Father Longenecker Retracts?

Father Longenecker Retracts[?]

Written by Michael Matt | Editor

Readers may recall Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s unprovoked attack on traditional Catholics last month in an article entitled “Ten Traits of Catholic Fundamentalism” (Patheos). In the wake of that article, The Remnant issued a demand for public retraction from Fr. Longenecker.

On March 12, one of Father Longenecker’s parishioners, Steve Stewart, sent The Remnant a brief and respectful word of defense, not of his pastor’s attack on traditional Catholics, but rather of Longenecker as confessor.

Since my reply to Mr. Stewart sets the context for this exchange, I repost it here:

“Steve: Father needs to retract. And if he’s half the priest you say he is, he will know that he must retract. Here’s why: There is absolutely no reason for anyone anywhere to jump to the outrageous conclusion that given enough rope, traditional Catholics (even the nutty ones) will resort to physical violence. This is calumny, pure and simple. It’s wrong on so many levels—but coming from a Catholic priest it is dangerous and scandalous. Through guilt by association, it also naturally runs the calculated risk of dragging the whole traditionalist movement into the fever swamps of domestic terrorism where the Southern Poverty Law Center and other far-Left groups have been maliciously trying to confine traditional Catholics for years. Here’s where Father’s article enters into the realm of the indefensible, regardless of how good he is in the confessional. There is no excuse for this—none at all—and he’s too intelligent to have failed to anticipate the fallout. This was either malicious or incredibly stupid. I prefer to presume it was a stupid mistake on his part. So, all Father needs to do now is publicly retract and I will pull this article down. MJM”

With no word of that retraction having surfaced in the days that followed, The Remnant’s Chris Ferrara, a member of the South Carolina bar, sent a formal demand for the same, citing South Carolina law on libel.

We are pleased to announce that Father Longenecker complied with The Remnant’s demand for retraction three days later. On March 31, 2016, he posted the following on his blogsite at Patheos:

I have received a letter from Christopher A. Ferrara–an attorney for The Remnant which says:

“Accordingly, I hereby demand that within five days of the date of this letter you publish on your website, with as much prominence as the original article, your full and unequivocal retraction of the statements ‘given enough rope they will move from verbal violence to physical violence’ and ‘given enough rope they will move from verbal violence to personal violence’ as they apply to the Remnant its Editor and his associates.”

In compliance with Mr Ferrara’s request I retract fully, unequivocally and completely any statement or suggestion that Mr Matt, The Remnant staff, readers and associates might tend towards violence of any kind, nor would they ever threaten anybody.
As far as The Remnant is concerned this matter is now closed.

As The Remnant remains committed to the defense of traditional Catholics unjustly accused, we pledge to use our resources to expose slander and false accusations whenever and wherever they surface. And if public retractions and/or corrections cannot be obtained through the usual channels, we will make recourse to the legal option to ensure that Traditional Catholics are not maligned, calumniated or slandered as would-be hate criminals by any critic in any quarter.

Turning the other cheek does mean that faithful Catholics must allow their very lives (and those of their families) to be in any sense threatened by the reckless antics of any and all Internet critics. As we see it, especially given the violent attacks on pro-tradition Christian groups, such as the office invasion of the Family Research Council by a gunman—this is a matter both of self-defense and natural justice, and thereby abundantly supported by Catholic moral theology.

The Remnant will not be intimidated and it will not back down when it comes to immoral and illegal slander leveled against us, either directly or by extension.

For the Record

Though we anticipate that Father Longenecker—a Catholic priest—will have the integrity to stand by his word (as posted on his own site and later confirmed in his telephone call to Christopher Ferrara on March 31) in the matter of his retraction, we would like the record to show exactly what Father posted on his site on March 31, 2016. See Fr. Longenecker’s [March 31st] retraction HERE [as archived on The Remnant website]

Whatever edits or changes that may occur to this retraction in the days that follow are on Father’s conscience and are of no concern to us.

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10 comments on “Father Longenecker Retracts?

  1. [“Father Longenecker Retracts” or an April Fool’s Day joke? April 1st addenda by Fr. L to his March 31st piece:]

    Yesterday I received a letter by FedEx from Christopher A. Ferrara–an attorney for Michael Matt, editor of The Remnant. The three page letter was heavy with intimidating legalese making it sound like Mr Ferrara might be a very aggressive lawyer.

    In the letter he accuses me of libel, and while not explicitly threatening a lawsuit, the subtext was very clear.

