Wednesday, 23 September 2015

FATHER PAUL SYMONDS - CHURCH TRIAL ENDED

FATHER PAUL SYMONDS - CHURCH TRIAL ENDED

Fr Paul Symonds

The church or "canonical" trial of Father Paul Symonds of Down and Connor diocese has ended in Dublin and the verdict has been communicated to Bishop Noel Treanor.


Noel Treanor
This Blog has learned that the verdict was sent to Noel Treanor as he was the person who requested the canonical trial in the first place.

The judge at the trial was Father Paul Churchill who is a canon law judge and official at the Dublin tribunal. 

Paul Churchill
Paul Churchill and myself entered seminary together in September 1970.

It is now up to Bishop Treanor to communicate the verdict to those who complained about Father Symonds. 

Hopefully Bishop Treanor will also communicate the verdict to the priests of Down and Connor. As they are immediately involved in the pastoral work of the diocese - and as they served with Paul Symonds - surely they are entitled to be made aware of the canonical trial's findings?

It is understood that the matter concerning the canonical trial predates Father Symond's time in Down and Connor - when he was a member of the Jesuit order in the UK.

Father Symonds has always received high praise from those in the Protestant community in Northern Ireland for all his work in interfaith dialogue.

Former seminarians of Down and Connor who had Father Symonds as their spiritual director at The Wing in St Malachy's College, Belfast also have always spoken very well of him.  





32 comments:

  1. Bishop Buckley, Can I ask you where you get all your information from? You seem to be very well informed on all matters pertaining to the Catholic Church in Ireland.

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  2. I am a long time in Catholic Church circles and have many friends. Also, very often, I am the only one people can talk to.

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  3. Pat,
    I cannot give an opinion on the veracity of claims brought against Fr Symonds, but 1 thing I can tell you is that Bishop Treanor has treated him like a leper. Compassion sadly, does not figure high on the list of the Bishop's attributes.

    Priest of D&C Diocese.

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    1. I had heard that Paul Symonds felt very sad about the way Noel Treanor treated him.

      Then Noel is not known for his warmth to anyone - in trouble or otherwise.

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    2. I heard Noel Treanor was very sad about the way Paul Symonds treated HIM!

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    3. Interesting. My impressions of both men is that Paul Symonds seems to have emotions and Noel Treanor does not?

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  4. The CDF makes the decisions in such cases not local tribunals or canon lawyers. Rome decides whether or not allegations have the semblance of truth since Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela in 2001. Bishops are obligated to send cases like Paul Symonds to the CDF - especially in view of the serious allegations against Paul Symonds It is irrelevant that the Protestants spoke well of him. Are the allegations credible? Is it likely that they happened? Some of the seminarians found him "creepy".

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    1. Then why was there a canonical trial in Dublin?

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    2. No idea what that church trial in Dublin is about. The CDF calls the shots - not Paul Churchill.

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    3. My understanding is that Dublin is to establish the guilt and Rome decides the "sentence" PP D&C

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    4. anyone know the verdict?

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    5. Paul Symonds "creepy"? What would you call Phylis McManus then?

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  5. Seems to be a bit of MI 5 ism going on. Did Fr S do something wrong or not? If there is a breach of law it it is the law of the land must decide Trial by cassock and aftershave seems a waste of space

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    1. The police decided not to prosecute?

      Treanor then referred the allegations to a church tribunal.

      The Jesuits (English Province) paid compensation.

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  6. In this case the Dublin Archdiocesan Tribunal is the court of first instance.

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  7. Everything you have said in this matter so far is correct Pat.
    Priest of Dublin Archdiocese

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  8. If I may be permitted to expand on your blogger at 18.01. The CDF can instruct the local bishop which way to handle the case. Even the revised provision of 2010 promulgated by Benedict 16 allows for that. So even though the case can be passed to Rome ( CDF) they in turn can assess the matter and then notify the local bishop which way to proceed.
    DCL

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  9. The whole process sounds very medieval.
    I somehow think Jesus would find a different way of resolving issues of this nature.

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    1. Thats a very good point. I have never been able to understand why the authorities of the Catholic Church, when they have an issue to resolve prefer to resort to canon law and not the New Testament.

