Saturday, 16 August 2014



Yesterday I published a STRONGLY WORDED Blog about the resignation of Sean Brady as Archbishop of Armagh.

There were 2 responses to that Blog:

1. It had TWICE the nornal 24 hour readership.

2. I was criticised by some responders for what I wrote.


I welcome ALL constructive criticism of everything I say and do. I am not infallible. I am a fallible human being. Like everyone I sometimes get things right and I sometimes get them wrong. The fact that I wish. today, to address the critisism of my Blog of yesterday, is an indication that I listen to criticism and examine myself and my conscience in the context of it.


I have been on the receiving end of verbal and written abuse for 30 years now. Such abuse no longer upsets me. It says more about the abusers than it says about me. It certainly will not have the effect of stopping me expressing my strong held views and conviction.


Some responders have said that I sometimes Blog with "bile and anger". I do not believe this to be true. I am a very content person and those who know me personally know that I am rational, mild, a listener and very open to the views of others.

But on some topics about which I feel strongly I am passionate in thought and in word. My writing style can be provocative. But I believe that there is a place - on some issues in particular - for what mught be called "righteous anger".

I think the abuse of little children - and the cover up of that abuse rightly draws righteous anger.

What about Jesus when he went into the temple with the whip? I'm sure the Pharisees and many others watching would have said: "This Nazarene is full of bile and anger".

There is a world of difference between between irrational bile and anger and righteous anger.


I have been accused of judging Sean Brady. I am not God and I am not entitled to be Sean Brady's final judge.

But I am quite entitled to judge his actions and his inactions against the background of the teachings of Jesus and Christian Moral Theology.

Are people trying to tell me that:

1. Sean Brady was right to interview 2 little boys in a room with their parents locked outside?

2. That Sean Brady was entitled to swear two immature 14 year olds to canonical secrecy?

3. That Sean Brady was entitled to ask the boys if what Brendan Smyth did to them led then to have "impure thoughts"?

4. That Sean Brady was right not to report Brendan Smyth to the police - no matter what his bishop thought.

We can not judge Sean Brady in the sense that we can say that he is not destined for Heaven. But we can make the judgement that his handling of those two little boys go against Gospel values and the precepts of Christian Moral Theology.


Of course Sean Brady HAS a soul. 

But Jesus did say that it was possible for any of us to LOSE our souls - when He said: "What would it profit a man if he won the whole world but suffered the LOSS of his own soul".

No one can take our souls away from us. But we can give away our souls. We can sell our souls.

The Nazis wanted Dietrich Bonhoeffer to sell or abandon his soul to them and stop criticising them. But Bonhoeffer refused to give them his soul and he became a Christian martyr.

Father Maximilian Kolbe also refused to give his soul to the Nazis and as result too he died singing God's praises in a sweat box in the concentration camp.

GANDHI refused to sell his soul to the British in India.

In my opinion, Sean Brady sold his soul to the Roman Catholic Institution. He may have believed - and may still believe - that he was doing "God's will".

But surely he only had to read his New Testament to know that this was not God's will. Or was he so brainwashed by Catholic theology and propaganda that he did not know what he was doing?

But he must have known that he was being rewarded for something:

1. Vice Rector of the Pontifical Irish College.
2. Rector of the Pontifical Irish College.
3. Monsignor.
4. Archbishop.
5. Cardinal.

These "rewards" are not given to prophets, heroes, revolutionaries, visionaries, warriors.

These rewards are given to "safe men"; "company men"; footmen; hirelings; lackies; retainers; vassals.

The cost of these rewards are the relinquishing of one's integrity of soul.

There was never a Cardinal Martin Luther.

There was never a Cardinal Francis of Assissi.

There will never be a Cardinal Hans Kung.

+Pat Buckley
75th Birthday of Cardinal Sean B Brady.


  1. Pat, as a priest of 40 years I was shocked at your blog yesterday. I thought about it overnight and then read your contribution (above) of today.

    My embedded Catholicism wants to condemn you. But a quiet voice inside me tells me that what you say has the ring of truth about it.

    Maybe you are as "crazy" and as right as some of the OT prophets we read about.

    I find this thought deeply disturbing.

    PP Dublin

    Today I think you are probable

  2. Your comment about Sean Brady having a soul reminded me of a question I asked my mother as a very small child. I asked her where is my soul? She told me my soul was a little black mark near my heart. I kept this image during my childhood and forgot about it until this very minute. For me Soul is backbone. I propose Sean Brady surrendered his individuality to the church. He is a very learned man. As such he has a responsability to stand up and be counted. Did not King David lament his wrong doings committed under the cover of kingship. People in the Bible are not just mythological. They are templates for humanity. Sean

    1. Sean - one of your best comments EVER

      SOUL is made up of BACKBONE + GUTS + RIGHT THINKING.

      In the seminary they tried to fillet us by removing our backbone, guts and right thinking.

      Thats why most bishops and priests are "filleted".

      The higher you rise in the clerical ranks the bigger the fillet you become.

      Thats why so many of them are truly "lost souls".

      Thats who so much evil is done and covered up in the name of Holy Mother Church.


