Tuesday, 26 January 2016


Paul Symonds


Anonymous 26th January 2016 9.09 am

"I am going to say something that I think will not be popular! And will, no doubt, bring down much anger.

There is a huge amount of inflation and hype going on with this Paul Symond's business.

It seems to me that whatever he did was at the very "vanilla" end of what can be described as abuse. 

It may ore accurately described as "inappropriate behaviour". I think.

I feel sure that if there had been anything truly sinister in what he is supposed to have done, then police action would have taken place. 

He may have been a bit "fresh" with people. he may have been "inappropriate" for his position as a teacher and a priest, but there is evidently nothing truly criminal that has taken place.

I don't doubt that some of his actions have caused some distress to those students he is supposed to have engaged with, although I think there will have been a number of issues going on with these people which will have caused them upset in later years other than what Paul Symonds is supposed to have done. 

So my view is that, that he may not be suitable for public priestly ministry, we are not at liberty to demonise him and convict him in the court of public opinion of something that the criminal and police authorities do not see as actionable.

The Church authorities are entitled to decide who ministers under their banner, and have made the decision that Paul Symonds will not continue to minister in public. 

Bishop Treanor

There is nothing that he has done that warrants his removal from the priestly state, otherwise I am sure that they would have done that. 

So, lets let Paul Symonds get on with his new life and stop double guessing what he has or has not done 

It evidently was not something so terrible that it was criminal.

It may have ben inadvisable, inappropriate or whatever else you might want to call it.

Just because a "victim" decides that they have been wronged grieviously does not mean that they have been so. 

The age and culture of victimhood that we now live in appears to entitle anybody to say that they have been wronged and harmed, and that is taken as gospel truth and nobody is allowed to gainsay it. Thats not truth or justice or right.


  1. Whilst agreeing with you that PS should not be demonised and that he should be let get on with his life, I would draw your attention to the following:

    "Eventually the abuse progressed to Father Symonds removing the boys shoes and socks, examining his feet in great detail, washing his feet meticulously and eventually rubbing the boys feet against his genitals and Father Symonds sexually ejaculating in his trousers with visible stains".

    That behaviour is way beyond "inappropriate" and "a bit fresh", do you not think??? You are guilty of a truly ghastly minimisation of very serious sexual abuse.

    Let us also recall, quite recently, PS was involved in a "healing ministry" in Belfast and was on their website as having taken 'early retirement' from the priesthood. This was deliberately misleading and, when challenged, the "healing" group removed PS from their personnel. Another example of the deep and profound state of denial in which perpetrators and their apologists live.

    I disagree with your "age and culture of victimhood" notion. It is a typical "blame the victim" attitude. It is still often very painful and traumatic for victims to disclose their abuse.

    It also speaks volumes that you, whoever you are, do not consider it a grievous wrong that an adult man - a priest - should so arouse himself, to the point of ejaculation of semen, over the feet of a teenage boy!!

  2. So a grown man shoots his load over a young lads feet and that is the "vanilla end" of abuse for you, is it, you sick f...???

    1. If the author of this "defence" is a priest he is unsuitable to public ministry.

      Whether a priest or not the author should not be allowed to be alone with children!

      PP D&C

    2. I agree with PP D&C. Whoever wrote this "defence", I would not let him (her?) near my sons. Disgusting!

    3. Wow....talk about a reaction ! No wonder Paul Symonds won't get even the fairest of hearings. These reactions are just intemperate, ill-thought out, and reactionary. Mind you, I suspect that these comments come from NI, not a place noted for subtle and nuanced responses to things that challenge !

