Evil is conquered with good, injustice with truth coupled with mercy.
In the book of Genesis (26:27) we encounter the word HATE for the first time ‘Why have you come to me, seeing that you HATE me and have sent me away from you?’ last week (and appropriately given to me on Zero Discrimination Day 1st March) I was passed a rather vitriolic email by our administrator which had been emailed through our Hermitage contact page. The person lets call him Bro.C., had not only called me a liar but made false accusations and threats. I have never met Bro.C nor have I previously communicated with him. Yet he decided to single me out providing me with his singular misguided and uninformed hateful opinion in a most unchristian manner. Bro.C then informed me that he would disseminate his lies on his webpage, inviting me to respond, and he would also post my response on his website entitled “fake hermits blog’. I Had absolutely no intention to respond to his vitriolic nonsense. Yet doing nothing at all would encourage the perpetrators of hate crime to do so again and again if left to their own devices. Bro.C’s accusations, were not only erroneous but also hateful and threatening in tone something I’d not had to deal with since secondary school. I now know that this person had also previously attempted to enter our church which he now denounces, I know he had previously argued with our Bishop, I know he was unable to complete his studies at our seminary, and I therefore now know his name and surname (something he had omitted from his email) and I know where he lives. Knowing all this and having noticed his latest Facebook post where Bro.C states in a shared banner from #standup4humanrights.org “that we are all equal in liberty and rights’ yet seems to think that it does not apply to someone whose opinions and faith are different from his own.
I forgive you Bro.C and I will pray for you, asking you to initially acquaint yourself with the Gospel of Saint John “Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.” [1 John 4:20] I unlike you, will respect your rights regardless of who you are. I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you. When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone’s rights are undermined, so I will Stand Up and be counted and I will raise my voice against it. I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.
If you have ever disseminated hate or lies regarding a person then your identity has made the World a worse place and not a better one. This type of problem arises when a certain portion of your mentality is disseminated through social media or within any public arena, when the contest is unjust through unbiased activity or used as a tool by groups of individuals who have banded together. Frightfully, in most of these cases, what is good and what is evil isn’t impartially intelligible because it emanates from their own irrationality. We can all be extremely public-spirited when we are guided by the impression of our own beliefs, persuading ourselves that what we stand for righteousness and justice and morality and that the other side comprises of people whom are deplorable and misleading and untruthful. But when was the last time you actually met someone you did not see eye to eye with, who has claimed that they are a combatant for the side of wickedness or a soldier for the gradual decline of humanity into anarchy and disorder? Even toward people believed to be of the ‘worst part of humanity’, whom think they are doing the right thing, the decent thing, something crucial, believing that it is their duty! In fact, these are people just like you and I, they have their own families, disappointments, failures, hardships, and joys. We forget all of this simply because we are ensnare by our own self-centredness caused by our own circumstances.
Hatred can raise its head anywhere and at any time. It is read in insults on social media, emails, videos and even disseminated through the news. It can be heard in comments made between people who know each-other. It is seen in people who rage at each other on the streets. It takes but a singular hateful comment, which really, in this day and age is completely unacceptable from anyone who believes themselves to be a follower of Christ or even civilised for that matter. I personally have to add “in this day and age we ought to all be universal Christians with a singular universal vision and mission, because our God, is a universal God and not simply a Catholic franchise”. Even Pope Francis, whose views I do not always agree with has stated “I believe in God, but not in a Catholic God. There is no such thing as a Catholic God, there is only God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation.” Therefore a ‘Vatican-centric’ view of the world is no longer appropriate nor is it acceptable in our society today.
Bro.C asked me if I’m not ashamed to belong to the Holy Celtic Church. Actually I’m not but I am ashamed for him, a person who claims to be and who calls himself a christian yet shows a lack of understanding, or Christianity. My only concern is that he has decided to defame me and my character and that of my Bishop, and informed me that he would perpetuate this on his website.
