Tuesday, 24 May 2016


Normally comments are made on the blog in response to something I have published.

However without any prompting from me the comments below about Bishop John McAreavey started arriving on the Blog.

I publish them to allow further discussion if people so require.



 I 1. I actually recall someone telling me the scandal of Newry Parish Centre. As other people on this blog are from Newry they can perhaps clarify. As I understand the Diocese purchased a former nightclub on the Mall, Newry for a large sum. I think it was over 1 million. They lobbied the parishioners in Newry to give, give, give for this excellent asset to the Parish. I was in it just after it opened. Very modern and clearly a lot of money spent on it. It had appropriately themed rooms like John Paul II room etc. Well, I am told that no sooner was the ribbon cut than all the Catholic themed room names were changed. The Catholic art including a painting of John Paul II which I did see myself was banished to the broom cupboard and the entire building was renamed "Newry Conference and Banqueting Centre". It seems it was quite the scandal at the time. Newry parishioners were told to cough up for a Parish Centre and when they did, they got a Conference Centre. Is this the main jist of the tale? Am I missing any details?

2.   2. Anonymous (17.56) you haven't quite got the facts correct. Pat, I'm disappointed that you make a judgement and post that comment without confirming the full facts. As I recall there was no fundraising campaign. The diocese already had the money in a fund for "Capital Projects" I think they call it. Where this money came from I am not sure although I am certain at its origin was with parishioners. I can't remember the cost but I am certain it was substantially more than 1 million. I do remember there was such controversy over the Parish Centre that Canon Francis Brown was forced to explain and defend the project in the bulletin. That was when he explained how it would be funding. It seems that a lot of people had made it clear that parishioners neither needed or wanted the Parish Centre. Everything else you say is correct. No sooner had it opened than it was de-Christianised and renamed Newry Conference and Banqueting Centre. It has been a bit of a flop. They had planned to rent it as a wedding reception venue but I've never heard of any taking place. Not longer after it was de-Christianised, the industrial kitchens that were fitted out to the hilt with top quality equipment were cleared out and sold (I am sure at a fraction of the price). It seems to be a total white elephant. I think very few, if any events, are held there. There were a number of parish events that took place at the start but I'm not aware of any taking place since it was turned into the conference centre. I don't know if that is because it is being run as a business and is now charging the community or not. Please confirm this Pat before you pass comment on speculation. One thing is sure, it has turned from a vanity project to a total white elephant. Another example of John McAreavey's poor leadership. No wonder the diocese is always pleading poverty when this is what they spend their money on..

3.     3. The only thing from above that I don't know for a fact is whether the conference centre charges parishioners to use it. As for McAreavey. I'm sure he makes sure it is a pleasant life. he guy is so lazy and uninterested in the diocese beyond getting free dinners and getting his face in the paper. He is dreadful. No dromore diocese laity or priest will tell you any different.

4.    4. Bishop McAreavery is a pretty decent man as far as bishop's go in Ireland. It is very obvious he is way out of his depth in leadership and more importantly in 'stewardiship' of the Diocese of Dromore! Dromore is dying but Rome refuses to see this as do many PP's in Dromore also many good decent people of Dromore - sad...sad...very SAD!

5.     5. When I was in Maynooth he was indeed kindly and came across as a decent man. One of the few professors who would acknowledge you. But I suppose kindness and decency aren't the only qualities you need to be a bishop. But it's a start.

6.    6.  I was at an event when I was younger. He practically ignored us until the Newspapers arrived and then he suddenly felt the urge to be surrounded by us and craic jokes. We were instantly fascinating. But as soon as the photo was taken he cleared off without a bye or leave. I think his biggest problem is he isn't interested in people which is a shame. A bishop should love his flock and a Christian should be full of zeal for spreading the faith. He doesn't seem to have either. Dromore Diocese has so much potential. He could have set it alight with evangelism but he doesn't seem to be bothered. It funny that Pat is so critical of Eamon Martin because we are so envious of Armagh. They have loads of initiatives and stuff going on. Dromore has nothing - unless it's all being held in secret.

7.     7. I think he was made bishop because he wrote some book on Canon Law that towed the party line. I wouldn't say it's a poisoned chalice. I don't think Dromore had the same historical abuse issuescover ups that other dioceses have had to deal with, as far as I know. I'd say it's a cushy number and he has made the most of it. I remember he spent a pure fortune totally renovating the bishop's palace. It's the same old thing. The diocese is utterly skint - but yet they always seem to find the money from somewhere when there is something they want.

