Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Deacon Nick Donnelly: His charity is perfect but his superiors charity is not

Writing for LifeSiteNews, Hillary White reported last Friday that Bishop Michael Campbell, "...has pressured one of his deacons to cease blogging in a move described by critics as an effort to silence the deacon’s lively defense of orthodox Catholic doctrine and the papacy."  White continues: "Deacon Nick Donnelly’s well-travelled blog, 'Protect the Pope,' now carries the note, 'From its inception to the beginning of March 2014, Rev. Nick Donnelly, was the main author and editor of this blog. At this time he is in a period of reflection and prayer.'

Deacon Nick Donnelly

The diocese of Lancaster issued a statement this week saying that Bishop Michael Campbell had invited Deacon Donnelly to stop posting, and to enter a period of 'reflection and prayer … on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church.' No reasons were given for the bishop’s action. Donnelly’s wife, Martina, has taken over posting and has invited other authors to contribute, and Deacon Donnelly himself has said that he has no control over what is posted.

LifeSiteNews contacted Bishop Campbell’s office but was told there would likely not be any further comment."

Is anyone surprised?

White continues:

Donnelly told LifeSiteNews that he has been able to speak to Bishop Campbell, but prefers to keep the details of his face-to-face discussion private. He added, however, that bishops in general have a 'very low opinion of blogs' and cited a speech by Westminster Archbishop, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who accused Catholic bloggers of 'spreading gossip and complaints and destroying love in the Church.'

Donnelly launched his blog in 2010 in response to the frenzy of attacks against Pope Benedict XVI by the secular press in the lead-up to his state visit to Britain that year. Its popularity on the internet is without question, with over a million hits per year and readers logging in from 188 countries around the world. Donnelly is a permanent deacon for the diocese of Lancaster, but includes a disclaimer on the blog that says, 'Protect the Pope is a private initiative and is in no way officially associated with the Diocese of Lancaster.'

Donnelly strongly denied that his blog has ever been used to spread 'gossip' and insists that it only commented on material available in the public domain. But Donnelly strongly defended the rights of Catholics to object to the near-universal disintegration of the faith.

'Don’t we have the right to complain when dissent is disseminated in the Church? Don’t we have the right to challenge the betrayal of the Faith entrusted to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ? Blogs are often the only way that faithful Catholics have a voice in the Church.'

 'When I ran Protect the Pope I was often privately contacted by Catholics who wanted to tell me about their concerns and complaints about dissent and disobedience in their parish or diocese because they had been given the brush off by their parish priest or bishop when they approached them,' he told LifeSiteNews.

Bishop Campbell’s decision has caused a considerable backlash, and other clerical and lay Catholic bloggers have commented that bishops who hope to stave off controversy by suppressing writers are accomplishing only the opposite result..."

Indeed.  What is most ironic is that Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Bishop Michael Campbell should express concerns over charity.  Father Felix Sarda Y Salvany, in his classic work entitled Liberalism is a Sin, reminds us that, "The Catechism of the Council of Trent, that popular and most authoritative epitome of Catholic theology, gives us the most complete and succinct definition of charity; it is full of wisdom and philosophy.  Charity is a supernatural virtue which induces us to love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves, and this not just in any way, but for the love of God and in obedience to His law.  And now, what is it to love?  Amare est velle bonum, replies the philosopher.  'To love is to wish good to him whom we love.'  To whom does charity command us to wish good?  To our neighbor, that is to say, not to this or that man only, but to everyone.  What is that good which true love wishes?  First of all supernatural good, then goods of the natural order which are not incompatible with it.  All this is included in the phrase 'for the love of God.'  It follows, therefore, that we can love our neighbor when displeasing him, when opposing him...If it is shown that in displeasing or offending our neighbor we act for his good, it is evident that we love him, even when opposing or crossing him.  The physician cauterizing his patient or cutting off his gangrened limb may nonetheless love him.  When we correct the wicked by restraining or by punishing them, we do nonetheless love them.  This is charity - and perfect charity." (pp. 92, 93).

