Want to read the review of Ralph Martin’s book Will Many Be Saved? that David Paul Deavel published in Catholic World Report? You can’t—at least, not on CWR’s website. Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, which owns CWR, took down the review in an act that he himself admits is “blatant censorship.”
The reason? Because Martin’s book, and Deavel’s review, include trenchant criticisms of the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar—who is published by Ignatius Press.
If you’re looking for the review, “Vatican II and the ‘Bad News’ of the Gospel”, it has been removed. This is blatant censorship by me, Mark Brumley, President of Ignatius Press. Except, of course, that Catholic World Report is published by Ignatius Press to further the mission of Ignatius Press. I think that gives me some leeway in deciding whether a particular article furthers the mission or perhaps in some ways undercuts that mission. Because I’m not infallible, I can be wrong. But right or wrong, I am acting here.
He goes on to criticize Deavel’s account of Balthasar’s views as inadequate and inaccurate, and says CWR is considering replacing the review with “a forum on the subject of Vatican II and salvation.”
UPDATE: Mark Brumley responds in the comments section of this post:
We can’t manage to try to have a wider, fuller discussion among Catholics without accusations and overstatement. We have to make this into a fight, with paragraphs “too hot to handle”, etc. By the way, where did I say the review was removed because of trenchant criticism of Balthasar’s theology? That’s a conclusion drawn regarding my motives. Perhaps I thought the review’s criticisms were inadequate or inaccurate, and that’s why they were removed? In other words, what I said. But we can’t accept that. Perhaps I thought, for good or ill, the criticisms should be part of a wider discussion. Again, which is what I actually said. Would that be too generous a thing to consider? Oh well.
UPDATE #2, 4/3/13, 6:26 p.m.: After reading Mark Brumley’s comment on this blog and his additional remarks on the CWR site, I contacted Dr. David Paul Deavel to ask if he would like me to remove the link to his review. He responded that he did not consider my linking to his review to be unethical. Nonetheless, he suggested I remove the link in the interest of peace, and he assured me he will get his say in the symposium that Catholic World Report is holding on Martin’s book. Hence, in the interest of peace and with the assurance that justice will be done, I have removed the link and the quotation from his review.