Volume > Issue > Letter to the Editor: July-August 2003

July-August 2003

"Fratricidal War"

In response to your appeal for donations, I am enclosing a check. I will donate more if certain conditions are met.

You and Deal Hudson at Crisis have been engaged in a fratricidal war of accusations and name-calling over a petty difference of opinion about one incident in Michael Rose’s book Goodbye, Good Men. I don’t condone Crisis Senior Editor Brian Saint-Paul’s vicious and myopic attacks on that book simply because in his view one incident is allegedly false or at least misleading. His inability to see the forest for the trees is regrettable both in itself and because Hudson, as Editor of Crisis, has not acted prudently in restraining Saint-Paul’s virulent attacks in public and has let the matter become a cause célèbre.

On your part, you have likewise, in my opinion, acted imprudently, to the harm of all of us who read the NOR, in fueling the flames of controversy by turning an inconsequential difference of opinion into a major public controversy. The issue has shifted from the reliability of Rose’s account of the Kellenyi situation at the American College of Louvain into a duel about the personal integrity of Rose and Saint-Paul.

Rather than you and Hudson burying the hatchet privately and putting a lid on your respective writers, you for your part have lost the friendship and support of Crisis and many others, and have lost a desirable advertising outlet. You have no one to blame but yourself. This is not a matter of honor or principle, no matter how you and Hudson may try to make it out to be. It is simply petty rivalry.

If you and Hudson want to keep my readership and support, I expect to see no more controversy between your respective magazines and writers.

Bernard J. McNamee

Plano, Texas


We appreciate your donation. But, as we noted in our June editorial, we do not let financial concerns dictate editorial policy.

We also appreciate your concern for peace, and, as such, you deserve more than a cursory reply. We too cherish peace (as you will see below), but we are not ecclesiastical pacifists. Perhaps it would be helpful if you could put yourself in Michael Rose’s shoes. You yourself refer to Brian Saint-Paul’s “vicious and myopic attacks” on Rose’s book ? indeed, Saint-Paul charged that “Rose failed to do his research [in those five pages on the Kellenyi situation], and that failure casts suspicion on his entire book [of 264 pages].” And you clearly recognize that Saint-Paul’s “virulent attacks” amounted to an assault on Rose’s “personal integrity” ? indeed, Saint-Paul’s first blast at Rose in Crisis was titled “A Question of Integrity,” and Saint-Paul charged that if Rose won’t apologize for those five pages on the Kellenyi situation (and he has not), Rose is guilty of a “crime.”

Ask yourself: When your personal integrity is denigrated in public ? and you are innocent of the charges ? how would you respond? And if you’ve written a book that goes to the root of the clerical sex scandals ? scandals that are destroying the credibility of the Church of Jesus Christ in the U.S. ? and your book is “viciously” attacked, what would you do? Nothing?

No, this is not, as you put it, “a petty” or “inconsequential difference of opinion.”

When Rose’s defense of himself was published in the December 2002 NOR, but before it arrived in our subscribers’ mailboxes, I (Dale Vree) wrote Deal Hudson a conciliatory letter dated November 26, 2002, with an advance copy of the December issue. No response was ever received. (The letter was printed in full in the April NOR, p. 11.) And on February 6, 2003, I called Hudson to see if we could, as you put it, “bury the hatchet.” It is very difficult to reach Hudson by phone, but on February 13 we did connect. Unfortunately, we were not ? as is obvious ? successful.

As for Crisis’s banning our ads, you say, “You have no one to blame but yourself.” Well, yes and no. In our June editorial we acknowledged that in printing Rose’s response to Saint-Paul in our December 2002 issue, we were running the risk of having our ads banned. However, Crisis didn’t have to ban our ads. Amidst this “fratricidal war,” as you put it, we have not banned Crisis’s ads, and we continue to allow Crisis to rent our mailing list for promotional purposes ? and Crisis has done so twice this year, in March and in April.

Then you say the controversy is not a matter of “principle.” It is, however, significant that, in attacking Rose, Crisis would choose to defend the liberal American College of Louvain at length, not once but twice. In addition to that, we’ve been hearing from many readers ? and we’ve noticed it ourselves ? that Crisis is becoming softer and softer, in an apparent attempt to scurry over to the middle of the road. Well, Crisis has every right to do that, and the NOR has the right to point that out to unwary conservative Catholics. For the NOR, this is definitely a matter of principle.

