f~ling so torn apart inside. I mentioned the fact that individual accountability on the part of the priest necessarily entails an evaluation of his performance. In some ideal order of functioning, we might expect that a man who dedicates his entire life, his time, his talents, his energies to¡ the following of Christ through a selfsacrificial service of the Church would set high standards for himself, then strive with utmost generosity and effort to perform his ministry according to them. You might also think that he would be strongly and sincerely desirous of knowing whether his efforts are successful (that is, are actually proving effective in facilitating the spiritual and moral growth of the individuals for whose sake he is working.) This would involve getting people to evaluate the helpfulness of his homilies, the effectiveness of his counseling, his liturgical style, his guidance in the confessional, and other aspects of his day-to-day pastoral performance. But, actually, there are relatively few priests who have really put forth the effort and had the courage to obtain such feedback. This fact makes sense to a psychiatrist. If a man feels he is doing about as well as he can at work, he certainly will not be inclined to want to hear that he is falling short of a performance level established by someone else. To pursue an awareness of the discrepancy between what one is actually achieving and what others are expecting him to accomplish is to invite feelings of failure, of discouragement, of lowered selfesteem, and depression. Furthermore, we are inclined to become angry (another painful emotion to experience) when we hear people expressing dissatisfaction with our volunteered services. It is less painful to remain oblivious to our shortcomings; easier to let the operation of an unconscious mental mechanism (called "denial") prevent us from recognizing the fact that people are in fact evaluating us every day, and many are complaining that we could and should be serving them in better ways than we are. Moreover, human nature being what it is, we must admit that we are not always doing our best. And in addition to this;


PERSONAL

137

it is difficult for us to strive to attain an ideal level of performance when we do not know how to go about becoming more effective. It is far easier for a young man in a training program who is learning theory and receiving constant personal supervision to believe that significant improvement is possible for him and will be attained through a little extra effort on his part. ACCOUNTABILITY IS INDISPENSABLE

Experience has taught those of us who have been working in the field of continuing education for the clergy that it is in fact often very possible for priests to improve their performance, and indeed, to improve it remarkably. And it has been recognized beyond question by specialists who study the operational effectiveness of large organizations that the process of accountability is indispensable if maximal success in performance is to be achieved. It is logical to conclude, then, that if an organization, such as the Church, is to be led (or managed) both prudently and effectively, and if available skills, and manpower are going to be developed and utilized optimally, there is need for accountability. The1¡e is no substitute for it. Performance must be evaluated in order to assist each member to improve his current level of functioning. The individual must be provided information regarding how well he is doing his job. The superior must be informed about the man's level of performance and can use this information as a basis for bestowing recognition, rewards, promotions, or applying corrective remedies. The priest who learns that he has been evaluated as showing signs of improvement or performing very well will predictably experience feelings of self-confidence and self-satisfaction which will help motivate him toward even further improvement in his performance. However, there is a tendency for most religious persons to be idealistic. And this involves more than just envisioning and aiming at lofty goals. We often find in them an accompanying tendency to be perfectionistic. This trait is characterized by an inclination within the super-ego (or unconsious conscience) to be morally judgmental and to blame or punish the self or another for not living up to the ideal. It will be difficult for a person of this sort (whether he be a laymen, a fellow priest,


138

CHICAGO STUDIES

a bishop, or a religious superior)-when he is evaluating a priest's performance and communicating to him the results of this procedure--not to give the priest the impression that he has been "judged," found lacking, has been recognized as performing in a less than worthy manner, and is a disappointment to him. What I am saying is that perfectionistic people often come across as severly critical of the performer, not just his performance. And this type of communication will tend to make the one evaluated feel guilty, especially if he himself is inclined to be perfectionistic. We all naturally tend to resent those who make us feel this way, and also to avoid the type of experience that can result, as performance evaluation can, in such unpleasant emotional states as guilt, depression, anger, and resentment. Whenever we feel that others are judging us rather than our performance we automatically tend to become defensive and less communicative. If priests who are being evaluated feel this way in relation to their Ordinary, their peers or parishioners, the two-way flow of discussion about performance goals and objectives will be seriously impaired, and without this the process of accountability will undoubtedly fail. What is absolutely indispensable, if the system is to work, is an appreciation on the part of the bishop, the priests, and the laity that the evaluation process is aimed at promoting growth, both personal and professional, on the part of the priest. It must not be moralistic, not inclined to blame or to censure. A growthoriented attitude of mind prompts one to ask another: How can I help you to improve? I would suggest that anyone who wants to help another person to grow would do well to develop in himself this two-fold attitude: " ( 1) I accept and like you the way you are, and I admire what you are trying to do and what you are achieving, ( 2) but if you really want to improve, I am ready and anxious to help you in whatever way you see I can." Notice how different that attitude is from the one communicated in a verbal or non-verbal message to the effect that-"I will be satisfied with your performance and will like you better when you have improved and your performance matches my expectations. Because you have not yet reached the mark, I am not yet pleased with you." The latter attitude tends to inflict pain, the way a


PERSONAL

139

parent's disapproving response to a less than perfect report card distresses a child, and it is more likely to generate resentment than to inspire improvement. We have all at some time in our life experienced the feeling that we were being disapproved when our conduct or performance did not please the authority figures who were at the time extremely important to us. There will be priests who will be inclined to avoid being evaluated rather than run the risk of reliving such humiliating and depressing experiences. Those who will communicate the outsiders' evaluations to each participating priest had better know how to appreciate him, how to let him know that he is loved, how to reveal admiration for his efforts and attempts, and how to demonstrate convincingly that if he truly wants to grow and to improve his performance, the evaluation will be reported to him only in compliance with his desire--not as a weapon being waved from above. If a priest gets the feeling that a system of performance evaluation is being imposed on him from below, or by his peers, or from above, he will tend to fear that he is being brought under excessive external control. He will feel threatened and will resist cooperating fully. And speaking of resistance, it must be obvious, I would think, that we can expect that the most intense opposition to the system of accountability will be put forward by those priests who have been in the past most ineffective and who are most lacking in spiritual as well as psychological motivation to change their ways of living or performing their ministry. PROFESSIONAL GROWTH

There will be tension also associated with the process of priestly accountability as it is related to the issue of professional growth. My impression of seminary education in the past includes the image of professors taking responsibility for presenting to their students the dogmatic truths deemed important enough to be conside1¡ed, learned, and defended. Enough of Canon Law and enough of Moral Theology was communicated to enable the ordained to function adequately in the confessional and in other ordinary pastoral settings. But the degree of competence required of the student in applying these principles and solving actual spiritual and moral problems was


140

CHICAGO STUDIES

minimal. 1 do not know anyone whose ordination was postponed until he learned to preach well, or counsel effectively, or interact with people in a reliably constructive and mature fashion. Today, however, the professional role of the priest is, we all know, undergoing reconsideration. It has become widely apparent that the man of good will but of minimal ministerial effectiveness never adequately meets the needs of his parishioners, never attracts vocations, and never develops the sense of professional competence we are sure that Christ would want every one of his priests to enjoy. Bishops are going to be under increasing tire from the laity to see that seminary educators graduate men who are at least as competent in their own pastoral field as professionally trained laymen are in their own area of specialization. Priests, such as those involved in ecumenical endeavors (the way many hospital and military chaplains are), will gradually exert an influence on their fellow priests which will urge them at least to match in professional competence their non-Catholic colleagues in the ministry. Well-trained deacons, too, will supply a constructive push in the same direction, and priests will have to respond or also be revealed as less competent than their enthusiastic, non-sacerdotal coworkers. Unfortunately, everyone knows, there are a number of men in the priesthood who have not continued to develop themselves professionally. Their experiences in the ministry have taught them some valuable lessons, but many have not continued to study theology seriously, and many still avoid participation in continuing education courses, seminars, workshops, or special lecture pt¡ograms within their diocese. Some of those who do attend appear to be doing so with a greater desire to impress their bishop than to improve their skills and techniques o1¡ to increase their professional knowledge. I heard a hospital chaplain the other day complaining that he was simply not going to subject himself to the sort of evaluation of his experience, education, and competence that his peers are requiring of him for certification in theiJ¡ specializPd apostolate. He protested strongly that there is no need for such personal accreditation of priests like himself, and he labelled those who want to evaluate and certify him as "guys who want


PERSONAL

141

to make themselves feel important and occupy well-feathered nests." I suspect that we will all be hearing comparably defensive statements from other priests who will feel that undue pressure is being brought to bear on them as diocese after diocese initiates programs to evaluate the professional competence of its ministers. Those who howl loudest will be those who have not yet reached a stage of maturity and dedication which would prompt them to make generously whatever sacrifices are entailed in order to serve their people as well as they possibly can. Included will be those who are not convinced that the long-range effects of their efforts to improve themselves will be worth the time and energy required. Also among those who complain will be priests who have never considered themselves called to be competent in rendering their services, but felt called just to serve. You will also hear protests from men who dread the humiliation of hearing poor reports about themselves. They will reason to themselves (unconsciously) : Better not to try and still feel I could succeed in being excellent if I wanted to, than to try, and then find out that I just do not have the ability it takes to perform well. Many of those who feel threatened by the suggestions or requests of others that they participate in programs of continuing education for priests will, I would suspect, continue to show their resentment passively by silent refusal to cooperate. If they are passed over when the time comes for promotion or awarding of special recognition, their attitude will become more obnoxious, more overtly resentful. The services they continue to render will probably exude strong traces of hostility aimed toward the undeserving laity. This is an example of the psychological process (or mental mechanism) technically called ~~displacement.''

I would suggest that priests who experience increased inner tension as a result of the initiation of an evaluation of theit¡ professional competency and performance will be best helped to participate and profit from the program by our first of all realistically and understandingly accepting their fears and anxieties as well as their resentments and suspicions, and then by our making available to them in as non-threatening a way as possible¡ a very rich but fundamental educational program which can be pursued conveniently and in a face-saving man-


142

CHICAGO STUDIES

ner. They need to be protected from developing the feeling that their areas of incompetence are being systematically exposed to their Ordinary, their peers, or the laity. Fortunately, we are living on the brink of a new era in education. Already in production, as you know, are TV sets equipped with an attachment which allows cartridges to be inserted so that a viewer can see as well as hear a range of presentations which extends from the fine points of water skiing and golfing to the best filmed performances of the Metropolitan Opera Company. Is there any reason why we should not make available for convenient and private rectory showings -at dawn, in the late afternoon, or in the secrecy of the darkest hour of the night--the best available lectures by eminent theologians, the most creative and effective liturgies, the best examples of filmed pastoral counseling sessions with discussion of the theory and tactics employed, as well as demonstrations of competent handling of difficult along with commonplace problems that arise in the usual ministerial circumstances in which we live and work? I would think that seminary and university centers at which pastoral education is flourishing could collaborate on just such a venture in communication so that we would help countless priests to develop their knowledge, skills, and sense of professional pride to a point where the members of the Church and the world around us will be served by all of us in a way no other generation has been served since the Church was born. But will we take the initiative and make such help available? Will priests avail themselves of the opportunity to develop their competencies if we do? Only they can tell us, or rather show us the answer. But one thing we can count on, I believe, is the fact that if the laity demonstrate convincingly their appreciation of the efforts priests make to improve their expertise, there will be many more priests pat-ticipating with effective motivation to keep on improving. Incentives are needed, but money and promotion are not enough. Genuine gratitude on the part of those we Jove enough to live, work, and die for might well provide sufficient motivating power. I hope we will find it so. A COMPETENT MENTOR-GROWTH FACILITATOR

It is virtually impossible to evaluate one's level of profes-


PERSONAL

143

sional performance without enlisting the help of others. .Obviously this is true in the case of a priest because his effectiveness is able to be measured only in tetms of the way he interacts with other people. His accomplishments can be estimated only in the light of the way he inf01ms, inspires, serves, counsels, and facilitates the growth of others. His principal instrument is his own person, which he strives to equip with knowledge, skills, style, and professional competencies. Furthermore, it is impossible to determine precisely how well we are performing in comparison with the level of excellence we are actually capable of attaining. Who can say what a slight change in attitude might do for my preaching? What a less hurried pace of life might do for my counseling? What a few friendships might do to improve my prayer life or my effectiveness in dealing with people? I know of no better way to help priests grow professionally than to provide for them a competent supet-visor or mentor who will evaluate with them their potential, their performance, and the effectiveness of their work, keeping in. mind each man's talents, goals, motives, attitudes, and other personality factors. I know of no profession or career where there is a more intimate link between a person's technical competence and the development of his own personality than exists in the priesthood. To preach effectively we must be informed realists. To counsel well we must have the capacity to be empathic and skillful in helping others to solve their problems without manipulating our counselees into functioning as suppliers of our own needs. As facilitators of the spiritual, moral, and human development of others, we must be capable of relating to them maturely, not self-seekingly, excessively dependent on them, or domineering in style. In short, we need all the humanness and all the skillfulness we can attain when we take on the serious responsibility of acting as God's intermediaries in dealing with the most sensitive and vulnerable of all created realities-the human soul. I am not going to spell out the ways in which a psychologically and socially immature priest can impair the gmwth and damage the lives of others. I just want to state that there is evidence all across the country that the laity are now realistically aware of the problems with authority, the lack of initia-


144

CHICAGO STUDIES

tive, the deficient sense of competence, the problems with identity, and the conflicts over intimacy (particularly in relating to women) many priests are currently experiencing. Our collective weakness in personality development was given worldwide publicity as a result of the Loyola Psychological Study of the Ministry and Life of the American Priests completed under the direction of Father Eugene Kennedy and Dr. Victor Heckler. As a result of this study there are many seminaries today paying much greater attention to the kinds of personal experience candidates for the priesthood are undergoing, and where close supervision is being provided not just through spiritual direction, but also in the form of psychological counseling. But l have not yet seen an adequate response to the needs of men already ordained who want to develop their human potential to the fullest. I have seen workshops on communication and on interpersonal relationships as well as on celibacy provided for priests-and well attended-in various dioceses. But listening to talks or engaging in eight-to-a-table-with-a-facilitator conversations is not going to help much toward effecting personal development to the level of emotional maturity. What men generally need in order to grow as surely and rapidly and as profitably as possible is someone trained to help them evaluate their life expel"iences, their relationships, their style of relating to others, their ways of achieving fulfillment of their own human needs, their modes of coping with the inevitable stresses of life, their manner of dealing with and relating to authority figures, their interaction with women, their capacity to deal with their own feelings and emotions (particularly the sexual and angry or hostile ones), what they are currently attempting to do in order to grow, and how they are progressing in these attempts. In other wonls, we need someone to share the growth-pursuit with us. But where do we find the growth-facilitators who could help so many of us to achieve further maturity? The Kennedy study should that the 271 priests who were psychologically interviewed and tested only 19 were evaluated as "developed" (to the level of what Erikson calls "the adulthood stage," or "generativity"). For the laity, or bishops, or fellow priests to hold all of us accountable to them for demonstrating consistently adult behavior (or at least signs of successful effort to de-


PERSONAl

145

velop ourselves in the direction of maturity), and at the same time for us not to have available to us in every diocese and religious order a sufficient number of persons trained and competent in helping us grow, would put us into a terrible bind. If our psychological blind-spots, our defenses, our needs, our conflicts, our attitudes, our values, our habits, and our style of interpersonally relating are largely operative at a level of our personalities of which we are not aware (that is, in our unconscious), we will certainly at times need help to become aware of them and to find ways of improving them. And this sort of helping role is not to be played by amateurs. For psychol<>gists or sociologists to go on talking in public about the psychological and social shortcomings of priests, or for JX'Ople to rlemand from priests evirlence of substantial personal growth be¡ fore such help is provided, will prove counter-productive at some point very soon, I fear. Priests can be humiliated by the repeated publication of findings such as Father Kennedy's. It will be difficult enough for them to accept the help when it is available. I would suggest titat the same persons who are trained to deal with psychological and social issues related to personal growth in priests' lives should also be trained and competent in facilitating growth in spirituality. I would suspect, too, that it will for a long time remain much easier for the average priest to approach a so-called "pastoral consultant" to talk about his fear of close relationships with women, his resentment toward his pastor or bishop, and his uncertainty about his effectiveness in relating to parishioners, than to make a regular appointment to see someone he thinks of and refers to as his therapist or "shrink." WOMEN AND THE PRIEST

I want to speak very briefly about accountability on the part of priests for the way we relate to women. This is a very seri¡ ous and delicate matter. First of all, I would assume we are all familiar with the fact that Father Kennedy has pointed out that the training process affecting the human development of seminarians has traditionally regarded a young man's "willingness to stay away from many normal developmental experiences such as dating and a normal social life." He reported that in the


146

CHICAGO STUDIES

lives of most of the priests studied, the issue of sex "takes more time and effort to handle and control and is productive of more anguish than it should be in any adult life." In his monumental volume on the subject of development psychology, "The Person, Theodore Lidz observes that "the achievement of ego-identity (a pre-requisite developmental stage antecedent to maturity) usually requires the concurrent attainment of the capacity to move toward inte1¡dependence with a person of the opposite sex: an intimacy that properly encompasses far more than the capacity to have sexual relations, or even to enjoy orgastic pleasure in the act. It concerns an ability to form a significant relationship without fear of the loss of the self." In the normal course of human maturation a young man learns to overcome his defensiveness in dealing with women by developing a relatively intense relationship with at least one woman who helps him begin to stop thinking, feeling, and acting as if sexuality were the most prominent objective feature in the nature of women, and to learn to relate to them as persons. As the Kennedy study revealed, there are many priests who have never had such a positive, growth-producing, defensiveness-reducing relationship with a woman, and this leaves these men inclined to stereotype women, to treat them more as objects to be avoided (because they threaten our celibacy) than persons to relate to and cherish after the example of Christ. But there are also many priests who are learning day by day to fear women less and who are relating to them in a progressively more successful way. These men are not continually conscious of the old so/us cum sola, prohibition with regard to riding with women in automobiles; and many are even gaining a deeper understanding of their apostolate from "a woman's point of view," thanks to a closer cooperation in liturgy, parish management, and campus ministry on the part of women, especially nuns who have widened their activities and intensified their impact as a result of renewal of their community life and apostolate. But personal growth cannot be expected to occur in priests simply because they work with women. It is the quality of the relationship that determines whether it will be conducive to further maturation of the personalities involved. Friendship and the sharing of social experiences with women are what many priests will require if they are to develop from an ado-


