Saturday, 13 September 2014

MY CRIMINAL RECORD

MY CRIMINAL RECORD

My enemies, opponents and detractors in the Church, on this Blog and in general constantly refer to the fact that I have a criminal record - as a way to try and say that I have no credibility - and no right to express an opinion on anything..

I thnk it is very important that I address this issue openly, publicly as as honestly as I can. So here goes :-)

I am now 62 years old. I received my first and only criminal conviction less than one year ago. And, of course, I hope it will be my last.

For 30 years now I have celebrated the marriages and marriage blessings of all kinds of people - expecially people who mainstream religion and society will not help - divorcees, mixed religion marriages, gay people etc. Without intending it I have become something of a chaplain to the marginalised.
American wedding in Kerry

I have carried out nearly 3,000 marriages in the past 30 years from people from all over the world.
Wedding I celebrated in Vilnius, Lithuania

In 2007 I was approached by a Belfast solicitor - a Ms Karen Ho Lin Mo - and asked if I would celebrate the marriages of some of her clients. Ms Mo was a solicitor in good standing, an officer of the court and licensed by the Northern Ireland Law Society.

I felt very confident - as I should have - that any marriages referred to me by Ms Mo would be above reproach.

Between 2007 and 2009 - a 3 year period I carried out over a dozen marriages that Ms Mo had referred to me - representing roughly 8% of the number of my yearly marriages.

Each couple filled out a pre marriage application form and provided me with documentation to confirm their ID and their freedom to marry.

I referred each couple to the State Marriage Registrar to serve their intention to marry. They were interviewed by the State Registrar and their documents were checked and they were given a licence to marry by the state. I solemnised the marriages.

My marriages are my only source of income and I received £300 per marriage.

What I did not know was that Ms Mo was having people married as the first part of her plan to get illegal immigrants into the UK on the basis of marriage. Ms Mo received some £14,000 for every £300 I received.

In 2010 I received a telephone call from the police asking me to meet them with regard my marriage ministry. I immediately went to meet the police, turned over all my documentation to them and invited them to visit my home to examine all my records and registers. They did this. At the time I was under the impression that I might have to be a witness for the prosecution.

Eventually the police decided that they wanted to interview me formally and under caution. I attended 2 police stations for long interviews and was so unconcerned about it that I never even brought a solicitor with me. When I eventually saw the way things were going I did appoint a solicitor, was granted legal aid and the solicitor attenbded a third interview with me.

Eventually the police made it clear that they did not believe that I was unaware about what Ms Mo and others were doing and they decided to charge me with: aiding and abetting illegal immigration.

However, as the marriages had not taken place in Northern Ireland (UK) that charge was later changed to:conspiracy to defraud the British Home Secretary.

Those who know about law will know that consopiracy charges, for some reason, attract more severe punishments.

The matter eventually found itself to the Belfast Crown Court. We had a 3 week trial and the jury was not able to reach a verdict and the case fell. The judge asked the prosecution if they wished to pursue a retrail and they asked for 2 weeks to think about it. Eventually they decided they would have a retrail.

I found myself back in the dock and facing another 3/4 weeks of trial. By this time the stress of the 4 years proceedings had built up to a creshendo and my Crohn's Disease, which had been dormant for 20 years, was back in its full fury. This involved bowel pain, cramps, bleeding and having several "accidents" on the street early in the morning on my way to court.

At the same time both legal teams had begun talking to me of doing a "deal" and bring the matter to an end. In the end, for the sake of my physical health, I agreed. I pleaded guilty and in return got a 3 1/2 year suspended sentence and the judge ordered to to pay the state the money I got from the 14 marriages - which amounted to £6,000. I have until December 3rd to pay this and I am paying what I can when I can.

My one time criminal record is conspiracy to defraud the British Home Secretary.

Conspiracy charges can attract a sentence of up to 10 years and therefore the judge felt that he had to hasve a good reason to give me a suspended sentence. Obviously health is always a mitigating factor. The judge received a number of reports from medics about my health - including a report that said that I was HIV+.

My lawyers asked the judge not to reveal this publicly but he decided that he would. I was diagnosed as HIV+ on 5th December 2001 - nearly 13 years ago. HIV is no longer the illness it used to be thanks to near miracelous development of medications. I remain in very good health thanks to these medications and the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff of the RVH, Belfast.

