Friday, 18 April 2014


ALL in the April morning,
  April airs were abroad;
The sheep with their little lambs
  Pass'd me by on the road.
The sheep with their little lambs
     Pass'd me by on the road;
All in an April evening
  I thought on the Lamb of God.
The lambs were weary, and crying
  With a weak human cry;
I thought on the Lamb of God
  Going meekly to die.
Up in the blue, blue mountains
  Dewy pastures are sweet:
Rest for the little bodies,
  Rest for the little feet.
Rest for the Lamb of God
  Up on the hill-top green;
Only a cross of shame
  Two stark crosses between.
All in the April evening,
  April airs were abroad;
I saw the sheep with their lambs,
  And thought on the Lamb of God.

Thursday, 17 April 2014



There is a TV programme at the moment that is exploring the various addictions that people have.
We are all aware of the common addictions – alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, chocolate etc.
But of course there are all kinds of addictions and some addictions are surprising and exotic.
Hoarding things can be a big addiction. I remember hearing a few years ago of a parish priest in Northern Ireland who had a very unusual and exotic addiction. He was addicted to and a hoarder of milk bottles. He never threw away a milk bottle. When he had finished the milk he washed the bottle and stacked it away in his house. When the poor man died – at a great age – those cleaning out the presbytery had an awful job getting rid of the thousands and thousands of milk bottles – perfectly cleaned and stacked neatly in rows.

Many of us remember the humble milk bottle before the days of the throw away cardboard or plastic cartons. At night we used to put our washed milk bottles out on the porch step for the milk man who came along at 4 or 5 in the morning and left us the new milk for that day. As a child I loved milk bottles and played with them. We had nice milk bottles in Dublin. They were fat and squat and they had a lovely verse on the side which read:

Your milk comes in a bottle;
We can’t bring round the cow;
So please rinse and return them;
As most of you do now.

You are now all asking: “What’s wrong with poor Pat tonight that’s he’s talking about addictions and milk bottles? Has he finally lost the plot? Should we send for the men in the white coats”?

No! No need for that yet. This is Holy Thursday. This is the beginning of the Easter Three Days (Triduum) when we Christians meet to celebrate the life giving death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

On Holy Thursday we celebrate the memory of THE LAST SUPPER when Jesus met with his disciples to break Bread, share the Cup, wash the feet and then go to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, sweat blood and be arrested.
Today I want to talk of the addiction that Jesus had. Jesus was  addicted to GIVING.

At The Last Supper He gave us the priceless gift of His Body and Blood to be our spiritual food on life’s pilgrimage from our cradle to our grave and to celebrate the Memory of Him.

At The Last Supper He gave his disciples the Gift of Love and Service by washing their feet.  

And after the Last Supper He went into the lonely night garden to give Himself over to the Father – to give Himself over to His captors to give Himself over to His Crucifixion for our salvation.

Don’t forget that Jesus GAVE HIMSELF over to death. No one forced Him. In the Scriptures He says: “Just as I have laid down my life – so will I take it up again”.

On Holy Thursday we honour JESUS THE ETERNAL GIVER.
What implications has that for us His followers?

The implication is crystal clear. We too are called to be GIVERS. We too are called to the “mad” addiction of GIVING. The true Christian is primarily a GIVER and not a taker.

In school when they tried to teach us singing they got us to sing: DO – RAY – ME.

And instinctively as children and later as adults we are tempted to be TAKERS – to put ourselves at the centre and sing that childish, instinctive verse – ME - ME – ME.

But the Grace of God in our lives should transform us into GIVERS – HELPLESS GIVERS – ADDICTED GIVERS.

Today we ask ourselves the question: Do I have the same addiction as My Lord. Am I a giver?

When we open our eyes after our death we will be looking into the eyes of Jesus and His eyes will be questioning eyes – asking:

Did you GIVE to the hungry?
Did you GIVE to the thirsty?
Did you GIVE to the naked?
Did you GIVE to the sick?
Did you GIVE to the prisoner?
Did you GIVE your home over to the stranger?

I we can answer “YES” we will be the fortunate ones.

If we answer “NO” what will be our destiny?

