Saturday, 30 August 2014






1. Is Bishop Noel Treanor spending extravagantly on his Belfast palace with door handles costing £350 each, and wallpaper at £100 per roll, plus, etc ?

2. Are predatory priests not being controlled in Down and Connor and are victims suffering as a result?

Bishop's Palace, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Some years ago I lived in a parochial house which was in a very poor state of repair. The heating was very inadequate, the windows were crumbling in their frames, and the carpets were threadbare. I did a very basic renovation because the parish was already in big debt. I am very angry about the situation on the somerton road. 
I know that Lisbreen needed to be renovated, but the expense and sheer opulence of this project is I believe completely out of proportion to that which was required. 
Bishops & priests do not need, nor should they live in extravagant comfort. Christ lived a simple life & called his followers to do the same. I wish Bishop Noel could visit some of my parishioner's homes; he'd get his eyes opened ! 
What example does our Bishop think he is giving ?! As a D&C priest I feel ashamed by his actions. His role is to the 'build the kingdom of God' in Down & Connor, not a palatial residence in N Belfast. +NT actions prove, that it's always easier to spend someone else's money.

D&C priest.

Dear Pat,

Ref the issues raised by some contributers vis a vis the moving of 'predatory priests' (heterosexual & homosexual) from one parish to another, I wish to say the following :

Some months ago in conversation with a couple of fellow D&C priests, I said to them that the next big scandal for the church would be the refusal of Bishops to act properly when they know priests are involved in relationships with vulnerable people.We know the cataclysmic result of moving known child abusers to new parishes & sometimes to a new diocese. I see the same mistakes being made now in relation to priests who use their position of trust to enter into unhealthy and unproductive relationships with women or men who are often very vulnerable. Some priests are serial womanisers, others take advantage of vulnerable men, and we have both types ministering in this diocese at present.
A priest who is sexually compulsive ie predatory, is a great danger, and can wreak havoc in people's lives. The men & women caught in these type of relationships, are often discarded of brutally by the priests when they are no longer of use to them.
These compulsive type relationships can occur in both homosexual and heterosexual situations, and there are many 'broken people' caught up in these. Sadly these particular types of relationships ( often short lived and numerous) are NOT based on mutual love and respect.

I therefore contend that is grossly irresponsible of a Bishop to leave a Priest in active ministry who is behaving in the manner I have just described.

A very concerned D&C cleric.

Thursday, 28 August 2014



Tuesday, 26 August 2014




My Dear Brother Noel,

After recent conversations with priests and people of Down & Connor diocese I feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to write a very open, friendly and constructive letter to you regarding the current state of the diocese.

You have now spent 6 years as diocesan bishop and you are now as aware as you can ever be of the problems of the diocese and the challenges facing anyone who wants to see the renewal of Christ's Church - the People of God - in this part of the world. In my own way, albeit that I am on the clerical margins, I too - having spent 36 years ministering here - want to see this renewal.


You never asked to come to Down and Connor. You were sent here - with or without your enthusiastic agreement. No one in their right mind would want to be a diocesan bishop in today's world. I'm sure that before you came here from the distance of Clogher diocese and your own work in Brussels you had a limited understanding of how things were in Down and Connor. 

As you settled in and read yourself into your new role and as you moved about among the priests and people of the diocese I'm sure that you experienced the formation of dark clouds of bewilderment, confusion, apprehension and indeed powerlessness. You will have realised very quickly that you had not inherited "a land flowing with milk and honey" but more an inheritance of the bitter chalice and the crown of thorns. You were expected to be a financial administrator. You were expected to travel around a hundred parishes administering Confirmation. You were expected to be a leader of men. You were expected to be the spiritual father of more than a hundred priests and 300,000 souls. 

I think we know enough about you now to say that you were not naturally suited to this huge and multifaceted role. I think you are a private man. You are not a natural interpersonal communicator. You a shy man, an ackward man. You are not a natural small talk man, a man for all seasons. I'm sure that you have feelings and emotions - but for whatever reason those feelings and emotions do not show in your daily contact with most people. As a result people think that you are cold, remote, unsympathic, compassion-less. I imagine - or at least I hope - that being misunderstood in this fashion is painful for you in your own very personal way.  But we are who we are. We are the people our genes, our families, our experiences and our lives made us. We can change. But in out 60's that kind of change is terribly difficult and in some cases impossible.


