Thursday, 14 July 2016





I have received a solicitor's letter, by email, from Father Paul Prior's solicitor threatening me and this blog with legal action over my recent blog about a complaint being made against him by an ex seminarian of Maynooth.

On the top of the letter it says in big, black underlined type: PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL - NOT FOR REPUBLICATION.

I take the view that as the letter was sent to me it is now my property.

Secondly, there is a massive public interest all over Ireland, and indeed the world, in the things that are allegedly happening at St Patrick's College, Maynooth. 

The letter reads:

11 July 2016

Bishop Buckley
The Oratory
Prince's Gardens
BT40 1RQ

Dear Sir,


We have been consulted by Rev Paul Prior in relation to a series of false, unfounded and highly defamatory allegations published by you on your blogsite ("the posting")

As you are no doubt aware, your Posting contains a number of false allegations regarding our client, including inter alia; that our client behaved in an inappropriate manner, is guilty of sexual harassment and intimidation, is being protected by someone of influence in the Church, is a XXXXX and is not fit to be Director of Formation at St Patrick's College, Maynooth.

Our client is readily and easily identifiable in the above Posting by the use of both his full name and his photograph, which has been reproduced by you without his consent.

For the avoidance of doubt, our client categorically refutes each and every one of these totally false allegations, all of which have already been investigated by the appropriate authorities and entirely discredited. Your Posting not only embellishes these baseless allegations, which were categorically dismissed over seven years ago, but adopts them as facts, in what is clearly a malicious and vindictive attempt to cause maximum damage to our client's reputation. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of more damaging allegations which could be levelled at a person in our client's position. 

Furthermore, you recklessly invite and encourage comments from other users who make further outrageous and seriously defamatory allegations including referring to our client as inter alia; XXXX, ( technical references to place on blog) XXXXXXXXXX who "abused his power and position for immoral purposes.

The Posting has clearly been written with malice and with the express intention of inflicting as much distress as possible on our client.

Your reckless decision to disseminate these scurrilous lies, and to endorse them as being true is astonishing. Such a slur on our client's reputation goes to the very heart of his role as Director of Formation at Maynooth and clearly undermines our client's professional and personal standing, as was no doubt your intention.  

Our client is entitled to, and requires, the immediate removal of these allegations from your blogsite, a full retraction and apology, in terms and in a manner to be first agreed with us, together with your undertaking not to repeat the offending allegations and your proposals for compensating him for the harm caused to his reputation. 

We await hearing from you within ten days failing which we have instructions to institute legal proceedings without further notice.

Yours faithfully,



Tel: 07900 287283

14th July 2016

Ms Laura Cunningham

Dear Ms Cunningham,

I wish to acknowledge receipt of your emailed letter of yesterday with regard your client Father Paul Prior of Maynooth.

Can I first of all make the point that my blog about Father Prior was simply a factual account of a set of allegations made against him by a former Maynooth seminarian into which Maynooth itself conducted an “investigation”. Your own letter confirms that this complaint and investigation took place.

I simply listed the historic allegations made to Maynooth which were investigated and I myself made no NEW allegations against Father Prior.

Nor indeed did I call Father Prior any names. I do agree that some of those who contributed comments to the blog did call Father Prior some names and upon receipt of your letter immediately removed those comments as a gesture of good faith to your client and as an indication to you that I was taking your letter seriously.

Can I also point out to you that some 24 hours before publishing my blog I both telephoned and emailed the Church media representative – Mr Martin Long – told him what my blog would be about, named Father Prior to him and asked him for a comment. He promised that he would get back to me but never did – as has not done to this very day.

I would also point out that on the day of the blog I emailed Father Prior himself with the following message:

Sun 10/07

Dear Paul,

I have written a Blog about you today.

I am sending you this email to invite you to respond to my blog in writing - and I promise to publish your response FULLY and WITHOUT EDITING

Pat Buckley

That offer to Father Prior – or indeed to someone representing him – to publish a full and unedited response / refutation is still absolutely open.

Can I address the question of malice? I have never met Father Prior or indeed had anything to do with him apart from hearing about him from third parties who are mainly ex seminarians.  Father Prior, as far as I know, has never played any role in my own life. I have absolutely no reason to have malice towards him. Indeed as a fellow Christian and a brother priest I am well disposed towards him and wish him well and since the current issue has arisen have kept him constantly in my prayers.

