Monday, 11 January 2016



HUGH KENNEDY the administrator and self appointed "dean" of St. Peter's Cathedral Belfast announced at Mass there yesterday that he was leaving his post.

He said that Bishop Treanor had offered him a parish appointment but that a third party had offered him a job as part of a university chaplain team at a London university. He had chosen the university - apparently with the permission of Bishop Treanor.

This announcement brings to an end a long and sometimes embarrassing stay at the cathedral from Dr Kennedy.

He went missing on a leave of absence some years ago after a trip with the Schola Cantorem to London with the choir master Mr Mc Clintock. Rumours abound as to what happened on that ill fated trip. But after an investigation and a two year absence Dean Kennedy was re-installed by Noel Treanor.

Many people think that Hugh was ill suited to the Lower Falls in the first place. Hugh is a man of independent means and could hardly be described as having the common touch. He was out of his depth in the Lower Falls and the Lower Falls needed a more in touch pastor - with as Pope Francis says - "the smell of the sheep" about him. Chanel and sheep smell very differently.

Hugh was the object of constant gossip among the clergy and to a man they all wondered what Noel Treanor was doing by putting Hugh in St Peters in the first place. St Brigid's - yes. Holywood - yes. But the Loney ???

Hugh's time there was compounded by the major scandal involving Father Ciaran Dallat who made a lady from his former parish pregnant.

    London will suit Hugh with its vast population, its liberal attitudes and its huge population in which one can become "lost".

I am not so sure about a university chaplaincy?

Many clergy find the university campus with good looking young people a challenge to their celibacy.

I hope that Hugh and Noel know what they are doing?


  1. The terms fox and chicken run come to mind :-(

    PP D&C

    "Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
    Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy boner,
    Silence the Grand Organ of Divisminster and with muffled drum
    Bring out the suitcases, let the mourners come.

    Let aeroplanes circle over the Twin Spires moaning overhead
    Scribbling on the sky the message 'He Is Gone To A University In England Full Of Lovely Guys',
    Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
    Let the PSNI riot squad on Prince Albert Street wear black cotton gloves.

    He was my North, my South, my East and West,
    My working week and my Sunday rest,
    My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
    I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

    The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
    Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
    Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
    For nothing now can ever come to any good"
    (Nigelica von Klimptentock, with apologies to W.H. Auden).

  3. No surprises that he wants to be in Uni world as opposed to parish life. I'd say Noel is just glad to see the back of him. The man is a liability.

    1. Is he the only priest in West Belfast considered a liability?

      Lenadoon Lena

  4. "If" Hught takes up this "new post" in London will the students have to call him Dean?

  5. The "Dean" epic concludes another chapter, but I fear that this is the story that will keep on giving !
    As a fellow Priest of this Diocese I knew Hugh P fairly well, and I concluded some years ago, that he was a man with serious identity issues; not least in the area of sexuality.
    I wish him well in his future life, but I honestly feel that he is ill suited to future ministry, be that in a University context or otherwise ; Hugh P has too many unresolved issues himself.

    Priest of Down & Connor.

  6. So with there already a shortage of man power in the diocese and so many 'disappeared' what is Noel thinging by agreeing to let the dean go to london. Surely he should have made him take the parish appointment. He is surely needed more at home in D and C

    1. How could he ever work in a parish setting in D&C again? His reputation is ruined.

    2. Noel let him go because he is about as useful as tits on a bull.

  7. Dear Pat,
    Would you consider assigning a reporter to England, so that we can all be kept abreast of the 'Dean's' future chaplaincy work at Uni ?


    1. My man in London will be on the ball.

    2. My man in London will be on the ball.

  8. Indeed 21-06 but the phrase "lesser of two evils"springs to mind

  9. In the case of Dean Hugh Kennedy and his ministry in this diocese the bishop has decided that no bread is better than half a loaf !!

  10. A tsunami of grief is sweeping around the little streets. The normally tumescent spires of St PeePee's looked a little drooped today such is the weight of sorrow weighing upon this wee neighbourhood.

    The dear Dean is departing. Recessit pastor noster. Sent into exile. Ah well... at least he is returning to his beloved Blighty. There he will be safe.

