Tuesday, 24 April 2018

SCANDALS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

A GOOD OPINION ARTICLE ON SCANDALS AND WHAT THEY MAY BRING ABOUT


WEB-SCANDALS-CATHOLIC-CHURCH.Leaders in the Catholic Church, like leaders in any organization, hate scandals. They wish that they never happen, and when they do, they try to deal with them internally so as not to get a lot of bad publicity.

The problem is that they usually make a mess of it. Any attempt by the church to try to limit publicity is seen as a cover-up.
A better strategy would be to recognize that scandals represent bad news and good news. The bad news is that something bad happened; the good news is that the perpetrator got caught. Scandals should be seen as an opportunity for the church to show it can act responsibly in the face of a scandal because scandals are an inevitable part of life.
And there have been lots of scandals. The worst, of course, is the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clerics. This criminal abuse has been devastating on children, and attempts by church leaders in the past to cover it up have made matters worse for the children and their families as well as the church.
When accusations of abuse are raised, church leaders need to cooperate with law enforcement and follow the procedures that have been laid out by the church to deal with such accusations. Not only do church leaders have to do this, they have to be seen as doing it by the media and the public.
The latest church scandal has involved the Vatican nunciature or embassy in Washington, where one of its officials has been accused by the United States of violating laws relating to child pornography. It presents a case study of what to do and what not to do.
On the positive side, the Vatican did issue a press release acknowledging that the U.S. State Department had notified it of a possible violation of child pornography laws by an official in the nunciature.
This is certainly progress from the days when reporters would have only gotten a "no comment" from the Vatican. But, for the most part, the Vatican is making a mess of it. The Vatican followed the old, failed strategy of saying as little as possible rather than getting all of the story out at one time. Today, professional PR firms recommend getting all of the bad news out as soon as possible in order to limit the number of follow-up stories.
The silliest part of the press release was its refusal to name the official who was accused by the State Department. Since the press release said that the official had been recalled to Rome, it did not take long for the media to find a list of nunciature officials and then discover which one is no longer in the United States. By not naming the official right away, the Vatican gave the appearance of a cover-up. In addition, it temporarily put all of its nunciature officials under suspicion. Not good.
Second, there was no specificity in the accusation. Was it possession of child pornography or production or distribution? Both Vatican and U.S. criminal laws make these kinds of distinctions. I presume it was possession, but since the Vatican did not say so, the media were forced to discuss the various possibilities, making the story worse than was necessary.
Third, the Vatican press release gave no explanation of how the official would be dealt with other than to say that "The Promoter of Justice opened an investigation." This was made worse by adding, "investigations carried [out] by the Promoter of Justice are subject to investigative confidentiality."
After decades of dealing with the sexual abuse crisis, it is hard to imagine a worse press release in the 21st century.
First, it should have begun by saying that any accusation of child pornography is taken very seriously by the Vatican and will be thoroughly investigated. It could have noted that possession of child pornography is a violation of church law as well as a violation of the Vatican City criminal code to which Vatican diplomats are held accountable as if the crime were committed inside the Vatican itself.
Thus, the accused will undergo two investigations, one by church officials for a violation of church law, and a second by Vatican City officials for a violation of its criminal statutes.
If he is found guilty of violating church law, he can be laicized (expelled from the priesthood) and never be allowed to act as a priest again. If he is found guilty of violating the Vatican City criminal code, he can be imprisoned and fined.
Nor was anything said about the current status of the accused, except that he is in Vatican City. The press release should have said that he is currently suspended as a priest and diplomat while the investigation takes place. It could have added that he will be confined to the Vatican and will not have unsupervised access to children or the internet until the investigation is over. This is the kind of information people want to know.
None of this was explained in the press release.

