Special of the week; Issue 21-69
And we are the national educational radio network presents special of the week from Yale University from its series called Yale reports moral ethical and religious renewal is becoming an increasingly important part of church life. Part of the problem of renewal is that of alienation from the present structure and a questioning of established values often of the church itself. Here to speak of these problems is the Reverend Gregory Baum professor of religious studies at St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto. Father Baum a leading theologian an ecumenist is joined by the Reverend Paul my near weekly professor of biblical theology the Reverend Arthur Brandenburg associate chaplain of battell chapel and the reverend in Sagan's lecturer in church history. Father Baum the expression of the third man goes back to a French a Jesuit Father Who star
who wrote an article two years ago in which he describes the Christians affronts I might add that he was fired from his post of editor of the general after he published it. He says they're the first man who is the conservative Catholic who wants to perpetuate the church of yesterday. There is the progressive Catholic The second man who wants to renew the church according to Scripture and Vatican 2. And then there is the third man and who is the third man the third man is a man who regards themselves as a Catholic and he loves the Catholic Church and the Catholic past. He enjoys Catholic teaching Catholic doctrine but he says if Catholic doctrine makes sense to me. Terrific. If it does and what it doesn't particularly bother me and it wouldn't occur to me to argue with the Pope or the bishop about it Catholic sacraments are wonderful if they help me. And if they don't I don't feel guilty staying away. Lore is
great and I'm not a rebel. I like Law and Order but it doesn't really fit my life. Canon law doesn't really fit my life well when I make decisions independently of it. This is the description of the third man and I think that this is not only true of France I think that there are many third men in the Catholic Church on this continent. I believe that they are not disloyal Christians. I think what is happening in the church at the moment is a rethinking a re-experiencing of the Gospel and therefore we are passing through a gradual process of reinterpreting Christian teaching. And because this process is gradual we find ourselves in different stages. And therefore I would say all Catholics are a little bit of third men today. That is they put parentheses around certain positions to
give a little example. We are rethinking what we mean by original sin and I think that our theologians are able to talk very beautiful and meaningfully about the kind of ambiguity in will into which we are born and which remains with us. But by rethinking our original sin we will also have to raise a question about what for instance the Immaculate Conception of the better Virgin Mary means. Now I would say a Catholic just wouldn't be able to answer exactly what it means. And so he puts parentheses around it he doesn't deny it is a good Catholic but he doesn't know exactly what it means. And I think that this kind of reinterpretation is taking place today. Thank you for that description it is very clear I would gather that students and faculty in the various universities would be moving rapidly in the direction of becoming third man.
I would think this is certainly true of student and faculty I would think it is true of many ordinary Catholics who have difficulties with the present canon law of the church. Mixed marriages are not permitted. That is mixed ecumenical of wedding service isn't permitted. A promise is still demanded for the Catholic education of the children of divorced Christians are not remarried in the Catholic Church and therefore if a Catholic has left an intolerable marriage then he is in the present law incapable of being married again I would say among these people. I think you have many third men today. They are Catholics they love the church they love the tradition and yet they choose their future apart from present Canon O. On the whole bother about how do you think the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church is going to deal with the third
man. Do you think that there is going to be increasing openness on the part of the bishops towards this stance. Or do you think that is going to become more and more a threat. Oh I wouldn't be surprised if there are any third men among the bishops that the Canadian hierarchy for instance in replying to or interpretating put Paul's in cyclical on birth control has acknowledged the right to dissent. We are told by the Canadian bishops that unity does not mean conformity or conformism. That while we are the one church we see our way sometimes differently we might walk in different directions at times and yet we trust that guidance will be available that we won't lose one another they say. And so I think that by force of circumstances that history is stronger than the organizations that we will have to take the third man into into consideration.
