Friday, 20 December 2013



Those of you who watch the news will know that I have recently been making my way through the Belfast Crown Court system.

I have wanted to blog about this matter for a long time but as the whole thing was sub judice I was not able to. But I would not shy away from it just because I was in trouble. I am what I am - but I am not a coward!

This matter has been hanging over me for 4 years. It started with me being invited by the police to assist them with their enquiries. As the matter dragged on the police formed the view that I had assisted those who had organised 14 sham marriages.

Since I was ordained I have celebrated some 2,500 marriages. Therefore the 14 marriages before the court represent less than 0.05 % of all my marriages.

As was said in court by the judge and lawyers I did not organise or profit from those marriages or the people involved.    

My compassion - and maybe my naivete - was abused by others who made vast sums on money.

But of course it does leave me with a criminal conviction.

Below is the statement I read to the gathered media outside the court:


Today in Belfast Crown Court Mr Justice Mark Horner has imposed a suspended sentence on me. I am 61 years old and this is the very first time in my life that I have found myself on the wrong side of the law.

These proceedings began by me wholeheartedly assisting the police in 2010. I have never been arrested. I have never been the subject of a personal or home search. I have never been detained.

I have never sought to profit from the miserable circumstances in which the non EU participants have found themselves.

I had a genuine affinity with the poor. I do feel a strong sense of compassion for those who must live outside the EU in profound poverty and in appalling circumstances.

I am glad that the judge and the prosecution accept that I have provided solace to the outcast and that my door is always open to the downtrodden.

I am sorry for allowing my compassion to bring me to the point of breaking the laws that our whole society agree upon.

I did not intend to offend my fellow citizens but accept that I have and again for that I am sorry.

At this time of the year let us remember that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were emigrants into Egypt and the Wise Men of the time came from the East.

We are all descendants of immigrants..

Finally to those who want to rush to judge me can I address the words of the most famous man ever convicted or put on trial: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

+ Pat Buckley
19th December 2013.


  1. I appreciated the honesty of your comments reported today in the BBC news story. True indeed how little we in the 'EU' know of suffering of the impoverished.

  2. Pat I've seen the publicity. Onwards & upwards. Separate the shit from the good stuff. Do you remember I once asked what would happen to your ministry if you passed away and you never responded. Now is a bit like that and I like most honest folk can not afford to be a stonethrower-Sean

  3. Dear Bishop Buckley,

    I just wanted to send you a short message of support and admiration for all that you have done, and all that you continue to do, as an advocate for the people that are neglected in our society. Thank you.

    Your actions are the true expression of Christianity, and you have the support of many who hope to uphold the ideal's of Christ's teaching. You show us how Jesus' empathy for the outsider can be put into practice in today's world. Thank you.

    My best wishes to you for a happy Christmas

    S N L

    1. Thank you for your encouragement. Being human we all need it.


  4. I was going to email you. I hope you are okay. I am disgusted at the media focusing on areas that they really shouldn't. You're still an upstanding moral pillar and you still have my vote. A.

    1. Thanks A,

      Your message means a lot. I know what you've being through.


  5. In the context of the many crimes committed by the hierarchy down through the centuries - and to this very day, your actions, dear Bishop Buckley, are nothing more than those of a good and compassionate priest wishing to reach out and care for the marginalised. The fact that you made no profit on any of these events is the real indicator of what you have been trying to do. I am so dreadfully sorry that intimate and personal details of your medical state have had to be broadcast. What possible need has there been to do this, save the rather spurious assertion that your medical condition mitigated your receiving a custodial sentence. You must be relieved that this is all over now. You will need time to recover. You will. This too shall pass. Continue to "smell of the sheep dear Bishop". Continue to be a shepherd after Christ's own heart, a thorn in the pharisee's sides. Do not lose heart, nor give up. Courage. Courage.

    A high-ranking English RC Priest who needs to remain anonymous (sadly).

    1. Such a message as yours - from a Brother Priest - means so much.

      Thank you for your compassion.

      We are all "Wounded Healers".

      Pat :-)

  6. Your Grace, I'm sorry that you were prosecuted for your trying to show the love of Christ to those who unfortunately misled you into unwillingly helping them in breaking the law. I was glad to hear that you weren't making any extra profit from the 'sham marriages' anyway, and I believe that you simply trusted the people whose weddings you officiated at 'too much' in the eyes of some people. It is a sad reflection of today's society that a priest cannot trust that he is marrying a couple for genuine, legal reasons and is expected to have cynicism. I'm also sorry that your personal medical details were made public and that your right to privacy was not respected. I've been praying for you over the past few weeks and will continue to pray for you (despite the fact that I might be a bit more traditional regarding some matters than yourself).
    Best Regards, a Down and Connor Layperson

  7. My Dear Friend,

    Thank you for your kind thoughts and your precious prayers.

