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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Is Bishop Campbell Protecting Dissent in the Church?

Catholic blog readers are by now, probably well informed about Bishop Campbell (a.k.a "The Blogging Bishop" of the UK) who silenced Deacon Nick Donnelly from writing on his own blog “Protect the Pope”.

On April 29th, we learned that Bishop Campbell had "effectively closed Protect the Pope" blog- including the articles published by Deacon Nick's wife.

Bishop Michael Campbell effectively closes Protect the Pope
It is with sorrow that I am writing to let you know that Bishop Campbell, the Bishop of Lancaster, has refused Nick’s request to resume news posting on Protect the Pope. Bishop Campbell has also stated that he does not want anyone posting on Protect the Pope on Nick’s behalf.Although I have been news posting on my own behalf on the site, I now feel unable to continue.Protect the Pope will close as a news service on Sunday 4th May, the Feast of the English Martyrs to allow a short period for readers of Protect the Pope to say goodbye to each other.Thank you (on my own behalf) for all the prayers, support and help we have received.Please continue to pray for our Bishop.


Good question.

The “Protect the Pope” blog was originally created to “protect” Pope Benedict XVI against the nasty media before his Holiness’ visit to the UK a few years back. The blog grew to include Catholic news and to teach the AUTHENTIC Catholic faith staying true to Rome.

When I first saw the Deacon’s wife posting and heard Deacon Nick had been told to stand down for a period I honestly thought there might be a good reason for him to take time off for prayer and reflection. In other words I was giving the Bishop the benefit of the doubt. But after seeing weeks go by during which Deacon Nick did as requested, he approached his Bishop and requested permission to return to his blog. The Bishop refused and put out A PRESS RELEASE that sounded like he, the Bishop, was some sort of victim because the Internet Catholic media was not happy with the silencing of Deacon Donnelly.

First Bishop Campbell talks about how he encouraged the blog but then we see the real problem…

Press Release: ‘Back in 2010 Deacon Nick Donnelly set up the Protect the Pope website/blog, as a direct response to the campaign of hostility and ridicule from sections of the media and lobby groups against Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI’s historic visit to the UK in September of that year.
Protect the Pope was particularly successful at this time in articulating a strong defence of the Petrine Office, the Catholic Church, and its teachings against certain secularist and anti-Catholic activists. In the last couple of years, however, Protect the Pope appears to have shifted its objective from a defence of Church teaching from those outside the Church to alleged internal dissent within the Church. With this shift, Protect the Pope has come to see itself as a ‘doctrinal watchdog’ over the writings and sayings of individuals, that is, of bishops, clergy and theologians in England & Wales and throughout the Catholic world.
Protect the Pope makes it clear that the site is a private initiative and is in no way officially affiliated with the Diocese of Lancaster. The fact, however, that its creator and author is a permanent deacon of the Diocese of Lancaster and holding some responsibility here fosters in the minds of some people that Deacon Nick Donnelly is somehow reporting the views of the Diocese.

It is my view that bishops, priests and deacons of the Church – ordained and ‘public’ persons – are free to express themselves and their personal views, but never in a way that divides the community of the Church i.e. through ad hominem and personal challenges. Increasingly I have felt that Protect the Pope, authored as it is by a public person holding ecclesiastical office (an ordained deacon), has, at times, taken this approach its own posts - but has also allowed for this by facilitating those who comment online.

And there it is…the Bishop 1) does not want dissent within the Church made public and 2) wants to silence Catholics from commenting about the dissent they see.

*Note: Even though the Bishop admits the blog CLEARLY STATES this is a personal deacon blog, the Bishop has decided THIS particular deacon is NOT allowed a voice on the Internet -nor the Catholics who left comments on the blog. (If you haven't read their comments, please do)

*Also note: the "alleged internal dissent within the Church" comment is addressed at the bottom of this post with links to an ARCHBISHOP stating how he personally looks forward to women priests (if that isn't "dissent from within the Church by an Archbishop I don't know what is!)

Color me stupid, but I would think a Bishop would be thrilled to have such a good knowledgeable deacon who TEACHES what is dissent and why it is wrong? Didn't Jesus commission the entire Church to "go out and TEACH"?

How can a deacon effectively TEACH against error if his own Bishop tells him to shut up? I can’t imagine Saint Paul not wanting to know or write a letter to confront the problem/s and put an end to chaos and confusion in the Church, can you?

Bishop Campbell should be THANKFUL to have such a deacon and instead of putting out press releases to sever Catholic teaching, he should be going after those IN THE CHURCH WHO ACTUALLY ARE IN DISSENT with the Church! Gee, imagine that?

