Sunday, 18 March 2018

A PRIEST SPEAKS

ANTHONY IS AN PRIEST CURRENTLY ON A DIFFERENT PATH




I listened and watched the Stephen Nolan Show last night. I recall attended my first priest retreat as a newly ordain priest prior to any of these revelations and the theme of the retreat was 'The Loyal And Committed Man Was The Man Who Was Said And Lead By The Bishop In Everything'. What a degrading level the sheer level of dysfunctional? I was one of those who broke silence following the revelations of Fr Brendan Smith. The clerical collar for me then was a symbol of contradiction, it resembled a noose around my neck. I was vilified by my superior and constantly bullied and intimidated by people whom I considered had no commitment to the safeguarding of vulnerable adult or for priests who were prepared to sacrifice everything by speaking out to protect the most vulnerable in our community.                          


I consider that we had excellent scripture scholars in the seminary and for me, my value base was based on scripture rather than Canon Law. I was reminded by my bishop, " You gave me a vow of obedience on the day of your ordination". I replied, "Yes bishop I did but remember one thing it was obedience with my Christian conscience, not blind obedience". The bishop quickly retorted, "There is such a thing as respect?". My reply was, "Granted but the that it had to work both ways". Thereafter I never felt safe in this vile and corrupt system. 



I repeatedly asked myself. How can I in conscience baptise innocent children into a system where they run the risk of being abused and never see truth, validation, redress or closure. Having to rely on the bishop for a roof over my head seriously undermined my security. It was evident to me that my superiors had no "value system or credibility" and that there was no timely commitment to resolve anything. What thing was evident to me I could not and would not collude with this endemic abuse so I duly resigned my position and left the diocese. The culture of abuse that prevailed was reflected in Mr Ian Elliott's finding.



I am sure that there a lot of good priests who feels compromised as I did who have not the means of extracting themselves from this corrupt organisation. If Stephen Nolan is highlighting is that it is imperative for priests to break rank with their bishops and the powers that be in Rome. It is the culture of silence and secrecy that is holding this vile evil empire together. What all victims of abuse want is truth, validation, redress and closure. How can a bishop verify the credibility of any priest in his diocese if he himself as shepherd of the flock is complicit with the practice of hiding abusers in its ranks? 



I think there is a need for a Me Too campaign in terms the safety and welfare of good priests who have tried to advocate in terms of child protection and welfare. Ministry for me has to be primarily about abused victims and healing. What is required on the entire Island of Ireland is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Finally, I want to recommend a book which highlights the impact abuse has on victims and their families. Silence and secrecy cannot be allowed to prevail good Bishops and Priests must break the silence. The book is entitled, HELL ON THE WAY TO HEAVEN. Priests must never be expected to baptise children innocent children into a system where they run the risk of being abused and never see justice. 



Anthony.



69 comments:

  1. Anthony, your essay is so badly expressed and poorly thought out that it's hard to give credence to all your story as a result. What decade were you ordained?? The 12 ordained with me in late 70's have all remained, except two who died and one who left. All of us have given our best comnitment and continue to do so. Yes, we are ashamed of a system that allowed and covered up abuse and spoke of our abhorrence on many occasions. Our voices were raised against the Bishops and we made our feelings known. Like you, if not all of us, look to the gospel as our guide and inspiration about the way we should live and treat others. When I was confused, saddened and tempted to leave, I reflected and prayed deeply. I am still endeavouring to live my vocation as best I can, believing and trusting in the grace of God to enable me to be of good and dedicated service to people in my care. That's my focus and I am glad I chose to stay, however great the challenges and questions. I wish you well.

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    1. Let's get this straight, 00:15. You are suggesting that, because a person may have difficulty expressing himself, he must cannot, therefore, be wholly credible? I suppose this was the accepted 'wisdom' when young children clumsily described their sexual abuse by priests.

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    2. 14.09: Maggie - stay in your cave bed. Your brain is rotting away with your attempts at putting people down. You crass, evil, nasty, offensive fool....Always deliberately offensive. You haven't recovered from your past humiliations and disappointments...But your hurts will remain to haunt you until you seek professional care....From one who stayed the course.

