The Tablet’s statement about Deacon Nick Donnelly

The Tablet has published in their free on-line coverage of Nick being asked to complete a period of prayer and reflection, further reasons which were not included in the Bishop’s office statement I received.

Reading the hard copy Tablet version provides even more information which is not covered in the free version as follows:

  • That “Protect the Pope… regularly criticised groups and individual bishops – including Cardinal Vincent Nichols – for being at odds with church teaching on issues such as homo-sexuality, women’s ordination, contraception and abortion”, and,
  • That concerns have been “raised with Bishop Campbell by fellow members of the English and Welsh hierarchy”.

The Tablet appears to be implying that the bishops’ concerns are over the blog highlighting where things are ‘at odds’ with Church teaching – though I’m happy to be corrected if this is not the right interpretation.

You may be interested in the following sites which explore when we should speak out about things being at odds with Church teaching. In particular, Fr Z and Fr Tim Finigan also suggest that other bishops may be involved in this or are looking closely at blogs.

57 comments to The Tablet’s statement about Deacon Nick Donnelly

  • Sixupman

    The number of perceived “offenders” is growing – who next?

  • Mersey Mercy

    Oh how the Truth hurts these not-so liberal liberals. If all is, as it seems, I say shame on them all – which I know I’m wasting my breath as they have none – shame that is.

  • Sparxz

    As the saying goes from Aviators in War-time, from adventures into territory held by enemies.

    “When your taking flack, then you know you’re over the target”.

  • Genty

    Tonight, as every night, I shall pray to the Holy Spirit to give His grace and wisdom to our cardinals and bishops that they will have the will and the courage publicly to proclaim Christ’s truth and to defend the teaching of Holy Mother Church. And I pray for bloggers who are not afraid to do so.

  • shaun the sheep

    I don’t think the liberals ‘get’ the internet. It’s never nice when their cosy status quo is challenged. used to be they had it all their own way in the parishes and dioceses, but now the interwebs shines the light of truth on proceedings. It’s not nice, is it, my liberal friends?

    • solly

      It’s the same in politics; liberals think they know best and we should just knuckle down and accept it. Africa is starting to say they won’t. As I said before: the issue is ‘unity’ – follow the party line. What is the party line this week Comrade?
      Funny, we hear lots about the sensus fidelium [sp?] but why is it only when a change in doctrine or practice is hoped for? Aren’t those in orders and the laity called to maintain Catholic truth in the face of whatever errors, mistakes and fudges come their way? Isn’t that the point of a Catechism? Of Encyclicals and other documents of the Church? I think I’m going to have to start a blog.

      • Nicolas Bellord

        Solly: Sensus fidei (sense of the faith), also called sensus fidelium (sense of the faithful) when exercised by the body of the faithful as a whole, is “the supernatural appreciation of faith on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals”. People tend to think it means whatever the laity think at any given moment. One needs to remember the need for FAITH as the hymn Tantum Ergo used to remind us when we had benediction. Praestet fides supplementum sensuum defectui” Faith comes to supplement the failing sense. I.e. without faith the sense of the laity fails and is defective. It has to be the faithful i.e. including ALL the Bishops including the Pope for the sensus fidelium to be correct and infallible.

  • Praying for you both. I pray God will be glorified through this somehow and that the Church will be protected and upheld.

  • BJC

    So the upshot is that our Bishops can’t deal with the democracy that superficially they are in favour of. Neither can the Tablet. The question has to be asked, and others have already done so, is who is going to tell Bishop Terence Drainey to go and have a period of ‘reflection and prayer’ for saying this and authorising the Tablet to publish it.

    “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.”

    Is this the sort of nonsense that I as a parishioner have to put with? The only thing this proves is the double-standards of our episcopacy and liberals in general. There is no one more willing to censor free speech and no one with a thinner skin.

  • It was nice to see acceptance of criticism of “several Tablet articles for being at odds with church teaching”

    Is that at least a partial mea culpa?

  • SteveD

    I bet they (the complainants) now wish that they hadn’t bothered. The PTP blog has received such wide and sympathetic coverage in other blogs, they have ‘shot themselves in the foot’ – good.

