An Inside Look at the Mind of a Conspiracy Theorist
[Note: the following is a response to various false claims and accusations made by Rick DeLano at Dave Armstrong's website and Fr. Zuhlsdorf's blog about Robert Sungenis' interactions with Bishop Rhoades and the Diocese of Harrisburg. Rick is on the board of directors of Robert Sungenis' Bellarmine Theological Report and is a tireless (and ubiquitous) promoter and defender of seemingly all things Sungenis. Rick is also a geocentrist (he believes that the universe revolves around a stationary earth) and was one of the main speakers at Bob's first Galileo Was Wrong conference. The comments below are also substantially the same as as those I made in the comments box at Dave Armstrong's website.]
Rick, this is actually really, really fascinating. We get to see a conspiracy theory developed before our very eyes, complete with a fabricated history, glaring anachronisms, and special gnostic insight known only to the theorists. It's pretty clear that you didn't bother to read what we've written in the links we posted (see: here and here), but in any case let's look at what you have written here. You raised a lot of issues and I hope to hit the highlights, at least.
Now, let’s get started. You wrote, “I would like to propose that you point out to me exactly what I said that you considered to be a lie. The exact words, if you would.”
I cited your exact words and repeated them several times. You claimed that Bob "tried to make peace" and that "Bob did everything he possibly could to accommodate his bishop". I responded in detail—and there is still much more evidence to post—as to why I consider that a lie. You did not respond to any of it. Maybe you just missed it.
I documented that after almost five years’ worth of propaganda that Bob had posted about Jews, Judaism, Jewish converts, gleaned and sometimes plagiarized from Nazis, neo-Nazis, holocaust revisionists, conspiracy theorists, and white supremacists, he received a notice to take down the Jewish material on his site within two weeks. A month later he had not only not taken down any material, he had openly slandered his bishop and added more inflammatory material against Jews, until he had to be called in to the diocese. I think most people would consider that to be in-your-face disobedience. Is it your position that this is how Bob “tried to make peace” and how Bob “did everything he possibly could to accommodate his bishop"? How do you think this sort of behavior disposed the diocese to view him?
Bishop Rhoades and Michael Voris
Before going on to address those verbatim quotes from you that were false, Rick, I wrote:
“There are several statements you’ve made that are typical rash speculation – such as your suggestion that Bishop Rhoades is behind the situation with Michael Voris.” (See: here)
To which, you (Rick) replied:
“I notice first, Mr. Palm, that you did not provide what I asked for; that is, you did not provide my words. There is an excellent reason for this. No such words exist.”
Again, I did in fact provide exact quotes from you and what you said was plainly false. But before showing those examples, I wanted people to know that you did more than that. You also offered some rash speculations and played the innuendo game in a way that could only titillate rather than edify.
So, let’s took a look at what you actually wrote, word for word, at Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog (see: here).
Comment 1 by Rick DeLano:
Comment 2 by Rick DeLano:
Yes, I can see that you absolutely had no intention at all of leading people to think that Bishop Rhoades was behind events with Michael Voris in some way [wink-wink, nudge-nudge]. Do you really want to swear on your honor as a Catholic that this wasn’t at all your intention?
Seriously, though, have you ever written for a tabloid, Rick? Your writing often comes off that way. You have a real flair for the dramatic (a skill you no doubt picked up working there in Hollywood). You really know how to string it out and draw people in for the kicker... "...Yup. (long pause) Bishop Rhoades. (long pause) The plot most definitely thickens....” It’s a shame that you couldn’t download some spooky music to further enhance the conspiratorial tension you managed to build up there. You've obviously got that schtick down pat, using almost exactly the same technique in two separate comments, trying to gin up some attention. Nicely done! LOL.
And, of course, there's no import to the fact that you forced this subject into an article that had nothing to do with Bob Sungenis, either. Right? Right.
Bob’s Canonical Advice
Here’s one place where you muddle up the history, Rick. At Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog, you wrote:
The Diocese of Harrisburg wrote to Bob about removing the name "Catholic" if he wouldn't stop writing about all Jewish issues on 23 August 2007.