The new Catechism of the Catholic Church (see 1822), promulgated by Pope John Paul II, gives us the same definition of charity.  While Deacon Nick Donnelly has shown us such authentic charity, his superiors have not.  As another Vicar of Christ once said, "All the evils of the world are due to lukewarm Catholics."  Apparently the sort of Catholic Bishops Campbell and Nichols would prefer.  Nevertheless, as my Latin professor used to repeat so often, "Si palam res est, repetition injuria non est" - To say what everybody knows is no injury.

Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that the laity (as with the ordained) possess the right - an absolute right - to expect and demand both sound doctrine (see Veritatis Splendor, No. 113) and good example on the part of the clergy and Church leaders.  And, if this is not given to them, they have the right to press for the reform and the removal of corrupt elements.

Pope John XXIII taught us in his Encyclical Letter Ad Petri Cathedram: On Truth, Unity and Peace: "Anyone who consciously and wantonly attacks known truth, who arms himself with falsehood in his speech, his writings, or his conduct in order to attract and win over less learned men and to shape the inexperienced and impressionable minds of the young to his own way of thinking, takes advantage of the inexperience and innocence of others and engages in an altogether despicable business." (No. 11).

And what should our response to such a "despicable business" be? Our Beloved Holy Father Pope John XXIII again provides an answer:

"...as long as we are journeying in exile over this earth, our peace and happiness will be imperfect. For such peace is not completely untroubled and serene; it is active, not calm and motionless. In short, this is a peace that is ever at war. It wars with every sort of error, including that which falsely wears the face of truth; it struggles against the enticements of vice, against those enemies of the soul, of whatever description, who can weaken, blemish, or destroy our innocence or Catholic faith." (No. 93).

Deacon Nick, like myself, has chosen to dedicate his life to the Lord Jesus Christ by waging a war against every sort of error.  Should he punished for such or should his superiors be rebuked by Christ's Vicar?

You know the answer.

Is Archbishop Vincent Nichols interested in authentic charity?  If so, why does he tolerate dissent?  See here.


Jonathan said...

The same old nonsense which kept the Church in darkness these past forty years. But lukewarm Catholicism is driving the faithful out of the pews and into the world.

PETER S said...

It's funny how if the Church authorities sense a 'traditionalist drift' or that one dare to confront and correct error, one is silenced, yet one is free, even as a bishop, to question Doctrine.

PETER S said...

It should also be said that the bishops don't like the blogs precisely because they cast light on their poor stewardship. We'd best make the most of the internet while we have it. I have a strong feeling that our 'free' internet will be clamped down on, sooner or later, with Catholics one of the first targets.

Unknown said...

they are neither hot nor cold, therefore He will spit them out.

Josephus said...

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! Question to the good deacon's wife:

Why are you harming the Bishop of Lancaster by publishing such subjective attacks on a dear old man unable to publicly defend himself due to the constraints of his office. He acted as a leader. He made a tough call. Have the humility to live with it without aiding those who would seek to destroy his reputation and question his judgement. All you do is vindicate his decision and his rationale for acting against the blog and it’s perceived lack of love and charity.

There is something greater here than your husband’s bruised ego. You can continue to protect the pope without making it all about your husband.

Anonymous said...

The comment by Josephus is disgraceful. There is no right or duty to arbitrarily silence one who is true to the Faith and morals and serving the Church by seeking to save souls.

Laurentius Rhenanius said...

O Josephe!
The only one with a "bruised ego" seems to be the good old bish!
Truth will out!
The deacon is a great problem. He knows too much. He reads to much. He imparts his knowledge. He discloses the real "dissenters". And the worst is that he has too much readers. To ban the author from publishing is (as we say in German)a "household remedy" from the good old times like journeys to colder regions for a good chillout.

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