Tuesday, 14 February 2017



It it not inaccurate to say that today there are TENS OF THOUSANDS of men and women whose fathers were "celibate" priests.

Here in Ireland we have a few famous cases.

PETER MURPHY CASEY is the son of BISHOP EAMON CASEY who was the bishop both of Kerry and later of Galway.

ROSS HAMILTON is the 40 year old son of Dublin priest FATHER MICHAEL CLEARY.

And just look at some of our surnames:

MAC ENTAGGART - The son of the priest.

MAC ENSPIE - The son of the bishop.

MAN NABB  - The son of the abbot.

In my 40 years ministry to the Catholic Marginalised I have ministered to some 120 women who were sexually involved with priests.

SIX of them had children for their priest.

FOUR of them had abortions of the priest's babies - in all cases paid for by the priests in question.

One of the first women I met in this position was Adriana Allsworth from the Birmingham area who had a number of children for an Irish priests attached to a religious order.  

She received very poor treatment at the hands of the Roman archbishops of Birmingham and Westminster at the time I was helping her. The following article appeared about her in an English paper:

"A support group aimed at helping women who have had affairs with Catholic priests is to open a Scottish branch because its English HQ cannot cope with the number of calls coming from Scotland.

The Sonflowers group, which is based in Daventry, Northamptonshire, helps women who have had long-term relationships and even children with priests. 

Adrianna Alsworth, 58, who has two daughters by an English priest, said she has been 'inundated' with calls after placing an advert in a Catholic magazine.

Two women even discovered they were both having an affair with the same Scottish priest who had managed to keep it a secret from his bishop.

She claims the Catholic Church refuses to acknowledge the scale of the problem despite high-profile cases such as Bishop Roddy Wright, the former Bishop of Argyll and the Isles who ran off with a married parishioner after fathering a child with a second woman.

Alsworth says the Church will have to face up to its 'silent mistresses' in the same way it has been forced to address the issue of paedophile clergy.

She said: 'The Church in Scotland wants to pretend this is not a major issue and that it is indeed very rare. But it's only the sad cases that hit the headlines and as long as there's no publicity, the Church is happy to turn a blind eye .

'I know of many older priests who have been in long-term relationships which are an open secret in their parishes.

'Sadly, all the stress and responsibility is placed on the women and it's a heavy burden . If the relationship becomes public, it's the woman, the Church's silent mistresses, who get the blame.'

Alsworth wants to run a dedicated Scottish base , but said she had met opposition when she tried to advertise Sonflowers in parishes or in official church publications.

There are 850 ordained priests working in Scotland, with only 35 in seminaries . In the past five years, at least five priests have left to pursue a relationship.

Alex Walker, chair of the Advent Group, which supports priests who are considering leaving their vocation for a relationship, agreed there was a need for a support service in Scotland.

He said: 'Over the years we have supported thousands of priests who formed relationships with women and who were considering leaving the priesthood. 

'I can think of several Scottish priests who are in a hidden marriage, or a long-term relationship with a family of their own. It is almost impossible to lead this double life with any sanity or integrity. Bishops do know about a lot of these relationships, but either advise their priests to pursue them discreetly or move the priest into a different area.'

Plans for a Scottish group were welcomed by one Scottish woman who married a former priest five months ago.

Mhairi, 38, became involved with her partner David, also 38, while he was her priest. 

'We actually went to school together, but whatever feelings we had we never acted on because he was going into the priesthood,'' she said. 'Years later David became my parish priest and we realised there were strong feelings between us, but I didn't want the pressure of him leaving the ministry for me.

'David talked to his bishop a lot during that period, and thankfully he was very understanding and supportive. David was unhappy with other things about being a priest, and finally decided to leave.

'We are still involved in the Church and I don't doubt that David did the right thing. We received help at various times from the Advent Group, and a helpline for women like me is certainly something that a lot of people would use, so that you have the support to make the right decision.'