PERSONAL

147

lescent psycho-socio-sexual status into adulthood. But this obviously presents a problem. If bishops, pastors, one's fellow priests, or the laity are overprotective, and especially if they are highly critical of priests whom they see in the company of women, especially of one woman-in other words, if they are too easily shocked or "scandalized"-maturing priests will not be provided the kind of supporting climate or social atmosphere that will be needed for good, healthy, constructive relationships to develop between themselves and women. If the mere presence of a priest with a woman is going to evoke immature lay or clerical gossip, or unneeded warnings about the possibility of unfortunate consequences, either the priest will continue to avoid familiarity with women, or else the relationship will be (as happens all too frequently) developed clandestinely, resulting in an adolescent, rather than an adult, style of social functioning. Let me put all of this very simply and directly: For a man to learn to relate in a mature fashion to women and to stop being self-protectively "defensive" with them, and if he is to have maximal impact in helping women grow to personal and spiritual maturity, he will need to live in a social setting which supports his relationships with women rather than seeks to prevent, destroy, or dehumanize them. Recently I have found many seminary rectors and professors very supportive of the growth of the young men in their care in this 1¡egard. I cannot say that I have found bishops, religious superiors, or older priests in general as concerned about fostering the personal growth of priests as they are about "appearances," "what people will think," and "what trouble the man might be getting into" as he moves toward emotional adulthood through a friendship which will benefit not only the priest and this woman, but every woman or girl he will counsel, preach to, or assist in any way throughout all of his future years in his priestly ministry. SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

I want to say a word about a priest's accountability for his own spiritual growth. There is an inborn tendency for us to develop in this aspect of our lives, just as there is a built-in thrust in all of us toward ever increasing psychosexual and social development. In recent years a great deal of attention


148

CHICAGO STUDIES

has been paid to the various stages of personality development, and counselors, educators, and pat¡ents, along with the clergy, have learned much from courses, seminars, workshops, books and articles about these stages or phases of human growth. Consequently, more and more people are learning how to foster and facilitate continuing maturation on the part of those who want to attain the highest level they can. Through praticipating in all sorts of group experiences (from discussion groups to "sensitivity sessions" and "encounters") people are growing deliberately. They know what they are trying to achieve and are pursuing their goals purposefully. But the world of spirituality has not as yet found its Erik Erikson. There are stages of growth in spirituality, and there are types of experience which make growth possible. There are also ways of understanding the normal course of spiritual development and facilitating it in others. But the science and art are not well elaborated as yet. It is still very difficult, I believe, for most priests to find spiritual directors who know enough about spiritual growth to help them keep moving forward. Consequently, too many priests have settled onto a spiritual plateau which is reasonably comf01-table for them, but which does not inspire intensified efforts to grow further and become what they can only hope to be through deliberate, goal-oriented pursuit. Bishops, the faithful, priests themselves ___,veryone wants priests to be men of God, truly devoted, holy, and skillful in assisting others to become better people, more prayerful, more zealous, more moral. Many priests, as well as their bishops, are making even month-long retreats voluntarily these days. Many members of religious orders, especially Jesuits, are trying hard to become proficient in conducting "individually directed" retreats for priests. But the realm of spiritual development is still far from completely researched. A great deal of very careful observation and high level scholarship is needed. I would urge you to promote this in every way you can. The application of talent, money, facilities, and cooperative effort to the study of the spiritual developmental process in individual lives will be indispensable. In short, r believe that we will need to know m01¡e about the process of spiritual growth, about the various stages or phases entailed, and about ways of facilitating spiritual progress, before priests


PERSONAL

149

will be able to take seriously and put forth the effort required to achieve advanced stages of spiritual maturity. They will not hold themselves accountable for such growth until it is apparent to them that significant progress is able to be achieved by them, even though it will require, in all probability, the facilitating assistance of other persons well versed in the essentials of the theory of spiritual growth. Just in passing, I would like to add that I would hope that both seminarians and priests who are under the guidance of others along the uphill path to both spiritual and psychosocial maturity would have the opportunity to have women for their counselors or consultants during some of their seasons along the way. There are increasing numbers of sisters who are h ained, experienced, and proficient in facilitating spiritual growth. And there are also a number of lay women with competence in this area. The relationship with an intuitive and insightful, mature woman who helps the man develop spiritually can do much to break down the adolescent attitudes toward women which most priests brought with them into the seminary and tend to carry with them through life. The woman advisor, counselor, or consultant-on-spirituality by simply being what she is, and by being helpful to the man will tend to halt the unrealistic, defensive, and sexually over loaded sterotyping I mentioned earlier. American women in general, David McClelland has shown, are not as achievement-oriented as men. Their strongest motivation is toward affiliation instead. I think "developing" priests, whose vocation is principally a religioussocial one, could benefit greatly from having their values, attitudes, and style of prayer, as well as their interpersonal relationships evaluated and carefully supervised, at least for a time, by women, and not exclusively by other men. FINANCES AND THE PRIEST

We can expect to face questions regarding the accountability of priests in the area of finances. Many of us are earning larger salaries than we once did. Some--especially the "hyphenated" ones among us-are receiving an income proportioned to the professional work we are doing. Our attitude toward money (and particularly the way this is revealed in our style of living) is open to evaluation. By the way we present


150

CHICAGO STUDIES

ourselves-as wealthy, comfortable, or poor-we will have a specific form of apostolic impact on those we are trying to serve and influence. Cadillacs, country homes, a memberships in expensive clubs-these will always jolt others into thinking we are spending our money lavishly, unconscionably. Are we accountable to our Ordinary, to our brother priests, and to the laity on this score? Some will argue yes. Others will call for recognition of the fact that every priest needs a zone of privacy in his personal life and some opportunity for "role relief" through diversionary activities and properties which provide cultural and emotional support for his harassed ego. Money will continue, as always, to mean different things to different priests. It will signify security to the uncertain, power to those who fear impotence, prestige to those lacking in self-esteem, and success to those with questionable competence. Those who would initiate a program of accountability with regard to a priest's use of his own money can expect to generate tension and inner resistance whenever they appear to be threatening to take away such symbolic fulfillment of an individual priest's needs. I would suggest, further, that if others want to help priests to learn to live according to the message and example of the poverty of Christ, they would do. well to help priests to. develop friendships that are rich in warmth and depth and variety. Things-such as money-will only be excessively important to those whose lives are impoverished by a lack of love. I presume the suggestion will be made that priests should be accountable for setting aside either individually or corporately enough money to guarantee suitable provision for their retirement years. Tension (that is, inner conflict) is experienced by some unprepared older priests who would like to be able to retire but regard themselves as financially unable to do so. Some do not want to retire because they fear that they will lose their independence (or autonomy) and have to undergo the shame, humiliation, and limitations they consider to be associated with dependency. I would expect, too, that we will rightly be held accountable for the way we allocate funds collected from our parishioners and other benefactors. Obviously our priorities will have to be discussed with them, lest we prepetuate the tyrannical pastoral style so many parishioners have learned through experience to regard as deplorable. Ordinaries


PERSONAL

151

will have to decide whether to hold priests in individual parishes and institutions accountable for operating them without dependence on a central diocesan fund or on other parishes or institutions, or whether to hold them accountable for managing their finances in such a way that they will be more responsible than ever for the maintenance of other parishes and activities which are in need but geographically separated from them. Most important of all, perhaps, will be the accountability demanded of priests by those who want and deserve to know that pressure groups within the parish, institution, or enterprise will not succeed in damaging the long-term financial stability of the operation. In all these, I would think the principal cause of tension would be the fact that many priests have grown accustomed to functioning with considerable independence in financial matters. Accountability, for them, will naturally connote dependence and a threat to their autonomy. Money, for many, will always be closely related to freedomfreedom to buy, freedom to travel, freedom to invest, and freedom to possess. Rugged individualists will be the ones most defensive when it comes to accounting to others for their use of money. The only cure I can suggest is more love. Those who are sure that others care for them and are concerned about their present and future welfa;re are not usually the ones who become preoccupied with worry about themselves and miserly. The less priests are fearful about being forgotten or neglected or embarrassed in the future, the more open they will be able to be in exposing and sharing the economic resources God has placed in their care for safekeeping, wise expenditure, and generous giving. ORGANIZING COMMITTMENTS

But what if the priest feels accountable to his Ordinary, to his brother priests, to the people he serves, to his diocese, to his national church, and to the universal Church? And what if he feels accountable to the rich as well as the poor, blacks and Chicanos as well as whites, the healthy along with the sick, both old and young, and to himself as well as all these others? That is an enormous amount of accountability. Perhaps even a crushing burden-if these various constituencies make contradictory demands on him and leave him emotionally im-


152

CHICAGO STUDIES

paled on the horns of dilemma after dilemma. There must be a way to organize all these commitments into one well synthesized plan so that instead of continually having to struggle simply to survive, the priest can actually experience the peace of soul Christ wants for him, and somehow find all these competing allegiances a source of creative inspiration for his ministry. I won't take time to attempt a complete analysis of this problem, but I would like to make just two suggestions which might help to alleviate the potential tensions and liberate the polyaccountable priest. First, he should determine his apostolic priorities and commitments in collaboration with his Ordinary, his brother priests, and the people he serves, not without their participating together with him in a process of spiritual, communal discernment aimed at specifying his ministerial misson in terms of the agreed upon goals of the diocese (or the religious community to which the priest belongs). Second, he should view his role as that of a co-worker with his brother priests, with all of them co-responsible for the universal Church's mission, the national Church's infra-mission, the infra-mission of his diocese and of his parish. If he feels called by the Holy Spirit to act in a way he sees likely to benefit the whole Church, or some specific area or population within it, and if this service he plans to render will prevent him from carrying out his assigned duties in behalf of those to whom he has been missioned by episcopal authority, he should gain official support for his new activities by getting his Ordinary to join him in the spiritual discernment process and assign him to perform the work they both recognize as willed by God. Other priests -if they have faith and recognize themselves as co-workers with this man--can responsibly take over his former work for him, while he is missioned elsewhere or to some sub-group within the same geographical area. In other words, the priest can maintain his emotional equanimity as long as his priorities are established communally, and as long as the organization officially designates his field of operation and takes responsibility for covering the apostolic areas he must necessarily forgo as he sets out to complete his mission. This all supposes, of course, that Ordinary, priests, and laity form a praying community with confidence in the communal discemment process and with


PERSONAL

153

skill in executing it. We have some distance to go before achieving this. But what a priceless target at which we all can aim our efforts. When it is reached, a priest will be able to enjoy the precious peace that is experienced oilly when one is sure that he is at every moment finding and doing what God wants him to be doing-even in the midst of apparently conflicting, multiple accountabilities. Finally, I want to mention very briefly a source of much of the tension that will be generated by the introduction of the process of accountability into the ministry of the priest. Many men are certain to feel a repugnance to the whole concept of accountability. Their attitude toward it will be negativistic. The more strongly they are urged to adopt this new mode of functioning, the more threatened and resentful they will become. You will hear them proclaim that they came into the priesthood to assist bishops and give loving care to the flock Christ wants them to guide--"But I didn't become a priest to go on getting report cards for my performance, to be told by the laity how I should run the parish, and be blamed by my brother priests for not becoming a hand-holding pastoral counselor." Their attitude will be so firmly fixed, so antagonistic, and so vehemently expressed that those who are promoting the practice of accountability will wonder whether their goal is worth all the distress being provoked as side-effects of the pursuit. My comment would be this: Remember that people's attitudes are related to their values, and their values originate in their deep and insistent needs. If you want to change a priest's attitude, you had better discover the personality needs and values to which his attitude is related-then see if there isn't some way you can help him realize that the practice of accountability can help him live according to his system of values and meet one or several of his deep-seated needs. A great deal of research regarding the process of effecting attitudinal change has been accomplished by social psychologists such as Kurt Lewin, Leon Festinger, and Daniel Katz. I would strongly recommend that their theoretical insights be kept in mind if you undertake the difficult task of acting as change agents aiming at reversing hostile and rejecting attitudes toward accountability. Much will be said during the years ahead about the pros and


154

CHICAGO STUDIES

cons regarding the process of accountability. But one thing is certain: there will be tensions associated with it inevitably. 1 hope my remarks here have pointed up the nature and origins of some of them, and that I haven't made them sound insurmountable. I firmly believe that if God wants all of us priests to function in a more accountable way, he will help us find ways of resolving the emotional conflicts that will ensue. I can promise you one thing, my brothers-professionally, l mean. You will always have the Spirit of peace as well as the resources of psychiatry on your side.


Remi J. De Roo

Accountability and the Gospel The ideal of moml responsibility, of imputability, of rendering an account is an important dimension of the revealed message.

Tensions abound in the Church today. We Jive in a violent society. Tensions and conflicts are all about us. They lie smoldering under the surface. They rise in the path of every major initiative, shouting their defiance. They are ready to explode with each new confrontation. Across our land the mood is restless. Many Catholics are clamoring for more definite leadership. Some wonder why priests and bishops seem so nervous, insecure, hesitant to settle issues. Others feel their freedom and initiative are being suppressed. Many have quit attending Church regularly. Others nurse the wounds and scars of battle, discouraged and frustrated. People alive with enthusiasm during the Vatican Council euphoria are now giving up hope. Questions and accusations fly back and forth. What is happening to the Church? Why doesn't someone do something about this mess? Whose fault is it? These tensions, variously expressed in Canada and the United States, are fundamentally born of the same experience; and the growing interest in accountability in the Church cannot escape the conflict they provoked. Hopefully, an exploration of the theological and scriptural dimensions of accountability will alleviate some of the inevitable tension. . 155


156

CHICAGO STUDIES ACCOUNTABILITY-A NEW IDEA

The word accountability expresses a relatively new idea. But it has already acquired a confusing variety of meanings. So it may lose much of its significance if not carefully employed. It could become another slogan. For some people, accountability is synonymous with responsibility. But closer attention to the latter reveals shades of meaning quite different from those commonly associated with accountability. Philosophers recognize that responsibility is an analogous notion. A person can be held responsible legally or morally. He can also personally accept responsibility, or be responsible. Again, he can respond to his life situation as one who is responsive or sensitive to an inner calling. Responsibility can be further described as the cause and effect relationship between people and their actions. We can distinguish objective and subjective responsibility. Objective responsibility can be viewed as the moral or legal obligation binding people to act or to abstain from action. We could also call this public accounting. Subjective responsibility occurs when people credit or blame themselves or others for their actions or omissions. In his masterful thesis on Responsibility in M O<lerr> Religious Ethics, Father Albert R. Jonsen distinguishes two major aspects of responsibility: attribution and appropriation. (Corpus Publications, Washington, 1968, 250 pp. See in particular Chapter 3). Attribution can be described as the judge's problem. A judge considers the evidence, the conditions and circumstances and assigns blame or praise for behavior. In so doing, he will consider such factors as intention, motivation, deliberation, character, etc. Attribution tends to concentrate on individual acts for which people are held responsible. Not all responsibility can be delegated and the relationship between responsibility and accountability is not arbitrary. Attribution indicates that I can be held accountable. But this applies only to. that for which I am truly responsible. A psychologist suggested to me that in this sense accountability is the external dimension of responsibility. Responsibility alters with role. It is multi-dimensional. I carry responsibilities as a citizen, as a Christian, a brother, friend, worker, student, priest, bishop, etc. Accountability is inherent in people, not things. If I cook you some food, I am


GOSPEL

157

responsible for it and can be held accountable if I poison you. The food itself is not held accountable. When I preach the Gospel, I am responsible for the message I convey, and can be held accountable should I mislead people. While responsibility can be attributed to me by others, I can also assume responsibility personally. Here our attention shifts to the second aspect of responsibility, known as appropriation. Appropriation considers primarily the agent's point of view. It deals with the person who acknowledges responsibility. Its main concerns center around the ideas of personhood or self, of consideration, conscientiousness and commitment. What nature of actions, efforts, causes make an action my own? How do I become a self-determining being, master of my own fate? An important dimension of appropriation today is the idea of responsibility to self. In this sphere, neither positive law nor free choice prevails totally. I impose obligations on myself, and having accepted responsibility I am no longer altogether free. 1 am accountable not only to others, but directly and inescapably to myself. While aware that no law or individual can compel me to fulfill my commitment, I know that I cannot disobey without betraying myself. Since responsibility is modified by one's role in life, the link with the question of self-identity is obvious. This will come into sharper focus when we consider the different understandings, paradigms, or models of the Church. Each one of us has his own model of what the Church is and does. But if I sacralize my model, if I make my preferred structure of system into an absolute and seek to impose it on you, I diminish your freedom to make responsible options. To deprive a person of the opportunity for responsible judgment is to violate his dignity as a human being. Structures and organizations which limit human freedom reduce the accountability of those who are thus oppressed. I believe it is important to recall this when we witness attempts to shoulder individual people with responsibility for situations caused by others, by society or the official Church. The spontaneous condemnation of dissenters so frequent today illustrates one dimension of this problem. The lack of social awareness by powerful groups, their failure to practice social justice while ostracizing society's victims also shows a distorted notion of accountability.


