Can we know the full truth please?

Can we know the full truth please?

This is the question that Amanda asks in her post and it is one that particularly resonates with me.  Especially in this time of Lent we consider Christ who was silent before his accusers and the CCC tells us.  “The right to the communication of the truth is not unconditional.  Everyone must conform his life to the Gospel precept of fraternal love.  This requires us in concrete situations to judge whether or not it is appropriate to reveal the truth to someone who asks for it.  Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication”. (CCC2488-9)

However, at the same time I wonder if I am just being cowardly because I do not like conflict and normally stay private – you may have noticed I never posted or commented on Protect the Pope before yesterday.  But St Paul tells us “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.  So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner.  Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:6-8).

Over three and half years Nick published 1,900 posts, received 36,000 comments, 1 million views per annum and Protect the Pope was read in 188 countries around the world.  Everyone was welcome to engage in debate, including dissenters, homosexuals, secularists, and atheists.  Nick received critical comments, which he posted, from Peter Tatchel, Terry Sanderson, Clifford Longley, and Fr Iggy Donovan, who became a frequent contributor.  Nick believed that Protect the Pope was a forum through which traditional Catholics were safe to express their hopes and concerns about the Church and protest and challenge the advance of secularism and immorality in society.

In Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis advises bishops that in order to foster the ‘missionary communion of the Church’ that they should ‘listen to everyone and not simply to those who would tell him what he would like to hear’.  I know that Protect the Pope, helped enable ordinary Catholics to speak and enter into dialogue.

St Bridget prayed: “O Jesus, Son of God, You Who were silent in the presence of Your accusers, restrain my tongue until I find what I should say and how to say it.”  I pray too that we may find this right balance between loving silence and speaking the truth in love.

72 comments to Can we know the full truth please?

  • Minimum

    Rest assured of our prayers for you both. Just off to pray the family rosary now, which will be offered for you and your wonderful husband.


  • Trulytruly

    “I pray too that we may find this right balance between loving silence and speaking the truth in love.”

    So the silence will not be maintained. This is good news.

  • Michael B Rooke


    We must follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Father spoke of curiosity.

    “The Holy Father added, however, that in the day’s Gospel passage from St Luke (17:20-25) “we find ourselves confronted by another spirit, which is opposed to the spirit of God: the spirit of curiosity. It leads us to want to become masters of God’s plans, of the future, of things, to know everything, to seize hold of everything”. He noted that in the Gospel passage, the Pharisees ask Jesus: ‘When will the kingdom of God come?’ “They were curious! They wanted to know the date, the day…”.

    The spirit of curiosity draws us away from the spirit of wisdom,” he explained, since it urges us to look only for the “details, the news, the little stories of the day”. The Pope added: “the spirit of curiosity is not a good spirit; it is the spirit of dissipation, of drawing away from God, of talking too much”.”

  • Desperate Dan

    What on earth are talking about ?

    Sorry, what is going on ?

  • Damien

    Prayers and thoughts are with you both. Hopefully see you both soon and that Nick gets well soon and can continue in his great apostolate that is Protect the Pope.

    • Wake up England


      Read what Mrs Donnelly has written:

      Deacon Nick is NOT withdrawing from Protect the Pope because of health reasons. He has been “asked” to.

  • Lynda

    We are praying for you. I think it would help discernment to speak to orthodox priests and bishops, and your fraternity of orthodox Catholic bloggers and users of other Media. I don’t know whether you are a formal member of a Catholic blogger association such as The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma but I think it would be good to discuss things with your fellow upholders of the deposit of Faith and morals. It concerns all of those who speak the truth for the good of the Church and the salvation of souls, and all of us who benefit greatly by your and your fellow writers’ and speakers’ unselfish work. As you know, there are very very few people speaking the truth about the crucial issues inside or outside the Church, yet it has never been so badly needed due to the level and extent of the crisis of the Church and of souls. Know that Catholics who adhere to the deposit of Faith and morals are with you.

  • Chloe

    Courage sweetheart. I too dislike conflict. (Terrified of it, Chloe is not my name). I will put you both in my Rosary tonight Pray that we all have courage when we need it

    Chloe. Xx

  • Wake up England

    Well I thoroughly agree with Amanda: Please can we know the full truth? I feel regular readers and supporters are not unreasonable to ask this question.

