Monday, 17 October 2016



A former Ampleforth monk has told why other monks who knew something was wrong stayed silent.

 A former Ampleforth monk who left the community in despair 20 years ago after being sexually harassed claims priests kept quiet about abuse because of fears of being victimised by a "homosexual mafia" who dominated the order. 

The former novice, who asked not to be named, compared the Abbey as it was then to a “Boys Club” – where little was written down, and abbots came and went without being given proper records of what their predecessor had been doing for the past eight years. 

He said at some monasteries like Ampleforth at the time “the gays had the upper hand” and protected each other, treating those who spoke out against homosexual activity as outcasts. “While they were not all sexually active if something bad happened they covered it up and because they were often at Oxford together they kept their friendships,” he added. 

“The more conservative traditional monks would not stand for it. But in the communities there is a live and let live attitude. “If it becomes public or the community gets to know they act to remove the trouble. But they never do unless forced to. 

“I was a really idealistic young man and I was scandalised by what happened to me all those years ago. I had to piece it all together before I realised I was not to blame.” 

He was groomed by an older monk, whom he learned abused another young novice. The predatory priest had already propositioned four of the six novices to enter the Abbey that year. There was also suspicion he had been involved with a young monk while in Rome who killed himself: 

“In fact, he really did not believe in the Faith at all judging by the things he told us,” added the former novice, who reported the abuse to the Abbot and had the culprit thrown out. 

But by then he was disillusioned with the “spiritual” life and left to become an international businessman. He feared what had happened to him, underlined the risk to pupils. 

“As for boys at the college , if a man like that gets into a school things can happen. The whole thing is that people know – but they don’t want to know. You can be accused of not being a Christian and not being forgiving if you say anything. 

“No one likes to be harassed in the community by other monks so silence is the best way to deal with it. “The Abbot wrote me a lovely letter after I left – but said he did not understand the whole issue and did not know what to do.” 

Although he had no proof he believed there was other monk who was sexually active and to prefer the company of pupils to his fellow monks – subsequently committed suicide. 

“No one got anywhere with me because I was not interested but I got very upset and there was no one to talk to about my feelings.”


The English Benedictines are famous for attracting gay and often very effeminate gay men into the monastery.

The former Abbot of Ampleforth - Cardinal Basil Hume - was very tolerant of gay monks and of gay priests as Archbishop of Westminster.

I once shared a presbytery with a Benedictine monk who liked to dress down - as in Adam and Eve without the fig leaves. 

Whenever I watch programmes about English Benedictine monasteries who also run boy's boarding schools I always get the sense of an all pervading homoeroticism / testosterone. 

However the existence of an aggressive, bullying gay cabal in monasteries is a totally different matter.

These places are really the religious life equivalent of MAYNOOTH.

It is a further sign of the homsexualisation of the priesthood and the Church.

That is NOT good.

The Church, Religious Life, Monasteries etc should be places of COMPLETE DIVERSITY.

I do not want to live in a Gay Society or a Gay Church. I want to live in a society and Church of total diversity.




Room 69
Ledwith House

16th November 2015

My Lord Bishop,

On behalf of the MGA I wanted to thank you for yesterday's picture published on your esteemed Blog showing the picture of the class of 1966.

As all the members of our Association are of the antique disposition we were very interested to see and judge who was the most handsome hunk that year.

The results are as follows:

FIRST PLACE: Back row - 6th from left.

SECOND PLACE: Back row - 2nd from left.

THIRD PLACE: Back row - third from left.

Thank you for allowing us hunks of TODAY gaze upon and admire the hunks of YESTERYEAR 

With warmest regards,

Stephen Winston

(Hon Secretary)



  1. How strange it is to watch TV shows some fictional which portray the sexual deviance of the church of the past. Stranger still to discover the modern church has not outed abuse of this kind. Then again....In this day and age there is no room for hypocrisy or using and abusing others no matter who they are

