Blogs” as my friend David Waltz calls it, attacked my recent posting pertaining to Turretinfan’s
pseudonymity in an article captioned simply as Paralypsis. I found it to be an interesting read as
I am sure my readers will find, too. Mr. Hays’ words will be in green, my original statements
from my article will be in blue and my additional personal commentary in red.
Placing One’s Faith On a Pseudonymous Blogger Rather Than In a Visible Church (Part
I) (by Paul Hoffer)
I am honored to be lumped in with Dave Armstrong, who has been my friend since 1997, and I am not ashamed to admit it either.
As for the characterization of me as a hatchet man, there are a number of possibilities here. He could be comparing me to a particular kind of soldier who served in the Revolutionary War-doubtful. I suppose it’s possible that he could be comparing me with Edward G. Robinson who was the title character in a great movie called The Hatchet Man (That movie also starred Lorretta Young, one of my favorite actresses)-again doubtful. Or perhaps he is thinking that I fire people for a living-sorry I have never fired a person in my life.
More possibilities-maybe he thinks I am a member of a clandestine Tong clan using my Kung Fu skills to assassinate rival gang members-nope, I am not Chinese nor Dr. No’s alter ego. I have never killed anyone neither. Or maybe he has me confused with Charles Colson or H.R. Haldeman who carried out orders at the behest of President Nixon against political opponents-sorry, too young then. Or maybe in some sort of paranoid delusion he bought into the rhetoric of James White and believes me to operating on orders of Mother Rome sent to my handler, Dave Armstrong, and on this occasion, I have been tasked with destroying Turretinfan’s reputation. Frankly, out of the above possibilities, it is more likely that I am working for the Tong.
using reason, evidence, and Scripture.
This is of course an assertion made by Mr. Hays. Mr. Fan does ask his reader to place their faith in him that he will articulate accurately what Catholics believe when he is attacking Church teachings. Yet, as I have pointed out on my blog and elsewhere, Mr. Fan often gets the evidence wrong when it comes to the doctrines of Catholicism usually by misstating or omitting important aspects of Catholic doctrine when he is addressing a particular apologetic point. Thus, I would submit that placing one’s trust in Mr. Fan is a misplaced trust.
anonymous or pseudonymous, like Paul Hoffer and Dave Armstrong.
This is a bald assertion, backed up by Mr. Hays’ emotional outburst as opposed to any evidence.
church because it’s visible?
…and on an article posted by my friend, David Waltz...
anti-Trinitarian lapsed Catholic like Waltz.
…to the identity of Turretinfan, a pseudonymous blogger in the service of James White…
blogosphere before White invited him to join Alpha & Omega Ministries. Indeed, it’s
because TFan had distinguished himself apart from that ministry that he was invited to
Of course, Mr. Fan is in the service of James White. He is pictured (in caricature) as a member of Mr. White’s team and even after only a cursory glance of the Alpha & Omega Ministries website reveals that White is the top dog, the big cheese, the grand poohbah of that outfit. Since Mr. Fan’s maintenance of pseudonymity prevents any sort of transparency there, there is only one conclusion, that Mr. Fan is offering διακονία there even if he is not an employee or underling of that ministry.
Ohio attorney, and since some the accusations leveled against Mr. Fan implied that he
may have violated some of the canons of the Ohio’s Code of Professional
Have they publicly recanted their scurrilous accusations?
I am not 100% sure which accusations he is referring to, the one that he is an attorney, that he is an attorney working for the Cleveland, Ohio law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP, or that his conduct with respect to others was unethical. However, one of the reasons that I wrote the article was to make it clear that he is not an Ohio attorney and that his conduct did not violate any provision of our Code of Professional Responsibility. The reader can take from that what they want to take from it. As to whether the individuals on the websites of Peter Lumpkins or David Waltz recanted their statements, I would suggest that Mr. Hays take it up with them. It is my understanding that those individuals are either Protestant or Muslim, not Catholic.
consternation for so many, especially fellow Christians who do not share his
blinkered-version of Calvinism.
belongs to a denomination with a spiraling scandal of clerical pederasty, yet he fixates on
the trumped up “scandal” of anonymous blogging.
Here is where Mr. Hays’ irrational hatred of all things Catholicism blinds him to what I had written. If he had actually read my article, he would have seen that I made it clear that Mr. Fan has the legal right to write and to blog anonymously (actually in his case-pseudonymously). Further, I made it clear that there are morally licit grounds for him to do so from a Christian standpoint. I specifically noted that the proper thing to do was to interact with his writings rather than make a judgment about his character due to his blogging pseudonymously.
