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Briefly Reviewed

Worker Cooperatives in America

By Edited by Robert Jackall and Henry M. Levin

Publisher: University of California Press

Pages: 311

Price: $24.95

Review Author: Stuart Gudowitz

This fairly wide-ranging col­lection of 12 essays was written by persons (including some econ­omists) who support worker co­operatives. Most of the essays discuss actual worker coopera­tives and face squarely the diffi­culties in establishing and run­ning such organizations. While not eschewing theoretical consid­erations, this volume also consid­ers concrete issues such as the financing and legal structures of worker cooperatives. Catholics who want to explore seriously one possible way that the ideas expressed in Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Laborem Exercens can be implemented will find this book to be of great interest. In­deed, might it not be time for Catholic laymen to consider starting worker cooperatives of their own?

However, Catholic readers are also likely to notice a lack of appreciation here for spiritual matters, even when the Mondragon cooperatives of Spain — which were founded by a priest — are discussed. The contributors to this volume seem to have yet to escape from the prison of En­lightenment and post-Enlighten­ment political thought and attain a truer vision of man and society. Thus while Catholics can certain­ly profit from reading these es­says, the worker cooperative movement — insofar as the out­look of the essayists is represen­tative of the movement as a whole — would itself profit by reading the social encyclicals.

Woman in the Bible: An Overview of all the Crucial Passages on Women’s Roles

By Mary J. Evans

Publisher: InterVarsity Press

Pages: 160

Price: $5.95

Review Author: Ronda Chervin

More a commentary than a compilation, Woman in the Bible, published by a respected evangelical Protestant press, pre­sents provocative viewpoints on this topic in relation to Christian and secular-feminist teachings.

The purpose of this book is, as Mary J. Evans explains, to “re­examine the biblical material, not to alter it, not to ignore and not to fit it in with the ideas of modern society, but to make sure that we have got it right and that our ideas and practices real­ly are biblical and not just re­flecting the philosophical presup­positions of a by-gone age, or in­deed of our contemporary soci­ety.”

Whether Evans has succeed­ed in this goal is open to ques­tion. At first I found that her very clear, moderate, and unemo­tional style led me to want to ac­cept her conclusions as the evi­dent result of her scholarly in­sight. After a while, however, I became more cautious. I could see where she was heading and did not feel her book was long enough to take thoroughly into account the contrary views of other exegetes on such contro­versial issues as subordination or women’s ministries.

Such cautions do not make Woman in the Bible a book to be avoided, however, for a research­er on any side of these issues might find it of importance to have gathered together the im­portant passages and to reflect on and critique Evans’s commen­tary.

Some ideas I found helpful include the following:

(1) Women were secondary in certain respects in Old Testa­ment Judaism, but were certainly not excluded from the blessings and responsibilities of the Cove­nant.

(2) The famous New Testa­ment passage about not looking at a woman with lust is an over­throwing of the Jewish idea that women must be segregated to avoid inevitable lust, in favor of the idea that women should be sisters mingling freely with men and that it was for men to con­trol their lustful thoughts.

(3) Jesus not only spoke with women, touched them, and let them touch him, which was
highly unusual for a rabbi, but also taught them and expected them not only to listen but to respond and carry on the message — messages the male apostles sometimes seem not to have understood, as in the case of the anointing of Mary of Bethany before the crucifixion or the news of the Resurrection.

(4) Paul’s epistles should not be interpreted as disparaging the body or women.

Woman in the Bible ends on a positive note as the author hopes that consideration of the positive attitude of Christ toward women, and the quite revolution­ary equality of women in the ear­ly Christian community will lead to a better future for women in today’s churches.

The Summit Choirbook

By Dominican Nuns of Summit, N.J.

Publisher: Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary

Pages:

Price: No price given

Review Author: Michael McGowan

The life of Roman Catholic liturgical music has been a diffi­cult one for the last 100 years. The late 19th and early 20th cen­turies saw the proliferation of low quality, sentimental tunes and maudlin texts as far as hymnography went, while the ordi­naries and propers of the Mass were plagued by secular influenc­es from late Romantic concert and theatrical music.