I'm interested in the number of parallels between this account of groups within current Catholicism and what happened in the reformation where the same three groupings can be found. And the first man might be someone like Eric Luther presumably started out as a second man and someone like Luther stated in Tejas Talbot's or Erasmus perhaps was a third man and it turned out that the really explosive group were the second group because they tried to reform and came up against such resistance that they simply broke away. What do you think is likely to be the future of the second group in the present situation. I interpret life history today quite differently from the 16th century. It seems to me in the 16th century people talk church is a community for granted. If they left one church they had to create another one. I don't think it is true
today that the people who leave one church today don't dream of starting another one. They just sort of hang loose. They just remove themselves a little bit from the center. They are on the same boat but they don't get too close to the engine room that is there. This is a little bit away from it. But as you know once Davis is doing. Yes and as many as many fit men do. I don't think there is among I suppose to logically the possibility of starting new churches and for that reason I don't for a moment think that will be a system in the Catholic Church. Many people believe or at least may detach themselves and some will move along with it a different set of distances. But I can't conceive of a system. Do you envision then a sort of movement of of the third man and second men who move in the direction of being the third man or those type of Catholics.
I think what is happening today is that there is developing in the Catholic Church a certain reformating certain pluralism or as I put it the ice simple styles of being a good Catholic and I have nothing against the very conservative Catholics I think that they have the right and I regret that that many bishops have not permitted let the masses it seems to me that it's a valid spirituality. It is not mine. I have doubts about some of the political implications of Latin masses but I still think that it is a valid Christian experience and therefore I think there will develop a purer form of the civil side of being a Catholic in the people which it was I was reflecting upon the similarity between the third man and the attitude that many people have toward Protestants. They say Protestantism is a religion in which every individual is his own pope.
Now as you define the third man while he does not repudiate doctrine he accepts doctrines only when they have a positive meaning for him in a full sense. And while he does not repudiate sacraments he would he would accept the sacraments and utilize them only if they had immediate meaning for him. This would seem to make his judgement the ultimate standard by which he decides whether to be a member of the community or to stand somewhat outside the community. Now this accusation against Protestants has too much truth. Very frequently. And I wondering whether there might be a tendency for Catholics to imitate Protestants in this absolute Ty's ation of their own judgement. This is not really what I think of when I see third men when I say third men I'm thinking of Catholics who affirm their Catholic
past in the Catholic community and the great values and who want to live in community and to make up their mind in conversation with others not by separating themselves from others and by making up their mind sort of alone. But by talking with their friends and listening to what is being said and trying it on and testing it and seeing it if it fits and if it fits if it's integral into their lives will they live it. But this does not mean that this is sort of individualistic this is in some sense in community. I would rather compare it to what is happening in the communist world. I think that in the communist Well today we have at least until recently entry of the U. Until the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia there was a there were men in the eastern countries who were Marxists and yet they were non ideological Marxists. That is they were dedicated to a vision of history
and yet they were willing to abandon some illogical and philosophical consistency to be more open to pragmatic and a Biblical method. And I think this the third man I think is sort of the non ideological man the man who doesn't want to make up his mind before he experiences something he doesn't want to impose. Antecedent structures on reality. He wants to see what reality is like and then see and make up his mind obviously including his deep convictions about the Gospel and she does and the Catholic Church but nonetheless not prior to experience. What are the implications of a kind of movement practice of the Faith for such traditional Christian concerns as the Christian mission the Christian witness the involvement or the presence of Christians as a servant people in the midst of society and so on. It seems to me that in this area of the organized churches so disappointing for
many Christians because in the area of mission of giving witness in the political and social conditions of our times there are the organized churches are very often has it tend to do this. Many of my Anglican friends have been perhaps unhappy about the Lambeth Conference which made marvelous declarations about peace in general but didn't really see anything but the British government sending arms to Nigeria and I didn't sit down to think about the Anglican because I think that there was anybody else but the it's on this level that the disappointment is that if the church or the mission. I think Christians must exercise this and they have to find ways of doing it not simply alone. Groups in collaboration with others is it seems to me today we have become deeply convinced Irish that I have become the beacon to the other people that it's in our relation to the neighbor in our relationship to the community. Therefore in our personal and political