Almost a year after, Fr. Brian Harrison wrote the following in an article posted at Bob’s website that was authored specifically to cover the canonical aspect of Bob's situation:
So you and Fr. Harrison contradict each other. And of course, more importantly, you also gave the false impression that the mean old Diocese of Harrisburg was just completely unfair and capricious with humble, heroic and obedient Bob for no good reason at all. Poor Bob was just the picture of Catholic obedience and did nothing wrong! Riiiight.
Rick, you claimed above that “I am afraid your timeline is a little out of whack here, Mr. Palm.” You then went on to mention a specific communication from Bishop Rhoades. Although you didn't cite a date, this communication took place on 7 Feb 2008 (see: here). You then claimed that, “Since Bob could not in conscience allow such equivocations [those allegedly found in Bishop Rhoades' communication] to carry the day on a matter which, after all, speaks directly to the heart of the Faith itself, he published the famous essay in ‘Culture Wars’”.
Rick, Bob's article in Culture Wars was published in the January 2008 issue, before the communication from Bishop Rhoades. So I'm afraid your timeline is the one that's a little out of whack here.
You then state that, “Bob would, in a better time, have been rewarded by his bishop for his courage and faithfulness in this matter. Instead, he was given the same treatment, by Bishop Rhoades and his Vicar General, which we now see being meted out to Michael Voris at RealCatholicTV.”
The action to be rewarded, presumably, would be the publishing of the article in Culture Wars you mention in the immediately preceding paragraph. That “same treatment”, presumably, would be the order to remove the word “Catholic” from the organization, right? Rick, the two communications from the Diocese of Harrisburg that spoke of removing “Catholic” from Bob’s organization were on 29 June 2007 and 23 August 2007. Bob's article in Culture Wars was published in January of 2008. So I'm afraid your timeline continues to be a little out of whack here.
Rick, you wrote that, “Bob Sungenis, fully aware of the theological implications of an official promulgation of such an outrage, did not and could not have stood by silently.” Could not have stood by silently. Hmmmm.
In the Culture Wars article published in January of 2008, Bob said of his 27 July 2007 meeting with Frs. King and Massa at the Diocese of Harrisburg that, “I knew upon leaving the building the erroneous theology [Fr. King], Rhoades and the USCCB were attempting to propagate to unsuspecting Catholics.” And more recently (October 2010) he wrote in the comments section of Discover Magazine that, “During the meeting with Fr. King, I discovered that both he and Bishop Rhoades held to the heresy of antisupersessionism – the view that the Jews still retained legal possession of the Mosaic covenant” (see: here).
These are very serious charges, indeed. And as you point out, Bob just isn't the kind of man who could ever allow such damnable evil to continue unabated without immediately exposing the perpetrators for the frauds and subversives that they truly are.
Except he did precisely that and much more.
If that is the truth, if Bob knew right then and there at his 27 July 2007 meeting that Fr. King and Bishop Rhoades held to what he considered to be an extremely dangerous heresy and were attempting to propagate it to “unsuspecting Catholics”, then why did he assure his readers that Bishop Rhoades’ was trustworthy on Jewish issues a mere four days after this same meeting? Why did Bob gush about His Excellency’s gifts of “wisdom and counsel”, going so far as to say that he considered his “direction as if it was from God Himself” and pledging your filial obedience because "he acts in God's stead"? Again, Bob wrote these things a mere four days after the meeting in question. Here are his own words, written on July 31, 2007:
Two very different stories. Two very different responses from Bob “He Who Cannot Be Silent” Sungenis. In light of the fact that Bob wrote the negative story only after he became angry with Bishop Rhoades, I think one can make a solid guess as to which story is false.
Names and Citations, Please?
Again, at Fr. Zulhsdorf’s blog, you wrote, “It’s clear some folks didn’t like the fact that he demolished this ‘teaching’ [the sentence on page 131 of the USCCA] so completely, so devastatingly, in his memorable essay in ‘Culture Wars’...”
