Friday, 26 September 2014



One of our regular, rational contributors makes the following point about Canon Law (church law) and civil law:

"In contrast, so far as the Buckley V RC Hierarchy dispute is concerned, the latter don't play by any customary judicial rules But nor do they seem willing to agree to any arbitration or mediation. The root cause of that appears to be that the hierarchy's bishops insist that their law, canon law, and consequent religious matters, are fixed, immutable and impervious to any changes or interpretation. Moreover they alone have the right to be judge and jury of interpretation.
Unfortunately this totalitarian mindset typical of status conscious bureaucratic Irish bishops, (as opposed to pastorally inclined bishops), has been reinforced by non questioning compliant priests and laity.
We now appear to be in a process of change from this status quo, as is indicated by the steady drift away from RC religious observances other than the standard rites of passage of birth death and marriages, though
that too is changing".




You make a very important point about Canon Law and Civil Law - so much so that I thought it deserved a full Blog.

When Cahal Daly "sacked" me I kept appealing to him for reconciliation. My appeals fell on deaf ears. As far as he was concerned - and as he told me on one occasion - "The voice of the bishop is the voice of God" (Vox episcopi - vox Dei). His authority was St Ignatius of Antioch - himself a bishop.

I told Daly that I preferred the alternative tradition - Vox Populi - Vox Dei - "The voice of the people is the voice of God". 


After extreme publicity and pressure - by me - Daly offered me a Church court hearing:

1. A panel would be appointed by him - I could appoint ONE member from a list HE would give me.

2. He would meet the panel - I could not!

3. The panel would see my "personnel file" but I was not allowed to see it.

4. I could not know the names of the witnesses against me and could not cross examine them.

5. I could not know the charges against me.

6. There would be no right of appeal. 

7. The panel would decide everything on the basis of Canon Law - not Scripture!

I told him that his proposed "panel" contravened every aspect of natural justice  and I told him I would prefer an IRA kangaroo court to his panel.


Having failed at that step I took a case to the Industrial Tribunal for "wrongful dismissal".

Daly's gang of lawyers argued that I was not an "employee" but his "sub contractor" and therefore the Industrial Tribunal could not hear the case. He argued this in spite of the fact that he had absolute control over me - 24 hours a day, body and soul. 

The Industrial Tribunal agreed with Daly and the case was "withdrawn".


As a final step I brought Daly to the High Court. The judge - Mr Justice Campbell - told me that the Church was like a golf club and that in order to win my case I would have to prove that Daly contravened Canon Law (the club's internal rules) in his dealings with me. 

To do this I needed a canon lawyer. All canon lawyers in this part of the world are priests with vows of obedience to bishops and religious superiors. Where was I going to get a canon lawyer that would represent me against a bishop?

The only canon lawyer who was willing to help me was the very brave Monsignor Dan Shanahan from England. Unfortunately poor Monsignor Shanahan was suffering from reasonably advanced dementia and as a result performed poorly in court.

Daly brought in the professor of Canon Law from Maynooth - Father John MacAreavy - who had been used several times against me by the Church and was eventually rewarded for his loyalty by being made Bishop of Dromore (Newry).
Mc Areavy

The case centred around whether or not I was "incardinated" (belonging permanently in church law) into the Diocese of Down and Connor.

I claimed I was automatically incardinated under the rule that said: "If a priest requests incardination in writing from a the bishop of a new diocese (Down and Connor) and at the same time seeks in writing excardination from the bishop of his former diocese (Cardiff, Wales) and neither bishop respond to him within four months then he is automatically incardinated into the new diocese"

I already possessed a letter of "ABSOLUTE DISCHARGE" from Cardiff which I had given to Daly with a letter requesting incardination into Down and Connor. Daly ORDERED me NOT to write to Cardiff - saying that it was appropriate that he would write to Cardiff and I obeyed him. 

But his lawyers argued in court that because I had personally failed to write to Cardiff at the same time as I wrote to Daly the automatic incardination had not been triggered. Mr Justice Campbell accepted that and I lost the case on that technicality - even though what I had done was in obedience to Daly.

During the case I took the stand and was submitted to a rigerous cross examination by Daly's lawyers.

