by: Fr. Nicholas A. Marziani, Jr., D.Min.
As a political moderate, perhaps leaning just a bit to the right at times, I deeply appreciate professional acumen and a balanced style when it comes to reporting the news. Too many of our precious photons and electrons (you can tell I also teach high school physics) are squandered – simply adding entropy to the universe (in lay terms, “hot air”) – and trending toward civic debasement and societal disorder in so much reportage these days. So it came as a real, but not totally unexpected, punch in the stomach to hear that a true gentleman and scholar, as well as a learned physician and journalistic ace, announced his imminent departure from this earthly realm in early June.
Charles Krauthammer, a mensch by any standard, simply and graciously announced to the world that his fight with cancer was drawing to a close, and the grim reaper was at hand. So brilliant a man that he was able to complete medical school at Harvard in 1975 despite a devastating accident during his first year there that left him a paraplegic, Charles first became a psychiatrist, but then eventually found his way to journalism and the world of political analysis and commentary.
Beyond his classic and responsible, balanced approach to the world with all its glories and foibles, Charles displayed a poise indicative of a clear faith in his Creator, doubtless the fruit of extensive exposure to his Jewish roots as well as the best of Western civilization. Ever humble, yet with a subtle, witty edge at times when the situation demanded it, I can remember him calmly telling a half-screaming fellow commentator on a certain news program some years back, “you know, I have a license to sedate you.” Whew! The “patient” fell back in his chair, utterly speechless.
That’s the Charles I will ever wish to remember – and if I’m lucky, maybe even emulate in my own life as I approach in due course my eighth decade. I love the way Fay Vincent, Major League Baseball commissioner (1989-92) put it in a recent Wall Street Journal column lionizing Dr. Krauthammer (Vincent himself a partial paralytic): “It is important to play the game well, but it is also important how one leaves the arena.”
Yea, oh the names that come to mind – Gandhi, Teresa of Calcutta, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, so many of them to look up to in this often dismal world. Leaving this orb with grace, even through bitter suffering and even passion. My prayer – for all of us!