Wednesday, 7 June 2017

CATHOLIC FINANCIAL SCANDALS

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COULD THE NEXT PHASE OF CATHOLIC CHURCH SCANDAL BE CENTRED AROUND FINANCIAL SCANDAL?

In the past few days I met a very good person who worked for an Irish religious order as an employee in the caring services.

She told me some sad and interesting stories about the misuse of funds that were paid to the religious order by the Irish State and monies. They also received as donations from ordinary Irish people.

These were stories of members of religious orders having credit cards with very high limits on them which were used for things like wining and dining and the living of very high lifestyles.




There were also stories of senior employees of the religious orders - employee "favourites" who were given credit cards which were used for the purchase of expensive items for themselves, their homes and the purchase of lavish miles and crates of fine wines.

I have stories over the years of priests, brothers and nuns upgrading their person cars as often as every three months!

Of course there was the famous case of Bishop Eamon Casey taking £77,000 from the funds of Galway diocese to "pay off" Annie Murphy and their son Peter.

We were later told that the money was paid back.

Was it. When. Any by whom?


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After the Casey story broke there was great talk among the Irish clergy about Casey having been left a large sum of money by an old lady who who control over fishing rights in the West of Ireland and the money not been accounted for properly?

Then there have been the various cases of parish priests giving away parish funds to girlfriends, boyfriends, friends and family members etc.

NEWSLETTER. BELFAST.

Parishioners in shock over priest’s £145k fraud 


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Father Conleth Byrne 

PARISHIONERS in Loughinisland yesterday told of their “shock and sadness” after their 78-year-old former priest pleaded guilty to fraud earlier this week. 

Fr Conleth Byrne, now retired, informed police he paid around £145,000 of parish funds to Marie Hanna from Ballycastle over a 19-month period out of “charity” after she begged him for financial help, a court was told. He pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position just before his trial was due to begin at Downpatrick Crown Court on Tuesday. The court heard that Byrne had been a priest in Loughinisland in Co Down when Ms Hanna, who is in her 50s, called at the parochial house in September 2007 and claimed to be in “dire need” of financial assistance. Ms Hanna told Byrne she had just been released from prison, was homeless, had no adequate clothing, had been denied social security benefits and was in need of medication. He gave her some money from his own savings – but this marked the “beginning of a cycle” whereby Ms Hanna would come to him on a regular basis seeking help and assistance, the court was told. Over the next few months, Ms Hanna received £45,000 from Byrne’s own personal funds and from money he borrowed from friends and family. After he exhausted his own money, he began to use parish funds. From early January 2008 to August 2009, Ms Hanna received between £133,000 and £145,000 in cash from Byrne, which he obtained through the cashing of cheques from the parish account. Although the relationship between Byrne and Ms Hanna was not fully explained to the court, other than he had known her for a long time, prosecution and defence barristers stressed there were no issues of “personal gain, blackmail or sexual favours” in this case. The court heard that Byrne, who has since retired to Bethlehem Abbey, Portglenone, had already repaid £20,000 and intended to make further payments as best he could. Byrne was released on bail to return for sentencing next month. Last night, two of Byrne’s former parishioners – who both refused to be named – said he had been a “very popular figure”. “No-one has really said very much about it because no-one knows anything other than what we read in the paper,” said one parishioner. “He got on very well in the parish and was very popular. Then all of a sudden he disappeared and we were never told why – and still haven’t been told. “Then when we started to read about it in the paper we were all very shocked. 

There are many similar cases if you wish to google the topic.

I suppose the lesson that we need to learn from these and other cases is that churches and church charities are regulated by the charity and tax laws.

Perhaps the authorities need to take a closer look at the fundings of these bodies and their annual returns.

Its not just enough to say: "Father / Sister / Brother is looking after the money so it's ok".

Father, Sister and Brother are human beings and all of us are open to temptation.

83 comments:

  1. Did you receive my email earlier Bishop Pat?

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  2. No one individual should be able to issue out public funds without proper authority. Anything issued should be signed out by at least two responsible people and above all correctly accounted for in writing. Everything should be examined carefully at least annually by a completely independent accountant. This would be regarded as the minimum in normal good business practice where funds are concerned.

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  3. Yes that one I hope it made sense to you

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  4. So what does that case prove, except that there are sinners in ministry as in every walk of life. The Church of England has had several similar cases of misappropriation of funds by clergy - sadly human nature is weak and sometimes the temptation is great. The Episcopalians in the US have had huge scandals. The only safeguard against this kind of thing is robust probity in all matters of finance. Why even the 12 apostles had a thief among them.
    PP's in Ireland were too all powerful and accountable to no one. Thankfully practices now are under the scruting of the charities commission in the south and like north of the border.
    On that subject Pat do you publish annual accounts for your flock?