The work initiated by Pope St. Pius X to revitalize Gregorian chant and to rid Church music of secular influences was not entire­ly without success. But Gregor­ian chant has not become the widespread vehicle of worship that Pius and succeeding popes had hoped it would. Nor has sa­cred music rid itself of secular in­fluences.

The Second Vatican Coun­cil brought many important changes to the liturgy. As far as liturgical music is concerned, new works built upon both the great musical traditions of the Church and local cultural tradi­tions were called for. The use of the vernacular in the liturgy was not of such importance in hymnography, since most hymns were in the vernacular to start with. But the need for vernacular settings for the ordinaries and propers of the Mass was pointed out. Those passages of the Con­stitution on the Sacred Liturgy stating that efforts should be made to teach the people to say and sing their parts of the Mass in Latin and that Gregorian chant should be given “pride of place” as liturgical music have been generally ignored.

Since the Council we have seen a great outpouring of new music for the Church, much of it in the form of hymns. The Psalms have been returned to their place of importance in the liturgy and many new settings of them have been produced. The ordinaries and various propers of the Mass have not been given new settings to the same degree, but neither have they been ig­nored.

However, the same prob­lems that have plagued liturgi­cal music for the last 100 years are still with us. Much of the new music is as maudlin, sentimental, and filled with secular influences as ever.

Into the present confused state of Catholic liturgical music comes The Summit Choirbook — and it is a breath of fresh air. The book, a product of 14 years of loving labor, contains hymns spanning the entire history of the Church and all of its varied cul­tural expressions. Every piece in the book bears the subtlety and sonority that mark great liturgi­cal music.

The choirbook includes a good selection of Gregorian chants (with the original Latin texts), some reaching all the way back to the third century. Most of these chants come from var­ious Dominican liturgical sources and so in some respects differ from those in the official Vatican editions produced in the last 100 years. English versions of many of the chants are also included.

There is also a good selec­tion of hymns from the various Byzantine Rites, as well as new settings of traditional Byzantine texts by the Monks of New Skete. All of these are of course in English.

The book contains a great deal of folk music — real folk music. The folk hymns in the choirbook are the products of many different cultures and they are beautiful indeed. They repre­sent the richness of Catholic cul­ture and are varied enough to have something with particular appeal to every Catholic.

The book also contains many old familiar hymns in the classical hymn style as well as some unusual but appealing con­temporary works. Many of the tunes have been supplied with new texts. Not a trace of cheap sentimentality is to be found in this extraordinary hymnal.

Moreover, Protestant churches would find this choir­book a rich and useful source of music for worship. Indeed, many of the hymns included are from Protestant traditions. The sourc­es of all tunes and texts are meticulously noted. Besides being a great addition to Christian litur­gical music, this choirbook is also a great work of musicology.

Death By Choice

By Daniel C. Maguire

Publisher: Image Books (updated and expanded edition)

Pages: 224

Price: $7.95

Review Author: David Courtwright

“Can it be moral and should it be legal,” asks theologian and ethicist Daniel Maguire, “to take direct action to terminate life in certain extreme circumstances?” Death By Choice answers both questions in the affirmative, especially in cases where “induc­ed death may be more valuable than protracted living.” Ending the lives of the doomed and tor­mented, or of the vegetative and the deformed, may be the lesser evil according to Maguire — even though mercy killing remains a crime in the eyes of the law. Ma­guire regards the traditional in­junction against the direct taking of innocent life as an important principle, but not an inviolable one.

The bulk of this book, first published in 1974, deals with the morality of killing the afflicted living, such as a terminal cancer patient. Much of the material added to the second edition, however, argues for the occasion­al propriety of killing the un­born. Maguire, who is a promi­nent member of the Catholic Committee on Pluralism and Abortion, sides with those who value human life in the womb, but who also “acknowledge that other human values may at tra­gic and not infrequent times outweigh the fetal ‘right to life.’”

