Thursday, 31 August 2017


Priest who claimed 'gay mafia' controls Catholic church seeks parish return
Father Matthew Despard was rapped by the church over explosive claims in his book Priesthood in Crisis.


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A Catholic priest at the centre of gay mafia accusations is set to return to a Scottish parish.
Father Matthew Despard, 52, was forced to quit after being rapped by the church over explosive claims in his book Priesthood in Crisis.

He wrote that a “powerful gay mafia” was operating at the top of the Catholic hierarchy and was responsible for sexual ­bullying

Despard was forced to stand down from his post at St John Ogilvie’s Parish in Blantyre, Lanarkshire.

The priest also spoke out about the gay mafia in Catholic seminaries.

But he could now return after a Vatican court “partly reversed” the decision of a Scottish church tribunal.

Bishop of Motherwell Joseph Toal said: “Fr Despard has requested he be allowed to return to public priestly ministry by being given a new pastoral assignment.”
Image result for bishop toal

Last night, I had a telephone call from a gentleman in the Diocese of Motherwell, who expressed concern about the fact that the family of a deceased lady, Teresa Howie RIP, had asked if their former (now suspended) Parish Priest, Fr Matthew Despard, who is a personal friend of the deceased and family could officiate at her funeral on Monday next. The permission was refused. The PP is going off on holiday, so presumably another priest, with no connection to the family, will be sent in to conduct the funeral.
The caller asked if we could help, so I emailed the diocese last night as follows:
“For the attention of Bishop Toal
I have been contacted by friends of a deceased lady – Teresa Howie of St John Ogilvie parish – whose funeral is scheduled to take place in that parish on Monday morning.
I’m told that the family asked for Father Matthew Despard to officiate at the funeral because he is a friend of the deceased and family but that this request was refused.
I am aware of Fr Despard’s situation within the diocese. Nevertheless, this seems a very harsh and unnecessary decision.
Since we always seek to avoid undue publicity if at all possible, I await your response before taking any further action.
Will Fr Despard be permitted to conduct Teresa Howie’s funeral?
Kind regards (Editor, Catholic Truth]

This morning, I received the following reply:

I reply on behalf of Bishop Toal
It will not be possible for Fr. Despard to celebrate the Funeral Mass for Teresa Howie, R.I.P.
Fr. James Grant

I replied to his reply to simply thank him for his prompt reply.

Consider this: there are priests out there guilty of many shocking scandals, which range from publicly preaching against the Faith to hitting the tabloid headlines due to being caught in sexual scandals. In the latter case, there is one such Glasgow priest who does the rounds within the archdiocese, giving talks to the intelligentsia. There was no “punishment” of any kind for him. Yet Fr Despard has paid a very  heavy price, for what, at worst, could be described as a lack of good judgment – and I’m not even sure about that, since I hear fairly regularly from people who know the Diocese of Motherwell very well and argue that his expose was necessary; I don’t know enough about that but certainly he has paid a heavy price and continues to pay a heavy price for writing his book, in good (if misguided) faith. 

So, I’m doing what I promised the caller – giving some publicity to the refusal of the Bishop of Motherwell to permit Fr Despard, family friend and friend of the deceased lady herself, who has been one of his staunchest supporters throughout this difficult period of his suspension, to conduct her funeral. Seems vindictive to me. In any case, please pray for the repose of the soul of Teresa Howie, and for consolation for her family at this sad time.


Father Despard was dismissed from his parish and suspended SIMPLY FOR TELLING THE TRUTH!

What was that truth:

1. That the Catholic Hierarchy is manned by promiscuous and bullying homosexuals - all the way to the top.

2. That as an army chaplain other priests had tried to seduce him.

3. That seminaries were being taken over by promiscuous homosexuals.

4. That other priests had tried to seduce him.

Instead of listening to Father Despard's claims - and investigating them - Father Despard was removed from his parish and suspended.

