household and land tax act b.e. 2475 and community development tax act b.e. 2508 | Pollux (2023)

household and land tax act b.e. 2475 and community development tax act b.e. 2508 | Pollux (1)

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Review for Religious - Issue 41.6 (November/December 1982) (1982)

Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus

Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus

Issue 41.6 of the Review for Religious, November/December 1982. ; A Pope for Religious Advent: Not Ours But God's Religious in Politics Volume 41 Number 6 Nov./Dec., 1982 REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS (ISSN 0034-639X), published every two months, is edited in collaboration with the faculty members of the Department of Theological Studies of St. Louis University. The editorial offices are located at Room 428:3601 Lindell Blvd.: St. Louis, MO 63108. REvIEw FOR REt.IGIOUS is owned by the Missouri Province Educational Institute of the Society of Jesus, St. Louis, MO: © 1982 by REVIEW FOR RELIGIOOS. Composed, printed and manufactured in U.S.A. Second class postage paid at St. Louis, MO. Single copies: $2.50. Subscription U.S.A.: $9.00 a year: $17.00 for two years. Other countries: $10.00 a year: $19.00 for two years. For subscription orders or change of address, write: REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS; P.O. Box 6070; Duluth, MN 55806. Daniel F. X. Meenan, S.J. Dolores Greeley, R.S.M. Daniel T. Costello, S.J. Joseph F. Gallen, S.J. Jean Read Editor Associate Editor Book Editor Questions and Answers Editor Assistant Editor Nov./Dec., 1982 Volume 41 Number 6 Manuscripts, books for review and correspondence with the editor should be sent to REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS; Room 428; 3601 Lindell Blvd.; St. Louis, MO 63108. Questions for answering should be sent to Joseph F. Gallen, S.J.; Jesuit Community; St. Joseph's University; City Avenue at 54th St.; Philadelphia, PA 19131. Back issues and reprints should be ordered from REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS; Room 428; 3601 Lindell Blvd.; St. Louis, MO 63108. "Out of print" issues and articles not published as reprints are available from University Microfilms International; 300 N. Zeeb Rd.; Ann Arbor, MI 48106. A Pope for Religious: John Paul II on the Consecrated Life Barbara Albrecht This article is the Introduction to the book of homilies, addresses and writings edited by Dr. Albrecht: Johannes Paul II: Gottgeweihtes Leben (Vallendar-SchiSnstatt: Patris Verlag, 1982). pp. 336. It was translated by Sister M. Ingeborg, O.S.F.; St. Francis Novitiate; 2120 Central Avenue: Alton, IL 62002. His special messages and conferences, the many addresses to religious in Rome and during his pastoral travels show us in John Paul II a pope who is truly a friend who genuinely treasures religious communities. John Paul 1I has a very special sensitivity for the specific charism of each community, for its singular importance .in the life of the Church as a whole. The religious vocation belongs to that "spiritual fullness which the Spirit himself--the Spirit of Christ--brings forth,and molds in the People of God. Without religious orders, without 'consecrated' life, by means of its vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, the Church would not be fully herself."l The pope, himself a strong spiritual leader, forcefully reminds us of the priori-ties of religious life. He accentuates, warns of dangers, challenges--and all this as one who, with inner strength and clarity, tries to live out the mission of his office, fully aware of his responsibility before its Lord t:or the Church in our time. A survey of the highlights of John Paul's teaching makes for an effective summary of a practical theology of religious life. Call to Religious Life The interplay of the divine free call and the human freeyes to that call in a life ~To Superiors General of Men, Rome, November 24, 1978. L'Osservatore Romano. December 7, 1978, p. 3. All citations are from L'Osservatore Romano. and will be indicated by date of issue and page (English Edition). 801 1~02 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 consecrated to the Triune God is a mystery which e.merges out of the "creative initiative of God" and his loving providence over each individual.2 The call to religious life, then, is not first of all a duty, but a gift, "an immense and gratuitous gift from God."3 It is the basis for continuous thanksgiving and deep joy and, yes, for wonder! This is the ever-new wonder: "Whoever takes up the risk of following a religious vocationTM gains, "through the sweet breath of the Holy Spirit in his frail human reality a real form." At the same time, John Paul is caught by the "strength which, consolidating us in love, incorporates our existence with the work of God, with his plan of re-creating man in Christ, that is, the formation of his new redeemed family."~ This Christian calling is not for the individual alone. On the contrary, it is always an offer of love and of salvation for all. This is the fact that gives to each one who is called a responsibility for others through the witness of his life and of his service.6 A vocation to religious life is a mystery of love-as-dialogue because "we respond lovingly to the initiative of love," as the pope told seminarians and candidates for religious life in Porto Alegre.7 Our yes, given in love, is a matter of our faith in the faithful God, the faith with which the individual firmly grounds himself in God who calls. And simultaneously ouryes is the greatest expression of our freedom. This loving, free answer of ours is expressed in the threefold vows of the evangelical counsels. John Paul told reli-gious men in Chicago: No matter what others may contend or the world may believe, your promises to observe the evangelical counsels have not shackled your freedom. You are not less free because you are obedient, and you are not less loving because of your celibacy. On the contrary: The faithful practice of the evangelical counsels accentuates your human dignity, liberates' the human heart . But this freedom of an individed heart (see I Co 7:23-35) must be maintained by continual vigilance and fervent prayer.8 This vigilance refers especially to the authenticity of our life of the evangelical counsels. One important aspect of this authenticity is the art with which conse-crated men and women give their total love to God and, at the same time, meet their brothers and sisters--freely and effortlessly. The pope expressed this to women religious in Paris: May your vow of consecrated virginity impel you to join in actual fact with your brothers and sisters in humanity, in the concrete situations in which they find themselves! So many people of our world are, as it were, lost, crushed, without hope! Being mindful of the norms of prudence, make them feel that you love them in the manner of Christ, drawing from his heart 2To Those Called to the Priesthood and Religious Life and Their Directors, Porto Alegre, July 5. 1980. July 28, 1980. p. 6. ~To the Union of Superiors General of Won~en, Rome, November 14. 1979. November 26, 1979, p. 8. 4To Women Religious, Paris. May 31, 1980. June 9, 1980, p. 7. ~To Seminarians at the Major Seminary inGuadalajara, January 30, 1979. February 19, 1979, p. 4. 6To Women Religious, Paris, May 31, 1980. June 9, 1980, p. 7 7Lot. tit,. p. 6. ¯ 8To Religious Men. Chicago, October 4, 1979. October 29, 1979. p. 5 A Pope for Religious / 1103 the human and divine tenderness that he bears them. You also promised Christ to be poor with him and like him. Certainly our society of production and consumption raises complex problems for the practice of evangelical poverty. This is not the place or the time to discuss them. It seems to me that every congregation must see in this economic phenomenon a providential invitation to give an answer, at once tradi-tional and new. to Christ in his poverty? Poverty must, however, be genuinely evangelical in order to be able to recognize Christ in the "humblest." It is necessary to be able to identify oneself with one's brother in need by being "poor in spirit"(see Mt 5:3). Now this calls for simplicity and humility, love of peace, freedom from dissipative commitments or attachments, an inclination toward total abnegation that is free and obedient, spontaneous and constant, gentle'and strong in the certainties of faith.~° The Gospel meaning of poverty cannot be reduced to its material aspect alone. We have a plethora of possibility today to live it in ever new ways. To recognize such possibility in the Holy Spirit and to act on this understanding--this is the imitation of Jesus Christ, and, at the same time, a real service to our society. "All religious have the responsibility of reintroducing into society, with univocal wit-ness through the conversion of heart and of life-style, the values of real poverty, simplicity of life, fraternal love, and generous sharing."~ The Holy Father deliber-ately ended the fifteenth centenary of St. Benedict, and began the eighth centenary of St. Francis' birth under this heading of poverty. Finally, obedience is "the resolute and constant aspiration to conform our own will to that of God."t2 Religious obedience is certainly the sharpest of the three gold nails which attach [his] imitators to the will of Jesus Christ. Is it possible to look at the cross of the Lord Jesus without conforming to his mystery of obedience to the Father?t3 This question is addressed to all religious. The Holy Father pointed out very clearly that such obedience will find expression in our dependence on human superiors. There is yet another aspect of the consecrated life to which the Holy Father often turned. Such a life, consecrated to the eternal God, of its very essence has a great deal to do with perseverance. In Altftting, he reminded thousands of religious: Believing in the faithfulness of the One who calls and in the power of his Spirit, you put yourselves at God's disposal through the vows of poverty, consecrated virginity, and obedi-ence, and this not as an "obligation which can be revoked," not as a "life in a monastery for a time," not as co-workers in a group that has come together fora specific task and which breaks up again at will. No, in faith you have spoken a yes which is all-inclusive and forever, which finds its expression in your way of life and even in your religious garb. In our time, when people shy away from binding ties, when many would like to turn to a life of"testing," it 9Lot. cir. p. 7. t0To Religious Women, S~o Paulo, July 3, 1980. July 21, "1980, p. 3. ~Homily at St. Paul Outside the Walls. Mar~h 21, 1981. March 30. 1981, "p. 2. ~2To Religious Women of the Umbriah Dioceses. March 23, 1980. March 31, 1980, p. 9. ~3To the Daughters of Charity; January I I, 1980. February 4. 1980, p. 7. 8~ ] Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 belongs to you to testify that one can dare to enter into a definitive bond, to make a decision for God which embraces one's whole life, which makes you free and happy if it is renewed day after day.t4 Persons who give this kind of joyful witness "make the religious vocation in the Church to be something attractive."~5 They are the "best advertisement" for reli-gious vocations. It is self-understood that first of all we have to pray for vocations. But young people should also be enthusiastically invited to this way of following Christ in our pastoral work among the young.~6. Yes, the pope calls upon bishops and priests to become interested on a per-sonal level in religious vocations--just as he did himself when he was bishop in Krakow, and on the occasions of his pastoral journeys later when he became pope. At every opportunity he repeats: Go among the young! Meet them personally and call them. The hearts of the young and those not so young anymore are ready to listen to you. Many are searching for a goal in their lives. They are concerned about discovering a worthwhile mission in life to which they can dedicate themselves. Christ has prepared them for his call and your call. We have to call! The Lord will do the rest. His fundamental suggestion is: "Nothing without God--but nothing also without us!" This very old Catholic truth becomes truly concrete when it is applied to vocations to the consecrated life. The Charism of the Founder At a time when the younger generation appears to have lost any sense for tradition and history (which is one reason for the phenomenon of internal crisis in the Church) it is evident that the pope intends to give clear reminders to religious of their origins. The beginnings of the many orders and religious communities in which indi-viduals today live out their consecrated lives are not at all like musty archives, but like lively fountains, vital fires, lives lived in obedience to the Holy Spirit, lives in which the founders and foundresses, responding to their call from God, accepted and carried out their missions under the most trying of circumstances. At the start of each congregation stands some prophetic figure, one who was seized by a special mission, endowed with a special charism: Each of your founders, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit promised by Christ to the Church, was a man who possessed a particular charism. Christ had in him an exceptional ~instrument" for his work of salvation which, especially in this way, is perpetuated in the history of the human family. The Church has gradually assumed these charisms, evaluated them, and, when she found them authentic, thanked the Lord for them and tried to "put them in a safe place" in the life of the community so that they could always yield fruit)7 Therefore it is the expressed desire of the pope that those who are called to a ~4Homily to Religious, November 18, 1980. December 15, 1980, p. I I. ~To Religious Men, Manila Cathedral, February 17, 1981. February 23, 1981, p. 6. ~6To Bishops of Latin America, Puebla, January 28, 1979. February 5, 1979,~ p. 5. ~TTo Superiors General of Men, Rome, November 24, 1978. December 7, 1978. p. 3. A Pope for Religious consecrated life in community, especially contemplatives, will study more and more deeply, in order to live it more and more intensely, the spirituality of their founders, without letting themselves be tempted by more fashionable methods or tech-niques, the inspiration of which has often little to do with the Gospel. The contemplative and mystical heritage of the Church is exceptionally vast and deep. It is necessary, therefore, to take care that all monasteries will undertake to get to know it, cultivate it, and teach But more than a few religious communities today have forgotten their beginnings. They do not know the specific spirituality and the mission on the basis of which the founding generation took its start. It is no wonder that this leads to a leveling among them, to the loss 6f the spiritual lineaments not only of the specific community but of the entire Church. In truth, it is not surrender to compromise~9 and a leveling process, but a distinctive portrait, not uniformity but a pluralism of charisms that makes for the beauty of the Church. Therefore the pope exhorts: Let every spiritual family watch over its particular identity in view of the good of the whole Church. What is done in one place is not necessarily to be imitated elsewhere.2° The Church needs a clear difference (and not a confusion) and the valid complementarity (and not isolation) of charisms and vocations . The spiritual richness of the Church and of her service to men lies in variety.2~ It is precisely this that presents to the searching Christian youth of today the chance for each one to find his way to follow his call and mission according to God's plan. Only in faithfulness to Christ and to the charism of each founder or foundress will this variety be safeguarded. And only in this faithfulness will be found the key that opens and secures the effectiveness of each order. The Witness of Being Anyone who reads the remarks of the Holy Father with an open mind will perceive his appreciation for the varied activity 0f religious in the apostolate, whether new or old. We could not find a warmer expression of papal approval of service to the poor and sick than in John Paul's letter marking the four-hundredth birthday of St. Vincent de Paul, or more encouraging words about the catechetical and pastoral service of religious women than those he spoke in Kinshasa/Zaire. But all apostolic work would be in vain if it were not founded on a strong spiritual life. What the Holy Father had said to priests and religious in Maynooth, he repeated to the superiors general in Rome, again to the plenary session of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes. and, finally, to monks at Saint Paul's: Your first apostolic duty is your own sanctification. No change in religious life has any importance unless it be also the conversion of yourself to Christ. No movement in religious life has any importance unless it be also a movement inwards to the "still center" of your ~STo Plenary Session of the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, Rome, March 7. 