Monday, 22 July 2013

WHY I CLAIMED "ADVERSE POSSESSION" OF THE CHURCH HOUSE I LIVE IN

WHY I CLAIMED "ADVERSE POSSESSION" OF THE CHURCH HOUSE I LIVE IN

THE ORATORY, LARNE
PEOPLE CONSTANTLY ASK ME WHY I CLAIMED "ADVERSE POSSESSION" OR "SQUATTERS RIGHTS" OVER THE CHURCH HOUSE I LIVE IN - A HOUSE I HAVE NOW LIVED IN FOR 29 YEARS SINCE 1984.

I WENT TO THE CATHOLIC PARISH OF MARNE AS A CURATE IN 1984. THERE WERE THREE CHURCH HOUSES IN LARNE - ONE FOR THE PARISH PRIEST AND ONE FOR EACH OF THE TWO CURATES.

WHEN BISHOP CAHAL DALY "SACKED" AS CURATE IN 1985 I CONTINUED LIVING IN THE HOUSE. HE ASKED ME TO VACATE THE PROPERTY IN 1986 AND I REFUSED - SAYING THAT AFTER 16 YEARS IN THE CHURCH I FELT THAT I HAD A MORAL RIGHT TO A ROOF OVER MY HEAD. I WAS VERY SAD THAT THE SITUATION BETWEEN MYSELF AND BISHOP DALY HAD ARISEN. WHEN HE BECAME BISHOP OF DOWN AND CONNOR IN 1982 I WAS A CURATE AT HIS CATHEDRAL IN BELFAST AND I WARMLY WELCOMED HIM TO THE DIOCESE AND THOUGHT HE WOULD BE A GREAT POSITIVECHANGE FOR THE DIOCESE.
BISHOP CAHAL DALY

BISHOP DALY AND HIS SUCCESSOR BISHOP PADDY WALSH LEFT ME IN THAT HOUSE - WHILE MAKING THEIR DISAGREEMENT WITH MY POSITION CLEAR.
BISHOP PADDY WALSH
BISHOP WALSH INHERITED THE BUCKLEY / DALY DISPUTE - THAT IN FAIRNESS TO BISHOP WALSH WAS NOT OF HIS MAKING. WHEN BISHOP WALSH HAD BEEN THE PRESIDENT OF SAINT MALACHY'S COLLEGE IN BELFAST HE AND I HAD A GOOD RELATIONSHIP. HE EVEN PAID ME THE COMPLIMENT OF ASKING ME TO CONDUCT STUDENT RETREATS IN SAINT MALACHY'S.

IT IS NOT GENERALLY KNOW THAT THROUGH THE GOOD OFFICES OF THE DIOCESAN CHANCELLOR CANON RAYMUND FITZPATRICK BISHOP WALSH AND I ENGAGED IN A LONG PROCESS OF RECONCILIATION. THAT PROCESS WENT ON FOR MANY MONTHS AND CONCLUDED IN ME DRAWING UP A 14 PAGE PLAN OF RECONCILIATION. IN THAT PLAN I OFFERED BISHOP WALSH THE 4 CONCESSIONS FROM ME THAT HE HAD DEMANDED. I THEN WENT FURTHER AND OFFERED HIM 3 MORE CONCESSIONS THAT HE HAD DEMANDED. HE WAS VERY HAPPY WITH MY OFFER.

I ONLY ASKED BISHOP WALSH FOR 3 CONCESSIONS: 1. THAT HE WOULD FORMALLY INCARDINATE ME INTO DOWN AND CONNOR; 2. THAT HE WOULD GIVE ME A MINISTRY - OF HIS CHOICE - IN THE DIOCESE AND 3. THAT HE WOULD GUIDE ME AS TO HOW I COULD RECONCILE SOME OF MY VIEWS WITH CHURCH TEACHING AND CANON LAW.

THIS DOCUMENT OF RECONCILIATION REMAINS IN THE BISHOP'S HOUSE TO THIS DAY.

ALL SEEMED TO BE GOING WELL AND THEN BISHOP WALSH, UNDER PRESSURE FROM SOMEONE - WITHDREW FROM THE PROCESS. MAYBE IT WAS BECAUSE CAHAL DALY WAS STILL ALIVE AND BY THEN A CARDINAL?

ANYWAY THE ESTRANGEMENT CONTINUED.

