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August 19, 2004


Jimmy Mac

Hold Deal Hudson and Crisis magazine to the very same standard to which they have held priests and bishops ACCUSED of sexual misconduct. It's goose and gander time for the hyper-orthodox.

Patrick Rothwell

Deal Hudson as the Ann Coulter of conservative Catholicism? Ha!

And, for Jimmy Mac, as far as I know, Deal Hudson did not advocate the public disclosure of the private sins of priests and bishop.

c matt

There is a marked difference between someone who, for example, hits on a co-ed fifteen years ago and has been relatively squeaky clean since, and someone who, during their current tenure in office, uses that position to get an underling into another, shall we say, position. Or between someone who committed a sin many years ago of which they have repented and someone who presently advocates a position as morally legitimate, not even recognizing its sinful nature. One has repented; the other does not even see a need for repentance. In that sense, the "repentance" of the subject person and their current fitness for public service can be reasonably determined. Maybe not with absolute certainty, but with reasonable certainty.

john hearn


I don't recall that Deal took on accused bishops for merely being accused, but for not being forthcoming with the truth about whatever scandals were surfacing around them. I do not see where Deal has been hiding anything in this case. As for your use of the word "hyper-orthodox", you seem to be a little confused. Orthodox, according to my Webster's Pocket Dictionary, means, "Conforming to established doctrine." So I take it that "hyper-orthodox" would refer to someone who really, really wants to conform to our Church's established doctrine. How is this bad? Do you think that it's a good thing not to conform to the Church's teachings?


Yes, there are all kinds of nuances and distinctions that can be made, but when you spend a good part of your life engaged in public excoriation it's probably too much to expect that others are going to go out of their way to make them on your behalf.

Let me just say, that whether it's Deal Hudson or anyone else I always feel uneasy when we as a society start acting like the Queen of Hearts in dealing with sexual impropriety of public figures -- Off with his head being the only punishment. However, Hudson resigned, presumably for the good of his employer because he knew what the potential onslaught would look like.

chris K

I don't see what any of this has to do with a man merely advising the Bush team on the particulars of type of Catholic vote. You don't have to be an icon of virtue for that. And he's probably a lot more accurately realistic with stats than, say, Greeley. I didn't even know he was involved in the last election. The only danger is in the harassment of those dear to Deal by unscrupulous journalists and this is what Deal seems to wish to avoid. I mean, if the Democrats were charmed by a bible thumping currently sinning president, it could just win over some Dem's votes too! Oh! Those wonderful journalists!


If it weren't for the Lewinsky scandal, it'd be plain as day for all to see that what NCR is doing is despicable, period. I'm disheartened to see comments here from people who are obviously in Hudson's camp but are hesitant to say "No fair". Maybe that's because they're the same people who let partisanship cloud their judgment when Bill Clinton was the target of a similarly deplorable vendetta. Not that adultery is not wrong, but the self-righteousness was plain hypocrisy (John 8:7) and disingenous (Gingrich, Hyde; plenty of great leaders throughout history would be disqualfied if we were to demand that they be saints in their personal lives).

With regard to the existence of sin in the world there are a number of mistakes we can make. We can deny its prevalence and universality, we can be naive about it (usually by believing that faith makes one immune to at least the more serious sins) and then be scandalized when we learn the truth, or we can be blase about it. The truth is that sin is an awful, horrible reality, but not exactly surprising; it's grace that is truly astounding.

Someone here noted that although perhaps none of us have a right to sin and not have the sin exposed, detraction is still sinful and gravely, even mortally so. Detraction is unjustly and unnecessarily revealing the sin of another; are the revelations in this and similar cases just and necessary? The seriousness of the sin of detraction should give us pause and suggests to me that we should prefer to err on the side of caution. I'm not sure that the "outing" of Abp. Weakland, or many of the campaigns waged by Roman Catholic Faithful aren't instances of reckless flirting with the sin of detraction.

It'd be good for everyone to stop and read the entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia on detraction. A quote: "Journalists are entirely within their rights in inveighing against the official shortcomings of public men. Likewise, they may lawfully present whatever information about the life or character of a candidate for public office is necessary to show his unfitness for the station he seeks" (my emphases). There used to be a sharp line called "privacy" that journalists and politicians refused to cross because they simply didn't think it was necessary to do so, all things considered, and furtive adultery was definitely on the private side of the line. (See Kennedy, John F). The vendetta against Clinton changed things, for the worse. At any rate, Hudson is not an elected official and he is definitely the victim of an injustice that his friends and supporters ought all to condemn.


read the article and see if you still want to defend him.