    * * *

    I repeat: Mr Matt and Mr Ferrara are not angry and violent men.

    They would never dream of threatening anyone in any way.

    • Indeed, there goes Fr. Longenecker painting himself as the victim while he goes about bullying others by way of a collar. Shameful example.

      Perhaps Fr. Longenecker, after his testosterone cools, will understand that he baits in his articles. He baits and then cries foul when rightfully called out for shoddy pandering.

      But when one’s livelihood depends on creating a market for what one chooses to write, well, there we are. Too bad Father is divided in his focus.

      Trying to serve two masters is a strain.

  2. Anti-Catholic Fundamentalist Protestant Ordained a Catholic Priest

    April 1, 2016

    National Catholic Charismaniac

    [Never mind. It’s not an April Fools’ joke.]

  3. Longnecker is a living, breathing April Fool’s joke 365 days a year. He has time and again demonstrated that he is an unmitigated and unrepentant jackass. Anyone who reads his drivel, much less chooses such an un-Catholic cretin as a “confessor”, deserves whatever he gets. In better days, this bald butthead would have answered under the Code Duello.

  4. Can somebody please help me here?
    I was originally delighted that Fr Longenecker had apologised.
    But now I can’t find the apology on his website. Is it there or was it a personal email to Michal Matt?
    Tom, where did you find that comment you posted and does it completely undo his apology?

    You understand that I am trying to give Fr Longenecker the benefit of the doubt and believe that he really was sorry for his comments suggesting Traditionalists were prone to violence, however, with my above questions I am finding it hard to understand what he is really saying.

    • Good morning, fidei! I guess Australia doesn’t observe April 1 as a practical joke day, i.e., April Fool’s Day here in the States. Let your delight over Fr. L. be returned to a normal state of disgust, but maybe prompting you to offer an extra prayer!

    • Both versions of Fr. L’s “apology” are gone from his website: The March 31st one which satisfied The Remnant’s request, and the April 1st one with the sarcastic addenda that I noted above, which negated his March 31st post.

  5. L’affair Longenecker Draws to a Merciful Conclusion

    [Nonetheless, did Fr. L retract his retraction by his sarcastic April 1st (Fool’s Day) addenda to his original post and then by deleting both versions from his website?]

    Written by Michael Matt | Editor

    Over at Patheos, Father Dwight Longenecker posted what I believe to be a sincere explanation of his side of the unfortunate exchange which took place between us over the past few weeks. In his “That Remnant Retraction,” Father indicates that he now understands the nature of our concerns over his recent suggestion that some traditionalists, if given enough rope, will move from rhetorical to physical violence. He’s fully retracted that claim, apologized and expressed a desire to move on.

    I assume visitors to this site are as weary of this saga as we are, and we’re thus more than happy to accept Father’s explanation and to wish him Godspeed. The Remnant remains firmly committed to building bridges with fellow Catholics, even those who may vehemently disagree with our editorial positions. We believe it is essential, however, to defend traditional Catholicism against unjust accusations, which is why, after having publicly called for a retraction, and with none forthcoming, I asked Chris Ferrara to formalize our demand for retraction by letter.

    At the end of the day and despite obvious disagreements, we’d much prefer to consider Father Longenecker a potential ally rather than an adversary, especially in light of forthcoming events in Rome, but also considering the rise of Christophobia in the world at large. The sobering reality is that the far-Left recognizes very little difference between traditional Catholics and conservatives such as Father Longenecker. As far as the enemies of Christ are concerned, we’re all ‘haters’ who will eventually have to be silenced. Those who are willing to defend Christ and His Church in this increasingly Christophobic climate would thus do well to find ways to come together wherever possible, and it is our hope that despite the unpleasantness of this exchange, some small advances in that regard and on both sides were nevertheless realized.

    The matter is therefore closed. We ask Father to pray for us, even as we will pray for him, that a greater understanding might gradually begin to develop between all those who seek to remain in the faithful service of Christ our King and His Church under siege, even despite the confusion and uncertainty that seem to everywhere dominate the landscape.

    In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.

  6. The last thing a priest (or a sincere convert from Protestant fundamentalism) should be doing is itemizing all of the different kinds of Catholics he doesn’t like ( without realizing this reveals obvious Protestant anti-Catholic bias and stereotypes).
    How do these differ from anti-Catholic Jack Chick rants and caricatures? Why does his bishop allow this? When you are not an authority on Catholic matters and have these lingering anti-Catholic obsessions, practice some prayerful silence and you will get in trouble less frequently.

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