The War of the Rose Continues…

Tom Hoopes, editor of National Catholic Register, writes in response to Rod Dreher’s remarks here yesterday:

First of all, on Rose: re-read the section on Father Taillon. The relevant section of Michael Rose’s book first tells about priests who do adoration for vocations and their successes. Rose should mention Father Taillon as one (his weekly adoration for vocations is increasing seminarian numbers at Providence), but he doesn’t. Instead he turns to contrast the good guys with the bad dioceses that fail to get vocations because they use slick marketing tactics and reject orthodoxy. He includes Father Taillon in this latter category, then adds “Catholics wonder if the [Providence] diocese is trying to attract ‘unchurched’ men that they can mold easily into their ‘reenvisioned’ image of the priest.” Then he quotes an anonymous source who characterizes the Providence seminary as a place hostile to orthodox seminarians (the opposite is true). This silly claim that the Register is jumping all over Rose for a paragraph about MTV ignores the argument that Rose actually makes in the book.

Second, I had to laugh at the “mustn’t upset the bishops” line. In The Corner Dreher recently criticized the Register for being TOO critical of Frank Keating and the bishops’ policy. Mustn’t upset the bishops?

Last, I think we’re in heated agreement on the troubles in the seminaries. We at the Register were glad when Michael Rose’s book came out. From the beginning, we supported it. We echoed its premise in a news story (a story which cited it approvingly) about deep problems in the seminaries. We advertised it. But then we started seeing the reports that good priests were maligned in the book, without having even been given a phone call to defend themselves. (A phone call would have discovered weekly Eucharistic adoration for vocations at Providence, no “re-envisioned” understanding of the priesthood, and the truth about the seminarian who was rejected.) As they used to teach in Catholic seminaries, the end doesn’t justify the means.

Rod, I know you’re in a tough position, with your name on the front of the book and all, but we should all be trying to help the Church here — together.