Bishop of Portsmouth Supports Dissenters

Bishop of Portsmouth Supports Dissenters

Bishop Doyle of the Diocese of Northampton, will speak on the subject of the Synod on the Family, Saturday 27th February, 9.30‒3pm,  organised by the well known dissident group ACTA [A Call To Action] who describe themselves as committed to the reforms of Vatican II and  “anxious about the future of the Church”.  You can hear him, in the video below, speaking about “the anguish of the divorced and remarried” and “the upset of parents about the teaching of the Church regarding their gay son or daughter…”

So, it’s not a huge surprise that Bishop Doyle would agree to address an ACTA meeting.

What is a huge disappointment, however, is that he does so with ‘the blessing of Bishop Philip Egan…Bishop of Portsmouth’ – Click here to read the ACTA website.

So, this is Bishop Egan, widely lauded as a “traditional” Bishop, largely because he is supportive of the Traditional Latin Mass.  Here is a first class example of what we are always warning against: families attending the traditional Masses in his diocese may now be exposed to an advertisement  for an event organised by a well known dissident group of  Catholics, which is supported by at least two English Bishops.  How many others may advertise it or even attend, is anyone’s guess. This event, though, will not be advertised in any SSPX chapel. That’s a given. The Mass is important, of course, but it’s not the whole package. If you want to be certain of avoiding the poison of Modernism, and to protect the young people in your care from it, you really need to find an SSPX chapel.  

Contact Bishop Egan at  [email protected]   All he had to do was have a private word with Bp Doyle and refuse him entry to speak publicly in the diocese. Please suggest that he do this now, albeit late in the day; otherwise, a lot of Catholics who have been delighted with his support for the ancient Mass, and considered him to be a faithful bishop, sympathetic to Catholic Tradition, will lose heart. Those of us who have already seen the advertisement are deeply disappointed. If he acts with courage to end this scandal, that would be wonderful.

However, don’t overdo the “traditional bishop” bit…   

Click on photo to hear Bishop Egan of Portsmouth reading his Christmas pastoral letter in which he refers to the challenge of climate change and the Holy Family as "refugees" ...
Click on photo to hear Bishop Egan of Portsmouth reading his Christmas pastoral letter in which he refers to the challenge of climate change and the Holy Family as “refugees” …  


Comments (81)

  • gabriel syme

    Sadly it seems the event is currently advertised on the Dioceses’ own webpage too:

    I wish the Bishops would recognise that this needless “dialogue” and other platitudes (ecumenism etc) are a major factor in the troubles the Church finds itself mired in.

    When it should be teaching and evangelising, it is instead distracted by this destructive navel gazing.

    February 2, 2016 at 1:27 pm
  • Eileenanne

    So now those who chose their Mass with a view to avoiding adverts for undesirable events have a choice of two links to details about the talk. Thank you editor and Gabriel Syme.

    February 2, 2016 at 1:31 pm
    • gabriel syme

      Forewarned is forearmed, Eileenanne, or should I say praemonitus praemunitus

      February 2, 2016 at 1:44 pm
    • editor

      If you can’t see the difference between visiting a blog and attending Mass, then I rest my case about the new Mass.

      February 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm
  • Eileenanne

    And of course the bishop might have accepted the invitation to speak so that he can correct the errors in ACTA’s thinking. Why not refrain from criticising him till we know what he says?

    February 2, 2016 at 1:34 pm
    • gabriel syme

      Should the fire-brigade encourage or tolerate arson, so they can then put out the resulting fires?

      February 2, 2016 at 1:45 pm
    • Who Alone Can Judge?

      It might also be useful to know what having “his” (Bishop Egan) blessing means.

      Based on his known views, on many topics, the organisers of the event might be over egging the pudding, or it might just be he trusts a fellow Bishop to do his job.

      Dare I say it, but no organisation, of any persuasion, would necessarily want Bishop Egan on their side anyway. If he were running for the role of US President he would certainly be a maverick.

      February 2, 2016 at 1:48 pm
      • editor


        It would be common courtesy for one bishop (Bishop Doyle) to ask another bishop (Bishop Egan) if he minded if he, Bishop Doyle, accepted the invitation to speak in his (Bishop Egan’s) diocese. The fact that Bishop Egan said “go ahead” means that he did give the event his “blessing” – whether willingly or not. Doesn’t matter. Effect is the same. People attending the event, and the organisers, now have episcopal approval of their dissent. I suppose, with things as bad as they are, we should just be thankful that the Pope isn’t in the vicinity or he’d be on the platform as well. Who knows, he just might send them a video-taped message of support as he did with the (officially) Protestant evangelical conference.

        Goodness, I know it’s an overworked phrase and sentiment but truly, you couldn’t make this stuff up could you… Or, more grammatically, since we are writing about England, truly, one couldn’t make this stuff up, could one? 😀

        February 2, 2016 at 2:46 pm
    • editor

      In anticipation of this sort of unthinking argument, I put the video talk which another blogger (from Northampton Diocese) posted here some time ago, You can see and hear the bishop for yourself and work out if he is likely to correct the dissenters at ACTA. Also, ask yourself if ACTA are likely to invite a sound, faithful bishop to address one of their meetings.

      February 2, 2016 at 2:37 pm
      • Who Alone Can Judge?

        Bishop Doyle is a successor to The Apostles, and in Communion with Rome, and entrusted with the care of The See of Northampton, and Bishop Egan to Portsmouth likewise.

        One is the darling of “Traditional” Catholics, and the other not. Both were appointed by the same process.

        I think the problem is more pick and mix Catholics, of left or right, rather than the choice of a particular Bishop.