And what are the problems of this diocese? They are many and I will just mention a few:

1. There is a big shortage of priests and that shortage is getting bigger by the day and priests retire and die and fewer come forward for the priesthood.

2. I know that you are finding that there are massive problems among the priests that you have: a. Priests in relationships with women. b. Priests who have fathered children. c. Priests in relationships with other men and other priests. d. Priests who have lost faith and who do not pray who are possibly agnostics if not atheists. e. Priests living semi openly with their long term female partners. f. Priests actively on the gay scene here at home and while on holidays. 

3. Many of the priests in the diocese do not like you and you in your turn see many priests not just as priests but as "problems".

4. You know now - if you did not know it before - that clerical celibacy is not working. When it comes to celibacy the emperor is wearing no clothes. 

5. You are constantly receiving complaints from laity about priests and you feel helpless about this as the priests reject those complaints and you are left unable to judge or to act - and how can you act anyway when you have so few priests. Your hands are tied. 

6. You are facing a groundswell of complaints from laity about parishes closing or clustering or the reduction in the number of Masses. 

7. The diocesan marriage tribunal is not fit for purpose and you have no one to send there.


Noel, I believe that you are overwhelmed or semi-overwhelmed by the problems you have in the diocese. You cannot see a way to sorting it all out.

In fairness you have initiated the LIVING CHURCH programme. But this programme is not going to address the diocese's problems. At best it is only a temporary sticking plaster on a much deeper wound or disease. At worst it is a distraction. People who attended the Living Church programme were not allowed to name the real problems. Living Church sounds good. But its like talking about the qualities of a defribulator rather than using the defribulator to being life back to the dead.

Apart from Living Church I think that you have retreated into your own space in order to help you personally cope. You have pulled up the weighbridge and in order to survive you have taken refuge in your castle - a castle that is being renovated at great cost. 

You are hoping that between retreating into the castle and getting away regularly on trips you will be able to cope with the problems until you time comes to pass on the baton to some other poor unprepared soul. 

But will a renovated castle with antiques and art and light really help you to carry the baton to the end. I do not know you. It may. But how sad! And every trip you take you still have to drive back to Somerton Road and face the letters, emails and calls that have built up while you were away trying to save you sanity. You still face the next priest problem. 


If I may be so bold I am going to suggest to you now how you might BEGIN to save Down and Connor and even if you do not complete the job during your time you can make a big beginning on it.

Brother Charles

I think you need to have a very wise, experienced and courageous spiritual director who can guide you in prayer and spirituality. This would be achieved with an emphasis on the Scriptures, spiritual reading and substantial theology. I would suggest authors like Archbishop Helder Camara, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Henri Nouwen, Charles de Foucauld and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I think you need regular retreats and retreat days - Days in thye Desert as well as your leisure time.
Helder Camara


I think you should employ the services of an experienced therapist - not because you are in anyway unwell but because of the psychological support you need in your challenges. It would be good if this person was from one of the "schools" like Psychosynthesis that combines the psychological with the spiritual. I only suggest this because I have egaged in it myself with very good fruits. You could also work with this person on people skills and appropriate ways to share your humanity with the priests and people. In that way like St Paul you can harness for good the power of the weakness that we all have.


I think that the priests of the diocese truly need "re-evangelised" and you are their spiritual father.

The priests need to experience you as their spiritual leader and they need to be able to see your spirituality and to see you praying. The priests need to pray with you on genuine retreats and genuine, perhaps monthly, days of recollection.

The priests need you to socialise a little with them. You should invite them to join you in small groups for meals.

They need to sense your hidden humanity and your compassion. They need to understand that you are vulnerable too and to take courage from a leader who is not perfect. You need to be the priests "wounded healer".

You need to encourage the priests to have compassionate and challenging spiritual directors.

You need to encourage the priests to undergo very regular in service training and to be part of small trusted groups that encourage personal and psychosexual reality and development.

Perhaps you should ask the priests to vote for one of their members who would be a Vicar for the clergy - to help you care for them and to represent their needs to you so that they feel their voices are truly valued and heard.

