Volume > Issue > Letters to the Editor: January-February 2022

Letters to the Editor: January-February 2022

The Crux of the Controversy

I was not surprised that Casey Chalk sees Dignitatis Humanae, Vatican II’s “Declaration on Religious Liberty,” as unproblematic and in obvious continuity with earlier teaching (review of American Catholics by D.G. Hart, Oct.). But I was surprised that he ignores the considerable controversy that still exists among Catholics with regard to that declaration, as if everyone merely greeted it with a yawn.

You would never guess from Chalk’s account that the common interpretation given to Dignitatis Humanae, an interpretation Chalk appears to share, constitutes the only substantive theological and historical objection to the Vatican II documents. While I agree that the declaration does not violate previous Catholic teaching — in particular, the teaching of Pope Leo XIII, which it reiterates — I insist that the correct understanding of the declaration is not immediately obvious.

I refer those unfamiliar with this important controversy, which touches on both the consistency of Catholic doctrine and its legitimate development, to Korey Maas’s Touchstone article “Can We Hang Together?” (Nov./Dec. 2018). Maas distinguishes four distinct positions with regard to Dignitatis Humanae, two that see it as a doctrinal rupture and two that think it can be harmonized with earlier teaching. But the manner in which each of these four schools of thought approaches the question of doctrinal rupture versus doctrinal development differs considerably, and therein lies the controversy Chalk either downplays or ignores.

Although I do not want to argue the substance of the matter here, I will point out that the examples Chalk adduces — prohibitions on forced baptisms and toleration during the Middle Ages for Jewish residents of Catholic countries — are not to the point. No one pretends that the Church ever defended forced baptisms or taught that Jewish children should be taken from their parents and baptized against their parents’ will.

The crux of the controversy, briefly put, is whether a Catholic government in a Catholic state ought not only to favor the Catholic religion in its laws but, depending on circumstances, even put disabilities on the public practice of non-Catholic religions. Any fair reading of Leo XIII, as well as other popes up through Pius XII, would support both of these policies, while the common understanding of Dignitatis Humanae would deny at least the second one. That is the matter at issue. And since this common understanding of the declaration is widely accepted in the Church, one can hardly blame Hart for seeing in it a repudiation of Leo XIII’s condemnation of Americanism.

The matter deserves to be presented with much more nuance than Chalk exhibits in his review.

Thomas Storck

Westerville, Ohio

CASEY CHALK REPLIES:

I thank Thomas Storck for keeping me honest, as it were, regarding what is at stake in the controversies over the interpretation of the teaching of Vatican II — and previous Church teaching, for that matter — on religious liberty. I “ignored” the controversy Storck cites regarding Dignitatis Humanae because Hart’s book ignores it. Hart makes no mention of the four distinct positions regarding Dignitatis Humanae cited by Protestant scholar Korey Maas, and thus I did not address them.

Storck says that “one can hardly blame Hart for seeing in it [Dignitatis Humanae] a repudiation of Leo XIII’s condemnation of Americanism.” Perhaps. But Hart has a history of badly misrepresenting and mischaracterizing Catholic teaching and Catholic writers — including NOR editors and sometime writers like me, David Mills, Karl Keating, and Bryan Cross — for polemical effect, often with ad hominem flourishes. One need only peruse his website, oldlife.org, to see this behavior.

To Storck’s claim that historical Catholic treatment of Jews is not “to the point,” Hart disagrees. For years before the controversial Edgardo Mortara case resurfaced following the release of his unpublished memoirs by Ignatius Press (2017), Hart was using the Mortara case as a cudgel with which to beat Catholic apologists (there is an entire tag on his website devoted to the subject, with articles dating back to 2013: oldlife.org/tag/edgardo-mortara/). Elsewhere, in a post titled “Root Root Root for the Home Team” (Nov. 23, 2016), directed at yours truly, Hart rehashes allegations of Catholic anti-Semitism in the medieval era.

Hart aside, I have some limited familiarity with the intricacies of the debate regarding Dignitatis Humanae. Though Storck is not willing to argue the substance of the matter in a letter to the editor, I certainly would welcome an article on the subject, if Storck is willing.