        February 2, 2016 at 2:45 pm
      • editor


        There has to be a course somewhere that you can attend. Puleeeeeese !

        February 2, 2016 at 2:47 pm
      • Athanasius


        Cardinal O’Brien was likewise a successor of the Apostles and a bishop in “good standing” and “Communion with Rome”, appointed to the See of St. Andrew’s and Edinburgh and confirmed in that position for decades. So what bearing does your observation have on the present discussion?

        February 2, 2016 at 2:54 pm
      • Who Alone Can Judge?

        Any individual may err, and some never see their own hypocrisy and failings.

        You really must grasp the notion of sin, and forgiveness, and working towards holiness. It is a lifelong journey.

        Even more ancient than the Council of Trent was the practice of confessing only once in a lifetime. I wonder which of here could live within the restrictions that come with that?

        February 2, 2016 at 3:17 pm
      • Athanasius


        It’s not the notion of sin and forgiveness that seems to be missing from the Church right now, including form your own mind. It”s the notion of that all-important in-between element called repentance.

        February 2, 2016 at 7:41 pm
      • Who Alone Can Judge?

        On the contrary, forgiveness is not possible at any level, from God or another human being, unless, and until, there is genuine sorrow and a commitment to change and avoid repetition of the same act. on the part of the person seeking forgiveness.

        However, some people clearly only sit in judgement of others, and are like The Tax Collector Jesus spoke of.

        February 2, 2016 at 7:51 pm
      • Athanasius


        It’s a pity that Pope Francis and other liberals never speak of the indispensibility of repentance and amendment for forgiveness. All we ever hear about is forgiveness. It is not hypocritical to express this observation, so why make it sound so?

        February 2, 2016 at 10:26 pm
      • Who Alone Can Judge?

        St Augustine made the journey in reverse, but no Saint, including he, would be said not to have sinned even as their sanctity progressed.

        Based on general conversations I believe some tackle successfully but then are confronted with another. 1 Peter 5 -8

        February 2, 2016 at 3:29 pm
    • Petrus

      This really made me laugh out loud. The lengths poor eileenanne will go to defend the indefensible! Astounding.

      February 2, 2016 at 6:43 pm
    • Nicky


      It’s obvious that the Bishop was happy to give permission for the ACTA meeting. The replies from the bishop to our emails proves that.

      February 11, 2016 at 12:24 am
  • gabriel syme

    I just looked up the “smell of the sheep” survey which the ACTA event is to address.

    What a hoot it is.

    These people are protestants in all but name, but thats being unfair to protestants because at least they have the integrity to label themselves such and not pretend they are something which they are not.

    I think the protestantisation of these elderly english ‘Catholics’ is a result of the long term “love in” between their Bishops and the Church of England.

    The survey report document is so absurd that one could be forgiven for thinking it a spoof. It shows a total lack of even basic Catholic understanding in many areas.

    One bit which I laughed out loud at was this:

    They call for a more welcoming, family-friendly Church, less clerical and more open to lay involvement.

    Less clerical and more open to lay involvement? Amazing – the novus ordo church is dominated by lay involvement. It is not clerical in the slightest – the typical novus ordo mass involves a sanctuary absolutely heaving with lay people (mostly elderly lady readers/eucharistic ministers and young altar girls) carrying out most of the functions of the mass, while a seputagenarian priest sits dozing on the sidelines. Clerical indeed!

    Heres a link to the survey report, which can only make one laugh or cry:

    I am going to write to ACTA to claim that I enjoy stealing and I would like them to campaign for the Church to be more accepting of stealing. if they refuse, I will claim that this is unjust discrimination and that ACTA should be less dominated by perverts and more open to thieves.

    February 2, 2016 at 1:42 pm
    • editor

      Gabriel Syme,

      PLEASE write to ACTA to ask about changing the stealing rule imposed by a patriarchal “Church”! Priceless. You might copy your email to Bishop Egan!

      February 2, 2016 at 2:38 pm
  • Athanasius

    Gabriel Syme,

    You’re absolutely right! I have just read through the ACTA mission and theology statements and I concur that these people are no longer Catholic. Why any Catholic bishop would agree to address such a dissident heretic group is beyond me. I am also astounded that Eileenanne and WACJ have attempted to mitigate this scandal. There are some things that even these liberals should draw a line under. It is typical of a faith eroded by decades of false obedience and compromise with error.

    February 2, 2016 at 2:33 pm
  • Who Alone Can Judge?

    The Gospel is spread only when it is proclaimed, and can only be proclaimed when it is spoken.

    I would suspect neither Bishop will advise their respective audiences not to attend Holy Mass on a Sunday, or promise a woman seeking the blessing of more children that God will probably only listen if she attends an SSPX Chapel!

    February 2, 2016 at 2:39 pm
    • editor


      Have you WATCHED Bishop Doyle speaking on the video? Heard him using the “g” word and referring to “gays” and “lesbians”?

      Do you WANT your children listening to a Pastoral Letter read out by their Bishop (Egan) referring to the same “challenge of climate change” that they are hearing day in and day out on the TV news? To hear a distorted account of the Flight into Egypt?

      If you are happy with these errors from Bishops, keep on doing what you’re doing and keep on attending Mass where you’re attending.

      If not, get thee to an SSPX chapel pronto. Nobody said God would only listen to prayers from those who attend an SSPX chapel – God hears everyone’s prayers, including the prayers of individual Protestants. That’s not the point. It’s whether you are (as you seem to be) entirely happy with the errors of Bishops being passed on to your family or not. End of.

      February 2, 2016 at 2:52 pm
      • Who Alone Can Judge?


