Let me take capital punishment as a case in point. To observers who pay no attention to the Church’s rationale, it appears that the Catholic Church is moving toward a pacifist theoretical position. This is not the case. The Church will never condemn capital punishment in principle. It can’t. The Church is judging that in the context of our times, i.e., the terrible bloodshed of the last century and the creeping culture of death, there is more danger in capital punishment's widespread use than in its widespread neglect. The Church might be wrong here, but I’d never know it.
In fact, even though I’m a strong proponent of capital punishment, I also advocate a complete restructuring of the justice system, which in turn requires a restructuring of society. However, we don’t live in Andrew’s world; we live in the real one. What I advocate is not really practical at the present. The Church is responding to the world as it actually is. I would completely fail if I somehow obtained power to implement my social policies—a lot of eggs would be broken. Destruction and misery would result. On the other hand, the Church will inevitably succeed in its mission.
I am willing to submit my theoretical reason to the demands of the Church’s practical reason in the present. And I trust that the Church’s practical reason is guided by her theoretical reason (illuminated by divine Tradition).
I also believe my theoretical reason corresponds very closely to the Church's, but am unwilling to grasp at what hasn't been offered. Instead of the revolutionary path, I wait in submission to the established order of things, while retaining hope for a better day--a day when kings will once again render judgment and justice on the earth.