Volume > Issue > Letters to the Editor: April 2022

Letters to the Editor: April 2022

Inside the Numbers

Pieter Vree’s column about clerical sexual abuse (“A Time of Reckoning,” New Oxford Notebook, Jan.-Feb.) raises a glaring question. According to the figures he cites, the problem of sexual abuse by priests was orders of magnitude greater in France than in other Western countries. Yet he offered no explanation for this vast difference.

Is there something dramatically different about French society or the French Church that explains this? When I see such a discrepancy, I immediately think there must be a marked difference in definition or in reporting or some other statistical factor. Surely, there can’t be that many more active pedophiles among French priests.

Preston R. Simpson, M.D.

Plano, Texas

Though clerical sexual abuse in any form is a horrible travesty and discredits the Church, it is still important to be accurate about figures. The number of victims mentioned in the French report, 330,000, is an estimation; it is not the number of actual cases. The figure is meant to suggest how many cases there would be if they were all reported.

Unlike the French bishops, the American, German, and Australian bishops have not yet commissioned such a study from social scientists. In those latter countries, the figures Pieter Vree cites represent the actual number of allegations.

If we were to make estimations for those countries analogous to the French study, the figures would, unfortunately, be much higher.

Lauren Butler Bergier

Lafayette, Colorado

PIETER VREE REPLIES:

The 330,000 figure from the French Church’s report is indeed an estimate. A definitive historical accounting of clerical sexual abuse is, frankly, impossible. Many of the victims and their assailants from early in the period covered by the report (1950-2020) have died, and they took their secrets to the grave. Prior to 2002 there was no real inclination in the Church to address or even acknowledge cases of clerical sexual abuse, and many victims’ accounts fell on deaf ears. Documented records are scant.

I would, however, depart from Lauren Butler Bergier on one point. The French Church isn’t the only one to have commissioned a study from social scientists. According to a statement by the victims’ advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP; Oct. 5, 2021), “extensive secular vetting” of historical abuse data has taken place in three countries: France, Australia, and the United States.

As for the latter, the U.S. bishops commissioned the John Jay Report in 2002, the research for which was conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a senior college of the City University of New York and a public institution staffed by social scientists.

SNAP also supplies a partial response to Preston Simpson’s query: “France appears to be showing an abuse rate of 2.78% — 3,200 abusers since 1950. This is an extremely low percentage, given that Australia admits to 7% (1,880) and the US is tracking at 6.4% (7,300).” In other words, the percentage of pedophiles in the French priesthood is lower than in the Australian and American priesthoods.

The distinction is that French priestly pedophiles had, on average, more victims. As I stated in my column, the ratio of clerical pederasts to victims in France was one to 70, meaning each priestly predator averaged 70 victims. That’s quite a few!

As to why this should be, I hesitate to hazard a guess other than to speculate that the French pederasts had a larger pool from which to choose and groom their child victims. France was, after all, once known as the “eldest daughter of the Church,” and as recently as the early 1960s, a full 96 percent of French people were baptized Catholics.

Could the figures in the French report have been inflated? That’s possible. In fact, this February, eight members of the prestigious Académie catholique de France levied this very charge, questioning the methodological rigor behind 2,500-page report.

In a 53-page, point-by-point rebuttal (Feb. 7) of the Académie’s 15-page critique, the French study’s researchers defend their work. The 330,000 figure, “plus or minus 60,000,” they maintain, enjoys a “95% confidence interval.” All historical statistics extrapolated from a survey “are subject to errors of many kinds,” they write, and “even with the implementation of extremely efficient probability sampling, there is never a total guarantee, because there is always an error due to sampling and non-response.” Yet, they insist, “it can be said that the [330,000] estimate is ‘(very) probably’ close to reality.”

Very probably is the best we can get in these circumstances.

A bright, final note to this minor-key coda: The Académie’s critique didn’t come without a cost. Several members resigned as a result, including Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, president of the French bishops’ conference, and Sr. Véronique Margron, president of the Conference of Religious of France. It seems these two, at least, won’t countenance an attempt to lessen the Church’s guilt or diminish the devastation clerical sexual abuse has caused a country once widely regarded as a stronghold of the faith.

An Eloquent Pundit

I approached Peter Maurice’s article “What Would Joe Sobran Say?” (Jan.-Feb.) with some trepidation, wondering how he would communicate the tone of a writer like Sobran, who relied on colloquial and ironic twists of language rather than rhetorical flourishes or the creation of memorable characters.

