Monday, 2 April 2018



After 42 years service as a priest - and 20 as a bishop - I think I am entitled to give my opinion on what is a good priest.

I think there are two basic aspects to the life of a good priest.

1. He is a person who truly believes in God, Jesus, and Christianity and tries to say his prayers every day.

2. He is a person, who like Jesus, is available to people 24 / 7 / 365.



Unfortunately, I have met priests in my lifetime who have told me that they do not believe in God, Jesus, Christianity or the Church and who have admitted to me that they are either atheists or agnostics.

They stay in the priesthood because it affords them a reasonably comfortable life and they have nowhere else to go.

On long journies in the car with priests, when I was driving, I have asked them to read Morning or Prayer or Evening Prayer from the Breviary to me or say The Rosary with me, and they have refused - often saying to me that they would feel hypocritical to do so.

I am not judging them for being atheists or agnostics. Anyone of us could lose our faith at any time.

But I do wonder how they can cope when they have no faith. They have to stand in front of people publicly every day and pretend they have faith. This is a great contradiction and surely it must do these men a lot of psychological harm to have to live pretend lives?

Folks, there are more atheistic and agnostic bishops in the Catholic Church that most Catholics would realize.

To me, that represents a MAJOR problem.



Did you notice the other day on Armagh James video of his encounter with the self-denying Father Peter McAnenly that the priest said: "YOU DO NOT HAVE AN APPOINTMENT WITH ME"

In the New Testament, I can find no reference to Jesus The True Priest, requiring people to have appointments with him.

And Jesus never seemed to have either a diary or a diary secretary.

This is one of the great DISEASES that infiltrated the Catholic Priesthood. Priests. priests like Mc Anenly and Mc Keever of Armagh now see themselves as PROFESSIONALS like solicitors, accountants or doctors, and people have to make an appointment to see them!


Priests are supposed to be like Jesus - and are supposed to behave like Jesus the priest - and within reason, people who need them should not have to have appointments with them.

When I was in St. Peter's Parish in Belfast my fellow priests wanted to post SURGERY HOURS on the presbytery door.

I objected most strongly.

If someone needs a priest at 3 am he needs a priest - and the priest - in imitation of Christ - should be available to them.

I am not saying that priests do not read their rest and their days off and holidays. Of course, they do.

But my belief is that as a priest YOU ARE NEVER OFF DUTY!

The priesthood is not a profession, a career or a job. It is a SOLEMN VOCATION.

And just as Jesus The Priest was constantly available to people during His ministry we priests must have an attitude of constant availability.

Some of the best work I have done as a priest was on holidays or on my day off. Some of the best priestly encounters I have had was in cars, on buses or on airplanes. 

And that is one of the reasons that the priesthood is such an exacting vocation - it is because by its very nature it requires constant availability to people. Being constantly available is the cost of discipleship. 

When Jesus met the Woman of Samaria he did not tell her he was on his day off.

When Jesus saw Zacchaeus up a tree he did not tell Zacchaeus that he was not on duty that day and to contact Father X.

When Jesus was exhausted by the crowds and slipped away to "A Lonely Place" and the people followed Him there, He did not say to them: "YOU DO NOT HAVE AN APPOINTMENT WITH ME"!

The priesthood is a vocation in which a man is called to "die" to himself and to be available to the multitudes.

The priesthood is not a profession. It is a call to servanthood and slavery - the servanthood and slavery to God and His people.

Like Jesus, the priest is not there to be served, but to serve.

For many, uncommitted and cynical bishops and priests GOLF and not Christianity is their great passion!

And this is one of the ways in which the modern priesthood has drifted away from the call of discipleship. 

Many young priests nowadays think the priesthood is about:

Being a professional.

Wearing cassocks and birettas and three-piece suits tailored by Gammarelli of Rome.

Wearing lace albs and Fiddleback vestments.

Being called "Father".

Having surgery hours to see parishioners.

Being the chairman of school boards of governors.

Organising World Family Day at a desk.

In short, the modern priest is in crisis for two reasons:

1. Priests lack of spirituality and prayer.

2. Priests lack of a strong sense of true discipleship.

"Good priests" are priests with a spirituality and a prayer life - and a dynamic sense of discipleship.

The much misunderstood MAGNA CARTA summed it up in a very good comment on yesterday's blog:

"There is no such things as a good priest.

Roman Catholic priesthood, by its very theological nature, is corruptive of human virtue, because it would have mere men "ontologically" elevated above others; this is not the mark of the servant Christ called His disciples to be.

The ontological rationale for Roman Catholic priesthood is conducive to neither personal humility nor servitude of others. In this respect, it is the unholy antithesis of Jesus' model of service.

