The Heresy Hunter called me a punk.
He's an incredibly perceptive man.
To clear up one question in his post, however, a little explanation is in order.
Heresy Hunter was mystified as to why Pat Madrid would declare joy at the thought of my being told to "shut up" (Pat's words).
Therein lies a tale....
Anyone who knows Pat's history knows that he was one of the founders of e3mil.com, which is now known as Catholic Exchange. As most of you probably remember, Pat had founded Basilica Press and Envoy Magazine. Well, both were folded into e3mil.com as part of their "cover all channels" communications strategy, and from what I was given to understand, Pat got a large chunk of change for coming aboard early in e3mil's development cycle.
Well, e3mil.com was bankrolled by a Catholic millionaire that Pat, Tom Allen and a few others had hornswoggled (I never got the name, but my royalty checks are still signed by Peter Daou Foundation, so draw your own conclusions). When the dot-com bubble burst, so did e3mil.com.
Pat ran for cover, leaving e3mil and taking Envoy Magazine with him along with a golden handshake. He left Basilica Press behind in the ruins of the e3mil fiasco. But before he ran for the hills, he had signed several authors onto Basilica Press. I was one of them.
I had a book called Scriptural Catholicism which I had self-published for at least a year prior to signing with Basilica. It was really the first of its kind (at least, the first in the last 40 years) in amassing enormous numbers of Scripture quotes into one place. It was a one-volume encyclopedia of apologetics and it sold really, really well. As a vendor, I actually once out-sold Tim Staples at one of Staples' own conferences (80 books to his 30 or 40 sales, in an audience of about 300). I had dozens of bookstores buying it - I thought signing with Madrid and Basilica was just going to mushroom sales. After all, hadn't Pat Madrid and Matt Pinto mushroomed the sales of their own respective self-published books?
Now, Pat made all kinds of promises to me when he signed me, including promising me a stint on ETWN. As a naive young Catholic, I foolishly thought that Catholics would honor promises even if they weren't formally written in the contract.
Hah! I found the joke was on me!
Not only did Pat change my book so as to make it unrecognizable to my audience (he even changed the title to the non-descript "Bible Basics"), he never got me that EWTN appearance or any additional sales. In fact, quite the reverse. Thanks to Pat's expertise, my book sales crashed by 90%. They never recovered.
By absolutely sheerest coincidence though, Pat came out with a competing product, "Where is THAT in the Bible?" just about a year later, right after he left e3mil, in fact.
Now, a few years after that Mel Gibson created his "Passion of the Christ" movie. As you may remember, e3mil.com used Ascension Press to bring out their famous best-seller on the Passion movie, using Mark Shea as an author. In fact, Tom Allen, the head of Catholic Exchange (the resurrected version of e3mil), somehow managed to worm his way into the production and help market the book across the country, to such an extent that his name even appears in the closing credits of the movie.
The movie raised enormous interest in Catholic theology and Catholic handling of Scripture in both Catholics and non-Catholics alike, so the Ascension Press book did VERY well.
And, to their credit, Ascension Press DID put my book in the bibliography of their book on the Passion.
First, in fact.
By purest bad luck, Basilica Press had taken my book out of production just a month before the Ascension Press "Passion" book released... and Basilica kept it out of production for a full year. Everybody who wanted my book on Catholic handling of Scripture couldn't get it. I had zero sales from being in the bibliography.
But not everyone lost!
Pat Madrid did just fine with his Scripture book (it was published through OSV - he apparently didn't think much of the publishing company he created).
Oh, should I mention that during this time, the people in charge of the distribution of my book at Basilica were the same people in charge of distribution for Ascension Press? Yes, the ubiquitous Lynn Klika and her Catholic Word distribution company worked for Ascension Press, Basilica Press and Ignatius Press! What a coincidence!
And why would Ascension Press screw one of their own products in order to help an OSV product?
Well, Matt Pinto and Pat Madrid both used to work at Catholic Answers for Karl Keating.
Matt Pinto and Pat Madrid are old friends. Very old friends.
(To his credit, Karl Keating spent years refusing to talk to either one after Mutt and Jeff left his employ, for reasons I have never discovered. But I can make a couple of guesses).
Anyway, as a result, Pat Madrid made a TON of money, Catholic Exchange made a TON of money, and I .... oh, well, I wasn't part of the "in" crowd, was I, Pat?
That's why, as Pat points out, even though I once spent a night at his house, he never got to know me too well. Farmers don't spend a whole lot of cozy time with the chickens, pigs or sheep they raise.
So, of course, Pat needs to find me "acrimonious."
It undoubtedly helps him when he thinks about the past, assuming he thinks about the past.
And, of course, with this column, he's helping out his old friend, Matt Pinto and Ascension Press. After all, Matt's business was slowly sinking into the dirt until he signed Christopher West. Without West, Ascension Press would almost certainly have followed Sophia Institute Press and Tan Books into the Chapter 11 "find me a sugar daddy!" phase of Catholic publishing - the interminable senescence before death (the same death Ignatius Press was contemplating before hitting the unexpected pay dirt of having Fessio's friend, Cardinal Ratzinger, elected Pope).
So to be fair, I'm quite certain Pat didn't write that post just to be vicious to me. Knowing Patrick Madrid, he's not only helping Matt, he's probably somewhere got a financial deal cooking in the background, and he needs to show his bona fides to whoever is on the other end of the contract. For my money, Pat's essay is meant to assure someone that Pat is "on the side of the angels," as his friend, Mark Shea, would say.
So, you have your pick of reasons for why Pat Madrid suddenly jumped into the fray "from left field." It could be any one of them. It could be all of them. Or maybe he actually believes what he writes. Who knows?
Ask Pat! I'm sure he will tell you what you want to hear.
And, Pat, if you're reading this, I'm glad to hear you found another sugar daddy for Envoy!
Sorry I didn't respond to your essay earlier, but I didn't know anyone considered you relevant anymore.
To be scrupulously fair to Pat, Ignatius Press had also caught wind of my book at the same time Pat did, and they were also trolling to sign me. I chose Basilica over Ignatius primarily based on the promised royalties. Given what I know of IP, I doubt my treatment would have been any better if I'd signed with them.