76 Chapter 6
ONE MODERN SILLINESS
(which was discussed and pictured in Chapter 2) is carried to its own
[ Insert your favorite irrational belief here ]
< - - - and please place all
rationality, everything we can ever
learn, discover, or think about, over
Need we be reminded that the price paid for the "Don't worry, be
happy" school of 'belief' is total societal incoherence? Once something
that is contrary to reason is accepted, anything goes: psychic crystal
pyramids, the moon being made out of green cheese, science, anti-
science, Ben's efforts to 'Ben' us -- and, oh yes, we 'logically' ought to
allow the Eucharist and the Trinity into this mix, as distastefully
irrational as those last two seem.
As Fr. Keefe shows so carefully, New Class Catholicism's 'critical
distance' comes only indirectly from the 'modern,' the 'grown-up'
world. It really comes from us, from Catholic theologians' own
thoughts about Catholicism. Regarding the Eucharist, the 'critical
distance' is found, murkily but there, already in the thought of
Berengarius, in the eleventh century,
but the root paradigm behind it
existed, in different manifestations, in all the heresies the early Fathers
fought against and the earliest councils condemned.
1. CT, particularly Chapter VI.
2. CT, passim.
This Fr. Keefe shows, but he also shows something even more
important: the 'critical distance' also exists in the thought of Doctors of
the Church, including St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.
until this possibility is accepted, New Class Catholicism can not be
converted to Catholicism, and the only intellectual recourse available
to most thinking Catholics will remain apologizing for the faith of your
grandmother, or at least feeling that you should.
Practically no one in the secular modern world considers the
intellectual structure of traditional Catholic thought to be worth even a
moment's notice. Even more tellingly, only a tiny number of current
Catholic academics find the intellectual structure of traditional
Catholic thought to be persuasive. If there is one lesson to be learned
from the years following the Second Vatican Council, it is that. This
may be a hint that there is something wrong with that intellectual
There are Catholics today who believe that St. Thomas Aquinas or
St. Augustine never made any fundamental theological mistakes. There
are also some Catholics today who believe not only that they did not
make any fundamental theological mistakes, but also, that they could
not have. In other words, that it is flat out impossible for St. Thomas
3. The recognition of this, and the
reconversion of both Augustinianism
and Thomism, so that both refuse the
'critical distance' fundamentally, as a
matter of their basic procedures, is one
way of describing CT's major project.
"Reconversion" is apt. CT shows that
what is constitutional for both
Augustinianism and Thomism: what
they begin with in order to begin as
Catholic theology, has deep flaws,
which have caught up with both.
Neither can really continue as Catholic
theologies in the full sense until their
reconstitution is a reconversion to
inquiry as more fundamentally
Catholic; which is to say, Eucharistic,
covenantal, historical, scientific, and
less fundamentally pagan; which is to
say, dehistoricized, time-less,
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.