128 Chapter 9
NATURE IS GRACE
Theologians may preach wisdom, but the magisterium must preach
Christ crucified. By means of this protection of the sacrament of
Matrimony, the magisterium intends, not to offer a theory to Man, but
to re-present reality to him and to his entire 'private' social and civil
order. This reality is freely and sacramentally mediated as a free Event,
given as complete surprise completely intelligible, for Man's free
This might be something like the course that theologians who alter
their intellectual and scientific assumptions in line with what Fr. Keefe
proposes would take in their articulation and defense of Humanae
Vitae and John Paul II's reaffirmations and extensions of it. As can be
seen, the amount of physicist-'trivial' work such theologians would be
doing might be substantial.
The work might be even more substantial, and general, than could
be demonstrated in the above example, for two further things can be
said here about the meaning of covenantal existence, as that is treated
in Covenantal Theology.
The first of the two topics concerns something that Fr. Keefe
discusses explicitly in his book: the nature of Man's imaging of God.
Neither Man nor anything else has real existence outside of the
Eucharistic 'order' of history. In other words, Man's very existence is
By now, you may be aware that, if Fr. Keefe says something, he
means it. Man's very existence is covenantal -- so it isn't anything else.
If Man's existence is covenantal, then Man's imaging of God is also
covenantal; that is, Man's imaging of God is an imaging of the New
However, to a very large degree, Catholic theology (and probably
most of us) simply assumes that Man's imaging of God is really not an
imaging of the New Covenant. In essence, we have been assuming that
Man has to be what he is within all dehistoricized cosmologies: that is,
Man is either a One in free motion, or a Many that is part of some
subsuming One. In modern terms, we assume that Man is either an
'individual,' or a mere part of some larger 'community.'
Sometimes we like to believe that Man can be both an 'individual'
and part of a 'community,' but this is really impossible within any
dehistoricized cosmology. A 'community' of 'individuals' is an idea that
belongs in Mr. Minsky's middle box: for one thing, how can such a
thing exist, if 'freedom of the human will' doesn't even exist?
If everything is ultimately "vanity," if we are enslaved in Cause
and Chance, then words like 'individual' and 'community' lose all
meaning, just as surely as words like 'freedom' and 'responsibility' do.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.