Wednesday, 28 May 2014


A devout Roman Catholic judge - who is also a former politician - and who is also a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem has accused an Irish bishop - Bishop Michael Cox - of not being a real bishop!

Judge / Roman Catholic Knight on right

Mr Durcan made his accusations while sitting on the bench at the District Children's Court in Ennis in Co. Clare, Ireland.

Before the court was a young man - a member of the Irish Traveller Community - who had been married by Bishop Cox in a purely religious ceremony.
Bishop Cox

The judge was perfectly entitled to say that Bishop Cox is NOT on the Irish Register of Solemnisers and is therefore not entitled to represent his marriages as legal marriages in Ireland or anywhere else.

But what entitled the judge to make a dogmatic theological pronouncement about the validity of Bishop Cox's episcopal consecration?

Was Judge Durcan giving vent to his devout Roman Catholicism? If so he was very much in the wrong.

A civil judge should order all the proceedings in his court on the basis of civil law. He has no right to wander off into statements based on Sacramental Theology. Mr Durcan is a former solicitor and a civil judge. As far as I am aware he has no qualifications whatsoever in theology.

Nor is he entitled to use his privileged position on the bench to express his own religious beliefs and prejudices!

If Judge Durcan believes that only Roman Catholic bishops are "real bishops" then that means that all the bishops of the Church of Ireland are fake bishops - parading around like bishops but not bishops at all!
The "fake" bishops of the Church of Ireland
Does Judge Durcan believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury - Justin Welby is also a fake bishop?
Archbishop Welby a fake?

Does Judge Durcan believe that Archbishop Desmond Tutu - the retired Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and a Nobel Peace Prize winner is a fake bishop?
Archbishop Tutu - a fake?
Does Judge Durcan think that all the bishops of the Episcopal Church is the USA are all fake bishops?
The fake episcopal bishops of the US
Does Judge Durcan believe that all the world's Orthodox bishops who are not in communion with his beloved Rome are all fake bishops?
The fake bishops of The Orthodox Church
Only 33% of the world's population is Christian. That means that 66% of the world's population is not Christian at all.

Only 17% of the world's population is nominally Roman Catholics.

That means that 83% of the world are not Roman Cathlics.

Roman Catholics are a world MINORITY.

Why should a Roman Catholic district judge in a remote part of Ireland - a tiny country in the context of the world - think he can pontificate about religion and who is and who is not a religious leader or bishop?

Bishop Cox has been a bishop of the Irish Catholic and Orthodox Church for over 30 years.

We are supposed to live in a modern democracy and in a free society where EVERYONE is free to practice their religious beliefs without harrassment of insult from anyone else - as long as they do not contravene the civil law. 

If someone peacefully wants to worship in their own way and assume or be given a religious title by their own community it is none of my business and none of Judge Durcan's business. 

Does Judge Durcan not believe in democracy, tolerance and respect for the religious views of others?

Maybe that is why the people of Mayo did not see fit to elect him as a member of parliament when he put himself forward for election 3 times in 1981, 1982 and 1987? 

+Pat Buckley


  1. I'm sure this came up before on this blog! Church law and civil law are separate forums if at times parallel. The learned judge should know that in christian tradition couples marry each other the officiant does not marry them. However being a Solemniser is a requirement for civil law marriages in the Irish Republic. As for being a Real Bishop. Bishops are upgraded versions of ordinary priests. is there a phrase such as raised to the Bishopric & then there is all this titular nonsence of linking some bishops to long defunct dioceses. A couple married in a ceremony presided over by Bishop Cox would be no different in civil law than an "unmarried" couple living together.

    1. All true Sean.

      But they might - in the context of their own faith - feel "married in the eyes of God".

      Whats new on this topic is the judge's big connections to Roman Catholicism and politics.


    2. While troubled by the Judge’s theocratization of a question of Civil Law, I am much more disturbed by a recent account of the same Judge ordering the parents of two eight-year-old children, whom he himself had placed under a time-limited Care Order, to facilitate their children’s First Communion in the Roman Catholic Church. Neither parent was Roman Catholic. None of the family was born in Ireland. The children themselves had never been baptized, but had reportedly been taught morality and spirituality appropriate to their level of development.