We note that your letter was also sent to Mr. Hudson. Perhaps he will print it in Crisis and offer his own reply.

Mendham, New Jersey

From Letters to Crisis Magazine

It is with deep regret that I have decided not to renew my subscription to Crisis. I have been a subscriber since 1992. Over the past couple years I have detected a change in point of view at Crisis. Initially, this change was subtle. But with the recent article by Sandra Miesel, the vicious attacks on Michael Rose’s Goodbye, Good Men, and the refusal to accept ads for the New Oxford Review, this change is no longer subtle. Crisis is taking positions that might be found in America or Commonweal. Let me know when Crisis returns to its senses, and I will renew.

John J. Connolly

Escondido, California

Please cancel my subscription to Crisis and return the unused portion of my subscription fee to me. I wish to contribute the refund to the New Oxford Review’s advertising budget.

Willard King

Atlanta, Georgia

What I Like -- and Don't

The reason I subscribe to the NOR is to read hard-hitting stuff such as Michael Rose’s salvo in the June issue and what appears in the New Oxford Notes section. More of this, please!

But when you devote eight pages to Scott Hahn’s recent self-abuse (May) or umpteen pages to what somebody thought C.S. Lewis might have written, that’s when I’m tempted to cancel.

P. Martin

Silver Spring, Maryland

Panetta — A "Faithful Catholic"?

Kenneth D. Whitehead, in his article “The Catholic Bishops & the Crisis of 2002” (Aprib| made the following comment about the appointment of Leon Panetta to the bishops’ National Review Board, which is monitoring the implementation of the bishops’ Charter on sexual abuse: “That the bishops could actually have appointed…pro-abortion former Congressman and Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta surely illustrates how far they have strayed from a truly Catholic outlook and from faith-based considerations…. Surely the members of the National Review Board should be exemplary Catholics in whom the Catholic faithful can have confidence, and surely a more exemplary one could have been found than an openly pro-abortion politician.”

My comments on Whitehead’s statement:

– Leon Panetta defended President Clinton’s vetoes of a partial-birth abortion ban.

– Contrary to Whitehead, Panetta was appointed by Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, not by all the bishops, as a number of bishops objected to his appointment.

– Bishop Gregory stated the reason he appointed Panetta: “In the end, I made my decision on the basis of the task I was giving to the Board and on their reputation as faithful Catholics who can get things done.” This raises the question: If a pro-partial-birth-abortion politician is a faithful Catholic, what does it take to be an unfaithful Catholic?

The bishops’ close relationship with pro-abortion politicians and the bishops’ resultant failure to take these politicians to task (with few exceptions) and the bishops’ decades-long failure to actively promote the sanctity of human life is as big a scandal as the sex abuse scandal. Faithful Catholics are in a momentous moral struggle with the proponents of the Culture of Death, which will determine whether ours remains a civilized society. Too bad Bishop Gregory doesn’t care.

John Naughton

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Root It Out!

In his letter (Aprib| Fr. Tobin E. Hitt quotes Bishop Wilton Gregory, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as saying that “the priesthood in the United States is threatened with domination by homosexual priests.” In Kenneth Whitehead’s article (also in Apribpabout the bishops and the sex scandals, he alludes to Bishop Gregory’s statement, made in April 2002, but Whitehead notes that the bishops’ November 2002 meeting was silent about homosexual priests.

Have Catholics noticed that the USCCB has concentrated all its attention on “pedophilia” and “abuse of children and minors”? Have they surmised that this is a red herring used to draw attention away from homosexual activity between homosexual priests and other adult homosexuals, including priests and bishops? The homosexual agenda that Bishop Gregory once decried is now back in control of the bishops’ conference. Nowhere did the bishops come up with actions against homosexual priests.

We have been led away from the root of the priestly sex scandals — rampant homosexuality in the priesthood, which enjoys the tacit or explicit approval of most of our bishops, at least some of whom are directly involved.

Fr. Hitt is 100 percent correct: “Homosexuals should not be priests.” Homosexuality must be rooted out of Holy Orders. There is no other solution. And we should start by purging the seminaries.