1980. March 24, 1980, p. 4. ~gTo Religious Women, Rome. November 10. 1978. November 23, 1978, p. 10. -'°To the Carmelites of Lisieux. June 2, 1980. June 23, 1980, p. 14. 2~To Religious Men. S~o Paulo. July 3, 1980. July 21. 1980, p. 7. 1106 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 existence, where Christ is. It is not what you do that matters most but what you are.:'- It would totally misrepresent his words to interpret this primacy of being and of personal sanctification as some kind of ego-centered salvation. The Holy Father does not want religious to become turned in on themselves, centered around their own egos. But he is concerned "that Jesus must always be first.''-3 He is concerned about their witness "to the primacy of God,"~4 about the credibility of the lives of those who have received the "gift" of a special call in the imitation of Christ.25 This call is something that "deserves, but also costs, the response of our whole being."~6 "A vocation is, therefore, a mystery that man accepts and lives in the depth of his being.''~7 "The Epiphany, the appearance of our Lord, which you love to celebrate here, depends on you!" he told religious women in Africa.28 This summons should be an imperative for us all, " so that the world may believe." Prayer and Contemplation Again and again the Holy Father affirms the absolute necessity of the vertical, contemplative dimension of religious life, and this not just for monastic-contem-plative religious, but for active apostolic communities: daily meditation on the Word of God, personal and communal prayer, gratitude and praise of God, add the petition for the "freedom of an undivided heart."~9 The Holy Father is, of course, aware of the tension between prayer and work. He knows that "a constant danger for apostolic workers is to become so much involved in their own work for the Lord as to forget the Lord of all work."3° But there is another danger in our world today. Through the very s~ams of convent walls seeps "the temptation to activism and distraction that the modern consumer society brings in its train, with all its materialistic overtones.TM Because of this, the Holy Father reminds religious of the absolute necessity of silence in every form of religious life. This element of the spiritual life "calls for areas of actual silence and personal discipline in order to facilitate contact with God."32 What is true for the individual is equally applicable to religious houses: Religious houses must be, above all. oases of prayer and meditation, places of personal and community dialogue with him who is and must remain the first and principal interlocutor of -'-'To Priests, Missionaries. Religious Brothers and Sisters. Maynooth, October I. 1979. October. 15. 1979. p. 6. -'3To Religious Women, Washington. October 7, 1979. November 5, 1979. p. 3. ~4To the International Union of Mothers General, Rome, November 16, 1978. November 30, 1978, p. 3. ~Porto Alegr¢, Ioc. cir. p. 6. 2~To Enclosed Nuns, Guadalajara. January 30, 1979. February 12. 1979. p. 8. ~TPorto AIcgre, Ioc. cit. p. 6. -'SKinshasha, May 3, 1980. May 19, 1980. p. 3. -'~To Religious Men, Chicago, Ioc cit. p. 5. ¯ ~°To Plenary Session of the Sacred Congregation, Ioc. cir. p. 3. 3~To Religious Women, Nagasaki, February 26, 1981. March 9, p. 18. ¯ ~-'To Plenary Session of the Sacred Congregation, Ioc. cir., p. 3. A Pope for Religious 807 their days, so full of work. Superiors must not be afraid, therefore, of often reminding their confreres that a pause of real worship is more fruitful and rich than any other activity even if intense and of an apostolic characterP3 Every generous service to men draws possibilities and impetus precisely from this prayerP4 Mere human kindness will not be enough. People have to feel that through you someone else is at work. To the extent that you live your total consecration to the Lord, you communi-cate something of him, and, ultimately, it is he for whom the human heart is longing.-~ In this connection it is to be observed how deep are the bonds which link the Holy Father to the contemplative branch of religious life. He hardly gives any talk in which he does not mention its importance for the Church and the world of today. What he tells the sisters in Lisieux holds true for all: Take up the challenge of the modern world and of the world of always, by living more radically than ever the very mystery of your quite original state, which is folly in the eyes of the world and wisdom in the Holy Spirit: exclusive love of the Lord and of all your human brothers in him. Do not seek to justify yourselves! All love, provided it is authentic, pure and disinterested, bears in itself its own justification. To love gratuitously is an inalienable right of the person even--and one should say above all--when the Beloved is God himself. In the footsteps of contemplatives and mystics of all times, continue to bear witness with power and humility to the transcendent dimension of the human person, created in the likeness of God and called to a life of intimacy with him.J6 Demands of the Apostolate The spiritual demands underlying all the apostolates of one who is called to the consecrated life have already been discussed, as has been the symbiosis of prayer and work. The Holy Father tells women religious in Baclaran that this demands, very concretely, ¯. in the taxing routine of your apostolic tasks [that you] always make sure that you devote periods of each day to personal and community prayers. These times of prayer must be carefully guarded and suitably prolonged, and you must not hesitate to supplement them by periods of more intense recollection and prayer, at times especially set aside for this purpose. You must always insure that the mutual center of your communities is the Eucharist: you will accomplish this by your fervent daily participation in the Mass, and by community prayer in an oratory where the eucharistic presence of Christ expresses and realizes what must be the principle mission of every religious family.37 Another directive to ffhich the Holy Father gives voice in forceful language has to do with the quality of apostolic work, especially in regard to its theological, spiritual, human and professional aspects, and always is this to be pursued in brotherly or sisterly solidarity: Help one another, among religious houses, among congregations, to organize times and ~Ibid. ~To Union of Superiors General of Men, Rome, November ~26. 1979. December 24, 1979, p. 5. 3~To Religious. Altrtting, November 18, 1980. December 15, 1980, p. 12. ~'To the Carmelites of Lisieux, Ioc. cir., p. 14. aTBaclaran, February 17, 1981. February 23, 1981, p. 5. 808 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 places of silence and meditation, in order to benefit from sessions of spirituality, theology, and ministry. Encourage one another to take part in them. Contribute by mutual aid to cover the expenses caused by these retreats and sessions. Your love for one another should be clearly seen. Because you are religious today, it is indispensable, even if you are contemplatives, to watch over your human formation, to sufficiently know the life and the problems of people today, especially if you have the mission of proclaiming the Gospel to them. Young people and adults are sensitive to the humanity of those who have "given everything to gain every-thing" to follow Christ.38 "Your professional competence is equally a very important factor and you will have to take it very seriously and keep it up-to-date. Also in this regard a symbiosis is necessary." Thus did the Holy Father speak to the General Chapter of the Hospital Order of St. John of God. "Only a professional, a purely human relation-ship, even with the sick, runs the risk of drying up for lack of roots and deep motivations. But if your work is not filtered through faith, it is always in danger of becoming materialized and of losing even the human elements."39 Only with the help of a deep inner saturation with prayer, faith, and professional competence can the work of religious be transformed into a true apostolate. In this connection the Holy Father makes frequent mention of that particular group of consecrated religious who are of special importance for every apostolate: How could I forget the sick sisters, and those who are infirm and old? Throughout the day and often at night, when sleep is difficult, they present to the Lord the silent offering of their almost uninterrupted prayers, their physical or moral sufferings, their "fiat" to the divine Will. They, too, are the priestly people that Christ won with his blood on the Cross. With him they save the world.4° Therefore all the members of the community should give them special, grate-ful, and loving attention. The Holy Father offers yet another direction for the right understanding of the religious apostolate, one which is important not only for the young Church, but for the entire Church: It is well-known that religious orders have always cultivated the vertical dimension by entering into a life with the Gospel and bearing witness to it through the example of the Gospel reread authentically: that is, on the basis of the Church and in faithfulness to her magisterium. It must be so today also. Witness, yes--protest, no! On every community, on every religious there weighs a particular co-responsibility for the real presence of Christ, meek and humble of heart, in the world of today--of the crucified and risen Christ--Christ among brothers. This is the spirit of evangelical maximalism which is differentiated from any socio-political radicalism.4~ What the Holy Father reminded religious of in Manila has to be the direction for all religious: "Faithfulness to Christ in religious life requires a threefold fidelity: fidelity to the Gospel, fidelity to the Church, fidelity to the particular charism of 38To Religious Women, Kinshasha, Ioc. cir. p. 3. 39Rome, December 13, 1979. January 7, 1980. p. 12. ~°Kinshasha, Ioc. cir. p. 3. '~To Union of Superiors General of Men. Rome, November 24, 1978. December 7. 1978, p. 3. A Pope for Religious ] 809 your institute."4-~ This brings us to one of the most important demands regarding the apostolate of religious communities: collaboration. What is meant here is collaboration on every level: between organizations of major superiors with national conferences of bishops, between religious and ordinaries, between religious and diocesan priests, between religious and the laity. In view of the disruptions which have begun to appear in many places, the Holy Father emphatically and distinctly pointed to the function of uniting and of teaching that pertains to the authority of bishops. He is concerned that religious in their theological teaching and pastoral practice "not only accept but seek loyally an unbreakable unity of aim and action with their bishops. To the bishops the Lord entrusted the mission of feeding the flock. To religious it belongs to blaze the trails for evangelization. It cannot be. it ought not to be. that the bishops should lack responsible and active, yet at the same time, docile and trusting collaboration of the religious, whose charism makes them ever more ready agents at the service of the Gospel. In this matter everybody in the ecclesial community has a duty of avoiding magisteria other than the Church's magisterium, for they are ecclcsially unacceptable and pastorally sterile.43 Nobody knows better than the Holy Father how important, in every regard, is the inner unity of the Church. To his difficult task he brings the experience of a bishopfrom a country under the sway of communism. It is for the well-being of the life of the Church that he appeals to the spiritual capacity of religious to work for unity within the Church. To religious men in the cathedral in Manila he said: As religious you are in a position to make a special contribution to the promotion of the unity of the Church. Your experience of community life, common prayer, and corporate apostolic ¯ service prepares you for this task. May you dedicate yourselves to the great cause of unity with renewed vigor, seeking in a spirit of openness and respect to break down barriers of division and to encourage the progress of harmony and mutual collaboration.4~ Community Life Characteristic of the consecrated life of virginity, poverty and obedience is that it is not vowed and lived outside but inside a community. In his address to superiors general John Paul said: Community life is in fact an important element of religious life. It has been a characteristic of the lives of religious persons from the beginning because spiritual bonds cannot be created. developed and perpetuated unless through daily and prolonged relations. This community life, in evangelical charity, is closely linked with the mystery of the Church which is a mystery of communion and participation, and gives proof of your consecration to Christ. Make every effort that this community life may be facilitated and loved, becoming in this way a precious means of mutual help and personal fulfillment.45 Concretely the Holy Father admonished the superiors general to do everything 4"Lot. cir. p. 6. ~To Bishops of Latin America, Puebla, Ioc. cit,, p. 4. aLoe. cir., p. 7. ~STo Superiors General of Women. Ioc. cir., pp. 8. 12. 