158

CHICAGO STUDIES

I can only be accountable for that for which I am truly responsible. Accountability implies sufficient freedom so that my actions or omissions are under control of my reason and will. It also supposes an obligation, imposed on me or assumed to my fellow men or to society and also to God. Accountability is a way of being, a lifestyle even more than it is a succession of gestures. Since I am an historical being and develop myself through my actions, I am accountable not only for my individual actions but also for the basic orientation of my life. Accountability can be both individual and corporate. Individuals can be held personally accountable for the consequences of corporate action to the extent that they are answerable for its consequences because of their personal action or inaction. They can also be accountable for collective consequences insofar as the members of an association are liable by reason of theit¡ interdependence. Accountability towards others is conditioned by mutual relationships, by people's dependence on one another for their optimum development, and by the authority which legitimate leaders exercise over those for whom they are responsible. ACCOUNTABILITY IN THEOLOGY AND SCRIPTURE

Where philosophy and psychology say that man is accountable under certain conditions, theology goes a step further. It renders man responsible by introducting the notions of obedience and d)ltY to self in relation to law, whether divine, natural, or positive. Here is where accountability to God appears, in a radical and definitive sense. Since God created man, he alone can call man into question totally, and expect man's complete surrender in love and obedience. Accountability in its modern sense is not a common term in the Scriptures. But the idea of moral responsibility, of imputability, of rendering an account is an important dimension of the revealed message. The Bible describes man as accountable before God and subject to trial. St. Paul develops this theme from two different perspectives in Romans 2 and 3, and in II Corinthians 5 :10. Seen against the Scripture background accountability is a dialogual entity best expressed in man's partnership with God. The first chapter of Genesis provides a sketch of man as a social being, man and woman, created in the image of God himself, established as lord of the material universe, engaged in dialogue


GOSPEL

159

with God. As Revelation unfolds, we see merging with increasing clarity the theme of a covenant with God, the full splendor of which shines through the New Testament. Here men become the very sons of God, called to partnership in loving relationship and expected to respond by dedication to God in and through the love of other men. Christ wants his followers to be truly accountable. (Luke 10:27; Matt. 5; Matt. 25: 34-36; Romans 8:14-19; Hebrews 8:10-12. See articles on "Responsibility" in New Catlwlic Encycwpedia, McGraw-Hill, 1967, Vol. 12, and Sacramentum Mundi, edited by Karl Rahner, Palm Publishers, 1970). Different people have divergent and sometimes conflicting understandings of accountability. There is a parallel between my remarks here and the comments made by Father Richard P. McBrien at the annual meeting of the N.F.P.C. in 1972. He outlined various operative theories of Church prevalent in the Catholic community and indicated their influence on the conflict and polarization experienced so widely in this country. We can establish a further parallel or indicate an analogy with different theories or models of law. Our outlook will vary if we follow the Napoleonic code or Roman law, if we base ourselves on Oriental, Common or British law. In an atmosphere of charity and with the eyes of faith, we can look upon these different theories or models as legitimate but partial understandings of the total reality of the Church. No single culture will ever fully grasp this divine entity or express it perfectly and definitively. Failure to understand these limitations frequently leads to distrust and mutual rejedion by well-intentioned people. I propose we review three current models of the Church with reference to membership, leadership, the achievement of goals and church administration. Our personal understanding of and reaction to these models may prove to have a direct bearing on our attitudes towards accountability. THE CHURCH AS PERFECT SOCIETY

Proponents of the juridical or monarchical model consider the Church primarily as a perfect society similar to a monarchy. To them, the bishops as successors of the Apostles initially constitute the Church. The other members join the Church to be led by the hierarchy under the supremacy of the Pope. The


160

CHICAGO STUDIES

proclamation of the Gospel and Christian witness is achieved through the formation of an orderly society which guides people to predetermined goals outlined by the higher authorities. Administration is achieved through highly centralized structures and a form of government resembling a pyramid. Church leaders who operate with such a model will tend to control every aspect of Church life closely. Unconsciously they treat the faithful as minors. The pastors know best and must decide what is good for the people. For most people, accountability under such leadership is understood as a vertical chain of command and obedience. Priests and even auxiliary bishops will tend to speak of the bishop who leads the diocese as "the boss." In extreme cases they will do only what they are told. And their personal understanding of accountability may be reduced to a minimum of clearly defined responsibilities assigned to them. People who experience authority as something completely external to them may not have a very deep commitment to accountability. Church leaders who prefer this monarchical model should also accept the burden of criticism that goes with it. It is unjust to claim the lion's share of authority while seeking to divert responsibility to others. If the bishop in a diocese or the priest in a parish insists on controlling the whole show, he must not blame others for its shortcomings. The above model of the Church may invite criticism as an over-simplification. I recognize its values as well as its limitations. It has rendered many seJ-vices. It has contributed to the growth of the Church in the past and will continue to influence our future. In no way are my remarks intended to be a destructive criticism of valid Church experiences. Economy of time prompts me to emphasize salient points in order to bring out differences between the models. I trust you to make allowances as required. THE CHURCH AS PEOPLE OF GOD

Vatican II retained some features of the monarchic model. But it also initiated a notable development or reorientation by stressing the traditional biblical doctrine of the People of God. This second model of Church puts less accent on the perfect society and more on the Church as sacrament of Christ and sign to the world of the historic development of God's kingdom.


GOSPEL

161

Its proponents have developed an ecclesiology variously described as biblical, pastoral, eschatological. (Theirs is a genuine ecclesiology, by contrast with what I remember Father Yves Congar describing as a "hierarchology," prevalent before the Council). They stress the basic baptismal equality of all members, enriched with a variety of gifts or ministries. They recognize the importance of the central hierarchical ministry. (Constitution on the Chu1¡ch [E] Chap. I, Articles 1, 4, 7, 9; Chapter III, etc.). But they also want leadership to be broadened by co-responsibility. They expect hierarchical authority to be exercised in a collegial manner, by consultation or consensus concerning community goals and policies. In such a church all members feel accountable to themselves, to God and to one another for witness, ministry and fellowship. They achieve common goals through a great diversity of recognized ministries. The leaders encourage maximum participation by all members in determining community objectives and in carrying them out. While remaining hierarchically ordered, administration is greatly decentralized with emphasis placed on the responsibility of the diocese or local church. In this model, accountability shifts from the vertical command-obedience relationship to the horizontal one of co-responsibility. The first is not relinquished but the second is brought back into focus after centuries of atrophy. Authority here is not simply external. It is truly shared. Priests rediscover the theological reality of the presbyterate. They no longer simply work for the boss, but share responsibility with the bishops and with their brother priests of the second order. They feel accountable to their people as well as to their bishops. They recognize the laity as equals both in dignity and in capacity to serve the Church. (I bid, Article 32) . THE CHURCH AS PROPHETIC MOVEMENT

A third model of Church is coming into focus since Vatican 11. In some ways it is already foreshadowed there. Its proponents tend to emphasize the prophetic and historical dimensions of the Church. Their ecclesiology highlights the New Testament experiences of the early Christian communities. The eschatological and ecumenical thrust is also prominent in their thinking. They insist on a totally active and committed Church


162

CHICAGO STUDIES

membership. Ideally, they would have personal response to the proclamation of the Word expressed by individual and group commitment in a variety of Christian lifestyles. To a static society which shelters its members, they oppose a Church understood as a moving historical force oriented to the radical change of society and the renewal of creation. They demand that leadership be enhanced by recognizable charismatic qualities and that it respond without ambiguity in moments of crisis. They want the proclamation of the Gospel and Christian witness primarily ordained towards an historical ministry of justice and peace. (When the Church is seen solely as a prophetic movement, ethical norms and socio-political action may tend to overshadow the proclamation of divine intet-vention through the crucified redeemer. We are cautioned not to forget certain experiences of the past.) History for them represents the locus of salvation and is interpreted through the signs of the times. The world sets the agenda for Christian action. Initiative is primarily local, with only occasional guidance from the center. Church leaders at¡e expected to express prophetic judgments but not to dwell on administrative details. Intet-vention by central authority should come only when local efforts at reconciliation have failed or when major issues arise which affect the welfare of the body univesal. A new set of values emerges in this model of Church. Authority is more than an external force, more even than something shared. Authority is entirely integrated by the members of the community as well as the leaders. Accountability in this context involves all members of the believing community. The laity will feel free to call their priests to task if their work or lifestyle is at fault. This supposes a broader understanding of leadership in the Church than that which is current among most clergy today. Catholics who follow this model willingly accept criticism of the ministry exercised by their community in the light of contemporary values. Their proclamation of the Gospel readily incorporates modern advances in anthropology, sociology and the behavior sciences. For such people, the Vatican Council is already past history. Rather than a goal which was achieved, they consider it a springboard for new developments.


163

GOSPEL VATICAN

II AS SOURCE OF TENSIONS

The divergence in attitudes towards the Second Vatican Council is another source of tension for priests. We might as well be candid and recognize the confusion and conflict which followed in the wake of the Council. How could it be otherwise in a time of dramatic upheaval? This experience further illustrates how the Church is part of man's cun-ent history, subject by its incarnation to the same human frustrations. The Council produced an up-dating and a growth in consciousness of where Christianity had arrived at that time. Addressing itself to the Church Universal, it provided general principles and orientations. It was never intended to offer specific detailed models which could be copied everywhere. Had it tried to do so, experience suggests this would have been counterproductive. It would be a mistake to identify the totality of the Church with one single model or to oppose one model to another as the sole authentic one. All these models can be properly understood only in the light of the one faith which gave expression to them and of which they remain limited expressions circumscribed by their times and cultures. Our diocesan experience on Vancouver Island has known its frustrations as well as its successes. Ever since Vatican II we have experimented with Parish Councils, a Priests' Senate (or Council) and a Diocesan Pastoral Council. Recently we began to coordinate diocesan work through a smaller body we named the Bishop's Council. Other dioceses throughout Canada and the United States have experimented in various ways with new structures. Under the inspired leadership of Cardinal Dearden and two of his auxiliaries, Bishops Gumbleton and Schoenherr, the Detroit Ai¡chdiocese experiments with parish profiles and open placement for ministerial assignments. Brooklyn, I am told, has set up a system of accounting whereby the priest's stewardship is reviewed every five years. Bridgeport (Conn.), Camden and Portland (Maine) are further examples. We have learned it is one thing to expound general principles governing activities or organizations like Parish Councils, Priests' Councils or Senates, Diocesan Pastoral Councils, etc. It is quite another matter to develop structural models which effectively produce the desired renewal of the Church as a living community of worship. Like other people, I have assumed


164

CHICAGO STUDIES

that invitations to responsibility and broad directives would result in action. Sometimes they do. Often the initiatives falter unless constantly sustained. Good intentions and encouragement are not enough. Unless we contact people where they really are, establish a climate of trust and share their anguish in groping for workable methods, little happens. We are prone to indulge in theory. But are we willing to develop new living structures from the grassroots up? Do we need a new form of accountability here? Can we re-examine together our obsolete models? Could it be that we have misplaced our order of priorities? EARLY CHURCH MODELS

We are flooded with articles about life in the early Christian Church. If time permitted it would be tempting to establish a parallel between models we draw from Scripture and those we find in theology. The Scriptures offer basic community models of a vision and practice of life. The lifestyles of early Christianity provide us with norms. But the examples of the early Church are not meant to be taken as abstract ideals to be slavishly conformed to or extrinsic goals that everyone must approximate. Early Christian experience does not provide inflexible rules. The New Testament does not stress organization as such. Christ gave no blueprints for the elaboration of structures. He founded his Church as a permanent institution. But his message is centered around basic doctrines and values revealed by his Father. Christ stressed a lifestyle which expresses a community of love between all believers. He trusts his followers to solve their practical problems as they arise by fidelity to his gospel and openness to his Spirit. An organizational approach to the Scriptures is bound to be ultimately frustrated. We search in vain for detailed structural models. The Scriptures do not provide recipes applicable directly to our contemporary problems. Rather, they guide, inform, influence us as we struggle to grow into full personhood and maturity under our own circumstances. They provide us with truths and values. They do not direct organization. (Cf. Quentin Quesnell, S.J. in Future Forms of Ministry, pp 75-88, edited by Richard A. McCormick and George J. Dyer. Chicago Stud;es, Box 665, Mundelein,


GOSPEL

165

l!linois 60060, 112 pp. See also Raymond Brown, S.S., Priest awl Bishop, Paulist Press, 1970, 86 pp.). The unresolved tensions expressed in the Scriptures will remain with us. No single model or lifestyle drawn from the Bible should be imposed on all believers as the definitive form of Christian experience. Revelation is too deep and rich a source to be restricted to any one cultural expression. It should be noted also that the Church cannot be called into question radically by the authority of the New Testament text alone. The totality of faith and living tradition must be taken into account. The Church stands under the judgment of the Scriptures. But it also produced the Scriptures. The faith of the believing community transmitted to succeeding generations the Jiving message received through revelation. ACCOUNTABILITY IN FOCUS

In order to bring accountability into focus we will examine it in terms of Women, the Third World, Minorities, and Peace. Pope John heralded the recognition of women as a sign of the times (Pacem in Ten¡is. April 11, 1963, Article 41). Vatican II with brave rhetoric but cautious overtures acknowledged this same phenomenon. This new current of thought culminated in a proposal by Cardinal George Bernard Flahiff and a resolution at the October, 1971, Synod of Bishops that a commission be appointed to study the various ministries of women in the Church. Mounting pressure may yet bring this commission into being. Public statements made by Church leaders since the Synod indicate that a cultural shift is occurring which affects the Church as well as society. Many people believe that the statements in Scripture concerning women amount to a massive putdown. But Father Jean Vinatier, a French priest, recently questioned this assumption. (La Femme. Editions Ouvrieres, Parish, 1972, 128 pp.). His book illustrates the varied ministries women have exercised in the course of Salvation History. He shows how Scripture considers creation incomplete without women. Mankind is woman as well as man. Mankind is family. He stresses the complementarity of women and men as a spiritual quality, as something related to their creative mission. The original harmony of the family was broken by sin. As long as


166

CHICAGO STUDIES

half of humanity does not share full responsibility for the restoration of creation the mystery of Salvation is not fully known. It cannot be fully lived while women are restricted in their service to the Kingdom. Fidelity to Scripture calls for a dialogue between man and woman as equal partners, in loving concern for all dimensions of renewal. We priests and bishops will be failing in our accountability unless and until we recognize the full partnership of women as a sister to man. It is our responsibility to work towards complete reciprocity of relations between male and female. Many women still wonder why priests are hesitant to permit them the full participation in Church life which they desire. Some claim that they perform more work in the Church than the male population. Does this reticence on the part of the priests indicate that they fear the consequences of letting women assume their full responsibilities? Are priests not ready to acknowledge women as persons entitled to full equality? Many women feel that no acceptable solution to these problems will be achieve until all male Church leaders acknowledge their past and present accountability to women. I believe that the rediscovered authentic Christian tradition calls for 1¡ecognition of women and men as equal members whose services or ministries need not be identical. Respectively they constitute equally meaninful expressions of Christ's ministry for the growth of God's Kingdom. ACCOUNTABILITY, MINORITIES AND THE THIRD WORLD

Certain advocates of the Church as a prophetic movement have made challenging proposals concerning the conduct of priests toward minorities. They describe salvation as liberation from all forms of alienation, the freedom of men to develop themselves totally and authentically in the image of God. They call for identification by all Christian ministers with those who are made less than human by sin, by pride, power and selfishness. They remind us that Christ linked the beatitudes with his challenge to promote social justice. Gospel perfection for those Christians means transcending the status quo. They refuse to accept any cultural, economic or political achievement as the ultimate reality. A truly catholic stance embraces all men as equals.