My only interest in Maynooth and in Father Prior’s role in Maynooth is the health, happiness and welfare of the young men who enter the college every year to offer themselves in service to God and to the People of God – the Church.

I’m sure that even Father Prior will admit that many of us have had serious concerns about Maynooth for many years now at various levels.

At the end of your letter you indicate that you have instructions from Father Prior to institute legal proceedings against me if my responses to you are not as you require.

In that eventuality I will of course defend the blog in question on the grounds that what I wrote was the substantially truthful; was and is a matter of great public interest (indicated by the fact that this particular blog received the greatest number of comments my blog has ever received); and that any opinions I expressed were honest opinions based on the facts that I had before me.

I would also point out that I do not own any house or property of any value, have no savings, (but do have outstanding debts), have no pensions or investments, am on a low income and have no fear, and might indeed welcome bankruptcy. In the unlikely event of your client successfully suing me there are no funds anywhere that would provide for any potential order for costs or compensation.

Your client will tell you that there has been massive concern about the state of Maynooth Seminary (and indeed the Irish College, Rome+ and the various unedifying activities taking place therein.

It seems to me that it will probably take something like a very prominent court case attended by large numbers of the interested public and the media to finally lance this pulsating abscess. It is in that context that I will appreciate the opportunity to explore this whole issue before a judge and jury. 
Finally, I hereby repeat my offer to your client to submit a full refutation of the matter to my blog – which I promise I will publish without any editing. If you have other suggestions I should be happy to hear from you.
Sincerely yours,

+ Pat Buckley 



12th July 2016

Dear Brothers,

I wish to inform you, if you are not already aware, that Father Paul Prior of Maynooth has sent me a solicitors letter threatening to sue me over my recent blog about Maynooth and homosexuality.


If sued I have every intention of defending the action in open court.

Should that be the case I intend to require the attendance in court, by subpoena if necessary, the presence of each and every member of the Irish Episcopal Conference and its retired members.


As a group you have failed to act over Maynooth and maybe it will take a full-fledged High Court case in either Belfast or Belfast to highlight and reform the national seminary and protect current and future young men offering themselves to God.


I enclose a copy of Father Prior's letter for your information / attention.


I am totally open to receiving approaches of any kind about this matter.

Sincerely yours,

+Pat Buckley


  1. Well done Bishop Pat for publishing the letter and your reply is a masterpiece. I have been following this blog for a long time. I haven't commented on this topic before but I have to agree with most of what has been said here as I have heard terrible things about Maynooth over the years myself. I would love to be there if it ever came to court. Although I doubt it will as those people are too cowardly to face the music. Keep up the good work Pat .Those young men need you to speak up for them . You have God and justice on your side.

    1. Thank you Brianna. I am determined to see this problem sorted come hell or high water.

    2. Pat I have just seen your letter to your Brothers. That is a stroke of genius. I bow in admiration!

    3. Exactly Pat and there are many people who will be gunning for justice. With God on our side, who can be against us. Jesus is the way, the truth and life. Truth is beautiful.

      Maynooth only take part in kangaroo courts which they control. There is no way that such evil people will go to civil court because they have too much corruption that would be unearthed.

    4. Thank you. It was a sincere letter to brothers from whom I am indeed estranged.

      THEY, and THEY ONLY, have the resources to resolve the Maynooth problem.

      The problem is - Have they the faith, courage and principle even between the 25/30 of them?

  2. John Francis Duffy14 July 2016 at 12:38

    Bishop Pat,

    May the Lord strengthen you Bishop Buckley. This is scare tactics. It will not go to court because Maynooth have too much dirty laundry and such action will be the final nail on their coffin.

    On the other hand, your conscience is clear. Walk in the light of truth and expose the darkness of Maynooth.

    1. John Francis, Thank you for your thoughts. All that matters in the end is that Maynooth is purified and that the young men, who in this difficult age, are still willing to give themselves to God, will not have to endure ANYTHING inappropriate from ANYONE.