Considering this challenge, Mr. Maurice did a superb job of capturing Sobran’s brand of wry, intelligent skepticism and his courage in separating himself from the safety of the herd. As Sobran himself wrote in discussing the submissiveness of Americans, “Aristotle observed that most men are slaves by nature. That hasn’t changed just because they are nominally ‘free.’ They still follow the herd without asking who the shepherd is.” What a concise summary of a subject memorably discussed by de Tocqueville in the 19th century and many social scientists in the 20th!

I appreciated Maurice’s description of Sobran’s voice “as an erudite blend of moral earnestness and playful humor,” along with his summary of several other writers’ evaluations of Sobran as “one of the deepest, wittiest, and most wide-ranging essayists of his time.” An eloquent pundit is my simple description of him.

Certainly, Sobran stepped on toes, most notably for his “anti-Semitism.” If pointing out that Jews persecuted Christians early on is anti-Semitic, then he is guilty of noting a well-established fact of history. His suspicions of the state of Israel, his notion that Edward de Vere wrote Shakespeare’s plays, and his egregious failure to understand the reasons for 9/11 are examples of his misapplied skepticism — a euphemism Sobran would abhor, but one I will stick with in the confined space of a letter to the editor.

All in all, we shall not see Sobran’s like soon enough, if I may paraphrase Shakespeare, who was, along with Abraham Lincoln and the biblical writers, among Sobran’s favorites.

Terry Scambray

Fresno, California

Peter Maurice captured Joe Sobran perfectly. As I read his article, which was really a much-deserved memorial to the great man, I had my own reflections about Sobran. As a neophyte Catholic, I would read his column in The Wanderer the very first thing when I’d get a new issue. He was the modern-day G.K. Chesterton.

Sobran was as familiar to me as a broken-in pair of boots, yet he was always as fresh in his wit and commentary as a ripe tomato from the vine. Hat tip to Maurice for his tribute to a giant of both conservatism and Catholicism who left an indelible mark on the things he most loved.

Larry Ford

Villa Ridge, Missouri

Peter Maurice’s article leaves out something very important: Joe Sobran was fired from National Review because he dared to criticize Israel. From what I recall, Norman Podhoretz demanded that William F. Buckley Jr. fire Joe, and Buckley complied. Joe’s much-repeated aphorism, an anti-Semite is not so much someone who hates Jews, but someone whom Jews hate, is priceless.

Why did Maurice leave out this very important detail regarding Joe and the Jews? Not only was Joe an incomparable prose stylist, he was a very courageous man and a noble human being.

Laura Smiley

Jacksonville, Florida

PETER MAURICE REPLIES:

That admirers of Joe Sobran’s incomparable prose found my effort worth their comments is gratifying. I thank Terry Scambray, Laura Smiley, and Larry Ford for their thoughtful critiques.

In his own reflections about “the great man,” Ford recalls that as a neophyte Catholic, and a Wanderer subscriber, he would always turn first to Sobran’s column. Well do I know the impulse. I was likewise a skipper-ahead for Sobran’s take on the issues of the day. For perspective on the culture and politics of a madding world, he was the go-to guy.

Both Scambray and Smiley comment on Sobran’s putative anti-Semitism. Smiley recalls that Buckley fired Sobran from National Review at Podhoretz’s urging because Sobran had “dared to criticize Israel.” She wonders why I left out “this very important detail regarding Joe and the Jews.” Actually, I did allude to the firing, and to the charge of anti-Semitism. But my purpose was to pay homage to Sobran the writer and to trace the arc of his career. This restricted focus precluded detailed treatment of any one wrangle in the life of this controversialist, always embattled on many fronts.

Admittedly, this was not just another incident, and a detailed treatment could make for interesting reading. In fact, Buckley devoted an entire issue of his magazine, later published as a book, to the cloud of anti-Semitism that enveloped Sobran and his friend Pat Buchanan. The book bore the title In Search of Anti-Semitism (1991). Although I don’t think Buckley’s “search” found real anti-Semitism, it did nothing to disperse the cloud. Today, if you type “Joseph Sobran” into your Internet search bar, you will be directed to tags like “Prominent American journalist and anti-Semite.”

Anti-Semitism is an ugly reality — and an ugly slur. Like “racism,” it need only be pronounced for its mucilaginous properties to stick — forever. That’s why its use should be reserved for those who hate or persecute Jews as a monolithic group. Someone like Sobran, who criticized the policies of the Israeli state, doubting that they were always consonant with America’s interest and security, would seem an unlikely candidate for such a damning label.

