And the Verdict Is…
Our November 1998 editorial brought you up to date on the banning of the NEW OXFORD REVIEW’s trademark ads by the National Catholic Register and by Our Sunday Visitor and all its sister periodicals, and the editorial concluded with a proposal to resolve the problem and achieve reconciliation with the Register and the Our Sunday Visitor corporation (OSV Inc.).
Well before the November NOR appeared, we had written both OSV Inc. and the Register a cordial letter intended to break the ice, saying we had an idea for how to co-operate again and we’d be contacting them about it soon. Then, before their subscription-exchange copies of our November issue could work their way through the mail system to their mailboxes, we had sent them that issue by first-class mail with an amiable cover letter expressing our hope to be able to work together again, and asking for a response to the proposal in the editorial. The proposal, explicitly premised on the concept that since we’re all orthodox Catholics we should continue to co-operate while agreeing to disagree about strategy, consisted of these suggestions: (1) Resume running our ads. (2) Print an editorial critiquing the approach taken by our ads. (3) Whenever someone complains about our ads, send him a copy of the commiserating editorial. Our cover letter added that we hoped for a positive response but that if we didn’t hear back by December 1, we would assume the answer is in the negative.
From the Register we received no response.
From Robert Lockwood, President of OSV Inc., we received this two-sentence response: “In regard to your proposal to exercise control over the advertising policies of Our Sunday Visitor, it presents an interesting mix of hubris with a public invitation to private hypocrisy. No thanks.” We were saddened not only by the negative response but also that our straightforward proposal for healing the rift was construed as an attempt to dictate terms, and that no counter-proposal was offered. Even more troubling were the words “private hypocrisy.” In our November editorial we asked if the banning of our ads by OSV Inc. and the Register signaled a split among orthodox Catholics, and we expressed our hope that the answer is no. The words “private hypocrisy” would seem to indicate that OSV Inc. has basic objections to the forceful and often satirical approach taken by our trademark ads, and that the split among already beleaguered orthodox Catholics about strategy is real indeed — at least for the present. And the nonresponse from the Register does not encourage us to think the split is illusory.
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