Wednesday, 7 February 2018




Parish priest breaks the silence, shares that he is gay
'I am weary with holding it in'

For years now, I have been carrying a heavy burden, a secret cloaked in silence that the leaders of my church have not wanted me to share publicly. Each time I had a great desire to speak out I was challenged by other priests and leaders.
"Shhhh … be quiet."
"Keep it to yourself."
"Don't say a word to anyone."
"If you don't keep quiet, you will be thrown out of here."
"If you make it known publicly, it will hurt your ministry."
Then I recall the personal struggles of the prophet Jeremiah who desperately wanted to keep the Word of God to himself because it provoked such a negative response from those who heard his preaching. No matter how much he did not want to speak in the name of the Lord anymore, he could not hold it in. "There is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot" (Jeremiah 20:9). Jeremiah understands the anguish of preaching; however, keeping silent and not speaking the truth comes with an even greater cost. What a trap! 
Today, I break the silence and emerge free from the shackles of shame placed upon me at a young age. There is so much to speak about, to repair and to heal — much beyond the limits of these words in print.
I am gay.
Driven to silence, hiding, being straight
Since my days in high school seminary in the 1980s, I was taught that homosexuality was something disordered, unspeakable and something to be punished. Friends with "particular friendships" were immediately removed from the school due to "family problems." During my senior year, a friar led an inquisition seeking to identify and discipline sexually active students. After being questioned, I was told directly that if I was caught talking about this with others, I would be dismissed immediately from the school. Because of the culture of shame and secrecy around issues of sexuality in the seminary environment, students lived in fear and felt threatened to remain silent. It was evident that the leadership wanted everything to be swept under the carpet and to ensure that nothing would ever be leaked out. It was in this secretive environment that I grew up.         
Truth breaks through denial
The words of author Jack Morin, seem so prophetic to me, "If you go to war with your sexuality, you will lose, and end up in more trouble than before you started." Since my traumatic experiences in the high school seminary, I immersed myself into my college and graduate studies exploring my vocation to ministry within the church. In reflecting back on those years, I didn't realize how I was repressing my feelings in an attempt to live life as a straight man. This was until one day, at the age of 24, on a five-hour drive back to seminary, when the truth broke through the denial. I finally admitted to myself, "I AM GAY!" I was driving down a road trying to keep from veering out of my lane or off the road itself, repeating to myself again and again, "I am gay!" Years of built-up, toxic shame came pouring out of me as the tears were flowing down my cheeks.
It felt more like a life sentence than freely embracing my true sexual orientation. 
I went to the fifth floor of the seminary building, opened the window and climbed into it — with one leg inside the room and the other leg dangling outside. There I sat straddling the window for three hours contemplating whether I could face the truth of being gay or simply jump out of the window ending this once and for all.
I kept repeating and pondering my truth: "I am gay."
What was I going to do now? Where would I go from here? I remembered the words of the high school seminary rector, that if I were to say anything to anyone, then I would be thrown out. For years now, I had felt a calling to ministry in the church and have had a desire to serve people. I felt a shift taking place inside, a reassurance that I wanted to live; I didn't want to die. In a moment of lament and ultimate surrender, I remember crying out inside, "God, where are you right now? I need you. Help me. I cannot do this or face this by myself." Wiping away my tears, I crawled out of the window and stood firmly on the floor inside the seminary.
My ministry, my joy
With support from the director of spiritual formation at the seminary as well as my own spiritual director, both of whom assured me everything was going to be OK, I moved forward with ordination to the priesthood and with my ministry in the church. This past May, I celebrated my 25th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood — for 25 years I have faithfully served as a priest. I minister alongside families celebrating joy through marriage, welcoming children, watching them grow. Throughout the years, I wondered whether they would think of me differently if they knew who I really was. Would they pull away? Who else could I serve if I accepted my true self? Am I limiting my ministry by hiding in shame and fear?
As I weighed whether or not to speak out at different moments in my life and publicly accept the person God created me to be, the words of a wise trauma therapist with whom I was conferring echoed: "Greg, it is like you are out on that window ledge once again, although this time as you are straddling it, you look down noticing that there is no floor on either side for you to safely step off onto. It appears as if you are having to make serious choices in your life."
In clearly identifying this dilemma in my life, he was helping me to realize the difficulty and severity of the choices that I was making. For the next several years, I pushed onward in my priesthood seeking to maintain the secrecy of my sexual orientation only to discover that the harder I tried to suppress it, the more and more it was pushing back in order for the truth to be set free. Over the past year, I came to the realization that I could no longer live the lie of masquerading as a straight man in the priesthood.
I'm one, but not alone
There is no question there are and always have been celibate, gay priests and chaste members of religious communities. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, in 2016, there were 37,192 diocesan and religious priests serving in the United States. While there are no exact statistics on the number of gay Catholic priests, Fr. Donald B. Cozzens suggested in his book, The Changing Face of the Priesthood, that an estimated 23 percent to 58 percent of priests were in fact gay. It would mean that there are anywhere from 8,554 (low) to 21,571 (high) gay Catholic priests in the United States today.