    Part of the changes implemented by Vatican Two included greater lay involvement in the Church’s liturgy and life. Therefore it appears quite reasonable for lay contributors to know why a perfectly orthodox Catholic website has been, seemingly shut-down.

    I think we have a right to ask; and a right to be told the truth.

  • Darth Papum

    Sorry, have I misread something? I’m still none the wiser as to why you feel the need to “stand down from Protect the Pope for a period of prayer and reflection”. That sounds as if you’re under some sort of canonical censure, which I hasten to add, I’m sure you’re not.

    • Wake up England

      Darth Papaum:

      Read Mrs Donnelly’s post:

      Deacon Donnelly has been “ASKED” to stand down. His wife makes it quite clear that this is not for health reasons.

      It is an attempt to silence this blog and all who comment here.

  • exsurge

    The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.

    She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….

    It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

    And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.

    Prophetic words from Benedict.
    Praying for you Nick…

  • Chrysostom

    Thank you for these words, and to both of you for your apostolate. It looks as though Deacon Nick is being put under pressure; I have known similar cases. You will know best what to do, but one tip that might be useful: when dealing with those in authority in the Catholic Church in England ALWAYS ask for all commands, orders and ALL THAT IS SAID to be put in writing. NEVER promise to keep anything said to you secret: once you do that, they have you. But let not your hearts be troubled. If people are indeed putting pressure on you not to reveal the truth then they will have to answer for it on the day of judgement. God bless you both and may Our Blessed Lady, who has conquered all heresies, protect you – and the Pope. I repeat some quotations that I put before,wiser words than mine:

    St. Thomas Aquinas
    “If the faith is in imminent peril, prelates ought to be accused by their subjects, even in public.”

    Pope St. Pius X
    “The greatest obstacle in the apostolate of the Church is the timidity or rather the cowardice of the faithful.”

    And, from the same saint:
    “on the other hand, and this according to St Paul is the distinguishing mark of Antichrist, man has with infinite temerity put himself in the place of God, raising himself above all that is called God; in such wise that although he cannot utterly extinguish in himself all knowledge of God, he has contemned God’s majesty and, as it were, made of the universe a temple wherein he himself is to be adored. ‘He sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God’ ” (II. Thess. ii., 2).

  • John Fannon

    Deacon Nick: I’ve been a regular reader of this blog for a couple of years now and I have always been impressed at how you have been a doughty Defender of the Faith, and defending it from enemies on the outside, but also from those claiming to be in the Catholic Church but who wish her to conform to secular values.

    But running a blog like this must take its toll – being in the front line, the full teeth of the storm. I am very sorry to learn that you have had to stand down. My prayers go with you and your wife. I hope that this period of prayer and reflection will arm you for a subsequent foray into the fray. The Church needs you, to help catch the little foxes that destroy the vines (Canticles 2:15).

  • uncial

    I wonder if this has anything to do with Fr Timothy Radcliffe – Has Deacon Nick been censored by an intervention on the part of the aforementioned’s supporters?

  • Robert

    This has been a good blog apart form the maniacal obsession with homosexuality. Hetero and home sins carry equal weight.

    • Lynda

      Sexual relations between two persons of the same sex are unnatural, a perversion of one’s nature. It is one of the four sins that cry out to heaven.

      • Nicolas Bellord

        Thus, Robert, homosexual sins are intrinsically more serious than heterosexual sins and generally do not carry the same weight.

        • Mike

          Nicolas, keep telling yourself that..does it make you feel better?

          • Beth in the US

            The homosexual activists are the ones picking this fight, and their goal is to force the church to change her doctrine or destroy it altogether. Catholics are labeled as “obsessed” and “bigots” if they dare to fight back and tell the truth about the teachings of Jesus and His church.

            It is not charitable to smile at someone who is committing a mortal sin and tell them they are alright. It is cowardly and cruel.

          • Nicolas Bellord

            Dear Mike,

            Sodomy is plainly contrary to the nature of man in a way heterosexual sex is not. Possibly you disagree with that statement but try and come up with some rational argument rather than making silly remarks.

  • Amanda Peter

    2489 Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication. The good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of a discreet language. The duty to avoid scandal often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.

    I wonder if the Bishops invoked CCC2489 to justify their handling of the paedophile scandals in the church? They did not think the laity had a right to know?

    Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “The Truth will set you free.” (John 8:12) The world today desperately needs to hear the Truth. Protect the Pope was a great apostolate in the service of Truth. Surely all readers and contributors to the blog have a right to know why the captain of the blog has been invited to spend some time in prayer and reflection and to desist from blogging?

    2494 The information provided by the media is at the service of the common good. Society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, justice, and solidarity:
    The proper exercise of this right demands that the content of the communication be true and – within the limits set by justice and charity – complete. Further, it should be communicated honestly and properly. This means that in the gathering and in the publication of news, the moral law and the legitimate rights and dignity of man should be upheld.

  • Amanda Peter

    “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32)

  • Nicholas Dyson

    Michael B Rooke, We are not speaking here of idle curiosity but the truths of the catholic faith being deliberately undermined .Deacon Nick has done a wonderful job in exposing some of these errors which currently are doing great harm to the Body of Christ, the Church.

    • Michael B Rooke

      @Nicholas Dyson
      Thank you for your comment. I posted on the basis that I considered Deacon Nick might have wished to reflect a change in direction of Protect the Pope rather than he was silenced.

      For example the internal problems of the Church have been or are being addressed and to me the focus now should be on a combination of apologetics and to proclaim the Gospel to a secular society. That would not be inconsistent with being part of the New Centre for Evangelisation.

      • Nicholas Dyson

        Michael B Rooke If it is true that Deacon Nick is as you put it being silenced the question is why,is it perhaps because Deacon Nick has blown the cover of many within the church who have an agenda of, as I earlier mentioned , harming the mystical body of Christ,the church.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Deacon Nick and his wife have my prayers. This blog has improved, particularly recently, with some very valuable contributions from commentators displaying considerable erudition. I think we have all learnt and we must therefore thank Deacon Nick for his very valuable work.

    However these are very confusing times and there is the greatest need to discuss theses issues intelligently and constructively. The question therefore is:

    Is this a temporary pause in the conversation or is it permanent?

    If permanent then what are we going to do about it? Is there an alternative blog which we can turn to? Or should we be setting up an alternative blog? These are very serious questions to which I would hope to have answers.

    There are so many confusing issues in the Church to-day. Maryvale has been one recently. Yesterday evening I learnt that the Board of the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth is proposing to cut all links with the Order of Malta who were asked by Cardinal Manning to protect the Hospital. This is one more step down the road away from Catholic values. I further suspect that the changes in the constitution of the Hospital Trustee Company will mean the cutting of links with the Catholic Medical Association and the Anscombe Bioethics Centre. We now have two Cardinals who have done nothing to prevent this importation of secular values into what was once a Catholic institution. Satan must think he is winning.

    • John Thomas

      This is tragic news indeed about St John and St Elizabeth

      I was not aware that there were issues at Maryvale. Can anyone enkighten us about the nature of the difficulties there?

      We have enemies both within and without to contend with

    • Dekacruz

      You will no doubt be aware, Mr Bellord, that the vast majority of consultants working out of St John’s ‘Catholic’ hospital are freemasons, that despite whatever “code of ethics” and suchlike that Cardinal Comic and Cardinal Nichols claim is in place, sex-change operations are still carried out there practically daily. (If you do not believe me, take just one look into St Francis Ward and you’ll see why this ‘Catholic’ hospital is now THE centre in UK for sex-change surgery. Just about two years ago the local Lodge again told the Hospice that it could have whatever it wanted. You will have, no doubt, read in the last hospice magazine but one (The Carer) the Hospice’s thanks to the local lodge for the gift of a new ambulance. I do not know (yet) who is funding the most recent refurbishment works in the Hospice. When the local populace wants artificial contraceptives and abortifacients, where else should they go but to the former convent attached to the ‘Catholic’ hospital that now houses the local NHS GP practice? When Cardinal Nichols attends events for the Lejeune Centre at St John & St Elizabeth’s later this month, one wonders if he will feel proud of a once-fine Catholic institution and what it has become? And as for the banished goodknights, do they now feel proud of their sitting upon thrones in that fine chapel and lording it over their lords the sick that has got them to the position they’re in today?

  • John Thomas

    I hope this is not a crackdown from above on an orthdox blog

    I have noticed also that since Francis was elected Pope that the Hermeneutic of Continuity (Father F) also seems to have drastically cut back on blogging? then there is the admonoition against blogs from Cardinal Muller to the ordinatiate ( contra Father H?) and I seems also to recall some time ago a general admonition to bloggers from an episcopal source here in the UK

    I pray for Deacon Nick that he may come back to blogging and speak truth to power (which I fear is being abused in ecclesiatical circles) once again

    Or am I being too suspicious?

