138 Chapter 10
THE FALL IS REAL
IT IS NOT
Whatever status Fr. Keefe's work will eventually earn within the
Church's reflections, we have to be grateful to him just for having the
nerve to say what only a child could say, that the emperor has no
clothes. Whatever else is of value in Covenantal Theology, just that
act, of telling us what we do not wish to hear but is nonetheless
obvious, that we really ought to be embarrassed, not by the Catholic
faith, but by Catholic thought about that faith, is pretty valuable. If
embarrassment is the first step toward making higher-quality mistakes,
then all the better.
The smugness of "why bother?" Catholicism, which blandly
consigns one of the central doctrines of the Catholic faith to
insignificance on the grounds that it is not convenient to a purportedly
'scientific' world-view, is bad enough. For obviously, a New Class
Catholic 'studying' the Fall begs the real question: from where do you
get the exalted status to declare yourself so unFallen as to see what it
means to be Fallen?
But, of course, this is exactly the same question that has to be
asked of a "what holes?" Catholic studying the same thing. While New
Class Catholics are trying to use all sorts of 'scientific' tools to put the
Fall into Mr. Minsky's middle box, traditional Catholic theologians are
trying to use all sorts of 'scientific' tools to take the Fall out of the same
I can't begin to count the number of 'scientific' demonstrations of
Man's fallenness by Catholic theologians that I myself have
encountered, each one more ludicrous than the last. Some learned
theologians have opined that the Fall occurred when a cave-man and a
cave-woman in Africa 1.5 million years ago turned away from God.
Others have demurred that, considering the scientific evidence from
evolutionary biology, that it was probably a whole cave-tribe, in their
role as The First Human Community, which did so.
Then also, the Fall is 'evident' within traditional Catholic theology
because its consequences in the natural world are 'evident.' Evidence
of the Fall is everywhere. Its first sign is physical death. Its next is the
diminishment of man's faculties, especially his Reason.
One of my current favorites is an attempt to find evidence for the
Fall in a little baby's 'self-centered-ness,' which he then supposedly
gradually grow out of, as he grows toward others. Well, if there's one
thing actual modern science actually tells us about actual little babies,
it's that they are usually trying their very best, from their very first
moments of life, to attach themselves to their mommies and daddies,
and to make as certain as they can that their mommies and daddies are
attached to them. The average little baby, in other words, only survives
because he hasn't yet read any of the theologians' books about how
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.