The Church Pushes Back

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenges and controversy.” -Martin Luther King


My soon to be released memoir, A Saint and a Sinner, is sure to be a lightning rod for controversy. Anytime, you take on an institution as powerful and intimidating as the Catholic Church you risk repercussions.

Right before the global coronavirus pandemic eclipsed all other news, the Diocese of Rockville Centre and Bishop Barres issued a precept on official Church letterhead demanding that we take down the website and remove all social media. The definition of the noun precept is “a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought.”

In the two-page document, the bishop “forbids Father Donnelly from publishing his book, A Saint and a Sinner. Furthermore, the publication of this book and the publicity that will follow may harm public morals, and excite contempt against the religion or the Church, publicly incite the faithful to animosity to Church authority, and provoke disobedience.” Though the book is not intended to be inflammatory we fully expect the Church to push back again.

But this is my story of repentance, regret, reflection, and transformation; a hopeful tale of a flawed man, and his redemption. For those that recognize themselves as, in some way, broken or less than perfect, my story is your story. The pain and beauty are in the journey: falling down, getting back up, and persevering. This is my personal journey of sinfulness and at the end of the day redemption is only possible with complete transparency. -Stephen

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