Brother C. a Catholic Hermit, from an unknown religious order seemed to retain a medieval image of Christ’s Church today. It saddened me really that his views where so distorted and misinformed. His medieval mentality and world views is that everything is always the same: the world should be considered as a static reality, which must never change. Therefore he has no curiosity to explore the unknown, knowledge is nothing more than the acceptance of the truths handed down and therefore his possibilities of knowledge are somewhat limited. I think he believes that it is a mentality that one should never criticise. That the truth is the truth, and has to be accepted without discussion and handed down; knowledge therefore is not experienced. God’s intelligence being far superior to that of human intelligence, if a man rebelled he would have sinned with pride. Believing that the conception of universal life is the same as that on earth: the power of the Church is universal and must be imposed upon everyone; Bro.C does not believe in any kind of tolerance regarding this. Today, however, tolerance is considered to be of great value even by the Catholic Church (at least when it is declared officially).
Bro.C whom claims that he studied at a Pontifical College further seems to be totally unaware of Catholic teachings or magisterial declarations, teachings and what happened at Vatican II. I refer of course to the declaration on religious freedom Dignitatis Humanae on the right of the person and of communities to social and civil freedom in matters religious (http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html) and specifically §2 of the declaration which states “This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such ways that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. [See Note № 1 below] This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognised in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.”
He claims that as I have left the Catholic Church and that therefore I am no longer a priest. I was not released from my vows, nor was I laicised (withdraw clerical character) nor dismissed. There are quite a few priests now most of whom legitimately continue their ministries outside of the Catholic Church yet retain their presbyterial character. I merely resigned as a matter of conscience and was accepted and Incardinated into another church, no more different than those Protestant priests who came over to the Catholic Church, and remember that 100 years ago the Protestant episcopate and priesthood were considered as not being valid by the Catholic Hierarchy.
It is simply not correct to say that people cannot be a Catholic if they disagree with any of the churches teachings. And in this, I have the Catechism of the Catholic Church on my side “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions.” In forming my conscience and I paid careful attention to the sacred and certain teaching of the church, for each person has in his heart a law inscribed by God … His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary, there he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths. Something all Christians should be able to understand.
Therefore some words for Bro.C from Henry Cardinal Newman “I shall drink to the Pope, if you please, still, to conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.”
He also seems to be unaware of the Catholic Catechism although he states that he is a Catholic and that he has attended a Pontifical College. (CCC:1787) Man is sometimes confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decision difficult. But he must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law. (CCC:1788) To this purpose, man strives to interpret the data of experience and the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice of competent people, and by the help of the Holy Spirit and his gifts.
I therefore apologise to Bro.C that my conscience did not direct me on to the path that he had wanted. Yet I could not as a matter of conscience remain within a Church after the continued silences by the hierarchy regarding the abuses of minors and the vulnerable, a torment which I myself had been subjected to at the age of 7 at a Catholic residential school in Italy. It had taken 14 months before the abuse and inhumane horror was stopped and the nun went to another convent. Although my abuse was physical rather than sexual it has left its very own unique and unforgettable scars.
I could not, as a matter of conscience, remain in a Church where the bishops acted as though they are medieval prince-bishops within their own diocese, squandering millions of pounds for building new palaces and the Archbishop’s who use the churches funds as though it was a personal cash dispenser for personal use and then we have my personal favourite Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the bishop of Limburg, Germany, who admitted to “Pimping his Diocese” [his own words] and spending some $42 million because he enjoys first-class flights and felt he needed a more lavish episcopal palace.
I could not as a matter of conscience remain in a Church that is hateful towards a group of people especially by people whom secretly identify with that same group (for more on that please see ‘In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy (original title: Sodoma: Enquête au cœur du Vatican) a book by Frédéric Martel. Bro.C asked me in his email “is holy mother Church lead by homosexuals?” Well, actually Bro.C., yes I do think the catholic church is currently lead by a large faction of closeted homosexuals [with whom I have no issue] and with double standards [with whom I do have an issue]. Pope Francis himself has stressed this publicly on numerous occasions by chastising the hierarchy. And on the subject of homosexuality the Pope continues to state “who am I to judge!”
Brother.C further seems to be unaware of Psalm 110:4 ‘The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”’ He seems to be unaware that the laying of hands of the priesthood as found in 1 Timothy 4:14: ‘Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.’ He also seems to be unaware that the Church believes that an indelible mark is placed upon the recipient’s soul (the other two are baptism and confirmation), this is called a sacramental character.
