Friday, 16 December 2016



I was, quite rightly, challenged on this Blog to report to Bishop Noel Treanor an allegation I had already reported to the police regarding the historic gang rape of a Belfast woman by 5 priests in the early 1980's.

I did that and some readers thought that I would not get a reply from the bishop concerned. 

But I have.

Here below you will see the reply from Bishop Treanor of Down and Connor.

Not only has Bishop Treanor replied - but he has forwarded my letter to him to the PSNI.

He describes his forwarding of that letter as him sending the PSNI a FORMAL REFERRAL.

That in fact means that the police force have now had a statement from me and a formal referral from the bishop of the diocese where the alleged incident took place.

Bishop Treanor has also said that he will RECEIVE and ACT UPON any guidance from the PSNI.

I assume that to mean that if the PSNI advise that the priests involved are suspended from the priestly ministry pending the outcome of the investigation Bishop Treanor will act as advised. 

I do not know how readers will react to that stance by Bishop Treanor.

Some may say that as the complaint is historic - and as the woman involved has not as yet made a complaint to the police - that this is the right way to handle the issue.

Others might think that it has been more normal practice in the Church for a priest under investigation to step aside - with the presumption of innocence of course - pending the outcome of both a police and church investigation.

In both my statement to the police and in my letter to Bishop Treanor I named the three priests whose names had been given to me by the woman and



07900 287283


Were Neanderthals Religious?

Reconstructions of a Neanderthal man (left) and woman at the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann, Germany.
Martin Meissner/AP
Imagine this scene: Inside a cave in Spain, a group of people gather around the grave of a toddler. Hearths with lit fires, marked by 30 horns of animals including bison and red deer, surround the grave. A rhinoceros skull is nearby.
At a conference this fall, archaeologist Enrique Baquedano and his colleagues described this scene as a probable funeral ritual held 40,000 years ago by Neanderthals.
That announcement contains a mix of both hard data — the child's bones and the animal horns and skull — and informed speculation suggesting that these data point to a community funeral ritual.
The archaeologists' scenario relates closely to questions I have been thinking about: Did the Neanderthals practice religion? How would we know it, if they did?
Let's approach these questions by placing Neanderthals in evolutionary context. It's now clear that Neanderthals are our cousins, not our direct ancestors or early members of our own species Homo sapiens. Known formally as Homo neandertalensisNeanderthals lived in Europe and Asia, overlapping in certain places at certain time periods with Homo sapiens — and almost certainly interbreeding with them (with us!) on occasion.

Even though populations of Neanderthals vanished around 40,000 years ago, genes of Neanderthals do live on today, tucked into the bodies of some of us and potentially affecting our health.
For much of the time since their initial discovery in the 19th century, Neanderthals have been cast as enduring symbols of dumb, brutish cave people. We know better now, though.
Neanderthals built complex structurescaptured birds to ornament themselves with feathers, and successfully hunted mammoth and other formidable megafauna with tools.