Moreover as a tactic that he is noted for, Mr. Hays often raises the issue of clerical pederasty when treating with Catholic antagonists. He ignores or apparently doesn’t care that this is an issue that plagues Protestant denominations as well the Catholic Church and that statistics show that the percentages of those engaged in Protestant ministry who sexually offend against youth are around the same as those offend who are Catholic. The news media happens to focus on the scandal in the Catholic Church as opposed to that in various Protestant denominations because it is more salacious to report on Catholics sinning than on Protestants.
motivated from ill-will, malice or a desire for “pay-back” which typifies the modus
operandi of so many of the modern-day disciples of the dead lawyer from Geneva.)
we’d expect him to issue this preemptive disclaimer. Since when does someone
motivated ill-will, malice or a desire for “pay-back” openly admit that he’s motivated by
ill-will, malice or a desire for “pay-back”? So this calculated, self-serving disclaimer is
Of course, knowing how many Calvinists, like Mr. Hays, nurse a hatred of all Catholics would prevent them from accepting my motivations as honorable- hence the disclaimer. The fact he attributes dishonor and worthlessness to even that action demonstrates that my statements were downright prophetic.
Since Mr. Hays, a Calvinist in outlook, engages here in that modus operandi by doubting my motivations demonstrates that my concerns had merit and not a smear at all. Please note, too, the qualifier of “many”.
secret legal resource in any manner to ferret out Mr. Fan’s mild-mannered alter ego.
we expect him to issue a preemptive disclaimer to the contrary? He calls himself to the
stand as a character witness for himself. The exercise is transparently and viciously
I guess that if Mr. Hays can show that I have violated a confidence or resorted to accessing a secret legal resource, then his accusation would have legs. However, he does not. Instead, he makes an emotional appeal based on his bigoted outlook. In his eyes, because I am Catholic, I am presumed guilty unless I prove otherwise.
his choice of blogging pseudonymously. Personally, unless one is writing
pseudonymously out of humility or out of obedience to the directives of a superior, I
believe that one must be prepared to own one’s words. If I am not willing to sign my
name to an opinion, then it is not worth publicizing. In order to own your words, you have
to have the courage to stand behind them, to be accountable for what you say. As poor as
my writing may be, I have never been afraid of putting my name to it or being held
accountable for what I write.
end of his post, or over at his own blog, which would enable readers to report him to his
parish priest or diocesan bishop in case of misconduct.
Well Mr. Hays, your assertion is a false one as I do give my name, I make no secret of my occupation, and I list where I live at on my blog. Under my “Important Links” section, I list both my parish and the diocese where I live. (After it was pointed out in a comment he made in the comm box following his article that I did not specifically tell the world that the only church and the only diocese listed on my blog did not specifically state that they were my home parish and diocese, I did edit them to make it clear enough for even Mr. Hays.) BTW, I have green eyes, am 5'7", and sport no tatoos. My favorite dish is Cincinnati style Chili and I sing baritone.
One wonders, too, of the hypocrisy in all of this. Mr. Hays does not hold the pseudonymous Mr. Fan to the standard he sets for me. Nowhere on Mr. Fan’s blog will anyone find his real name, his occupation, where he lives at, his actual denominational preference, the church he attends, or a link to his pastor in case of misconduct. For that matter, Mr. Hays does not hold himself to that standard either as he does not list his actual denominational preference, where he goes to church, a link to his pastor or even occupation or his address, unless the Klingon version of the afterlife is an actual address in the United States.
By the same token, I notice that Armstrong hasn’t made that information publicly available either. Yet Armstrong is hosting a post about personal accountability. Hoffer and Armstrong pay lip-service to the accountability-system of the Roman church while they shield themselves from direct accountability to their religious superiors. If they have the courage to stand behind their words, why don’t they provide the contact information for their religious superiors in case a reader has a grievance to lodge with superiors over their conduct?
Well Mr. Hays is 0 for 2 as Dave Armstrong does list his parish information as well on his blog. Look under the link captioned “About Me”. BTW, this ridiculous argument is brilliantly answered by Dave Armstrong himself over at his blog. Read it if you want to double your pleasure, double your fun.
confidences, and used legal means to ascertain his identity.
tendentious disclaimer? Why does he feel the need to keep assuring us of his stainless
motives? It’s like a man who shows up at the police station, waving a newspaper in the
face of the desk officer as he angrily proclaims his innocence, even though he was never
named in the article as a suspect. Constant protestations of innocence before anyone even
accused them of wrongdoing are not the way truly innocent men ordinarily conduct
What Mr. Hays here is complaining about is the fact that I write like an attorney, which by happenstance I am. He also forgets that I know how many Calvinist apologists treat Catholics these days. The fact that I feel I have to post prophylactic statements when dealing with people who hold themselves out as Christian is a sad commentary about folks like Mr. Hays who treat Catholics and others when engaging in apologetic endeavors so poorly. It is to his shame, not mine.
consider to be abusive and un-Christian.
malicious intent, is arguably abusive and unchristian.