      Could it be that canon law is all about power and the New Testament is all about love and powerlessness?

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    2. Jesus' suggestion is recorded at Mt 18,6 & Lk 17,2.

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  10. "If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea".

    This is certainly Jesus' advice on the sin.

    But what about the forgiveness of Jesus for anyone who is truly sorry for having committed even THAT sin?

    Do we Christians not believe that there is no such thing as an unforgivable sin - particularly if the sinner displays al the necessary signs of a true sorrow?

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  11. I suppose it's also the vital matter of the extent to which forgiveness should consider restoring the transgressor to a previous status quo?
    Forgiveness on a personal level, in line with christian charity, is all very well and commendable. But if such forgiveness goes further and "restores" the offender to a previous position (or similar one albeit physically elsewhere), various potential negative perceptions can arise:
    .......Has the offending behaviour been condoned?
    .......It must be okay to misbehave 'cos there's no negative repercussions.
    ........or worse.....there can't have been any truth in it.
    So ecceslesiastical courts and tribunals etc are having to look at broader issues than just the forgiveness of transgressions. That's for the confessional for those that believe in and follow those beliefs.
    MMM

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    1. I think that a priest offender cannot continue as a priest after the succesful proving of an allegation. It must be: "one strike - out".

      However that same priest who is truly repentant of his crime / sin can receive God's gorgiveness and move forward "forgiven".

      There are some offenders who are not sorry for their actions and continue to deny their offence. These folk are more likely to reoffend.

      It goes back to my statement that some offenders will take help and some will refuse help.

      Its a bit like being an alcoholic. The beginning of "rehabilitation" is the one who can say: "My name is Bill. I'm an alcoholic".

      Some offenders reach the point of wisdom and honesty whey can say: "I'm Bill. I'm sexually attracted to children".

      The first stage of rehabilitation / positive future is owning the truth.

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    2. Bishop Pat, your last, above comment is so true.

      To mention your previous blog on Martin Kerr - Martin Kerr has said he is not a pardophile but an "ephebophile" - someone who is attracted to the 15 - 19 age group.

      Why then are all his convictions against children - 7 - 12 year olds and not to 15 plus year olds?

      Its just another cop out and denial. PP D&C

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    3. Action speak louder than words!

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    4. To take the discussion back to Fr Symonds. It seems that the issue that has him in diffs just now is historic - ie: 30+ years ago. There does not seem to be a suggestion of recent misbehaviour with under age people

      Does this affect things?

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    5. There is more than a "suggestion" of recent misbehaviour - there are real allegations about his time in St malachy's with a schoolboy! They have been referred to previously on this blog. Feet????

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    6. Certainly agree with that reply @ 21:54 Pat.
      And the big problem for 'authorities', whether probation officers, social workers, or whoever involved in assessing an offender's potential for further abuse, is their devious self delusional moudus operandi.
      But certainly, with respect to an abusive priest, I certainly think he should be barred from further ministry.
      MMM

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  12. And perhaps, as well as my own opinion, I could also have quoted John Paul ll to the USA cardinals following the clerical abuse scandals there in 2002, "There can be no place in the priesthood or religious life for those who prey on the young".
    MMM

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    1. MMM, John Paul II had no credibility on this topic. He covered up for years for the Legionaries of Christ founder seriel abuser Marciel Maciel who gave him millions for the Vatican and Poland.

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    2. Entirely agree on his overall lack of credibility on clerical abuse, and with what Rev Richard McBrian, an eminent Notre Dame theologian wrote in relation to John Paul's record on clerical abuse and his subsequent beatification: "Indeed he had a terrible record, full of denial and foot dragging on the greatest crisis facing the church since the Reformation...."
      And yes, John Paul's words I've quoted almost had to be dragged out of him in April 2002 after long procrastination and failures on his part to act. Nevertheless the quotation correctly indicates the proper approach.

      And isn't it a strange thing that despite all this failure, the RC church's Ratzinger fast tracked him for beatification, and Francis subsequently canonised him on 27/4 last year.
      Despite Vatican assertions of his personal piety, it certainly begs questions about the credibility of the whole RC church 'apparatus'.
      MMM

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