8.   8.  I think it is absolutely incredible that we have so many amazing priests in Dromore Diocese - I mean truly great priests - but Rome chose to totally over look them in favour of a book worm like John McAreavey. I'm sure he was an excellent Canon Lawyer but he was never going to be a man of the people. Spend 5 minutes in his company and you get the measure of him. And he comes up very short. Dromore definitely deserves better. (Theresa, Banbridge)

9.    9.  He may well have been a nice man when he lectured in Maynooth. I agree that kindness and decency are a great start for being bishop. The problem is John McAreavey must have started about 15 years ago so if it hasn't become evident by now, its hardly likely to. It's news to me that Dromore will amalgamate with Armagh when he goes. Is this for definite?
1  10. He gave a radio/tv interview some years back about celibacy. He came across as most unconvincing and uninspiring. Just platitudes and spouting off canon law. It sounded as if he didn't really believe what he was saying himself. Company man is right. Just putting in the time before retirement.
1  11. You've no idea. I know people who will see Bishop McAreavey come out on the altar in Newry Cathedral and sneak out and go to another mass. There is no love for him. I saw that interview on the front of the Newry Reporter when he came back from his holiday. Personally I think he knew people (including the priests) were pissed off. This rubbish about realising the priests were over worked and the laity needed to play a role was just trying to negate the negative feelings towards him. That must have been 2 or 3 years ago and if he did genuinely come to that conclusion he definitely hasn't done a single thing to act on it.
1 12. My two cents on John McAreavey would be he is lazy/indifferent. That is without question. He is also incredibly weak minded. Speaking as someone formerly involved in Newry Parish, it seems a small kabal of lay people seem to have influence with the bishop and have free reign to build their own little kingdoms. They try to control everything and when they can't they run to the bishop to get his "authority" (yeah. I laughed when the wrote that word) behind them. If they still can't control they destroy. I've seen several initiatives attempted in Newry Parish by good hearted lay members that this kabal attempted to seize control over and often succeed. When they do get control they seem to either run it into the ground or else lose interest once the opposition have been driven out and the thing dies. If they can't get control of it they will do everything they can to destroy it. I've seen it time and time again in Newry Parish. Canon Brown in Newry is just as weak. He seems to have allowed these monsters to grow until they have become uncontrollable and the whole parish is dictated by 2 or 3 controlling members of the laity (I won't name them, but I have no doubt people in Newry Parish would know exactly who I am talking about). So I don't think the problem is just indifference. It is also weakness of character on the part of the bishop and also the priests in Newry that mean we have little of no evangelization or faith development. And it's not because there aren't lay people who want it badly. It's because of the authority of a small number of laity who see any attempt to bring new people into the church as a threat to their own self appointed positions.

13. So I wouldn't blame Bishop McAreavey for not evangelizing. he does allow it. Unfortunately
14. He is DREADFUL!


  1. LOL. Pat has got Dromore in his sights! God help Bishop McAreavey. I had no idea he was quite so bad. Doesn't the bible say something about cutting down fruit trees that don't produce fruit? Surely, he should just retire if he isn't willing to do the job.

    Bishops should see themselves not only the descendants of St Peter, but also St Patrick. If Patrick had arrived and gone straight to his palace and sat on his backside, how would Ireland have ever been Christianized. If the current bishops like Bishop McAreavey do it, how does he (they) expect the Churches to be anything but a quarter full. (Banbridge Parishioner)

    1. Actually I was quite surprised at the sudden arrival of comments in to the Blog about John McAreavey - given I had not written anything about Dromore.

      It strikes me that John is just spoiled and lazy after being a Maynooth professor - the laid back lifestyle, a few lectures, a fine dining room and a 24 hour butler bar.

      Dromore Diocese would a be a great diocese to be a bishop of - just over 20 parishes and 40 clergy.

      A nice intimate diocese to be a good pastor bishop in.

      But maybe John is not a pastor at heart.

      I would not be surprised if he retires early on health grounds!

    2. Are you suggesting we pray for a heart attack, Pat?

    3. That would involve having a heart in which an attack could take place :-)

      No, I feel McAreavy is unhappy, depressed and hopeless.

      He will find a doctor to give him a letter about some medical condition.

    4. Yes I remember when I was in Maynooth the professors had a butler dressed up to the nines. It was like something out of Downton Abbey, a far cry from pre-famine Ireland which gave birth to the seminary. The professors had their own dining quarters. To see one of them in the students ref would be almost an event in itself.

    5. A priest professor I knew drank a bottle of whiskey every day delivered to him by the butler.

      No one intervened to try and help.

  2. I don't know the man, but it's not usual for there to be so much consensus on this blog.

    Are we to assume that there is a swell of support for him, but these comments have not been allowed by Pat? (I see this was an issue/accusation on previous threads)

    Has no one a good word to say about him???!!!