GOSPEL

167

Such accountability toward minorities is illustrated by Archbishop Helder Camara, of Olinda and Recife, in Northeast Brazil. He coined the expression "abrahamic minorities." He is convinced that small groups of people will provide the ct¡eative thrust for the evolution of mankind towards social justice. These abrahamic minorities continue to "hope against all hope" (Rom. 4, 18). Their dynamism when liberated will bring about the renewal of society and hasten the achievement of justice and peace. (Spira! of Violence, Dom Helder Camara, Dimension Books Inc., Denville, N.J., 1971, 83 pp., pp. 67-74). A similar plea for the recognition of the Church's ministry of justice to minorities was made last November by Dr. Philip Potter, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches as he addressed the triennial assembly of the Canadian Council of Churches in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Relating salvation in turn to humanisation, to justice and to hope, with substantial Bible references, he requested complete accountability for social justice as part of our "incarnate engagement with the world." Linking the prophet Isaiah and Psalm 85 with the New Testament, he asked fot¡ a broadening of our present narrow concepts of salvation. He recalled that minorities, those whom society puts out of bound in various ways, are those to whom Jesus addressed himself with preference. Dr. Potter claims that genuine salvation calls for the empowering of the poor and the oppt¡essed. He castigates as heresy the arbitrary separation of body and soul which permits heralds of the gospel to preach a theology of patience to people whose bodies remain enslaved. He describes as idolatry any use of creation, knowledge, science, technology, which seeks salvation in man's powers alone, which renders absolute or attempts to impose on others any human system or ideology. Priests concerned about their accountability towards minorities will also acquire a working knowledge of modern pedagogical developments such as the conscientization process of Paulo Freire. (Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Herder & Herder, 1970, Penguin, 1972; "Cultural Action for Freedom," Harvard EducatiotuLl Review, 1970. Freire's key insight that only the oppressed understand the real meaning of liberation merits careful study. Cf. also note 21, as well as World Without Borders, Lester R. Brown, Random House, New York 1972,


168

CHICAGO STUDIES

395 pp.). The liberation theology expounded recently by the episcopates of South and North America should also be required reading for ministers of the Word sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit. (A Theology of Liberation, Gustave Gutierrez, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, N.Y., 1973, 323 pp.). The Bishop's Synod in Rome gave renewed importance to the concept of Christian stewardship. (The word may sound Protestant, but we should not fear to use it and to give it the full weight that Scripture and tradition associate with it). Echoing the thoughts of Barbara Ward, the Synod urged that we be accountable for the limited resources of our planet and that we labour for universal justice in our global village. Justice is a demand of charity, a constitutive dimension of Christianity. The Scriptures proclaim an era of peace achieved through the totality of being, through the growth into fullness of every person. Our lifestyle as priests must reflect these renewed insights. We are accountable for the preaching of the creative revolutionary message of the Bible, even to the radical questioning of all sacred cows. ACCOUNTABILITY FOR PEACE EDUCATION

Whatever the record at the local level, there has been no shortage of statements on peace from the Vatican. The declarations of Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI are still fresh in our memories. The New Year 1973 was ushered in by a plea from Pope Paul "to reflect upon the possibility of peace ... to renew the desire for peace in men's hearts, at all levels ... to make peace possible by preaching friendship and practicing love of neighbour, justice and Christian forgiveness." "Let us not," he requested, "refuse any sacrifice which, without offending the dignity of any generous person, will make peace quicker, more heartfelt and more lasting." To those who fear that peace will never be achieved, he declared : "Peace is possible, if it is truly willed; and if peace is possible, it is a duty." Directives from the Bishops' Synod in Rome and from a number of Bishops' Conferences have so closely linked efforts for peace with the ministry of justice that responsible priests can no longer ignore these issues in the fulfillment of their pastoral responsiblilities. The Church is gradually rediscovering ancient Scripture themes about its ministry for peace, the


GOSPEL

169

memory of which had dimmed for several centuries. After World War II the Church as well as the victorious nations failed to provide an effective peace education program. Unless matters improve rapidly, we may well fear repetition of the same mistake after Vietnam. I trust we will not be deaf to the promptings of the Spirit. Education for peace lies at the heart of our ministry, an education leading to that unique peace of Christ which never follows the compromise of political power plays. Real peace requires the ordering of society according to revealed principles concerning the true nature of man. It involves the detection and rejection of all false values, however they may express themselves. Accountability for peace demands an end to the era of "the comfortable pew." The 1971 Synod document in its section on "The Practice of .Justice" provides in broad outline a program of education for justice. It recognizes the narrow individualism that has marked most methods of education until now. Education for peace, like education for justice, "demands a renewal of heart, a renewal based on the recognition of sin in its individual and social manifestations. It will also inculcate a truly and entirely human way of life in justice, love and simplicity. It will likewise awaken a critical sense, which will lead us to reflect on the society in which we live and on its values; it will make man ready to renounce these values when they cease to promote justice for all men .... This education is deservedly called a continuing education, for it concerns every age. It is also a practical education: it comes through action, participation and vital contact with the reality of injustice." (Justice in the W01¡/d, 1971 Synod of Bishops, Section III, p. 19). One might add that peace education should be universal, combining the talents not only of Christians but of all men desirous of peace. The Synod has outlined requirements of an education for peace. The priest's accountability is assured of enlightened guidance in these principles. We have already had a surfeit of theory. Now is the time for action. EXPANDED VISION OF THE GOSPEL

It is impossible to circumscribe in neat categories the total mystery of Christ in his Church. Christians in various centuries have elaborated systems and structures to achieve an


170

CHICAGO STUDIES

understanding sufficient to meet the needs of the times. But no matter how brilliant, no statements or structures will ever be definitive or totally satisfying. It is sufficient for our faith today that we struggle to perceive divine truth with sufficient clarity and to express it in such a way that the personal revelation God made of himself in Christ Jesus becomes living reality for us. Thus membership in the Church will mean the experience of the Risen Christ present in our midst. Each generation needs formulations of doctrine, and structures for action, which are intelligible to .contemporary culture and meaningful in terms of our individual and social experience. Religion is fOJ: living man, incarnate in a given period. Hence we need not be ashamed of our insights. We can freely share them with others as long as we recognize their limitations and our need to grow constantly in fuller understanding. The modern cultural shift is towards pluralism, a plurality of forms underlying a basis for a unity respectful of man's increasing sense of his own dignity and worth. Any expression of Church life must take this into account. Failure to do so means living at cross purposes with the movement of history. It means failing in our mission to shed the light of the gospel on modern man's efforts to understand himself and society. How detailed an understanding each person has, how acceptable to his neighbor, is secondary to the deepel' need that we should strive together through conversion and commitment to build up Christ's body in love. (Eph. 4:15-16 and Matt. 11:25 ss). The Second Vatican Council Fathers affirmed that they were "witnesses of the birth of a new humanism, one in which man is defined first of all by his responsibility toward his brothers and toward history." (The Church in the Modern World [EM] Article 55). It is not surprising that such a turning point in history should be accompanied by conflicts. The growing emphasis on accountability today cannot escape them. It is critical, however, that we should recognize these tensions for what they are. Let us not confuse legitimate and unavoidable cultural diversity with matters of faith. Above all, I trust that we can together "live by the truth and in love." (Eph. 4 :15). Conflict need not be destructive. Tension can be healthy, since it keeps us alive and dynamic. Polarization can be overcome. But lasting harmony requires patience to work through to an


GOSPEL

171

agreement on common goals. It demands willingness to pursue the achievement of these goals by a diversity of means. Such efforts will not endanger or impoverish the Church. They will safeguard and enrich it. Why will Catholics not declare a moratorium on mutual distrust and unfounded accusations caused by narrow concepts of orthodoxy? Until we do, how can others look upon us at people who truly love one another or who respect human freedom and dignity? The increasing popularity of the word accountability points to the emerging of a new ideal of moral behavior. It represents a theological affirmation about man as a free moral agent who works with God. Man develops himself by his personal initiative, by his maturity of conscience, by his solidarity with others, his responsiveness and his willingness to share personal and corporate burdens. Such an ideal may take time to achieve. It will require real honesty and hard work. For the aim is not only to appear accountable in men's eyes, but truly to be accountable. A recent experience in a Canadian city illustrates the difference between real and apparent accountability. Substantial sums of money were made available by the federal government for local initiative programs. Citizens were encouraged to submit projects in order to qualify for financial subsidies. Yielding to complaints that arbitrary decisions were made about project qualifications for grants, the federal, provincial and municipal authorities agreed to designate a welfare agency director as co-ordinator. He. would be responsible for discerning which projects best suited the community and hence deserved support. When complaints continued, the above authorities countered by claiming that the appointment of this local official proved their accountability to the public. The co-ordinator was both honest and knowledgeable. But he was swamped with work. People soon discovered that some excellent projects received no grants because he had no leisure to study them and thus had not checked out all the available information. On the sud'ace, government authorities appeared fully accountable. But the sponsoring citizens' groups were frustrated. They maintained such accountability was a farce since they had no dit¡ect access to the co-ordinator and felt that he in turn was not really accountable to anyone. Similar situations could be


172

CHICAGO STUDIES

documented in the life of the Church. Accountability frequently leaves much to be desired. Decisions affecting people's lives are sometimes made by remote control. Little effective recourse is available against judgments which appear arbitrary. Central authorities are often beyond reach of the people. Decisions are made by people who do not have to live with the consequences. Christians today are increasingly aware of their dignity as co-operators with God in his creative and redemptive action. They are conscious of being much more than merely creatures bound by external laws. From an ethic of natural law and an ethic of creation we are moving toward an ethic of responsibility. Systematic theological reflection has only begun to explore this new field. But already the practical morality of accountability demands that we exercise mature responsibility. That means responding to our calling as spiritual leaders, interpreting the signs of the times and being truly accountable in solidarity with others. (Jonsen, op. cit., passim, illustrates this evolution in thinking by analysing the works of Barth, Haering, Bonhoeffer, Niebuhr and Johann. See especially his conclusions on pp. 213-228). It will take generous and prolonged efforts to develop the kind of accountability needed in the Church today. Only by committing ourselves to such a process can we make accountability a living reality and not just another slogan. The Church has nothing to fear and much to gain from a body of priests who are truly accountable. May the freeing joy which accompanies the experience of accountability confirm us all in this conviction.


F-rank E. Bognanno

Priestly Accountability {or Spiritual Renewal There will be no spi1-itual renewal of the Church without the spiritual renewal of priests. Together in community they a-re responsible for one another's matu1¡ing.

Everywhere across the land a stirring is going on in the hearts and lives of American priests. The Catholic clergy seems to be in a maturing process as it searches for deeper meanings in its ministry to the People of God. Just a few years ago the average priest had about him an air of selfconfidence in his vocation. He seemed to know where he was going. Then the priest's roles and expectations were rather clearly identified. Obviously that is not the case today. Priests are restless men, longing, looking, and even leaving the active ministry in this new search. The sincere seeker is the one who is most open to God's ways. Hopefully priests will never again have that false sense of confidence in their roles. The Roman Catholic Church which once had answers to everything has become a humble, searching people. The clergy are a part of that people, and they are reflecting in their own ministries the pilgrim people self-image of the Church. As Christians and as Shepherds, 173


174

CHICAGO STUDIES

priests are wandering with other believers, searching for a more authentic, Jesus-centered identity. As ministers of that Church, they are seeking a more radical centered identity for themselves. And for the wandering man in search of God, home is wherever God calls him to minister. Even during the days of clearly defined roles there was much inner unrest. This deeper restlessness surfaced only after Vatican II. Somehow priests had ¡for a long time sensed that the role expectation outlined for them in the seminary manuals did not ring true. Becoming the pastor-administrator of a large parish was a worthy goal. But somehow it did not strike at the very heart of the priestly ministry. Down deep priests desired that God would act through them in a mighty way to change the lives of men. After Vatican II, this aspiration became concrete in the street ministries geared to freeing blacks from their ghetto prisons. Many persons found a new identity in their new found closeness to human needs. The late 1960's seemed to be the era of social action and psychological counseling ministries. But these services did not seem to be the answer. The effect of T -g1¡oups soon wore off. Even the identification with the oppressed left many zealous priests disillusioned. Undoubtedly the clergy was being called to minister in a more real way to human needs. The people were rightly demanding that spiritual leadership should be grounded in the real struggles of everyday life. But the majority of Catholic faithful seemed to be as dissatisfied with the social-psychological leadership as they once were with the brick-mortar pastor. Priests moved from the status-functionary priestly identity to the social-psychological dimension of ministry in the 1960's. This was a step forward. Vatican II had taught that priests must minister to the whole man-his psychological and relational life, as well as his material well-being. All this had to become a part of religion. "For by his innermost nature man is a social being, and unless he relates himself to others he can neither live nor develop his potential." (The Ch1wch in the 11Wde1-n wa.¡/d, # 12) . But like traveling to the moon in order to unlock the secrets of the earth's origin, we uncovered more questions than we answered. Is belief only a psychological phenomenon? What


175

SPIRITUAL

is the role of the Church in the process of man's liberation? Does God's Spirit work thmugh Marxists? Amid these questions, the maturing priest became very much identified with a culture with .few answers. Growth occurred because his ministry expanded beyond the sanctuary of the Church into the inner rooms of men's minds and onto the streets of their daily lives. SEARCH

FOR

FULLER

MINISTRY

We are experiencing today a further step in the American priests' search in a fuller ministry to God's People. In the past 50 years priests have responded to an immigrant Church's call for an institutional organization and leadership. More recently, priests have served those people who have felt a need to relate their faith to social needs. Priests have provided leadership for those who were trying to discover the relationship between the truths and values of psychological investigation and religious life. But now priests are asked to respond in a new way. Many Catholic faithful today are seeking for integration in their total life. Specificially they are searching for someone to help them integrate the organizational, social and psychological aspects of life with spiritual realities. In short, Catholics want spiritual leadership. They are not asking their pastors to give up administration or guidance. Nor are priests expected to abandon the oppressed of ¡our world. Most Catholic realize that the "joy and the hopes, griefs and anxieties of men of this age ... are the joys and anxieties, the griefs and hopes of the followers of Christ" (Ibid. #1). This calling speaks to the very heart of the priesthood. It is the challenge to integrate the total life of man into the life of Jesus Christ. The priest must speak that word which brings a wholeness to the fragmented daily existence of the people he serves. They want a life with God that can be lived in the real world. People today seem to be thirsting for a new holiness created out of the real stuff of life's joys and trials, integrated by the immanent Spirit of Jesus into a meaningful pattern for belief. To bring about this integration is difficult. Vatican II teaches that "this split between the faith which many profess


176

CHICAGO STUDIES

and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age" (Ibid. #43). Such a split is what makes religion unreal to people today. The priest is accountable for false dichotomies when he polarizes the people by preaching an "either-or" mentality, rather than the "both-and" kind of integration. The life of God with man concerns itself with both social action and devotion. The spiritual life requires both psychological health and solid community organization. Spidtuality is both individual and communal. The priest must show people how to integrate the realities-and-tension in the wisdom and power of the Spirit. Most people instinctively desire this reality-centered spiritual growth. What many lack is someone who can help them â&#x20AC;˘'put it all together" in their life with the Lord Jesus. They need someone to help them to discern the Spirit, to interprete the ilynamics of God's action upon them and within them. They are crying for spiritual leadership. Basically, they want their priest to put them into contact with God. For many priests, the expectation to become a spiritual leader is quite threatening. A priest can always explain away his non-involvement in protest marches by pointing out that such activity is not "priestly." He could explain why he was not a good administrator because "that is not what I was ordained to do." A good number of lay and clerical friends could all well agree with either position. But now even the loyal supporters are beginning to ask more of their religious leaders. Their priests have led them into the excitement of the streets, and into the ministry of their relationships with others. Now they do not want to be led farther, but deeper. Where does my relationship with God fit into aJl these other experiences? Today priests are being called into a new accountability. Many people are hungry for a new life of prayer, and they are seeking for spiritual gnides. Priests are being asked to put their people into touch with the living God. For this priests are supposedly ordained. But strangely enough it is this task that makes our clergy feel most uncomfortable and terribly inadequate. Perhaps what is most embarassing is that everyone knows that the priest is supposed to be a man of God. They are grateful for his teaching talents; they appreciate his coun-


SPIRITUAL

177

seling skills and organizational abilities. They expect that beneath all these gifts there lies the real reason he became a priest: to bring others to a deeper life with God. The purpose of this article is to offer some reflections on the spiritual accountability which priests have for the spiritual renewal of the Church. That accountability will be discussed in light of four years of renewal experience in the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa. The priestly ministry will be discussed from the viewpoint of those to whom the priest is accountable for his service. Hopefully, these considerations on spirituality will lead the priest beyond the talk and study stages into the arena of experience. Many people are searching: for a deeper life with God, with or without the leadership of: their pastors. Some are swimming in the new waters of group prayer, meditation, pentecostal experience, yoga, and zen. The pastors can neither encourage them nor save them from drowning if they remain silent observers on the shore. ACCOUNTABILITY VERSUS RESPONSIBILITY

The priest's consideration of accountability for spiritual leadership is not simply an academic exercise. Accountability is quite practical. In the practice of good management, accountability is a concrete practice of evaluating someone's performance. Through a system of accountability we are judged in light of our responsibilities as stated through goals and objectives. In his address to the 1973 House of Delegates of the National Federation of Priests' Councils, Bishop Remi J. DeRoo discussed their accountability in all areas of their ministry. He drew the distinction between accountability and responsibility. The latter is really an analogist notion. Responsibility can be either objective or subjective. Objective responsibility binds someone to act in a certain way, as a priest is responsible for praying on behalf of the people. Subjective responsibility: occurs when someone either credits or blames himself or an-. other for his actions. A Bishop can make a priest responsible,. for example, for the administration of a parish. Accountabil-. ity, however, is inherent in a person who is responsible for¡ something. Perhaps we can say that accountability is the external dimension of responsibility. A priest is responsible for¡


178

CHICAGO STUDIES

preaching the gospel, but he is held accountable if he fails to do so. Responsibility can also be assumed, once it is handed over by others. Priests freely assumed the responsibility for the spiritual leadership of the people. For this positive guidance of the Church they are now accountable to those same people. They are also accountable to the Lord who called them into service, to the Bishop whose minishy they share, and the presbytery with whom they serve. Accountability can be individual and corporate. Each priest is individually accountable for what the Church will become in his lifetime. As a body of presbyters, they are accountable collectively inasmuch as they are interdependently accountable for the future of the Church. Perhaps the simplest distinction we can make in this regard is that we are basically accountable to others, while we are responsible for actions or omissions. In other words, accountability means that we are to answer to another for our responsibilities. Accountability then essentially involves a relationship with others, since we have to render an account for our ministry. Responsibilities are the duties we have either been given or assumed in relation to others. A

NEW ACCOUNTABILITY

This kind of accountability is a new practice for American priests. Our parish priests have always been held accountable . to the Bishop for their spiritual and administrative responsibilities. Unfortunately the expertise for institutional organization has always been easier to measure, and the spiritual responsibility to build up the People of God was always somewhat vague. Regular statistical reports were traditionally sent to the Chancery on the spiritual and material well being of the parish. But these did not demand the challenging kinds of accountability called for by Vatican II. That accountability cannot be hidden: Brilliant new lights were cast upori the role of the priest by the Vatican document on the ministry and life of priests. Basic pr"iestly responsibilities were more clearly defined in the Synodal documents of 1971. ¡A basis of evaluation was given: The effective priest must preach the Word of God with faith; he must


SPIRITUAL

179

build up the Body of Christ; he is to serve mankind, and preside at the worship of the Church. In short, it would no longer be sufficient to offer Mass, recite the breviary and instruct converts. Priests are called forth to lead the people in a total spiritual renewal of the Church. These clarified responsibilities for leadership also bring our accountabilities into sharper focus. We are still accountable to the Bishop. But we are accountable to the whole presbytery with whom we minister. We a1·e accountable also to the People of God, those whom we serve. But we are primarily accountable to the One Who calls us to minister to His People, the Risen Lord of the Church. And in that light, we are to some degree accountable to ourselves.· A final word about accountability. Since accountability· is practical since it is measurable to some degree, every priest is destined to experience it at some point in the future. Accountability to others means that others want to know about our ministry. And they will find out. Neither the rectory walls nor the office title can hide for long our priestly performance. Perhaps our most telling moments will be those in which we are most exposed to our superiors, peers, and people: the occasions of public worship during which we speak the Word of God with a hollow or a convincing ring, and celebrate His sacred presence with the conviction of faith or the mechanics of rehearsed rubrics. ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE LORD JESUS

We priests are responsible for the "core" of revelation, the transmission to others of the reality of Jesus Christ .as Lord. To Him we are primarily responsible, for He has called us into this ministry of reconciliation. It is His Church and they are His people. The Lord Jesus has chosen and empowered the people to share in His own holiness. The Holy Spirit is the creator of the life of Christ in believers, and He brings this holiness to perfection (I John 4). Jesus has called his priests to minister in special way to facilitate the Spirit's work .. "They share in his ministry, a ministry whereby the Church. here on earth in unceasingly built up into the People of God,. the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit" (Min-istry and Life of Priests, # 1).