  • “I arise today through the strength of heaven…”
    St Patrick

    Through the strength of heaven, let us pray to speak up when it’s right even if it’s not convenient for people who should be leading the way!

    Let us be lead in our speaking out by those who have the humility to reflect when their superiors say so. By this act of obedience, the friars of the Immaculate and Deacon Nick Donnelly, as well as many unknown and unsung priests are saving souls by the second, while their superiors seek human respect!

    It would be good if our bishops reflected on
    “How many souls have you saved today?”
    (to rephrase the old anti war slogan “how many kids have you [the politicians] killed today?”

  • peter

    Liberal theologians (and yes some conservative) have been silenced for years and years and it never works out well. There are never winners just heartache all round. Silencing does not work; at its worst we suffered the Index Librorum Prohibitorum – all i can say is thank God for Paul6.

    As an adult church surely we can discuss what is most important to us. For too long Denzinger held the church ‘hostage’ but nowadays, with an educated laity and a new way of theology we have been freed to discuss what it means to be a catholic in todays world.

    I am a liberal/progressive and have been called to voluntary prayer and reflection in the past by superior and it was deeply disturbing – fortunately i was able to get through the process (not that it was much of a process, too secretive too… don’t get me started!) but is caused me so much pain and anguish i can hardly describe it.

    I disagree with many many posts on PtP, however I believe it wrong to silence a deacon who is following a vocation as a catholic blogger in good faith and conscience. Nick should not be silenced and, if Nick is being true to himself (which I think he is) I say to Nick, listen to what your bishop has to say, take on board what you believe to be useful but just carry on blogging.

    • Scott W.

      I believe you are indulging in moral equivalence, and I would need specific examples. To wit: there is a big difference between being disciplined for publicly misleading the faithful with doctrinal error and being disciplined for publicly affirming doctrinal truth.

  • Fr Alan

    You’re really not doing yourself any favours by continually flouting the good bishop’s request for this blog to remain silent during a period of penance and reflection. I’m guessing that Deacon nick won’t be a deacon for much longer.

    • I’m concerned by your post. From this and other posts you do not sound like any priest I have ever met. If you want to continue posting please can you send me the name of the parish you are resident in. This will not be for publication but just to make sure that you are genuine. I am sorry to have to ask you this. It’s just that I would rather be safe than sorry and have someone pretending to be a priest posting.

      • Doh

        There have been comments about a ‘legalistic’ reaction from this forum.

        Mrs D has every right to post, and keep this blog going, but from the bishops’ pov, I suspect that it continues to ‘walk like a duck’.

        So, I think fr A may have the right end of the stick here. You can’t have any hierarchical organisation without a hierarchy. And by definition the hierarchy will behave as a hierarchy. it’s a given, and Nick has most likely already considered that at length.

      • I agree. Mrs Deacon Nick posting instead of Deacon Nick isn’t exactly breaking the rules but it is bending them. Deacon Nick tells us he has no control over what his wife writes – to which I would reply “Ephesians 5:22-33 The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord,
        which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them.”

        It is frankly implausible that Deacon Nick has no control over his wife writes and honestly whatever you write will be taken by some people as his views. Similarly the problem with Deacon Nick expressing his own views is that as he is under the authority of the Bishop it will be taken as some that these are the views of the Bishop and the Church. The nearest analogy I can think of is being a member of a political party. I am a member of the Labour party but I would never stand for an elected position because it would put limits on what I can say due to collective responsibility. So long as Deacon Nick is ordained the church remains responsible for what he says and his statements will be taken as the statements of the church and of church leaders.

        There is clearly a problem in that while Deacon Nick has taken a vow of obedience to the Bishop his wife has not. Call me a third wave feminist but perhaps this is one reason why priests are not allowed to marry and for many years the diaconate was unpopular in this country except as part of priestly apprenticeship… All the deacons I remember of my childhood were trainee priests.

        Anyway, I would say that there are problems with this blog and I can see why the bishop has acted. Constantly telling the world at large which priests and bishops and nuns have been “silenced” by the CDF for example while immensely entertaining for persons such as myself may not actually be in the best interests of the church as a whole. People dont vote for political parties that are split and I doubt as if the queueing up to join churches that look as though they are in schism. I am constantly telling open spots who had bad gigs at my club that I would rather they didn’t write about it on the internet – not because I wish to “censor” them but I would rather people didn’t take out advertising on my failings. I imagine Nick’s blog presents the same conundrum to those in authority.

