Tuesday, 18 February 2014

WHEN THE CONFESSIONAL BECOMES A "GLORY HOLE"

WHEN THE CONFESSIONAL BECOMES A GLORY HOLE

In my 38 years in the priesthood I have heard various stories about how the confessional became a place of "sin".

When I was a curate at St Peter's Cathedral in Belfast we once had a group of monks give a two week long retreat or "mission" - one week for men and one week for women.

During the women's week I was outside the cathedral during a session when the monks were hearing the women's confessions. All of a sudden a young woman ran out of the cathedral screaming and crying. I stopped her and asked what was wrong. She was so upset she couldn't talk so I brought her to the presbytery and gave her a glass of water and a comforting cup of tea. She eventually managed to tell me that during her confession the young monk hearing her confession got her to suck his finger through the wire grill as he masturbated himself. She was deeply upset. 

Later I confronted the monk in question and he blushed deeply. admitted what he had done and promised to get help. 
   
I myself, as a teenager, experienced priests quizzing me about "bad thoughts" and "impure actions" with myself and during the lengthy quizzing there was a distinct sound of the rustling of a habit.

I once had a Cistercian (Trappist) abbot admit to me that he had had a lot of sex with both men and women in the confessional and at other places around the monastery and its grounds. He had a worrying habit of rubbing my leg during confession but at least by the time I knew him he had circulation problems and publicly lamented the fact that he could no longer achieve or sustain an erection. 
  
Recently tow men I know have had very negative and sad experiences in the Cistersian monastery in Portglenone, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.

One young gay professional man who has spent years in a steady, chaste and faithful relationship with another professional man decided to go to confession at Portglenone monastery and was REFUSED ABSOLUTION by one of the monks.

He had not mentioned his partnership or his sexual orientation as part of his confession - why should he - he does not regard his partnership as a "sin" at all - and neither does God.
PORTGLENONE - ANY WONDER ITS SO EMPTY?


But the eager confessor kept asking him questions until he discovered that the man was gay and in a partnership. The arrogant monk then decreed: "I cannot give you absolution. I will give you a blessing". The penitent rightly told the monk to stuff his "blessing" where the monkey stuffed his nuts. 

Another man in his forties went to Portglenone to talk to one of the monks about his transvestism and was told by the monk that he was "an abnormal creature who will burn in hell".

Years ago a very mature parish priest who had a very healthy and exclusive relationship with a lady of his own age said to me: "Pat, they wouldn't let us get rid of our semen - and it went to our heads and made us mad!" He was right.

It seems to me that the only "healthy" priests in the Catholic Church are those who have integrated their sexuality and spirituality - either as celibates or lovers.

The rest of them are going around with very large gatherings of white fluid on their brains - Semenitis  Gravia- refusing people absolution, quizzing people in confession about their sex lives, indulging in covert and serious unhealthy sexual gratification, getting women to suck their fingers or targeting little children.

Bishop Pat Buckley
18.2.2014



  

16 comments:

  1. Well, who were these monks at St Peter's??? Name them, you bastard! Ever the master of innuendo, aren't you? 'Glory holes'? You would know all about them, Buckley, you sick f...k! You are fooling no one, Mr Butthole!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! We have touched a sort point have we not ? And written in the middle of the night too - when all happy people and priests are tucked up in bed.

      I do not normally publish abusive comments but I wanted my readers to see the kind of people that are out there in our great Christian, Catholic Church.

      You need to do something about your problems - your anger, your failure to integrate your sexuality / spirituality - not to mention your lack of vocabulary.

      I will pray for you today.

      + Pat

      Delete
    2. oooooo my he's back Mr Anonymous. Well bless my cotton little soxes-Sean

      Delete
    3. On a more serious note my experience of the confessional is rather tame in comparrison with what you portray. As a penitant I rember one or two priests getting uptite about masturbation but nothing more sinister. As a confessor I can say I only came accross good deacent soles even if some were misguided. Alot of what I heard was not sin in the objective sense but personal issues or perhaps would best be told to an appropriate health professional. I can attest to the confessional being a vulnerable place for a penitant and a misguided confessor-for whatever reason-being able to do a great deal of harm. I do not believe that I or priests of my era were appropriately trained on how best to manage the confessional-Sean

      Delete
  2. Bishop Pat,

    I am sorry to see you getting this personal abuse. You are right - the person verbally abusing you in the one with the BIG problem.

    I know personally of 4 parishioners of mine who were sexually propositioned in the Confessional. As a priest I cannot think of a greater abuse of trust.

    Keep up the good work - I know you are ploughing a lonely furrow.

    Down & Connor PP

    ReplyDelete
  3. When I was eighteen I went to confession to a senior priest of Down and Connor in Belfast and told him I had masturbated. He have me absolution but then brought me into his priest;s house and told me he would have to examine my private parts in case I hurt myself when I was masturbating. He made me stand in his sitting room and drop my jeans and underpants and he fondled my penis and testicles for several minutes.

    I am in my 50s now and I cannot believe I let him do that to me. But back in the late 70's/80s in Belfast priests were god's and were beyond criticism.

    This happened to me in St Michael's parish in Andersonstown and the priest involved was Father Agnew who used to teach in Garron Tower.

    Did anyone else get this treatment from him?

    John - West Belfast

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John,

      I'm sorry to hear that you had to endure that experience and humiliation in the context of practising your faith. It was 100% out of order and if Father Agnew were alive now I would be recommending you report it to the police. It was a sexual assault.

      I think you should still report it to the Bishop of Down & Connor - Bishop Noel Treanor, "Lisbreen", 73 Somerton Road, Belfast BT15 4DE. You should also report the matter to any investigation into sexual abuse.