180

CHICAGO STUDIES

Jesus calls each priest to a radical discipleship. Priests today will discover their role as spiritual leaders in proportion to their response to His call. He will discover our ultimate identity only in a personal self-giving to the Lord Himself. To the question "Rabbi, where do you live?" they hear the same reply as the apostles heard, "come and see," (John 1 :38). The Lord Himself is the only true shepherd, and the priest will become a spiritual leader to the degree that He shares intimately in the life of that Shepherd. Such accountability is more a matter of the heart rather than the head .. Yet no true spiritual nwtanoia is possible in the priesthood without a docility to current teachings about the Church and priestly ministry. To listen to the Lord implies listening to him in continuing education programs as well as the whispering of the Spirit in prayer. In both our deeper knowledge and our spiritual understanding, we are accountable to the Rabbi, the Teacher Jesus. Accountability to Christ is difficult to describe and almost impossible to measure. Yet this on-going commitment to the unseen Lord is the sine qua non for any power in our ministry at all. We are first of all servants of Jesus Christ. In six of his letters Paul introduced himself primarily as a "servant of Jesus Christ." His service was not primarily to people; it was service to Jesus who personally called him. Of course, the service he renders to the Lord involves a service to others, but Christ is both the origin and goal of his ministry. The spiritual renewal of the Church today will not take place without the renewal of its leaders. The priest himself must be the first to begin the experience of inner renewal of the spirit. The excellent document by the American Hierarchy on the spiritual renewal of the American priesthood underscores this point: "If the priest is to facilitate the union of God and man, and man with his brother and his world, he must be a man reconciled in himself, a man of spirituality," (Spiritual Renewal of the American Priesthood, USCC, 1973, Ch. 2, p. 12). The shepherd must lead the way to newer pastures. The one area in which authenticity is transparent is in one's spirituality. The priest must become a deeply spirit¡ual man.


SPIRITUAL

181

SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP

Spirituality is the living out in our concrete lives the dying and rising of Jesus. It involves the real experience of the paschal ministry in daily life. Priestly spiritual leadership involves leading people to the identification of this mystery of Christ in their lives. But we must first experience it in our own. In short, "to talk the talk, we must walk the walk." And that spiritual way of discerning life's events cannot happen in a priest's life without his personal knowing of Jesus as his friend and Lord. Prayer, meditation on the Gospels in light of life's events, liturgy are crucial to this understanding. Because Jesus is the living Rabbi, he is still the teacher. The pupil must daily sit at His feet to listen, to learn and grow. Jesus promised much fruit to the person who was closely joined to Him. Like a branch grafted into a vine, the closer the union, the more fruitful the harvest. In short, the spiritual renewal of the Church depends on its close union with the Lord Jesus. And the spiritual renewal of the leadership will be in proportion to the priests response in prayer to his dialogue in life with Jesus. The author of renewal in the Church is the Lord Jesus. The force guiding that process is the Holy Spirit. The power for renewal is already in the Church, it is in the people. But the release of that power will only come through faith. "He performed no miracles there because of their lack of faith," records Matthew ( 13 :58), and His power could not affect the people. In spiritual renewal priests are mediators of the power of Jesus as Lord. The faith in Him possessed by the priest, and the permeation of the being of the priest by his "abiding in" the Lord, are measures of the spiritual renewal which. that clergyman will a waken. Prayer is a measure of accountability to the person of Jesus Christ. It is one of the priest's primary responsibilities, because through prayer the grace and power of the Spirit is released into one's ministry. Prayer is a response to a dialogue begun by God. In pre-Vatican days this dialogue of response was structured. The Divine Office, annual retreats and daily Mass were required. Everyone knew that prayer was important, even though these spiritual exercises did not always mean much in terms of daily ministry.


182

CHICAGO STUDIES

Today there is a wide latitude in spiritual practices. Many priests find great meaning in daily lectio divina with the Scriptures. This new freedom in developing personal spiritual preferences involves added responsibilities. On their own initiative the priests of today are held accountable to know the Lord Jesus in prayer. And just as there is a thirsting among the people for spiritual refreshment, so also priests are in search for new rivers of the Spirit. This desire is from our God, and the search to satisfy it is the appropriate response. Accountability to respond to the Lord of life for the individual involves his accurate discernment of the Spirit. Each priest must seek the specific will of God for his particular spiritual need. Some have discerned the need for a 30-day lgnatian gnided retreat. Others have seen their call as a daily spiritual "walk in the desert." Still others are called to share their prayer with other priests in a fraternity such as Jesus Caritas. Such a diversity is evident in recent months among the priests in the Des Moines diocese. Perhaps this is the variety of responses to individual calls into a deeper life of the Spirit. The priest, then, is the one primarily responsible for the renewal of the Church. But he cannot heal and reconcile until he has experienced the fresh flow of the waters of the Spirit within himself. For this to happen, he must be a man of prayer. To launch out into the uncharted waters of personal spiritual renewal will require much courage. As shepherd he must walk ahead of the flock, or they will either scatter or leave him behind. AccouNTABILITY TO Gon's PEOPLE

Meditation, prayer and daily Mass no doubt nurtures and personal spiritual life of the priest. But prayer life is not spiritual life. The principal source of a priest's development spiritually comes from his ministry (Spiritual Renewal of American Priesthood, Ch. 2, p. 11). It is precisely in serving God's people that the priest experiences personal growth. This service cannot be performed with the ease and naturalness of sincere love unless it is undergirded by prayer. But that ministry of self-giving to the people he serves is the locus of his personal holiness.


SPIRITUAL

183

"In the priestly life there can be no dichotomy between love for Christ and zeal for souls," teaches the Synod of 1971 (The Ministerial Priesthood, National Conference of Catholic Bishops: Synod of Bishops: 11, 3). As we are accountable to the Lord who calls us, priests are accountable for the service they render to God's people. The Church outlines four areas in which the priest is held accountable: he must preach the Word of God; he must be the leader in building up the Christian Community; he must serve all men, and culminate these services by leading in the celebration of the worship of the Church, especially the Eucharist (Spiritual Renewal of the American Priesthood, Ch. II, p. 13). In what ways can a priest be made accountable for these ministerial responsibilities? We can explore some possible ways in which responsibility can be measured. Some of these will be actual experiences in the Diocese of Des Moines. Again, these are starting points, and hopefully they will give rise to other creative possibilities in the life of the reader. OUR FIRST ACCOUNTABILITY; TO PREACH THE WORD OF GOD

Many priests today have uncovered an newly found ministry in preaching. In the ordination to diaconate and priesthood, the mandate to preach the Word of God is given. With this is given the charism of preaching. The priest has been empowered to speak the "word of wisdom"-to effectively use the word of God as a two-edged sword in speaking to man's hearts. Priests who are discovering the immediate power of the preached Word¡ usually seem to have the support of enriched prayer lives. The gifts of the Spirit are always exercised through faith. In measuring effective preaching the best yardstick seems to be the word "power." The uniqueness in preaching God's Inessage, as opposed to preaching our o'vn message, is the accompanying power to change. Through God's word in the beginning came the power of creation. Today that same Word creates new life in those who "hear the word of God and welcome it" (Mark 4 :20). The priest is responsible for the faithful employment of that Word which is entrusted to him. The preached Word of Jesus contains within itself the power of transformation. Preaching, once called the eighth sacra-


184

CHICAGO STUDIES

ment, has an almost ex ope1¡e operata effect on the listeners. The priests responsibility is basically to be like the sower: He lays out the message to all men. The combination of his personal faith and the receptivity of the hearer detetmines the extent to which the Word will create new life. We know it is never enough simply to quote the Scripture in preaching. The priest is accountable to the people for the application of that Word to daily life. He has to know the culture in which the people live. As an attorney stands between the code of law and the unique application of law to one seeking justice, so the priest is in tension. He must stand between the Word of God and particular life situations. By the wisdom of the Spirit, he interprets the will of God as the community teacher. Ony in prayer will wisdom surface to help the priest in his responsibility for speaking God's message to this community. In a practical way, however, there are ways of measuring one's effectiveness. In the Diocese of Des Moines, some priests have asked theit¡ parish councils to critique their sermons. He simply asks if they feel that he is speaking God's message to them. Occasionally the liturgy committee will distribute a questionnaire on setmon topics. Exchange committees from neighboring parishes may visit to offer their reaction to the effectiveness of the preaching. Such simple measures of accountability keep the priest aware of the dispositions of his listeners. We must admit that such tools of measurement are still threatening to many priests. Constructive criticism is hard to take for most people. But honest feed-back is necessary for developing one's talent of preaching. Usually the priest finds himself more encouraged, and is surprised with the actual effectiveness of his sermons. Accountability in preaching is difficult to measure. Perhaps the priest is preaching in faith to the people's needs. Can the power of such faithful preaching change hardened hearts? God will not force himself on the listeners. If this is true, then how can changed lives be the standard for accountability in preaching? No doubt there is a great mystery at work here. Perhaps the only answer is to meditate on the promise given through


SPIRITUAL

185

Isaiah: "Yes, as the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not retum without watering the earth ... so the word that goes from my mouth does not retum to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do" (55 :10-11). The priest is responsible to preach the truth in love. The results belong to the providence, power and promises of God. BUILDING UP THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

The priest's first identity in the Church is that he is a member of the People of God. He has himself repented and believed the good news. He has been baptized and received the imposition of hands and anointing of the Spirit in conlirmation. With the rest of the community he is a Christian. He is a brother and friend, sharing his life with other believers and witnessing to the joy of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord. From this community the Lord has chosen Him to build that community into a newer people. He powerfully speaks the Word of repentance and conversion. But he also recognizes that once the life of Christ has dawned within a believer, the Spirit of Jesus pours out gifts for that person to use in love for the rest of the community. The priest heads a gifted people, a people rich in the life of the Lord Jesus. This community is the creation of the Holy Spirit (cf. The Chu,.ch, by Hans Kung, pp. 150-203). Its growth is affected by the gifts bestowed upon each believer. Each person then is built up by the gifts of others, and builds up the community by using his talents in love (I Peter 2 :4-7). Jesus Himself gives forth the Gift and the gifts. In the sacraments the Risen Lord does this through the ministry of the priest. In a sense then, the priest does not have to worry about 7Vhat gifts have been distributed to the people. That is the concern of the one who blesses with His Spirit. The concern of the priest is to enliven the gifts, and to coordinate their use for building up the community. At one time, priests gave the impression that they alone had all spidtual gifts for God's people. After all, they preached, baptised, prayed, blessed, anointed and counselled. Since Vatican II the priest is seeing more clearly that his gifts are great, but are not all the talents or powers given to this people.


186

CHICAGO STUDIES

And this is precisely where accountability comes in. For building up the Body of Christ, the priest becomes a "director of ministries" (Spiritual Renewal of the American Priesthood, Ch. 2, p. 16). He is accountable to the community for the proper bestowal, encouragement and use of the gifts given by the Spirit. He is responsible for the stirring up of the gifts in others. For this task, belief is necessary. The priest must believe that the Lord has given the gifts, and all that is needed is to convince people of this. At that point, the priest then encom¡ages them to use the gifts as expressions of love for one another. In this process the priest will find himself digging up buried talents of his own and investing them. The whole Body is built up, priest included. His own ministry will grow more if'. to a "demonstration of the Spirit and power," (I Cor. 2 :4). Again, he grows through his ministry of discovering and organizing the spiritual gifts of the community. In this role, the priest is with his people, rather than above them. They are truly the Christ who ministers to the priest in a way that compliments his ministry to them (Spiritual Renewal of American Priesthood Ch. II, p. 16). A SETTING FOR DEVELOPMENT A setting for this building-up process to take place has been developed in the Diocese of Des Moines: it is the parish council system. Since 1969 a plan for co-responsible lay participation in decision-making at the parish level has been implemented. Uniform parish councils have become part of the structure of each parish. The parish councils follow general diocesan guidelines, but enough latitude is given for individual organization and planning. Surrounded by his elected lay representatives, the pastor has a splendid opportunity to "walk in faith." Here the challenge becomes reality. The priest, beginning with prayer, can begin to discern the presence of talents in the council itself. Precisely herein lies his accountability. The council will work if the talents of its members are exploited. The Lord has placed the talents there. Only faith will bring them to the surface. In short, the pastor is responsible for the functioning of an


SPIRITUAL

187

effective parish council. To them he is held accountable for the stirring up of their gifts. This task helps define his role in the council. He is not to be the chairman of the board. He is the man to put this group into contact with God. His goal is their spiritual renewal. The priest is to help the group to pray together before, during and after all decision-making. He is to guide them in "discerning the Spirit" (discovering the will of God) in their meetings. Practically, he is a teacher and a spiritual director. To assist the priest in this role, the Diocese of Des Moines Office of Renewal annually prints a Parish Council Manual. Herein the pastor is provided with thematic prayer and study suggestions for each month of the year. Much latitude is given to the pastor to spend as much time as he wishes in these exercises. The booklet outlines good meeting procedures for the business portion of the meeting. Special spiritual prograins are offered to the parish and council for education and spiritual renewal. Many parishes have taken advantage of these opportunities to uncover their hidden talents. In addition to the Manual, the pastor is helped by the annual "Fall Forum" gatherings of parish councils throughout the diocese. Each parish council attends in the Fall on the regional (deanery) level an education-information meeting. The two-hour gathering helps the council and its committees to clarify their goals for the coming year. In addition the forums provide the Bishop of the diocese an opportunity to give spiritual direction to the councils' work. Various ways of introducing the concept and practice of communal discernment and spiritual growth are discussed. In a mild way, these regional meetings of the parish councils provide some measure of priestly accountability. The individual councils have the opportunity to compare themselves with neighboring councils. The discussions reveal the personal growth of the membe1¡s. To that degree the priest's efforts to build up his spiritual community are evaluated. Also, the priest's accountability to the Church in his region is felt and sensed by the rest of the community. What is presently needed in the diocese is a more professional way of measuring the accountability of priests to their pal'ish councils.


188

CHICAGO STUDIES ACCOUNTABLE TO SERVE THE WORLD

The building up of the Body of Christ is for the purpose of mission. Renewal of the Church is outward-oriented. The Church is not its own light, but is the lumen gentium, the light of the whole world. The purpose of the Council was " ... to shed on all men that radiance of His which brightens the countenance of the Church" (Lumen Gentiu路m. # 1). The greatest danger which the Church faces is inwardness: the perversion of her mission outward to all mankind. The priest himself must be guarded against a personal "closet spirituality." His relationship with Christ must have a missionary finality to it. In order to insure this healthy balance in his personal growth, the priest should personally feel the burdens of society. He must identify as Jesus did with the poorest of the poor. His heart must be the most compassionate toward these captured by the chains of poverty, mental illness and wa1路. Spiritual renewal through preaching the Word, personal prayer, and building up the community of believers in itself is truncated. Real spiritual renewal flowers in the response to God's call to share his life with all mankind. Internal spiritual awakening, and all the spiritual and educational programs to accomplish this, nourish the Church. But nurture is for the sake of mission, And it is precisely in "doing mission" that the Church becomes holy. The priest is accountable to the larger community of man for this outward direction of the Church. They await his sharing of life with them, . Corporately, Christian and nonChristian believers seek a sharing of prayer and ministry with the Catholic faithful. Individually, fellow citizens await the Church's intervention on behalf of the poor, the unborn and elderly. As nations, the third world awaits the Son of God to liberate them through路 his Body on earth. They want our freedom and they want out路 faith for new life. Faith is like fire, according to Pope John, and unless it spreads, it burns itself out. The priest is responsible to give birth to faith in Jesus through preaching and celebrating baptism. That faith is nourished by the Word time and again, and by sacramental celebrations. But the priest must not "forget the punch line." All this is for service to today's world.