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    1. So do you really think that the bishops are exhibiting robust probity regarding the reckless dissipation of the laity's hard-earned money on the many liars and layabouts being emitted from Maynooth @ Anon 00:29?

      If one were to account for all the money wasted in recent years on such characters, who have left after a few years in ministry or who caused havoc in the seminary for years before leaving - it is reasonable to suggest that we are talking about seven-figure sums.

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    2. I don't share your seeming ability to know the full facts of that situation and therefore I am loathe to make such a judgment.

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    3. anon 09:09 - what planet have you been on over the last year???

      Can you not read or see????

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    4. It's very plain that people don't want to see.

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  5. MourneManMichael7 June 2017 at 07:34

    Anybody know what became of the similar sounding Carryduff financial problems reported in blog about a year ago? I recall that there was parishoner dissatisfaction with clerical actions in removing parishoner involvement in administration or oversight of church funds, but never heard the outcome.
    But along same vein there was huge parishoner dissatisfaction recently down in Newcastle where the PP reneaged on the agreement to sell a redundant school site to the council to build a leisure centre for the benefit of the town. The clergy (and it was never clear who made the decision amidst all the back and forth evasiveness involving the PP and the bishop of D & C )went behind the council's back and sold the site to Lidl for a supermarket, ....for more money of course! Surely this is a case where an independent parish council should make the decision, rather than the clergy and/or their placemen?
    MMM
    MMM

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  6. What 00.29 says makes sense. Poor Fr Hypothetical could allegedly feel sorry for himself because of the horrible lifestyle he has grown into. Nobody understands and it is now too late or Fr is to scared to change career path. Only the trouser pocket will console. On the other hand as Fr Ted might say Fr is a bit of an eejit and the funds were just "resting" in his account. Whatever the cause appropriate governance appears to be the way forward.

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  7. Hi Pat, i am a bit annoyed that you have put Fr Byrne on your web sight, Fr Con is a personal friend, he is not well and does not need this or deserve it. The older priests in the dioces that i know never put you down and you are doing this

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    1. Dear Percy, thank you for your honest criticism.

      I feel that Fr Con acted out of foolishness or weakness rather than out of badness.

      But £145,000 was a very large sum of money.

      I am sorry he is not well.

      The blog is more about financial accountability than about persons. Pat.

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    2. Don't concern yourself, Pat, with such criticism.

      I once heard on Liveline with Joe Duffy, a caller saying some people are in Mountjoy Prison for not paying their television licence... and yet we have common theives like these priests and prelates getting away with it.

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  8. Percy makes a valid point. How many priests have been damaged as persons by the way they have been treated by some dioceses and some colleagues over the years. How are these wrongs to be addressed

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    1. Yes priests have been wronged. But this priest gave a woman £145,000 of parish funds.

      How is that HIM being wronged?

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    2. I was referring to priests being wronged and or bullied by superiors and or colleagues and laity in privileged positions.

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  9. I feel sorry for Fr Conleth Byrne. He was exploited and didn't benefit from the money himself.

    Yes, he was naive and acted in extremely poor judgement. But I suspect God will look more kindly on, and with greater understanding of, his motives than some humans have.

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    1. I agree with you MC.

      But why £145,000 to this particular woman?

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    2. PS: I have callers at my door everyday and prefer to give food and not money.

      There would have to be some other element to the transaction for me to give a large sum of money?

      Not that I have any access to much money.

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  10. You don't have much access to money? But you have spoken in the past about staying in hotels, meeting people there and dining. That doesn't sound frugal to me. I too think it was harsh and nasty to mention Fr Byrne in this blog, it was a Big sum of money involved, yes, but leave the man alone as he is not very well.

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    1. Where did I ever say I lived a frugal life?

      Surely it was ok to discuss the Father Byrne case in a blog about finances and the Catholic Church?

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    2. 11.07 I often speculate at the motivation of a person who replies by challenging the proposers supposed circumstances rather than the substance of the argument. Note I said speculate. I am not in a position to judge anyone

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    3. If you are not in a position to judge anyone Mr Page then why the hell are you judging the poster at 11.07. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. If you haven't got anything logical to say then just button it in future you silly man.