  3. I told you some people would get angry ! How dare I question the received wisdom that once someone says that they are a victim, then they must be believed ? Who says that all this stuff about ejaculating over the feet of young men happened ? The victim ? But, has it been shown to be fact, has a proper inquiry taken place and it been seen to be fact beyond doubt ? Is the victim credible ? Does what he says hold water ? If such awful and questionable things happened and there was credibility to them, then surely the police would have taken this matter further. All I know is that a victim says something happened. That's only the first step in saying that something actually did happen. There needs to be lots more to then convict a guy. And, it doesn't seem to be there. So, we are back to this culture of taking the victim's word as gospel and convicting and executing someone based on their word alone. That's not good enough. That does not mean that the Church can't decide that someone is not fit for ministry. The Church is entitled to have its own criteria for suitability. In the case of Paul Symonds, the Church has made a decision based on what it knows, or thinks it knows. Paul Symonds will have to abide by that decision. But, please, do not assume that everything the victim is saying is necessarily fact or gospel truth. There are many levels and layers to any incident, there is the health, wellbeing and psychological and emotional state of the supposed victim that might colour what they are saying or how they see things. Unless that is teased out and tested in the right arena, namely a court, it is not for you or for me to say that the victim must be right and must be believed. So, Paul Symonds is, in law, an innocent man who is entitled to the presumption of innocence even in the face of victim accusations. The police have decided not to prosecute him. The courts have not convicted him. He is innocent. The Church has decided he is not fit for public ministry, as it does for a whole range of people at various stages of the ministerial process - selection, training, in ministry. That Church decision does not make him a criminal or necessarily a bad and evil man. It just says he does not have the gifts or abilities for public ministry. Paul Symonds is innocent, in law, and in fact. Until such times as the victims are able to secure a conviction against him. And, I doubt that they will be able to do that.

    1. Can I ask whether or not you are a priest? If not, are you a parent?

  4. MourneManMichael26 January 2016 at 13:55

    While I have no knowledge of PS or others referred to in +Pat's blog and subsequent comments, I have had a sense of unease on this one.
    I have had professional experience of the naivite with which otherwise well intentioned, instinctively protective, and caring persons can get caught up in assumptions and judgements based on innuendo, rumour and supposition as opposed to hard facts and evidence. I have seen teaching colleagues careers blighted by unfounded allegations from misguided pupils.
    Just to focus here on possible suppositions as opposed to facts:
    The comments at 11:16 & 11:19 today specifically refer to , ..."ejaculation of semen OVER feet" (My emphasis on word 'over') The blog of 13/3/14 reads of "PS....rubbing his (the boys) feet against his genitals and eventually ejaculating IN HIS TROUSERS with visible stains" (Again my emphasis)
    There is the difference here over which lawyers would certainly argue. But it may be fair comment to ask if comments at 11:16 & 11:19 are 'mission creep' by supposition?

    The allegations made certainly point to reprehensible behaviour of someone entirely unsuited to ministry, and I in no way minimise them.
    But as ever, a call for objectivity and balance is perhaps timely.


      Hi Pat I attach this which I feel would help – but I would rather it didn’t come directly from me, perhaps you can offer it (with editing) as a result of a conversation or interview with someone…. Or report it as received from me to you… you decide. But I don’t want to get into a direct conversation with them. OK?? or just use bits of it

