S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
Why are believing Catholics put in the position of appearing to be
hypocritical exploiters of New Class fruits? The entire world relies on
the successes of the New Class, and yet Catholic thought, in order to
'win,' either has to deny any real success to the New Class, or it has to
adopt New Class Catholicism's fundamental stance -- the New Class,
not the Church, 'won.' Since Catholic theology's fundamental
intellectual commitments are identical to those within which the
(secular) New Class charge is framed, Catholic theology can not win
this 'battle.' A genuinely Catholic response to this, the central charge
the New Class makes against Catholicism, will not come from Catholic
theology as we know it today, nor can it.
If there is anything that Covenantal Theology makes plain, it's that
putting the label 'Catholic' on some time-less framework not only
never works, but also is fundamentally un-Catholic. A 'Battle of the
Time-less Frameworks' is all that can result when present day Catholic
Theology, in either its New Class or its traditional variant, engages the
central New Class charge.
Even worse, no time-less framework has loving arms. In them all,
the Good News is ruled out from before the outset. Fallen Man at his
brightest and bravest finally knows that every breath he will ever take
is "vanity." The only 'answer' to a universe in which only idiots and
devils can long survive is to become an idiot or a devil yourself.
The absolutely devastating reality is, if present day Catholic
theology ever really took its fundamental intellectual commitments
seriously, it could only agree.
The first time I picked up Covenantal Theology, it made a
profound impression on me. It was the very first time I had ever heard
a Catholic theologian make an intellectually coherent argument that
refusing Mr. Minsky's middle box was not merely intellectually
respectable, but that the complete refusal of the time-less has always
and everywhere been re-presented and consistently proclaimed in and
through the Eucharistic worship of the Church.
So, Fr. Keefe can point to the work of Fr. Stanley Jaki,
and to his
own work, as a possible indicator that, contrary to the New Class
claim, 'grown-up' talk is not exclusively on the New Class side of this
argument. More than that, Good News can not be preached within any
dehistoricized cosmology. Within them all, to be 'grown-up' is to find
all free will, all responsibility, all creativity, all novelty, all surprise,
relentlessly sucked into the biggest Black Hole that will ever be, Mr.
Minsky's middle box.
1. e.g., Jaki S (1978). The road of science and the
ways to God. Chicago, Illinois: University of
It needs to be said one last time: Mr. Minsky is correct.
Ecclesiastes is correct. If fallen Man ever finds anything fundamentally
reassuring in fallenness per se, he can be sure he is deceiving himself.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.