122 Chapter 9
NATURE IS GRACE
However, a clear linking by the magisterium of a moral teaching to
covenantal existence would have singular importance for these
First, they would emphasize that this more explicit link
to sacramental existence is a far stronger 'argument'
from a Catholic point of view than any argument based
on a philosophical, scientific, or theological theory.
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Second, they would emphasize that
the refusal of contraception
therefore has a free, covenantal
meaning. As free and covenantal,
its meaning is not necessitated,
either by logic, or in any other way.
The refusal of contraception is then
not based on a theory of sexuality,
of the social order, etc., which would
make the refusal of contraception
necessary, logically or otherwise.
In other words, a magisterial link of the refusal of contraception to
sacramental existence is not only a stronger argument than others, but
also, by its existence it renders other types of argument irrelevant.
Once the magisterium clearly identifies the refusal of contraception
with sacramental existence per se, any attempts -- well-intentioned or
otherwise -- to find the meaning of that refusal in necessity, in any
theory or reality prior to it, will always fail, since its meaning is given
as complete surprise completely intelligible in and through the
Eucharistic 'order' of 'flesh,' 'One Flesh,' 'life.'
This immediately puts at least ninety-five percent of the defenses
of Humanae Vitae outside the realm of Catholic theology as
Covenantal Theology asks Catholic theologians to define it. These
defenses simply do not consistently stand within either the actual
liturgical celebrations of either the Eucharist or Matrimony, or even
solely within the liturgically mediated sacramental order to understand
Humanae Vitae. Rather, either naively, or quite deliberately, they
assume that there must be some 'place' outside of the sacramental order
to stand, in order to understand Humanae Vitae. When they make this
assumption, they automatically (if inadvertently) lose their status as
Fr. Keefe does not use the example of Humanae Vitae himself, but
regarding the general theological point, he says it over and over in
Covenantal Theology, and he is not kidding. A very large part of the
project of Covenantal Theology is to establish, beyond the possibility
of refutation, that any resort to a dehistoricized cosmology
automatically renders a scholarly investigation outside the realm of
Catholic theology, because then (whatever the intention), the scholarly
focus is on the time-less framework, and it is no longer on the New
Covenant, a living and eternal Event, and the only thing that Catholic
theology will ever study, or ever can study.
This might be one of the physicist-'trivial' ramifications of the
acceptance of the ideas of Covenantal Theology.
Whatever else the theological task
regarding Humanae Vitae may be, it
is assuredly not to make the
sacramental order more 'plausible'
or 'defensible,' if that is taken to
mean, to show that the order is
necessitated by a time-less
structure prior to it, whether of
'logic,' 'natural law,' 'scientific
research,' or 'liberation.'
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.