50 Chapter 4
THE EUCHARISTIC NATURE OF REALITY
Nonetheless, Fr. Keefe shows that the powerful heresies of the
time, such as Arianism, can readily be seen as the choice of the pagan
paradigm of time-less necessity in preference to the 'illogical' faith of
the Church. However, while the magisterium did decisively protect the
faith against Arianism and the other early heresies, Christians of the
time by and large never really questioned the pagan paradigm which
gave them some of their root intellectual categories.
In the eleventh century, Berengarius began to write about the
Eucharist in ways that gravely disturbed his contemporaries. Fr. Keefe
shows that Berengarius was -- if murkily -- insisting that the root
intellectual categories of the paradigm of time-less necessity ought to
be taken more seriously by theologians.
Berengarius was condemned by the magisterium of the time and,
after many years of obstinacy, died at peace with the Church, but the
question he raised did not go away. The biggest reason for this is that,
in the years following, theologians began to try to answer the question
Berengarius had raised on the intellectual ground he had chosen. To do
that, they had to accept his main point. In other words, they began to
try to 'defeat' Berengarius by trying to present a better dehistoricized
cosmology than the one he had proposed.
They tried to 'defeat' him by taking his main point seriously -- that
the Eucharist had to be logically necessary -- and that, says Fr. Keefe,
was a huge -- a devastating -- intellectual mistake, because, from then
on, more and more Catholic theologians, orthodox and heretical, more
and more explicitly took the pagan paradigm of time-less necessity as
their genuine intellectual foundation.
The result, as this played itself out over hundreds of years, is what
we have today: the Catholic academy in utter disarray, "what holes?"
and "why bother?" Catholic theology, and you having to apologize for
your grandmother's faith.
That is not to say that the saints ever took the pagan paradigm of
time-less, necessary truth seriously in their lives -- in their faith -- even
when it formed their intellectual categories. Nor is it to say that
Catholic theologians never sensed how radically the faith of the
Church contradicted everything that everyone 'knew.' Occasionally,
Tertullian saw it already, in Roman times: you can't get to where I
am, from where you begin. His sarcastic, rhetorical statement of this,
mis-quoted through the centuries as "credo quia impossibile" (I
believe, because it is impossible), is not at all a stupid move to Psychic
Crystal Pyramids, to irrationality, although it has been heard as such,
by Catholics and anti-Catholics alike. Nor is it pious gibberish. It is a
simple acknowledgement that the Eucharistic worship of the Church is
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.