Not all nice verses are carved on the sides of milk bottles. Here is one that should be carved into our hearts:


The places at your table are empty. GO OUT AND FILL THOSE PLACES

+Pat Buckley
Holy Thursday
17th April 2014

Wednesday, 16 April 2014



It has been brought to my attention that in the course of this Blog I have made two incorrect and inaccurate statements with regard the abuse of the Belfast priest, Father Patrick Mc Cafferty by Father James Donaghy
Fr McCafferty
Father James Donaghy is currently serving a long sentence in a Northern Ireland prison for abusing a number of young males in Northern Ireland.
James Donaghy
In a previous Blog I wrongly and inaccurately said or implied that Father Mc Cafferty was a priest at the times James Donaghy abused him. I now know this to be inaccurate and James Donaghy abused Father Mc Cafferty before he was ordained a priest.

It was also inaccurate for me to say that the abuse took place in Wexford. The abuse actually took place in Northern Ireland.

During a Blog I also said that Father McCafferty had a "pathological hatred" for Bishop Paddy Walsh - the retired Bishop of Down and Connor diocese.
Bishop Paddy Walsh

I now know this to be untrue. Father McCafferty - as a Christian and a priest - does not hate anyone. He did report his abuse to Bishop Walsh and Bishop Walsh did not take the steps he should have taken after that report. While Father McCafferty is justifiably critical of Bishop Walsh and his actions he does not hold any hatred for him.

I have not been asked by anyone to make these corrections. I decided to make them, quite voluntarily,  after receiving the information that what I had written was inaccurate and untrue as I would want this Blog always to be as accurate and truthful as possible.

I will always publish corrections and apologies when I get issues or details wrong.

+Pat Buckley


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Dutch bishop who died last year was a child molester - abuse commission

The Dutch Catholic Church, in a rare admission of guilt among senior clergy, has confirmed that a bishop who died last year had sexually abused two boys decades earlier.
The diocese of Roermond said a Church commission had found that accusations against former bishop Johannes Gijsen, dating back to his time as chaplain at a minor seminary from 1958 to 1961, were "well founded."
Bishop Johannes Gijsen

The admission came on Friday, the same day that Pope Francis made his first public plea for forgiveness for "all the evil" committed by priests who molested children, and said the Church had to do more to discipline wayward clerics.
Mea Culpa, a Dutch group supporting abuse victims, welcomed the Roermond statement.
But it said the accusations had been made while Gijsen was alive, and noted critically that "complaints against living suspects are often declared unfounded."
Bishop Frans Wiertz, current head of Roermond diocese, said he accepted the commission's findings and "regrets the abuse and suffering inflicted on the victims," He has personally met the two men and apologized to them, he said.
Bishop Frans Wiertz

The Church's statement put Gijsen, who headed the diocese in southeastern Netherlands from 1972 to 1993, among the few senior Catholic clergy worldwide found guilty of abuse.
Katholiek Nieuwsblad, the weekly that broke the story, said the commission found Gijsen had groped the two boys and forced one to perform oral sex.
Gijsen had been confronted with the oral sex accusation in 2011, but denied knowing his accuser.
The commission reopened his case a week after Gijsen died because it received the second complaint of improper genital touching, the weekly said. It concluded that Gijsen's denial was not credible because the victim's family had said he used to visit them.
Bishops blamed
Gijsen was one of several strict conservative bishops whom the Vatican appointed in the Netherlands -- often over the protests of priests and parishioners -- to roll back the strongly reformist turn that the Church took there in the 1960s.
He officially stepped down as bishop of Roermond in 1993 on health grounds, but later served as bishop of the tiny Catholic community in Iceland from 1996 to 2007. An abuse commission there accused him of covering up molestation by another priest.
Few bishops have been accused of active abuse in the scandal, which has been rocking the Catholic Church for over two decades. Most of the prelates who have stepped down did so for covering up the misdeeds of their priests.
Two cardinals -- Hans Hermann Groer of Vienna
Cardinal Hans Groer

and Edinburgh's Keith O'Brien --
Cardinal Keith O'Brien

quit in disgrace amid accusations of sexual misconduct with seminarians.
A Belgian bishop, Roger Vangheluwe of Bruges, stepped down after admitting molesting his nephew.
BishopRoger Vangheluwe
The Vatican has been investigating sexual abuse allegations against Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, its former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, since last September. His whereabouts and the status of his case are not known.
Archbishop Josef Wesolowski

