18 Chapter 1
WHAT YOU'LL BE GETTING INTO
swallowing another important thing is not good, but the alternative, the
existence of an unbridgeable gap between them, is not good either. The
'distance' inherent in the paradigm amounts to saying that we live in a
world that's crazy deep down in its heart of hearts, and I don't mean
crazy in a good way. I mean crazy, as in insane, as in unbearable.
Would you like to live in a world in which (for example) Faith was
-- when you get down to it -- fundamentally incompatible with Reason:
you could have only one of the two, and would have to give up the
other forever? What about free will and science -- are you prepared to
say that only one of these two can really exist, or, if both do, that each
is fundamentally incompatible with the other?
This is the kind of difficulty all representations of this paradigm
eventually confront, and the efforts to 'solve' the problem aren't very
pretty, as we will see.
Chapter 2 is the kitchen sink introduction to the paradigm and its
insoluble problem. Chapter 3 uses that introduction to give you a rough
idea of Plato's and Aristotle's versions of the same paradigm. Plato's
and Aristotle's approaches are very important, because the two streams
of Catholic theology, Augustinianism and Thomism, rely on them. St.
Augustine relied on Plato's vocabulary, St. Thomas Aquinas mostly on
The problem for Catholic theology, according to Fr. Keefe, is that
both St. Augustine and St. Thomas not only adopted the philosophical
vocabulary of Plato and Aristotle. They also generally accepted Plato's
and Aristotle's paradigm -- the one under discussion here,
dehistoricized cosmology, the time-less explanation for the cosmos.
This was a very serious mistake, as we will see, because Fr. Keefe
demonstrates that the paradigm is un-Catholic to its core.
The paradigm, in all its representations in Chapters 2 - 3, is our
effort to tell ourselves what reality is like, and what we are like. Fr.
Keefe says that it has been the consistent proclamation of the Church
that only the Eucharist can do those two things. Thus the conflict,
which could not be more central, more basic: the paradigm we can
discover on our own, or the New Covenant.
The Eucharist, in other words, is not really childish. It is either the
most serious Event in the universe, or it is just a joke -- unreal.
On the other hand, there is another way to pre-define Catholicism
as childish. It is to assume that
- the activity of grown-up Catholicism must of course be identical
to the activity of certified grown-ups, such as yourself.
- Catholicism's real intellectual foundations are whatever you, as a
real grown-up, happen to possess for yourself.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.