        Also I have to say there are other problems with the blog. Some articles in the past have not exactly displayed the highest levels of journalistic integrity? Not that I mean to insinuate that Nick has not got any integrity but he is not a trained journalist, is he? Apart from the fact some of his articles are obviously biased (nothing wrong with that) I have to say that I have noticed some of them wandering into areas of potential libel unintentionally. Perhaps he would do well to do an NCTJ course? You dont have to say things that are literally untrue to be sued for libel you can be sued simply for not putting both sides of a story or for articles which contain serious omissions. Not only that many of the articles appear to be single sourced. A professional journalist would multi-source their articles …unless they are Paul Staines …and he lives in another country and has his servers in the Caribbean. Unless you are a pirate of the Caribbean and want to live amongst the tropic sharks…

        I would question too the policy of allowing so many unmoderated anonymous comments. For reasons of your own protection from vexatious litigation I would advise you to know who your commentors are and ideally where they live particularly if they are making controversial statements about other people as you are liable even under the new Deformation Act if you do nothing. One problem with this blog is not so much Nick’s blog posts themselves as the surreal extrapolations and hysterical comments under them. Deacon Nick’s continual assurances that he is not, despite his assiduous interest in issues to do with homosexuality, a homophobe himself might be undermined if, for example, people posted clearly homophobic comments under his articles and he did nothing to moderate them.

        It is a shame as I have noticed Deacon Nick attempting to moderate his comments and his commentators more in the past few months but he seems unaware of how some of his contributors are damaging his reputation by association.

        • Lynda

          Any damage that is done is done by those who attack the deposit of Faith and morals, such as yourself. People who uphold the Faith and morals, on the contrary, help the Church and souls both within and without the Church. Allowing grave scandals to proliferate and continue even with tacit approval is what damages the Church and causes loss of souls. The Faith has a clear, objective content, and the moral law applies to the execution of all lawful powers in the Church. Arbitrary application of power is an abuse of power – there is no authority to act against reason, truth, natural justice.

        • Nicolas Bellord

          Mr Miller: What rule is Mrs Donnelly bending? I would hardly call you a feminist if you think that all wives to-day merely repeat the views of their husbands with none of their own. Anyway I cannot see that Mrs Donnelly has expressed views but has merely been trying to host and moderate other peoples’ views as a kind of Chairlady.

          The Church is not a political party so your analogy does not really work very well. Deacon Nick has been supporting the orthodox teaching of the Church.

          Finally this is not journalism but a discussion forum. Your ideas on “deformation” strike me as a lawyer as decidedly odd! Generally I think it is you who is trying to undermine this blog rather than anything the Deacon has done.

        • craig

          If the Diocese wants to use Ephesians 5:22-33 and the duty of wives to submit to their husbands as grounds to silence Mrs Deacon Nick, then let the Bishop preach openly on that subject. It would be worth charging admission to see, as the public reaction should prove entertaining.

        • St. Benedict's Thistle

          Quite simply a poison pen comment. It exudes poison. Since when does a blogger have to be a “trained” journalist? Nowadays, that is an insult to bloggers.

          I found this blog through the spreading scandal of the silencing of Deacon Donnelly, through social media and the blogging world, not through those “trained” journalists you seem to esteem so well.

          The veiled threats of lawsuits and so on stink to high heaven. Is this is the sort of individual who unleashes himself/herself on behalf of bishops? Badly done. Does not reflect well. Embarrassing, really.

      • D.A. Howard

        If Fr. Alan were a priest, he would have thought that “you are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Also, he would have known that a person ordained a deacon can never be un-ordained. In response, my rosary is now praying for Deacon Nick, and against his bishop’s abuse of power.

    • ninoinoz

      Mrs. Donnelly is not under Holy Orders.

      This blog (and its posters) can do whatever they like, thank you very much, Fr Freedom-of-speech-when-it-suits-me.