Patrick Rothwell

tt, I agree with everything you said except for one small point. Not everyone who wanted Clinton to be removed from office did so because he committed adultery in the Oval Office. Some, including myself, believed that he should because he lied under oath about the adultery in a deposition. His perjury was directly related to his public duties. (Granted, the Paul Jones attorneys should never have been permitted to ask Clinton questions about Monica in the first place - it had no possible bearing on the merits of her lawsuit).

In short, in my view, the publicity surrounding Clinton's adultery was certainly more justifiable than that of Deal Hudson. I certainly agree with you that the outing campaigns by "Roman Catholic Faithful" and similar groups are inappropriate for the same reason that it is inappropriate to out Deal Hudson.


Neil is right on when he says "Before figuring out what to do about Deal Hudson, we really need to have an honest discussion about fundamental matters. Where do we draw the line between private and public? "

Just as NCR and their antagonists have suspended an actual debate about the nature of Catholicism, its tenets, and what faithfulness means, in favor of an elaborate chess game of feints, checks and mates cloaked in "dispassionate" reporting and analysis, so too is this discussion stunted by undisclosed disagreements about private, public, justice and conscience.

Some issues undisclosed--can someone who wants to plead from the perspective of the clarity of the Gospel for truth, and truth in advertising, repair to the sort of superficial, yes liberal, account of things in terms of "rights" that the discussion here so often lapses into?

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

It would be one thing to say "So this was the trigger that led the NCR to be uncompromising in judging Hudson’s behavior with an intoxicated woman almost a decade ago. Take note, people—this is their understanding of what it means to be Catholic.”

But the term "drunk" is a put down. It's the difference between saying "The woman he had sex with" Vs saying "His whore".

I never thought I'd ever say this but the Catholic League is wrong to defend Hutson this way.

Clearly they give the impression they are attacking Hutson's alleged victim.

What if Bill Press or some other anti-Catholic twonk was accused of sexually harrassing an intoxicated Catholic woman. If once of Press' defenders refered to her as a "drunk" you can bet Bill D would have something to say about it.

So I'm a tad bit annoyed with The Catholic League. I have NO PROBLEM with them defending Dean Hutson. But this is clearly the wrong way to do it.

I'm annoyed at THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE? Words I NEVER ever thought I ever see myself write.

But there you have it.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

Just to be extra clear. "Drunk" as an adjective is mearly discriptive.

"Drunk" as a noun is clearly a put down!

Pun so intended!


Was Saint Paul a hypocrite or Saint Augustine? Did either of them have the right to “preach” a Godly message when they had sinned so grievously in the past. Could either survive the scrutiny of the sort Deal Hudson is undergoing?

A hypocrite is a fraud who says one thing but does another (see White-Washed Sepulchers, or Pharisees in your local Bible).

Except for Christ and His Mother, all have sinned, sometimes grievously, but that ole hypocrite Saint Paul teaches us that we can be a new creation, a new man in Christ. That means the Truth is important, including the Truth that sin, even sin we once committed, is offensive to God and destructive to His children.

The new man in Christ has a responsibility to point this out I think. Some have more talent then others to do this; Deal Hudson is one of those who does it effectively.

Let’s drop the stones and pray for an increase in charity.

Ave Maria

Jeff Sharlet @ The Revealer

In the previous threat Al seemed to suggest that I was guilty of some kind of double standard for not condemning the secular press for sitting on the McGreevey story. In fact, in a comment posted to this forum, I said that press revealed its one true bias -- in favor of sitting power -- in its failure to nail McGreevey long ago.

Amy rightfully scolds me for suggesting that most of the commenters here are coming to the defense of Hudson. Indeed, she's correct -- most are being cautious. That seems like the right approach. But let's apply it across the political spectrum.

If we do so, we'll better be able to nail all the hypocrites, left and right, Catholic, Protestant, and Pagan.

Like Barbara above, I disdain the screechy prudishness of a press trying to sell a sensation.

And like the academic who posted in the previous thread, I'd remind folks that it's very, very hard to drum someone out of tenure. I know, I know -- there are a lot of stories about PC purges. But as a former reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, I can assure you that they are for the most part urban legend. To get the boot you pretty much have to lay hands on someone, with witnesses.

Which, apparently, is what happened, for those above who insist on referring to this as akin to "hitting on a co-ed 15 years ago." Sounds more like nine years ago Hudson had public sexual relations with three underaged students for whom he'd bought alcohol, one of whom he knew was very emotionally vulnerable. He subsequently attempted to shame her into silence. Yeah, we're all sinners. But among us there are those who are predators as well.

That's a story. And Hudson's power in the white house is a story that should have been reported regardless of his past.

Last: To the guy above who compares this to Carter and Kerry: Do you really see no difference between getting a screwed up teenage student drunk and having oral sex with her in public, vs. confessing to lust (Carter), and dating actresses (Kerry)? Man. Talk about moral relativism.