  2. I studied in Hume''s Westminister Seminary, I never warmed to him. Hume was a total cold fish and very aggressive when I served Mass for him in the Seminary. I believe he was very anti-Irish, like a lot of the Seminary Clerical Staff I encountered in London and elsewhere. He refused to accept ex religious as Seminarians which I always found odd. I had retreats at the Benedictine Monastries of Belmont in Hereford, Downside near Bath and Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight (which had the most awful food). I always found Mark Jabale, ex Abbot of Belmont the weirdest man I ever met. In a brief discussion before lunch at Belmont he told me that my Bishop should be very worried. When I asked, "why" he said, "you are staying in a Benedictine Monastery for Christ sakes". He later flew the nest as Abbot to be Bishop of Menevia in Wales and then suddenly promoted by +Vincent Nichols to the plush parish of Chipping Norton in the Archdiocese of Birmingham. I never quite understood that. I can never understand why Celsus Kelly has been Abbot for many years at Portglenone either? English Priest

    1. i dont agree with anti irish - he stood up for the B6 and G4 and was part of the reason to get them their appeals

    2. I don't agree with your claim that he didn't allow ex-religious to join the seminary. I can think of 4 ex-religious who were accepted into allen hall by hume!

  3. For just one line of repentance and tiny act of faith, the murderous thief on the cross heard Jesus say: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” He stole Heaven at the last.

    I don’t care about a person’s sexuality if they are struggling to live a Christian life and I would not stand for bullying of anyone, straight, gay, transgender, lesbian. Charity is supposed to be our watchword. Aren't we supposed to the Refuge of Sinners?

    I haven’t even led the best of lives, but I truly believe in God’s mercy and having accepted it, want it be available to others.

    In all of our lives, I’m sure there is at least one skeleton we’d all want to go back and change. I’m sure Cardinal O’Fiaich would go back in time – if he could – and apologise to Fr. McGinnity for putting him down when he tried to serve the Gospel in protecting seminarians from Monsignor Ledwith. The fact that the Church after O’Fiaich never made reparation to Fr. McGinnity is a scandal.

    I’m sure Cardinal Sean Brady will one day wish fervently to apologise to those whom he failed in charity and in justice. I’m sure one day he will want to apologise to you as well, Patrick. Let him who has no sin cast the first stone and we all have to walk away with heads down.

    But the powerful often don’t have to apologise because their power allows them to cover up abuses for years, if not for decades – and by the time the ordure hits the fan, they will be either dead or too old to care.

    “Tilting at windmills” describes Don Quixote’s ludicrous battling with windmills which he imagined to be giants.

    “Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless."

    "What giants?" asked Sancho Panza.

    "Those you see over there," replied his master, "with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length."

    "Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone."

    I ask myself every day – was Archbishop Martin merely tilting at windmills when he removed his brood, temporarily, from Maynooth as his only act of battle? Was that it?

    No plan for root and branch reform?

  4. Pat, is your aim to discourage celibate men with same-sex attraction from applying to be a clerical student? Or are you taking aim at those same-sex attracted men who perhaps acted out on their sexuality at a time in their lives, repented and reformed their lives with the aim of being celibate seminarians and eventually celibate priests? Or is it aimed at the effeminate?

    The lack of nuance in your polemics suggests that you have, as you would say, as agenda?

    1. Just showing the widespread abuse of seminarians / novices - an issue that needs addressing?

    2. Unfortunately this isn't apparent. It might be apparent to those who know you but for the rest of us it looks depressingly like homophobia (internalised or otherwise). Take, for example, today's blog. We are told that the homosexuals, whether sexually active or not, covered up - implication = all same-sex attracted men are abusers. It may not be your intention but this type of story is disappointing to say the least. And it is constant.

      In the absence nuance and balance in the blog, it is fair to conclude (in pretty short order) that the real agenda is something quite different.

      One would hate to think it is the blog equivalent of one of those American seminary directors who bar candidates with homosexual orientation but who are themselves gay.

      I am depressed to see the humorless Maynooth Grindrs blog back though no doubt it will appeal to the more homophobic in your readership - and I suspect that is the aim.

    3. You need to understand that your sense of humour is bot everybody's sense of humour.

      I have never said that men who are gay should be excluded from seminaries - quite the oppoaite.

      But I think ALL bullies in seminaries should be challenged and if they do not change their ways should be shown the door.

