Thursday, 12 July 2018



Pope Francis and the Problematic Sainthood Cause of Cardinal August Hlond



In Poland, a revisionist manipulation of the history of the Holocaust is under way, and Pope Francis may be its unwitting ally. A bill sponsored by the governing nationalist Law and Justice Party and signed into law in February bans any discussion of Poland’s co-responsibility for or complicity in the Shoah, but how far can such disavowal go? The Vatican recently advanced the sainthood “cause” of Cardinal August Hlond, the Primate of Poland during the Second World War, and a famous opponent of the Nazis. Indeed, he was the only cardinal to be arrested by the Gestapo, which occurred in 1944, when he was in exile in France. In May, Pope Francis certified Hlond’s “heroic virtues” and declared him “venerable,” an assessment based in part on Hlond’s defense of Jews.
In 1936, Hlond issued a long pastoral letter addressed to the Catholics of Poland. Read by priests from pulpits during Lent, the letter included a short section on “the Jewish problem.” The Cardinal wrote, “So long as Jews remain Jews, a Jewish problem exists and will continue to exist.” But, the letter went on to declare, “It is forbidden to assault, beat up, maim or slander Jews. One should honor and love Jews as human beings and neighbors . . . . Beware of those who are inciting anti-Jewish violence. They are serving a bad cause.”
Given that clear defense of Jewish lives and safety, it may seem surprising that leaders of Jewish organizations are objecting to the Holy See’s glorification of Hlond. But critics, including Polish Catholics, have drawn attention to other lines in that same letter: “It is a fact that Jews are waging war against the Catholic Church, that they are steeped in free thinking, and constitute the vanguard of atheism, the Bolshevik movement, and revolutionary activity.” The letter’s litany of such “facts” goes on, blaming Jews for their “corruptive influence on morals,” “pornography,” “fraud,” “usury,” and “prostitution.” The letter, written three years before the Nazi occupation, encourages Poles to boycott Jewish businesses.
After Pope Francis approved the prelate’s advancement toward sainthood, Rabbi David Rosen, the American Jewish Committee’s international director of interreligious affairs and a widely respected veteran of Jewish-Catholic dialogue, warned that the valorizing would be “an expression of approval of Cardinal Hlond’s extremely negative approach towards the Jewish community.” But the Polish priest in charge of the sainthood cause derided critical focus “on this negative part of the letter,” complaining that critics “are not quoting any other part.”
Giving Hlond a large benefit of the doubt, one could imagine his defenders characterizing his anti-Jewish expressions as typical of the era, integral to certain forms of mainstream Polish nationalism, and therefore forgivable. To the Vatican, clearly, the question is one of balancing the man’s human limitations against his established virtues. Like many Catholics of the time, the Cardinal may have harbored anti-Semitic beliefs, but didn’t he rise above them when Jewish lives and safety were at issue?
Yet a moral arithmetic in which a man’s negatives can be sufficiently cancelled out by positives to make him worthy of sainthood misses the most important calculation, and equals a failure to reckon honestly with history. Hlond’s balance sheet shows that the positives and the negatives required each other: his ambivalence was the point, and it was rooted in the Church’s centuries-old self-contradiction about Jews.
In order to directly face this more complicated meaning of Hlond’s double-edged pronouncement, the Vatican would have to confront the consequences of its own double-edged history, going back a full millennium. After the savage assaults on Jewish communities that accompanied the First Crusade (Crusaders killed thousands of Jews along the Rhine), Pope Calixtus II issued a papal bull, around the year 1120, forbidding Christians ever to attack Jews again. The bull was titled Sicut JudΓ¦is (“And Thus to the Jews”). A successive declaration offered “the shield of [the Pope’s] protection,” adding that “no one ought disturb them in any way, with clubs or stones . . . no one ought to dare mutilate or diminish a Jewish cemetery. Taken by many historians as a stout Catholic defense of Jews, Sicut JudΓ¦is was reissued again and again, by something like twenty Popes, across subsequent centuries. That apparently good record, though, points to an obvious corollary: the mandate had to be repeated year in and year out because ordinary Christians were not taking such instruction to heart. Again and again, Jews (and their cemeteries) were attacked. Why?
The answer may be that the same Church leaders who decried anti-Jewish violence consistently promulgated the anti-Jewish doctrines (Jews as the Deicide People) and traditions (Jews as usurers) that prompted the violence. They defended Jews while defaming them. There is a poignancy to Cardinal Hlond’s pastoral letter’s having been issued during Lent, since, across the centuries, the annual zenith of Christian assaults on Jews typically came on the Lenten climax of Good Friday, when fevers attached to the Christ-killer calumny always peaked. This was especially so during the Crusades, when the Latin Church embraced an unprecedented theology of the cross understood as redemptive violence that was itself willed by God. This new centrality of the crucifixion put the “crucifying Jews” at the center of a newly violent Christian imagination.
The prelates may not have understood this moral paradox, but its most grotesque consequence showed up quickly. History’s first-recorded instance of the so-called blood libel occurred in 1144, in England, during Holy Week. Jews were accused of reΓ«nacting the crucifixion of Jesus by murdering a Christian boy, William of Norwich, and of using his blood in perverse rituals that mocked the Eucharist. Down through the years, murders and massacres of Jews were carried out in William’s memory. He was revered as a Catholic saint, and the blood libel was repeated countless times: the Jewish Encyclopedia lists more than a hundred instances into the twentieth century.
In 1946, the charge that Jews kidnapped a Christian child to obtain his blood for ritual sacrifice was lodged again, this time in Kielce, Poland, leading a Catholic mob to slaughter forty-two Jews and two Catholic Poles who defended them. Cardinal Hlond attributed the violence to Jews “occupying leading positions” in the postwar Communist government. Rabbi Rosen, in his protest to the Vatican, observed that Hlond “did not condemn the pogrom nor urge Poles to stop murdering Jews. Rather, he pointed out that the Jews were all communists or supporters of communism, and that the pogrom was their own fault.”