Pope Francis, who has been criticized by victims' support groups for not taking a sufficiently strong stand against sexual abuse, last month named a high-level group including an Irish abuse victim to help fight sexual abuse in the Church.
That came after the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child accused the Church in February of systematically turning a blind eye to clerical sexual abuse of minors.
The Vatican called its report "distorted" and "unfair."
Terry McKiernan, founder of the website, which documents abuse cases, welcomed the pope's latest comments but said victims wanted to see Church leaders taken to task for allowing abuse to continue.
"The best thing he could have done today would have been to step up to the microphone and announce that he is beginning to remove bishops who have behaved criminally in keeping priests in ministries where they don't belong," he said.


As there are 412,000 Catholic priests in the world and only 5,100 bishops it stands to reason that there are more sexual abusers among priests than there are among bishops.

However to cover up abuse of children, minors and vulnerable adults is another serious form of child abuse.

While a small number of bishops have actually sexually abused a larger number of bishops have abused "by proxy" by not reporting child abuse among priests.

Last year in the USA the Bishop of Kansas City, Bishop Robert Finn was charged and convicted of "child endangerment" for failing to report sexual abuse by priests.
Bishop Robert Finn

He has remained as the bishop of Kansas City even though many of the clergy and laity have asked Rome for his removal.

This is a sign that Rome - AND POPE FRANCIS - do not really take child abuse seriously enough.

More governments need to charge bishops, archbishops, cardinals and popes with child endangerment.

Then - AND ONLY THEN - will be see proper reaction to child abuse in the RC Church.
+Pat Buckley

Monday, 14 April 2014



Lourdes is the world famous Marian Shrine in the South of France, on the borders with Spain.

AS a matter of faith most Catholics believe Mary, the Mother of Jesus, appeared to Saint Bernadette there in 1858.

I have made 27 pilgrimages to Lourdes and it is a place that that love and like very much.

I do not like it for its blatant Roman Catholicism - with cardinals, bishops and clergy parading everyday in long processions. 

But rather I like it because of its very peaceful ambience - especially at night time.

The Roman Catholic Church has decreed that at least 68 people were cured inexplicably of major illnesses in its history. I have met people there who said that they were cured there. I have seen scientific and medical evidence of their cure. I have no reason to doubt those miracles.

I believe in a God who is all powerful  who is perfectly capable on intervening in the world - especially in response to faith and prayer.

I am one of those Christians who believes ABSOLUTELY and LITERALLY in the miracles that Jesus Himself worked in the New Testament - healing the sick, making the blind see, making the deaf hear, making the dumb speak and even bringing people back from the dead.

I believe that miracles are EXCEPTIONS. Most of the time God allows us and our world to get on with things - using all the gifts that he has endowed us with.


I have seen "miracles" happen in Lourdes. But the miracles I have seen happen were miracles in the spiritual, emotional and  psychological areas. 

I have two favourite places in Lourdes:

1. The Grotto itself - especially at night
2. The Chapel of Reconciliation:
Chapel of Reconciliation

When I have been in Lourdes I have spent 6 - 8 hours a day in the Chapel of Reconciliation - hearing "confessions" and celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Priests from all over the world hear confession in that chapel - in all the languages of the world. People go their with their burdens - burdens that they have carried for years - and receive acceptance, love, God's forgiveness and spiritual, mental and emotional healing.

Let me tell you of one such "miracle":

A lady in her 80s from South America had been a school teacher since she was 14. When she was 14 1/4 she had an abortion. When she was 16 1/2 she had a second abortion. She felt terribly guilty over these abortions.
As a teacher in a convent school she went to Mass everyday of her life but she never received Holy Communion because of her sins. She felt unclean and unworthy. It was a most awful burden she carried all her life. 
When he was 80 she retired and spent her life savings on a world tour. She was travelling on a Train from Spain to France that broke down in Lourdes station. It was the last train of the day and she had to stay overnight. She wandered around Lourdes and saw a sign for the Chapel of Reconciliation. An inner for drew her to that chapel.

She came into the little room where I was hearing confessions and we talked for 3 hours. She wept so much over her life and her sins that my shoulder on which she leaned was wet with her tears.

I listened to everything she said and assured her that God had forgiven her - and that she should now forgive herself. 