action that the entire redemptive order is embodied that is that about which the creed speaks for others and their spirit is given witness to in my relation to the neighbor that ultimately it is action that embodies truth. That is not he was says to me Lord Lord but he would as the will of the Father will enter the kingdom. And therefore I think that the Creeds today communicate differently. The pope writes an encyclical about social action and about what. The reordering of society and I think that executives don't do very much. But if the if the Vatican would invest their money in underdeveloped countries where they get only 3 percent interest instead of in Sweden or in countries where they get a high bit high interest. This I think would be the kind of action which is has built into it. The witness which teachers I was thinking fathom I'm not that implies
a radical rethinking of the concept of authority in the church and how authority is both exercised and how it's received and responded to by members of the church. Yes I think that in the Catholic Church as I think in all the churches and in society in general in the universities everywhere we have this problem of authority and obedience and I think that we are experiencing authority differently today. In the past certainly in the Catholic Church we have experienced it in a vertical fashion authority came from about it was given by Jesus to the apostles and they handed it on and there it is given to us now we submit to it. I think our experience today or rather is that that with authority is horizontal That is the we belong to the community the common good of the community is above us individual. And therefore the common good has some
preference and if we know what the community wants if we know what the Spirit is creating in the community then we are willing to follow. And if there is a superior if there is a coordinator who is able to put into words what the community. Believes in the spirit then we then Catholics and people are willing to obey. I think that this is beginning to take place at least on paper at Vatican 2 through college the principle of collegiality. It's taken been some of religious orders where those in charge are no longer quote Sapir years but coordinated. There is the nuns have now coordinators they sit together talk and together they see what really images in the community and this is the way they walk. I think this is a tremendous crisis and I would say that the people who are in or authority are afraid of this. They interpret this as the decay of the spirit of a diva BT and they interpret this as this bit of impatience and
rebellion. I don't interpret it that way. In fact it may be a tremendously exciting here logical development in that since the authority of the church is finally attributed to the Father. This imply it's also a new concept of how God's authority is exercised amongst us and how we find God and how we relate to him. If I believe that the deepest problems of the church are not the organizational problems and not the problems of authority to obedience the one which also appear and to the observer. But that the deepest problem is the problem of God who is God. What is our idea of understanding of the divine. It seems to me corresponding to the vertical concept of obedience there is the idea that God is the transcendental stranger the heavenly stranger that is the outside God the God above who intervenes occasionally into
human life for the sake of our salvation. And I think with this God we have great difficulties today with the logins do you have the Lord into don't call themselves death of God to login. And I think that the the more horizontal horizontal concept of authority and obedience corresponds to the idea that God is not the outsider but the insight is that God is alive in wherever people are. Free that God frees people to come to self-knowledge and to to find out which way to move. Godfrey's people do create their own future and therefore God cannot be thought of as being the outsider. And I think that would have tremendous implications on what divine providence is. Can we still regard God as the one who has mapped out history till the end. It seems to me this would become extremely difficult for us today to think of God in exactly these way in this town at least him so I think what is taking
place in the church it is passed from one understanding of God to another understanding of God and this is a great conflict because our piety is involved our prayer lives in all. Would you say a bit more about the theology of God as the insider in terms of trends. Is there great interest even though scattered about in the Catholic Church really reappropriate the doctrine of God in this sort of context rather than the interventionist. Yes the great thinker who began this kind of theology in the Catholic Church is more respawn Dale who wrote his first work at the end of the last century. And he and Vicki a Thames called the old concept the extrinsic cest concept of God that is the people who think of man and human history as a finished and closed
reality. Who would be God God is the outsider who must come in. And he says if he's the outsider. He can never come in again. Once you define men of history in human terms alone then you can never get God back into it. Because even if he comes occasionally he remains a stranger and therefore he began to develop a theology an understanding of many human history in which God was not the outside that but God was involved in man's making of men and through Brawn Dayo this went deeply into Catholic theology. Maria Hsia do you buck Iran and Iran again and then the moment and theologians but I would say there is a tradition already of 50 years of this kind of thinking. It appears to me that there are some parallels to Lawndale in modern Anglican theology stemming mainly from anti Marise and the school had followed him down to Temple and that theology is still
immensely influential especially in missionary circles in Anglicanism and much of the reflection about seeking the truth in dialogue with other religions and with other sorts of society reflects this same sort of theology. I suspect on the other hand of course I think the Protestant theology. Has had some difficulty in moving in this direction because it has from the beginning been so much a theology of the wood and the difficulty of breaking loose the traditional view of revelation from a vertical nation of authority. This is has prevented a lot of the more Orthodox Protestant theology from developing these sorts of things as a result of the people who have developed these themes within Protestantism have tended to be extremely heterodox and therefore have failed to make terribly much impact on say many of the Protestant clergy.
