I had a beautiful time yesterday evening speaking on "Chastity and the Mystical Rose" at the TOP-Life Coffeehouse in Connecticut and thought I would share it with you.
The new book by Francis Canavan SJ that I edited, Fun Is Not Enough, is again in the spotlight, this time via a feature in National Review Online by Kathryn Jean Lopez, who interviews me about my friendship with the late Father Canavan:
Lopez: What was prophetic about Father Francis Canavan?Read the full interview at National Review Online.
Goldstein: Canavan had a gift of discernment that enabled him to rightly judge the signs of the times. He also read the literal signs of the Times — the New York Times, that is — along with bumper stickers, everyday conversations, and other things that clued him in to what people were talking about and thinking about. In that way, he was able to identify trends in popular sentiment that were not adequately understood by many of his peers in the world of academia.
In particular, Canavan dissected the philosophical errors that have led contemporary culture not only to embrace radical individualism but also take it to its logical conclusion in utilitarianism. Writing years before the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, he had the foresight to observe that “the primacy of choice is wrecking our sexual morality, but not only that. At a deeper level, it is destroying our ability to have a social morality that goes beyond sexual conduct to question the right of any society to establish and maintain social standards on any other than utilitarian grounds.”
An authority on Edmund Burke and a professor of political science at Fordham for over twenty years, Canavan appealed to academics and laymen alike. Nowhere did he synthesize his talents better than in his many contributions to the Catholic Eye, which published his social and political commentaries for over twenty-five years. These writings have now been collected in Fun is Not Enough, and they are as lively and powerful now as when they first appeared. American Catholics who are confused and distressed by the ongoing tumult in Church and state will be invigorated by them.Read the entire review. Fun Is Not Enough is available in print and Kindle from En Route Books and Media.
This week's Catholic Herald features my reflection on the readings for the First Sunday of Advent: "The God Who Can Change Our Desires". I invite you to subscribe to the magazine to read the reflection, which includes insights along similar lines to those of Remembering God's Mercy.
There is a scene in Ken Russell’s film of The Who’s rock opera “Tommy” that depicts a church whose goddess is Marilyn Monroe. In a grotesque mockery of Catholic devotion, the faithful rise from their pews to venerate a larger-than-life porcelain statue of the actress, while preacher Eric Clapton croons that she “gives eyesight to the blind.”
I thought of that scene when I learned that Hugh Hefner, the Playboy magazine founder who died Sept. 27 at the age of 91, paid $75,000 in 1992 to buy the vault next to Monroe’s at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles so that he could be buried next to the ill-fated star.
Hefner made the purchase because, as he told the Los Angeles Times, he was “a believer in things symbolic.”
“Spending eternity next to Marilyn,” he added, “is too sweet to pass up.”
Where Hefner may, in fact, be spending eternity is not for me to say. But he was right to recognize the symbolism in his desire to enjoy the afterlife in the presence of Monroe, whose nude image (published without her consent) was the major selling point for Playboy’s premier issue in 1953.
It seems that the case for the Amoris laetitia critics’ self-proclaimed “Filial Correction” of Pope Francis is weakening. Dr. Joseph Shaw, one of the signers of the Correctio filialis, recently wrote: “It is not that we’re saying that the text of Amoris cannot be bent into some kind of orthodoxy. What we are saying is that it has become clear that orthodoxy is not what Pope Francis wants us to find there.”
Shaw’s claim that Pope Francis doesn’t want orthodoxy, however, is based on subjective impressions derived from mostly non-authoritative statements of the Pope. This does not seem to be a very strong foundation for accusing the Roman Pontiff of promoting false teachings and heresies.
The supporters of the Correctio and other critics of Amoris laetitia often try to contrast what Pope Francis says in this exhortation to teachings of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. It is interesting, therefore, to note that many of these same critics fail to follow the guidelines for theologians published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1990 when John Paul II was pope and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Benedict XVI, was prefect of the CDF. These guidelines are contained in the instruction, Donum veritatis (Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian) — a document that traditionalist opponents of Amoris laetitia, such as Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, ironically claim to hold in high esteem.