Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Falling in love with the good, the true, and the beautiful

Griffith Park, 1997. Photo by Vince Miller.

Homiletic & Pastoral Review has a beautiful review by Father Christian Raab, O.S.B., of my memoir Sunday Will Never Be the Same. He writes that the book has "a striking narrative which, like a good mystery novel, invites the reader to make discoveries alongside the protagonist and not before her." And he adds,
Unlike most mystery novels, however, this book is more of a “who is it?” than a “who done it?” What the author discovers through her trials and triumphs over the course of many years is who God is — the truth of God’s solicitous presence, the truth of God’s love in Christ, the truth of the Church as God’s family, and the truth of Mary as a universal mother. In discovering these truths about God, the author also discovers her own true identity as God’s beloved.
I especially appreciated this insight of Father Raab's:
A case can be made that the book turns upon Goldstein’s reading of Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. Chesterton describes a conversation between an anarchist poet and a “poet of law and order.” The latter says: “It’s things going right that is poetic,” and “the most poetical thing in the world is not being sick.” Goldstein seems to have, by this point, already intuited that while much of rock music celebrates chaos and focuses on nihilistic despair, some of it, like the Boettcher music she has fallen in love with, manages to communicate the true and the good and the beautiful. Chesterton gives her a conceptual framework for better understanding her own taste and the impetus to more fully pursue what the good poets are pointing to.
Read the full review at the HPR website.

Note: If you purchase Sunday Will Never Be the Same or any other book through the Amazon links in this post or elsewhere on this page, I will receive a commission that I will donate in its entirety to support the HER Foundation's volunteer corps, which assists pregnant women who suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum. Thus far in 2019, I have donated $115 to the HER Foundation thanks to Dawn Patrol readers' Amazon purchases.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Response to Austin Ruse

Austin Ruse, the C-Fam president who has lately aligned himself with what he admiringly calls the "western chauvinists" known as the Proud Boys, in an op-ed appearing today on the Crisis website, accuses me of publicly countering what I see as "anti-Francis heresy."

Yes, that is correct. Ruse is excoriating me for standing with the pope.

But the most surprising thing about the Crisis piece is that it is presented as some kind of grand exposé about me, as if there has been a radical new development in my outlook. Sorry to disappoint those who think so, but the truth is that in all essentials I am still the same Catholic as I have always been, since my conversion in 2006 — and I have been dealing with online outbursts against me for over a decade.

Yes, I hate to break the news to Austin, but he has come very late to the anti-Dawn party. I was attacked for defending the Church’s pro-life, pro-chastity, and pro-marriage teachings after becoming a Catholic, and have since been attacked, as a theologian, for criticizing Christopher West’s distorted and highly sexualized presentation of St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. I have also been attacked for defending Catholic teachings against female ordination and gender ideology.

Here I am in August 2018 defending the male priesthood before a thousand members of the Georgetown University community and their guests —watch at the 1:18:07 mark. It did not earn me any employment offers from Jesuit colleges.

So, now I am being attacked for defending the legitimacy and authority of the Supreme Pontiff. Normally I would not consider an article such as Ruse's worthy of a response. However, since friends have contacted me who were troubled by it, here are a few points readers should consider:
  • Ruse presents himself as an impartial commentator on issues concerning Cardinal Burke. That is not the case. He is in fact a close collaborator of the cardinal. According to Ruse's official bio on C-Fam's website, he and Burke are working on a book together, and the cardinal wrote the foreword for Ruse’s 2017 book Littlest Suffering Souls
  • Ruse lists among my alleged sins, "She doesn’t like Sophia Institute Press." I assume he is referring to my criticizing Sophia for publishing Taylor Marshall's Infiltration, a book that promotes bizarre anti-Masonic and even anti-Jewish conspiracy theories to argue that all popes since Pius XII have been infected with Modernism. (Here is a link to read my entire thread on Infiltration.) 
What Ruse doesn't mention is that Sophia Institute Press publishes Crisis magazine, where his article appears. That's an important piece of information that belongs in the article itself — not merely in the small print at the very bottom of the page.
  • Ruse sugarcoats the Catholic Herald's publication of a repugnantly anti-Semitic op-ed by Taki, which I protested. Yet the Herald's own Sohrab Ahmari deemed the article vile. Following Ahmari's complaint, the magazine quietly removed the op-ed from its website. Why would they have done this if they were not themselves embarrassed by it? (Ruse also neglects to note that his own editor at Crisis, Michael Warren Davis, was the US editor in chief at the Herald when Taki's piece ran in the magazine's US edition.)
  • In Ruse's effort to support his main accusation, that I misrepresented Cardinal Burke's recent interview for Patrick Coffin, he heavily edits Burke's words to make it seem as though the cardinal upheld the validity of Francis's election. In fact, Burke twice said "I don't know" when asked whether further evidence might show the election was invalid. He clearly gave the impression that the jury was still out. Even when he denied Antonio Socci's theory that there could be two popes, he said "the whole matter is a bit confused" and he recommended listeners read the theory of the author, whom he called "saintly." See the transcript I posted in my Twitter thread or read it via ThreadReaderApp. And see LifeSiteNews's article, which is careful to leave the matter open for its readers to decide where Burke stands.
  • The rest of the article consists of half-truths mixed with outright lies. Some of the errors are relatively benign, such as Ruse's claim that I sought his advice at his New York office while I was at the New York Post, where I worked until January 2005. In fact, we did not meet until more than two years later, when at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, on April 13, 2007, as correspondence between us shows. 
  • Other errors are more serious, such as Ruse's insinuating that I have publicly called those who oppose Pope Francis “heretics" — I have not — or that I have a blanket dislike of EWTN and its affiliates. On the contrary, I have repeatedly praised the faith and professionalism of EWTN employees, specifying that my issue is not with the network as a whole.

