Recent Posts

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Comment on The Deacon

I have supported Deacon Donnelly and his blog for a long time. I, therefore, would like to make some statements from this blog, as there are many people hurt and angry by the recent decision in his diocese.

First of all, the Deacon is not a lay person, he is a clergyman. His main role is not journalism, but administering certain sacraments, helping the priests and bishops, and organizing charitable works. Those are the main duties of any deacon in the Catholic Church.

Second of all, the Deacon is under obedience to his bishop in a manner which does not apply to us lay people. We are free of the hierarchical restrictions, right or wrong, of the Church. Even St. Nicholas spent a few days in prison unjustly, but he obediently waited for God's intervention. Obedience is a higher virtue than preaching. There is no merit in obeying some authority with whom one agrees.

Third, I was uncomfortable with both the censure and with the carrying on of the blog. Any bishop has a right to intervene in clergy activities. Now, if the bishop is in error, a lay person may disagree and carry on, but not the clergyman involved, which means that I considered the carrying on of the blog by others as not in the spirit of obedience. If I were a deacon's wife, I would not have continued the blog. Personal holiness and the holiness of relationship are more important than journalism.

Fourth, blogging is not the main way of spreading the Gospel. We do this in our daily lives, in our parishes, in our homes. The role of the blogger is like that of the journalist. To me, this is primarily the role of the laity, not the clergy. Journalism becomes political, and the clergy are not to be involved in politics, unless that is the charism of a particular order, such as Priests for Life. Blogging is important, otherwise I would not do it, but canonically, I do not have the same relationship with any bishop that a deacon would have. Deacon Donnelly has many ways of serving God and the Church besides blogging. A lay person may easily pick up his blog and do it under a different name, but doing the same good work.  There are many talented and bright lay people in England who could do the same thing as the Deacon was doing. Just do it.

Fifth, pray for the bishop. Hatred and rancor do not convert hearts and minds. Love and forgiveness do.

Lastly, unless you are living in the Deacons' diocese, this is not your immediate fight. We must work on our own turf. Those who are in the same diocese as the Deacon may respond to their bishop respectfully on this. However, if those who want to support him can do so properly and with respect, indeed, write to the bishop. Again, the Deacon was ordained for a specific diocese, not for the universal Church. The universal Church is our backyard as laity secondarily, not primarily and the same is even more true for a deacon or priest who has been ordained in and for a diocese. There are some clergy exceptions to this, but those exceptions must have the backing of their bishop. Notice that Michael Voris was obedient even though he did not have to respond is such a way but dropping the name Catholic from his TV network. I realize he did not own the name, and worked for another media group, but change he did.

There are other virtues to develop other than writing and journalism skills. Maybe God is calling the Deacon to a higher holiness through this unfortunate situation. We should pray for all involved.

I shall miss the blog, but I am sure a good lay person can do the same service to the Church in Great Britain.