Falling Back on Tired Tropes

As a fellow attendee of New Polity’s “Founding the Christian Society” conference this past March, I read Will Hoyt’s article “Integralism: A New Totalitarianism?” (Nov.) with dismay and perplexity. Mr. Hoyt issues vague and nebulous threats about supposed dangerous or subversive tendencies he claims to have witnessed at the conference without deigning to engage substantively with any of the conference speakers, besides a brief name-check of Pater Edmund Waldstein. Instead of confronting the merits of any of their arguments — which were a far cry from the ill-defined “chuck[ing of] civility…to the winds” or “favor[ing of] coercion” Hoyt claims they were — his article disappointingly falls back on tired tropes.

Hoyt seems to be under the impression that Catholic integralism is an inherently violent system in which political rule grows out of the barrel of a gun and rests on the deprivation of the civil liberties and perhaps even the lives of Protestants, modernists, and other enemies of the confessional state. Hoyt’s sad caricature of an integralist state as “identify[ing] heretical positions and then prescribing fines, incarceration, or death” is not only a baseless and slanderous claim to make against the conference speakers, none of whom came remotely close to advocating such a hideous system, but is at variance with the entire corpus of contemporary integralist literature, which I encourage Hoyt to read.

There are disagreements to be had about the extent of religious liberty (or, to use a term more in conformance with Catholic tradition, religious tolerance) and freedom of speech in an ideal integralist society. But I have yet to hear an integralist advocate for “solutions [that] concentrate power at the top.” On the contrary, most integralists are also distributists who advocate strongly for subsidiarity.

Integralism is brimming with fresh — or, more properly, freshly rediscovered — ideas about governance and social change, and none involve coups d’état or an ersatz Catholic version of sharia.

I invite Hoyt — who I hear has been invited to speak at this year’s New Polity conference — to engage with the substance of the rich academic debates currently taking place in the integralist ecosphere. He might be surprised at what he finds.

Joshua May

Warsaw

Poland

Will Hoyt’s broad-ranging article on integralism explores the idea of a Church “integrated” with the state as a “third way.” This idea is an example of the widely held belief that the Truth, or at least the greatest good, is to be found “in the middle.” This is an enduring folly that stretches back to Genesis, wherein man’s preference for his “own truth” leads him out of paradise nakedly ill-equipped. Notably, the real estate in Eden’s suburbs isn’t more valuable the closer it is to the garden; it’s all slum. There can be no fulfillment in a “third way,” or a fourth or fifth or gajillionth, because they’re all of a kind. That kind is: Not the First Way. This is why St. John Henry Newman, after an earnest search for a via media, gave up; his efforts at discerning a third way kept leading him back to the first.

The lesson of Genesis 3 is not how a talking snake opened a successful apple concession (and can we stop entertaining horticultural discussions on what species of fruit it may have been?) but that, like all creatures, we exist in a reality both already made and not of our making. Unlike all other creatures, we are free to accept or reject this truth, but we’re forewarned that rejecting it is a “dead” end.

The modern secular-humanist state, which, by definition, is opposed to a divine/natural law-based state, can no more integrate the Church than oil can integrate water. What it can do is pretend to integrate, when, in reality, it is relegating the Church to snow-globe status. All sorts of lovely activity is visible, but only and forever inside its tightly sealed container. Most of us can remember President Obama’s insistence on saying “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion,” and many suspect this is what he meant. To crib Henry Ford: Any believer may have any religion he likes, so long as it stays inside a building.

Additionally, embedded in this “integrated” arrangement is a pecking order that puts the secular state in charge of naming which qualities constitute an acceptable church, not vice versa.

In answer to the question posed in the title of Hoyt’s article, integralism is indeed totalitarianism, and any church that plays along is not worth its felt-on-burlap décor. As Churchill said of Chamberlain, churches have a choice between dishonor and war. If they choose dishonor, they will have war — maybe not a “hot” war but a war of attrition in which their “freedoms,” already trimmed as the price of “integration,” will be, bit by bit, further curtailed until they are functionally indistinguishable from any other state-approved social-services agency. And since they began by announcing their willingness to go-along-to-get-along, they will hardly be in a position to defend against such encroachments on principle. Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

An “integrated” church, ultimately, is just another bad neighborhood outside Eden’s city limits, where the doors are deadbolted at night and nobody can sleep because of the sirens.

