Sunday, 16 November 2014



Fr Strain owes £ 1.6 million

The "administrator" of Holy Family Roman Catholic parish has announced to parishioners that the parish owes Bishop Treanor and the Diocese of Down and Connor 1.6 million - and that money has to be paid.

Bishop Treanor looks to see when his £1.6 million is coming back

Father did say that the "good news" was that Bishop Treanor's interest rates are much more humane that those charged by the high street banks.

Father Strain explained that any surplus money in the parishes goes to Bishop Treanor - and then Bishop Treanor lends that money to parishes that need it.

I thought that odd? Does that not mean that parishes are borrowing their own money back from money they already gave to the bishop?

I wish people would give me money that I could then "lend" back to them.

That stunt is worthy of the most astute member of the Jewish and Scottish communities :-)

But the good parishioners of Holy Family were not happy with Father Strain's explanation.

In fairness to poor Father Strain he is between a rock and a hard place. He is caught between his bishop and his people.

But the Holy Family problem is bigger than that again.

Father Strain explained that the parish has a number of presbyteries (priest's houses) in disrepair as well as 3 churches that need ongoing repair and renovation.

Why has Holy Family three presbyteries when they only have one or two priests? Can those priests not live together in one house? Its not as if they all have wives and kids that would fight with each other.

Fr Daniel Delargey Adm, Holy Family - 2025 - 2035

And why, in these days of dwindling congregations and priests do they need 3 churches?

Would one church and a couple of minibuses for those without cars not do the job?

The other problem is that Father Strain is not the PARISH PRIEST of Holy Family parish.

Holy Family is a "mensal parish" and therefore it is Bishop Treanor who is the parish priest.

And he lives in another house in the parish that he has just finished renovating for between £ 1 million and £ 4 million. The uncertainty about this figure is down to that fact that Bishop Treanor is not willing to tell us how much exactly he spent on his palace.

If it was £ 4 million would that same money not have paid off Holy Family's debt and repaired all the other parish property?

And all this comes on the heels of it becoming public knowledge that Bishop Treanor is in fact an ABSENTEE BISHOP - spending a great deal of his time travelling around Europe and the world instead of being in his diocese doing his primary job.

In the last 6 years since he became bishop I wonder how much money Bishop Treanor has spent on flights and hotel expenses?

Rumours have reached this Blog that Bishop Treanor is planning world wide trips in 2015.

This Blog recently addressed the general crisis in Down and Connor.

Now we are beginning to see other crises developing in individual D&C parishes like Holy Family.

People like Father Strain, who is doing his best, should not be having to take the flack for the bigger monkeys higher up the tree. 

I think that it is high time the people of Down and Connor stopped giving to Sunday collections and started channeling their donations to causes like the Ebola crisis, world hunger, hospices etc.

+Pat Buckley


  1. This mensal parish lark is a load of rot. Its taxes under another name. Its the kind of approach worthy of the kings of the middle ages. Lots of churches are being closed in the UK. However parishioners are striving to preserve their identities. Sometimes this involves using school halls for worship (liturgy). Other times parishes combine. The model of church is changing. Sadly (or perhaps not) the roman model of church is being consigned to the pages of history. Sean

  2. Dear Pat,
    I think the above article is a matter of 'robbing Peter to pay Peter'.
    There are numerous parishes in the Diocese which are in big debt ; Holy Family is only one of many parishes which will be getting their 'arms twisted' for a quicker payback to HQ. (formerly "Lisbreen", now "Chateau de Noel" )
    The former Adm of Holy Family, Fr Sean Emerson, is not on the Christmas card list of many of his former parishioners. Why ? Because they regard him as having plunged the parish into huge debt, and then departing for Antrim town, leaving them with a huge financial headache.
    Fr Emerson , naturally of course is not held to account for his stewardship. He's like the gambler who always has his debts paid by someone else.


  3. Pat,
    Just a thought. Would the church members of D & C diocese under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), not be entitled to know the true cost of 'renovating' "Lisbreen" ?
    Or is the church exempted from FOI requests ?
    It seems somewhat incongruous that every parish must submit accounts to "Lisbreen" but "Lisbreen" accounts never are exposed to public scrutiny ? Why not ?


    1. I googled FOI for exemptions LUX. No mention of RC church anywhere, but reading it I got impression that the disclosure requirements refer only to public bodies in the sense of elected organisations, ( councils, police committees, etc), and the institutions set up and financed by those bodies from the public purse as levied by compulsory taxation.
      So the RC church (sadly) would not appear to have any requirements under FOI legislation.
      If this is incorrect then please someone correct and point to the info source.