      As for Deacon Nick’s removal from the diaconate, on what grounds? Doing exactly nothing? That will go down well in the appeal in Rome.

      • “After learning that a notice had been placed upon the Protect the Pope website on 7 March saying: ‘Deacon Nick stands down from Protect the Pope for a period of prayer and reflection’ the Bishop’s Office at the Diocese of Lancaster was able to confirm that Bishop Campbell had recently requested Deacon Nick Donnelly to voluntarily pause from placing new posts on the Protect the Pope site”

        Which I read as so long as the site is his no one should post on it as he as editor has been told to stop publishing. Not just not writing?

    • Susan

      “Fr.” Alan, the bishop did not ask for the blog to remain silent. He asked for the deacon to remain silent. Let’s get our facts straight.

    • I am sure you are not a priest as you would know that “a blog” is not a subject under Canon Law. A bishop can no more request that a “blog remain silent” than he can request that any other form of media remain silent. He can only make requests and demands of his subjects. As Deacon Nick has obediently complied with the request made of him and is no longer involved in operating this blog, then the bishop’s subject in this case has done exactly what the bishop requested of him. 99% of the people commenting on this blog are not subjects of the bishop and the bishop has requested nothing of them – nor would he have the right do so.

      Your attitude smacks of the disgusting clericalism that is attempting to turn the Church into an absolutist, authoritarian monarchy, where bishops have the right to do anything they want in contravention of natural justice, without being accountable to anybody. In this you directly oppose the direction and reforms which Pope Francis is trying to bring about in the Church. You need to get with the programme and stop making silly threats which are intended to undermine the peace and unity of the Church of God.

    • Mersey Mercy

      What a nasty little man (or woman) you appear by your comments – whether you are priest/religious or not. Shame on you and how dare you presume to say that Deacon Nick “won’t be a Deacon for much longer” – on who’s authority do you speak?

      I suggest that you also consider silence as a penance if you can’t be Christian in your attitude.

      IF you are a priest – I pity the poor folk who must suffer under your disticnt lack of charity.

      God grant you (and us) some peace in this Lenten period

      Tony James

    • Do you think Mrs Donnelly is some sort of chattel, beholden in obedience to her husband?

      What sort of misogynistic attitude is this?

    • Lynda

      If you are a priest, you are a disgrace to the priesthood and the Church. If you will not assent to the unchanging deposit of Faith and morality, you have apostatised and subverted the priesthood. You are leading souls away from the Faith and morals. Deacon Donnelly was doing his duty as Catholic and deacon by leading souls to God through the doctrine of the Faith, and helping them avoid being misled by scandalous acts on the part of those whom we ought to be able to rely on to teach, govern and sanctify in accordance with the unchanging deposit of Faith.

    • iggy o'donovan

      Fr Alan why do you believe Nick will not be a deacon much longer??

    • katherine

      “Fr Alan” – yet again you hinder rather than help with your comment. Where have you been? Deacon Nick is no longer running PTP as we have been told and as is now evident by the comments M Donnelly makes. Mrs Donnelly, I presume DID NOT take a vow of obedience to the Bishop concerned and is therefore as free as I am to manage a site like this.

    • John Newbery

      Interesting – is that a threat or are you just cross? As a point of clarification_ you say Deacon Nick won’t be a deacon much longer….. is there a rite to un-deacon somebody ?

  • Teresa

    Mrs Donnelly , Regarding your response to Fr. Alan : Good for you. I’m so glad to see you won’t be bullied.


      Hear, hear, Teresa.

      And as for “won’t be a deacon much longer” – in which benighted seminary did Father learn his sacramental theology? What did they teach him before his own diaconal ordination? I think we should be told.

  • Rifleman819

    For Mrs Donnelly,

    Well done you . A well judged riposte to this supposed cleric.He might be….some parish in Palermo perhaps?
    I hope you and Nick won’t be “sleeping with da fishes tonight”.
    Not very subtle…is he?

  • Joseph Matthew

    I really would not be bothered by the comments of “Fr Alan” whoever he is. “Fr Alan” of the breakaway Tablet church perhaps?

  • George D

    Mrs D won’t be bullied but apparently she’s happy to continue doing the bullying.

