Friday, 2 December 2016



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FATHER BRENDAN HOBAN the Whinger In Chief of the so called Association of Catholic Priests is being quoted around the Catholic world for saying that priests are:


He is also strongly defending a small number of priests like Fr Tony Flannery - thye Redemptorist - who were disciplined and silence by the Vatican in the time of Pope Ratzinger.

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Are priests overworked. Well, let me talk about my experience of priests.

When I was in St Peter's Cathedral from 1978 until 1983 there were five priests - Fathers Vincent McKinley, Joe McGurnaghan, Jimmy McCabe, Peter Donnelly and yours truly.

Vincent McKinley kept the books and cycled everyday to the bank to lodge the parish takings. As the administrator he did not even have to say a public daily Mass and used to say a 10 minutes Mass for the Dead - in Latin - at a side altar - for which he received a donation.

Joe McGurnaghan did say a public Mass but spent the rest of the day playing classical music in his sitting room and once a month brought communion to the sick and once a month attended the meeting of a school board of governors.

Peter Donnelly was a keen golfer, said a public Mass some days and played golf with other priests many times a week.

Jimmy McCabe a holy priest from Derry said his Masses and spent most of every day visiting parishioners in their homes. 

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Yours Truly spent every morning doing pastoral work in St Louise's Girls College, every afternoon doing pastoral work in St Peter's Boy's Secondary School, was in the parish youth club from 7 pm until 9.30 pm and then spent from 9.30 pm until 2 am working with the "anti social behaviour" youths in Divis Flats trying to stop them steeling cars - ie: "joyriding". I also had my share of Masses, weddings and funerals.

As a 26 year old priest I did not  regard myself as overworked.

I regarded myself as FULFILLED - ie: following my chosen vocation. What's the problem?

Many priests these days say a Mass once a day and after that, if they want to, can have the day to themselves.

I know one youngish priest who claims to be too sick to work in a parish but earns £100 a throw saying Mass for other priests.

Yes, if you want to, the priesthood can be a busy fulfilling life. But how many priests make it that way.

Many young priests spend the day on the internet looking at lace albs and chalices - on indeed GRINDR - and do little work.

Let me ask you lay folk reading this: "HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOUR PP OR CURATE VISITED YOUR HOME"?

Now, I do not mean the few homes of the privileged where priests come to wine, dine, receive donations and being fawned over.

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I mean ordinary homes?

Many people tell me that it has been 20, 30 or 40 years since their priest called!

When I was in Kilkeel Parish I celebrated up to 6 Masses a day. That was NOT overwork. That was prayer, service, vocation, fulfillment, pleasure joy.............................................

HARD WORK is what my Dad did to raise 17 kids - work as a trade unionist from 9 am to 5.30 pm and as a telephone operator from 6 pm until midnight - a 15 hour working day.

Before that he was a labourer on a building site doing overtime.

Father Hoban - that's hard work!


When I visit psychiatric hospitals and units - which I do regularly - I don't find too many depressed priests.

Maybe they are all tucked away in private psychiatric clinics?

Of course there are priests who suffer from anxiety and depression but I hardly think that there is a pandemic of depression among Irish priests.

Most priests I know - and know of - have a good life -- a better life in fact than many of their parishioners have.

They may not be very happy that their profession is somewhat disgraced at the moment. But who is to blame for that - their own CLERICAL CLUB.

If they have been let down by anyone they have been let down by the Eamon Caseys, the Michael Clearys, The Brendan Smyths, the Ivan Paynes etc.

Of course they have also been let down by the disgraceful band of bishops that lead them - the protectors of Maynooth etc. And these characters did not come from the Moon. They were priests before they were bishops!

I am now 64. I have been a priest for 40 years. I have always worked hard but have never regarded myself as overworked.

In fact at 64 I feel that I could run 3 parishes if I had to or was asked to.

I have suffered anxiety in that 40 years. But any anxiety I ever suffered was imposed on me by members of the Clerical Club.

Thankfully I am not longer a member of that club.