You know, Rick, I can’t recall anyone who said “boo” to Bob merely for criticizing this sentence and saying that it should to be changed. And I can’t remember anyone who strongly criticized Bob simply and specifically for rejecting the dual covenant error and showing why it was wrong. Can you provide some names and citations showing all these people who were so upset about this, specifically? Can you show us even one person who attacked him specifically for simply rejecting/criticizing the idea that Jews have their own salvation plan or specifically for simply objecting to the one sentence on page 131 of the USCCA? I’ve never seen one and I've read a lot about this controversy. Please present the actual quotes, links, articles. Some direct evidence, please.
Now, on the other hand, I certainly do remember Bob being strongly criticized for broad-brushing the entire conference of Catholic bishops as being willing agents of evil in relation to this issue. I also remember him being strongly criticized for floating an erroneous conspiracy theory about the vote to change the one sentence on page 131 of the USCCA.
In fact, Bob was criticized for just these things at the RSATJ blog, remember? Here it is, in case you just forgot:
The fact is, Rick, the issue of Bob’s objection to the dual covenant error and page 131 is a red herring and always has been. The actual problem is and has always been:
1) The contentious, condemnatory and antagonistic tone Bob is either unwilling or unable to restrain when writing about anything involving Jews.
2) The false, bigoted and/or otherwise uncharitable content Bob often employs in making his arguments on Jewish issues, including even those of a theological nature.
For more on that topic: The Basis For Bishop Rhoades' Cease and Desist Order
Rick vs. Bob Sungenis, Tom Herron and Fr. Harrison
And while we’re at it, Rick, would you please show where Bob Sungenis or Tom Herron stated that Bishop Rhoades or Fr. King singled out Bob’s criticism of the one problematic sentence on page 131 of the USCCA and that they were displeased about it? Tom Herron was at Bob’s meeting with the Diocese of Harrisburg and wrote a lengthy account in Culture Wars called “Fear of the Jews in Harrisburg” (Oct. 2007). There’s no mention of it. Neither did Bob mention anything about Bishop Rhoades supposedly being upset with his criticism of the USCCA in his article “Catholic Apologetics International and Its Teachings on the Jews” (CAITJ), written a mere 4 days after Bob’s meeting at the diocese, or in his Culture Wars article Old Covenant: Revoked or Not Revoked? (OCRNR). So if this was The Issue between Bob and the Diocese of Harrisburg, as you claim, then why didn't anybody--including Bob himself--actually say so at the time?
Again, at Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog, you singled out Bob’s public criticisms of this one sentence in the USCCA as the reason he was “rewarded” by Bishop Rhoades by being told to stop calling his organization “Catholic.” I’m going to have to press you for proof of that claim, Rick. So pony up.
Ironically, if you want to know what actually precipitated the 23 Aug 2007 letter from the Diocese of Harrisburg telling Bob to stop writing about all Jewish issues or he would need to remove the word “Catholic” from his work, all you had to do was read Bob’s account in “Old Covenant: Revoked or Not Revoked?” Bob spells it out plainly there. What actually precipitated the 23 Aug 2007 letter from the Diocese of Harrisburg was the posting of Bob’s article, Catholic Apologetics International and Its Teachings on the Jews (CAITJ). Here it is, in Bob’s own words:
The article Bob refers to here is CAITJ (July 31, 2007). So, it was CAITJ that precipitated the 23 Aug 2007 response from the diocese.
If you need further proof of this fact, it can found in Fr. Harrison’ article (June 2008). Here is what Fr. Harrison wrote:
Later in the same article, Fr. Harrison mentioned that Fr. King also reiterated Bishop Rhoades’ June 29th admonition about ordering Bob to remove the name “Catholic” if he didn’t comply (pp 14-15).
So, now that we’ve established that CAITJ was what precipitated the 23 Aug 2007 letter from Fr. King to Bob telling him to stop writing about all Jewish issues or he would be ordered to remove the name “Catholic”, one question remains: to what exactly in CAITJ did the Diocese of Harrisburg object?
Unfortunately, we can’t know everything with absolute certainty at this juncture because Bob has refused to release that letter. In fact, even Tom Herron – who Bob asked to help him at his meeting with the diocese – wasn’t allowed to read either the June 29 letter from Bishop Rhoades or the August 23 correspondence from Fr. King (a fact that Herron mentioned in “Fear of the Jews in Harrisburg”).
