Your Virtual Front Page for Friday, December 18, 2016

Some items that may start some conversation, although this being a Friday so close to Christmas, perhaps not:

  1. Syria war: UN Security Council unanimously backs peace plan (BBC) — One thing to note before we get all excited: It doesn’t address what happens with Assad.
  2. Congress Approves $1 Trillion Spending Bill, Opening Wallet (NYT) — That new boy Paul Ryan is flat gettin’ it done, isn’t he? One thing, though: I doubt he’ll be thrilled with that headline.
  3. Obama Commutes Prison Sentences For 95 Nonviolent Offenders (NPR) — And bringing it home a bit, three of them were from South Carolina.
  4. Who’s going to see Star Wars this weekend? ( — Personally, I’m going to wait a bit; I don’t like crowded theaters. A weekday matinee, perhaps, sometime after Christmas. But I’m curious: How many of y’all have tickets for tonight, for instance?
  5. Asteroid flamed out passing over Lake Murray ( — That was what caused that flash in the predawn sky over the lake. It was most certainly not an alien spacecraft. I’m quite sure about this because I and other local journalists were told this by some very official-seeming guys in black suits, right after they flashed their own bright light in our eyes. Now everybody go see Star Wars and don’t bother thinking about this.
  6. Sainthood for Mother Teresa (WSJ) — Pope Francis checks off on a second miracle. You go, girl!

6 thoughts on “Your Virtual Front Page for Friday, December 18, 2016

  1. clark surratt

    Brad, do you dismiss the disparaging reports about Mother Theresa, some of which came from professor type of research?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I don’t dismiss them. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was lousy at handling money. And it wouldn’t shock me a bit if she sought to convert the folks she helped. I’m sure that wouldn’t scandalize, say, a Baptist missionary working at a clinic in Africa — even though Catholics are usually less overt about evangelization than Baptists.

      There’s a bigger question, with regard to sainthood, than the things that Christopher Hitchens was on about. Do you make someone a saint who had a major crisis of faith for the last four decades of her life? She said she felt God closed himself off from her, and that was a source of constant pain. An argument could be made that that makes her MORE of a saint — that despite not feeling God’s presence, she did His work. Sort of like the “whiskey priest” in Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory. Which is better — someone who believes and can confidently show us the way to God, or someone who can’t hear the Almighty but does what she believes He would want her to do?

      On the whole, I think it’s a good call. She inspired a lot of other people with her example of ministering to the poor. And isn’t that the point of conferring sainthood — to hold up examples for us all to aspire to?

      1. Karen Pearson

        We have saints who behaved a lot worse than she did. Her decades long experience of “the dark night of the soul” suggests to me that she was powerfully spiritual.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Any of y’all check out that video up at the top of the post? If you’re a fan of both Burns’ “The Civil War” and “Star Wars,” it’s pretty cool…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *