Wednesday, 1 January 2014



On December 19th Judge Mark Horner of the Belfast High Court exposed the fact that I was HIV+ in open court - much to the surprise of everyone present.

My legal team had asked Judge Horner NOT to specifically mention that aspect of my health but to simply mention that I was suffering from 4 medical conditions that he had received consultants reports about.

Judge Horner took the view that in order to justify his decisions in my case - and to protect himself from the accusation of being too lenient on me that he had to mention my HIV status.

I disagreed with Judge Horner's position - as I suppose you might expect.

Many other people were very angry with the judge as my HIV was completely unconnected to why I was in court.

Some journalists were delighted that it was mentioned. For instance it gave the Roman Catholic, SDLP rag THE IRISH NEWS a new stick to beat me with. THE IRISH NEWS have never liked me and like me even less because I reported them some time ago to the Press Complaints Commission.

Since December 19th - 13 days ago - THE IRISH NEWS have had me on their pages 3 times.

I was diagnosed with HIV during a routine medical check 12 years ago - on December 5th 2001 to be exact.

Of course when I got my diagnosis I was shocked and worried. 

But since then everything has settled down and it has become one of a number of health conditions that I live with.

Everyone eventually gets health problems. I am 61. Its not unusual at 61 to have some health issues. 

Thanks to the wonderful staff at The Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast my HIV is under perfect control. HIV is no longer the death sentence it used to be. It is now a Chronic condition and with one tablet a day I will have a very normal life and a very normal life expectancy. A close relative of mine has terminal cancer. She told me she would much prefer to have HIV than cancer.

HIV is a very common illness now. There are over 40 million people world wide living with it.

In Ireland there are thousands living with HIV.

But the big issue is that 25% of people who have HIV do not KNOW THEY HAVE IT !!!!

This is very dangerous because it means they are not on the necessary medication and over a number of years the HIV destroys their immune system and if a few years down the road they get a serious illness like pneumonia and their immune system is destroyed or partially destroyed they will be very ill and could even die.

Since Judge Horner made my HIV status public I have had a number of people with HIV get in touch with me - including 2 Irish priests. 

This is a very good thing and is one of the very good things that have come out of Judge Horner's "outing" of me.

I have also had one priest get in touch who has Klinefelters Syndrome - a chromosomal irregularity.

There is no need to be afraid to talk about HIV and other such issues any more. We need to take the fear and stigma out of it all. 

Nor is HIV a gay disease. There are men, women and children with it. Heterosexuals as well as homosexuals can have it. It is also common among drug users who exchange needles.

I do not regard Judge Horner's outing of me as a disaster. In fact it has increased and will increase my ministry. For that I thank the Lord. 

Most of all I would beseech everyone out there to look after their health and in this day and age it is very good for everybody to have a sexual health screening at least once a year.

Bishop Pat Buckley



  1. Bishop Pat,

    I am a Dublin priest living with HIV. Thank you for your courageous Blog today.

    I do believe that the judge was wrong to make a private health matter public. The fact that he did says more about him and the so called "Justice System" than it does about you.

    Unlike you nobody knows of my illness which I have carried for 8 years now. I often feel alone and isolated. But it helps me to know that I am not alone.

    Sometime, if I get the courage I will contact you personally and arrange to meet.

    I will offer my Mass for your intentions tomorrow.

    A Brother Priest

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    Thank you for the promise of Mass.

    You would be very welcome to contact me when, and if, you wish,


  3. Buckley - you are a feckin ejit

    1. I suppose we can't all be as clever and kind as you are ?

  4. Every good wish and blessing for 2014 from Clarice and myself. Pat you are no stranger to the whims and fancies of the journalistic pen. It is a shame that some journalists cote the facts with their own coting of biased shite and even greater shame that some allegidly intelligent people still swallow it. In this day and age hiv is what it is, a disease no more, no less. i am diabetic but i dont expect it to be shoved in my face every day. hiv diabetic fekin egit! What the fek. You an I can only live the life with the legacy of yesterday and in hope for tomorrow. As my dear old Ma used to say "fek the begrudgers" well fek them and double fek them. Heres to a blessed & bountiful 2014-Sean

    1. Sean,

      Thanks for the comment and message.

      Every happiness to you, Clarice and family for 2014.


  5. Dear Bishop Buckley,

    I was very touched by your column today. I lost my husband 4 years ago. Before we met he had been a heroin addict and very promiscuous and he never checked his hiv status. That neglect led to him dying of aids. Sadly he also gave me the virus but I am diagnosed, on meds and well.

    I wish everyone out there would have their blood screened. If the love of my life had done that he would still be with me.

    Thank you for taking your stand. I do not go to mass any more as I have lost faith in the church over all the abuse and cover ups. If I was near you I would go to your mass.

    Mary x

    1. Mary,

      Thank you for your comments. I am very sorry you lost your precious husband.

      The doors of The Oratory are always open.