      In a scenario reminiscent of the apparently ever more frequent persecutions of Christians in various parts of the globe, the father, presumably out of fear of the consequences for his family and himself of not following what was clearly a Court Order, had the children baptized into the Roman Catholic Church, allowing them to participate in the Roman Catholic First Communion.

      The above seems extraordinary in a western democratic country. Do others on this forum living in Ireland see this behaviour routinely in their judiciaries?

  2. As a Lutheran Bishop in Finland I find the comment of the Judge to be very 'concerning'. I would advise him to contact the World Council of Churches and communicate his theological concerns, which I presume have been concluded with his ecumenical partners!

    If not I would advise that he be reported to the legal authorities in Ireland, but mostly to the European authorities!

    I am I real Bishop in Ireland?

    Lutheran Bishop and Ecumenical Theologian

  3. The quality of being apostolic; one of the four qualities of the true church as given in the Constantinopolitan Creed, a. d. 381, namely, unity, sanctity, catholicity, apostolicity.

    Which element does the JUDGE deem missing? What a fool, God Help the people of Ireland!

    Anglican Priest - am I a real Priest as I was ordained by an Anglican Bishop?

  4. This notion of 'BISHOP' preserved the unique personal importance of the Apostles, guaranteed the apostolicity, that is, the truth of the Church's faith (Not the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH), and formed a dogmatic justification for the authority already attained by the bishops.

    Is the Catholic Church & State still ONE in Ireland - WOW!


  5. Catholicity, seen as faithfulness to tradition while remaining open to historical developments, and as the search for 'unity in diversity', ... and apostolicity and 'Romanitas'. Is the Judge saying that there is no room for diversity!!!!!!!!


  6. The Judge is right, Cox is not a Bishop because the Pope says he is not. That is the was it works. Yes those other ones you have pictured are not Bishops. They left the Church, they are just dressing up really.

    Good for you Judge standing up for the One True Church.


  7. Can you imagine a Catholic Priest being brought to that court for anything!

    I am sure natural justice would prevail!


  8. The unity of the Church has its source in the triune God. But how and where is this unity to be perceived?

    Could the Judge help me please, I am only a theologian!


  9. Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, Faith and Order Paper 111, WCC, Geneva, 1982, para. 26 (without the term episkopé); The Nature and Purpose of the Church. A stage on the way to a common statement, Faith and Order Paper 181, WCC, Geneva, 1998, para 89-106. See further Bouteneff, Peter C. and Falconer, Alan D. (eds) Episkopé and Episcopacy and the Quest for Visible Unity. Two Consultations, Faith and Order Paper 183, WCC, Geneva ,1999.

    Suggested reading for the Judge!!

  10. Sasse ironically points out that the Roman Catholic Church has no particular doctrine that devotes itself to apostolic succession.[x] He directs us to the Interim of 1548 as a good representation of the Roman Catholic position on “catholicity”, which is seen to be a sign of the true church that is poured out over all times through the apostles and their followers right up until now through a succession until the end of the world. What becomes distinctive is where Rome locates its apostolic succession. This is found in the Interim’s section on ordination where succession is seen as taking place when a bishop lays hands on a man to ordain him and thus acts in a continual succession of the church. Sasse states that Rome still follows this approach today as it limits the guarantee of apostolic succession to ordination.[xi] He presses this point by contending that Rome knows full well that apostolic succession, in its sequence of bishops and consecrations, does not and never has guaranteed apostolic doctrine.[xii] The result of this for Sasse is that true apostolicity is found elsewhere, aside from visible forms that ensure nothing on their own.

    The Judge is ignorant!

  11. The UN Committee Against Torture has criticised the Vatican (in its guise as The Holy See) for several failures in its handling of the child abuse scandal.

    Report this Judge to the UN, he is unsafe! Imagine telling a Rabbi in court, you are not 'real'!


  12. Secular courts should not rule on the truth or otherwise of religious teachings – judge

    Posted: Fri, 21 Mar 2014 12:33

    A British judge has said that it is never right for a secular court to rule on the truth or otherwise of religious claims.

    His comments come after Tom Phillips, a former follower of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), tried to prosecute the leader of the LDS, Thomas Monson, for breaching the Fraud Act. Mr Phillips said that Mr Monson was seeking money by using "untrue or misleading" statements.