    I respect your more traditional views. In the Family of Jesus there should be room for us all.

    Every blessing on you for Christmas.


  8. Despite what your cronies are saying, Mr Buckley, you got off lightly and whatever little credibility you may have had is now gone. So typical of you to turn yourself into a 'martyr' to compassion! Well you're not. You are a self-serving, deluded, greedy man and you got caught. You are lucky you are not in jail.

    1. My Friend,

      You do not know me very well. I would be happy to meet you - at a time and place of your choice - to discuss the matter.

      I am not a "martyr". I am a sinner. But believe it or not - my heart is in the right place.

      Have you no faults and sins yourself?


  9. Pat I am as proud as I have always been to be your friend,you have and always will be a truly christian,honest and compassionate man of God.May the lost sheep realise the friend and pastor they have.keep up the good fight and dont let the bastards get ya down.Mike

  10. Didnt get why you pleaded guilty, thought maybe a judgement call as to balancing health and a closure over fighting at all costs. Sadly does happen. Guilty plea. Innocence at heart. And the wisdom to accept. Jesus was nailed to the cross. Stand tall.

    1. Thank you. The Guilty Plea was not easy. It left me with a sense of "defeat". On this occasion I suppose I felt - "He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day".


    2. Would agree, but the way the judiciary hang a good man out to dry; and the media? for all its posh-arse peninsula (undiscovered land mass thought to exist somewhere between Ireland, an education (so called) and the unnatural yearning to be upper class English) so like to relish in the verdict against you. Fuck them. Anyone with an ounce knows the truth and scorns the bullshit sensationalist and more troubling; HOLLOW press. INNOCENT! {Wasn't there a Pope, thus named} In the eyes of (Does anyone believe in..) God. Stay strong, Pat. Sean

  11. Limerick,
    Dear Bishop Pat,

    I am so sorry to read in the "Mirror" about your court hearing.

    You are such a really good and true person.

    You won't remember me but you published a letter from me when you with with the News of the Word re Domestic Violence, as I got no hearing from "The Church".

    I still treasure that article. I want to wish you every Good Luck and Good Health for the years ahead.

    I will be remembering you in my prayers, - I still believe in prayer and Our Blessed Mother.

    Please keep very well.

    Best wishes,


    1. Mary,

      Thank you for remembering me after all this time - and at a time I was in trouble.


  12. My dear Pat

    Good morning and I hope you are well. I was alerted to your court appearance
    during the week and wanted to write to offer you my support and fondest best
    wishes to you at this awful time for you.

    I remember you sharing with me when last we met about this court case hanging
    over you. I am sure you are relieved that it is now all over and you can begin
    to live your life un encumbered by this lengthy process. What an awful four
    years it must have been for you.

    There was some mention of certain medical matters in the press reports, and
    again I want to offer you my support as you journey with this.

    All of this must have knocked the stuffing out of you, but you are a fighter not
    a quitter and there are so many of us on the margins of church and society who
    need your courageous voice and actions.

    Reflecting on recent days, and thinking of you and concerned about you, I
    remember your encounter with that good and holy man Paul VI and what he said to
    you. Corragio!

    Id like to share the following words with you. They help me on a daily basis and
    help me keep things in perspective.

    "Life is mostly froth and bubble
    Two things stand alone
    Kindness in another's trouble
    Courage in ones own."

    Fondest good wishes this Christmas and always.

    Much love, P

    1. Dear P,

      Thank you for your very thoughtful message.

      Something of an "awful" time perhaps. But not as awful as it is for so many millions in the world who are hungry, thirsty, lonely, sick, dying, etc.,

      "Knocked the stuffing out of me" - more like a Teddy Bear with a little hole in danger of losing his stuffing but given a stitch in time by the Good Lord and loyal friends like you :-)

      Thank you for your verse - which I had heard before - and had forgotten.

      I have lived - quite peacefully - with the "medical matter" - for 12 years now and was always sure I or someone else would make it known sometime. Since it has become known it has attracted some others to me with their own medical issues and therefore has increased my ministry. O FELIX CULPA.

      WArmest thoughts


  13. Hi Pat, Im not sure if my last message got through If it did please ignore this.

    I hope you take courage & comfort from the positive feedback above. I know that being aware of my own faults & failings makes me feel humble and gives me a sense of objectivity as I look at the world around me. I do feel however feel it is time to look at a long term vision for the Oratory. Wishing you and yours the peace and challenge of the Christmas message. With love & prayers Sean & Clarice

  14. Dear Bishop Pat

    I am extremely sorry to hear of your brush with the law. I can't imagine what an ordeal it has been for you. It can't have helped your health. It seems to me that your compassion was taken advantage of. It is risky in ministry these days to be compassionate and especially risky to work with people on the margins. Authorities are suspicious of people who do that including Church authorities, sadly.

