Thursday, 26 May 2016



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Above you will see the visitor's stats for this Blog for today, May 26th 2016 at 12.30 PM

You will see from the above that quite a lot of people visit this Blog everyday. Some people visit because they are curious. Some visit because they like the Blog. And some visit because they dislike the Blog and look for reasons to criticise it.

One the regular criticism goes like this:

"Pat Buckley tells us he is a busy priest and bishop but if he was how has he got so much time to write this blog".

Another regular criticism is: 

"If Pat Buckley is the true pastor he claims to be then why does he not write more about Christian and spiritual matters? Why is he so interested in the Catholic Church he no longer belongs to"?

Let me respond:

1. I am an experienced writer. I have written 3 books and am just finishing a 4th. I have worked in journalism, as well as ministry, for over 30 years. It might take some of my critics 8 hours to write a blog. I do it in less than an hour. 

2. I was always told: "If you want something done quickly ask a busy man to do it." And in the course of my life I have found that to be so true. 

3. People say I should write about "Christian topics". 

Is the state of the Roman Catholic Church - with 1.2 billion (nominal) members not a Christian topic?

Is the hypocrisy of popes, bishops and priests, teaching one thing and doing another not a Christian topic?

Is the misappropriation of monies paid to the Church by Christian congregations not a Christian topic?

Is the abuse of children and vulnerable adults not a Christian topic?

Are not the various abuses of "clericalism" not Christian topics?

Of course I know that vested interests would like me to write blogs about the Virginity of Mary; The Trinity; The Beatific Vision; Angels etc. That would be very nice would it not?

It would take the heat off. It would turn off the light that shines into dark corners. 

But this blog is called THINKING CATHOLICISM.

It is not called Sleeping Catholicism. It is not called Heavenly Catholicism. It is not called Catholicism for Dummies.

Its about real people. Its about the real issues that affect real people in their everyday life.

It is about Rasharkin Parish being left without a priest and its old people dying about the Last Rites.

Is is about Father Rory Coyle, Master of Ceremonies to the Catholic Primate, preaching sexual abstinence to the laity and seeking no strings attached sex by night on Grindr.

It is about the alleged rape of a woman by 5 Down and Connor priests.

It is about bishops spending millions of pounds on their houses.

Of course my Catholic critics would prefer me to wax on lyrical about the Virgin Birth.

Sorry folks! That's not going to happen. 

And if you don't like it stop adding to this blog's daily visitor statistics.  


  1. At least your independent status gives you the freedom to say what needs to be said a lot of the time. It's very hard to criticise the system when you are being cared for and looked after by it. Those on the inside won't reform what needs to be reformed.I think we need more lay Catholics becoming more vocal on key issues like lack of priests etc. Catherine of Siena was probably seen by many as being very disloyal and even disrespectful of ecclesiastical authority in her day by voicing what needed to be said, pointing out corruption and calling prelates from the Pope down to get their act together. It seems to me that a certain level of independence is required. And pointing out the truth is not being disloyal. It's for the good of the Church. Sometimes we don't like the message so we shoot the messenger. Even people we label heretics often say things that are true but maybe too uncomfortable for some people to take in.

    1. Today's heretics are tomorrow's prophets - just like today's terrorists are tomorrow's statesmen - Nelson Mandela.

  2. I am just wondering what has happened to Fr Rory Coyle ? Things seem to have gone quiet.

    I have reflected a bit on his situation, and I've settled on the view that his real error is hypocrisy. I could not care if he enjoys consensual gay sex, anonymously, via Grindr or Gaydar or whatever other site, be it by cruising, or in a sauna, or whatever, wherever. That's not the problem for me.

    The problem is that by day he was telling people in his ministry that the Church had it right about sexuality, about the use of sex, about all of those life and relationship matters that make up so much of life.

    Do what I say, not what I do. What I do is my own private matter. But, I will tell you what you should be doing. That is hypocrisy.

    He and others like him have a lot to answer for - especially for putting burdens on people that they themselves are not inclined to carry.

    He has to answer for that.

    1. According to the website of the Parish of Armagh Father Rory Coyle is still listed as an active curate of the parish?

      The archbishop says he is on extended leave.

      You are right about his "sin".

      The fact that he is a card carrying member of the RC Church and is a prominent priest in it means that one should be able to expect that he practices what he and his church teach.