SPIRITUAL

189

Just as his own growth in Christ happens in doing his ministry, so the people will grow in lovingly ministering to society. Accountability to our society for involvement is difficult to measure. In the Diocese of Des Moines, the priests have provided leadership to the people in social involvement. Much remains to be done. Our Church is still doing a lot of navelgazing. But beginnings are being made. One program deserves some description. In 1972, prior to the general election, thousands of parishioners in the Des Moines diocese became active in their political parties-this through a diocesan-wide program to ¡involve clergy and laity in party precinct caucuses, conventions, voter registration and the elections. The well organized effort yielded numerous new faces at the conventions and at the polls. Parishioners learned about the issues by going to the caucuses. Prayer accompanied every step in this education-action program. Our goal was to bring the light of Christ into the arena of major decision-making: the political system. Priestly accountability to the world is being called for by people in need. The priests of the Diocese of Des Moines were recently confronted by the American Indian Movement (AIM). After Wounded Knee in the Spring, tents were erected on front lawns of Des Moines churches. The long-forgotten, ill treated American Indian was calling us into accountability. We have long supported the home Indian missions. But what have we done to help with bail money for Indians jailed locally? What have we done to break the hellish circle of passive dependence which the environment of the reservation breeds? When the world calls us to accountability, it is usually as dramatic as it is stingingly true. LEADING THE WORSHIPING COMMUNITY: AN ACCOUNTABILITY

The liturgy finally is the summation point in the dynamics of priestly ministry. The priest has preached and taught God's message to the faithful. He has built up the gifted relationships of the people in the parish. He has led the believing community in service to the larger community of mankind. His role is ultimately to lead the community to praise the source of this graced activity: the Father of light. The priest must integrate the preaching, building and serving into petition,


190

CHICAGO STUDIES

praise, and thanksgiving of the people. Accountability in this area is therefore almost totally dependent on the other three responsibilities. To the degree that he is personally committed to the Lord as a disciple, his public prayer will ring true. And to the degree that he has faithfully preached God's Word, and stimulated the Spirit's gifts, a response of faith will come forth from these gathered to celebrate the sacraments. His degree of risk-taking on social issues will, for example, make real the celebration of Human Development or Mission Sunday. In short, his authenticity as leader in worship depends on his faithfulness to his other priestly responsibilities. This accountability too is hard to measure. The Eucharist becomes a real worship experience for those who live a full Christian life of faith and service. And in that moment of celebration, the priest is accountable in the last analysis to himself. He knows whether the people are prepared for this worship of the Father. He senses his identity either as a joyful, victorious clebrant with the people, or a liturgical rubricist for them. In the inner zone of his conscience, the priest finally becomes accountable to himself. And perhaps that is the measure of accountability that is best applied. THE PRESBYTERY: MUTUAL ACCOUNTABILITY

No priest today can mature in spirituality without the friendship of his brother priests. The priesthood is a sharing in the apostolic mission of the Bishop. Priests are bound together by this theological reality. But theology itself means nothing if it is not an experienced reality. The concept of priestly brotherhood must be changed into the reality of "graced friendships." There is a renewed sense of priestly co-responsibility in the ministry. Priests have always gotten together for socializing and mutual companionship. Theology and spirituality were taboo topics of discussion at these gatherings. The ice began to break in the late 1960s. Priests began to discuss theology. Unfortunately these discussions severed some relationships and at times made socializing difficult. But it was necessary. Priests had to share their deepest convictions with those with whom they were responsible for the leadership of the Church.


SPIRITUAL

191

Recently a new dimension seems to be appearing in priestly circles. Priests are beginning to feel the need for a deeper sharing and support from one another. Golfing together is important, but it is not enough. Discussing the latest book in theology is likewise very helpful, but it does not satisfy the priests' need for spiritual community. Today many priests want to share their prayer, their faith, their innermost lives. And the group with whom they should share this is their brothers in the ministry. And another theological reality is to be experienced by this newer relationship with one another. Priests are interdependent members of a ministering community. They minister from a community of priests to a community of believers. Rugged individualism was never true theologically, and never worked practically. Essentially priests were brothers, sharing special powers of reconciliation with their Bishop. As this theory becomes a reality, the fuller power to renew the Church will be released. To release for the Church and the world the powerful ministry of the priesthood, there must be communion with one another. Socially, priests are responsible to strengthen their friendships. Respect, honesty, patience and joy must mark these relationships. Priests desperately need the love and acceptance of other priests. The respect and Jove of fellow priests means far more to a priest than that same affection from Joyal friends among the laity. Priests are accountable to each other for the power entrusted to their ministry. They are accountable insofar as their relationships to a great degree either help or block that power for the Church. As priests become more aware of this reality, the Spirit of God is providing the priesthood with opportunities for mutual up-building. It takes courage to "work through" the disagreements and work into shared spirituality. But that courage pays large dividends in terms of personal growth arid the renewal of the total Church. STRUCTURAL DIALOGUE

The experience of priestly renewal in the diocese of Des Moines had been twofold: the structure of shared responsibility, and the movements of spiritual sharing. The structured


192

CHICAGO STUDIES

dialogue among priests in the diocese began with the creation of the Council of Priests in 1969. Every priest was his own senator, so to speak. Regular quarterly meetings of the body of all 120 active priests provides a forum for dialogue and socializing. The group has successfully weathered many storms in the dia,logue on war and peace, celibacy and liturgical innovations. Two other structural settings have provided our priests with chances to build up the priestly community: the annual Clergy Workshop, and the monthly regional community (deanery level) priest meetings. The workshop is an educational effm-t for the priests as a whole. Annually the priests gather to discuss current trends in Scripture, morality, canon law, and related subjects. The monthly regional meetings of priests is an outgrowth of the diocesan re-structuring of 1969. In that year the Bishop and the priests changed the four deaneries into 12 "regional communities" or vicariates. At this level the priests were to meet monthly and share their ministries to the region. Prayer, study and shared action are the purpose of the monthly meeting. A great building-up of the presbytery has happened in these regular gatherings. The sharing of ministry has provided better service to the parishes in the regions. Some priests have experienced personal spiritual enrichment through the structured priestly get-together. But perhaps our greatest breakthroughs in priestly spiritual renewal has been the gift of the Cursillo movement and priest prayer groups. Some 65% of our priests are cursillistas. In their weekly group reunions, a real accountability is called for. Priests feel a deep responsibility for one another. After the annual retreat in 1972, which was a Better World Retreat, some half-dozen priest prayer groups sprung up. Most groups meet weekly to share their successes and failures, and more importantly to support one another in prayer. After a light lunch, most groups have a discussion on the spiritual life, and spontaneously share prayer. Individual priests feel enough trust to ask for special prayers at times. In short, these priests are ministering to one another spiritually. Perhaps the only measure of our accountability to one another is the time ministering to each other. God's grace makes


SPIRITUAL

193

this spiritual communion possible. A priest is responsible for his "yes" should that grace be extended to him. The reward is to experience the change occuring in one's brother priest, the growing joy in his ministry. The guilt felt when a priest leaves the ministry for lack of clerical friendship or support carries its own sanction for the priests who did not respond to him. CONCLUSION: MARY THE KEY

Church renewal in the latter third of the 20th century is·· in the hands of the priests. They are accountable first to· Jesus Christ, the one who calls them into service. They are• accountable to the People of God for that service. To the' faithful, priests are accountable for inspired preaching, building up the Church, and leading in service to today's culture. He must bring all these accountabilities to the final offering place of his life, the altar of praise and thanksgiving. There will be no spiritual renewal of the Church without the spiritual renewal of priests. Together in community they are responsible for one another's maturing. Common education, sharing of life and prayer are the essential components of creative priestly relationships. As the presbytery matures, the diocese experiences growth. Each presbytery must follow "what the Spirit is saying" to its local Church (Rev. 3:13). For each the Spirit will lead in a unique way. The strategic posture is that of openness. Each priest and priestly community must be receptive. Each must be sensitive to the direction in which the Spirit is blowing. And Mary is the model for that kind of living and waiting. !<'or her the Spirit was not a breeze, but a real creative person. Her openness to the Spirit changed her life and altered the course of the human race. Her faith was tried by fire, but it all fell into a meaningful pattern in the end. Mary is our model for openness and receptivity to the force that is renewing the Church-the Spirit of Yahweh. As the first member of the Church, Mary can teach us the second quality needed in dealing with the Spirit: faithful expectant patience. She waited for nine months for the promised One to be born. She taught the Jerusalem community to wait their nine days until the "Gift my Father promised"


194

CHICAGO STUDIES

would be given, (Acts 1 :4). Priests expecting renewal must .believe that the Lord will accomplish it. From Mary they <ean learn the two ingredients of receptivity and patience as they go about the work of renewing the Church of the second pentecost.


Francis Bo1路gia Rothluebber, O.S.F.

Pastoral and Managerial Accountability Are priests tired [o1路 the right 路reasons: significant, JJ1l1J)Oseful and future-directed activitie.~?

There is a sentence making the rounds in management seminars these days that states, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take ~路ou there." And on any road vaguely going somewhere, we may be busy and tired, even harassed. The question of whether or not we are tired for the right reasons or tired through significant, purposeful, futuredirected activities is the burden of these reflections. Some of the questions I have been asked recently read like this: What can priests do to establish priorities in their lives? How can they best make use of time? What can they do to work in and with structures and not be caught in them? How is the accountability of a priest different from that of a chairman of the board and the stockholders? The overall question then is whether or not it is possible to make goals operative in living and working? The approach. taken in this presentation to the question of making goals operative is to share some reflections on the events and search195


196

CHICAGO STUDIES

ings and beginning attempts that groups of religious women have been and are experiencing. Not that these are in any sense a paradigm. They are merely offered here as a base for your own reflection. Although it may seem a far cry from discussing the leadâ&#x20AC;˘ership role in the management process. I should like to begin this sharing with some lines from Christopher Fry's play, "Sleep of Prisoners." These lines set the context within which these reflections are placed: "Dark and cold we may be, but this Is no winter now. The frozen misery Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move; The thunder is the thunder of the floes The thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring. Thank God our time is now when wrong Comes up to face us everywhere, Never to leave us till we take The longest stride of soul men ever took. Affairs are now soul-size. The enteqJrise Is exploration into God." Exploration into God is a series of paradoxical experiences: the seeming contradictions of taking long sure strides into greater insecurity. We thought we took that long, very insecure stride in the sixties when we initially responded to the call of Vatican II to become a stronger, clearer form of apostolic religious life. We sense today that a deeper crisis is in front of us at this hour. It is the call to think and shape an even more radical response to the Gospel life. Are communities as total congregations free to commit themselves to become "transforming agents for change" as the chapter documents state so blithely? Can we organize for concerted effort, not in the former patterns, but in a totally new way? Can we converge for impact to reshape education or health care, to seek justice or to work in basic faith communities? PLANNING IS THE BRIDGE BETWEEN FAITH AND ACTION

The first paradoxical question, then, I should like to ex-


MANAGERIAL

197

amine is hinted at in the title. Is it possible to unite faith with management? Can a pastoral experience be placed within the management process? Can the language and experiences of the management process be translated into community faith development? No if we understand the question to mean that we can marshall energies to industrialize the Gospel or manipulate life. Yes is we understand that the first step in the management process is to determine, clarify, and focus energies on the major unifying goal. It can be deceptively simple to say we certainly know our major ultimate goal. We can quote the passage from Isaiah which in Luke 4 Jesus gives as his mission; we can define our mission in terms of liberation or healing or reconciliation through justice, or completing the resurrection, or seeking greater humanization of humanity. Most groups of religious women have stated in chapter enactments what their mission is. Often, however, between the statement and the action falls the shadow. When we start to analyze where community (not necessarily individual) priorities really are in terms of programs and expenditures, resource commitments and time allotments, it becomes evident that other goals can predominate. These can be goals of community self-maintenance, or individual freedom, or approval status, or professional accreditation. In her introductory remarks to a presentation on systems analysis in programming one of our Sisters noted that if we say our mission is to provide that the poor have the gospel preached to them, systems analysis cannot substitute for sharing the gospel but it can help us see ,whether it is the poor who are receiving the gospel and whether it is the gospel they are receiving. It is important to pursue this question of operative goals to a deeper dimension. If we say religious communities, faith communities, are ~¡transfo1¡ming agents for social change," immediately we are face to face with some of the deepest questions of our lives: 1) Does our faith really come alive in hope? Or is our faith, to parallel a phrase, a "cheap" faith? Do we believe change is possible? Do we believe that we share responsibility for the future, that we are interacting dynamically with the Cre-


198

CHICAGO STUDIES

ative Spirit in shaping a more fully human future? Is our concept of the future helping to shape our present? The Spanish Christian philosopher, Miguel Unamuno, insists that if you want to know what a person's real faith is, you must find out not what he says he believes but what he really hopes for. Is it for God's Shalom? "Is it for the kind of ten-ible and responsible freedom that comes from living in a defatalized world-the world in which God has handed the reins over to us and won't come down from the cross even to save himself." 2) What we hope for, (and hope is always action-oriented), reveals more fully what we believe the Church is than what we say or quote from official documents to the say the Church is. The church of hope, Moltmann writes, "is not a body or corporation but a movement in this world with a mission and a destination .... The church itself is not the goal of its movement. This goal is the Kingdom of God and that is the redeemed creation." The dangerous implications of a non-change theology which destroys the liberating role of the Gospel life is expertly set forth in Dorothy Solie's "The Gospel and Liberation" article in the December 22 issue of Commonweal. 3) A whole new way of praying that relates to apostolic spirituality is beginning to evolve that has direct bearing upon goal-directed planning. The more honest we become about making goals operative, the more we realize the need for greater interiority and depth of person. Such praying arises not away from but within and from our life-situation. In the life situation, the words of Scripture are "spirit and life." Such praying is ordained to change, to conversion, to allowing ourselves to be transformed. Such praying prompts us to face freely the shadow that falls between the words and the action. The shadow of discou.-agement: we have learned how difficult it is to move any established structure or power whether political or ecclesiastical. The shadow of polarization : the more sharply goals are defined the more clearly we are invited to define ourselves in relation to them. The shadow of procrastination: we will wait for diocesan planning. The shadow of fatigue: the problems of capitalism are so enormous (Kennecott Copper in Chile) we are exhausted thinking about them. The shadow of respectable


MANAGERIAL

199

comfort: it is so easy to be "forty-two, fifty pounds overweight and retired from life." 4) Salvation is not in the management process. The process is no substitute for prayer and the Life that is of the Spirit. But I believe that we can imbue the process with the kind of prayer and contemplation which does not so much legitimate the present situation, but, as Gregory Baum writes, "is an obedient opening of the mind to the divine Word that summons us to move forward and to the divine Spirit that empowers us on our way." It is possible to make of the process itself a faith experience, a communal discernment process that can free the Spirit within and energize us for intelligent action. Planning is the bridge between faith and action. We are just now in the throes of trying both in the Leadership Conference of \Vomen Religious and in our community to plan for a reassessment of goals (goals here defined as statements of purpose in relation to mission) and discovering the complexities of the process. Who speaks the goals? Every member equally? Are we speaking of present or desired goals? What activities reveal goals? How synthesize? By interviewing of people who "make a difference" or by a survey of all? or a dialogue combination of both? Let me conclude this first point about faith and management with the realization that it is important not just to try to update techniques in a superficial way merely to catch up with the twentieth century. "The plant my Father does not plant will be rooted up." Unfortunately, the uprooting may be of a long duration.

PLANNING HEIGHTENS CREATIVITY

The second concern I would like to share with you may also seem paradoxical. At first round, faith appears to be a spontaneous, responding, creative way of life and planning seems to be a structured, boxed, calculated way of living. It would be good at this point to take out the Book of Exodus, the record, certainly, of the dominant faith expet;ence of the Old Testament, and note how many of the key elements of the planning process are present-mission, goals, objectives, program, alternatives, decisions, modifications, outcomes, and evaluation. Cer-


200

CHICAGO STUDIES

tainly it is not neatly packaged. Dynamic, pentecostal life is never neatly packaged. But the process is present. In reality the valid planning process does not militate against the creative faith response; it heightens awareness; it takes what is natural to the creative process and helps direct the movement and deepen the skills to provide more alternatives and greater flexibility to ensure effectiveness. History shows we are more given to taking another's program and pasting it onto a situation than we are accustomed to looking and studying and planning, releasing creative energy from within the group to achieve goals. Planning can release energy because it can help us take a seemingly overwhelming goal and order programs and concentrate activities so that we have manageable steps that can be evaluated and modified and that can move us closer to achieving the goals. Recently the Holy Father sent an exhortatory letter to the religious communities of the world. It carried two key questions: Articles 18: "How then will the cry of the poor find an echo in your lives." And Article 52: "How can the message of the Gospel penetrate the world?" Enormous, shattering goals ! So large the danger is they will be discussed for a time and quoted appropriately and then moved off the horizon. Credibility in follow-through on official statements is not our strong point. One recent step forward is the Center for Concern paper, "The Quest for Justice," which is a noteworthy attempt to¡ move the 1971 Synod statement, "Justice in the World," into statements of attainable goals. Of course, even then, until the programs are planned and launched, paper remains paper. As I understand it, our purpose is not to conduct a miniworkshop to give experiences in planning, programming, budgeting. For this you invite the team of experts. There are many different systems from which you can learn. What is important is that you (meaning you with your group) create the plan that is tailored to your needs and goals. We need not wait for the great workshop experience before we begin thinking about these questions. We can begin where we are to discuss how we can move into defining goals and sub-goals. If our mission is to have the


MANAGERIAL

201

gospel penetrate the world, what are the goals and sub-goals? If you are a member of a team that has as its goal the building of a specific faith community through which the gospel can penetrate the world, who is involved in identifying the subgoals? You alone? The team? The natural leaders? The appointed leaders? And how? The sub-goals in building a faith community might refer to physical needs like housing or relational needs like loneliness or to the need to clebrate life. To make such judgments information is needed. (Information meaning facts that have been analyzed for significance.) How can we determine the real needs, resources and the like? If we take a secondary goal to the need to celebrate the Word of God, we might concretize as an objective: to improve the quality of homilies. It might prove quite revolutionary to concentrate on the quality of homilies that are part of the celebration in life. The actual program planning calls for study, communication, system of activities, projected use of time and money, formulation of specific measures, and evaluation of outcomes. When we begin to undertake large-scale programs for justice or quality education or quality life for the aging or youth, questions of racism or sexism, the more we can move sub-goals and specific short-term objectives into a total flexible planning structure, the greater is the possibility that we will truly effect a difference. It is also true that we can learn much from the professionals in supportive skills as they are needed especially for more difficult, sophisticated programs. Skills like developing issue papers, obtaining pertinent information, communication systems, program analysis, decision-making, selection process, time estimates, relationship with other involved groups, program budgeting. In rendering an account of our stewardship, we can use all the assistance we can make workable. As I think back one of the dominant goals that exploded onto the scene for us in the sixties was that of freeing religious women to become more fully persons, persons growing in awareness, making decisions and taking personal responsibility, forming friendships and relationships, seeing needs for change and responding, finding new prayer styles and lifestyles.