    There, at least, they will know his worth. There, in that green and pleasant land, perchance, at last, he shall have bestowed on him the ecclesiastical honours so richly deserved. There, in England's pleasant pastures, shall the sacred purple be finally conferred upon the lowly hoary head that seeks it not.

    The callous bishop shall rue the day he allowed the light of culture, learning and patriotism to be snuffed out, in our heart-some wee district.

    We shall miss those dulcet tones - that fine baritone - every Sunday - bringing tears to the eyes of the most hardened.

    Ah well, noblesse oblige. He has emptied himself... eschewing the privileges of his years and gone to take his place among the lowly students, among the poorest of the poor.

    How blessed are they, those young men gasping and panting for knowledge and experience, to have such a paragon stoop down to them and share their humble lot.

    Ah well... the loss of the hoods of Divis is the gain of those young rapscallions who will be blessed now to sit at his feet and gaze upon the hirsute face of wisdom.

    I just hope they treasure him as much as we did. To us - forever - shall he be - The Dean of Hearts.

  11. MourneManMichael11 January 2016 at 23:58

    To what extent is the Dean just another RC cleric who, after ordination didn't understand or acknowledge being ill suited for the demands of orthodox RC ministry until well after ordination and finding himself in a "no-going-back" scenario?

    By that I refer both to a perceived lack of viable attractive alternative options on one hand, and reluctance on other hand to voluntarily give up the benefits and trappings of the Irish priestly status.
    And I wonder how many more RC clerics are similarly shackled by these considerations, especially older clerics with few academic/lay qualifications. Additionally there may well be some possibly younger ones who, in addition to realisation of personal unsuitability in relation to sexuality, may have lost faith and belief in the orthodox teachings of the RC church.
    To what extent are these underlying factors in clerical scandals in Ireland and elsewhere? I can certainly imagine such factors as compelling post ordination, for they certainly featured in the lead up to my own decision to quit before ordination.
    While on the one hand, diocesan bishops could be criticised for failing to provide some form of support for those clerics who might wish to opt out in acknowledgement of their unsuitability, yet on the other hand, providing ANY inkling of understanding let alone support would surely open the floodgates?

  12. Who will replace the good & godly 'Dean' at the Cathedral ?
    Where can Bishop Treanor find another cleric of such learning, and cultural sensitivity ?
    I hope Dr Treanor does not regret letting the 'Dean' go to England.


  13. Hugh Kennedy would not have been tolerated in Holywood or St Brigid's. The bishop ignored the complaints sent from St Peter's Parish. There will be very few tears shed over his departure, at long last, from here.

  14. Is Ireland still sending all its "problems" to England.

  15. Indeed Kennedy wouldn't have been tolerated for 10 seconds in our parish. His behaviour and his antics have been a disgrace. He forgot that a priest,just like Caesar's wife, should not only be above reproach but BE SEEN to be above reproach! Why the authorities in this Diocese allowed all the carryon and shenanigans to go on so long defies belief. Terrible damage has been done to the good people and morale of the Cathedral Parish. They were made feel by the appointments made that any trashy priest will do. Shame on the bishop or his advisors. As for Kennedy he can go and high live with his artyfarty elk in London and take his choir master with him. An absolute disgrace being remedied too little and far too late.
    Malone Micky

  16. This explains why Monsignor Kennedy has been seen frequently at London's Westminster Cathedral concelebrating the High Mass on a Sunday morning. Unusually for a visiting priest (and there are many) the good Belfast man has been asked to read / sing the Gospel; something not normally permitted to visitors. I wonder will Hugh seek incarnardination into the Westminster diocese in time? He should be warned though that Archbishop Nicholls tolerates no nonsense from his priests. I heard recently of a priest who was hauled before the Cardinal to give an account of himself after having been "spotted" in a gay nightclub in the West End. Apparently, Nicholls pasted the walls with him, and sent him away with a warning resounding in his ears, "If I have to speak to you again, I will have your guts for garters" the Cardinal said. Westminster is a long way from Belfast, the West End from West Belfast, but Vincent Cardinal Nicholls is no Noel Traenor. He is a micro manager who knows everything that goes on. Monsignor Kennedy needs to mind himself.

