Saint Benedict Center's main site is An online Journal edited by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Richmond, New Hampshire.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

On Libelous Claims Regarding Mr. Paul Melanson

In thy Resurrection Alleluia!

Let Heaven and earth rejoice, Alleluia!

It has come to our attention that someone is once again challenging the veracity of our public claims regarding Paul Melanson, his attendance here at Mass, and his application for admission in our religious Congregation. I would like to make it very clear that I stand by these statements, which I originally made on the TalkBack blog that the Keene Sentinel removed from its site. Someone recently informed me by email that I am being called a liar for making these claims. Such a charge is completely libelous.

Here is the reply I sent to that inquirer:

If Paul Melanson is really denying that he sought admission here as a brother, he is not telling the truth, plain and simple. (Of course, on line, especially on blogs, you can't know who is saying what, can you?) Several people here were aware of Paul's presence and were surprised at his subsequent criticism of us. The letters I spoke of on TalkBack [see below] are indeed here on file for anybody to see, as I said. In any fair tribunal, I could easily prove the veracity of my statements with documentary evidence and eyewitness accounts. Further, there is no inconsistency in my claims, as the "inexplicable rage" I referred to began shortly after his letter to me withdrawing his application. That letter was a little weird, but was written in a more balanced tone. [Note: someone had claimed that my reference to Paul’s rage was undone by my quote from his civil-sounding letter.]

The claim that the Center "may erupt in violence at any moment" is amateurish rhetoric gone wild. Whoever wrote it obviously doesn't know us. We've lived in peace here for 18 years, a record which speaks well for itself. Unless someone else plans a violent assault on us, there will be no violence here. This gentleman's claims are as comical as they are false. Of course, it's very sad that someone would lie about another's reputation. That's nothing to laugh about.

For the record, here is the original posting I made concerning Mr. Melanson. I emboldened a passage I consider particularly worthy of attention. Readers will note that I am making factual claims which require proof (proof which I have), and not merely making anonymous (or pseudonymous) claims I cannot substantiate.

This is my penultimate posting on the Sentinel’s blogs. My last message will soon follow. My present subject limited to the proof I have of Paul Melanson’s petition to join here as a brother. I quote from a letter that Paul Anthony Melanson sent me, dated May 2, 2004. This is the letter whereby he withdrew his application because I asked him to provide his honorable discharge from the United States Air Force (his DD 214), as he had promised.

On page two of that letter, we read this:

[Begin excerpt of Paul Anthony Melanson letter of May 2, 2004...]

“It would appear that it is not God’s Will for me to enter the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For this reason, would you be so kind as to return the documentation which I have provided you with? This would be greatly appreciated.

“I am sorry for all the inconvenience you may have been caused. It was my hope that since I was ready to take a leap of faith by entering Religious Life with no assurances as to the character and background of those I would be living with that I too would be given a certain amount of trust. It was not meant to be.

“Again, thank you for your consideration,

“God bless you Brother Andre



“Paul Anthony Melanson”

[...end excerpt of Paul Anthony Melanson letter of May 2, 2004]

Apparently I did send Paul his material back, as I cannot find it in our files. At the time, I would have seen no reason to keep it, since he withdrew his application. Mr. Vaste has asked for information about Paul’s letters of commendation, etc. Providentially, it turns out that page one of Paul’s May 2 letter has some pertinent information. Speaking of the documentation he earlier provided me with, Paul wrote this:

[Begin excerpt of Paul Anthony Melanson letter of May 2, 2004...]

“My performance evaluations were all straight 9’s , the highest possible evaluation one may receive in the Armed Forces. My letters of commendation from Colonel John G. Lorber, Commander of the 432 Tactical Fighter Wing, Colonel Mary F. Felts, Commander of the 3484 STUS/CC, Captain Ryan T. Whittaker, Commander of the 3484th Student Squadron and most significantly, my letter of commendation from Lt. General Charles W. Dyke, Commanding Officer of US Army Forces in Japan, IX Corps, all point out the fact that my performance for the Air Force were [sic] very much above standard.”

[...end excerpt of Paul Anthony Melanson letter of May 2, 2004]

This letter is on file at the Center.

Also on file is Paul Anthony Melanson’s signed letter of petition, to Brother Francis, with his “request for acceptance into The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that I may test my vocation to follow the Lord more closely....” That letter, which I have just quoted, is dated April 14, 2004 (exactly 3 years ago today).

Anybody who would like to review these letters, original copies with Paul Anthony Melanson’s signature, may make an appointment with me. Also available are the letters I sent Paul and printed postings I put on Paul’s blog, postings which challenged his slanderous attacks against us. Paul removed my postings, but not before we printed hard copies.

I would not have bothered to name Paul Anthony Melanson, or dredge up any of this history, but he was named as some sort of expert and I thought his history with us should be noted. My words in his regard were then challenged and my honor questioned by people who assume I am a mendacious individual and my Order is suspicious. In his Introduction to a Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales points out that a man is entitled to his good name. A fortiori, a religious order is entitled to the same.

I suspect that this will not be sufficient for some would-be inquisitors. Fine. Say what you will. You are only limited by the low standards of the Keene Sentinel’s editorial staff. This is not a court or legal tribunal of any sort. There appear to be no rules here on the Great TalkBack Pseudoinquisition of 2007, where anybody with a Quixotic penchant for cyber-toasting others’ reputations can say anything he wants, even under an assumed name, from the comfort of his own living room. If this were a court (civil or ecclesiastical), competent lawyers would argue the case before a competent judge; evidence would be looked at; witnesses would be summoned; people would testify under oath, etc. In short, there would be responsibility and accountability according to real standards and perjury would be punished. I would be able to bring many witnesses and much evidence forth to prove the veracity of my statements. In the end, I would win.

Thank you for your consideration.

— Brother André Marie, M.I.C.M.