Monday, 2 January 2017



FATHER JAMES DONAGHY - the former parish priest of Bangor in Northern Ireland featured in yesterday's edition of the Sunday Life newspaper.

James Donaghy committed a number of very serious crimes of sexual abuse of a number of young boys and men - and of course in the eyes of God these were also serious sins. Those young men will probably never fully recover from what happened to them and it is they who deserve our first and strongest compassion and sympathy.

HOWEVER we must also remember that James Donaghy has been arrested, charged, convicted and served the sentence the courts felt appropriate.

He will remain on the Sex Offenders Register for life and he will never again be allowed to work with young people or vulnerable adults.

He has also been dismissed from the priesthood by the pope and is now in hiding behind the blinds of his house in Lisburn, Co. Antrim.

There are other people in Lisburn who apparently have him in their sights and some of those people are dangerous.


The answer to this question depends on another question - "Is James Donaghy truly sorry for what he did and is he a changed man"?

The pre prison James Donaghy was a nasty, aggressive and arrogant man. He felt he was untouchable. He treated most people really badly.

But maybe 5 years in a prison cell has changed him? Prison does change some people. Some people experience internal conversion during their imprisonment.

If this has happened to James Donaghy it is a good thing and it means there is hope for him.

If he has not had that inner conversion there is no hope.

But if he has changed then he should get a chance of putting a life back together. 

But I think he will find that very hard to do in Northern Ireland. N. Ireland is a small place. 

If I was him I would move to a big city in the UK. I would immediately go and register with the police and authorities in that new place. I would get somewhere to live well away from families, schools etc.

I would get a job.
And I would try and make the last 20 or 30 years of my life what the first decades were not. 

As rational human beings - not to mention Christians - we should be prepared to give a changed James Donaghy that chance.

There is no sin that God cannot forgive - neither murder, nor abuse, nor theft etc, etc.

With his own determination, the support of experts, the grace of God James Donaghy can have a future. 

The Touch of the Master's Hand

'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
      Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
      But held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
    "Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar. Then two! Only two?
      Two dollars, and who'll make it three?"

"Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
      Going for three…" But no,
From the room, far back, a grey-haired man
      Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
      And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
      As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
      With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?"
      And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
      Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice,
    And going and gone," said he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried,
    "We do not quite understand.
What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply:
    "The touch of the Master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
      And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
      Much like the old violin.

A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine,
    A game — and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
    He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
    Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
    By the touch of the Master's hand.

I would like to know what Blog readers think of what I say...............................


  1. Pat, As you and I well know there is a lot went on behind the scenes in the whole Donaghy business which has still to come out.

    1. I agree. A certain Paddy Walsh has a lot to answer for.

  2. It disturbs me greatly Pat that you have drawn attention to James Donaghy and the gutter press coverage of his case in the way you have. Not for the first time you appear to be speaking with a forked tongue. You say that you have compassion for JD if he is a changed man, yet highlight that he is living in Lisburn and that "dangerous" people may well be on the prowl waiting their opportunity. Pat if you are a Christian at all, and not just a self publicist, seek him out, offer him sanctuary, help him re-build his life. As you say he has committed the crime and done the time, so before the law he has discharged his penalty to society. If you are so good at supporting and defending the underdog and the marginalised, support and defend JD. Put your money where your mouth is man. I challenge you.

    1. You do not need to challenge me. I spoke to a former seminarian after my Mass yesterday and told him I was thinking of writing to JD to see if I could be supportive.

      I did play a pivotal role in being the case of Victim A to fruition.

      But while that was the correct thing to do I am not without compassion for JD - especially if he is a changed man.

      I have helped and supported similar folk in the past without hesitation.

      You can be 100% sure I will do the right thing.

    2. Tbh I don't think it makes a difference, Pat commenting on this. Self-appointed vigilantes will decide on their own to go for their local paedophile, paediatrician or podiatrist without intervention by anyone else.
      Actually I think Pat has given him the best advice - to move away.

    3. 12:55... I echo your feelings and sentiments. Pats a self-righteous man that professes to be Christian. Genuine Christians don't follow Sunday tabloids for a story.