I once attended an ACP meeting in Dublin.

The leaders of the ACP like Brendan Hoban never came near me.

Most ACP members at the meeting avoided me like the plague. 

When they were whinging from the stage about no bishop being at their meeting one brave lady from the floor - NOELLE RYAN - who worked with Father Des Wilson in deprived Ballymurphy in Belfast - stood up and said:


There was an embarrassed silence - and they all then moved on to some more whinging.

Brendan & Co - get a life. Many of you are episcopal would have been's. Stop the whinging. Imagine how hard life is for the ORDINARY JOE - working on a building site, in an office, on an ambulance, digging roads, cleaning windows or waiting in a restaurant.

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Count your blessings.

Throw away the anti depressants.

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  1. Irish Catholic Lad2 December 2016 at 11:41

    The ACP are completely irrelevant to most young Catholics in this country. They probably have no members under the age of 50, and for a group who claim to have been silenced they always seem to be in the news. The real priests of this country are definitely overworked, and although most of them only visit the elderly and the sick at home these days, I have seen both young and old priests tire themselves out with parish duties on a daily basis. In fairness, some priests spend a bit too much time on social media, but most of the rest of us do these days.

    1. Good comment.

      Real priests don't regard what they do as WORK.

      Its our VOCATION.

      We are called to spend ourselves for God and others.

      My "work" has always been my pleasure.

      SERVANTS do not complain.

  2. I agree, Irish Catholic Lad. We are very lucky in our Parish to have a kind, compassionate and extremely hard-working priest.

  3. More than happy with my priest.

  4. Pat i totally agree with you on this one. AcP are a crowd of dried out, spiritually bankrupt priests that have no belief in the Real Presence. Ok i know thats a bit harsh, but ask any of the ACP boyos do they love the Eucharist and they will laugh at you. A priests work can be hard and trying, but a lot of the times i think the difficulty arises when they have nothing to do and lack that meaningful relationship with the Lord. Their treatment of you at their little coven gathering sums them up. Have a good advent Pat and please say a wee prayer for me, a former brother at the Altar.

    1. Brother, You are still a brother at the altar.

      I was an embarrassment to them. They want hierarchial recognition.

      I will pray for you now and at the altar :-)

    2. Pat, I completely agree with your analysis of ACP. Brendan Hoban is bitterly disappointed that he was never made a bishop and, if he had been, he would have been a bigger "lordship" than any of the ones he constantly whinges about.

      The ACP are a gather-up of angry and bitter old men. Tony Flannery is a seethingly furious man and has been boiling away in anger and resentment for years - that is his REAL problem - not the CDF.

      As a priest, I am happy and fulfilled. I agree with you that it is part of our vocation to be busy - and the busier the better - thanks be to God for that is what servants do.

      Yes, there are concerns and anxieties, about the present and the future, but we trust in God and His loving providence.

      I hope to die with my boots on. That other mischief maker, Flannery's cohort, Gerry O'Connor has been flagging it up about older priests spending their latter days penniless and unprovided for - a load of codswallop!

      And even were that to happen, so what! I would still happily serve as a priest. It is an enormous privilege to serve God and His people. I wonder how many of that ACP crowd are faithful to their daily Mass and prayer?

      They don't speak for, or represent me. I have no time for them. I switch off as soon as they are mentioned. There is something deeply unwholesome and unsound about that group of disgruntled old has-beens and would-have-beens.

      A fulfilled and happy priest, thank God.

  5. Depression is no joke. It can strike anyone at any time and can last for years. Only those who have been there know what it's like. The feelings of worthlessness are not alleviated by family and friends - and parishioners - constantly reinforcing your own conviction that you are objectively a waste of space and should pull yourself together and get help.

    1. I am not at all making small if the awful crippling disease of depression.

      I have people close to me who sre life long sufferers.

      But priesthood is not a cause of depression.