Daly refused to take the stand to avoid being questioned by my lawyers. 

During my severe cross examination Daly's lawyers accused me of not being "prudent".

Much to the amusement of all present, including Mr Justice Campbell, I reminded the barrister that the Catholic church's greatest theologian St Thomas Aquinas had described prudence as "That virtue by which bold men make right decisions".

Daly was purring like a pussycat at his "victory". On the way out of the court an elderly man approached Daly and in front of us all said: "Mr Daly, I am a protestant and I have been in court all week and all I can say is that I am very glad the Reformation took place".

Daly was very taken aback by this ecumenical contribution.

I suppose the whole thing was a victory for me in one sense - that for the first time in Ireland a priest dragged a bishop before the High Court and attempted to make him accountable for his actions.

It would have been too much to expect, I think, that the Northern Ireland Judicial establishment would have found in favour of a mere controversial priest and against the great pro establishment, pro British, Cahal Daly.


The Catholic Church thinks that Canon Law is superior to ALL other law. The chancellor of the diocese of Down and Connor, a Canon Raymund Fitzpatrick, told me one day that: "canon law is a new book of the Bible".

They have used Canon Law to move paedophile priests from parish to parish. They have used Canon Law to cover up for bishops who protected paedophiles. They have used Canon Law to imprison young women in Magdalen Laundries. They have used Canon Law to ship orphan children to Australia. They have used Canon Law to rob and steal property around the world. They have used Canon Law to perpetuate every injustice under the sun. They have used Canon Law to justify crusades and inquisitions. They have used Canon Law to silence theologians. They have used Canon Law to justify slavery. They have used Canon Law to discriminate against women and married women.

And if Jesus turned up in Rome tomorrow they would use Canon Law to crucify him in St. Peter's Square.

Canon Law is the new Law of the Pharises.

The Canon Lawyers are the new Pharisees.

And to Canon Law and canon lawyers I can hear Jesus say: "GET BEHIND ME SATAN"

+Pat Buckley

Paul Symonds

I have just been informed that the canonical trial of Father Paul Symonds of Down and Connor is begining in Dublin in October.

Father Symonds was investigated by police over allegations made against him by a boy who was a former student of the Jesuit Stonyhurst College in England but the Crown Prosecution Service brought no charges.

Father Symonds had been spiritual director to the seminarians at St Malachy's College, Belfast and is currently in the D&C directory as a curate of Ballymena parish.

It is customary for a canonical trial to take place after criminal proceedings are ended.

I hope that justice is done for the young man who made the allegations and for Paul.




  1. Slander - more slander

  2. Where is the slander?

    Tell me - show me.

    If I am wrong I will amend, correct, apologise.

    Don't just shout - prove what you say


  3. You would apologise after the event! Very good. Have you become the very kangaroo court you accuse Cardinal Daly of?

    Examine thyself!

    1. I will apologise if you SHOW me I got something wrong.

      Please - give me your proof!

      Free speech is not a court of any kind.

      I do not think you appreciate free speech and the ability the internet gives us to say whay you would prevent us from saying in the places you control.

      Proof please


  4. Free speech! That's what Paisley claimed and hid under for years.

    You are a very bitter man with nothing to offer but bitterness and victimhood.

    1. Even Paisley was entitled to free speech.

      I am not bitter. If you knew me you would know that.

      I am angry about what the Roman Catholic Church has done / is doing to many vulnerable people.

      I am not a victim. Like many I am a survivor of Church abuse - and a minister to other victims and survivors.


    2. Pure delusion. You have been lining your own pockets for years.

    3. How much do you think I'm worth?


  5. Does any educated intelligent fair minded follower of this site find it odd, and very revealing, that while it is constantly peppered with acrimonious hostile personalised comments against Pat B, none of these contributers give any concrete supporting evidence, even when directly challenged to do so, as above. They seem to simply rely on their own critical perception of Pat's private life, and the fact that he questions things within the RC church's practices.
    It seems that many commentators, many of fairly orthodox disposition, share Pat's misgivings concerning the church, and consider his personal life as irrelevant to his role as a pastor.
    So I do find the apparent disposition of these hostile critics, some of which post as RC clerics, distinctly at odds with the evidence, or lack of it, as a result of which I've been obliged to draw certain conclusions about them, not particularly positive ones I might add.