How often is “not infre­quent”? Is it one-and-a-half mil­lion times a year? And if certain “justified” abortions are permit­ted, what is the role of the state with respect to abortions under­taken for convenience or even because of parental rejection of the sex of the fetus? More gener­ally, how can we prevent legaliz­ed death by choice, whether abortion or euthanasia, from be­ing abused on a mass scale? Re­cent history does not seem to provide grounds for optimism.

If abortion in America were a matter of a few thousand des­perate mothers acting for grave reasons, I doubt that the Catho­lic hierarchy and prolife forces (both of whom Maguire excori­ates) would be as active as they have been. But abortion in Amer­ica is not like that. It is in reality a major industry, the primary function of which is to serve as birth-control-of-last-resort for unwed mothers between the ages of 15 and 25. The typical case is that of a young couple who have chosen to be sexually active without committing to marriage, and who do not practice contra­ception carefully, if at all. When pregnancy occurs, one or both decide to eliminate the future re­sponsibility, expense, and embar­rassment of a child by aborting the fetus. Abortion-as-birth-control is made all the less palatable by the fact that, for every heal­thy available infant, there are at present 40 anxious couples wait­ing to adopt. Of their plight, or of its concomitant relationship to a decade of legalized abortion, Maguire has nothing to say.

Maguire does, however, make some cogent points. He is surely correct when he writes that many conservative anti-abortionists are selectively and incon­sistently pro-life; someone who opposes abortion but supports deployment of the MX missile is simply not thinking clearly. He also observes that prolife advo­cates should be concerned about the attendant causes of unintend­ed pregnancies, such as poverty and ignorance. But Maguire never comes to grips with the key is­sue, which is the nature and ex­tent of abortion in our society.

God’s Revolution: The Witness of Eberhard Arnold

By Edited by the Hutterian Society of Brothers and John Howard Yoder

Publisher: Paulist Press

Pages: 224

Price: $8.95

Review Author: Juli Loesch

It has been said of the late Dorothy Day that she was nei­ther an original thinker nor a brilliant literary stylist; but the undeniable power of her writing owes to the fact that there was absolutely no difference between what she professed to believe and the way she lived. It is a life lived faithfully that gives to plainspoken words their resonance and depth, their right to be heard. Exactly the same can be said for the writing of Eberhard Arnold.

A neo-orthodox theologian in the Anabaptist tradition, Eber­hard Arnold died 50 years ago during the period of the Nazi build-up in Germany. He was the founder of the Bruderhof move­ment, whose followers strove to live like the early Christians — whose Spirit-inspired fellowship, described in the Acts of the Apostles, held property commu­nally, shared worldly goods with the poor, and lived a disarmed life even in the midst of fero­cious persecution.

Arnold’s refusal to cooper­ate with the military and his out­spoken insistence on the relation­ship between individual piety and social justice won him the ire of Hitler’s regime. At 8 o’clock in the morning of November 16, 1933, 140 Nazi storm troopers and secret police forced their way into the little Christian com­munity in the Rhön hills to search for nonexistent arms, while Pastor Arnold’s wife, Em­my, and her sister burned poten­tially incriminating papers in the stove. Arnold’s Christian publish­ing venture was smashed when the Nazis seized his office, and for the last two years of his life (he died in 1935) Arnold ex­hausted himself in ceaseless ef­forts to shepherd his exiled com­munity into Switzerland, Liech­tenstein, and England.

The fact that this fragile community survived — with its children and grandchildren living a life of Gospel simplicity in the midst of a cynical and secular world — attests to the vitality of the Bruderhof way. It is a way rooted, as Pastor Arnold would say, not in his own preaching and teaching, but in the love of and imitation of Jesus Christ.

In his Introduction, Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder notes that the texts found in God’s Revolution are not the preferred point of entrance into the devotional or spiritual thought of Arnold. That would be his Inner Land, written in the face of the spiritual crisis that Germany faced in World War I, or his Salt and Light, an interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount. But God’s Revolution does provide a thematic sampling of Arnold’s sermons and infor­mal talks from about 1907 to 1935. This sampling was put to­gether partly from memories and penciled notes, and then selected according to the perceptions of his surviving followers, now aged community members.

