Harvard’s Catholic Voice

Deal W. Hudson

I thought I knew something about Catholicism in Ivy League schools such as the venerable Harvard University. For example, if you wanted a Harvard professor outspoken about the Catholic faith you called Dr. Mary Ann Glendon of the Harvard Law School, or for the social justice perspective, Fr. J. Bryan Hehir, now the national head of Catholic Charities.

But it turns out I was wrong.

Harvard, it seems, has at least ten other professors who want to be heard “as Catholics”–at least where the future of Cardinal Law is concerned.

In its March 2 edition, England’s leading Catholic magazine, The Tablet, reported that “ten prominent Catholics on the faculty of Harvard University have called upon the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law, to resign over his handling of a child abuse scandal…”

Did you know that there were ten “prominent Catholic” professors at Harvard? I didn’t. But I guess if you are a professor at Harvard you’re “prominent” by definition.

Over the last twenty years, there have been quite a few public controversies of particular concern to American Catholics, but strangely, this band of committed Catholic professors was not heard. For example, I don’t recall hearing from them when former President Clinton vetoed the partial-birth abortion amendment–twice.

One of the “prominent professors,” a lecturer in English literature, Professor Robert Kiely, said they “feel scandalized and betrayed” by the archdiocese’s failure to protect children over the past 20 years. “Some of us have become accustomed to being embarrassed by the actions and words of the hierarchy,” the professor says.

Let me provide a translation: We Harvard faculty, who have long dissented from the Church’s teachings on much issues-including abortion, birth control, the male priesthood-have been offended, and now it’s pay-back time.

The biggest irony of all is that these “faithful” Harvard Catholics accuse the cardinal of giving comfort “to those who despise the Church and see it as a fossilized institution of repression, secrecy, and hypocrisy.” This is, of course, what Catholic dissenters do all the time, whether they do it at Harvard or at a Call to Action chapter meeting.

I spoke to a Catholic undergraduate at Harvard University who said it was interesting that these “Catholic professors” are “coming out of the woodwork all of the sudden – professors who’ve had no interest in the health of the Catholic church for the past 20 years. This is simply a wonderful opportunity for dissenters to advance their own agenda.”

He also told me that Catholic bashing has now become a popular sport at Harvard, where regular meetings are being held to discuss Cardinal Law and the pedophile scandal.

Regardless of what anyone thinks about what should be done in the Archdiocese of Boston, or what should have been done, it’s abundantly clear that those who want to attack Church teaching are taking full advantage of this scandal.

But let’s look on the bright side. Now there are ten Harvard professors we can call on for support when the partial-birth abortion ban starts moving through Congress later this year.

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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