By choosing to enforce silence, the institutional church pretends that gay priests and religious do not really exist. Because of this, there are no authentic role models of healthy, well-balanced, gay, celibate priests to be an example for those, young and old, who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation. This only perpetuates the toxic shaming and systemic secrecy. 

PAT SAYS:

This priest has proven honest and courageous.

If priests are celibate being straight or gay is not an issue.

But I think celibacy is an issue that is causing a huge decline in priests.

Celibacy should, quite simply, be optional.

It would mean fewer scandals.

Secrecy feeds scandals.

104 comments:

  1. That priest is not gay. He is a human person. This blog has a sickening obsession with sex.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being gay, like being straight, is a sexual orientation, not a sexual act.

      Delete
  2. Another big bloody drama queen! So you are attracted to men? Get over it. It’s not the end of the world.

    And it’s nobody’s business. So dry your eyes, build a bridge and get over yourself, Fr. for crying out loud.

    By the way, if that is you in the picture above, you should be much more worried about your weight.

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    Replies
    1. You arrant fool! The priest couldn't 'get over' his homosexuality; he wasn't allowed even to acknowledge it. That is the point, moron.

      Bishop Pat there should be only one requirement for posting on your blog: intelligence. Which means 01:22, should be barred from posting ever again.😆

      Delete
    2. He should be ashamed being on here dress for Holy Mass that's really disgusting.
      Most Employers do not like you in corporate uniform for a pint let alone a Priest.
      I have NO problems with Gay Priest if they are Celibate but once that goes they should leave as the Church is not going to change that in the next 20 plus years.
      I hope he has informed his Bishop of his coming out and more so that it is on the WWW now.

      Delete
    3. Carta Blue at 10:34 - “arrant fool” yourself. You are one nasty piece of work sir!

      That priest needs to get over himself (as do you). No one is interested or needs to know about his “sexuality”.

      Let him keep his penis in his trousers, cancel his pity party and get on with the work he committed himself to do! End of.

      Such bullsh*t.

      Delete
    4. MC fake#1, if anyone should be barred from posting ever again, it’s you ducky.

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    5. Hear hear!! To poster @ 13.33

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    6. Greg has been to Greggs a right few times, it would appear.

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    7. 01:22 dismissive claptrap. You’d have been better to have gone to bed early.

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    8. 11:19 Are you the poster educated to degree level?

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  3. Was this covered before or have I seen it somewhere else? either way kudos to him for his bravery and continuing to be a celibate priest in persona christi.

    MMM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. +Pat has reported on many things dangling-out.

      Delete
    2. New Ways Ministry's blog, perhaps.

      Delete
  4. If Greg intended to continue in the required celibate lifestyle, then why was his privacy such a big deal? He seemed to reach a stage when he was no longer happy to keep his own personal business private.
    Would he have wanted to shout somebody else's confidential business from the rooftops too if he could no longer contain it at some stage? No?
    People who have respect for others' confidences generally have no trouble keeping their own counsel and still managing to stay calm and stable with no problem.
    I don't get the impression Greg was capable of maintaining that position.. Interesting, to say the least... Think about it .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read the article again, this time intelligently and thoughtfully.