Paul Tormey

McKinney, Texas

WILL HOYT REPLIES:

Thanks very much to Paul Tormey and Joshua May for reading my thoughts on integralism and the dangers it may or may not pose.

Regarding what I take to be Mr. Tormey’s chief point, let me say that I most definitely did not “explore the idea of a church ‘integrated’ with the state” as “an example of the widely held belief that Truth, or at least the greatest good, is to be found ‘in the middle.’” Rather, I said it was (a) an example of the kind of “third way” solutions intellectuals reach for when they try to find solutions for societal problems that socialism and liberal democracy have proven unable to solve, and, to that extent, (b) a bellwether for nostalgia-driven political storms that have, in the past, caused civilizational collapse. Tormey appears not to notice this. Instead, he proceeds from that point on to talk basically with himself about the idiocy of choosing any way but the right way. Though I wish him success in his effort to secure real estate in the City of God rather than in “Eden’s suburbs,” I don’t think there’s any need for me to accompany him along that particular way. I would just slow him down!

Therefore, it seems right to bid Tormey adieu with a friendly wave, so that I can turn my attention to the other gentleman who has weighed in on my article.

Mr. May says he read my report on integralism with “perplexity” and “dismay,” and, well, I sympathize, for I can’t imagine he was any more perplexed or dismayed than I was after reading his letter. How can a fellow 2021 New Polity conference attendee who is apparently familiar with “the entire corpus of contemporary integralist literature” not know (a) that serious fault lines had appeared in the integralist movement by the time of the conference, which pitted “statist integralists” like Adrian Vermeule and Gladden Pappin (professors at Harvard Law School and the University of Dallas, respectively, who advocate for the gradual infiltration of the modern administrative state) and Pater Edmund Waldstein (who edits The Josias and openly advocates for monarchy and empire) against thinkers who favor a more Christological, Communio-based approach like D.C. Schindler (professor of metaphysics and anthropology at the John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C.) and Andrew Willard Jones (cofounder of New Polity and director of Catholic Studies at Franciscan University); or (b) that those fault lines occurred precisely on account of differing degrees of concern about the dangers of using the power of the centralized state to achieve and secure the common good; or (c) that thinkers in the second camp to an important extent ceded the moniker integralist to the first camp during and immediately after the conference, owing to an inability to reconcile the two positions?

Schindler’s recent book, The Politics of the Real, explores, among other things, the extent to which statist integralists are stuck in conceptual categories that undercut an ability to understand, much less implement, the kind of sacramental political order that Jones convincingly held up in his groundbreaking study of the 13th-century kingdom of St. Louis IX, Before Church and State, as a model for the kind of society virtually all integralists are now trying to achieve. Both of these thinkers effectively broke with so-called statist integralists in public: in Jones’s case by questioning Jonathan Culbreath (assistant editor of The Josias) about the wisdom of utilizing modern state-based power to enforce spiritual ends (NewPolity.com, Dec. 18, 2020), and in Schindler’s case by bemoaning, at the New Polity conference, the way in which the very word integralism commits us to thinking in terms of two essentially opposed powers that stand in need of integration to a degree that would have been literally unimaginable in the 13th century.

What this means is that top-down control is a key issue in the integralist movement, and it is most definitely not “at variance” with integralist literature to the degree May suggests.

On, though, to May’s charge that I slandered conference speakers by quoting Waldstein on the use of coercive measures as “pedagogical aids” in the “Integralist Manifesto” he wrote for First Things (Oct. 2017). Surely, I complimented those same conference speakers? Waldstein is a wonderful thinker, every bit as marvelous as Jones in his ability to accurately synthesize details drawn from diverse sources, and we are much in his debt for raising the bar in discourse relating to integralism. True, Waldstein does talk quite happily about the rightness of occasional violence. In his article “Integralism and the Lamb that Was Slain” at his blog Sancrucensis (March 20, 2019), he writes that “all the baptized are subjects of the Church and she should treat them prudently,” that is, “not scrape off the rust too violently, lest she break the vessel.” But then he adds, “She must also be mindful of Heli, who neglected to punish his sons…. In certain circumstances, she needs to call in the secular arm to put heretics to death.” And in an article called “Against the New Nationalism” (The Lamp, Assumption 2020), Waldstein notes approvingly that in the foundation of the new spiritual “empire” prophesied in the Book of Daniel, “Peter is helped by Paul,” who is “not only a Roman citizen, but also a son of Benjamin, ‘the wolf’; and his temperament has something of Rome’s wolf-like violence.”

