Imprimatur, and who thinks like a child, who asks questions only a
child would ask, perhaps deserves an audience. Covenantal Theology,
then, really is a book for American Catholic children -- of all ages. The
American Catholic adults currently paid to think about 'Catholic' things
-- not only the vast number of 'shrunk-downs', but also the very few
other American Catholic scholars who still believe it all, with all their
hearts, just like your grandmother -- have, almost to a man, considered
Fr. Keefe's book indigestible. If they 'understand' it at all, they think it
contains things that they just can not swallow. But this book is not for
them. Fr. Keefe's book is supposed to be for them.
      Indeed, if Covenantal Theology is ever 'successful,' if it is ever
seen to make higher-quality mistakes than its predecessors, in the end
that will be known, not in some academic tribunal, but by the increased
thirst for the sacraments developed in those people who read it or are
influenced by it. Beyond the fact that this must be the measure of any
work in Catholic theology, there is another reason for this. The second
edition of Fr. Keefe's work crams two entire volumes into one, within a
mere 784 pages of small print. It refers to thinkers from the ancient
Greek philosopher, Parmenides, to the modern-day physicist, Stephen
Hawking, copiously citing works classical, early, medieval, modern,
quoting in Latin, French, German, and English, is knowledgeable
about seemingly everything from transubstantiation to the Critical
Legal Studies Movement, and is almost instinctively polysyllabic,
careful, and learned. The point of all that learning and all that work?
To testify, to any willing reader, that real grown-ups take the
sacraments as seriously as your grandmother did.
      To repeat one last time, Fr. Keefe's work is one of theological
science. In substance, then, it is equivalent to a work by St. Thomas
Aquinas, or to any work by any Catholic theologian. Its sole goal is to
make higher-quality mistakes than had previously been possible. It is a
work about the faith; it is in no way, shape, or form, the faith, nor does
it intend to be. If you want the faith, go to Mass.
      But Catholics have always liked their faith with large doses of
understanding, however tentative and provisional those understandings
must always be. So, if I took Fr. Keefe's big words out, and put in
smaller words for "normal people," could you be enough of a child to
think that, if you gave up large parts of what you already 'know,' you
could be an American, a Catholic, and a grown-up, all at once, and still
believe it all, with all your heart, share, exactly, one and the same faith
with the first martyr, St. Stephen, with your patron saints, and with
your grandmother?
      Read this book. Maybe you'll find out that you can.

N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.

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