      Take your own advice and 'think about it'. Yes?

      Delete
    2. Same to you, mate... Methinks your halo will slip badly today...! Yes?

      Delete
    3. 02:18 Don’t ask don’t tell tried and tested approach!

      Delete
  5. I read about this priest some time ago on New Ways Ministry's blog.

    I am sure an enormous psychological weight has been lifted from him through his highly personal, and courageous, journey to self-honesty and self-acceptance. I just hope this weight will not be replaced with another: homophobia.

    I wish him well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @ the fake Magna Carta
      Are you feeling alright recently? First there was your proclamation that you loved everyone, and now you are wishing someone well without a single snap or snipe at him.
      Should you get checked out? Or could it be...you're not Magna Carta at all?

      Delete
    2. I also enjoy the New Ways Ministry Blog @Magna 1. There's a great piece on it today about Fr James Martin.

      @Magna 2 - I thought you had left this space.....

      Delete
    3. Yes, Fr Martin is a courageous man, too. And a good one.

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    4. Yep.. he puts himself about on different blogs.. More publicity..

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    5. Church Militant no likey

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    6. @18.08
      Sorry, your comment is unintelligible

      Delete
    7. Who is the boring old fart who is so nasty and writes his name in blue letters on the blog?

      Delete
    8. Magna 2.56. When you comment in this compassionate way, you are inspiring but what a pity you easily revert to your old ways.

      Delete
  6. "Celibacy should, quite simply, be optional."

    Do you mean like Coyle or McCamley, or optional within civil partnership or same sex marriage?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What the hell has celibacy to do with what Coyle and McCamley were up to?!

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    2. Are they not one example of optional celibacy?

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    3. They know the rules before they enter just like a driver knows he cannot drink Alcohol.

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    4. 4.25 Of course celibacy should be optional. The church will not listen. People including priests need to think with their feet. Society has been made to review how it thinks about sexuality. The same pressure needs to be put on the church. How many times in all these arguments is God or prayer mentioned? We are sadly straying off the true course.

      Delete
  7. "...a friar led an inquisition seeking to identify and discipline sexually active students."

    Sounds familiar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .... and yet the whole Maynooth furore was apparently supervisors did NOT "identify and discipline" promiscuous offenders at an early stage.. More confused thinking...

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    2. A friar or a prior?

      Delete
    3. @ 14.54
      Please explain the context of your query more fully.
      We will assist if we can!

      Delete
  8. The guy sounds like a complete nut to me. What's the big deal about being gay? And of course "celibacy" only ties him further into his lunatic obsession.

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  9. All I can say is well done to this young Padre.Not being able to express ones sexuality in an appropriate way is damaging. All I can say is that being married has helped me to be a better priest and person

    ReplyDelete
  10. One of your better posts Pat. Thought provoking and well thought out. Brave priest. Good luck to him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Readers are selective, some are only interested in the gossip. It would have been more compelling had he jumped... and survived to tell the tale.

      Delete
  11. I would miss a scandal-free priesthood. Where would +Pat get all the news?

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    Replies
    1. 10.29 Scandals need to be addressed but the church is about God. Is God boring?

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    2. God is completely fulfilling.

      Delete
    3. “The Church is about God”, so you claim Sean. I never knew that, you learn something everyday.

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    4. Sorry 18.40 I did not mean to be condescending. My point is that so much time seems to be spent bitching the real focus seems to overlooked ie the mission of the kingdom

      Delete
  12. I would advise anyone who is gay to leave a group they belong to that thinks them disordered. Not a healthy relationship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why should they leave? Why not stay and re-educate them?

      Delete
  13. I think that Greg has got a version of seven-year - itch and a restlessness to break the rules of his vocation. Now he's thriving on the new publicity. Boring...