Does May think such statements should be ignored or, worse, hidden? I find them salutary because Waldstein is, in these instances, staying honest about what it might actually mean to advocate for a new House of Austria.

What I have a problem with is, instead, Waldstein’s and almost every pro-Leo-XIII conference attendee’s bias in favor of a neo-Scholastic habit that inclines us to favor what David Bentley Hart has aptly called “two-tier Thomism” over the real kind, thereby accentuating a theoretical nature/grace divide at the expense of the incarnational center otherwise known as the Word. Sometimes Waldstein discards this bias, as when, in his First Things article, he tries to imagine an “integrated whole” in which “spiritual” and “temporal” powers are infused with an eschatological peace very like “the truth about humanity revealed in Christ.” But most of the time he doesn’t, and it is no accident that in a different article in The Lamp (Corpus Christi 2021) he meditates on a “childlike” aspect to Pope Benedict XVI’s thought, given his alleged inclination to underestimate the “threat of anti-authoritarianism.”

But enough. May isn’t interested in that side to my article; therefore, I shouldn’t be writing about it here.

Thanks again to both May and Tormey for the occasion to think about the wonderful conference staged by the New Polity crew, and thanks in advance to any and all readers who may have read all the way to this point in my answer to May’s and Tormey’s critiques.

Doing His Duty?

Regarding David Mills’s comments on Dyerism, a word “coined by Gandhi to denote the evil done by an English brigadier general named Reginald Dyer,” the butcher of Amritsar (Last Things, Nov.): By coincidence, I recently watched Sardar Udham, an Amazon original film (2021) depicting the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of which Mills writes, in which Dyer ordered his troops to fire on Indians who were sitting in passive assembly to protest a new, unjust law. It’s uncertain how many men, women, and children were slaughtered, but estimates range upwards of 1,500 with another 1,200 wounded. I was stunned and transfixed by this reenactment of Indian troops killing their own people at the command of some uniformed British foreigner.

Responses varied among British and Indian peoples. Rudyard Kipling declared that Dyer “did his duty as he saw it.” Rabindranath Tagore, an Indian polymath and the first Asian Nobel laureate, on the other hand, was so outraged that he renounced his knighthood.

The ineffective official inquiry led by the British government, together with the initial accolades for Dyer, fueled widespread anger among Indians, leading to the “non-cooperation movement” for Indian self-governance. Some historians consider the massacre a decisive step toward the end of British rule in India.

Gandhi advised the Congress Inquiry Committee not to prosecute Dyer. Lest we who dare call ourselves Christians boast that charity and forgiveness are exclusive to our religion, Gandhi, a Hindu and married celibate, said, “I had no trace of ill will against him in my heart.” In 1921 Gandhi became known as Mahatma (Great Soul) by the people at large.

Gandhi was a living role model for nonviolent civil disobedience, later emulated by Martin Luther King Jr. during American race riots in the 1960s. Both men were assassinated for advancing freedom from tyranny. Christ bid both these valiant men to pick up their own crosses and follow Him by dying for truth, justice, and equality.

Richard M. Dell’Orfano

San Marcos, California

A Negligible Difference

Kent J. Lasnoski’s regret over the lapse of Sabbath observance (“Better Is One Day in Your Courts,” Nov.) is well taken and long overdue. But I question his critique of Protestant customs, in particular, his assumption that puritanical severity caused children to lose out on festal joy. In a university course on early American history, I learned that the Puritans tended to have large families and were anything but short on merriment and mischief-making. Could it be that the sacrifice of worldly pleasure on one day of the week added to their pleasure on the other six days — for a net gain? Who are we, as the victims of slippery-slope laxity, to criticize our Puritan (or Orthodox Jewish) brethren for practicing mortification? Can we assume that their devotion, which may strike 21st-century critics as over the top, was displeasing to God?