But… sadly today’s Bishops are far too often interested in themselves and not defending and protecting the Church.

So what “dissent” is there? What ticked off the Bishop so much he demanded the Deacon shut up and play dead?

I looked back at what was going on with Deacon Nick’s blog and the Bishop from the time when the “Protect the Pope” blog was rolling along nicely to when the Bishop slapped a silencing order on it. Funny thing I found… as soon as good Deacon Nick pointed out “The problem of grave dissent among some of the clergy, chaplains and teachers in the Archdiocese of Liverpool” he received great feedback in the comments, so great that he quickly followed it up with a second article (the next day) on the same issue.

And then POOF!

In less than 24 hours, Deacon Nick was gone and the good Deacon’s wife took over the blog. After all, the Bishop silenced the Deacon, but has no authority to silence a Deacon’s wife.

So what happened? Did Bishop Campbell not like seeing the truth?  Does the Bishop think the statement "among SOME of" is wrong?  It's not!  There IS a problem AMONG SOME of these people- Catholic news reports it all the time.

Even the Apostle's had dissent "among SOME of" them in Sacred Scriptures, Saints Paul and Peter didn't didn't tell anyone to shut up about it, they called it out and dealt with it.  Too bad Bishop Campbell isn't seeing it that way.

My personal guess (and this is only a guess from reading between the lines) is that Bishop Campbell was called out by the Archdiocese of Liverpool and told to put a muzzle on the good Deacon because he was thwarting their work to push for women priests and a pro-choice aborting Church in the UK.

Read the posts and read the comments, it’s all there. Note the dates and the immediate silencing of the Deacon by his Bishop. Then decide for yourselves what possible reason could a Bishop have to tell a Deacon to shut up when all the Deacon was doing was evangelizing the Faith and pointing out dissent in the Church?

Is the Bishop upset the Deacon was evangelizing people by way of his blog? I doubt it.
Is the Bishop upset the Deacon was publishing news that some in the Church don’t want others to know about?


Let's be real quiet and sweep it under the rug like we did the clergy abuse issue cause hiding the problem was such a damn fine idea! 

Did we learn NOTHING?

So many questions remain...

Why did Bishop Campbell push evangelization years ago, but now wants to stop Deacon Nick from evangelizing the Faith to world through is blog? Is it because THE TYPE of evangelizing Bishop Campbell apparently wants is what the Archdiocese of Liverpool is currently supporting and NOT what the True Catholic Faith teaches (which is what Deacon Nick was evangelizing on his personal blog)?

Decide for yourselves…here are a few of the evangelizing messages you will find coming from the Archdiocese of Liverpool, notice they are NOT in line with True Catholic Teaching.

*Openly gay headmaster at Archdiocese Liverpool Catholic School
 * UK bishops assureCatholic MPs they won’t be denied Communion for backing same-sex ‘marriage
* Next Archbishop of Liverpool McMahon “I look forward to the day when we will have women priests”

The clear message to THIS Catholic is that Bishop Campbell and the Archdiocese of Liverpool have a HUGE dissent problem. 

It is this Catholic blogger's opinion that Bishop Campbell is PROTECTING dissent in and out of the Church by his own actions

Pray for him and those like him.

The Catholic blogging world was a better place with Deacon Nick in it.

To Deacon Nick (and his wife): God bless you good and faithful servant for doing what you could before the Bishop ended your Godly Internet work. Catholics around the world are praying for your return to our Catholic blogosphere.

A final note to the Church and her clergy from me a Connecticut Catholic blogger: The Catholic laity are DONE allowing dissent, abuse and heresy in the Church to be hidden away or swept under the rug.  We DEMAND light be shed on the issues as they arise and problems handled swiftly.  The Internet allows the Catholic faithful to voice our concerns in a way as never before. We are simply NOT going to take it anymore. Stop blathering on to us about charity and show us you care about souls being lost! We want to see ACTION on the part of our beloved Church, SHOW US you are willing to fix the problems. Do not allow error to remain.  Call it out!  If a Bishop is publicly stating he "looks forward to women priests" then JUST AS PUBLICLY REBUKE HIM! For the love of God, silence the heretics not the teachers! 
The Catholic Church was never a cowardly Church, it is disgusting to see so many cowardly clergy within her now.  Look to the Saints and the Martyrs who gave their very lives for Her. Stop slithering around like serpents and stand up like Saints to TEACH the Faith and DEFEND the Faith even against your own. 

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

In Christ,

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner


  1. Absolutely. I'm watching the blogs and it's horrifying to see the silencing of truth. Don't these people remember the Priest scandal?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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