130     Chapter 9    
"covenantal" means.
      Man is the image of God, says Fr. Keefe, as a nuptial being, for in
this way alone can he image the 'One Flesh' that is the union of the
Body of the Church with Christ her Head.
      This is one of the ancient and yet profoundly new Catholic ideas
that are the reason Covenantal Theology is such an important book.
      Obviously, a lot of assumptions fly out the window if our imaging
of God is neither 'individual' nor 'communal,' but nuptial. The
development of the implications of this is not exactly going to be
trivial. Fr. Keefe begins the task in his book. Two immediate
implications are: a) how central the sacrament of Matrimony is to the
Eucharistic Event, and b) how central clerical celibacy is to the
sacrament of Holy Orders.
      Two other implications he briefly points out: the meaning and
dignity of Man as an 'individual' must be found in his covenantal or
nuptial imaging of God. If it is not found there, his 'individuality' is
"vanity" -- it will not be found, however Man pretends otherwise.
Similarly, the meaning and dignity of the social and civic order will
also solely be found in Man's covenantal, nuptial imaging of God.
      Since our idea of who we are affects our ideas about many things,
if our imaging of God is covenantal, rather than either 'individual' or
'communal,' that has many implications whose working out could be
the lifetime task of many a Catholic theologian, and would definitely
affect our ideas about our individuality, about our social and political
communities, and about the sacraments of Matrimony and Holy
      That is enough to give you the flavor of this concept, whose
development, even in a preliminary form, will obviously take many,
many years and be quite complicated -- and why wouldn't it? Our
imaging of God goes right to our very bones.
      We 'normal people' will have to leave the matter there, for now.
However, you do at least need to know about Man's covenantal or
nuptial imaging of God, for it is a true part of the argument of
Covenantal Theology -- and what better place to bring it up than within
a chapter discussing Matrimony and Humanae Vitae.
      We conclude this chapter with a little more discussion of the truly
ridiculous freedom of Man's free response to the Eucharistic Event. In
the context of Humanae Vitae, it comes as a free refusal of
      Put plainly, within the reconversion of Catholic theology that
Covenantal Theology proposes, the fact that a man would refuse
contraception must perennially come as a complete surprise to God. It
can not be otherwise, or the refusal is not 'free' in the weighty meaning

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