Church using police to try and silence me, claim Buckley
Bishop Pat Buckley claims Catholic Church is trying to use PSNI against him
By Eamon Sweeney
December 13 2017
A controversial Catholic cleric has accused the hierarchy of the Church in Ireland of using the PSNI to conduct a vendetta against him over an online religious affairs blog he runs.
Larne-based independent Bishop Pat Buckley said that a potential case against him involving accusations of incitement to hatred has been dropped, but the 11-month long saga has convinced him that his former Church is attempting to silence him by closing the site down.
"I run a blog called 'Thinking Catholicism', which is critical of the Catholic Church hierarchy and they don't like it," Bishop Buckley told the Belfast Telegraph. On the 6th of January this year Archbishop Eamon Martin reported a comment made on the blog to the PSNI as incitement to hatred. This comment wasn't made by me, but someone who comments on the blog.
"It involved scandals in the Catholic Church, namely the 'gay sex scandal' at Maynooth. It was something like 'a flamethrower should be taken to the lot of them'. It was figurative language. No one would have thought this was to be taken literally.
"So, on January 17 I was interviewed under caution at Larne police station by two officers and was told I would be informed whether or not I would be prosecuted within 14 days. The police told me that I had nothing to worry about and I wouldn't be prosecuted. But, despite repeated requests, it took 11 months before I received a decision from the Public Prosecution Service.
"The police were sent to my home on three separate occasions about three different blogs after that. There are people out there, probably pro-Catholic Church people, who do not like the blog and who are using the PSNI to close the blog down.
"Depending on the topic being discussed, there are between 4,000 and 15,000 people on the site each day. It's quite clearly a waste of police time."
Bishop Buckley was pressed by the Belfast Telegraph on whether he was sure that he had been told the identity of the complainant by the PSNI.
He said: "Archbishop Eamon Martin sent the Church's child protection officer Aidan Gordon to the police station to make the complaint even though there were no child protection issues involved in this. I suppose if you stretch his job description this complaint would fall under a kind of safeguarding in regard to this complaint."
When this allegation was put to the PSNI, it said: "Police received a complaint in relation to content posted on a blog in January, 2017. A file was sent to the Public Prosecution Service in relation to the matter in March, 2017."
The PPS said: "The PPS can confirm that a file relating to this case was received from police in February, 2017.
"After careful consideration of all the available evidence, the test for prosecution was applied in line with the PPS code for prosecutors. It has been decided not to prosecute anyone in relation to this incident on the basis that the case did not pass the evidential test."
Bishop Buckley added: "It was a worry that elements in the Catholic Church used the PSNI to target me. It could start a fashion that is very unhealthy in terms of freedom of speech etc, particularly over the Maynooth issue."
The Belfast Telegraph contacted the Catholic Church for a response on numerous occasions by phone and email over a number of days, but received no reply.
So, Amy Martin sent Aidan Gordon who is reportedly paid close to £100,000 per year to report this Blog to the police.
Obviously, the police have to look into every complaint and make a decision in conjunction with the PPS.
ELEVEN MONTHS later I have been informed that there is no case to answer.
The purpose of Amy's plan was to try and shut down this Blog because it has exposed sexual scandals both in Maynooth and indeed Amy's own diocese.
The message is: "DON'T LISTEN TO THE MESSAGE - ATTACK THE MESSAGE".
Quite rightly it has failed.
I believe that Amy & Co have waster police time.
And not only that.
When the BELFAST TELEGRAPH asked Amy for a comment it was met with complete silence - in other words, CONTEMPT.
These folk think thatthey are a law unto themselves.
The sooner they have NO INFLUENCE whatsoever on both sides of the border the better.