  4. Buckley would you ever change the bloody record?? This ridiculous and absurd vendetta against Bishop Treanor - you and a few D&C sore-heads. IT'S CALLED THE SOLIDARITY FUND! All parishes can borrow from it and the money has to be paid back - eventually. To listen to you and those other clowns you would think the money was owed to the bishop personally. Would you ever, even at this stage, get yourself a life - you small-minded, bitter and twisted old man? And as for the D&C clerics supporting this bull, please go and join Pat Buckley for you will be no loss to the diocese. Join Buckley's little gather-up and we'll see how you all get along! No doubt it will be a new Pentecost. Get lost and take all the active "gays" and "heteros" with you. We'll be better off in the long run. Go and join Buckley or some other sect. I'm sure you will be a great asset for no doubt you are all a bundle of laughs of a Sunday! I would love to know who these discontented clergy are! I am getting on with serving the people and looking after the Parish.

    1. Sir, it would have been much more informative and helpful if you had explained further about the solidarity fund to those of us who have never heard of it.
      Your post was unfortunately devalued be engaging in a rant somewhat similar to some seen previously. Those other ones were clearly not from you for they appeared unable to string together a coherent sentence.
      Clearly many disagree with Pat's blogs, but they are useful as a focus for critical opinion and debate in which personal attacks serve little useful purpose.

    2. Well good sir: I've waited a week for you to respond with some useful information about this "solidarity fund". Even allowing for my suspicions of the troll like critics who occasionally frequent this blog could I be blamed for thinking this fund is but a figment of some fertile imagination since neither you or anybody else has explained it?

  5. Dear LUX,

    FOI requests to LISBREEN ? You must be joking ; there is more chance of getting accurate financial accounts out of the KREMLIN. (Moscow, not a certain bar in B'fast frequented by some of my brother priests, past & present )

    PP D&C.

  6. Dear "anonymous 18 November 2014, 11:30am."

    You make a number of accusations in your contribution this morning. I am a much respected Priest of the Diocese, who contributes to this blog, but that seems to put me 'beyond the pale' in your eyes. Why is that ? Are you disturbed by what you read ?
    Our beloved diocese is in very bad shape. 17 years of the "Walsh era" followed by 6 years of "Treanor, imitating Moses in the desert" , has left this Diocese 1 step away from collapse.
    A pastoral diocese requires a Bishop with the capacity to speak spiritual truths convincingly. +Noel cannot do that ; he's a church bureaucrat in the wrong place at the wrong time. This gives me no pleasure to say this., (many priests share my opinion)
    Noel's annual Chrism homily, is endured by the Presbyterate of D&C.
    However, the problems of this Diocese are much deeper that Bishop Noel's poor spiritual leadership.
    I raised the issue of 'new models of ministry' with Bishop Walsh and subsequently with Bishop Treanor, because I could see ' the writing on the wall' with regard to falling numbers of clergy. Neither Bishop was prepared to dialogue with me, and we are all now facing a demographic clergy crisis. This was all entirely predictable, but rather than try to imaginatively deal with the forthcoming crisis, the hierarchy in this Diocese and throughout Ireland turned their face away, and continued with ' business as usual'. This was a complete dereliction of leadership, and now we all face the consequences.
    I hope that you now have a better understanding of why I and others contribute to this blog. I care deeply about the Catholic faith and Church, and I write out of concern not anger.

    Priest of D&C.

    1. And if I could add, for benefit of 11:30 Anonymous, this is exactly the type of insightful fact based contribution which adds value to this blog.

  7. Dear brother Priest of D&C,
    I agree largely with what you say, but the truth is that the over clericalised Irish church is dying, and I think we should let it die. Only then will the church change for the better.
    The child abuse cover up, revealed a church which had completely lost its way. Patching up this model of church is not the answer.
    The people of God await a transformed church, led by shepherds after the Lord's own heart.

    Priest of Down &Connor.

  8. Dear Parishioner,
    I think a lot of people would say Amen to a transformed church. Let's hope we live to at least see the beginnings of it.

    Priest of Down & Connor.

  9. As a legal representative I would like to let readers of this blog know that it is being reviewed after several complaints. Troll legislation will be retrospective.

    1. A representative without a Principal or a name is like a shite without an ass hole-something of a nuisance but of no real consequence. Sean

  10. Legal representative of who?

    Why the threats?

    Who wants to stop publication?

    Who wants to censor?

    Why so vague?

    Is the TRUTH now a crime?


  11. Dear legal representative,
    Who are you referring to as a troll ?
    Are moral and church issues to be placed off limits, because certain sensitivities are 'offended' ? Is that the sort of society we wish to live in ?

    Priest of Down & Connor.

  12. Oh dear, oh dear. Is this the Ubergruppenfurher at Somerton Road trying to put a little bit of stick about. Kristalnacht in Fortwilliam is near. Hope they don't smash the chandeliers or cut glasses in the cocktail cabinet in Lisbreen.

