148 Chapter 11
SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY
they are busily tying up all the loose ends in a universe of Cause and Chance. They act as if reality were one
giant surprise, inexhaustibly intelligible.
What modern scientists say and what they actually do are thus quite often in fundamental conflict. Since
scientists are card-carrying members of the New Class, the knowledge and management class, it would be
unsurprising if they shared the assumptions and the language of their class. What is so surprising is the
conflict between their activities, including their words, as members of the New Class, and their activities as
scientists per se.
For -- even though their words often deny this -- as scientists their actions manifest a genuine response of
radiant faith that reality is present to Man within the context of genuine history, and is thus both
fundamentally surprising and inexhaustibly intelligible.
However, the distance -- the dichotomy -- between saying and doing is no less marked for Catholic
theologians than it is for natural scientists. Unfortunately, it is the behavior of Catholic theologians (their
methodology, their fundamental assumptions, their basic intellectual and scientific approach) rather than their
words, which has been, far too often -- it must be said, for Fr. Keefe does say as much -- faithless and pagan.
This is not to say that they personally were either faithless or pagan. What Fr. Keefe criticizes is not the
personal holiness of any man but a profound mistake within Catholic theology -- a mistake, not a sin.
For centuries, Catholic theologians have said that reality is full of grace, but they have acted as if that
were not true.
They have behaved as if reality were the product of necessity, of Cause and Chance, of 'logic,' as if reality
were a place of no surprise, existing as the result of having already been written down in a time-less book, by
a god who therefore could not possibly be called Living.
They have behaved as if 'choice' existed "because we are bound, whether we like it or not."
In marked contrast to modern natural scientists, they have behaved as if their questions, methods,
assumptions, principles, categories, -- and of course, 'reasonableness' itself -- existed unalterably and therefore
reassuringly in a time-less 'place,' a dehistoricized cosmology, that had priority over its object.
In short, they have behaved as if the Eucharist itself could be and needed to be understood by means of a
time-less structure prior to it -- which structure, as luck would have it, was already 'naturally' in their
Fr. Keefe's work is rich in ideas, themes, and argument, but regarding these behaviors for centuries
endemic, even canonical, within Catholic theology, all 784 pages of Covenantal Theology can be summarized
in one word: stop.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.