    Surely he has some redeeming feature(s)!!!

    1. I have had no reason to block comments on John McAreavy.

    2. Will you advise me how I make a complaint about this blog?

    3. You can start with making a complaint here.

    4. I don't see how a complaint could be made about this blog post, which I assume this person is unhappy about. Pat often crosses the line, but on this occasion he is only allowing the public to voice their own views on John McAreavey. I'm finding this thread to be quite enlightening. I had no idea the Dromore Bishop was so exceedingly unpopular. I suppose being bishop of such a small diocese has allowed him to slip under the radar. I congratulate Pat on allowing this thread. (John from Rasharkin)

  3. LOL. Good post Pat. The problem is that like too many other bishops, McAreavey is retired. Unfortunately for us he retired the same day he became Bishop of Dromore diocese.

    I think that is how bishops view their positions. They consider their elevation to be a reward to enjoy during their retirement.

    1. I would think that a good bishop would be the busiest priest in the diocese.

      He did well retiring at 50.

      And he even took a sabbatical from his retirement !!!

    2. Many of us genuinely hoped he would return from his sabbatical/holiday and announce he had decided to retire. It was gutting when he didn't.


  5. I think there's a strong argument for bishops only fulfilling their role for 4 or 5 years. I think that is ample time for a good man to come in, revitalize the diocese, launch his initiatives and ideas and then go.

    It also means that when we do get a 'dud', we know they will be gone in a few years.

    I mean, lads like McAreavey could be there for the next 20 years. It isn't worth thinking about. There'll be nothing left by the time he clears off but Newry Conference & Banquet Centre left! lol ;o)

    1. McAreavy has to offer his resignation in 8 years time.

      But then THEY will probably impose another useless one on you!

    2. I think it has been pointed out previously that upon his retirement, Dromore will join with Armagh.

      Eamon Martin is a good man. He is doing a good job in Armagh. So we await the joining of the two dioceses with anticipation.


    Just feel Bishop Buckley, that the we, the parishioners of Rasharkin are being treated disgustingly from the Hierarchy of Down & Connor. We have been given no information regarding their duty of allocating a Parish a Priest. I am taking about today onwards, what has happened regarding coverage or should I say lack of coverage,up to now really doesn’t matter to most families who need to know that there is the security of a Parish Priest in situ should they be needed for whatever. I am sure plenty of D & C, leaders either read or are told of the writing within your blog. My plea and request is, Please get off your celestial thrones, and Please get us a priest, we deserve it.

    1. I can assure you that this Blog is well read in Down and Connor.

      I can also assure you that Noel Treanor is not at all concerned about Rasharkin and will allow the situation to continue until it suits HIM to move.

      I would not be surprised if he amalgamates Rasharkin with another parish - maybe Kilkeel in Co. Down.


      Why not appoint your own priest ???

    2. Has the media not caught on to what is happening?

      In my experience the only way to get movement is to embarrass them.

      I would say if the parishioners decided one week not to give anything to the collection in protest the Diocese would be pretty quick to act. Money talks! The lack of money screams!

      The laity have more power than they realize. Cut off the cash flow and you'll be amazed at how quickly things get resolved.

    3. You are right.

      If the laity acted by cutting off cash flow, taking over churches and presbyteries and appointing their own priests and bishops things would change.

      But how do we encourage docile sheep to take on the mantle of the lion and the lioness?

      Anyone out there with any testicular tissue ?????????

    4. Ok I am new on here, what's the story with Rasharkin? Could someone please enlighten me. Thanks much appreciated.

    5. The parish priest of Rasharkin - Fr John Murray (75) had some kind of dispute with Bishop Noel Treanor on Holy Thursday and suddenly disappeared from the parochial house.

      A few days later he was spotted with his housekeeper at Tenerife Airport.

      Since then parishioners of Rasharkin have died without the Last Rites and they have a variety of priests coming to say Mass.

      They want a new PP as it seems Fr Murray will not be back.

    6. Do the laity of your church elect you Pat?

    7. LOL. Pat. Do the sheep appoint their own shepard?

    8. When the sheep are the People of God, yes they do.

      Everything done at The Oratory is done in the context of the congregation discussing it. In fact this week members of the congregation asked me, without promption, to invite someone to the diaconate.

  7. They say America gets the Presidents they deserve, as an explanation for terrible leaders like Obama, Bush etc, etc.

    I wonder could the same be said of the Irish. Do we get the bishops we deserve? i.e. Bad ones.

    1. You do - because you get no say in appointing them and you accept the bad ones instead of routing them.

    2. Well said Pat, we should be able to choose who we follow

  8. At the very least why do some concerned parishioners of Dromore call a public meeting to discuss action to remove their bishop ????

