Having and Not Having, by Robert Royal

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*Image: The Journey of the Magi by Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni) ca. 1433-35 [The MET, New York]

By Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing, Nov. 28, 2022

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent books are Columbus and the Crisis of the West and A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century.

Note: We weren’t fundraising on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, partly because of some of the matters discussed below. We’re still in our end-of-year campaign, however. It bears repeating that this site is only here because of the generosity of our readers. Without your support, we’d simply cease to exist. So thanks to all who have already given. But we have to ask the rest of you, please, do your part – today – to make sure that The Catholic Thing is here in 2023, reporting on and trying to shape events in the Church and the world. – RR

Years ago, I was watching some late-night television talk show (why I would do such a thing,  lying down, unless I was inert with jetlag, now escapes me). A young actress, who’d been “raised Catholic” – of course, by then “ex” – somehow started talking with the host about the Church. Which – she said – “Has something they call Black Friday” (viz., Good Friday).  The slip, which went uncorrected, was annoying. But then it struck me as a small sign that the Faith leaves a mark, even if imperfectly remembered, even on people who choose to make their way to places of gross self-indulgence, like Hollywood.

We’ve just experienced a “Black Friday,” as most Americans now call it. And on this first weekday of the new liturgical year (alas, “Cyber Monday”), I find myself wanting to leave a mark on the season, to make some Catholic New Year resolutions for Advent, which like Lent is supposed to be a time of preparation. Because a self-indulgent “Spirit of Black Friday” is everywhere now and will continue to wreak havoc in the weeks leading up to Christmas if we don’t recover or consciously inject some counter-measures into the mix. …