Action Alert!

Cui bono?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Aug 20, 2004

When one Catholic publication deliberately sets out to damage the reputation of someone connected with another Catholic publication, you've got to ask yourself: Why?

What purpose is served, aside from character assassination, when the National Catholic Reporter does a "hit" on Deal Hudson? (And No, I'm not going to link to the story. It's disgraceful journalism, and I hope people don't read it.)

As a friend, I hope that the lurid allegations against Deal are at least exaggerated. But even if they were completely accurate, I would still wonder: What's the point of bringing them up now?

Then I read this telltale paragraph, in which I suspect the National Catholic Reporter exposes its real concern about Deal Hudson:

"They [the bishops] are scared of him, afraid that he's going to attack them," says a leading Republican Catholic layman with close ties to the American hierarchy.

We can't have the bishops worried about being attacked, can we? NCR doesn't want anyone exposing the dirty little secrets of the bishops' conference. Thus this pre-emptive strike.

It's a reminder that we're playing hardball. Bring it on.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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Show 12 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: John J Plick - Aug. 23, 2004 5:38 PM ET USA

    There's an old saying Phil, (I really wish I could say it in Latin...)..."If you can't take the heat...get out of the kitchen."

  • Posted by: - Aug. 23, 2004 5:29 PM ET USA

    I read the comments of NCR's editor, Tom Roberts, and it's pretty clear that the article was pay back for the Ono Ekeh firing. What strikes me, though, is the fact that Ekeh continues to wallow in his errors, while Hudson is quite ashamed of his past behavior. I don't know about the rest of you, but I haven't got the stomach to kick a repentant sinner when he's down.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 21, 2004 11:12 PM ET USA

    Wait a minute, Louie... People who truly have nothing to hide, no baggage and no skeletons in their closets, will have nothing to worry about in entering public life. Slander is just that...malicious untruths dispersed, another matter entirely. All public people with political ties deal with that, today it's part of the package. Deal may have repented for his past sins. But worldly consequence withstands, as this is an example of.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 21, 2004 7:05 PM ET USA

    I think Phil is justified in questioning the purpose of the accusations against Hudson based on the timing. It is certain that if Hudson had not been advisor to Bush, the NCR would not have bothered to bring up the issue. Hard ball is ok. It has it's rules. One of those rules is that spit balls aren't allowed. The NCR majors in spit balls.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 21, 2004 5:56 PM ET USA

    I stated I did not agree with how this has been handled but it does relate. We are all sinners, and if these allegations are true then Deal Hudson has alot of repair work to do for his image. He attacked Rose and the New Oxford Review. He now faces his own challenge. He is not a martyr, he is quilty of the same actions that others have done and hurt the Church. Peter fell but Deal Hudson is no Peter. Do we all have to act like he is? He got caught. Plain and simple. Reap what you sow.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 21, 2004 10:23 AM ET USA

    Wait a minute, gentlemen: The Michael Rose incident does not directly relate to the current embarrassment for Hudson -- unless we ascribe to paybacks in principle. More than anything this event serves to discourage qualified, dedicated people from risking the exposure associated with public service. Few if any of us could tolerate such unforgiving scrutiny. This is OUR loss...

  • Posted by: - Aug. 21, 2004 8:56 AM ET USA

    Aristotle recognized the fallacious nature of logical arguments hinged on the merits of the arguer rather than the argument. The issue at hand isn't whether Mr. Deal and others are right or wrong in their arguments, but whether they are or should be held as exemplary representatives of their various positions. Scandal often trumps talent and brains. Our Lord commented on this awesome power of scandal for ill. It gives us, sinners all, pause.

  • Posted by: miasarx - Aug. 21, 2004 8:40 AM ET USA

    This smells to me of presidential politics- why release this now? Because it discredits a Catholic strongly associated with Bush, and a Catholic who no doubt supports bishops who would deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion/gaymarriage etc. politicians. But hey those of you at New Oxford Review: zeal for the Church is one thing, but being the crankiest Catholic publication around is another. I know it's tough, but the way to go is to speak the truth IN LOVE.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 21, 2004 1:53 AM ET USA

    Deal Hudson very wrongly attacked Michael Rose of Goodbye, Good Men and then quit carrying ads for the New Oxford Review when they defended him, and the attack on Rose was very soundly defeated. I do not agree with how this has been handled about Deal Hudson however, you reap what you sow. Deal has certainly attacked someone who wished to show corruption in the Church. He now gets to deal with facing corruption at his own door. Hudson can face the music like Rose did. Seems fair to me.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 20, 2004 10:03 PM ET USA

    I'm astounded, Fr. Lawler. "What's the point of bringing them up now?" you ask, referring to the accusations against Hudson. We are talking about accusations of sexual harrassment, illicit sexual behavior . . . . Are these charges only worth "bringing up now" when they refer to boys? Or perhaps are your remarks just a cheap shot at the NCR? And wasn't that your point to begin with, something about cheap shots?

  • Posted by: - Aug. 20, 2004 5:33 PM ET USA

    I think the NCR has made a very positive contribution to our church and should go on doing exactly what it has been doing, telling the news and sharing its opinon. Don't forget Phil, you have a right to your opinion (as mistaken as it sometimes seems to be,) and the NCR has a right to its opinion.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 20, 2004 2:29 PM ET USA

    Give me a break Phil. You've been playing hardball since the beginning. Quit acting like you've had the boxing gloves've been fighting bare-knuckle all along.