WEB-SCANDAL-CATHOLIC-CHURCH3.jpg

The case of Archbishop Józef Wesołowski, nuncio to the Dominican Republic, shows what happened in another recent case. He was nuncio to the Dominican Republic until August 2013, when he was recalled to the Vatican after accusations of the sexual abuse of minors. In June of 2014, he was laicized after an investigation and trial by the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith. A year later, he was indicted by Vatican City prosecutors on allegations of possession of child pornography. He was found dead of a heart attack on Aug. 27, 2015, before the criminal trial could take place.
It is way past the time when the Vatican can proceed in secrecy at its own pace without any transparency. Because of the church's bad record in dealing with sexual abuse, the Vatican has to be forthcoming with information so that the media and the public know there will be no cover-up.
This is especially true in the current case, where the Vatican has invoked diplomatic immunity so that the official will be tried under Vatican law rather than U.S. laws. Even though the U.S. would not want its diplomats tried by a foreign power, the Vatican's use of this immunity will not go down well in the United States. There are legitimate arguments in favor of diplomatic immunity, but they will not be listened to if the Vatican is not transparent in showing it can and will responsibly deal with the case.
There are other interesting stories for the media to pursue. For example, how did the nunciature official come to the attention of the U.S. government? Was it through a sting operation? Did he access a child pornography site being monitored by the FBI? Or was the nunciature being spied upon by the FBI, CIA or NSA?
Whatever the source of the government's information, the accused is still innocent until proven guilty under U.S. and Vatican law. But there will also be a trial in the court of public opinion, and so far, the Vatican is losing in that court, where the church is judged guilty until proven innocent.
[Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese is a columnist for Religion News Service and author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.]

92 comments:

  1. The church is not used to being challenged and it seems immediate response is to freeze and then try and stop the story spreading. Society has changed but some church people seem not to have gone beyond the initial fight or flight response.

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    1. The Church challenged you Sean and you left. Why?

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    2. Sean how would you know what happens you are not part of the Church and they certainly do not freeze or stop any stories. It is not in the Churches interest now so they suspend the priest and the Safeguarding Officers send it to the Police NO cover up's nowadays it is different times.
      There is a HUGE difference in reporting abuse and asking for a safeguarding Officers details surely everyone know you just telephone the Diocesan Offices or the Police.

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    3. 15:59, the safeguarding officer's details were requested IN ORDER that a complaint of abuse might be reported.

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    4. "The Church is not used to being challenged"!!! Did somebody really write that?!! I am not going to give yet another history lecture here now .. All I will say is that there never ever was a century when the Church wasn't heavily challenged from many different sources.
      Come on guys.. Get studying properly.

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    5. Once upon a time there was a benefit in freezing to stop the spread of the story... that benefit was that when the Church held the hegenomy they actually could bury the story. Now they can't but because they keep trying they keep looking rediculous thereby present a defunct institution.

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    6. 15 29 The church didn't challenge me I challenged the church. The early part of my journey happened. It was not pre planned. Looking back God has kept me safe over the years. Shaken but not stirred. I believe I am in a better place now. If I were in Ireland would I be on a park bench or dead. Only God knows

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  2. I wrote to Fr. Michael Mullanney last week to request the contact details of Maynooth's Designated Officer. I wrote by email informing him of the name of the priet on the seminary staff who abused me.

    He has yet to reply.

    I guess Mulanney is another person in authority who just covers up the abuse.

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    1. If you send me the details I promise you action.

      bishopbuckley1@outlook.com

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    2. PS: Or call on 0044 (0) 7488 374364

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    3. OMG. is this priest a current staff member? My child goes there for theology

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    4. an incredible allegation. Clergy are required to step aside if an allegation is made? I suspect that you did not send any such email

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    5. 07:01

      You went to another priest to make an allegation against his colleague. Saints preserve us! If you had any cop on you'd have gone straight to the Gardai/Police.

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    6. That is a very serious allegation 07:01 and, if this is genuine, you need to know that you must go to the Garda immediately.

      Furthermore, if Michael Mullaney has ignored you and your letter, then clearly he needs to be removed from his position and perhaps face criminal investigation himself for his reckless and irresponsible behaviour.

      We have no way of knowing, on this blog, if this is a genuine case. People sadly are not beyond acting out of pure mischief and spite.

      But, if you actually were abused, you need to pursue the matter further. Other people’s safety could be at risk.

      You have taken the step of writing and naming the abuser to Mullaney. Go now to the authorities and report this crime and criminal. I wish you well (if you are real).