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  14. This is a non story...priesthood at the moment it is celibate.
    So if he celibate, his sexuality is of no interest to anyone other than himself.
    Those priests who want to do away with celibacy...lLEAVE..and then the R C church will have to rethink its attitude

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He had to LIE to others, including his parishoners, by pretending to be straight: by allowing them to assume his sexuality as heterosexual.

      You really don't 'get' it, do you?

      Delete
    2. Go away, Magna, please

      Delete
    3. Sorry Magna..I really don’t get it
      Why would he need to lie?
      Why oh why would they need to assume anything?
      Any conversation I’ve had with a priest , his sexuality doesn’t come into it
      And yes I have close relatives priests.
      And yes Gregg you need to stop eating so much and take some walking exercises.
      Yes I do know people can have health issues that cause weight gain, especially if they on steroids.
      Sorry if you are too.
      And B T W I have a psychology degree....lol

      Delete
    4. 13.27. Magna, do you really enjoy your nasty, crappy put down of others? You are the personification of cranky, bizarre and creepy behaviour.....your words give you away....(Not in a positive, redeeming way!).

      Delete
    5. 16:51, what do I say to you?😕 Where can I start that might break through your granite layer of unintelligence?😆 That priest 'came out' for his own health's sake. (And yes, these issues may have contributed to his obesity. For example, comfort eating?). But he may also have come out to counter the homophobic crap, including the stereotypes, that gay people have to put up with every day.

      Gay people are often (perhaps usually) portrayed as sleazy and suspect. Why, didn't old Joey Ratzinger coin that wonderfully non-homophobic and scientific phrase 'intrinsically disordered'.

      While gay people remain closeted, the likes of Ratzinger can go on spouting such nonsense unchallenged. And what gaps are left in the straight public's 'knowledge' of gay people can quickly be filled in with bigotry, discrimination and violence against them. Imagine how encouraged a young gay man in his parish will feel that he has such a role model in this priest.

      No, you don't 'get' it, do you? And you probably never will.

      Thank God I DON'T have a degree in psychology! LOL

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    6. Jesus loves me, 17:38. So there!

      Delete
    7. Magna is secretly jealous of Greg and most other Priests because they made it to Ordination whereas Magna got shown the door - thank God.

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    8. 13:27 Magna Blue - I think the problem is that Fr Greg isn’t getting “it” and he wants “it”.

      Delete
    9. Greg should probably join a library and check if he can get it on loan. That's what my neighbour did when he wanted something .

      Delete
    10. Let’s be honest - and I’m gay myself - some of our number are addicted to pathos and melodrama.

      Matt Lucas’ character in Little Britain comes to mind - “the only gay in the village”.

      Delete
    11. 18.38: Well said. A smart, cogent and true comment. Magna got shown the door. God knew what he was doing....

      Delete
    12. 16.51: What website did you buy your psychology degree from? Such utter, meaningless and absurd writing! No one with a TRUE psychology degree would write such inane, pathetic s**t. Think you need a reality check.

      Delete
  15. Much ado about nothing - another human being - who happens to be a priest - realises he is gay. And, he tells his parish community. Brave to do so but many a man the same age and older waited many years to be allowed to be honest. They too deserve respect and support. I applaud this priest. The experience and journey of genuine self disclosure and publicly sharing this truth deserves our support but not the usual stupid, pseudo-psychological analysis and infantile criticism from illiterate and inarticulate bloggers - (deliberately muddying the waters) - of which there are too many!! Let's find "real" issues to talk about.

    ReplyDelete
  16. 12 .46
    How dare you refer to us posters as illiterate and inarticulate...how dare you.
    Are u one of these so called educated by us the public or laity?
    I posted above you ...yes it is a non story...his parishioners don’t need to know what his sexuality is...the6 only need to know that he is behaving as he ordained to do...not a mc camley or rorycoyle.
    Do parishioners need to know a priest is heterosexual???
    Really !!!!!! Can you please address the posts and not the posters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think 12.46 is completely misunderstood. I think he is very circumspect and reasonable. Enlightened and intelligent too!

      Delete
    2. 13:29 Another dont as don’t tell bunny - in case something would have to be done.

