Saturday, December 24, 2022

Father Ed shows "what is possible ... when we die to self"

I received a wonderful early Christmas present yesterday in the form of a review of my new biography of Father Edward Dowling, SJ, Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.'s Spiritual Sponsor, in my favorite opinion website, Where Peter Is. Whereas I had seen Dowling as a model for the priesthood, reviewer Dan Amiri sees a model for all men, writing,

Goldstein effectively captures the powerful working of God’s grace in a man who accomplished much but who thought of himself very little. One could reasonably argue that Fr. Dowling’s example is the antidote to much of what modern Catholic manhood “experts” stand for. In his life story, we see what is possible for men when we die to self and allow God’s will to reign in our lives.

Amiri also is impressed with what I have uncovered regarding Father Ed's influence upon Alcoholics Anonymous, whose co-founder Bill W. called Dowling his "spiritual sponsor":

Goldstein's book convincingly argues that without Dowling and his early partnership with Bill W., AA would not be the organization that it is today – if it existed at all. Dowling not only provided moral and practical support to Bill W. during his bouts of severe depression and discouragement at critical junctures for AA, but he was also instrumental in the spread of the organization in its earliest stages.

I'm really touched to receive this beautiful review in addition to the other reviews of Father Ed that have come in, all of which have been warmly positive thus far. It says a lot about Father Ed's greatness that my biography of him has won praise not only in Where Peter Is, which seeks to help readers better understand and appreciate Pope Francis's pontificate, and in The American Conservative, which is not known for publishing pro-Francis articles. People today are as moved as people were during his lifetime to learn of his trailblazing efforts to help those suffering from alcoholism, mental illness, and any other kind of problem.