    Its 2016 - the Anniversary of 1916.

    Where are the ecclesiastical revolutionaries ?????????

    1. Three reasons, I would suggest:
      (1) Apathy. People haven't got the energy to fight with little hope they will be listened to.

      (2) People do have an old fashioned (almost superstitious) view that no matter how bad a priest or bishop is, they are still a priest/bishop and it would be wrong to question them.

      (3) They accept the bishop because they have low expectations of the bishop. I believe that the laity will accept poor priests or bishops as they have low expectation. They may be pleasantly surprised when they get a good one. Alas they have long since given up taking it for granted that they will have a good priest of bishop. Therefore they probably assume if Bishop McAreavey listened to the view of the laity and went, his replacement would probably be as bad/worse.

  9. Father Tim Barlett isn't doing much at present so perhaps the good people of Rasharkin could ask for his help. He is a dab hand at problem solving and creating good community relations I hear. He may even be able to advise on a way of promoting poor wee Rasharkin making it the centre of tourism in Ireland. With his talents anything is possible!!

    1. Timmy is big enough for Rasharkin!

      But is Rasharkin big enough for Timmy.

      Why would Timmy lower himself to serve the culchies of Rasharkin.

      There is no mitre in Rasharkin!

      PP D&C

    2. Like in theatre, in evangelism there are no small roles, only small actors.

    3. Timmy would shite himself if he was asked to go to Rasharkin - or any other parish for that matter.

      It would mean that he would have to do work instead of pull moves and play games.

      Anyhow, Timmy sees himself as "too good" for parish work which is only for the "lesser clergy".

      Timmy craves a mitre with all his soul. He sees himself as destined to reign and he unctuously ingratiates himself with those who will serve the cause of his advancement.

      Rasharkin reeks too much of those smelly aul' "sheep" the Pope likes; whilst Timbo abhors "sheep".

    4. The only person Tim Bartlett serves is himself. The only cause he serves is his ego and his "career".

      His "vocation" has been to the episcopate since he was in "the Wing" - licking the asses of bishops and authority figures - an unctuous sycophant with a decidedly mischievous streak.

      He is completely untrustworthy and an unworthy candidate to be even remotely considered for higher service in the Church, since he cannot even do BASIC service.

      Tim Bartlett's only hope is to become a priest and stop spending his time and energies as a suave and ambition-driven bureaucrat; because that, for him, is the road to nowhere and he could even lose his soul pursuing his fantasies.

      Observer of the clerical species.

    5. I cannot understand people like Timmo.

      On June 6th I will be 40 years ordained.

      My greatest joy is being a pastor. Serving people and listening to them is more a pleasure than it was 40 years ago.

      I get a particular joy out of being there for people in the difficult parts of their lives.

      I always say a priest without people is like a bicycle without wheels. The paint might look well - but its going nowhere.

      Timmy does not know what he is missing. Is he not afraid of living a meaningless life and ending up with nothing to show Christ for his priesthood?

  10. Interestingly we have progressed to another of the clerical species as clerical observer states above - Timmy as he is referred to. Surely the Bishop of D&C has enough wit to see and direct that Timmy who seems to have little to do except put his two pence worth in on some public issue - should be doing what he was ordained to do .

    1. I do not think that Noel has the wit or the inclination.

      Both Timmy and Joe Glover sould be running parishes.

      Why do priests have to be secretaries?

      Those jobs can be done by competent and discreet lay men and women.

  11. I agree. This would as you have previously suggested - help resolve the crisis in parishes such as Rasharkin. It is unfair on other priests to expect them to cover for absent colleagues indefinitely when two or more priests day consists of running around with paper glued to their hands in the bishops house. I have a few priest friends who work very hard and would struggle to say no if another parish needed their help - it seems to me that as you said before we need a bishop who can manage and direct his clergy appropriately.

  12. The Church always suffers at the hands of ambition-crazed careerist clerics who seek to do their own will and neglect to serve God and the Church.

    No to self-important and conceited men plotting and scheming their "rise through the ranks".

    Yes to bishops who are true pastors, servant-leaders and men of God.

  13. Pat, maybe you could do something similar for the other Irish bishops and dioceses. Rate my bishop. Rate my diocese. Since we don't have a say in selecting them at least it would give us a chance to give some feed back about them. Welcome or not it would help Charlie Brown to take some responsibility for his actions. There's no doubt that your blog is read in Rome. Most nunciatures around the world have someone cutting and pasting anything to do with the local church and sending it off in the diplomatic bag every Saturday. Your blog would bypass that route and provide a more accurate expression of what people think about their bishops, especially the more recent ones. Go for it.