112 Chapter 9
NATURE IS GRACE
Of course, the idea that the meaningfulness of individual acts must
be judged at least partly in terms of this non-existent time that hasn't
even happened yet also means that time that has already happened is
not meaningful in itself. It too obviously must get its meaning from a
time-less 'totality.' So here is the 'equation':
time that hasn't even happened yet
+ inherently meaningless time
= Meaningfulness ???
Plainly, this 'equation' is just a surrogate for the particular favorite
time-less theory that is the real 'justification' and 'evaluation' of the
particular act in the particular time.
and here we are also, over here, in the 'totality' by
which we understand and evaluate it- - ->
Our individual (sexual) act is over
Of course, as has been argued here, traditional Catholic theology
for centuries has been dominated by its own intellectual refusal of
'flesh' and the adoption of its own forms of dehistoricized cosmology.
Catholic theology for centuries has rejected as impossible the home-
made truth -- Mr. Minsky's truth, Ecclesiastes' truth -- that 'flesh'
arrives at when it is very brave and very bright: what bodies do is all
This truth was rejected based on the theory that what bodies do was
meaningless unless it was justified and made necessary from some
time-less place. If this sounds identical in form to the intellectual
principles of the dissenting theologians who proposed the 'principle of
totality,' you win a gold star.
1. Traditional Catholic theologians to this
day imagine that to say that what bodies do
is all we've got is automatically to say that
all of reality is horrifyingly meaningless.
After all, real meaning just has to come
from some time-less 'place' safely apart
from what mere bodies do -- both Plato and
Aristotle knew that. Of course, one of Fr.
Keefe's main points is that there may be a
tiny difference between the dehistoricized
thought of Plato and Aristotle and the 'time-
full' acts of the Lord of history.
Traditional Catholic moral theology, following the faith of the
Church, asserted the meaningfulness of individual acts in time.
However, it is intellectually incoherent for traditional Catholic thought
to do this. Certainly, some of the New Class acceptance of the
'principle of totality' has arisen because it is so wonderfully convenient
to the justification of contraception, and other actions that might
otherwise have to be refused, but there is also a root intellectual reason
for its acceptance, which is that no dehistoricized cosmology can find
meaning in individual, particular acts in time. Although Fr. Keefe does
not use Humanae Vitae as an example in his book, as I am doing in
this one, he does establish, in the most conclusive way, the general
principle I am stating here, which is worth repeating: no dehistoricized
cosmology can find meaning in individual, particular acts in time.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.