The NCR story on Deal Hudson

The NCR story on Deal Hudson

Here is the National Enquirer’s ... oops, I mean National Catholic Reporter’s hit piece on Deal Hudson. Among other things, it details the alleged sexual misconduct incident at Fordham, back in the early 80s. Here’s my take on it.

By getting into politics Deal opened himself up to this kind of probing personal attack. That said, it is still unwarranted and ill-conceived. Deal isn’t running for any political office, he is not a candidate nor is he a public servant or even a bishop or priest. He is a private citizen and I think that rummaging around in his past for whatever dirt you can find is pretty low. How exactly does an old allegation of sexual sin, that was apparently settled to the satisfaction of all parties, have any bearing on Deal today? Let’s set aside, for a moment, the fact that we have only one side of the story. The allegation is pretty damning and it occurs not before his conversion, but after and while he was on his third marriage and had become a prominent Catholic intellectual. Still, the details sound pretty fantastic: body shots? French-kissing multiple co-eds in a public place? I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I have a hard time believing without corroborating witnesses or any evidence.

Update: See below.

  • Personally, I think someone should investigate the reporter, as well as his editor. Character matters and it is important to know when national leaders open themselves to blackmail or exhibit incautios risk-taking, but this is ridiculous.

    I really wish that Mr. Hudson wouldn’t let this terrorist tactic work, but I certainly understand his duty to protect his family.

  • If the allegations are true, they are disturbing yet entirely predictable from NCRep. Hudson’s past si his past. The emphasis on three marriages, blah, blah, blah. They attempt to dennigrate anyone who doesn’t meet their ‘Catholic ‘criteria. They seem to love to lay labels on asnyone who is loyal to the Holy Father and the Church; neo-conservative, right wing, etc.. Yet, when Rembert Weakland pulled his stunt in Milwaukee last year, little if any, criticism or outrage was published in that rag.
    Take a look:


  • Hudson did the right thing to resign from Fordham to edit a magazine.  I say Roberts should now do the right thing and resign from the NCR and teach journalism (or some such thing) since he has abused the power and authority of his office and is likely to do so again. 

  • Thank goodness that St. Agustine isn’t preaching today—-in his past, prior to conversion, he had an immoral life, I guess that NCR would love to take a swipe at St. Agustine, St. Francis, Dorothy Day…….hey, the whole litany of saints!!!!

  • If you will read the story on the NCCB employee (written by the man himself) in the NCR (4/23/04) he states that using his computer and resources on company time and some of his remarks about the church on his Kerry website were responsible for his “parting of the ways”.  Once he does that however, he goes off into his own philosophy which really has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

  • Sheila, to be accurate, Deal’s alleged indiscretion was after his conversion, while Augustine’s was before. But that opens another point: To what degree to we continue to hold people’s sins against them, when they have presumably sought reconciliation and repented of the behavior?

    Say we were talking about a bishop who had a homosexual affair as a young priest, but then received the Sacrament of Confession, repented of the behavior, and then lived a life upholding Catholic moral principles. That would be different from a bishop who did the same thing, then tried to hush it up by buying off the man and his friends, then continued to engage in acts undermining the Church’s teachings on the same principle by ignoring homosexuality among his priests and so on.

    It makes sense to hold the latter accountable, but the former has repented and exposing him does no good for anyone.

  • Hey, the writer has his email address there, why not take advantage of it?  Someone good with words should send responses back into National Catholic Distorter, I mean Reporter.

  • Domenico,
    Your point is good and well taken, however the atmosphere that is now created is that only the very pure may speak.
    Bottom line, are religious people allowed to speak or is this an effective way to silence a group?

  • Deal also made a major mistake by recently writing a ful book on his conversion with no mention of this incident.  Doing this would have nipped the problem in the bud.

  • From the latest e-letter from Deal Hudson:

    Ten years ago, I committed a serious
    sin with an undergraduate student of mine while teaching at Fordham University. For this I am truly and deeply sorry. I have confessed this and asked for forgiveness, my family has worked through it, and time has passed. But I know this is news to you, and so I offer my sincerest apologies. I recognize that I have let countless people down and have brought scandal to myself, my family, and my Faith. For this, I beg your forgiveness.

    He’s got mine, and, I’m sure, yours. Anybody who asks forgiveness is bound to receive it. Don’t take my word for it. Ask Jesus.


    Some may wonder why I speak of the event in a way that seems vague or abstract. Please don’t mistake this for lack of shame, regret, or
    repentance. The simple fact is, I can’t say any more about it. Ten years ago, I signed a confidentiality agreement, and so I’m seriously
    constrained in what I can say. I know this is frustrating for you, and so that’s one more thing I apologize for.

    It’s not frustrating to me at all. Not in the slightest.

    But it does seem to me that Jeff Miller makes an excellent point.

    Without, evidently, violating the confidentiality agreement, Hudson could have included the first three sentences quoted in the first paragraph above in his book. In my opinion, he should have. Just my opinion, though.

    P.S. Love the Catholic League, but the excuse for jump starting the press release is lame-o in the extreme-o. They screwed up. At one time or another, we all do, don’t we.

  • I think Jeff Miller is right on target.