The priests need you to be their father, their brother, their protector, their challenger, their pastor, their good shepherd.

The priests also need to make allowances for you - and indeed in their thoughts, words and deeds minister to you.

You and the priests need to let the graeter Church know you feel about the issues of celibacy, women in ministry and the need for a new theology of sexuality - and I do not mean the menaingless so called Theology of the Body of John Paul 11 which is a subtle form of denial.

Down and Connor needs to at least tell the greater Church that celibacy is not "natural" for the vast majority of priests.


If you yourself and your priests were to be re-energised and re-evangelised the effects on the people of the parishes and in the diocese would be astounding.  

I know that these are demanding and bold proposals. But they come out of my own living priesthood of nearly 40 years and from 30 years of listening to the hurts of many priests and people in Down and Connor.

I am an ecclesiastical no one. But I am still here and I would still want to a small part of the renewal of the Church in this north eastern part of Ireland.

+Pat Buckley

Monday, 25 August 2014


Continue reading the main storySlide Show

A Familiar Figure on the Santo Domingo Waterfront

CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times
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He was a familiar figure to the skinny show shine boys who work along the ocean front wearing a black track suit and a black baseball cap. The boys say he gave them money to perform sexual acts. They called him “the Italian” because he spoke Spanish with an Italian accent.
It was only after he was spirited out of the country, the boys say, his picture splashed all over the local news media, that they learned his real identity: Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
“He definitely seduced me with money,” said Francis Aquino Aneury, who says he was 14 when the man he met shining shoes began offering him increasingly larger sums for sexual acts. “I felt very bad. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but I needed the money.”