    1. Although the "dean" does have "the gear" and has been seen dressed up like a Mons. on numerous occasions, Fr. Kennedy is not a Monsignor. The Holy Father has never conferred on him that honour.

  17. Give credit where credit is due. Father Kennedy has done great good and has tried to make the Cathedral Church of the Diocese a centre of liturgical excellence and beauty. Its just that you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear and so I think Father Kennedy is better suited to the magnificence of Westminster Cathedral.

    1. "a centre of liturgical excellence and beauty"?? A centre of prancing nancy boys more like and performing divas like himself. Kennedy and his fancy man destroyed one of the finest Cathedral choirs in Ireland and replaced it with their own fantasy band. The cathedral ceased to be a place of true prayer the day and hour Kennedy and his consort took over. Westminster Abbey is welcome to him if they want him though it would seem they are being made wise to him before his arrival.

  18. So I guess this explains why Noel made no diocesan changes in 2015. He was waiting for the Dean to answer London's call. Who is his replacement likely to be / is best suited for it?

    1. Do Diocesan changes take place every year?

    2. Yes, diocesan changes normally do take place at the end of the summer, each year.

      Kennedy obviously hung out to the bitter end with +Noel - for the full ten years - at the end of which the bishop would have been canonically entitled to move against him and get him out of the Cathedral.

      If he had any decency, Kennedy would have voluntarily moved on himself to another assignment, after the "carry on" at the Cathedral.

      However, he dug in his heels and was stubbornly and selfishly determined to continue, as principal among the 'dramatis personae', regardless of the ongoing scandal and disquiet caused to the faithful.

      It would indeed be important to discover the exact nature of his proposed university "ministry": recommended by whom? Who with? Where? With the approbation/recommendation of whom? etc.

      Does the local Ordinary know about Kennedy and is formally appointing him to ministry in his diocese?

      Or is this a "private" arrangement, manipulated and concocted by Kennedy himself, with help of a few of his cronies?

      It would be VERY important, for those with responsibility in both diocese and university, to be furnished with ALL of the facts and not just the 'spin' of Kennedy and a few of his pals.

    3. By and large they do given retirements and replacements and those newly ordained given their first appointment but I suppose there is no rule they have to be every year. Today's Irish News reports on the Dean leaving and quotes a diocesan spokesperson saying there will be a number of changes issued/made public in the next couple of days.

  19. As I priest of the Southwark diocese I can tell you it is well known that Vince over the river sticks no nonsense from his troops and everything,and I mean everything, is reported back to Ambrosden Avenue (Archbishops House)
    I can also tell you that friends of mine who are in the Westminster presbyterate are already talking about Kennedy. His reputation goes before him and his card is marked !!

  20. I wonder about the exact nature of this university "appointment" that is so "appealing" to Kennedy over a parish assignment in his home diocese.

    Does it have the approval of Cardinal Nichols if, indeed, HK is going to be working in his diocese? Does the Cardinal know the exact nature of the "prize" he is getting?

    Kennedy is vague about this appointment. What "team of priests" actually approached him? Is D&C, indeed, as Pat has asked, simply exporting its problem to England?

    After all, the City of London, apparently, was the scene of the trouble that led to his stepping aside from ministry a few years ago. And the exact nature of that "trouble" is much speculated upon!

    Are the diocesan authorities in England, who have responsibility for this particular University and the young Catholics studying there, fully apprised of Kennedy's history?

    Are a couple of Kennedy's 'birds of a feather' clerical cronies, perhaps, duping a diocese into accepting him into its fold on their 'recommendation'?

    Will the Cardinal in Westminster, or some other English bishop, be giving +NT a flea in his ear - or worse - in the future, if HPK loses the run of himself, again, in some other setting?

    Why not keep the self-styled "dean" in D&C where an "eye" could be kept on him? Why allow him to indulge himself, once again, as he has been allowed to do all his life thus far, choosing his own appointment, suiting himself and catering to his own drives, tastes and urges??

    Whatever happened to a priest being ordained to serve God and the Church - not his own whims and fancies?

    Perhaps, Pat, you should send a dossier on Kennedy to Cardinal Nichols, so that, at least, Kennedy's card is well and truly marked.

