Finding Perspective on Obama in Ireland

on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

Deal W. Hudson
November 10, 2008

Anne is still tired from her recent trip to China, but she wants to talk about Barack Obama. The explosive growth of her apostolate, Direction for Our Times, has left her exhausted and half-sick, but she is alarmed about Catholics who are describing Obama as the anti-Christ.

She asks me if I have heard those comments. I tell her I have heard not only that but also his election described as a “chastisement.”

Anne has encountered the same, and she is alarmed. She understands the disappointment but not the hysteria. “It was a body blow like we fell to the ground from the eighth rung of a ten-rung ladder. Then I prayed and heard a voice, ‘Get up and work.'”

The demonization of Barack Obama among some conservative Catholics will only disconnect them from the society they need to evangelize, she says. “Obama is a child of God, and we need to pray for him and his family. He’s important to God. Let God be God.”

She believes this current overreaction to Obama is a kind of spiritual panic: “Is Our Lord in Heaven, or is He not?” Rather, the question we should be asking ourselves is, “How do we serve the Lord under these conditions?”

“The last thing we want is to fill the air with ugly rhetoric.” She compares the anger being expressed toward Obama with how liberals treated Bush. “We need to empower Obama – we need him to begin thinking straight.”

“But what about someone who would say that we need to tell the truth about Obama – especially about his positions on abortion and marriage?” I asked her.

She didn’t hesitate: “I would ask how they speak the truth. If they don’t speak it with a love they are not speaking the truth.”

Anne has spoken to me in previous interviews about the abrasive quality of many Catholics who are committed to protecting doctrinal orthodoxy. “People are not monsters, and we shouldn’t treat them that way.”

“We are a mission Church,” she says. “We must ask ourselves whether or not we are attracting people to the faith.”

“But shouldn’t we be sure we are attracting people to the true faith?” I asked.

“Truth is not just about accuracy, or about getting the words right,” she told me. “Bitter, angry people can drive people away from the Lord, rather than draw them to Him.”

I asked Anne why Catholics forget this important aspect of speaking the truth. “They don’t want to have hope; it’s more fun to be negative.”

Anne uses what she saw in China as an example of powerful and effective evangelism: “In China they are so humble. They create camaraderie with their brothers in sin by not making them feel worse than they already do.”

Anne believes that the ministry she plans to open at Holy Trinity Abbey in nearby Kilnacrott will lift people up and lighten their hearts. “If people face Jesus, they will become buoyant.”

Her ministry has only a month to raise the additional million dollars needed to meet the purchase price of the abbey. The Norbertine priests still in residence there will be an integral part of the new ministry but will be housed in a new, smaller building soon to be built on the 46-acre property.

A men’s community and women’s community are already being formed. With four men and three women at the beginning of a year’s discernment, it appears that Direction for Our Times is attracting the vocations necessary to support the new youth program, Re-Charge, and the expansion to the abbey.

With conservative Catholics in America despondent over the election and Irish Catholics cringing at the seemingly endless disclosures of sex abuse cases, Anne’s message of the Christ who lightens the heart – and softens the tongue – is finding fertile ground.

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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