810/ Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 "that can contribute to union of minds and hearts. The world is very sensitive to the witness that good or bad religious communities are giving. A sisterly, fervent and authentic life is indispensable in order that women religious may cope, in a lasting way, with the obligations, toil and difficulties that a life of consecration and apostolate entails in the world today."a6 Moreover, the superior has a genuine human and spiritual obligation to take care that every individual feel responsible for building up the community: Acceptance of one's brother, with his qualities and his limitations, the effort to coordinate one's own initiatives with decisions matured together, the self-criticisms imposed by continu-ous confrontation with the evaluations and points of view of others, become not only a very effective training ground of human and Christian virtue but also a precious opportunity for constant verification of the earnestness with which one endeavors to put into practice in one's life the obligations assumed in the religious profession.47 "Charity begins at home!" The "neighbor," in the meaning of the Gospel, is first of all one's co-brother or co-sister. True love for this very concrete neighbor should urge everyone to "be concerned with the well-being of the brother and to put aside one's own advantage." "If a person endeavors day by day to bring into harmony the absolute necessity of silence and modesty with the other absolute necessity of participation in community life, then there grows in him the ability to act as a genuine person who stands in the right relationship with God and with the others." These answers about community which the Holy Father gave to the Benedictines hold true for all other religious communities as well. To make this kind of community life possible requires real authority in the superior. The exercise of authority, in a spirit of service and love for all the sisters, is a vital task, even though a difficult one, which calls for no little courage and dedication. The superior has the duty to help the sisters to realize their vocation more and more perfectly. She cannot shirk this obligation which is certainly an arduous but indispensable one. To carry out this duty calls for constant prayer, reflection, consultation, and also courageous decisions, in awareness of your personal responsibility before God, the Church, and the sisters themselves who expect this service. Weakness. like authoritarianism, are deviations that are equally harmful for the good of souls and the proclamation of the kingdom?~ The Holy Father reads the essence and practice of genuine authority in a very concentrated and fundamental way in what St. Benedict wrote in his Rule about the abbot as spiritual father. It contains such richness that it would be profitable for all superiors, men and women, to study the Rule of him who traditionally is thought to be the Father of monks and of orders, beginning with a personal meditation on John Paul's papal letter marking the fifteen-hundredth birthday of St. Benedict. There is yet another aspect of community life upon which the pope frequently ~lbid. *TTo Religious Brothers of Clerical and Lay Institutes, Rome, January 12, 1980. February 4, 1980, p. 9. '=STo the Union of Superiors General of Women, Ioc. cir., p. 12. A Pope for Religious / 811 touches, and which sheds light on the importance of community life for the Church and for the whole world: Having come to religious life from very different social environments, countries and even continents, you live in communities to bear witness--contrary to nationalistic feelings, preju-dices, sometimes hatred--to the possibility and the reality of this universal brotherhood, to which all people vaguely aspire.49 Communities (the one addressed here directly is that of the White Fathers) have to be and are ¯ . . witnesses that prejudices of race, class, nation and culture can be overcome for the kingdom of God. It is on this basis that you live your consecration to the mission. It is from this basis that you wish to advance along the ways of deep spiritual life, where the values of poverty, chastity and obedience find their whole meaning again, whether you are priests or brothers. The Pope deeply rejoices at this and encourages you from the bottom of his heart. The Church and the world today absolutely need those communities in which sharing and communion are not just words, but realities lived from day to day, with humility and enthusiasm. Is it necessary to add that such concrete expressions of brotherhood will be, in themselves, a call to the young and even adults of all countries, to take their place in your ranks and carry on in the future?~° "Community" should not only be lived within one's own convent and in one's own congregation. There is a very acute demand for cooperation among all orders and religious communities, ¯. whether you are dedicated to contemplation or engaged in the direct tasks of evangeliza-tion, to be on extremely fraternal terms among yourselves and among congregations, and to help one another, better and better, on three planes which seem to me essential: to see your consecration in the right way and carry it out courageously, to be eager to take part in the mission of the Church, to pursue a solid spiritual formation and judicious openness to realities of your age and your environmentP~ Were these, and the other many thoughts sketched by the Holy Father able to shed light into the darkened areas of our hearts, leading us once again into a deep joy over our religious communities, it would be an unequalled contribution to the unity of the Church! Self-ldentity The Holy Father recognizes that the topic of self-identiO, is "hot." This is why the concept, if not the word, so frequently recurs in his talks. Fundamentally, this concept is but a variation of the theme that he often stresses regarding the fidelity which the individual and the congregation should have to the charism of the respective founder. Now he broadens the idea, referring to the consecrated life as "religious," and then referring specifically to the religious man or woman. The urgency of the problem is evidenced by the following statements addressed to religious men in S~o Paulo: 49To Religious Women, Kinshasha, Ioc, cit. p. 2. ~OGeneral Chapter, December 15, 1980. February 2, 1981. p. 12. ~Kinshasha, Ioc. cir. p. 2. 1~12 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 In the pursuit of pastoral collaboration there is a frequent temptation to dilute as much as possible, almost to the point of extinction, that which characterizes and identifies religious life and religious [thcmselves]. It is clear that it is not helpful either for religious life or for collaboration. A religious priest, immersed in the apostolate alongside diocesan priests should show clearly by his attitude that he is a religious. The community should be able to sense it. The same should be said of a religious who is not a priest, or of a sister, in their respective collaboration with lay pcople.~-' The situation described by the Holy Father for women religious in Mexico also often applies to all religious: But there are not lacking, either, examples of confusion with regard to the very essence of consecrated life and one's own charism. Sometimes prayer is abandoned and is replaced by action: the vows are interpreted according to the secularizing mentality which dulls the religious motivation of one's own state; community life is abandoned with a certain irrespon-sibility; socio-political attitudes are adopted as the real aim to pursue, even with well-defined ideological radicalizations. And when the certainties of faith arc sometimes dimmed, motives arc put forward, such as the seeking of new horizons and experiences, perhaps with the pretext of being closer to men, when it may be a question of concrete groups chosen with criteria that are not always evangelical. Beloved sisters, never forget that to maintain a clear concept of the value of your conse-crated life you need a deep vision of faith which is nourished and preserved with prayer. This faith will enable you to overcome all uncertainty with regard to your own identity.5-~ The situation he thus sketches seems to be what lays behind the Holy Father's intense exhortation to religious women in Paris regarding external appearance: "Never be afraid to let your identity as women consecrated to the Lord be clearly recognized. Christians, and those who are not, have the right to know who you are!"54 The Holy Father's concern is not only in regard to an understanding of religious life in general. Even more does he touch upon the problem of identity in regard to the religious man and woman. In regard to religious men, the Holy Father expressed himself in very clear terms on the occasion of the celebration of the Benedictine centenary, when he spoke about spiritual fatherhood in a father-less world. Still more specifically, though only briefly, did he address religious women. The pope picked up and developed the phrase of the superiors general, "Let us first be Christians," coupled with the addition that some made, "Let us first be women," saying that, in his opinion, they are not mutually exclusive. They become one in the mystery which embraces the mission of women in a very special way, placing them directly in its center: the mystery of the Church as Mother and as Bride. This involves a lived surrender. There is. it seems, in a woman's body and heart an extraordinary disposition to make her life a royal offering to Christ as the one Bridegroom. This femininity--often considered by a certain public opinion as sacrificed in a foolish way in religious life--is, as a matter of fact. reformed 5~-Loc. cit. p. 7. 53January 27. 1979. L'Osservatore Romano. February 12, 1979. p. 4. A Pope for Religious and expanded on a higher plane: that of the kingdom of God. For example, physical fecundi-ty, which has such a great place in African tradition, as well as attachment to the family, are values that can be lived by the African sister within a far wider and ever renewed community, and to the benefit of an absolutely astonishing spiritual fecundityPS It should make us wonder why there is a lack of community spirit, of loneli-ness, of unrecognized and unlived womanhood in some religious women when there is such a natural foundation in the very being of woman. It is hard to live the dignity of woman in accordance with God's plan when the natural foundation has hardly been tapped. Those who are concerned with the formation of young reli-gious should keep this in mind. Otherwise it would be impossible to fulfill what the Holy Father rightly expects of religious women: "The witness of a harmonious and mature personality, which is able to establish relations with others without unjusti-fied prejudices or ingenuous imprudence, but with cordial openness and serene balance."56 St. Catherine of Siena is for the Holy Father "a masterpiece of grace, renewing and raising the creature to the perfection of holiness, which is also the full realiza-tion of the fundamental values of humanity," in this case, of being a woman. In her nature as a woman, [Catherine] was generously endowed with imagination, intuition, sensitiveness, willpower and industry, with capability and power of communication, with readiness for giving of herself and for service. She is transfigured, but not impoverished in the light of Christ who calls her to be his bride and to identify herself mystically with him in the depth of "interior knowledge" as well as to commit herself in charitable, social, and even political action, in the midst of the great and the ordinary, the rich and the poor. the learned and the ignorant.$7 What stands out the most, in all apostolates, is always hidden service. This apostolate is usually hidden, near to the human being, and so more suited to a woman's soul. sensitive to her neighbor, and hence called to the task of a sister and mother. It is precisely this vocation which is at the very "heart" of your religious being. As Bishop of Rome I beg you: Be spiritually mothers and sisters for all the people of this Church which Jesus. in his ineffable mercy and grace, has wished to entrust to me. Be this for everyone, without exception, but especially for the sick, the suffering, the abandoned, the children, the young, families in difficult situations . Go out towards them! Do not wait for them to come to you! Look for them yourselves! Love drives us to do so!~ Difficulties, Experimentation, Renewal The pope is a realist. He sees the tremendous interior and exterior difficulties with which the whole Church must contend today: young Christians on the way to making their life-decisions, Christians in religious communities, and especially those who must bear their responsibility as superiors. John Paul II does not try to ~ Loc. cir. p. 7. 55Kinshasha, Ioc. c#., p. 2. 5~At Rome. Ioc. cir., p. 10. STCelebration of the Sixth Centenary of St. Catherine of Siena. St. Peter's Basilica. April 30, 1980. June 23. 1980, p. 7. ~STo Religious Women, Rome, lot'. tit. p. 5. 814 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 minimize the number of difficulties, as, for example, when to religious at Czesto-chowa he spoke of times "when you will have to endure inward or outward suffering or darkness."~9 Difficult to accept also are "the rapid social changes in a country, or the small number and the aging of your°subjects."~0 But the Holy Father is even more radical in addressing the topic of other "difficulties." He searches out roots which quite possibly come not from outside but from within the hearts of those who are called: Why is our testimony sometimes in vain? Because we present Jesus without the whole attrac-tive power of his Person, without revealing the riches of the sublime ideal that following him involves, because we do not always succeed in showing a conviction, expressed in real life, with regard to the stupendous value of our dedication to the great ecclesial cause that we serve.6~ This summation could very likely serve as an examination of conscience for many today. To the International Assembly of Superiors General in Rome the Holy Father mentioned still other kinds of difficulties. Throughout he shows great insight and gives clear directives for resolving them within--or at least making them bearable. The Holy Father ¯ . . wishes to give [religious] encouragement and comfort in the accomplishment of a commitment that is always demanding, often accompanied by the sign of the cross and by painful solitude, and which calls, on the side [of you superiors] for a deep sense of responsibil-ity. a generosity without weakness and confusion, and constant forgetfulness of yourselves. You, in fact, must sustain and guide your sisters in this post-conciliar period, which is certainly rich in new experiences, but also so exposed to errors and deviations, which you try to avoid and correct.62 This is not at all to suggest that John Paul II seeks to block all experimenta-tion. Were this so, he would not have asked the mothers general, in the face of"the wind of interminable researches and experiments: accept all these realities. Take them seriously, never tragically. Seek calmly for gradual, clear and courageous solutions.6~ No step forward in any direction is possible, unless starting from those already taken, but, vice versa, to stop at the latter is a sign of sterile stagnation,u The years of searching, sometimes of uncertainty and unrest have been years of purifica-tion. No~; we should be entering a period of consolidation and of construction.6~ After the years of experience, aimed at updating religious life, according to the spirit of the 59"1"o Women Religious, Jasna Gora, June 5, 1979. July 2. 1979, p. 4. ~'°To Union of Mothers General, Ioc. cit., p. 3. 6~To the Clergy, Religious and Seminarians of Santo Domingo, January 26, 1979. February 5, 1979, p. 10. 62To Union of Superiors General of Women, Ioc. cir., p. 8. 6~To Union of Mothers General, Ioc. cir., p. 3. 6~To Union of Superiors General of Men, Rome, November 26. 1979. December 24, 1979, p. 5. 6~Maynooth, Ioc. cit. p. 5. A Pope for Religious Institute, the time has come to evaluate objectively and humbly the attempts made. in order to rec.ognize their positive elements and any deviations and to answer them accordingly,u' [One should also] apply oneself humbly and courageously, when necessary, to correct, suspend, or direct in a more opportune way the experiments that are being carried out.