  • My prayers for you both. It is the duty of our shepherds to feed and guide us. If they wish to ‘muzzle’ us – then they are not true shepherds, and if a shepherd is deaf to the cries of his sheep, what is the point.

    I pray your health soon recovers, and that your voice is never silenced.

  • Matthew Welch

    I have been a regular reader. I’m not as sycophantic as some , I have seen you personally attack people who don’t agree with you, which others deny you do. However I do hope you continue blogging as I find your arguments intellectually stimulating. I also hope you find others who disagree with you equally stimulating.

  • ErnstThalmann

    You report publishing critical comments? [Moderated comment] ****! I’ve had any number of posts critical of the confusion Francis has unleased on the Church deleted. Now there’s a little truth for you. And I’ll bet it remains unpublished as well.

    • Ernst – I know Nick always removed comments which were overly critical of Pope Francis. This may have been the reason the post(s) was (were) deleted. Always happy for posts which seek to enter into real dialogue, are searching for the truth or are expressions of encouragement to follow God’s will..

      • ErnstThalmann

        Oh my! You actually set yourselves up on the one hand as the standard for “posts which seek to enter into real dialogue, are searching for the truth or are expressions of encouragement to follow God’s will” and, on the other, as determining what is “overly critical of Pope Francis”? Please, you’re making me laugh and I’ve got chapped lips! Since you seem not to be aware of it, allow me to point up a characteristic and wussy condescension in a crack like that. And you and I both know there was no need whatsoever to “moderate” my comment. That just more of the prissy style with which you offend people here at Protect The Pope. I mean do I need you?

  • Denis

    This website started with the intention of defending Pope Benedict against the scurrilous attacks our news industry was launching. It did that job fantastically well. It also asserted truth against falsehood and dissent. Sadly it has, since the election of Pope Francis become a platform for increasingly strident self righteousness. I wish Deacon Nick God’s blessing, but given the tone of much of what has become commonplace here perhaps a period of prayer and silent reflection is the best possible thing that can happen.

    • confused

      I agree with this.

      The early posts and comments were a pleasure to read. Anyone who doubts this is invited to go back and read them. We had a wide range of contributors and views and I think that all sides learnt something in the process.

      I feel that this has been spoiled more recently by a few childish posters who see it as their role to bully dissent off the site rather than engage with the issues.

      Just my view, All the best Deacon Nick.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Denis: That is a judgement for which you do not offer any specific evidence. At times there may have been self-righteousness but I suspect you are arguing from the particular to the general.

  • jacobi

    Deacon Nick, earlier in February, indicated that he was out of action for a while, and If I remember accurately, invited others to submit items for discussion. I did, on the 11th Feb, concerning the liturgy over the past 50 years.

    I wonder if this offer still applies???

  • Wake up England

    Two comments above from M. Donnelly (above) give me the courage to hope that Deacon Nick’s withdrawal does not necessarily indicate this blog’s swan song.

    A glimmer of hope? Let us pray so!

    William Weber.

  • Michael B Rooke

    I have just searched for ACTA on a number of Diocesan and parish sites and the result was
    “Sorry, no matches were found. Try using fewer words, or more specific words in your search.”

    Is this a Cardinal Nichols purge ?.

  • Lynda This is a good example of the good being silenced in the Church due to evil forces at work.

  • How does one go about submitting an article for review?

    • I will put on a posting called submit an article here. Just use the comment facility under this and I will move them into a new post provided they meet the principles set out by Nick in a previous post.

  • James

    Two posts. Neither published, and neither critical or offensive. Is this a record, or new management?

    • I don’t know if that is a record or not, I am new here. Happy for posts which seek to enter into real dialogue, are searching for the truth or are expressions of encouragement to follow God’s will..

  • jacobi

    In that case I would suggest that contributers continue to submit short notes on relevant topics, I have already done so!

    But some sort of editing still will be necessary, M?

  • “Nick has been asked to observe a period of prayer and reflection…” Who did the asking? I am Scottish (Diocese of Motherwell, currently sede vacante) and don’t even know what part of England Deacon Nick is based. I would not wish to cause him any problems but if his bishop has made this request and has made it because of his operation of his Blog I think he should be asked to justify his intervention. There is neither moral nor canonical imperative to obey an unjust order from a religious superior. And we in the Catholic Church did not require the Nuremburg Trials to establish that fact. It is the case and it always has been.

