Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $40,615 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Judge William Clark, RIP—a Reagan confidant, an unsung hero of the Cold War

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Aug 12, 2013

William P. Clark, the most trusted friend and ally that President Ronald Reagan had in Washington, died on August 10 at the age of 81, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

Judge Clark—as he was known to his many friends and admirers, after a career on the bench that ended with a stint on the California Supreme Court—served in the Reagan administration as Deputy Secretary of State, then National Security Adviser, and finally as Secretary of the Interior. Especially as National Security Adviser, he had enormous influence on Reagan’s thinking--because he was a close friend, because he was intelligent and persuasive, and because he was right. It was Judge Clark, more than any other figure in the Reagan administration, who encouraged the President to maintain political pressure on the Soviet Union.

Years ago I had the opportunity to interview Judge Clark and to speak at some length about what he regarded as his greatest political coup: Arranging the meeting at which President Reagan spoke with Pope John Paul II, primarily about the struggle for freedom in Eastern Europe. Judge Clark recalled that an extraordinary bond had quickly developed between those two men. He remarked: “I firmly believe that President Reagan and Pope John Paul II are most responsible for the fall of the Soviet empire, which had enslaved 300 million people prior to its surrender and dissolution. The two men shared the belief that atheistic Communism lived a lie that, when fully understood, must ultimately fail.”

When I called Judge Clark to arrange that interview, I was delighted to learn that he recognized my name. A devout and informed Catholic, he was a voracious reader of Catholic periodicals and a generous contributor to Catholic causes. His faith was absolutely central to his life, and the greatest strengths of his character—balanced judgment, unswerving commitment to principle, compassion, generosity—reflected his rich interior life.

Judge Clark also showed a degree of humility that is rare in any political figure. He did his best work in the background, and never showed interest in writing memoirs despite his historical role in American foreign policy. Fortunately Paul Kengor finally persuaded him to cooperate with an official biography, and the result— The Judge, is now available from Ignatius Press for the a mere $3.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($128,302 to go):
$150,000.00 $21,697.70
86% 14%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

When Catholics are less Catholic than non-Catholics 4 hours ago
Cardinal Kasper's nose is growing again October 18
Challenge Grant Begins as Synod Ends October 17
What's wrong with this Synod, IV: Unprepared for marriage October 17
No, mainstream religious orders aren't attracting vocations as fast as younger traditional orders October 17

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - 14 hours ago
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6