  3. MourneManMichael2 January 2017 at 13:33

    Can't comment much on Donaghy other than to say that if he has 'repented', understood and acknowledged his deplorable behaviour, then sure, he should have the opportunity to have an 'ordinary' life. But I also think he'd be wise to relocate.
    What I thought foremost to comment on is your poem Pat. The best version of it, in song, is undoubtedly by the Geordie singer of Irish parentage, Tom McConville. It's on his CD, 'Tune For Michael' track 7 titled "The Auctioneer". I've just put it on to remind me. Would recommend a listen.

  4. Pat, I cannot believe what I am reading. You victimise good seminarians and priests with gossip on your blog and make them out to be criminals and here you are supporting a convicted dangerous pedophile that somehow is now redeemed? That is not Christian it is sick, disgusting and stupid!!!

    You criticise good catholic bishops about the handling of the child abuse scandal and here you want to facilitate and protect a child abuser. You have a split personality and a warped morality.

    You are unbelievable.

    Mary O'Brien

    1. Good seminarians ?????

      Good bishops ??????

    2. In my reading of Pat's blogs he defends good seminarians and is critical of bad ones. I should know. I am trying to be a good seminarian in the midst of very questionable seminarians and staff members.

    3. Give up whatever your smoking Mary. It is seriously distorting your sensory perceptions, especially your eyesight. Those pictures last summer of some Maynooth seminarians left little to the imagination.

      Weary & Disillusioned Seminarian

    4. Ha Ha Ha Mrs O'Brien. You must be one of the Grindr's ma or else one of their alter egos!? ;-) They are good at acting as seminarians, deacons and priests, so why not as women too!

    5. Mrs O'Brien you are betraying an uncommon naivety and complete lack of cognitive awareness.

      In relation to Donaghy Pat, he should be chemically castrated and never let near a minor again. Men like him leave scars that reverberate through generations often leading to a vicious cycle of abused turning into abuser.

    6. People only understand things on their level of perception.
      For example, to some people priest or bishop = good and holy man.
      So when someone else tells them that a priest is engaging in crimes which are covered by his bishop, that is so far outside their reality they will never believe it.
      This is one of the reasons paedophiles seek trusted professions (in addition to contact with children): it gives them a front which is difficult to contradict.

      The people who believe priest = good will also see the person exposing corruption and deceit among priests, as the villain themselves.
      This is why whistle blowers always get villified - they have seen what others don't and it threatens the others' reality.
      Mary O'Brien doesn't have to be pretending or stoned (although your comment made me lol, seminarian), just a victim of the *centuries* of propaganda the church has put in to promoting the ritual purity and perfect chastity of its clergy.
      However. Mary, if you have a specific criticidm of Pat's treatment of a bishop, I'm sure he will publish it.

    7. 20:18, at what evolutionary stage are you stuck? Moral Neanderthal?

    8. Thank you Magna Carta! 20:18 you should seriously think about what you have said! Victims are damaged enough without these poorly thought, generalised statements. It's not difficult for any person to know what actions are morally right from those that are absolutely wrong.

    9. 20:18 here Magna Carta and 23:41.

      I work as a social worker and have seen at close proximity the psychological, emotional and spiritual damage that sexual abuse wreaks on an individual. These victims display a complete lack of self-worth, feelings and thoughts of unnatural guilt and misappropriated blame for the rest of their lives. They can indeed go onto to abuse their own children should they have any, and can be very confused and warped sexually whilst displaying invincible levels of immaturity and general lack of trust in people.

      As I said the damage caused by men like Donaghy can spiral through generations causing illimitable pain and heartache for all involved including spouses and children. The damage is all the more grave and severe because he was a priest. Just think of how the abused view God, the Church, priests etc for the rest of their lives.

      I stand by my assertion that these perverts should be chemically castrated and never let near a minor again. Pederasts and paedophiles are the most cunning and deceptive personality types you can meet, and are very prone to recidivism. So yes I would sincerely advocate that they be subjected to the stated treatment, thereby disarming and disabling them for the good of minors everywhere.

