Sunday, May 04, 2014


I was pleased to read Bishop Campbell's press release on Protect the Pope, Bishop Campbell is one of the good guys, I am glad he faced up to the furore that has surrounded the closing of this blog, not only here but throughout the world. It is regrettable, looking over the Google feed, that it seems there is a very strong sense that the orthodox, those who might indeed Protect the Pope are legitimate game, whilst, unless you are actually wishing a Pope dead, like the recently dismissed Tablet journalist, you are free to say what you will. Dr Joseph Shaw highlights the problem, focussing on one particular priest, whose writings are in one of the Catholic papers which are distributed in many catholic churches and cathedrals. Fr Henry makes a similar point about the last edition of Catholic Life.

There seems to be a growing sense, especially over the last few months that the Church is moving backwards, away from concern for the Truth to a superficial 'Unity'. There seems to be an increasing sense that those who had discovered or rediscovered 'orthodoxy' under Pope Benedict are not welcomed any longer. The most obvious example is Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, still silenced, still unaware of any specific charges against them after all these months. The 'Kasper theorem' delivered at the Consistory gives the same impression, whatever label you want to give; orthodox, traditional or conservative there is large group of 'concerned' Catholics, especially amongst those touched by St John Paul's theology of marriage, which elsewhere in the Catholic world is a huge number. Again here, the distancing of the entire Bishop's Conference from the Bishop of Portsmouth's reiteration of Cardinal Burkes: no communion for politicians who pass laws contrary to Catholic teaching, is unnerving, for some. It appears that an unsmiling stern-faced Pope Francis was saying a similar things on a broader range of issues, to 'corrupt' Italian politicians only a few days ago in St Peters. In the UK too the resuscitation of ACTA and its apparent promotion by some bishops gives the impression that being a dissenting Catholic carries no consequences, whilst trying to be a faithful one does, most especially if one who is a cleric. Indeed for the dissident a great deal of space is given for dialogue, one is virtually clasped to the breast but for those who oppose them there is only the cold shoulder. It is particularly sad that Bishop Campbell's statement adds to this sense.

The consequences of course are that Deacon Nick's blog will disappear but criticism will not, "unless a grain of wheat ...", on the contrary, it will grow. Fed by our Holy Father himself, who has told younger people especially to make a mess. There are many lay people out there who share the Pope's sentiments about careerist authoritarian bishops and functionaries, as well as ideological, liquid, bat-like, superficial Christians, or Christians allergic to preaching with watered-down faith, weak-hoped Christians and oh yes, my favourite those, "pastry-shop Christians", these critics seem to be making their voices heard increasingly.


Lucy said...

It makes me so sad. I never was a saintly catholic but Pope Benedict felt like a father to me and I felt encouraged in my faith, but over the months I feel more and more discouraged, ground down and depressed about how things are apparently (so far as a lay person who reads the Catholic Herald and Catholic blogs can tell) going.

Jacobi said...


I have just come back from Mass and watched nearly 100% of the congregation file dutifully up to Communion, (as to why it wasn’t 100%, that’s my business!), to receive from a “borrowed” priest who will be off in three months, leaving us in the hands of other “borrowed” priests.

It left me feeling, shall we say, uneasy.

The Church is in trouble, and I see little evidence that this is recognised by our Hierarchy. I have an uneasy feeling that schism could be a possibility – assuming a general seeping away doesn’t come first.

Pope Benedict did say we might have to accept a smaller Church!

ps : thanks ref Mundabor. Quite a character. I’m sure his type would be up front with Charlemagne, on the battlement with La Valette, and alongside Don John at Lepanto. I suspect we will need that type again in the near future.

Sadie Vacantist said...

Our Lord always often uses financial metaphors and many of them still work. The Vatican resembles a central bank trying to bailout failed financial institutions. This defies all known economic logic. Let the local Churches fail and start again. "Too big to fail" is an illusion.

Supertradmum said...

I have written quite a bit on my blog on the imploding of the Church from within because of a judgemental spirit which has entered the hearts and minds of many.

If one wants to be a saint, one need to be busy about allowing God to purify one's self. Otherwise, we all sound like the Pharisee in the parable.

Luke 18:9-14
9 And to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others, he spoke also this parable:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican.
12 I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

We all know now the Church is in trouble and those of us of a certain age have known this for a long time. We do not have to keep identifying problems but remedy these.

Each of us in our own spheres of influence,(mine are very small), can do our bit to make the Church holy.

Want holy priests? Have a holy home and raise saintly children..

Want holy bishops, cardinals and popes, pray like heck...

Want the laity to live according to rules of holiness? Talk to those in deep sin, but only in love and only in humility...

We can all fall into looking constantly at evil to the point of not doing good. God is Good, and if we concentrate on Him, instead of on the sins of others, the Church will be strengthened from within.

Read this...

and this, among others

epsilon said...

I went to Mass in a neighbouring diocese this morning where the greeters were out in force, the chatterers hummed away before Mass, but the visiting priest was a world apart. Truly making obvious his role in persona Christi, in everything he did and said on the altar and in his sermon.

Thank God for ordinariate priests!

Liam Ronan said...