I met her the nest day - and without her burden of guilt she literally looked 20 years younger.

That was a miracle - a spiritual, emotional and psychological miracle. 


I have always loved Lourdes and I have always felt that when I was there I was used by God and Mary to touch and heal people.

I have also always felt that in spite of the Roman Catholic antagonism to me as a liberal and "controversial" priest and bishop that Mary and God have always affirmed me in my vocation in Lourdes. 

Last week a priest friend presented me with the picture below of a painting on the wall of the basilica in Lourdes. My priest friend says that the bishop in the mural is the image of me when dressed as a bishop.  

Bishop Pat on left?

Below is a close up

For a comparison picture of me in bishop's gear I include below a picture of a painting painted by Francis Meigh RCA in 1998:

On another occasion in Lourdes - in spite of being only a young priest at the time I managed to be asked to be the principal concelebrant at the English speaking Mass at the Grotto - a role reserved to visiting church dignitaries.

On another occasion in Lourdes - while I sat with the congregation in the large underground basilica a church worked invited me into the sacristy to join a French speaking bishop to lead the Blessing of the Sick afternoon procession - a role reserved for visiting bishops. The procession was relayed over large TV screens to the whole of Lourdes

As a result other English speaking bishops were enraged and I was banned from all the churches and chapels in Lourdes by the local French bishop and had to celebrate Mass for my pilgrims and myself in out hotel bedrooms.

But in all of these ways I felt very affirmed by Jesus and His Mother. 

It made me realise that it does not matter what people think about you. What matters is what God thinks of you.

To me Lourdes is a little bit of Heaven on earth.

+Pat Buckley

Friday, 11 April 2014


We in the Christian churches are supposed to be people who bring the world GOOD NEWS.

This week there is very good news emanating from Ireland in the form of FATHER RAY KELLY who is the parish priest of Oldcastle, County Meath, in the Diocese of Meath.

Father Kelly has been viewed ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY THOUSANDS TIMES singing on You Tube.

Father Ray was a late vocation having worked in the civil service in Dublin for ten years before entering the seminary. After ordination he worked as a missionary in South Africa and after that spent some time in the USA.

He then returned to Ireland and worked in Navan, County Meath, then outside Tullamore in Co Offaly (my own home town) and finally became parish priest of Oldcastle.

He regularly sings at weddings.

He has also produced some albums which he sells for charity.

I think that its great to see a good news story about a priest going viral.

I also think that Father Ray has been given a great gift by God and of course he is using that gift to do great good and give people an uplifting experience.

Congratulations Father Ray - and may you have many years of ministry and singing left in you.

+Pat Buckley

Tuesday, 8 April 2014



Investigators appointed by the Vatican have been instructed to review each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for "evidence of homosexuality" and for faculty members who dissent from church teaching, according to a document prepared to guide the process.
The Vatican document, given to The New York Times yesterday by a priest, surfaces as Catholics await a Vatican ruling on whether homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood.

Cardinal Edwin O'Brien of Rome told The National Catholic Register that the restriction should apply even to those who have not been sexually active for a decade or more.In a possible indication of the ruling's contents, the American archbishop who is supervising the seminary review said last week that "anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity or has strong homosexual inclinations," should not be admitted to a seminary.
Card Edwin O'Brien

American seminaries are under Vatican review as a result of the sexual abuse scandal that swept the priesthood in 2002. Church officials in the United States and Rome agreed that they wanted to take a closer look at how seminary candidates were screened for admission, and whether they were being prepared for lives of chastity and celibacy.

The issue of gay seminarians and priests has been in the spotlight because a study commissioned by the church found last year that about 80 percent of the young people victimized by priests were boys.
Experts in human sexuality have cautioned that homosexuality and attraction to children are different, and that a disproportionate percentage of boys may have been abused because priests were more likely to have access to male targets - like altar boys or junior seminarians - than to girls.

But some church officials in the United States and in Rome, including some bishops and many conservatives, attributed the abuse to gay priests and called for an overhaul of the seminaries. Expectation for such a move rose this year with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, who has spoken of the need to "purify" the church.

The catechism of the Catholic Church says people with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies must live in chastity because "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."