Jozef WesolowskiCreditManuel Diaz/Associated Press

The case is the first time that a top Vatican ambassador, or nuncio — who serves as a personal envoy of the pope — has been accused of sexual abuse of minors. It has sent shock waves through the Vatican and two predominantly Catholic countries that have only begun to grapple with clergy sexual abuse: the Dominican Republic and Poland, where Mr. Wesolowski was ordained by the Polish prelate who later became Pope John Paul II.
It has also created a test for Pope Francis, who has called child sexual abuse “such an ugly crime” and pledged to move the Roman Catholic Church into an era of “zero tolerance.” For priests and bishops who have violated children, he told reporters in May, “There are no privileges.”
Mr. Wesolowski has already faced the harshest penalty possible under the church’s canon law, short of excommunication: on June 27, he was defrocked by the Vatican, reducing him to the status of a layman. The Vatican, which as a city-state has its own judicial system, has also said it intends to try Mr. Wesolowski on criminal charges — the first time the Vatican has held a criminal trial for sexual abuse.
But far from settling the matter, the Vatican has stirred an outcry because it helped Mr. Wesolowski avoid criminal prosecution and a possible jail sentence in the Dominican Republic. Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic.
The Vatican’s handling of the case shows both the changes the church has made in dealing with sexual abuse, and what many critics call its failures. When it comes to removing pedophiles from the priesthood, the Vatican is moving more assertively and swiftly than before. But as Mr. Wesolowski’s case suggests, the church continues to be reluctant to report people suspected of abuse to the local authorities and allow them to face justice in secular courts.
The Vatican says that because Mr. Wesolowski was a member of its diplomatic corps and a citizen of the Holy See, the case would be handled in Rome. But even many faithful Catholics in this nation, home to the oldest Catholic cathedral in the Americas, say they are unsettled that a Vatican official could have been using children for sex, yet was not arrested and tried in their own country.
“From the pure standpoint of justice, he should be tried in the country where the acts took place because the conditions for trying him will not be the same elsewhere,” said Antonio Medina Calcaño, dean of the faculty of law and political science of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. “But all we can do is hope that the courts in the Vatican will treat this with the severity that it really deserves.”
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, did not say when the Wesolowski trial will start, who is representing the former nuncio, or whether he is at liberty while he awaits trial. Under Vatican law, sexual abuse charges can bring a maximum of 12 years in prison and a fine of nearly $200,000.
A Dominican bishop, Victor Masalles, visiting Rome in late June, said in aTwitter message that he was surprised to see Mr. Wesolowski “strolling the Via della Scrofa,” in the city’s picturesque ancient center. He added, “The silence of the Church has hurt the people of God.”
A Man Known as ‘The Italian’
The waterfront promenade in the Dominican capital is dominated by a 50-foot monument to the 16th-century Spanish friar Antonio de Montesinos, dressed in robes and preaching the fiery sermon that made him famous: denouncing the slavery and abuse of the indigenous people by their Spanish colonists.
It was at the heel of this colossus, on the deserted upper plaza in the shadow of the friar’s robes, Mr. Aquino said, that he was often molested by the man he knew as “the Italian.” The man always chose a bench that would allow him to see the rare visitor coming up the staircase, and would watch the boy masturbate, would touch him or would touch himself, said Mr. Aquino, now 17. Other times, they went to the rocky beach below the statue.
Mr. Aquino, whose family is originally from Haiti, left school in the eighth grade, earning $1.50 on a typical weekday by shining shoes. But he said that the man gave him more than $10 the first time they met, in 2010, to shine his shoes and to swim naked in the ocean while Mr. Wesolowski watched.
The man returned often over the next six weeks, Mr. Aquino said. But gradually the man wanted more, giving him from about $25 to as much as $135, as well as sneakers and a watch, for sexual acts. They met on and off over three years, Mr. Aquino said, but the man revealed little more than his first name, which he gave as “Josie.”
There is a mix of shame and anger among the shoeshine boys who say they knew the man. Darwin Quervedo, who is 14, said haltingly, with eyes downcast, that when he was 11, the man gave him more than $25 to watch him masturbate down by the beach. He said he felt scared, and never did it again.
When he learned much later of the man’s identity, Darwin said he thought to himself, “What kind of a man who is a priest does things like this?”
The promenade is a popular stretch for tourists and joggers. But it is also frequented by those seeking children and young men for sex. With all this activity, Mr. Wesolowski, in his track suit and running shoes, did not at first attract inordinate attention. He also chose his victims carefully, the shoe shiners said.
“He wasn’t interested in me,” said Robin Quello Cintrón, 23. “He said I was too old, that he liked the younger ones.”
“I warned the younger kids, ‘Don’t go with him,’ ” said Mr. Cintrón, adding, “But the money tempted them.”
Curbing child sexual exploitation is a pressing issue in the Dominican Republic and many countries, and the Catholic Church is among the many religious institutions that have taken up the cause.
In March, Pope Francis signed onto a campaign with other global religious leaders to fight all forms of human slavery, including child prostitution. This month, he sent a message for the opening of a refuge in Argentina for young victims of sexual exploitation.
Still, two United Nations panels in Geneva examining the church’s record on child sexual abuse questioned the Vatican this year about its handling of the Wesolowski case.
Mr. Wesolowski, 66, was ordained at 23 in Krakow by Archbishop Karol Józef Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II. In 1999, he was appointed papal nuncio to Bolivia, and in 2002, he was reassigned to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
In 2008, he was sent to the Dominican Republic. Mr. Wesolowski served as a ceremonial dean of the international diplomatic corps here, convening an annual party in honor of the country’s president. The posting came with a stately residence and access to a beach house.