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    3. 14.09 Magna, are you "thick" as well as being fuzzy headed. You should have stayed in bed - yiu always misread comments. I don't believe there can be even one good bone in your body! My comments are perfectly legitimate at 00.15. Now try to find some modicum of self respect.

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    4. Ooooh! I think I struck a very tender nerve with you pair.😆

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    5. 14.09 Magna, that's a good point in all fairness.

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  2. Evidently, one of the good guys, and caught, for a time, between a moral rock and a hard place. But willing, in the end, to do the right and courageous thing.

    This is the kind of priest for whom I have easy respect and deep admiration.

    Heroic role models among priests these dark days seem exceedingly rare. Anthony is one of that rarity.

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  3. Fatherr, you have the liberty to leave at any moment and spare the Catholic community the ruminations of an atheistic priest. Good riddance.

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  4. But this is all so sadly cynical !It makes for pitiful reading--a complete attitude of throw in the towel and give up . Well, let me tell you if there's one good person in the parish, then that person deserves and has a right to expect your best efforts (and my best example and efforts too as a committed lay person) I feel a surprising sense of frustration and even some anger with that priest, Anthony. Shake yourself into action, man! This is the time when people need you more than ever! . We need leadership from priests with backbone. This is no time for wimpish giving up. We are only a couple of weeks away from Easter, the greatest feast of the Church's year and the real kernel and reason for our Faith and we are sick to death of negativity - - Yes, we know the problems but you are not doing much good licking your wounds in a corner! Get out there into the marketplace and be one of the good guys (even if you the only one!) BE the priest you wish all of the rest of them were. Stop cursing the darkness . That's too easy. It's a cop out. Light that candle and don't stop until you see it grow into into a huge flame of renewal. Start today!It doesn't take a Retreat to make that commitment. It takes one determined prayer thought that flashes through your mind in an instant and the complete army of Heaven fall in behind you . What good is a bent reed? It doesn't matter where you start. Start somewhere and make some small changes and build on that with the force of prayer behind you. Never mind the naysayers.There will be legions of them everywhere to pull you down and tell you that you can't .. But I say you can!
    If I can do it, you can, Anthony.
    . ... Cecily .

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    1. I'm sure you mean well and are a sincere person. However, it's not always prudent to proffer advice when unsolicited or when you don't know the person or the facts of a situation. The 'Man up', 'Get over it' type advice does not always work. Whistleblowers should have full freedom to challenge the systemic failures.

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    2. As a lay person you probably own your own home. The bishop cannot ask you continually move if he doesn't like the look of you. He cannot ridicule you in public and gossip about you in private. The clerical system is a closed system. Bullying is rife behind the scenes. You working conditions are not medieval. You have human rights and the right to free speech. You may have a partner and a family and the support of good friends. You are not in the same position as this priest. It's easy sabre rattling from the sidelines. The bishop has no power over you.....Anthony follow your conscience.

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    3. No no.. @ 11.26
      The previous poster was most definitely not a bully.. That's for sure .. I cannot say anything else without her permission. Ultimately she may be exactly the inspiration that Anthony needs at this time. Just leave it (said with gentleness..)

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  5. People are not baptised into a system but into the church of Church of Christ. Anthony paints a sad picture. However it's not just about abuse. Church needs to be a place where all can thrive grow and be treated with respect. Both people and clergy. Denominations looking down on each other is not an option. Isiaih spoke of suffering but also of universal reconciliation. Is this realistic or pie in the sky

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    1. Not baptised into a system but into the Church of Christ? What a bizarre comment. If Christianity is a false religion even if it was founded supernaturally but by deceiving spirits it is still a system. Jesus did set up a system and took responsiblity for being involved with Moses in setting up the Jewish system. A religion that is all about spirituality but has no system is not a religion.

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    2. You are attempting to rationalise how immoral it is to baptise children into the Church if it is a manmade or false religion.