Ken, St. Paul and others were also publicly forthright about their past sins. Deal Hudson has not. In fact, when contacted by NCR about the incident he said nothing about it, indicating that his move from Fordham was simply professional. He - lied.

Jeff Sharlet @ The Revealer

Ah, typos always emerge to cut the tension. Sorry, Al -- I meant "thread," not "threat." An error of fingers, not of mind.

Br. Pius

It is interesting to Compare the comments by the editor of NCR in defending this piece on Deal Hudson to this earlier NCR piece on the Republicans and their "Politics of Sleaze" during the Clinton impeachment: http://natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives2/1999a/011599/011599r.htm


A hypocrite is a fraud who says one thing but does another

Not exactly. If I say sin is evil and I sin anyway, am I a hypocrite? No. I'm a sinner.

A Hypocrite is someone who espouses BELIEFS that they themselves do not BELIEVE. It has very little to do with what one "does", but with the intentions/motivations behind those actions.



My reference was to Jesus' words:

He begins in Matt 23:

"Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3Therefore whatever they tell you to observe,[1] that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do."

He goes on to observe:
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."

Seems to me He was talking about what the Pharisees were saying doing or not doing, not with the intentions/motivations behind those actions.

Ave Maria


Peace Ken: (for Todd)

I was referring to the actual definition. Clearly, if Jesus called them "hypocrites" then He must have made a judgement about what they actually believed. Perhaps He knew they had tried to justify their actions by applying some standard that did not apply to them. Who knows? But just because their hypocrisy was manifest in their actions, does not mean that their actions were the source of their hypocrisy. The source was those beliefs they relied on as an excuse to perform those actions while telling others to do otherwise.

Besides, my point is that it does not make one a hypocrite to fail to live up to the standards one holds and espouses. It only makes them sinful in the way that all humans are.

But of course, the term "hypocrite" has taken on a new meaning. It is now used to rebutt anything anyone ever said on a moral issue, if it can be shown that they are less than perfect. Followed to its logical conclusion, where would that lead? Nobody in the world be able to speak the truth because all have sinned.


The "bias" is not in favor of sitting power.

It is against the Church, and everything She represents.

You'll probably say this is a bunker mentality, or tin foil hat wearing, or whatever sort of epithet currently in vogue to run interference for the influential and their concerns.

But there it is, and without saying that, you cannot reveal anything.

B Knotts

I have no particular axe to grind in this, as I am not especially fond of Mr. Hudson's neoconservatism, nor of NCR's blatant dissent.

But it seems to me that this is merely revenge for Mr. Hudson's "taking out" of Mr. Ekeh. This is unfair, because Mr. Hudson's sin is from long ago, and was not especially public. Some of it is merely an accusation. As such, we don't know how much of it is true, and, if true, whether or not he is repentant, and we have no right to presume that he is not.

Mr. Ehek, on the other hand was running a current, and public campaign in favor of a politician who favors continuing a policy which is objectively evil. He had no business being employed by the USCCB while publicly opposing Church doctrine.

This is a political hit, period.

Jimmy Mac

I'm curious: if it had been Tom Fox who was "outed" in such a manner, would the Right Wing Rah-Rah & Castigation Club have been so quick to leap to his defense?

Yeah, sure .........

Jeff Sharlet @ The Revealer

Al -- you may find the press slanted against the Church, but if that's so it'd only be because the Church isn't part of sitting power. The press's bias in favor of power isn't ideological -- it's pragmatic. Most reporters just want to get their job done and go home. It's always easier to believe what officials tell you. This worked in favor of the powers-that-be within the Church for a long time, and it seems to be doing so again in Boston.

Regardless, you're off your rocker if you're accusing me of "running interference for the influential." I can't think of a published instance where I've ever advocated for an "influential," left or right.

B Knotts: Read Feuerherd's column on the "story behind the story." This piece was not a hit; indeed, it seems to have been spurred by Hudson's conservative opponents. But even if it were, that would have no bearing on the facts. It was Clinton enemies who got the ball rolling on the Monica story; but it was Clinton who lied about it.

Moreover, Hudson's sin was not long ago: It was nine years ago. And I'd say oral sex with an drunken underage student IN PUBLIC is pretty public. Whether or not he is repentent, he has not apologized to her, unless you consider $30,000 of hush money an apology.

No, we don't know which details are true; but we know he lost tenure, which very strongly suggests that there was more than one witness --a liklihood, given that his groping began at a bar -- and that he didn't contest a lawsuit against him.

I believe in forgiveness, but where is the love for this poor student? Where is the concern for her? Why are so many more concerned about Hudson than about the student?

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