The Rev. Donald B. Cozzens, a former seminary rector who set off a controversy five years ago when he published a book asserting that "the priesthood is or is becoming a gay profession," said in an interview yesterday that many in the church had come to accept his observation.
Fr Cozzens

But he said he was concerned that the seminary review would lead the church to ask celibate faculty members and seminarians to withdraw.

"That would be a major mistake from my perspective," said Father Cozzens, who teaches in the religious studies department at John Carroll University in Cleveland. "First, I think it's unfair if not unjust for committed gay seminarians and faculty who are leading chaste lives. And secondly, I don't know how you can really enforce that."

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a sociologist who resigned in May as editor of the Jesuit magazine America under pressure from the Vatican, said that with the shortage of priests, the church can hardly afford to dismiss gay seminarians.
Fr Reese

"You could have somebody who's been in the seminary for five or six years and is planning to be ordained and the rector knows they're a homosexual," said Father Reese, now a visiting scholar at Santa Clara University in California. "What are they going to do, throw them out?

"It's much healthier if a seminarian can talk about their sexuality with a spiritual director, but this kind of policy is going to force it all underground."

Cardinal O'Brien, who is supervising the seminary review, did not respond to requests for interviews made to his office in Washington. In an interview with The Associated Press, he said the Vatican document was being reviewed by the pope and could be released this year.

The seminary review, called an apostolic visitation, will send teams appointed by the Vatican to the 229 seminaries, which have more than 4,500 students. The last such review began about 25 years ago and took six years to complete.

At each seminary, the visitors are to conduct confidential interviews with every faculty member and seminarian, as well as everyone who graduated in the last three years.

A 12-page document with instructions for the review is now being distributed to seminarians and faculty members. It asks whether the doctrine on the priesthood presented by the seminary is "solidly based on the church's Magisterium," or teaching, and whether teachers and seminarians "accept this teaching." Among the other questions are these:

1. "Is there a clear process for removing from the seminary faculty members who dissent from the authoritative teaching of the church or whose conduct does not provide good example to future priests?"

2. "Is the seminary free from the influences of New Age and eclectic spirituality?"

3. "Do the seminarians or faculty members have concerns about the moral life of those living in the institution? (This question must be answered)."

4. "Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary? (This question must be answered)."

The questionnaire also asks whether faculty members "watch out for signs of particular friendships."
The Rev. Thomas Baima, provost of the largest seminary in the United States, St. Mary of the Lake, in Chicago, where the Vatican is sending nine interviewers, said such questions were no surprise.
Fr Baima

"The reason we're having an apostolic visitation now is precisely in the aftermath of the clerical sexual-abuse scandal," Father Baima said. "Issues about screening our candidates, about formation for celibacy, about how we teach moral theology are going to get more attention than how we teach church history."

But one gay priest, who said he would not give his name because he has been told by his order not to speak out, said the seminary review would demoralize gay priests.

"It says to gay priests, many of whom are hard-working, faithful men who live their promises of celibacy with integrity, that you should never have been ordained," he said.

Bishop Pat says:


Pope Francis is sending investigators into the 229 US seminaries to "weed out" the gays! How does that fit in with Francis saying about gays - "Who am I to judge"?  If he is not willing to judge why send investigators into the seminaries to JUDGE ???


The current situation in the RC priesthood is untenable. It is untenable because every priest is SUPPOSED to be celibate and MOST PRIESTS are not celibate.

So are the priests all wrong or is the compulsory celibacy law a BAD LAW.

The imposition of celibacy on ALL priests is a BAD LAW. It should be optional.

Then priests - whether straight or gay - would be free to love openly.

But that open loving would require the RC Church abandoning its medieval approach to human sexuality.

There should be a place in the priesthood for happily married heterosexual priests and for gay priests who either want to be celibate or be in committed relationship / partnership.

Of course there is no place in the priesthood for bullies - whatever their orientation

The ordinary People of God have no problems with married and partnered priests. God speaks through His people - VOX POPULI - VOX DEI - THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE IS THE VOICE OF GOD.

+ Pat Buckley

Monday, 7 April 2014


Fr Matthew Despard


"Let me assure you that Father Despard's behaviour - whatever that might be suggested by Andrew Young (another Blog Reader) would pale into insignificance in comparison to the outrageous active gay antics of a considerable number of Army RC Chaplains at the time he was serving. I witnessed it at close hand. Your hair would curl!