      And he has never distanced himself from that teaching.

      The "sin" is indeed hypocrisy.

      But the Catholic Church - and all the churches I know - are mired in such hypocrisy.

      It is no coincidence that Jesus condemned the hardest those guilty of hypocrisy - the Pharisees of his day.

      Much of organised Christianity of today is the new Phaiseeism.

      More and more people are seeing through this and walking away.

    2. Archbishop Eamon Martin is taking the political view on Father Coyle. He is waiting to see what happens. Rory Coyle, once an asset is now a liability.

      You can be sure of one thing - if Rory Coyle puts his expected red hat in any danger Eamon Martin will let Rory disappear into the mincer (excuse the pun).

      PP Armagh.

    3. I totally agree with the last comments, very well written. I just feel as a Church goer at Saint Marys, Rasharkin, nobody gives a hoot about us, whether we sink or swim. They say that communication is the Art of Management, shows the lack of management our Bishop(s) have in this case. We are tired of being the forgotten Parish – a total disgrace and shame on you all. Just wish I knew how to bring shame to the hierarchy and so called leaders. Something you might think about !!

    4. Sadly, you are right. Nobody in authority in Down and Connor gives a hoot about you :-(

      Why do not the parishioners rise up and invite your own priest in?

      As for shaming those who are negligent of you - forget it. They are shameless!

    5. PS: If Rasharkin was St Brigid's on the Malone Road, you would be treated very differently.

    6. Maybe you're not as well informed about St Brigid's as you appear to be about Rasharkin:-)

    7. Why? Are there problems in paradise???


  3. You shouldn't have to clarify yourself Pat. I came across this blog by accident a few months ago and I enjoy reading it on a daily basis. It enlightens us on matters affecting others throughout the church and permits us to raise issues for open discussion in the forum. Thank you Pat :-)

    1. Thank you.

      But if I were to behave as unanswerable to critics would I not be behaving like those I criticise?

      I am all for constructive criticism.

      But I do not publish comments here that are wildly abusive, obscene and personalised.

  4. Couldn't agree more with 15:43 and your response Pat. Had the PP of St Brigids "disappeared" the vacancy would have been filled before he got the length of Shaftsbury Circus. Such is the way with the Catholic Church. Are are equal but some more equal than others.
    My cousin,now deceased, was a priest in D&C and was very much " in the know". He would have admitted to being one of the boys. Some of his stories about diocesesan goings on ( pre Treanor) would leave you speechless. He would often talk of who knew what and did not one jot during the Fr Brendan Smyth business.
    He said the back stabbing among clergy was unbelievable. He knew who were forever phoning Lisbreen to stick other priests in the mire.
    He told my sister that on his first appointment as PP to a smallish Co Antrim town (not Rasharkin) the outgoing PP contacted him. During the conversation he "marked his card" by telling him the names of the few wealthy families in the parish and suggested that he should visit them as soon as he arrived. The rest of the parish were, according to the departing priest, not worth bothering about !!
    My late relative said that that mindset wasn't uncommon among that generation of D&C clergy.
    Is it any wonder people don't really give a damn now.
    Lisburn Larry

    1. When I arrived in Larne (1984) I was also given a list of those I should visit and cultivate and those I should avoid.

      I tore up the piece of paper and dropped it at the feet of my "advisor".

  5. I am a regular contributor who is honest and open-I would like to think. I am not out to get anyone nor do I believe I have any chips on my shoulder-anymore! If I were to have a gripe for it would be why is there so much talking/blogging and so little apparent action. The R C church needs a credible concrete alternative to turn to. WHERE IS IT LADS & LASSIES

    1. As St Augustine wrote: "If not to you Lord, then where shall we go?"

      The thing is Regular Contributor, is the the RC church is not a prison. No one is forced to remain. There are any number of Protestant denominations (including Pat's) and plenty of non denominational churches. People can vote with their feet. If they want to leave the Christ-ordained Church then no one is preventing them.

      But they aren't voting with their feet. The church may not be perfect. It can't be perfect. It is made up of humans. But it is the one true church. So whatever the issue, why would we leave.

    2. People ARE voting with their feet. They are choosing not to walk.

      It is worth remembering that even in the early days the men Christ chose were not perfect. He still chose them. And Pentecost happened.

