Monday, 5 December 2016



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FATHER HUGH KENNEDY is in bother again and is being interviewed by the police over "historic sexual assault".

Even though he has not yet being charged with any offence we are better treating the current development as sub judice and allow the police and the current authorities to do their job.


If we want to be either Christian or humanly kind we must feel some sadness and sorrow for him. He is not in a place that any of us would like to be. 

Even if he brought these developments om himself it does not mean that he does not deserve some pity. Most of us are our own worst enemies.

Of course if it emerges that there is an INNOCENT VICTIM involved in these matters our first empathy must go to the victim. That is absolutely clear.

However Hugh has three issues he needs to sort out - his ARROGANCE - his UNBRIDLED AMBITION - and his SEXUAL INAPPROPRIATENESS.


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Hugh comes across as very arrogant. As administrator of St Peter's Cathedral - one of the most socially deprived areas in the diocese - he held forth as a lord in the "Big House".

He preached to the ordinary people of St Peter's as if they were all university graduates - with themes like the French composer Durufle. 

He also tried to make St Peter's like a mini Vatican by setting up a Scola Cantorum - a boy's choir - with most if not all of the boys from outside the parish and wealthier areas of Belfast.

I spent 5 years in St Peter's. To be a successful priest there you need to able to adapt to the outlook and needs of the people. I'm sure there are some in St Peter's who like classical music and chant. But most I imagine might prefer Irish ballads etc.

Hugh never got that. He was too arrogant to understand. 


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Hugh is not happy to be an ordinary priest. He would like to be a bishop - or at least a monsignor or a canon that can wear a bit of purple.

He was the "administrator" of St Peter's but he fashioned himself the "Dean of the Cathedral" - an Anglican notion where the dean dresses in purple and is the Chief Canon.

He has been going around wearing purple capes and hats and medallions from the Knights of Malta.

Hugh badly wants to be a decorated cleric.

Being an ordinary parish priest or curate is way, way below him.


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Hugh is obviously a gay man. He is obviously attracted to the younger man.

One of his problems with that is that in the company of young men he becomes helpless and is drawn to them like a moth to a flame.

Then, when he hardly knows them he invites them to go swimming with him.

Of course there is nothing wrong with two men going swimming. But when a 59 year old man wants to go swimming with an 18 year old man - 5 minutes after meeting him - it is "inappropriate".

We all have our sexual desires and fantasies. But we have to keep them in check. Its as if poor Hugh has no brakes!

I would imagine that these three things - as well as others - has landed Hugh where he is.

I hope the polive investigation finds out that nothing untoward happened. 

But even if that is the case Hugh is going to have to grab himself by the boot strings and address his habits.

Otherwise he will find himself in more bother of various kinds and will end up a more tragic figure than he already cuts.


  1. Being arrogant or ambitious while not being very priestly or pastoral is not a crime. Being sexually inappropriate is treading on dangerous water,break the law and cause immense damage. Priests using priesthood to live out their fantasies be it building their own fairyland-no pun intended-or of asexual nature is something that should have been spotted during training. I dont believe those in charge of formation in our day were equipped to handle these eventualities. That being said modern church leaders are required to act appropriately not just to avoid being sued but for the good of souls.

    1. "Being an ordinary parish priest or curate is way, way below him".A bit rich for someone who appointed himself a bishop

    2. Being a bishop is not primarily being "appointed". Its part of Holy Orders.

      To me a bishop is the overseeing presbyter - which I am at The Oratory Society.

      I always have been and hope I always will be a good and 100% available pastor.

  2. Bishop, what would you think of a prirst I met at a family gathering on a Sunday afternoon who made a bee line for me - an attractive 20 year old student who arrived the following day at my iniversity lodgings 100 miles away and invited me for a swim and a fine dining dinner that cost mu allowance for 3 months?

    I was embarrassed and as a Catholic went along with it.

    It was cringe worthy.

    Next time I am in Belfast I will tell you the story. C.

    1. C, next time say "No". See you later.

    2. Fr Bollox needs his bits defeating. How did he find time to travel 100 miles and then lash out a small fortune. Being unrealistic is sadly part of the job description of many a young priest. (I was that soldier) Mind you I never had big wads of cash to spend on anyone. Still don't!

    3. I think as a Catholic you had a duty to correct the priest. He may not have been able or willing to hear how cringingly embarrassing his behaviour was but both scripture and tradition are plain on the Catholic's duty to correct other Catholics in charity, even priests, even the pope.