    My personal view, along with many others, is that he is unsuitable for priestly service. If he were in any other walk of life, he would be sacked - or quietly 'let go' - pensioned off.

    He is, indeed, after all, a man of personal means. He is highly unlikely ever to present himself, at St Peter's Drop In Centre, looking for the price of a bottle of Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Barolo Riserva!!

    Senior Cleric.

  21. Perhaps also Pat you could copy in Archbishop Peter Smith, the archbishop in Southwark which is the diocese South of the Thames. This is just in case Kennedy's "appointment" is to a "Souf Lundin" university although from what I'm hearing from a priest friend big Hughie's activities have already came up on the episcopal radar.
    Del Boy

  22. I have no doubt that HK will already be on the episcopal radar in London, both north and south of the river. I don't know what university chaplaincy he might be going to. Perhaps HK will become something of a Monsignor Gilbey of gin fame - I keep hearing he has 'independent means' and therefore doesn't need to rely on the pittance he would receive from any clerical job he undertakes. Nice position to be in. But, I don't think it's completely true. As to ++Vincent, I seem to remember some time ago that he had questions asked about his 'lifestyle' ? A nun and a holiday caravan come to mind ! The nun was translated from Birmingham to Westminster with Vincent when he moved there. I think she was 'non-negotiable'. Rather like Camilla for Prince Charles. I think the nun still goes on holidays with His Eminence, chaperoned by a mature matron of a certain Catholic standing ! 'Though I'm sure she wouldn't like me describing her like that ! I suppose what I am getting at, is that we all have aspects of our lives and relationships which can be seen in various ways and interpreted viciously, if put under close scrutiny. HK has an 'interesting' backdrop, but is it any worse than many other clergy who have just been able to be a bit more discreet, or lucky ? Most clergy are f***ed up, most are rather strange, most have odd behavioural and relationship inadequacies. As one retreat master giving a clergy retreat is purported to have said to the assembled Fathers: 'Let's be honest about it, and admit that we cope with our lives as priests by too much golf, too much whiskey, and too much masturbation' ! Maybe we should give HK another chance and let him, hopefully, merge in to the London scene and quietly live out his days doing what good he can. He's in the limelight, I know, but really he isn't the worst of the bunch. He's simply a product, like so many clergy, of a system of education and formation, and an imposed clerical lifestyle that is unhealthy and damaging. No wonder so many of our priests are damaged inadequates. Don't blame HK, blame Holy Mother The Church in Her Infinite Wisdom.

    1. I'm sure Hughy will "merge into the London scene" without any bother - like a duck to water.

    2. MourneManMichael14 January 2016 at 00:12

      An excellant insightful, and essentially honest comment Servingblogger. Well said.

    3. It is complete cop out to blame bad and dysfunctional behaviour of certain individuals on the "Holy Mother Church". People are responsible for their choices and actions too.

      It is not the Church's fault that a man is self-absorbed, a narcissist, anally-expulsive, has deeply-ingrained selfishness, a massive sense of entitlement, delusions of grandeur ... the list could go on.

      Despite the Church's faults, a man who gives himself for priestly service in the Church is expected, in the words of St Paul, to die to himself, to crucify the flesh with all its passions and desires.

      This dying to self is his life's work - not the seeking of honours, the seeking of himself, the pursuit of his own fancies and desires, at the expense of the good name of the priesthood and regardless of the scandal given to others.

      Rather than a university, the proper future setting for the man in question is a monastery. A life of prayer, solitude and penance would be apt in these circumstances.

    4. Your comment reminded me of the story I once heard about a monastery on a hill above a village. The monks had a three day party to celebrate the election of a new abbot and the villagers could not sleep.They sent a delegation to the monastery to complain and the doorkeeper explained: "We are holding a monks Ball". The delegation leader replied: "Well would you please let is go so that the rest of us can sleep".

      Even within monasteries there can be "antics"!

