S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
Fr. Keefe asks Catholic theologians to re-convert their intellectual
categories. He asks them to believe that the Eucharist itself freely gives
the reality within which their intellectual categories will emerge and
through which they can ask questions and therefore do their work.
This is a thought that is almost unthinkable in the present age, and
it has always been a hard saying. It will probably take me many
chapters of this book before you really understand just how serious Fr.
Keefe is about this.
For Fr. Keefe, no idea, no theory, but the Eucharist itself, is a
rejection of any claim that there is anything prior to the Eucharist, or
anything that will explain it, condition it, or make it necessary,
'logically' or otherwise.
Thus the Eucharist itself is a total rejection of the paradigm
discussed in these chapters:
The Eucharist is over here,
< - - - and here we are, standing
some place else, in the 'normal
universe,' looking at it, and trying to
The paradigm has us standing in some 'place' prior to the Eucharist,
within some structure of thought or framework of reality outside of the
Eucharist's own radically historical, gratuitous truth, but, by the
Eucharist itself, no such place exists, nor can it.
Eucharist < - - -
us, over here
When we try to stand in such a 'place,' we can only 'understand' the
Eucharist by making its gratuitous truth a necessity of our prior Bigger
sentence -- for to 'understand' something within all dehistoricized
cosmologies is, precisely, to make something an inevitable, a
necessary, implication of a Bigger sentence.
But by the Eucharist itself, there is no Bigger sentence that the
Eucharist is a necessary implication of.
Indeed, the Eucharist is not any kind of Big Sentence. It does not
cause, or even explain, anything by necessary implications -- how
could it, when the Eucharist itself is gratuitous truth?
Nor is the Eucharist a "cosmology" at all -- it is not a structure or a
framework, explanatory or otherwise, but an Event. Neither is the
Eucharist "dehistoricized" -- a flight to the time-less. By stubbornly,
bluntly, remaining itself -- a sacrament: that is, an Event completely
within time that is also not bound by time, the Eucharist rejects all
Covenantal Theology thus argues that the public worship of the
Church has from its beginnings consistently stood in opposition to all
Fr. Keefe further argues that, despite this utterly consistent
rejection of dehistoricized cosmology in the Church's worship,
1. It takes nearly the whole of Covenantal
Theology to show how deep-rooted --
almost instinctual -- the impulse to flee to
the time-less is within Catholic theology,
despite the consistent magisterial rejections
of any flight to the time-less as inconsistent
with the liturgical freedom of the Church's
worship. CT is one of the first works of
Catholic theology to take "completely
within time" as literal -- and therefore, as
sacramental -- truth, lest the entire Good
News (e.g., the Incarnation) be emptied of
meaning, and words like "transcend" turn
dehistoricized and cosmological. CT is the
first work of Catholic theology to propose,
by means of a comprehensive argument, that
such Catholic sacramental realism, founded
in the Eucharistic Event, the New Covenant
itself, must be -- and can be -- the starting
point of any genuinely Catholic theology.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.