Why is Bob being so secretive with these two letters, Rick? In the introduction to Fr. Harrison’s article, Bob admitted that he never agreed to keep this correspondence with Bishop Rhoades and Fr. King private. And he’s already leaked whatever few selective snippets he thinks support his story. I’m assuming that you can’t possibly believe he’s refraining out of concern for the welfare and reputation of Bishop Rhoades and Fr. King, can you? Fr. Harrison stated that these letters were “long.” I’m sure those long letters would make many things much more clear for everyone. So why don’t you ask your friend Bob to finally stop playing unseemly games and release both of these letters in their entirety?
Now, according to your story, Rick, the diocese strongly objected to Bob’s criticism of page 131 of the USCCA. That’s the real reason they told him to stop writing about Jews and forced him to remove the name “Catholic.” The most obvious problem for your story is that CAITJ doesn't even mention page 131 of the USCCA. See for yourself: CAITJ
In fact, even the word from page 131 of the USCCA that sent Bob to the moon (or to a Stanley Kubrick movie set) appears exactly one time and it had nothing to do with the status of the Mosaic covenant: “valid”. Even one of Bob’s other crucial words that he demands must be used in relation to the covenant issue is missing: “revoked.”
And isn’t it just obvious that Bob would have been shouting it from the rooftops if there were anything in these letters from Bishop Rhoades or Fr. King criticizing him specifically for his opposition to the one problematic sentence on page 131 of the USCCA? Of course he would have, Rick.
So again, why not ask your friend Bob Sungenis to make both letters public, in full? If he has nothing to hide, then this shouldn’t be a problem for him at all.
Just FYI, I will address CAITJ in a future post. There was plenty that the Diocese of Harrisburg could legitimately have objected to.
He Hates These Cans!
So, let's recap your story, Rick
For almost five years, Bob spews material across the Internet attacking Jews - none of it having anything to do with page 131 of the USCCA. He ramps up his anti-Semitic screed to the point of posting well over 100 additional attacks on Jews in a span of about a year and a half leading up to the summer of 2007. He gets caught red-handed using white supremacists, Nazis, Holocaust deniers. He gets featured by a U.S. hate monitor as "one of the most rabid and open anti-Semites". Multiple people contact the bishop to complain. Now, this is important, Rick. What were people contacting the bishop about? His criticism of the sentence on page 131 of the USCCA? His criticism of the idea that Jews have their own salvation plan with God? No, Rick. Bishop Rhoades was contacted specifically because of all the kinds of idiotic anti-Semitic crap listed here, here, here and here.
Even the SPLC (which I cite here, but do not intend to give a blanket endorsement of) said this: “The Report later sent a letter to Sungenis’ bishop in Harrisburg, Pa., detailing Sungenis’ anti-Semitic activities. Many other concerned Catholics and organizations have done likewise” (see: here). And what kinds of things did even this organization explicitly cite regarding Bob as being objectionable? “Conspiracy mongering”, articles by “Ted Pike” and “Michael Collins Piper who has worked for years for Willis Carto, a leading anti-Semite and Holocaust denier” (see: here). Even from this organization there was not one word about Bob's objection to the sentence on pg. 131 of the USCCA.
Very shortly after this deluge of protests concerning Bob’s conspiracy-mongering, the bishop orders him to cease writing and posting about Jews. Bob ignores the order and instead slanders the bishop and adds yet more inflammatory material, until he gets called in to meet with Fr. King and Fr. Massa. He finally budges and agrees to cut most of the crap. But then he writes another article--at times presumptuous, at times pompous--that basically places almost all Jews from the time of Christ until the end of the world in Hell, conveys his private opinions with almost magisterial authority, and warns Catholics about "placating" Da Jooz. Incredibly, he even exalts himself as a humble and obedient Catholic in the process. But much worse, he gives the false impression that Bishop Rhoades read and signed off on this article!