      But as least there's confinment :-)

    5. It sounds to me as if Anonymous was trained in the College for Noble Ecclesiatics in Rome. He has the off pat answer to what the priesthood is all about. But reality is very different. The point I am trying to make, in the case of HK and generally in the case of Catholic clergy, is that in my experience over many years and through intimate knowledge of priests, that the vast majority of them do not lead healthy and integrated lives. The unrealistic and imposed conditions of clerical life, particularly celibacy, and the spiritual infantalisation of clergy by means of the control imposed on them in all sorts of ways - house, job, living, employment, postings etc. etc. -leads the vast majority of them to be emotionally, psychologically, in relationships and in terms of sexuality, very adolescent and immature. You see it all the time. Abuse of power. Over-egging their priestly role. Living in unrealistic conditions with little or no accountability. It is not a healthy environment, and the people who inhabit it are not integrated and healthy. There needs to be a radical reassessment of what priesthood and ministry is all about which reflects our understanding of what healthy and integrated living is all about. So, save me the pietistic spiritualised homily I have just read above.

    6. Thats a lot of nonsense. The nun in question is an elderly sister in her late seventies who has kept house for Cardinal Nicholls since he was auxiliary bishop in Westminster. The nun now keeps house for him at Ambroseden Avenue and is frail, to say the least. I think the Cardinal has been looking after her, rather than the other way about for many years. To be sure the nature of their relationship has raised questions, leading to the wholly unfound slander in the `news of the world' many years back, but it is in the nature of these friendships to be misunderstood by those with less innocent minds. I'm told the nun used to attend clerical lunch with the archbishop and his priests, but after a quiet word in HE's (His Eminences) ear this was soon stopped.

    7. LOL Yes, balls held in confinement would be a wiser course of action there.

    8. My information is that the elderly nun AND HER SISTER keep house for VN.

      Their relationship with VN is motherly in nature.

      I dont think VN would have it in him to be "active" with anyone. That would take PASSION.

    9. My information is that the elderly nun AND HER SISTER keep house for VN.

      Their relationship with VN is motherly in nature.

      I dont think VN would have it in him to be "active" with anyone. That would take PASSION.

    10. Serving blogger - I will indeed spare you a further "homily". I think you are making excuses for the inexcusable and talking through your hat.

      I would say the vast majority of people in the general population - never mind clergy - do not live what you call "healthy and integrated lives" - but we muddle through and the vast majority of people manage to NOT imagine themselves to be the centre of universe.

      Most people manage to make some progress beyond the infantile stage. Some don't. HK is one of those stuck at an infantile stage of development.

      He does not need further indulgence and confirmation that he is, indeed, the centre of the world and that world owes him deference and a living.

      At 60 years of age, he needs a good kick up the ass - not a further indefinite supply of nappies and nappy changers (figuratively speaking).

  23. Waste no more time on that useless big egocentric, puffed up waster Kennedy.
    Divis Donal

  24. One of the less edifying aspects of Cardinal Nicholls and his elderly housekeeper is the fact that she attends all ceremonies and Masses that HE celebrates. On these occasions she has a seat reserved for her at the front of the Cathedral and she arrives in her place to the accompanying of much bowing and scraping from the flunkies who usually attend these ceremonies. To be fair this is not her fault, and I doubt if HE ever sees it, but it is very disedifying and I have heard that visitors and VIPS have commented "Is that the Cardinal's mother?" Its just another sign of the strange relationships of dependency that Catholic priests tend to form and get trapped in, albeit at a very high level.

  25. I wonder how servingblogger would score in an assessment of "healthy and integrated living"?

  26. Down and Connor Clerical Appointments
    15th January 2016
    In response to the pastoral needs of the people of the Diocese of Down and Connor, Bishop Noel
    Treanor has made the following clerical appointments which take effect on Thursday 28th January

    Fr Hugh Kennedy to be Chaplain to the Congregation of Our Lady, More House,
    Archdiocese of Westminster, London.

    Fr Martin Graham to be Administrator of St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast.

    Fr John McManus to be PP Strangford and Kilclief.

    Fr Eugene O’Hagan to be Diocesan Chancellor.

    Fr Gregory Cormican resignation on grounds of ill health as PP of Coleraine has been

    Fr Brendan Mulhall CSsR to be Administrator of Coleraine.

    Fr Peter O’Kane to be PP Christ the Redeemer, Lagmore.

