Tuesday, 29 March 2016



WE have had 8 years to judge whether or not NOEL TREANOR is a good and suitable bishop for the Diocese of Down and Connor.

At this stage we know that his leadership - or lack of leadership - is leading the diocese into the wilderness of a disenchanted clergy, a disillusioned and confused laity, emptying churches and general irrelevance in society.

At the time of his appointment people genuinely doubted if a man who had little or no pastoral experience and who had spent 20 years behind a desk in EUROPE was the right man to appoint as bishop in one of the most challenging times the Catholic Church has ever faced.

But of course he deserved the benefit of the doubt - and many gave him that benefit. 

But now the JURY IS IN.

What are Treanor's insurmountable weaknesses?


Those who meet Noel Treanor speak of meeting someone who seems to have some type of personality blockage that leaves you feeling that he is not totally present with you but is some locked within himself and leaves you feeling you are talking to someone through an invisible wall or from an upper story window.

The Ciaran Dallat victim I sent to him felt this as did an elderly lady who watched him at a County Down church hall function and as did someone in St Malachy's College visit.

The image is of him alone in a corner with a cup and saucer in hand and not in touch with the other people in the room.

Of course he cannot be blamed if this is an inherited or learned trait - but it makes pastoral and human contact impossible. 


Noel Treanor's spending of between 1 million pounds and 4 million pounds on the renovation of his palace is very worrying. He has refused to say exactly how much he spent.

But we are told that the internal door handles cost £350 pounds each and that the wallpaper was £100 a roll. 

Maybe that palace is the external manifestation of his internal ivory tower personality and existence?

But his insistence on spending such huge sums on his personal home when people in his diocese are struggling financially and some of them having their homes taken from them by the banks is an amazing act of arrogance. 

Some wonder why Pope Francis did not reprimand him as he reprimanded the German Bishop of Bling. In fact Francis remonstrated with an American bishop for spending just $400,000 dollars on his home. Noel Treanor has spent at least 4 times that on his Belfast home.


One of Treanor's earliest public disputes and scandals was a row with the highly regarded child protection supremo Mr Ian Elliott.

Mr Elliott was so furious with Noel Treanor that he consulted with lawyers with a view to suing Noel Treanor.

The scandal ended with Noel Treanor having to issue a public apology to Mr Elliott.

Bishop complained about child protection official

Monday 10 September 2012 11.28
Ian Elliott was the subject of a complaints made by Bishop Noel Treanor
One in Four Director Maeve Lewis has described as "staggering" revelations that the Bishop of Down and Connor made a complaint against the head of the National Council for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church.
In a statement, Bishop Noel Treanor said he accepted the findings of a report that found there was no basis for his complaint.
Ian Elliott is head of the Catholic Church's watchdog, which was set up to monitor and report on how child protection guidelines are being implemented.
But newspaper reports revealed that Mr Elliott was the subject of a complaint last year from a senior member of the Catholic hierarchy.
The Sunday Times reported that Bishop Treanor complained that Mr Elliott was engaging in spin against the church during media briefings.
Retired Supreme Court Judge Catherine McGuinness conducted an investigation, which concluded there was no basis for the complaint.
Bishop Treanor said the matter that arose was a procedural one, adding that he accepted the findings of the report and withdrew his assertion.
A spokesman for Mr Elliott said he would be making no comment on the matter at this time.
Ms Lewis described the revelations as insulting and staggering.
Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week, Ms Lewis said actions of the Bishop of Down and Connor were extremely insulting to Mr Elliot, whom she described as a man of immense integrity.
But she said it gives an insight into Church culture, a church she said was unaccustomed to being held to account for its actions in the manner which the NBSCCCI was doing.


Bishop Treanor took the unprecedented step of going to the Stormont parliament building and aligning himself with the fundamentalist and unionist  party - the Democratic Unionist Party against gay rights and gay marriage.

Treanor with DUP leader Peter Robinson
Not only did Treanor offend gay people and their family and friends by this thoughtless action - he offended many ordinary Catholics from the nationalist community who had suffered under extreme unionism for decades.


Noel Treanor allowed scandal to continue at his cathedral with the reappointment of Hugh Kennedy.

