Monthly Archives: August 2018

Fake News


“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”  Thomas Jefferson

“President Jefferson suggested that the newspapers of his day would be improved if each issue were divided into four sections, headed Truths, Probabilities, Possibilities, and Lies.”  Charles R. Kesler

“He predicted that the first section would be the shortest.” Kesler

Faking It

Charles R. Kesler, Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2018, p. 5

Ideas Rule the World

“Ideas run the world. Good ones create freedom and wealth; bad ones, oppression and poverty. You are not what you eat, but what you think.” Daniel Pipes

“We are now getting to the point at which different beliefs [ideas] about the universe lead to different behavior.” C. S. Lewis

“What the world needs is Christian love or compassion.” Bertrand Russell

“Ideas have consequences, sometimes unspeakably tragic ones.” Jeff Myers and David Noebel

“I now believe that the balance of reasonable considerations tells heavily in favor of the religious, even of the Christian view [ideas] of the world.” C. E. M. Joad

Editor’s Note: For readers interested in gathering up the major ideas that rule the world we recommend Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel, Understanding The Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews available from Summit Ministries (719) 685-9103…

Venezuela’s Tyranny of Bad Ideas

Socialism was a proven failure, but Hugo Chávez got his countrymen to try it.

Daniel Pipes, The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2018, p. A 15
People wait to cross the street in Caracas, Venezuela.
People wait to cross the street in Caracas, Venezuela. PHOTO: FEDERICO PARRA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Ideas run the world. Good ones create freedom and wealth; bad ones, oppression and poverty. You are not what you eat, but what you think.

Politicians in particular fall under the sway of ideas. As John Maynard Keynes put it, “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. . . . It is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.” Continue reading

Betrayal Exposed

“I told him [Eli, the priest] that I am going to judge his family forever because of the iniquity he knows about:  his sons are defiling the sanctuary, and he has not stopped them.” I Samuel 3:13

“But the Pennsylvania grand jury report ‘shows that this crisis-management approach to sexual abuse enabled the wickedness to fester.’”  C. C. Pecknold

The Catholic Bishops Who Failed Us All

A new grand-jury report on sex abuse shows the episcopate behaving like Judas.

C. C. Pecknold, The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2018, p. A 13

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, then an archbishop, in Washington, D.C., May 4, 2017.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, then an archbishop, in Washington, D.C., May 4, 2017. PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

A Pennsylvania grand jury this week published a 900-page report detailing sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by some 300 Roman Catholic priests over 70 years. The grand jury had spent two years gathering subpoenaed archives from Pennsylvania’s six dioceses. It sought not only to share the victims’ stories but to document an entrenched culture of coverup reaching the highest levels of the U.S. church.

Forensic accounts of priests raping the sons and daughters of Christ reminded me of Judas. On the way back from Mass on Wednesday, with the report on my mind, I asked my 14-year-old son what differentiated Judas’s single betrayal of Jesus and Peter’s threefold denial of Christ. Well-catechized, he simply replied “repentance.” His answer helped us have a frank discussion about sin in the Catholic Church, the human need for penitential disciplines and devotions, and God’s way of helping man triumph over the wickedness of the Devil.

Not even Dante in his “Inferno” imagined crimes as sacrilegiously perverse as those the report documents. In some cases priests used sacramental objects as props for their diabolical predations. While the majority of cases involve adolescent males, children as young as 7 were sexually abused by men trusted to represent Christ. Since most of the crimes occurred in the 1970s and ’80s, the accused are now dead or the statutes of limitations have run out. But the report notes: “The bishops weren’t just aware of what was going on; they were immersed in it. And they went to great lengths to keep it secret.” They must be held to account. Continue reading