      As an aside, I don't really think some people in the Church here actually realise the damage people like the former Fr Donaghy have caused. This damage was further aggravated of course by the endless cover ups and cowardice of bishops.

    10. Most victims do not go on to abuse others. if anything, they become hyper-vigilant about abuse and abusers and especially protective of their own children and grandchildren. Some victims do go on to abuse others but the abuse they suffered is no excuse for what they inflict on others. If you have been abused, you should be hyper-sensitive to ensure others do not suffer similar trauma. It should also be remembered that abusers often falsely claim to have been abused themselves in childhood in order to get "sympathy" or a lighter jail sentence when caught.

    11. 07:16, I do not object, in principle, to 'chemical castration', provided it is voluntary. Apart from the ethical considerations of imposing such an extreme form of treatment, voluntary engagement in in it optimises its chance of success.

      As a social worker in your field, you should know that heightened sexual libido is only one factor in sexual abuse of children: there can often be other, non-sexual elements, like tendencies to dominate and to use of physical violence.
      These psychological traits cannot be treated with a drug regimen that 'chemically castrates' (or suppresses sexual desire).

      Your suggestion that such an extreme treatment ('chemical castration' can cause serious side-effects, like osteoporosis, and breast augmentation) should be imposed on 'these perverts' speaks more of uncontrolled anger than dispassionate, professional judgement.

    12. Dear 10:57 & Magna Carta,

      My statement is based on gritty real-life experience. I do not subscribe to Kumbaya political correctness or false mercy principles. And perverts are actually what they are. What other term would you like to use? And yes, I get extremely angry and disturbed when I see and the sometimes irreparable damage these people have unleashed on innocent minors.

      I am afraid that this is an issue that I will not sanitise in an effort to appear as a compassionate and caring person. My compassion is all with the victims on this issue.

      Also 10:57 I never said "most" victims go on to abuse others. You should carefully read my statement before issuing some canned response or a "feel-good-about-myself" answer.

    13. 17:02, your attempt at 'ad hominem' ('I do not subscribe to Kumbaya political correctness or false mercy principles') was trite and pointless, and only draws attention to your serious lack of professional judgement.

      You have completely ignored the ethical and scientific principles that I raised in my previous post, about optimising success of 'chemical castration' through voluntary engagement in it, and that dealing with perpetrators' psychological reasons for child-sexual abuse cannot be managed with libidinal suppressants. This, too, underlines your lack of professionalism.

      Your highly emotional reaction to such a serious issue is so concerning to me that had I your name, I should make a formal complaint against you.

      You are an emotional time-bomb. I sincerely hope that your worrying lack of professional judgement hasn't damaged individuals and set back responsible treatment programmes for child-sex offenders.

    14. Dear Magna Carta,

      You are quick to make a judgement of me based on a written comment on a blog. I have control of my emotions. I wouldn't be in my job so long otherwise. However, I am entitled to my opinion as you are.

      You speak much about science and emotions. I can tell you that much of the time science is useless when faced with myriad manifestations of damaged individuals who were subjected to varied hideous gradations of sexual abuse.

      A definition of science is: the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Believe me when I say that I have seen damage caused by pederasts and paedophiles never seen before by anyone. So scientific methods derived from previously observed instances prove worthless.

      I have some questions to ask you Magna Carta, along with some answers to your points:

      1) Do you think that it is worse for an unconscionable pederast/paedophile to suffer the chances of contracting osteoporosis or breast augmentation, etc. than allowing them to wreak destruction on an innocent minor again, and all its ancillary already discussed deleterious effects?

      2) Again, you have not answered my question asking you if the discussed individuals are not perverts, then what term in the English lexicon would you use to properly describe them?

      3) How do you psychologically reform an individual who is utterly convinced that a minor has tried or is trying to seduce them?

      4) You are trying to conflate tendencies of wanting to dominate and physically abuse with same of sexual perversions. While the two perversions are often intertwined, based on my experience the sexual one predominates. I am talking about chemical castration for individuals where sexual perversion is the driving force.