Father Despard, for all his faults, was not liked by the majority of his colleagues and was forced out for "not fitting in" - which didn't mean that he was doing anything wrong, just that he didn't fit in with the gay culture of the time. That culture was all pervasive, vindictive, nasty and exclusive. Oh, and highly active as well. I could say a great deal more! And if you were an Army RC chaplain and not gay and active, it meant that you were straight but were probably in the army because you had a child out of wedlock and it was a way of supporting that child, which was most certainly the truth in at least two cases. 

Now Father Despard may be no saint, he may be uncomfortable to have around, he may lack the diplomatic niceities which enable us all to get on and he may have been ill advised to publish his "tell all" book. But he has been abominably treated by the Army RC Chaplaincy, bis Bishops and his Diocese because of his inconvenience, and because he has raised the lid on the bullying gay culture that pervades in, for example, the Army RC Chaplaincy, and the Church in Scotland (see Cardinal O'Brien for a prime example of that ilk).
Fr Tom Butler - Maryport, Cumbria

Father Tom Butler, I believe, came to the end of his time in the Army, namely the end of his commission or age 55 when you are retired (I would remind you on a nice pension, no doubt in his case after twenty odd years of service at well over £ 22,000 per annum indexed linked for life which he will immediately at 55), but his particular problem I would suggest is the bottle, which exacerbates an underlying predilection. I'm sure, Bishop Pat, that would have been the case when he accosted you, he would have been the worse for wear and emboldened to make the approach. Other than that, he is actually a very nice chap. Perhaps even a good priest. Damaged, yes, but then are we not all damaged in some way?

What really gets my goat in all this stuff is the existence of a nasty, bullying, muscular and invariably gay culture in the Church and amongst the clergy (you see it in the Vatican prissiness of monsignor as well as in the rather more mundane dioceses). Clergy suffer because they are "not in" and lives are made miserable. Power plays a big part of it. Its very evident in Scotland, as described by Father Despard, and witnessed by the behaviour of Cardinal O'Brien.
Card Keith O'Brien

How the f**k did that man manage to get where he got? Surely somebody knew what he was up to? And surely his hubris cannot have been so massive that he allowed himself to take on serious leadership roles knowing his predilections and behaviour? I find it hard to forgive him his idiotic pride and hubris, thinking he could lead a double life and get away with it at such a senior level. And, at the same time come out so stridently against orientations which he himself was living out !!  It is one thing to have inconsistencies in one's own life, but to go public in criticising those whose very weaknesses you have is ....well, hypocritical and just plain dishonest. I think that's what did for him in the end. Those who had been damaged by him could not take his public hypocrisy and more.

Enough said!

Bishop Pat says:

Thank you SERVING BLOGGER for your deeper insights. In all these situations we need the TRUTH. "The Truth shall set you free".

Of course Father Despard is not perfect. Which of us are? Maube he is not easy to live with?

But he strikes me as a genuine priest - struggling to have a prayer life and serve people.

He has most definitely been maltreated by his Diocese of Motherwell and by the Gay Mafia in the Army RC Chaplaincy team. It seems to me that his sincerity as a priest was a challenge to them as they lived out their very dysfunctional and crazy lifestyle. So instead of facing the challenge they got rid of the challenger. Instead of listening to the message they shot the messenger!

Father Butler was not a heavy drinker when I knew him. He "approached" me totally sober, and at early times of the day. He was a victim of child abuse himself by a Catholic teacher and a Catholic priest. I explained all this to his bishop - Michael Campbell of Lancaster - who did not want to know me.
Bishop Campbell

Its interesting that Cardinal O'Brien is now in hiding in Campbell's diocese in Cumbria too ???

Is O'Brien there with / without his knowledge and with / without his help ????

We do know that Pope Francis' investigator - Bishop Charles Scicluna - is visiting the UK and Scotland tomorrow for a couple of days:
Bishop Charles Scicluna
I wonder will he talk to Father Despard? I wonder will he talk to Cardinal O'Brien? I wonder will he talk to Bishop Campbell? I wonder will he be in Cumbria?

They used to move "problem" priests from parish to parish. Is it Church policy now to send "problem" priests to Cumbria?