Charles N. Valenti

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

"Retiring" Unworthy Bishops

My prolife friends and I pray and counsel daily at our local Baby Killing Factories, and we converse a lot about the self-inflicted wounds our beloved Church is suffering. So you can imagine the joy with which we discussed Kenneth Whitehead’s courageous “tell-it-like-it-is” article on the abject dereliction of duty among our bishops (Aprib~ When Joe Arietta first coined the phrase, “U.S. Conspiracy of Corrupt Bishops,” I thought it was a little over the top. However, with the news from Whitehead that the Dallas Morning News reliably reported that some two-thirds of our bishops have been involved in covering up the mostly homosexual scandals, I now know that Joe speaks the truth.

Of course, we’re all disappointed that the Holy Father is not aggressively “retiring” bishops who demonstrate their unworthiness by their actions. On an optimistic note, Steve Brady of Roman Catholic Faithful did get Bishop Daniel Ryan out of office. Perhaps we the laity will have to pray harder and take the necessary actions to clean up the Church we all love so much.

Don Cummings

Joliet, Illinois

Eight Words Say It All

Much of the Catholic press, including the NOR, has been chronicling the priestly sex scandals and the emergence of a shameless, self-promoting homosexual subculture in the priesthood. I am not surprised by the scandals, for they are just another chapter in the ugly story of dissent that has been unfolding for forty years. What is surprising is the smugness with which the U.S. bishops have deflected calls for an investigation into the homosexual infiltration of the clergy.

It is time we accept the fact that our bishops cannot be trusted. In fact, there is ample evidence to conclude that the majority of the Church hierarchy is in effect anti-Catholic. How else can one explain what has taken place in the Church over the past forty years? Look at the record: sex abuse, cover-ups, homosexuality in the clergy, liturgical decomposition, Protestantization, open defiance of the Holy Father, tolerance for dissent, secularization of Catholic universities, the abysmal failure of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, heretical sex education in our grade schools, the virtual extinction of religious vocations, the eradication of Catholic tradition and Catholic art and architecture. Is this the best our bishops can do? Is this the work of honorable men? Or are these the hallmarks of men determined to destroy the Church as we know her, and remake her into something less offensive to the sensibilities of our non-Catholic brethren?

The answer is clear to all who view the facts honestly. This is not a case of good men exercising poor judgment. If it were, the bishops would have made an effort — however feeble or ill-timed — to stem the tide, to change course and return to the fundamental truths and traditions of Catholicism. But that didn’t happen. In fact, they sat on their hands and did nothing while regular attendance at Mass declined by, according to some estimates, 80 percent in the U.S. since 1962; while two out of three Catholics abandoned belief in the eucharistic Real Presence; while half of all U.S. Catholic high schools and some 4,000 Catholic grade schools closed; while religious vocations evaporated; while Catholic art, music, and architecture were stifled; while the priesthood was reduced to shambles; and, even now, while the Church teeters on the brink of financial and catechetical collapse. Yet, in spite of this mountain of evidence pointing to imminent ruin, these “honorable men” made no effort to stop the implosion. They sat idly by while their flock headed for the exits, children were molested, and the moral authority of the Church was squandered. Indeed, throughout it all, the only thing they sought to protect were the sensibilities of our non-Catholic brethren. Never mind the sensibilities of Catholics.

If there is any question as to whither lie the hearts and minds of the U.S. bishops, ask yourself this: Is it reasonable to assume that these men — rigorously trained, intelligent, and highly educated — fell victim to bad luck or bad timing or coincidence? Is it possible that over a period of four decades they managed to choose the wrong fork in the pastoral road at virtually every turn? The answer to these questions can be found in these eight words: “Office for the Protection of Children and Youth.” That is to say, the Catholic Church has deemed it necessary to establish a child protection agency to protect our children from Catholic priests. I repeat: from Catholic priests. Child protection agencies are not born of such things as bad timing, bad luck, or coincidence. This tells us what we need to know about the hearts and minds of our shepherds.

Figuratively speaking, we should be storming the chanceries with pitchforks and torches. We should be ushering the bishops out of town on a rail. After all, these men are the spiritual fathers of our Church family. Yet, so debilitating is their neglect and so real their threat to the faithful that security measures are required to protect the flock from those who are supposed to be caring for them. Generally, when a child protection agency is compelled to intervene, it means that the parents are unfit, and cannot be entrusted with the well-being of their charges. No less an indictment is warranted for our bishops.