~'7 Two criteria, among others, seem the most important: The first is that religious life is not truly renewed if the purpose of the renewal is, in practice, the pursuit of what is easiest and most convenient, but only if the purpose is the pursuit of what is most authentic and most consistent with the aims of religious life itself. The second criterion is that religious life is renewed in order to become even more a path of holiness.6~ The overall basis of everything that the Holy Father says to Christians who have embraced religious life, in spite of all difficulties, is joy and hope. "This is a wonderful time to be a priest, to be a religious, to be a missionary for Christ. Rejoice in the Lord always. Rejoice in your vocation."69 With this inner conviction, the Holy Father, as witness of hope, spoke to young people in the world on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations (May 6, 1979): You will meet difficulties. Do you think that 1 do not know about them? I am telling you that love overcomes all difficulties. The true response to every vocation is the work of love. The response to the priestly, religious and'missionary vocation can only spring from a deep love of Christ. He himself offers you this power of love, as a gift that is added to the gift of his call and makes your response possible. Trust in "him who, by the power at work within us, is able to do far more abundantly than all that we wish or think" (Ep 3:20). And, if you can, give your life, with joy and without fear, to him who first gave his for you.7° Orders and the Entire Church Many of the topics fundamental to the theme of this heading have already been discussed. The pope never tries to be too specific in pointing out concrete aspects as they fit into the overall picture. Religious have to be people ,who "love the Church" (S~o Paulo).7~ "Fidelity to Christ is inseparable from fidelity to the Church, especially in religious life" (Washington).n But this cannot remain true merely on the level of words, It must be manifest in concrete life and activity: "[Its] bond of union with the Church must also be shown in the spirit and apostolic endeavors of every religious institute."73 Very concretely, this means that members of the Church, and thus also religious, must follow the direction of the Church--not with gritted teeth and interior distancing, but "with generous and faithful adherence to the true magisterium" (S~o Paulo).74 Basically ~To the Union of Superiors General of Women. Ioc. cir., p. 8. ~'TTo Religious Women. $5o Paulo. Ioc. tit., p. 4. ~'STo Religious Men. S.~o Paulo. Ioc. tit., p. 7. ~Maynooth. Ioc. cir., p. 6. 70pope's Message for XVI World Day of Prayer for Vocations. May 6. 1979. April 30. 1979. pp. 3. 12. 7~To Religious Women. S-~o Paulo. Ioc. cir., p. 4. 72To Religious Women. Washington. Ioc. cir., p. 3. 731bid. 1~16 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec. 1982 this is all one problem: obedience. Obedience to the charism of the founder, obedience within the community, obedience towards those in authority in the Church. This connection goes even deeper: It has often been noted that there is a close connection between the fervor of the religious life of a country and the condition of the Church in that country: fervent religious life means a living and apostolic Church: where that fervor grows cold, the vitality of the local Church is reduced. If. by mischance, tepidity and mediocrity were to set in. they would soon be reflected among the Christian people. On the other hand, throughout the history of the Church, when she has been assailed by crises, it has always been the religious life that has given the signal for a reawakening and a renewed fidelity to the Gospel.75 These words demonstrate again that the pope never points out dangers with-out, at the same time, showing a positive side! In this instance, as in all others, it is necessary to "go back to the very roots of a sound ecclesiology as revealed by Vatican !!."76 The addresses of the Holy Father are not only marked by the spirit of Vatican I1, but also by the very words of the Council. This would be a very easy thing to trace through each of these citations here. but such would be beyond the scope of this paper. Finally, there is no more beautiful document about the inner unity of religious congregations and the Church than the "Pope's Letter to the Superior General of Discalced Carmelites on the Occasion of the Teresian Year.''77 It well merits frequent meditation. Mary Except in Germany (Alt6tting, November 16, 1980), the Holy Father, though he does not build his talks on Mary, does point towards the Mother of the Lord in all of them. This pervasiveness underscores the importance for us not only to acknowledge, but to ponder with renewed fervor and attention in our hearts what the Holy Father says in regard to the significance of Mary for the spiritual life, and espe-cially for religious life. Whoever finds difficulty with this might well let the off-repeated proclamation of the Holy Father become a vital question for his own life: Why is Mary the "model of every spiritual life," as the pope never tires of pointing out (Mexico, Manila, and so forth). Could not Mary become my model again? What does the Holy Father mean when he says that her "fiat" in Nazareth is the "prototype of every religious profession"? (Czestochowa). Why is genuine union with Mary a true "protection for the consecrated life"? (Rome). And do we--each one of us--really need this protection? Why does the Holy Father entrust each "seed of a 74To Religious Women. Ioc. cir. p. 4, 75To Religious Women. Baclaran. Ioc. cir., p. 5. 7~'Homily, World Day for Vocations. May 10, 1981. May 25. 1981. p. 3. 77November 9. 1981, pp. 8-10. A Pope for Religious / 1117 religious vocation to our Lady"?. (Czestochowa). And why do we need her interces-sion in our prayers for vocations? (Rome). And if the mission of a woman is so "deeply interwoven with the mystery of the Church" (Centenary of St. Catherine of Siena) because the Church in her essence is Mother and Bride, would Mary not be at the same time "Mother of the Church" and "the human picture of the Church"?. (General Chapter of Franciscans). Would she not be the key to solve all the present heated discussions in regard to the theme, "Women in the Church"?. Of course, pondering all that the Holy Father has said about religious life and Mary, we cannot stop with asking ourselves questions. Each characteristic descrip-tion of Mary, the Mother of the Lord, as "Model of the Church" (Franciscans, AIt6tting), "Queen of Martyrs" (Nagasaki), "Mother of Monks" (Monte Cassino) and many others, offers unlimited source for meditation. Would it be possible that here the Holy Father also wanted to give a fresh impetus to many religious? It Is Worth It! Whoever truly lives a consecrated life in generous and dynamic fidelity to Christ, to the Church, and to the demands of his calling and mission, serves the goal of which the Holy Father reminded religious women in Washington: The aim of religious life is to render praise and glory to the. Most Holy Trinity and, through your consecration, to help humanity enter into fullness of life in the Father, and in the Son, and. in the Holy Spirit. In all your planning and in all your activities, try also to keep this aim before you. There is no greater service you can give, there is no greater fulfillment you can receive.7s It is worth dedicating oneself to the cause of Christ, who wants valiant and decided hearts: it is worth devoting oneself to man for Christ, in order to bring him to Him, to raise him, to help him on his way to eternity: it is worth making an option for an ideal that will give you. great joys, even if at the same time it demands a good many sacrifices. The Lord does not abandon his followers.~ In this appeal to the diocesan and religious seminarians in Mexico, the Holy Father brought to a distinct focus his urgent concern for the consecrated life and the service of religious. May those who have received the gift of a call to this life and service receive these words into their hearts with courage and joy. Like Pope John Paul 11, may they, in the service of God, be convincing Witnesses of the Lord before men, especially before the young who are in search ofa way of life. It is worth it! 7~To Religious Women. Washington. Ioc. cir. p. 3. 7'~To the Seminarians at Guadalajara. Ioc. cir. p. 4. Thoughts at an Ordination Vera Gallagher, R.G.S. Sister Vera's last article in our pages was "An American Experience of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity" in the issue of July/August. 1981. Sister resides at 2702 Broadway East; Seattle. WA 98102. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Invoking the Three in One, their majesty, their grandeur, we begin your Ordination Mass, Tony and Ott. And 1 think long thoughts. We pray for you, you called in a particular way as servants of the Most High, and we watch you, you with the youthful vigor and the radiant energy and the vision evernew, and we wonder whether you--or any of us--comprehend that call to servitffde that is yours/ours, and what it may involve. Servants all! All of us, for God has made us. And we live out our lives in contradiction to a culture generally indifferent, occasionally at enmity with all we believe. Today's saints--the Lord's servants--are surprises: -a Secretary General of the United Nations, a mystic: a tiny, wizened woman, a foundress of four religious orders; a street man with a gift of prayer, my friend, even as he kneels among bums in our Skid Road; ¯ that poor wretch in his cell on MacNeil Island (our penitentiary) a friend of God: that family in the suburbs, all His friends. You will meet them all where they are, working in factories, programming computers, pleading at the bar, driving trucks. The Lord who had formed you from the womb calls you to serve them, to inspire, to guide to holiness, to lead. That is your challenge--for "God did not give 818 Thoughts at an Ordination / 1119 ¯. a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control" (2 Tm !:6-7), as goes the reading that you chose. Alleluia, Alleluia.t The vaulted ceiling of our cathedral does indeed ring with the alleluias flung out from hundreds of throats, accentuated by trumpet peal and organ blare and the roll of the drums. Alleluia! For today, yes indeed! But your lives will not be alleluias. You know that. But how deeply have you internalized your knowledge? We are not candi-dates, none of us, for self-fulfillment or realization or attainment. One only comes to know God--and no greater joy has been created than that transcendent knowl-edge- by a process of ascetic self-emptying and self-naughting. Opportunities in plenty you will have! Catholic people have such expectations of their priests that one who hears them knows why Jesus was crucified--and why he would be crucified again. And they are good people, all of them. They mean well. "If I, then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, so you also ought to wash one another's feet" (Jn 13:!4). Servantship can glitter even as it beckons-- your ideal! But the reality is boring, foot-slugging, day-in-and-day-out: the phone, the doorbell, the daily homily, the marriages, the sickbeds, the deaths. Of course the "hiddenness" of sanctity is a theme you will have already explored--a hiddenness seldom found today, perhaps, in the monastic cloister or the hermit's cell, but found often enough in the everydayness, the sterility, the orderliness of middle-class existence. We who are sometimes lost in everydayness as surely as the ancient Fathers lost themselves in the desert are yet the ones who carry about in our pockets the lost coin, the grain of mustard seed, the deed to the acre of land with its as-yet-undiscovered treasure buried there. The Archbishop's sermon on the reading you chose from John I could not hear, since I sat behind his back. But I know that he talked of the cross towards the end. Celibacy may be your greatest cross--oh, not in itself, but in the general hostility expressed towards it. And your celibacy will be attacked, often, and by good people: other priests, nuns, singles, married couples--and by your own rational minds. Because, of course, it makes no sense. None whatever to rational minds. But you have promised it. What you do, Tony and Ott, will make little difference to this world of ours, one way or the other. What you are, though, counts. The saints began life much as you and I: not really bad, not especially good, just mediocre. But they smashed the plaster mold of this world's expectations, and they loved much. They rose above everydayness, yet not in spectacular fashion. Benedict Joseph Labre died a bum. Mat Talbot, a recovering alcoholic. Jacob Lieberman, an epileptic. And the Cur6 of Ars never did get his M. Div.! We have not yet canonized anyone who regularly visited a psychiatrist. But we will. We will indeed. I have digressed from celibacy, meaning only to say that the saints are those caught by a vision which changed their lives, and transformed those around them, because they clung to that vision. Saints are eschatological signs to our poor, 1~20 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 befuddled world--such signs as you are called to be, Tony and Oft. Hol, v. Holy. Holy. You have been called forth and examined and prayed over. You have been consecrated and ordained. And, in the abandonment of our joy, we sing "Holy!" Holy. the Lord God of hosts. To touch and to meet that Holy is the purpose of our lives. The only sadness is not to be a saint. The only failure is not to have tried. But to have found that Holy for only one glimpse, one in a lifetime--what is that? Possibly 1 know less than most. But i shall dare to respond. It is a joy, a tremulous, trembling joy, a joy which comes not from pain, but which transcends pain even as it confounds pain. It is vision, the vision at midnight when, because the darkness is so black, the glimmer of light shines clear, an effervescent, irretrievable light of shifting shape. It is peace, the still silence amidst the raucous clanging of the downtown streets at rush hour. It is fire, the flame which burns but does not consume, and which, in conguming, bears bursting life. And is it worth it? Oh yes, indeed. A million times yes. May the body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve our souls unto life everlasting. Amen. We Are Anointed and Sent Out Through Sacrament of Priesthood We [priests] are all anointed in a special way and we are sent out through the sacrament of the priesthood. Among those whom Christ made and always continues to make "a kingdom of priests" we are priests in a special, sacramental way. All of us have also drawn upon, in a special way, the fulness of the messianic power that was revealed on the "today" of Christ's Holy Thursday. This "today" is our day. It is our feast. We were born along with the Eucharist, and so we were born together with the Church in the room of the Last Supper. In instituting the sacrifice in which the Church is constantly recreated, Christ at the same time consecrated priests, ministers of his sacrifice. He said: ~Do this in remembrance of me" (I Co 11:25). And we do it. We all do it, those of us gathered here and the priests of the entire Church with whom we are united today in a profound, sacramental brotherhood (John Paul II. Mass of Chrism, 8 April." L'Osservatore Romano, 19 April, 1982, p. 6). Advent: Not Ours But God's Daniel McLellan, O.F.M. Father Mcl,ellan is a student in a doctoral program in American history concentrating on American Catholicism. He resides at 317 Brownson: University of Notre Dame: Notre Dame, IN 46556. In a few weeks our time of waiting will be over. But today we are still anticipating. We still await the one who is to come. Patiently we look forward to the promised one who will come upon us from the stillness of the skies. We wait for the one who comes to fulfill our dreams and expectations. He is the one who knows us: the one in whose sight we live. Be it darkness or light, he sees us. "He sees us when we're sleeping / He knows when we're awake / He knows if we've been bad or good / So be good for goodness' sake." Thus began one of the more provocative Advent homilies I've heard. Naturally the congregation thought the homilist was talking about someone else. But that confusion always seems to happen at Advent time--Santa Claus/Jesus; Jesus/ Santa Claus. It's hard to tell the difference! Even though they are venerated in different .