Of course having my private health affairs made public was painful. But it has also been a source of blessing as quite a number of people with the same health issue - and other personal health issues have come to me for advice, help, guidance and ministry.

Everything that happens to us in life, if properly and positively handled can bear fruits in our lives and ministeries.

As a result of the above I now have more understanding and compassion for people who are accused, prosecuted and imprisoned. I also have more understanding and compassion for those living with health issues.

O Felix Culpa - O Happy Fault.

+Pat Buckley
13.9.2014




30 comments:

  1. I always thought Pat was a nutter myself but about 10 years ago I had a great chat with him one Sunday in the Kremlin. Over a pint the direction of my life changed forever. Mark W.

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  2. Hi Bishop Buckley,

    I don't know if you remember me, my name is Jane, and I am from the
    United States. The reason I'm emailing you is that I really need to
    leave the Roman Catholic Church. It is killing me psychologically.
    They make me feel wrong for being transgender. I'm having the surgery
    next year, and I just can't put myself through this anymore. Your
    Excellency, do you know any independent group with a valid Eucharist
    in the U.S.? Receiving Jesus is important to me, but being in
    communion with people who condemn me is just not.

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    Replies
    1. Jane,

      I will research what is in your area and get back to you very soon.

      Pat x

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    2. Jane - with great compassion and respect for you I need to tell you the truth: you will not receive the Holy Eucharist anywhere or from anyone other than a validly ordained Roman Catholic Priest, or a priest of the Orthodox Church. I can understand why you would would feel the need to approach bishop [sic] Buckley, but he is the last person you should approach as he is excommunicated from the Church and suspended "a divinis" for illicitly attempting to receive episcopal ordination, and as such can hardly be relied upon to give you objective advice. Jane there must be a Catholic support group in your area for gay, lesbian and transgender persons. Please seek them out. They will give you the help and support you need. D&C Priest

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    3. Reverend,

      I have already been to my Pastor and having told me I was disgusting and not to come back he asked me to leave the rectory and not to turn up for holy communion.

      I do not know, or want to know, all your crap about "a divinis" etc.

      I want a church and a pastor who will accept me as I am, support me and my family and strengthen me with the sacraments.

      I now know FOR CERTAIN that this is not available to me in your church in which Jesus is clearly not present.

      Jane

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    4. Jane - I am sorry that you were treated as you say by your pastor. Again I reiterate that if you wish to receive the Holy Eucharist (and you did say originally that is what you wished-for) then you will only find that in the Roman Catholic Church, those in Communion with Her, and the Orthodox Churches.

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    5. And I will not find it in a church that is NOT in comunion with your Rome?

      What kind of Eucharist then did Archbishop Desmond Tutu give to the millions of Blacks in South Africa - what that a "con" eucharist?

      Did Martin Luther King receive a con eucharist?

      Are all the millions of good Protestants deceiving themselves every Sunday?

      Was Jesus in "communion with Rome"?

      More importantly: "Is Rome still in communion with Jesus".

      It is interesting that in your two messages to me today you never mentioned Jesus. You mentioned Rome, excommunication, "a divinis". Roman Catholic, "catholic" support groups.

      "Get behind me Satan"

      Jane

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    6. Jane,

      Today I contacted an independent catholic priest in California and he is going to let me know of churches in your area of California that will not only make you welcome but celebrate who and what you are with you. He tells me that there is a lot of support in his church for folk like yourself. Will be in touch to your private e mail address.

      Pat x

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    7. Jane - no, not a "con eucharist" at all, but not the Holy Eucharist. The communion (with a small c) offered by non Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches is not the transubstantiated Body and Blood of Christ, Soul and Divinity, as solemnly proclaimed by the Church. This is by their own admission. For all those non Catholic's you mention they would see the act of eucharist as being one of communion and fellowship, but not of actually partaking in the eating and drinking of the actual body and blood of Christ. You seem reasonably theologically literate, so will know the teachings of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli on these matters. I state again, and this is my last word on the subject, that if you wish to receive the actual Eucharist instituted by Christ on the night before He died, you will only ever receive that from a Roman Catholic or Orthodox priest. That is the Truth whatever others may say to you. Still, Pat seems to have found someone that you can go to for support and communion. But it will not be the Holy Eucharist that you receive from his or her hands, I am sorry to tell you.

