74 Chapter 6
ONE MODERN SILLINESS
6 One Modern Silliness: New Class
Catholicism and the 'Critical Distance'
New Class Catholicism is the system of thought and practice
adopted, largely produced, and mediated by Catholic members of the
New Class. The New Class is the class that now runs much of the
world (or at least thinks that it does), the class that both produces the
world's knowledge and makes the most use of that knowledge (as
technicians, bureaucrats, etc.). New Class Catholicism is what most
people consider to be the 'grown-up' Catholicism of our day. However,
New Class Catholicism does not work as an intellectual and scientific
system, and it can not work as that, even by its own standards.
Nonetheless, as a political or persuasive system, it appears to be
working quite nicely.
To examine New Class Catholicism, the preferred Catholicism of
most of the Catholic 'grown-ups' of the New Class, is thus to come
close to the heart of the modern claim that you ought to apologize for
your grandmother's faith.
Fr. Keefe's deep theological insight cuts
New Class Catholicism dead at one stroke, but so quickly and deeply
dead that it may twitch about by reflex for a very long time, with few
of us the wiser, since we can not look so readily as Fr. Keefe into the
very heart and soul of the thing. Some extra-Keefian analysis,
therefore, may make the reality plainer.
1. As will be seen, it is quite important
that a modern like Mr. Minsky does not
want us to apologize for our
grandmother's faith, but instead wishes
us to put our faith into his middle box,
and make it disappear entirely.
The fundamental intellectual project of New Class Catholicism is
the establishment of a 'critical distance' from Catholicism. Tellingly,
this is the very same intellectual project taken for granted within
traditional Catholic thought:
The Eucharist is over here,
< - - - and here we are, standing
some place else, in the 'normal
universe,' looking at it, and trying to
It is perhaps easier to see that both the most 'grown-up' New Class
Catholics and the most "traditional" Catholics have the same basic
intellectual foundations for their thought, if we look at this variant:
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.