    2. John Francis Duffy14 July 2016 at 12:50

      As you said in a previous post Bishop Pat

      Exposure Exposure Exposure

  3. Stay strong Pat. You will have LOTS of supporters if your much needed blog /forum sees you in court.

    'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.' M. L. King Jnr.

    P. S. I had a longer supportive post written, but it 'disappeared' suddenly as I was previewing it??? Not your fault, mine. Don't know what happened.

    1. Thank you. Try and resubmit the longer one if you can, please.

  4. Let them come to court, Pat, if they dare. I, and many others, will be there to greet them all with you.

    May God bless you Pat.

  5. Pat, it is better that they have their day in an earthly court, and receive their temporal punishment of humiliation and exposure - before they have to stand before Almighty God and answer for their cowardice and inaction.

    The whole country will hear what the Bishops have been refusing to listen to for years. It will be the good Christian laypeople who will finally force them to take action over Maynooth.

    God bless you Bishop Pat.

  6. I completely disagree with you about most things, but I fully support you in this. You are the only hope for so many abused seminarians. Your position as a total outsider allows you to do what no one on the inside can ever do. They will run away scared from this.

  7. I completely respect your disagreement with me about most things.

    But like you I am sincere in my beliefs.

    I do not see myself as a "total outsider" but I do admit that I am a very estranged member of the family.

    But even estranged family members can care about the family.

    Remember Joseph and his brothers in Egypt :-)

    No one needs to be scared of anyone in this. Can we not all agree to do about Maynooth what Jesus would do?

    1. Sorry, I only meant total outsider in the sense of beyond the usual canonical bonds. It is so easy for a bishop to silence one of his priests. So easy for seminary staff to silence their students. Seminarians have no rights, no recourse, no voice. As someone here said, it's just kangaroo courts in Maynooth.

    2. Don't worry. I was not in the least offended :-)

      I'm afraid "canonical bonds" have us where we are with regard Maynooth.

      I will not be silenced - as I have proven for 30 years.

  8. You reap what you sow. Soon the Seminary Council will feel the same humiliation, degradation and rejection which they have foisted on to countless good, faithful, honest young men/men, who have been lost to the Catholic Priesthood forever, some even losing their Faith/psychological integrity as a result of what they experienced in Maynooth.

    I would love to see them bring you to court Pat. I guarantee you that they and their enablers, the Bishops, would be in for some shock.

    God bless.

  9. The archbishops and bishops as the TRUSTEES of Maynooth will be a significant party to this case.

  10. Bully tactics from Maynooth. Only one way to deal with a bully: bully back twice as hard! Good on ya Pat.

    1. I agree. Can we all continue to keep in mind the real VICTIMS of this case - the past, current and future seminarians of Maynooth.

      We need to stop sending them to a "Theological Somme".

  11. Pat, fair play to you for standing up to Maynooth. They are used to bullying and intimidating seminarians with impunity. Their abuse-of-power days are now coming to a calamitous end.

    It had to end like this, unfortunately, because they do not have the honesty or integrity to remove themselves from their positions. Therefore, they must be forcefully removed before they completely destroy the Irish Church.

  12. Bishop Pat, you are the best Bishop we have in this country. Your response to Johnson's could not have been better crafted by a solicitor. I think they may even offer you a job doing some freelance writing for them in the future!

    Top class Pat and God bless.

    PS The little bully boys in "Gaynooth" are not scaring anyone.

    1. I second that.

    2. Like all bishops, priests and lat people I am both fallible and a sinner.

      Perhaps not enough bishops realise that and not all bishop listen!

  13. XXXXXXX can't deny the inappropriate line of questioning on matters sexual. I remember a seminarian in Rome who was very distraught when XXXXXXXXX asked him if his father ever sexually abused him. Even a highly experienced mental health clinician would tread most carefully with such deeply personal matters and even then such sensitive questioning would always be at the behest and instigation of the client themselves. He deserves his comeuppance. Many a good priest has been laicised for much less.

    1. Thank you for your helpful comment and information. Forgive the slight changes.

  14. No problem Pat. It was in the late nineties. I was also a seminarian in Rome. Just as an addendum I never quite understood how someone with so few formal academic qualifications, as well as human qualities/life experience/maturity to commend him, could be catapulted into such an important position. Despite the general mediocrity of Irish clerics, surely someone more qualified could have been inserted into such an important position as forming the next generation of priests in arguably the most perilous and decisive period yet for the Catholic church on this island. Do the powers that be wish the extinction of the Church on this little island of ours???