I was educated in Catholic schools from the age of 7 through the age of 17. From the time we had made our First Confession until the age of 11 years, our class routinely went to Confession once a month during the school day.
Before attending Confession, the nun would have us close our eyes and lay our heads down on the desk and she would begin to read ‘An Examination of Conscience’ to us so that, Commandment by Commandment, Precept by Precept of the Church, we were given time to reflect on our sins.

The nun (as suited to our age) refreshed our minds with an explanation of the conditions necessary for a sin to be mortal or venial, of the pains of Hell/Purgatory (I suppose that was to elicit what I later learned to be imperfect contrition), how to resolve to amend our lives, etc.

(Anecdotally, my Father insisted we all go to Confession as a family, the 10 of us, at least once a month as well. Cue the whining. I felt I was hard done by. In later years, I realize that insistence of my Father may be my salvation one day.)

In any event, I was trained and educated in the necessity and habit of frequent Confession – if only to obtain ‘the grace of the Sacrament’.

I am a great sinner, don’t get me wrong, but I do endeavour to confess at least once a month even if I am more akin to the ‘dog who returns to its own vomit’.

Nonetheless, I too, as you Jacobi, have for years observed that nearly 100% of the congregation receive the Holy Eucharist at the Catholic Masses I attend on Sundays and Holydays.

There were just 3 people for Confession this past April when Pope Francis asked the priests to hear confessions all day long to receive penitents. Our priest was there most of that day but only 3 penitents…perhaps there were more later, but I wonder.

If I were a priest, given the desperate need to evangelise and catechise our own people, I would preach a series of homilies which would effectively and pointedly be an examination of conscience for those at Mass and, as our nun did in the late ‘50s and early 60’s with heathens such as me, start from square one (see my first paragraph).


Gungarius said...

I have a lot of time for the Bishop on this. If I blog as Gungarius, private individual then that is fine. If I blog as Gungarius, assistant Manager at Acme PLC, then my employer would rightly object, as I am using their name to lend credibility to my comments and could also put them at legal risk. A hundred times moreso if I decide to engage in anything polemical. To be honest my only real surprise here is that something like this didn't occur sooner.

Liam Ronan said...

Incidentally, I greatly admire Deacon Nick and was edified by his calm manner whether presenting good or bad news items and his opinion on "Protect the Pope".

If the 'com box' was indeed the problem, I don't see why it could not have been disabled.

There may be a perceived problem with Diocesan civil liability and the broad interpretation of slander and defamation as it exists in the UK and Europe.

In the US genuine malice has to be proved (very tough indeed to establish) and the burden of proving malice is on the party alleging it.

God bless Deacon Nick. He is in good company with St. Pio and the Servant of God Sister Lucia of Fatima who suffered greatly through their obedience.

I agree with your cautioning against cases of extreme judgemental spirit:

"Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved." Matthew 24:12 - 13

Endure in love and faith.

Anonymous said...

Deacon Donnelly's blog did a great service to the Church and the world, helping the salvation of souls, including by decrying egregious scandals caused or permitted by those in authority in the Church, whose actions are leading many people away from the Faith and morals, and into sin and to damnation. We have a duty to act within our ability to prevent people being led away from the Faith and morals. We need more bishops, priests, religious and lay persons who will protect and defend the Faith and morals, particularly as regards those they have the greatest duty to, as Deacon Donnelly does.

Anonymous said...

"There seems to be a growing sense, especially over the last few months that the Church is moving backwards, away from concern for the Truth to a superficial 'Unity'."

It has long been least ever since Pope St John XXXlll berated the Bishops of England & Wales during in ad limina visit and told them they were not being shepherds to the Anglicans. It reduced ++ Cyril Cowderoy to tears who had to be consoled by the late John Carmel Card. Heenan. Some members of the Conference seem y have been falling over themselves since themselves not to incur that stupid allegation made by St John Xlll.

Anonymous said...

There is no defamation committed by making a true statement of fact (though one must be able to show it is true, if sued).

Fr Ray Blake said...

Fr Eamon,
Is there a record of that anywhere?

Anonymous said...

Fr. Ray,
Yes. I shall try to lay my hands on it.
It also seemed to be a FREQUENT topic of conversation when the Faith Movement used to meet in the Knights premises monthly IN London.. Although I was a layman at the time the late Fr. Des Coffey and the late Fr. Hugh Thwaites occasionally "insisted" that I accompany them to the meeting. The Chairman at the time was Canon Francis (Frank) Ripley of Liverpool.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I'd be very interested.

Jacobi said...


Absolutely,and the homilies might well concern conditions required to receive, that is, being in a state of grace, free from mortal sin, being otherwise properly disposed, that is, not for reasons of routine or vain glory or human respect (note that!), but for the purpose of pleasing God.

You would need a lot of homilies. It would be news to most of them. I mean, sin?

The contraceptors, casual Mass attenders, co-habitors, divorced and remarried and so on might get a bit upset and not come back, and the plate offerings would suffer. Now have you thought of that?

ps Oh Lord!, Father Blake, this is not a dig at you, honestly!

Damask Rose said...

"...get a bit upset and not come back, and the plate offerings would suffer. Now have you thought of that?"

Indeed, Jacobi. The parish priest would have to live in poverty as would the co-habitors and divorced and remarrieds after splitting up because they no longer want to live in a state of mortal sin. They'd all be witnessing to each other. Lovely.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...