Until this morally corrupt concept of priesthood is revised and re-written, good men who enter seminary will be stained by their training to become a hindrance to the Kingdom rather than a guide to it".


  1. What happened to the John Mc Keever video ?

    1. Fr Mc Keever and you, poster @ 00.24 are both entitled to privacy.. Got it?

  2. I'm puzzled Pat by your rejection of ontological change. What else have you to rely on for your claimed status as a Bishop?

    1. I quoted MC.

      I did not say I rejected the idea.

      The idea came from Thomas Aquinas.

      There was priesthood for 1200 years before Aquinas.

      Thomson is not Divine Revelation.

      We are allowed to debate it.

      I think MC is making the point about people use the term more than its theology.

    2. More to the point, Pat.. Stop regarding MC as if he was Divine Revelation! Give the rest of your readers some respect and don't quote from the most hate-filled deranged person. We are not happy that you did that. Very disappointing..

    3. Ontological change is an argument whose chief merit is to show that ordination cannot be repeated or revoked.

    4. 00:40, if you are puzzled by this, then clearly you are one of the many egotistical priests who accepts the theoretical notion of ontological change.

      In scientific circles, this unproven nonsense would be laughed at. Clerics, of course, cherish this pseudo-theological claptrap for an obvious reason: it makes them believe they are different from the commom run of humanity and provides them with a very pleasant sense of superiority. A priest who denies this is a liar.

    5. 09:12, you're 'not happy' that I was quoted? Poor love. I suppose you'd rather have been quoted instead.

      You make my point, priest. Your ego, pumped up by years of thinking yourself ontologically different from everyone who is not a priest, won't be satisfied unless your point of view prevails.

      Truth is more important than your wounded ego, priest. And the truth is that humanity would have been much better off without the lot of you.

      Priests have done terrible damage to the Body of Christ, right from the early days of Christianity: the Great Schism, the Protestant Reformation, the prolific abuse of God's little ones. And all the while too lazy, many of you, to work and earn your keep. So you sponged off others! Worse, you made it a sin through Canon Law for anyone not to permit you to sponge off them.

      You make me want to throw up.

    6. As if we needed any more proof that poster @ 9.12 was correct--Just look at the diatribe at 11.32!
      Disgusting .

    7. Disgusted that the creepy Magna is allowed to tell priests who they are, what they should be, how they should behave, all from probably the most foul mouthed drunk ever on this blog and one who, when afforded time, spouts incitement to hatred of priests, one whose whole being is motivated by bigotry, jealousy, hatred. He can write all he likes: he is a nasty, evil, despicable piece. Shame he is taking over and encouraged to spill out so much venom. Shame on you Pat, especially when this guy is not a priest (Thank God) and lives in a cocoon, away from the real world, disconnected from normal human beings.

    8. It's like reading a back issue of Ian Paisley's "Protestant Telegraph".

      Imagine not getting over being kicked out of Maynooth, twenty years later. Lots of lay people are sacked or made redundant but they don't spend the next twenty years culminating against their ex-employer.

      Maynooth made a wise decision in this case.

    9. '...fulminating against their ex-employer'.

  3. What is a good priest? There are none.

    1. MC, Can you really say this?

    2. Magna wouldn't know goodness if it slapped him in the face. Since his life is spent hating the concept of goodness is alien to him. He cannot recognise it. So his comments are superfluous and irrelevant.

    3. MC is tolerated by Pat on this blog but has long ago lost all respect and credibility with other posters. His behaviour falls well below what we would expect from a normal decent human being. Can copy and paste from Wikipedia but not to be taken seriously .

    4. Infantile, jejune, puerile comments such as this are what elementary textbooks in first year psychology refer to as ASD - attention-seeking device. Their preponderance coincides with middle adolescence and/or inebriation.

    5. Bishop Pat at 08:09, as I said on yesterday's blog: there are only good people, but no good priests.

      By its very nature, Roman Catholic priesthood is conducive neither to personal humility nor goodness, since it claims to elevate (ontologically change) mere men above their common humanity. This, naturally, appeals to human pride and ego. It is one reason (perhaps the principal reason) that so many abusing priests were protected by what you have rightly called the 'clerical club'.

      It is also an aphrodisiac. Belief in one's superiority over others can be a temptation to, not just power dominance, but sexual exploitation. It is my firm opinion that the number of abusing priests is much higher than available statistics suggest.

    6. 08:55, is hating really a barrier to goodness? I'd wager you've often quoted this trite advice: 'Love the sinner, but hate his sin.' And I'd further wager that you felt very self-important while saying it.

      So hatred can't be all that bad after all, now can it?😆

    7. 10:09, 'attention seeking device'? In relation to me?