He then appealed his sacking to a Scottish Church Tribunal and they upheld his sacking.

Father Despard then appealed to Rome and his punishment has been "partly lifted" and he has requested to return to pastoral work.

What kind of an organisation sacks its whistle blowers?


By all accounts, Father Despard is a good priest. He obviously loves his Church and priesthood - and wishes it to be purified. 

When I was sacked by Cahal Daly - in a similar way - and for similar reasons - 31 years ago I decided not to appeal to a Church court.

I felt that it would be like indicting the Devil and holding the court in Hell. 

The Tribunal Cahal Daly offered me had the following conditions:

1. The Tribunal would consist of 10 priests - 9 appointed by Daly and 1 appointed by me FROM A LIST HE WOULD GIVE ME!

2. Daly could meet the panel - but I could not!

3. The panel could read my personnel file - but I could not!

4. I could not hear the charges or evidence that Daly would bring against me!

5. There would be no further appeal!

There is very little justice in canon law for those at the lower levels.

I am pleased that Father Despard that he is being allowed back to ministry.

But HIS CARDS HAVE BEEN MARKED and he will have to lie very low to please Bishop Toal and senior clergy.

If priests want justice and rights they need to form a CLERGY TRADE UNION capable of bringing the Hierarchy to a halt.

Of course, any priest joining that union will not get promotion and will always be a PERSONA NON-GRATIA.


  1. Pat, a poster shared some info on August 30th, at 21:46, about a relatively youngish D&C priest of PP rank with a foot fetish, lamenting the departure of his curate in the changes because he "won't get to look at his (curate's) feet anymore.

    How very interesting. Speculation is rife as to the PP or ADM's identity. No less than with the retired chiropodist Paulie Symonds and recently released jail bird Jimmy Donaghy - two of the great diocesan foot lovers.

    Donaghy and Symonds were both keen on podiatry and reflexology for young male kebs and have been very anxious for a priest, of suitable standing, to take up that important ministry. After all, "how lovely on the mountains are the feet of him...." and all that.

    Now, everyone is hoping that Fr Footlover PP (or ADM?), isn't disappointed in his new curate and that he isnt some ignorant big Claude Hopper - but rather - instead - that he is dainty toed and possessed of nimbleness and grace in the ankle department.

    I hope your correspondent will keep us posted as Paulie Symonds in particular is keen to know. Since his being forced to retire, he is anxious to pass on his own special recipe for rubbing oil.

    Jimmy Donaghy too, since he done his time after all that unpleasantness, is at a loose end and itching to get his hands on some gainful and enjoyable employ to while away the hours. Fr Footlover will find in him a keen and knowledgeable assistant.

  2. Pat we can trust the hierarchy of the church - Bishop Conry and Cardinal O'Brien will testify to it. Whistleblowers in the Catholic Church have never been supported, the abused especially. This is why we have lost generations to this mass of lies and smoke and mirrors. A dangerous evil is running our Church and it wears a collar and quite often a mitre.

  3. That classic homophobe, Bishop Toal, looks as queer as a bottle of chips. (C'mon! Look at that mono eyebrow in the photo. What other conclusion is there?)

    1. I agree that Bishop Toal looks as camp as a row of tents.

    2. Don't you mean a row of PINK tents?

    3. He's nowhere near as camp as you sound most of the time, Magna Carta - like an acid-tongued pantomime dame.

    4. 11:05, disagree with you, Bishop T. .

  4. Pat, as you well know. In any dispute or disagreement there is usually more than one person at fault. While not always being enamoured by Cardinal Daly, I had great respect for him. You are not FAULTLESS in all the confrontation that grew between both of you. I know you were a very trucculent individual, wanting your own way and very confrontational. That aporoach may work among bullies but you are not faultless re: you and Cardinal Daly. Truth is always a good starting point to enable rational and honest dialogue to occur. Truth is essential to owning our own part in our self inflicted wounds. So, may I suggest at this stage of your life, try and build a bridge to cross into new beginnings, leaving all baggage behind. When we do this we feel free within.

