What man that sees the ever-whirling wheel

Of Change, the which all mortal things doth sway,

But that thereby doth find, and plainly feel,

How Mutability in them doth play

Her cruel sports, to many men’s decay?

—EDMUND SPENSER

The challenge of change knocks hard in our time. It seems to pound loudest on the door of the Church. Hearing its demands might be a rewarding way to observe the 1970 Easter season, and could help to clarify contemporary Christian responsibility—individual and collective.

But what is so peculiar about change today? Haven’t things always been in a state of flux?

The difference lies in volume and rate. Modern man is called upon not only to absorb changes but to accept more changes sooner. We face multiplied new hurdles before we have cleared the old ones. A backlog develops that is psychological, cultural, and moral. We lose touch without being aware of it.

The Church hasn’t quite caught up with a lot that has already happened. But the really big changes are yet to come. As the result of urbanization and automation, and of developments in transportation, communications, education, and medicine, we may soon have completely new life styles. It appears that we are on the threshold of what might be called The Great Transition.

In some respects we ought to welcome change, for it can make life better and more interesting. But when it comes too thick and fast, change creates grave problems. It seduces man to worship at the altar of newness. It spawns inadequacies, inconsistencies, and incongruities. It breeds maladjustment and prejudice as well as foot-dragging. It produces gaps between conviction and conduct, between potential and action. It separates young and old, the informed and the ignorant, the governors and the ...

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