    2. I second that. After years of feeling useless and worthless as a priest I packed it in and got laicised. Family and friends thought I was a complete waster throwing away a very cushy life. I am now just about putting food on the table like so many other people in society but thankfully I am not under the same scrutiny from parishioners- there's still a lot of stigma towards people who battle life long mental health issues. I don't have to fulfill imaginary expectations any longer thank God. You are always looking over your shoulders as you feel the bishop and fellow priests see you as a liability.I think in ways my present situation would me a better priest as I see how many, many people struggle at the bottom. I found I was very selfish when all my needs as a priest were being met without giving much in return. It can make you feel very entitled. I now regret I didn't use my time better by being more proactively available to people..

  6. The reason why we hear so much about the ACP is because they have nothing better to do, in their opinion, than to write whiny letters and go on the radio and television at every opportunity. Meanwhile, the Priests who want to actually serve the Lord are celebrating Masses, visiting homes, the elderly and the sick - these Priests have their priorities right.
    Let's hope those ACPers are thrown out of the Church, which they evidently hate so much, and then when they are forced to get full-time jobs out in the world, let's see how they'll manage that

  7. Apart from three Masses in my own Parish, baptisms at 1.00 p.m. I, for six years said, very often, two extra Masses in Long Kesh and had to be back for 7.00 p.m. Devotions.
    I do remember being closeted with you, Bishop - just the two of us - in a type of portable classroom - there was a riot or protest going on!
    All my life, before and after Ordination, I never had slack-off time an was always used to permanent availability to my parishioners.
    Rather be unknown

    1. That brings back memories :-)

      Nowadays I cause riots :-)


  8. Overworked My Ar*e but in reality it depends. When I was brought back from Birmingham in great haste the only job description I was given was visit the housebound once a month. There was a small hint of parish visitation but that died a quick death I dont know who felt more awkward in the end Me or the poor old residents at the time. Eventually I carved out a niche for myself that was frowned upon at the start but accepted later on.I made practical links with schools, youth clubs community centre etc. Nowadays the proddies might call it Kingdom and Mission work. Im not sure what the official R C terminology is these days. Anyway Aa priest can be a maintainer of the fold if he wants and get away with it Hatch Match and dispatch if you will. However like the modern pint of Guinness the good old Padre is called to be Made of More. Depression can be a major risk in Priesthood because of unrealistic expectations real or imagined by Priest People and Bishop. Throw in celibacy and one can be in a proper mix up if not careful. In my day the three legal vices were Drink Golf and the Car

  9. Brian D'Arcy gave me the biggest laugh today when he was interviewed about celibacy by William Crawley. This topic was covered weeks ago on your blog Pat and the BBC are only talking about it today. Well the laugh was D'Arcy said he would be a better Priest if he was married. Splitting my sides here because D'Arcy wouldn't be marriage material and he is not one for the ladies, maybe he meant civil partnership. What an idiot who takes people for fools, telling them what they want to hear, the man should be had up under the trades description act.

    D'Arcy was rabbiting on about the ACP, how poor Priests "don't get a minute". Well he had more than a minute to travel all the way from Fermanagh to join Crawley in the BBC studios on Bedford Street in Belfast. Where does the man get all the time to spend on radio, tv, newspapers and joining his best friend Cliff Richard for cosy visits to his villa and vineyard in Portugal. Priests not having a minute to themselves - come on!! Thanks for giving me a good laugh today Brian D'Arcy, maybe his next move might be into stand up comedy.

    1. Agree with you 100%
      D'Arcy married! Who's he trying to kid?

    2. Brian D'Arcy believes in God.
      Problem is, He believes that He is God.
      My the real God protect us from such as He!

    3. Darcy has always given me the creeps.

      Its all show and no substance.

    4. wait, are you hinting darcy is homosexual?

  10. Irish Catholic Lad2 December 2016 at 15:21

    Depression can strike anyone, including a priest. It's ok not to be ok.

  11. What is the point of having 3 separate Parochial houses all next to one another for 3 separate clergy, what' that all about. I think Priests have too cushy a time, how many go around in flash cars.