      You sound really wise, and well educated. Tell me, then. Who is the more foolish? The attention-seeking person, or those who, like you, give him attention?😆

    8. 00 47: Magna, what the hell would you know about "good" priests? You - a reject. A bad, nasty monument to the word HATRED. You are seriously deranged and in need of therapy, perhaps an exorcism. The depth of your hatred is frightening and should not be allowed expression on this blog.

    9. 10.58: Your opinion is not relevant. When you present clinical research to validate your view, print the evidence here. The onus is on you. Otherwise, you speak claptrap s***e. And until you quote accurate documented evidence, keep your putrid stench to yourself.

    10. 16:27, '...claptrap s***e.' Tautology: fault of style.

  4. I think it is Scripturally contraindicated and psychologically unhealthy to assert that Jesus was available 24/7 - 365, and that priest should act likewise. The Gospels are replete with instances of Jesus withdrawing from crowds, taking time in solitude, being along with his disciples (Luke 5:16; Luke 22:41; Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:46; Mark 1:12; Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12; Mark 6:31-32). I think this tallies with modern psychological research on issues relating to mental health and the phenomenon of burnout. An important factor in preventing burnout and strengthening spirituality is the development and pursuit of recreation, such as regular exercise and ongoing education (cf. Doolittle, B. (2010). The Impact of Behaviors upon Burnout Among Parish-Based Clergy. Journal Of Religion & Health, 49(1), 88-95). I think establishing an impossible high expectation sets priests up for failure, and the notion that priests should be somehow immune to issues like burnout or other psychological issues is in itself a form of clericalism. I think that particular expectation is spiritually and psychologically unhealthy.

    1. There are ways that availability can be achieved without damage.

    2. 5.33: Your contribution is much more relevant and significant for the living of priesthoid today. It's based on proper research. Terms like burnout, fatigue, human failings are all part of the fabric of modern priesthood but would only be appreciated by those of us who work in big, demanding praishes. Availability 24/7 is a recipe for much psychological trouble. Pat's offering today - too simplistic and judgmental on all whom he deems unfit for ministry. That perception should include himself. Thank you for your intelligent contribution.

    3. MournemanMichael3 April 2018 at 08:49

      But you don't say how Pat.
      I think Anon @ 05:33 makes a valid point very well. I've seen lots of burnout and emotional exhaustion in professions of service particularly teaching, nursing, and social work. Invariably it's the most caring and conscientious who often unwittingly shoulder the defects of political and management driven restrictive service provision.
      Given present clerical shortages, perhaps a priest is no different in this respect?

    4. 5.33.poster has made some very valid points with which we agree. Thanks..

    5. @Pat - what exactly are the ways 24/7/365 availability can be achieved without psychological or spiritual damage? I wrote the post at 05:33, and as far as I can see the notion that a priest must be permanently available is psychologically destructive, and ultimately clericalist because it creates a pedestal notion that the priest is indispensable, that people cannot possibly do without him. I think it's quite feasible to have availability 6 days out of 7. I see nothing wrong with priests having a day off to rest, spend time with family and friends, and not feel as if they have to experience guilt and shame because they weren't available for one day out of the week. I think you notion of unfettered and unending availability, which is what 24/7/365 entails, is inhumane.

  5. I was sent this the other day.


    No one knows :
    What a Rev Fr hears,
    What he sees,
    The secrets he must keep,
    The temptations he encounters,
    The tears he sheds,
    the sorrow he endures,
    the loneliness he manages,
    The bitterness he experiences,
    the Lies levelled against him by some of the people he serves! How he accommodates those who pretend they love him but behind him they destroy him. 
    How he tries to live more than a human 
    The lack he suffers,
    the discrimination he must not react to,
    the accusations he has to mute at,
    The expectations he strives to cope with,
    Even a fellow does not know what the other goes through.
    He is alive for God and yet he lives for man!
    A priest & the priesthood is what no one can fully understand or comprehend! The priesthood is. A mystery! The priest is a mystery too! A mystery is an incomprehensible intelligibility! So ALL you can do for him is pray for him. A day must not pass without standing in the gap for him! Wish him well, & endeavor to understand him! Make him happy at least, for an unhappy priest is a disaster to the Church of God! May our Blessed Virgin & Mother Mary intercede for all our priests, & bless their apostolates and always remind and assure him......

    1. Every person who applies to enter the novitiate for the priesthood should be given a copy of your priestly description @ poster 7.51
      He should reflect on it and if he is still sure of his burning desire to go ahead, then he is probably the right person to do so.

    2. What a load of self-pitying, self-aggrandising, navel-gazing claptrap! Probably written by a priest in the throes of 'poor me' syndrome.