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    8. Maybe if she contacted jubilee Jim he could mail her the authentic Jesus via airmail??? (In house joke jane)

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  3. I am a Larne Protestant and member of the Orange Order. When my marriage broke up and I was deprived of seeing my children Mr. Buckley fought my case with social services and helped me in the courts. There was no one else I could have gone to - certainly not my own minister.

    One day driving in his car on the coast road outside Larne Mr Buckley parked his car and left the hazard light on and asked me to wait for him. I waited in the car for a long time and when he came back I asked him where he was. He said: "I wrote a letter to God about someone who needed help and he never answered me. I was away up the hill there to fight with God and have it out with him.

    I met him a week later and I asked him if God had answered his prayer and he said "yes".

    Anyone who thinks Mr Buckley is a "nutter" or a "criminal" is greatly mistaken. He is a man of practical faith and compassion.

    WG

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    1. Well said Mr Orangeman. I am a recycled papist in the church of england. Christianity is bigger than one denomination and beyond political constraints. My allegience is to the Kingdom of God but I pay my taxes to the Queen. Sean

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  4. Pat,

    This is a voice from the past - Tommy from the Shankhill Road in Belfast. 30 years ago this month 5 of us all aged 18 - 3 guys and 2 girls arrived at your door one morning in Larne after we ran away. You brought us in and gave us breakfast and let us sleep in your dining room. Most of us only stayed a few days but Kim stayed on in your house for a year. I remember your mother was there too. Your housekeeper did not like us there and she said that either she or us would have to go and you said that because she had a home and we didn't it would have to be her :-) The one who stole the fiver from you - David - was stabbed a few years ago in a row in McDonalds :-( My girlfriend at the time, June, is now married with her own kids. If its ok I will call and see you someday I am up Larne way. Can't believe where 30 years has gone.

    Tommy.

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    Replies
    1. Tommy ! Surprise ! Remember you all well.

      Look forward to seeing you after all this tme.

      Pat

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  5. Buckley,

    You are a heretic and a schismatic. You have placed yourself outside The One True Church and unless you repent you will burn in Hell. Go to Bishop Treanor and receive alsolution for your grave sins and regularise yourself with the Bishop of Rome.

    Proud and obedient priest of D&C

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    Replies
    1. Father,

      You are listening to much to Handle Messiah

      Pat

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  6. Pat, I like the honesty of today's Blog.

    You are proof that THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

    Your Brother Priest - Armagh

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  7. Pat you are in good company. I got done for drunk driving, Jesus got done for being a political activist. I am not glorifying criminal records but reality has a habit of showing real people as they actually are. The proud and obedient priest reminds me of an over starched shirt. Might be squeeky clean but would you feel comfortable wearing one. Sean

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  8. Thanks Sean.

    When Nelson Mandela was given the freedom of an Irish city / town he introduced himself as follows:

    "I am Nelson Mandela.
    I am unemployed.
    I am a pensioner.
    I have a criminal record."

    We are in good company.

    Pat

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  9. Pat,

    You got a "criminal record" trying to help people - immigrants - and those of us who know the whole story believe that you, by an excess of compassion - were taken advantage of.

    You also had the legal "disability" of not being beloved of the N I establishment.

    Considering what some members of your profession have done over the years - both by criminal behaviour - and by the criminal obstruction of justice - I would personally say you can hold your head high.

    Belfast Lawyer

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  10. Dear 'proud and obedient priest",

    Would you ever wise up ! Its comments like yours that fill me with despair for the future of our diocese. "Proud and obedient" to what ? A church system ? A Bishop ?(who is bringing the church into disrepute by his outlandish spending at Lisbreen) Or Jesus ? Have you ever asked the Bishop to explain any of his actions to you or are you in the"anything for a quiet life club" ?
    Do you realise the huge problems that face our diocese at this time ? Do you care about them ? Are you prepared to challenge authority when you believe it to be in the wrong ? I both in writing, and face to face have laid before + Noel Treanor some serious concerns that I and some other priests have in relation to D&C.
    So dear brother priest before you start launching 'canonical missiles' in the direction of Larne, might I respectively suggest that that you look closer to home to find 'systems' in need of urgent reform ?
    Your type of comment is the lazy way to engage about church matters. Why don't you make some suggestions for improving D&C as I have done regularly on this blog, rather than invective comments which really add nothing to the debate ?

