142 Chapter 10
THE FALL IS REAL
IT IS NOT
This immediately treads perilously close to giving the impression that the Eucharistic 'order' of history does
not exist, and that the only reality genuinely available to Man is 'private,' not in the sense used in this book,
'private' within a free covenantal relation to the public work, but in the unreal, the insane sense; that is,
'private' as 'flesh' alone, without covenantal relation.
Priestly and especially episcopal proclamations and interventions regarding the civil order can therefore
take on a profoundly anti-sacramental meaning unless these are manifestly public (sacramental) in character.
Of course, there have been many instances of interventions by bishops and priests that did not carefully
guard the freedom of their public office, and thus concomitantly failed to guard the freedom of 'private' work
or prayer. The intellectual failure to observe the sacramental, covenantal grounding of the freedom of the
'private' social and civil order has to be laid at the doorstep of the acceptance of dehistoricized cosmology
within Catholic theology.
Fr. Murray's work, neglected since the Council as passť, is of course highly inconvenient to the projects of
New Class Catholics, who, as Fr. Keefe documents, completely dominate the staffs and 'advisory' committees
of American bishops, not only at the national level but very often at the diocesan level as well.
However, in a familiar story, New Class Catholics have simply walked through the 'logical' doors that
traditional Catholic theology opened and continues to keep open for New Class Catholic projects. Theology
that appeals to the time-less can not find a clear place for both public work and 'private' work that is not either
a subsumption of one into the other, or a chaos. Only the freedom given in the Eucharistic 'order' of history,
only in the New Covenant, only in the Eucharistic Event, can a free relation of public work and 'private'
prayer be real and intelligible.
Man is clearly given the freedom to destroy himself and everything else just as thoroughly as his powers
permit. To deny this is to trivialize or even to deny the Fall. Bishops and priests may, in their thoughts, be
aghast at the evil and destruction that Man wreaks by using his powers in genuine freedom, but they are the
sole public defenders of that genuine freedom.
Lacking this sacramental and therefore public and therefore objective defense of his freedom, Man is
perennially prone to enslave himself by fleeing out of history to the time-less. Man as 'flesh' is afraid of time,
and would often prefer to have an end of it. The 'agenda Catholicism' of the New Class is merely one modern
example of the impulse to flee time for some place a great deal more orderly, complete, safe, unsurprising,
Therefore, bishops and priests have a serious obligation:
First, to avoid scandal by making their role, of re-presenting the New Covenant in and through the public
work of the Church, plainly distinct from all the 'private' work or prayer of the rest of mankind.
Second, to vigorously defend and protect the freedom of the Church, and through that defense, to be the
defenders of the 'private' civil order. This is to defend with all vigor: the priority of the public work of the
Church to the 'private' civil order, lest all 'private' work lose any real, public, objective ground; the
sacraments; and the whole sacramental order, which includes the plain and consistent teachings of the Church
regarding the moral life.
Third, to encourage all men that in Christ, their free responsible relation to the New Covenant is
unimaginably, impossibly real, creative ex nihilo, and inexhaustibly productive, which is but to remind them
that their 'private' work or prayer can always be a genuine worship in spirit and truth.
These three things must be done with all vigor, in season and out; however, episcopal documents, press
conferences, and the like, in support of causes, agendas, and policies which are not part of the extraordinary
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.