        As far as I can see fugitive and refugee can be used as synonyms. I believe this to be a quote from a Sermon from St John Chrysostom, who lived many centuries ago:

        “See from this also their faith, how they were not offended, but are docile, and considerate; neither are they troubled, nor reason with themselves, saying, ‘And yet, if this Child be great, and hath any might, what need of flight, and of a clandestine retreat? and wherefore can it be, that when we have come openly and with boldness, and have stood against so great a people, and against a king’s madness, the angel sends us out of the city as runaways and fugitives?’ But none of these things did they either say or think. For this most especially belongs to faith, not to seek an account of what is enjoined, but merely to obey the commandments laid upon us.” The Homilies of S. John Chrysostom … on the Gospel of St. Matthew, Volume 1 Page 108

        The reference to climate change was that, a reference to climate change. The full list: “We live under the shadow of death in a world of fear: think of the challenge of climate change, the terrorist threat, the complex migrant-refugee crisis, the war in Ukraine or the many other calamities humanity faces.” I guess the others on the list should not concern us either.

        I am no fan of this man. I have heard of his “good work” in various spheres, and I am glad I am not subject to his leadership.

        February 2, 2016 at 6:07 pm
      • editor

        The extract you quote does not change the fact that the Holy Family were not “refugees” – they went home by a different route. That’s all!

        And the reference to climate change is quite different from the other things on the list. Climate change is part and parcel of the “green” movement, which, at its roots, is about population control. No Catholic, let alone a Bishop, should give any credence to the scam.

        Unlike you, I DO have time for Bishop Egan. I believe he has genuinely tried to restore some semblance of Catholic Tradition in his diocese. It’s just not possible to keep one foot in each camp, and that’s, sadly, what he appears to be trying to do. Huge mistake.

        February 3, 2016 at 12:17 am
      • Who Alone Can Judge?


        They were refugees in Egypt. You may marginally recall The Massacre of The Innocents?

        February 3, 2016 at 5:51 am
      • Petrus


        Bishop Keenan of Paisley has used the “g” word publicly over the last few days. I saw a Facebook post from him saying he had enlisted “Courage” to reach out to “gay” people. Even the well intentioned bishops have been brainwashed!

        February 2, 2016 at 6:45 pm
    • Athanasius


      You’re being childish again!

      February 2, 2016 at 2:56 pm
      • Who Alone Can Judge?

        Anyone that reads this blog can find the part where a woman who wanted further children was advised by a commentator God would only listen to her if she started attending an SSPX Chapel.

        February 2, 2016 at 3:18 pm
      • Athanasius


        I don’t believe that at all. I’m sure it was some other comment that you’ve twisted around. Copy and post it here as evidence.

        February 2, 2016 at 7:43 pm
      • Who Alone Can Judge?

        I am sure a person even only half as principled as Cardinal O’Brien would own their own words and dubious counsel. But who am I to judge?

        February 2, 2016 at 7:53 pm
      • LadyCáit

        Hello, I was reading this discussion with interest, ( I am always trying to understand various perspectives on the crisis in the Church) and snap! there I saw two references to an exchange involving myself. I remember well. I was the lady in question. I was told that perhaps God was waiting to bless me with more children once I attended SSPX. It was kind of silly and I didn’t take it too seriously, but yes, it was said.
        I love the Church and I do get worried but I know what Christ has promised us. Still learning…Still reading..Still listening…

        February 2, 2016 at 11:34 pm
      • editor


        Would you either copy and paste that comment here, so that we can see exactly what was said, and by whom, because it sounds more like what someone who is NOT attending SSPX Masses would say (sarcastically) than someone who does. If you tell us the name of the blogger who said that, and the exact quote, we can see what is going on here. Thanks

        February 3, 2016 at 12:14 am
      • Who Alone Can Judge?


        As I said previously, an honourable person would own their own words, and it is one of your most ardent commentators, and an SSPX attendee, that wrote it.

        February 3, 2016 at 5:49 am
      • editor

        Nobody, honourable or not, can “own their own words” if they can’t remember saying such a thing and you refuse to post the actual comment so that we can see the entire context. You even refuse to name the blogger, saying only a very silly “one of your most ardent commentators” – gerragrip.

        I’ve looked for this alleged comment and cannot find it. If you could at least tell me on which thread the alleged comment was posted, I could trace it. LadyCait says she sparked the comment, or words to that effect, but I’ve checked all of her recent comments and can see nothing of the kind. So, at least tell us where the comment was made since you are clearly unwilling to post the exact comment yourself, for some mysterious reason.

        Which topic? Name the thread so that I can find the comment, or I’m going to write this off as mischief making.

        February 3, 2016 at 9:04 am
      • editor


        Please copy and post that statement here. Otherwise, withdraw the allegation. I’ve never said any such thing and I cannot recall ever seeing anyone else say it so either copy and paste it here, as Athanasius has asked, or risk being labelled a bare-faced liar. You pays your money and you takes your choice…

        February 2, 2016 at 10:40 pm
      • LadyCáit

        Dear Editor,
        I know what comment this man is referring to because I was the recipient!(-:
        It was said and was a bit strange but I think I just hoped it was meant a somewhat lighthearted way. I am still hoping for another baby..of course more important is my prayer to end abortion everywhere. I’m just glad there are people here of any position talking seriously about Jesus Christ’s Holy Church

        February 2, 2016 at 11:43 pm
      • editor


        I’d still like to read the exact comment. Nobody on this blog believes what has been claimed. At least nobody who attends the SSPX chapels.

        February 3, 2016 at 12:12 am
      • christiana


        You quite obviously have a good Catholic heart, but I think you are a little misguided in your opinion.

