A Sad Disclosure of a Sadder Event

CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter

August 20, 2004


Dear Friend,

As you know, for many years I've encouraged faithful Catholics to
get more involved in politics. My own involvement began unexpectedly
after CRISIS Magazine published a series of articles on "the Catholic
vote," which caught the attention of the Bush presidential campaign.
At that time, I was asked to be part of the team advising on their
outreach to Catholic voters. I agreed.

For too long, the Catholic vote had been misunderstood, in part
because of the simple enormity and diversity of the Catholic
population in America. The CRISIS model assumed the targetable,
crucial part of the Catholic vote could be found among the
Mass-attending faithful. Indeed, those voters who are religiously
active are most likely to let their faith guide their voting

Employing this strategy, Governor Bush received ten percent more of
the Catholic vote in 2000 than Senator Dole had in 1996.

The present campaign, however, is very different from the last one.

Senator Kerry, a pro-abortion Catholic, became the Democratic-party
nominee. The question of the Catholic vote went to center stage.
Controversies ensued. Kerry insisted he was Catholic in spite of his
support for abortion. I argued, loudly, that the election of John
Kerry would be a disaster for the Church. My first press statement
after his nomination was that Church institutions -- parishes,
schools, hospitals, etc. -- should be off limits to Kerry or anyone
who wants to use the platform of the Catholic Church to undermine its
authority and attack its teachings.

It was then I learned that the moderator of the "Catholics for
Kerry" Web site -- a young man named Ono Ekeh -- was an employee of
the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. A few days after I
pointed this out in our CRISIS e-letter, he left his job at the

Right away, the phone rang and a reporter from a notoriously liberal
Catholic publication requested a comment and an interview. A few days
later, he came in to ask questions about my support for President
Bush and the Catholic vote issues in general.

Weeks passed and no story. But then, over time, friends began
telling me that the reporter was calling my past co-workers and
associates and asking them about my personal life.

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

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

I need to make one final point. There's much deserved condemnation
coming down upon me right now, and I expect it will continue. But I
do hope that this just anger will not spill over onto CRISIS
Magazine. The simple fact is, CRISIS Magazine is far more than Deal
Hudson. There is an entire staff of hardworking and faithful
Catholics who, month after month, put together what has become the
flagship publication for faithful Catholics. It would be a tragedy if
my personal baggage were to harm CRISIS. Our many staff members,
columnists, and writers have simply worked too hard and done too much
good to be pulled down by my faults.

Please don't let that happen.

I'll talk to you soon,