      The problem is NOT gay men - but gay bullies!

    4. Pat, your problem is the Catholic Church and the only Way to get at the real problem is by publicly hanging your Gay brothers out to dry and by doing so leaving many of them very very open to homophobic attack.
      Would much prefer your ongoing attack on the Catholic Church come from a different angle.
      Gay blogger.

    5. I do in fact understand that my sense of humour is not that of everyone. But you also need to understand that using a thinly disguised pseudonym when you have still not adduced any evidence of wrongdoing is in fact not funny in any way at all. It is a form of bullying and misuse of your position. You cannot attack Maynooth when you put yourself day after day in a similar position to the bullies.

      I agree the problem is gay bullies. I also agree that you have never SAID that gay men should not be admitted. But you are not distinguishing between the two sufficiently.

      For all the pious ritual about gay cabals and gay bullies all I can see is some men who misbehaved sexually. I still haven't seen any evidence of gay bullies in the current Maynooth situation.

      It is comforting to go along with this narrative as it gives us someone to blame. But it needs to be back with facts.

  5. Maynooth Students back on this blog it appears. Maybe from Moneymore? English Priest

  6. When you 'cut and paste' an article (as in the case of today's blog) it is good practice to cite your source and so give credit to the original author.

    1. Soz. Will do in future. Reprimand accepted.

  7. Delighted to see Amplefunds on the blog today.
    Not just the English Benedictine Congregation, though. Unfortunately the original blog about Abbot Cuthbert Brogan of Farnborough was removed after a solicitor's letter. But traces of it can be found on the internet :

    1. Careful, Pat, you'll be getting another solicitor's letter!
      I was wondering when Farnborough would appear on here. Things are not what they seem there by any means, and I have heard of multiple complaints to the church authorities, with the usual result...

  8. Anon 09.50

    I think Pat is incredibly honest. I have many friends in recovery, either from alcohol or heroin. The former alcoholics could never seek to work in a bar or nightclub – too much alcohol on offer. The former heroin users could never work in a bar or nightclub – too many drugs on offer.

    You have to know your limits.

    Temptation is a powerful force. You seem to treat it as anodyne.

    Why would any homosexual man want to spend seven or eight or nine years surrounded by highly sexually frustrated and quite attractive young men in - of all places - a seminary? How much temptation is too much?

    Why would any heterosexual man – hoping to be chaste – want to spend eight or nine years in an all-female university surrounded by highly sexually frustrated females? How much temptation is too much?

    When is there any sort of realisation of limits? Is modern society unshackled of limits?

    Are we living the movie LIMITLESS in a sort of NZT fantasy?

    Sexual attraction OF ANY GENDER is highly difficult to cope with in any religious institution or form of life.

    Get real.

    Keep on keeping on Pat.

    The Irish Church without you would hoard all its dark secrets of all genders.

    Can I have fries with the notion of same-sex attraction cruising through a seminary untroubled...

  9. Today's blog does not attack homosexuals. It points out that there are corners of the church where celibacy is not lived and where some celibates fail to act when they know that brother's are not living the expected live that is supposed to unify the religious community. In both cases there are failings.

    Recent blog articles do point out that there is much bullying caused by clicks within the seminaries that are unified by their homosexuality. Sometimes that is an active orientation, sometimes it is not active. But in many cases it is aggressive to the point where homosexual clicks bully heterosexual men out of seminary.

    The key points are,
    1. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with vocation. 2. There is no evidence or rumours of heterosexual clicks bullying celibate homosexuals out of seminary.
    3.There is plenty coming out about homosexual clicks bullying men out of seminary for being celibate heterosexuals.
    4. The bishops and many priests allow point 3 to happen despite numerous complaints.
    5. There is merit in investigating why point 3 is so prevalent in the clerical world, and why point 4 appears so universal in facilitating point 3.

    Perhaps the psychological evaluation that applicants undertake, and which is shared with Bishops should ask is a man has been celibate rather than what orientation God gave him.

    Perhaps people need to be a bit more balanced and factually accurate when they accuse Bishop Pat of being homophobic.