    1. Thank you MMM for your rationality.

      I might add that my so called "private life" is not half as interesting as my "enemies" seem to imagine :-)


    2. Educated! MMM the fool of fool's. Fraud

  6. MMM, is everyone in your mind thick? Arrogant man.

    1. These posts, of 20:31 and 20:27 are absolutely typical of the hostile comments I was referring to. Full of venom, personalised to attack without giving anything substantive or in any way adding information or perspective to a debate, other than their own frustrated aggression.

    2. Same could be said of this blog! Or is your critical mind a one way, kind of tunnel visioned. Hostile!! Again, is your criticism one way!! Wise up. But I suppose like other, I am unintelligent and thick!

  7. Checkmate Buckley, in the eyes of society you are a fraud, your stories are just that, fraudulent.

    Worthless life of a worthless man. Good love you. You still think you have a story to tell, that shows your delusion.

  8. Dear anonymous at 20:34, as a follower of this blogsite, I'm interested in all the objective evidence and information put forward.
    Could you kindly oblige me by showing your evidence for calling Pat B a worthless man leading a worthless life? Since I'm a relative newcomer to this site, had never heard of Pat B until about six months ago, and you seem to know so much more than me I'm really interested in the evidence leading to your professed opinion.
    That's because it seems completely at odds with so many other comments in the site indicating appreciation of support received from Pat B at a time of personal difficulty, and they've regarded his effort as worthwhile.
    So your information and evidence please, for it would be much appreciated.

  9. Disgusting blog by a disgusting man.

  10. Since you are unable to produce any evidence or contribution other than subjective pejorative opinion, while "de gustibus non est disputandum" could be applicable, no doubt readers will be now better informed as to the validity of your comments.
    Thank you for being so helpful.

  11. Open Minded Parishioner27 September 2014 at 11:59

    I would have to say that some of these comments are un-necessarily vile. If they are coming from Priests, Senior Clerics or people who call themselves Christians they are even more reprehensible because you really should know better. Lead by example. If you feel so strongly that Bishop Pat is twisting facts tell us what your side of the story is. As Bishop Pat has said himself, there are two sides to a story. I'm afraid that MMM is quite right when he says you are un-intelligent if all you can offer is abuse but not an argument. You sound like very bitter unhappy people. Look at the world around you today and realise that you are part of the hatred that one man is heaping on another. Either enter the argument with something valid and truthful to say or stay away. I have never met Bishop Pat and came to this blog myself about 9 months ago. I take care to read what everyone says and to listen to both sides. I do not know Bishop Pat's history but one thing is for sure there are people posting on this blog testifying to his exceptional empathy and compassion with those who are marginalised and desperate. He may not be perfect and he may have made mistakes unwittingly or otherwise. Who hasn’t? I am not here to judge him. I don't always agree with what he says or how he says it but he is entitled to his view and this is his blog. What I do know is that he comes across to me as someone with profound faith, a fundamental love for humanity, he is altruistic and someone who is not afraid to stick his head above the parapet for what he believes in. You do not even have the courage to put your names to your pathetic personal attacks. Examine your conscience.

  12. +Pat is pursuing his vocation as a minister to those whose spiritual needs have not been satisfied by the mainstream church. Some people consider themselves as rejects of society or outcasts of their families because they fail to deliver or cannot conform to what is expected of them. +Pat opens his doors to those who have found themselves excluded from the sheepfold because they are deemed failures. In his blog +Pat has bared his soul to share with us his own treatment by leaders who ultimately cast him out from the community of faith. So he has been compelled to make his own journey into the desert where there are no structures of support, no backup or beneficent institutions, where he is sustained only by his faith in a loving God. Even as he makes his way through the arid zone there are still bystanders who rather than offer a stoup of water hurl insults and brickbats at him. What purpose does this abuse serve? How does it help to call someone ‘filth’? It is not even a matter of requesting Christian charity. It is a more basic matter that common human courtesy should preclude behaviour that is fundamentally rude and disrespectful. It is to the credit of +Pat that he has shared with us not only the joy he receives from positive comments of endorsement based on his acts of generosity and kindness but the painful hurts of anonymous vilification. Man in the Crowd

  13. MMM, Can I tell you and other readers my story and let you make up your minds.

    I am an open minded church going Presbyterian. My second husband is a devout Roman Catholic. We now go to BOTH churches together and as a family.