    But Senior District Judge Howard Riddle put a stop to the case before it even started; saying at Westminster Magistrates' Court that Mr Phillips was trying to manipulate the court and was seeking a high profile platform to attack the church and its teachings. (Read full ruling here)

    The summons alleged that, between February 2008 and December 2013, Mr Monson had induced two men to pay an "annual tithe" based on teachings which were untrue.

    These included teachings maintaining:
    •there were no deaths on Earth before 6,000 years ago,
    •all humans are descended from two people who lived approximately 6,000 years ago
    •Joseph Smith translated the Book Of Mormon from ancient gold plates and it is historically accurate,
    •Native Americans are descended from Israelites who left Jerusalem in 600BC

    The original summons for Mr Monson to appear before the court was issued by District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe, with the threat of arrest if he did not comply.

    But Judge Riddle concluded that the threat of arrest was wrong and that the case would never have come to trial even if Mr Monson had attended.

    He said: "To convict, a jury would need to be sure that the religious teachings of the Mormon Church are untrue or misleading. No judge in a secular court in England and Wales would allow that issue to be put to a jury."

    Mr Phillips, who is managing editor of a website called MormonThink, said he was not discouraged and: "Although this ruling represents a setback for our cause, we remain steadfast in our commitment to bring the LDS Corporation to justice". But John Larson, of the website Mormon Expression podcast, said:

    "...the underlying premise of this case is more sinister. The basis of the case is that religious belief is a thought crime. The suit implies that since religious beliefs such as a 6000 year-old earth should be easily recognized by an educated person as false, belief is a fraud even if the believer is sincere in that belief. But this crime occurs completely within the believer's own head. The fraud suit implies that there are things you cannot believe or act upon since by an external standard, those beliefs are de facto false."

    Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: "Whatever you might think of the teachings of the Mormon Church, the judge was absolutely right to throw out this claim. It would be invidious and dangerous for secular courts to start ruling on the truth, or otherwise, of various religious claims.

    "It would have the potential to create religious inequalities and injustices that would eventually lead to conflict. Courts must stay well away from ruling on theological matters and it is reassuring to see such a robust defence of that principle in this case."

    An excellent read - Fra

  13. Courts are for fact only, not for religious prejudice or opinion. I am a lawyer in England, if I was to infer, refer or be explicit about religious belief or standing whilst working a case I would be in trouble. This kind of reading makes me wonder if Ireland has moved on?

    Report him.

    Mark - secularist

  14. Comments must not be obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks, name calling or inciting hatred against any community or religious belief. This is what I was taught in law school!

    This case against Bishop Cox is in my view a strong personal attack, defamatory and inflammatory!

    Get this man off the bench! But what are the authorities like in Ireland. All I can say is WOW!


  15. Good God! Keep stone-age belief structures out of the judicial system.

    Dr. Joe

  16. Would he tell a gay man in his court that he is not a 'real' man?



  17. Well you sure don't get an eye for an eye. What makes him a real Judge??


  18. Irish courts are 'no longer Christian' says top judge..... BUT THEY SHOULD BE!

    Well done Judge.


  19. Looking at judgements from some judges recently, makes me wonder if judges have an ounce of sense between them. I am willing to bet that this particular judge is an living in narnia!

    He likes dressing up - oooohhh how lovely he looks in fur! Is the wife invited to the dressing up or is it for the boys only ooohhh!

    Gay man and policeman

  20. Other religioous views are not tolerated here and are not overly welcome in that courtroom. God help Ireland.


  21. Just incredibly sad to see Catholic bigotry still alive and well in the world of the secular. Reminds of my training in the late 60's in Catholic hospitals.


  22. Just what the country needs, another idiot in court.


  23. Without doubt the holiest man on earth today who has been consecrated into the episcopacy is Archbishop Tutu... A gentle Christian who truly has met The Lord in suffering and in the poor. Yet, I know in the Vatican they only see him as wee man dressed up! Sad - would Jesus approve? I doubt it!

    On another note, I saw a sad image the other night on the BBC - City of Faith. In Armagh RC cathedral the tabernacle is shaped as an episcopal mitre... Says it all.