Friday, 20 May 2016



It is reported that when Pope John Paul 1 was found dead in the Vatican - after been murdered by members of the Vatican Curia - a number of papers were found on his bed. 

One of the files discovered was the file of Tomas O'Fiaich who was awaiting appointment as Archbishop of Armagh. Apparently the dead pope had written on the file: "Ireland deserves better".

I personally admired Cardinal O'Fiaich and I went to visit him on several occasions at his house in Armagh where he always treated me to tea and sandwiches and as much Irish whiskey as I wanted - depending on whether or not I was driving. 

As far as I am concerned he was the best Archbishop of Armagh in my lifetime. I had no time for Daly who followed him and I regarded Sean Brady as a nobody.

Brady resisting calls for his resignation

But the current incumbent of Armagh is, to my mind, a non entity and using the words of Pope John Paul I would say that Ireland deserves better. 

The Archbishop of Armagh is supposed to be the leader of the Irish Roman Catholic Church and as such you would expect the archbishop to be at least of the finest and most impressive clerics in the country.

I like Pope Francis. And if Pope Francis is double cream I would say that Eamon Martin is watery skimmed milk.

He comes across to me as a weak, effeminate, light weight who would be better placed being a bishop's secretary tied to a desk job.

My mother, God rest her, used to say: "Never trust a man with a tight mouth" and poor old Eamon has the tightest looking mouth I ever saw - so tight as to be water tight. Watch for yourself. 

I find his tweets embarrassing - covering issues like how his Mammy advises him how to wash his pallium - the over shoulder ornament of an archbishop.

Fairy or Surf ?

Another of his tweets showed himself sitting in his Mammy's house on his birthday, in his immaculate Lacoste shirt, holding a balloon and blowing out the candles on his birthday cake.

I expect the Catholic Primate - or any primate - to have gravitas. I expect him to come across as competent in theological and social affairs. I expect him to have leadership qualities that incline his clergy and congregations to to consider the great matters of faith and the world.

But in poor Eamon I see someone who would have been more suited to have starred in an edition of Are You Being Served or behind the counter of the men's accessories department in Harrods. 

I do not particularly like Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin but I have to admit that Diarmuid looks authoratitive and speaks with a certain authority. 

Eamon - on the other hand - I can almost imaging running down the stairs screaming, in his palace in Armagh, a purple dressing gown and begging the 80 year old housekeeper to go up to his bathroom and remove the Daddy Long Legs from his bath.

The Catholic Church is in a state of great crisis here in Ireland and around the world. The Catholic Titanic has hit an iceberg and is letting in water. At such times as this the Church needs a great courageous and well admired captain - a Captain Testosterone.

But in poor Eamon it has a church mouse. And given his age he is going to be in Armagh for over 25 years. 

All I can say is "God help us".   Josiah Gilbert Holland summed it up well:


    God, give us men!

      GOD, give us men! A time like this demands
      Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
      Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
      Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
      Men who possess opinions and a will;
      Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
      Men who can stand before a demagogue
      And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
      Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
      In public duty, and in private thinking;
      For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
      Their large professions and their little deeds,
      Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
      Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

Catholic Ireland needs a primate that is more lion than mouse - a man like Archbishop McHale of Tuam who was nicknamed "The Lion of the West".


  1. Well Pat you have given a great synopsis of Bishop Martin there, and yup I can definetly envisage him with a measuring tape draped over his shoulder... as for the washing of his vestments 'Fairy' almost certainly is the preferred weapon of choice!
    Of course Ireland deserves better!

    Molly Malone

    1. I think Pat is focusing on the wrong clerical leader. If you want to talk about pointless leaders in the Church hierarchy, might I suggest you need look no further than the Bishop of Dromore, John Mcareavey. I have no strong feelings for any bishop, but surely McAreavey must be among the most useless. Not a pastor in any sense of the word. The people don't like him and the clergy can't abide him. He went off on a year's "Sabbatical" and came back with the startling revelation that his priests are laden with too heavy a workload and the laity should play a bigger role. Really Bishop? REALLY? What an epiphany! It's not as if Vatican II didn't realise that 50 years ago (they did actually). And what fruits has this amazing revelation born? ZERO. Unless you count the Bishop going around the diocese armed with his holiday slides to give talks on what he did while he was away. He was a busy bunny. Not quite as busy as his priests were while he abandonned them for his extended holiday around Israel and then China.

      I mean, what planet is this guy on? There is no evangelism, no faith development, no anything in Dromore Diocese. At this point I think he has sapped the good will of the diocese and people long to see him go/retired/made redundant so we can amalgamate with Armagh Diocese. If any readers can suggest what the point or purpose of Bishop John McAreavey's existence is, I would be keen to hear it.

    2. Yeah. I don't have much knowledge of other bishops but I find it hard to believe any are quite as useless as John McAreavey. he is dreadful. Truly dreadful. It has crossed my mind a couple of time to write a letter to the Newry Reporter begging him to retire for the sake of the diocese. I doubt they would print it. In all seriousness, I really do hope he goes quickly and I know that is the majority view of the people of Dromore Diocese. I've never heard anyone have anything good to say about him.