    Over 20 years ago my first marriage broke up. My first husband was a drunkard and a wife beater, He left me in A&E 53 times. I finally got the courage to leave.

    When I met my present husband, who is wonderful gentleman, his parish priest refused to marry us. My minister refused to marry us. A neighbour told us about Father Buckley in Larne. We went to see him and he said he would marry us.

    To make both sides comfortable he had a Presbyterian minister celebrate our wedding with him.

    We have have been very happily married for over 20 years. We have adopted several children.

    All of this would have been impossible without Father Buckley. He said "yes" when the world was saying "no".

    As our Bible says, it is by their fruits that ye shall know them.

    The thing I appreciated most was that Father Buckley never asked me to change my religion.

    Gail from Londonderry.

    1. Thank you Gail.
      This is yet another positive comment on Pat B, and is the more useful (in forming an assessment of his behaviour) in that it refers to his supportive actions of 20 years ago, and is entirely consistent with other similar comments.

      Thanks too, to the Man in the Crowd, and Open Minded Parishioner, for your intelligent articulate insightful contributions.

      Such contributions as these are in very stark contrast to those attacking Pat B. The "critics" who have recently 'posted' (and I use that word as opposed to 'contributed', for such would be a misnomer), by and large, seem FULL of spite, hate, and unsubstantiated derogatory assertions. Additionally, they are EMPTY of any positive contribution to debate, or of information to support their assertions.
      The fact that such hostile posts can consist entirely of one liners, or in some cases, a single word, also reveals an inability to both articulate an argument, or to sustain it with relevant facts.

      Quod erat demonstrandum

    2. Your tense is wrong MMM, not so bright after all!!!!!!!!!

    3. Friend, I never said I was bright!
      As for tense: well kindly do put me right by showing where.
      I'm always open to being corrected and acknowledging where/when I'm wrong.
      Wish others on this site could do likewise.




    READ MY BLOG OF 13 - 9 - 2014


  15. What are people going on about.

    Anyone who has ever tried to be anyone and do good have come up against the establishment.

    The following people had / have "criminal convictions":

    Jesus Chrsit.
    Nelson Mandela.
    Bill Gates.
    Stephen Fry
    Paris Hilton
    Hugh Grant
    Mick Jagger
    Mike Tyson
    Ozzy Osbourne
    Mickley Rourke
    Keanue Reeves
    Matthes Mc Connaughey
    Matthew Broderick
    Cherry Cole
    Daniel Baldwin

    The interesting thing is that none of them were boring, passionless, talentless etc

    How many of us have broken the law and not being caught - speeding, drink driving, peeing in public, experimented with drugs, not paid all our taxes, shoplifted, taken too much change, jaywalked, told a lie on a form, jerked off in a public place etc.

    "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone"

    Aidan - Dublin

    1. And Aidan,

      Pat Buckley was charged with "conspiracy" against the British

      So was:

      Michael Collins
      Terence Mc Swiney
      JJ O'Connell
      Patrick Pearse
      Thomas Mc Donagh
      Thomas Clarke
      Joseph Plunkett
      William Pearse
      Edward Daly
      Michael O'Hanrahan
      John Mac Bride
      Eamonn Ceannt
      Michael Mallin
      Sean Heuston
      Conn Colbert
      James Connolly
      Sean Mac Diarmada
      Roger Casement

      Brendan Hughes

      Bobby Sands
      Francis Hughes
      Raymond McCreesh
      Patsy O'Hara
      Joe McDonnell
      Kevin Lynch
      Michael Devine
      Martin Hurson
      Kieran Doherty
      Thomas McElwee

      Gery Adams
      Martin McGuinness

      Pat Buckley ministered to me when I was in Long Kesh. He made it clear to us that he was not a "Republican" in the sense that we were. But there was nothing he would not have done for us.

      Erin Go Bragh Belfast