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"Why Are They Going After Michael Rose?" & "The Astounding Na´vetÚ of Crisis Magazine"
New Oxford Review via CruxNews ^ | Various

Posted on 12/16/2002 12:01:08 PM PST by Polycarp

News & Views
CruxNews.com

Monday, December 16, 2002 6:57 a.m.
Why Are They Going After Michael Rose?
DID HE STEP ON THOSE BLUE SUEDE SHOES?
by Jay McNally

This article appears in the December 2002 issue of New Oxford Review.

While Michael Rose's newest book Goodbye, Good Men has been hailed by many of America's most respected Catholic commentators as one of the most important books in decades, the reception by conservative Catholic publications has been mixed: Some, such as the NOR, The Wanderer, Inside the Vatican, and Homiletic & Pastoral Review have been positive; others have been harshly critical.

Regular readers of the NOR are familiar with this ongoing story. This journal (Sept. 2002) commented on the negative reviews published in Our Sunday Visitor and the National Catholic Register.

The criticism can be nasty, such as the Visitor's denunciatory headline "Goodbye! Scurrilous Journalist?" The criticism can be personally motivated, as when the Features Editor of the Register ventilated his ire with Rose for scrutinizing a personal friend of the editor who, as Vocations Recruiter for the Diocese of Providence, advertised for priestly vocations on the soft-porn cable channel MTV. The editor was so livid that he admitted that he had not read the book, save for the two pages on his friend, and that he had no intention of ever reading it.

Also telling is the self-righteousness and even hypocritical nature of some of the criticism. The Register's Editor said in an Editor's Note that a basic weakness of Rose's book is his use of anonymous sources: "It's bad journalism to base an investigative report on the testimony of an anonymous source...." Yet, the very article that the Register offers as an example of "responsible" journalism on the very topic of seminary chicanery -- an article that appeared in the Register -- quotes many anonymous sources. This double standard is detailed in NOR's "The Register Steps Into the Ring" (Sept. 2002).

These criticisms of Rose appear to tell us more about the critics than they do about Rose. This hostility to Rose comes from publications -- the Visitor and the Register -- not known for tenacious investigative reporting on matters within the Church. Indeed, they tend to soft-pedal and even back-pedal on tough subjects, particularly when something might be embarrassing to the hierarchy, which would be just about everything Rose touches on Goodbye, Good Men.

A tangential incident illustrates this point: Two years ago I wrote an investigative piece for The Catholic World Report about the homosexual priests' Internet chat-room group, St. Sebastian's Angels, which had as its mentor South African Bishop Reginald Cawcutt. Previous to this report, only The Wanderer published accurate details and no other Catholic newspaper called Steve Brady, who uncovered the serious scandal, which involved priests and chancery officials from many different dioceses. Some of the 55 members who chatted on the site said they worked in vocations recruitment, including Bishop Cawcutt, and some admitted they were on the lookout to welcome active homosexuals into the seminary. Shortly after my article was published I happened to be at an event attended by a key figure at a major Catholic publication. When he was asked why his publication totally ignored the incredible scandal of St. Sebastian's Angels, he replied, "I would have been fired the next day" -- by his bishop.

Thus, it was not until this year that Bishop Cawcutt finally resigned and several unapologetic members of the group were forced quit their parish posts -- and only after the secular press published articles about the group. As far as the vast majority of the Catholic newspapers was concerned, the ongoing scandal of the priests involved in St. Sebastian's was a non-story. Could this be because many Catholic editors were wary of losing their jobs?

The Editor of the Register apparently let slip the working policy at many Catholic publications in his chastisement of Rose in his Editor's Note: "What's more, for Catholics, the impugning of people's reputations -- particularly those of priests and bishops -- constitutes grave matter" (italics added).

Phil Lawler, who has more than a dozen years experience in the Catholic press, as former Editor of The Boston Pilot, and most recently nearly a decade as Editor of The Catholic World Report, said he has followed the unfolding drama over Rose's book. "Some of the more intemperate critics seem to be talking about a guy I've never met," said Lawler, who has worked with Rose for several years and published many long articles by him, including one last year based on the contents of his then-forthcoming Goodbye, Good Men. "He is not reckless, he is not extreme, he is an intelligent, balanced guy." Lawler continued: "It just looks to me as though Rose is being subjected to a standard of evidence not used for other books by other authors. People are being overly anxious to separate themselves from him. My guess is there is a lot of pressure. A lot of people [in the Catholic press] are saying they are upset with the book, are trying to convince bishops and others that they are 'mainstream' and not extremist. The point seems to be to make yourself look more moderate by making others look more extreme."

The most outrageous commentary on Rose and his book has come from a previously unknown writer, Fr. Rob Johansen, a 37-year-old priest ordained last year for the Diocese of Kalamazoo in western Michigan.

Fr. Johansen seems to have set the tone other Catholic publications and Internet personalities that have attacked Rose. His review of the book in Culture Wars magazine was the first published review. (Fr. Johansen's book review is on the Culture Wars website, but Rose's rebuttal, which appeared in Culture Wars, is not. Rose's response is at www.cruxnews.com.)

Fr. Johansen has managed to leverage his influence since he also operates an Internet based web log, or "blog" site, that is part of an informal network of web-based Catholic writers (including Amy Welborn and Mark Shea) who continually and admiringly quote one another. Fr. Johansen is also quite adept at using e-mail to quickly spread his venom about Rose to influential Catholics in the press and elsewhere.

Here is a brief litany of some of his more "colorful" comments (from various sources):

* "In short, Michael Rose is dishonest and cannot be trusted."

* "[Rose] cannot be trusted to tell the Truth.... so [Rose] resorts to innuendo: The tactic adopted by liars and rumor-mongers everywhere."

* "Michael Rose ... has again shown himself to be willing to stoop to unfair and unethical tactics by publishing his self-serving, inaccurate, and dishonest 'response' to my review."

* "Innuendo is par for the course with Michael Rose."

* "...Real people have been unjustly served by Rose's 'little' lies...."

* "Goodbye! Truth, Good Bye! Integrity"

In early June Fr. Johansen sent out e-mail messages to friends that were almost instantly circulating among Catholic media professionals boasting that EWTN's Raymond Arroyo had canceled an interview with Rose because of concerns about Rose's veracity, and that Rose was being sued by two priests. However, these factual claims are simply not true. Nevertheless, Fr. Johansen published this false information via e-mail, and he has, as of this writing, yet to be publicly criticized for this by any of the critics of Michael Rose.

While no priest has sued Rose, Fr. Johansen doubled the number of priests allegedly suing Rose to four in his off-air comments to a radio show producer (Kresta in the Afternoon, WDEO/Detroit-Ann Arbor) that was then spread to others in the Catholic press. Again, not true.

What's Michael Rose to do when an authority figure such as a priest is spreading serious misinformation about him, and other Catholic journalists are spreading these falsehoods? Rose told me this: "Just about every time I tried to communicate with Fr. Johansen either by phone or by e-mail, he wound up twisting things I said and imputing the worst motives to me. I'd say things to him in good faith, and I'd see my comments in print, twisted into some incredible conspiracy to lie and cheat. He's called me a liar repeatedly and ascribed to me motives that were simply not true. I decided I had had enough and, in consultation with other well-known Catholic journalists, decided my only recourse was to claim my rights and discuss a formal retraction for the falsehoods he wrote about me." Rose's efforts to communicate with Fr. Johansen proved futile, so Rose took up a Catholic attorney's offer to challenge Fr. Johansen to the either back up his claims or face a federal lawsuit for libel.

The attorney asked for a retraction of the e-mail messages, and Fr. Johansen complied with a very limited "clarification" on his blog site admitting that he relied on second-hand information -- the type of "rumor-mongering" he accused Rose of engaging in (which Rose didn't). Fr. Johansen also admitted he had no personal knowledge of what he was writing about.

Curiously, a careful reading of the transcript of Fr. Johansen's commentary during an hour-long interview on Kresta in the Afternoon [August 8, 2002] on Rose's book reveals that Fr. Johansen agrees with the overall premises of Rose's book, and even acknowledges that he himself ran into the very sort of seminary problems that Rose describes.

And here are a couple items from Fr. Johansen's review that are favorable to Rose: "I met with some of the same difficulties and obstacles faced by 'orthodox' seminary candidates that Rose describes in his book.... I know both from personal experience and that of many other priests and seminarians that many of Rose's allegations are true...."

Given that Fr. Johansen is able to say such agreeable things, one wonders just what is at the root of his campaign against Rose.

Fr. Johansen offers a good clue in his response to Rose's rebuttal to the Culture Wars review. He was fuming because Rose gave one-third of a page in his 264-page book to an ex-seminarian's account of psychological abuse at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Fr. Johansen's alma mater.

A huge portion of Fr. Johansen's review of Goodbye, Good Men deals not with the book itself, but with Rose's publication two years earlier of an interview with that ex-seminarian in St. Catherine Review. In that interview the ex-seminarian was highly critical of Sacred Heart Major Seminary (SHS). He criticized SHS for many things, much of which was denied by certain people at SHS in several forums, including letters to the editor of the NOR (Feb. 2001 and March 2001).

In his review of the book, Fr. Johansen claimed that including the ex-seminarian's words in that one-third of a page presented a major credibility problem for Rose. (Rose explained why it was not a problem in his rebuttal.)

But there's more: In Rose's pre-publication manuscript intended for comment, proofreading, and fact-checking -- not for book reviews -- he incorrectly wrote that the ex-seminarian, who had left SHS, was now at a monastery. Rose was apprised of this error -- by me -- and corrected it for the final book.

Unbeknownst to Rose, Fr. Johansen was given this manuscript -- clearly marked "private use only" -- by E. Michael Jones, Editor and Publisher of Culture Wars.

Jones wrote to Rose in a February 6 letter that "I have also sent the manuscript out for review, and should get detailed comments by early March, so that you can make use of the critique if you want to make any revisions."

Rose said: "At this point I still did not have my final draft finished for book reviews and I understood that Jones was having an as yet unnamed priest do the same kind of fact-checking and editorial comment that others were doing. I had no idea it was Fr. Johansen, and that he was going to write a review based on the manuscript."

Meanwhile, Fr. Johansen wrote his first draft of his book review based on that manuscript -- and the review was published online. He maintained in that draft that Rose's information about the ex-seminarian being at the monastery was a forthright, intentional lie on Rose's part, indicative of his overall dishonesty and unscrupulous effort to deceive.

Rose was allowed to read Fr. Johansen's first draft via e-mail before publication in Culture Wars by Jones, and Rose immediately informed Fr. Johansen that he was going to remove the erroneous information about the ex-seminarian. Rose intended to remove only the incorrect reference to his being enrolled at the monastery. Fr. Johansen, however, thought that all reference to the ex-seminarian was to be removed, and submitted his final review on that premise. But Rose left in two paragraphs (one-third of a page) on the ex-seminarian. Here are those two paragraphs:

"'Psychological abuse happens,' is the way [the ex-seminarian] described his years at Sacred Heart College Seminary in Detroit. 'Every orthodox seminarian that I knew while I was at the seminary was sent to a shrink or was going to be sent to a shrink, myself included.' he explained. They were sent to ongoing psychological counseling for what [the ex-seminarian] calls 'rigorism,' which he believes was merely a 'stoutheartedness in the faith.'

"'These seminarians had faith; they had humility,' he said. 'If a seminarian missed one of this counseling sessions, then the seminary would know about it immediately. There was nothing more strictly mandated than going to your counseling sessions. You were to comply, and if you didn't, you were out, no two ways about it.'"