        The first point I would make is that none of us here beleives the New Mass to be invalid per se. We all share the view of the SSPX that it can certainly be valid if the priest uses the correct matter, form and intention. The difficulty with the New Mass, apart from its inherent Protestant theology, which erodes Catholic belief in the Real Presence and in the Mass as Our Lord’s Sacrifice on Calvary, the vernacular liturgy is open to great abuse by individual priests. It has been abused many times, altered out of all recognition in certain Masses, which, without doubt, were invalid. So these are the dangers of the New Mass and you continued presence at that Mass is not going to change a thing. In fact, it will have the opposite effect of appearing that you support that Mass rather than the ancient Mass of the Church.

        We have all been there before you, believe me, and we have all said enough is enough. You have the duty to sanctify your soul and the souls of your children. Forget everything else, just do what is absolutely essential for your own and your family’s sanctification. The crusade for the Mass is best fought by voting with your feet, assuming you can get to a Traditional Mass of course. Things are too far gone now, only God can restore the Mass to the entire Church.

        I don’t believe you are a “half-trad,” there is no such thing. I believe you are a Catholic who values faith handed down. You accept and believe in the entirey of Sacred Tradition and you want it back in every parish. This is a great grace, hang on to it! But you must, if possible, get yourself back to the Mass of the saints and martyrs.

        I will certainly pray that God grants you another child, as you wish, but perhaps He is waiting for you to make a certain move first, if you catch my drift. Pray also to St. Gerard Majella for his intercession.

        I hope God continues to bless both you and yours.

        I think this is the post that is referred to. By WACJ . He has somewhat distorted what Athanasius actually wrote but the inference is there that if Lady Cait returns to the Traditional Mass then Gid might grant her another child.

        February 3, 2016 at 9:43 am
      • christiana

        This was copied from the thread on the new Mass at the end of December. My copy and paste skills are not great so I should have sent the above as a reply to the editor not addressed it to LadyCait. Sorry.

        February 3, 2016 at 9:55 am
      • editor

        Thanks Christiana for going to the trouble of digging out that comment, but how on earth anyone could take offence at that perfectly legitimate opinion*, buried in a mountain of praise and encouragement for LadyCáit, beats me. WACJ has gone down immensely in my estimation now. Hugely. He’s chosen to misinterpret a passing remark – which may, indeed, be true: *I have a close relative who often lists the great graces she’s had since attending the TLM and seeking to learn all she can about the Faith – including, drum roll, a baby daughter! For goodness sake – all those comments back and forth about those few words, mischievously interpreted to use as a stick to beat the traditional Faith. Dreadful.

        February 3, 2016 at 11:05 am
      • Who Alone Can Judge?


        Most definitely you did not write it, and LadyCait has confirmed the comment was addressed to her. The person who wrote it should own it for themselves, especially as you, wrongly, believe it is not someone who attends an SSPX Chapel.

        February 3, 2016 at 6:08 am
      • editor

        You, WACJ, I now know for sure, are a troublemaker. You’ve wasted my precious time searching for something and nothing.

        February 3, 2016 at 11:10 am
      • Who Alone Can Judge?


        With respect LadyCait wrote this:

        “February 2, 2016 at 11:43 pm
        Dear Editor,
        I know what comment this man is referring to because I was the recipient!(-:
        It was said and was a bit strange but I think I just hoped it was meant a somewhat lighthearted way. I am still hoping for another baby..of course more important is my prayer to end abortion everywhere. I’m just glad there are people here of any position talking seriously about Jesus Christ’s Holy Church”.

        And Athanasuis had wriiten this: “But you must, if possible, get yourself back to the Mass of the saints and martyrs.
        I will certainly pray that God grants you another child, as you wish, but perhaps He is waiting for you to make a certain move first, if you catch my drift!”

        I interpreted it, as did LadyCait, in the only way it can be interpreted, but as she said, as noted, “It was said and was a bit strange but I think I just hoped it was meant a somewhat lighthearted way.”

        That is there is only one interpretation, but she HOPED it was lighhearted.

        I have not misinterpreted anything, or lied, and the person who the comment was addressed to reads it exactly as I did. except with the, very generous, hope it was joke.

        If it was a joke may I say as a Traditional Catholic that I think, then neither The Holy Mass, or an earnest desire for children, or a poor take on how God works is suitable for such humour. Marriages are to be open to procreation, The Holy Mass is “the Mass of the saints and martyrs”, and God loves, and gives, unconditionally, and certainly not on the basis of what Holy Mass you celebrate in Communion with The Saints, and The Pope.

        I won’t ask you to find the post by a regular commentator who said, unchallenged, that President Putin, who has believed to have had about 6 political opponents killed in The UK, is a Christain Gentlemen misrepresented by The British Government, and the liberal media!

        February 3, 2016 at 2:26 pm
      • editor


        Once Christiana posted the comment from LadyCait, voila, you post it as well. Unimpressed. I’ve already made my comment about that issue, and I’m not repeating myself again.

        And whatever else you are, WACJ, you are most definitely NOT a traditional Catholic, if words mean anything.

        I didn’t see the comment about Putin, and I can’t be bothered with your mysterious “regular commentator” insinuation – who on earth are you talking about? We’re all “regular commentators”, so whoever said it, that’s his or her opinion. Mine is that Putin is a thug and a criminal.

        Now, stop playing silly beggars. If you see a comment with which you disagree, deal with it at the time and don’t take up my limited time with your daft, shady insinuations and complaints. Perhaps the person who holds Putin in high esteem is unaware of his track record, for example, in having “opposition” journalists assassinated – who knows. The point is, YOU deal with the comments with which you disagree and stop wasting everyone’s time with your silly games.

