S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
How to Use This Book
You are not reading a book that will make complete sense to you
all at once. Not only are Fr. Keefe's ideas really new, he also talks
about things that are so ancient in the Church that they look new, and
on top of that, no doubt I will somewhat bungle the job of explaining
all of that to you. But do not forget that you will literally be learning
new words as you read this book.
Here is how people learn new words: Please pass the zac. The zac
is on the dining table, in a shaker. I want the zac so I can flavor my
food. Old Ned -- he's the zac of the earth.
My basic strategy in this book, then, is to keep using Fr. Keefe's
new words in sentences, so that you too can learn what they mean, by
learning how they are used. So, this is not a normal book. It is a book
that tries to teach 'normal people' like yourself some new words, using
the process by which people actually do learn new words in real life.
Therefore, be very patient with yourself -- and, if you can, with me.
You're not even supposed to understand the new words right away on
the first try. Please pass the zac.
On the other hand, I'm not going to kid you: Fr. Keefe's ideas are
not easy to grasp. They're truly new, very tough, but also very
faithfully Catholic -- a rare and vital combination.
Covenantal Theology is a fundamental critique of the most basic
intellectual assumptions of Catholic theology, both 'traditional' and
'liberal' -- but it is more than that. It is a generous and constructive
outline of how Catholic theology can begin to correct its basic
intellectual problem -- but it is more than that, too. For Covenantal
Theology also insists that the needed fundamental intellectual and
scientific improvement will become possible for Catholic theology
only when it realizes that it must become a great deal more Catholic
than it is now. Since all authentic developments in Catholicism are
deepenings, rather than in any way repudiations, of what is "ever
ancient, ever new," it's possible that Covenantal Theology will
eventually be known as the first genuine "post-Vatican II" work of
It wouldn't be worth finding out about Fr. Keefe's ideas if they
were only a tad different from things you already knew all about. On
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.