  3. This is a very beautiful post Bishop Pat and one that is full of pastoral outreach. I thank you for taking the time to write it. The arrest (for a second time), or at very least having his collar felt, while very uncomfortable and traumatic may well still be the making of Hugh Kennedy the man. Here's its important to state this again: Hugh Kennedy the man. Hugh is a man. He may well come to see this "intervention" as the best thing that ever happened to him, as it is a wake up call to face up to his humanity, his weakness and vulnerability and stop hiding behind titles, vestments, badges, processions and trying to ingratiate himself with so called "powerful" people. I speak from personal experience. I was an ambitious young priest on the way up and feted everywhere as someone who would become a bishop. I was also secretly very unhappy and acting out by hanging around Gay causing areas (outside of my diocese) as I tried to come to terms with my true feelings - feelings that were cloaked by my cassocks and belly bands and titles. One night while I was cruising the area, the local police carried out a raid. I was arrested and taken to the local police station where I was cautioned. When the police saw my address they said "Oh your a vicar." They could not have been kinder and respectful (and embarrassed for me), but once my archbishop heard my life as a priest was over. I was removed from ministry (this is many decades ago) and sent for therapy and treatment. I never went back. Even though that was so painful an experience to me, and virtually brought me to the edge of suicide, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I came to see it, and see it now so clearly, as the Lord intervening on my life to save me from myself. I took time out of the priesthood and never returned and have lived my life since as a contented gay man and have forged another and highly successful career in a caring profession, one where I am very esteemed by my peers and am judged on my merits and not because I am a title or wear fancy robes. If Hugh is fortunate he will see in this present crisis a real opportunity to begin afresh. A thing that kept me going in the bleakest time was a phrase I heard: In a dark time the eyes begin to see. I wish Hugh well. I hope he begins afresh and puts aside all the rubbish and nonsense of Church frippery, and seriously faces up to himself and starts to live as Hugh. When all this has settled down he may well find himself able to breath easy again and actually enjoy his life and himself and find that he is loved for who he is, not what he is. I hope he does so before its too late. When I had left an old priest of my diocese who had risen to the heights by being Vicar General and was considered the power in the diocese told me that he felt he had wasted his life and that if he had it over again he would never have been a priest. I hope this helps both your readers and most importantly Hugh. There is still time left, but the clock is ticking. An Understanding Former Priest.

    1. A very moving post Father.

      Judging by what you say here you are a great LOSS to priesthood.

      People think I'm tough because I'm very honest.

      I do feel for Hugh and would help him if I could.

      Look after yourself.

      Pat x

    2. Lovely post.
      "There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen.
      You and me both brother.

    3. Yes, 14:08, a very moving post. And you, Pat, a very wise and moving blog. Good advice from two good men. Two good priests. God bless you both.

    4. Moving and humbling. I have to agree. Bet you would have been a great priest given the right circumstances. In fact you still are. Priesthood never goes away. Priesthood is more about the person than the garb. Your post proves it. I carved out a job on civvy street and still manage to minister in my parish when free. Something I thank God for every day

  4. Paul speaking to men says that if your sexual drive is stimulated by self gratification, that is immorality.
    This is the Philips translation
    (1 Thess 4:3-8) God’s plan is to make you holy, and that entails first of all a clean cut from sexual immorality. Every one of you should learn to control his body, keeping it pure and treating it with respect and never regarding it as an instrument for self- gratification, as do pagans with no knowledge of God. You cannot break this rule without in some way cheating your fellow men. And you must remember that God will punish all who do offend in this matter, and we have warned you how we have seen this work out in our experience of life. The calling of God is not to impurity, and anyone who makes light of this matter is not making light of a man’s ruling but of God’s command. It is not for nothing that the Spirit God gives us is called the Holy Spirit.

  5. A clerical wag in D&C once said that Hugh Kennedy was so arrogant that when he entered a room even Timmo Bartlett noticed!!
    Fortwilliam Freddie

    1. Yes, indeed, Timmo and Big Hugh - two names in D&C that will always raise a chuckle among the clergy.

      Both men at the mercy of driving ambition and desperate for a pointy hat.

      Poor Hugh's dream, though, never to be realised now.

      Timmo's dream still a runner and a favourite with the Bookies #paddypower/timmo's_dream

      The Tic Tac Man,
      Down Royal.

  6. C @13:58, I know for a fact that the "Dean" has done things like you have described when he was mesmerised.

    It is excruciatingly embarrassing to witness men like this lose the run of themselves. It must be even worse to be on the receiving end of such attentions.

    It is frightening that a priest would be so DRIVEN as to pursue a young man 100 miles and lavish such unwarranted attentions on him. Highly inappropriate to say the least - this type of wooing and romantic pursuit. It is not too hard to figure out where "Fr" wants things to "end up".

    As regards HK in particular, the young seminarians used to call him "Hans Kennedy" on account of his tactility. It was Hans' job, as diocesan MC, to train them for the big Liturgies in St Peter's Cathedral - Russian hands and Roman fingers!

    Poor Hugh. I don't hold out much hope for him seeking help, Pat. He would require a MASSIVE conversion - but who knows? God's grace.

    But given the extent of his delusion .... that he actually saw himself in Westminster diocese gaining, or being given, prominence? .... pathetic.

    I am a bit older than HK but I know that some people "closer" to him have tried get him to review how he comes over - especially around good-looking young men. To no avail. He was unable to "hear".