Finally he realised that the problem would not go away and allowed the Bould Hugh to move to Wesminster - where he was proudly seen this week con-celebrating with Cardinal Nicholls !!! 

HUGH proudly processing in Westminster


Bishop Treanor's most public recent mistake has been his determination to reappoint Fr Ciaran Dallat to ministry after his having an affair with a Belfast parishioner, making her pregnant and taking up to £20,000 in gifts from her. 

On the night she lay losing the baby he went out for dinner with friends. 

Without any announcemeny - and barely 12 months after his removal - Dallat appeared among the priests at the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass. 

When there was a flurry of protest after the Mass Treanor announced that he was going to give him an assignment after Easter.

The Ciaran Dallat affair is a clear sign that Noel Treanor does not care what the priests and the people of the diocese think of his decisions.

Appointing Dallat to ministry will be a clear TWO FINGER gesture by Treanor to all. 

Noel Treanor is truly leading Down and Connor into a deeper wilderness.

And he does not seem to care?


  1. I think that Bishop Treanor is making a grave mistake in reinstating Fr Dallat. He is falling in to the same trap that many bishops fell in to some decades ago with abusive priests, particularly those who abused children and vulnerable young people. Namely, seeing the actions of these people as a moral issue, which could be 'healed' and 'sorted' by being sent away for a time for a bit of prayer and reflection, and then come back renewed and fit for ministry. As we know with abusive priests, the problem was much more deeply rooted. I suspect that with the likes of Fr Dallat there is a more deep issue than just having an affair with a woman, and that will not just be 'healed' and 'sorted' by a bit of time on the sidelines.

    In addition, there is the whole matter of professional behaviour to take in to account. In any other profession -teaching, medical, nursing, legal, any profession - there is an expectation of professional and appropriate conduct towards people with whom one has a professional relationship. If Fr Dallat were a doctor, he would now be in very serious trouble with the body which registers and oversees doctors because of his serious transgression of professional boundaries and standards. There would be a strong liklihood of his being struct off the medical register. For some reason, this does not seem to apply to priests who get involved with people with whom they have some ministerial and professional relationship. My understanding is that Fr Dallat had some kind of relationship based on pastoral ministry with the (at least one !) woman he entered in to a sexual relationship. This is a serious matter of professionalism and standards and of quetions his suitability to be someone who is involved in ministry. This appears to have been ignored by Bishop Treanor, no doubt in some misguided pastoral concern for Fr Dallat. I do understand the desire of a Bishop to be a 'father' to his priests, and I understand the desire of the Church to welcome home sinners. But, that must be balanced by professional standards and accountability, as happens with other professionals who engage in pastoral and personal interaction with 'clients' - which is what parishioners and people with whom clergy interact in a ministerial and pastoral way are.

    I know all of that sounds harsh. But, that is the way of the world for people who want to be taken seriously as professionals, and for people who engage with people on a professional basis, be it counselling, pastoral care, ministry or any other way.

    1. No, nothing of what you said sounded "harsh". But you did omit to say the
      most important thing in this whole sorry saga: Bishop Treanor, like his fellow bishops who moved child- abusing priests from parish to parish, doesn't care
      about the exploitation of the laity by such men; this is why he won't dismiss such an untrustworthy priest as C Dallat. Men like him are of infinitely more
      value (the "holy" priest, the "man set apart", etc) to bishops than mere lay people.

      The conduct of bishops like Treanor is one measure (and there are many
      others) of how the teachings of Vatican 11 on the nature of Church have failed to be grasped and lived by the bishops. They, more than 50 years after
      the close of that Council, still cling to the ecclesiology prevalent before the Council that they, the bishops, are actually the Church. They even continue to
      abuse the teaching of the Council not just in how they act, but by misusing
      the word "Church" in such expressions as " the Church teaches" when in fact what they should be saying is "the Magisterium of the Church teaches". The
      Magisterium is not the Church, and it is a lie to present its teachings as those of the entire "People of God"; this includes clergy AND laity and is in fact how
      the Second Vatican Council defined "Church".