Sobran, however, evinced another suspect tendency. In his unguarded way, he confessed to being amused at ethnic jokes. He noted that they depended on certain recognizable group features in order to be funny. He found it revelatory of evolving mores that most states had laws against blasphemy not so long ago, whereas today an ethnic joke can get you ostracized. I don’t think such observations reveal a hateful disposition, or smack of anti-Semitism.

Another fine writer, the Jewish novelist Saul Bellow (1915-2005), who grew up in multi-ethnic Chicago, remembered that ethnic wisecracks abounded in his boyhood: “Nobody was immune. Not Jews, not Italians, not Greeks, not Germans, not Blacks.” He found society freer back in equal-opportunity insult land. “It was a far more open society than before ethnic protection began.” Bellow, too, has been accused of racism and, mirabile dictu, anti-Semitism.

Preaching from the Sky Chair

Regarding Fr. Alvaro Delgado’s guest column “An Atheist in Paradise” (Jan.-Feb.): Believing there is no God, no Heaven, and no Hell is an act of the will. One decides first what one wants to believe or not believe. Roy Schoeman, whom Fr. Delgado cites, in all probability must have decided sometime in his innermost self that he wanted to believe. God could then act, and did so, through the epiphany Schoeman describes.

The woman skier whom Fr. Delgado encountered in Tahoe could not accept the beauty that surrounded her. Rushing speedily between the pine trees, she might have been repeating to herself, “random chaos…random chaos,” not realizing that she reached her destiny of being a talented skier after hundreds of hours of practice, without random chaos playing any role.

It is a consolation in this time and age that we can count on priests like Fr. Delgado who ski and preach from the sky chair.

Gustavo Gonzalez C.

Bogotá

Colombia

A Hideous Debris Field

Fr. John A. Perricone’s trenchant article “Antidote for the New Normal” (Dec.) is a wakeup call to the Church leaders who, for over 100 years or so, have relegated St. Thomas Aquinas to the proverbial back of the bus. It should be remembered that at the time of the Council of Trent, which lasted almost 20 years in the 16th century, only two books were placed in the hall: the Bible and Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae. That’s how important his writings were to the Church then, and they remained so into the 20th century. Ignoring Aquinas is like teaching the history of baseball and ignoring Babe Ruth.

In 1907 Pope St. Pius X called modernism the synthesis of all heresies. However, for many of today’s Church leaders and people in the pews, orthodoxy is “the synthesis of all heresies,” and modernism is “the Catholic Faith pure and simple.” The destructive liberalism that blossomed in the 20th century, like strangling vines that sap the life from trees, slowly degraded Church traditions, culminating in post-Vatican II novelties: Communion in the hand, a dumbed-down liturgy, altar rails and high altars ripped out, sterile churches, altar girls, etc. Pope Francis’s motu proprio restricting the Traditional Latin Mass is just the latest modernist pustule.

One hundred years of modernism have left us with a wide and hideous debris field: empty seminaries, shuttered churches, watered-down catechesis, homosexual and pederast priests, nuns dressed like laypersons, a vocation shortage, and a generally feminized priesthood and episcopate. The McCarrick scandal is the tip of the corrupt iceberg. If you think the bishops have cleaned up their act, I have a reasonably priced bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

I hope and pray that orthodoxy will, at some point, once again prevail.

Dan Marengo

Bronx, New York

I read with great interest “Antidote for the New Normal,” in which Fr. Perricone lays out the outrageous doctrinal excesses of our new Amazonian Church and offers the Angelic Doctor as a necessary touchstone for renewal. Initially, it is impossible to disagree with Fr. Perricone about what he deems the “new normal” in the Church, which is both dreadful and desolating. Indeed, what we are witnessing is without precedent: It is as harrowing as it is dispiriting. Who would have imagined that living under the reign of the so-called Pope of Mercy could be so cruel? At least some of the Catholic faithful are taking steps, gingerly at that, to see this papacy for what it is: a veritable dumpster fire.

Likewise, it is hard not to appreciate the love and esteem Fr. Perricone showers upon the Angelic Doctor as a source of inspiration and a path forward. He is right, of course, that the “new” theology required that St. Thomas be jettisoned in the name of “progress” and “modernity.” Seminaries can teach either solid Thomistic theology or modernist claptrap, but they cannot teach both. That the renewal of the Church will involve a reassertion of Thomistic theology and Thomistic principles is a given. How could it not be?