    In all of this, HK will see himself as victim/martyr. He was once overheard referring to a particularly notorious "priest" who abused scores of young boys in most sympathetic terms - even to the extent of portraying the predatory man as "crucified" like Christ. Shocking, even sacrilegious. And, of course, no thought or care expressed towards the many innocent boys whose lives were deeply damaged by this man.

    Whatever has got "Hans" into trouble again, it is certainly of sufficient gravity that the PSNI are now involved. I will pray for him. It would be wonderful if this experience could be salvific, as it was for the "Understanding Former Priest" who has written such a beautiful post. But I'm not hopeful for Hughie.

    If there is no criminal case and he doesn't end up in jail, he will probably do what his Uncle Oliver did for entirely different reasons - live out the rest of his days in retirement.

    It is also high time the legacy of the "dean" was removed from St Peter's Cathedral - an Irish Catholic Cathedral on the Lower Falls - St Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Abbey - it is NOT!

    1. When you say "Irish Catholic Cathedral" do you mean that the liturgy is banal and dull beyond words and that the oiks of West Belfast shouldn't be getting notions?

    2. I mean that the Liturgy is not disconnected from the lives of the people, that is not some esoteric and artificial performance by individuals, who are parachuted in for a weekly show. Watch "Choirboys" on YouTube and observe the antics. The fantasy and make-believe of the delusional "Dean" and his sidekick - nothing to do with sincere worship of God - somewhere over the rainbow indeed.

    3. My work and interests take me around Ireland. I have attended Sunday Mass in a number of Irish Churches and Cathedrals.

      The Pro-Cathedral in Dublin is the ideal of an Irish Catholic Cathedral. The music is superb and involves also the congregation. Those young boys in St Peter's, Belfast, can't hold a candle to the Palestrina Choir.

      Galway Cathedral is also excellent. Cobh Cathedral, St Eugene's in Derry, Limerick, Carlow, Christ the King in Mullingar - all great musical traditions - not "banal and dull beyond words".

      I remember also a terrific Cathedral choir in St Peter's, Belfast, under the direction of Raymond Lennon - a properly Catholic choir in tune with the Catholic Liturgy.

      What the erstwhile "Dean" has established in St Peter's is completely lacking in authenticity.

      Also, the rebuilt, enlarged organ (much like the ego and pretensions of the removed "Dean") is way too much, far too big, much too loud, for a small cathedral like St Peter's.

      Canticum novum,

  7. 140i "An Understanding Former Priest." Thank you for a most understanding,compassionate and wise comment. I would like to hear more of your views on these various topics. Well done.

  8. Thank you 1408 (An Understanding Former Priest) you are most compassionate and wise. I would like to hear more from you on your views. Thank you.

  9. I have just been listening to the world famous Boys Choir from Westminster Cathedral singing O Magnum Mysterium. But the Magnum Mysterium must be how the fek Vin Nichols allowed Hugh Kennedy into this diocese.
    West London Cleric.

  10. Fr Kennedy was not the first nor will he be the last to be enchanted by the music and solemn liturgies in Westminster Cathedral.
    Many before him have entertained the idea of being one of the cathedral chaplains. And although many aspired to living in Ambrosden Avenue few actually made the cut.
    So I suppose we will just have to give Fr Kennedy that time honoured cockney farewell. "Tar ra, me old cock"

    Big Ben

    1. If only it were just the solemn liturgies and music that enchants Hughy and holds him spellbound......

  11. Pat, do you think that Hugh Kennedy feels he is untouchable or his he fearless! How does one explain such behaviour? Perhaps he thinks his money can save him because he just seems to buy people or get certain popularity from throwing money at individuals. Wish I knew his mind set as its truly puzzling.

    1. Truly, I do not know Hugh's mind.

      But I do KNOW there are further revelations on the way this week :-(

  12. Further revelations this week.............surely he is not about to be named as the new Auxillary in Down and Connor?

    1. I hope there is no further scandal Pat and newspaper revelations?

  13. Sometimes , Pat, I do believe you post as anonymous

  14. I posted earlier that we the laity are going to have to pay his salary despite his wealth
    Surely he should go on the dole if he has been sacked

    1. Suspended on full pay is standard in these situations in other professions but it is simply not the case that "we the laity are going to have to pay". What makes you say something so mischievously misleading?

  15. Aren't the laity keeping the RC church in existence.
    What's mischievous about that.

    1. Certainly, but there is absolutely no obligation to contribute, and there are no special collections for suspended priests. It is mischievous and misleading to suggest otherwise.

  16. I would suggest that those who don't contribute at some stage during the year are few and far between,even if it only buying a raffle ticket.
    Yes where I live there is an envelope for a priests fund, I don't use it as there was a rumour that it was used to pay out compensations

  17. So if Kennedy getting his salary, which is to be expected by nature of his being suspended, he is a kept man by us laity
    Nothing mischievous in sayng that.