This is my impression to think that seems to many. Yes I think so. I think in Jewish theology Buber's work might be in the direction of black hole and the Protestant thinkers that were helpless by pooper in the direction of a new understanding of the covenant with God by way of the covenant with the community so that one's self is defined by a community and therefore by a relationship to God. There's one element in your thought Father Bob that I would like to follow a bit further. I know at St. Michael's in Toronto you've been greatly interested in the psychological study of Christian faith. And when you say that the problem in the Roman Catholic Church is not so much a crisis of authority or a crisis of obedience but a crisis of how the individual relates himself to the church in such a
way that God is the insider and the person is the insider. Do you find in your psychological study that this pattern of relationship is on the whole a characteristic of spiritual health. Where as those who think of God as the outsider the first and second man perhaps that you mentioned rather than the third man that behind this set of relationships there is frequently the source of spiritual and and disease. Perhaps we should define the individual's health by the way in which he is actually related to a community. If God is in this relationship there is hell. But if he relates himself trying to relate himself to a God outside of the community then his relationship to the community is corrupted by this extrinsic character of his thought.
I find your question very interesting. I would have hesitation to call people who experience God and family differently necessarily sick because after all in different cultures we experience family relations differently and I think that if people grow up to think of mother and father as being so powerful and infallible. That they never really kind of liberate themselves from them and they keep throughout their life the idea that mother and father are perfect and that the questioning of mother and father is sort of against filial piety. I think in the past for centuries people were able to make it that way and were quite aware of that way. And these people could also take the God who is the outsider. But I think today we have changed and we don't look upon mother and father in
this way anymore. And I think that it is the sort of the cultural and communal experience has changed and therefore I would say today very often this kind of transition has to take place. I still think it is possible for some people to be video well. In the older kind of system. I think his political consequences. I think that politically many people don't want father figures anymore whether they be to call it is or a poor poor Rose or Johnson or they don't want father figures that the person was attractive in the political life of the man who doesn't want to be a father. I would think of a figure like a Bobby Kennedy for instance I'm thinking Winston of the prime minister of Canada. Yes. Who do or who. Who doesn't want to be fathers and who rejects this. And I think that we want a fatherless society that is a society where their leader is a different sort of person.
The leaders of the business should know who knows the answers but the leader is the kind of man who creates an environment in which people have good ideas. It has very striking practical implications for the transformation necessary transformation of the image of the bishop who indeed has many times I guess through the centuries been imaged as the Father the Father father of the faithful. I wonder if you would. Again maybe indicate the way you see that going that bishops are responding or not responding to the the new kind of image that you suggest there. Well you know I think that it is already on the level of the of the priests the clergy already this is a problem because after all priests are called father. Yes and therefore there is the picture ation of a particular kind of relationship. In many of the younger
clergy find it extremely difficult to have themselves because a father because this is not the kind of role they want to play. And I think the Roman caller is kind of connected to this. The Roman collar means really father and many of the younger clergy and the older cage too I guess have hesitations about the Roman collar for this reason and I think eventually this will also probably be championships. I was just wondering if you would don't care to comment on where you see the intellectual dialog going on in the Catholic Church today between say the theologian and the the other disciplines of the university where are traditionally that sort of dialogue perhaps has been carried on with the philosophers if you would see it shifting toward psychology or just where. I am firmly convinced that what we need today is the dialogue of theology with the social sciences anthropology psychology and
sociology. But I'm afraid that this is hardly begun. I think that even the renewal of Catholic theology over the last 20 or 30 or 40 years 40 years has taken place through dialogue with the Protestant ecumenical movement through dialogue with the Scriptures biblical movement through dialogue with contemporary philosophy. I would say existentialism in phenomenology but on the whole I would say that the dialogue with psychology and sociology has been rare. And therefore I think it is only. It is perhaps the new emphasis on phenomenology that is on looking at things as they are which begins to enable us to enter into the data with the social sciences. I'm basically interested in this but on the whole I would think that we have done video little. The Reverend Gregory Baum professor of religious studies at St. Michael's College at the University
- Special of the week
- Issue 21-69
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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