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    3. Poster @ 11.26
      The daily life that you presumed applicable to poster at 00.59
      would not be her experience but I know that you weren't to know that . Her situation is vastly different from what you imagined of her .
      Very different but very special . No offence was taken.

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  6. Keith O’Brien died at 1am this morning. RIP

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  7. Cardinal Keith O'Brien has died. RIP.

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  8. What's his first language?

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  9. Following his disgrace and loss of reputation and respect, Mary McAleese suggested Keith “Edna” O’Brien should write a book about his life.

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  10. “Anthony”, is essentially lazy. He was ordained in the late 90’s - a ‘Romani’. He is looking for an excuse not to do any work.

    It is despicable, however, to use the scandals as such an excuse. What a cop out! A total disgrace. Enjoying your pity party “Anthony”?

    Stop using the sufferings of others as an excuse for you to indulge yourself and not face up to your own issues, of which there are several.

    Get off your ass and get back to work. We could all wallow in the misery. That is not what God called you to do.

    Stop wasting your life for crying out loud. You’re still a relatively young man, who could be easing people’s burdens, instead of this nihilistic, self-serving, self-preserving bullshit you’re going on with!

    And you don’t even have the balls to stand over it - hiding behind anonymity.

    It’s not too late to take up the plough again. Do yourself a favour.

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    1. Well said! - @ 11.23
      A great many people will agree with you today. (-and with Cecily, the mystic who was on)

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  11. One journalist said: “he became something of a broken man under the sheer weight of his own hypocrisy.”

    Thankfully, +Pat has saved some priests and trainees from the same fate.

    But, of course, there is more scandal to come; more priests and trainees to the saved.

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  12. 11.23 "Lazy"..?.. That must be the " in" word at the moment. I am a lay person and I was called lazy sinful and suffering from false humility by three friars. I just knew I was tired. When I finally got to see a consultant they found my brain had gone into a constant cycle of migraine. My blood was so in inflamed that they thought I was riddled with cancer. My thyroid had blow and I had started with shingles. I end up seeing about 8 different consultants because my body had gone comp!etely hay wire and they thought I was very close to death. That was in 2011. I still have to see the neurologist every nine months....but funnily enough I don't go to church anymore.
    The migraine is genetic. It was always coming. The rest I think was caused by the persistent bullying by the clergy. I gave them 26 free years. Set up a youth group that has lasted for 20 years and spent many hours in the parish every week. When it comes to health would you believe blood tests and MRI scans...or priests?

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    1. 12.00 Its sad that people like you can be taken for granted and treated like s*ite. On the other hand when the wrong lay person gets stuck into a parish they can become the devils disciple.

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    2. Oh, the priest is always right, because being divinely anointed and appointed, he knows EVERY thing.

      I was once told by an elderly Irish mother that her son, in his twenties, was overwrought about his hairloss. What did his momma do? Why she took him to see the local priest.

      I kid you not.

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    3. She had you think of a hair-raising experience.. as you do.. .

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    4. 14.02 All I can say is that I have had far more kindness from the consultants than priests. The neurologist is incredibly busy and almost runs down the corridor, but he took the time to look me in the eye and say "You tread very carefully. You have been incredibly ill."

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    5. Magna 14.15: The priests I know have a much greater capacity for kindness and humanity than you could ever imagine or ve capable of. Those who studied with you attest to your psycholigical imbalance and wickedness. You cynical, boorish, arrogant, racist fool.

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    6. Well, each to his own I suppose... I have seen the opposite happen too..

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    7. Thank ee, 17:51, You are kindness personified.😆

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    8. 17:51 What years was he a seminarian? Diocese? Seminary?

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  13. Why was Cardinal O'Brien treated so harshly for having sex with priests and semarians yet Cardinal Law and the Wounded Healer got away with covering up abuse, which is far worse.

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    1. I suppose it was because priests and seminarians who were making the allegations about him.

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    2. I'm sure that's correct, unfortunately.

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  14. Let's see +Pat do his worse about Cardinal Keith! He resigned, admitted his guilt and hopefully repented. May he rest in peace.

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    1. He denied the allegations at first, said he would "contest" them.