        February 4, 2016 at 12:03 am
      • Who Alone Can Judge?


        With respect, you police the blog for thinking you believe are not Catholic, not me. Even when I quote documents used by The Magisterium you challenge me.

        I quoted parts of what LadyCait said to emphasise how she, not I, read the offending comment. Which, as you may recall, its author denied to you that he had written it.

        February 4, 2016 at 5:39 am
      • editor

        I cannot make sense of your latest post. You went on and on about the LadyCait comment and it is a big fuss about nothing. Now let it go. It’s now beyond irritating.

        February 4, 2016 at 9:37 am
  • westminsterfly

    In case anyone does want to contact Bishop Egan to ask if he really did give this event his blessing, the email address for him listed above doesn’t work. Go into the Portsmouth diocesan website and a message can be left there:-

    February 2, 2016 at 3:30 pm
    • editor

      Thank you – I’ve just changed it in the lead report.

      February 2, 2016 at 5:14 pm
  • New Templar

    An excellent example of how modern Bishops feel compelled to treat other Bishops as faultless regardless of their actions and teaching simply because they are part of the same conference. Bishop Doyle should have been told to stay out of the Portsmouth Diocese by it’s Bishop. As it is Bishop Egan has become an accomplice to the promotion of heresy.

    February 2, 2016 at 4:45 pm
  • Christina

    Perhaps this will cheer all but two of you up a bit.

    February 2, 2016 at 10:08 pm
    • editor


      I don’t know which two won’t be cheered by that report, but I hope I’m not one. That would suggest that I (and No. 2 blogger) am gleeful at the two bishops who are supporting ACTA – not true.

      So, I’m very glad to read that the Bishop of Lancaster rebuked ACTA – as reported in The Catholic Herald on 30th March 2015.

      However, that the Bishop of Lancaster spoke out to condemn their dissent in 2015, only serves to underline Bishop Doyle’s lack of judgement in accepting their invitation to speak and Bishop Egan’s negligence in permitting the event in his diocese.

      Good for the Bishop of Lancaster, in other words. Thumbs down to Bishops Doyle and Egan – sadly.

      February 2, 2016 at 10:37 pm
      • Christina

        No, Ed, you’re not one. I don’t know why you should think so. WACJ is being a bit contrary, as is Eileenanne, but the remark was meant humourously and without malice. I withdraw it and apologise and will be more careful in future.

        Helen, great idea. I’ll do just that.

        February 2, 2016 at 11:28 pm
      • editor


        I get it now. I can be very slow on the uptake at times. Most times!

        And don’t withhold the humour – you’re never malicious so that’s not an issue. I simply misunderstood your meaning on this occasion so forgive me.

        Yes, Helen’s idea is brilliant. I think I’ll send it to Bp Egan as well – as well as the link to this thread!

        February 3, 2016 at 12:08 am
  • Helen

    Christina, great link. Why don’t you copy it to Bishop Egan?

    February 2, 2016 at 10:46 pm
  • RCA Victor

    How about everyone emailing the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland to voice their concerns? Not that your complaints will be met by anything but the sound of crickets – since, as New Templar points out, the error of peer impeccability now appears in the By-Laws of every Bishops’ Club – but at least they might look over their shoulders a bit before getting too chummy with the next group of heretical axe-grinders. Email:

    February 2, 2016 at 11:18 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      I wouldn’t alert the Scots Bishops to this scandal – they’d say “Oh, didn’t know about ACTA – sounds great.” and offer to address a future meeting if invited!

      February 3, 2016 at 12:10 am
  • editor

    Below is my email, just sent, to Bishop Egan. There is a limit to the number of characters allowed so I had to edit, heavily, my original submission and the end product is not terrific. Still, it gets the message across, one hopes, one really does…

    Dear Bishop Egan,

    I am very disappointed indeed to learn that you have endorsed the meeting of ACTA in your diocese, and approved the decision of Bishop Doyle of Northampton to address that meeting.

    One of our English readers asked me to post a thread of discussion on this topic, so shocked was he to learn, from the website of ACTA, that you had “given your blessing” to this event and Bishop Doyle’s participation in it. You can read our discussion if you click on the following link:

    Below is a link to a Catholic Herald report dated 30 March, 2015, in which the Bishop of Lancaster rebukes ACTA and rightly denounces them as dissenters who have no place in his diocese.

    Please follow the above bishop’s dutiful example, and withdraw your support for the ACTA meeting. END.

    February 3, 2016 at 12:30 am
  • John Kearney

    Let me put the Bishop Doyle affair in the Portsmouth context. Bishop Doyle was formerly a parish priest in Winchester. Orthodox was the last word we could use to describe his parish and Father Doyle. It was full of dissenters and was almost the hub of the Diocese in that respect. I suspect the parish there gave him the invitation to come back to them. Did they tell Bishop Egan that it was a personal visit then move ACTA in afterwards? One thing is clear that to be a faithful bishop in the diocese of Portsmouth with so many priests and laity against you is no easy task. It will take a lot of courage and the support of the people to see him through. Unfortunately too many of the laity prefer to keep within their comfort zone and ‘leave it to God’ without understanding that ‘God has left it to them; since they are the Church. Prayer, prayer, and more prayer for the Portsmouth Diocese is needed. Be sure that I am doing my best to get hims support.

    February 3, 2016 at 5:51 pm
    • Deacon Augustine

      John, I am glad to hear that you support Bishop Egan. One of the best things you could do to support him at this moment is to write to him and object to the ACTA event. 😉

      February 8, 2016 at 9:34 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Deacon Augustine,

        I agree with you that people should write but I don’t think he’s answering the emails. Maybe others have received a reply, and if so, I’d like to know. I understand that we should write anyway, but it is really rude not to reply and so I’m afraid this just puts him further down in my estimation.