Peter Kearney, director of the media office of the Catholic Church in Scotland, said he had not heard of Sonflowers.

He said: 'I think it is unfair to claim this is a problem that is widespread. If there are all these women and priests out there having affairs, then they are doing very well to keep it a secret.'

He added: 'The bishops expect priests to maintain high standards and, as in any walk of life, there will be some who fail to do so.

'There have been cases of priests who have relationships and children. They would be acting as individuals -- the onus would be on them, not the bishop or the Church, to resolve any issues.' 


It emerged that Gabino Zavala, the auxiliary bishop of the Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles for nearly 18 years, has a secret family. The existence of his two teenage children has been deemed a sufficiently "grave cause", as defined by Canon 401 of the code of canon law, that he has been obliged to resign. Memories of other notable cases resurface: the Eamon Casey scandal of the early 90s, when revelations that he fathered a child two years before his episcopal appointment led to his resignation as Bishop of Galway; the more recent case of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marcial Maciel, who had as many as six children (although accusations of paedophilia and incest make this alleged offence pale into insignificance). Zavala is hardly the first priest to break his vow of celibacy in such spectacular fashion, and in fact the church has struggled with the problem of "Fathers who are fathers" for centuries.

The children of Catholic priests have historically presented a double problem to the Latin Rite church: clearly they give the game away about dad's lack of conformity to the requirement for celibacy, but they also put a financial burden on his employer. Indeed the Zavala case, his superior Archbishop José Gomez seemed to privilege the "spiritual care" that the archdiocese has extended to the bishop's secret family above the offered "funding to assist the children with college costs", while the archdiocesan spokesman has been at pains to emphasise that Zavala was not siphoning off church funds to his illegitimate children.

This concern with property has characterised the church's approach down the centuries. From the 11th century the children of priests were to bear the sin of their fathers, as the synod of Pavia and successive church councils sought to enforce clerical celibacy by declaring that the children of priests would have the status of serfs. Despite these efforts, two centuries later the papal legate to England, Otho, found clerical "incontinence" to be endemic and was anguished by the growing problem of the sons of priests making claims on their fathers' property. He said that many clerics were marrying clandestinely, before setting out "to acquire fresh ecclesiastical benefices", then moving to prove the validity of the marriage "after children have been reared from this union" in order to pass on church property. He proposed that marriage should automatically deprive a priest of his benefice and that all remaining property go to the church, not the children, after his death.

With their dynastic ambition, the popes hardly set an example for the ordinary clergy in being more like Christ than Joseph, and the 16th century saw a rash of popes with children. The warlike Julius II, Michelangelo's famous patron, fathered three daughters while he was a cardinal, while Paul III and Pius IV had four and three children respectively before their elections as pontiff. Earlier, the 10th century Lombard historian and Bishop of Cremona, Liutprand, told salacious tales of the fathering of Pope John XI by Sergius III with a 15-year-old girl. But the record for papal fatherhood seems to have been set, unsurprisingly, by Alexander VI, the Borgia pope, who had four children (including Cesare and Lucrezia) with his aristocratic mistress Vannozza Catanei when a cardinal, and a further six others, some allegedly born during his pontificate. Priestly childlessness was purely an ideal, not a way of life, in the Vatican for decades

Although preservation of celibacy and church finances have informed the church prohibition of parent priests, the more philosophical issue of divided loyalties has also been important. Canon 277 says that in celibacy and childlessness "sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity", an ideal that informed the push to celibacy long before its formalisation in church law. As 19th-century theologian Ignaz von Döllinger put it, the priest "has no children of his own, in order that all the children in the parish may be his children". But when biological children do appear, as they inevitably do, the church has not yet found a way to reach a happy accommodation with their father's calling. Perhaps the creation of the Ordinariate, and the entry of Anglican priests with children into the Catholic priesthood (including the remarkable case of Father Ian Hellyer – father of nine), will make the first steps to readdressing this issue.