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    4. Beloved 14.55 nice to read your recognisable scribes. Please note I said speculate not judge. Why am I the focus of your anger. Naughty Naughty. For the record should you insist on titles my title is rev not Mr. I'm sure you will agree my r c ordination is valid if perhaps illicit in your view. Again I presume and for this I apologise. Please be appropriate in your postings. Pat I thought we had gotten away from personal insults which are Not appropriate.

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    5. If you keep opening your mouth against posters on here Mr, Rev, Illicit or whatever the hell you call yourself then expect a challenge. You can't have your cake and eat it Sir. It's not anger on my part because it's more annoyance at your ramblings, stop being all things to all people. Running with the hare and hunting with the hounds seems to be your mundi operandi. Stop it.

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    6. I'm wondering why Sean's interlocutor is so enraged at him taking the perfectly reasonable step of leaving one church and joining another lol. I'm picturing a bitter RC priest who would love to get married but can't leave. And not an old priest either - he definitely didn't learn Latin at seminary - 'mundi operandi'!
      Now watch while I get personally attacked :-D

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    7. Pat please sort out 18.06 The attitude amounts to internet bullying. D I can only smile at your comment. 😀

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  11. While ago I read, maybe on this blog, I can't remember, about a house being left to a parish and it being unaccounted for in the records. Also, the article stated each parish has 4 lay people to oversee the accounts. Are the lay people hard at it like the priests? I wonder.

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    1. In the real world it's far more likely to be the twin "enemies" of i) complacency and ii) procrastination that are to blame for details not being kept up to date in the paperwork.

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    2. ... or iii) embezzlement.

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  12. New bishop of Raphoe to be named on Friday

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    1. I hope he has been vetted for fraud.

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    2. Any idea of who it will be?

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    3. LOL @ 13:44

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    4. I understand Fr.Richard Gibbons PP of Knock has received a call in relation to Galway.

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    5. Well his nose is brown enough to qualify!

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    6. Fr Richard Gibbons is going no where yet, he said he has much to do to expand Knock shrine into a marian shrine of the ranks of Lourdes or Fatima. He is more interested in Dublin with a new red hat to go with it.

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    7. I had a feeling he was on the move. he seemed to be in extra good form. it's well deserved as hes a lovely man.

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    8. @17:51 Brown nose creepers can also sneak into secluded areas and spy an unsuspecting nude sunbathers in Raphoe.

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  13. I recall years ago a woman who fell out with her two elderly younger sisters. eventually they made up and all lived together until the elder sister died first.

    When they had the fall out she changed her will and left the house to a priest. so when the priest found out he got the house the sisters explained the situation to the priest and asked if he wouldn't mind returning the house to them as it was their only home.

    But father had no intention of doing so. no intention of showing any kindness. no intention of maybe letting them live out their days in the house. he dragged them through the courts to get them out and sold the house.

    Greed!

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    1. Probably spent the proceeds on rent boys.

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    2. In law, it is actually considered very important to carry out the instructions iñ the last known testament of the deceased. I'm afraid the onus was fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the eldest sister to make a point of rewriting her will after her reconciliation with her sisters. By neglecting to do that she caused a problem for the younger ones but the law cannot be sentimental. It has to deal with the matter exactly as it finds it legally.

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    3. I think Cahal Daly did the exact same thing as described at 13.05. He threw the family out of a property that was left to him in a Will.

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    4. forget the law. this was a man of god. would Jesus have thrown them out so he could earn a few shillings.

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  14. Well, I hope the bastard is burning in the hell about which he preached.

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  15. Not all Priests are money grabbers, although most appear to be in their several bedroom mansions, a new car every year or less. But there are a small number who drive cars 6 or more years old and they are in the minority but they lead by example. I know that's a rarity on the Island of Ireland but it does exist, please don't tar all clergy as money orientated. This old mentality of PP's living in big houses and driving the latest style of car has to end, it's the people who need to learn with regards to funding such a lavish lifestyle!

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  16. Pat
    You need to step up your investigation on Galway and Clonfert, talk is two new bishops will be announced in the coming days , I know of one who has received the call from nunciture on behalf of the good Card from Canada

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    1. The time is now PAT

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  17. I hear Fr Andrew Dolan is the new Bishop of Raphoe but not being made official until Friday.

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    1. Dolan? LOL

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    2. Dont laugh too soon. Just wait until Friday. He he he .

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  18. Predictions for new Bishops ? who are the runners and riders?
    According to Galway Connacht Tribune , new bishops to be announced in the coming days based on Archbp Charles Browns reccomendation

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  19. Michael Byrnes mentioned for Galway

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  20. Cathal Geraghty mentioned for Clonfert - Mistake!!!