AS FOR THE HOUSE - IT WAS BUILT IN 1904 AND BY 2008 IT WAS 104 YEARS OLD AND BADLY IN NEED OF STRUCTURAL REPAIR.

THE ONLY WAY OUT OF THE DILEMMA WAS FOR ME TO APPLY  TO THE LAND REGISTRY IN BELFAST FOR THE DEEDS OF THE PROPERTY SO THAT I COULD RAISE FUNDS FOR THE MUCH NEEDED REPAIR.

THIS APPLICATION WAS LODGED ON JUNE 3RD 2008 - 26 DAYS BEFORE BISHOP NOEL TREANOR BECAME BISHOP OF DOWN AND CONNOR.

SUCH APPLICATIONS PROCEED EXCEEDINGLY SLOWLY. 

I COULD NOT AFFORD LEGAL REPRESENTATION - SO I HAD TO FAMILIARISE MYSELF WITH LAND LAW AND REPRESENT MYSELF AT THE LAND REGISTRY AT AT BELFAST HIGH COURT.

THE DIOCESE WERE REPRESENTED BY THEIR SOLICITORS AND BY BELFAST BARRISTER HENRY TONER QC.

EVENTUALLY THE MATTER MADE ITS WAY TO THE BELFAST HIGH COURT AND THE CASE WAS HEARD BY HIGH COURT JUDGE HIS LORDSHIP SIR DONNELL DEENEY 
SIR DONNELL DEENEY
IN HIS WISDOM JUDGE DEENEY SENT THE MATTER FOR MEDIATION. BOTH THE DIOCESE AND MYSELF ENTERED INTO THE SPIRIT OF MEDIATION AND A SETTLEMENT WAS REACHED IN JANUARY OF 2012.

THE TERMS OF THAT SETTLEMENT ARE CONFIDENTIAL AND MUST REMAIN SO.

THE DIOCESE WAS THEN FREE TO RENOVATE THE PROPERTY AND PROTECT IT'S ASSETS AS REQUIRED TO BY CANON LAW. 

I WAS VERY HAPPY WITH THE OUTCOME AND INDEED IT WAS A GREAT LESSON TO ALL INVOLVED AS TO THE GREAT BENEFITS OF MEDIATION AS OPPOSED TO THE PROSPECT OF OF AN ANTAGONISTIC BATTLE IN OPEN COURT.

Bishop Pat Buckley. 22.7.2013  




13 comments:

  1. At the end of the day it is only a house. Let us pray that all can be resolved far and above these things and lets live as followers of Christ.

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    1. I agree. At the end of the day we will all only have 6' by 3' or indeed a brass urn.

      You have given me a lot of food for thought and prayer.

      Pat

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    2. Dear PP from D & C,

      I am a Priest from the Oratory Society and I have to say that whilst I think you are being sincere, I find it difficult that you ask me to 'present' myself to anyone! Let me tell you why I am in the Oratory Society; ...I believed that the number of good people in the Church outweighed the bad. I believed in the triumph of good over evil. I believed that the people in the pews around me felt as I did and we had a duty to persevere.

      I would give money to the collection wondering where exactly it would end up. Would it pay off an abuser? Get laundered in Rome? Subsidise a hypocritical lavish lifestyle? For a while, I stopped giving, then out of habit started again. I never left Holy Mass.

      At the age of eight, my niece began to serve Mass, and I was struck by that, hierarchically, this was as high as she could go as a Catholic. That felt wrong. But by now, it all felt wrong. I was ashamed of my Church. I had not lost my faith in God, but I had completely lost my faith in Roman Catholic leaders. The scandals grew and multiplied, going higher and higher up. Where would it end? What depths of depravity would be revealed?

      I realised I didn't want this decision to be about leaving, but joining. Why? I joined the Oratory despite the hardline views as do most critical Catholics. The Oratory has many strengths. I particularly admire its fostering of a Christian life, its commitment to the Christian message of helping the oppressed and excluded in society.

      I am fortified by the fact that there are so many other thinking Catholics like me. The goal of the leadership of the Oratory Catholic Community is to build on those views that parishioners share to strengthen their faith, their love of God (particularly in light of God's love for us) and neighbour, and to emphasise the importance of prayer as a part of and deciding how to live a Christian life.

      I admire the Oratory as a spiritually satisfying place – despite its limitations. So instead of a Pope that dictates edicts to the masses, the masses in the Oratory are the voices of church.

      My voice is heard here in the Oratory! Will it be heard in Lisbreen? Is your voice heard there?





