Friday, 3 June 2016



Why is it so difficult to have a rational discussion about paedophilia? Once the subject is brought up many people become totally irrational and want to talk about shooting bastards dead and castration. Even murders, those who have committed the Ultimate Crime, think there are better than paedophiles and feel they have the right, nay the duty, to beat them half to death.

Don't get me wrong, sexual abuse is a most horrific crime and requires the sternest of punishment.

I should know. I was a victim of childhood abuse myself. I know personally the effort it takes to put it behind you and get on with your life.

In my 40 years in the priesthood I have worked both with the abused and with the abusers. So I have a reasonable grasp of all the issues involved. 

When somebody is abused, sexually or otherwise, the need all our support, all our love and all our efforts to help.

When it comes to paedophilia, the VICTIM must always be our first priority. We should believe them, listen to them and get them all the help they need. And what they need is our belief in them and long term intensive counselling. I believe that over time most victims of abuse can come to terms with their abuse, at least to a degree, although I'm sure the abuse will always leave scars. Sometimes it does leave open, bleeding, throbbing wounds. 

If the abuse was perpetrated by someone in a position of trust - a teacher, a doctor, a priest etc then the victim is also entitled to a meaningful apology from the abuser's "employers" and they are also entitled to have all their counselling costs paid for and to the most generous compensation possible. 

What I am saying is that there can be life, even extremely meaningful life, after abuse.

But what about the abusers? What should we do about them?

First of all they should be reported to the police and other relevant authorities. Those authorities should thoroughly investigate and prosecute the crimes they have committed. When they are brought to court and convicted they should receive sentences that reflect the harm that they have done. 

But can there be life after abuse for the abusers?

Of course there can be. There has to be. Because after they abuse and are caught and punished their life goes on too.

Only the most extreme of people would believe that an abuser should be put to death.

The most important thing in the case of a punished abuser is that their attractions to children has to be managed - and managed for life. 

In my work I have found that there are two kinds of abuser. The first kind fully admits to themselves and to all others that the abuse happened. The second kind denies (sometimes even to themselves) that the abuse happened, or that it was not abuse, or that the child initiated the abuse. There is hope for the first kind and very little hope for the second kind.

The first kind is more likely to admit that their "condition" needs life long management and will engage in that management.The second kind is less likely to see that they need lifelong management and they are in much more danger of re-offending. I have known and have worked with both kinds.

What causes paedophilia? A small number of experts say it is an orientation a person is born with. Another small number of people say that there is something "different" in the brain of a paedophile. Many experts say that paedophilia is the result of early life experiences - like being the victim of abuse. Its a most complex area. 

I believe that the Twelve Step approach of Alcoholic Anonymous could be a very useful tool in the life long management of paedophilia - a kind of "Abuse Anonymous". But I think that groups like this would need the involvement of experts as leaders to monitor the dangers that can exist from people who are attracted to children using such groups either for a process of self denial or for other more serious or darker reasons. 

I have worked with abusers who have never re-offended and I have worked with abusers who have re-offended. 

Never re-offending is possible for an abuser who manages their "condition" properly and with help.

Working with abusers so that they never re-offend is in fact one form of child protection. 

Abusers who are isolated and who do not receive life long management are more likely to re-offend. 

And at the very least - can we all have a rational discussion about this issue that has always existed and will always exist.

Irrationality and hysteria have never solved any problem!  






  1. I, too, was abused. I was around six years old at the time. The perpetrator, an older boy, held me captive in what was known locally as "the barley field".

    I told daddy afterwards. I could see the disbelief and then the anger in his face. But he was only a young man; he didn't know what to do.

    The perpetrator is now dead. I pray sincerely that God received his soul. If the truth be
    known, I don't believe he ever "played with a full deck". But that, really, is neither here
    nor there to an abused child. All I can remember is my fear and powerlessness, and
    his exposed member.

    I am willing to forgive him; I certainly want to. But he never asked for my forgiveness. I am not one of those who believes that we must forgive regardless of an offender's
    attitude: such expectation is unrealistic, dishonest, and can be very harmful, psychologically and spiritually, to victims of all stripes.

