124 Chapter 9
NATURE IS GRACE
integral part of the sacrament of Matrimony.
Humanae Vitae was not the writing-down of a theory of sexuality.
It was not the affirmation of a 'natural' law that exists apart from the
Eucharistic 'order' of history. It was the solemn magisterial protection
of a sacrament.
Does the so-called 'conjugal act' not epitomize and signify the
meaning of the sacrament of Matrimony, according to much
magisterial proclamation, including much recent magisterial
proclamation? Thus the meaning of Humanae Vitae's statement: "each
conjugal act must remain ordained in itself to the procreation of human
can mean no less than that the refusal of contraception is integral
to the sacrament of Matrimony. This and no other is the 'explanation'
of Humanae Vitae that Catholic theologians should proffer, however
they articulate it and elaborate upon it.
1. Humanae Vitae, 11
The question of magisterial 'authority' or, indeed, the necessity for
'argument' regarding the matter, whether pro or con, therefore only
arises after a rejection, not of this or that moral 'tenet' or 'principle,' but
of Catholic sacramental realism itself. The Holy Father and the bishops
united with him act "in the person of Christ" -- or all 'flesh' is "vanity."
There are no other alternatives.
No 'critical distance' exists. If any distance of 'flesh' from Catholic
sacramental realism exists, the distance between 'flesh' and the New
Covenant must be infinite and completely unbridgeable. All other
'distances' belong in Mr. Minsky's middle box.
Thus, as Fr. Keefe says often, all rejection of Catholicism, all
'dissent,' comes down to a rejection of Catholic sacramental realism --
which comes down to a rejection of the Eucharist.
So, Humanae Vitae protects the sacrament of Matrimony. Second,
since, in a covenantal theology, all reality has its being in the New
this includes the social and civil order. The sacrament of
Matrimony seems to be the proximate sacramental foundation of the
entire social and civil order. To argue this case within the vocabulary
of Covenantal Theology would be to proceed something like this.
There is no 'ungraced' social order. Nature is Grace. The 'ungraced'
social order is sarx, 'flesh,' purely, and is insane, unreal. All of reality -
- all fourteen billion light years of it -- has its reality solely in the New
Covenant, the Eucharistic Event.
2. Thus the Church's authority to
speak regarding the actions of all
men, not just the baptized, is not an
'intrusion' of 'religion.' As this book
has illustrated repeatedly, absent
the Eucharistic immanence of
Christ, there would be no moral acts
at all -- and in addition, of course,
there would be no possibility of
conversion, no possibility of baptism
-- no baptized.
In order to understand, we must stand within that free Event -- and
we are also able to do so, in and through the Church's free liturgical
mediation of her faith, which is her nuptial union with Christ her Head.
We therefore must stand within the sacraments to understand the
'private' work or prayer. This in no way jeopardizes the utter -- the
ridiculous -- freedom and creativity of that 'private' work or prayer, as
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.