Action Alert!

With apologies to Lewis Carroll, was today’s news created by the Mad Hatter?

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Dec 18, 2015

I can’t help but notice a pattern in today’s news stories. Most of them report on intrinsically self-contradictory situations which seem to characterize the modern world. Consider:

  • The Prime Minister of Canada will try to get the Pope to visit Canada to issue an apology for the role of Catholic schools in the “spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse” of the peoples who lived there before the Europeans came. Of course no allowance is made by the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission for any goods which emerged from the set of values that motivated past social and educational projects. And, anyway, it is so deliciously easy to condemn past wrongs while refusing to bring sound values to bear on similar contemporary problems—such as the disposal of innocent life in abortion and the destruction of marriage and the family.
  • According to the Obama administration, the reason the US admits so few Christian refugees from Syria is that Christians feel safe in Syria. At the same time, the official in question also praised the Administration for its success in selling bridges in Brooklyn.
  • This headline speaks for itself: European Parliament condemns surrogacy, calls for ‘safe abortions’.
  • The ACLU and Planned Parenthood are questioning Walgreens’ efforts to establish pharmaceutical clinics in Catholic hospitals. Here’s an extract from the complaint: “Will Walgreens’s pharmacies that house these clinics continue to fill prescriptions for birth control, and emergency contraception? What end-of-life health services will be available at the clinics? … Will a transgender man or woman be able to receive a prescription for hormone therapy at one of these clinics, and have that prescription filled at Walgreens?” Heady stuff, this.
  • A Massachusetts court ruled that a Catholic school cannot fire an openly gay employee, arguing that religious exemptions don’t apply to Catholic institutions which do not restrict their services exclusively to Catholics. The court also stated that, since the employee is not a teacher, he is not in a position to dilute the school’s message. So what if he is known to have a same-sex marriage partner, with whom he will frequently be seen, and that he has made a point of this to keep his job. If it doesn’t take place in the classroom, apparently it isn’t a lesson….
  • Then there’s our story on Mother Teresa’s clearance for canonization. That’s fine. But two Italians were also declared to possess heroic virtue. One of them was named Heinrich Hahn (1800-1882). I can believe he was a layman. But an Italian layman? [As it turns out, this was actually an error in our story which has since been corrected. Heinrich Hahn really was German. As I told our news editor, I wasn't trying to be helpful, I was trying to be “cute”! (On the questionable theory that it is better to be lucky than good, and better still to be cute than helpful.)]

Truly, the mind boggles at today’s news. But on second thought, the more likely genius behind some of these stories is the Queen of Hearts.

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: james-w-anderson8230 - Jun. 07, 2016 11:16 PM ET USA

    Well said, however I don't believe that Pope Francis has commented on this yet. Who knows what further confusion will be sown if and when he does comment on it.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Jun. 07, 2016 9:19 PM ET USA

    I wasn't buying it either,Jeffrey.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Jun. 07, 2016 6:27 PM ET USA

    I feel as you do. Perhaps "communal" is a tough word for the Cardinal to translate effectively. Like him or not, we have one Pope at a time.

  • Posted by: tcflanagan - Dec. 20, 2015 9:11 PM ET USA

    It's happened in reverse: Fr. Romano Guardini was a German priest. (He was born in Italy, but his family moved when he was a year old.)

  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - Dec. 19, 2015 9:01 AM ET USA

    Some people might say, yes, Heinrich Hahn may have been an Italian, but his name indicates he was of German descent, which could explain his heroic virtue!