Wednesday, 21 June 2017


Image result for clonard novena


This week in Belfast the CLONARD NOVENA is under way and thousands are turning out several times each day to attend Mass, submit petitions, hear guest speakers - and of course put plenty of money in the REDEMPTORIST COLLECTION PLATES.

The vast majority of the ordinary Catholics attending this novena are 100% sincere.

Indeed many of them are attending to ask God and Saint Mary's help with problems in their personal, family and community lives.

Even Bishop Noel Treanor has left his 4 million pound palace in leafy Belfast to say Mass for the great unwashed.

However I doubt if Treanor will be putting his hands in his pocket and putting money in the Clonard coffers.

But is this great Catholic Casino type of event a truly spiritual event - or is it more about:

1. Keeping the ordinary laity in awe of bishops, religious orders, priests and the Catholic Church in general?

2. Raising hundreds of thousands of pounds in one week from a big, spectacular Catholic Gig?

There are other examples of Catholic Casino-ism around the world:


Image result for vatican wealth

The Vatican makes an absolute fortune every year out of all it's visitors to it's sites and museums.


It is a well established fact that the Vatican profits by millions of Euros every time they make someone a saint in Rome.


Image result for knock basilica

Another great Irish Catholic Casino is the Marian Shrine at Knock in County Mayo.

Bishops and priests love going there to have their rings and asses kissed by robot priest worshipping Catholics.

Knock also rakes in the money for that parish and the Archdiocese of Tuam.


Image result for fatima basilica

Again multi millions of pounds are raised by the Catholic Church in all these sites around the world.

I have most experience of Lourdes - and I like the simpler things at Lourdes - like praying alone at the grotto after midnight, like hearing confessions in the Confessional chapel and relieving people of burdens and by the care of the sick by so many.

But what really gets peoples tubes vibrating in places like Lourdes is when a cardinal or another well known cleric turns up:

"O My God, Cardinal Burke is here today. O my God. I just have to kiss his ring and get his blessing. O my God".

What would Jesus think of it all?

Let's ask him.

Image result for a poor man praying

"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you". (Matt 6:6)

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed". (Luke 5:16)

"One day Jesus was in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples". He said to them, "When you pray , say, "Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation". Luke 11: 1 - 4)

Jesus also said:

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward".

Casino Catholicism benefits the Catholic Institution and its bank accounts.

It keeps the laity firmly in the pews worshipping bishops, priests and religious.





Image result for a british penny


  1. Both personal and public prayer were mentioned many times in Scripture as both are important and valuable for different reasons eg Matt.20, "Where two or three are gathered together, there am I in the midst of them.." etc. Public prayer give witness, encouragement and good example to others, be they believers or unbelievers. Jesus often preached and prayed with thousands in the Temple and in the open air and even from a fishing boat near the shore. But He also prayed alone to His Father away from the crowds eg in the desert and in the garden of Gethsemane before His death.. So both forms of prayer have their place. Gathering together for public prayer and worship should never be seen as an opportunity to exploit the faithful. That is a completely different matter and I fully agree with you on that point. At this moment, I have been engaged in early private prayer for a family member who is ill (4.30am)

    1. I will pray for your family member too.

    2. Thank you for your prayers for my family member(sister)Pat. Appreciated your kindness..

    3. 11.42. Indeed May the Lord bless and strengthen the good lady.

  2. Dear Pat,
    Human nature is fallen, we are all testament to that. One of the great dangers we face is the temptation to greed. I have no doubt that with every good thing in life, there is the possibility of someone having negative intentions and using that good thing for their purposes.
    No matter what your intention, however good it may be, you are scandalous to refer to places such as Lourdes, Fatima or even prayer services as 'casino Catholicism'. The church is a charity and relies on the support of all its members to function, it has done since Apostolic Times. You don't go out to work on a building site or in a factory each day, do you ? You rely on donations and charity to do your work. Leave others to do theirs.
    Your constant sniping, bitchiness and narcissism has grown tiresome. Can you not see the hypocrisy in your last post? You quote the Gospel telling us to 'go to our rooms to pray' yet you tell us that you pray at the Grotto. We shouldn't be advertising when we pray if we are using your logic.
    You may not believe this, I pray for you. I pray for the gifts of humility, charity and judgment. You need them.

    A concerned Lourdes pilgrim

    1. Of course I believe you pray for me and I thank you.

      But when you pray for me don't tell God what I need.

      He knows it already.

      Am I wrong to expose the hypocrisy of the modern day Pharisees?

    2. The Church is a charity? That is a ludicrous statement. The Church has charities but is not a charity. Its prime reason for existing is putting forward an interpretation of history as per the Bible and religious belief. The Church has an ethical system but is not an ethical system. A religion that says the only problem with sinning all you want and getting forgiven on your deathbed is the risk of dying unexpected and ending up in Hell is not an ethical system and many of the teachings are downright evil. The greatest evil of all is the refusal to correct false doctrines and moral teachings.

    3. The Church is two things:

      1. A spiritual body.

      2. A corrupt institution.

      Most of the time No 2 overshadows No 1.