      Delete
    3. Ha ha ha ...replying to yourself ...AGAIN
      22.19

      Delete
  17. Thank you for your comment poster @ 13.29.
    You have articulated what many of us felt in relation to that dreadful opinionated and scathing comment @ 12.46

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 16.08: ...Are you one of those illiterates and inarticulate bloggers? What's scathing and disgusting about 12.46? Think you are overacting and completely misguided in your understanding of 12.46. Think rationally and logically.

      Delete
    2. @ 22.17
      Stop being such a pompous idiot!
      Many of us are highly educated with doctorates and we certainly don't any lectures from the likes of you.

      Delete
    3. Are you still harping on 22.17 about poor grammar.
      Best take the day off tomorrow.
      You sound very needy indeed as you posting woth such poor understanding of the word blogger.
      Pat is the blogger here....all the rest of us are just posters.
      Got it....good...now sod off.

      Delete
    4. 23 38, join the club of those who have doctorates but at least write as one who appears learned.

      Delete
  18. 13.29: Some posters are illiterate and inarticulate: that, I'm sure you will agree with. You're not exactly disproving my point. As I said, the story as posted today has been around for a long time. It's been overdone by those who like to make mountains out of molehills. It's his business but he also has to reconcile the reality of lifestyle expectations with priesthood as presently defined. Incidentally as a student I worked every God given hour for 7 years to pay for my studies! I was not dependent on others except my hard work and the support of my family, but only when needed.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Would a heterosexual priest feel the need to make a dramatic pulpit announcement that he was straight? Thought not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you could find one you'd be lucky.

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    2. Perhaps some straight priests need to admit they have partners

      Delete
  20. https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/familyguy/images/0/09/PraiseFonzie.png/revision/latest?cb=20140712232035

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  21. 17 .31
    Who the f cares about about literate and articulate ..not me
    And shut the f up about my post.
    I worked until I was 65 and I put my five kids through uni and studied for my degree whilst working at the age of 59...yes I was lucky I had a grammar school education, thanks to the 11plus then.
    Yes my family had bar jobs and worked during the summer months...same as most and they had very happy student days...no pressure, and travelled a lot? I’m sure your family supported you a lot, u sound a very needy person.
    Just saying....now clear off with your disgusting attitude toward the posters here...we don’t need your pontificating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 18.44. In response to my postings earlier, you are obviously unable to differentiate good from bad english. That's an observation and if it applies to you, that's your problem, not mine! And I am not a needy person. Can't fathom the logic of this remark. I am well fulfilled in my life through my work and commitments. No need for your abusive comments - which is usually indicative of people with inferior complexes. The issue of the blog today is old news. That article is around for quite some time. Good wishes to the priest in question but his experience raises serious questions about the Church's teachings on human sexuality, sexual orientation and priesthood. I aspire to the ideals of my Church's teachings but I appreciate the challenges and difficulties of individual stories. So, contributor at 18.44, lighten up and respect the clarity of others.

      Delete
    2. Lol at 22.12....abusive comments, so u get rattled at a poster typing that you are needy ...indeed yes you are,but as for abusive comments...how about illiterate and inarticulate and pseudo psychology ?
      Loving that you are fulfilled in life, so why the need to post here, surely you have much more compelling commitments to attend to. lol lol

      Delete
    3. 23.12: I call a spade a spade and wben I see pseudo psychology or faux attempts at erudition, they they should be called what they are - shabby, bastarsdised versions of English. It takes a lot for me to get rattled..The content on this blog is unchallenging and mostly from uneducated idiots.

      Delete
    4. Ha ha ha ha.....ho ho ho
      Rattled and more rattled.
      Or better still...a troll trolling but getting nowhere.
      Best you give up now b4 disgracing yourself anymore
      Xxxx

      Delete
  22. Ps..if you educated in the uk or in the north of Ireland...you still funded by us the public.

