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Peggy Noonan and Nicholas Kristof want to fix the Catholic Church. With Noonan writing for theWall Street Journal and Kristof writing for the New York Times, neither columnist needs parchment on a door in a university town to float thesis statements, but both of them should have done more homework before pontificating as they did.

For a column published April 17, Noonan used her coffee-klatch writing style to revisit an essay from 2002 in which she had criticized church leaders up to and including then-pope John Paul II for being out of touch or stupidly careerist (as the cardinals shepherding Catholics in Washington, D.C. and Boston at the time proved to be). Using her eight-year-old column as a launch pad, Noonan suggested that the Vatican needs new blood. Of the men there, she wrote, “they are defensive and they are angry, and they will not turn the church around on their own.”

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