Friday, February 23, 2007

Are Ferrara and Sungenis a "Team"?


Mr. Michael,

I just read the following Q and A at CAI. Dr. Sungenis disputes that he is a "team" with Chris Ferrara and so I wanted to know why you continue to call them that. See below.


R. Sungenis: Mr. Ferrara and I are not a "team," and I think people should be able to realize that from the review I gave of his book. I told Ferrara the same thing when he complained about a sentence I wrote in my reivew. I told him that my allegiance is to the Church, not to him, not to traditionalists, nor to anyone else. As for the Jewish issue, Ferrara has not been as vocal on that in recent times, but I remain with it, and I will be writing another critique of Schoeman's book Salvation is from the Jews in the coming months.


I'm not exactly sure why this is an issue, but here goes: I don't recall anyone using the word "team" to describe Sungenis' relationship to Ferrara, but nonetheless, the two have most certainly been frequent collaborators in the past.

In Question #75 of his November 2006 Q&A, Sungenis calls Ferrara his "friend and confidant" and "my friend and colleague." Sungenis has gone so far as to call Ferrara the very "best ... prophet of our day" (see Question #53, March 2006). They wrote a "triple feature" together about Scott Hahn (see here) and Sungenis sells Ferrara's tapes at CAI (see here) - which is something he is not doing for anyone else at the moment. Finally, Ferrara has Sungenis answer questions for him at his American Catholic Lawyer's Association (see here).

When you look at Sungenis' persistent attacks on Roy Schoeman, David Moss, et al, and his specific use of the term "Judaizers", it is a little strange to note that Ferrara's book on EWTN features a chapter entitled Promoting the Return of the Judaizers. I haven't read the book myself, but I wouldn't be surprised to see at least some Sungenis-inspired material in there. In fact, if you read Sungenis' review of Ferrara's book, you will find that Ferrara attacks many of the same things Sungenis has been attacking since long before Ferrara's book came out. Perhaps rather predictably, this is one area of the book to which Sungenis gives unqualified and high praise. In fact, Sungenis has acknowledged that he and Ferrara were working together against Schoeman (cf. Mr. Michael and the Jews, "Once I received Mr. Schoeman's book, I read it from cover to cover, and then Mr. Ferrara and I began to notice even more erroneous ideas.")

Somewhat strangely, however, I did notice that back in March 2006, Sungenis had this to say about Ferrara's book:

All I can suggest to you is that ... you read Mr. Ferrara's book. I have read Mr. Ferrara's new book and I plan to write a review on it in the near future. What I can tell you for now, however, is that I consider Christopher Ferrara a prophet of our day, and probably the best I've seen. I have met no one who is able to examine and expose the ongoing deterioration of modern Catholicism as well as Mr. Ferrara has done, including what is presently going on at EWTN. Although EWTN certainly does have some good programming, it needs to heeds [sic] the information Mr. Ferrara put in his book so that it can truely [sic] be the voice of Catholicism in our day. I will have more to say about this in a few weeks. (Question #53, March 2006)

In March of 2006, then, Sungenis says that he has "read Mr. Ferrara's new book" and proceeds to give it superlative recommendations. But then, in June of 2006, he began to back off from that initial positive review:

We will support Mr. Ferrara's book, but when we do so we need to make a few disclaimers when we write the review, because we do not buy into everything the book says ... (Question #15, June 2006)

It would be interesting to find out exactly what happened between March and June of 2006 that caused Sungenis to change his mind, but it would appear that he and Ferrara have had a falling-out.

If you search for the name "Ferrara" on CAI's web site, you'll see that it comes up frequently in a context that suggests partnership and cooperation, so it seems somewhat odd that Sungenis is denying it now and distancing himself from Ferrara. However, if you peruse the Q&A section at CAI a little bit, looking at questions like #75 from November 2006, some answers may suggest themselves.