~hrines, with different rites; even though the votive offerings to one far outweigh ~hose to the Other, there still remains a great deal of confusion. Both "arrive" on the same day, and the time of preparation is the same. A common sense of waiting, anticipation, further binds the two. And nobody really seems to mind. But there is "something to mind." There is a frightening clash of symbols. Both Jesus and Santa Claus evoke notions of grace and charity, the extension of kindness and generosity. Yet Santa Claus is never enough; we soon outgrow him. Jesus is "too much"; we continue to grapple with him. The task of unclashing the symbols mediated by this season begins in how we perceive Advent. Unless this perception is carefully focused, we will be guilty of abusing the Incarnation, the enfleshment of God, by limiting the consequences of that mystery to seasons and festivals in much the same ways that earned Israel 821 1122 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 Yahweh's condemnation and disgust. The fruitfulness of Advent time and its integrity within the totality of our lives depends upon our ability to retrieve the season's meaning within the context of our lives as a people of faith who are invested with a peculiar call. As we make the focus of our Advent more precise we remember that there are many things right with our world. Despite recent setbacks, efforts are continuing to empower more and more people to have a say in the organization and working out of their own lives. Culturally, there is still a wholesome sensitivity to the need to overcome that ethnic imperialism that fails to recognize the relativity of one's socio-cultural value system; socially we continue to find men and women, despite the so-called narcissism of the seventies, looking to one another for a more vital sense of community. While the news is good least of all in the economic sphere, even this dimension reflects a basic willingness to attend to the restructuring of trade and investment for a global economy. In the world of religious there are signs that the old "either/or" dichotomy (Word or Sacrament, nature or grace) that was partitive within and between churches is being replaced with a deeper appreciation of the "both/and" synthesis (Scripture and tradition, freedom and authority). We have taken note of Teilhard's alert that the most profound move-ment is often the most imperceptible. And yet there is more that remains to be done. Apathy and ignorance still overwhelm the political process; cultural sophistication is still judged by narrow criteria; Moynihan's "benign neglect~ has become the strategy of dealing with the other; recession and unemployment continue to erode the self-esteem and incentive of millions. In the world of religion, the call to,community is still too often a disguise for flight into personal irresponsibility. This season of Advent can be an opportunity to meditate on the work of our lives and the vigor with which that work is carried out on behalf of those to whom we, as Christians, have been promised. Jesus reminded us that, upon setting out to accomplish a task, we ought to assess the situation and see whether or not our resources are sufficient. Perhaps we ought to spend a few moments retrieving the meaning of Advent as a resource enabling us more genuinely and effectively to accept God and the power of God in our lives for the sake of the many. What is Advent? Few would disagree that it is considered a time of waiting, a time of preparation. But for whom? For what? ls it Christ? In what sense? The historical Jesus has come and worn our flesh and blood. If we are awaiting that Jesus, our Advent is a contrivance: four weeks of having to psychologically shift gears everytime we light an Advent wreath, because there can be little real excite-ment, wonder, or urgency about an event whose history we have so long manipu-lated. Or perhaps the theme of our waiting is the coming again of that Jesus. But what happens on December 26th? These four weeks of waiting,, metaphor of our lives, are over, and we return to our very real preoccupation .with the present in which few of us give any thought to that final coming. In each case--the anticipa-tion of the birthday, the acknowledgment of the return--there is little of substance to engage our life in a critical way that penetrates into more than these four weeks. Advent: Not Ours But God's / 823 And so before long the other symbol, the other waiting intermingles, and our Advent collapses into a tinsel-and-light festival that has some spiritual overtones, but is centrally and primarily for each of us a commercial salute to the neighborli-ness we share. Now there is nothing wrong with that type of celebration. But it ought to be recognized for what it is. And yet, for all that, it seems to me that the yearly anniversary of Jesus' birth can be meaningfully celebrated in a way that engages the depth of our whole selves. But that can only happen when we make a radical shift in our perception of what Advent time is. The season is a time of waiting and anticipation, but it is not ourselves who wait--it is God. The Eternal One, who again and again has shown himself to be no stranger to history, waits for us to use an anniversary celebration to remind ourselves of that claim which that anniversary makes upon us by virtue of our incorporation into the life of Jesus. Advent is not so much our invention to structure our waiting for Christmas as it is God's invention to keep us ready for the fullness of life non, and forever. When we wait, whether it be for an exam result, a holiday, or the results of a job interview, we know we have expectations. And so it is with God. Advent is filled with God's expectation of us. To understand what God expects of us we look at the way he speaks to us. The Scripture readings for the last week of the liturgical year are taken from either Daniel or Revelation: apocalyptic scripture, scripture for a time of crisis, a time of decision. We begin Advent in a spirit of crisis, of decision. We begin Advent knowing that, One like the Son of Man is coming on the clouds of heaven. He received dominion, glory, and kingship: nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away His kingship shall not be destroyed (Dn 7:13, 14). It is a kingship that presides over a "new heavens and a new earth." ¯ . : the kingship and dominion and majesty of all the kingdoms under the heavens shall be given to the holy people of the most high Whose kingdom shall be everlasting: All dominions shall serve and obey him (Dn 7:27). And the final words, Remember, 1 am coming soon! Happy the man who heeds the prophetic message of this book. (Rv 22:20). When Advent is our waiting time, what is the horizon that sets that waiting in focus? We wait not in promise of something new but in the midst of powers, dominions, and idealogies that too often obscure even the best within ourselves, let alone the potential of one another. The result is a tired and worn world view that 1~24 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 deadens the impact of Christmas. A Santa Claus, tinsel and lights are all needed to invigorate the season. But when the season is a coming face-to-face with a waiting God to whom we must answer, a God whose inbreaking establishes a dominion, a lordship that once for all lays claim on all peoples, that makes a difference. A whole new theme is set. God waits for us to accept and appropriate the new person Jesus whose birth marks the "inbreaking" of God's kingdom, whose source of life is imbedded in the future. It is only the light of what it is that God waits for us to appropriate--the power of his yet-to,be realized kingdom--that Advent time.has (or can have) any appeal. Advent prayer is filled with the promise of men and women who beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks [where] one nation shall not raise the sword against another nor shall they train for war (Mi 4:3). These words are set against the horizon of one whose kingdom shall be ever-lasting. It will be a kingdom in which the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid (Is I 1:6). The kingdom promises to be one in which death is destroyed forever and the lofty city is brought down, "trampled underfoot by the needy, by the footsteps of the poor." In this kingdom the deaf shall hear the words of a book and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The lowly shall find joy in the Lord and the poor rejoice in the holy one of Israel (Is 29:18,19). If Advent were a time of our waiting, these words would probably have little meaning; they would sketch a way of life bearing little or no resemblance to the world we know--a world in which the majority of us have already mandated our authorities to beat ploughshares into spears: a world that feeds its paranoia on differing ideologies; a world where relief of the suffering becomes fact only if the trickle falls far enough. When Advent is our waiting, the messianic promises mediated through Isaiah and the other sacred writers become scenes sentimental-ized in art or easily set aside as wonderful but ultimately a fancy that is, after all, impractical. And so its "onward Donner and Blitzen"--at least Master Card makes that fantasy graspable. But what if Advent is God's waiting? What if God waits for us to see things as he does? If Advent becomes the vision of what is possible for those who decide in favor of the kingdom of God, who take God at his word that the future~fulfillment of his promise has already begun to unfold in our midst through him whose birth Advent: Not Ours But God's we commemorate, then there is no excuse for disclaiming the reality of Isaiah's vision. We live at a time when the global village becomes smaller and smaller, a contraction that raises the temperature of interpersonal, international, and inter-cultural relations. We know that for all our differences which work themselves out ¯ in a multitude of ways, enormous tensions still threaten life as we know it. The disparity of life-styles between North and South, West and East; the persistent attempts at political hegemony by first and second world powers over vast por-tions of the world; the refusal of the "haves" to invest in the future of the "have nots"; the pursuit of value-free research subscribing only to the agenda of positiv-ism; nationalism based on consumerism--all of these difficulties ground us in the sober reality of the so-called practical. Lest anyone conclude that these macro-issues lack practicality within the con-text of our local experience, a brief look at the consequences of these conditions reveals how much they impinge upon the experience of each of us. Where differences in life-styles are severe, the price of natural resources, eco-nomically and politically, continues to rise as the developing countries which have what we "need"(e.g. tin, oil) demand a greater share in the fruits of these resources. Thus we experience a rise in our consumer prices. The struggle for political hegemony demands more sophisticated weaponry purchased at the cost of endowments to the arts, research grants, and college loans. A refusal to share and to cooperate with the "have nots" leads to the realization of what Kempis saw centuries ago, "A man who is tense and agitated by evil is troubled with all kinds of suspicions; he is never at peace with himself, nor does he permit others to be at peace." The evil of poverty and want breeds a world of suspicion and resentment that undercuts all attempts at peace and cooperation. Researchers whose only standard i's "progress" soon see people and the common good as obstacles to scientific breakthroughs. Knowledge ceases to be responsible or integrated within the totality of the common good. Finally, when who-we-are is based on what-we-consume or on our potential for consumption, we relegate the non-consumer, the poor, to the mai'gin of society. When what you are is what you wear or what you drive, when where you live is a "statement,~ what value is placed upon a "bag lady"? These issues condition the way we hear the promises and discern the contours of God's kingdom. They are such massive and complicated problems that they leave many of us numb. We retreat. We cannot believe that the energy of God's k.ingdom can accomplish the promise of the kingdom in the world we know. And so, as is commonsensical in the face of such a conclusion, we find ourselves caught up in an ethic of accommodation that lets us slowly extricate ourselves politically, socially, religiously, economically and culturally, till our yeast grows old and our salt goes fiat. What is needed at this critical moment is the sense that Advent is a metaphor of our lives, a reminder that our life and work is caught up in that future alluded to in Daniel and Revelation, and sketched out in the words of Isaiah. Advent is the 1126 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 season to recall that God who loves us and calls us now waits for us to lay claim to what he has loved us for and called us to--the completion of his creation. What is needed to fulfill God's waiting is for us to use the tools of faith, hope, and suffering to mediate the energy of God's kingdom, insinuating it first into our individual lives and then, by those lives, into the arena of the public life to which our talents and interests call us. The outcome of this is the vision of the prophets: a world of peace, of greater trust, of sacrificial sharing of resources. Scripture, in the book of Proverbs, reminds us that where there is no vision, the people perish. Magdalen, Zaccheus, Matthew, Paul all lived because Jesus had a vision of what his life could inaugurate. The question for me, for you is: do I give life? Only if we believe, only if we hope, only if we suffer. Whenever we reflect on faith we come to realize that we are. involved in that ~right now/not yet" relationship with the life of Jesus which a gospel describes: "Lord 1 believe, help my unbelief.