Any of the evidence suggest that they were religious? It's notably tricky to infer religious behavior from material culture, as I've written about here before regarding Gobekli Tepe, a possible 11,000-year-old modern-human temple.
We do see hints of ceremonial responses to the dead at Neanderthal sites other than the Spanish cave. At Teshik-Tash in Uzbekistan, a Neanderthal child was buried and encircled by goat horns. At Regourdou in France, bear bones, plus a slab of rock topped by tools and another bear bone, were placed at a Neanderthal body positioned at the bottom of a depression. Bear bones in an adjacent room at Regourdou suggest to some archaeologists that bear meat might have been consumed there as a funeral rite.
Skeptics like archaeologist Rob Gargett point out both formally and informally that natural (or taphonomic) explanations may suffice to explain some of these occurrences: In other words, it may not be Neanderthal agency that we're seeing at all.
Looking at the evidence collectively, though, I think at least this conservative conclusion is warranted: Some Neanderthals buried their deadwith purpose and care.
Next comes our central question: Did Neanderthals engage in some way with the supernatural or the sacred?
Caution is required here. The bones and artifacts, after all, don't clue us in to the meaning-making that went on in Neanderthal groups, and we can't just overlay present customs onto the past.
Perhaps the Neanderthals simply wanted to bury their companions' bodies in order to protect themselves from predators, or disease, or both.
But, then, why mark the burials as elaborately as the Neanderthals have done in some places?
Maybe the symbolic marking was the Neanderthals' way of showing respect and care for people they had known and loved in their lives.
Either or both of these explanations may be wholly adequate to explain the evidence.
Yet, I wonder.
Given their intelligence, it seems to me likely that the Neanderthals contemplated, in some way, the mysteries of life. Wouldn't they have wondered not only about unexpected and surprising weather events and sky events but also what happens when our lives comes to an end? If they thought about these questions, did they do so with awe, dread or reverence?
More relevantly for a scientific analysis is this question: Did they come together in groups to evoke gods, spirits or ancestors to help themselves make sense of the world?
I emailed anthropologist and Neanderthal expert John Hawks at the University of Wisconsin to ask for his thoughts about Neanderthals and religion.
His response, in part, was this:
"Religion, as many people recognize it, is built from highly detailed symbolic narratives. If we separate that out, though, and look only at the material manifestations that an archaeologist might find, there is really very little in most religious traditions that is different from what Neanderthals do.
"So I don't think it is at all improbable that the Neanderthals had a humanlike religious capacity. But to be honest, I think this is not what many Americans or Europeans would recognize as religion."
Hawks' basic idea fits with my own: Religion is best understood across cultures and time periods as practicerather than only belief. Some religions, of course, feature sacred texts in which a set of beliefs is set forth. In these cases, what you believe about a god or other sacred forces may really matter. In many human societies past and present, though, no text exists, just everyday life — appeasing gods or spirits, honoring the ancestors — that is shot through with a sense of the sacred or the supernatural.
It's within this context that the case for Neanderthal religion — for ritual practices steeped in connecting to the sacred world — is most convincingly made.
It's no accident that I'm writing about this topic in December. It's a month that, for many people, includes sacred holiday celebrations. Even for those of us who aren't religious, it's a time of the year packed with meaning-making through social gatherings and rituals.
How fascinating it is to take seriously the idea that the deep roots of human meaning-making ritual, and even of religiosity, may go as far back as the time of the Neanderthals.

Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary. She often writes about the cognition, emotion and welfare of animals, and about biological anthropology, human evolution and gender issues. Barbara's most recent book on animals is titledHow Animals Grieveand her forthcoming book, Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat, will be published in March.You can keep up with what she is thinking on Twitter: @bjkingape


  1. Any species capable of using jewellery is capable of abstract thought and potentially open to religious reflection. Are bishops related to Neanderthals and would Homer Simpson make a good Bishop given the state of play in Ireland at present

  2. Neanderthals are still with us.
    Know dozens of them

  3. I think that the Neanderthal on the right above looks like the UNION POLITICIAN JIM ALLISTER.

    Anyone agree?

    1. Very true Pat, the spitting double of him.

    2. Jimbo never looked that good.

    3. Pat, any reports from Bishop Cliffords funeral yesterday. I hear Amy presided.

    4. Amy presided.

      The Wounded Healer preached.

      Father X attended but his Orange boy did not.

    5. A disgrace really when you think about it.

    6. If Fr X attended was it in a cloak of invisibility? Your friend is going to be the next explosive scandal to hit very soon. Catholic priest having sex with DUP "twink", being wined and dined at Stormont with the permission of DUP MLA(s). Gay sex, DUP youth wing and a Catholic priest - stranger than fiction.

      Another insider.

    7. Contrary to the speculation about his age, the young guy is actually 17 which is a legal age. He seems to have taken down quite a few of his social media comments and pics over the last few days. He is a fool who is playing a dangerous game.

    8. 16:26... Nothing disgraceful about it!

      From my sources it was the Bishop's wishes and surely that has to be respected by all right minded folk.