+Pat Buckley


Thursday, 3 April 2014


Noelle Ryan

Noelle Ryan, a former nun, originally from Dublin, came to Belfast in 1972 after spending six years as a member of an enclosed order. Noelle Ryan, who helped hundreds of disadvantaged people to gain an education, has died aged 82.
However, while she was still a novice in the Dominican contemplative order, her mother superior suggested she would be more suited to working in outside communities.
It was a piece of advice that would lead to an improved quality of life for thousands of people.
After leaving the convent, she worked in communities in Liverpool, Dublin, Lourdes and Belfast.
Her "temporary stay" in St John's Parish in west Belfast's Ballymurphy area was to last for more than 40 years.
Working with west Belfast priest Fr Des Wilson, she helped develop a further education and training centre in a four-bedroomed house at 123 Springhill Avenue.
Springhill Community House, or simply 123, as it became known, initially targeted the disadvantaged and set them on the path to further education.
The project, set up in one of Northern Ireland's most deprived areas at the height of the Troubles, eventually became the largest educational outreach centre in west Belfast.
Noelle was particularly interested in those who had missed out on education in their early years or felt they had no value, and no contribution to make to society.
"I had been reading about the worker priest movement in France," she would later recall.
"As soon as I met Desmond (Fr Wilson) and saw the way the house operated, I felt that this was it in practice.
Father Des Wilson

"Without any fanfare, you relate to whatever the people want and what their needs are, as they make them known to you".
'School refusers'
Springhill students were soon sitting examinations with many achieving excellent results and going on to university.
The operation was becoming too big for the house and it was with some relief that organisers accepted the offer of extensive, but spartan accommodation at the Conway Mill complex on the Falls Road.
A particularly successful enterprise by Noelle Ryan and the other project directors was the launch of a "school refusers' project". This was aimed at the many young people who either refused to attend school or had been expelled.
Meanwhile, she had developed a keen interest in homeopathy, Bach Flower remedies and alternative medicine, often visiting troubled areas to share her remedies.
This was to lead to the establishment of basic homeopathy courses that developed into practitioners' courses in complementary alternative medicine.
Noelle Ryan died in the Northern Ireland Hospice on 29 March. She is survived by two brothers.
Her funeral took place at Roselawn Crematorium on Tuesday following Requiem Mass in Corpus Christi Church in Ballymurphy.
A memorial service will be held in John the Baptist Church, Blackrock, Dublin, on Saturday, April 5th 2014 followed by interment in Shanganagh cemetery.

Bishop Pat says:

I was privileged to know Noelle and Father Des since coming to Belfast in 1978 - 35 years ago. I always marvelled at how absolutely they shared their lives with their people. On one occasion I went to their home for a simple lunch. We ate our simple meal in the kitchen with our plates on our knees. After lunch I wanted to talk to Father Des so we went to the sitting room. We soon had to leave there because the room was needed for a class. We went to Des' small box room bedroom to continue our talk. Soon we had to leave there because the students needed the TV and video recorder for their studies. We finished our chat sitting out on a wall in the garden.

Noelle and Des gave themselves to the people with a generosity I can only regard as Christ like - a generosity that I would not be capable of myself. 

They had a small very basic "bolt hole" in Donegal but when they went there for a few days they brought people with them who needed a break from Belfast. 

Noelle and Des supported me as faithful friends over the past 28 years since I was removed from my parish by Bishop Daly. 

Noelle was particularly supportive of my book A SEXUAL LIFE - A SPIRITUAL LIFE as she was painfully aware that many young people in Belfast were taking their own lives as a result of feeling isolated in the context of their sexuality. 

At a recent general meeting of the Irish Association of Catholic Priests in a Dublin hotel when the attendees were complaining about the absence of the bishops Noelle stood up and proclaimed: "We have a bishop here with us - Bishop Pat Buckley" and then holding my book above her head she asked the people to read it.

Noelle lived courageously with an absolute authenticity. She didn't preach - but her life and example was a sermon in action. 

When she developed her cancer she accepted it with the same spirit of courage and wisdom with which she accepted everything in her life. She took no pain killers. Noelle was not one to want to dull the pain of life or indeed death.

Belfast has lost a great lady. Father Des has lost an irreplaceable companion in life and ministry. Her community has lost an advocate and a mother vigour who loved them with a mother's unconditional love. 