      I am not perfect and I recognize that. When you accept your own imperfections it is easier to accept the imperfections of others. But whatever the failings/mistakes of our leaders I could/would never leave the Church because I believe it is the true church. Pat Buckley has decided that he doesn't. Good luck to him I say and I think most Roman Catholics would agree.

      It's just a shame he doesn't want to be Roman Catholic but he can't just go. Not quite sure why he claims to be liberated but still lingers on the periphery - he is neither use nor ornament as my old mum would have said.

  6. Pat have you seen this?

  7. Do you feel powerful? Do you feel big? Do you feel that statistics mean something? You will get nowhere fast! Finance minister, good Catholic!!!

    1. Indeed. I don't find these figures very credible.

      Pat seems to suggest that these numbers suggest support. Not necessarily.

  8. They are not voting with their feet!! Look at South America, the Hispanics in the USA etc etc. 23:05. You really need to have a reality check.

    1. I agree and disagree. I hope you don't mind Anon 00:09. I believe people are voting with their feet. A small number of disgruntleds are leaving. Let us not deny it. But far more people are coming to the Roman Catholic faith. Look at the current great and prominent Catholic apologists/writers:

      *Scott Hahn
      *Steve Ray (Brilliant)
      *Jimmy Akin
      *Trent Horn (Amazing)
      *Mark Shea

      What have they all in common? Formerly anti-Catholic Protestants/Evangelicals who are not only Roman Catholic but are bringing more and more people to the faith. Entire Anglican/Episcopalian parishes in England/America are coming back to Roman. It's amazing!

      If people are voting with their feet they are coming to the Roman Catholic faith. Not leaving it.

  9. PP Armagh at 15:25 on 26 May refers to Eamon Martin's 'expected red hat'. I honestly believe that Archbishop Martin will never receive a red hat as long as Francis is pope. I may be very wide off the mark but, based on Francis' trend of cardinal appointments I think that no new red hat will come to Ireland until 2020 - when Sean Brady turns 80. If Francis is still in charge by then I believe that he will really push the boat out and appoint Archbishop Kieran O' Reilly of Cashel & Emly as Ireland's next cardinal. O' Reilly is a missionary priest, promoted from Killaloe to Cashel and very well received in both dioceses. He has the smell of the sheep off him & fits well with the type of bishop that Pope Francis likes.
    You heard it here first - Kieran O' Reilly will get the red hat, but only if Francis is still around.

  10. Thank you for your enlightening responses. I live in Manchester & am active in my Church of England Parish. I am away from Southern Ireland for over 15 years but believe the South is pretty stagnant in terms of denominational choice. It took me a long time to get my head around the fact that the R C Church do not "Own the Jesus Franchise" Augustine also said Our souls are restless until they rest in God. My point is that the sheep including me need a descent field in which to feel safe

    1. Are you serious? Have you missed the fact there is a Church of Ireland church in every parish. LOL.

      I don't believe that Roman Catholics are searching for an alternative to out Church. In Northern Ireland there are hundreds of different denominations, non denominational and independent churches. As a gay man I don't feel in anyway unhappy with the Catholic Church. Obviously I have my own wishes, but it's not about me. It's about God.

      It's not about finding a church that tells you want you want to hear. Pick N Mix religion is not centred on Christ, it is centered on telling people what they want to here so you get bums on seats.

      I have always been well involved in any parish I have lived in, and I can tell you that in Northern Ireland I have never heard anyone complain about the Church hierarchy. People don't really care about bishops and seminaries or any of the other stuff that Pat Buckley tries to denigrate on this blog.

      Pat Buckley appears at least to be complaining that he is more interested in God than the hierarchy of the church, but he genuinely seems obsessed with the hierarchy of the church whereas most Roman Catholics aren't. It's not about the hierarchy - it's about Jesus.

    2. I agree. Personally I feel this blog focuses on issues that are non-issues for 99.9% of Catholics.

      I don't really care about the hierarchy. I don't think anyone but Bishop Buckley really does.

    3. I've never actually seen Pat Buckley mention Jesus on this blog. He should read the bible - it's great.

    4. To Anonymous at 15:59, YOU very obviously do care about the hierarchy. ..enough to comment on the matter through this blog.