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    7. I am having similar difficulties in Cloyne. I have written to Bishop Crean dozens of times about abuse I suffered and how it was covered up. He ignored me for a long time until I contacted the new nuncio.

      The Bishop Crean appointed a solicitor from Mason, Hayes & Curren to represent him. For momths I have received occasional calls asking me to relay what happened to me. Repeatedly I have done so. The conversation always ends with the solicitor saying how he is busy for the next while and it will be some time before he gets back to me. When he does come back I have to refresh him on my story, but never, not once has Bishop Crean offered any action despite me cooperating with his solicitor.

      I think these people just like to play with abuse victims. It's like a sick game for them to perpetuate the effects of the abuse rather than offer any genuine healing or peace.

      I am rapidly coming to the belief that the priest who abused me was just the tip of a very nasty iceberg.

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    8. Crean is as arrogant as they come.

      Please feel free to contact me

      bishopbuckley1@outlook.com

      0044 (0) 7488 374364

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    9. 'Crean is as arrogant as they come'

      Pot. Kettle

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    10. Why not meet us both and then make up your mind?

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    11. @11.05
      You are assuming the person still is a priest.

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    12. No, I'm not assuming. There are only two lay men on the staff and neither were/are priests.

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    13. We should be slow to try and undermine abuse victims.

      They are already trying to cope with the abuse and the pressures of coming forward.

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    14. @ 11:05

      Or wrongly addressed it to Michael instead of Fanny.

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    15. The present Safeguarding Officers have responsibility for children(ie people under 18 yrs) and vulnerable adults. Historic abuse complaints should go straight to the police authorities.

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    16. 16.59, seminarians are given access to a safeguarding officer too.

      Also, if you are correct than Crean has failed to follow due process which only proves the point of anon @11.34.

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    17. As far as the law is concerned, for abuse of a minor to have occurred, the victim would have to be under 18 years old.
      But having said that, the seminarians should certainly have a trusted Designated Person on the Staff who is responsible for advising them and listening to any safety concerns which they discuss with him. In other words they should know who to go to... There should be a respectable professional distance between the Staff and the students so that the behaviour of each side is appropriate and doesn't cross certain well-defined boundaries . That doesn't mean that people cannot be friendly and affable but keeping that rule would protect everyone and would have avoided a multitude of transgressions in the past.

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    18. Adults abuse adults too when there is a power differentiation.

      Domestic abuse happens in all corners of society and behind the closed doors of Maynooth we can only imagine the free reign a 'bad-priest' with authority may have over a powerless seminarian who - as Hugh Connolly and Michael Mullaney have proven - will not be believed if they speak up.

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  3. one of them heart attacks huh

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  4. 07:41 - I would suggest that you bypass Mullanney and Maynooth completely, and make a formal complaint to the Gardai who will have to act on it in a timely fashion. Also, let Mallanney, Maynooth, and the Bishop's office that you have done so. Even if the Gardai are not able to take any action after investigation, it will most certainly raise the matter to the mind of the Church authorities, and they will have to put in to action their own procedures to investigate the matter. If there is truth in it (and I do not doubt you), then the priest concerned must face the consequences of his actions. If he took advantage of you and abused you, you can guarantee that he will have inflicted the same abusive behaviour on others, and quite possibly will do so in the future on new victims. So, not just for your own sake do you have a responsibility to take action and to take this further, you also have a responsibility to those who have been similarly hurt and those who might be harmed in the future. Good luck.

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    1. there is no 07:41. Mans talking to the empty air

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  5. "He was found dead of a heart attack... before the criminal trial could take place."

    I imagine they're hoping for a similar outcome for Pell.

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    1. With the help of the Vatican pharmacy.

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    2. Lol Pat...you naughty boy!!!!!

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  6. STRADBALLY PARISH UPDATE

    The PP of Stradbally has not returned and supposedly he has been placed on 'sick leave'. We are delighted in Timahoe
    Yours
    concerned parishoner

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    1. Could he obtain a doctor’s note for his type of “sick leave”? I wonder.

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    2. Yes, he could.

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    3. Sure he is self-employed. Why would he give himself a sick note?