If I have a quibble with Fr. Perricone’s analysis, it is not about the horrid leadership of the modern Church, or his statements in favor of St. Thomas as a necessary ingredient for Catholic renewal; it is his hope that the intellectual Catholic faithful are “waking up” to the disastrous revolution of Francis (and indeed much of what came before him). Only the most Pollyannaish among us can ignore the five-alarm crisis in the Church today, but I am not as sanguine that the vast majority of irenic Catholics will ever be offended enough to speak forcefully regarding the grievous wounds this papacy has inflicted upon Holy Mother Church.

While the circle of disaffected Catholics grows incrementally, I am afraid Fr. Perricone is still preaching to the converted. Nevertheless, what he says must be said, and said loudly.

Christopher Gawley

Danbury, Connecticut

Fr. Perricone is right to point out that disasters like the Amazonian Synod are due, in great part, to the modernist invective against St. Thomas and what he represents: objective morality, realist philosophy, and traditional liturgy. Also to blame is the hesitancy of the hierarchy to punish, well, anybody for anything!

In my estimation, it boils down to a crisis of manhood, and fatherhood in particular, and a lack of supernatural faith. It seems many prelates view themselves more as “administrators” or the equivalent of upper-tier managers in a nongovernmental organization than fathers and shepherds of flocks. We must remember that God chastises those He loves. Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Charitable Anathema is instructive: excommunication and censure are weapons of charity. A good father does not allow his child to place his hand repeatedly on a hot stove or engage in other destructive behavior without restraining him or imposing a punishment. To neglect such things proves the father does not really love the child; he does not will the child’s good.

Where I would depart from Fr. Perricone is on the matter of strategy. As with all heresies, underneath the lies and misrepresentations are grains of truth. The same is true of modernism. In the early 20th century, Thomists did in some ways depart from the venerable St. Thomas. An excessive manualism was prevalent in many of the seminaries, and the rationalism that had long since invaded civil society had seeped into the Church. The mystical and supernatural aspects of our religion; the profundity of the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ, which is ever beyond human capacity for description; the ineffability of the sacred liturgy: these were undermined by the idea that all could ultimately be understood by man through the right scholastic formula.

In the bland and suffocating world of modernism, postmodernism, and liberalism in which we live, it is understandable that Catholics would want a veritable “life that is truly life” (as Fr. Edward Leen put it) from their religion, something that embraces and provides for all aspects of human existence, not a dry intellectualism. I dispute that such criticisms can be accurately leveled against St. Thomas, and the modernists don’t realize that their errors have created this bland world and culture of death. But in retreating entirely to St. Thomas, are we not playing into their propaganda and neglecting some of Holy Mother Church’s other weapons?

Let us not forget the other schools of theology that are full of theological depth and richness, such as St. Bonaventure and the Scotists (lest we forget his victory over and against St. Thomas in regard to our Blessed Lady’s Immaculate Conception, eh?). We absolutely need a reinvigoration of Catholic men to warfare, spiritual combat, and real practice of the hard masculine virtues. Let any man try to read St. Bernard’s preaching of the Crusade without a fire being ignited in his belly! And St. Bernard was no Thomist.

Lastly, I would point to a work I recently finished reading: The Whole Christ by Fr. Émile Mersch. It is a tour de force through Scripture and Tradition regarding the Church’s theology of the Mystical Body of Christ, which Pope Pius XII described as the “antidote to modernism.”

St. Thomas is a potent weapon in our arsenal. But let us not forget all the others! Our brethren need them.

Logan Frati

Moriches, New York

Fr. Perricone has once again presented a solution to the problems vexing our Catholic world. The invasive pestilence called modernism, now relegated to the category of boogeyman mostly by those whom it has infected, is still afoot and with renewed vigor. Fr. Perricone proposes as an antidote the timeless treasure known as Thomism.

As an engineer and one who relies heavily on logic, sometimes to a fault, I find the appeal of the Angelic Doctor’s realism irresistible. Yet, given the current state of affairs, a mind driven by realism and logic oftentimes finds itself on a lonely highway.

Due to my nature, which predisposes me to the philosophy of St. Thomas, I am immune to the deafness most of society suffers when he speaks. This deafness is the underlying problem. If St. Thomas holds the answer to our dilemma, how do we transmit such truth to those who are tuned to a different frequency?