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  21. 18:12 you have been well misinformed

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  22. I know of one priest who changed his car two years ago - his car was eleven years old.
    Furthermore, in the parish bulletin he not only gave the amount of the previous weeks collection but also gave a figure for the parish's financial status. Any expense over £300 was also mentioned in the bulletin - e.g. Painting of some building etc. He had regular meetings of his finance committee - elected by vote of everyone over eighteen years old and every three years.
    We could do with more men like this - and they are still here!!!

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  23. I was in Thurles with Cathal Geraghty, what a self righteous arrogant prick, legalistic and gives pompous a different meaning.

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    1. This man needs his own blog Pat!

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  24. ....in other news Pat Buckley is 500/1 to be named as Bishop of one of the vacant Irish Diocese's and we'll have more on that later.

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  25. 18.57 If I've been misinformed then you can quite rightfully correct me to the identity of who you know to be the new incumbent in Raphoe, please enlighten us mere mortals. Thank You.

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  26. Mgr Dan Carr fondly referred to as Fanny is tipped by all the younger Raphoe priests in the diocese. Fr John joe Duffy an ardent ecumenist is also in with a chance but the best tip I can give is princess m l who would command widespread support among committed laity and the pastoral men of the diocese.

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  27. I was an altar boy to Fr Con Byrne which seems like an age away now, but even then he was a vulnerable man. I would firmly believe he although he'd likely agree himself that he did indeed err. Yes agreed a huge amount of money for us in the low lands but nothing compared to what his Bishop Noel Treanor has spent on trimmings for his pad in Somerton. It certainly looks a millionaires residence.
    I have the greatest respect still for Con for I know he did try to do his best for all who asked of him and maybe this was his downfall.
    But whom am I to judge, THE MAN WHO NEVER MADE A MISTAKE NEVER MADE ANYTHING.
    Conleiths mistake was his own vulnerability his tiny spec of an error is nothing compared to the likes of the Vatican Bank lets make no mistake.

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  28. Mgr. Dermot Moloney (tuam) to be named bishop of Raphoe friday morning.

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    1. is there nothing to be said for Hugh 'the dog ate my homework' Connolly? would they not give him a hat at the very least?

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    2. Surely he's bought himself a beret by now...

      That's the only hat he'll be getting.

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    3. Dermot retired about 4 years ago. If he is appointed he will need to tender his resignation to the Pope immediately upon appointment given his age...

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  29. hes likely bought himself a skullcap at some point and parades around his room. its called 'pretend-play'

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  30. V Rev Red Patrick mc Garvey pp will be appointed bishop of Raphoe at 12.15pm on the 9th of June the diocesian feast day according to well placed source in the Irish College Rome.

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    1. Nonsense.

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    2. http://m.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/bishop-defends-derry-toilet-peep-priests-promotion-28686585.html

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  31. Our wee curate Fr mick mc Geever has been looking after bishop Boyce over in Letterkenny for a fair few years now and would make a great bishop. He knows everything that goes on and he is wild crack altogether.

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  32. http://www.herald.ie/news/priest-who-spied-in-shops-toilets-gets-promotion-27994846.html


    REALLY @ 21:42

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    1. Perfect bishop material.

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  33. Very Rev Conor Cunningham strongly tipped to be announced as Bishop of Galway on Friday.

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    1. Not another brown nosed Rudolph I hope.

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  34. Big Cack O Fearraigh pp Ballyshannon is the perfect candidate to replace bishop phil. Hes a man of Vatican ii and has vast educational and pastoral experience in the diocese. A native of Gweedore he is a fluent Irish speaker. A noted author and expert patristic scholar he is also one of those priests who aren t afraid of getting the smell of the sheep on their hands. A man in the mould of Pope Francis.

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    1. I'd rather he were a man in the mould of Christ. Francis is a hypocrite.

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    2. As opposed to you who isn't I suppose?

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    3. You are poisoned Maggie - and you are poisonous. I'm sorry that you were poisoned but it must still be pointed out that you are toxic. Your entire outlook is jaundiced and deeply prejudiced. You are to be pitied.

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  35. It could be easy to say "well this sorta stuff happens in every organisation, no one is perfect." Sure that's fine, I accept we are all weak. However I have worked in secular organisations whom don't even aim to be half of what the catholic church strives for - yet far surpass the institution we talk about by miles. Thank you Pat for your steady thirst for justice. Never settle for less.

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