That is all I have to say. Please join me in praying for the Holy Father and for the unity of the Church. Mater ecclesiae, ora pro nobis.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Watch now: I speak on Edith Stein and spiritual motherhood at St. Patrick's Cathedral

Last Saturday, I had the honor of delivering the annual Edith Stein Guild lecture last Saturday at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The topic I chose was "Sponsa Christi: What Edith Stein Taught Me About the Mystery of Spiritual Motherhood." It was a joy to speak about a saint who inspires me on many levels.

Although I mention some aspects of my personal history that are touched upon in my memoir Sunday Will Never Be the Same, this lecture is almost entirely new.

An audio version of the lecture is available for free download via my SoundCloud page and the player below.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Come hear me speak on St. Edith Stein at St. Patrick's Cathedral

Blessed by the sight of a double rainbow during my book signing at Our Lady's Gifts in San Diego, July 22, 2019. The book I am holding is my memoir Sunday Will Never Be the Same.

It's not every day that I'm invited to speak at St. Patrick's Cathedral, but that is the wonderful news that I am now able to share with you, as the Edith Stein Guild has invited me to deliver its annual lecture on Saturday, August 3, at the glorious Gothic seat of the Archdiocese of New York. My topic is "Sponsa Christi: What Edith Stein Taught Me About the Mystery of Spiritual Motherhood." Please see the flyer on the Edith Stein Guild website for details.

Tomorrow I begin an eight-day Spiritual Exercises retreat. You and all of my readers will be in my prayers. Please say a prayer for me.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Going West!

I'm excited to begin my West by Northwest speaking tour this week, which will have me speaking and signing copies of my memoir Sunday Will Never Be the Same in Washington, Montana, and California. Click the flyer above for details and see my Upcoming Talks page for the latest updates.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A taste of Sunday

I'm delighted to report that Angelus, the magazine of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, recently featured an excerpt of my memoir Sunday Will Never Be the Same in its Books Issue.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

I like to be in America! Jesuit website features my response to James Carroll

The website of America — The Jesuit Review today features my response to James Carroll's recent Atlantic cover story arguing for the abolition of the priesthood. I place James Carroll, ex-priest, in dialogue with the late Jim Carroll, punk poet:
A novelist and poet born in the late 1940s, whose Irish-American Catholic parents named him James Carroll, summed up his childhood with the refrain, “I was a Catholic boy/ Redeemed through pain/ And not through joy.”

I thought of that classic punk-rock Jim Carroll Band lyric, from the title track of their 1980 album Catholic Boy, as I read “Abolish the Priesthood,” the cover story in The Atlantic by James Carroll, an ex-priest born a few years prior to the late musician with whom he shares a name.

Both Jim Carroll (best known for his 1978 memoir The Basketball Diaries) and James Carroll critique the church that shaped them. But whereas the lyrics of “Catholic Boy” cling to the hope of redemption, James Carroll’s article gives no hint that we are all, in fact, sinners in need of salvation; he argues that the only thing lay Catholics need to be saved from is Catholicism itself.
Read the full article at America's website.

Photo: Jim Carroll with his parents, photographed by Annie Leibovitz in a hand-colored test image for the cover of Carroll's album Catholic Boy (1980).

Friday, May 3, 2019

I discuss my new memoir on the Eric Metaxas Show

It was a pleasure to share some of the stories from my new memoir Sunday Will Never Be the Same on the Eric Metaxas Show. Among the topics we discussed: Brian Wilson, Harry Nilsson, G.K. Chesterton, and the hidden connection between St. Catherine of Siena and They Might Be Giants.