S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
Thomism. In either embodiment, theology as Catholic exists solely as theology of the New Covenant. Fr.
Keefe's own work exists merely to point this out.
However, theology is not coterminous with the faith. Catholic theology can be done well -- and it can be
done poorly. There is no particular sacramental protection extended to Catholic theology, or even to its root
intellectual and scientific categories.
Thus, there is no pre-determined limit to how poorly Catholic theology can be done. Nor is there even a
pre-determined limit to how long it can be done poorly. The magisterium can not do theology, any more than
it can juggle, not because either theology or juggling is beneath its dignity, but because both theology and
juggling are exercised in full covenantal freedom, as worship.
In a word, the magisterium can not do theology any more than it can juggle because the magisterium can
not worship for Man. It can only protect the sacramental reality freely re-presented in the Church's liturgical
mediation of her faith. It can only protect Man's ability to worship. In that sense only is there any limit as to
how poorly Catholic theology can be done. Quite literally, no one knows in advance how poorly Catholic
theology might be done or how long it might be done poorly.
If questions of higher quality are not forthcoming from Man regarding the Eucharistic reality re-presented
in and through the Church's worship, no power in heaven, on the earth, or under the earth can change that.
This is the simple reality of responsible existence in the New Covenant, which every day re-presents a
freedom and a responsibility in time which is beyond Man's dreams and, if truth be told, is also typically well
beyond his inclinations.
Further, to say that Catholic theology has made serious intellectual and scientific mistakes does not
impugn the faith of the theologians who made those mistakes, and is no more threat to your faith or to your
grandmother's faith than it would be to observe that Our Lady's juggler kept dropping two balls out of three in
front of her statue.
So, another reason it may have been worthwhile for you to read this book is to learn how Fr. Keefe thinks
about Catholic theology. Whether it's the very latest thing or practically venerable from centuries of use, it's
just juggling. That means it gets its dignity solely because it is trying to be worship. If you now understand
that Our Lady's juggler may well have found more favor with her than she finds in some pronouncement of a
"distinguished" New Class -- or traditional -- catechist, theologian, or exegete, that's worthwhile.
If you now understand that your own "searching," in some quiet corner of the world, to make your own
'private' work or prayer a worship joined to the public work or prayer of the Church, is a "searching" that -- no
less than any theologian's -- indeed also might be blessed with her smile, all the better. If you can entertain the
notion that, just possibly, what 'normal people' like you -- and your grandmother -- have been doing all these
years may have been a worship superior to that which the Catholic academy has been providing during the
same time period, then you are beginning to understand Covenantal Theology.
For Covenantal Theology is an extended argument that your grandmother very possibly took the
sacraments more seriously, in her own way, than Catholic theology as an intellectual and scientific discipline
has been able to do for centuries.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.