    Also over the last few days I have shared my experience in Maynooth. Donal's bullying, Enda's help, the bishops negligance and the circle of bishops I approached with a complaint against their beloved Maynooth. From today on I will sign off with - CR

    1. Thank you CR. A number of people, including myself were interested in knowing who your bishop was.

      Of course you have the perfect right not to share that info - for whatever reason :-)

    2. Slightly on the side Why is the celibacy promise still part of the ordination ceremony if so many flaunt it. What's going on in the ordaining bishops mind...implications for poor auld Paddy and Patricia Catholic

  10. I think Bishop Pat's GRINDR obsession owes more to the fact that certain seminarians/deacons/priests can get away with whatever because they are in a certain place of power, privilege and protection - they are untouchable over time. No amount of evidence that their lifestyles are incompatible with their callings seems to trouble them.

    They are our demi-Gods.

    Question is How?

    1. I really do not have a Grindr obsession. But I do think the Grindr example is useful in highlighting a certain cynical approach to seminarians / priesthood.

      Personally I believe that all priests should be free to have partners and human intimacy.

    2. I know someone who met a seminarian off another gay app in Maynooth seminary last summer. They were horrified to find out later this person is a seminarian and still in formation. They had thought they were going on a genuine date but when they went to meet the seminarian they were asked for NO STRINGS ATTACHED FUN. genuine story.

  11. CR - before you bow out, I'm sure those who know you know you, but can your rotten Bishop not be named?

  12. Maynooth Cabals, Galway Cabals, Ferns Cabals, benedictine Cabals... Im not a member of a cabal, Im feeling left out.... how can I join one... is there a website or a cabal app :-)

    1. If I was you I would stick to kebabs :-)

  13. CR, Cork & Ross.

    1. Except you are both pastoral and genuine Bishop Pat. CR.

  14. Interesting blog today about Ampleforth - I thought you may have mentioned the plight of the current Abbot Cuthbert Moran ?

  15. Was thinking this morning that C R was the clue

  16. North Yorkshire Police are investigating abuse claims at Ampleforth College

    The Abbot of Ampleforth has “stepped aside” while police investigate abuse claims from four former pupils at the abbey’s school, Ampleforth College.

    The college confirmed that Abbot Cuthbert Madden has “temporarily stepped aside” while North Yorkshire Police investigated claims dating from the 1990s.

    “Fr Abbot denies any wrongdoing and will be cooperating fully while the allegations are investigated by the appropriate authorities,” Ampleforth College said in a statement.

    “In the interests of transparency, we want to ensure the Ampleforth community and friends are aware of the current situation.”

    The statement added: “This course of action accords fully with established civil and ecclesiastical protocols, and is a neutral action, which will remain in place for the duration of the investigation.”

    A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police said the investigation was “ongoing” since the allegations were reported in August, and had “triggered safeguarding measures which have been put in place while it continues”.

    In the interim, Fr Terence Richardson, the prior of Ampleforth Abbey, will act as superior.

    Fr Madden had been at Ampleforth for 30 years. He was ordained as a priest in 1990 and first elected as abbot in 2005, and re-elected in 2013.

    The college is an independent boarding school that has been co-educational since 2010. It was set up by Benedictines in 1802, and has about 600 students. Former pupils include Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and sculptor Antony Gormley.