On the waterfront, Mr. Wesolowski attempted to disguise his rank, the boys say. He drove a small gray-green Suzuki sport utility vehicle with rosary beads hanging from the rearview mirror, they recalled, and parked it near the monument in the colonial zone, where several streets are named for archbishops.
One day last year, Nuria Piera, a prominent television journalist, received a tip that the papal nuncio drank beer many afternoons at a waterfront restaurant, then went off with young boys.
Ms. Piera sent a video crew to surreptitiously film the nuncio, she said in an interview at CDN, where she is general director. The crew shot some video of Mr. Wesolowski drinking alone and walking the promenade, Ms. Piera said, but he noticed their presence (though not the camera), walked over, smacked his hand against their car and asked why they were following him.
After that, Ms. Piera said, he disappeared from the waterfront. Her tipster never saw him there again.
“I suspected that there may have been a leak from our own office,” Ms. Piera said.
Mr. Wesolowski began sending a young Dominican church deacon to procure children for him, law enforcement authorities in the Dominican Republic say.
The deacon, Francisco Javier Occi Reyes, was arrested by the police on June 24, 2013, accused of solicitation of minors and taken to jail. But no one came to bail him out, and the deacon sent an anguished letter dated July 2 to Mr. Wesolowski, to be delivered to him by hand at his office.
“We have offended God” and the church, the letter said, by sexually abusing children and adolescents “for crumbs of money.” The deacon wrote that he had agreed to find child victims for the nuncio so that “your sexual appetite can be satiated,” but that he was now asking God for forgiveness.
“Hopefully you will consider asking for God to help you to walk away from this evil disease of continuing to sexually abuse innocent children,” the letter said, according to a copy obtained by The New York Times from a Dominican Justice Ministry official.
The deacon sent copies of the letter to Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus López Rodriguez, the head of the church in the Dominican Republic, and to a Dominican bishop, Gregorio Nicanor Peña Rodríguez. The cardinal then carried the evidence to the Vatican, where he met directly with Pope Francis, according to interviews with the Dominican authorities. On Aug. 21 last year, Mr. Wesolowski was secretly recalled to Rome.
Six days later, the cardinal called the papal nuncio “a great friend and promoter of peace.”
Neither the cardinal, nor other church officials, reported the allegations to the local authorities, Dominican officials say. Vatican guidelines say that criminal sexual abuse accusations should be reported in countries where reporting is required.
The country’s attorney general, Francisco Domínguez Brito, and the district attorney of Santo Domingo, Yeni Berenice Reynoso Gómez, both said in interviews that they first learned about the allegations against Mr. Wesolowski from Ms. Piera’s television reports, which were broadcast in early September and included a child asserting that he had been abused.
Soon after, church officials here told local news media that Mr. Wesolowski had been recalled because of the allegations against him, prompting Cardinal Rodriguez to confirm that he had gone to the Vatican to address the matter. He and other church officials denied requests for an interview.
‘The Most Terrible Case’
The district attorney, Ms. Reynoso, said her investigators had identified four children aged 12 to 17 with whom the nuncio had sexual contact, but that there were likely others.
The 17-year-old had epilepsy, and the nuncio gave him medicine for his condition in exchange for sexual acts, starting from when the boy was 13, the district attorney said. She said she had “no doubt” about the credibility of the youths’ testimony, because it was corroborated by other evidence.
“This is the most terrible case that I have ever seen,” said Ms. Reynoso. “He was abusing kids who were living in extreme poverty, in exchange for pills for a boy’s illness. It’s very perverse.”
The Vatican sent someone to the Dominican Republic last October to look into the case, but they made no contact with the district attorney or anyone in her office, Ms. Reynoso said. She forwarded her report to the country’s attorney general, who forwarded it to the Vatican.
Ms. Reynoso said the case should have been prosecuted in the Dominican Republic. “These children who were abused, and their families, and the Dominican society, have a legitimate right to see Jozef Wesolowski judged by a jury — not as a diplomat, but for what he really is,” she said. “A child abuser.”
Mr. Brito, the attorney general, said he trusted that the Vatican would apply the “appropriate discipline.” He said he did not seek to have Mr. Wesolowski extradited because he has diplomatic immunity, and “the law would not allow it.”
According to experts in international law, the Vatican could have waived diplomatic immunity. In Santo Domingo, there have been small protests and petitions signed by more than a thousand people calling on the Vatican to extradite Mr. Wesolowski to the Dominican Republic. Advocates have accused the government of acquiescing to the church. “We think there has been a lot of impunity in this case, and no transparency,” said Sergia Galván, executive director of the Women and Health Collective, which represents abuse victims. “If he’s no longer a diplomat, if he was stripped of that title, he no longer has immunity.”
The case has reverberated in Poland, where prosecutors have sought to extradite Mr. Wesolowski, who holds both Vatican and Polish citizenship. Poland has indicted another Polish priest, the Rev. Wojciech Gil, who fled the Dominican Republic last year amid allegations that he abused altar boys in his rural parish. Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic say that Father Gil and Mr. Wesolowski spent time with young boys at the nuncio’s beach house.
There are indications from Rome that the pope himself is concerned about the Wesolowski case. A Dominican bishop, Fausto Ramón Mejía, said in an interview that when he was part of a delegation visiting the Vatican late last year, Pope Francis’ smile vanished on hearing what country he was from.
“He became very serious,” said Bishop Mejía. “He stopped and he said to me, very sincerely, ‘I feel as though my heart was crossed by a dagger from what took place in the Dominican Republic.’ ”
The case has shaken this stalwart Catholic nation, but the church has said little. In one group photograph released by the Dominican bishops, Mr. Wesolowski’s face appeared to have been removed from the picture.
“The people used to say, ‘I want my child to go to a Catholic church,’ ” said the Rev. Rogelio Cruz, a Catholic priest here. “Now they say, ‘No child of mine is ever going to a Catholic churc

