13 March 2014, The Tablet

Campbell orders outspoken deacon to stop blogging

A deacon who runs a Catholic website that criticised bishops, theologians and lay groups for being out of step with church teaching has been asked to stop posting material.

Deacon Nick Donnelly has been asked by the Bishop of Lancaster to stop posting on his Protect the Pope site and undergo a “period of prayer and reflection”.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Lancaster said that Bishop Campbell had asked Mr Donnelly to “voluntarily pause” from publishing in order to reflect “on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church.”

The site, however, is being operated by his wife, with the latest posting encouraging readers to submit their own articles. Mr Donnelly, who has agreed to his bishop’s request, told The Tablet that his wife was running the site on her own and he has “no say” over what is posted.

Protect the Pope, which received 100,000 hits a month, regularly criticised groups and individual bishops and took issue with several Tablet articles for being at odds with church teaching.

Mr Donnelly explained that the site started in 2010 in order to “challenge misrepresentations” about Pope Benedict XVI in the months leading up to his visit to the United Kingdom. Its name was inspired by the secularist group “Protest the Pope.” It successfully campaigned for food chain Pret a Manger to withdraw a brand of “Virgin Mary” crisps.

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