      It fits in very nicely with the nonsense that a priest is ontologically transformed upon ordination.

      It is also a protracted lie, since it envisions a priest's struggles as greater than everyone else's. Tell this to a child repeatedly raped by one of these bastards.

      Roman Catholic priesthood isn't a gift, as that deluded Nazi pope stated, but an insidious evil that corrupts those who enter its state.

      Chaucer was right: the only suitable place for one of these w****s in the afterlife is right up Lucifer's arse.

    3. Maggie, 11.12: did ya not get a wink of sleep? That brain of yours must a got stuck deep inside your a**e, such is the filth and vulgarity of your words. You deranged drunkard.

  6. Pat, when you have 3000 homes, 5/6 schools, 30 Communion visits and lots of administration you can talk.

    1. Sorry, I do not believe you visit 3000 homes per year or 60 homes a week.

      Maybe you should not be involved in schools?

      May lay people should be doing the admin?

    2. @ 8.16
      Yes, those statistics do put a dent in your 24/7 availability. I, as a lay person, grant you that .
      Take time daily for private prayer. That is the way...

    3. And how do you spend your days Pat?

  7. So Pat out of interest how do you spend your day?

  8. As a priest I live my life trying to follow the example of Christ. He and no other is the One to imitate. True priestly living involves genuine prayer and spurituality, which find expression in faithful service. Each priests finds his own spuritual pathway. While some may seem very removed from any resemblance to the essence of Priesthood it 's most unfair to the hundreds who are "good" priests to literally measure them against your vision,which is rather self serving. Yes, GOOD and let's not be afraid to use this word about priests.. Much of the definitions given by Pat are far too shallow, almost simplistic. I have been called many times late at night to attend the sick but I also agree that priests should take one or two days weekky or fortnightly away from his work, especially in a parish of over 2000 homes or more, which may have 5/6 schools etc...As always and forever the pattern of Jesus is my starting point, as it is for most priests. Yes, we fail but we struggle on. I thank God each day for Priesthood and am grateful for the incredible, faithful, self giving of many, many good priests, past and present. Magna's contribution, from so poisonously a hateful anti priest perspective is irrelevant - and he is not living a priestly life. That opportunity was wisely denied him. Jesus is our role model - not this nasty blog.

    1. IF indeed Jesus is your 'role model',08:36, then why are you content to state untruths? How could you possibly know that I was denied (much less 'wisely denied') priesthood. You could not possibly know this, and yet you say so anyway. Jesus isn't your role model, for if he were you would not state as categorical what you do not, and could not, know to be true.

      For the record, I was NOT denied ordination, wisely or otherwise.

    2. Maynooth can't be all bad!
      I can think of a few times the Staff got it absolutely correct when they decided who wasn't suitable to continue towards Ordination!

    3. Magna, 12.38: I was merely stating the truth as those of us who knew you in seminary have attested to on many occasions. Your language gives your identity away, all too reminiscent of college days! The truth hurts, I know, and you have been given helpful, empathetic advice here, but you are in DENIAL, abd you are far too ready to vengefully slap down all priests. As scripture says - the truth will set you free. I'll keep you in prayer.

  9. I often think that a Priest can be as good as his Parish allows him to be. I see struggling and worn out Priests in Irish congregations often and wonder if the lack of support in the Parish is a factor?

    I look at Clergy in the USA and Canada and see a very different picture. They are invited into homes for dinner, enjoy social times with the parishioners and their congregations look after them: spiritually, emotionally, financially and interpersonally.

    In Ireland the Parocial House seems under siege from a world that doesn’t want Priests and is hostile. This is accompanied by demands from the Parish and a sense of despair.

    I say look after your Local Priests (Including Bishop Buckley) as it’s a two way street: if they get burnt out their ability to serve the Parish wanes.

    1. 8.49: A very intelligent and perceptive comment. Irish parishioners in recent years have created a huge distance from their priests. I can understand the reasons and do not judge people in light of all the scandals. But, even very loyal, committed parishioners, who will express gratitude outside the Church after mass, they rarely invite a priest to their home. This Easter, despite being on my own and celebrating all ceremonies, a "happy easter" greeting is all that I received. Thankfully I had ministry groups to help and assist but I accept the changing times we live in. Very often the apathy and indifference is dispiriting. A priest really needs to have a deep prayer life and turn frequently to God for sustenance. The frequent nasty anti clerical, hateful commentary, supported by Pat, arouses a vicious response from some. I agree that people who often demand much should be much more affirming to their priests.

