132 Chapter 9
NATURE IS GRACE
also intelligible, is simply impossible within any dehistoricized
Neither traditional nor New Class Catholic theology has any
intellectually coherent answer to this difficulty. Their 'freedom of will'
is simple fluff, a flight to the time-less, which belongs -- truly -- in Mr.
Minsky's middle box. Why then should we wrestle so strenuously with
the idea that a man's refusal of contraception should be genuinely
surprising? Within all dehistoricized cosmologies, surprise is
impossible. No amount of intellectual jujitsu will allow genuine
surprise, and therefore, genuine freedom of will, into any of them.
So, here is more evidence, either of how completely the ideas of
Covenantal Theology should be repudiated by Catholic theology, or of
just how much its ideas are needed by Catholic theology. Proceeding
as if its ideas were valuable, we summarize as follows.
The Church's relation to Christ, while plainly subordinate, does not
subsume her into Him, but is "covenantal," in which two become 'One
Flesh,' a nuptial unity of persons, which is absolutely free, creative ex
The Trinity is to be taken seriously, as the only God, given solely
in and through the New Covenant: the God of Love and Grace.
Catholic thought must refuse absolutely the Deus Unus, the god of
Cause, who in the final analysis reserves all real surprise and therefore
all real freedom of will to himself -- or, to be precise, to Itself.
Thus, within the framework provided by Covenantal Theology, the
gift a man makes to God when he refuses contraception, is more
weighty and wonderful than anything Man could ever imagine.
To refuse contraception is thus to refuse the fallen world in which
the refusal would be one more Task, one more Thing Man must do to
prove once again that he is condemned to be a slave to necessity,
bound whether he likes it or not. The god who would assign such tasks
to Man is not the Triune God given in the New Covenant, for the
consequence of making Man's acts -- even his refusals -- necessary in
any way is a denial of grace, of the New Covenant itself.
In sum, the vocabulary of 'tasks' and 'duties' and 'missions,' of
'services' and 'obligations' and 'laws,' is incomplete or even erroneous
unless the truly ridiculous freedom inherent in covenantal existence is
given its full weight. In what world of necessity does Our Lady smile
upon a juggler? The only world in which she does smile upon the
juggler is the world in which she also smiles upon the scientist,
theological or otherwise, and upon the couple who makes the simple
brute gift of themselves to each other and to Him through her, for the
creation, and the salvation, of the world.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.