      The last anonymous poster is way out of date regarding his understanding of abuse.
      Abuse is the use of power (authority) for their own ends with disregard for the victim. It goes hand in hand with grooming or conditioning. Making the victim believe through whatever means subtle and non-subtle, positive or negative reinforcement (conditioning and manipulation) that his behaviour is acceptable to the victim. There is physical, sexual and psychological abuse.
      In the case of Porter, the insidiousness is where covert damage is done. As Symonds used religious references to give a veil of acceptability for this intrusion on intimacy, and as the victim had no ‘overt’ warning or red light (which he would have had if it had been genital or anal) that he was being sexually abused (it was happening at the end of his legs). And as he was drunk most of the time affecting his emotional perception, making him more malleable, he didn’t consciously understand, due to the above and his age and environment. At the same time, consider the benefits of being in ‘grace’ with Symonds at his age and situation. Gifts, promises, protection, care and attention, to name a few. He was in a catch-22 as Symonds also had power over him, should he not submit. This was a three year process, the abuse was daily, this was not opportunistic. The child was constantly deflecting groping and hugging as well as other unwanted attention but unable to make any authority act. He was also isolated from his peers.
      The covert damage is profound. The shame and guilt, are universal to all victims, but in this case there also was the same damage to trust, intimacy; and distortion of the ability to form relationships through being used as a sex object, a transactional approach to relationships, denial of emotions. A sense of worthlessness a feeling of less than. All these effects at a psychological level had no overt cause for the victim to understand, to confront or attend to; not to forget the alcohol abuse, present throughout his life. Knowing that he was suffering from something, he used psychiatrist and medication to survive, for some years from ’96, but the feelings, problems and issues continued.
      Not until 30 plus years after the original events, a conjunction of events, allowed him to understand and know clearly what had happened and begin to take steps towards finding resolution. That moment of clarity was the realisation and understanding that it was not and will never be normal for a man in his 30’s to want to spend most of his day with a boy of 12 years for so much time, 3 years. That realisation permitted him to break the spell of his conditioning.

  5. The author of this "defence" who goes on to justify himself at 13:38, strikes me as one sick and twisted bastard.

    Does it count for nothing that the Jesuit Order shelled out £50,000?

    Symonds' defender limits guilt to criminal guilt. It is notoriously difficult to prove historical abuse.

    I'm sure the 12 year old boy didn't think to ask Paul Symonds for his underpants that day, so that he would have DNA evidence, 30 years later, that Symonds 'came' in his kacks???

    Symonds is morally GUILTY and the Church tribunal acting on the criteria of semblance of truth, has judged and acted accordingly.

    If Symonds' defender is a priest, then it should worry the diocese of D&C that some of its clergy still "don't get it".

  6. I do NOT doubt Campbell Porter's testimony. He clearly has suffered an enormous amount, and continues to do so.Fr Symonds 'chose a sexual path', which has had serious repercussions.He had 'chosen' a life of celibacy, but may well have found that this brought internal pressures that he was unable to deal with in an appropriate manner; I say this not to excuse his abuse in any way, but rather to look for a catalyst for his actions.
    He now will no longer have any public ministry, and I don't think one can argue with the Bishop's decision.

    In the light of this situation, why does the Church not investigate the abuse of vulnerable women by Priests in this diocese ? ( Fr Dallat's recent case being a rare exception ) This has been, and continues to be a problem in D & C.


    1. There are several priests in Down and Connor who have long term relationships with women. I am aware of at least half a dozen - and the details.

      There are several priests in Down and Connor who are active on the Gay scene.

      I cannot believe that Bishop Treanor does not know of these cases.In fact I KNOW that he has received delegations complaining of these situations.

      In the CIARAN DALLAT case Treanor only acted because the whole thing broke in SUNDAY LIFE

      As someone said recently: "Celibacy is now optional in the Diocese of Down and Connor !!!

    2. Our parish priest was misbehaving with more than one woman. We told the bishop. The bishop moved the priest to another parish where he continues to misbehave with the old women and even new ones!

      If I have sex with a woman who is not my wife I commit the serious sin of adultery and I cannot receive Holy Communion.

      The sexually active priest can have sex with who he wants and not only receive Holy Communion but say Mass and preach to us about marital fidelity!

      Who is fooling who?

      Disillusioned Catholic Farmer.

    3. Dear Disillusioned Catholic Farmer, I understand what you are saying. Rest assured of this, however: the priest who is having sex with who he wants (women or men) is committing a horrible sacrilege and blasphemy every time he offers Mass. His black soul is a morass and a cesspit of mortal sin and if he dies in that state, unrepentant, he will be in Hell every bit as much as anyone else who has, wilfully and deliberately, rejected the Grace of God.
      A Priest.