Mr. Hays’ statement here is long on accusation but suffers from an acute paucity of evidence.
wrote an article stating my reasons for critiquing Professor White’s misuse of
cross-examination after he made the scurrilous (and frankly actionable) claim that I had
engaged in a form of taqiyya in service of the Catholic Church. Rather than seriously
engaging the points I made, Mr. Fan chose to attack the article and myself by directing the
reader to my suspension from the practice of law for several months in 1999 for failing to
appropriately deal with a health condition that was seriously impacting my practice.
hominem device known as paralypsis. The speaker loftily denies that he will mention
something, as if that would be beneath him, yet he incorporates what he’s not going to
mention in the denial itself. “Far be it from me to point out that my esteemed colleague
reportedly had sexual congress with a syphilic cow. I refuse to stoop to such
In rhetoric, another word for paralypsis is irony. An example of irony is Mr.Hays' own statement above. It’s ironic that Mr. Hays accuses me of paralypsis but ignores the fact that I do not mention the subject of my alleged paralyptic statements-Mr. Fan’s real name. Of course, in the eyes of Mr. Hays, the fact that I do not “out” Mr. Fan is besides the point. Further, Mr. Hays, himself, fails to mention to his reader that he exercising his own rhetorical strategem , the ad hominem device known as “poisoning the well.” He tells the reader how bad I am, then asks the reader to judge my conduct. In short, Mr. Hays dropped his “irony” on his own foot.
apologists are a far more honorable, a far more charitable, and dare I say it, a far more
Christian breed than he and they would credit us. If anyone is going to reveal Mr. Fan’s
name, let it be either himself or one of his Protestant brethren to do so.
sugarcoat his dishonorable motives in a show of faux gallant oratory.
Mr. Hays has yet to demonstrate that I have acted dishonorably towards Mr. Fan. It almost seems that Mr. Hays is disappointed I didn’t reveal Mr. Fan’s real name to the world. Since he can’t accuse me of doing that, he makes up something else to accuse me of-acting dishonorably by not revealing Turretinfan’s name. Mr. Hays does not engage in argument, but paranoia.
way. Our Lord taught us a different way to return such conduct.
preface his vindictive agenda with preemptive disclaimers about his kindly motives.
More of the same paranoia. Yawn...
name to coerce him or extract from him a promise not to attack the teachings of the
Except that if he were issuing a veiled threat, we’d expect him to deny his true intentions.
fellow Christians, witness the many unkind words that some have uttered against his
pseudonymity, more so than over the subject matter conveyed by his words themselves.
I would ask the reader to re-read my article again to see if Mr. Hays has any validity. Search the article for veiled threats. You will find none. All you will find, if you had bother to actually read it with an unjaundiced eye, is an appeal for Christians to act charitably with each other when we engage in our apologetic exercises. Deal with the content of what one writes, not personally attack the writer, whether they be pseudonymous, anonymous or otherwise. It is a lesson, Mr. Hays, you need to start to adopt if you want to be taken seriously.
In fact, Mr. Hays, ask Mr. Fan yourself if I have made any threats against him or sought to coerce him in any way. Moreover, read any of the comments I have made in the 14 years I have participated in apologetical discussions across the internet. The record is there in black and white. The record will show that I have been respectful in my dealings with others and have strived to “play fair” in my dealings with others when blogging. When I have erred or lost my temper, I have always apologized to the offended party-always. When Mr. White accused me of engaging in taqqiya when I questioned the manner in which he used cross-examination in debates, did I not offer an apology for judging his motives and them offered my reasons to counter his accusation of engaging in taqqiya? Yet, I have not seen nor heard any apology from Mr. White for judging my heart. Ask Mr. Swan how I conducted myself when discussing a the Catholic usage of a specific quote from Luther’s works, and if I did not share my findings both good and bad with him. I was more interested in uncovering the truth than defending a particular position.
Prejudge me if you wish Mr. Hays, but know this-you will be reversed on appeal.
Hoffer’s entire post is a study in the psychological dynamics of self-deception.
Mr. Hays’ entire post is a study in paranoid anti-Catholic bigotry and illustrates how such bigotry is a pernicious stumbling block that hinders discussion of genuine issues that still separate us as Christian brethren.
In light of the comments Mr Hays made above, I would ask the reader to consider saying a prayer
or two for him. Here is one that I often say before commenting on other bloggers’ posts:
Keep us, O God, from all pettiness;
let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding
and leave off all self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense and meet each other
face-to-face without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment
and always generous.
Let us take time for all things,
and make us to grow calm, serene, and gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses,
straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize that it is
the little things of life that create differences,
that in the big things of life, we are as one.
And, O Lord, God, let us not forget to be kind!
By Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, 1542-1587