Friday, 22 August 2014



Cardinal Georg Pell - the former archbishop of both Melbourne and Sydney in Australia - and now the man in charge of the Vatican's finances - says that the church should not be held responsible for priests who sexually abuse!

He had this statement via video link from the Vatican to the Royal Commission in Australia who is looking into child abuse.

His argument goes like this - If a truck driver employed by a trucking firm takes a woman into his truck and sexually assaults her then the trucking company and its CEO should not be held responsible.

His argument is totally reprehensible and it shows the depts to which RC church leaders will stoop to avoid moral and financial responsibility for its abusing priests and bishops.

It does not say much for Pell's faith and spirituality that in his 70's he is willing to compare the Church - the Body of Christ - to a secular trucking company.

But it does tell us all we need to know about these wheelers and dealers in the hierarchy and clergy of the RC Church who are so cynical, ruthless and faith-less - as to compare the Church to a large for profit commercial company.

Do I really have to explain to Pell the difference between a truck driver and a priest?

1. A priest studies and becomes immersed in spirituality, moral theology and faith for 7 years of training while a truck driver only needs a HGV licence which he can get after 20 hours of practice.

2. A priest - according to Catholic teaching is supposed to be an "alter Christus" - another Christ - a truck driver does his 40 hours a week for the going rate.

3. A priest is supposed to be the exemplar of Christian and moral living - a truck driver has only to obey the rules of the road.

4. A priest is put in charge of people's immortal souls by the Church and his bishop - a truck driver is responsible for a machine while he is at work.

5. A priest takes vows / promises of poverty, chastity and obedience - a truck driver's moral responsibility extends to doing a decent days work for a decent wage.

6. A priest lives 24 hours a day on church property - a truck driver attends a place of work for 40 hours a week.

7. The church can move a priest from parish to parish all his life - a truck driver lives where he chooses and if his company wants him to move he can refuse and have the backing of the union.

8. The Church tells the men, women and children of a parish to do what the priests tells them to do in order to live a good life and save their souls - the truck driver's company only responsibility is to have insurance in case the truck / driver have an accident.

I could go on..

The RC Church literally "owns" a priest - body and soul from the day he enters the seminary until the day he goes into his grave. The Church is not only the priest's "employer" - the Church own the priest in the same way as masters used to own their black slaves in the US before the civil war.

If you claim to own someone absolutely - as the Church does - then the other side of that coin is that you are absolutely responsible for them and for all they do and don't do.

The fact that many of the RC dioceses in the USA have already been forced by civil law to pay out billions of dollars to the victims of abuse is the strongest indication of all that modern civil law regards the Church as responsible for the actions of abusing priests.

What Pell is afraid of is that the precedent already set in stone in the USA will be used in his native Australia - and elsewhere - to make the Church legally and financially culpable for abuse.

He is also afraid that in the future some good lawyer will find a way to make the pope and the Vatican legally and financially responsible.

Jesus Christ had the harshest of words for those who hurt little children.

When a priest abuses a little child he incurs the wrath of Christ.

When a bishop covers up for a priest who abused a little child that bishop incurs the wrath of Christ.

When a Vatican cardinal seeks to deprive a little abused child of the just compensation they are entitled to that cardinal incurs the wrath of Christ.

George Pell is 73. Sometime in the next 10 to 20 years he will go and meet The Lord. Is he not afraid that The Lord will ask him to explain his attitude to the victims of abuse?

Is he not afraid that The Lord will say to him: "As long as you did it to one of these, the least of my children, you did it to me"?

