Recently, it has been confirmed that the Bishop of Lancaster, we assume due to a number of 'complaints' from certain quarters, felt compelled to ask Deacon Nick Donnelly to refrain from his involvement on Protect the Pope - a hugely successful and very widely read blog - in order to take some time out, the completion of which is not specified, to 'prayerfully reflect'.
Ches at The Sensible Bond has some interesting thoughts on the astonishing development while Fr Tim Finigan of The Hermeneutic of Continuity has rightly drawn his reader's attention to what seems to indicate the application of a rather grotesque set of double standards at work in the modern Church with regard to who is free to communicate in the Church of the 21st century and who has their freedom to communicate restricted.
Others who do the precise opposite of this, who through writing and public speaking seek to undermine the Catholic Church in Her teaching enjoy considerable freedom, tolerance and even promotion in England and Wales. As Fr Tim has noted and dutifully explained, the level of promotion that dissent to the Church's Magisterium is so inexplicably high, that the website of the very Bishop who has suppressed Nick Donnelly promotes The Tablet in its 'Latest News' section.
While The Tablet is fully able to communicate Catholic news in an objective manner, the dissenting opinions of its editorial team are by now the stuff of legend. There has been some commentary suggesting that the Bishop has asked Nick Donnelly to cease from blogging for an undetermined amount of time because he has received complaints. It is well-known that Deacon Nick's work in revealing the collusion of priests and bishops in England and Wales with ACTA - a dissenting group of Catholics who seek to change Church teaching on sexual morality, priestly celibacy and the ordination of women - will have made him some powerful enemies.
|The Diocese of Lancaster's website on 15 March 2014|
'Two bishops of England and Wales have broken ranks with their confreres with one calling for developments in church teaching on human sexuality and the other criticising the collective decision not to publish the findings of a Vatican survey.
The Bishop of Middlesbrough, Terence Drainey, called for a “radical re-examination of human sexuality” that could lead to a development in church teaching in areas such as contraception, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage and cohabitation and the role of women in the Church.
Bishop Tom Burns of Menevia says that in the interests of transparency the bishops should publish the findings of a Vatican survey which asked questions on cohabitation, contraception and same-sex marriage. In an article for The Tablet, Bishop Burns notes “the height and depth and width of the intense pleas made by God’s people for urgent attention to their pastoral needs”.'
I highlight the word 'development' since it would appear that to 'develop' Catholic teaching in a particularly unpopular area of Catholic teaching is established liberal code for the undermining or abandoning of the teaching itself. If that is not the case, then why do such liberals never actually say what this 'development' would look like in practice? Liberals writing for The Tablet are constantly calling for 'development' of the Church's teaching on sexual matters. It is now the raison d'etre of The Tablet. Of course, it is scandalous that The Tablet's writing staff should undermine, in writing, the Church's teaching in any area and campaign for 'radical reform' of teachings that are inerrant and form part of the Church's infallible Magisterium. Yet it is even more scandalous that an article highlighting coded episcopal dissent from this Magisterium should appear on Bishop Campbell's 'newsfeed' on his website. The promotion of the article, in the wake of Fr Tim Finigan's blog post, appears now to have dropped down and off the 'Latest News Section' but can be viewed here.
The papal nuncio, the CDF and English and Welsh Bishops will have, I am certain, received numerous complaints through telephone, email and post concerning those teaching heterodox views in their Dioceses, numbered among whom are the writing team of The Tablet itself, which, despite its near constant undermining of Church teaching on a weekly basis, is for sale in every Cathedral and the vast majority of parishes in the United Kingdom.
Yet, as far as I am aware, no bishop, and certainly not Bishop Campbell has thought to urge The Tablet to show fidelity to the Church's Magisterium and the Bishops Conference of England and Wales continues to protect and support this weekly journal, granting immunity to those who obviously dissent from the Church's teachings.
In the light of Deacon Nick Donnelly's censuring by his bishop for airing views that are so obviously in total agreement with the Church's actual teachings, regularly referencing the Catechism of the Catholic Church in his posts, how can a bishop such as Bishop Michael Campbell not consider The Tablet's weekly criticism of the Church's teachings on sexual morality and other areas a cause for grave concern and an issue on which he and his brother bishops should take action as a matter of urgency? For they cannot say they have not received ample messages of complaint!
|Press regulation: At least they had a public inquiry...|
Have these two bishops highlighted by The Tablet really 'broken ranks' with their brother bishops? Or are the Bishops Conference seriously considering breaking ranks with Our Lord Jesus Christ? If Bishops are considering apostasy today, I pray that they will 'prayerfully reflect' on just what that means for them in Eternity.
We should all 'prayerfully reflect' on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and what it cost Him to obtain for us our redemption and to purchase for us the gift of Salvation that we can so easily reject. A little Lenten reflection on the bloodied Corpse that was laid in the arms of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, might help the Bishops, and all of us, to 'develop' our relationship with God and 'deepen' our love for Jesus Christ. For without love for Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, all of us, not just laity, but priests, bishops and yes, even popes are in danger of losing Him forever and forever sounds like an awfully long time. We know when the season of Lent ends and the season of Easter begins, but there is no such stopwatch in either Heaven or Hell.