While Rose maintains Fr. Johansen misunderstood that he (Rose) intended to remove only the factual error on the whereabouts of the ex-seminarian, Fr. Johansen maintains this was a monumental betrayal, a lie, proving that Rose "can't be trusted."

It is the inclusion of those two paragraphs from the ex-seminarian on the abuse of psychological counseling at SHS, Fr. Johansen's alma mater, that is largely responsible for Fr. Johansen's rampage.

Now, complaints about psychological counseling at SHS are long-standing and widespread throughout the conservative Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Detroit. What is perceived as open hostility to conservatives at SHS and throughout the Archdiocese is talked about openly by seminarians, priests, and former seminarians. Many conservatives have simply given up on expecting any change at SHS, and many conservative priests do not recommend that conservative Catholics attend SHS. I know of many Detroit men who are studying for the priesthood outside the Archdiocese of Detroit precisely because of SHS's reputation.

The following are excerpts of three documents written by men highly knowledgeable about SHS, and a short piece about a fourth man I interviewed on the matter. These men are:

* Fr. Eduard Perrone, a priest of the Archdiocese, educated in the local seminaries, pastor of Assumption Grotto Church in Detroit, co-founder of Call to Holiness in Detroit, and a highly regarded leader of the orthodox faction of the Church in Detroit.

* Joseph J. Rangitsch, a seminarian for another diocese, dismissed this year from SHS, he believes, because he is conservative.

* Ken Lansing, a former SHS seminarian, now a seminarian at a monastery in Oklahoma.

* James Gault III, dismissed this year from SHS, he believes, because he is conservative.

Here are excerpts of Fr. Perrone's October 6, 2002, column in his parish bulletin: "I know that there are many men preparing for Orders who are forced to undergo 'counseling' sessions by area psychologists.... [The] matter of concern is that these men should be subjected to [psychological counseling] for 'problems' such as their firm adherence to papal teaching on the impossibility of women priests, or their traditional stance regarding liturgical practices. The matter is yet exacerbated when one becomes aware that some of the counselors involved are not Catholics.... One wonders how many more good priests would have been ordained from the diocese had they not been screened-out by the professional mind-controllers...."

Below are excerpts from an e-mail message from Joseph J. Rangitsch, who was dismissed from SHS last spring:

"I went to Sacred Heart in August of 2000.... When I arrived there I was ignorant of the politics that take place within the seminary. I went through several interviews and quickly learned that there is a division among seminarians and faculty between liberal and orthodox thinkers. I was warned by students not to show too many conservative colors with certain members of the faculty, especially the Vice Rector, Fr. Patrick Halfpenny. But, in an interview with him at the beginning of the year, I was very clear about my more conservative line of thought in church matters.

"After about a month at Sacred Heart I was called to Fr. Halfpenny's office and told that I had to contact a psychologist (Dr. Joel Harms) to schedule weekly meetings. When I asked why I was being asked to seek counseling, I was never given a clear answer.... So, I went to counseling thinking it would be a short-term thing. It wasn't. I went for two full years never knowing exactly why I had been sent. I talked with Dr. Harms about my classes, my friends, my family, my prayer life, and that sort of thing, essentially I talked with him about the same things I talked about with my Spiritual Director, the only difference being my Spiritual Director gave advice, never fell asleep, and did not bill my Diocese $100 for each session. When I questioned the counseling again at the beginning of my fourth semester there, I was again told that I was being sent 'for my own good' with no further explanation. Then, I was contacted by Fr. Halfpenny and sent to counseling twice a week and I was told that I was 'difficult.' In my opinion, the counseling that about half the seminarians at Sacred Heart are forced to endure is held over their heads like some kind of terrorist tactic. Basically it is, go to the doctor or go home. About half the seminarians at Sacred Heart see either Dr. Joel Harms...or Dr. Kevin Keenan....

"Bishop Allen Vigneron, the Rector/President of Sacred Heart is, in my opinion, a good and holy priest. He is making some great changes at Sacred Heart (i.e., the hiring of Calvert Shenk as Music Director), but it seems that he hasn't got a lot of control over his faculty. He was also not approachable in regard to issues such as the counseling. I went to discuss the matter with him once, and he told me that as the Rector he had total and absolute trust in his subordinates....

"I know men [seminarians] who never pray, who have not been to confession for months, and in one case over a year, and I know men whose only strengths are academic and who have no apparent pastoral sense, but because they 'play the game' they are advanced through the program and will probably be ordained....

"I honestly feel that Sacred Heart is a bad place. I have friends there who get by keeping their mouths shut and 'playing the game.' I think that is sad. I've seen more than a few people leave formation because they are so disheartened by what has gone on....

"I honestly feel that Sacred Heart is a bad place. I have friends there who get by keeping their mouths shut and 'playing the game.' I think that is sad."

Ken Lansing, a former SHS seminarian (1997-1999), is now a seminarian at a monastery in Oklahoma. This excerpt is from a letter addressed to the SHS Rector, Bishop Allen Vigneron, in 1999:

"I happened to talk to a priest who had been at Saint John's Seminary when it was about at its worst. He described the modus operandi of modernist-minded formation. He said that during the first year they simply observe you to see 'whose side you're on,' and if you don't measure up to their liberal criteria, they 'suggest' you go to counseling, and if you don't, then your goose is cooked. If you go, hopefully the counseling will break you down psychologically in order that you may be more easily rebuilt in their image. If counseling doesn't achieve the desired effects, you will then be subject to their petty harassment techniques, which are also meant to break you down or make you frustrated and angry enough to leave on your own....

"The priest went into more detail than this, but everything he said came true to a 'T' [at Sacred Heart]: I was told that it could become a 'formation issue' if I didn't go to counseling. The original reason for sending me to counseling was because of 'identity issues,' a term whose exact meaning I was never told, but which it became apparent was a standard term used as a delaying tactic while they dreamed up something more specific and gathered enough 'evidence' or whatever to make plausible the notion that I needed counseling.

"My Provincial and Formation Director (same person) ordered me to go, so out of obedience I went for over two and a half years. I remember that you [Bishop Vigneron] had a fair bit of trouble looking me in the eye when you said that I had nothing to worry about with Fr. ____. Fr. ____ for his part tried to tell me that due to the profound insights that scientific advancements had shed [that] homosexual activity was no longer wrong, and neither was masturbation. I stopped going to him and went to Dr. Joel Harms, who even though a lukewarm Protestant and worshipper of feelings, at least didn't try to feed me heresy.

"I used to feel sorry for you, what with being caught in the midst of the various contending factions and personalities within the Archdiocese and the seminary, but this is starting to wear a little thin. After all, you are the President of the seminary, the Rector, and a Bishop -- what more do you want or need to be able to get things done? True, you are hiring some good new professors, but these are mere baby steps at reform until you purge the Formation Team and the Institute for Ministry. It doesn't matter how good the academic situation gets, if the Formation Team remains dominated by leftists, [then] only mediocre -- at best! -- priests will be produced by the seminary. I have always been edified by how orthodox and articulate your Rector's conferences have been, but how deeply you believe what you say in them is very much in doubt so long as this reform proceeds at a snail's pace, leaving untouched the lion's share of the problem.

"I have presented the complaints voiced in this letter to fellow seminarians and I know none who disagrees with what I have said here. In fact, they say it isn't worded strongly enough. Doesn't this tell you something, Excellency? How many more seminarians will have to be humiliated, harassed, needlessly sent to counseling, become embittered, and even finally have their vocation damaged or ruined completely before you rectify the situation? Unless the reform of Sacred Heart Major Seminary kicks into high gear soon, not only is your credibility in doubt, but the state of Sacred Heart Major Seminary and the Archdiocese of Detroit will remain in its current precarious state."

James Gault entered SHS for the Diocese of Kalamazoo two years ago and was dismissed last spring. A self-described conservative with a fondness for the Latin Mass, Gault said he ran afoul of the liberal factions at the seminary, and readily admits he is not "a go-along, get-along kind of guy."

"They try to put out carbon-copy, cookie-cutter priests. We have too many passive priests, go-along types," he explained. "We need courage today in our priests, but they tend try to squash any courage." Gault said he did not oppose his weekly counseling session with Dr. Joel Harms. But Gault had a sense that Harms felt that "I would be prodded into compliance." Gault added, "I have no idea what he reported back to the seminary.... The counseling session were confidential."

Gault says he and his fellow seminarians saw a pattern in which those who too publicly expressed overtly conservative points of view were subjected a wide variety of tactics designed, he believed, make life miserable for them.

So, what is the mysterious Fr. Johansen saga all about? Is it as simple as, Don't step on my alma mater or I'll go after you? Maybe.

But the anti-Rose phenomenon goes beyond Fr. Johansen. So is it as Phil Lawler suggests: I can get in good with my bishop or the powers that be if I trash Michael Rose? Maybe, maybe not.

Stay tuned, for this part of the detective story remains to be told.

Jay McNally was Editor of The Michigan Catholic, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Detroit, from 1990 to 1995. He has spent 20 years as a working newspaperman, half of that in the Catholic press. He writes from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Other articles on Goodbye, Good Men:

CruxNews.Com NEWS & VIEWS

Monday, December 16, 2002 6:59 a.m.
The Astounding Naïveté of Crisis Magazine
by Michael S. Rose

This article appears in the December 2002 issue of New Oxford Review.

In May of this year, Regnery Publishing released my latest book, Goodbye, Good Men. Published as it was in the midst of the ballooning priestly sex abuse scandals, the book received wide publicity and a large readership. In fact, Goodbye, Good Men, a look at how Catholic seminary education over the past three decades has been corrupted, made The New York Times bestseller list for four weeks.

But the book has not soared without generating great controversy. I would venture to say that Goodbye, Good Men has become one of the most controversial books about the Catholic Church in the last decade. Surprisingly, the most scathing criticism has come from some so-called conservative Catholic publications. They seem to be saying that while they agree with my thesis in at least a vague and general way, they take issue with the particulars as well as my research methodology and journalistic integrity. Ironically, a couple of these articles are themselves textbook examples of shoddy hack journalism (as pointed out in the Sept. issue of the NOR in "Killing Michael Rose" [on Our Sunday Visitor] and "The Register Steps Into the Ring").

Our Sunday Visitor actually printed an apology (July 28, 2002) for its unsigned article "Goodbye! Scurrilous Journalist?" (July 14, 2002), which contained so many demonstrably false statements that the anonymous author could not possibly have read my book. (Happily, Fr. Peter Stravinskas, the Editor of The Catholic Answer, another Our Sunday Visitor publication, did read the book. In its September/October 2002 issue, he stated that "the vast majority of American seminaries are rotten to the core," noting that this is "rather well-documented by Michael Rose in his bombshell book Goodbye, Good Men.") The National Catholic Register ran an op/ed attack piece by an editor who admitted he hadn’t read the book, save for two pages.

The third article was published by Culture Wars. E. Michael Jones, not only the Editor but the personification of Culture Wars, admitted to me that he hadn’t read Goodbye, Good Men when he published a five-page review of the book studded with many factual errors written by recently ordained Fr. Robert J. Johansen. Curiously, the majority of his criticisms — much of it based on erroneous second-hand information — focused on events and issues that weren’t even mentioned in the book he was supposedly reviewing. Despite the numerous and blatant inaccuracies of the Johansen broadside (pointed out by me and by others), it has been quoted or cited uncritically by everyone from the National Catholic Register to "gay" apologist Andrew Sullivan. [See the article by Jay McNally in this NOR — Ed.]