        February 8, 2016 at 10:05 pm
      • Deacon Augustine

        Margaret Mary,

        There are various assumptions made in the OP, which while reasonable, are not necessarily correct. e.g.:

        1) Bishop Egan’s permission was sought before this meeting was arranged

        2) Bishop Egan gave his “blessing” for this meeting to take place.

        3) It is an easy matter for one diocesan bishop to forbid another diocesan bishop to speak in his diocese once the latter has already agreed and committed to the event.

        I would surmise that he has not replied to all the e-mails because they are coming in thicker and faster than you imagine. Irrespective of whether they are replied to or not, you can be sure that they are being counted. So please do it.

        Imagine that you are a diocesan bishop who is constantly being harangued and barracked for being “too conservative”, “too traditional” and “too prescriptive” by all these nasty, senile hippies who are trying to relive the sexual revolution of the ’60’s. Wouldn’t it give more strength to your arm to know that you had thousands of e-mails/letters and messages of support, asking you to do exactly what you want to do – scrap that abominable meeting?

        Not that I claim to be a mind-reader of course.

        February 8, 2016 at 10:28 pm
      • editor

        Deacon Augustine,

        In the absence of any denial from the Bishop, it is, as you indicate, entirely reasonable to presume the truth of the report about this event.

        After all, in something so very serious, a Bishop is duty bound to issue a statement to insist that he is NOT supportive of the event, and that he certainly did not give the meeting his “blessing”.

        Nothing in the introductory comment from me, is made up. Everything reported is in the public domain. For me to presume that the ACTA report is all lies would be ridiculous on a number of counts, as the facts present themselves.

        It is unthinkable that Bishop Doyle would accept an invitation to speak to ACTA – a group of known dissidents, in another diocese, without having first obtained the permission of the Bishop of that diocese. Whether or not the word “blessing” is the right word for ACTA to use is neither here nor there. Unless Bishop Egan refused permission, then, one way or another, he has permitted this scandal and this might well be interpreted as giving it his “blessing”.

        As for your concluding comments – yes, of course it is good to assure the Bishop of our support by writing if only to enable him to respond to critics by pointing to the large correspondence he has received on the matter. And it would be terrific if, as you appear to suggest, he is receiving lots of correspondence on the subject, although I seriously doubt that there are thousands of Catholics in the UK who would give a toss about the ACTA meeting, let alone write to complain about it.

        In any event, royalty, politicians, celebrities of all kinds manage to respond to communications, if only to acknowledge with thanks, their (very likely) much larger postbags, so, really, there is no excuse for the Bishop failing to respond to our emails (I’ve had no reply to date.)

        Interestingly, I wrote to Nigel Dodds MP (Protestant, Northern Ireland) after Question Time, broadcast from Belfast a couple of weeks ago, when he, alone, unsupported by the pseudo/apostate-Catholics on the panel, took a firm stand against the proposal to legalise same-sex “marriage”. He wrote a short, polite note of thanks in response to my email, and assured me that he would not fail to continue to stand against the re-definition of marriage. Must have taken all of a few seconds to get that off, probably the standard acknowledgement/thanks which others received as well. Whatever, it was all that courtesy and professionalism required.

        There’s a lot of talk about respecting Bishops, their office, their person, whatever. It would be nice if, now and again, even one of them showed some respect for the concerned laity who take the time and trouble to write to them, for whatever reason.

        Finally, while I’ve heard this before about the “persecution” of Bishop Egan, I’m surprised, having now heard him speak on the video on his diocesan website. I can’t see what there is to fear. The fact that he has a liking for the TLM is really not, of itself, anything to fear. He isn’t setting the heather on fire, as far as I can tell, in the same way that Bishop Schneider is doing so fearlessly and, to a lesser extent, Cardinal Burke, but, since the bar is now very low, we tend to be grateful for any sign of orthodoxy or leaning towards Tradition, so a bishop showing sympathy (perhaps more than sympathy) for the traditional Mass is almost categorised as a saint,

        Failing to respond to emails of support is a mistake. We have, as a result, nothing concrete to convince us that the ACTA report is not accurate. Nothing. The Bishop’s silence, therefore, would appear to suggest consent. Hopefully I’m wrong but history suggests otherwise. Well, a gal can’t help it if she’s nearly always right, can she now? Always right and ever humble, Deacon. An unusual combination, I admit, but I’ve had lots of practise 😀

        February 9, 2016 at 1:12 am
      • Deacon Augustine


        I did say that your assumptions were entirely reasonable based on the evidence and your understanding of how things ought to happen between bishops. However, to your comment:

        ,”It is unthinkable that Bishop Doyle would accept an invitation to speak to ACTA – a group of known dissidents, in another diocese, without having first obtained the permission of the Bishop of that diocese.”

        I would ask why is it unthinkable? Granted, it ought to be unthinkable, but with the state of the Church these days, is it really unthinkable?

        Anyway, this is far from done and dusted and I have work to do, so will sign off for now. God bless you all for your fidelity.

        February 9, 2016 at 1:52 am
      • editor

        Deacon Augustine,

        That’s a fair point – that it ought to be unthinkable that Bishop Doyle would accept the invitation to address ACTA but due to the chaotic state of the Church right now, may not be the case. Yes, that’s a fair point.

        As you no doubt (very naughtily!) intend, I (and all of us, I’m sure) am intrigued by your claim that “this is far from done and dusted” so I’m hanging by a thread until your work is over and you return to enlighten us, further. Go on, spill. Just between you and me.. I won’t say a word… :wink:.