So it seems reasonable to conclude that Bishop Rhoades subsequently decided, quite rightly, that if this was best that Bob could do so shortly after being corrected, that he simply can't be trusted to handle Jewish issues responsibly and so tells him to cease and desist or take the name Catholic off the organization. It’s just that simple. Would it not be eminently reasonable for Bishop Rhoades to conclude that Bob would likely only further degenerate from there? And indeed, he has. He's right back to Jewish conspiracy theories. He returned to things like promoting a Holocaust revisionist book, suggesting that the Pope is sympathetic to Holocaust revisionism, an offensive Israeli TV show episode, a complaint about too many Jews being on the Supreme Court, falsely accusing his critics of being Jews (scroll down to the last comment by Jared Olar for the most recent example: here), and perhaps most importantly, a somewhat sanitized version of the article about Jews that caused so much discord and controversy back in 2002 (but which still included material taken without attribution from a Holocaust revisionist, a Nazi admirer and a white supremacist: see here) and more.
But according to you (Rick), what really made Bishop Rhoades take action against Bob was that he disputed a sentence on page 131 of the USCCA regarding the Mosaic Covenant. This is your story, even though neither the diocese, nor Tom Herron, nor Bob himself ever said so at the time. This is your story even though the first really prominent treatment of page 131 of the USCCA on Bob’s site was the letter written to Cardinal Levada on 5 September 2007, after Bob had been told by Bishop Rhoades to remove the name Catholic.
This kind of disconnect from reality and lack of common sense is reminiscent of a very funny scene in "The Jerk", where Navin Johnson (the Jerk, played by Steve Martin) is being shot at by a sniper. As a few cans nearby are struck by bullets, Navin concludes that the sniper is really targeting "these cans!" and not him. So he scrambles like crazy to get away from the cans that the sniper supposedly hates. Here's a clip of the hilarious scene: click here.
To be quite honest, Rick, your story appears to be just another tin foil hat conspiracy theory, crafted carefully to ignore the elephantine body of evidence documenting Bob’s misbehavior and fixating on one particular bit of irrelevant, anachronistic minutia in order to make out Bob to be a big hero.* But I guess that it’s got all the makings of a great one--muddled dates, muddled "facts"and a lack of evidence all glued together with lots of suspicion and rash speculation. Nicely done.
*When I speak of the problematic sentence on pg. 131 of the USCCA as "minutia", I don't mean that the change itself was unimportant but that Rick is ignoring the elephant of Bob's misbehavior standing right next to him while straining to manufacture some minute connection between Bob's criticism of this sentence and the order to remove the word "Catholic" from his apostolate.
Following are the subsequent comments made by Rick DeLano and me, as well as one or two others under Dave Armstrong’s article “2012: A Sungenis Odd-yssey”. The exchange brings to light some other interesting information - including another erroneous conspiracy concocted by DeLano. The ease with which these conspiracy theorists weave their paranoid theories is remarkable.
Dave Armstrong: Excellent work David [Palm], as always. Man, I wonder what names you'll be called? I just wrote a little article about fake moon landings and got called everything under the sun.
I wanna see you attain the high honor of being called Satan incarnate, the antichrist, the devil's ambassador, or some similarly entertaining epithet.
DeLano: Wow! I made "Sungenis and the Jews"! Cool! I think openly Father Harrison and I have managed to qualify for direct attack on that blog, unless I have missed someone else. I will be responding on my own blog. I'll let you know when it's up. Thanks again, Mr. Palm. I am very happy to have qualified for the attention of the wolf pair....er....Lone Wolf, it now appears to be :-)
Palm: Please permit me one clarification before we get Rick's response. When I speak of the problematic sentence on pg. 131 of the USCCA as "minutia", I do not mean that the change itself was unimportant but that Rick is ignoring the elephant of Bob's behavior standing right next to him while straining to manufacture some minute connection between Bob's criticism of this sentence and the order to remove the word "Catholic" from his apostolate.
As we said years ago, the change itself was important and welcome and the bishops--including Bishop Rhoades--voted overwhelmingly to do so. And I know for a fact that many good Catholics worked with the bishops to effect that change, without opting to make a public spectacle of themselves or positioning themselves as judges, juries, and enemies of the U.S. Catholic bishops. We noted this before and after the change itself was made:
DeLano: What is truly remarkable about Dave Palm's latest post, and this is a theme I will develop in my fuller response, is that he apparently sees no irony at all in his "judge and jury" analogy. It apparently has not yet sunk in, for Mr. Palm, that Dr. Sungenis was denied an imprimatur by----Bishop Rhoades----who denied it *precisely by reference to the heretical quote Mr. Palm insists was never believed by the Bishop in the first place*! As I examine the sequence of events in this ugly case, and especially the horrific after-the-fact special pleading of the Get Sungenis folks...... Well. I promise you it will be worth the read.