  • Lola

    The Tablet article mentioned by Father Tim relating to the two bishops breaking ranks and published by the Diocese has been taken down. In its place is this:

    Views expressed here in linked articles do not necessarily represent the opinion or endorsement of the Bishop or Diocese – but rather express a fulsome or catholic approach of viewpoints.

    Funny that members of the English and Welsh hierarchy should go after a faithful Deacon when two of theirs have broken ranks. Caste system in operation? You betcha!

  • Lynda

    The anti-Catholic paper appears to have reported the most likely (and shameful) motivation for the apparently arbitrary and unjust decision to direct Deacon Donnelly stop speaking in defence of the Faith and of morals on the Internet. May all bishops and priests who have gone astray, repent and return to their mission. May all those persecuted for adhering to the truth, be relieved and rewarded.

  • D.A. Howard

    I wonder if the bishops know that they are automatically excommunicated for dissenting with Church Teaching (irony)? If so, why are they left in office? Just remove them and replace them with “other men.”

    Look at the bright side, if your husband is excommunicated he will probably be canonized (viz-a-viz St. Jerome). Funny how the Church canonizes those it persecutes.

  • Charles

    Well said Teresa.

    There is clearly a lot of support for Deacon Nick and this blog. Mrs Donnelly is clearly a doughty fighter for her husband, this blog and the Faith, who will not be bullied. Good for her. Fr Alan’s remarks are not worthy of a priest. He needs to be ignored.

    I have posted on this blog on a number of occasions and I believe that I will continue to post for a long time to come.

    Mrs Donnelly needs all our prayers and support. God bless her and her husband.

    We will not be silenced.

  • Fr John Hunwicke

    God bless you both.

  • John Thomas

    Certain clerics and their ACTA fellow travellers seem to want a more empowered laity but only when it suits their agenda!

    Pray for M Donnelly, and M Donnelly keep up the good work

    And prayers for Deacon Nick as well

  • Nicolas Bellord

    “fulsome” – what a strange word to use. I found this on the usage of the word:

    In the 13th century when it was first used, fulsome meant simply “abundant or copious.” It later developed additional senses of “offensive, gross” and “disgusting, sickening,” probably by association with foul, and still later a sense of excessiveness: a fulsome disease; a fulsome meal, replete with too much of everything. For some centuries fulsome was used exclusively, or nearly so, with these unfavorable meanings. Today, both fulsome and fulsomely are also used in senses closer to the original one: The sparse language of the new Prayer Book contrasts with the fulsome language of Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer. Later they discussed the topic more fulsomely. These uses are often criticized on the grounds that fulsome must always retain its connotations of “excessive” or “offensive.” The common phrase fulsome praise is thus sometimes ambiguous in modern use.

  • Bill Di Scipio

    Why is it that all sorts of heresies and liturgical abuses, pro-abortion nuns, pro homosexual clergy, pro liturgical dancing, and the most vile anti Catholic Catholic-in-name-only politicians like Nancy Pelosi never chastised? Never corrected according to canon law? Never advised to “stop blogging and reflect on your prayer life”? Never told “NO communion until you repudiate your pro sodomy, pro death political platform? Why are the people looking to heal the hermeneutic rupture that post conciliar interpreters caused the ones punished and asked to shut up? Why is SSPX ostracized yet pro abortion nuns allowed to keep polluting souls and damning these poor souls to hell?

    Why are Cardinals like Timothy Dolan allowed to praise homosexuality? Why don’t these leftist carping magpies get serious about their faith? Why aren’t THEY shut down?

    Sick of the nonsense…

  • Augustine

    Fr Alan you’re certainly not doing yourself any favours with your spiteful comments.

    Clearly Deacon Nick touched a raw nerve or three.

  • Jea.

    I think this website is good. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says something about this in paragraph 1868 that “Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

    - by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

    - by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

    - by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

    - by protecting evil-doers.”

    I think the Deacon is simply trying to hinder sin by disclosing it to us. And the bishop almost seems to be trying to protect evil-doers. That is something the above quote in the Catechism says is sinful.

  • I find myself disagreeing with Fr. Iggy on many things. I do however think he has shown the utmost charity and fraternal support to Deacon Nick recently.

    It has been an excellent example to us all.

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