How many devils can dance on a pinhead?

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Nov 12, 2014

Though permission was granted on our comment form, simple charity demands that I withhold the name of the reader who submitted the following email in response to this story from November 4th: New York bishop bans travel to west Africa, citing Ebola threat.

See if you can count the number of faulty premises and illogical connections which render this argument both invalid and unsound—that is, hopelessly confused and necessarily false.

The Rochester Diocese, suffering a lack of priests because of its failure to ordain women and allow married priests, welcomed 18 African Catholic priests to serve in the Diocese. Now, in a racist exploitation that is similar to the family break-ups of slavery, Bishop Matano has banned the annual visit to their homes for priests from Ghana.

The ebola virus is spread by contact with bodily fluids. Since these priests are still in the old celebacy [sic] mode, such exchange seems unlikely. Bishop Matano should look at what has happened to his mentor Cardinal Burke and step lightly with unChristlike actions.

This was submitted by an unregistered user in Rochester, New York. I know you’ll think I made it up, but in fact this is the fully legitimate winner of our “Email of the Week” award.

Moral: Just because you step lightly, it doesn’t mean you won’t put your foot in it.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: tcflanagan - Nov. 14, 2014 7:57 PM ET USA

    But deaconlarryssm4723! If they take no space, how can we attribute to them a location (like "on a pinhead")? They also have no legs (except when manifesting under some animal---possibly human---appearance, in which case they would take up space), so how can they dance? Therefore, I put it to you that the answer is "none." Silliness like that in the email quoted above are why I have given up reading comment boxes at all websites except this one.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Nov. 13, 2014 12:32 AM ET USA

    The more you think about it the funnier this email gets.

  • Posted by: deaconlarryssm4723 - Nov. 12, 2014 7:04 PM ET USA

    Since spirits take no space I would say that it's unlimited.