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  7. Good afternoon Bishop Buckley.

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  8. ******

    I have just had a very senior source in the Irish Catholic Church in contact with me to say that Father Mullaney of Maynooth received no complaints of abuse by priests in recent weeks.

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    1. Did this information come from lay or clerical sources? Is it reliable?

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    2. Pat has a direct line to Maynooth it would appear

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    3. Hi Pat,
      I made my contact with Michael Mullaney be email. I have forwarded that to you just now. Mullaney received a request for contact details of his safeguarding officer so that I could forward details of abuse. He is likely using mental reservation by saying he did not receive a complaint of abuse. Regards.

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    4. I have no direct line to Maynooth.

      But for the past 6 months I have regular contact with a very senior ring wearing cleric who has never misled me and with whom I can check things out.

      It is he who informed me that no such complaint was received by Father Mullaney.

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    5. Pat, is it a cladagh ring he wears? Or an “eternity” ring? You don’t seriously expect people to believe that an Irish bishop is in regular contact with you?

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    6. They tried to fob me off, but they failed. I'm so unorthodox I resurrected myself. 'Up Yours' I say to them.

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    7. Canon, it is indeed an honor that you grace us with your esteemed presence. May I be the first to welcome you to our little blog dealing with all matters temporal and spiritual. We do hope you will make yourself at home

      (The rest of ye feckers better not show us up!)

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    8. pour the canon a drink. a sherry, canon? brandy perhaps?

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  9. COPY: EMAIL MESSAGE FOR COMPLAINANT WHO SAYS HE HAS WRITTEN TO FATHER MULLANEY

    From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Date: 19/04/2018 12:47 (GMT+00:00)
    To: President - SPCM
    Subject: Abuse

    Dear Michael,

    I trust you are well.

    I wish to be supplied with contact details of your designated liason officer so as to disclose details of abuse suffered in Maynooth at the hands of the priest, Fr. Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxx

    Regards,

    Xxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxx


    PS: I recognise the name of this email writer.

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  10. This is HOT Air NO Clergy or Bishop would take NO Action so here is the Action and at times the action towards the Clergy is wrong.
    The Church Safeguarding guidelines are now the same and that is on a complaint being made in writing or email the clergy or Bishop named is suspended and the Police informed and is such the Crown office for Criminal action.
    There is NO way a Bishop or Clergy would take the risk.
    However if this is such a case then I ask these people to once again write to the Papal Nuncio and he will put action into place as he is well experienced in dealing with these matters.
    The matter is sent to the Police and the Church Lawyers now as a matter of urgency but one case is one case too many now.

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    1. All complaints made should be thoroughly investigated.

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  11. I imagine the president gets a lot of mail, and I wonder if the secretary handles most of the emails. Things can often end up in the clutter folder. Email the president again and perhaps cc Pat.

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    1. You would think that if ABUSE was in the subject bar of the email, all alarm bells would be ringing and all the red lights flashing!!

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    2. Maybe the sender has previously been blocked and any subsequent mail is automatically sent to junk mail unread.

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    3. Never send an important serious letter by email.. How many times do people need to be told that !

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    4. 16:37 you wrote that on the wiser blog and got your answer, why have you written it again! seek attention much>

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  12. Auld Fanny must be very much miffed that she’s not a Monsignor swishing around in Gaynooth in a soutane with cerise buttons and magenta silk fascia. Instead she only gets to wear a boring auld black suit.

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    1. He would be raging. Ledwith loved dressing up in that gear.

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    2. Is there any point in telling Dermo? Maynooth is in Dublin diocese after all.

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    3. I wrote to Dermo Martin in 2009. I told him about strange goings on in Maynooth and offered him access to my psychological reports relaying damage done to me by the formation processes. His safeguarding officer acknowled the contact, confirmed it needed investigating, observed it was outside his remit but that he had personally brought it to Dermo Martin's attention by scheduling a meeting to discuss it.... i have since given up on waiting for Dermo to reply, but I have all the records that he was informed.

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    4. 18:46, And? what do ya want us to do about it? This ain't no Vincent de Paul my darling. tales, fantasies and fallacies; so many of you deluded ludders on here lately.