As a Christian I believe that Noelle went straight to Paradise where she heard the words of Christ say: "Come you faithful servant; take possession of the place reserved for you from all eternity".

I believe that Noelle will continue her work on earth from her place in Heaven.

We shall not see her like again.

+Pat Buckley

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


Fr Matthew Despard
I HATE CENSORSHIP - And for that reason I was very frustrated that I was not allowed to read Father Matthew Despard's book: PRIESTHOOD IN CRISIS which has been dropped by Amazon Kindle where he published it.

So of course I did what people who hate censorship do - I searched until I found the book and have just finished reading it.

Matthew Despard is an incardinated priest of the Diocese of Motherwell in Scotland. He started his priestly training as an Alexian Brother (nursing) and eventually was ordained a priest.

From reading the book - and from enquiries I have made - he is a good man, a spiritual man and a man who wants to be a good priest to the people he serves. He appears to pray, to love celebrating the Mass and to love ministering to the People of God.

But he has fallen foul of the immensely powerful and cynical CLERICAL CLUB that exists in the Roman Catholic priesthood. 

Furthermore he has fallen foul of the equally immensely powerful, cynical and wicked HOMOSEXUAL CLIQUE that is running the Roman Catholic Church all over the world today.

When he says that he has no problem with priests who have a homosexual orientation I believe him.

When he says that he has a problem with priests, whether heterosexual or homosexual, acting out their sexual feelings I also believe him and I think he is entitled to his view. His view is in fact basic Roman Catholic teaching on the need for universal celibacy for every Catholic priest.

The problem is that COMPULSORY CELIBACY is not working and never has. In the 2000 year history of the Catholic Church there have always been popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, monks and nuns who have not been able to - or want - to live out the promise to be celibate and sexually inactive. 

We have seen this especially in recent decades with all the scandals that have made their way into the media about "bonking" bishops and priests and about priests abusing children and bishops covering up for them.  

The clear message is that CELIBACY should be OPTIONAL and not COMPULSORY. Then you will have happily married priests and happy celibate priests. 

Of course there is the further major question of promiscuity among the clergy - straight, bisexual and gay.

Is it ever ok for a priest to be whoring around - whether with women or men or indeed both?

And its this whoring around that Father Despard is complaining of - and the fact that the whoring around priests, especially the gay one, have taken over the Catholic Church and are bullying and torturing other priests who want to be celibate and virginal.  

The Christian ideal is that our sexual powers should be used in the context of married, committed love - but at least in the context of love. Its hard to see how even the most liberal interpretation of Christianity allows from orgy like sexuality?

Father Despard - himself fully heterosexual - was the victim of unwanted sexual advances from gay priests - who when he spurned their advances decided to wage a vicious and spiteful battle against him - making his life unbearable. On one occasion a fellow priest used his credit card to have Father Despard sent a parcel full of ladies underwear. 

The gay cabal in Motherwell Diocese were also out of control and the Bishop Devine seemed to be the cabal's either willing or unwilling prisoner.   
Bishop Devine, now retired to a plush retirement home, had suspended Father Despard and he has been waiting to go on trial at a Church Court - accused of what - we do not know!

Reading Father Despard's book I got a strong feeling that he is indeed the victim of a great injustice.

Of course I also got the strong feeling that he is a very determined, shoot-from-the-hip guy himself and maybe, at times he might have done better by being a bit more diplomatic. But then again, as I know myself, how can diplomacy work in an organisation that is riddled with sexual corruption and every other form of corruption known to mankind. 

Father Despard in one sense has committed the greatest sin in Roman Catholicism - he has challenged the authority and power of those in command. That may be an "unforgivable sin" in Roman Catholicism. 

But what a waste of a good priest like Matthew Despard - who has been more sinned against that sinning. Is there a way back for him? With the CLERICAL CLUB in Motherwell all against him could he be at peace in Motherwell? Would they even leave him in peace?

I do not know what Father Despard himself wants. Would he go to another diocese and even if he did would the CLERICAL CLUB's power reach and effect him there?

Would he fancy being a priest in a conservative organisation like the breakaway Society of St Pius X?

How would he do in America?

The problem is that the GAY MAFIA is running the priesthood all over the world now. 

I wish him well. I will be praying for him.

+Pat Buckley