202

CHICAGO STUDIES

I think now of how much more¡ life-giving the whole process could have been had we, even in somewhat unrefined fonns, been able to state goals and objectives, to look at forces for and against, to project effects and outcomes, to plan educational programs, and to create deeper communication possibilities. PERSON-POWER CAN BE MAXIMIZED THROUGH ORGANIZATION

The third paradox, which has probably come to mind already, is the one relating persons and organization. The question very pointedly before communities of religious women is whether or not it is possible to preserve what we have achieved so far, such as greater respect for personal worth and individual initiative, diversity of life-styles, personal decision-making, collegial governmental structures, individual and small group commitments to needs, and at the same time organize for apostolic effectiveness? It seems to me our basic values and approach will be most telling in working through the paradox. If we believe people are expendable, may be oppressed for our ends, then organization will be destructive and the more powerful the organization the more absolute the destruction. If we believe that the dynamism of any organization will flow from the freeing of life and creativity within persons, if we believe that the healing and searing Sacred Wind moves in and through all of us, then we will encourage and create structures for persons. We will affinn others and place our honest questions. We will acknowledge the power of, if not always welcome, diversity and dissonance. It would take us too far afield to set out the many learnings that have been ours so far on this question. But it might be helpful to note a few significant ones. 1) The overwhelming power of and need for dialogue. "Dialogue is to society what blood is to the body," says the author of The Mimcle of Dutlogue. But what a long learning process it is to come honestly in touch with our own truth-values, fears, feelings, needs-and then move to the freedom to communicate our tmth in love. How difficult the art of listening so we do not screen out the undesirable implications, the art of reading the many ways others communicate besides speech. There are many levels and kinds of communication necessary


MANAGERIAL

203

to provide for personal growth and wholesome organizational development. 2) The primary significance of presence to persons. We can establish the most elaborate super-structure but it will be a network of dead bones if we do not become aware and really call forth life from each other. Beneath the agendas and planning sessions and reports, real growth in reverence and concern, fidelity and commitment must be occurring. It is also quickly learned that whenever st.-ucturing is a game fot¡ itself, things like the proliferation of committees and meetings may be an artistic way of keeping anything from happening. There is need for continuing presence, also, to the creative power of Him "in whom we live and move and have our being." the praying-planning person becomes a "presence for God," releasing creative energy undreamed of. 3) The importance of the placement of decision-making. From a totally centralized pattern of decision-making we moved in reaction to a totally equal participative involvement. We are now moving to more simplified structures with greater delegation of responsibility in trust but with ongoing accountability. 4) The parallel realization that nothing really changes profoundly or lastingly within the human patterns unless people change. "When enough people think through and believe and live a set of convictions based on a new values system, present institutions must change ot¡ fall." (Carl Rogers). But it is also true that one-by-one change is not enough. Love is not enough. "Love must be embodied in social structures of dignity and justice if we are to realize its potential for breaking the barriers that separate brothers and sisters of the human race." Such dignity and justice may, indeed will, call for suffering. 5) Probably the deepest realization upon us right now is the understanding that personal freedom is only fully achieved when it is fully committed within the limits and constraints and the dying and rising of the evolving life in a group bonded together for the greater good of all. Keeping all options open is a terrifying self-slavery. Disciplined love is always experienced as greater freedom and fulfillment. This third paradox is summarized in the realization that


204

CHICAGO STUDIES

the depth question about the wholesomeness of an organization or planning program or management process is the person question: reverence for persons, respect for the freedom of persons, planning for the good of persons, releasing and focusing the energies of persons through planning. Planning is a tool. Tools may be used destructively or creatively. Reverence for person prompts an artistic use of the tool. Here, by way of a summary, is my credo of these reflections on the three major paradoxical questions we have pursued: I believe pastoral experiences can be deepened as faith experiences through the management process. I believe that the planning process is a tool that can help move faith into action. I believe that person-power can be maximized through organization. Perhaps it is also worth our while to think for a concluding moment of the twentieth century texture in which we are trying to express and interpret gos]lâ&#x201A;Ź1 values. A new person is arising on the earth a person who wants responsibility in shaping the human future, who will not settle for established patterns, a person who is learning the power of organization. In the light of this awareness it is good to think again of Chardin's prophetic passage from Building the Ea1¡th: "The function we have is to build and direct the whole of the earth .... What steps must be taken in relation to this forward march? I see two which can be summarized in five words: A GREAT HOPE IN COMMON. First, a great hope. This must be born spontaneously in every generous soul in face of the anticipated work, and it also represents the essential impetus without which nothing will be done. A passionate love of growth and being, that is what we need. Secondly, in common. On this point also the history of life is decisive. There is only one way which leads upwards; the one which, through greater organization, leads to greater synthesis and unity .... Life is moving toward unification. Our hope will only be operative if it is expressed in greater cohesion and human solidarity. The future of the earth is in our hands. How shall we dicide ?"


John T. Fagan

Pastoral Concern {or Priests

Priests must exy1erience the love the Church has for them, if they are to continue to fJ>'OW personally and professionally. A "Concerned other priest" may be the channel of this experience.

A priest whom many of us considered a most effective minister of the gospel wrote shortly before his death: "When I look back upon the seventy years of my own life, I see quite clearly that I owe my present inner happiness, my peace, my confidence and my joy essentially to one single fact; I am certain that I am infinitely loved by God." He had in some way experienced the love of God. This had provided him with a priesthood of fulfillment. He had come to a wisdom, a certitude. This experience of the love of God, the felt concern of Jesus for the priest, seems to make a great difference in our attitude. We are not so naive as to think that we can do away with misunderstanding, discouragement. failure, or loneliness. But can we hope to experience the love of God? We believe with Saint John that "love consists in 205


206

CHICAGO STUDIES

this, not that we have loved God, but that he has loved us." We are a group of men who believe that we were called to ¡ preach the Gospel-that we would experience the love of God and that our ministry would be sustained by that love. Is it possible to make that love of God more present to the priest as he moves through a life time of ministry? Why do many of us seem to loose our salt, our taste or desire for the work of the ministry? What I hope to do in this paper is propose a method of making the love and concern of Christ experienced and real in the life of the priest. The priest calls out to the Church he serves: "don't talk to me about love, love me." At a time when the perimeters of the priestly ministry have been enlarged by the two Documents of the recent Synod, the Ministerial Priesthood and Justice in the World-when our society has great need for the sacramental and social ministry as it searches for purpose and meaning-many priests are leaving the ministry because they feel what they are doing is "not important." The feelings of some--of apathy, of whatis-the-use, of a discouragement akin to despair--cannot be the feelings of men who perceive they are experiencing the love of God. The "Pastoral Letters" attributed to Saint Paul, written to the two priests Timothy and Titus, are models of the love and concern of an apostle and bishop for his priests. "To Timothy, dear son of mine, wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus Our Lord ... always I remember you in my prayers ... Fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands upon you." Paul loved Timothy. This love was able to turn him, to convert him to become an effective minister of the Gospel. He could understand and experience the love of God because he was experiencing loving concern in his human relationship with Paul. We are aware that the history of the Church is filled with priests of charism who were able to motivate other priests to proclaim the gospel with joy. They brought about an attitude, a milieu, by their own faith and personality in which their priest collaborators experienced the love of God and were, because of this, sustained to accomplish great things for the Kingdom.


CONCERN

207 PASTORAL CONCERN

The priest of today needs to expe1¡ience this love, this concern. We know that he is responsible to develop a life of prayer, a loving relationship with Christ and with others. But how can the Church, always in renewal, enable the priest to better experience this love? How can the institutional Church be present to the priest in a personal and concerned way? We would hope to point toward a new ministry, a ministry to priests. We already have ministries to those who have contracted the Sacrament of Matrimony. Marriage Encounter, Cursillos and Cana help human beings to live a life of commitment and love for each other. This ministry which for the purposes of this paper we shall call "Pastoral Concern" would make a more effective minister of the Gospel. By "Pastoral Concern" the priest would experience the love and concern of the Church for him, for his problems, his accomplishments, his weaknesses and his strengths. A sensitive, personal approach to each priest to sustain him in his quest to live a human life in the context of Christ's Gospel, "Pastoral Concern" has for its purpose the total spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth of priests as persons. We do not have Paul with us as Timothy did but we do have the presence of the Spirit and we also have the knowledge and skills of our times to develop a method for the growth of each priest with freedom. The purpose of Pastoral Concern is to fulfill the commitment of the Church for the growth of the priest, to enable him to Jive a life in the fullness of joy and accomplishment in completing the work which Jesus has begun. Priesthood cannot be separated from personhood. One grows as a priest when he grows as a person. There is an intrinsic unity of person and office. TQ fragment the priest into preacher, celebrator of the sacraments, leader, teacher, manager, son, brother or member of an ethnic group is not real. To be concerned for his spiritual growth but nQt his emotional grQwth, his desire to proclaim the gospel but nQt his desire to make lasting friendships, his ability to work among the people but not his physical health is not real. Priests have always been encouraged tQ find spiritual directors who would assist them to develop a spiritual life. There


208

CHICAGO STUDIES

should not be a dichotomy between his spiritual life and his emotional life or intellectual life. The wise spiritual directors knew this intuitively. Yet we all knew priests who seemed to have interest in their spiritual life but who also developed neurotic traits and a great distance from the people they were supposedly to lead to the love of God. A CONCERNED "OTHER PRIEST''

Pastoral Concern would mean that the priest would be assigned by the bishop, after consultation, a "concerned other" priest. His ministry would be to facilitate the growth of the priest totally as a man by means of a concerned and trusting relationship. What should we call him, this "concerned other" priest who is the key to Pastoral Concern? His title might be: "Pastor of Priests" since he would feed and minister to the needs of the priest as a person; "Mentor" since he would be a counselor and be in a sense entrusted to provirle opportunities for the education of the priest; "Vicar" since he woulrl be standing in the place of the bishop, assisting him in carrying out one of his major responsibilities namely the growth anrl development of his priests; "Advocate" since he would be called to plead the cause of the priest as he lives out his ministry according to his abilities. His title is not important but his function is all important. He is the visible sign of the Jove and concern of the Church for her priests. The relationship of Paul with Timothy and Titus is a most apt model. I will simply call him "Paul" as the Ministry of Pastoral Concern is presented in this paper. The priest is continually exhorted to love by the Church, but what of the responsibility of the Church to Jove the priest? How can we expect a man to love and give his life in the service of others if he does not experience love and service in his own life. Pastoral Concern is a visible sign of this by the presence of the "concerned other" priest, this uPaul." The memory of the love of God experienced in the seminary many years ago will not sustain the priest in the heat of the day of his priestly ministry. The people often show him love and concern but the institutional Church should be searching for a workable method to help him to experience this love of God in a continuing way. Often a perfectionistic set of ideals


CONCERN

209

are held up to the priest and he is expected to reach them on his own. If he suffers and is discouraged and alone, he is told that Our Lord suffered also, that Jesus loves him. But where is the human sign of that love? We now know that growth is a life long process, that the seminary marks just one step in that process. The seminary student is evaluated, guided, assisted to keep his vocation or his motivation to serve people in the ministerial priesthood. When the priest leaves the Seminary, he continues to grow, to¡ change. Priests have a way of identifying each other by phrases such as "Yes, I know him well. I studied with him in the Seminary." Yet the years have gone on and that static,. fading photograph of classmates on the wall is just a phot<rgraph, not a living flesh and blood description of the same men now. The years and life experiences in the ministry shape us and change us. The Church presently shows concern for the growth of priests through retreats, courses in continuing education, personnel boards, and friendship and appreciation of the bishop. ¡We would hope to point toward another and more personal and individualized concern, a "Pastoral Concern." How is he making use of the above methods? Are they really of help to him? A METHOD OF ACCOUNTABILITY

The Pastoral Concern for the priest must be real, real in its desire to help the priest grow and develop, real in its appraisal of where the priest is in his ministry. This is accomplished by a method of evaluation, of accountability. We often piously stated we were accountable to God and we would trust in His mercy. Yes, we are accountable to God for our ministry to His people and this ministry can be evaluated by these people. In fact the people of God are evaluating our ministry all the time. Accountability is linked to evaluation. It has been defined as "a process by which each organizational member is. expected to answer to someone for doing specific things accord-. ing to specific plans and against specific timetables to accomplish tangible performance results that are related to the organization's purpose." This is an indispensable means of growing as a person. Even when we fail our people we are,


210

CHICAGO STUDIES

still accountable. We are forgiven. And we grow and learn from failure. Pastoral Concern as a method for the total growth of a priest has three elements: 1. The experience of the love and concern of God for him as a person by the presence of a "concerned priest." 2. The ministry of this "concerned priest" is to build a relationship of trust with the priest for the purpose of enabling him to grow as a total man. 3. The building of this ongoing relationship will be based on the evaluation and the accountability of his ministerial priesthood. STUDIES ON THE AMERICAN PRIEST

The need for some method of Pastoral Concern for Priests has in my opinion been reinforced by the Studies of the American Priest commissioned by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Four of the Studies were incorporated in the ideas of this paper: American Priests-a rep01t of the National Opinion Research Center directed by Andrew Greeley and Richard Schoenherr, March 1971; The Loyota Psychological Study of the Minist111 and Life of the American Priest by Eugene Kennedy and Victor Heckler, April 1971; The Catholic Priest in the United States: Historical Investigations, edited by John Tracy Ellis 1971; Spiritual Rene?Val of the American Priesthood. edited by Gerard Broccolo and Ernest Larkin 1973. After several of the studies were published, the Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, under the chairmanship of Archbishop Philip Hannan, invited Father Greeley to make recommendations on the path which the Committee should take in the implementation of the Studies. With his usual forceful style, Andrew Greeley told the Committee there were four areas which needed immediate attention and action. 1. Authority in the Church. He felt the most important task of the committee was the establishment of some kind of "representative governance" in the American Church. He quoted Bishop John Carroll who said that for America the only appropriate way to select ecclesiastical leadership was by election. There are great gaps between bishops and their priests. The bishops seem removed from the every day problems faced by the priests. His information .is filtered by the men around him, not from the priests directly.


CONCERN

~ 11

The priest understands that the stress of the management of a Diocese often precludes a close personal relationship with priests. Both feel misunderstood. 2. The second problem was Theory. There is need for scholarship in the Church, the need to take theological theory ancl apply it into our present structures to develop an ecclesiology we can agree on and work from. The priorities of valid ministry should flow from theology. Liturgy, catechetics and homiletics could come from centers of research scholarshiP' closely involved with the real needs of people and communities .. 3. There seems to be a crisis in vocations for the priesthood.We should be asking ourselves why in five years there has; been a 50% drop in students. Priests seem not to be encouraging young men to enter the seminary. The role of priests in today's world is blurring and needs a sharp refocusing on the value and urgent need for priestly ministry. 4. Greeley stated there was a lack of "support systems" for

clergy. He suggests that support systems be made up of spiritual groups of priests and a "drastic restructuring" of priestly work. He felt he was not qualified to set these systems up, but stated that priests are simply too important to permit them to lose their effectiveness because of loneliness and discouragement. Many times, far from supporting the innovative dynamic priest, the Church has favored those who emphasized "staying in line." A priest was evaluated by impression and not by what he had objectively accomplished. In the past few years he had received more support from his professional colleagues in the science of sociology than from his priest brothers. Father Gene Kennedy and Doctor Victor Heckler summarize their findings by stating that the "priests of the United States are ordinaMJ men." Many of their conflicts and problems arise because they have to live as though they were not ordinary at all. The symbolic representation of the priests as the incarnate Christ--the "alter Christus"-is the challenge which draws the young idealistic man to the priesthood but it alsn becomes the source of discouragement as that man lives out a life straining to measure up -to these "great expectations." These psychologists do not pass judgment on the theological realities of the priesthood but only look at the psychological


212

CHICAGO STUDIES

truth as it emerges in individual priests. For pU!lJoses of their study, the authors evaluated the data and grouped priests into categories which were ordered along a continuum of development. They identified four types-the maldeveloped, underdeveloped, developing and developed. These seemed best to answer the question-what are the priests of the United States like as men? Of the two hundred and seventyone priests tested, 19 were considered devewped, 23 were considered mALldeveloped, 50 were considered developing, and 179, a large majority, as underdeveloped. The maldeveloped priest may have had severe psychotic breakdown with persistent conflicts with authority; he may be a loner who stays at a distance from people with strong underlying hostility, depression, anxiety; he may be a chronic worrier, an alcoholic, sexually maladjusted. These men are still functioning in the priesthood, trying to cope. Their symptoms are often misunderstood by their bishops or superiors. They have serious deep rooted problems which predate their entrance into the Seminary. "With a wise combination of support and treatment some of these priests can continue to function on a limited basis." THE UNDERDEVELOPED PRIEST

The majority of the priests studied had not achieved the kind of growth we could expect. Their lives seem to have been shaped by the expectations of others rather than in the discovery of themselves. They are unsure of their own indentity. There is a generalized lack of closeness with anybody in their lives. Seminaries and concepts of spiritual life formerly deemphasized human relationships and so contributed to this frustration of development. The priest strives to be that which he is not, an ideal outside and separate from his own personality and so he settles. He accepts the priesthood as a secure and respectable and worthy vocation. He will change very little. The environment of priesthood does not make demands that he grow, and so he adjusts and functions instead of grows. He adjusts to live, not by his own personality, but by the role of priesthood. He tends to project, to blame those around him for his problems. He settles for a life in which major decisions are made for him.