~' The man who speaks these words is a grief-wracked father who, for too long, has helplessly watched the agonies of his pos-sessed son. The father has come to the point where he sees that the fulfillment of his need is only possible through the exercise of Jesus' power, through the penetra-tion of Jesus' life into the life of his sick boy. The man is convinced of this. He is committed to Jesus--yet he is honest enough to admit the relativity of this moment at the feet of Jesus. This man lays his great love there because he is convinced that Jesus can act on his behalf. He seems sure that Jesus' attention can change things. In front of the crowd of witnesses the man commits himself---"l believe"---to what Jesus can do, to what is possible under the power of God. And his further "help my unbelief," far from being a compromise of that conviction and commitment, is a testimony to the depth of the man's trust. There is no certainty-- there is faith. There is not the solid proof of hard logic--there is faith. Teetering on the edge of the possibility that nothing will happen--that the power of possession will frustrate Jesus--the father makes his confession of faith face-to-face with impracticality, embarrassment, and all the other diminishments that are the real frustrations and enemies of belief. The Scriptures tell us that the enemy was defeated. In a word the father grasps and is grasped by the kingdom of God in both its immediacy and its futurity. Thus faith is the way, in the here and now, that we live in the kingdom of God. For us, then, the question at. hand is the question of faith: Do you believe? Can you lay your life before God convinced that no one, nothing else can bring you worth and happiness--all the while makin~ this act of faith in the face of people, events, ideologies that suggestively contend the impact and relevance of Jesus in a technological age? Do you believe in Jesus? Is he decisive? Is he the way, the truth, the life in a lived way? History teaches us that it is not enough for women and men like ourselves to point to our surroundings, the observables of our environment; it is not enough to call attention to VOWS, to orders, even to baptism as evidence for ourselves, and the world, that we believe in Jesus. The most striking evidence that we are people of faith is the way we answer the question: what is my future? Perhaps we answer that Advent: Not Ours But God's / 1127 our future is to live and die a ,wife, a husband, a religious; to live and die a minister to the needs of the Church; perhaps our future is to execute a teaching, publishing or administrative career--in a word to play out the whole constellation of enter-prises that so many of us do so capably. And yet all this is not the stuff of that faith which is necessary if we would satisfy a waiting God. We can only lay claim to be people of genuine faith and thus, as Christians, lay claim to be honest if we confess that God and the ways of God are our future. In our times it is easy tO forget this God, to become occupied by the many ventures that claim to mediate this God. A quick survey of the last twenty years reveals a galaxy of brilliant theologians, of tremendously gifted church men and women who have crafted provocative theological syntheses, who have opened up the long-forgotten history of the community's liturgical life, who have gleaned helpful insights from the social sciences to be integrated into the processes of spiritual development, And yet in all of this there seems to be so little of God! Why is this? Perhaps the problem is that many of us are uncomfortable and even embar-rassed that God is our future. Even though in conventional discourse "future" connotes a certain open-endedness, we are co-opted by our culture which chafes under the provisional. We, like the biologist or chemist, the politician, the investiga-tive reporter or social worker, want to provide an answer--a helpful finality--to .the critical problems of our day. We want to come up with something that assuages the uncertainty that breeds alienation among the people we love. We cannot bear to admit that in and of our own resources we have not in all our centuries come up with the answer to the problem of sin and evil, to sickness and death, or to the true, the good, the beautiful. We are faced with the hard fact that these solutions belong to God and to his unforeseen future. And so, living out of step with the brokers of solutions, we strive to fall into step, to recover the cadence, and we end up canonizing the means at the expense of the end. What is necessary is to come to terms with the fact that if we confess God, the future becomes quite different. The future becomes, not merely the temporal sphere of unbridled poten-tial, but the fulfillment of a promise that we are no strangers to, the fulfillment of Daniel and Revelation that Isaiah made bold to sketch. To give evidence, to witness to this in a world so often convinced that its own mind and resources are sufficient, is a hard task. For we, too, are mere compassionate persons who are overwhelmed by the desire for an answer, a solution. What our faith needs, then, is hope. A believer's hope is not a hand-wringing anxiety that one's wish will come true. Neither is it dispassionate anticipation. Hope, rather, is the trust one has that the human adventure which in history enfleshes God's kingdom will not fail, that the "radical risk" of human freedom, i.e. the conferral of divinity on us, will not end in the disaster of men and women rejecting what they are. Hope owns the day when what Jesus could not work in Nazareth will be worked here. But this hope only takes shape when a person of conviction believes that in, with, and through Jesus he or she can make "an ultimate and radical and irreversible decision" regarding the future, whether it will be a fulfillment or an everlasting loss. 1~911 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 Hope is the virtue by which we take responsibility for God's future. It is not imposed. And it it not simply "my" but "our" future that falls into our hands. Hope is an active consciousness that engages us in the structuring and unfolding of human life because we know that God's future, our destiny, does not oppose the existing structures of the world. We know that God's promise involves a connection between the future and the present. In other words, our unforeseen future emerges out of faith to see political, social, cultural, economic, and religious engagement as necessary cooperation with God. The person of hope is one who recognizes that the efforts of even one person can invest a desperate situation with God's saving power. Our tradition is replete with persons like Francis, Dorothy Day, Frederic Ozanam, and Teresa of Cal-cutta, persons whose faith-action was not dependent on a movement or a commit-tee, but instead generated these support structures. What these Christians show us is that hope enables faith to speak to the world a word about God. But they also show us that the price of a hopeful faith is suffering. We are a people of signs--from "1700" shirts to pottery Communion cups to the environments we create in our homes. Signs reflect what we believe, and they sometimes call us to grasp what we don't yet strongly believe. Thus ifa hope-filled faith is or ought to be characteristic of our lives, then we ought to be lavish with the Sign of the Cross. Those most conscious of how the power of the kingdom of God is exercised in the world are intimates of the Cross--witness Francis of Assisi. St. John tells us that the kingship of Christ is most evident on Calvary. What does this say to us? It reminds us that the work of a faith-filled hope is only accom-plished when oneis broken and poured out. Thus God's waiting is his challenge to renovate society and ourselves. If we would use the political process, or the tech-niques of an increasingly sophisticated communications field: if we would direct social and economic policy and power to rebuilding the world, without first rebuilding our own mind and heart, we build on sand. Personal conversion is the primary suffering that gives the life of the future. Jesus' agony was a moment of decision to accept not his, but the Father's will. The Advent of God's waiting bids us to hear the Baptist's echo of Isaiah: Prepare the way of the Lord. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain shall be leveled. The windings shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth (40:3.4). And if this is done-- all mankind shall see the Salvation of God (40:5). It is no easy thing to reshape the landscape of our lives individually and socially~ Yet that suffering, that conversion is the first point of Advent's agenda. We who challenge autocracy .a.nd oppressive measures in the political sphere Advent: Not Ours But God's / 1t29 should do so only after challenging our pride, our disobedience; we who call for a more just and compassionate distribution of the earth's good should do so only in the midst of a commitment to abandon our personal greed, false need, and con-sumerism; we who call others to community should speak only when we are conscious of our personal efforts to overcome self-centeredness; we who speak about God should only do so while learning to speak with God. The process of conversion is a suffering because it involves a breaking away from what heretofore has sustained us. It is a suffering because it is an action never completed. Thus Francis could speak of his and ours as a life of penance; thus Jesus could bluntly say that salvation depends on doing penance. The Sign of the Cross reminds us that continual discipline and mortification is critical for that personal conversion that sustains systemic conversion. We come upon a further dimension of the cross in our lives when we realize that, like St. Paul, we must be able to say, "if you would imitate Christ, imitate me." We must be a mirror in which persons and societies can look and see a reflection of what they and society ought to be. It is Crucial to proclaim the gospel in a language that men and women understand. That language is our own life-styles and conduct. What we proclaim is not "more of the same"; we proclaim Good News. Thus our life-styles and behavior must be good news. To be good news is to put on Christ, and when one puts on Christ, Jesus says-- They will manhandle and persecute you because of my name You will be brought to give witness on account of it You will be delivered up They will hate you because of me. The consequence of faith-filled hope is marginalization by those who find the good news of God's kingdom a threat to their own kingdoms. These are not evil, malicious people--they are those upon whom Jesus looked with love; they are genuinely threatened by the gospel message and all who attempt to live it. They have trusted, not in God's future, but in their hard-won political base, financial fortune, social success, or theological sophistication. Because these persons are so often life's power brokers and trend setters, we are tempted to seek personal and communal legitimation from them. It is difficult to avoid this temptation. It is a painful thing to hand oneself over to subtle ridicule; to experience the trivialization of one's most significant values. And it is not a pain from which one can legitimately hide. St. Paul tells us to test everything and retain what is good. The experience of Elijah reminds us that God appears in the most unlikely of places. The person of faith and hope must be exposed to the full force of life--yet carefully select the good from the bad. Perseverance requires an inner strength forged by a vivid awareness that God waits for me to mediate his future; forged by an awareness of God's expectations of me. I emphasize the singular me, rather than the plural us because suffering has that quality of loneliness and abandonment that Jesus bore 1~30 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 witness to on the cross. Further, the us only takes shape as individuals are con-fron/ ed by the waiting God who gives us one-to-another to help each other fulfill those expectations. And so we stand in the face of Advent. What shall it be for us? Shall it be four weeks of tension between Santa and Jesus, Jesus and Santa, all coming to a close on December 26th as the too small jackets and the too large gloves go back and the beach wear comes out? Or shall it be a time to rethink God's relationship to me, to us; to remember that our task in life is to complete God's work of creation; to take responsibility for the future in which one, like a Son of Man, comes for an everlasting kingdom. God awaits our faith--that he is our future, that he is the end of human longing. God awaits our hope--that my life is given to make a differ-ence; that despite suffering and death, violence and hate, greed, disobedience--all the diminishments of sin--God's kingdom has, in Jesus to whom Scripture and tradition bear witness, broken into our present. Advent tells us that we are not waiting for God to act. Advent tells us that God has invested us with faith, hope. and suffering and now waits for us to recall each year that Jesus is our future, and we are invested with his power to make God's kingdom even greater. God waits for us to remember that a swaddled infant has, is, and will be a sign that we are not to be dismayed by what appears to be an overwhelming project. Today God waits for us to recall the urgency of doing good, of toking an active role in the issues of our day. And God waits for us to lay claim that what we have most of all to offer to the human adventure is a word of forgiveness, of God's love, of God's encouragement. We live Advent in crisis: God waits. He waits on faith, tie waits on hope, he waits on suffering. Does he, then, wait on us? The Practice of Penance Hence, an updating that would lead to a lessening of penance, that is to say. to a less generous, less joyful, less complete sacrifice of yourselves, would certainly not be in keeping with the Council or with the charism of your Holy Mother. In fact, fidelity to the practice of penance also promotes the exercise of fraternal charity. total detachment and authentic humility which remain the three hinges of the way of perfection (Way IV, 4): at the same time, penance denotes that characteristic and essential element of Carmelite experience which Saint 3ohn of the Cross, intrepid cooperator with Saint Teresa in the reform of your Order. has with masterly skill expressed in the absolute of the todo-nada.--John Paul II. letter to Discah'ed Carmelites on the Fourth Centenary of the Death ~f Saint Teresa, L'Osservatore Romano. 19 Ju~v, 1982, p. 3. Two Knowings Lorna Green Doctor Green has pursued studies in both science and philosophy. For a time she has lived with the Benedictine community in Pecos. At present she may be addressed c]o Knight: St. Lawrence Campus;. 790 N~r6e-Tremblay St.; Ste-Foy; Prov. of Quebec GI V 4K2; Canada. What is most wonderful about our life is that we can know its Author. We, caught in flesh and time and change, can know the unchanging Creator of our-selves and the universe, the great invisible One. We are meant to know God. He wishes us to know, he delights to have us know him. "Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ~ (Jn 17:3). There are two knowings. The first is theoretical, and our age is steeped in it. It is knowledge of the world--of science, history, theology, politics. To acquire such knowledge takes years of study, so we are dependent on experts. Many seek it, but this knowledge does not satisfy the heart. The second knowing concerns us most. It is practical knowledge--knowledge of God. This second knowledge is hidden from the experts, but it is open to ordinary people. How is this knowledge acquired? As de Caussade writes: "It is what happens moment by moment which enlightens us [about God] and gives us that practical knowledge which Jesus Christ himself chose to acquire before begin-ning his publi9 life."~ God can be known by us when, in our ordinary lives, we attend to what transpires in us from moment to moment, from day to day, and over the course of years. God is not afar off, somewhere over the mountain tops, but he is fight here, amongst us. That we may know him, God gives us the day. "The day" is the place where our small lives run together with the great life of God. So let us go forth into the ~Jean-Pierre de Caussade. Abandonment to Divine Providence. Image Books, Doubleday, New York (1973), p. 49. 