  12. Brady was seen at the Irish College in Roma shaking hands with no other than ... gorgeous.

  13. Talking about priests time Pat, this blog surely consumes a big part of your time.
    I wouldn't complain or talk to much about been over worked if this was my contribution to pastoral ministery/ life.
    You have the life of 'Rilley' Pat.

    1. You mean I am happy in my priesthood and not depressed?


  14. I also heard Fr Darcy on the Radio, he was also talking about him being on the Missions. He was stuck for words and almost stuttered when Crawley said to him that many Priests on the Missions have babies and women. He wasn't prepared for that one the gobshite, is it just me or does the man like the sound of his own voice. I'm glad 15.11 that I am not in a minority of one. I think Crawley has been trawling through your blog Pat considering his knowledge of things and using your language.

    1. I had a missed call from Crawley this morning.

  15. Brady again?? Has this man no shame whatsoever? Gorgeous is always with people who have influence but he's barking up the wrong tree with a man forced to resign and a coverer up of abuse of little children.

    1. I wonder did Brady ask Gorgeous about his wan.... problem :-)

    2. I wonder did Brady ask Gorgeous about his sexuality?

  16. I wonder if Timo will end up like Hobo, if his dream of becoming a bishop also doesn't come true?

    1. I wonder whatever happened to jack Hanley Meath. Brady was his second in command on the Irish College for years

  17. So many of you poor priests jealous of Fr Brian, you sure can show yourselves up
    I suspect Pat might even be one of the anonymous Contributors here as I know he also doesn't like him either.
    He is a very hard working priest, especially in the media, and you do know he is not in a parish, he is in an order and as such he can go on Williams
    programme mostly because he is very articulate and loved by many for his understanding of family problems.
    Split your sides away, but Fr Brian has always said the same thing about marriage.
    I suspect it was the same poster making umpteen posts here today denigrating Fr Brian.
    Of course Pat didn't make a comment under his own name anyway.

  18. Gobshite, yes he is entitled to like the sound of his own voice
    he is very articulate and not shy to speak his mind
    I'm quite sure he would have been a good husband and dad.

  19. Darcy even talks like a woman

  20. He is a real man, jealousy dripping off you.
    He visits more sick and dying that anyone I know
    A true Christian man. God bless you Fr Brian for helping and guiding many poor souls on to the better path...I know you did for me

    1. Jealousy dripping of me? Jealous of Brian D'Arcy, get a life and catch yourself on you idiot. The man is a fraud and tells people what they want to hear, takes them for fools just like you are. It seems you have posted umpteen times to defend him, why don't you just canonise him St Brian of the Graan.

  21. Is there any priest in Ireland that your one-man magisterium considers to be any use at all? Do you think you live up to the expectations you have of others?

    1. I could easily draw up a list of good priests.

    2. Pat is a good priest, I've Been well impressed by his responses here.He may make many challenging blogs, but that is for us to respond and give our opinions.thank you Pat for allowing us our opinions

    3. I think he is also a good priest as it happens. I like very much his pastoral approach and a free flow of ideas. I disagree with him on nearly everything as I am a full-on Roman type of Catholic, but there's nothing wrong with that - but believe firmly in free expression. I think some of the more salacious and doubtful gossip on the blog takes away from all that which is a great pity, but he certainly has something to offer.

      It would be good to see a write-up on the attributes Bishop Pat sees as making a good priest. The pastoral stuff we know about. But what else? What doctrinal positions - e.g. is it to be a free for all, like the Unitarians? Or does the freedom have doctrinal limits within the broader Christian church?

  22. Replies
    1. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck its a .....

  23. Is it true Pat that when D'Arcy appeared on the Late Late Show years ago criticising Bishop Cahal Daly to his face on screen, he was at Armagh after it pleading for his forgiveness. One thing to the viewing public and then another thing behind the scenes. The man gives hypocrisy a new meaning. Agree with someone earlier saying he's a fraud.