    ReplyDelete
  23. A forthcoming BBC Spotlight programme is set to highlight the activities of yet another Irish clerical paedophile - Fr Malachy Finnegan - who in his lifetime got away with it.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-42979314

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MournemanMichael7 February 2018 at 23:41

      I believe it relates to St Coleman's Newry, commonly known as Violet Hill.
      And he's not believed to have been the only abusing cleric from there. There's been past rumours of pay-outs to former pupils for their abuse while boarding there.
      I escaped going there in 1956 by refusing!
      MMM

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    2. I found it sad today that the Bishop of Dromore today told the BBC he regretted celebrating Fr. Finnegans Funeral Mass. what sort of a statement is that? What loyalty must his present Clergy feel? Surely everyone is entitled to a Christian burial. Whoever that Bishop is - he should be ashamed of himself.

      Delete
    3. Yes, he’s entitled to Mass and Christian burial but
      low key. The bishop knew that Finnegan was a sexual abuser and yet he afforded him full honours. No doubt McAreavey preached a glowing eulogy. The bishop could yet be facing calls for his resignation. The Spotlight program will be interesting.

      Delete
    4. Who’s to say it wasn’t low key? To say you regretted celebrating a Mass for anyone I find an appalling lack of judgement and unchristian. Would you like a Cleric to say he regretted saying a Mass for your loved one? I am in no way condoning what that Priest done but that Bishop of Newry or wherever it is - his attitude stinks.

      Delete
    5. 01:27, what stinks is this - the diocese of Dromore giving this paedophile a “State Funeral” when the bishop knew that he had ruined lives.

      That’s what the bishop is rightly apologising for. Lauding and celebrating a man who had betrayed his calling and those entrusted to his care.

      So while yes, Finnegan needs prayers and was entitled to a Funeral Mass and burial, he should not have had the grand affair that his funeral was.

      A simple, quiet Funeral Mass for his relatives was what would have been appropriate given the scandal and harm caused by Finnegan and plead for God’s mercy on his soul. He did not deserve the “big deal” John McAreavy made of him. McAreavey is lucky not to be facing calls for his resignation.

      Delete
  24. Does anyone remember what the Dubkin clergy called the nuncio, Alibrandi? It was something with "Fucky" in it. Anyone from Dublin who can enlighten us? Seems nuncios have always been unpopular.

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  25. 12 out of 60 comments from Magna Carta blue (blew?)

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    Replies
    1. Lol @ blew.
      He wishes.
      Of course none of those comments is what we might call a *genuine* Magna Carta comment and let's face it, while he started off ok, the Great Pretender hasn't been in the best of moods today, has he?

      Delete
  26. (Sadie on the sofa)
    The fellow down the chippie brought me up a lovely fish supper.Nice with a mug of tea. You couldn't face out that night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An' a coupla rounds o' bread and butter!💕👍

      Delete
    2. Aye Magna.. A wee bit of bread and butter does no harm!

      Delete
  27. Let's hope there's some scandal soon, instead of just another attention seeker.

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  28. No snow here in Co Roscommon so far tonight though my cousin in Lancashire told me that there's a yellow warning for snow and ice on the mainland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @ 23.16
      T hope you are fully aware that as far as we are concerned here, Ireland IS the mainland. We are not a secondclass offshoot to anywhere else.

      Delete
    2. 23.16 e by gum I need me thermals

      Delete
  29. You'd get more scandal in the Bunty. The lads in Rome and Maynooth must be behaving themselves.

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  30. MournemanMichael7 February 2018 at 23:29

    Anon @23:16.
    Could you please tell us:
    ...Where the "mainland " is?
    ...Why you use that expression?
    ...Do you realise or understand why many Irish people greatly object to the use of this term?
    Your perspective would be interesting to compare with views recently expressed in Pat's blog about the use of the word.
    Thanks.
    MMM

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    Replies
    1. Whoever it was MMM, he/ she was just trying to rattle our cages
      Best ignored

      Delete
    2. Thank you MMM for drawing attention to the poster @ 23.16 who used the term "mainland".
      I have found that it can come as quite a revelation to many British people that people from the Irish nation find the term objectionable!

      Delete