Crisis Puts Michael Rose on Trial

In the wake of these anemic criticisms came an article in Crisis magazine. Oddly enough, Crisis, which had previously published a highly favorable review of Goodbye, Good Men by Mary Jo Anderson, relied in part on the flimsy "evidence" of those previous articles in order to buttress its own claims.

On the face of it, the more formidable Crisis article ("A Matter of Integrity: Michael Rose and the American College of Louvain," September 2002) discredits me and Goodbye, Good Men. The article, by Crisis Senior Editor Brian Saint-Paul, is so trickily crafted that again — on the face of it — I seem to be exposed as a negligent and sloppy author at best, and a devious, self-serving, and malicious reporter at worst.

The Crisis article focuses on a five-page section of Goodbye, Good Men dealing with the American College seminary at the University of Louvain in Belgium, which is run directly by the U.S. bishops. In a nutshell, this section tells the story of 40-year-old Joseph Kellenyi, who claims that he was ostracized by a "homosexual clique" there, and that he was sexually harassed by a fellow seminarian, now-ordained Fr. Patrick Van Durme of the Diocese of Rochester. (Van Durme’s identity was protected in Goodbye, Good Men, but later revealed in the Crisis article.) Even after Kellenyi formally reported the harassment to the seminary faculty in writing several times, he claims the harassment continued unabated. Kellenyi says he was unwilling to submit to a "close relationship" that he felt was being forced upon him by Van Durme. Further, Kellenyi was told that if he didn’t submit, Van Durme would use his alleged influence with the Rector to have Kellenyi kicked out. And kicked out of the American College Kellenyi was at the end of the year, leading him to believe that his failure to have a "close relationship" with this classmate was what got him expelled. The expulsion was due both to Kellenyi’s unwillingness to submit and to his audacity in complaining about the harassment without relenting.

So, Crisis, after being approached by the Louvain seminary, took it upon itself to contend that there’s no evidence to corroborate such a story. In doing so, Crisis sought to prove two major points: that Joseph Kellenyi is of doubtful psychological and moral character — a "straight face" liar in fact — and that this section of Goodbye, Good Men is a product of disingenuous journalism. After mischaracterizing the events that were reported in my book, Crisis essentially put my reporting skills and integrity on trial in its own kangaroo court. From the start of its investigation, it was clear to me that Crisis had made up its mind that I was guilty, and that it had swallowed the line that Kellenyi was a raving crackpot.

Crisis Impugns the Whistleblower

Borrowing a technique from seminaries that have for decades ruthlessly discredited their seminarian whistleblowers, Crisis gets to work quickly on Joseph Kellenyi. Consider how he’s portrayed by Crisis: "He was a loose cannon who could blow at any moment"; he developed "this complex — almost like paranoia"; "he’s out to ruin some people," and "he can lie…with a straight face." Kellenyi is portrayed, without qualification, as mentally unhinged, a crazy man. But consider this: Crisis drew these quotes solely from a group of seminary classmates at Louvain about whom Kellenyi complained.

When I was researching Goodbye, Good Men, Kellenyi flew overseas from Belgium to meet with me in person for three days. Later, I met Kellenyi and others at Louvain. Since Crisis wants to turn the spotlight away from Louvain and on to Kellenyi, let me tell you what I know about Kellenyi based on my interactions with him, my interviews with people at Louvain, and my own research on the claims he makes in my book. Though no longer a seminarian, he is still a graduate student at the University of Louvain, where he was popularly elected to both the Teaching Committee and the Faculty Board of the Theology Department. Bernard Boone, a Belgian Jesuit and then-student body president of the University, served on these boards with Kellenyi. In Boone’s opinion, Kellenyi was "well-respected in the theology faculty." Kellenyi is also a cum laude scholar, and this year he received the prestigious Callihan Religion and Liberty Fellowship from the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Nigerian priest Fr. Innocent Iaguwuom, another classmate in the Theology Department, said that Kellenyi is noted for his friendly disposition, his academic acumen, and his willingness to constructively engage professors during class. "He’s helped our classes become very informative discussions," he remarked, and "his willingness to help other students is tremendous. I’ve learned a lot from Joe." And Beatrice Kamus, a theology student from Uganda seconds Fr. Iaguwuom’s remarks: "Joe is one of the most prominent students in the [Department], and has been one of the most helpful to me over the past year." Brendan Sammon, now a religion teacher at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, knew Kellenyi for three years while a graduate student in Theology at Louvain. Sammon, who met Kellenyi through his involvement at the American College, described him as "a true disciple of Christ." Sammon noticed that many students at Louvain, himself included, looked up to Kellenyi as a "trusted older brother." Others in Louvain certainly corroborated that impression for me.

But Crisis mentions none of this! It doesn’t fit into its image of Kellenyi as a lying and paranoid loose cannon.

Crisis also forgets to mention that Kellenyi was a well-respected and accomplished businessman in both the U.S. and England before he left behind a $300,000 annual salary to study for the priesthood. Crisis also neglects to mention that Kellenyi was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy while a seminarian.

In other words, the portrait painted of Kellenyi by those outside the American College seminary at Louvain (i.e., those with no vested interest in defending the seminary) directly contradicts the Crisis portrait crafted by assembling quotes from his seminary peers about whom he had complaints. Crisis characterizes Kellenyi as unbalanced, paranoid, and prone to lying. But oddly, no one I interviewed thought Kellenyi unbalanced, paranoid, or prone to lying. No one! On the contrary, they characterized him consistently as a model student, a helpful classmate, and a trustworthy friend.

On top of that, Kellenyi submitted himself to a lie detector test at his own expense (around $2000) with internationally acclaimed polygraph specialist Jeremy Barrett, Managing Director of the London-based Polygraph Security Services, Ltd. In his detailed certified report, Barrett said: "There is no doubt that Mr. Kellenyi was truthful in all his responses." Kellenyi answered questions pertaining to every aspect of the information that was attributed to him in Goodbye, Good Men. Though the results of polygraph tests are not infallible, experts claim that they are reliable in 99% of cases. Polygraph evidence is used widely by governments and law enforcement agencies in many countries including the U.S. and England.

But if Joseph Kellenyi is not the psychologically unbalanced liar that Crisis makes him out to be in its hatchet job, then the Crisis article falls apart.

Crisis Discards Evidence That Doesn’t Fit Its Purpose

After impugning Kellenyi’s reputation, Crisis sets to work dismembering mine. The first target of the attack is my use of Kellenyi’s official final evaluation from the seminary, which includes reviews by student peers and some faculty members, including summary comments by the Rector. Crisis makes much ado about my contrasting of Wolfgang Diedrich’s glowing peer evaluation of Kellenyi with the emotionally negative one rendered by Patrick Van Durme, the seminarian Kellenyi accused of sexually harassing him for months. Crisis judged that my "use of Kellenyi’s theological evaluation and Dietrich [sic] and Van Durme’s peer reviews was, at best, careless." To prove its point, Crisis first calls upon Diedrich. But Diedrich immediately calls his own credibility into question when he tries to explain away his glowing peer evaluation of Kellenyi. His supportive evaluation calls Kellenyi "brilliant… compassionate… extremely industrious" as well as "friendly, knowledgeable, and engaging." He describes Kellenyi as "fairly understanding of people and circumstances." Nevertheless, the Crisis article suggests that Diedrich didn’t really mean what he wrote: "I wanted to write a positive evaluation, because I knew a lot of people didn’t think very highly of Joe." If Diedrich didn’t really mean what he wrote on Kellenyi’s peer evaluation, how can readers know Diedrich really meant what he said to Crisis?

Crisis also insinuates that Diedrich was the only reviewer who wrote positively of Kellenyi. This is not at all true: Giuliano Lupinetti gave a glowing report, in my estimation even more positive than Diedrich’s. For example, Lupinetti writes: Kellenyi is "a man of knowledge and what is more he goes out of his way to explain things to those who ask and [to] discuss in an adult manner things which might not be in complete agreement among those present," and "Joe works well with the people who attend Mass on Sundays. The younger people are able to approach him confidently and easily and those more mature people in attendance recognize him as an equal and treat him with respect." Lupinetti also attested that Kellenyi "works hard at whatever he does," and even says that he "would be pleased to work with him as his only associate pastor were [Kellenyi] pastor. Joe gets things done. Not only does he get things done, he goes to the trouble to find out well what needs to be done."

And then there’s Joseph Arsenault, who renders a mixed review of Kellenyi, but is in many ways positive. Far from being emotional in tone, Arsenault’s criticisms of Kellenyi are professional, well-mannered, and reasoned. For example, he writes, "I would have to say that I believe that Joseph’s spirituality is of a more traditional nature. I do not see this in itself as bad; however I do feel that Joseph is less open to other forms or expressions of spirituality/worship." Fair enough. But Arsenault also makes many positive observations such as "I see Joe as a serious student" and "he is very knowledgeable in many fields." Thus, out of the four seminarian peers assigned to evaluate Kellenyi, only Van Durme criticizes him in a fully negative, immature, and emotional way. Yet it’s Van Durme’s criticisms that are used by then-Rector Fr. David Windsor to hang Kellenyi. And that was exactly the point made in Goodbye, Good Men.

I characterized Van Durme’s peer review as "rambling and incoherent," and that it did nothing other than "express frustration and jealousy." Although Crisis amazingly disagrees, that’s still my reading of it — and I’m not the only one. Dr. John Fraunces, a Philadelphia-area psychologist who evaluates seminary candidates for the Diocese of Allentown, also read the Van Durme peer evaluation. "The style in which he writes," said Fraunces, "is terribly immature. This is high-school prose that should never have been accepted by his superiors, especially in view of the fact that there were other evaluations written to the contrary in a very professional, competent, and objective manner." Furthermore, said Dr. Fraunces, Van Durme’s evaluation of Kellenyi was written with "sexual undertones" and uses "buzzwords" typically bandied about by "gay" cliques in seminaries. Dr. Fraunces added: "This [evaluation] is a childish and inane exercise by someone who obviously had a personal animus against Kellenyi, or else he was set up by someone to do a hatchet job. He uses the type of verbiage that would put most heterosexual men on guard and give them second thoughts about staying in the seminary. It should never have been accepted or taken seriously." Fr. Andrew Walter, who read the evaluation when he was still unfamiliar with the context, commented that "it’s written with a very subjective passion, almost as if by someone who was unrequited." Fr. Walter, a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport, said he received peer reports of a similar nature before he was expelled from St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore (widely nicknamed the "Pink Palace").

After reading the Crisis article, Dr. Fraunces commented, "This peer evaluation is a quintessential example of what Goodbye, Good Men is saying about having a homosexual clique control who stays in seminary and who gets booted. If the people at Crisis magazine don’t understand that this evaluation by Van Durme is a clear and stark example of what’s the matter with the seminaries and why we’re having a crisis in vocations, I can only say that they are invincibly naïve."

What’s even more astounding, however, is that upon graduation and ordination, Van Durme, who according to Dr. Fraunces writes in "high school prose" and with "sexual undertones," was invited back to the American College of Louvain by the Rector as a faculty peer the following year, and put in charge of the pre-theology seminarians. Now why would Crisis ignore this important piece of information? Because it harks back to Kellenyi’s contention that Van Durme claimed over and over again that he had a lot of influence with the American College Rector, and the threat that he would use that influence against Kellenyi if he didn’t accept Van Durme as his close friend and de facto formation advisor. In the end: Kellenyi gets expelled, and Van Durme gets ordained by the highly liberal Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester, and is given a faculty position by the Rector of his seminary.

