S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
In the most charitable reading of the origin of the 'principle of
totality,' dissenting theologians -- by the way, themselves fully aware
of, because fully trained in, the intellectual framework of traditional
Catholic thought -- believed themselves to be refusing the idea that
what bodies do is all we've got, when they rejected the idea that an
individual (sexual) act had an 'obvious' or 'logical' or 'natural' inherent
These individual acts would not necessarily be good
unless they were made necessary by some 'totality' prior
to them. Unless these bodies in time, these individual
acts, were subsumed into some Bigger sentence, they
would be Ones in free motion, and thus meaningless.
Thus, in the most charitable view, the 'principle of totality' was
invoked in order to save the meaningfulness of individual human
The dissenters saw plainly what the traditionalists still refuse to
see: simply asserting, over and over, the 'natural' inherent moral
meaning of some individual act, is not the same thing as rendering that
assertion intelligible within any dehistoricized cosmology. In fact, as
Fr. Keefe spends so much time showing, the assertion can not possibly
be made systematically intelligible within any dehistoricized
cosmology, "loyal" or not.
New Class Catholic thought can often correctly be seen as a more
'logical,' though less faithful, traditional Catholic thought. If traditional
Catholic thought were less faithful and more intellectually coherent, it
would have no choice but to accept the 'principle of totality' itself. This
is meant to be a shocking statement -- shocking, because it is literally
true. Only by momentarily abandoning traditional Catholic thought's
intellectual foundation -- dehistoricized cosmology -- are faithful
Catholic theologians able to reject the "principle of totality." This is an
argument that New Class Catholic thought will forever be able to make
against traditional Catholic thought -- because it is correct.
The problem of how to find the meaningfulness of individual,
particular acts in time can not be resolved within either traditional or
New Class Catholic thought. It is a false problem, generated by the
prior choice of some time-less framework (dehistoricized cosmology)
within which individual human acts are to be 'understood.'
Intellectually, both theologies simply assume that what bodies do is
meaningless unless it can be a little sentence that is part of a Bigger
sentence. Neither would accept the idea that what bodies do is all
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.