Leaving Room for Play in the Necessary Network of Laws and Codices
I am reading The Ratzinger Report right now. I've never read it before. I'm enjoying it greatly.
Certain parts of it leap out at me, because Ratzinger is talking about certain practical problems that I'm currently thinking about.
One of those practical problems is how to balance structure and spontaneity.
The Kindling needs a certain degree of structure: without a form and a way of proceeding, it would be a shapeless chaos, frustrating people involved with it. But with too much form and procedural rules, it could become a hard-to-manage machine that stifles the conversation it's aimed at fostering.
Here's a passage in which Ratzinger speaks to something like this, in discussing the difference between working with the Munich archbishopric and the Roman Curia:
So Rome, despite everything, is better than rigid structures, the hyper-organization, that fascinates Northern people?
"Yes, the Italian spirit is better. With less desire of organizing, it leaves room for those individual personalities, for those singular initiatives, for those original ideas which — as mentioned in connection with the structure of many episcopal conferences — are indispensable for the Church.
The saints were all people of imagination, not functionaries of apparatuses.
Outwardly, they were perhaps "unusual" personalities, but neverthelss they were profoudnly obedient and, at the same time, persons of great originality and personal independnence. And the Church, I shall never tire of repeating it, needs saints more than functionaries.
Then I like that Latin humanness that always leaves room for play to the concrete person, even in the necessary network of laws and codices.
The law is there for man, and not man for the law: the structure has its justifications, but they must not stifle persons."
I admit to having an attraction to both "hyper-organization" and
"apparatuses," on the one hand, and the unpredictability of the "concrete person" left with "room for play."
I suspect that striking the balance between the apparatus and the play will be a work that's never really finished.