Crisis Ignores More Evidence

In addition to the peer reviews, Kellenyi’s Pastoral Supervisor, Fr. Francis Reilly, characterized him as "very friendly, outgoing, and hospitable with the Sunday community of the American College…. Joe is flexible and cooperative…. Joe also works well with the seminarian philosophers. Although he only joined the pastoral team at the beginning of the second semester, he fits in well. Therefore again he is flexible and adaptable…. Joe proves an effective presence among the people. The people appreciate Joe’s presence. The people see Joe as warm and welcoming, and as someone who is serious about being a seminarian. He fits in well with other team members." Fr. Reilly offered not one word of criticism — only praise. And because he served as Kellenyi’s spiritual advisor, Fr. Reilly was not given a vote as to whether or not Kellenyi could continue at the American College.

Again, Crisis wholly ignored this information.

Even Fr. Kevin Codd, the current Rector who is now publicly denouncing Kellenyi, had this to say in his evaluation: "[Kellenyi] is a person who seems to understand himself well, has a great deal of self-confidence and is committed to his pursuit of his academic and theological development. I support him as he continues on the path towards ministry in the Church." Now does it sound like Fr. Codd is writing about a man who is a "loose cannon who could blow at any moment"?

The most important point to be made about the evaluation, again, is that Van Durme’s criticisms seem to be given undue weight by then-Rector Fr. David Windsor in his own summary comments —as stated in my book. Crisis misses this point when it inexplicably asserts to the contrary that Van Durme’s criticisms were shared by the faculty. The "Theology I Evaluation" (also referred to as the "Theology I Assessment") does not bear this out. Then-Rector Fr. Windsor simply rephrases criticisms made solely by Van Durme. Fr. Windsor, for example, writes that Kellenyi "connects better with those in the community who are twenty and twenty one [sic] years of age. While one seminary student rightly observes that this is Joe’s ‘entry group’ and they were all outsiders together, it is worth addressing this cross generational issue." Well, it’s worth comparing Fr. Windsor’s quote to Van Durme’s, who writes: "[Kellenyi] only hangs out with the youngest members of the community and has no interest in close contact with the more senior members even after advances were made," and then again, "Only the youngest members of the community seem to have his interest."

Interestingly enough, Wolfgang Diedrich is the only other person who addresses this so-called cross-generational issue when he defends Kellenyi in his peer evaluation against Van Durme’s accusation: "I realize that Joe may have come under some scrutiny for relating more with the younger members of the philosophy community than [with] the members of the theology community, but I do not find this strange since Joe has no immediate classmates. The philosophy students came to the house at the same time as Joe, and thus, along with Joe, they were the only unestablished members of the community at the beginning of the year. Since, It [sic] is natural for new members of a community to bond with one another at the outset of starting a new program in a foreign place, I personally do not find his interactions with the younger students to be unhealthy or inappropriate in any way."

Someone else at the seminary suggested another reason why Kellenyi was drawn to the younger philosophy students: because they were united in a fraternal orthodoxy, which Kellenyi did not find among the theology students who were nearer his age. That also happens to be exactly how Kellenyi described the situation.

Crisis Is Unable to Follow Its Own Dictum

Crisis also suggests that my reporting is disingenuous because I did not contact officials at the seminary to get their side of the story. Yet in Goodbye, Good Men I make very clear the Rector’s response to Kellenyi’s charges. Fr. Windsor is quoted from his August 25, 2000, letter to Kellenyi informing him that he was dismissed from the American College for "calumny against The College and its personnel" and for a "pattern of deception and abuse." The Rector’s position could not have been made clearer. Fr. Windsor is also quoted as writing to Kellenyi: "In my opinion, you are in serious need of psychological help…before you cause yourself and others untold damage." In other words, Fr. Windsor dismisses Kellenyi in writing as being mentally unfit for seminary and society. I, however, have a copy of Kellenyi’s psychological evaluation that was used as part of the admissions process into seminary. That evaluation unequivocally states that Kellenyi is a well-balanced and mentally fit man. Written by Dr. Jeffrey M. Slutskey, Kellenyi is summed up thus: "He is an internally strong, emotionally stable man who comes across as intelligent, accomplished and competent."

Furthermore, Crisis’s hypocrisy is revealed in its author’s one-sidedness. He writes under the guise of impartiality, yet he takes Louvain’s Fr. David Windsor and Fr. Kevin Codd (the "officials") at their word on everything they’re claiming. Crisis failed to practice the very thing it was sanctimoniously preaching: getting all sides before making any conclusions. Why did Crisis not contact officials or other students at the Theology Department (not the seminary) at the University of Louvain? Why did Crisis not contact Kellenyi’s vocations director in the Diocese of Venice (Florida) to see if he took the Louvain evaluation of Kellenyi seriously? Why did Crisis fail to contact Fr. Francis Reilly, Kellenyi’s spiritual adviser? Why did Crisis fail to contact Kellenyi’s former business associates? Crisis cannot apparently live up to the standards for which it so vehemently calls. Most damning is that Crisis was not interested in meeting with Kellenyi, even though he offered to meet with the folks at Crisis at their Washington office at his own expense to go over the evidence he had in hand that enabled him to make the claims he did. One could easily conclude that Crisis was intent on doing a spin-control puff piece for the Louvain seminary.

Crisis Misses the Point on Homosexuality

A major point of contention brought out by Crisis regards the existence of a "gay" subculture at Louvain during the year Kellenyi spent there (1999-2000). Crisis misinterprets Kellenyi, disregarding the stated facts in the book, when it repeatedly questions the existence of an "active gay community" (my italics). That’s not at all how Kellenyi characterized it. He is quoted in Goodbye, Good Men as saying that it was his impression that there was a "homosexual clique" (he said nothing about an "active gay subculture") at the American College. Fr. Donald Cozzens, former Rector of Cleveland’s seminary, in his book The Changing Face of the Priesthood, speaks of the chronic destabilization that heterosexual men experience in certain seminaries that are home to an inordinate number of (active or not) homosexual students and/or faculty members. According to Kellenyi, this is what he experienced when he was a seminarian at the American College of Louvain. He felt ostracized by a clique that he perceived was, at best, "campy." Now, if one wants to corroborate the existence of a "gay" or campy clique at a seminary, would one contact the Rector or some other seminary official and ask him expecting to get a straight answer? Crisis implies yes. I respectfully say no.

Crisis then calls upon Wolfgang Diedrich, once again, in order to prove that no "gay subculture" was extant at Louvain. But judging from what Diedrich says on behalf of Van Durme, he inadvertently seems to confirm the opposite: "Of all the people I knew in seminary, Pat Van Durme was the one guy who was without a doubt clearly heterosexual." One could easily conclude from this that everyone else was or might have been homosexual, that there was indeed a homosexual clique.

Crisis also quotes Kellenyi’s classmate Fr. Joseph Marcoux (pictured at left) as saying, "I certainly never experienced a gay subculture at Louvain. I never saw anything like that." Like what? Fr. Marcoux, ordained in 2001, and now Assistant Pastor at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester, N.Y., himself conducts gay/lesbian workshops. For example, according to the newsletter of the Diocese of Rochester’s Gay and Lesbian Ministry, Fr. Marcoux conducted one last year at Our Lady of Peace entitled "Gay and Lesbian People in the Church."

The Diocese of Rochester and Bishop Matthew Clark (Van Durme’s and Marcoux’s boss) in fact have long bastardized the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Consider this gem from Bishop Clark during a homily at a highly publicized Mass for "gays, lesbians, and bisexuals" at Sacred Heart Cathedral: "I’m afraid the Bible is used in ways that are not life-giving, but destructive, as it’s quoted about gay and lesbian people. I think we need to learn from the human sciences" (March 1, 1997). According to The Wanderer’s News Editor, Paul Likoudis, who attended the Mass, during his homily Bishop Clark "not only affirmed the ‘lifestyles’ of gays and lesbians, saying they had much to teach the wider Church, but delivered a stinging rebuke to faithful Catholics and admonished them to ‘update’ themselves on contemporary biblical scholarship."

The following year (1998) Bishop Clark hosted the annual conference of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries. Participants included a long list of the most radical dissenters from Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Their "gay issues" agenda: blessing same-sex "marriages" in the Church, transforming Catholic high schools into "gay-friendly" schools, adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples, introducing gay themes in Sunday homilies, and working for the "conversion" of those Catholics who still object to homosexuality. (See http://www.aquinas-multimedia.com/catherine/nacdlgm.html for in-depth detail on what was taught at that conference.)

According to a photo-caption in the September 21, 1998, issue of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Patrick Van Durme (Kellenyi’s accused harasser) attended that bizarre gay/lesbian conference. There’s even a photo in the Democrat & Chronicle to prove it: Van Durme is pictured receiving Communion from Bishop Clark, whose hand oddly rests on Van Durme’s shoulder.

The Crisis article also relies on too many assumptions as evidence. For example, Crisis states that Van Durme was once engaged to be married, leading readers to believe that this fact renders any accusations of the man having homosexual attractions devoid of credence. On its own, the fact that Van Durme was engaged proves nothing. After all, notorious homosexual priest/abuser Rudy Kos of Dallas, among others, was once engaged and married.

While Crisis spends an inordinate amount of time on the question of whether Van Durme is "gay" or not, it’s worth pointing out again that Kellenyi accused him of sexual harassment: an abuse of power. The difference between a homosexual and a homosexualist may be a small one. In his peer review of Kellenyi, Van Durme accuses him of not being interested in "gay issues." Van Durme attended a conference that promoted "gay issues" that radically undermine the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. The bishop who sponsored Van Durme has personally promoted teachings and proposals that are at odds with the Catholic Church on homosexuality. Van Durme is said to have been friends for 15 years with Rochester priest Fr. Joseph Marcoux, who teaches gay/lesbian workshops. And as I quoted Kellenyi as saying in my book, "He [Van Durme] told me one time that the way I was sitting in my chair made him want to fly across the room and grab me." That doesn’t necessarily make Van Durme an active homosexual, but any normal, red-blooded male would surely want to avoid such a person, would not want a "close relationship" with him. There’s enough evidence to suggest that Kellenyi’s impression of Van Durme is not as outrageous as Crisis makes it sound. In the end, whether or not Van Durme is "gay" is irrelevant.

Crisis Fails to Ask Around About Louvain

I talked to others in both Louvain and the U.S. who corroborated Kellenyi’s "impression" of the Louvain seminary. In fact, I spoke to two successful vocations directors who said neither they nor their bishops would consider sending seminarians to Louvain, one of the reasons being the seminary’s "effeminate reputation." Could they prove that there was homosexual activity going on inside the walls of the seminary? No, said both. But that wasn’t the point.

(Crisis gets perturbed when I quote unnamed sources. As I stated in the introduction to Goodbye, Good Men, priests fear reprisals from their fellow priests and especially their bishops. Here’s a case-in-point: Earlier this year Fr. Bryce Sibley of Lafayette, Louisiana, was censured for six months by his bishop because he publicly corroborated Kellenyi’s impression of the homosexual clique at Louvain. Fr. Sibley said his impressions were formed while on a week-long visit to the seminary in 1997, during which time he was a student at the North American College in Rome. Shortly after Fr. Sibley posted his article online, a letter of complaint from Louvain Rector Fr. Codd resulted in the swift removal of the offending article from circulation at the demand of his bishop, and Fr. Sibley’s subsequent silencing.)