From the time of St. Thomas until now, the Western world has seen the availability of education accelerate. Such a resource was limited in the 13th century and, as with most rare treasures, was cherished and preserved from frivolity. Education was directed toward that for which it was created: discovering truth. Fast-forward to today, when education, up to and including university studies, is viewed as a “universal right.” We have an unappreciated resource that is used for whatever purpose the recipient deems appropriate, which, in most cases, is the elevation of the self as an intellectual force to be reckoned with. In the current halls of academia, we hear the echoes of our first parents, Adam and Eve, who chose to be all-knowing while taking their eyes off the Lord.

This theme, repeated throughout history, continues in the classroom today, where each student’s random thoughts are raised to the level of intellectual achievement, resulting in a generation of self-aggrandizing intellectuals. Each person’s thoughts have now become the focus of learning, with the individual “me” elevated to the center of the world, as Fr. Perricone points out.

This academic milieu is ripe for modernist takeover. The original sin of pride is the engine driving this train down a dead-end track. The appeal of man’s development of himself binds him to the throttle.

Joseph A. Crupi

Greenwood Lake, New York

The words of Our Lord, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savor, wherewith shall it be salted?” (Mt. 5:13), echo throughout the ages as the summary of what His Mystical Body’s relationship to the world is to be like. And yet, as Fr. Perricone so clearly captures, not only do we appear to have lost our savor, we have gone sour, and the salt that once preserved seems now to join in the rot. However, this is merely an appearance, and appearances do not always reflect reality, at least not in its entirety.

In times like this, it is important to remember that the voices of the past are not annihilated but resound in one great song, for though it is we who must do battle, we are joined to those who have already triumphed, and we need only consider their song if one day we are to join in it. The voices join in a great symphony, and yet to us their sounds seem a disparate cacophony. Reference to a grand conductor is needed if we are to make sense of the music. Fr. Perricone tells us that the conductor is St. Thomas Aquinas. Certainly, his exposition of timeless truths is a point of culmination in the “mystical stream of the polyphonous, ever-increasing song of praise,” as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross once described our great liturgical tradition.

A mere breath of the air of modernity is sufficient to realize why Pope St. Pius X’s phrase describing modernism as the “synthesis of all heresies” can rightly be called “nearly canonical.” This beast can only be vanquished by a champion of reality who brings a true synthesis of orthodoxy. Fr. Gerald Vann writes in the introduction to The Aquinas Prescription, “This synthesis was not in fact achieved, at least completely, except in St. Thomas. The problem of the rival claims of this world and the next, of science and wisdom, of reason and revelation was precisely the problem that vexed the minds of St. Thomas’s predecessors from St. Anselm onward; and the problem was not solved, or was solved in a way that could only lead to disintegration.”

This is a gargantuan claim, and, at first glance, one may have an understandable suspicion that maybe, just maybe, it amounts to nothing more than worship of medieval ashes. Look a little longer, and the flame passed on by the Thomistic project will be revealed. The radiance of the via media he achieved illuminates with startling clarity the grotesque extremes that are now taken for granted. You too will be repulsed with almost the same visceral reaction the Angelic Doctor himself would surely have to the solipsism, extreme skepticism, and narcissistic anthropocentrism that have wrapped their tendrils around every once respectable discipline from epistemology to moral philosophy. Reality is “stood on its head” everywhere we look!

The consequences of modernism extend far outside the walls of the Church. Culture, in large part, is formed by the ideas we have, and a culture that accepts the tenets of modernism will live in a way that naturally follows from them, and so hedonism and all sorts of unspeakable degeneracy reign. How else would things play out if Truth, Goodness, and Beauty were for me to decide?

This state of affairs will remain unchallenged as long as we and our shepherds remain complacent in accepting the Enemy’s premises, letting “little” errors in thinking slide while attacking the “big” issues. This merely delays the inevitable, leaving the Enemy’s roots intact as they sink ever deeper into everything we hold dear. Remember, “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” The Angelic Doctor’s wise and watchful eye allows us to strike at the source, exterminating every trace of this plague.

It’s true that “scales are falling from the eyes of the faithful.” We must seize this moment! If we are to steady the shaking foundations of the city that crumbles around us, we must once again stand with the ancient doctors, who find their summary in the person of St. Thomas, their great inheritor. Do this, and our posterity will be offered a great fortress in which it can truly take refuge.

Daniel Rocha

South River, New Jersey

FR. JOHN A. PERRICONE REPLIES:

Letters of such gifted writing and perceptive insights as these are always a delight. Each represents what Vatican II meant by active participation of the laity in the life of the Church. Synodal “listening sessions” should involve the likes of these men, or the whole vain project will be seen for the inanity it is.