    But I wish my abuser everlasting peace nonetheless.

    1. You are obviously a mature, thoughtful and compassionate man :-)

    2. You are obviously a mature, thoughtful and compassionate man :-)

  2. Who is hysterical?

    1. People? Society? The media? The feminists?.........

  3. Are they? Is society hysterical? The media? Really? We will agree to disagree. But I don't think hysteria exists to the extent you claim. To read your post, you would think people are running through the streets screaming about it. The first comment is from a man who was the victim of abuse - he doesn't seem hysterical. And he is an actual victim. Your premise doesn't seem to stand up.

    1. You can differ, but what it usually comes with a rationale. Are the hoards running amock down Royal Avenue in hysterics? Of course it's an emotive issue- but that don't mean society is hysterical about it.

      By the way Pat, Hysteria is an exaggerated emotion - by using the word, don't you think you are insulting people who have been hurt and are damaged? That in some way their upset is an exaggeration?

    2. Nobody said anything about Royal Ave :-) Now that's an exaggeration.

      Most victims are not at all hysterical - just deeply traumatised.

      I am a revovered victim.

      But you will have to agree that generally the topic causes high emotions.

      If you want to use another word I do not mind. But I believe that hysteria is not inaccurate.

      And of course you have your say :-)

    3. Royal Avenue is not an over -reaction. It is a street. If you know where this hysteria is taking place then say.

      Not only do I agree that it causes high emotions, it is me who said it. I said it is not hysteria or an exaggerated emotion as you say. It is quite genuine and understandable.

      To say you feel people need to calm down about it is a bit of an insult to anyone who is dealing with the aftermath of it, or indeed those close to them.

      You chose to use the word hysterical. You said people are hysterical on the issue. If that is the word you have chosen then it says a lot. Given that this hysteria is the basis for your blog post, I don't see how you can expect to be given a different done.

      However, I would say Justified Hurt and Anger is a suitable replacement. But I don't think you can really say victims need to be less justifiably angered and hurt by pedophilia - can you?

  4. I think Anon 12.30 is makes a reasoned point. I think to say there are hysterics about abuse is an over statement. If there is hysterics, which I doubt, it is caused by the attempted cover-up of abuse. I think society on the whole recognizes it is an illness and crime that should be dealt with. I don't believe there is hysteria.

    I can't help but feel Pat is chasing ghosts that don't exist.

    1. I have been verbally abused at a public event in front of 600 people for being in the company of an abuser who had served his sentence.

      I have also heard people using expressions like: "Shoot or castrate all the bastards".

      I have also met offenders in prison who were stabbed or deafened by murders.

      I think that's hysteria ???

    2. I'm afraid there is, sometimes, hysteria over child sex abuse, and it is partly driven by anger, the kind of anger I saw in my daddy's face that day, when I told him what had happened to his six-year-old son. But back then, there
      was neither precedent nor procedure for dealing with such things, at least
      legally, and it was the ignorance this generated that prevented daddy's rage from morphing into something that might have driven him to inflict serious
      physical harm on that boy and had my daddy sent to prison. For this, I am grateful.

      Personally, I do not want to be hysterical in this way, or in any other. Yes, I
      feel righteous anger, as should everyone else against such manifestations
      of evil. But this kind of anger is not blindly...and
      indiscriminately...destructive, both of oneself and others. It is constructive anger, and it allows for forgiveness and healing. For redemption, in other words.

  5. what does pat think a reasoned response should have been from the 600 people (which no doubt will have included abuse victims and those close to them) when a convicted pedophile comes to stand before them?

    Does he think the pedophile should have gotten a round of applause? A standing ovation? What exactly does Pat think the appropriate response of such a crowd towards pedophile having the nerve to show his face before them should be?

    1. So, an offender who has been prosecuted and imprisoned has no right to attend any public event ever again in his whole life?

      See what I mean by hysteria?

    2. Please note. In the blog I said "many people" - not all people, not most people, not the majority of people - just MANY people and. Did not accuse victims of being part of that many.

      READ before you comment.