The vocations directors I spoke with indicated that many of the U.S. bishops have been very reluctant to send their seminarians to Louvain, and that for some bishops Louvain "isn’t even on the radar." The statistics bear this out. Crisis neglected to mention that during the year Kellenyi attended, the American College at Louvain had only 14 seminarians. In fact, out of the entire United States, Joseph Kellenyi was the only man to enter the Theologate in the Fall of 1999. In other words, Kellenyi was the only man in his class. He had no classmates! According to the seminary’s website, the entire student population of the seminary’s Theologate during the 2001-02 academic year had dwindled to seven men with an additional four in the pre-theology program. [The Theologate further dwindled to five men during the 2002-03, making for a student:teacher ration of 1 to 1]. These numbers don’t even justify a fraction of the cost of running the seminary. And one wonders if donors to the American College are aware of this. When I spoke by phone with Barbara Henkels, a member of the Advisory Board for the Louvain seminary (and a member of the Publication Committee for Crisis), she seemed genuinely surprised — even shocked — when I explained that Kellenyi was the only man in his class. Out of the 184 U.S. dioceses, only six sent a seminarian to Louvain’s American College in 2001-2002.

When wondering why only a handful of bishops send men to Louvain, consider that Louvain "boasts" many world-renowned liberal Church theologians. Prof. Joseph Selling, Chairman of the Department of Moral Theology at Louvain, for example, has become a controversial figure in the U.S. At the pro-"gay" New Ways Ministry National Symposium in Pittsburgh in March 1997 (at which Bishop Matthew Clark was also a guest speaker), Selling spoke of his expectation that the Church will approve of homosexual sodomy. Is the Church’s teaching on sodomy going to continue to evolve, he asked?: "With respect to the homosexual relationship, will it evolve toward encompassing it? Yes, it will!" he emphatically replied.

Selling, editor of The Splendor of Accuracy, a book which mocks Pope John Paul II’s encyclical The Splendor of Truth, also argues in New Theology Review No. 11 (1998) that heterosexuality and homosexuality are merely two alternative forms of living. In his analysis, the basic immorality of homosexual acts is not considered, rather only the "quality" of such a relationship determines its morality. If it’s consensual, loving, and stable, he reasons, then it’s moral — even if to others it’s sodomy. Theology students at Louvain laugh at the notoriety Prof. Selling has received in the U.S. "Some of the other theology professors at Louvain make Selling look like a ‘right-winger,’" explained Boone, the Belgian Jesuit.

"It's easy to lose your priestly identity here [at Louvain]."
-- Father Innocent Iaguwuom,
Theology student, University of Louvain

Part of the "progressive" nature of the Theology Department is an anti-clericalism of sorts, or perhaps more accurately, an overzealous egalitarianism. According to the Nigerian Fr. Iaguwuom, "It’s easy to lose your priestly identity here." He added that in his experience "no priest dares to wear his collar here because he’d be ridiculed." Priests who are students in the Theology Department, he lamented, are never referred to as Father: "Their priesthood is not recognized."

Crisis Makes Michael Rose the Issue

When Goodbye, Good Men was published, Alice von Hildebrand (who wrote the Foreword to the Aquinas edition) and Fr. Kenneth Baker, Editor of Homiletic & Pastoral Review, both warned me that I would be attacked, but I never seriously considered that the attack would come from Crisis magazine and other so-called conservative Catholic publications. The net effect of these reviews has been to draw attention away from the issues in the book and focus on the author. Unfortunately, for Crisis, Michael Rose has become the issue. In many ways this mimics what has transpired in Catholic seminaries over the past several decades. (And certainly mimics what happened in Kellenyi’s case.) Those who dare go against the status quo are singled out for particularly harsh treatment and persecuted to no end. The stock tactic is to discredit the source by calling him psychologically unfit. In this case, Crisis’s argument rests almost entirely on discrediting the primary source, Joseph Kellenyi. But if Kellenyi is not a crackpot, which he is not, then Crisis’s article entitled "A Question of Integrity" would more aptly apply to Crisis magazine itself.

Crisis magazine’s defense of a troubled and shrinking liberal seminary seems strangely out of character, and I hope it reflects a temporary lapse in judgment. The Pope has ordered a "serious" investigation of seminaries affiliated with the U.S. Church, with particular regard to dissent, homosexual cliques, and the abuse of psychological testing. Those who wish to cover up these crippling problems will no doubt brandish the Crisis article. That Crisis has been willing to do the dirty work for liberal Catholics reveals an astounding naïveté — and let’s hope we’ve seen the last of such gullibility.

In spite of this, my sources in Rome tell me that Goodbye, Good Men is being read in the Vatican and is being taken very seriously. While the influence of a book is almost impossible to trace, I am greatly encouraged that the Vatican recently prepared a draft document that says that anyone with a homosexual orientation must not be admitted to seminary, and if said inclination is discovered later he must not be ordained. Also, the Vatican is working on a document that will eliminate as much as possible the abuse of psychological testing in the discernment of vocations, and John L. Allen Jr., the Rome Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, says that "one catalyst" for the latter document "has been the much-discussed book Goodbye, Good Men" (Aug. 2 issue).

While there are powerful forces who wish to sidetrack or derail the documents on homosexuality and psychological testing, and the seminary investigation, I continue to hope — and believe — that our seminary system will be reformed and rejuvenated.

Michael S. Rose is an investigative journalist, and the author of The Renovation Manipulation, Ugly as Sin, and of course Goodbye, Good Men.

.

If you would like to receive the December, 2002 issue of New Oxford Review, which contains the above article and others regarding Goodbye, Good Men, please write to: New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley CA, 94706. Single issues are $3.50. Complete subscription information is available online.


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Tuesday, October 8, 2002 11:32 a.m.

Killing Michael Rose

by Dale Vree This article appeared in the September 2002 issue of New Oxford Review.

It’s hard for Catholics today to keep the Faith. The culture both mocks Catholicism and tries to entice Catholics into skepticism and licentiousness (often successfully). Worse still, the culture has invaded the Church, such that good Catholics must endure skeptical and licentious priests, liturgical abuse, New Age homilies, spiritual malpractice, watered-down catechesis, secularized "Catholic" schools, etc. While it’s important to focus on all these grave problems, the question must be asked: What is their source?

The source, dear friends, is the seminary — not every one, but many of them. That’s why we regard Michael S. Rose’s new book on seminaries, Goodbye, Good Men (Regnery), as one of the most important Catholic books published in the past three or four decades. The book concretely and vividly describes how certain vocations directors and seminaries screen out manly orthodox men or, if such men manage to get in under the radar, persecute them or even force them out. Meanwhile, homosexuals and dissenters are welcomed and proceed to ordination.

The book’s sources come not only from the public record but, crucially, from interviews with 150 people, of whom 125 are or were in seminaries, representing 50 dioceses and 22 major seminaries. That’s a good data base, and they all tell essentially the same story. Were the book based on interviews with a handful of people, one might conclude that these are just tall tales from a gaggle of malcontents. But with so many folks concurring, the book rings true.

The book was researched and written in the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the Great Sex Scandals of 2002. Rose was on top of a situation that caught most of the Catholic world by surprise. Given the history of out-in-the-open and flagrant homosexuality at certain seminaries discussed by Rose, this book goes a long way in explaining how we could have so many degenerates and perverts in the priesthood.

Here, then, is a book that liberal Catholics wouldn’t like. But how would centrist Catholics handle such a potent book? One case in point is offered by Our Sunday Visitor (OSV), another by the National Catholic Register. OSV’s review (May 12) does allow that Rose "is doing important and courageous work" and that the book is worth reading, but calls the book "incendiary" and urges readers of the book to "bring a healthy dose of skepticism to Rose’s claims."

OSV says the book is a "wholesale condemnation of an entire system." That’s flatly untrue. Rose names eight seminaries — such as Mount Saint Mary’s in Emmitsburg and Holy Apostles in Connecticut — that are not undermining orthodoxy or orthopraxy.

OSV claims that Rose’s thesis is that there is a "churchwide conspiracy against the orthodox and straight." Per the above, Rose explicitly says the discrimination is not churchwide; moreover, Rose does not use the word "conspiracy."

OSV asserts that to prove his case, "Rose would have to get data from many dioceses, seminaries and religious orders about how many candidates have applied, how many of those have been turned away and what the reasons for dismissal were. He might even have had to personally visit some of the seminaries he critiques and do on-site reporting…."

But the notion that the officials in charge would have co-operated with an investigative journalist with a reputation for orthodoxy such as Rose — giving the real reasons men were screened out or dismissed — is preposterous. After all, there was a systematic on-site investigation of seminaries ordered by Pope John Paul II in 1981 (the Holy See knew back then that something was rotten in American seminaries). Unfortunately, the task was delegated to certain unreliable U.S. bishops and the result was a whitewash. Given all the sex scandals that have surfaced in recent years, and especially this year, who could possibly deny that it was a whitewash?

Indeed, if it wasn’t a whitewash, why did the summit meeting of all U.S. cardinals with the Pope in Rome on April 23-24 call for another Vatican investigation of U.S. seminaries? Here are the words of the call: "a new and serious Apostolic Visitation of seminaries and other institutes of formation must be made without delay, with particular emphasis on the need for fidelity to the Church’s teaching, especially in the area of morality, and the need for a deeper study of the criteria of suitability of candidates to the priesthood." Note the word serious!

As for the line about "the criteria of suitability of candidates to the priesthood," John L. Allen Jr., the National Catholic Reporter’s ace Rome Correspondent, explained its meaning (May 3): "Observers took this point as an oblique way of calling for a much tougher policy concerning the admission of homosexuals to seminary study. [Bishop Wilton] Gregory [President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] lent weight to this perception during an April 23 press briefing, acknowledging the existence of a ‘homosexual atmosphere and dynamic’ in some seminaries…. Gregory called for ‘an ongoing struggle to be sure that the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men.’ Conservative Catholic commentators…have argued that tolerance of a ‘homosexual subculture’ in the priesthood was partly to blame [for the priestly sex scandals]…. The summit endorsed that view." In other words, the summit essentially affirmed what Rose reported in his Goodbye, Good Men!

OSV’s review is titled "Good Men Tells Only Part of the Story," and the review concludes by saying that Rose’s book is "not, by any means, the whole story." Again, Rose never claimed to be telling the "whole story" about our entire seminary system. But OSV is also asserting that the part of the story Rose does tell is not the "whole story" either, for, says OSV, Rose is "relying on the testimony of only the dissatisfied," just telling "their side of their stories."

But we already know the "official" side of the story: "Everything is fine." Indeed, in many cases Rose did cite the official side of the story, and the response was denial, denial, denial. Now consider: If many bishops — successors of the Apostles — would cover up for pedophile and homosexual priests, and if in certain cases getting the pertinent documents required a court order, does anyone seriously believe that vocations directors and seminary officials would come clean? Puh-leez! Gads, not even an investigation ordered by the Pope could get the real story out of them.

But OSV’s review was rather mild compared to what would follow in OSV. In the news section of the June 23 OSV there’s an article titled "Read All About It: Publishers Looking for Ways to Cash In on a Contemporary Catholic Crisis." The crisis referred to is that of the priestly sex scandals. The article cites books coming out by "Church-basher Garry Wills" and "ex-priest Eugene Kennedy" — and the new Regnery edition of Goodbye, Good Men by "Michael Rose." A little guilt by association? Of Rose’s book, OSV says it was "scantily researched." Now, Rose spent two and one half years researching and writing the book and employed two research assistants. "Scantily researched"?