831 1~2 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 day, and listen. God dwells in our depths and comes to us from inner life. Images, moods, memories welling up into consciousness are sent by him. We live among rivers of poetry and prophecy. Attending to what passes in our interior world is a way to learn much about him who dwells there. God comes to us from outer events as well. Always something feels real, and this is where God is to be found. Friends, gray winter days, music as we pass an open window, meditative afternoons--all can give us an experience of him. Inner and outer events blend in prayer. Ask for love in the morning, you will be deep in the confirmation of others in the afternoon. Confide to him fears and anxieties, and in an hour or so, when you are busy about some household task, they will have vanished. Tell him you need images for your life, and as you sit down to have a cup of coffee, an image from the depths will appear. For that is how close he is to us. Augustine: "Thou art closer to me than my own soul." When we are merged with our situation, the inner life is addressed by what happens around us. People complain that God does not speak, but God is always speaking. He speaks to us through others. Words that are his reveal their author-ship by their appropriateness to our inner condition which he alone could have known. So pray that he will speak his words to you this day, and go forth to listen. Words that are his can come to us from any direction--voices overheard at a street corner, from a child in passing, from a friend in conversation, from a book. The whole world is a medium through which we hear him. Augustine, praying in a garden, heard children singing: "Take and read! 'Take and read!" He interpreted their song as a message to read Scripture. He opened the Bible at random, and what he read there changed his life. For science and for secular culture, the world is inert. In God, the world is alive and magical. It speaks to us with ultimate speech. Each day is thee supreme adventure of finding out what God has to say to us. So let us go forth into the day, to live this adventure. God not only speaks his word to us during the day, he provides us with a thousand places where we may settle into his presence. At the edges of our life-structures are little pockets, little po~stinia of silence and solitude where we can touch him. A moment while doing the ironing, or going through a door, or getting on a bus, and suddenly an insight into our life-situation comes to mind. Then we sense his touch in the peace that is a sign of his presence. Love, life, light, power, peace, beauty, joy--these are the experiences of the day in which God comes to us. We can learn much about God's ways by noticing these. God never works on one plane alone; rather the psychic and the physical merge. Dreams are a privileged way in which the indwelling divinity may instruct us about inward being or show us the spiritual terrain of our lives. If you do not understand a dream in the morning, its i~nterpretation may come somewhere during the day. If a dream reveals the will of God, confirmation will com~ on the Two Knowings ] ~ conscious level. One may ask for two or three confirmations. He willingly indicates his desires for us. The day is the place where he reveals his will. A closed door here, an open door there, peace, these are his signs. Ease of maneuvering, bursts of energy, inspiration, an inward sense of the story being right--all reveal his will. Each event in our lives is sent by God. Therefore, if we would be wholly within his will, we have only to attend to the duties of the present,~moment, and we will be pleasing him. Somewhere in the day, the Spirit will send us a glimpse of who we truly are, for our identity is a great mystery. Then we must nourish that self and seek to bring it alive. That true self sleeps just below the surface of our waking consciousness and is the imago Dei, the beautiful image of God he wishes to realize and reveal in us. There is a self-knowledge which is knowledge of God. Every day will bring its darkness too. But darkness is part of his work of healing and bringing to wholeness. It can be acknowledged, prayed for in the evening. The Spirit never sends us more than we can handle. All we meet are messengers of God. We should respect especially those who cause us pain, for pain is the kiss of Christ. It is a sign that the little child who dwells within has been touched and needs hbaling. That child too can be praye~d for in the evening, in powerful images of the risen Lord holding it and calling it his own. The day is a short plot in the story of our lives where God brings us to identity, to individuation and integration. So days deepen into years, into the long patterns of our lives. God will bring us around to similar situations again and again until we turn to him forhealing. Relationships with men and women recapitulate old relationships width father and mother, and we need to pray for these relationships. The long story is.hisgift to us, the interface where our life runs together with his. This interface places in our lives a vertical order which can be grasped in prayer. Did we know joy, inspiration,,the love of spring rains and of ideas? Through these he draws us into his life-design for us. By what path have we come? What is our place in the mountainous territory of Being? How does God see us? Who is the beautiful imdgo Dei that he wishes to unbury in us? As we see the long patterns of our lives and answer these questions, we learn the way God has"worked with us in the past and will likely w0rk with us in the future. He is a God ~f order and not of capri(e.' God knows all our needs. Our lives, in their smallest details, are put together by him. When we see what our lives a're, see where we are, then we will know God. ! have spoken of God's ways with us. Perhaps it is possible to know something of his vast inner life too. Perhaps insights always welling up in us to dur situations are really his thoughts in us, bringing us to see as he sees. ¯ There are two knowings. The bne we acquire in schools. It i~ the province of experts. The other is acquired in life and is open to everyone. It is knowledge of God. "Father. to you 1 offer praise; for~ what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children" (Mt 11:~5). ReligioUs in Politics David F. O'Connor, S.T. Father O' Chairman of the Department of Church Law at The Washington Theological Union. He resides at Holy Trinity Mission Sqminary: 9001 New Hampshire Ave.: Silver Spring. MD 20903. ~n recent years it has not been uncommon for the media to inform the public that a priest or religious has announced that he or she will seek public office as a representative, senator, mayor, or some other such political position. It is .under, standable that questions be raised: Why are they doing this? Is it permissible? Who gives the permission? What does it imply? And so forth. ,~ The author of 2 Timothy (2:4) intimated that one must give one's full and undivided attention to the ministry when he wrote: "Put up with your share of difficulties, like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. In the army, no soldier gets himself mixed up in civilian affairs because he must be at the disposal of his commanding officer." Moreover, the Church has frequentlyexpressed its concern that its clergy and its religious not engage themselves significantly in parallel activities, especially if these activities were considered "foreign" to their ministry. ObvioUsly particular culture, local custom and similar factors have helped in part to determine what activities are considered unsuitable for priests and religious. Too, such unsuitability has also been expres~sed in the exhortations and instru$- tions of popes, bishops an.d councils, as well as in the regulations and laws of the Church. In.f~act, there is a great deal ,of continuity evident in this matter.from the earliest Church councils down to the most modern Church documents. This article intends to give, first of all, a brief historical perspective to the issue of priests and ,r.eligious in politics of public office. After a consideration of the present Code of Canon Law and how it has been interpreted and applied, there is,a, survey of some recent Roman documents and statements of Pope John Paul II which expressly concern themselves with this issue. Next, the article places the matter in the context of the Church's social teaching (which has had a very Religious in Pofitics / 835 significant impact on religious~and priests) and the influence~ of politicafized theol-. ogies on the issue. Then, it treats the Church's teaching on the unique place.of the laity in the Church's mission, and their reaction to the question of clergy and religious assuming roles traditionally reserved to the°laity as a form of the ~social aposto~lat,e of the Church. Finally, the latest draft of the new Code of Canon Law ~ is c6nsider,qd, together with a practical suggestion of my own about how it migh~ be implemented. ~ Historical Background ~ o Jn the early Christian period, the followers of Jesus ayoided publi~c office because such duties often were associated with pagan worship. As a matter of fact, the generally low social stan~ding of Christians in Roman society helped keep them from such positions. However, with the Edict of Milan (313) and the official recognition of Christianity, circumst~nc~is changed quickly and drastically. Chris-tian emperors forbade clerics and monks from accepting spec!fic civil offices, ~nd exempted them from certain public duties. The Theodosian Code prohibited them from being receivers or collectors of taxes, recorders of public or private property, and atto~rn,eys who conduct litigation) The reasons behind such legislation,had to do with the protection of religious~ institutions from injury and with guaranteeing that holy services would not be obstructed. Likewise, early Church councils for-bade clergy from engaging in secular administration.~_u,nder pain of deposition or d~gradation.2 During~the early middle ages, nevertheless, ,many clerics were una~bJe t? ~avoid public office, especially the administration of justice. Bishops were vassals of the king and, because of the high esteem in which the clergy was held and because of the education which they possessed, they were coerced into certain positions. At this time the Church was content simply to avoid evident abuses in such activities. Warrior kings wereoverwhelmed with the task of government and lacked adminis-trative~ personnel. ~The Church,~on the other hand, possessed the personnel who were ~ccustomed to performing ecclesiastical administrative~tasks. Hence clerics became adept 'at substituting for the often.~decadent civil ad.ministrators. The Church's own internal discipline helped keep,it from the universal anarchy,that engulfed society. So, when Charlemagne, for exa .mple,-wanted to reconstitute an administration i.n~his state, he turned to the clergy for help.3 In later centuries, these condiiions.changed and prohibitions concerning such activity again became increasingly frequent in Church life: Pope Alexander~Vll in 1658 forbade the clergy to engage in political matters~ This prohibition was ~The Theodosian Code. translated by Clyde Pharr (Princeton, New Jersey: The Princeton University Press, 1952), XVI, p. 326. -'See C.J. Hefele. History of Christian Councils. translated by Willian~ R. Clarke (2nd ed., 5 vols., Edinburgh, 1883-189,6), I, 460, 489. 490. ~See H. DanieI-Rops, The Church in the Dark Ages, translated by Audrey Butler (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1959), pp. 262-263., ,~ ~136 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 .rep'eat~l by almost al! subsequent pontiffs. But in 1893 Pope Leo XII1 adopted a somewhat more liberal approach, permitting involvement in political activities in order~t6 'defend the, rights of the Church. At the same time, though, he urged clerics not to neglect their spiritual lives in theii" study of civil and political matters, and to follow the guidance of their own bishops.4 lntereStihgly, in 1884, at the Third Coun'cil'of Baltimore, the bishops of the United States'hb.d ~lready stated their own exception, in N.83. They forbade priests to interfere in political affairs unless it was required to, in defense of morality and sound principles. Finally, in 1906 Pope Plus X gfi~,e permission for clerics in France'to become candidates for'political office with the permission of their own bishopg and of the bishops of the place ffhere they wished to do so.5 This became part of the public law of the Church in i913, and was substantially repeated in the Code of Canon Law'at its promulgation in 1917'. The Code ,of Canon Law (1917) The~present code prohibits the clergy and members of religious institutes and societies of the common life from seeking or accepting public office without an apostolic indult. Canon 139, :2, obliges the clergy. Canon 597 states that religious are bound by this regulation. Cahon 679, I, asserts that members of societies of the common life are subject to the prohibition. Some of the offices which are pro-hibited to these public ministers are, for example, those oflmayors, commissioner.s, judges, sheriffs, attorney-generals, prosecuting attorneys, governors, tax commis-sioners, state superintendents of schools, heads of municipal and state depart-ments, and similar offices. Canon 139, 4, prohibits the clergy (and religious and members of societies) from running for or accepting public legislative offices, such as senator, deputy or represefltative to parliamentary gatherings~ without the permission of the prO)per Ordinary and the Ordinary of the place where the office will be°exercised. This canon contains the only legislation in the Code that~ directly concerns politicai activity, on the part of the Church's public ministers. It seems that when the 1917 Code wa;g!being drafted, was an expression in one of the drafts ttiat would have includ~d~any.involgement in politicis contentionibus (in political con-test~ or deba,tes). However, was considered to be far too broad and was removed in the final draft. It was never intended to ~xclude religious and clergy from political discussions which might be ne~e~;sary to protect and foster the welfare~of, the people and of the. Church.6 °, ~ Religiou~ also ne~d the permission of their own major sti[gerior, even if he_or she is not the proper Ordi~nary (as are the major superiors in exempt or pontifical clerical institutes). Moreover, the Ordinary of the place where the office is to be exercised must a!s0, give his permission. The singular is used in the canon, so it is '~See Codicis luris Canonici Fontes, 9 vols. (Romae, 1923-29), n. 62~). SSee Acta Apostolica~ Sedis (Romae, Vo XXXIX~ 1906); p. 192. ~ 6Vermeersch-Creusen, Epitome luris Canon[ci (Romae: H. Dessain, 1925-27), vol. I, n. 233, c. Religious in Politics [ 837 not necessary to have the permission of more than one local Ordinary if the office is exercised over the people of many dioceses. Subsequen~t Practice of the Holy See (1918-1962) A review of Church documents from the promulgation of the Code until Vatican il attests the negative attitude of the Holy See t0~ involvement of the clergy in politics.7 For example, Pope Benedict XV in a letter to Cardinal Csernoch, March 12, 1919, deplored the inordinate political activities of some of the Hungar-ian clergy,~ and in a letter to the Polish bishops, July 16, 1921, he stated that the apostolate of the press should be used to combat error, and that the clergy should avoid undue politic~al activity.9 When the Pontifical C0mmmission for the Official Interpretation of the Code was asked' in 1922 by some~ bishops how they should respond ~to re.cluests by priests wishing to seek legislative positions, the Commission responded that the bishops should be severe and not lenient when .it came to granting such permissions?