  13. As Christians are we not supposed to be children of the light ? Why then would anyone wish to keep the good people of Down & Connor in the dark, about issues in their own diocese ? Unless there is something to hide.
    Too much of Irish Church life has taken place 'in the dark' ; we need to change that.


  14. What does "licence = 3 " mean ?


  15. I am an old man now and have had many family,in law and friend connections with the diocese of Down and Connor down the tears. I can go back to the Danny Mageean era. Priests like Kerr, Hendley,McSparran and Mons Arthur Ryan were all family friends. I had close associations during Philbin's reign. I was a close friend of Paddy Mullally, Gerry Montague and many of the men of that time. I was often privy to many of the scandals and shenanigans which went on and the cover ups- and they were a plenty. Many of these men had their faults and shortcomings but believe me the present crop at the top end of our beloved diocese couldn't lace their boots. My advice to Bishop Treanor is simple. Away ye go and take all your lackies with you before you wreck the diocese altogether ! Shame on you all

    1. Dear "Old Man",

      Thank you for your very thought provoking comment.

      I came to D&C 36 years ago.

      Bishop Philbin and Monsignor Mulally were very kind to me. They let me get on with my work and were glad I was making a fist of improving things for the parishioners of St Peter's and the Lower Falls.

      Arthur Ryan and Gerry Montague were also kind - as indeed was Canon Padraic Murphy.

      I WITNESSED them all saying their prayers.

      I am worried that many of the clergy at ALL levels in D&C do not say their prayers.

      I even suspect that some of them are either atheists or agnostics!!!


  16. The "legal representative " who posted on Nov 20th must be working from home. I don't know any Belfast lawyer who is in the office at 08.20. Lol

    1. Actually the "legal representative" posted his comment at 2 am in the morning!


    2. 2:00am!
      That says it all!
      Probably just one of those with the bottle induced Dutch courage who, in past highly personalised comments tried to criticise and insult you Pat. Maybe he thinks this is a more clever approach?

  17. Dear Pat,
    I think the legal representative who posted @ 2am, sounds like a cleric, holding a glass of whisky for company, with an anger towards the world which no longer does his bidding.


  18. Dear 'old man' of Down & Connor,
    you have my sympathy concerning the situation in the diocese. There are still some very fine priests in D&C , but there are also some charlatans, who cynically exploit good people for their own selfish ends. Why do I say this ?
    Because I have been a priest in this diocese for a long time and I know the genuine clergy, and I also know the 'wolves dressed up in shepherd's clothing', and believe me the latter do a lot of harm.

    D&C priest.

  19. Thank you D&C priest. As I said before I have known many of the fine men who have served the Lord faithfully in this diocese down the years and I agree that there are still many good, dedicated priests in service. Indeed many of them I not only remember but I taught as boys! But I agree that there are many in the presbyterate now who are an absolute disgrace. I am constantly hearing stories which beggar belief. I know they are true. Meanwhile this fine diocese has had a bishop imposed on it who, while he may be a nice man is totally and completely useless as a pastoral bishop. What has D&C done to deserve him?

  20. Does anyone know anything about a little scandal brewing in a North Belfast parish and I don't mean Holy Family's finances?

  21. Dear "elderly man" of Down & Connor, I suspect there is low morale amongst the Priests in our Diocese, and as the numbers drop further, there will be an ever greater pressure on those who remain. As a practising Catholic I am concerned that this situation will worsen rapidly in the next 5 years. What if anything has been done to prepare we the people for this situation, or to help the Priests to carry on.
    I am also aware of situations that "beggar belief" , and these sadden me greatly. Perhaps things need to get worse before they get better.

    Belfast Parishioner.

  22. I look at what is going on in relation to the handling, motivation,discipline and overall organisation of the clergy in down and connor by their superiors. I have to say as somebody who has been in senior management for over two decades that the ineffectiveness of +Noel and his close colleagues is dreadful. I know there is an arrogance on the part of senior clergy that the church is different and they know best. If that be so then why is clergy morale rock bottom, vocations at such a low and the pews emptying by the year. Surely somebody has to stop and think " this is just not working"

  23. The situation in Holy Family is a very complex and difficult one
    Sean Emerson landed the parish in a shocking amount of debt which they are struggling to pay back, and he built a new church and retained nothing from the previous!
    The PP and CC now share a house beside the new church on the limestone road, and the other buildings are under review.
    They are looking at all property and all groups using these buildings and this is being rationalised, and buildings will be sold in the near future.
    There are only 2 Churches functioning and the site on Cavehill road is a burden also as the parish centre is located there but there is a disused church and house on the site also.

    Paul Strain is doing his very best as did Gerry McCloskey before him to fix this problem and bring the parish out of debt

    But why was Emerson able to spend so much? Who gave him the ok to build such a church with so much modern art?