    I hope you do feel able to continue your good work and that this horrible experience does n't change who you are. I hope you wont beat yourself up over this and are able to be compassionate with yourself. I hope too you have people around you who love you and will support you while you recover from this ordeal.

    I hope none of the above sounds patronizing as it is not meant to be. I am just trying in a small way to express support for a fellow minister to people who are marginalized.

    Best wishes

  15. Dear Bishop Pat

    I was sorry to read further about your health problems -I pray the Doctors help you and the Lord gives you many years !

    Father Richard

  16. Dear +Patrick,

    News of your hard times in Larne have reached me. I am sorry to hear of your difficulty. You have my pledge of support and concern.

    Peace be with you. +Peter Paul

  17. My dear +Pat, Just a short note at this Christmas season to wish God's blessing on you. I was very sad for you in regard to having your privacy torn asunder for the world to see so publicly, and for all the issues you have had to face recently. Please know that I will be saying my Christmas Mass for your intentions.
    In Christ, your brother,
    + Niall

    1. Thank you Niall.

      These things are a chance to stand at the 11th Station with Him: "Jesus is stripped...."


  18. Pat,

    May Christmas and this coming Year be happy for you and wonderfully blessed.

    The courts seem always to act as though they were confined in a spiritual cage and had little knowledge or real life and real people. St Paul was right when he said Don't settle your problems there, but he really believed the Followers were capable of creating their own graceful ways of treating with each other. Waybe some time we will.

    Best wishes. Beannacht Dé ort, agus ar do chlann go leir.


    1. Thank you Des.

      Being "processed" through the "justice system" has made me more compassionate than before and through God's grace - a bit stronger.


  19. Hiya

    It is with sadness that I have heard of the recent troubles you have had.
    Our lives have gone in so many different directions, and yet we share a young
    man's dream lived out in the parish of Ballygall, Dublin, with all it's simplicity and
    I remember visiting you in Clonliffe and as a White Father student, didn't know
    how you could survive in that bastion of traditional clericalism.

    For my part, I was living a dream, a hope, an aspiration, the ramifications or
    the price of which were not really understood?

    I remember with great fondness the impact of your Dad's verbosity who made
    everyone who knew him, sit up and think?

    My parents had but a fleeting interaction with your Mom and Dad, but they were
    the salt of the earth. My mother had a special affinity for what your
    Dad stood for in the trade Union movement, as she was the first women who took
    Clery's out on strike in 19.... Brum brum! It was one of her moments of fame for
    which she was eternally proud, and had no regrets even although at the end of
    it, she lost her job. But that didn't subdue her, she went to work full time for
    the Gaelic League and supported so many of the campaigns of Sinn Fein?

    Enough of the nostalgia.

    I am sure these are such difficult times for you, especially as the Press just
    love to gloat?

    That however is not the way of most good people.

    Although our paths have been different, I have admired your tenacity for what
    you believe in, and especially the risks you have taken in your life to
    challenge the status quo.

    I hope these recent challenges have not been too much for you. If I can be so
    bold as to share with you a childhood belief which is that, no matter what
    happens or has happened, we are loved by a Father who is greater than all that
    we are. That is my belief, it is a blind faith, which does not depend on
    hierarchy or dogma. Neither does it depend on a fundamentalist theocracy.
    I was loved as a child, and I believe that all mankind is the image of God.

    In these moments of time it must be a time of great difficulty for you.
    I hope that you continue to be supported by your family, and your close friends.
    I would like you to know that, although out of sight and far away, you are in my
    thoughts and prayers, and this is shared by my sister and brother. They extend their best wishes.

    Stay well and know that there are lots of good people in the world who do not
    judge you and who would only be too willing to lend a hand if we were
    geographically closer. I pass no judgement on what the judiciary have accused
    you of. I loved your words to the media as you emerged from the court. It was
    quite self effacing and hopeful.

    I would love to hear from you.

    Stay in touch, whenever you can.

    Keep smiling Pat
    Stay strong
    Have faith in Hope


  20. Pat

    Right minded people will see the contrived prosecution for what it was

    I hope you can put some distance from the entire process and move on

    I have no doubt you will

    We at KRW felt privileged to have received your instruction to defend this case

    Hope to talk and meet again in more agreeable circumstances

    Regards and all the best


    Kevin R Winters & Co
    Human Rights Lawyers, Belfast

  21. Patsy, tell the truth and shame the devil; are you writng these comments yourself?

    1. Padraig,

      No I am not writing these comments myself.

      Most of them are submitted directly to here - one or two have been submitted to my email address.


  22. What about the ones you refuse to publish because they challenge you?

  23. Not true. I enjoy being challenged. It makes me think.

    The comments I do not publish are ones that contain foul language and personal abuse.