  6. It was interesting to read that you took a case against the Irish News to the Press Complaints Commission. What was the outcome ?


    1. Mark,

      The outcome was a long investigation and a very unsatisfactory response from the editor of THE IRISH NEWS.

      It highlighted for me the need for a stronger press complaints commission with real teeth.

      I also think that we need a Privacy Law such as they have in France.

      The arrogance of papers like THE IRISH NEWS will herald such new laws.

      People should complain more about rotten journalism.


  7. I was intrigued to read that you had taken a case against the Irish News to the Press Complaints Commission, as I previously posted, and even more fascinated when your reply did not include the actual outcome. A quick check shows that, according to the Irish News (13/12/13), your complaint was dismissed in its entirety, Is this another malicious invention on their part ?


    1. Mark,

      The editor of the Irish News offered to publish a "clarification" which I would not accept.

      Perhaps as a result of that the complaint was dismissed.

      My making the complaint in the first place was an exercise in accountability.

      But I have, had, no faith in the PPC - which is about to be replaced by the government.

      I do not believe that any body should investigate itself.


  8. Before starting I want to make it clear I don’t much appreciate speaking on topics such as this. Roman Catholicism is such an evil organization that often we find ourselves forced into displaying her dirty laundry so as to warn her followers of the dangers they face staying in such a church as this. In Ezekiel 3:18-19 we read, "When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."

    I am doing as all Christians would hope to do. We see our fellow man in danger we are compelled to warn them. I am not doing so because I fear having their blood on my hands, but because I have a burden for them as I was once a member of the Roman Catholic church. And yes, I have since denounced it as the prophecied house of Antichrist, because I did in fact find that Scriptures described it as a wicked and hellish church. As a child of the Creator God, I can only go withersoever the Lamb leadedth, and He most assuredly would never lead anyone into harms way.

    Bob the Baptist

  9. At the root of Catholicism is belief in redemption. Perhaps the tragedy of priests-and too many others-dying of AIDS can be redeemed through a renewal of the Church's views on sexuality, sex and ministry. I work and pray for the day this happens.

    You are a very good Pat, God Bless


    I am not sure to about this one?


  11. Fortunately, efforts are under way to address theological language. New resources focus on how religious leaders can include compassionate and non-stigmatizing messages, actions and policies into liturgy, sermons, and church life and witness.

    In Africa, theologians are emphasizing the need for faith communities to understand and tackle the cultural, economic, ecclesiastical and political issues that drive the HIV epidemic. These include gender inequality, social injustice, moral self-righteousness, over-indulgence and corruption, and denial of human rights to education, health, life and peace.

    We must work hard to replace fear with hope. We must humbly practice a theology that respects human dignity, compassion, solidarity and mercy. Such practices inspire hope, confidence and self-esteem in individuals and communities.

    If God is for us, who can be against us in protecting life against preventable, controllable illnesses and deaths? Who can be against us in tackling stigma, shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and mis-action that may not be related to the HIV and AIDS epidemic, but which may be, nevertheless, equally life wasting?


  12. KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Debate erupted nationwide after The Kansas City Star reported that Roman Catholic priests in the US are dying from AIDS-related illnesses at a rate 4 times higher than the general population and the cause is often concealed on their death certificates.

    The Church hides the facts - well done PAT.

  13. World Aids Day: Living under the shadow of stigma in Kenya - audio slideshow

    Stigma under the lens, produced by Christian Aid and Magnum Photos, features people around the world who face prejudice because of their HIV status. Rahab, a 40-year-old priest in Kenya, claims that because of her HIV status she was 'quietly and silently' sacked from her original successful parish. Now at a different parish, she is wary of declaring her status. Here she argues that the church can play a positive role in supporting communities affected by HIV and Aids

  14. In a survey of 3000 priests, most said the church failed to offer an early and effective sexual education that might have prevented infection in the first place. Three of four said the church needed to offer more education about sexual issues.

    Many priests and behavioral experts argue that the church’s adherence to 12th-century doctrine about the virtues of celibacy and its teachings on homosexuality have contributed to the spread of AIDS within the clergy. The church has kept priests uneducated about the reality of a sexual world.

    Moreover, by treating homosexual acts as an abomination and the breaking of celibacy vows as shameful, the church has scared priests into silence.

    Through the years, the issue of AIDS deaths among priests has been so sensitive that many kept their illnesses a secret.

    To the surprise of researchers 801 priests responded to a survey of AIDS – a response rate of 27%. Nearly 60% said they personally knew at last one priest who had died of AIDS. And one in three said they knew priests who were living with HIV or AIDS.


  16. An Anglican clergyman is preparing to tell his congregation that he is HIV-positive.

    Would you share the blood of Christ with someone who has HIV? Would you support fellow church members with the virus, or would you condemn them as sinful? And would it make any difference if one of those fellow churchgoers was your priest?

    Interesting article

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