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July 20, 2015

As the last weeks of July become the first weeks of August, print and digital media are filled with articles, letters, and comments about the 1945 atomic bombings.

Year after year, the middle of summer is given over to reiterating the same arguments, often made by the same people and in the same words.

Year after year, I shake my head at what is written and wonder why it is that no progress seems to be made in the discussion. So many people talk past one another. Very few even...

July 13, 2015

A voice from the past—my own!

I was cleaning out a storage closet at the office and discovered an early letter I wrote to two friends. It began: “This will bring you up to date on the status of Catholic Answers.”

What a change from then until now, and what a reminder of how much I have forgotten, such as the original proposal for the work of Catholic Answers!

The letter is dated July 27, 1984. That’s three-and-a-half years before I went into apologetics work full time....

July 6, 2015

Language is a tricky thing. With the wrong words or the wrong construction, you can seem to mean things you don’t intend or can seem to intend things you don’t mean. You can get yourself into a lot of trouble. Many Catholics do, particularly when they write online.

At sites such as Facebook, many people have the impression that stream-of-consciousness writing is a good thing. They don’t re-read their words before they push the Send button. Not infrequently, they end up committing the...

June 29, 2015

Determining a bad idea’s antecedents usually is messy and often is impossible. Just when did a particular bad idea begin? Seldom is there an analogue to Athena coming fully formed from the forehead of Zeus.

Usually one bad idea derives from an earlier bad idea, which in turn derives from still earlier bad ideas. In order not to get lost in a long series that disappears into the mists of pre-history, you need to choose a point at which you can say, “For purposes of discussion, I count...

June 22, 2015

“I speak—more or less fluently—eight languages and have a reading knowledge of eleven others, necessary for my research.” He could have spoken to almost anyone in the world in that person’s native tongue. He was very much a catholic Catholic.

Born in 1909 under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s childhood languages, as I recall him explaining, were German, Hungarian, and Latin. Maybe there were one or two others languages too. I forget, but he seemed never to...