      The teachings of an ecumenical council like Vatican 11 are meant to be binding on ALL Catholics, yet the bishops of the Church, as well as scores of
      priests, continue to disregard some of Vatican 11's most foundational instructions. It is scandalous.

  2. Mourne Man Michael29 March 2016 at 14:50

    Spot on analysis Anon @ 14:48 Not in the least bit harsh, just telling it as it is.
    Well done and thanks.

  3. I don't know if this is true or not but when noel was made bishop of d&c he didn't want the job at all but he was told that it was only short term as he was being groomed to take over from Brady and a red hat would be in the post . But his complaint with Mr Eliot caused too much embarrassment and cost him his armagh seat and new hat . Such a shame as that mane of white hair would have suited a red hat . He's stuck in Belfast now and dusnt want to be there he misses his sprouts in Brussels

  4. I am a 70 year old who has been a devout Catholic all my life. I live in a rural parish in Down and Connor.

    A short time ago our priest was exposed for having a sexual affair with a young parishioner. Concerned people from our parish spoke to Bishop Treanor about the situation.

    The priest was, in the bishop's own time, simply moved to another parish where his "activities" continue.

    Has Bishop Treanor not learned the lessons of moving scandal creating priests from parish to parish.

    After nearly 70 years I have stopped going to Mass.

    1. Dear 70 Year Old Parishioner,

      I fully understand the shock, sadness and disappointment you feel.

      I only hope that the situation has not stopped you having a relationship with God?

      You are welcome at The Oratory in Larne at any time or one of us would be willing to go a celebrate Mass in your home.


  5. LEADING D&C TO WILDERNESS? If that is so, then that is the best news I have heard in a long time. That's the place where the Lord leads all of those who follow his guidance. The wilderness experience is the training ground of the HOLY Spirit. Bring it on, then we will have a Holy Church coming out with the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit that it has lost right now.

    1. You've missed a crucial distinction between the biblical wilderness narrative and the morally directionless example of Bishop Noel Treanor in Down and Connor: in the first, it was the Spirit who led Christ to his showdown with evil
      personified as Satan; in the second case, it most definitely isn't the Spirit
      guiding Bishop Treanor, but the good bishop himself.

      Bishop Treanor is not the Spirit and has neither his wisdom nor transforming power. Which is why Down and Connor is being riven by scandal rather than unified by wise counsel.

  6. We have enough problems in our Diocese at present without bringing back Ciaran Dallat. Priesthood has been made into an idol by the Church hierarchy, priests and people, over a number of centuries, and we are now seeing the 'poisoned fruits'of such idolatry.
    All clergy must be held accountable for their actions, not only in a purely legalistic way, but also where professional boundaries have been seriously transgressed.
    Bringing back Fr Dallat would I believe bring ministry further into disrepute. What would it say about how we view women in the church ?
    How could Parishioners (especially women) feel at ease with Fr Dallat if he were assigned to their parish ?
    How will his fellow Priests , myself included, feel about Fr Dallat's return ?
    I wonder how much consideration our Bishop has given to these and other questions , or has the idolatry won out again ?

    Priest of D&C.

  7. I can tell you how the parishoners in the pews are viewing the whole mess. There are fewer and fewer of them !! its as simple as that.

  8. The comments on this post are excellent. It's amazing that this is the only forum which lets clergy, religious and laity comment on current diocesan affairs. It's a pity more of us do not speak out on the absolute absence of lay or religoius voices in diocesan decision-making. How much longer are we going to have to suffer the silence of good people at the absurd decisions and lack of any creativity made by NT and his predecessor PW (including A. Farquhar) and their cronies. Don't forget, the recent "Senior Management" of D&C Diocese have presided over a decline of eighty percent of practice. The next generation of Catholics is lost unless we have major change in leadership.

  9. The Catholic Church in Ireland is dying. Why ?
    I believe the main problem is Church Structure - the top down approach is killing life and creativity & is serving the people of God very badly, as well as condemning many clergy to do little more than watch the decline.
    I do not believe this is what the good Lord intended. Human vanity, insecurity, and sin, often dressed up in ecclesiastical language, have created a church structure which is utterly unfit for purpose.
    Bishop Treanor's actions and inaction in recent years prove my point.