      5) You talk much about emotions, when one can easily glean from many of your posts that your particular moral edifice is based mainly on emotion and not science.

      6) You or I or anyone will never be able to plumb the depths comprehensively of a sexual-abuse victim's damaged psyche or, to use your euphemistic term, "offender". Only God himself could do so. You arrogate far too much intellectual power and insight to yourself.

      Please think about your response to me.

    15. 06:40, in your very first comment (at 20:18) you said the following: 'In relation to Donaghy, Pat, he should be chemically castrated...' You repeated your preference for this extreme and, in my opinion, inhumane penalty at 07:16 and 17:02. Worse, you did so without addressing my point that there is very often more than heightened libido involved in the sexual abuse of children and that your 'solution' ('chemical castration') would not and could not address these psychological components. In your last comment (at 06:40), you finally acknowledged something of these components at Question 3. Yet, knowing that your 'solution' is not holistic (and therefore could not remedy offenders' deviant tendencies and behaviours) you adamantly continued proposing 'chemical castration' as an effective response.
      Considering all of this, you shouldn't wonder why I judged you as I did; there was no other judgement I could reasonably make.

      I don't doubt that you have witnessed and heard terrible things concerning sexual abuse of children, and I sympathise deeply with you. You are clearly very emotionally involved in these awful matters, but you have crossed a professional boundary by allowing your understandable anger to warp your intellectual judgement.

      To address your relevant remaining questions/points to me, as I've already stated, enforcing a regimen of 'chemical castration' on an 'unconscionable pederast/paedophile' (Question 1) would be highly unlikely to prove effective, since factors other than sexual libido are very often involved in the abuse of children, something to which you have not given sufficient weight. 'Chemical castration' could not treat these factors.

      The word 'pervert' (Point 2) is highly charged, and repeated personal use of it could prove a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you insist on labelling someone a 'pervert', then don't be surprised if he acts like one.

      Your insistence on using this word points up, again, your lack of professionalism. Why would anyone who seeks to protect children and minors from sexual abuse continue to label offenders with a word that, socially and personally, might 'lock' them into deviant behaviours? And what encouragement has an offender to aspire to personal transformation if you insist on labelling him a 'pervert' for the rest of his life? Prudent and selective use of language is of deep (perhaps crucial) importance when dealing with ALL classes of criminal offender. As a social worker, you should already know this.

      If an individual is 'utterly convinced that a minor has tried or is trying to seduce them' (Question 3), then these beliefs might suggest a delusional disorder. In which case the person is ill and needs professional help, not condemnation by you as a 'pervert'.

      As for point 4, libido, as I have already said, is very often not the sole 'driving force' in the sexual abuse of children. You know this as well as I. And you know, too, that 'chemical castration' is not the answer.

      As for point 6, I did not use the word 'offender' of sexual-abuse victims, but of those who carried out these crimes.

  5. I'm surprised the Sunday Life was allowed publish that headline. It incites a violent response. Donaghy has paid his civil debt but what goes on between God and himself is another matter. He deserves a chance to live within the confines of his release. If those who stand in judgement were asked to choose which of their children would go to heaven and which to hell how would they choose. Some things are best left to God. In the here and now people and their children need to be safe.

    1. Agreed. That headline is inflammatory and irresponsible.

      It sets up Jim Donaghy as a hate-figure and as fair-game for any vigilante.

      If Donaghy is attacked, that newspaper may bear a heavy moral responsibility (if not a legal one).

    2. What about his victims? Don't think he thought a lot about them before their attacks.... don't wish any harm on another being, but think he should have thought a little about where to start afresh & to move on and start a new somewhere else.

    3. Yes, for his sake and that of his victims, he absolutely should re-locate.

  6. I agree that moving to the UK would be a good idea. That was traditionally the route for priests even voluntarily laicised. As you say Ireland is still a small place. There have been huge changes in attitudes but there is still a significant number of people who would frown upon priests leaving to marry. I think moving abroad can be a good thing. A new life, new scenery, new found hope. However in this case I could never see him getting a job for such egregious crimes.