    1. With whom was I trucculant and wanting my own way?

    2. Everyone Pat, but you must answer questions honestly. Don't always give a partisan view!

    3. So I have been trucculant and wanting my own way with EVERYONE I've ever met in my whole life?

    4. I don't find you truculent. You are willing to stand up for truth and justice when the rest just don't want to rock the boat. You have a very valid rôle to play.

    5. I don't always agree with you, Pat. But, my word, some of the numpties that write to you attacking you - like the one at 08:44! They are barely literate. Or are they in such high dudgeon that they forget grammar and spelling? Not only that - the arguments against you are simply pathetic. Talk about not holding water! I hope they are not priests because they have clearly no brains worth talking about.

    6. Pat @ 10.59. The point being made I think is that you proclaim to be mostly always right in your assessment and analysis of all situations in The Church you abandoned. Some insights I'd share with you but primarily you have many an axe to grind with so many priests and Bishops that it's dufficult to comprehend. You shoukd leave the dead to rest in peace. God ultimately will be their judge. In the meantime show us the renewing flames of new faith and Christian living.....which we've been awaiting 30 yesrs or mire!

    7. These are interesting examples of 'smokescreen' deflections:
      1. 'We're all sinners.'
      2. 'You don't know all the facts.'
      These deflections have been frequently used by bishops to people complaining about the behaviour of priests and merely serve to change the subject. In this case the focus of the comments has changed to Pat himself.

  5. Its good Fr Despard has been vindicated. As you point out I wonder what sort of reception he will get when he goes back to work. Its sad how some bishops/clergy can allegedly be so vindictive. Now that Fr Despard has been cleared of wrongdoing does this give any further weight to the points he makes in his book. I wonder if his return to work demands he is sworn to secrecy from here on in. We know that the church has used secrecy/silence as a control mechanism in the past

  6. The response from the Chancellor is shockingly terse. No commiserations, no explanation.

  7. I once met Toal in Oban when he was Bishop of Argyll and the Isles. He was a cold fish that left me very unimpressed and came across as an extremely pompous man. I was surprised at his elevation to Motherwell, his forte apparently is liturgy and Church music not to mention a fondness for a wee dram. Some breathed a sigh of relief when he left Oban.

  8. I never read the book but I did read several reviews left on Amazon by people who had read the online book.

    After reading the book, one commentator said, it seemed if Fr Despard had been pooved on by every man he’d ever met in his whole life.

    Before any re-appointment, he should undergo psychological tests for priests to screen out closet gays.

    1. I DID read the book and what you say is a total exaggeration.

      I'm sure that Father Despard, like all of us, has issues.

      I have no idea as to his orientation but he seems to want to be celibate and simply recounted the many incidents of priestly promiscuous gay activity he came across among army chaplains and priests in parishes.

      Is he not entitle to feel annoyed at the unwanted come ons he had to endure?

    2. I agree with 11.27 with regards to Toal' s pompous nature. He was clearly out to make an example of Fr Despard and scolded him for questioning his authority. The biggest laugh was when Joe Toal went to Fr Despards parish after suspending him he more or less accused them too of questioning his authority. The result was that the vast majority of them got up and walked out leaving Toal on the altar red faced and raging. One lady even shouted at him that it was the people who were the Church not the Bishops. Joe Toal was a former Rector of a Seminary with little parish experience who hides behind Canon Law and his own officials, he should never have become a Bishop. Being a Seminary Rector should not give one the automatic right to obtain a Mitre, I'm glad that seems to be slowly changing

    3. @12:02 I am only repeating what I remember reading connected with the scandal.

      However, more recently I read, to facilitate reinstatement, Fr Despard must fulfil certain requirements, including an apology to his brother priests and others alleged pooves he scandalised in the book.