    3. Clearly Pat his attendance at the public meeting was most likely as a result of the fact he was a pedophile.

      There is a difference between going about your business, and making public appearances. If you were booed Pat then I think they were probably right.

      According to your own words, he was an abuser (present tense) who had served his time. Big difference between that and a reformed abuser who had successfully been treated. I suspect if he was you would have said.

      I'm not surprised there was outrage!

    4. pat. u haven't said what the appropriate response was.

      I assume such a meeting would only be held if it was about him being housed in an area that caused concern to residents. I would say there is understandable cause for alarm.

    5. There is no successful treatment for paedophilia. There is only life long management. That management requires the support of therapists, social workers, counsellors, probation and pastors.

    6. And yet, Pat can't say what the appropriate response should have been. Maybe he thinks a few verses of "he's a jolly good fellow" should have been sung.

    7. Castration does work. Many pedophiles in America have opted for it.

    8. Absolute nonsense that castration works as all reputable studies show. It may well prevent offenders having erections, but you will also need to cut of their limbs and sow up their mouths to stop them using those to assault children. Think about it. Its not just the sexual organs that are used as weapons of assault.

    9. You should watch a place of pedophiles documentary for Louis Theroux. It would not agree with you Anon 22.25

  6. I think Pat the point that person was making is that you have no idea who has suffered abuse or how abuse has touched the lives of people in that crowd.

    Going by the statistics provided by the one in three charity, it was probably at least 100.

    I think by accompanying that man, you were being very insensitive to victims.

    1. The gathering had absolutely nothing to do with abuse or him.

      It was a public charity event and someone in the crowd recognised him and went berserk.

  7. It is indeed a highly charged issue. I too am a victim/survivor. Abusers cause multi-levels of devastation and anguish.

    However, I do not agree with the lynch mob attitude. My stomach turns when I hear "kill/castrate". Abusers have to live too and I pray that they will turn to God for mercy and forgiveness.

    What is absolutely essential is that they be corralled - kept well and far away from children.

  8. Careful Anon - You are becoming hysterical. If you are feeling devastation or anguish you really need to chill out and get over it.

    1. MourneManMichael3 June 2016 at 21:57

      Many of you, even those without personal or professional experience, will recognise the lack of knowledge, understanding or compassion in this Anon comment @ 19:59.
      But I think it needs said.
      Dear Anon @ 19:59, I suggest you read up on some professional insights into the nature and effects of child abuse before making such an ill informed derisory comment. I specifically suggest reading professional literature rather than victim survivors' stories, for I suspect from your comment you would make light of their stories.
      My own professional knowledge is now fairly well dated: I'm over 10 years out of professional practice in the issue. But having just googled "Professional literature on child abuse" I see there is much up to date reading available, and perhaps some other reader more abreast of developments may suggest the best current source.
      I would welcome your comments after you've perused and thought more about the subject, but please do not reply from your current patently obvious limited perspective.

    2. Bravo MMM! The anon commentator to whom you refer is beneath contempt.

    3. MMM- Anon 19.59 was clearly taking the piss out of Pat Buckley's assertion that victims are hysterical on the issue.

      It's odd that when Pat is so firm in hiss believe that the subject prompts hysteria in society, the media and victims, that with so many thousands of readers he claims to have, there doesn't seem to be a single comment that I would consider hysterical.

      Pat seems as out of touch on this issue as he seems to be on everything else.

    4. MourneManMichael4 June 2016 at 01:44

      Is it just me, albeit I've just returned from customary pints of Guiness in pub, but I just can't understand or follow the 'logic' in Anon's comment @ 00:52.
      Can he/she please explain, in simple terms, exactly what the comment's point is, other than a broad unsubstantiated criticism of +Pat?

    5. Could I explain something to you, Anonymous at OO:52 on June 4th, responding to MMM?

      I am wide awake at 3:30am. Can I ask you to to let your imagination consider a six year old boy having his
      trousers and underpants forcibly pulled off by an adolecent youth and human fingers and parts of a tree inserted violently into his anus?

      What if it was your son? Or you? Or your daughter? That is sexual abuse.