Palm: Hi Rick,
While you're crafting your response, do please keep focused specifically on your claim that Bob's opposition to the one sentence on pg. 131 of the USCCA is the reason he was "rewarded" with the command to remove "Catholic" from his apostolate. You also raised the issue of the denial of the imprimatur to the CASB volume on Revelation. We wrote about that years ago, pointing out a few of the kinds of reasons that imprimatur was likely denied: click here.
1) It’s important to point out that at no time did the denial of the imprimatur single out the one problematic sentence on page 131 of the USCCA. There are two entire pages referred to in the actual denial: pp 130-131. And thank you for bringing to light some new evidence at your blog that I don’t believe Bob ever mentioned before. Not only did the denial mention pages 130-131 of the USCCA, it mentioned several other things in the denial like Lumen Gentium 16, Nostra Aetate 4, CCC 839-40 and 597-598, and the Documents of the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews.
We never knew that Bob was denied also because of his treatment of “Outside the Church there is no salvation” as contained in Lumen Gentium 14-16 and the CCC 846-848. So thank you.
Again, it’s hard sometimes because Bob typically only leaks what he thinks will help him rather than being forthright and releasing everything so people can see for themselves. In fact, Bob was caught being very deceptive and dishonest about the whole imprimatur affair. Did you know that, Rick? Probably not, because it was before he drew you into his “inner circle" (click here).
2) Did Bob tell you that he submitted this CASB to another bishop? Assuming he was telling the truth, he was obviously denied by that bishop as well.
3) Were you aware that Dr. Art Sippo said, before the denial, that he didn't think it could get an imprimatur? As we wrote in May of 2008:
"It is interesting to note that, totally independent of our analysis and before the actual denial of the imprimatur on CASB2 broke into the public, Dr. Art Sippo commented on the Envoy discussion forum that from what he had read in CASB2, he didn't think it would receive an imprimatur. He proved to be prescient on the matter." (See here).
4) If you know anything about imprimaturs, you know that bishops themselves aren’t the ones reviewing the books. You don’t even know whether Bishop Rhoades himself ever even read it. In fact, the letter he received was from Carol Houghton, not Bishop Rhoades personally.
5) There’s been no evidence presented that the imprimatur issue has any connection to the cease and desist issue, which did come directly from Bishop Rhoades himself in June 2007. Conversely, there are mountains of evidence that the kind of anti-Semitic crap he was spewing at the time was directly responsible for the bishop’s intervention. The bishop was being inundated with complaints about what, Rick? Bob’s criticism of page 131 of the USCCA? No - it was all about his anti-Semitic crap!
If you think otherwise, then provide the proof by posting Bishop Rhoades’ letter of 29 June 2007 in its entirety for everyone to see. Then post Fr. King’s letter of August 23 for everyone to see.
I do ask also that you keep in mind that there is a huge difference, a difference in principle, between on the one hand stating that a prelate did not respond to a particular situation in exactly the way that you want and on the other hand accusing him on the basis of that response of holding a heresy. Even if Bishop Rhoades's response to the sentence of pg. 131 of the USCCA is in someone's personal opinion inadequate, it remains that his response was orthodox! How one can conclude from this that he actually holds the dual covenant heresy, let alone that his whole reason for dealing with Bob was over Bob's opposition to this sentence on p. 131?
Remember, there’s more than ample direct evidence that Bishop Rhoades DOES NOT hold to the dual covenant theory:
It's serious business to accuse a successor of the Apostles of heresy. And it is a matter of justice and charity to defend anyone, but especially a bishop, against such erroneous and slanderous charges.
[Now Watch as Rick DeLano crafts yet another conspiracy theory from nothing more than his imagination]:
DeLano: Dave: Thank you, this will all be very useful.