Lasnoski is on the mark when he calls for action to restore reverence on the Lord’s Day. But when he alleges that Luke “disagrees” with Matthew on the timing of the Transfiguration, he is again on shaky ground. Matthew places the Mt. Tabor apparition “six days” after Jesus spoke of Christian cross-bearing (Mt. 17:1), while Luke spaces it out to a distance of “about eight days” (Lk. 9:28). Shouldn’t we cut Luke a bit of slack? By being deliberately imprecise, writing “about eight” instead of “eight,” he admits he isn’t sure of the timing. So where is the disagreement? If we were dealing with a difference of two vs. eight, or even four vs. eight, there might be cause for concern. The difference, however, is six vs. “about” eight.

The issue is not unimportant. If what we call “the word of God” were found to contain errors or contradictions (with the exception of “copyist” errors and errors of translation), it would strike at the foundation of Christianity and hamstring evangelization. Worse still, it would call into question the teaching authority of the Church because all the popes who ever addressed the subject of scriptural integrity have agreed with the findings of the Second Vatican Council, which described the Gospels as “historically accurate” and “the honest truth” about Jesus. Paul VI personally intervened to ensure that nothing published by the council would give the faithful the slightest reason to doubt the inerrancy of Scripture.

Time and again, it turns out that problems with Scripture are more apparent than real. Different lists of Apostles give us different names. But two of Christ’s “Twelve” appear to have had more than one name. Just as Mark was called John, and Saul became Paul, Nathaniel seems to have been another name for Bartholomew, and Jude for Thaddeus. Skeptics call out the Gospels for furnishing us with different versions of the Our Father. There are also different words of consecration at the Last Supper depending on which book you read, not to mention different accounts of the death of Judas.

The list goes on and on. But in every one of these cases, there is an easy path to harmonization. Over the years, hundreds of allegations of scriptural contradiction have made a splash, and all have been laid to rest by encyclopedias of biblical difficulties that rely on a combination of logic and familiarity with ancient custom.

Frederick W. Marks

Forest Hills, New York

Profound Implications

Fr. David Vincent Meconi’s article “The Threefold Body of Christ” (Oct.) is rich in theology and history. As we have come to expect from him, he brings to his writing strong analytical skills, rooted in a deep faith and equally rooted in the long and deep history of the Church. Thus, was he able to vindicate the reputation of Pope Pius XII and his landmark encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi from attacks by the Left, and that of Henri de Lubac, S.J., and his seminal work Corpus Mysticum from attacks by the Right.

The threefold nature of Christ’s Body has profound implications for the life of the Church in every age, but uniquely so in our time. Public-opinion surveys over the past three decades inform us that more than 70 percent of regular Sunday Massgoers do not believe that the Body of Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, is substantially present in the Holy Eucharist. Receiving the Body of Christ involves significant obligations on members of the Body of Christ, which is His Church. Among those claiming our particular concern are the most vulnerable, the unborn. Yet we have witnessed the outrageous scandal of so-called devout Catholics in public life who weekly receive the Body of Christ while condemning to an ignominious death those potential members of the Body of Christ.

When I was in second grade, Sr. Rita Gertrude told us that unworthy reception of Holy Communion could turn the Sacred Host to blood in our mouths. I wonder if the “pious” Joe Biden and even more “pious” Nancy Pelosi have checked for bloodstains lately.

Rev. Peter M.J. Stravinskas

Editor, The Catholic Response

Pine Beach, New Jersey

I learned a great deal from Fr. David Vincent Meconi’s article. In fact, it has sent me on a quest for Fr. Henri de Lubac’s book on the Mystical Body. I did, however, recognize his quote of St. John Chrysostom’s Homily on Matthew as being part of the second reading from the Office of Readings (Matins) of the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time. This reminded me that praying the Liturgy of the Hours, something done by Catholics since the earliest days (see the Didache’s reference to praying the Lord’s Prayer three times a day), can help us become what Fr. Karl Rahner termed a “mystic.”

Of course, praying the Hours is not the only pathway, but the Hours contain a richness for meditation and guidance that certainly can help. I look forward to more insights from Fr. Meconi.

