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Aug 22

Big Deal

I’ve seen a lot of headlines about Deal Hudson of late. I had no desire to add another.
However, I found this bit from the Catholic World News Weekly News Summary worth
noting. (I don’t have a link for it because it seems the summaries are sent via email only without web publication. If someone has a link, let me know.)

“By now you may be wondering why I haven’t listed another news story that burst upon us this week: the resignation of Deal Hudson, editor of Crisis magazine, from his role as adviser to the Bush presidential campaign. Frankly, I wish I could avoid the topic altogether, because I have nothing good to say about it. The expose published by the National Catholic Reporter was obviously malicious; that very liberal paper was determined to damage a prominent Catholic conservative.

On the other hand, in the past few years we’ve learned, the hard way, to distinguish between the messenger and the message. Time after time, secular publications have carried shocking stories about Catholic priests and prelates, and although those publications may have been guided by anti-Catholic prejudice, the shocking stories proved to be true. Facts are facts, no matter who reports them.

At CWN we have made an editorial commitment to pursue the truth without blinking, to publish the facts as we know them, and to let the chips fall where they may. There have been many times when I’ve wished that we could ignore the facts, many times when I’ve wished we could avoid mentioning another aspect of the scandal that has troubled our Church. But if we did that, we would betray our own principles, and I firmly believe that in doing so we would damage the cause of Catholicism. How often have Catholic leaders ignored or even actively concealed wrongdoing, explaining that this was “for the good of the Church?” And how often has their silence created a far greater scandal?

So we’re not going to cover up the facts in this case. The charges against Deal Hudson are, unfortunately, very grave. If the story in the National Catholic Reporter is accurate– or even close to accurate– then his conduct was neatly parallel to that of the clerics who shamefully exploited young people and then demanded (or bought) their silence. I can’t condemn one and condone the other.

While I’d prefer to think that the charges are false, I cannot in good conscience dismiss them. Nor do I think that other readers should dismiss them– even if you support the Bush administration, even if you admire Crisis magazine, even if you disdain the National Catholic Reporter. The great crisis of our time, the great scandal in Catholicism, is caused not sexual immorality, but by a favor to tell the truth– in season and out of season, when it’s convenient and when it hurts. ” [my emphasis]

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