As for those greedy publishers trying to cash in on the scandals, that OSV article, dated June 23, failed to mention that Our Sunday Visitor itself was bringing out a book on the scandals on June 28. Of course, Our Sunday Visitor wasn’t trying to "cash in." Oh, no — no, no!

Curiously, Our Sunday Visitor’s book, written by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, actually vouches for the authenticity of Rose’s book. Says Fr. Groeschel: "I know for a fact that much of what Rose says is true, and that good, orthodox, chaste seminarians were discriminated against in some seminaries."

But there’s more. In the news section of the July 14 OSV there’s an article on Rose’s book titled, "Goodbye! Scurrilous Journalist?" with the subtitle, "Blooming Bad," presumably an allusion to Rose’s name. The essence of the article is this: "Rose bases his findings exclusively on interviews with men who say they were drummed out of seminaries for being ‘too othodox.’ He never checked their stories, didn’t do any original research, didn’t even call up the seminaries to hear their side of the story…. Now the rector of the American College at Louvain, Belgium, which took a blistering attack from Rose, has published a formal response on the seminary’s website (www.acl.be). Father Kevin Codd said a former seminarian’s charges that he was molested by the former rector and another seminarian were ‘scurrilous’ and had been proven by outside investigators to be ‘wholly without merit or substantiation.’ He said Rose never contacted the seminary to verify or seek a response to the charges…."

Rose then wrote a letter to the Editor of OSV to defend himself. Rose was told by the Editor that the letter, at 950 words, could not be printed because it was too long, but that Rose could re-write the letter with a 250 word limit. How strange! OSV has a special section in its letters section called "A Continuing Conversation" for lengthy letters. We checked through some recent issues of OSV and found, in the June 2 issue, a letter of 744 words. OSV could easily have printed Rose’s original letter, minus the less crucial last three paragraphs, and the word count would have been a hundred or so less than 744.

Since OSV doesn’t want to allow Rose to defend himself fully, we are printing his original letter in its entirety. Here it is:

Dear Editor,

Your unsigned article on my book Goodbye, Good Men ("Goodbye! Scurrilous Journalist?" July 14) presents a number of gross factual errors. In fact, there is so little that is accurate in the article that I presume the anonymous author has not even read the book.

First, it is reported that I base my findings "exclusively on interviews with men who say they were drummed out of seminaries for being ‘too orthodox.’" That is demonstrably false. Although I did conduct 150 personal interviews, I did not base my findings exclusively on these. Many of the interviewees had substantial documented evidence from which I quoted. Textbooks, class notes, syllabi, and tapes of class presentations used in seminary courses were also reviewed and presented as evidence in the book. Comparative statistics were presented, and a vast amount of relevant information from previously published sources was culled together under one cover as additional documentary evidence. Furthermore, not only did I interview many former and current seminarians, about one-third of the interviewees are now ordained priests. They are not men that I found to have axes to grind, but concerned priests who sincerely care about the well-being of the seminaries. Other interviewees served at one time as seminary professors or vocations directors.

Second, it is reported that I never checked their stories. This is also false. And I allegedly "didn’t do any original research." Again, false — in fact I hired two research assistants in the course of writing Goodbye, Good Men. I am then faulted for not giving the seminaries their side of the story. Yet, in many cases I quoted from written documentation provided by the seminaries in question. Yes, they were denials. The denials from rectors and bishops have been the same everywhere over past decades — couched in the same self-interest that grounds the excuses about shuffling around sex abusers. The response is invariably: "All is well." The problem with the accounts in Goodbye, Good Men is that typically no "crime" was committed, so that the untruthfulness of the empowered will not be judged in a neutral venue — e.g., the jury box. The sex abuse acts are not so easily spun away.

Third, your article misquotes Father Kevin Codd, the rector of Louvain’s American College Seminary in his formal response to my book. OSV claims that Fr. Codd "said a former seminarian’s charges that he was molested by the former rector and another seminarian were ‘scurrilous.’" In fact, Fr. Codd did not write that at all. The seminarian in question never charged that he was molested by anyone. If the author of the article would have read the relevant section in the book he would have known that.

In Goodbye, Good Men I report that the seminarian charged that he was "harassed" repeatedly by a fellow seminarian, and that his complaints were not taken seriously by seminary staff. OSV quotes that the seminarian’s charges were proved by "outside investigators to be ‘wholly without merit or substantiation.’" However, Fr. Codd wrote that the allegations were investigated by Bishop Edward Braxton, President of the American College. First, Bishop Braxton is not an "outside investigator," and second, if Bishop Braxton ever did investigate the matter he never bothered to contact the seminarian who made the allegations, even after the seminarian made an extraordinary effort to make himself available.

Fourth, I am also accused of not giving the rector’s side of the story. Again, if the author of the article read the section in question he would see that I did indeed give voice to the rector, who was quoted directly from written documents that are duly footnoted.

According to their official website, the American College at Louvain (in Belgium) had seven theology students and four pre-theology students during the 2001-02 academic year. One has to wonder why a seminary operated directly by the U.S. bishops has only a handful of students. Fr. Codd calls the American College "healthy." How can any seminary be said to be healthy when only 11 seminarians are being sent there out of the entire United States? Eleven students does not even justify paying the heating bill at the seminary. Contrast these numbers to the only other overseas seminary specifically serving Americans: The North American College, known as one of the most conservative seminaries in Rome, presently has a student body of a healthy 175.

The OSV article also inaccurately summarizes my conclusions. Oddly enough, the best summary of my conclusions might be expressed by Archbishop Elden Curtiss, who wrote in the October 5, 1995, issue of OSV that the priest shortage is "artificial and contrived." Furthermore, he continued, "It seems to me that the vocations ‘crisis’ is precipitated by people who want to change the Church’s agenda, by people who do not support orthodox candidates loyal to the magisterial teachings of the Pope and bishops, and by people who actually discourage viable candidates from seeking priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines these ministries." That is the crux of Goodbye, Good Men.

It is also worth noting that Father Benedict Groeschel in his new book From Scandal to Hope, published by Our Sunday Visitor, favorably recommends Goodbye, Good Men as contributing to a better understanding of the roots of the present sex abuse scandals. It even appears that Fr. Groeschel corroborates the factual basis of my book: "I know for a fact that much of what Rose says is true, and that good, orthodox, chaste seminarians were discriminated against in some seminaries" (p. 59).

Michael S. Rose Cincinnati, Ohio

The big question in all this (and in the next New Oxford Note) is: Why are moderate Catholic papers such as Our Sunday Visitor and the National Catholic Register so desperate to discredit Michael Rose’s book?

The Register Steps Into the Ring

The Features Editor of the National Catholic Register, one David Pearson, says he’s "hopping mad" at the New Oxford Review and Michael S. Rose (Register, June 30-July 6). He’s decided to jump into the ring and let us have it.

First let’s review the chronology. In the February 2002 NOR, Rose had a guest column called "MTV: A Recruiting Ground for Priests?," wherein he stated:

"In January 1999 the Diocese of Providence, one of the more liberal East Coast dioceses, initiated a major media blitz to ‘target’ potential candidates to the priesthood…. The Diocese has been running television commercials on the MTV network, a pop/rock music video station that doesn’t exactly promote Catholic morals, thought, or teaching. The Diocese’s Vocations Director explained that ‘the best place to reach potential candidates would be on MTV and the Comedy Channel’…. Thoughtful Catholics wonder why a Catholic diocese would advertise to an audience that sits on the couch plugged into video music from bands such as Marilyn Manson, Godsmack, Limp Bizkit, and Porno for Pyros. This is the ultimate in ‘cold call’ marketing techniques, and even makes faithful Catholics wonder if the Diocese is trying to attract un-churched men [into the priesthood]. Jason Bodoin, who told me that he ‘wouldn’t be caught dead watching MTV,’ wonders why the Diocese would advertise on MTV instead of Mother Angelica’s EWTN. Bodoin, who considers himself an orthodox Catholic, applied to the priestly formation program in the Diocese of Providence in 1999…. After being interviewed by a woman he describes as a ‘radical ex-nun,’ he was declared ‘rigid,’ ‘hostile,’ and ‘reactionary’ for holding to Church teaching on essential issues of the Faith…. Soon thereafter he received a rejection notice."

As was explained in the column, Jason Bodoin is a pseudonym, so as "to protect his identity as he seeks another diocese to accept him into seminary."

The essence of the above was reprinted in Rose’s book Goodbye, Good Men (Regnery edition, pp. 237-38; Aquinas edition, pp. 338-39). In the book, Rose identified the Vocations Director as Fr. Marcel L. Taillon, and added another quotation from Fr. Taillon explaining the campaign as well as a quotation from the diocesan newspaper justifying the MTV commercials. Also, the pseudonym of the rejected candidate was changed from Jason Bodoin to Patrick Simmons. In the Introduction to his book, Rose explained why some of the people he interviewed chose pseudonyms: "Some of my sources have asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons — priests, because they fear retribution from their bishops or brother priests; and current seminarians, because they believe their frankness would jeopardize their chances of being recommended for ordination…. Some former seminarians and those who have not yet been accepted into a formation program also chose to remain nameless to maximize their chances of being accepted into a diocese or religious order."

Then, in the May NOR in response to Rose’s column, there appeared a letter from Bradford Lefoley, saying: "Let me introduce you to the priest behind the [MTV] media folly: He is the chaplain at the high school I attend, and allow me to give you some background on what he (being very influential at my school and deeply involved in Peer Ministry) has allowed…." Lefoley didn't identify Fr. Taillon by name, but he listed seven problematic items, adding, "These are just a few of many injustices on which this priest has remained silent or in which he has participated."

So why is the Register’s Pearson so enraged by all this? Because Fr. Taillon is a "personal friend" of Pearson’s. And Pearson describes Fr. Taillon in glowing terms: "steadfast," "dedicated," "very faithful," "holy," and a "great priest." Not only that, but Fr. Taillon is virtually on par with the eucharistic Christ: "I’ve seen him consecrate and adore and reverence and preach the Eucharist so zealously and so often that I can no longer call one to mind without thinking of the other."

Fr. Taillon may be holy, but holiness does not guarantee good judgment. One can certainly question the wisdom of trying to recruit holy priests from the MTV milieu. The Christ of the Eucharist earlier walked this earth, saying, "Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces" (Mt. 7:6). In this context, that’s probably too harsh, so let’s go with a modern paraphrase of that verse which is most apt: "Don’t be flip with the sacred…. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege" (THE MESSAGE version). Rose’s book is about certain kinds of men who have entered our seminaries and become priests, and who, as we all know, have turned against their vow of celibacy and torn the Church’s reputation to pieces.

Well, Pearson comes out swinging, announcing that "I’m going to set the record straight on Father Taillon." Pearson is very agitated with the NOR for publishing Lefoley’s letter. Pearson nonetheless says nothing about six of the seven particulars Lefoley listed. But he takes a swing at one of them. Here it is, in Lefoley’s words: "Then there is the torture orthodox Catholic students are forced to endure in Lifeteen ‘Liturgies,’ in which the Blessed Sacrament is crushed into the floor and the electric guitars shatter what should be a sacred silence. During these ‘Liturgies,’ the priest in question has composed little ditties to the Blessed Mother out of such songs as ‘Mambo #5.’" Pearson says this "allegation" is "despicable," but does not refute Lefoley’s account and does not even say it’s false. It’s just a wild swing that completely misses the target.

