S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
7 Regarding Our Story So Far
A dehistoricized cosmology, the time-less 'critical distance,' is inherent in both current Augustinianism
and current Thomism as intellectual and scientific methods. The faithfulness and loyalty of present-day
Augustinians and Thomists arises out of a last-minute abandonment of the basic intellectual methodologies of
each in favor of the consistent faith of the Church. Although the abandonment is praiseworthy considering the
alternative, it really solves nothing from an intellectual and scientific standpoint.
Moreover, traditional Catholic theology's own acceptance of the 'critical distance' ironically continues to
provide fundamental intellectual sustenance to Catholic 'dissent'. Modern `dissenting' Catholic theology in
many ways arises merely from the refusal to abandon its intellectual, philosophical, and scientific foundation -
- some form of dehistoricized `critical distance' -- at the last minute, in favor of the worship and profession of
In Chapter V of Covenantal Theology, Fr. Keefe shows in detail that the intellectual and philosophical
system, form, premises, and method of St. Thomas Aquinas's own discussion of the Eucharist relies on a
dehistoricized cosmology. He shows, again in professional theological detail, how St. Thomas's account of
the Eucharist contradicts its own premises, and that it does so at the deepest and most fundamental levels, and
thus can not possibly be adequate to its subject. Fr. Keefe proves that St. Thomas, using the terms of the
dehistoricized cosmology that St. Thomas himself had chosen, can give no intellectually coherent account of
the Eucharist, the very heart of the Catholic Church. In the end, either St. Thomas's chosen dehistoricized
cosmology is absurd, or the Eucharist is absurd.
So in effect, Fr. Keefe is wondering, if even St. Thomas Aquinas can't make a dehistoricized cosmology
fit the Eucharist, then perhaps Catholic theologians should be wondering whether any dehistoricized
cosmology of any kind could ever be compatible with the worship of the Church.
But it is just this question that seems so invisible, so unaskable, so unthinkable, to both traditional and
New Class Catholic theologians of the present era. Traditional Catholic theologians, when they are not simply
pointing out instances in which New Class Catholic theologians are abjectly abandoning the worship and
profession of the Church (which they should do, but that is after all a very low-level kind of theological
project), still use the premises of some chosen dehistoricized cosmology to `prove' the incoherence of the
chosen dehistoricized cosmology of some New Class Catholic theologian, or they use their own chosen
dehistoricized cosmology to develop a theology of their own.
In the end, both traditional and New Class Catholic theologians are still fighting, among themselves as
well as against the other, about who has the `correct' dehistoricized cosmology, and at what exact point one
should abandon it in order to remain faithful. (Remember, Fr. Keefe has proved that even St. Thomas had to
abandon his system of dehistoricized cosmology at a certain point, in order to remain faithful).
Fr. Keefe's entire project, his question to the Church, when it is noticed at all, is customarily met, at best,
with a blank stare. Scarcely anybody can even imagine how Catholic theology could proceed, if it did not
found itself on some sort of dehistoricized cosmology. Fr. Keefe's contention, that Catholic theologians have
been trying very hard for at least seven centuries to found the intellectual, philosophical, and scientific system
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.