Serving the Children of Light by S. M. Hutchens


Serving the Children of Light

A Deeper Subtitle

On the seventh of June, 2020, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former papal nuncio to the United States, now in virtual exile because of his opposition to the liberalizing program of Pope Francis and his allies, published a letter to President Trump—an analysis of current events, particularly of the politics of the Covid-19 virus and the riots fomented by anarchists in the name of racial justice. In this letter the archbishop spoke in terms of the struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness. The week before, in our own corner of the world, I had been asked by my Touchstone colleagues to formulate a brief description of the journal's character—something like "mere Christianity" or "ecumenical orthodoxy," but unburdened by the need to explain these involved terms.

It occurred to me that, in his letter to the President, the archbishop pointed toward the words for which I had been casting about in those of the Lord himself. In the Parable of the Unjust Steward found in Luke 16, Jesus commends the thieving manager for his practical grasp of how the real world operates, while pointing out the comparative unsophistication of believers, for, the Lord says, "the children of this world are, in accordance with their type, wiser than the children of light." Once again, as he does in many places, he divides the human race in two, with God's judgment on their essential beings, without reference to the signs upon which we, who see only outward appearances, must rely to make what seem unavoidable classifications. Anyone who knows the facts of the case can see that the steward of Luke 16 is a liar and a thief, but we would not know with certainty that he was primordially a child of darkness unless the Righteous Judge had told us he was.


S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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