Meanwhile, it is estimated that some 1000 people in Britain and Ireland are the children of Catholic priests and, as painful stories of rejection, abandonment and financial and emotional neglect still abound, the question is raised of just how many other children throughout the history of the church have suffered similarly.


Celibate Catholic priests all over the world have been fathering children throughout the history of the church.

In the past and up until now the Church Hierarchy have been sweeping the problem under the carpet. They having been moving priests around the globe to cover it all up.

And they have been paying off women and binding them with gagging orders.

The main cause of this problem is NOT bad priests. Its the BAD and TOTALLY UNWORKABLE celibacy rule - which after all is only A MAN MADE RULE.

More and more children of priests are stepping out of the shadows today to tell their story.

Mark you me - we will be hearing much more about this issue in the months and years ahead.

Having said that there will probably be fewer priests children in the future as the priesthood is fast becoming a GAY PROFESSION and most gay men do not father babies.


  1. The biggest crime against a child is to pretend S/he doesn't exist. Pope's to priests had children whither the law allowed or not. Church history should have learned that trying to turn humanity into something that it is not is futile. So the challenge is to live realistically in the real world and give Glory to God

  2. Leaving aside the question of integrity, one can understand why priests would want to continue in ministry while also having a relationship. Honesty and integrity doesn't always pay off and the system mitigates against it. Many priests who left ministry in their 40s or 50s have been on the point of destitution and ill prepared for the shock of the real world. More often than not, the church has just abandoned them to their own devices without finances or the opportunity to retrain. So, it would be hard to condemn a man who finds himself 'living a lie'. The church can be quite brutal so it's understandable.

    1. The institutional Church has, with some exceptions, always been brutal. When priests' marriages were declared invalid a millennium ago, their families were simply abandoned.

  3. Bishop Pat I hope you don't mind me saying but could you get back to the Gay stuff and drop all this hetro stuff? Most of the readers of your blog are gay, both priests and laity, and are nit interested in breeders be they priests or not. Please give us more of Gorgeous George and Big Hughey. Im starting to find your blog a bot boring and tedious. I hope you understand.

    1. how vile you are! get a life fruitcake!

  4. Obviously I touched a raw nerve there dearie! Methinks the lady doth protest too much!

  5. Well said Bishop Pat. Obviously Big Aggie Carta has some travelling to do before accepting herself as part of God's Gay Creation...as well as learning to expend her vocabulary. I was always taught by the blessed nuns that those who resorted to profane language where educationally retard as they lacked the vocabulary to express themselves in rational thought. Some people are so so touchy!

  6. Ha ha.., good one, Pat! Have we called time on the bluffers at last? Then the toys come flying out of the pram!!

    1. 'Bluffers'? Jeez, you sound intelligent.

  7. If you spent as much time in the prayer room as you do in the chat room you wouldn't have the time 'wasted' taking about all the wrongs in other people's lives, instead you would be praying and interceding for them. Or maybe holding up the faults of others makes your self righteous self a shining light. Let's not forget He must grow greater and I must grow smaller.

  8. If a priest decides to leave the priesthood that should be his decision arrived at after due consideration and consultation with his bishop and close clerical friends. Unquestioningly it is right, fair and proper that a leaving priest, having made his decision, should be supported by the Church as he steps into his new life. Transitioning from the status of a man with a vocation to a man without a vocation is not similar at all to changing jobs. And in recognition of this the Church should continue to pay the departing priest, monthly, for a period of 3 years, the same salary that he was receiving in the year preceding his laicisation. As a contributing Catholic I would be more than happy to pay into a fund to make this possible. Casting former priests adrift is wrong and utterly unworthy of the Church of Christ.

    1. Thank you for an entirely sensible, morally and practical suggestion.
      The stumbling block of course is the all too familiar default position of the RC church invariably more concerned with protecting its position, ie finances.
      That is an excellant suggestion in your penultimate sentence, but again regrettably, the RC church will be unable to consider such a suggestion viewing it as an "encouragement" for clergy to depart the ranks.