Sunday, 13 August 2017


Sinead O'Conor's latest video from a motel in New Jersey USA which she published on her Facebook page has made world news and has been watched by many millions of people.

Some large newspapers have praised her for highlighting the problems and stigma around mental illness.

I found the video disturbing and my heart went out to Sinead.

In spite of what many believe I have never met Sinead O'Connor and had absolutely nothing to do with her ordination as a Catholic priest in Lourdes many years ago.

Around that time I did speak to her by telephone and we had very interesting conversations.

I had no problem with Sinead being ordained a priest if her motives were "pure" which I'm sure they were.

But I do think that EVERYONE who wants to be a priest needs to spend a serious amount of time in preparation for ordination. 

That preparation involves spiritual, personal, psychological, intellectual and psychic formation.

It was only when watching the above video that I learned that Sinead suffers, as she said, from THREE mental health issues. She did not tell us what exactly their nature.

Any person who has truly lived life will have experienced mental health challenges at various times.

Thank God I have never suffered from depression - but I have in the past suffered from anxiety and panic attacks - and these were frightening moments for me.

But I always believed in the power of both TALKING and CRYING as part of managing one's mental health life and I have talked to many people about my own challenges and I have often cried. 

In the late 1980's I made a very firm decision to enter psychotherapy as a client. This time coincided with my dismissal from the Catholic Church by Cahal Daly.

I managed to do great work with one psychotherapist and through that work, I explored many unexplored areas of my life and that work was very, very healing.

I also went to England to work, as a client, with the famous Primal Therapy psychiatrist Dr. Frank Lake. 


The result of all this was that I resolved many issues and came to a place of great self-acceptance, great peace of mind and the freedom to be - both in private and in public, MY REAL SELF.

I have never looked back thank God and I am so grateful that I had the wisdom to engage in this work and the opportunity to see it through. 

In fact, through all of this, I came to realize what the FREEDOM OF A SON OF GOD really means. 

I have a peace of mind and contentment today - and for many years now - that is a great blessing. But this blessing only comes through suffering, pain, perseverance and hard work.


I'm not so sure that "cure" is the right word when talking about these issues.

Life is tough and very unpredictable and I think it is far better to think about GOOD LIFE MANAGEMENT than it is to talk about "cure". 

If Sinead asked me to advise her what would I advise?  I think I might advise the following:

1. Find a good psychiatrist/psychotherapist and stick with them especially at those painful times you want to run away from them and appoint a new one.

2. Do not be afraid to take medication as a temporary crutch if you are advised to take it. In fact, some mental health issues require life long and well-managed medication.

3. Make a decision to trust in God / A Higher Power - and stick with that decision especially when you FEEL that God is not there or does not really care.

4. When you do not feel "normal" make yourself behave "normal" and you will begin to feel "normal".

5. Force yourself to go out - shopping, walking, exercising, going for a coffee, and you will feel the better for it.

6. Join a gym and exhaust yourself physically. Physical exhaustion and exercise have a calming effect on the mind. A lot of mental thunder and lightening can find an earth in physical exercise and exhaustion. 

7. Finally throw yourself at the feet of God and cling on there until the storm passes. 

I think that the 12 Steps of AA offer a good spiritual framework for tackling any addiction or any issue:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over xxxxxxxx - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to OTHERS and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


  1. Pat and the blog has been defeated

  2. Pat, I think that the seven points of advice in your own list are excellent and very worthy of consideration. They address and cater for both the mental and physical aspects of such a condition as you describe. S. O'Connor could do a lot worse than implement them.

  3. Do you go to the gym pat?

  4. Sinead is a complicated person and a talented artist. I have often thought the 12 steps could be used as a basis for those of all faiths and none to meet and share in safety

    1. The 12 Steps are already widely used in therapeutic situations..

  5. A marvellous, wise and compassionate blog.

  6. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the thousands who suffer great depths of depression. We never know what's going on in anyone's mind: very often we carry our inner pain and suffering quietly and in hidden ways. Thus, we must be ver careful about what we say about others. No cynical, careless, judgmental remarks. It is too easy to push vulnerable people too far. Sadly, sometimes this blog allows bloggers to express too much negativity and carelessness. Hope Sinead makes good recovery.

    1. finally, someone with common sense. I too lament your words.

  7. Would that be just Sinead, Fr Sinead or Mother Sinead? As is usual with Sinead, it sounds like a tad attention seeking just like it was when she got herself ordained to the Priesthood.

    1. I think that Sineads problems are far deeper than attention seeking.

      Of course in the true sense she does need "attention".

    2. I think that Sineads problems are far deeper than attention seeking.

      Of course in the true sense she does need "attention".

    3. Sineads problems started when she started tearing up pictures of Polish people :)

  8. Like many people I feel empathy to sentiments expressed in today's blog.
    I have attended fellowship meetings for many years. Taking the first step is often the most difficult.
    We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and that our lives had become unmanageable.
    I believe everybody has the power to change and direct their will and their lives to the care of God as they understand God.

  9. Lots of wise words in today's blog, Pat.


  10. Interesting. My third time to mention Ryan McAleer. I wonder why the first two were ignored? Is he being protected in exchange for information and leaks from Armagh...

    1. I have never met or spoken to Fr Ryan McAleer of Dungannon.

      I am aware of certain things with regard to him.

      He is certainly not being protected by me.

      Is he being protected by others? At the moment I do not know.

      In spite of what some say I blog here on the basis of information I receive and try to verify.

      My email address is:

      I do NOT reveal my sources.