Again, I focus on one extremely helpful insight into the method employed on the Get Sungenis blog, which is really proving to be a fascinating read:
DP: "If you know anything about imprimaturs, you know that bishops themselves aren’t the ones reviewing the books. You don’t even know whether Bishop Rhoades himself ever even read it. In fact, the letter he received was from Carol Houghton, not Bishop Rhoades personally."
This is a quite remarkable statement. Clearly Dave has the letter. Clearly he has read the letter. And yet he proposes that we "don;t even know whether Bishop Rhoades himself ever even read it."
But what we do know is that it is Bishop Rhoades himself who denied the imprimatur.
We know this because the letter tells us he did.
Definitely do not miss my upcoming post:
"David Palm and the Catholics".
I will let you know when it is up.
DeLano: Mr. Palm: It is a grave matter indeed to falsely accuse another Catholic of accusing a bishop of heresy.
I would, under the circumstances, advise you to very carefully consider the possible consequences of advancing such an accusation against me.
You would be required to prove it.
Unlike Bob, I do not have eleven children to feed, and unlike Bob, I have friends who are canon lawyers and have followed this case closely for years.
So gentle on down there, fella.
My post will be up soon, and then you and the Get Sungenis crowd will have every opportunity to fine-toothed-comb it in your characteristically malicious fashion.
[Now watch as Rick's new conspiracy theory is debunked before his very eyes by simply pointing out publicly known facts]:
Palm: I wrote, "If you know anything about imprimaturs, you know that bishops themselves aren’t the ones reviewing the books. You don’t even know whether Bishop Rhoades himself ever even read it. In fact, the letter he received was from Carol Houghton, not Bishop Rhoades personally."
To which, Rick replied: "This is a quite remarkable statement. Clearly Dave has the letter. Clearly he has read the letter."
Your conspiratorial mindset is showing again, Rick. I don't have the letter and I haven't read it, but I can and did read the public record. In "Fear of the Jews in Harrisburg", Tom Herron stated that the denial was written by Carol Houghton and not Bishop Rhoades (Culture Wars, Oct. 2007, p. 12). And in Bob's article, "Jacob Michael, the Imprimatur and the Smear Campaign" (1 July 2007), he included a facsimile of the top and bottom of the letter from Dr. Houghton, leaving out all the very important and enlightening facts that you've now graciously provided, of course.
Yet another conspiracy theory solved.
And did you not notice that I thanked you for divulging so much more about the reasons the Diocese of Harrisburg cited for the rejection of CASB 2 that I didn't know about previously? You brought it all out right at your Magisterial Fundies blog here.
If I had the letter, that wouldn't have been new information to me, right? Bob never forthrightly came forth with all the citations you provided from Dr. Houghton as to why CASB was rejected for an imprimatur. Instead, all he mentioned was page 131 of the USCCA. So again, thank you for your help. All Bob has done to date is to leak those selective snippets of the imprimatur rejection that he thinks will help him - almost exactly in the same way that he's released selective snippets of the correspondence from Bishop Rhoades (29 June 2007) and Fr. King (23 Aug 2007). Do you see a suspicious pattern there? Are your conspiratorial antennae picking that one up, Rick?
You write, "what we do know is that it is Bishop Rhoades himself who denied the imprimatur."
Yep. Typically, a bishop has some trusted individuals who look over imprimatur submissions. And the bishop typically signs off on their recommendations. So, the authority technically comes from the bishop. But it doesn't mean that the bishop personally read the book or that he even went over the feedback with a fine-toothed comb. Based on what you've leaked, it seems obvious that he would have looked at all the negative feedback he received and said, "Oh, dear." Again, remember that Dr. Art Sippo predicted that CASB2 wouldn't receive an imprimatur before it came out that it had be denied. If you look at his blog, you'll see that he's recommending CASB6 now, so you can't just write off his prediction about CASB2 to him just being one of those darned rotters against poor Bob or what have you.
Now, most importantly, we do have one letter written personally by the bishop himself, right Rick? And that was a cease and desist letter dated 29 June 2007. So, if you want to know exactly what the bishop was objecting to when he told Bob to cease and desist from writing and posting about all Jewish issues, all you have to do is read that letter. So, again, why don't you ask your friend Bob Sungenis to release the letter in its entirety for everyone to see rather than playing this weird and unseemly game?
