Two dissent groups active in the English church, A Call to Action an Quest, have expressed annoyance with Protect the Pope about posts we have published about them in the past.
A Call to Action and Protect the Pope
ACTA’s google group includes the following posts about Protect the Pope:
Protect the Pope sounds like a good title for a novel. which is perhaps appropriate since the world it reflects is essentially fictional. The Pope it seeks to protect is a fictional Pope created by the imagination of its subscribers with severely ultramontane dispositions. If anything they are attacking the real Pope, Pope Francis, who seems to them to be less catholic than they are, and criticism of ACTA is simply a stalking horse for attacks on him. Certainly Pope Francis will need all the prayerful support possible if he attempts to strip away the overgrowth of centuries of pious whims and fancies, that now tend to be treated as part of the deposit of faith. ‘
‘Dear Friends, Welcome to our world where the fundamentalists snipe at and manipulate the truth about anyone or any group who does not subscribe to their point of view. The amount of time they have to collect information on Catholics with whom they disagree never ceases to amaze me. To my knowledge they have a catalogue that goes back at least a decade or so. There is something not quite healthy about it. I know of people and groups who have sought legal redress against the calumny but is it worth it? You might get one group to desist but another will spring up in its place. Just have a look at one fundamentalist blog and see the links from it to a myriad of others. Don’t spend too much time on it, though, you have far more important things to do. Their aim is to intimidate and silence us. The best redress is not to be silenced and to carry on the good work. ACTA is doing a grand job. Your strength is in getting diocesan discussion groups going and encouraging Catholics in the pew to voice their views. Do like the rest of us do and ignore the sniping on websites and blogs. best wishes Valerie Coordinator, We Are Church (UK) Chairman, Catholics for a Changing Church.
‘Dear Valerie, Thank you for posting support, and for sharing with us your experience of years of such ‘snipings’. I’m sure your advice is timely and I for one will certainly try to heed it. As a lay Catholic of a certain age-with a bus pass – I have been amazed to discover there are so many groups in the ‘ fortress’ church who have time and energy to devote to such destructive blogs. The threatening tone of references to named persons has been very disturbing and dispiriting, to say the least. But it has highlighted for me the need for the work of ACTA, CCC and other groups of the ‘pilgrim’ church to continue to engage in ‘courageous conversations’ with ‘courageous hearts’. As Francis has reminded us in significant signs the last hundred days, ’Do not domesticate the Holy Spirit: it is pushing the Church, it is pushing us’. And thank you to Chris and Alex for your courage and generosity in engaging with others on our behalf.’
Quest and Protect the Pope
‘Yet when LGBT Catholics do come together in the Lord’s name, for worship or discussion, some people and groups take it on themselves to object. We saw it for years in the hostility to the Soho Masses, we saw it recently at the blog “Protect the Pope”, where Deacon Nick Donelly was appalled at the effrontery of gay and lesbian Catholics attempting to meet – and at the letter of welcome we received from the local bishop. (For a site that calls itself “Protect the Pope”, I find it surprising that Deacon Nick appears to be so deaf to the words of the pope himself. If the pope feels himself unqualified to pass judgement - then what qualifies Deacon Nick to do so?)
However, that’s a digression. I would normally simply ignore the nonsense emanating from sites such as that, but I am disturbed that I have also encountered too much ignorance and misperceptions about Quest among people who really need to know better – British gay and lesbian Catholics themselves. I suffered under these misperceptions myself, until I attended conference last year. Then, and even more this year, I came away seriously impressed with the current activities and even greater potential of the organization.’
‘Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton was unable to accept the invitation to join us at the gala dinner as it coincided with the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. He nevertheless wrote not one but two letters to Quest, welcoming delegates to the diocese. Doubtless the author of the blog ‘Protect the Pope’ (see page 10) – who commented at length (and, surprise, surprise, unfavourably) on this year’s conference – will regard the bishop as another renegade to be delated to Rome. Good luck with that as “the times, they are a-changing”, to quote Bob Dylan.’
Protect the Pope comment: Both A Call to Action and Quest take a highly critical stance towards the Church’s teaching and authority, but when they are criticized in turn they take great offence. Quest’s September issue of their newsletter contains an ‘Open Letter to Deacon Nick Donnelly’ by Benedict Luckhurst. The strange thing is that no one at Quest thought to tell me that they have published an open letter addressed to me! I will fisk Benedict Luckhurst’s letter about me and Protect the Pope once I’ve had a chance to go through it.