Sed Contra: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Deal W. Hudson
November 1, 2004

It’s been over ten years since I took the helm of Crisis Magazine and moved my family to Washington, D.C. Since then the circulation has grown from 6,000 to over 32,000, the full-time staff from three to eleven, and the budget has more than quadrupled to nearly $2 million. More important than the numbers, however, Crisis has served the Church well, and the evidence for its influence is widespread.

The most gratifying accomplishment of the past ten years has been the ability of Crisis to impact the debate on the Catholic Church in the public square. Crisis is the most often-cited Catholic publication in the country, and its success proves that a magazine doesn’t have to boast a huge circulation to make a real difference in the culture. All it takes is a readership willing to put words into deeds.

But the time has come for me to pass the torch as publisher. While I will still do some fundraising for the magazine—the viability of Crisis depends upon your support and generosity—I have other projects to pursue, including a book I’m writing on Catholics in politics. I look forward to writing in the solitude of my home office, where I can pop up the stairs when I hear my children come home from school.

Hannah, having just turned 16, has become a lovely young woman whose every day seems like an adventure. She sings beautifully and rides horses with great confidence, but Dad needs to help her a bit more with math and science. And Cyprian—now in first grade—is facing the challenge of learning to read. During his first three years in a Romanian orphanage, he never really mastered the first language, and he needs lots of hands-on time from Mom and Dad to get him over the hump. My new role will allow me to take on more responsibility at home.

So what exactly will that new role be? Crisis is published by the Morley Publishing Group, Inc.—a non-profit corporation. I will be creating within Morley a new institute that will be charged with projects consonant with the Morley mission—to be a faithful Catholic voice in our culture. My book will be the initial focus, but other projects worthy of the institute’s attention are now appearing on the horizon.

The Morley board will soon announce an acting publisher and form a search committee to find a permanent replacement. To say I’m leaving the magazine in the capable hands of editor Brian Saint-Paul and associate publisher Raymond Matthew Wray is an understatement: They’ve been running the day-to-day operations of the office for quite a while and deserve much of the credit that I’ve received for the quality of the magazine and its growth.

As you may already know, a truly regrettable incident of mine from ten years ago was revealed by a liberal Catholic newspaper in late August. The editor of that newspaper was not shy in justifying his exposé as retaliation for what he called my “public moralizing.” I hold no grudge against that newspaper, its reporter, or editor, but I can’t deny that the story has influenced my decision to step down.

For now, however, it’s time for reflecting, writing, and catching up with life at home. I hope all of you will join me in celebrating what we’ve accomplished at Crisis. I’m genuinely grateful for having had the opportunity to serve the Church in such a public way. And please join me also in reaffirming your support for Crisis, its staff, and its mission.

With the December issue, I’ll be retiring from “Sed Contra.” And like you, I’ll eagerly await the next chapter in the extraordinary story that is Crisis Magazine.

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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