      As you rightly say Father Agnew is now dead and will have had to answer for his sins before God. It strikes me that Father Agnew must have had serious problems with his own sexuality to abuse you the way he did.

      This is why the Catholic Church needs to address it's very medieval and "sick" attitude to sexuality, compulsory celibacy and women etc.

      +Pat

      Delete
  4. I am a gay man and have become a non-practising Catholic. Without knowing he was a priest I had a sexual encounter with a still practising Down and Conor priest at the gay cruising area near Malone House at Shaw's Bridge. I told Bishop Treanor about it and I was interviewed by another priest who used the interview rooms at Clonard Monastery to meet me. The priest denied it all and was believed. I was written off as a nutter. The priest I was with is still in his parish and still sexually active. What's the point in telling the bishop?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sorry that you were written off and that the priest was believed before you. The cover up afterwards is in one sense worse that the original offence.

      It took me TEN YEARS working with one of the primary victims of Father James Donaghy PP Bangor to get anyone in Down and Connor to believe the victim and his family. The Diocese protected James Donaghy until the bitter end.

      But in the end justice was done. But what a great voice the victims have paid - first by being abused and then by not being believed by the Diocese.

      They might think you're a "nutter". I do not. I believe you.

      + Pat

      Delete
    2. I meant to write: "But what a greate PRICE the victims have paid........

      Delete
    3. You should not have been up cruising for gay sex anyway. Homosexual acts are disordered and sinful. Secondly, you were an occasion of sin for the priest you seduced. Read The Catechism of the Catholic Church and stop destroying your own soul and the souls of others.

      Seminarian

      Delete
    4. Jazs have the Legionaries of Christ landed in the wee north-Sean

      Delete
    5. I think you are exaggerating your role in the Donaghy case, Pat. Were you called to give evidence at the trial and if not why not? Did you go to the police yourself about your concerns? As regards the allegations about Charles Agnew RIP, that should be reported to the diocese. Agnew used to like spanking the bare bottoms of boys in Garron Tower and he was Bishop Walsh's "spiritual director". So there ya go! Joey

      Delete
    6. I am not trying to exaggerate my role at all. The first meeting between Victim A's family and the police took place at my house.

      The meeting between Victim A's family and Bishop took place in Lisbreen with myself present.

      I was not a witness to nay of the criminal acts. Any evidence I could have given in court would have been "hearsay".

      I had given a complete copy of my lengthy correspondence with Bishop Walsh to the police.

      I can let you see it anytime you wish here in Larne.

      +Pat

      Delete
  5. Has anyone ever met a priest in the gay sauna in Belfast? I have. He was "hung" like a canon :-)

    "Sean" - Tyrone and QUB

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello. My, what a lot of feeling your post about confessionals, naughty priests, gay priests etc. has created.

    Look, let's be honest here. There is a huge amount of dysfunction amongst clergy. Fact. Some of it may be harmless, except to the individual priest himself who is in all probability unhappy, miserable, unloved, and exhibits odd behaviours, but some of it is very harmless - as evidenced in the child abuse scenario, and in the sort of behaviours which your post has described. Not to mention authoritarian bullying of parishioners and other clergy.

    The Church simply cannot keep ignoring the grave damage that is being done to its priests, and to the Church and its people as well as others that come in to contact with priests and the Church, by the dysfunctional requirements and structures of priestly life, chief among them of course being the requirement to lead an enforced and artificial life of celibacy with all the attendant consequences of that. Not to mention the rather feudal system under which priests live and work - at whim of authoritarian bishops, having to minister until 75, having all their resources and living tied up with their work, their retirement resources available only at the whim and patronage of a bishop, with no pension or other resources to help them out. Oh, and by the way, when push comes to shove they are declared self-employed rather than employees so that the bishop can wash his hands of them and take no responsibility for them or their actions !

    The consequences of that culture has to be laid at the door of the Church and particularly bishops, and they have to be responsible for it. At the moment, they are running away from responsibility as they have done historically over many issues, but it will catch up with them eventually.

    Over the last year, in the Diocese of Motherwell, one priest a Fr Matthew Despard has raised the lid of what is evidently a rather grimy and dysfunctional culture within the world of priests and bishops in Scotland. It ties in with high profile events of last year, most particularly with Cardinal O'Brien (he, by the way, is a prime example of the damage that enforced celibacy and denial can do). I'm not sure I would have gone about it in the way that Fr Despard did, by publishing a book on Amazon. However, what he says deserves to be properly investigated. But, what does the Church do ? Denial. And attack. Bishop Toal, current administrator, has suspended him and removed him from his house in a blatant example of authoritarian and punitive misuse of power. They simply want to shut him up, and to cover up what he is saying.

    The trouble is, Father Despard is probably right in his account. I have first hand experience of the events he talks about in a couple of his chapters - in other words, I know the people, the places, and some of the events he talks about. Let me tell you, he is spot on about the culture and behaviour of that time and those people. I suspect, in fact I bet, he is right about other things he says in his book. And in addition, I note that in spite of a lot of hot air from people saying that they are going to sue him, not one person connected with it has done anything about it. Why ? Because, they know that what he says is right and in a court of law they would be exposed as the people that Father Despard recounts.

    So, to shut him up is not advisable, to try and cover up will fail. All Bishop Toal, and so many other authoritarian clergy in other places and with other revelations, is doing is to fall back in to the behaviour patterns of the past - denial and cover up. That will come to bite Bishop Toal and others in the ass.

    The Church really does need to look at its structures and culture, for clergy and laity, and at the way it responds to difficulties and challenges. We simply don't seem to have learned very much from past experiences. Sad. Very Sad.

    ReplyDelete