    However, recounting the matter in the autobiography might have been legally complicated by the Confidentiality Agreement that Hudson and the young woman signed when they settled the matter for $30,000.

    The wisest course of action for Hudson would have been to have declined the later Bush Administration invitation to assume an important role in their Catholic Outreach efforts.

    Indeed, he owed it to the Bush folks to have come clean with them about this incident from his past. They deserved full disclosure, and, unless I am very much mistaken, they asked for precisely that before OKing a close public association with him. The White House practically always asks people if there is anything in their past that could reflect badly on the Administration. I can’t imagine them not doing so in this case.

    Hudson rashly decided to gamble that his past would not come out. Then he jumped into the political arena and swung away. Of course, he knew what lurked in his past. Perhaps it was exhilarating to stay ahead of Nemesis.

    He couldn’t resist the chance to be in the spotlight, to be center stage, part of the great political drama, even though that spotlight would eventually reveal enough to ruin him, and the drama unfolding on center stage would require only a moment to leave a bit player like him prostrate. 

    The old Greeks would have related Hudson’s catastrophically bad judgment and current wreckage to hubris. 

    His pride was quite daring. It preceded his fall, a fall that—again—brought undeserved misery to his family and others who loved him.  But, even so,  perhaps he should count himself lucky.

    The worst earthly punishment for our sins is no punishment.  I hope today’s sufferings purify him and clear a space for new virtues to flourish and that those virtues benefit many.

    They tell me grass now grows on the site of the first nuclear explosion in New Mexico.  May Hudson’s life regenerate even from what seems total destruction.

  • I, Curmudgeonly, still maintain that DH was exposed for the benefit of certain Bishops and Cardinals…and the Bush embarrassment was a bonus.

    And don’t think for ONE SECOND that those Bishops and Cardinals didn’t know about the ‘bonus,’ either.  They did, which is why the timing for the election.

    Good cover.  Romanita works….

  • Blaming the media just isn’t gonna work in this case. Neither is blaming the “certain Cardinals and Bishops.”

    Haven’t we learned, by this time, that “exposing sin”—whether there’s an ulterior motive or not—is probably a good idea, no matter how much it hurts?

    Read Hudson’s “confession” and for heaven’s sake, give up, or at least give a rest to, the “conspiracy theories.” He screwed up. We all do. Look. Listen. Learn.

    George Lee? Great post. One point, and it might or might not be a nit:

    However, recounting the matter in the autobiography might have been legally complicated by the Confidentiality Agreement that Hudson and the young woman signed when they settled the matter for $30,000.

    We still don’t know about the monetary settlement, but say you’re right. Couldn’t the recounting of the matter in his autobiography in exactly the same way he did in his e-mail to his subscribers have dodged the bullet? I mean, obviously he didn’t feel bound by the agreement in the e-letter.

    Hate to say it, guys, but so many of you have said it ‘way before me and about other folks entirely: we’re sorriest when we’re caught.

    I still consider Deal Hudson a great guy, and a great champion of the Church.

    The difference, as I see it, is that I still see those men many of you have bleepin’ condemned to hell in the same light.


  • True, ninenot.  What Deal did was pretty bad, but it’s being used for politics.  Don’t think for one moment that the people who supported Clinton’s Oval Office Follies, or the people who are in on the cluster**** that goes on in the Catholic Church care one bit about a pretty ordinary sin like Deal’s. 

    Need I remind you, people routinely do worse and get in the Holy Communion line every time they show up in Church.  And that doesn’t bother these libs one bit.  They like it because they think it excuses them for their perversions (like we’ll all be graded on a curve, duh).

    Deal’s past is a tool, pure and simple—a tool of revenge and political gain.

  • Kelly—Thanks for the kind word. Re-reading my post from last night over my morning coffee, I worry that a note of sanctimony might have crept into it, and if so, then the more shame on me.

    I meant to highlight the daring risk Hudson took, knowing as he did what might some day be revealed by political opponents.  If ever a man was guilty of rash judgment, it was Hudson deciding to plunge ahead and enter the political arena. Even if he had recognized that his talents could be of service to the politicians and public policies he favored, he should have also recognized that he was not the man to play a prominent public role in advancing them in the cut and thrust of the arena.

    Michigan Catholic—Nobody held a gun to Hudson’s head and forced him to become the Bush administration’s point man on Catholic issues. Of course, wounding him now has a major political dimension. His political opponents discovered him leading with his chin and clobbered him. In the process, Hudson’s loved ones also are now reeling, the Bush folks must be sad and furious, and the public policies he sought to advance sure have not benefited.

    He could have avoided all this by staying out of the political arena. Not much would have been gained by clobbering him if he had been merely involved with a Catholic magazine. The truth is that he had a duty to inform those who hired him at Crisis that he had had a big problem in the then very recent past.

    We all fail in our duties, but, damn it,  a responsible man tries to make damned sure that his failures don’t bring suffering to the completely innocent people around us.

  • George, he was rash in getting himself into that position, yes.  But then he was the only one with enough balls not to just bend over and take it like most Catholics.

    It would have been better to have someone else in the position.  Any takers?  No?  That’s what I thought.