Volume > Issue > Letter to the Editor: December 2002

December 2002

Why Would Crisis Magazine Defend An Ailing Liberal Seminary?

[Ed. Note: In the Sept. issue of Crisis, its Senior Editor, Brian Saint-Paul, wrote an article titled “A Question of Integrity: Michael Rose and the American College of Louvain,” in which he sought to discredit the five pages of Michael Rose’s book Goodbye, Good Men on the American College of Louvain seminary in Belgium. Saint-Paul charged that “Rose failed to do his research [in those five pages], and that failure casts suspicion on his entire book [of 264 pages].” The key witness in those five pages is Joseph Kellenyi. Below we print a slightly abridged version of Kellenyi’s response to Brian Saint-Paul.]

To: Crisis Magazine

I take serious issue with nearly all the comments assembled about me by Brian Saint-Paul. I also stand by my comments that were published in Goodbye, Good Men. Far from presenting the “whole story” as Crisis claims to have done, you presented a cornucopia of distortions and half-truths, including the libelous statement that I lie “with a straight face.” I only hope readers will understand the significance of all these comments attacking me, coming out of the mouths of those who want to defend the Louvain seminary from any bad publicity.

I am sure Michael Rose is fully capable of defending his reporting in Goodbye, Good Men [he does so in this issue of the NOR — Ed.], so I will address only the issues mentioned in the article that do not pertain directly to what appeared in his book.

The Crisis article omits the following facts:

First, I offered to meet with Saint-Paul this past summer and go over with him the evidence that allows me to confidently make the claims I did. In addition, I offered to show him the evidence I have that pertains directly to the issue of sexual misconduct. He was not interested. Rather, he was interested in doing public relations work for the American College of Louvain. He obviously had made up his mind from the get-go to defend this seminary.

Second, Saint-Paul told me he had asked the seminary for all the relevant documents in this case. He and I discovered that the seminary had not given him several key documents. I told Saint-Paul that the reason was that the then-Rector, Rev. David Windsor, fully understood how damaging those documents are. A serious journalist would have questioned his source as to why those documents were withheld.

Third, I told Saint-Paul when he interviewed me that I hoped Rev. Windsor would sue me, so I could confront him with the evidence and have Rev. Windsor and Bishop Edward Braxton (Chairman of the Board of Directors of Louvain) testify under oath and be cross-examined. I even told Saint-Paul the nature of some of the evidence I would present in court, and suggested that he postpone his article until after the trial was over and the depositions were made public. But instead of going the legal route, Windsor used his students to slander his accuser in Crisis magazine. To the extent that Bishop Braxton allowed this to happen, his integrity has been irreparably compromised.

In fact, the American College’s attempt to refute my Final Report to the Bishop’s Committee for the American College of Louvain: On the Issue of Sexual Misconduct in Regards to the Rector, Rev. David Windsor (online at AmericanCollegeScandal.com) is based primarily on Bishop Braxton’s personal assurance as a Catholic bishop that there was “no evidence whatsoever to support these allegations.” The American College has unwittingly made a legitimate public and legal issue of Bishop Braxton’s credibility. This will be addressed in the future, and (hopefully) in court.

Also consider this: From the moment sexual misconduct became an issue in this case, I have been cognizant of the legal issues raised if I were to go public. I issued my Final Report because I knew that Bishop Braxton would not be able to issue a report, since he never bothered to contact me. This fact was confirmed in June 2002 by Michael Rezendes of the Boston Globe Spotlight team. When Rezendes attempted to question Bishop Braxton about my Final Report and his own conduct in this affair, Bishop Braxton was unable and/or unwilling to explain how he decided there was nothing to this case. When the Globe asked him for a copy of his report, he indicated none was extant.

Crisis reported that Bishop Braxton conducted his “investigation” eight months after I requested it. In other words, he conducted his “investigation” only after his fellow bishops and the papal nuncio had received my Final Report. This gave Bishop Braxton a personal stake in discrediting the Final Report, because his fellow bishops had been informed of his failure to investigate the allegations promptly, thoroughly, and professionally. Unless he could find a way to discredit the Final Report, he would be exposed to his brother bishops as negligent or worse.

Even more revealing is the fact that Bishop Braxton claims to have conducted an “investigation” into the allegations that arose against Rev. Windsor, but he never bothered to contact the person who made the allegations, namely me. Is this the kind of “full investigation” that parents can expect if their children are molested by Catholic priests?

The facts have not changed. I was ostracized by what I perceived to be a “gay clique” at the American College of Louvain. I was personally harassed by a fellow seminarian at the American College for nearly nine months, even to the point of being threatened. Saint-Paul naïvely wondered why I labeled this seminarian “gay.” As I told Bishop Braxton, it is not conceivable that a heterosexual man would have said or written the things that this seminarian, Patrick Van Durme, said and wrote. Furthermore, this seminarian continually claimed that he was in charge of my formation at the seminary. He expressed anger that I was ignoring him, and used his position to force me into a relationship I did not want to have. When I complained to the Rector and the faculty, they retaliated against me. The Vice Rector even told me that he voted to expel me because I had complained of this seminarian’s attention to me.

The real questions that remain are: Why is Crisis so concerned with discrediting Rose’s book, and why would Crisis bother researching this subject for three months in order to defend an ailing liberal seminary? Why did Crisis not include in the aforementioned article the fact that two of the seminarians quoted in the article (including the seminarian who harassed me) were sent to Louvain and ordained by the very liberal Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester? Is Crisis even aware that the new Vice Rector of the American College was formerly Matthew Clark’s vocations director? Why would Crisis participate in a cover-up like this, especially since Deal Hudson (the Publisher and Editor of Crisis) has been so outspoken against the cover-up mentality of the U.S. bishops? I’m sure others are asking the same questions.

Joseph P. Kellenyi

St. Joseph's Covenant Keepers

Leuven (Louvain), Belgium

A Severe Dysfunction In the Family of God

The time has come for me to subscribe to the NOR. My staff has been urging me to subscribe for years, but I delayed by borrowing their copies.

Your insightful September issue exposing the unjustified attacks by Our Sunday Visitor and the National Catholic Register on Michael Rose’s Goodbye, Good Men was just the push I needed to send in my subscription. I want to support a periodical that has enough courage to diagnose a grave disease in the Church which requires healing.

For the Visitor and the Register to attack the messenger, Michael Rose, instead of the disease is a sign of severe dysfunction in the Family of God.

On average, it takes nine years for a dysfunctional family to identify and seek help for a serious alcoholic problem. If the dysfunction is too severe, outside assistance is never sought. I sincerely hope it will not take nine years for the Visitor and the Register to come to their senses.

Steve Wood, Founder

American Life League

Port Charlotte, Florida

Thank you for defending Michael Rose and his Goodbye, Good Men against Our Sunday Visitor and the National Catholic Register in your New Oxford Notes section (Sept.). Perhaps the Visitor and the Register will soon comprehend the seriousness of their apparent intolerance for the truth of the matter, and apologize to Mr. Rose. I pray this occurs.

The NOR has become my favorite Catholic magazine, and the only one I read from cover to cover as soon as it arrives. Thank you for being there for us.

Judie Brown, President

Stafford, Virginia

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