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  15. So O’Brien has died. His fall from grace was swift and brutal. He held his hands up and asked for forgiveness. He was publicly humiliated. He lived out the rest of his life quietly and in a spirit of contrition. He should now be left in the care of his Lord. May he rest in peace.

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    1. Buckley wouldn't understand anything you say I'm afraid. He doesn't know how to leave people in peace or to rest in peace. He will of course give a twisted rational for his coverage. He is a malcontent and anti-Catholic blogger. A keyboard warrior.

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    2. King Herod's Letter to Pontius Pilate on The Nazarene:

      "...He doesn't know how to leave peace or to rest in peace. He will of course give a twisted rational for his coverage. He is a malcontent and anti Jewish speaker. A hillside warrior".

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    3. Convenient allegory in which you and the Nazarene are paired.

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    4. Messiah / Saviour Complex - very concerning indeed. Buckley get the help you need.

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  16. I am sure more scandal stories will come to light now he cannot be defamed. And a good thing too.

    I hope +Pat does a special blog on the saucy late prelate.

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    1. @14.39 Climb back into the sewer where you crawled out of. You pathetic excuse of a human being.

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    2. The extent of his misdemeanours were never made public. Hopefully, +Pat will make them public now.

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    3. A few days ago I tried to convince a surprised and sceptical poster that there are regularly instances of people begging Pat to give them another fix of scandal on this blog
      He found that hard to believe.
      I hope he sees yet another example of it today @ 14.39
      It is the main reason why
      some readers check in here...

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    4. Wrong again 18.05. in your first post you said 'bloggers' in an indiscriminate way, not some contributors or a few or one or two contributors. But you persist in playing your game.

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    5. @ 22.49
      Your response is inane and completely off the point. I think it's you who is "playing your game" - - not the poster whom you attack.

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    6. @,22.49
      I am poster @18.05 and your confused response doesn't make sense (but who cares!) Firstly until this moment now, I have never written the word "bloggers" so you are obviously attributing to me a post which someone else has written. Secondly , I wrote exactly what I intended to write, no more and no less .
      Therefore I was not "wrong" in my intention or its realisation.

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  17. With all due respect to “good” Priests I believe they are not fully formed human beings. They enter priesthood because they lack something. I’m not saying the priesthood does not have “good men” but most if not all are weak.

    If you want to be a good priest why not try being a good social worker, a therapist, a school teacher etc.

    Anthony highlights the pitfalls of ordained ministry. The dependence on the Diocese for their support.

    “Good” men / Priests should not need to be propped up by a corrupt organisation. I think most Priests good and bad would struggle in a secular job. They do not understand society. Living in an ivory tower life seems perfect and for the men who don’t see life as perfect they know they would not succeed outside the cloister.

    Best wishes.

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    1. @14.52 You are living in cloud cuckoo land with all that trash you were spouting on about. Keep your silly theories to yourself because they portray you as bonkers.

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    2. 14.52: What a bizarre and weird comment. Senseless and a crazy, illogical theory. Were you to be put through a test for your mental and psycholigical capacities, you'd fail. Your observations are unintelligent and distorted. From what clinical research data and studies have you formed this conclusion?

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    3. There is something lacking about some of them, especially the ones brought up by holy-water-hens.

      Civil partnership and same-sex marriage will now give young gay men a better framework for the lives. I wish it had been available when I was young.

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    4. At 16:40 the conclusion can be drawn perhaps from interacting with clergy ? Psychological assessments for priesthood are recent. They are supposed to measure a candidates maturity including sexual maturity. Did you forget the recent Grindr issues in the Irish Church? The men going forward passed a psychological assessment and were deemed “ok” - but maybe that’s not clinical enough for your expertise. You’d know better because your looking at statistics, it dare I say from the “inside” Try looking at it from a human perspective.

      The church can and does destroy - why do you think so many priests are out of ministry ? Some are alcoholics others are suffering from depression and other mental health conditions.

      If you look at the pros and cons of priesthood in the current form you will have to agree it is not healthy or normal. For a man to be “called” to this dysfunctional way of life says more than any clinical study.