    4. Why did the priests he named not sue him if they were innocent?

    5. Why should people who are innocent have to resort to the expense and trauma of suing someone? It's all the more disappointing coming from someone who supposedly is committed Christ's teaching. I don't remember the bit in the Gospel where Jesus said "It's okay if you tell lies about other people. They can always sue you."

    6. Nobody has yet established that Father Despard was TELLING LIES!

    7. Neither has he any evidence to substantiate the allegations. Monica Lewinski still had a dress that still bore a certain stain. Does Fr Despard have a soiled cassock, for example, or an under vestment? I wonder.

    8. In cases of alleged libel the burden of proof is on the one alleging libel.

    9. This is entirely incorrect, unless you are referring to the position in the United States.

      In the UK and Ireland, the burden of proof is very definitely on the person who published a statement to show it is true. If they are unable to do so, the publisher is guilty of libel.

      The position is different in the United States, derived from first amendment rights, which do not apply in the UK or Ireland.

  9. A slap from the Vatican now for Toal and Co Red faces all round. But nowhere near as red as they were in the aftermath of the Fr Paul Morton business. That showed how crack handed and inept Toal is. Mortons family, friends and many parishioners called Toal and the hierarchy of Motherwell Diocese out for what they are !! They poured shit all over Toal & Co and deservedly so

  10. What was the Fr Paul Morton business?


    1. Father Paul Morton set to return to Cambuslang church after being cleared by church probe into sex allegation

      Parishioners now hope to see priest back at St Bride's

      BY DOUGLAS DICKIE08:00, 31 DEC 2015UPDATED14:47, 29 DEC 2015

      Father Paul Morton could now return to St Bride's

      Parishioners at St Bride’s have expressed their delight at the possible return to the parish of Father Paul Morton.

      The Catholic Church confirmed last week it had completed its investigation into an allegation of historic sex abuse made against the priest.

      Father Morton was cleared by the police in April this year after an eight- month investigation but still faced a further probe by the church.

      Immediately after he was cleared, parishioners launched a petition calling for his return. It was eventually signed by over 2000 people.

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      The Reformer understands that the church investigation is the second of three stages.

      A source said: “The first is the police investigation itself and then there is the church investigation.

      “That is now absolutely fine, but then there is a brief period of making sure he’s ok to return, mentally.

      “There’s no doubt though that a big, big hurdle has been cleared.”

      The news has been welcomed by church goers as well as his family.

      A message signed by his brothers and sisters said: “We also wish to offer our heartfelt thanks to all his friends in the parish and beyond who from day one have never doubted his innocence and sought justice on his behalf. We now await Paul’s return to his parish of St Bride’s.”

      In an additional statement to the Reformer, they added: “The family would like to add that Father Paul’s return to ministry is absolute proof and vindication of his total innocence of any wrongdoing.

      “Father Paul is a man of great spiritual and personal integrity and his return to St Bride’s will be welcomed by his parishioners, the wider Catholic Church and his many friends in other faith- based communities in the Cambuslang area.”

      One parishioner placed a Christmas decoration with a picture of Father Morton on it on the church’s Christmas tree before the evening service on December 24.

      And the Facebok group, Bring Back Fr Paul Morton to St Bride’s Cambuslang, posted a message saying: “Happy Christmas Father Paul Morton. God Bless you today and in the days ahead as we await your return with hope and joy in our hearts.”

      Church goer Kieran Dinwoodie told the Reformer: “The congregation is excited, relieved and hopeful. I think ‘hopeful’ is a very important word here.

      “We are hopeful we can get our priest back and let him come back to his parish and his community because that’s where he belongs.

      “While it’s been a hard time for everyone there’s a real need to focus on healing now.”

      Bishop Joseph Toal, of the Diocese of Motherwell, confirmed the canonical investigation had uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing.

      He added: “I acknowledge that this has been a long, painful time for Father Morton personally – facing such allegations has been a heavy cross to carry.

