Friday, May 02, 2014

Protect the Pope: strange double standards. Part 1

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High Mass at the LMS Priest Training Conference at Belmont Abbey: just to cheer us all up.

What has Deacon Nick Donnelly done which Loftus has not done? I haven't kept such close tabs on the Protect the Pope blog as I have on Loftus' Vatican Counsel column, but I challenge anyone to give examples of bad things which can compete with my examples of what Loftus has done.

Has he denied any Catholic doctrines? I don't think so, but Loftus has: the Resurrection of Our Lord, the Real Presence, the Inerrancy of Scripture, the Indissolubility of Marriage (at least indirectly), Original Sin (as the Church understands it), the impossibility of the Ordination of Women, and, on morality, the limitation of sex to marriage.

Has he sought to bring the Church's institutions in disrepute? I don't think so, but Loftus has: the Congregation for Divine Worship, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the Office of Papal Celebrations, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Curia as a whole, and the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Has he attacked prelates by name? Nick Donnelly has criticised some, or called for them to act, but Loftus has gone in for vitriolic personal abuse: Cardinal Nichols, Bishop Davies, Cardinal Ranjith, Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Müller. Not by name, but unmistakably: Archbishop Roach, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, and Mgr Marini, the Papal MC.

Has he undermined the discipline of the Church by intemperate attacks on binding decisions? I don't think so, but Loftus has: the new translation of the liturgy, the limitations placed on the use of General Absolution, and a vast number of provisions of liturgical law. And of course he has attacked clerical celibacy.

What is clear is that, despite this, the bishops are much more comfortable with Loftus than with bloggers like Nick Donnelly. On bloggers, we have had a whole series of signals of concern, including one from the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Müller, to the Ordinariate, that they should 'exercise vigilance over blogs of their members'.

Hang on a minute: the clerical bloggers of the Ordinariate weren't attacking Müller, or the Curia; for the most part, they were defending them. Similarly, I don't think Bishop Campbell is a liberal who has more in common with Loftus than with Nick Donnelly: he is the man who has given one of the most stunning churches in the country to the Institute of Christ the King, and he can expect to be a target for Loftus' vitriol soon enough. What we are seeing is a deliberate policy, where conservative-leaning people in authority attack their friends and protect their enemies.

This is strange, but it is neither unprecedented nor incomprehensible. First, a little clue: it is the same policy that was applied by Pope Paul VI with regard to dissent over Humanae Vitae. I will explain more in another post.

16 comments:

  1. "I will explain more in another post"

    Looking forward eagerly to reading it.

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  2. To quote the late great Alice Thomas Ellis " there is none so illiberal as a crossed liberal". Says it all really.

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  3. I don't know if you saw this, but His Grace released a statement explaining the course of his actions. Apparently, he felt Deacon Donnelly made on occasion attacks ad hominem and "personal challenges." I dispute both counts. First, he doesn't slander people, he calls them out on specific grounds for concrete decisions and statements that are troublesome, heretical, etc. So for instance, even if Tina Beattie is a Modernist, he doesn't call her one, he calls her out, reminds the reader of the record-something that in times past meant the Church had to take action and no longer let the issue fester- and calls for change. What is uncharitable about that? And no one likes keeping a record. It's for everyone's own good that it's done though.
    Although the bishops explains the "closure" in more detail...but as you said, bishops wind up hurting those who support them most.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Simon, I'm sorry but you're wrong on this point. This comment re. Professor Beattie was posted on the Protect the Pope website by one of the regular contributors to the blog after Deacon Nick had entered his period of prayer and reflection - it wasn't made by Deacon Nick himself.

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    3. You are right, sorry about that.

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  4. Excellent post - and absolutely right. I hope Bishop Campbell is reading this - he has dug himself into a hole and he must know it.

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  5. I too am a Banana if Ms Beattie is a Catholic.

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    1. . . . and I'm a saint!!!

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  6. As to ad hominem attacks, I remember clearly the threats of litigation from Basil Loftus to the elderly priest blogger Fr. Michael Clifton for calling him to account for his wayward opinions. The stress of the sustained bullying resulted in Fr. Clifton closing down his blog. I don't remember any pious words about charity being uttered in that instance.

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    1. There is no defamation in respect of true statements.

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  7. What has Deacon Donnelly done? Loved God and the means of salvation revealed by His Only Begotten Son. That's what.

    Big difference.

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  8. I have just seen the script of the latest Carry On film. Here is an extract:
    Member of the crew to Captain Bligh: “Sir, watch out, there is a group on this ship who are organising a mutiny.”
    Captain Bligh to Mr Christian: “Keelhaul this fellow. He is causing divisions among the crew of this ship. Carry on, Mr Christian.”

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  9. What we seen in the Protect the Pope affair is harsh intolerance of at most, minor transgression. This compares with the acceptance and indeed the facilities given in the diocese to ACTA, an implicitly subversive body promoting heresy.

    Reason, well in a world of confusion and turmoil which is the Church today, bishops have to be seen to be doing something and it’s so much easier to clamp down on loyalty than on insurrection.

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  10. The reality is that most Catholics would probably regard Donnelly as a mildly amusing crank......

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    1. What nonsense - and vicious slur! Anyone who is reasonable and of goodwill would have nothing but respect for Deacon Donnelly. And Catholics who know the Deposit of Faith and morals know that is what the Deacon defends (as all Catholics have a duty to).

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