    Priest of D&C.

  10. The Catholic Church for Dummies

    A long established man made organisation which has gained great wealth and worldwide influence due to support of innocent,trusting and brainwashed followers down through the centuries.
    Ruled by a superior caste (hierarchy) who have preserved at all costs (including the abuse of the truth) its wealth and enhanced the prestigious standing and political influence of the church.
    Has constantly adaptedand changed the goalposts to suit its own needs.
    The self preservation of the caste and its aspirants ( priests) and the cover up and if necessary the denial of its failings when challenged has always been evident. These failings have included the abuse of power, abuse of children, the vulnerable and the uneducated and misappropriation of funds.
    In recent times it has looked to developing markets (South America) for newer adherents as followers in older established territories get educated and smart and see through the whole sham and start calling the churches bluff and depart in vast numbers.
    Throughout its history all its messages have been wrapped in biblical speak.
    Many of the messages now going back to the caste from departing followers are not biblical.
    Fortwilliam Frank

  11. Pat, I doubt Mother Angelica heard of you, but she might have had you in mind when she said that you're not doing Christianity right if you're not a thorn in anybody's side!

  12. Word on the streets of North Antrim would suggest that Bishop T might have another wee problem coming his way.
    Glensman Gerry

  13. We always have had problems with Shepherds and sheep within the church. You have Solitary ones that won’t mix; you have Hermit ones that won’t be sheared; you have Wandering ones that can’t settle & are never satisfied; you have Cast ones that cause problems with other sheep (bullies); and of course you have Judas ones that lead others to slaughter
    Then of course you have false Shepherds who feed themselves and clothe themselves.
    They slaughter the choice ones; they neglect to strengthen the weak or the sick and disregard the blind or injured. They let the strays wander and fail to search for lost ones and you have Shepherds that rule harshly and cause them to scatter
    Our Bishops, Rectors and Priests have to come to acknowledge that the New Testament concept of Church involves a ‘Body Ministry’ and all the parts not only grafted into each other but grafted also into the ‘Vine’ We can’t start on the 2nd floor to work upwards, there has to be a foundation, otherwise all our efforts will collapse. When we in the Church only get people involved in Ministry instead of getting them identified with Christ, then it’s like building a 2nd storey over a vacant lot. That is why we are not bearing fruit that will last. That’s why so many projects turn into rotten fruit.

  14. What a thrill to see the picture of our dear Dean, so tall and erect, striding proudly along the aisle of Westminster Cathedral!

    No doubt the ears of worshippers pricked up at the manly sound of his fine baritone as he paraded through the pews.

    Close on his heels is +Vincent Cardinal Nichols.

    Now therein, captured by an unsuspecting photographer, lies a prophetic image and I, hereby, predict what shall come to pass:

    The Cardinal will soon be named head of a Roman Congregation by Francis; that will leave the See of Westminster 'sede vacante'; thus will the Dean of Divis arise - at God's command - and ascend to his rightful rank - his dread destiny.

    And he - eschewing his own interests and desires - will, selflessly and joyfully, forsake the wimples of the Canonesses - and the riveting repartee of the More House young lovely guys - and will take up the cross of ecclesial high office and don the crown of thorns that is a mitre.

    Verily, will he go forth - like St Oliver Plunkett coming from the safety of Rome to the dangers of Ireland - the Dean - selfless to the last - and, noblesse oblige, shall he mount the throne of St Augustine - to take his rightful seat.

    This do I solemnly predict to come to pass by the Twalf of July,

    Lady Lillian Clarabella Liggett-Larson,
    Countess of Clonard.

  15. MourneManMichael30 March 2016 at 19:50

    Lady Lillian, you have a marvellous way with words!
    For the sake of the "faithful" at Westminster, I just hope your gift for prophecy does not match your gift with words.

  16. How can you have a SCANDAL AT THE CATHEDRAL: when the person in question has been cleared, no accusations substantiated. So does that mean that you are guilty regardless of the outcome? Or is it another case of 'like a lamb he was let to the slaughter though he had done no wrong'.