      Forcible penetration and genital manipulation of a child/teenager Do you get it yet? You f>>>ing sick and twisted,

    6. MMM, are you a retired clinical psychologist? Or perhaps a retired social worker?

  9. Is it just me or does the youthful "Fr Trendy" Vinnie not bear a remarkable resemblance to Sir James Saville, Papal Knight, et al? He looks like his brother with those luscious locks and lapels. All we need in a chunky gold medallion on a chain and a few bling rings on his fingers. Mind you I suppose he has all that now!

  10. This whole subject is an extremely sensitive one and raises issues both emotive and necessary. Sexual attraction to pubescent and pre pubescent children is a mental illness that cannot be cure, but can be contained and managed. Those who are unfortunate enough to have this dreadful affliction, are not monsters; not morally good or bad - even if their actions are. They are ill and they need treatment. I have long believed that prison is not the answer. I know from friends who are both chaplains and professionals sent into prisons to deal with sex offenders that the system just makes sex offenders incarcerated into more sophisticated and therefore more dangerous sex offenders. Trial transcripts of tier cases, often dealing with forensically detailed accounts of their departed actions, are passed from offender to offender to stimulate and arouse acts of self abuse. Something else is needed. Treatment, incarceration in secure psychiatric units? The debate must be had. The present system isn't working or mending the problems. Bishop Pat you are courageous and to be praised for encouraging the discussion and debate.

  11. I would just like to thank several of the commenters for if not proving Pat's point about hysteria, then showing how difficult it is even to have a sensible conversation.
    Something else strikes me frequently on this blog, that the many comments about Pat having a chip on his shoulder are exactly the church's response to abuse. When you have been fucked up by the church as Pat has, it leaves scars, and to insult him for having those scars is the same response as the church's to sexual abuse of children. In fact it continues the abuse.
    Keep it up, Pat, I have a feeling there's laughter in heaven ready for you.
    Funny how Nichols looks like Savile! I'm sure I read that Savile copied his hair from Myra Hindley!

    1. Onca again, Bishop, could you please refuse to publish comments containing obscenities - even the Americans, dealing with Nixon's transcripts entered - frequently - obscenity deleted.
      And how necessary is it to use such language?

    2. Pardon me!
      Terminology used was - Expletive Deleted!
      You can an should do this, Bushop!!!!!

    3. Firstly, I have seen no indication of any form of hysteria on this post, which probably disproves Pats main assertion.

      Secondly, Pat may well feel hurt by the Catholic Church. But we have to remember Pat is a man who has and does do it his way. I suppose if that brought him into conflict with what he signed up to and swore an oath to it is unfortunate. But it was Pat's choice.

      I suppose what previous commenters have meant when they have criticized Pat in the past is much in line with Pat's blog post. Not to become hysterical about the hurt caused. Heal and move on. There will be no healing for Pat until he lets go of his obsession with the Catholic Church hierarchy. I suppose it could be seen as being much like a victim of sexual abuse becoming fixated with their abuser. It serves no purpose and will only prevent the person from healing and moving on. So I think people are suggesting that Pat should not dwell on past hurt, but move forward in the light of Christ and be fruitful.

      I don't actually believe this blog is in anyway helpful to Pat himself. It is just raking over past hurts and hurting other (innocent) people in the process. I would agree that Pat will surely have a calling from God to do good. I don't think this blog fulfills that calling.

    4. I think Pat made the right call on this one.

      I stand corrected on my previous point. I've just seen the emotive response that was posted.

      Well, I think if that person needs to get it off their chest then Pat did the correct thing in allowing them to express themselves. As previously said it is an emotive issue. I am sure MourneManMichael being a former therapist to abuse victims will not have taken it personally. And will have agreed it is better to let this victim express how they feel than to block it.

  12. MourneManMichael5 June 2016 at 02:26

    Since the suggestion of adopting 'handles' (rather than just Anonymous), over 100 commentators have provided a wide variety of handle names, some geographical and others inventive and amusing. In doing so, it makes it easier to know who is commenting to/on whom. It would be good if more did so, for, as in above sequence, it is difficult to know what comment relates to whom or another anon comment.