That Christians ought to be “a people apart” is illustrated by Arnold’s teaching on “God’s Em­bassy”: “Each kingdom or na­tion maintains an embassy in Paris, Petersburg, Berlin, Rome, and other capitals. The embassy building is sacrosanct territory, where no one is subject to the laws of the country surrounding the embassy; in the embassy building only the laws of its own country are in effect.

“It is just the same with the Church. Jesus Christ sends His Church, led by the Holy Spirit, to be His embassy. Here the final law is that of the final kingdom. Therefore the Church communi­ty must not unthinkingly submit to the laws of today’s govern­ments” (1934).

One need only read the ser­mons of Catholic bishops quoted in Gordon Zahn’s German Catho­lics and Hitler’s Wars to see a most painful contrast. Even Car­dinal von Galen, the most resis­tant of the German Catholic hier­archy, preached often on the ob­ligation of the faithful to be pa­triotic and obedient and — if call­ed upon to fight — to give their blood for the Fatherland. But Arnold and a handful of others counseled their flocks to judge sharply the demands of Caesar and to beware lest, in serving the Fatherland, they prove traitor to the heavenly Patria.

Even today the Bruderhof communities (three in the United States and one in England) chal­lenge the ways of the “worldly” kingdom. Following Arnold’s un­derstanding of the Gospels, the Bruderhöfe uphold a norm of personal morality which is even more radical today than it was in the Germany of the 1920s and 1930s. They expect virginity and purity from their young people, and they stand for the indissolu­bility of marriage. Advising a welcoming attitude toward “all the children God wishes to send,” they oppose contracep­tion and abortion, while advocat­ing the kind of communal house­holds they believe are vitally important for the Christian edu­cation of children and the survi­val of solid marriages and fami­lies.

For plainspoken words on purity and peacemaking — and for the consolation and the un­settling challenge of a life lived faithfully — we can all be grate­ful for the witness of Eberhard Arnold.

Theology of the Priesthood

By Jean Galot, S.J.

Publisher: Ignatius Press

Pages: 274

Price: $15.95

Review Author: Raymond T. Gawronski

The project of this ambi­tious book is “to ascertain the meaning of the ministerial priest­hood and the relation it bears to the priesthood of the faithful.” This project is nettlesome for Galot, who is very heavily scrip­tural (New Testament) in his ap­proach. As he notes, Jesus is nev­er called a priest in the Gospels, “nor does he ever speak of priest­hood or priests when describing the role of his apostles or defin­ing their identity.” Indeed, the Epistle to the Hebrews is the on­ly writing that speaks explicitly of Christ as priest. Galot observes that the absence of the terminology does not mean an absence of the reality behind it, and he fur­ther notes that Jesus recoils in general from describing Himself by means of titles. However, this is an initial problem that is never quite resolved.

Galot is very good at point­ing to the priestly quality found in Scripture: Jesus comes to be­gin a new Temple, to be Head of the Body which will have a new priesthood representing Him, the Head. Galot clearly delineates what it was Jesus was rejecting in the old priesthood — the caste, the identification of sacrality with place — and what He sought in His followers, for whom sa­crality would shift from place to person, who “would worship in spirit and truth.” The author of Hebrews emphasizes this, de­scribing the priesthood of Christ as “in the line of Melchizedek,” the eternal priesthood outside of the Jewish cult, and not in the line of Aaron.

The priesthood of Christ turns on a power that takes the form of humble service. Galot writes: “If the priest is a repre­sentative of Christ and exercises certain powers in his name, the reason is that Jesus himself so de­cided. This empowerment is con­ferred only for the sake of a mis­sion and should be understood only in the sense of a humble ser­vice. And yet it remains a power. Those who resist any power, priestly power included, fail to understand that Jesus intended to change the meaning of power by impressing a new configura­tion on it.”