Then instead of trying to land a blow, Pearson just talks trash: Lefoley is "hysterical" and his letter is "rubbish" and a "tirade" and a "wacky rant," even insinuating that Lefoley is "unbalanced mentally or emotionally."

Pearson lunges at the NOR, saying "Teen-agers [such as Lefoley] who rail against authority figures in their life should be at the top of the list of those whose accusations should never run unchecked." Thus, asserts Pearson, the NOR lacks "journalistic excellence." As a matter of fact, the Editor of the NOR did call Lefoley (on March 5, 2002) to get background on him and check out his story before printing the letter, something that is rarely done with letters to the editor. Pearson also lunges at Rose, saying that in the book Rose "shot his own credibility squarely in the foot." Pearson makes this grandiose judgment on the basis of reading only two pages of the book, those on his personal friend, Fr. Taillon. Pearson admits he’s read nothing else in the book and makes bold to say he "will never" do so. Curiously, Pearson’s lengthy piece is basically presented as a commentary on Rose’s book. What kind of "journalistic excellence" is it that evaluates a book based on only two pages about a personal friend?

With regard to both Rose’s column in the NOR and Rose’s book, Pearson huffs and puffs at Rose: "Interview multiple sources. Only quote people willing to give their names and speak on the record." Pearson’s piece as it appears on the Internet (ncregister.com) ends with this: "For sound journalism on the seminary crisis, see John Burger’s ‘What’s Going on in the U.S.? Seminarians Have Surprising Answers to the Pope’s Question’ from the April 21-27 National Catholic Register."

OK, we read that article, and here’s what we found:

· "One former vocations director, who asked not to be identified, felt that…."

· "One vocations director who asked not to be identified said that…."

· "Some observers said that many seminaries continue to…."

So much for "only quoting people willing to give their names"! And we found this:

· The Burger article interviewed Fr. John Canary, rector of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill. (known simply as Mundelein), giving his take on the situation at Mundelein. Fr. Canary’s verdict: All is well. (Not surprisingly, this Canary with a vested interest is no canary.) Did the Register cite "multiple" opinions about Mundelein? No. Just Canary’s. But the Register could easily have done so. Burger made reference to Goodbye, Good Men in his article — and gave no indication that he found anything wrong with the book — but did not mention anything about Mundelein from Rose’s book. Why not? Suffice it to say that Canary’s Mundelein is, according to Rose’s book, one of the most flagrantly homosexual-friendly seminaries in the country. And two of those who testify gave their actual names. See Goodbye, Good Men (Regnery edition, pp. 55, 59-63, 71-78; Aquinas edition, pp. 91, 95-100, 112-22).

So how is it that the Register demands certain things of journalists that it itself doesn’t practice? With all this heavy breathing and flailing, Pearson only trips himself up. Not a pretty sight.

But there’s more: The July 7-13 Register carries a letter from Rose defending his book. But the Editor of the Register jumps into the ring with a reply, suggesting that Rose has done "significant damage" to Fr. Taillon’s "reputation" because Rose based his report on a nameless source ("it’s bad journalism to base an investigative report on the testimony of an anonymous source") and that in "impugning" Fr. Taillon’s reputation Rose may have committed a mortal sin ("for Catholics, the impugning of people’s reputations — particularly those of priests and bishops — constitutes grave matter"). However, the information on Fr. Taillon’s MTV commercials was not based on an anonymous source: It was based on Fr. Taillon’s own words from an article in the diocesan paper of Providence. If Fr. Taillon’s reputation has been damaged, it was a self-inflicted wound. And then the July 14-20 Register carries a letter defending Rose, and the Editor again jumps in with a reply, denouncing Rose again and pointing to John Burger’s article in the Register as an example of sound journalism. As we saw, that article relied on anonymous sources, one of which even impugned the "doctrinal" integrity of "bishops"! Is hypocrisy, we wonder, "grave matter"?

On top of this, the Register has rejected advertising for Goodbye, Good Men in its pages. Something funny is going on here.

When it comes to internal Church battles — the fight for the soul of the Church — the Register is usually content to sit in the crowd munching peanuts. But not with Michael Rose. Fine. Actually, we’re glad to see the Register jump into the ring — even if on the wrong side. Advice to the Register for next time: If you ever expect to lay a glove on anyone, you must get in shape, get a good trainer, and practice with a sparring partner. Above all, get your head in the game.

Until then…

Dale Vree is editor of New Oxford Review.

1 posted on 12/16/2002 12:01:08 PM PST by Polycarp
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To: *Catholic_list; .45MAN; AKA Elena; al_c; american colleen; Angelus Errare; Antoninus; ...
the Vatican is working on a document that will eliminate as much as possible the abuse of psychological testing in the discernment of vocations, and John L. Allen Jr., the Rome Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, says that "one catalyst" for the latter document "has been the much-discussed book Goodbye, Good Men" (Aug. 2 issue).
2 posted on 12/16/2002 12:02:45 PM PST by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
Why is Michael Rose such a target, even for those that would seem to agree with him?
3 posted on 12/16/2002 12:26:56 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
Why is Michael Rose such a target, even for those that would seem to agree with him?

Because he's questioning church decisions and exposing conservative negligence.

It's a rough book to read. Have an adult beverage handy.
4 posted on 12/16/2002 12:29:04 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Polycarp
Thanks for posting this defense of Michael Rose. It's clear that Crisis magazine sold out. I hope they got at least 30 pieces of silver from the bishops. This says a lot more about the reliability of Crisis than it does about Michael Rose.
5 posted on 12/16/2002 12:40:53 PM PST by Maximilian
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To: Polycarp
Michael Rose has become the issue. In many ways this mimics what has transpired in Catholic seminaries over the past several decades. (And certainly mimics what happened in Kellenyi’s case.) Those who dare go against the status quo are singled out for particularly harsh treatment and persecuted to no end. The stock tactic is to discredit the source by calling him psychologically unfit. In this case, Crisis’s argument rests almost entirely on discrediting the primary source, Joseph Kellenyi. But if Kellenyi is not a crackpot, which he is not, then Crisis’s article entitled "A Question of Integrity" would more aptly apply to Crisis magazine itself.

Crisis magazine’s defense of a troubled and shrinking liberal seminary seems strangely out of character, and I hope it reflects a temporary lapse in judgment. The Pope has ordered a "serious" investigation of seminaries affiliated with the U.S. Church, with particular regard to dissent, homosexual cliques, and the abuse of psychological testing. Those who wish to cover up these crippling problems will no doubt brandish the Crisis article. That Crisis has been willing to do the dirty work for liberal Catholics reveals an astounding naïveté — and let’s hope we’ve seen the last of such gullibility.

In spite of this, my sources in Rome tell me that Goodbye, Good Men is being read in the Vatican and is being taken very seriously. While the influence of a book is almost impossible to trace, I am greatly encouraged that the Vatican recently prepared a draft document that says that anyone with a homosexual orientation must not be admitted to seminary, and if said inclination is discovered later he must not be ordained. Also, the Vatican is working on a document that will eliminate as much as possible the abuse of psychological testing in the discernment of vocations, and John L. Allen Jr., the Rome Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, says that "one catalyst" for the latter document "has been the much-discussed book Goodbye, Good Men" (Aug. 2 issue).

It is odd that Crisis, of all publications, should be so protective of the status quo. I thought they were into exposing what is wrong in the Church? I think it shows that life is complicated, and that we especially don't want to know that men whom we thought to be our friends and allies, are in fact not what they seemed to be.

6 posted on 12/16/2002 12:49:40 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: Desdemona
There may well have been "conservative negligence" but it would pale in significance beside the willful campaign of AmChurch leftists in diocesan power to corrupt the seminaries and seminarians. This scandal is not generally accidental as Rose well explains in his book which ought to be read by everyone, Catholic and otherwise, who may care about the truth of this scandal.
7 posted on 12/16/2002 12:50:47 PM PST by BlackElk
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To: Polycarp; Antoninus; sinkspur; BBarcaro; american colleen; Sock; Desdemona; Catholicguy; ...
From the article Rose wrote:
The third article was published by Culture Wars. E. Michael Jones, not only the Editor but the personification of Culture Wars, admitted to me that he hadn’t read Goodbye, Good Men when he published a five-page review of the book studded with many factual errors written by recently ordained Fr. Robert J. Johansen. Curiously, the majority of his criticisms — much of it based on erroneous second-hand information — focused on events and issues that weren’t even mentioned in the book he was supposedly reviewing. Despite the numerous and blatant inaccuracies of the Johansen broadside (pointed out by me and by others), it has been quoted or cited uncritically by everyone from the National Catholic Register to "gay" apologist Andrew Sullivan. [See the article by Jay McNally in this NOR — Ed.]
Nary a word of mention of the fact that Rose’s lawyer started threatening this priest with a libel suit, and when that wasn’t sufficient, he also apparently threatened the priest’s Bishop. From the NOR article:
What's Michael Rose to do when an authority figure such as a priest is spreading serious misinformation about him, and other Catholic journalists are spreading these falsehoods? Rose told me this: "Just about every time I tried to communicate with Fr. Johansen either by phone or by e-mail, he wound up twisting things I said and imputing the worst motives to me. I'd say things to him in good faith, and I'd see my comments in print, twisted into some incredible conspiracy to lie and cheat. He's called me a liar repeatedly and ascribed to me motives that were simply not true. I decided I had had enough and, in consultation with other well-known Catholic journalists, decided my only recourse was to claim my rights and discuss a formal retraction for the falsehoods he wrote about me." Rose's efforts to communicate with Fr. Johansen proved futile, so Rose took up a Catholic attorney's offer to challenge Fr. Johansen to the either back up his claims or face a federal lawsuit for libel.
Hey, at least this one mentions the libel claim that Rose sent to Johansen, but it too fails to note that Rose’s attorney also apparently threatened the Bishop.

From Johansen’s Blog, before Rose got to the Bishop, who ordered Johansen to silence:

>[From Rose’s lawyer’s letter to Johansen] Furthermore, I am concurrently corresponding with the Most Reverend James A. > Murray, Bishop of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, under the assumption that he has > either tacitly or expressly permitted one of his own priests to initiate and > publish the above mentioned website.... In the event that this is not the > case, said correspondence will clearly indicate to the diocese that this office > considers any and all future wrongful publications by you to be published with > the expressed or implied authorization and ratification of the diocese of > Kalamazoo.

[Johansen’s words] Of course, it is absurd to hold my bishop responsible for the private opinions expressed by me in book reviews, articles, or on my website. My bishop "ratifies" my opinions about Mr. Rose and his book no more than he does my opinions about the Chicago Cubs' pennant prospects. So why drag him into this? Well, I think that Mr. Rose has taken a lesson from the recent fate of Fr. Brian Sibley and his blog, A Saintly Salmagundi. Fr. Sibley was silenced by his bishop for creating too much controversy in his blog. It seems clear to me that Rose and his attorneys hope, by threatening the prospect of legal action involving the diocese, to manipulate my bishop into silencing me. It's my guess that they hope my bishop will not want to deal with a potential legal hassle, and tell me to leave Mr. Rose alone. In other words, this is an attempt at intimidation.