He is further unaware of my reasons and what transpired prior to my leaving the church as a matter of conscience. It took years of soul searching, letters exchanged with bishops, and with Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict. I was at great pains to do the right thing and left me in turmoil for a long time. I still serve God and Christ, the advice I give is still Christian and Catholic orientated, and when I express catholic teachings they are always in accordance with the magisterium. I rarely express a personal opinions but attempt to always write in a Christian manner and on what I believe to be relevant to and in society today. Had I not acted according to my conscience then I would be propagating a lie.
I have never before, until today discussed these matters plainly because my life is dedicated to God alone. My vows and promises are intact. I simply relocated from one church to another church for episcopal oversight without which I would not have been able to continue my vocation. A hermit just like a deacon and priest need a Bishop for canonical oversight and in order to act licitly.
Bro.C further claimed in his email that in one of my blogs I stated that I was disgusted by people of a certain age group and that I had deterred older men from joining my Hermitage. This is very strange when there have never been vocations at St. Mary’s Hermitage. I’m a hermit (simply put a person living in solitude as a religious discipline) there are no others at the Hermitage unless you wish to count my dog and my cat and the mouse in the outhouse. There is only one other Hermit of Saint Bruno in the world and is Fr. Paolo who is 42 years old and lives in Paraguay and like me, lives a solitary life with his chickens and his cow he is not a member of the Celtic Church. My vocation precludes me from accepting vocations from anyone regardless of their age, sexual orientation, or anything else for that matter. Vocations within the Celtic Church covers all age groups, we do not discrimine as you have claimed, one only needs to see the Churches Facebook profile to see that this is a falsehood. I’m therefore pretty certain that Bro.C may have confused me with someone else on another webpage.
When hatred sometimes enters into one’s life. It arises from an injustice. It thrives in your conscience. It is fuelled by the cynicism and vitriolic words of a culprit who as yet has gone unpunished. The incitement to religious hatred or religious intolerance falls under UK anti-Racism legislation. And is therefore, also a breach of U.K. law. See What is hate crime?(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_and_Religious_Hatred_Act_2006). If you have ever been subjected to a hate crime in the UK you may find this pdf from the metropolitan Police useful (https://www.report-it.org.uk/files/hate_crime_-_a_guide_for_those_affected_1503330449_1.pdf)
In its extreme forms, hatred spreads it corrosive element against entire groups of people, against nationalities, against social classes, against professional categories, against members of a certain faith. Other times it is limited to specific people. It is a hatred that at least avoids injustice: it focuses on that person who may have betrayed us, or who did us harm. But it does not stop destroying the heart of those who continue to harbour it. Because hatred, although sometimes one does not realise it, corrodes those who cultivate it, and always puts them on that slippery slope that leads to insults in public, to aggressions, even to violence.
It is not easy to put out the fire of hatred when it has grown day by day, especially if it has crystallised into a desire for revenge and internal attitudes of unsatisfied rage. Additionally, it can escape from oneself, infects others, and becomes an evil which never ends. Many social conflicts arise from hatred and continue to feed its devouring flames. Political conflicts live off hatred and “take advantage” of it to increase voter numbers. They even go so far as to assault innocent people or cause insane wars.
In the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (n. 2303) we read: “Wilful hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of neighbour is sin when evil is deliberately wished upon him. Hatred of one’s neighbour is a serious sin when serious harm is deliberately wished”.
Christ invites us to forgive, not to let ourselves be trapped by that inner rage that destroys those who accept it and that opens space for greater wounds.
There is already too much hatred in our world. If we begin to pluck its small roots from our hearts, and if we ask God to give us the strength to forgive and even welcome the enemy, we will begin to overcome hatred and radiate that which in our time is something that is badly needed, and that is: authentic love.
I thank you all for your continued support and prayers.
 Cf. John XXIII, encycl. “Pacem in Terris“, April 11, 1963: AAS 55 (1963), pp. 260-261; Pius XII, radio message, Dec. 24, 1942: AAS 35 (1943), p. 19; Pius XI, encycl. “Mit Brennender Sorge“, March 14, 1937: AAS 29 (1937), p. 160; Leo XIII, encycl. “Libertas Praestantissimum“, June 20, 1888: Acts of Leo XIII 8 (1888), p. 237-238.