Palm: Rick, you write, "Unlike Bob, I do not have eleven children to feed, and unlike Bob, I have friends who are canon lawyers and have followed this case closely for years."
This sob story has been repeated several times by Sungenis fans and it's getting more than a little tired. Bob has publicly stated on more than one occasion that since he's been criticized for his Jewish writings and postings, his income has only gone up dramatically.
Most recently, in his new "book" (and I use that term very loosely), "The Catholic/Jewish Dialogue: Controversies and Corrections", Bob writes:
R. Sungenis: "In reality, their campaign against me has resulted in an amazing phenomenon – the donations to our apostolate have actually doubled in the last few years." (p. 635)
Was he lying, Rick?
So, if you really want to put on your conspiracy theorist's cap, maybe we're actually secretly working for Bob and this is all a ruse just to push up donations? Hmmmm.
Now, even if his donations were going down (which they're not at all, according to Bob himself), you seem to be forgetting that it's easily within Bob's control to remedy that.
What we've written has been provoked by Bob's repeated erroneous, unjust, inflammatory attacks. We're defending people from him, which is an act of both justice and charity.
If Bob would just stop with the conspiracy mongering, and erroneous and slanderous charges of heresy against innocent individuals (including a successor to the Apostles), offer a proper apology and retraction, and then return to core Catholic apologetics then we wouldn't even be having this conversation. It's that simple.
DeLano: My response to David Palm is up: http://magisterialfundies.blogspot.com/2012/01/david-palm-and-catholics.html
“S” (another commenter):
To Rick DeLano: At your blog-reply to Palm, you wrote, "I stopped at the beginning, where Palm situated his attack upon me by having recourse to the observation that I-scandalously!- hold to the ancient and apostolic Catholic Faith in this exact respect: I am a geocentrist."
I think that's an oddly exaggerated reaction. The article started off by explaining to readers who you are and your connections to Sungenis. I don't see anything false or excessive there. It's very mild compared to some of the things you and James Phillips have written (including what you wrote later in the same blog-reply).
In regard to your connection with Sungenis through geocentrism, all Palm wrote was, "Rick is also a geocentrist (he believes that the universe revolves around a stationary earth) and was one of the main speakers at Bob's first Galileo Was Wrong conference."
That's what offended you so deeply that you refused to read any further? It's a statement of fact. Not to be unkind, but you might want to consider whether your defensive reaction says more about you than it does about Palm.
Your reaction to his introductory paragraph seems all the more odd to me considering your subsequent description of Palm and the other Sungenis critics:
"odious, spooky, shadowy bunch of reputation-destroying fanatics."
"cabal of self-appointed ecclesiastical KGB operatives"
"apologists for the enemies of our Holy Faith, and enemies of its bravest defenders."
Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anything in his article approaching that level of ad-hominem vitriol.
You said that you didn't read any more of what Palm wrote after reading his first paragraph because you found it so offensive. One supposes this is designed to provide another excuse for why you had nothing to say about the actual substance of what he wrote. But it's hard to believe that you didn't read all of what he wrote based on your comments right here in this combox. What Palm posted here is the same thing that he posted at his blog.
Palm: "The comments below are also substantially the same as those I made in the comments box at Dave Armstrong's blog" (see here).
After Palm posted the same material here, you commented:
"What is truly remarkable about Dave Palm's latest post, and this is a theme I will develop in my fuller response, is that he apparently sees no irony at all in his 'judge and jury' analogy." (Rick DeLano: here)
And later you wrote: "Dave: Thank you, this will all be very useful." (here)
So, it's hard to imagine how you didn't read what he wrote.
You also wrote, "I have discharged my duty in conscience to recount the facts concerning the 'Harrisburg Affair'"
Based on the information I've seen, I wouldn't agree that you've recounted the facts.
Palm: Rick, a lot more evidence could be brought into this discussion which would reenforce the case and repeatedly illustrate the patterns of behavior I've documented. But given the material I laid out here and the nature of your response, I'm content to leave things as they are.