    2. MMM, 8.49, why the reluctance to state that priests too reach that moment of "burnout". Now that most parishes are staffed by one priest, I know the reality of their workload. They are human beings after all! Pat's notion of priesthood for 21st century, in these very changing, challenging times is removed from the real living of priesthood. He does not have the same challenges, responsibilities, workload etc .. so his observations are somewhat unreal and the suggestion that all priests should be measured against his vision is nonsense. Burnout as a psychological reality is something any conscientious, work driven individual in any profession can suffer, even priests.

    3. 'Look after your Local Priests (sic)'? Have you even the remotest idea how so many of them behaved in Ireland, for so very many years, towards children, towards adults, in schools, in orphanages, in Magdalene 'launderies' (prisons, actually), in parishes? Some of them so profoundly arrogant that they clung to eccleisiastical office, knowing no shame, when it was clear they had been complicit in not just covering up child sexual abuse, but actually of facilitating it multiple times. Have you ANY idea what you're askng? Your ignorance is appalling, even frightening, given what is now publicly known about these men. Your request so naive that it wouldn't have come from either my ten-years-old nephew, or his twin sister.

      You're living a childish fantasy in which all the harm done (and it has not been fully atoned) can simply be forgotten (and we can all then 'move on', as Pope Francis would say) in a mawkish rush to embrace 'Father', the idealized priest of your fantasy world?

      No such priest exists, nor ever can exist, not while the institutional Roman Catholic Church continues to make demi-gods of these men, over-valuing them to the point where they can rape and sodomise young children, and yet, be thought too special to be made amenable to the Law for their revolting crimes.

      Mark these words: unless the theological understanding of priesthood is revised and re-written, these men will continue to present a danger, but they will do so with even greater secrecy than before; they might even overstep the most severe moral boundary of all and silence altogether those they abuse rather than face justice.

      Too many of these men, in my opinion, remain a very serious danger to children

    4. Magna, just as well you weren't ordained as there would be an avalanche of complaints about your abusive behaviour - verbal, emotional and physical because of your drunkenness and ibviiys deficiencies in normal interaction with others. No doubt but you'd be kicked out on your head and deservedly so. Even now I pray that you have no access to vulnerable people of any age group as you display a contemptible attitude and an imbalance that's reckless.

  10. Someone on Fr Ted said He says a great mass. Being a priest is more than being a professional menber of a religious denomination. It's about who one is as a person and how one relates to God and others. I have learned that prayer is central and neglecting proper prayer is a recipe for disaster.

    1. Perfect, Sean! - - People must fully understand that if you haven't daily prayer in your life, you're running on empty and something has to give...

    2. Thank you Sean.

    3. 10.53. I know and it did. I think of Abraham setting out as an old man. I'm sure there's a message in there somewhere but I'm still working on it

    4. I think it went, "He says a good long mass, three hours on a good night... since his stroke."

  11. Bishop Pat, how about doing a blog on what makes a good layperson? That would make for interesting reading. I'm a layman btw.

    1. I don't think Pat is at all the best person to do that.. @ 9.43

    2. 9.43 Layperson is never second best. All are parts of the Body. The head is at the top but if a little toe is missing the body is all the poorer for it.

  12. Well we can all call ourselves Father, Doctor, Conon, Bishop but are we the real person and in some cases NOT.
    I Do not know the Cathedral Administrator Father Peter but looks the P.A. type and likely operates by appointment however Archbishop E. Martin pleaded with his clergy to look after themselves as they are Human too and then asked them to renew their Vows.
    I think Ireland is well behind Scotland and Pat touches on it and that is more lay involvement the Priest is the Sacramental (Most Important) part of the Church that is what they are ordained for however some get too tied down being administrators or social workers leave that to the laity. The GOOD Priest is the one who is there to serve NOT be served and the Bad Priest is those constantly breaking their Vows and leading double lives.
    I hope Clergy read this blog and more so in Armagh as the Archbishop seeks passionately about Pope Francis well if his Clergy listen Pope Francis has recently spoke about appointment and money so have a look at that in Armagh.
    Dublin asked for 7.50 euros for a Mass again Pope Francis has spoke out about this but practice.

    1. An Easter contribution from the illiterate gay Scot who is obsessed with the sexual lives of other people.

    2. 11.14 I feel humbled that you spend so much time looking for me but you have it wrong I am from Ireland and live in Edinburgh.
      and I have a degree in Hospitality and was a member of the Franciscans sadly Religious Life due to my sexuality left and some Priests should follow my example.

    3. No time needed. Your theme and writing style stick out like a sore thumb. I hope you get a spell check done on your epistles to the nuncio before you send them.

  13. I have heard it said that a good priest is one who spends twice as long praying on his day off. But can we really answer the question? Or is it a matter for God alone?