    9. Why are you saying, Pat, that "Fr X" was at the Funeral? He wasn't at the Funeral - but he was the TALK of the Funeral!

      His game is up. You have known about this scandalous priest's behaviour for quite some time and you never challenged him. Yet you are willing to allow the names of others to be dragged through the mud, with all sorts of unsubstantiated innuendo.

      This friend of yours is not very wholesome is he, Pat? He's quite loathsome. A middle-aged man having sex with a seventeen year-old boy, lavishing gifts and expensive hotels, meals, etc. on him?

      If it was any other priest, you would throw him under a bus. I'm thinking "Gorgeous" and his alleged sugar daddy, for example. Fr X calls into question your own credibility and judgement.

      "A priest can be as outrageous and scandalous as he likes so long as he is a "friend" of "Dorothy" AND Pat Buckley" - that's what some are now saying - you might as well know.

    10. I became involved in the Maynooth debate because some seninarians were being BULLIES by others.

      Fr X is NOT my friend.

      He approached and spoke to me under the proviso of confidentiality.

    11. Pat, you said, in your blog piece on Sunday about Fr X: "I am his friend and I am and will be there for him".

      Now you say, at 20:42: "Fr X is NOT my friend".


      Are you getting worried that, when this hits the news, you will be linked to Fr X?

    12. I am his "friend" in the sense that I am always a waiting friend to all who call upon me.

      I am not Fr X's friend in the sense that I have had continuing involvement in his life.

      I am in no way connected with his lifestyle, his past or his involvement with "Toot".

      I am not worried about anything.

    13. Ok Pat, I take your point. One thing is clear though - he must be absolutely insane to have written that piece and gone into those details. People figured out pretty quickly about him and young "Toot".

      And "Toot" and "Fr X" are about to go BANG in a different way than they are used to going bang.

    14. Perhaps it's time for people to lay off Fr X and his young boyfriend. It's up to him where he spends his own personal money and they are not doing anything illegal. Would there be such a cry if the young lad was part of Sinn Fein or the SDLP? Just saying.

    15. "Would there be such a cry if the young lad was part of Sinn Fein or the SDLP?"

      Are you for real? Are you "Fr X"?

      The answer to your question is YES. There would be every bit as much a cry - as much as there was a cry about Rory's privates, etc. on Grindr.

      However, just like the DUP's massive inner bust-up over who is ultimately responsible for their burning half a billion pounds of taxpayers' money, a Catholic priest having a gay affair with a 17 year old DUP activist is UNPRECEDENTED!

      There is going to be quite a "cry" indeed.

    16. What Fr X is doing may not be "illegal" but it is definitely IMMORAL.

      It warrants his immediate removal from ministry and his dismissal from the priesthood of the Catholic Church.

      The media will also run with it as a "human interest story" big time.

      Fr X should start packing.

    17. 20:00, accepted, yes; respected, no.

  4. I believe that all religion has developed from humankinds' original evolving intelligence becoming self conscious and in consequence,seeking increased understanding of our environment, and in particular, in an original quest for answers to life events.
    Among many disparate perceptions, certain interpretations gained popularity and traction. These were often allied to significant events, powerful personalities, or tribal/regional allegiances. These evolved, following different threads of beliefs worldwide as humankind developed.
    As humans became more populous and interactive, in many cultures a select class developed who were held in reverence for their apparant knowledge and power over the unseen and unknown forces believed to be influencing humans future and destiny.
    This process only evolved very slowly and over countless generations. That continuous refinement and articulation of original primitive beliefs now finds expression in the huge number of religious and belief systems experienced worldwide, many of which, although not related, have similar threads of belief. And in many of them, the original revered and select class have now become a self selected and perpetuated priestly class. And as is the case with all those holding positions of power and prestige, they are loth to give up any of their control and authority.

    Religious beliefs will no doubt continue to evolve even though modern science has provided answers to many of the original questions which puzzled our ancestors.

