Wednesday, 12 June 2013


The front page of today's IRISH NEWS newspaper claims that the police are searching for a man in connection with the disappearance of a five figure sum of money from Turf Lodge parish Belfast but that the late Father Matt Wallace is not believed to be linked with the disappearance of the money. 

The newspaper also says that the man being sought is not a priest.

This event follows news earlier this year when the retired parish of Loughlinisland in Co. Down appeared in court over the disappearance of £145,000 of church money in which a lady was involved. Father Conleth Beirne (78) is now living with the monks in Portglenone. A number of prominent ladies in the Diocese of Down & Connor are collecting money to send to Bishop Noel Treanor to make up for the loss of the £ 145,000.

A number of years ago the parish priest of Glenravel parish in Down and Connor, Father Michael Coppinger was found hanging in the garage of his presbytery. The rumours among the clergy at the time surrounded Father Coppinger's sexuality and missing parish money.

Up until recent times a parish priest had the sole knowledge and complete control of the parish finances and in many instances priests used the parish money as if it was their own money. Nowadays many bishops are introducing tighter controls of church funds where everything has to be accounted for and where priest get a set wage and expenses.

This does take away the temptations a priest might have to be lax in financial controls. 

In any event money, while we all need it to pay our bills, is not as important as human life.

I am sure we will hear the outcome of the police investigations into the missing Turf Lodge money. 


  1. Did your Lordship not have some public controversy over money your self at one time with reports in the press.

    As far as I recall the lady who owned a large local buisness lent you her credit card in order to facilitate your Excellency's Apostolate.

    But after having a very public falling out with you she complained you had used the card to take a trip to Paris , with expensive diners in resteraunts and as far as I recall you had bought purple undershorts to compliment your prelature.

    While the purple undergarments might well have been necessary for your Grace's mission I am left wondering about the Parisian outing and the posh diners?

  2. My Dearest in the Lord,

    I am profoundly grateful to you for keeping such a vigilant and prayerful eye on Our vicissitudes as We have laboured in the Vineyard of Our Blessed Lord. Yes indeed there was an unseemly agitation over the sponsorship of my apostolate by a dear sister in the Lord. In fact she had given Us Our very own credit card to help in Our mission. Unfortunately the gift eventually threatened that Purity of Heart that you and We cherish so dearly and so there was, for a time, a parting of the ways. But Providence saw fit to bring good from it all and the dear sister later threw herself wholeheartedly at the Lord's feet and the earlier agitation was seen as a felix culpa.

    The Paris trip was actually undertaken to rescue a young Belfast priest from a lifestyle he had been introduced to while a seminarian in the Irish College in Rome. I found him crocheting furiously at a Parisian establishment and by the grace of the Holy Spirit persuaded him to return to Belfast with me. Since then he has become a member of CA - Crochet Anonymous and is in recovery.

    The purple trews you mention were a gift from the above mentioned sister before she came to know the Lord and were never used by me but were in fact sent to an enclosed order of nuns in Italy and have been used to make a magnificent Advent and Lenten vestment which are in the sacristy of St Peter's Basilica. Yours by the Grace of God.............................

  3. Your right reverence has a dramatic and exciting lifestyle that could grace the pages of any Bond novel. His Lordship is an inspiration.:)

  4. Thank you Padraig. And thank you most of all for the little smile at the end which did not escape Our notice. In fact it caused a little moisture to gather at the right hand extremity of our left eye. Mr Bond would not be a person We would wish to emulate. I think We would rather fancy ourselves as somewhat an ecclesiastical Poirot.

  5. Yes but I hope your reverence will always recall Matthew 7:3 whilst at his detective work.

  6. Very good advice. But please remember also that 27 years ago I was "expelled" by people with both splinters and logs in their eyes!

  7. Like I mentioned in my complaint to the irish news, as many others have, why on earth does Fr Matts picture need to be included here. Its very insensitive at this very sad time that we are all going through following the death of Fr Matt. Again there are people out there that will see the picture and not read the full story, put two & two together and get 5.

  8. I've looked for information for a long time on Father Coppinger but found nothing online. I remember him for his full term as priest at Ballyclare before moving to Glenravel. I always thought it strange for him to commit suicide very soon after moving there.

    He definitely wasn't the most jolly priest I ever met by a long way, but I never witnessed anything inappropriate from him myself. My sister has said a few cryptic words and doesn't like to talk about time with a priest during her childhood. It could have been another priest maybe visiting or something, but Father Coppinger was our main priest. If anyone knows anything to put my mind at rest please let me know privately.