Storm Warning: Introduction
In the Eye of the Catholic Storm is a 195 page book. It is an edited transcript of about a dozen discussions involving Mary Jo Leddy, Douglas Roche and Bishop Remi De Roo of Victoria. The discussions occurred in Victoria, B.C. in January, 1991, in the presence of Michael Creal of York Univeristy. Creal edited the original transcript and the book was released in 1992.
The format chosen causes some problems for critics. There are three “authors,” not one. To a greater or lesser degree they share responsibility for the views expressed, but, if embarassed by criticism, they can attribute as much or as little as they like to the “spirit of the debate” or “thinking out loud.” Finally, Creal notes that, in “genuine dialogue,” perfect clarity is not achieved on every issue. Though he greatly admires the participants, he allows that they did not settle “all the complex and ambiguous problems of our time.”1 Thus, the authors have provided themselves with a degree of “plausible deniability” that would be the envy of the most accomplished political handler.
There are other considerations, however. Three people hailing from three different provinces did not just happen to meet in the Pastoral Centre in the Diocese of Victoria and burst into a spontaneous theological jam session, happily captured for posterity by a passing professor with a tape recorder. Leddy, a self-described “wordsmith,”2 was a fonding editor of Catholic New Times and is a broadcaster and writer.3 Roche was founding editor of the Western Catholic Reporter and is now a writer and lecturer.4 Bishop De Roo is said to have been the author of several books.5
Bishop De Roo participated in the Second Vatican Council as a newly ordained bishop and has been responsible for the implementation of Council reforms in the Diocese of Victoria for thirty years.6 Douglas Roche spent “considerable time” at the Council, covering it for a U.S. Catholic magazine.7 Mary Jo Leddy’s interest in Vatican II developed later, but she now professes to know Nostra Aetate by heart,8 speaks highly of Perfectae Caritatis,9 and complains that only Catholic literati are familiar with such official documents.10 During their discussion, the authors comment on, refer to quote from or explain parts of eight Council documents, which are conventiently listed as “Documents Cited” in the opening pages of their book.
Leddy, Roche and De-Roo – two professional journalists and an accomplished author – met in Victoria fully prepared for discussion. According to the Bishop, they produced some 800 pages of daft material.11 The book derived from that material was published following consultation with the authors during “the final editing stages.”12 If consultation was not more extensive, one is entitled to assume that the authors reviewed at least the final draft before the manuscript went to print.
Not only do the authors know what the Council documents contain; as professional communicators they are capable of representing it accurately. Granted the problem of “plausible deniability,” there is no doubt that the finsihed product is exactly what the authors intended. If anything significant was been left out, or if any significant inaccuracy has been included, it has not happened because the authors were ignorant of the documents or struggling with an unfamiliar medium. Having said that, one must conclude that the In the Eye of the Catholic Storm is a fraud.13
The following pages will outline the extent of that fraud by comparing In the Eye of the Catholic Storm to the documents of the Second Vatican Council. With few exceptions, only Conciliar documents have been cited to challenge the authors. This restriction as been accepted to meet the authors on their own terms. They question the validity of pre-conciliar Catholic doctrine. They impugn the legitimacy of post-conciliar teaching with which they disagree. The indictment they face here is phrased in the very words of the Council that they purport to explain and defend.
1. Leddy, Mary Joanna, Remi De Roo and Douglas Roche, with Michael Creal, ed., In the Eye of the Catholic Storm. Toronto: Harper Collins, 1992, p. 6-7. Hereinafter cited only by author/speaker surname and page number.
13. The allegation of fraud is not directed at Michael Creal, who merely edited the book. Creal is a non-Catholic. One would not expect him to be conversant with the sources or cognizant of the misrepresentations of the authors.