    In human terms no priest will please all parishioners, many priests will on occasion deny the Truth and surely about one in 12 will outrightly betray the message of Christ... (but are these not the people Jesus chose?). And did he not send others off to preach independently?

    We will judge ourselves by our intentions, we will judge others by their actions but only one Judgement will count.

  14. a bit self-torturing today

  15. All this talk of ontological change, sacramental character, specialness, being set apart.....what a load of tosh ! Thomas Aquinas may be responsible for some of it, but it has been taken up with enthusiasm by a priestly class who have always wanted to bolster their position and their standing as something special, and more importantly something that cannot be contradicted or opposed. That has given the priestly class a huge hold of power, not least in the last almost 100 or so years in Ireland. That hold on power and influence was connived at by a government that handed over important parts of the State's responsibilities to the Church and the priests - health, education, social care, setting the moral tone, etc - because the State simply did not have the resources or the money to undertake those things.

    I know priests - I am one myself - and very soon after ordination I was aware of the difference in the public and the private character and face of priesthood. Yes, there have always been good men, holy men, men of prayer. But the huge majority of my brother priests are flawed and inadequate men, many of whom rely on the elevated status of priesthood to give them an identity and to raise them up above the generality of people, giving them access to influence, status, authority and money. You rarely meet a poor priest ! He's liable to be driving an Audi !

    The priesthood needs to divest itself of any sense of specialness, or ontological character, or elevated status of priesthood, and concentrate on the example of service which is the example of Jesus in the Gospels. Never mind about all the sacrificial stuff, and being in persona Christi, and having a special sacramental character that sets the priest apart. Let him rather have the smell of the sheep about him. And stop driving around in Audi cars !

    You will note that I have talked about 'HIM" when talking about the priesthood. Therein lies another problem. Why, oh why, do we not recognise that the ministry and calling of priesthood is to service as a human being, and can therefore include females ? What a load of rubbish is talked about the example of Jesus only choosing men ! Mandatory celibacy is another idiocy. What a nonsense, and what a way of life that leads to inadequacy and dysfunction !

    So, dear Fathers, get off your high horses, stop thinking of yourselves as something special, get rid of your Audis, start to live like ordinary people in your parishes, go shop at Aldi, stop taking boys only holidays in places where they wear thongs and some work, say some prayers, and be of service to the people who need you.

    1. St Thomas understands baptism as involving an ontological change. You don’t find that exclusivist or problematic? Perhaps you have got the wrong end of the stick.

    2. Aquinas wasn't infallible. He denied the immaculate conception of Mary, now a dogmatic teaching.

      God is present in everyone and in everything. Baptism cannot set one apart, because no one can be set apart from what God intended him or her to be: part of the human family, his family.

    3. Sounds like the Anglicans would suit you better. Put your money where your mouth is.

    4. 10.55: So, dear Father. you've worked it all out. Good for you. Tell us what you drive: where you holiday: what your daily routine is. If you epitomise true priestly living, don't be afraid to share your name with us and answer my questions. Until you get off your pedestal of the spiritual high ground, you won't inspire. Do you wear rags? Do you holiday in a caravan in Ballymuck? Do you live for free in a hovel on the roadside? Is your door ooen to all the poir and marginalised for a sleepover? If you do all these, then you might convince more authentically. Let me assure you, perfect follower, that I live in a very real world.bVery real. Jesus is the one I seek to imitate and St. Francis is my icon....without the animals.

    5. 10.55:: I am a priest too but I would not be so harsh and make so sweeping a statement about my fellow priests. The ones making philosophical, theological definitions, distinctions and arguments are entitled to do so but, let's be real, fellow priest, the majority of us try to live priesthood as well and as best we can. Most of us have a car, not an audi; most of us take a holiday (so what!) and not the luxury ones you suggest. Yes, precisely because we're human, we are flawed and have our inadequacies but to infer from this that we are dysfunctional is misguided. We may live in a dysfunctional church but I think most priests try to be as normally human as possible. Indeed, despite the enormous changes and challenges, like myself, I believe many priests are aware of our constant need for honest reflection and renewal and the need fir retreats and advice. I don't know many who drive fancy cars or take exotic holidays. I think my fellow priest needs to come down off his "better than thou" pedestal. ( Too much Pat style verbiage). Those of us ordained 25 years plus have long ago learned how not to be put on pedestals and try to live simply and without pretensions, well aware of our need of God's geaces. Most of us aim to follow Christ. That some of our colleagues shamefully abuse their position is no excuse to lecture the rest of us as if we were all in ruin. The good Father should try a dose of humility: it might make his comments more believable. Criticism is good but not of the lecturing, condemnatory nature of 10.55. Perhaps from his perch he might reveal a little more of his vagrant, St. Francis poverty style living!!!That would be more convincing.