  3. Roman Catholic priests are betraying Christ and destroying the Church. Until ordinary Catholic men and women (especially the elderly, since they, by upbringing, are most gullible) stop feeding the clerical beast with their cash, it will continue to wound the Assembly Christ founded.

  4. Interesting stuff Pat. I'd be more inclined to say supermarket rather than casino here because win/loose does not enter the equation. There has always been a market for big crowd religion. Look at the tv channels. Most of it is there. I have no problem with the intercessory role of the saints. We ask friends to pray for us why not ask the saints also. Problems come with the novena mentality-this formula can't fail. Prayers don't come with insurance policies or get out of jail cards. We can't control God or the saints and need to be proactive rather than passive in the practice of our faith.

    1. Win / lose does enter the equation Sean.

      If you don't do what the pope, bishop and priest tells you you go to hell!

    2. Sounds like I'm fekked then Pat

    3. Sean, you "won" when they lost control over you :-)

    4. It is obvious that nobody goes to a friend and says to them "Pray for me to God and I praise your virtues and ask you to obtain for the gift of humility and healing." The saints are thinly disguised gods and are superior to God if God needs them to influence him to help people.

    5. Thats nonsense. When we pray the apostles creed we affirm the communion of saints. The saints , those who have gone before us in love and who are in Gods presence are united with us on earth in faith and love. God needs nothing. The saints are a gift from God to us helping us on our way. One of the greatest beliefs of the church is the fact faith involves membership of a community and is not a private matter between me and my friend Jesus. St Aloysius Gonzaga patron of young people pray for us.

  5. Pat, I am tempted to quote the Lord when he said that "even satan can quote scripture for his purposes". Your jaundiced view of the church has really poisoned your heart. You denigrate the faith of millions who go to places of pilgrimage to pray in a most cynical sneering way.
    How can you expect anybody to take you seriously when it's patently obvious that you are in the grip of hatred?
    You Pat are most likely in the closing years of your life; do you really want your legacy to be such bitterness and bile?

    1. Rachel,I was like you before I worked for the church. I was shocked by what I saw. The church has high moral principles and low moral practices. A lot of priests are very good......but they are under no illusions of the corruption around them.

  6. Read above:

    "The vast majority of the ordinary Catholics attending this novena are 100% sincere".

    The faith of those attending is not in question.

    The attitude of the "organisers" is what is in question.

    Was Jesus full of bitterness and bile when he used words like hypocrites, fox, whitened sephulchur etc and when he took a whip to the money changers in the temple after those who had turned God's house into a den of thieves?

  7. Pat, what is going on in meath?

    1. At this point I cannot elaborate fully on here. Sorry.

    2. Generally speaking, does it involve younger priests?

    3. I only ask as I trained with some of them over the last 15 odd years. There was one guy who was ordained for Meath that should not be allowed near children.

    4. @ 15:02, if your so concerned about this individual why are you blogging it here and not running to the Gardai and HSE?

    5. I passed it on to the bishops secretary. Strictly speaking, it is an opinion of mine, there is no verifiable evidence that he has done anything wrong. However i did raise a formal concern about his suitability with his formators. Is that good enough for you @15:02?

    6. so you go around 'suspecting' people and decide they shouldn't be allowed near children based on your opinion?. Mate you need a word with yourself.

      How old are you? 12?

    7. @15.53. "If you're so concerned.." is the correct form.

    8. @17:42 that attitude is what allowed children to be abused, but people like you. Good one "mate".

    9. I was once talking to a friar about my very small nice dancing innocently about in just her knickers pretending to be a ballet dancer. He had a very strange expression on his face. I later heard he had been charge with downloading child porn. I think you sometimes pick up the vibes.

    10. @20:38 your dead right! because reporting suspicions to the BISHOPS SECRETARY is guaranteed to be passed onto the gardai!


    11. @22.07
      "You're dead right.." is the correct form.

  8. Comment makers who give me DAILY abuse about my personal life, my home, my health etc will not be published.

    I have blogged here before about all these matters.

    1. rumour in Maynooth has it that your partner has left you and doesn't live in your house

    2. Not true. My partner of 10 years and I are together and living together here.

    3. @19:03 the sun is setting on the evil empire of st pats seminary. And thank God! That hellhole seems to produce nothing good except cynical anti christian forked tongue cretins...

    4. 12.56 Proper order Pat There is no room here for bullying of any form. I wonder how the alleged potential bullies who attempt to get published on here behave towards those in their personal and professional circles

  9. There's allot of truth, but we must remember that at the end it's always normal people with faith

  10. Pat I think you should, as a one-off, publish some of the hate mail you get as an expose of how faithful Catholics BEHAVE towards other people. Nobody who is non-Catholic would have any reason to send you hate mail and it would show the level of nastiness these pious churchgoers reach.
    Somebody said, By their fruits you will know them.

