ON CHILDREN, GRANDMOTHERS, AND GROWN-UPS
This was good, since holes not noticed, can not be fixed. Patched but
never really fixed, the holes widened over the centuries. These holes
are now huge, big enough that you can just about drive the entire
modern world right through them. So, the entire modern world does
drive right through them. This problem is never going to be solved by
Catholic academics whose 'answer' to this is, "What holes?"
It is also not going to be solved by anyone who confuses the
science of theology with what it studies, the New Covenant, the
Eucharistic Event. That Covenant, that Event, does not alter in the
least, when theological scientists make mistakes, or even when
theological science grinds virtually to a halt for centuries, because of
huge mistakes, never really fixed.
The long and the short of it is, American Catholics of today have
every reason to be embarrassed -- by Catholic thought about the faith.
American 'Catholic' universities are populated almost entirely by
academics with huge holes in their thinking, nearly all of it done by
"why bother?" Catholics, and some done by "what holes?" Catholics.
That is plain embarrassing. It does not help us.
However, the embarrassing state of the Catholic academy does not
necessarily prove that Catholics need to be embarrassed by the faith,
by their grandmother's faith. It is probably not true that the Catholic
academy was really in any better intellectual shape when grandmother
was a girl. It is unclear whether that should make anyone feel better, or
worse, about our plight. However, one thing is clear: the possibility
that better questions will begin to be asked about the faith, the prospect
that men will begin to make higher-quality mistakes than they do now
when they think about the faith, is not going to materialize out of thin
air. Any number of Catholic academics who begin their daily
intellectual tasks by thanking God that they no longer have their
grandmother's faith, added to any number of Catholic scholars who
appear to believe that St. Thomas Aquinas established the Eucharist,
wrote the Bible, and infallibly guided the deliberations of every
Council, will ever equal even one Catholic thinker.
So, in the America of today, to be both Catholic, and a grown-up,
seems impossible. The very term, "Catholic thought," scarcely rises to
the status of an oxymoron. Most sophisticated Americans, even
sophisticated American Catholics, just know that the Catholic faith of
your grandmother was childish, by definition, and the very few
American Catholic thinkers who dispute this, while they are correct to
do so, continue to give reasons that are not going to become any more
intellectually satisfying in the future than they are now.
Under such circumstances, someone making a very sophisticated
argument bearing an Imprimi Potest, a Nihil Obstat, and an
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.