        February 9, 2016 at 11:22 am
      • Deacon Augustine

        Madam Editor,

        If you would like to confer with me privately on this matter, I assume you can see my contact e-mail? It might be beneficial to have a word on the phone if poss.

        February 9, 2016 at 2:16 pm
      • editor

        Well, that’s the best invitation this gal’s had for quite a while, but keep that to yourself. I’ve been waiting for Dowden to invite me to tea, but.. well.. now that he’s outed me as a wicked woman, I think I’ve blown that.

        Will email you later. Right now I have to straighten out my priorities – cuppa tea time!

        February 9, 2016 at 3:17 pm
      • editor

        Well, Deacon, and all other bloggers here, I’ve just received a reply from the Bishop. Brace yourselves…

        Dear Ms [Editor],

        Thank you for your email to Bishop Egan of 3rd February. He has asked me to respond on his behalf. The word “blessing” is strong and Bishop Philip would perhaps not have chosen this word himself. He did give his permission for the event to take place, and was happy to do so – Bishop Peter Doyle is a brother bishop, was present at the Synod on the Family, and furthermore, was the former Parish Priest at Hampshire Downs where this event is due to take place.

        Bishop Egan thanks you for taking the time to write.

        With best wishes
        Hannah Vaughan-Spruce

        Bishop’s Private Assistant

        Diocese of Portsmouth
        Bishop’s House, Bishop Crispian Way, Portsmouth PO1 3HG, United Kingdom
        [Emphases added]

        Well, there it is straight from the Bishop’s own mouth. He was “happy” to give permission for this dissident meeting although would “perhaps” not have chosen the word “blessing”. Incredible.

        Not much to talk about now, is there, Deacon Augustine? I’ll forward the email on to you, so that you can see for yourself that I am not exaggerating or misquoting blah blah. I added the emphases (italics) to the text, but that’s it.

        How sad.

        February 9, 2016 at 4:27 pm
      • westminsterfly

        I agree Editor. When Pope Benedict addressed the Bishops of England and Wales, he said:- “In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free”. 2 Tim 4:14 also states that bishops should “ward off whatever errors threaten their flock”. No bishop has the right to give permission for a dissenting event on Catholic premises in his diocese under any circumstances. It is a dereliction of his duty.

        February 10, 2016 at 10:47 am
      • editor

        Well said, Deacon Augustine!

        February 9, 2016 at 12:44 am
  • Christina

    John, I have been hearing for a time that Bishop Egan faces great difficulties in the diocese to which he was appointed. Your theory about this matter may well be true. I certainly hope so, because such a fall from grace would cause much disappointment and disillusion in many souls. Still, unless he acts and speaks out now to distance himself from this dissident group, one will have to assume the worst. Pray for him.

    February 3, 2016 at 7:31 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      I have to agree with you and am very sad about this. It was great to think there were two strong bishops in England, so this has been a blow.

      February 8, 2016 at 10:06 pm
  • John Kearney


    Was the answer straight from the horses mouth? I received a reply word for word like yours as I suspect everyone else did. The secretary I suspect has been given a standard reply to letters on the subject and the letters therefore do not need to be passed on to the bishop. I replied to the secretary immediately pointing out that I was complaining about an ACTA meeting and yet this had not been covered in the reply. I then told her about an e-mail I had sent a couple of months ago asking for prayers in the Diocese for the persecuted Christians in Syria. A third party gave a reply ‘for the Bishop’ assuring me of his best wishes and referring me to Aid to the Church in Need. “It makes you think” I said
    And what is that point about ‘blessing’. What was being said here? If the Bishopd did not reply to your points I would say write back and demand that your points be covered. Do not accept a standard letter. Portsmouth is a very disgusting diocese and the Bishop cannot tell his friends from his enemies. His enemies in fact sit beside him..

    February 9, 2016 at 5:36 pm
    • editor


      What is “standard” is that the Bishop dictated the letter to his private assistant. If she went about the place writing her own opinion pretending it’s from the bishop, she wouldn’t last long in the job. These personal assistants/secretaries etc. are a scandal in themselves. Who on earth would write a personal email to a priest or bishop knowing it’s going to be read by an assistant? But they’re here and paid out of the money you put in the Sunday collection – something you should no longer be doing, by the way. You know enough now to stop filling the diocesan coffers. I lived in Portsmouth Diocese for only a year and even then didn’t put in a penny. It’s a million times worse now, by the sounds of it, so I suggest you follow the example of Catholics in the USA who used to drop paper notes printed to look like dollars on one side, with words on the other side which read: “No doctrine, no dollar.”

      Why you presume the letter is from the assistant and not the bishop, beats me. There’s none so blind as those who cannot see is a saying that needs amending to “will not see” to cover lay people across the world who just refuse to face the facts of this crisis. Just watching and listening to Bishop Egan on his own video, is enough for me to see, in a few minutes, that he’s a modernist. A modernist who seems to like the TLM (unless that is his way of keeping the “wings” of the Church together, in true Anglican style) but a modernist nonetheless. It’s amazing to see how quickly a priest is labelled “traditionalist” just because he offers the TLM.

      The reply is disappointing, I know but there’s no point in shooting the messenger. She is just dong her job. The fact that he dictated a standard reply to send to all the nuisances who have the temerity to expect him to protect the people of Portsmouth from the poisonous ACTA group, doesn’t change the facts. The standard letter could just as easily have read “Bishop Egan is sorry about this scandal and is working to prevent it in his diocese.” He didn’t. That’s not what he dictated. He dictated the letters sent to you and me and probably others.

