Saturday, February 28, 2009

Neuhaus on Canavan

Father Richard John Neuhaus included a delightful encapsulation of an article by Father Francis Canavan S.J. in the June/July 1991 First Things:

Father Francis Canavan observes, "Water naturally runs downhill. So do our human passions." He was provoked to think about this when watching a program in which a fellow declared that Christian opposition to the current sexual revolution resulted in the Church "losing its credibility." "If he had said," writes Canavan, "that the Church was losing popularity, I would have understood him, because chastity has never been popular. But why did he say that the Church was losing credibility, i.e., the ability to be believed?" What is being demanded of Christians, he writes, is that they go with the flow of human passions. "It is a morality that has flowed, like water, downhill to its lowest level. In the nineteenth century, even that great exponent of liberal freedom, John Stuart Mill, could still declare: 'It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.' Today the satisfied pig declares Socrates to be lacking in credibility."

Scroll down or click the "Father Canavan" tag below for more on the great Jesuit writer and scholar, including details on his wake and memorial services.