Sed Contra: The Sound of Desperation

Deal W. Hudson
September 1, 2003

“Letting Hudson define Catholicism is like letting Osama define Islam.” Thus columnist Ellen Goodman opined in the Boston Globe on August 3. Normally, I wince when I read criticism about myself in print, but this made me smile. It’s an encouraging sign when an important leader of the opposition, a leading journalist, for example, begins to sound desperate.

One reason that the liberal pro-aborts like Goodman have been winning the culture wars over the past two decades is the geniality of their public temperament. They usually come off as the ones united against human suffering, making their commitment to rulelessness sounds like the solution to all problems of hatred, violence, and prejudice. (Little is made of the fact that unborn children die as a result of their compassion.)

But nowadays Goodman and her cohorts are sounding a bit unhinged.

Take Goodman’s comparison of me to Osama bin Laden. Just for the record, I have never planned or participated in any terrorist plots to blow up liberal or dissenting Catholic institutions. I believe that I am significantly closer to both the letter and the spirit of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church than bin Laden is to the Koran. (Of course, Islam has no Magisterium or Catechism, and that’s part of the problem.)

But Goodman’s willingness to stretch her hyperbolic license this far suggests her crowd is getting really upset. Goodman is afraid that the tide is getting ready to turn, that things are no longer going her way. For example, the sex-abuse scandal that erupted in her city of Boston ignited the hopes among liberals, dissenters, and anti-Catholics alike that the Church would have to change its commitment to celibacy, the male priesthood, and homosexuality. Voice of the Faithful has carried this message cleverly packed under the banner of “structural change” but ran into the roadblock of bishops willing to deny it approval to meet on parish property. The scandal will, in time, lead to an examination of the real causes of the problem: active homosexuals among the clergy, the spread of dissent, and the downturn in Mass attendance and confession.

Goodman knows that it’s the responsibility of every Catholic to follow the Church’s teachings as closely as possible. What she fears is a genuine renewal of the Church in the wake of its tribulation. She fears Catholic politicians who will stand up publicly for life, marriage, and the family. She fears an alliance of faithful Catholics with lawmakers and a president willing to articulate these values as public policy.

Thus far Goodman’s greatest allies have been the likes of Senators John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Tom Daschle, and Patrick Leahy. Their behavior empties the idea of being Catholic of all moral content and makes the screed of Ellen Goodman seem superficially plausible. Leadership is always more influential than the printed word. Average Catholics need to be reminded what Scripture, the Catechism, and papal encyclicals say, but they also need the inspiration of public leadership. Pope John Paul II has provided this afar for nearly 25 years, but American Catholics have watched as a parade of politicians, jurists, and celebrities ignore the fundamental moral teaching of their Faith.

Goodman and her allies have made Catholicism so wimpy over the years that they are shocked when faithful Catholics make a sound that gets public attention. But the leadership of in-name-only Catholics is crumbling, and a new generation has set a new agenda—Bill Donohue, Mother Angelica, Scott Hahn, Senator Rick Santorum, George Weigel, and others. Goodman ought to be worried; she can no longer count on notable Catholics to do the bidding of the liberal elites.

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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