    It's important to have a broad perspective here. In thinking about evolvement perhaps it's helpful to consider that process within the context of the total number of seconds in the annual cycle of a year. In that setting, the last 2000+ years of Christianity hardly even represents the annual clock's last and final second tick in the year's 31+ million seconds.

  5. Humanity is continually learning and evolving. There is always more to borrow a theme from the Guinness add.

  6. I know very little of historical Neanderthals.
    However, it must be true to say that they had to be much more civilised than modern-day man.
    No record is there of wars, crime, butchery of their co-habitants etc. etc?
    May not be the prettiest or most handsome of God's creatures but harmless compared to us
    Syria etc. They do not even figure in the same scale as us!
    Gimme a good Neanderthal any day!

    1. Contact Jim Alister at Stormont :-)

    2. Perhaps there was no record of wars, crime, butchery etc was due to the fact that as far as we can tell they didn't write anything. Illiteracy doesn't indicate a superior morality, mores the pity.
      It looks like poor arlene is going to have a lot of egg on her face. I wonder what the late dr paisley would make of all this ecumenical fraternity and sharing?

    3. Nuala,
      If you delve into behavioural patterns of the Neanderthals you will find that they lived in small communities - groups typically of nine.
      They were mostly carnivorous, although vegetables were also an important element in their diet.
      You will find also that "Homo Sapiens" indulged in cannibalism - no evidence that Neanderthals did.
      In any discovery of deceased Neanderthals, there has never been any indication of violent death. Most burials were carefully and arranged with considerable reverence.
      In fact, extreme cold is given as the principal cause of their extinction - coupled with diseases spread by the Homo Sapiens - the Wise Man.
      I agree with 16.42 - I would prefer to have a Neanderthal as a neighbour than some humans.
      Their behaviour, rather than their looks, would appeal to me

    4. Most of us have a lifestyle when you factor in health care and pain relief superior to any previous generation. For all its faults I am happy to live in the 21st century.

    5. Neanderthals were by and large community based, social creatures and harmless.
      The triumphant Trump does display some peculiar facial and behavioural features.
      Could he be, possibly a descendant from another more dangerous species?

  7. If you need help with housing or social needs ect jim alister would be the first to help and gregory Campbell is very good also

  8. Maurice Morrow is good if you need a house. But he does always have a sour bake on him.

  9. Pat,
    Am I not the quare boy sitting up here in my big chair tonight. So I suppose I'm speaking to you and your followers " ex cathedra" as it were.
    I'm I not glad that I'm not sitting on the big chair in St Peters in Belfast or St Pats in Armagh with all the stuff that's doing the rounds at the moment.
    A priest friend was told by one of his former classmates from Maynooth, who is in Armagh diocese that among the clergy there was more chat at yesterday's episcopal funeral in Dundalk about Fr X than there was about the deceased bishop. Also your piece today about the alleged rape, the stuff on Dean Kennedy, our local hero Dallat and all the Gaynooth business has got everybody going. Folks on the North Coast are now reading this blog in large numbers as shit is piled upon shit from day to day.
    Pat you sure as hell have got them going. Its a pity oul Kitty Daly isn't around to see you get your revenge !!
    Anyway, time for another wee Black Bush.
    Dalriada Dick.

    1. Nice to hear.

      We were all getting withdrawal symptoms :-)

    2. Nice to hear.

      We were all getting withdrawal symptoms :-)

    3. D D jazs wit all this chat goin on does anyone do any priesty stuff anymore. Fr Ted is more real than ever

    4. Wish Dalraida Dick would post more often. Accurate and funny as always.

    5. He can't post more often: he's p*ss*d most of the time...on Black Bush.

    6. DD is very obviously a man of low taste and perceptions.
      I say that, because for me it has to be a wee Powers.
      And I say this to get down to the really important stuff.

  10. Sour bake. It is Christmas. Goes wit da territory

    1. The problem is he has the sour gob all year round.

  11. very abrupt letter to you from treanor. no thank you for the information. nothing. typical, of course