CONCERN

213

The priesthood has freed him from the responsibility of family, financial problems and professional accountability to enable him to follow the Lord and preach the good news; but often this freedom from obligations does not really free him but keeps him underdeveloped. The fact that priests share this problem with the majority of other American men does not lessen its seriousness. The role of the priest in our society is so important that this underdevelopment has grave consequences for members of the Church and indeed for all men. THE DEVELOPING PRIEST

"Psychological growth depends on the twin principles of maturation and learning. There must be a potential for development which can unfold under the proper conditions. Growth is also dependent on contact with people." The environment of the individual can either aid or frustrate his personal development. The developing priests in the study were those whose personal growth was delayed for a time and who now in later life are challenged by problems of growth. These men could previously be called immature but now they are moving again. They reflect a vitality and a determination to move forward. The death of parents, assignments to a new parish or form of ministry, the influence of the Second Vatican Council, a profound religious experience or the beginnings of a close relationship with another person may have been the occasion of this growth. The developing priest finds himself in something totally new; he is aware that the possibilities of experiencing life are much richer than he ever felt possible. The experience is very difficult to understand. Often they have no one to interpret what is happening to them. At times such a priest may reconsider his commitment to the priesthood and the Church. He is in process, moving from a comfortable static view of life to one which may not have a secure center of gravity. The price of the change is high. His behavior reflects his struggles. It may appear adolescent. Some move away from the priesthood but others perform a much more effective ministry. He perceives that the priesthood has been restrictive but he is able to have a new appreciation of the values of love and human relationships. These men are coming to grips with life in a very active


214

CHICAGO STUDIES

way. They are trying to achieve a higher order of integration of themselves. They are striving to maintain a balance between what is new and desired by them and what is traditional and expected of them. THE DEVELOPED PRIEST

The so-called "developed" priest is easier to recognize than to describe. He is one with a wholesome individuality, not eccentricity. He is not a finished personality. but he is a person who is still growing, meeting the challenges of an adult life. He has worked through many problems, is well integrated. deeply engaged in the process of living. The healthy developed priest is not one without conflicts or symptoms, but one who lives in a constructive fashion, deals with his problems in an effective manner. He knows when to be aggressive in the pur¡ suit of reasonable goals. Guided by reality, he uses a religion" faith and value system to pursue the purposes of his ministry; he is independent and hopeful. ¡ In his recommendations Father Kennedy asks that a priority be given to assisting American priests to achieve greater personal maturity and therefore greater effectiveness as priests. Until now we have had close supervision of the priest's personal life without much mature supervision of his professional life. A greater accountability can lead to greater maturity. A greater freedom in his personal life can enlarge his opportunities for ministry. Father John Tracy Ellis in his preface to "The Catholic Priest in the United States" writes that the "American Catholic priesthood is at pt¡esent passing through a grave crisis." But he believes that we have not learned from the past. We are presently in what he describes as "a revolutionary condition." The study of the seminary system in our country, our isolation from the "world," from secular thought have had their effects. Questions concerning the method of selection of bishops, the relationship of priests and bishops, the appointment of pastors, due process, tenure are not new for American priests. The historical role of the American priests in "Social Action" still influences the attitudes of priests who now have been advised in the recent document on the "Ministerial Priesthood"

a


CONCERN

215

that "Priests are obliged to the utmost of their ability to select a definite pnttern of action . .. in the defense of fundamental human rights, the promotion of the full development of persons and the pursuit of the cause of peace and justice." Many of us previously have left this ministry to the "social action" priests and we were advised that we were to stay with the sacramental ministry. How can priests be helped to understand and to move into the new challenges which the social ministry offers to their priesthood? Fathers Gerard Broccolo and Ernest Larkin recently published the last of the studies The Spiritual Renewal of the A mericnn Priesthood. Here is an attempt to discuss a problem facing bishops and priests together: "to help the American priest interpret his life in terms of the death and resurrection of Jesus." This is a crucial aspect of the life of men in the ministerial priesthood. "Prayer is the heart of Christian Life." Yet this so-called indispensable aspect of ministerial priesthood is considered quite private and the concern of the priest alone. The Vatican Council has indicated that ministry itself is the prime source of the priest's spirituality. How do priests who were once taught that they stored up spiritual energy for the apostolate by meditation and other spiritual exercises understand this? How can the ministry contribute to the spiritual qualities that make him a man of God. Finally there are two comments on the Studies which would seem to indicate Pastoral Concern for p.-iests. Professor Everett C. Hughes, whom the Bishops asked to evaluate Americnn Priests-A Report of the Nntional Opinion Resenrch Center, states that "the role identity of the priest and his professional performance remain almost totally unexamined." The pastoral ministry, the job description of priests, needs more study. Father Greeley in his book P1¡iests in the United States: Reflection on a Survey states that "the real problem in the American Church is not that some priests behave irresponsibly but that a large number of priests do not feel adequately challenged .... Many of us are never given the opportunity to develop our potentialities and talents the way we might have." How can Pastoral Concern respond to some of the questions raised by the Studies? "Pastoral Concern" means that the


216

CHICAGO STUDIES

bishop cares enough about each of his priests to give them an opportunity to grow. The "concerned priest" ("Paul") appointed by the bishop should bring the priest and bishop closer together. While respecting confidentiality, he can keep the bishop infori!)ed of the problems and attitudes of priests and also interpret the Diocesan issues facing the bishop to the priest. The information loop between the bishop, the "Paul" and the priest will give all three a better unrlerstanding of each other's role. The separate worlds of bishop and priest will begin to move together. As Paul and the priest begin to set goals, the need for a common theology of Church will be obvious. What is the operative concept of Church? Is it the pyramid structure concerned with Catholics only, or the servant Church trying to build the Kingdom of God? The need for scholarship, for continuing education, for the exercise of leadership by our theologians will be apparent. Will this new parish center have only classrooms or shaH it provide a center for all community activities? This local decision comes f1¡om the concept of Church existing in the parish. The need for Diocesan research and planning should be more apparent as will be the preparation of men for new ministries to meet the challenges of torlay's society. Scholarship in the Church will be seen as a part of the essence of the Church mission. The problem of dimishing vocations might be turned around if we could spell out goals for community ministry. In a letter to Bishop Malone, the Chairman of the subcommittee of Evaluation anrl Priestly Growth of the Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry, Father Kennedy states: "We need a forthright acknowledgement of the fact that what priests do is important, not just in the clerical culure of the Roman Catholic Church, but because what they say and do for men are vitally important at this time in history. The great questions of human development, the problems that vex the conscience of men evet-ywhere, the recurrent challenges and sorrows of life: these are the points of need at which the priest who lives by the Gospel can insert himself effectively in the life of mankind. He must be helped to see that his challenge is to serve mankind rather than an institution." The challenges of the gospel, the sacramental and social min-


CONCERN

217

istry should be apparent to our idealistic youth as never before. But first, priests need to be sure of their own purpose; they need to be accountable to their people and so enjoy the satisfaction of seeing the effects of their ministry. Students would begin the evaluation process in the Seminary and be comfortable with it as they begin their priestly ministry. THE "CONCERNED PRIEST"

The "concerned priest" or "Paul" who works with each priest answers the problem of support systems. Someone sent by the bishop is concerned with the ministry of each of us. He is concerned with how we live, what we do, what we think, how we communicate with God. He shares our problems or doubts with us. He is someone to thank us for a job well done. He is someone who can encourage priests to new forms of ministry and yet can help him objectively evaluate the reality. of the effect of these ministries for people. The "concerned priest" or "Paul" and the "Pastoral Concern Program" would be at once a personal and pt¡ofessional approach to the priest. The largest group of priests identified uy Father Kennedy, the underdeveloped priests would be challenged in their ministry. The "Paul" also would be able to interpret to the bishop the freedom the priest would need in his ministry. Different life style and dress should evolve out of ministry needs. "Paul" can help individual priests see new challenges in the ministry. The chaplain to the prison concerned with the sacramental ministry to the inmates may become involved with the needed social ministry of prison reform, the spirit of the total prison community or in-service training programs of the gua.rds. He may decide he needs a degree in law or penology to help perform his ministry to the prison community. The "Paul" can be with him as he makes these decisions for an experimental ministry anrl help keep him accountable to the Church and to the people of God. The maldeveloped priest can receive the support and help he needs. When will we stop sending these men off to small country parishes only coming to see them when the disease of alcoholism has literally brought them to their knees and then to punish, cajole, or threaten them. An institution which is to proclaim the good news to all men ends up imposing heavy


218

CHICAGO STUDIES

loads on other men's shoulders, loads they cannot possibly carry. We are told that his classmates should help. But often his classmates are unequipped to recommend treatment for their maldeveloped friend or refuse to discuss the problems until it is too late. The developing priests especially need the guidance, the talking-it-through with their "Paul." They need the support as they take risks, as they move through their doubts. They need to know there is somebody who believes in them as they do that which they feel they must. The developed priests are our gifted men. They should be continually challenged, given positions of leadership where they can present the Church and its gospel to the world. They too need shoulder-to-shoulder assistance as they move at times into new and lonely ministries. The entrepreneur, the independent priest, has been the source of growth in the Church in this country since it began. "Paul" does not remove that independence but he is a colleague who can share the struggles and the accomplishments. The study of the history of our Church shows that the American Church was always called upon to adapt--to new ethnic groups, new national problems. The American priest needs to be helped to meet change, the change of neighborhood, of family structure, of community mores. In our times the winds of change are in the very doctrine and concept of priesthood itself. Who can assist the priest to make the transition, to move into the many social ministries that await his attention, issues of poverty, racism? The issues of Peace and Justice are mandated to be his issues, in fact his responsibility as a minister of the Gospel. "Pastoral Concern," the ministry presence of "Paul," can be with him as he grows to meet the challenges. To refuse, to not wish to be aware of what is happening can have serious results for the total mission of the American Church. The "Paul" is needed to guide priests through the present crisis. The spiritual formation for the faith of the priest, his ability to relate to God is too important to leave to him alone. As the priest struggles in other areas of his ministry, his fidelity and understanding of the call to prayer can be another example of perfectionistic ideals in which he is doomed to fail. The


CONCERN

219

Study points out a way to pray. What will we do with it? A "Paul" could be the source of encouragement and the stimulation of prayer, showing the way, introducing the priest to others who might help him, to resources available to him. Recent social surveys have shown that our people, when asked to list the qualities they most want in a pastor, stated that after the need of a pastor to be a motivator who creates harmony in parish groups, he should be "a man of prayer, of profound Faith, with a deep love of the Euchat;st." We can hardly say then that whether the priest is a man of prayer or not is his own business. The people place it high in the professional qualifications for his effective ministry. If this is true, the institutional Church should seek for more continuing means than attendance at an annual retreat to encourage the 11riest to pray. The relationship built by the "Paul" should provide the best kind of honest discussion and motivation to help the well intentioned priest be truly a man of prayer. PASTORAL CONCERN-THE HOW

We do not need more documents or studies on the priesthood at present. We suggest "Pastoral Concern, a Ministry to Priests" to bring the documents to life. How will we recruit "the concerned priests," the "Paul's," for this ministry? What kind of a priest is he? First he needs the desire to help priests. He should be a man of faith who has integrated his life experiences in the ministry with that faith. He should enjoy people, be approachable and sensitive. He should be aware that he needs training and knowledge of ecclesiology, goal setting, interviewing skills and human behavior. We can easily enlist the skills of professionals in assisting him to acquire this kind of knowledge. Knowledge is important. Love or good will is not enough. "Paul" should not be the Director of Personnel. These are two separate functions. He should come to learn the resources of the Diocese. Let several priests be nominated by the presbytery. The bishop should select men he can work with. The "Paul" should have a good, working relationship with the bishop, and easy access to him. He can be full time, or even part time in this work. There could be several in each Diocese. The priest should be able to select a "Paul" whom he re-


220

CHICAGO STUDIES

spects and is comfortable with. If the "Paul" is to help motivate and modify the behavior of the priest from within he must have his confidence and trust. Usually the "Paul" would not be in a direct authority relationship with the priest. The demands and the need to accomplish the goals of the organization may be in conflict with the quality of the relationship we hope to build. The priest is accountable for the performance of his ministry and accomplishment to the priest or lay person in a direct authority relationship with him. While the person in authority should be essential to a ministerial performance evaluation, a relationship based on authority and the necessity to delivet¡ specific services to people may interfere with the depth of the relationship we would hope for. "Paul" must build a trusting confidential, enabling relationship with the priest. Authority and administration can get in the way. This relationship of understanding and trust, an expression of the concern of the Church for him as a person based on the real world of accomplishment, of failure, should be one means for the growth and development of the priest. The experience should assure the priest that he is loved by his Church and by his Lord. The priest should be able to relate to "Paul" in the following manner: He should feel free to express his feelings to him both negative and positive. He should be assured of a sympathetic understanding and response. He should be treated with respect and dignity, as a person of wotth regardless of his weaknesses or problems. He should be dealt with as an individual, not as a type or category, or case. The priest should be free to make his own choices and decisions upon consultation with "Paul." He should not perceive himself as being"bossed around" but helped to search for the truth. The priest has a need for confidentiality. He should feel free to share his thoughts; he is entitled to confidentiality-the perservation of information. The presence of "Paul" is to be the sign of the love and concern of the Church for the priest. "Paul" is to build on the strengths of the priest. He may help the priest who is unhappy and ineffective in his ministry find a new ministry with honor and dignity. He may refer the priest for special edu-


CONCERN

221

cation, for counselling, or even for psychological assistance if this is indicated. "Paul" is concerned with the total priest. His health, his intellectual life, his growth in spirituality, his family and his recreation. A priest might excel in the performance of his ministerial responsibilities and yet be overworked, discouraged or losing his spiritual motivation. Presence is at the heart of ministry. "Paul" should be available when called upon by the priest he serves. The goal of the relationship is to help the priest become independent and mature, not over-dependent on him. It is relationship of a colleague and co-laborer in the ministry. A more mature human being will be a more effective proclaimer of the good news and leader of the people of God. EVALUATION

Evaluation and Accountability. "Paul" would use the tools of evaluation and accountability to carry out his ministry to the priest. Every priest should be accountable for the performance of his ministry. The lines of accountability should be clearly stated. The associate pastor to the pastor, the pastor to the vicar, the vicar to the bishop. The bishop, after consulati()n with the entire Church, sets the goals of the Diocese. The individual pastor incorporates Diocesan goals and establishes goals for his particular parish community in the same collegial manner. The associate pastors incorporate Diocesan, and parish goals, and establish goals for their particular ministry to the parish community. The scope of accountability for each priest is more than a job description. It defines precisely the functional, administrative and financial duties which the priest is expected to perform. Standards of performance are developed and agreed upon by the priest himself, by the person to whom he is directly accountable and by "Paul." It is strongly recommended that we turn for assistance to appropriate professionals in the services. They will be able to guide us in establishing methods of management by objectives, priorities for ministry, budgeting, ministerial programs, formulating standards of performance and expectation of human behavior. The total pastoral performance goals of the priest are re-


222

CHICAGO STUDIES

viewed by "Paul." The priest in hospital ministry for example would be accountable and evaluated by the director of the hospital, but also his manner of celebrating the Sunday liturgy in the parish would be evaluated as well as other ministry he performs outside the hospital. At the end of the 12 month period the evaluations are made. Each priest evaluates himself. He is evaluated by the person to whom he is directly accountable. He is evaluated by "Paul." He is evaluated by the people receiving the services of his ministry. Dr. Felix Lopez of F. M. Lopez Associates, an industrial psychologist, who is on contract to the Diocese of Brooklyn for Pastoral Performance Evaluation, has developed an interesting "bias free," positive instrument for the people to use in the evaluation of the priest. The evaluations are mailed to the Diocesan Personnel Office, or a central place, where they are prepared and assembled into a working document. The priest, the person to whom the priest is directly accountable and "Paul" meet for the all important evaluation interview. The person to whom the priest is directly accountable is present only for that part of the evaluation interview pertinent to the performance of the priest in his area of ministry. For example, the pastor would be involved in the meeting to review the evaluation of the ministry of the associate pastor in the parish. The final evaluation meeting concerned with the growth of the total man would be done only by the priest and "Paul" since the total evaluation would include goals of prayer, of closer family relationships, of health, even of perhaps confidential matters. The Pastoral Concern has as its prime purpose the making of a more effective minister of the Gospel because he is a more mature, more knowledgeable, more free and more hopeful human being. It builds on the man's strengths, gives him insight into his weaknesses. It provides the good ground for the seeds of ministry to develop under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is a sign of God's Love for priests. It is an experience of the love of God in the life of the priest. I wrote this paper in the midst of an active ministerial priesthood. I am not an "expert." The ideas for "Pastoral Concern" came from listening, seeing, reflecting and living as a priest. They deserve a more articulate spokesman. In the midst


CONCERN

223

of preparing this paper a priest classmate and close friend, John Conlon, was senselessly murdered in his parish rectory. He was a good priest, a matm¡e Christian, independent and free, deeply committed to his ministry. He had gladly worked with the black community of Brooklyn for many years. It was only after his death we all realized how much he had done for people. As I watched the bishops and priests of our Diocese weep for him at his funeral Mass, I felt I experienced "Pastoral Concern." Perhaps some of the loneliness, discouragement, and the struggle of his life could have been helped. I offer this paper and thoughts in his memory.


AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE Frank E. Bognanno is a pastor in Cummings, Iowa; Diocesan renewal co-ordinator for Diocese of Des Moines; legisla. tive co-ordinator for Iowa Catholic Conference and a member of the National Advisory Board for Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Remi J. De Roo is Bishop of Vancouver, Canada; co-chairman of Canadian Conference of Bishops and Priests for Study of Priesthood in Canada; and one of seven Catholic observers to Lambeth Conference in 1968. John T. Fagan received a graduate degree in Social Work in 1962 from Fordham University. In 1966 he was elected to the Priests' Senate of Brooklyn, and has served as the Secretary of the Priests' Councils of New York since 1968. He was appointed as a Consultant to the Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Priestly Life and Ministry of the N.C.C.B. in 1972. James J. Gill, S.J., M.D., is a member of the staff of Harvard University Health Services, Cambridge, Mass. He received his medical degree from Marquette and did his psychiatric residency training at Institute of Living, Hartford, Conn. Francis Borgia Rothluebber, O.S.F., is the President of the School Sisters of St. Francis, and Vice-President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. She was formerly the principle of Alvernia High School in Chicago and co-ordinator of religious education for Chicago Archdiocesan School Board. Thomas Sweetser, S.J., has a M.A. in sociology from the University of Minnesota; M.A. in Theology from Loyola University (Chicago); Th.D. (cand.) Chicago Theological Seminary. He is beginning a program of parish evaluation with the support of the National Federation of Priests' Councils. 224

Summer 1973  

Volume 12:2