About

My Facebook newsfeed is full of quotations attributed to Catholic and near-Catholic (e.g., C.S. Lewis) sources. A distressingly high proportion of them is fake, as in “not said by the person to whom they are attributed.” Some of them are innocuous enough (if bland), some of them are questionable at best, and some of them are just plain wrong. One of my hobbies (perhaps an irritating one) is hunting down these misquotations, and I thought I might as well preserve the results of my hunts in a blog.

26 thoughts on “About

  1. This is correct. I am the author of the statement in question, just as observed above. I am flattered that people would equate my voice to Lewis (I doubt he would feel the same.) I find it particularly amusing to imagine an Oxford Don such as Lewis being so succinct. He couldn’t give you his mailing address in only two sentences…

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  2. The CS Lewis quote that you “out” as being false is a direct quote from a speech he made in 1952 at the Library Aasociation, titled “On Three Ways of Writing for Children.” The speech was later adapted into an essay in Lewis’ “Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories.” The quote is real, is in print, and is properly credited to CS Lewis.

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    1. Sorry. Just realized you have multiple CS Lewis quotes. The one I was referring to was about children not being a distraction.

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    2. The searchable copy of “Of Other Worlds” at Google Books doesn’t return a hit when I search for “most important work,” nor does the searchable copy of “On Stories,” which also contains the essay.

      Just to be sure, I search both books for the word “distraction,” which does occur in each, including the parts not available for preview. The quotation in question still does not appear. I’m not saying it’s not there, but I can’t find it. Can you send a scan or picture of the page in question?

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  3. Brendan: here’s a searchable PDF of the essay in question. http://mail.scu.edu.tw/~jmklassen/scu99b/chlitgrad/3ways.pdf

    The words “important” and “distraction” each appear once. Neither search parameter returns the text of my quote.

    “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” copyright 30 Dec 2012, John Trainer, MD all rights reserved.

    I have a standing offer of $100 to the first commentator who can give me the actual citation in chapter and verse. You are hereby invited to try. To be more blunt: put up or shut up.

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  4. Thanks for this website. It’s wonderful. A lot of quotes I thought misrepresented the alleged authors are here. I still can’t correct people who promote them, but subtweeting the information makes me feel better. St Thomas telling you to go out and grab people’s hands!

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  5. Do you take requests? I have been searching for the original citation for the popular story of St Teresa of Avila being tossed into the mud and when she complained to God he said ‘This is how I treat all my friends.” Teresa responded “No wonder you have so few.” I have found it all over the Internet but never cited. I looked on wiki quotes as you suggested but it is not listed there. Thank you for this awesome site. I am a writer and this is very helpful to me!

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  6. I remembered reading your post about the quotation attributed to St. Theresa of Ávila, ‘If this is how You treat your friends, it is no wonder You have so few!’ ( https://fauxtations.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/st-teresa-of-avila-if-this-is-how-you-treat-your-friends/ )

    I just read an article on medievalists.net attributing a similar story to a collection of churchy jokes published in 1470 by Poggio Bracciolini:

    ‘One of our fellow citizens, a very witty man, was labouring under a painful and lengthy illness, was attended by a Friar who came to comfort him, and, among other words of solace, told him that God thus especially chastens those he loves, and inflicts his visitations upon them. “No wonder then,” retorted the sick man, “that God has so few friends; if that is the way he favours them, he ought to have still less.”’ ( http://www.medievalists.net/2017/04/medieval-fun-joking-church-middle-ages/ )

    The article has a link to a translation of the book on archive.org but I haven’t examined it to confirm the quote.

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  7. John 1:5 is similar.
    The first I heard of it was from Lucinda Lambton on one of her 40 minutes shows were she finds it as an epitaph on a tombstone to a marmoset. There is a lot of sites claiming it to be a Talmudic saying

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  8. Could I request that a quote be verified or researched?

    St. Francis once said that the more stuff we have, the more clubs we need to protect it.

    Did he say that?

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  9. On the quotation often attributed to St Ignatius, “Pray as if everything depends on God, and work as if everything depends on you”: Ignatius said pretty much the contrary. See the article by J.P.M. Walsh, “‘Work as If Everything Depends on—Who?’”, The Way Supplement 70 (Spring 1991): 125–136.

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  10. Oh, my goodness, your website is such a find! I’m a Catholic freelance writer and I can’t tell you how often I get tripped up by “fauxtations”. My latest was one where Mother Teresa tells Dan Rather that she listens to God when she prays and that He listens back. It was the perfect quote for my article, yet I simply couldn’t trace it back to an original source. It could still be authentic, of course, but I couldn’t use it.

    My latest hunt was for the “gift of another sibling” quote, except I heard it attributed to Mother Teresa, not JPII. I have a sinking feeling that one’s faux too…

    Thank you for your fantastic website!

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  11. About ‘Love is Never Wasted’

    It may not be CS Lewis, but it does seem like something he could have said. Consider this passage:

    …God is Love, not merely in the sense of being the Platonic form of love, but because, within Him, the concrete reciprocities of love exist before all worlds…

    (The Problem of Pain)

    It’s different, but along the same train of thought for a philosophical Christian. Anyways, just thought I’d put it out there. Love your work.

    __

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  12. Father,

    First, let me say that your blog has been a great help in my own ministry and finding correct citations/attributions (or lack thereof) for some popular internet saint quotes.

    Now, I can’t remember if I ever sent this to you. I think I was trying to track down your email, but I know I meant to ask for your help. Alas, maybe I never did. But it is in regards to a quote I see often, especially on Missionary fundraising pages, and usually attributed to either St. Therese or St. Teresa of Calcutta – two common victims of misattribution – the quote is some form of this:

    “Some give by going, others go by giving.”

    Now, it always struck me as odd, because I have read the Story of A Soul a few times, and it didn’t sound like something Therese would say. I searched several digital English translations of Story of a Soul, as well as French versions to no avail. Did similar searches for major texts of Mother Teresa.

    Now, there is a longer version of the quote that goes like this:
    “Some give by going to the Missions. Some go by giving to the Missions. Without both there are no Missions.”

    Now, the earliest version of this I can find in google books or otherwise is from 1995, and it is attributed to the Diocese of Fairbanks. In fact it is the Diocese of Fairbanks Motto – it actually finds itself in many documents from the Diocese and lots of Newsletters and Bulletins, but without any attribution to Therese or otherwise. But here’s the tie-in, the patron saint of Fairbanks, Alaska? St. Therese of Lisieux!

    My own conclusion (conspiracy theory?), someone saw this quote as the motto of Fairbanks, and maybe on some Diocesan document, and also saw something like “St. Therese, pray for us.” or some other nod to the Little Flower, and assumed that she said it – put it on the internet once, and let it take flight. And this is what lead to people thinking St. Therese said it, and then eventually the common mistake of confusing St. Therese and Mother Teresa…

    Thoughts? Or your own research?

    Thanks! Keep up the great work.

    In Christ,
    Fr. Raj

    P.S. hoping to get a response before October, before the internet flood us with St. Therese quotes, or even before September and the Mother Teresa Fauxtations come en masse.

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    1. You’ve done some good research, and I agree that your theory sounds plausible. I also would say that the wording doesn’t sound like either one of the Thereses, neither of whom was given to quips of that sort.

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