Stephen Beyer

Richardson, Texas

Misinformation & a Multibillion-Dollar Vaccine

The News You May Have Missed entry “No Horsing Around” (Nov.) lambasted a Georgia police captain for broadcasting the availability of veterinary forms of the drug ivermectin for use in preventing coronavirus. The sheriff died because of the misuse, which prompted a scold from the “venerable” Food and Drug Administration for us to get “serious y’all.” The FDA also warned that ivermectin does nothing to prevent coronavirus. What the Independent article on which the entry is based failed to state is that the so-called corona vaccine does nothing to prevent it either.

Ivermectin (an anti-parasitic medication) and hydroxychloroquine (an anti-malarial and anti-rheumatic) are drugs that have also been used to help address coronavirus viral loads. And though there is no clinical evidence to prove they work, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence that should be explored further. Why should we attempt to look further? Both ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are cheap generic drugs that have been available for decades. Their efficiency and side-effects are well documented. The COVID-19 vaccine has no history, and its many serious side-effects, including death, have been proven.

The entry also takes a jab at Fox News “personalities” for promoting ivermectin as an alternative to the COVID-19 vaccines. What was conveniently left out is that promoters of the vaccines — Left-leaning networks CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC — are all or partly sponsored by Pfizer, maker of the multibillion-dollar COVID vaccine (they admit it themselves).

There are many things I disagree with in the NOR, but I continue to find the articles fair, truthful, and stimulating. After reading this News You May Have Missed entry, I felt “massaged” to accept a particular narrative that has been shown to be deceitful. Regardless of how you feel about the vaccine, you must admit there has been a lot of misinformation, conflicting statements, and outright lying about the pandemic and the vaccine itself — on both sides! We can do better. So can the NOR.

Michael Trujillo

La Crescenta, California

Let me begin by saying I’m vaccinated, and I strongly support all adults getting vaccinated, as the efficacy of the COVID vaccines in preventing severe symptoms and death is well proven and documented.

That said, I was shocked and appalled to see the NOR joining with the mainstream media in inaccurately disparaging the legitimate use of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. Two key researchers in the discovery and development of the human form of the medicine won the Nobel Prize in 2015. It is effective against a wide range of diseases. More recently, expert panels from the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Japan found a significant reduction in mortality, time to recovery, and viral clearance in COVID-19 patients when being treated with ivermectin. During mass treatments in Peru, excess deaths fell by a mean of 74 percent over 30 days in ten states with the most extensive treatments.

According to our own National Institutes of Health, more than 20 randomized clinical trials have tracked inpatient and outpatient treatments with ivermectin, with 86 percent of meta-analyses in 2021 showing notable reductions in COVID-19 fatalities, and with a mean 31 percent relative risk of mortality vs. controls. As the biological mechanism of ivermectin is likely non-epitope specific, researchers believe it may have full efficacy against emerging viral mutant strains.

Science only progresses through open dialogue and debate. To wit, Fox News personalities never advocated the use of horse dewormer. Rather, they are correctly observing that open dialogue and debate are being shut down by pharmaceutical companies and their allies who have a financial interest in suppressing alternative and supplemental treatments. It is irresponsible to present misinformation under the guise of humor, as this has the (perhaps intended) effect of stifling scientific and public discussion on potentially life-saving drugs.

Stephen Osvath

Medina, Ohio

Ever since the legalization of abortion, the Left/progressives/Democrats have labeled pro-lifers as “anti-abortion” (which we are) as a means to demonstrate that pro-lifers are not in the mainstream. This “anti” labeling is a common manipulation tool.

The News You May Have Missed entry states that ivermectin “has exploded in popularity among anti-vaccine advocates.” So those who believe the drug, as opposed to a “horse dewormer,” has shown some benefit for treating COVID-19 are being labeled as “anti” or against mainstream medical science. I assume many people, including NOR readers, know that ivermectin is a legitimate medical drug for treating not only parasitic diseases but other diseases, such as rosacea, and has been used for several decades. It only takes a little research to also see that studies, such as in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Infectious Diseases, have shown that ivermectin does, in fact, successfully treat COVID-19. Additionally, it only takes a little research to learn that there are many reputable medical doctors who are using the drug to treat COVID-19, whether the Left/progressives/Democrats want to admit it or not. Yet they paint these doctors as “kooks.”

