A Letter From the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Regarding a Column I Wrote

Deal W. Hudson
August 23, 2016

The following is a letter to me from Kevin Gavin, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I asked his permission to publish it here, which he kindly gave.

Dear Deal, I read your recent commentary published by The Christian Review on Monday and was deeply concerned. We’re certainly all entitled to our opinions and free to make them known as broadly as we wish, but it’s crucial for those opinions to be based in fact.

I’m writing to clarify the issues raised by Archbishop Chaput in his column of August 9, 2016, “Some personal thoughts on the month ahead.” I also want to encourage you in the future to bring your concerns to me at the Archdiocese before you publish them. If you had questions about what the Archbishop said and what he meant I would have helped to clarify those issues. What you ended up writing painted the Archbishop as someone who has laid aside the importance of respecting the dignity of human life and that’s entirely inaccurate.

The Archbishop was providing his personal thoughts as a Catholic citizen. He underscored some key points that Catholics should bear in mind in any election. Our faith may be a personal thing but it is never a private thing. As such, our actions in the public square should be a reflection of the principles of our faith and form one’s conscience in relation to action in the public square is critical. In the course of his column, he even said that the right to life undergirds all other rights. He went on to recommend “Living the Gospel of Life” as an important reading resource in this upcoming election.

Your argument that the Archbishop has opened the door for Clinton as a potential choice for Catholic voters is also puzzling to me. He never said that directly or indirectly. He said that both candidates have serious flaws and he meant it. He won’t be endorsing or opposing any candidates and he isn’t going to tell people which candidate to vote for.

What he did was a very basic thing. He reminded Catholics to be Catholic and to do it in every aspect of their public and private lives. That’s as fundamental as it gets. He laid out his personal struggles with the choices we’re all facing and provided resources for people to better form their own conscience. People do have choices beyond the major parties whether it be an independent, a write-in, or a complete abstention from the process. Whatever choice an individual makes, it ought to be appropriately formed.

You indicated that you’ve admired the Archbishop for many years in your piece. In light of that admiration, and basic good will, it would be have been better if you’d asked a few questions instead of publishing assumptions.

Kind regards,


Kenneth A. Gavin
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Philadelphia

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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