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    3. Speaking about the new Church of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost Simon Peter quoted from one of the Old Testament prophets. "Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17).

      How does this apply to us as Christians in our day?

      Well done for your brave choices Fr. There is much more to dreaming than what we remember when we wake up. Dreaming is a way of picturing what concerns us so we can work on it. It is a familiar fact that if we sleep on a problem, we often see the solution when we wake up in the morning. It seems we do this kind of work more or less continually while we sleep.

      But we can also do this while we are awake. Day dreaming is not just passing the time with idle thoughts. When we are thinking about building a new home (Oratory) or doing a renovation we can picture a dozen ways of arranging the structure, and having looked at these alternatives we can decide on the best way of doing the work. We can day dream creatively to plan a celebration, or a holiday, outline an article, draw up a battle plan, make a case when we have to go to court.

      We do most of this kind of this kind of creative work when we are young. But the text suggests that in the power of the Spirit we can do this when we are old.

      Visions refer to occasions when the LORD or an angel appears in person and gives an important message. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all given such apparitions (Genesis 12:1; 13:14; 15:1, 7; 17:1; 18:1, 22; 26:2, 24: 28:13).

      In the New Testament visions were given to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, to Mary, and then on several occasions to Joseph to protect the infant Messiah (Luke 1:11, 26; Matthew 1:20; 2:13, 19). Simon Peter and Paul were also guided and encouraged by visions of the Lord (Acts 9:4; 10:13-14; 18:9; 23:11; 27:23).

      'Vision' has been given to you Fr. On the Day of Pentecost Simon Peter said that young people would also be given visions of the Lord to help them in the service of the Kingdom. Keep following the vision of the Holy Sprirt.



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    4. Thank you for your kind words.

      Oratory Society Priest.

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  2. I did mean to say that the mediation process, mentioned above, shows what can be achieved by mediation, if both sides enter into it in the right spirit.

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  3. as always an very honest and open account of what went on,i would expect no less from you>may the house finally become a home for you and Eduardo and may it always be filled with love compassion and respect and may it always be alive with the spirit of recocilliation.Mike

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    1. Mike,

      Thank you for your comment.

      As you know the Oratory here has always been and will always be - please God - an open door.

      Let's recall the wondeful words of John XX111

      "AT MY WINDOW A LITTLE LIGHT WILL ALWAYS KEEP BURNING. ALL MAY COME IN. THE ARMS OF A FRIEND ARE WAITING"

      Pat

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  4. Bishop Pat you don't have to apologise to anyone? Amazing how all sides can see sence when it comes to physical assets & money. Shame they can not apply the same practicality to care of souls. So does the diocese grab the property back on your demise? Speaking of that sad eventuality that comes to us all what long term vision do you have for your ministry & the strides you have made over the years, Regards Sean

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    1. Sean,

      I agree. Mediation and reconciliation are the way to solve all disputes.

      And we should approach all issues with the Bible in our hands and leave the Code of Canon Law on the shelf for a while.

      Pat

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  5. Brother Sean,

    Some of us are not that bad and not that far removed from you. Let us pray for each other.

    Your Brother in Jesus.

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  6. I read your story about the 'House'! As a Christian I find it all very sad, that 'Religion' and all the other 'business' takes over from basic Christian principles.

    TAKE MY HAND - Today I had no inclination to eat my morning puree. A Christian, who lives upstairs, was in the kitchen. I asked her to hold my hand and give me the energy I needed. I was soon able to eat, and now I am writing this little piece.

    The passing of spiritual energy is what visitors can best impart. They just sit by the person, take his or her hand, and somehow the patient feels encouraged and strengthened. Mothers know that taking a sick child’s hand, an sitting quietly, is often more help than rushing around and doing this and that.

    Prayer is a way of doing this from a distance. We take the person’s hand by faith, and unknown to us spiritual energy is imparted.

    But often we have no one to do this for us. Asking the Lord to take our hand gives us access to all the energy we could need. Here is a hymn that expresses this very beautifully :

    "Precious Lord, Take my hand, lead me on, let me stand;

    I am tired, I am weak, I am worn; through the storm, through the night, lead me on."

    Let us be Christian to each other.

    A friend from a distance.

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    1. Dear Friend From A Distance,

      Thank you very much for your "unusual" and very touching comment.

      Everything you say makes perfect sense from Jesus' perspective.

      Thank you.

      Pat

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