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    5. @20.06
      Spoken like a true catholic. You are a credit to your institution. Ya Gobsh1te

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    6. No cerise or magenta for Fr F Mullaney. Pre-Francis the President of Maynooth was made a Mgr automatically.

      Though I think Pat has written that the Rector of Cloliffe was an auxiliary bishop who once sent to the switchboard a note saying "His Lordship is indisposed and is unable to take any telephone calls, except from His Grace the Archbishop and their Excellencies the Papal Nuncio and the President of Ireland".

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  13. Why don't you report it to the police, Pat?

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    1. The police will only act when the victim of the crime makes a report.

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    2. Thanks for replying, Pat.

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  14. I have now heard directly from the complainant who has provided me with details of his complaint.

    I believe it is a complaint that deserves full investigation by Maynooth and the diocese in question.

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    1. Pat, is this priest a serving member of staff?

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    2. Not currently.

      But I have heard similar complaints from others :-(

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    3. Then why is Yerman contacting the president of Maynooth? if it's not a serving member of the faculty then its not within the remit of the president.

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    4. Still, if he is in ministry the location does not matter.

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    5. 18:31

      The alleged abuse took place in Maynooth!

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  15. Anyone sending that type of email to the President is seeking attention.

    Look at https://www.safeguarding.ie and contact the safeguarding officer. You found this blog how can you not google safeguarding Maynooth ?

    Sending that type of email could be seen as tipping off if you’re not the alledged victim.

    If you want to report a crime then you need to contact the Gardaí and forget the safeguarding officers.

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    1. The present-day Safeguarding Officers are responsible for present-day students.
      Past cases of abuse should be reported to the police (or Gardai)
      That is it .

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    2. And if that is correct than Mullaney is duty-bound to make such an observation in reply to the original email. No information given should be ignored. And Mullaney should pass on the information to the former member of staff's bishop (assuming he is currently a priest)

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  16. Was he a lecturer or not? If the latter I've a good idea who's being talked about.

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    1. Not. Former Priest staff.

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  17. I’ve actually emailed Fanny directly in the past and found him to be professional and nice in all correspondence. He also replies to emails outside of 9-5. Granted I wasn’t making allegations in my emails.

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    1. Was it about a financial matter; a donation or endowment, perhaps?

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    2. I had a large legacy and proposed making a big donation to the Alma Mater. I was put straight through to Dermot Farrell, then Executive Assistant to Ledwith.

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  18. +Pat, you'll need to do a special feature devoted to this "Fanny" guy. I forget what he did to incur your disdain.

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    1. For one thing he sat silently as vice-president while Hugh Connolly protected seminarians who were engaged in 'strange goings on' & punishing seminarians who reported it.

      If he did nothing else wrong in his whole life he would still be unsuitable for the post of President in Maynooth.

      Now however there appears documentary evidence of blocking reporter of abuse from accessing a safeguarding officer.

      If memory serves me correctly a few months back a similar post was on here saying he had not responded to a request for data access.

      ...he seems like a pretty straight forward protector of the institution guy... as Catholics we need to communicate to bishops that the only safehands are those that care for victims.

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  19. Really happy Her Majesty the Queen is once more a Grand MaMa. God Bless the Queen !

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    1. Even better that the Royal Baby was born on St George's Day.

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  20. Is the retiring, allegedly generally sober, Father Eamon Murray, currently offering ministering assistance somewhere in the needy church in Northern Ireland?

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    1. He's CC, St Winemark's, Magherafelt and Vicar Forane for trimming the lawns of rich widows.

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    2. In the Pros' Ref this evening Fanny tore up in disgust the last surviving ordination card he had printed for when he made acoylte in I Divine.

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    3. Northampton is in so much more need of the big fellah's services, even more than the church in the Wee Six.

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  21. There can't be a priest shortage in Raphoe if the diocese can afford to post Joe Briody to Boston to teach in St John's seminary. Though what that has to do with the needs of Raphoe and it's people is beyond me.

    Though I suppose Joe couldn't get a teaching job in Maynooth because he's orthodox and he's written about strange goings-on there.

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