    1. 16.42 I agree. When I was ejected from Ireland I landed in the UK. Thank God things worked out. However people like donaghy are bound by legal constraints that will follow them for life. I think in the past UK gave a person a degree of annonimity if they were prepared to give it a go. Nowadays social media had shrunk the world

    2. You were ejected from Ireland? What? By paramilitaries?

  7. MourneManMichael2 January 2017 at 20:26

    In Pat's last blog titled Fr Donaghy, on the 24th Dec, having read many negative comments concerning Fr Timothy Bartlett, I queried in a comment if all those comments could possibly be wrong, and invited comment as to whether he had any redeeming qualities.

    That was over a week ago. In the interim there have been some withering criticisms of him, with a consensus that he appears to be wholly concerned with his own self advancement through fawning sycophantic behaviour vis a vis the RC hierarchy. No hard 'evidence' of misdemeanour was given and as one comment rightly pointed out, it could be said that negative comments are based solely on personal perceptions. Mind you one person I discussed this with pointed out that often self serving aspirational individuals are astute enough to ensure their 'hands are never caught in the till', by 'keeping their nose clean', and 'providing the bullets for others to fire'.

    What seems certainly remarkable though, appears to be the strength of negativity concerning him, and the reality that with a week plus having elapsed, there was not one single supportive redeeming quality reported on in comments here.
    Now I have no axe to grind, and whether or not he gets his 'pointy hat' makes absolutely no difference to me. But I just hope, having read so much now about the failures and poor leadership of the Irish RC episcopy, that the papal nuncio and anyone else involved in bishop selection procedures will take note of what has been said here, and what has failed to be said.

    1. Fr Bartlett is not respected by most priests. Many view him as a joke similar to the former "Dean" of Belfast who also had desperate episcopal yearnings.

      Other priests know him as a mischievous schemer who will stop at nothing to get his own way. He is also a very untrustworthy gossip who loves and creates intrigue.

      He is, nevertheless, a "smooth operator" - an unctuous sycophant - who is able to charm those, in positions of influence, who will be useful to his career.

      To that end, Timo has been feverishly courting Nuncio Charlie Brown and, most of all, Sean Baptist Wounding Hurter Brady has been invaluable to Tim in that respect.

      Fr Tim Bartlett served as Brady's spin doctor very faithfully and Brady is doing his damnedest to "reward" Fr Bartlett. The same Brady, of course, has also been pushing the "career" of Fr Pry-er.

      A number of bishops were surprised that Fr Bartlett was appointed General Secretary for the World Meeting of Families. Again, the Wounding Hurter's hand is seen in this.

      Brady, as a Cardinal, undoubtedly still has "influence" and, getting this prominent role for his "ever so humble and faithful servant", is another way of getting him "noticed" for a bishopric.

      Brady is stubborn as a mule when it comes to getting his way and Bartlett, DETERMINED to be a bishop, will not rest until he is mitred and enthroned over some poor diocese.

      Machiavelli is alive and well in the RC Church. It remains to be seen though if the Wounding Hurter and his oily spin doctor's schemes succeed.


  8. My thoughts are with Donaghy's victims who, clearly, from what I have read, have suffered horribly as a result of his crimes and assaults. Never, in a million years, Pat, will Donaghy seek or accept an offer of help from you or anyone else.

  9. If you YouTube Maynooth one can find Timothy all dressed up as some king of 'knight' parading around. In fact there he stands with Brown, Brady and Co! They really are on a different planet, like most clerical types.

    1. And here they are - in all their nauseating "glory"

  10. So who's dioceses Is Bartlett In, who pays him?
    How many parishes of Armagh are in Louth?

    1. About 23 or 24 of Armagh's 60 parishes are in Co. Louth......all of Louth (apart from a small portion of two parishes) is in the diocese of Armagh.

    2. Bartlett is a Down and Connor priest with a finger in the pies of Armagh and Dublin and a greedy eye on every diocese that becomes vacant. He is currently looking longingly at Clogher as he leafs through his well-thumbed, laminated, Gammarelli catalogues of episcopal lingerie.