Saturday 3 May 2014

More on the Protect the Pope saga...

I live in the diocese of Lancaster, along with +Campell and Deacon Nick.   I am no apologist for bishops behaving badly (as a brief look at items tagged 'bishops' in my blog will confirm).  However, I think that our Bishop, +Campbell, has been misunderstood, and even misrepresented and defamed by many on the blogosphere over this.

It is all too easy to say that Nick is being closed down because of his orthodoxy: but there is no evidence for that view, unless one has already judged the Bishop to be an enemy of orthodoxy. The technical term for that is prejudice.

In fact, the Bishop makes clear that he had concerns over the tone of Nick's blog, and particularly the combox.  He asked Nick to carry on with his good work, but ensure that due charity was observed, as he is an ordained deacon.  He believed that was not happening, so asked Nick to pause, reflect and pray.  Nick asked him if he could resume, and +Campbell said the period of prayer and reflection was not yet over. 

Nick, it seems, then decided to close the blog, and to announce that the Bishop had closed it.  Nick also, on Twitter and Facebook, publicised a very large number of hostile commentaries, accusing his bishop of all manner of things: and I think the bishop's impatience with that approach is also discernible in his statement.

I like Nick, and I like his blog: but even his best friend could hardly claim it was completely innocent of the charge of ad hominem attacks and uncharitable comments, particularly in the Combox, for which the blog owner is responsible.

One might disagree with the Bishop's judgement over this, but for myself, I am pleased that a Bishop takes seriously his responsibility for what ordained ministers do and say in his diocese: I only wish many more would do so, with particular reference to heretics and dissenters.

I think this has been compounded by a failure of communication: Nick seems still to be unclear why he was asked to pause; and that clearly does not help.  

However, what has helped much less has been the rush to judgement on the bishop by so many, with so much noise; in particular, the misrepresentation in the press and on the blogosphere.  It is not difficult to put oneself in the Bishop's shoes and imagine what that must look like.

It should be noted that Bishop Campbell is no liberal time-server.  He encourages Confession with his 'The Light is On for You' project; he has invited excellent and orthodox nuns into the University Chaplaincy; he hosts a monthly Traditional Mass in the Cathedral (and continued it when he had a first-class excuse to stop it) and has even invited the Institute of Christ the King (dedicated to the Traditional Mass) to run a large and prestigious Church in Preston.

I personally have been astonished at the unthinking and visceral nature of the attack on Bishop Campbell by so many, including many whose views I normally take seriously, and whom I regard as online friends. I think it is most unhelpful to the cause of orthodox Catholicism to start with the assumption that every Bishop is a liar and an enemy - and in this case, simply not true.  I understand, and indeed share, the sense of betrayal that is the legacy of so many poor (and worse) decisions by so many in the hierarchy over the years: but we should nonetheless proceed with both charity and a degree of intelligence!

By all means go after Bishops who are remiss (with caritas and veritas in due proportion, of course) - but let us not savage those who are doing so much better than so many of their peers.


Patricius said...

Agree absolutely!

umblepie said...

Well said. Whilst initially I was shocked when PTP closed down, having seen Bishop Campbell's own post on this matter, I now feel considerable sympathy for him. Unfortunately commentators so often assume circumstances and intentions of others, and then publicise these as facts, when they are not. Bishop Campbell is a Bishop whom I admire and respect and trust, were that all our Shepherds in his mould. I think the true reason for the ire raised in this matter, is the apparent injustice that a loyal and faithful Catholic blog - and it was this, should be closed down, when nothing seems to be done by so many of our Bishops, to condemn openly dissident groups within the Church, and to ban so-called 'Catholic' publications as the Tablet, being sold in our Churches.

Maria said...

Thank you Ben. Maybe this is a lesson for some of us about not rushing to judgement... I confess to having developed a rather jaundiced view of the Church hierarchy recently because of some of the things I have heard. I think that this clear and unambiguous response from Bishop Campbell was the best thing to do in the circumstances.

Catholic Mission said...

Bishop Campbell gives Eucharist to pro same sex marriage politicians, does not affirm exclusive salvation in accord with Vatican Council II and then says Donnelly's are causing division

annmarie said...

I was just going to say what umblepie has already said very well and agree the reason for the outcry is because so often downright disobedience has been left unchecked for fear of stirring things up.

All well and good to care for the unity of the Church and spare unfair attacks on individuals, but so many have been led astray by people who are all too willing.

Like Maria, I am somewhat sceptical of the hierarchy, particularly where countering the culture is concerned. Glad to have an antidote in your assessment of the matter. Roll on the New Evangelisation!

Ben Trovato said...

Catholic Mission

I have posted your comment as an example of the idiocy of some of the attacks on Bishop Campbell.

Unless you are able to demonstrate the truth of your claim that Bishop Campbell has done as you say, you are guilty of calumny and detraction.

To assert something is not the same as to prove it.