      “The parishioners of St Bride’s, his family and friends, and indeed the Diocesan community have found it difficult, and I thank you for the prayers and support offered for Father Morton. A good number of people have written to, or contacted me, through the period of Father Morton’s absence from St Bride’s and I acknowledge here these expressions of care and concern for your parish priest and friend. It is beneficial for me as Bishop to listen to the voice of the lay faithful in difficult situations.

      “It was Father Morton’s 30th anniversary as a priest earlier this year and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the excellent service he has given to the Diocese of Motherwell, and to pray with him and those who have benefited from his priesthood that the years ahead may be richly blessed.”

  11. Pat, you rightly place child protection at the centre of your vision for any church. Your posting of the article concerning Fr Morton is therefore out of sync. It is the correct procedure in both Ireland and Scotland to remove a priest from his position if there is any allegation of abuse concerning children or vulnerable adults. This is what happened with Fr Morton. He was cleared of any wrongdoing by the pertinent agencies and returned to the parish immediately.
    You should be ashamed of yourselves in bringing such a case into your criticism of Bishop Toal.

    1. A comment makes asked who Fr Morton was. I simply answered.

      I did not critise Toal for the Morton case.

    2. I think 15.30 should be completely ashamed of themselves instead of Pat for misinformation and misleading people. Yes, Fr Morton was cleared by the Police but he did NOT return to his Parish immediately as you claim. It took Bishop Toal and his cohort a further number of months before clearing Fr Morton before allowing him back almost one year later. They put this man through hell and when he was totally exonerated they patted him on the back and said you are a good priest and thank you for your ministry. They make me sick.

  12. Big Cormac Murphy O Connor has died. Rip

    1. Many of his liberal cronies, mostly select ex students of his from the English College, who he appointed to the Episcopate will aĺl be in deep mourning. No doubt the wounded healer will be making his way over to London for the funeral.

    2. I wonder what his legacy will be, if any?

    3. 20.35: The terse question asked by you suggests you've already made up your mind! "If any" - I suspect you coumdn't care a bit! May this good man, Cardinal Murphy O' Connor rest in peace. Respect for the dead is appropriate, not the gossip you seem to want. Wonder what your legacy - IF ANY - is to church, community or society!!

    4. 21.53 It was a simple question so therefore no need to get ones knickers in a twist! What is your answer besides sniping and carping on? Oh Yes, your only suggestion was, "He was a good man". Very extensive and original comment.

    5. 22.46 Friday night. Yes, a simple question with little usefulness behind it. Asked with one intention only - to generate gossip. Being serious about good people is beyond the capability of this blog. Your appetite for tabloid gossip is written all over your second comment. Stay in bed..or pray for this good man who had died.....

  13. Re 15.30
    Paul Morton was cleared by the police investigation and then by the procurator fiscal office in the month of April. It took the Catholic Church authorities a further 8 months to complete its investigation. This led to continued speculation about Fr Mortons situation while he was held in purdah. Furthermore it was rumoured that if he were to come back into the diocese that he would be assigned a different parish. Nobody from the diocese spoke one word to quieten these unjust and unfair rumours against a wholly innocent and good man. So apologist at 15.30 you would do well to remember that not only should justice be done but it should be done timorously. The length of time this man and his family and friends were kept waiting was unforgivable

  14. As a parishioner of st cadocs cambuslang not Fr Morton's parish but nearby can I say that folks round here think Fr Morton was treated very shabbily. Rightly or wrongly that's how people think. Although to be fair to Bishop Toal he was appointed in the middle of it all if I remember right.

  15. Anon @ 17:40: you make an excellant point. All too often discomfited "authority", even when allegations are found to be patently unfounded, engage in a surreptitious "fishing expedition", under the guise of thoroughness, to see what else they might be able to pin on the victim. This is especially true where whistleblowers have made revelations about incompetent management or authority.

  16. So Frankie has seen a psychoanalyst
    Hope it helped him
    Aren't Jesuits weirdly formed?