Not all bishops are complicit in this unholy enterprise. Indeed, there is a small constituency of loyal bishops who cling to truth, tradition, piety, and the devout life. But they are no match for the majority of bishops.

Not even the Holy Father has any meaningful influence (let alone controbpover bishops’ conferences, thanks to collegiality, another of the so-called fruits of Vatican II. So deep is the bishops’ contempt for things uniquely Catholic that they are systematically dispatching every vestige of sanctity from the Catholic experience. The Latin Mass, the Tabernacle, the distribution of Holy Communion only by anointed hands, Gregorian chant, Marian devotions, genuflection, and kneeling are examples of that which offends the delicate sensibilities of our separated brethren, and stood as obstacles in the unrelenting pursuit of dialogue and ecumenism.

The bishops even recently tried to ban a ritual that is only nominally practiced these days — kneeling for Holy Communion. In the midst of the most serious crisis since the Reformation, a crisis that threatens the very foundation of the Church, the bishops zero in on what? On banning kneeling for Holy Communion! At a time when the faithful in the pews yearn for stability, our leaders busy themselves by seizing upon one of the truly “diabolical” threats to the Church — kneeling.

We must put an end to this nightmare. We must end it because our Lord and Savior deserves far better than this; because people are being hurt and souls are being lost. And, inasmuch as it is painfully obvious that our shepherds (most of them) have all but abandoned us, the faithful will have to rely on one another and on our shared love of Holy Mother Church to restore her to glory.

We need to make a quantum leap back to the sacred liturgy, sacraments properly celebrated, sanctifying grace, interior prayer, and fundamental Catholic teaching. We can do this by prayer — prayer for the good and faithful bishops, as well as for those who are ostensibly lost; prayer for the tens of thousands of devout, honorable, and dedicated priests, nuns, and other religious who honor their vows but are nevertheless forced to bear the stigmatic burden of the scandal. And we would do very well indeed to give our spiritual and financial support to the orthodox orders that remain faithful to the Traditional Latin Mass. The Church will not be restored unless we first restore the sacred liturgy. The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the other orthodox orders will lead the way. They are essential to the restoration effort. Our support is essential to their mission.

Owen T. McCarthy

Glendale, New York

Eating & Drinking Judgment

I have never seen mention of this horror of the priestly sex scandals: The priest-perverts partook of the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthily. See 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.

Clara Sarrocco

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Who Hired the Psychologists?

Since the homosexual crisis in the Church surfaced, we have seen many references in both the secular and Catholic press to the role psychologists played in getting us to this state of grave immorality. Typically, these are no more than passing references intended to affix blame and, in a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone fashion, to vent anger at a profession that in general has eagerly adopted a politically correct agenda.

While I agree that psychologists have probably contributed to the current dismal state of Church affairs, at least in the U.S., I can’t agree that psychologists bear responsibility for this crisis, unless — and I missed it — psychologists were placed in charge of the Church and our bishops were made to report to psychologists!

It’s more believable that the bishops and vocations directors were getting exactly what they wanted. They hired the psychologists! They are responsible, and we shouldn’t forget it.

Over 25 years ago, when I was a clinical psychologist in training, my classmates and I were told repeatedly that a psychological test was only as good as the designer of the test. A system produces what it’s designed to produce. A politicized, pseudo-psychological selection process designed to screen out the devout, the “rigid,” the traditional, and the heterosexual filled seminaries with candidates who shared the “gay,” left-wing agenda of their patrons and plunged our beloved Church into crisis. This system should be dismantled and replaced.

There are bad psychologists and there is bad science, but they don’t add up to a bad bishop.

Mark S. Holden

You Make Me Sick

I have finished reading the NOR for the last time. I used to read your rag, as I found it funny. But the guest column by Barbara Kralis, “The Celebrated Matthew Shepard & the Forgotten Mary Stachowicz” (May), made me sick. I pray that the Shepard family never reads that column. Mary was pressing her thoughts and ideals on Nicholas Gutierrez, said to be a gay man. How can you consider the NOR to be Catholic?

Furthermore, you should inform Kralis that history tells us that Maria Goretti was not the innocent person the Church has made her out to be.


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