My slight reservations are merely cavils. Christopher Gawley rightly calls the Church’s current crisis a “five-alarm fire.” It is that and more. Call me roseate, but I am confident that God is raising more and more men with the intellectual heft and grit of Mr. Gawley. And they will lead the Church from her present Gethsemane. While “irenic Catholics” snore on in their slumber of “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil,” the fire of the Holy Spirit will eventually move even the likes of some of them.

Gawley well knows the proliferation of lay Catholic confraternities in the hundred years before 1517 as a refuge from the spreading rot in the clerisy of that era. It seemed as hopeless a time as ours. Yet, look what explosions of grace appeared after the Council of Trent: SS Pius V, Borromeo, Canisius, Bellarmine, Ignatius, and many more. Those confraternities were the seeds.

Granted, today’s crisis is unprecedented in the history of the Church. Never before have there been hierarchs in the highest reaches of the Church disseminating such shocking departures from the faith, seeming almost to be in league with the Spirit of the Age rather than the Spirit of Christ. That being said, God is pouring out graces in places like the pages of the NOR, which will also yield, in a time unknown to us, explosions of grace. Be assured, Mr. Gawley, that you and the men of your company will be lionized as trailblazers of the Church’s New Springtime.

Logan Frati fittingly references Dietrich von Hildebrand’s savvy book The Charitable Anathema as the spine necessary for all Church leaders. Mr. Frati possesses all the right dispositions for the New Springtime; however, he must exert some care in his censure of Scholasticism, even manualist Scholasticism (as shriveled as it was). While it may have pushed some into the arms of modernism, its shove was inconsequential compared to the colossal collapse of faith that had already occurred in the armies of modernists. They did not need scholastic manuals for that descent. In their treachery they commandeered the subversion of the Church’s doctrinal patrimony. I am sure Frati would prefer one sterile scholastic manual over the 13 volumes of Karl Rahner’s Theological Investigations.

Frati is quite right that we should not ignore the priceless treasures of the Church’s other doctors and auctores probati. But preserving St. Thomas as our North Star (heeding Leo XIII’s Aeterni Patris, as well as 700 years of papal encomia) was never meant to preclude that impressive firmament. To applaud the military genius of Patton as a singular leader is not to demean all those accomplished officers and soldiers who contributed to his victories. Frati mentions Duns Scotus. As worthy a Scholastic as he was (declared beatus by the Church), we must remember that he is given the name Doctor Subtilis because his philosophical work was so buried in scholastic distinctions as to be almost impenetrable. St. Thomas vs. Duns Scotus? No contest.

As for Scotus’s praiseworthy insistence on Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception, let us remember that St. Thomas’s reserve on the matter was not a defect but a straight line to his metaphysical principle that matter must possess the proper disposition to receive the forma animarum. He was following the science of his day. If he had enjoyed the embryological advances of today, he would have corrected his reserve. But his metaphysics are impeccable. For these reasons, and many more, the Church has anointed Thomas with the title Common Doctor, that is, he who must be followed by all Catholics in all times above all the rest.

Accidental Alignment

Although no longer a subscriber, I occasionally am notified by those who are when noteworthy developments occur in the NOR. So it was with considerable approval that I perused “No Horsing Around” (The News You May Have Missed, Nov.), which draws attention to the abuse of the deworming agent ivermectin, which has been promoted as a miracle COVID cure by people as diverse as a (late) Georgia sheriff and Fox News hosts. I began to consider that perhaps there was one level of virus denial to which the NOR would not stoop.

I was bolstered in this belief when I saw the letters section (Jan.-Feb.) in which were published furious letters from vaxophobes and vaccinated alike, all praising the nonexistent COVID-curing powers of horse paste, even going so far as to claim the NOR “has joined the Left.” The editor’s reply graciously referenced my own letter (May), in which I accused him of exactly the opposite downslide.

Now that silence no longer fills the pages of this paragon of print, I must in necessity add my voice to the clamor and commend the NOR for following the truth. If the Left happens to have accidentally swung round into alignment with right reason and common sense, and if to follow the obvious logic of right reason leads one to bump into the Left by sheer accident, then, good editor, welcome to the Left!

James Farrell

Meriden, Connecticut

Ed. Note: Any alignment we have with “the Left” is, as Mr. Farrell suggests, entirely accidental. The same would be true were we to align with the Right. This is, as I wrote in my reply (Jan.-Feb.), the New Oxford Review, not National Review or The Nation. The NOR is neither Left nor Right but orthodox — at least that’s what we strive to be. We will follow the truth no matter where it leads and regardless of who is walking along the path with us.

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