    4. Bishop Treanor was made aware of Fr Dallat's misendeavours and did nothing. The issue had to be brought to the attention of The Sunday Life before he Dallat was removed from active ministry. The Bishop was made aware of another D&C Priest who had over a 2 year relationship with a girl young enough to be his daughter and who flaunted herself daily about the Parochial House. Bishop's response - the so called priest was moved to West Belfast in the clerical changes in August 2013 and continues on his merry way. And people wonder why people feel forced to go to the Sunday Life??

    5. My God, Catholic Farmer, if you told the bishop and it is still going on, would you contact the Irish News, or something, or some independent media outlet?? Name and shame on the internet. Why prolong the Church's agony? Expose the evil. Please stop all this, once and for all.

    6. IT'S ENOUGH!! of this unhealthy sex perverted priests!!! this whole thing is to remove...'',mandatory hypocrisy..mand made rule of celibacy!!! it is time the church goes back to its' original roots!! for centuries with this mand made hypocrisy rule...the church has hidden many dirty sexual secrets,,along with tons of perverted so called...catholic priests all over the world...having sex with youths!! how evil!! and very shameful!! it is enough talk in the vatican to bring on...again...like it use to be with our first christian priests our disciples...''optional celibacy''. it seems that tons of priests lose their minds due to holding back their natural sexual urges...and the youths are the ones who suffer!!! how shameful!! and very evil!!!! it's enough talk at the vatican to get rid of this man-made rule of...mandatory celibacy'''and bring on...''optional celibacy''. it is the only way to save and heal our church. thanks...and blessings!!!

  7. Sadly Pat, I can confirm that what you say about Priests in relationships is true. Bishop Treanor knows of these but does not act ; perhaps he feels it's too big a problem, and prefers to 'turn a blind eye'.
    As I have said before on this blog, " it does appear that celibacy in Down & Connor is now optional for Clergy"

    Priest of D&C.

    1. Is it possible that the good bishop is afraid to do anything about these randy priests , has someone got a load of dirt on him and he can't do a thing incase he gets brought down also . It's also possible he's just a useless feck who dusnt give a shite what goes on around him . I wonder what other bishops think of him ?

  8. God bless Fr. Paul. Can you advise me where I can send a card assuring him of my prayers.

    1. c/o Lisbreen
      73 Somerton Road,
      BT15 4DE

  9. Rumour has it that Paulie is going to study podiatry at the University of London as a mature student and will be rooming at More House. He is looking forward to getting his hands on the Canonesses callouses and the Big Dean's bunions.

    1. Just watching Patrick Kielty on TV. He's just said: "I'm sweating like a priest in a playground" :-)

    2. I'm sure the lovely canonesses and the Dean Maximus are way out of Father Symonds preferred age range.

      PP D&

  10. I have just read the response of the priest to the farmer on 26 Jan at 19.11. In his post the priest goes over a lot of nonsense and claptrap about blasphemy and the priests soul being a morass and cesspit etc etc. What a load of b.s.
    If I were a priest and got a salary,a house with all found and treated with respect even though I was a bounder and I had the chance of a wee shag here and there then I'd go for it as well. All I can say to those shagging priests is " Go for it ye boys ye!!"
    There are much much greater sins committed in the Vatican that God should be more concerned about than lonely critters seeking a bit of warmth and pleasure.

    1. You are obviously a moron and there is point trying to reason with you.

  11. I've noted that some people are becoming offensive in their comments - as evidenced above at 10.38 It's not very edifying. I suggest that contributors do not use ad hominem argumentation. For those who don't understand, don't offensively personalise it, keep it objective and factual. You can express views, but don't be discourteous to or of people. Please ! If you don't like or agree with what someone has written, then argue the point not the person.

  12. MourneManMichael27 January 2016 at 13:05

    Dictionary definition describes a moron as having low intelligence..
    It makes no reference to describing a person of a different perspective or opinion as a moron.