THE TOPIC OF PRIESTS BEING "SELF EMPLOYED" AND BEING AT THE MERCY OF A BISHOP HAS ARISEN ON THIS BLOG.
Let's have some clarity.
Let me explain it by telling you of my own case.
I was ordained in 1976 and I was told by my bishop and parish priest that I was regarded in law - and by the tax man as "SELF EMPLOYED".
This meant that I had to pay a National Insurance Self Employed stamp.
When I was in an ordinary diocese and parish this stamp was paid for me by the diocese / parish.
When Cahal Daly "sacked" me in 1986 I regarded my sacking as as unjust. I believed that I was "UNFAIRLY DISMISSED".
So obviously I wanted to appeal. I think that most people would agree that any person, in justice, should be able to appeal their dismissal?
At first Daly refused to countenance any appeal. He quoted Saint Ignatius of Antioch at me - "THE VOICE OF THE BISHOP IS THE VOICE OF GOD".
I asked Cahal if that meant that when he farted God farted :-)
I then launched a massive media campaign over my sacking and even protested outside Cahal's palace.
He then offered me a panel. These were it's conditions:
1. He would choose ALL the priests on the panel with the exception of ONE - which I could choose - FROM A LIST HE WOULD GIVE ME !!!
2. He could meet the panel but I could not!
3. The panel could see my file but I could not !
4. I could not know the charges or witnesses against me !
5. The panel and I would be bound to secrecy under pain of mortal sin !
6. There would be no further appeal !
I told Cahal to put his panel where the monkey put his nuts and told him I would prefer an IRA kangaroo court to what he was offering.
|DALY - STILL IN PURGATORY - WHERE GOD SENT HIM FOR BEING A LITTLE HITLER|
I then applied to the Belfast Industrial Tribunal for an unfair dismissal hearing.
The tribunal said that I was "A SELF EMPLOYED SUBCONTRACTOR" and they could not hear my case. They referred me to the HIGH COURT!
I left it a long time hoping that Cahal and I would be reconciled.
But the statutes of limitation were running out.
I brought Cahal to the Belfast High Court before Lord Justice Campbell.
Cahal had to sit for FIVE DAYS as a "DEFENDANT". At least I got him before a judge.
I was cross examined by Cahal's barrister vigorously.
When Cahal's turn came to take the stand - HE BACKED OUT. Coward!
Mr Justice Campbell told me that the Catholic Church - in civil law - had the same status as a golf club. In order to win I had to prove that in sacking me that Cahal had broken the Catholic Rule Book - ie: Canon Law.
In canon law the only right a curate has is the right to a Christian burial! Bishops have all the rights.
So Cahal won on a technicality. And he was purring like a Pussy Cat.
On the way out of court there was a wonderful moment when a man approached Daly in front of us all and said:
"MR DALY. i AM A PROTESTANT. I HAVE SAT IN ON THE FIVE DAYS OF THIS CASE AND ALL I HAVE TO SAY TO YOU IS - I'M FUCKING GLAD THE REFORMATION TOOK PLACE".
Cahal scurried off with his little purple tail between his knobby legs.
Priest are controlled 24.7/365 by the bishop. The bishop has control over the priest's place of residence, his salary, his car insurance, his sexuality, the roof over his head, his temporal future and indeed his eternal future.
The priest is not "self employed". He is a virtual slave and serf.
The bishop is a medieval lord over the priest. The only right the bishop has lost since 1500 AD is that he cannot put a priest to death.
Priests should be regarded as full employees of the church - with full employee rights - working hours, salary, holiday pay, sick pay and the right to challenge the bishop before an industrial tribunal.
Priests need to form a UNION! Let them call it: "THE CLERICAL WORKERS UNION" :-)
They should be able to strike.
They should have the right to whistle blow.
AND they should be PROTECTED from their UNJUST EMPLOYERS!