      You’re in his diocese, I’m not. Perhaps you might write again to say you suspect the letter was written by his private assistant and that you would like a personal reply from the Bishop. Then, while we’re waiting, we can watch the pigs flying past our respective windows.

      February 9, 2016 at 6:52 pm
  • John Kearney


    You are probably correctt so what I will have to do is arrange a personal meeting with the Bishop which as one of his flock I have a right to have.

    February 9, 2016 at 7:01 pm
    • editor

      Good, John, but (if you are given an appointment) be well prepared NOT to be intimidated.and fobbed off. Don’t let yourself be “assured” – I could write a book about the daft man in a former parish of mine who went off all guns blazing to see a certain bishop in the north of England because he was horrified at the religion programme in his child’s primary school.

      When he returned, he was much “assured” – why? Oh not because the programme was going to be withdrawn or even that the Bishop had acknowledged its grave shortcomings. Nope. He was “assured” because the Bishop was so nice to him and told him there was really nothing to worry about. A real prince. I wouldn’t send him to the butcher’s for a pound of mince. Here that rhymes! I’m a poet and I didn’t know it…

      February 9, 2016 at 7:40 pm
  • faithinourfamilies

    Bishop Egan does not support ACTA and did not give his ‘ blessing ‘. Those were the highly exaggerated words of ACTA. Bishop Egan is one of the good guys.

    February 9, 2016 at 8:31 pm
    • Nicky

      Faith in our Families,

      The Bishop said he was “happy” to give permission for the ACTA meeting. If you email to ask, you will get the same reply. That really doesn’t sound like “one of the good guys” to me.

      February 11, 2016 at 12:26 am
  • John Kearney

    Some very strange things are happening in the Portsmouth Diocese. Having e-mailed the bishop asking why he was allowing the ‘A Call to Action’ group to hold their meeting in the Diocese I received a reply which was the same as anyone else who e-mailed. Bishop Doyle of Northampton is a brother bishop, a friend, etc. I certainly was not concerned with Bishop Doyle coming to the Diocese I was asking why he was coming as a guest speaker at the ACTA conference. My question was why this group of people who stand against Church teaching on celibacy and have destroyed the lives of thousands of young people, who want married priests, women priests, and no doubt women bishops, despite the teachings of the Church and her practice from the time of the Apostles, who want the table of the Lord to be open to the married and divorced and indeed non-catholics outside the Church, who want everyone in the Church to be a happy little community who do not follow the rules laid down by Christ but show respect for anyone’ opinions, whatever Christ may have taught, I was asking why despite the bishop’s known orthodoxy they were being openly allowed to hold a meeting in this Diocese and thereby gain respectability.

    Of course, they come out with all the positive talk about wish to dialogue, listening, etc. But when you dare to express your opinion to them you will be called ‘Pharisee’, you will be called judgemental, intolerant, and if you dare oppose them you will find yourself being sneered at. I have experienced all these things. They are the Uria Heaps of the Church. Professing humility while they knife you in the back.

    Many priests in the Portsmouth Diocese are members of or sympathisers with ACTA. In fact this diocese has for long been the most ‘progressive’ in England. I once wrote to the former Bishop since I was concerned with the falling numbers of Mass attendance that the Diocese Year Book had shown. From over 60,000 when he took office to approaching 40,000. He did not answer directly but indirectly the figures no longer were printed. Then came immigration from Poland and Europe and the numbers went up again, God knows what would have happened if these people dedicated to the Church had not arrived. One thing is for sure, the New Church did absolutely nothing for our children, but then we can find plenty off excuses and we must not put the clock back to the kind of education that actually enthused them. So let me pause and put my head in the sand in order to be one with my community. But the immigration was too late and when the former Bishop retired the Diocese which was supporting a bureaucracy of over £2million a year was almost bankrupt and the Auditors were refusing to sign the books.

    Getting back to the e-mail, the bishop did say a strange thing. Some had accused Bishop Eagan of giving his ‘blessing’. He did say that this was a strong word which indicated his unease with this decision. So the question is why he gave his permission to something he disagrees with. I knew what he was facing in this diocese. His recommendations would be ignored by many priests who would be only to eager to undermine him when they could. We had the fiasco of a complaint in the press that the Friars of the Immaculate whom he had brought into the Diocese were forcing people to ‘kneel for communion’. This of course was proved untrue but the complaints flowed into his office. I remember who these Spirit of Vatican II people swept away the altar rails and told people it was all Vatican II which was of course a lie. Nobody spoke out for me when I wanted to continue kneeling. But then that is the hypocrisy of ACTA. Little groups who had ‘moved on’ from Catholic Teaching and who could talk nonsense about the bad old pre-Vatican Church were given the running of the Church and the authority to ensure no priest came along to disturb anything. As the former Bishop said ” Gone are the days of the dictatorial parish priest” but what he replaced this with was a dictatorial laity and the idea that “now every voice is heard” was in his dreams.

    Is Bishop Eagan now a prisoner of his Curia. Did the priests who opposed him find their way into his Curia and now own him? Has there been pressure from the Conference of Bishops to step in line with them and establish their English Church, distinct from Rome? Has he made enemies in Rome? These are all unanswered questions. One thing is sure, based on the record of those who warm to Acta there will be no Catholic Church of any significance in 20 years time.


    February 12, 2016 at 4:44 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      John Kearney,

      “As the former Bishop said ” Gone are the days of the dictatorial parish priest” but what he replaced this with was a dictatorial laity and the idea that “now every voice is heard” was in his dreams.”

      I couldn’t agree more. You are totally right, IMHO

      February 12, 2016 at 10:04 pm

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