Why Wills? In which We Recall the Last Time Popcak took Wills to the Woodshed

Ah, Garry Wills.  My favorite professorial poseur and religious rebel-without-a clue.   He’s back with a new argument for using books as kindling in the form of a doorstop titled, Why Priests?  A Failed Tradition.  Stephen Colbert has some fun with him on the topic the other day and does a fairly good job responding (although he doesn’t challenge Wills demonstrably false assertion that Augustine didn’t support the priesthood.) Take a look.

I really have to wonder what anyone sees in this guy.  He’s a terrible historian and a worse theologian.  I wouldn’t even bother posting this except that it gives me an opportunity to revisit the last time I took Wills to the woodshed in the LA Times for his preposterous claim that religious people have no right to be concerned with abortion.  Here’s a sample…

 Garry Wills’ recent L.A. Times Op-Ed article “Abortion isn’t a religious issue,” in which he claims that abortion is not a religious issue, might as well have begun with these fanciful words, because the article is as imaginative a bit of fiction as anything the Brothers Grimm could have penned — only significantly less entertaining.    In his essay, Wills cherry-picks Thomas Aquinas’ theology; employs a simplistically idiosyncratic interpretation of Scripture and massacres history, science and philosophy, all in a fevered attempt to assert that people of faith should kneel at the altar of secularism because, he argues, Christian opposition to abortion is a Johnny-come-lately moral position founded on little more than thin air and pious politics.    Oh, really.

Neither faith nor reason supports Wills’ claims.  (READ MORE)

It really is appalling how this guy is given a professional forum to churn history for his own flaky ends.  For a more thorough look at the Weird World of Wills (and more importantly, how to respond to your second cousin when he brings it up this Thanksgiving) check out Fr. Robert Barron’s review of Why Priests?at Word on Fire.




About Dr. Greg

Dr. Gregory Popcak directs the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to marriage, family, and personal problems. Together with his wife, Lisa, he hosts More2Life Radio. He is the author of over a dozen books integrating psychological insights with our Catholic faith. For more info about books, tele-counseling and other resources, visit www.CatholicCounselors.com.

  • John J. Jakubczyk

    Perhaps Wills is right about abortion for the wrong reasons. It is a HUMAN RIGHTS issue – just as slavery was a human rights issue.But at the same time, every person makes decisions hopefully formed by his conscience which is influenced hopefully by his religion or philosophy of life. Therefore those of us who believe in God combine our belief in the dignity of the human person with the right to life that all should have under law. As the pope recently said, we should all be ‘meddling’ in politics – influencing the public square for good. Abortion has been a crime since Christianity came out of the catacombs, and the early teachings of the Church (Didache and Epistle of Barnabas) condemn abortion without reservation.

    However Wills is a knucklehead. I watched his appearance on Steve

    Colbert and Wills was a blathering idiot. his off the cuff remark on Augustine is such a fabrication that it conclusively impugns anything that he may say now and forever. There are so many references to Augustine and his teachings on the Eucharist that he can only be called a liar and a fraud even suggesting it.

    Wills is yesterday’s news attempting to resurrect his relevance.

  • John J. Jakubczyk

    Greg, ,just read your LA times article. Great piece!