The entry then lists the dangerous side effects of ivermectin. So what? Most drugs have side-effects if misused or misapplied. What’s the point?

It seems that the purpose of the Left’s advertised confusion about ivermectin is to inhibit use, and maybe research, of the drug by leading people to believe it is only for parasitic treatment in animals and does “nothing” to prevent COVID-19. If scientists are ridiculed for merely researching its use for COVID-19, how will we know its effectiveness? It seems clear to me that the Left’s corporate line is: vaccine only, no treatment, no natural immunity.

I could not be more offended by this entry. The News You May Have Missed seems to have originally been for lighthearted, amusing “news.” I’ve noticed that over time, many of the entries are neither amusing nor about anything of any benefit, certainly not about our Catholic faith (not that they have to be). I always thought the point was to show that when moving from the sound reasoning of Christianity, disorder and absurdity result. The column seems to be moving away from this. And now, with this entry, the NOR has joined the Left in disparaging people who have legitimate concerns about how Democrats in power are trying to remove freedoms from citizens and force vaccination on the public so they forget about other treatments, regardless of the many who find a vaccine associated with aborted babies to be repugnant.

John Schauster

Highland, Illinois

THE EDITOR REPLIES:

John Schauster is correct. The News You May Have Missed entries are snapshots, and the column a portrait of sorts, of the absurd world in which we live, where religion and right reason are fading from sight. The entries aren’t always lighthearted or amusing. Each, however, is offered without editorial comment or slant. Just as the column does not intend to present a Left/progressive/Democratic point of view, neither does it present a Right/conservative/Republican point of view. (This is the New Oxford Review, not National Review or The Nation.) As such, nothing and nobody is exempt from exposure, neither ordinary citizens (e.g., those who promote ingesting a veterinarian drug and later die from the disease they thought it could prevent) nor popes and presidents (both Francis and Joe Biden have made appearances). And the camera does not lie.

Readers love it when the lens focuses on the people and trends they don’t like. But when the lens zeroes in on their pet preferences, look out! We get angry correspondence accusing the NOR of advancing wild conspiracies.

It was less than a year ago, for example, that a reader canceled his subscription because, he wrongly believed, “virus denial began to exude even from The News You May Have Missed column” (letters, May 2021). And now Mr. Schauster says that with this column, the NOR “has joined the Left” in its drive to “force vaccination on the public.”

So, in a mere seven issues we went from being virus deniers to vaccine Nazis. Hilarious!

As for “joining the Left”: Did Schauster not read the lead entry in the November column, “Pledging Allegiance,” about a California teacher who replaced an American flag in her classroom with a transgender-rights flag? What about the “Woodhead” entry in which Biden stammers his way through a dubious declaration that his “first job offer” came from a lumber company that later denied it had made any such offer? (Funny that Michael Trujillo didn’t feel “massaged” into believing Biden is a bumbling fool.)

In “No Horsing Around,” the NOR wasn’t “disparaging the legitimate use of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19,” as Stephen Osvath charges. On the contrary, we’re all for the study of ivermectin — or any other treatment — as a possible COVID preventative or cure.

Rather, what Trujillo, Osvath, and Schauster all managed to ignore is the fact that Joe Manning, the Georgia police captain, wasn’t advocating further research into the efficacy of ivermectin for “legitimate use” by humans; he was encouraging people to acquire the veterinary form of the drug from a feed-and-seed shop.

As the News You May Have Missed entry stated, “Doctors prescribe a different form of the drug to people.” There have been numerous reports of people across the country who have required medical attention and been hospitalized after consuming ivermectin intended for livestock. That’s why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to “never use medications intended for animals on yourself or other people.” Horse-sized doses of ivermectin are potentially fatal to humans.

Manning’s advice was reckless, and his preferred method of COVID prevention backfired in a tragic way (though this might elicit a “so what” from Schauster).

Whatever your opinion on the approved vaccines, we should all be able to agree that it militates against right reason (and sound science) to self-administer a dewormer designed for large farm animals.

©2022 New Oxford Review. All Rights Reserved.

To submit a Letter to the Editor, click here: https://www.newoxfordreview.org/contact-us/letters-to-the-editor/

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