    6. 10:55, I didn't say this earlier, but ought to have done. I respect you, for your honesty, for your humility, and for the courage you've shown by posting on this blog, knowing, I'm sure, that those priests opposed to losing their status as 'ontologically superior' would attack you (12:13, 14:49 and 16:07).

      You probably know by now that I have very little (if any) regard for Roman Catholic priests; in truth, I despise them as parasites and as enemies of the Gospel. But my mind and heart are open to those men who, truly, heed Christ's command, that his disciples be servants, not masters. Talk, silly loose talk, of ontological transformation upon priestly ordination does not complement Jesus' model of discipleship; it contradicts it, and makes a liar of Christ.

      I salute you, Father.

    7. 21.02: Mags; you're a nonentity in the eyes of most readers because of your unacceptable bigotry and hatred. The Rev. Fr. you agree with makes far too many sweeping judgments. Perhaps if he wasn't so self assured about his "perfectionism" and shared a little more about his mode of transport, his time off, his salary, his total "giving" of himself, I might have greater respect for his posting. There are many, many priests who share a similar vision and who live very good lives, as Christ asks, but his verdict damns all unfairly. If the Rev is so Christ like, a little humility and self deprecation might be more authentic and real.

    8. 12:02 you arr judging St Thomas of the thirteenth by today’s criteria. He was free to give his position on that subject which was and is still being debated long after his time.

  16. 10.55.... lovely read.

  17. MournemanMichael3 April 2018 at 11:07

    Nice one Anon @ 10:55. Spot on straight talking sense, and good to hear it from a priest: one with a grip on reality. One of the best comments to Pat's blog in a long time.

    1. MMM, Thought you might like the posting at 10.55. A good thought provoking comment and one shared by many, many priests but somehow because of the very judgmental nature of the sentiments, I'm not convinced that all the virtues exist in the Rev Fr. If he told us that he cycles or rides around in a horse and cart and that he wears sackcloth and ashes, then I'd be more cinvinced. I've witnessed very frugal living by many clerics. They don't all drive fancy cars, take luxury holidays etc....most of us try to do our best and be as true as we can be to our work, and we don't complain or look for public applause as Rev. Fr. suggests...

  18. "I dream of a church ....."

    I dream of a church that will today be crucified with Christ .
    I dream of a Church that will die today on the Holy Cross
    so that it can begin again.
    A church that can begin again , and allow its people to be true sons and daughters of God ,
    Simple followers of the way .

    I dream of a church that feels every moment of the pain He felt today .
    Every second of His bleeding , suffering , dying , for all humanity .
    Then it may begin to understand the pain it has inflicted on the children of
    God over the past two thousand years .
    I dream of a Church that will be crucified today to be freed from unnecessary dogma , canons ,
    rules , and regulation that have trapped them and crushed their souls rather then allow them
    to be as free as the birds of the air .

    I dream of a church that will be crucified today with Him so it will be purified to enter in to the
    prayer of Christ ,
    " When I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men to myself ."
    A prayer that will undo two thousand years of excluding the children of God for simply
    being who and what they were created to be ,
    Or walking the path that love called them to walk .

    I dream of a church that will be crucified today so that its leaders become the servants of
    the servants of God ,
    And not those who control , manipulate , abuse , and do not appreciate their spiritual children's
    efforts .
    I dream of a church that finally faces the question " Do we need an Episcopate to continue that
    has brought such pain and scandal to the house of God ?
    Would it better for each community if it needed the service of a Priest or Permanent Deacon to
    call the Holy Spirit down on a candidate in union with a minister presiding over the service ?

    I dream of a church that will be crucified today with Him so that it opens its heart to all
    the precious children of God .
    A church that in all places opens its doors to Muslims , Buddhists , Hindus , and all the other
    religions and allows them to attend its services as seekers of the Divine .
    I dream of a church that does not refuse its sacraments to any child of God ,
    For in each is the cry of Jesus " I thirst " , thirst for love , compassion , and understanding .

    I dream of a church that will be crucified with Him today .
    A church that will begin again with a blank piece of paper .
    And each day , each situation , will only ask two questions ;
    " What is the will of God ? And how can we bring this about ?

    I dream of a church that will be crucified with today .
    That will be taken down brick by brick ,
    So that is can be rebuilt to be what is was only ever meant to be -
    A path to God , a stepping stone in to the
    immense reality of the divine , and not an end in
    itself , and an obstacles to the seekers of God in spirit , and in truth .