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    5. 19.06: Don't delude yourself into thinking/believing that civil partnerships or same sex marriage is the nirvana you dream of! Be astute and wise in your judgments about your relationships.

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    6. 19.29: Makey up psychology and theory from no scientific, clinical data. Dream away but I suggest you educate yourself intelligently and stop reading tabloid, gutter stories. Fact not gossip is what we need. Do you understand???

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    7. I too think 14:52 is spot on about many clergy and religious.

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    8. 19:59 Neither has been around long enough to lend any credence to your conclusion. We’ll need at least 20 years to make that call. Though perhaps you’d prefer to fit the evidence to your conclusions.

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    9. @ 19.29

      "... you're looking at statistics.."

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  18. 14-39. I think you must be a very sad if not sick person.

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  19. I don't believe that this illiterate poster is a priest. He purports to be both a diocesan priest, subject to a bishop yet he complains about his Superior.

    Only religious have Superiors and not once have I ever heard a diocesan priest refer to his bishop as "the Superior". These small details catch people out.

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    1. He may be a religious in parish ministry, i.e. someone who has a superior and a bishop, or a member of a society - a diocesan priest living in community like SPS or SSC.

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  20. Scottish clerical politics are street fighting dirty, rather like Scottish politics, particularly Labour politics in that part of the world. Labour and Catholics in Scotland were overwhelmingly working class, used to a hard life, and used to hard behaviour. Keith O'Brien came out of this mould, and it is no surprise that he lived harshly, both to others and himself. He was a tortured soul, not integrated and settled in his own person, denying hugely important aspects of himself and his being, which would inevitably out when his guard was down, usually where drink was involved. There is nothing unusual about that, it doesn't take being a rocket scientist to work it out.

    Cushley, who cynically exiled him from Scotland, and who probably will not allow him to be buried in Scotland, is from a slightly different mould, less manly and robust, soft faced, but with an ability to be calculating and nasty. He will not show much sympathy for O'Brien. His statement, I seem to have read, had more to do with O'Brien's victims and their wellbeing than O'Brien and his family on the day of his death. Well, that is de rigueur nowadays, victims have to come first, second and last, and everything else is discounted. It's the new victim culture we live in. I'm not making excuses for O'Brien, nor minimising his victims' hurt, but on the day of his death I would expect his successor to be slightly more kind in his comments about O'Brien. But Cushley will be thinking about his own backside and his own prospects of a red hat, and everyone he does and says about O'Brien will be sifted through that prism !

    There is a comment above about bishops having control over priests. True. There is a lot of bullying and petty vindictiveness that goes on in those relationships. I have lived with priests who were bullies, and as a young man I found that I was not able to stand up to them. The Church and clerical circles is not about the milk of human kindness, but so often about power and influence. The hardness, harshness and bullying and controlling behaviour that comes about within clerical circles, and between priests and bishops, is so often because the people involved are deeply damaged in their own psycho-emotional-sexual health, in denial about so much, which leads to nasty behaviour within their ranks. I've seen it so often. O'Brien was damaged by that himself, and went on to damage others because of his anger, self-loathing and hatred of himself. He probably would have had a happier life with a partner, in front of the fire, watching tv, and just being comfortable in his own skin. Too late now. And I wonder will he get to heaven any quicker because of his so called self-sacrifice and denial ? All I see is a man whose life was damaged and unhappy, and was only able to let himself show his true self in alcohol, authority and dysfunctional behaviour.

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    1. Thanks 20:05 you’ve hit the right nail on the head. The problem is as I’ve faced that you will need to prove you’re a clinician to have this view.

      It’s time for a reality check. The bullying and abuse would surely pass a psychological or other mental test in the eyes of a poster such as 16:40

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    2. Thank you for that informed, insightful, wise and compassionate comment.

      Magna is impressed.

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    3. 20:05 An impressive, comprehensive and extremely well written reflection. Thank you and compliments!

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    4. 20.43: You are confused. Very hard to understand your comment. What are you saying?

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