° Pope Plus XI wrote the bishops of Mexico in 1926, sharing in their protestations about the.persecution of the Church in t.hat country, but he warned them to abstain from political partisanship.'j Also, in a series of responses over the years, the Sacred Congregation" of the Council consistently informed ordinaries of their right and duty to forbid political activity to ecclesias-tics and that, after warnings and failure to amend, the priests could be suitably punished~ In one case, in 1958, the Congregation stated that active participation in politics by ecclesiastics was inappropriate because their work should be entirely directed toward the spiritual good of sou_Is and that the Church has permitted such involvement only in special circumstances and under very definite conditidns by way of exception, though it did not specify what these were.~2 A Survey 0f Some Recent Documents of the Holy Se,e Just,~as canons of the code concerning prohibited activities are expressly appli-cable to both the clergy and religious, so are some recent documents of,the Holy See equally applicable to both the clergy and~religio,us. This is due to the closelink which religious life has with the hierarchical apostolate and the special relationship ~ Which 'binds religious life to the pastoral responsibilities of the Church.3 " ~We will 'briefly consider four of these documents which contain instructions regarding the activities of priests or religiOus,and which give some of tl~e reasons for prohibiting involvement in politics or secular activities. I. Paul VI on "The Ministerial Priesthood" ( 1971 ) The second part of this document contains guidelines for the life and ministry 7See The Canon Law Digest, 8 vols., 1934-1978 (vols, 1 and 2 edited by T. Lincoln Bouscaren, S.J.;" vols. 4-6 edited by Bouscaren and James I. O'Connor, S.J.; vols. 7 and 8 and Supplements edited by O'Connor), hereafter Digest. ~Digest, vol. I. p. 126. ~lbid. ~Olbid. vol. I. p. 127. ~lbid., vol. I. pp. 127-128. ~Digest, vol. 5. pp. 199-200. ~131t [ Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 " of priests.~4 it explicitly treats the inappropriateness of the engagement by priests in certain secular activities and in politics. It states that the priestly ministry, even when compared with other activities, must be considered "as not only a fully 4alid human activity, but even indeed as more excellent than others," although this cannot be appreciated a,nd ~understood except in'the light of the gift of faith.~5 "And so, in the ordinary course of events, full time should-be given to priestly ministry. By no means is participation iff secular activities in which men engage to be considered the principle o.bjective, nor can it suffice to exp}ess the particular responsibility of priests.'!6 The document acknowledges the right of priests to function as ordinary citizens, but ~'~since political options are, of their nature, contingent and absolutely hever adequately and perenially interpret the Gospel, the priest who is a witness to things to come should keep himself removed to a certain degree frorfi eve,)ry kind of p61itical office or involvement.~7 Especially excluded are roles of leadership in--or an active militancy for~a political party, unless in some concrete and extraordinary circumstance this is required for the good of the. community, and the bishop has given his consent. The bishop is advised to consult the priests' i:ouncil and, if necessary, the episcopal conference.~8 2. '!Religious and Human Promotion" (1978) The Sacred Coffgr?gat~ion of Religious and Se~uiar Institutes conducted a study on the S~pecific roli~°of religious in the mission of the Church for the integral promotion of the human person.19 It gave special consideration to the socio-politi-cal involvement of religious. The ~study was completed in 1978 but only published in 198Oin conjunction with a companion document, "The Contemplative Dimen-sion of Religious Life,''z0 It acknowledges the link between the Church's mission, its widespread commitment to the adx~ancement of people and the betterment of :society, and the importani role religious play in this ministry. It notes sympatheti-cally the particular problems and difficulties which have faced religious when they have tried to intervene more decisively in the areas of injustice and oppression,,, their need to express solid.arity with the poor and underprivileged compelling them at times "to become actively involved, sometimes in the working world and in p01ilics."~1 However the document reminds them that "they are:bearers of human" and Christian values which will oblige them to repudiate certain methods of trade union aciion or of political maneuverings which do not respond to the exact demands of justice, which alone is the reason for their involvement?"~2 The, docu-ment expresses concern that certain types of involvement carry with them "the risk of a loss of identity proper to religious life and to the Church's mission . ,'z3 '~JSee Digest, Supplement through 1980. canon 592. (1981). p. 13. ~See Digest, vol. 7 (1974). pp. 352-365. ~lbid., p, 355. Wbid ~71bid. p. 356. ~See Di~est, Supplement through 1980. canon 592 (1981). pp. 1-32. ~°lbid. canon 593 (1981). pp. 1-21. "-qbid., canon 592. p. 6. ' "-'-Ibid., p. 16. ~lbid., pp. 356.357. "-31bid. Religious in Politics There~fore, religious are warned not to let themselves become directly involved in politics, and should "not be deluded into thinking that they will have greater influence on the development of persons~and peoples by substituting a political involvement, in the strict sense, for their own tasks."~4 They "should stand apart from certain political options, being seen not as men and women who take sides, but as agents of peace and fraternal solidarity."~5 Unlike the laity and lay members of secular institutes, religious have committed themselves to obedience t9 the common purpose of the religious c.ommunity and to their own religious superiors. Therefo, re, states the document, the presence of religious shot~ld "alw.ays be as consecrated persons who,seek the full conversion of people and society to the ways ¯ of the Gospel through witness and service."~6 3. "The Prophetic Role of Religious in the Promotion of Human Progress" This document appears in the English edition of lnformationes, the official publication of the SCRS1.27 It is obviously linked to the previous document of the SCRS1, "Religious and Human Promotion." It is concerned that religious not underrate their prophetic role and contribution in the Church. They should safe-guard the primacy of the charism of their own institutes in their activities and must not give way "to the trappings of some political ideology, nor take on activities or ways of ~cting proper to other vo6atiods, for example, of lay people or of secular institutes."~8 The document exhorts religio~s to be faithful to their own vocation and way of life which w.ill not permit them to be "of a party." It states that a true ' Christian prophet cannot canonize any political system and will be aware Of the ~njust~ce inherent in every;system because of human weakness. It explicitly dis-courages any direct ihvolvement with political movements and expects that reli-gious will be prophetic by standing apart and by being critically aware of the limitations of all such movements.29 4. "InStruCtion o.f the Sacred Congregation of the Council on Associations of th~ Clergy (March 8, 1982) ~ Although directed at priests' organizations in'Hhng~iry, Yugoslavia and Czech-oslovakia, this documefit is 0f'interest because it ekpresses the Holy See's consist-ent understanding of the priesthood as a life of service and minist,ry that is to be conducted in close communion with the bishop, and it condemns any organization that would impede that communion, harm the identity of priests, or restrict their service to people.3° There is no room for associations of priests or deacons which have a political purpose(~Priests must never put themselves at the service of any ideological or human factor because they are "heralds of the Gospel and shepherds of the Church, and must devote themselves to the spiritual growth of the body of "-~lbid. p. 17. ~-5lbid. "-~lbid., p. 29. -~TSee Consecrated 14"fe, vol. 4. n. 2 (1980), pp:, 416-429. ~lbid. p. 428. "-~lbid. ~0See CRUX ~fthe News. vol. 2, March 22, 1982, pp. 4-5. 1~40 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 Christ.''-~ Even if ihey are presented as supporting humanitarian ideals, peace and social progress, associations of priests which pursue aims related "to politics cause division and discord wi!hin the people" of God, both among the faithful, among the priests themseives, and between the pri(sts and their bishops. They "undoubtedly place in the shadow the priestly mission and infringe on ecclesial communion . ,,3.2 The Statements of Pope ,John Paul I! The pope believes, in harmony with the Vatican 11 teaching, that temporal and seCular matters are properly within the competence of the laity. In his address to religious men in $5o Paulo on July 3, 1980 he said: 1 would like to point out the origihality of the presence of religious in the world. Already on other occasions this point has been presented as follows: there are two f~rms of presence in the world, one physical, direct, material--the other, invisible and spirit~Jal.' but no less real. Lay men and women, due to the fact that they affirm their vocation of physical presence in the world, need that strong support that comes precisely from the spiritual presence of religious. They would feel the lack of it if. through the euphoria of"immersion in thc world." religious ended up by denying'the Church the contribution of what is specifically theirs. For theirs is not a call to alienation: on the contrary, it is an invit,~tion to think that in the Church. according to the concept of St. Paul. the clear difference (and not confusion) and the valid complementarity (and not isolation) of charisms and vocations, continues to be important. The presence of religious in temporal struggles will never bc fruitful in the long run (but will it even be useful immediately?), if it takes plac9 at the cost of the essential values--even tl~e most humble--of religiou~ life.~3 The pope has insisted on the different roles of the priest, the re!!gi.ous and the layman q~ woman in,the political arena. Religious and priests are to be aware of their own yocation to preach God's word. ~While this certainly includes a concern for justice, the priest and the religious are to be seen as agents of reconciliation, not division. Their primary role as servants of God and of his Church does not permit them nor.rnally to be directly involved in partisan politics where divisions are inevitable. The priest and the religious are called to inspire, motivate, educate and exhort. The task of renewing the temporal and secular order is the responsibility of the laity. The Christian vocation to public ministry and ser, vic~e in the name of the Church belongs to,.the priest and the religious. This form of Christian life is distinct from, but complemented by, other Christian vocations. Therefore, in his February 17, 1981 address to religious men in Manila, John Paul stated: At the same time I ask you to observe this guideline: that each apostolic endeavor should be in harmony with the teachings of the church, with the apostolic purpose of your individual institutes. May I also remind you ~f my words at Guadalupe: "You arc priests and religious: you are not social or political figures or officials of a temporal power., let us not be under th~ illusion that we are serving the Gospel if we "dilute" our charism through an exaggerated interest in the wide field of temporal problems.",lt is important for people to see you as .~lbid. p. 4. ~'-Ibid. 33See John Paul II Speaks to Religious 1978-1980, edited by Jean Beyer. S.J., (Chicago: I,ittle.Sisters of the Poor, 1982). p, 245. Religious in Politics / ~141 "servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God."3~ While the pope does not confuse politics with religion, he courageously has condemned the violation of human rights, the lack of religious freedom where it occurs, consumerism, self-indulgence, unconcern for the poor, bias, and moral chaos. While he argues for personal and religious values, he opposes moral laxity and totalitarianism. Likewise, while he tells politicians tha~ they ought to aid the poor and ban weapons, he clearly asks priests and religious to stay out of politics.35 Social Justice, Public Office and Politics Invariably, since Vatican 11 (1926-1965). Catholic religious and clergy who are in politics or public office have cited the Church's social teaching as the basis for their activities. For example, one woman religious, a state senator, stated: "Though I may not be able to use gospel language when ! denounce sinful and oppressive structures on the House floor or in.committee meetings . . . 1 am nonetheless making the Church's teaching present and striving for the reconcilia-tion it seeks to promote by reordering relationships and structures?'36 Social justice has been a concern of the Church, especially from the pontificate of Leo Xlll~to that of John Paul 11. Since Vatican !1, the Church has been seeking to define its life also in terms of its impact on human development,. Gaudium et spes helped the Church come to the conviction that there cfin be no explanation of what the Church is apart from its impact on the social, political and economic life of society: Indeed, at the Third Roman Synod of Bishops (1971), the pursuit of justice in the world was perceived as an integral element in the life of the Church. However when Paul VI addressed the Fourth Roman Synod of Bishops (1974) on the ,subject of evangelization, he warned that the message of salvation which the Church preaches cannot be reduced "to mere sociological or political activity., to a man-centered and temporal message . " but quickly added, "there is no separation or opposition [between evangelization and human development], but a complementary relationship . -37 While the bishops accepted this integral rela-tionship between evangelization and~human development, their concern was on the emphasis-being given the latter in developing countries and the tendency to eliminate the distinction ,between evangelization, and development. Again, in 1975 when the Pontifical Commission on Justice and ~Peace issued its document on "The Church and Human Rights," it reasserted that the Church must have a liberating impact on society, but stated that it does not enjoy any special compe-tence in the political or economic areas, nor was its mission of salvation to be reduced to those areas of life and temporality. 34See Address of John Paul. 11. February 17. 1981, Osservatore Romano English Edition. p. 6. 35James V. Schall, S.J., "The Changing Catholic Scene," in Christianity and Politics. edited by Carol Friendly Griffith (Washington. D.C.: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1981). p. 38. ¯ a~Jim Castelli. "Priests, Nuns, Ministers in Politics," Commonweal. 24 June. 1977, p. 400. 377he Pope Speaks. 19 (1975), pp. 189-190. 842 / Review for Religious, Nov.-Dec., 1982 Unfortunately, when clergy Or religious have spoken out on behalf of justice and basic human rights, as they are obliged to do at times, they have been accused of "meddling in politics." Furthermore, in systems of political oppression the corporal works of mercy are themselves perceived as political acts pure and simple when political oppression is the cause of such poverty. As a consequence, religious and priests have b~en persecuted, even murdered for their performance. Therefore, "politics" can mean different things to different people. When bishops have taken a public stand against abortion,,this is considered to be a political act more than a moral stand by a segment of the populace. What is to be thought, then, when the bishops lobby in Congress in pursuit of Church interests and the broader goals of peace, justice and equality? The history of the Church manifests the extraordinary dangers that beset it if it becomes

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