    Priest of D&C.

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  11. Coming up on 1916 - were not people like Padraig Pearse and James Connolly and others guilty of conspiracy against the British?

    Should Pat not have a medal to go along with his conviction?

    Republican - West Belfast.

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  12. Well said D&C Priest of 18:58 comment to the "proud and obedient" one. I would have said the same, maybe stronger, but it's so much better coming from you, another priest of the diocese,rather than an outsider like me.
    That man keeps returning with comments laced with bile and narrow minded righteousness, never honestly debating an issue, but simply making personal attacks and relying on veiled threats and similar.
    MournemanMichael

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  13. That 'proud and obedient priest' is wrong in threatening Rev Pat Buckley with hell. He has no right to do so. Only Almighty God knows those whose free choice and deliberate rejection of God's Grace will result in the ruin of their immortal souls and their going to Hell.
    Also, there is no such thing as the "Roman Catholic Church". There is only the Catholic Church as founded by Jesus Christ and entrusted to the pastoral care of Peter and his successors. Peter was established by Christ Himself in his ministry and it is evident that the Lord intended this for all time; otherwise the Word of God recorded in the Gospels to Peter is rendered absurd and irrelevant. This cannot be the case as 'the Word of the Lord endures forever'.
    The Catholic Church would inevitably change from its primitive form in the actual days of Peter and the other apostles and early disciples. This too is part of the design of God for His Church. Furthermore, the Catholic Church embraces in itself all people being saved, even those who have never heard of Christ or the Gospel but who live lives of love in the world according to the lights they have received, which are present even in natural reason.
    The Catholic Church has invisible boundaries and, through the Holy Spirit's Grace, includes those in other Christian communions of good will and those of other religions, who seek God with a sincere heart and desire to do His Will.
    While it is true that the Catholic Church has visible structures, it is also the invisible communion of Love created by God Who desires that all people be saved and come to knowledge of the Truth. Love/Charity knows no bounds and God's Grace transcends the unfortunate divisions that have arisen in the Body of His Son, the Church - even when these separations are contrary to His Will and we must be striving to heal them as Christ prayed - 'That They May be One'.
    It is nonsense to say, however, that we do not need the Church and can have Christ without the Church; for the Body is united with the Head, namely Jesus Christ.
    It is wrong to speak of the "Roman Catholic Institution". There is no such thing. Anti-catholic extremists invented this phrase out of hostility for the true Church of Jesus Christ. There is sin in the Church, as we well know and corruption; but these evils will never prevail. No matter how great the number of sins grace is even greater. Despite the many sinners in the Church (including throughout her history, even popes and prelates), there is the great multitude of the faithful who have loved God and faithfully served Him. And this is also true today.
    Priest, Down and Connor.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Priest,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and express your views and beliefs.

      I do not agree with much you have said.

      But I would totally defend your right to have these beliefs and your absolute right to express them openly.

      Pat

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  14. Pat Buckley is a strange hybrid indeed. he writes with all the vitriol of a paisleyite or American deep south fundamentalist against the catholic church. In another life he probably would have become one of those "converted", "ex-priests" the fundamentalist haters love to parade around their rallies. but of course he can't because these anti-catholics would send him to hell as quick as look at him because of his gayness and HIVness.

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  15. The sad thing is that must of what Ian Paisley said about the Roman Church was true.

    The sad thing is that he said it with so much hatred.

    Pat

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  16. So you believe then that the pope is the antichrist and all that? and there you are in the pics above dressed up as a catholic bishop.

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    1. In my view the pope is not the anti Christ.

      For me the "anti-Christ" is all that is anti Christ - including the Roman Institution - and indeed other man made churches that put their own agenda before Jesus and his message.

      There is a difference between being a Catholic bishop and a Roman Catholic Bishop.

      The Archbishop of Canterbury is a Catholic Bishop.

      Pat

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  17. Thank god for my catholic religion.

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