    • Lynda

      I think any direction to stop reporting on a blog (or otherwise) where a person is wholly faithful to the deposit of Faith and morals, ought to be put in writing with reasons, and ought to be public.

  • John Thomas

    Slightly off topic, but this may be of interest to some on the ‘mind and approach’ of Pope Francis

  • Kinga Gray - Grzeczynska LLB

    Good afternoon Protect the Pope.

    I highly commend to you a new Defence Advocate:
    Their Opinion is now available on their web page.

    Messrs Eccles and Bosco
    Aunti Moly’s Chambers
    Somewhere on God’s Earth

    Absolutely brilliant!

    God Bless


  • For those who might be interested I have published a rather heartening letter.

    It is from the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales to ACTA in response to their complaints about the new translation :

    • Trulytruly

      Please explain as I do not understand:

      “Dear Mrs Riordan


      This is to acknowledge your letter of 29 January 2014 to Archbishop Nichols. … His Grace has asked me to respond on his behalf…. with his new position as a Cardinal in the service of the Holy Father, Archbishop Nichols …

  • buckle

    I think it is only a matter of time before Fr. Blake shuts his blog. He too has reduced his activity. The various blogs were achieving little and it’s difficult to see what the future holds? The so called Francis effect has had little effect other than to take the heat off the Church within the media. The Pope has been granted an extended honeymoon but it’s not clear to me that the Holy Father understands the Anglo-Saxon world in particular. Perhaps he needs to return home to Argentina and talk with Argentinian veterans from the Falklands war. Some of these men were murdered in cold blood on being captured.

    Currently in Spain with lots of Germans whose brainwashed theologians wrecked the Catholic Church in 1962. I suggested to a delightful German doctor that she and her fellow countrymen had been conned. She bowed her head slightly and looked pensive. They suspect some of them suspect …

  • Clare A

    The ‘about’ section of this blog says that Deacon Nick is in the diocese of Lancaster.

  • Sonja

    Mr. & Mrs. Donnelly — It looks like you are having a tough time on all fronts. I think you both know how much this blog means to good faithful Catholics (some of whom have only recently been inspired to comment). The blog has kept us informed and aware of serious events and issues that are threatening the integrity of the Church from within. Are we living in the 21st Century? That this blog needs to be silenced? “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. (George Orwell) – Thoughts and prayers to you both and for the longevity of this blog and the important role it plays in raising awareness when the foundation of our Catholic faith is being shaken by the onslaught of secularism and those among us loosing sight of and the way to the narrow gate.
    “Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.”
    ― Catherine of Siena

  • Bridget

    I fail to see what all the fuss is about. Surely it is only natural that Deacon Nick would need some out to reflect on his new appointment as Director of Formation at Buckfast Abbey.

  • Lynda

    It is precisely because of the widespread evil in the Church that Deacon Donnelly’s reportage of various scandals is being suppressed. Precisely because of his pointing out the conflict between various actions and statements on the part of many Catholic leaders and the Catholic Faith and morals.

  • James

    I think I can conclude this blog is not concerned with truth, but the opinions f its publishers. To Protect the Pope requires we uphold the truth, and avoid danger speculation, and recrimination, relating to the Pope and any member of the College of Bishops.

  • Pat

    Does this development have anything to do with the request for Deacon Nick being “asked to observe a period of prayer and reflection” . . . ? Whatever the reason, prayers and best wishes to you both.

  • The full truth:
    “In some little, out of the way church there will always be a priest who celebrates the Mass in a holy way; in a little apartment a solitary old woman with unshakeable faith will say the Rosary; in a hidden corner of a House of Divine Providence a Sister will look after a baby considered by all as having no worth.”
    Mario Palmaro, who died aged 45 on Sunday,
    an outstanding defender of the Faith and of life,
    may he rest in the peace of Christ

  • It is not charitable to smile at someone who is committing a mortal sin and tell them they are alright. It is cowardly and cruel. -Beth in the US

    Tom O’Toole couldn’t agree with you more, Beth, in his latest post regarding a tennis player, Matt Dooley, from the University of Notre Dame, who “came out” to applause and a “parade.” Et tu, Matthew? Notre Dame’s double fault in Matt Dooley’s gay parade

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