If I was him I would be afraid.

If he is not afraid? Is he deceiving himself? Is he brainwashed and blind? Is he arrogant?

Or - My God! - Is he a secret atheist? Does he not belive in God at all?

+Pat Buckley

Wednesday, 20 August 2014



A nember of years ago I went to meet a priest for lunch in a Dublin hotel. When I arrived my priest friend was very angry that I was wearing my clerical collar. He was dressed in a very beautiful casual shirt. He felt that my collar would draw attention to us and people would be staring at us and therefore we would be deprived of the pleasant "private" lunch he had planned.

I told him that I did not wear my collar to embarrass or annoy him but that I wore it for 2 reasons:

1. To give public witness to the fact that I was a priest follower of Jesus.

2. As an invitation to anyone that saw me that I was available to them if they needed me.

We had a very nice lunch and my priest friend kindly offered to walk with me to the car park at the top of Grafton Street, Dublin to where I had parked. On the way up Grafton Street a young man, who looked very distressed, approached us and said to me: "Are you a priest"? I said I was. He went on to tell me that he was a French student and that he suffered from a psychotic condition and that he had left his medication at home in France and was feeling very desperate. I asked him why he stopped me. He answered: "Because I could see you were a priest and I felt that you would help me". I looked at my priest friend who had been unhappy about my weraing my collar and he was a littled red in the face. No words were necessary.

I put the Freench student in my car and drove him to a nearby hospital A&E and stayed with him while the doctors examined him, contacted his French physician and then gave him the medication he needed. I have never seen or heard of that student since but I did say a prayer of thanks to the Good Lord for the opportunity of ministry.

For many years now priests have been abandoning the clerical collar - to the point where all the clerical supplier shops in Dublin have all closed down. You have to go on line now if you want a clerical item.

The abandonment of the collar has been greatly increased by the clerical paedophile scandal in the church. Priests are afraid to be seen to be priests as they are quite likely to receive strong verbal ubuse in the street.

On a number of occasions in recent years I have been followed in the street and been verbally abused and called names. I always stop and try and engage my abusers in conversation and tell them that only some 5% of priests are paedophiles and that most paedophilia takes place in the home, the family and in the family circle. Sometimes I suceed. Sometimes the abuse gets worse.

But it HAS NOT and WILL not stop me presenting myself as a priest in public - for the two very valid reasons I gave above.

So called "liberal" priests - especially in the religious orders - condemn the clerical collar and say that it facilitates CLERICALISM.

I'm sure that there are priests - especially some of the younger priests now coming out of seminary - who are into clericalism and feel that the collar sets them apart and puts them up on pedestals. What a terrible reason for wearing the collar.

The trendy and liberal priests say: "Jesus never wore a collar".

Its true he didn't. But my answer to that is that Jesus was God and he had a divine and spiritual presence that made people realise that he was the Son of Man. 

I don't have Jesus charisma. So I have to wear some outward recognisable symbol that I am his disciple and that I am there to help if needed.

When we go into hospitals we can recognise the doctors by their unforms and can approach them.

When we are on the street and need help we can recognise a policeman by his uniform.

When we are travelling in a plane and need a drink or help of some kind we recognise the air hostess by her uniform

I am am on the street and I need a priest for some reason how can I recognise him if he is wearing the same casual shirt and jeans as the other 500 men on that street?

A lot of priests nowadays will wear their clerical collar when they are in the church or about parish property.

They then wear casual gear when they are what they call "off duty".

But the problem is that a priest is NEVER off duty.

When I was a young curate in Belfast I used to go one or two nights of the week, after the youth club closed at 9pm for a beer with the youth leaders. We used to go to a social club in Ardoyne in Northe Belfast.

I always wore my collar on those trips. On thousands of occasions people came up to me to talk to me about an issue or a problem they had or even for Confession. I heard hundreds of confessions in the toilets in that social club. And the pople who approach me there were people who never came to church or never met a priest.

So in my case I was the priest going to them - to the places they inhabited and socialised.

I regard myself as a priest 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year. I am a priest in my chapel - but I am also a priest in the pub, in a restaurant, on the train, lying on the beach in Spain (where of course I do not wear a collar :-) ),walking on the street.