  24. I'm sorry but Pat can't answer that one, only Fr Brian
    He is the most genuine priest I know, so stop with your lies
    Your jealousy Knows no bounds
    You just agreeing with your previous post.
    You would never be but a tiny patch on such a good and holy man
    We will miss him when he leaves the grann

    1. Cardinal Daly's secretary told me that he was at Armagh Palace the next morning apologising to Daly.

  25. So, Pat, you went to that ACP conference and none of the "colour party" so much as acknowledged you? Did any of the other delegates speak to you?

    I would disagree with you on many issues but if I ever saw you or bumped into you, I would want to invite you for a cup of tea or coffee if you had the time.

    The fact that Hoban, Flannery and co treated your presence at their event with silent embarrassment only underlines further to me what a bunch of frauds the ACP are!

    I agree with you about Brian D'arcy. He oozes insincerity. But he has a lot of people fooled and hoodwinked as evidenced from some comments.

    I always chuckle too at priests who protest they would be "better priests if they were allowed to be married". Reminds me of what a D&C priest told me about Keith O'Brien some years back.

    O'Brien was at Garron Tower in 2000 giving a "retreat" and, during one of the talks, told the D&C clergy that he "fell in love" as a young priest ..... with a girl!

    This, I presume, was to make the prince of church appear more "down to earth", so that they would all kick their heels back and relax with the big Ballycastle "man's man".

    We all know a bit more now, about how big Keith liked to unwind and how informal was his style. In fact, he had a lot in common with Jimmy Donaghey (known then as "Jubilee Jim" because Paddy Walsh put him in charge of the Y2K Jubilee celebrations in D&C).

    "Jubilee Jim" was chief organiser of that "retreat" at which which Cardinal Keith made his candid and shocking admission.

  26. Well you won't fool many judging by your post
    Why dont you post in your name oH holy priest. Not
    No he didn't hoodwink me or fool me
    He just listened and helped me make a decision
    I wonder if you have the same rapport with your people in a pastoral way.

    1. 23:31 - you assume I am a priest. I am not. I stand over what I have said.

  27. I'm sure that pat is a much better priest because of being married

    So chuckle away....oh frustrated one

    1. 22:39 - I'm not a bit "frustrated". I am happily married :)

  28. It strikes me on reading Brendan Hoban's contributions to the ACP website that he seldom , if ever mentions God or Jesus or spirituality. It is mostly a whinge fest. If there's supposed to be over 1000 members in the ACP it is amazing that there was only 150 at most at their AGM

  29. With almost empty churches in many parishes, I would have imagined that clergy would be even more active and visible, but No. No priest has ever visited my home in a rural Kildare parish. Times were he would have been welcome - that's not as certain now..... What saddens me more is that my elderly parents, one a daily mass attender, never receive any visitation from their priest. No visitation of the sick in their homes, no distribution of the Eucharist, nothing.... Some excuse of elderly priests but seems many of normal working age couldn't be arsed, or don't really believe.

    1. I'm sorry, I just can't believe that in any parish in Ireland home visits to the sick and housebound do not happen every month in the First Friday week. You do have to ask, a phone call to the parish office or the parochial house. In the present climate priests hesitate to make unsolicited visits. As you say there is no guarantee of a welcome. In one parish I gave up because I sensed a general assumption that I only came looking for money. In another I got fed up being kept standing at the door and getting quizzed about what I wanted.

  30. It has long been stated that +Noel is against First Friday house calls, believing that his priests' time would be better suited to other things, more administrative business. That is not to say that every priest in D&C would willingly obey him if he issued an outright ban, one in particular is a magnificent pastor, indeed he has his vast personal issues, but his parishioners come first, and I must admit that without the parishioners there is no parish to manage. Surely it is time to allow clergy to be clergy, truly carrying out the work of Christ, in persona christi, and allow laymen to do that which they can do. Mind you if the current PP of Ballymena is anything to go by, that would involve loosening their iron grip on the parish chequebook, which they will never do. Truly mammon rules the RCC and not JC.