  3. I meant to finish by saying that you are probably right about many things. I once covered up for a colleague who abused. I have confessed it but it still bothers me. The older I get the more it bothers me.

    PP Dublin

    1. Dear Dublin PP,

      At baptism we were ALL anointed PRIESTS, PROPHETS and KINGS.

      We clergy seem to have no problem with being priests and kings :-)

      Being prophets is a much more scary undertaking.

      Ok, you covered up for an abusing colleague. But at least you now acknowledge what you did and seem deeply regretful. God has forgiven you. You must forgive yourself.

      Imagine how your soul might feel if you were proud of that cover up and had been richly rewarded for the cover up.

      Do all you can for the victims of your colleague and all victims.



  4. “I have just now come from a party where I was its life and soul; witticisms streamed from my lips, everyone laughed and admired me, but I went away — yes, the dash should be as long as the radius of the earth's orbit ——————————— and wanted to shoot myself.”

    ― Søren Kierkegaard

    PP D&C

  5. Dear PP D&C,

    Interesting and thought provoking quote in the context of our debate.

    Its worth noting that your quote was not attributed to:

    Soren Cardinal Kierkegaard :-)

  6. Unthinking religion is soul-less-ness.

    Sr Miriam USA

  7. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

    Lucius Annaeus Seneca

  8. and there will never be a Cardinal Pat Buckley! and perhaps this is the real source of all the bile. Pat you have always been known to be a deeply ambitious man, even from your earliest days in seminary. In another place, another time, a man of your undoubted gifts and ability would have been promoted by the church, would have perhaps even followed the career path of the man you so harshly, and in my opinion, so wrongly criticise. But it was not meant to be and you got side lined and as a result embittered.All men have feet of clay Pat. Put yourself in Sean Brady's shoes walk in them, but do not judge him or you yourself and every mistake you have made (and I presume you have) should be judged and judged as mercilessly as you have judged Sean Brady. You are wrong to have treated him as you have, whatever his failings. It would have been heartening had you had he guts to admit that, rather than issue a lengthy and self serving, self justifying diatribe. I shall not be visiting your blog again.

  9. Dear ANONYMOUS,

    You are right - there never will be a Cardinal Pat Buckley.

    I often tell my friends that God gave me a great gift when He allowed me to be sidelined from the Church - He saved me from the many temptations that come with power. As it is I am powerless - apart from my right to free speech.

    I did not do a very good job at rising in the Church:

    - Expelled from the seminary at 21 for not keping the rules.
    - Standing up to the Archbishop of Cardiff 2 years after ordination.
    - Refusing to become part of the cynical clerical club in Belfast in 1979 - 35 years ago.
    - Standing up to Cardinal Cahal Daly and being removed from my parish 28 years ago.
    - Taking the Catholic Church to court a number of times.
    - Running an independent ministry to the marginalised for 30 years.

    All a very strange way of trying to become Cardinal Pat Buckley.

  10. Pat, you're missing the point!
    It's the highly personalised nature of your criticism that some of us object to. It comes across as vicious bile from one embittered, hurt, and retaliating with rancour. Perceived as such, it diminishes your other valuable contributions, and demeans the otherwise generous courageous person many admire.

    1. MMM,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I do understand your criticism but cannot decide if I am guilty as charged.

      JC was highly personalised in his criticisms of people - He called Herod a fox, the Pharisees a "brood of vipers" etc.

      Of course I am not Jesus - but cannot I imitate him?

      Are we not to expect high standards from popes, cardinals, bishops etc?

      There is an interesting piece on todays SUNDAY INDEPENDENT co-authored by the editor of The Irish Catholic.


  11. But again, and rather sad to note, no sense that you have done anything wrong in the way you have been so merciless to Sean Brady. He was a soft target for you. "Let the man without sin cast the first stone" says the Master. Thats not to justify sin, thats not to say that the inexcusable behaviour is justified; no, nothing like it. Just that Sean Brady as a young ignorant (and yes maybe ambitious - though having known the man for the last 50 years I can say that there was never, and is not, an ambitious bone in his body) clergyman, doing his bishops bidding, in a culture of absolute deference to superiors AND with the very limited knowledge at that time of the sexual offender pathology...all that adds up to what Sean Brady did as being understandable. Maybe not to the likes of spiritual and moral giants like you Pat, but had I been in his shoes I probably would have done the same and have been deeply ashamed of it. Life is not black and white Pat, even though sometimes it seems as if you life in that absolutist world. No, life is lived out in infinite and ever changing shades of grey. We do the best we can with the knowledge and gifts we have been given. Again I ask you, for the sake of your soul, seek out Sean Brady and ask his forgiveness for the shameful way in which you have treated him. I beg you, for the sake of Christian witness if nothing else.
    Please stop highlighting Anonymous. That option is a perfectly usual and accepted style on all blog forums. Just because I will not and cannot put my name to this does not diminish what I say. I hope you see that Pat. Otherwise stop publishing Anonymous contributions all together.

    1. I am far from sinless. I have done wrong.

      Bjut on 2 occasions in the past 28 years I have refused money to go away and be quiet.

      This does not make me a moral giant. It simply says that I tried to do the right thing