  17. Back row 8th from left for me.

  18. Hello Pat it was a very interesting blog on Monday about "gay monks"
    Normally I would never have an input to anything like this, getting too old for all that now, but I felt in this case I had to write something. In 1965 at the age of 19yrs I entered a Cistercian Monastery. I was a very quiet and naive young man back then and had a very strict Catholic upbringing. Novenas, Benediction, Rosaries and the Eucharist were and are still are a very important part of my life. My parents, God love them taught me that my Catholic faith is very important to me and that I should always take good care of it. C A R E - Confessions, Adoration, Rosary, Eucharist. Back in the 60's/70's I would have been a part of a community of 55 to 60 monks of various ages but mostly young men, life in the abbey was demanding it was taken up by prayer, study and work. In 1974 I was ordained in that abbey along with 6 others brothers. In 1997 for personal reasons I left that abbey and the priesthood. I can honestly put my hand on my heart and make a solemn oath to my Lord and God that during my 32yrs in the abbey I never once encountered any inappropriate behaviour of any kind, nor did I hear of any inappropriate going on's. For most of the time we all lived in harmony with one another but we did have our arguments and disagreements but I can truthfully say the sun never set on a disagreement. We had many visitors to our abbey many priests, religious and even the odd bishop would come along for confession our sometimes just a chat to discuss their problems and "demons", God knows we all have them and many of these poor souls struggled to overcome theirs while fulfilling their priestly duties. Pat I can understand where you're coming from with this blog, the need for total transparency within the Church is very important, but are you carrying out your crusade for the right reasons. There are many good priests within the Church who have a daily struggle to overcome their "demons" while carrying out their priestly duties, there are many saintly priests within the church, and then there are those priests who unfortunately have lost track of what their vocation is about and refuses to change. I left my order and vocation in 1997 but I still very much feel Cistercian and value my Catholic faith as much now in my twilight years as I ever did.
    God Bless you Pat and may he always guide your thoughts and actions.

    1. Nice to hear from you. I wish you every blessing and happiness too.

      I have come across "difficult" situations in your own order.

    2. 21.57 Thank you. A genuine vocation never goes away. You have many years left and much to offer

  19. Being around 70 does not necessarily Mean twilight years
    Yes poor health can by an obstacle
    But for many there Are still lots of years For many projects
    For me age is just a number and work is my Prayer most days

  20. MourneManMichael17 October 2016 at 22:44

    What a refreshing, positive and welcome comment. It makes a welcome change from the too frequent negative ones albeit I think we regulars do acknowledge the heartfelt hurt and pain inherent in some of them.
    Thank you for your positivity.

  21. Cistercians have some of the best places for retreats. I love visiting their monasteries and having a week of prayerful contemplation. The office is so beautiful. On one retreat I was allowed to live in as the guesthouse was full - it was an amazing experience.

    I think there are many men here who would love to go to bed with all disputes resolved. Alas the seminary system does not provide for us, we are not to be negotiated with in the eyes of bishops and seminary councils. But I respect your guidance and send back my prayers for tonight in return.

  22. Pat, I think you should lay off that Maynooth Grindr Society business.

    I feel sorry for the young lads being speculated about.

    Focus on the formation team, the staff, the system, those already ordained.

    If the system can be reformed, then unsuitable seminarians will be dismissed.

    If holy and balanced formation priests are appointed to Maynooth, they will be able to discern true vocations and send those, not fit for a priestly life, to a way of life that will be more appropriate for them.

    Focus on the staff, bishops and the trustees - they are the ones with the real power. They need to called out if they are negligent and irresponsible.

    Don't leave yourself open to being accused of bullying youngsters. The boys are only pawns and could well be victims too of the corrupted system.

    I say this with great respect for what you are trying to achieve.

  23. 'If I was you I would stick to kebabs :-)' I guess much of Gaynooth has already adopted the shish kebab position.

  24. What a morally spineless lot Roman Catholic novices and seminarians are!!!! They make me want to spew!!

  25. What do you know about novices and seminarians, Willy, that makes you want to spew?
    Be specific - give examples!

    1. My imagination - ???? I am Looking for a factual answer!
      You are the one who apparently has facts? What are they?

    2. I was once a novice at an EBC house in the south west and was horrified at what I heard and saw going on.Two monks have since been imprisoned for their crimes and another convicted for his.
      A senior would very often prance about naked in his presbytery when I had to visit him and it was an open secret about his gay porn stash. A fellow junior tried very unsuccessfully to enter my room on more than one occasion during the great silence and even turned up on my doorstep once I'd left the monastery.He made it very clear what his intentions were. Only after threatening to call the police did he leave me alone. He now resides abroad as a rural PP. God help the young males of the parish.
      A good many of the community were gay some more openly than others.A very unpleasant experience in a culture of bullying and even open hatred between some members of the community.It has been many years since I practised my faith and I have no intention of ever returning to the church as a result of my experiences. I've found greater charity and fraternal love in the armed forces and I've had a very successful career which will sadly soon be drawing to an end as I reach mandatory retirement age for a SNCO.