  15. In response to previous suggestions regarding picketing the front gates of St.Patrick's Seminary and the Bishops' Conference, I have set-up the following email address:

    Please send an email to the above if you want to join/help organise a protest against the dire, dangerous state of Maynooth.

    VAMA in the email stands for: VOICES AGAINST MAYNOOTH ABUSE

    Great work Pat. God bless.

    1. Great way to get people together.

    2. I got the acronym VAMA from a very good man, Pat. I can't claim the credit for it, sadly!

    3. It was myself that suggested it although i am not sure now it is th e right move. Due to being unemployed i would not have the necessary funds to attend but i wish you the very best.

  16. Classic Napoleon complex.

    1. He liked to "look down" on you during formation meetings. He would sit on a high chair and the seminarian would de seated in a soft couch.

      He is only about 5ft 2inches small. He gave me the creeps big time.

  17. He had a clock positioned slighly behind us, over our shoulder so he could see the time. The meeting would end on time for his and Collin's daily trip to Cafe Bon Bon.

  18. He definitely got his voyeuristic kicks out of some highly intimate and personal questions which he asked me.

    I am hoping and praying he brings you to court Pat. If so, I will be waiting him for him...

  19. Healthy, mature, integrated chastity and celibacy were never mentioned in any of my formation meetings with this particular priest. I was asked, though, how I brought my "erections to prayer". Also, I was told by other seminarians that he made them extremely uncomfortable by his unsolicited, sexually-intrusive questions. I found his formation meetings a weird and torrid affair. It appeared, from a very early stage, that he was more interested in ascertaining one's sexual orientation and habits, past and present, than anything else. The aforesaid was most certainly not part of his brief as a formation director, and violated Canon Law.

    When I was in Maynooth, my year received a very short talk on celibacy by a priest who was then a member of the theological faculty. After that I never heard a talk or homily on celibacy, chastity or purity for the rest of my tenure as a seminarian. It appeared that most of the priests in St. Pat's found the concept of priestly celibacy risible. I heard many facetious and shocking remarks made about same among staff.

    The reason celibacy was so derided, I believe, is because most of the priests were sexually active, with men and women. The previous was easily inferred from their language which was laced with sexual
    innuendo, much of the time. This example from priests logically lent itself to sexual promiscuity and prurient language among many seminarians.

    I wholeheartedly agree with some of the comments on previous blogs that there are many more sexual scandals in the offing. Until the Bishops realize that the formation staff in Maynooth are highly deficient, corrupt and hypocritical, we are in for never ending stories like the unfortunate Fr Rory Coyle and current Maynooth Deacon.

    Former Maynooth Seminarian

  20. Perhaps a "legal" letter should be responded to like for like-a solicitors letter on your behalf

  21. Well done to the reply Bishop Pat.
    God is on your side. It's the truth that you told and now they are threatening you with a court hearing. Take no heed. Someone had to stand up for the good priests and expose the goings on in Maynooth.

  22. Shortly after the allegation was made, i remember well that the seminarian's five closest friends were interrogated by the vice president (now acting president). They knew the writing was on the wall for them. Three left to join an order in Italy. Another had his bishop send him to a seminary in Rome to continue his studies. The fifth student foolishly chose to stay,and unsurprisingly was given a very negative report that summer,and following Christmas, and thus teed up to be then deemed unsuitable for priesthood. We were amazed at how cold and calculated, and patient, the council were in getting rid of the last witness.

    Many of us are just sick of this, and enough is enough. The solicitors letter is the final straw.

    A few of us (former seminarians, priests, and current seminarians) are prepared to testify in court, and expose other details over the past 20 years in Rome and Maynooth. We are currently gathering information, and this expose seems to be just the tip of the ice berg. Maynooth is riddled. It's Ireland's worst kept secret.

    1. Well spoken. I hope to hear from you soon. Pat.

    2. That last poor seminarian was just used as a "useful idiot" to get as much information as possible on the seminarian's, who made the complaint, next moves. When his use was exhausted, they ruthlessly ejected him.