The scriptural sections are lengthy and thorough. They show the importance of sacrifice in St. Paul, who also does not speak explicitly of priesthood. Perhaps the most important im­age Galot finds in the New Test­ament for the priest is the “shep­herd”: “it is the shepherd’s qual­ity that best epitomizes the priest’s function.” This provides Galo with a form to unite var­ious priestly threads in the New Testament, and further links the priesthood of Jesus with Yahweh, Shepherd of Israel. The reader will be pardoned if he wonders what if any difference there is between current theolog­ical debate about priesthood and some of the earlier scholasticism. Yet Galot is able to bring forth refreshing fruit as he pursues his investigation.

The chapter in which Galot specifically deals with his overall question — “The Priesthood of the Faithful and the Ministerial Priesthood” — begins to ascend to some lyrical heights: “No one has ever been as deeply a man as the man who was God, nor was anyone ever nearer all men than he was. Christ wills that priests should participate both in the way in which he was…a man…and in his own nearness to all men. Even the surrender of a family of one’s own and of earth­ly possessions helps to impress upon the Incarnation a more uni­versal openness.” The chapter en­titled “The Being of the Priest” similarly penetrates some depths: “Instead of seeking to demystify the priestly character, we should seek to discover the mystical sig­nificance it embodies.” Develop­ing the notion of the character impressed by the sacrament of orders, he writes: “The minister responds to events…with the mysterious image of the Lord he carries within himself. Thus the Church fulfills her mission, which is to let that image permeate the world, so that mankind may display the traits of the Savior.”

The book concludes with a chapter on “The Mission of Woman and the Priesthood,” a moderate restatement of the Ro­man Catholic Church’s teaching. This final chapter reflects the strengths and weaknesses of the book. It is a rich work, full of re­search, impressively aware of the contemporary debates within the Church (documented amply with footnotes). But although he does refer to the Fathers and medievals, he tends to jump rather quickly from the Scripture and Early Church to Trent.

Yet the greatest gifts in this book are perhaps the meditative passages with which he illumi­nates the nature of the priest­hood.

What I Believe: Thirteen Eminent People of Our Time Argue for Their Philosophy of Life

By Edited by Mark Booth

Publisher: Crossroad

Pages: 142

Price: $8.95

Review Author: Myrna Reid Grant

Who among us does not re­member our salad days, wrestling into the night with ideas, striving with peers to present our worldview, having our minds troubled and stretched by countering phi­losophies of friends? We felt alive, invigorated, challenged to think as never before. Yet adult­hood, with its work-a-day re­sponsibilities and family joys, has a way of steering us into a circle of like-minded friends and rela­tions. Our thinking discussions tend merely to refine or puzzle over matters of mutual agree­ment.

Here is a book to hone the mind made too comfortable. Booth has collected the writings of 13 prominent intellectuals from varying disciplines to an­swer the queries: “What are the most important questions you can ask yourself? What are your most sincere beliefs?” A few contributors are Christians. Many are not. W.H. Auden, Albert Ein­stein, Thomas Mann, Malcolm Muggeridge, Bertrand Russell, Robert Schuller, and Rebecca West are among those included.

The essays present differing perspectives. For example, Thomas Mann argues for the coming of a new “third human­ism” which will be universal and will have the artist’s attitude of recognizing the value and beauty of the human being. Muggeridge debunks the idea of earthly pro­gress and declares urbanized life on earth the most unilluminated and degraded ever to come to pass in the history of civilization.

Readers with reservations about the well-known “positive-thinking” theology of Robert Schuller may come upon him with surprise in What I Believe. His contribution, written in a lit­urgy-like style, is vigorously orthodox-Protestant and could have been built on an outline of the Nicene Creed, in spite of his opening Schullerism, “I believe in belief!”

Charles Malik, in his small book The Two Tasks, writes, “The greatest danger besetting American…Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism. The mind as to its greatest riches and deepest reaches is not cared for enough…the result [being] that the area of creative thinking is abdicated and vacated for the Enemy.” In What I Believe, Christians and non-Christians ar­gue eloquently for their beliefs. Perhaps it is particularly intrigu­ing to follow differing forms of “unregenerate” thought and see what, at their finest, they make of the human experience. This book gives Christian readers the opportunity to wrestle with op­posing ideas and work hard at ar­ticulating valid responses.

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