It worked, Fr. Johansen’s Bishop ordered him to silence:
Friday, September 06, 2002

Rose Matter Under Review

Just so it is clear what is actually happening:

My bishop, James A. Murray of Kalamazoo, has asked me to make no further public statements about Michael Rose, Goodbye! Good Men, or Rose's threatened legal action until he has had the opportunity to review the matter. I am meeting with him next week, when, I imagine, he will render a judgment about how he would like me to proceed.

Please pray for me, Michael Rose, and my bishop, that we will act with prudence, fairness, and wisdom in this matter.


Thursday, October 03, 2002

My friends, I also want to take this opportunity to tell you that I am taking a blog vacation for a short time to attend to my pastoral responsibilities and to work on a manuscript for a Catholic magazine. I will return when time and energy permit me.

Rose not only got Johansen silenced, he got him off the internet entirely! Now, various people have tried to claim Rose could have had legitimate reasons for threatening the Bishop. So, in good faith, I sent Rose an e-mail asking about it. I also asked if he would release copies of the letters. He didn’t reply. I e-mailed again. He didn’t reply. Apparently he doesn’t care to defend his actions.

Many of you wanted to wait for Rose’s side of the story. He won’t provide it, which only means one thing. I was right, this is pure, immoral, intimidation of a priest. What say you know?

All the available evidence indicates that Rose actually and successfully threatened a Bishop with a lawsuit, and successfully used that to shut down a priest. I cannot imagine anyone thinking that a Bishop approves everything a priest writes, and is therefore legally liable for those words. Moreover, I do not think it to be a legitimate principle to say that simply because people associate a priest with his Bishop, the Bishop should be used to shut the priest up whenever he issues an unpopular opinion. The result is to treat our priests like subhuman serfs.

I mean, my word, our priests issue such tepid, weak homilies as it is! What on earth is going to happen if everyone who doesn’t like something the priest does threatens the Bishop with litigation? Our priests will become even worse. I would have a far different opinion here if Mr. Rose had written to the priest’s Bishop and simply asked him to intervene. He didn’t do that, according to the letter, he threatened that the Bishop was responsible.

Again, this is not Traditionalism. A traditionalist might ask the Bishop to consider the issue. He would not say “In the event that this is not the case, said correspondence will clearly indicate to the diocese that this office considers any and all future wrongful publications by you to be published with the expressed or implied authorization and ratification of the diocese of Kalamazoo.” That is absurd.

You all can continue to support his man. I find him unethical, and have no use for “catholics” like this. Various folks have said a great deal in defense of Mr. Rose, but nearly everyone indicates that if his actions are intimidation, they are improper. Despite this, and despite how clearly this is intimidation, I suspect he hasn’t lost a single fan over this, just as I predicted. A couple quotes from last time:


To: patent

Don't be too quick to judge Rose's actions as intimidation.
If that is what it turns out to be I will personally admonish him. He is a bright guy and he's young one of the few bright spots of the Church in the future.

-- BBarcaro

33 posted on 09/06/2002 0:01 AM CDT by BBarcaro
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So, Mr. Barcaro, have you even asked him why he did this? Have you “admonished” him as you claimed you would? We here very little from you on this, but your website still promotes him.

From Polycarp:


To: patent

What is your opinion of his efforts to contact the Bishop then?

Simple. Having myself recently been the victim of lies publicly posted on a Catholic website read by some orthodox Catholics, I know first hand the utter frustration and anger at being powerless in having said slanders removed.

There's far more to this than meets the eye, Patent.

115 posted on 09/06/2002 2:30 PM CDT by Polycarp
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Well, OK, what is it that we aren’t seeing in Rose’s actions? He threatened the Bishop, the Bishop silenced the priest. Flat out intimidation, unethical and immoral in my view, and Rose won’t even respond to requests for an explanation.

Sitetest said, on that last thread, that:

If it is a bluff, if he is merely trying to silence a man who is telling the truth, then may he be exposed and ruined.
I responded:
No, he won’t be exposed and ruined. No chance. If I’m wrong he will respond clearly and publicly, and I will retract. However, knowing how this play works, even if I’m right he’ll be fine. He will either ignore this issue, or if he speaks he will issue some vague statement, lots of words, little substance. Fr. Johansen isn’t going to sue him because most normal people don’t do that, nor do they run around waiving lawyers everywhere, especially when they can’t afford them.

There really is no scenario that Mr. Rose, if even remotely competently advised, will be hurt by this. It’s an entirely safe mud ball to throw.

So I’m curious to see your reactions. Has this action affected his reputation with you, and if so how? I somehow doubt it, and am willing to bet I was largely right. AT most, a few of the Freeper denizens who’ve read these threads have second thoughts, but in the world at large, his play was entirely safe, and entirely immoral.

Johansen may have said things he shouldn't have, but he can no longer defend himself due to his Bishop's instructions. Rose, on the other hand, after silencing Johnasen so that he can't respond any longer, helps NOR put out a hit piece on Johansen.

Despicable.

patent  +AMDG

8 posted on 12/16/2002 12:53:19 PM PST by patent
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To: nickcarraway
Why is Michael Rose such a target, even for those that would seem to agree with him?
I reject him because he threatened a weak knee Bishop into silencing a critic, and then goes on here to help NOR do a hit piece on that silenced critic, who can no longer respond. I find that an abuse of the legal process.

Dominus Vobiscum

patent  +AMDG

9 posted on 12/16/2002 12:54:51 PM PST by patent
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To: RobbyS
Deal Hudson ought to know better. He and Crisis Magazine owe Catholics and others an apology. Michael Rose's book is right on target and if Hudson disagrees, he is wrong. Unless he retracts, cancel your subscriptions and demand refunds. Ditto, Our Sunday Visitor and the National Catholic Register. If John Allen and the National PseudoCatholic Reporter can get this story straight, so can Hudson, Crisis, OSV and the National Catholic Register. Target Crisis first since it is the only one of those publications that carries much weight.
10 posted on 12/16/2002 12:56:29 PM PST by BlackElk
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To: Maximilian
This says a lot more about the reliability of Crisis than it does about Michael Rose.
Do you support threatening to sue a Bishop unless he silences a priest critic of Mr. Rose’s? Do you support this:
>[From Rose’s lawyer’s letter to Johansen] Furthermore, I am concurrently corresponding with the Most Reverend James A. Murray, Bishop of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, under the assumption that he has either tacitly or expressly permitted one of his own priests to initiate and publish the above mentioned website.... In the event that this is not the case, said correspondence will clearly indicate to the diocese that this office considers any and all future wrongful publications by you to be published with the expressed or implied authorization and ratification of the diocese of Kalamazoo.

patent  +AMDG

11 posted on 12/16/2002 12:56:31 PM PST by patent
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To: BlackElk
Deal Hudson ought to know better. He and Crisis Magazine owe Catholics and others an apology. Michael Rose's book is right on target and if Hudson disagrees, he is wrong
My impression is that Crisis generally agrees that there are serious problems of the nature Rose describes in the seminaries. That is not the criticism of the man.

I'll ask you as well. Do you support threatening to sue a Bishop unless he silences a priest critic of Mr. Rose’s? Do you support this:

>[From Rose’s lawyer’s letter to Johansen] Furthermore, I am concurrently corresponding with the Most Reverend James A. Murray, Bishop of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, under the assumption that he has either tacitly or expressly permitted one of his own priests to initiate and publish the above mentioned website.... In the event that this is not the case, said correspondence will clearly indicate to the diocese that this office considers any and all future wrongful publications by you to be published with the expressed or implied authorization and ratification of the diocese of Kalamazoo.

patent  +AMDG

12 posted on 12/16/2002 12:59:21 PM PST by patent
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To: patent
What's Michael Rose to do when an authority figure such as a priest is spreading serious misinformation about him
It just amazes me that they ask this question, then mention the libel charge made to Johansen, but then they don’t bother to mention that pesky little detail about what really seems to have shut Johansen up, threatening the Bishop:
Rose's efforts to communicate with Fr. Johansen proved futile, so Rose took up a Catholic attorney's offer to challenge Fr. Johansen to the either back up his claims or face a federal lawsuit for libel.
To ask that question, and then give that half answer, is in my view, intellectually dishonest. If you want to ask what Rose is going to do in response to Johansen, then admit all of what he did, not the part you find most helpful.

If your going to slam the man, at least admit you made it so that he can’t respond to you.

patent  +AMDG

13 posted on 12/16/2002 1:03:58 PM PST by patent
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To: Polycarp
I suspect Mr. Barcaro doesn't check posts to him all that often around here. Would you be kind enough to e-mail him to let him know I brought him up?

patent

14 posted on 12/16/2002 1:05:35 PM PST by patent
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To: patent
Patent,

I'll forward your comments.

Yes, I still support Rose. I simply do not see this as you do, but I respect your opinion and will not argue with you about it.

BK

15 posted on 12/16/2002 1:25:16 PM PST by Polycarp
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To: patent
Has this action affected his reputation with you, and if so how?

I never had an respect for Michael Rose to begin with, as you know. His refusal to honestly sit down with rectors and seminary officials of seminaries he was about to scorch told me all I needed to know about his one-sided screed.

And, yes, I've read the book.

16 posted on 12/16/2002 1:27:25 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
His refusal to honestly sit down with rectors and seminary officials of seminaries he was about to scorch told me all I needed to know about his one-sided screed.

It's been reported that it wasn't Rose's refusal. It was the rector's.
17 posted on 12/16/2002 1:47:07 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Desdemona
It's been reported that it wasn't Rose's refusal. It was the rector's.

He didn't ask them. Instead, he used the lame excuse "Well, we know what they would have said, so why talk to them?"

But, then, as it's been pointed out to me, Rose is not a journalist. He's an author with a point of view, so why include anybody who opposes his point of view?

18 posted on 12/16/2002 1:51:05 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: patent
I shared you comments with a very close friend, who also knows BBarcaro quite well. Here's two comments from him. He who worked with Rose on the matters regarding our own diocese mentioned in his book:

I saw Rose's commentary regarding Johannsen. As I read it this priest was out to destroy Rose, which was Rose's contention.

I personally find it hard to believe that a man who has been so careful with all of his other books would all of a sudden be sloppy about one with such a sensitive topic. That doesn't fit Michael Rose's modus operandi as I'm aware of it.

GM

***

I will speak from what I know personally about Michael Rose. I gave Mr. Rose every opportunity to use all of the information from my website through which I personally lived regarding the crap going on in our diocese. He chose NOT, I repeat, NOT to do that, preferring to let the heretic David J. Brown and our bishop's support of him hang themselves. To me, that speaks a lot for the prudential judgment about how Rose approached his book.

GM

By the way, Brian Barcaro is in the midst of law school finals, so I don't expect to talk to him or get a response this week.

19 posted on 12/16/2002 2:10:27 PM PST by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
I shared you comments with a very close friend, who also knows BBarcaro quite well. Here's two comments from him. He who worked with Rose on the matters regarding our own diocese mentioned in his book:
My concern, at least at the moment, is more on his threat to the Bishop. He has never denied he did this, nor has he explained why. Not that it matters, there is really only one reason why.
By the way, Brian Barcaro is in the midst of law school finals, so I don't expect to talk to him or get a response this week.
LOL. I have a feeling I understand. Actually, I’m about in the same boat right now. I got about 4 hours of sleep over the weekend, and am shortly running on empty. My blood stream is pure Mountain Dew at the moment.

Dominus Vobiscum

patent  +AMDG

20 posted on 12/16/2002 2:18:55 PM PST by patent
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