    2. Garrett Campbell
      Mark O Hagan


    3. Pat, isn't the threshold a bit higher than 'trying' to verify? Respectfully, I think as a responsible blogger and as a Christian bishop you have an obligation to ensure that what is being published is accurate, whether that is in your blog itself or in the comments.

  11. Pat, coward for huding behind anonymous infirmation and continued gossip....shame, shame, shame. On this eve of tbe Feast of Assumption, I will pray for your conversion. Go and do something useful for the Lord & practice a little of Mary's humility and holiness.

    1. 18.08 But you are Anonymous too. Is there not a contradiction

    2. Sean, 21.26. I don't engage in innuendo, gossip and unverifiable information for TRUTH. You too are anonymous. You could be Jack the Ripper for all we know!! If you are a former something, at least acknowledge the total hypocrisy and double think of Pat at times!!!

  12. Hi Pat,
    I join with many today who thank you for sharing your cross with us. It can't be easy.
    Alcoholism caused a lot of crosses in our family.
    I pray the serenity prayer every day.
    My prayers are with Sinead and everyone suffering.

  13. We certainly should be very careful not to say or do anything which adds to a mentally vulnerable person's distress. I emphasise that.
    But at the same time, with certain conditions,the most important and telling moment for some troubled individuals is the moment when he takes back his sense of power and realises that he, himself is responsible for his own happiness and well-being. It is such a difficult moment but what a turning point! No more blaming others, no more passing the buck, no more dependency and weakness of waiting around for someone else to change, no more excuses... That's a tough one but it's the beginning of a whole new life based on a new powerful and responsible attitude. "I have today realised that it's not what happens to me that harms me and diminishes me. Rather, it's how I REACT TO IT! It's how I respond.. and sorry, but no-one can make me feel bad about myself unless I give them permission. I won't!"
    That realisation can be a life- changer. In addition of course, people who need medical intervention should not hesitate to seek their doctor's advice. Some conditions need medication. Some don't.

    1. With respect, your comment suggests that, ultimately, we all are in control of our lives and circumstances; this is totally untrue. It is when we accept our need for dependency on God rather than on ourselves that we find peace, even happiness, from the security of knowing thatGod has conquered all, even the misery we each, inevitability, meet in life.

      Telling people that THEY are responsible for their own happiness is misleading, even dangerous. Alcoholics Anonymous recognises this fact, which is why it has its members admit their powerlessness over alcohol and has them commit themselves to a higher power ('God as they each conceive him').

      Christians accept human limitations, too (moral powerlessness), that is, 'their ability to redeem themselves'.

      Recognising and accepting human powerlesssness is a necessary (and humble) first step to healing of mind, body and soul.

    2. Thank you @19.32 for your wise and thoughtful words.They are very helpful to me at just this moment in time. God bless you.

    3. Thank you Magna. You speak sense in thid contribution. God, for us, mortal, vulnerable human beings is our source of peace and inner joy. I know this from my own experience. There are too many charlatans who give dangerous advice. Too many who think that the "self" is the only reality. Fools.......And they charge a fortune.....God's love is forever available.

    4. It seems to work well for the rehabilitation of lots of clients, but I guess perhaps not everyone? That's fine.... each to his own.. You must do what works for you l reckon.

    5. To the poster at 22.18 who replied that he /she was helped by my words... I am very touched that you replied and wish you every blessing and all the courage you need in your life. Thank you.

    6. 22:25, may God bless your sincere and searching soul.

  14. @Pat THe new nuncio has arrived. Patsy McGarry writes: The new papal nuncio to Ireland Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo was greeted by former Catholic primate Cardinal Seán Brady on arrival at Dublin airport on Monday.
    Also there to meet him were Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy, Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonacnoise Francis Duffy, and Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty, as well as staff at the nunciature in Dublin.

    1. 20.24 How many taxis does this fella need. Think what he needs is a bit of space to settle his head and not all these clucking hens all busy about nothing.

  15. What the f was Brady doing there?

    1. You ignorant busy body at 20.39. Thank God Cardinal Brady was there to greet a friend to his new position. You moron!! Thank God you are not our ultimate, angry judge. Go out and engage in something useful. You class act fool.....

    2. Brady was there to meet the new Nuncio, as far as I know.

  16. The arse lickers all lined up to welcome the new Nuncio and the biggest brown nose of all was (No shame) Wounded Healer. Need we say anything else to describe this sham.

  17. Pat, how can you possibly allow that person at 17:39 to name that priest? How can you justify that as a Christian?

    I don't know that priest. I know he is an Armagh priest but I have never met him. The priests named on this blog are generally not known for their piety. It is normally something scandalous.

    It seems that any vicious crank can come on to your blog and throw a name into the mix. How do you know that 17:39 doesn't have a grudge against the priest he has named because he tripped him up on the hurling field in 4th year at school or something?

    Anyone can say anything they like about whomsoever on here.

    Should you not make a very strict rule that no name appears on here without a thorough investigation and without the person making the accusations having communicated with you personally? Anonymous complaints are surely unacceptable and dangerous!

    What will you do if some person is named on your blog and that person takes his own life? You have the cheek to write about poor Sinead's mental health. Some of those whose names have been bandied about here in the past are quite young. They could well be victims of a vendetta. What will you do if one of them is driven to suicide?

    Could you please explain how you justify this? What is your rationale? Do you have one?

  18. I've just watched the video of Sinead O'Connor. What can I say that wouldn't sound trite and shite? 'Jesus, YOU take care of her.'