If you are reading this, then you are well aware of the case between Bishop Campbell and Deacon Nick (the author of “Protect the Pope” website) both of the Diocese of Lancaster. Well, if you are not, get a summary here, here and here.
Let me first acknowledge that I am a huge admirer of the work of Deacon Nick and would love his “Protect the pope” website to continue the good work it does in service to God and the Church especially as we look forward to the Synod on the Family called by Pope Francis. I have no doubt that his website would add a veritable voice to the debate as we prepare for this Synod.
Unfortunately, I have been less than impressed with the manner in which the whole episode has been handled and I will lay no blame on either party as this has been a classic case of misunderstanding.
With all the information available to me as at “press time”, here are a few of my observations:
1. I believe Bishop Campbell is a great admirer of the work Deacon Nick does, in his defense of the teachings of the Church and the Petrine office. I have seen no reason to suggest otherwise.
2. Bishop Campbell’s reason (as stated in the press release) for his request for Deacon Nick to “pause” for a “period of reflection” is not entirely unreasonable.
3. This same concern as expressed in the letter has also been expressed by some including myself on a few occasions on twitter. (and if my memory serves me correctly by @ccfather who has on about two occasions expressed similar concerns on articles posted on Protect the pope by Deacon Nick through his blog)
4. Bishop Campbell has the right and a duty to encourage the “Unity of the Church in the service of the Truth”. This requires a great deal of “Charity” even as he carries out the functions of his office to “Lead”, “Teach” and “Sanctify” the people under his care in the “One”, ”Holy”, ”Catholic” and ”Apostolic” Church.
5. Deacon Nick for large parts has been great and as I have earlier expressed, is a great admirer of his work. I would like to see him blogging again and soon.
6. Deacon Nick also needs to take on board some the concerns expressed by the Bishop through his staff as he would be aware of some them through his conversations with other faithful and orthodox Catholics on twitter.
7. There is no credible report to suggest that Bishop Campbell allows known “dissenting groups or individuals” to mislead the people placed under his care in the Diocese of Lancaster, as some of the press report of this seems to implicitly suggest.
8. Consequently, Bishop Campbell cannot be blamed if other Bishops in their Dioceses fail to carry out their duties diligently by allowing the said entities mentioned in 7. Above to mislead and scandalize their faithful.
9. I am of the opinion that this (essentially) private conversation should not have been made public and should have been tactfully dealt with internally by both parties as this has led to the misunderstanding and misrepresentation that we now have.
10. I am also of the opinion that Bishop Campbell has handled the situation very well and in good faith, but has been made to look bad as a result of the circumstances mentioned in 10. Above.
11. This is not a criticism of Deacon Nick as he has also done nothing wrong in his work of Defending and Upholding the Truth contained in the Catholic Faith (just like his Patron Saint). We all are guilty of, (“myself included) sometimes straying into territories expressed in the concerns in 3. And 5. Above. But in the case of Deacon Nick because of the position he holds in the Diocese of Lancaster, it is entirely reasonable that the Bishop exercise some oversight in order to avoid fostering division within the “Body of Christ”