    By A Priest

    1. A very profound post. Thank you.

      I understand personal crucifixion as not only dying to oneself, but similtaneously opening up to others, principally to God through obedience to his will. Crucifixion is, therefore, both a dying and a rising.

      Spirituality within Roman Catholicism has, too often, denied this duality, focusing, mordidly, on personal pain. Much spiritual and psychological violence wss done to the person because of it.

    2. No priest wrote this rubbish.

    3. 05.31 I suspect A Priest may be the same as A Carthusian. I have read may of his books.

  19. 12.05 My thoughts exactly.

  20. misquote Noel Coward "Let's not be beastly to the... Anglicans" ! The Anglicans have for decades asked the questions and fought the battles that we as Catholics should have been doing. Much forward theological thinking and social justice within the Church has been done by Anglicans, and they have put in place things which in the RC Church we are not even allowed to speak about. They face up to these issues, and even where it causes upset and dissent and division, they manage it and live with it. So, hat tip to the Anglicans. In the meantime, we RCs still view things through a theology and morality that is woefully inadequate and quite simply wrong. We need to catch up.

    1. Hurrah, 14:00! Were it not for incisive Anglican biblical scholarship, our knowledge of Scripture would be decidedly poorer.

      Roman Catholic biblical scholars owe an enormous debt of gratitude to their Anglican counterparts, especially to those of the latter 19th, and early 20th, centuries.

    2. And very much vice-versa as there was already a huge body of knowledge and research long before that in the Church, right from the time of the Irish monks who earned Ireland the title of the "Land of Saints and Scholars" and a reputation for scholars and learning across Europe and the rest of the known world.

    3. The Anglicans are kaput. Less than 1% of people in their historic homeland, England, attend their services so how can they be taken seriously?

    4. It's done the Anglicans a lot of good. They'll be extinct in a generation.

  21. "The priesthood is a vocation in which a man is called to "die" to himself and to be available to the multitudes. The priesthood is not a profession. It is a call to servanthood and slavery - the servanthood and slavery to God and His people."

    You expectations are too high, +Pat. You have become an old-fogey without realising it.

  22. No priest wrote that clap-trap. It sounds more like a wild-haired New Age female devotee.

    1. It's like something Magna Carta would right if he took to poetry some time don't you think?

    2. Sorry, my machine "corrected" me.. I wrote the word "write" @ 20.25

  23. ***********




  24. Pat, I think that a priest needs to be holy and he needs to know himself and not respond out of prejudice which unfortunately happens so often and does so much damage. And I always remember this testimony of a priest on ewtn who had a near death experience and speaks often of it. When he 'died' on the operating table he found himself going to hell and cried out 'I shouldn't be going here, I have been a priest for 25 years.' To which he heard a voice which he considers that of Jesus say 'You have been a priest for yourself and not for me.' He believes he was allowed to live, to live in better service of Jesus.

    1. Can't be reliable. Any soul heading for Hell CHOOSES to be there, and WANTS to be there.

      Christ sends no one southwards.

    2. Father Steven Scheier. Watch his testimony on YouTube and then decide. Not like you to pre-judge! (Fingers crossed behind my back).

  25. Also, Pat, you mentioned yesterday about the weeds and the wheat, about a priest's responsibilities and his managing. I don't know, but I'm wondering where these words have come from and how they relate to being servants.

  26. Essentially, I suppose I'm wondering how did the washing of feet become management.

    1. Washing feet is an act of service which demonstrates humility. No matter how lofty the priest's clerical position he should still be see himself first and foremost as the servant of God's people. Jesus washed the feet of the apostles to teach them humility by good example. They had been squabbling about who was the most important apostle perhaps in relation to where they sat at the Last Supper table.

  27. RTE now..Michael Kelly Tina Beatty and Marco

  28. Once again, your blog contradicts itself. We are supposed to believe that we can spot a good priest a mile off and then you talk about agnostic and atheist priests going through the motions and being believed. Make your mind up. I, along with most people I suppose, have been surprised and disappointed when an apparently sound priest was discovered to be living a double life - it is never obvious as you imply. Some people are excellent actors and others are not, such is life. This is why Bernie Madoff made off (excuse pun) with billions of dollars of other people's money. I also don't believe that the psychological pressures of living a lie put an intolerable strain on priests who have stopped believing. Why should they worry if they believe that there is no punishment for what they do? There will be of course and it will be terrible.

    1. Sounds as if no one will be more disapponted than you if it doesn’t happen.
      There would be no need for double lives if a priest lived with a wife or a husband. It will happen and become the norm by 2040. So dome of us will be alive to live it and to see it.

    2. Does MC not have a day job? It’s inconvenient having to scroll past her/his comments.

  29. Pat - what about monastic priests , or hermit priests ? -How do you view them ?