    3. The problem is the wrong people are being appointed bishops. Who on earth thought an academic/canon lawyer who probably never worked with the grass roots laity would be great as a bishop. I think a lot of these bishops now have no spirit of evangelisation. They want to keep the status quo. Enjoy the perks and cause as little noise as possible. Serve their time and retire. I actually genuinely believe they would rather no evangelism in the diocese. They want to keep everything just about ticking over and that's it. It's depressing. I have a horrible feeling he probably has another 10 years in him as bishop. Shame.

    4. 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?

    5. You seem to have made you comment on two threads. I have answered your question on the other thread. But here is my response. I am from Newry Parish so I can enlighten you on a few things. You haven't quite got the facts correct. 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 bet the Parish wishes it was only 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. Rob, Newry.

  2. EDITED:

    Pat Buckley - you are a hateful man saying hateful things about true men of God.

    You are sick in your souls and sick in your mind.

    1. I reject the statement that I am a hateful man. True men of God?

      Cardinal Brady who locked 2 little boys in a room to interview them about Father Brendan Smyth did to them and kept their parents outside and then swore them to secrecy to protect the "good name" of his church - thus getting himself promoted?

      If that is a true man of God I would hate to see who you regard as a bad man of God !

      Blind sheep following questionable shepherds?

    2. Don'y worry about comments like that Pat.

      Its all going to come out in the wash - Fairy Liquid is very powerful.

      Molly Malone.

  3. He's in good company. The new batch of Irish bishops appointed in the past 5 yrs in the wake of the scandals are an anaemic, inspid, watery bunch of safe yes men. They have no imagination, no courage to address pressing issues such as the steep decline in vocations and practice,and no vision for the future. They are asleep at the wheel. I can't think of one leader among them. The Church is in free fall and it's just business as usual.

  4. Well said Pat. Where did all these blah people come from ? How have they managed to rise up through the ranks ? Where have all the men of God gone ? I see nothing but mammies boys and prissy little fuss pots. More concerned about banners and flower arrangements than parishioners. I rarely see priests sitting in the chapel praying anymore. When I was young the priest was always present in the pew before mass,
    He would be seen out and about visiting the sick , in our school taking retreats , he was a busy man. Not like these 9 to 5 guys now.

    1. "God be with the day when men were men and pansey was the name of a flower".

      PP Armagh.

    2. That was one of my Dad's sayings :-)

    3. In fairness. You won't see priests as much now as there are so many fewer. You say you would always have seen the priest praying in the pew before mass. I know in our parish, the priest has three churches and does 5 or 6 masses on a Sunday. I am sure sitting in the pew before mass would be heavenly for him. But as he usually arrives 2 minutes before mass, having had to come from just finished another mass in another church ten minutes before I think he is doing pretty well. I don't think priests get enough credit for trying their best to keep things going. I say good on him. He is a mighty man, full of the faith who does his best.

  5. Your tale about JPI is at best apocryphal. Tomás Ó Fiaich was almost a year in Armagh before Luciani was elected.

    1. You are right. Luciano wrote that about making Tomas a cardinal.

  6. Seems like you've marched us up to the top of the hill with Coyle... and marched up down again with... who... let's have a look... Eamon Martin. Yawn.

  7. Pat, despite your best attempts at self-cover-up, you are full of hatred for certain Roman Catholic clerics. You are not filled with the Holy Spirit, but with the spirit of this world. Anyone who thinks so highly of that monumental prick, Thomas Fee, has to be a total idiot.

    That bastard Fee, who betrayed that good priest, Fr Gerard McGinnity, deserves to roast in you, +Pat, for speaking so highly and stupidly of him.

    1. I agree with you on the Father McGinnity affair. Tomas capitulated to his fellow bishops who wanted Fr McGinnity's scalp and certainly on that occasion he proved himself a total coward.

      But I found him to be very human and he was kind to me.

      I doubt he is roasting in hell.

    2. We need to forgive, forgive, forgive.

    3. Condemning is not of God. It never achieves anything but only sows division and resentment. It's not for us to judge.

  8. Actually, looking through his twitter feed, all I can see are comments on what is going on in the diocese and nuggets of spiritual wisdom, encouragement and prayer. For what is already a limited device, is this not what we would want in his Twitter account? I think you selected rather unfairly - rather like your choice of photographs, which is a bit tabloid. There are plenty of photos of Eamonn looking more statesmanlike. And any of his pastoral letters that I have read and press statements are far from shying away from speaking the truth or defending the Church's teachings. You may not agree with them, but he is strong willed and an effective communicator, and I think we are quite blessed to have him where he is.

  9. Fathed McGinnity suffered a grave injustice at the hands of the Hierarchy and it drove him into the hands of the Seer of the House of Prayer in Mayo.

    You Pat suffered a grave injustice at the Hierarchy and it drove you into passionate opposition.

    The guilty one's were / are the Maynooth Mafia.

    Ex Staff Priest - Maynooth.

  10. Both Fr McGinnity and Bishop Buckley are still alive and well. Maybe Eamon Martin could address the injustices they suffered in this Year of Mercy. That would show us how strong and spiritual EM is.

    PP Armagh.

    1. @PP. Why don't you go address your concerns with the Archbishops instead of complaining on an anonymous blog. Be a man!

  11. For God's sake Pat !!! Get over it !!!

  12. Pat, your blog is a great service to the church in Ireland. Just one small point - Tomás Ó Fiaich was appointed to Armagh by Paul VI in 1977.