    Fr Brendan Hickland on sabbatical leave from St Teresa’s

    Fr Don Kettle on loan from the Archdiocese of Perth, Australia, to be Administrator of
    St Teresa’s, Belfast.

    Fr Peter Carlin to be priest in residence in St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast.

    Fr Gary Toman to be priest in residence in Glenarm (appointment of Chaplain to
    Queen’s University Belfast to follow).

    Fr Michael Dempsey CSsR to be Assistant Chaplain in the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH).

    Fr Joseph Rooney in addition to Judicial Vicar of the Diocese appointed Judicial Vicar for
    the Armagh Regional Marriage Tribunal.

    Fr Gerard Fox in addition to his ongoing position as Director of Formation in St
    Malachy’s Seminary to assist and supply within the West Belfast
    Pastoral Community.

    Fr Paul Morely in addition to CC Holy Family, at the request of Cardinal George
    Alencherry, Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, appointed assistant
    priest to the Syro-Malabar community in Down and Connor.

    Fr Vincent Cushnahan appointed to the Down and Connor Office of the Armagh Regional
    Marriage Tribunal at the Good Shepherd Centre, Belfast and to be priest
    in residence in the Parish of the Nativity, Belfast.

    Fr Andrew Black recently ordained to be Catholic Chaplain in Belfast City Hospital
    (BCH) residing in St Paul’s, Belfast.

    Fr Conor McCarthy recently ordained to be CC Larne

  27. Here is where Big Shuey is going:

    Definitely a fox/chicken coup scenario.

    Let's hope the Cardinal's "eyes and ears" are sharp....

  28. And the More House is linked through to here:
    Certainly, this is the story that keeps on giving ........

  29. Alas, dear flock, with heavy heart, I must confirm, the dread rumour is true: your beloved Dean is leaving you.

    The weeping in the little kitchen houses,'neath the Erect Spires, hath rent the heart of your Dean and the plaintiff strains of your laments hath reached his ears: "will he no come back agin? Will he no come back agin? Many's a heart will break in twa! Will he no come back agin?

    Under extreme protest doth your Dean depart. However, the priestly heart of your Dean has heard the voices calling in the night and, without flinching. hath said: Here I am. I am coming!

    Do not be anxious for your dear Dean. He goeth where he knoweth. He hath sussed out the land ahead. Many a cheery day has been spent among the dear Canonesses of St Augustine in London. They keep a good cellar, so do not fear, dear hearts, for your Dean's welfare.

    More important, however, than the comfort and joy of your Dean, those dear Canonesses have entrusted to him, in times past, the taming of their wild-spirited young men.

    And thus it was, one night, in slumber, in Royal Portstewart, there came to your Dean while he dreamt, the pleadings of those young rascals: "we beseech thee, come and walk once more among us!"

    And so he must go. Far from Prince Albert Street and the wee district, not thinking of himself, but answering More Hall's call. Those young rascals need a firm hand. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, cometh your Dean.

    But fret not, dear little flock. My eyes, my ears and my heart remain in your midst. The Duchess Nigelica will keep your Dean fully abreast of all your little joys and sorrows and, be assured, he shares in them from afar, as he carries this heavy cross of further imposed responsibility, a Londres.

    I will always, forever, be, your Dean of Hearts (how that epithet, bestowed by a young stalwart, moved your Dean).

    Seriously, I will be watching closely from afar. Any attempt to dismantle what the Dean has erected will be met with a revolt of the Hoods of Divis with whom your Dean, believe it not, had a close affinity.

    For he has, indeed, the common touch and is very much at home among all types of young lovely guys, be they commoners or nobles.

  30. As I have said on here before ++Vin has been well briefed on Big Shug. He will welcome him with good grace but believe me one whiff of scandal around Kennedy and it will be a case of bus fare home !

    1. How do we know that ++Vin has been briefed?

    2. You may be sure that he has googled him. That has been mandatory since old Benedict was punished for being too charitable to Richard Williamson. No day should end until we have googled every cleric encountered in the course of it.

      Colorful clerics are a delight but thank god for the duller ones who get on with the work.

  31. I wonder who'll be taking over at QUB?