Jesus had no days off. There was never a time in Jesus' ministry when he was not God, not the Son of God and not available to people.

A true priest, like a true Christian, has no days off. We are always available to God and we are all available to God's people.

Call me oldfashioned if you like. I have lived as a priest that way for 38 years and I hope to live that way until they carry me away in the brown box.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Priests are supposed to be representing Jesus the Shepherd

Shepherds are never off duty.

Sheep cannot read the clock.

Sheep do not only need their shepherd from 9am to 5 pm - Monday to Friday.

Sheep can get lost at any time.

The good shepherd will search for the lost sheep at any time, of any day, morning, noon, evening, midnight and at 3am if required.

There are 2 kinds of priests in our modern church:

1. Priests who are professional careerists with little faith and even less comapssion.

2. Priests who are good shepherds.

The People of God - the sheep - can quickly distinguish one from another.
Jesus calling - out of hours


In the Gospels we come across the story of the man who fell among robbers. One of the people who passed by on the other side of the road was a priest.

Question: Why did the priest pass him?

Answer: Because he was robbed already :-)

+Pat Buckley

Monday, 18 August 2014



I think it might be a great mistake to think that the ANTI-CHRIST is a person. Maybe, instead, the ANTI-CHRIST is a movement, an institution?

I think we know what Jesus Christ stood for. Maybe the anti-Christ is everything that goes against or tries to negate what the Christ stood for?

Jesus said that: "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests but the son of man has no where to lay his head".

Maybe it is "anti-Christ" to have a Vatican, Lambeth palaces, bishop's palaces, grand cathedrals, basilicas and evangelical mega churches?

Jesus said: "Let the greatest among you behave as if he were the least".

Maybe it is "anti-Christ" to have kings, queens, emperors, princes, princesses, popes, patriarchs, cardinals, archbishops, deans, chancellors, monsignors, canons, archdeacons, rural deans, vicars forane, knights, lords, chaplains to Her Majesty?

Jesus said the first Mass / Eucharist lying on couches on the floor. May it is "anti-Christ" to have marble altars, gold candlesticks, gold chalices, lace altar cloths, lace albs, cloth of gold vestments?

Can you see Jesus in this picture?

Jesus' commandments were: "Love God, love your neighbour". Maybe it is "anti-Christ" to have Canon Law, books of rules, church courts, Roman congregations, rubric?

Jesus wore a single garment for which the Roman soldiers cast lots. May it is "anti-Christ" to have Papal Tiaras, Precious mitres with gems, solid gold pectoral crosses, solid gold croziers, palliums, 30 foot long bishop's trains made of silk and ermine?

Jesus was called Jesus. Maybe it is "anti-Christ" to have titles like Your Holiness, Your Beatitude, Your Eminence, Your Grace, Your Excellency, My Lord?

Jesus was a Jew who came to bring Judaism to its full bloom. Maybe it is "anti-Christ" to have created Roman Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans, High Church, Low Church, Methodists, Presbyterians, Free Presbyterians, Baptists, etc, etc, etc.

Jesus spoke aramaic - the common language of the people. Maybe it is "anti-Christ" to want to have all your services in Latin - the language of empire?

Jesus told his disciples not to be overlords and dictators to each other. Maybe it is "anti-Christ" for popes to be superior to bishops; for bishops to be superior to priests and for priests to be superior to those they call "lay" people?

Jesus apostles were mainly married men. May it is "anti-Christ" to insist that all bishops and priests be bachelors?

Jesus had prominent women disciples. Maybe it is "anti-Christ" to say that you must have a penis to be a bishop, priest or deacon?

On one occasion when Jesus was speaking, Peter, interupted him and Jesus said to Peter: Get behind me Satan. The way you think is man's way and not God's way".

So Jesus was accutely aware that man made thinking can be evil. The Christian Church today - in all its forms and denominations - bears very little resemblance to the "church" Jesus founded and intended.

Maybe all these man made changes and additions have so negated the teachings, spirit and will of the Chirst - that they are in fact ANTI-CHRIST?

Maybe instutionalised "christianity" - and not just one person or being -  is in fact the ANTI-CHRIST?

Maybe RELIGION is the anti-Christ?

+Pat Buckley