    1. 'By their fruits you will know them', yea? well that applies to ALL CHRISTIANS. hint hint

    2. @21.06
      I wish to refute in the strongest possible terms your unreasonable assertion that hate mail sent to Pat must therefore have been posted by "pious Churchgoers". Why would you fall into the easy cliché and jump to such a conclusion?!! I am such a regular Churchgoer as you describe and I often post to defend some principle or practice that I hold particularly dear or to bring back a sense of balance on a day when there has been very virulent attacks on the Church. I would never descend to writing an abusive or personal attack on Pat or indeed on any other poster (though I have occasionally being verbally attacked myself but usually by certain well-known posters who hold vehement anti Church views) Even then l respond in a measured dignified way which shows respect for the person and put my point of view forward in unabusive tone and language. (The very first post of today--may now be "yesterday"-- was written by me at 4.30 this morning and you can read it for yourself. I put forward an amendment to Pat's blog by offering an alternative viewpoint. I did not get the impression that Pat thought it abusive and I thanked him politely for his kind response to me..) Please do not tar loyal Churchgoers with the same unfair suggestion that we must per se be the ones sending in hate mail. That is very unfair. Sending hate mail is utterly reprehensible and causes immense distress and is to be condemned. But furthermore, it solves nothing, convinces no-one and furthers no cause, in my humble opinion. I promise you I am not the only loyal Churchgoer who feels like this.

    3. I believe you and I found no offence in your comment.

      I believe my hate mail comes from people who do not really practice their faith (unlike you) and from priests and seminarians who are carrying on and don't like it being talked about.

    4. Thanks for that, Pat..

  11. Why would a servant of Jesus spend lavish amounts of money on a building.why even live in a house like that????
    U are right Pat to highlight this extravaganza
    And same with Lourdes....the clergy just go there to have a good time. I got my eyes opened when I went there once...the night life seemed to take over

  12. Really Pat...its none of their business and your partner is your life, just like me and my partners is...we are widow and widower together sometimes, apart sometimes.

  13. The priest gesturing looks as if he has turned to drink. It happens to so many of them.

  14. Why wasn't that listed building sold and a simple one bedroom house bought .what a crass thing to say about giving employment and preventing emigration.that is well below the lowest.
    What type of house does the wounded Sean live in?

  15. I appreciate so much how this blog does call Religious and ordained members of the Church to live their individual call and role with integrity. I've seen how the lack of this integrity can tear a parish or a religious community apart. I once was taught by a great PP that no sin is a personal sin - he was of the old school and of course he included 'sins' that most of my own generation see little problem with. But applied to this question I agree.
    Hands up! I'm in final year of formation in a Religious community. I try my best to live my vows to the best of my ability... sometimes I'm more successful at that than others in my vows of chastity and poverty (I'm absolutely rubbish at the whole obedience thing lol).
    It may seem a weird blog entry to talk about this. But I want to share my testimony of that Clonard Novena and the Redemptorists who host it.
    When I was 21 and a student in Cork (a while ago!!!) I was suicidal because I couldn't accept let alone embrace my sexuality. The Reds have a community in Cork working with and for young people. As a trainee youth worker I did one of my placements with them. They saw something was up, and the Redemptorist heading up the project came to me to talk. He was the first person I ever told that I was gay. The parish I came from was great but like most young gay Catholics it was far from welcoming of anyone who identified as anything other than hetero. When I told that priest I expected to be sacked from my placement. Instead it was the first time that I was told that not only was it okay to be gay and Christian, it was part of my offering to the world in my ministry.
    I'm sure there are other Christian communities out there that are welcome spaces for people who are gay. I will never forget how that priest welcomed me and walked with me to come to terms with a part of my identity that I had been taught to hate.
    I grew up wanting to give my life to the Lord and his people. After this accompaniment I entered formation with the Reds and was there three years in Dublin. Was it a perfect community? Not at all, and no Redemptorist would tell you it was.. but I was loved for who I was, enabling me to live celibacy with honesty and authenticity. I left them in 2003, for the simple reason that I didn't feel called to the Redemptorist ministry.
    And now to Clonard... a place were I was embraced and loved when I cam back North. While in their midst there were brothers and priests who were far from a joyful example of their call, the majority of priests that I met there were so genuine. I'll always remember Al Reid stopping the work he was doing to sit and have a chat with me whenever I'd come in (I worked with the young people on the peace line at the time). I've never felt judged in that place. I've met men who have walked with me on many difficult parts of my life journey. And, despite my years as one of their students, they were some of the first to bless me as I entered the community I'm in now. I didn't experience the place as a casino - but a place where I still feel at home. I was never forced to give money there (I did because it felt like home). The people and the brothers there in the most part were so down to earth and generous of spirit.
    I know that this isn't the experience that everyone has. It is only my testimony. I thank God for those experiences of the Reds and Clonard. When I take life vows this coming year I'll do so with some great and humble Redemptorists as an example of authenticity. They are part of my DNA even though I've been called to this new community.

  16. Thank you for the gift of your honesty. I hope you have many great experiences in your work and your vocation.

  17. You must big the biggest hypocrite of them all Pat. You spent most of your time chasing the cover of the tabloids. Fame hungry. I'll be surprised if you allow this on your comments which are heavily vetted to allow only people who agree with you on.

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