A small group of English Catholic hermits are being evicted from their home.
The Black Hermits—consisting of two brothers and one sister who have taken personal vows to their bishop—are being given three months to leave the presbytery where they’ve been living for several years.
The group returned to their native England from Scotland four years ago, feeling the need to pray for England's conversion to the Catholic faith. They were welcomed by Bishop Peter Doyle into the diocese of Corby, Northamptonshire.
Last year, one of the trio, Brother Damon Kelly, felt called to fight Britain's Culture of Death by publicly preaching against abortion and homosexuality. He was motivated to act after Queen Elizabeth signed into law the Abortion Act and the Gay Marriage Act, which he deemed a violation of her coronation oath, in which she vowed to uphold the Christian faith.
He began distributing leaflets in surrounding neighborhoods. After he started putting leaflets through door slots, people complained, and he was ordered by police to desist.
According to an interview with LifeSiteNews, Br. Kelly said, “At first I agreed to do no more leafleting. But I've wrestled with it, I've sought spiritual counsel. And I've decided I have to obey God's law and not the State's law.”
His lawyer made clear that Br. Kelly could legally pass out leaflets to passersby on the street, but he was forbidden to go onto private property and put them through doors.
“The problem with that,” Br. Kelly responded, “is that I can distribute 1,300 leaflets via mail slots and boxes in just two hours. I could only give out 200 in the same time on the street.”
Although he has been arrested 10 times for distributing pamphlets, he's only been charged once—with one count of harassment. The charge involved two American women who objected to his pamphlet condemning homosexuality. The women, who claimed to be Wiccans, filed a complaint after Br. Kelly sent them a letter and a second pamphlet warning against the evils of witchcraft.
His court hearing is set for May 18, and if convicted, Br. Kelly could face prison time.
The relationship of the Black Hermits with their bishop began to deteriorate last December, after an investigator met with the bishop to discuss Br. Kelly's literature. Although Bp. Doyle allegedly agrees with the Hermits' theology, he disagrees with the language used in the pamphlets.
Some of that language includes the following: “Homosexuality, as well as being a sin and a vice, is essentially a neurosis, a pathological condition, the result of several factors including childhood experiences. It is a dangerous temptation rather than a healthy orientation.”
And elsewhere: “If the practice of homosexuality is acceptable, then in time any form of sexual deviation, perversion and experimentation will be acceptable, including the progressive lowering of the age of consent, taking it below the age of puberty and thus legalizing paedophilia.”
The group received a letter from the bishop on Tuesday of Holy Week asking that they leave his diocese. And this past Monday, they received an e-mail giving them until July 20 to vacate the premises.
Sister Colette, one of the hermits, spoke with ChurchMilitant.com. “As yet we do not know where we will go.” They've expressed a desire to stay in the British Isles, but fear they will not be welcomed into other dioceses.
“When I watched Michael's Vortex about St. Francis de Sales,” Sr. Colette said, “I couldn't help but think of the similarities between the way he was treated and thought of as mad and the way Br. Damon was also treated—both postmen for the Lord a few hundred years apart.”
Visit the Black Hermits' website to learn more.