There is no reason to doubt Hlond’s sincerity in his condemnations of violence against Jews. His failure to see the connection between that violence and the Church’s anti-Judaism, not to mention his own contempt, does not make him a war criminal, but why would the Church elevate this man as a moral exemplar today? Roman Catholic canonization is always as much about the present as about the past. (Joan of Arc was canonized in 1920, in response to the First World War; Thomas More in 1935, to shore up resistance to tyrants; Queen Jadwiga of Poland in 1997, marking the end of Communism.) Hlond’s sainthood cause was initiated in 1992, during the Solidarity era, when his postwar opposition to the Soviets could be highlighted, and it was a failure of full moral responsibility even then. But today, with the reΓ«mergence of anti-Semitism in Poland, paired with the Holocaust-distorting government’s populist xenophobia, this renewed Vatican impulse is vastly more troubling.

PAT SAYS:
The Holocaust is a very sensitive topic even today - with most people accepting it happened and a few denying it happened.
I think that the Vatican should proceed with caution on canonizing this cardinal.
Pius X11's role in protecting Jews is controversial. He may have helped some Jews but he could have said and done more.
Some people in the Church did well - others performed very badly.

No more mistakes should be made.

No more people should be made to reopen old wounds.


74 comments:

  1. Beware the 'holy' men, these financially parasitical Christ betrayers.

    (Just suggestin', like.πŸ˜†)

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    1. Magna Carta's Mum13 July 2018 at 07:34

      Now that's being naughty, Magna darling.
      You know I've never really told you about my adventures when I was young. In Poland I was sad not to meet Cardinal Hlond, but I did have a very interesting evening with a young priest called Wojtyla, but I will tell you all about it in private, darling.

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    2. Disgraceful comment @ 7.34 and the tired old "humour" is well past its sell-by date .

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    3. What's disgraceful 09:29?

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    4. Mommie dearest, 'a very interesting evening with a young priest called Wojtyla'?πŸ˜•

      Dearest, when you speak of 'very interesting' times with anyone, it's usually code for something highly indelicate.

      (I've often wondered why I enjoyed canoeing, mountaineering, hiking, etc. Crumbs!πŸ˜†)

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    5. Magna Carta's Mum13 July 2018 at 14:34

      Magna my darling, (and any other uncharitable people who may be thinking of anything other than the interesting chat we had about the mysteries of the rosary), nothing indelicate happened. It extended to an evening only.
      Honestly, some people!
      Mommie dearest

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    6. I believe you, Mommie Dearest. Millions wouldn't. But your Magsie-Wagsie knows you never lie.

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  2. Mad Magna 00:47

    Polly put the kettle on, come off the vitriol, and give us all peace!

    (just suggestin', like,)

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    1. Loopy little B's back. And, predictably, has nothing worth saying...and always in poor English, with little or no punctuation.πŸ˜†

      (Just thinkin' out loud, like.πŸ˜†πŸ˜†)

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  3. Whatever about the past the Holocost is reoccurring today... in Palestine... and the Zionists are the new Nazis.

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    1. Yes, it is sad that people who knew persecution are now persecuting others.

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    2. What an inane comment, Liam.

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    3. @8.29
      You may view it as inane but it is relevant in today's world.

      As for your name suggestion, close but you missed the prize.

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  4. Ok Pat you are prepared to speak about being sensitive around the Holocaust but you strut around wearing a sash celebrating the death of Catholics. You truly have double standards. As usual you will not print this.

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    1. I have no appreciation of the Orange Order and their marches.

      I wore a sash once, 30 years ago, for a satirical picture.

      I think your comment smacks of extreme nationalism.

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    2. You were sent to Larne by Bishop Daly because he felt you would fit in with the Orange Institution. Was he not proved right in the end. You were a troublemaker from day one and is it any wonder the PP in Bfast once gave you a kicking. Pity he didn't knock more sense into your bigoted mind.

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    3. You approve of violence ANONYMOUS?

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    4. Being an extreme nationalist, I am sorry to say he would approve of violence.

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  5. 10 18: Pat, the criticism of 09.46 is legitimate but as usual in your arrogance and blindness you ignore truth about yourself. You are a hate monger, vicious, nasty, bigoted and mean spirited. You never miss an opportunity to down others, to judge mercilessly, to destroy by innuendo and hearsay. Need I go on, you are morally and spiritually blind to your own deficiencies, flaws and ugliness of mind toward those you intensely dislike.

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    1. I reject that analysis.

      Everything I write I believe to be true and ALWAYS put my name to it - unlike you!

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    2. Please, for the love of God and my sanity, please DON'T go on, 10:20!😨

      I recognise your style, and you've gone on, and interminably on at me in the past.

      If it weren't Loopy Little B, (the semi-literate, and current blog clown), you'd hold that august title.

      (Just informin', like.πŸ˜†)

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    3. 13.35: Magna, we know only too well your style and were you discerning you would appreciate that you too go on interminably - in your hatred, viciousness, bigotry and infantile nonsense. You too are repetitive and if titles were given for Nasty Man of The Year, you'd have no competition. You behave abusively to all. You lack human decency. If different, let's witness it through your commentary.

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    4. It's not an analysis Pat. Don't credit Anon@10:20 with the capacity of analysing. That comment is simply and yet again, an ad hominem rant attempting to score points by kicking the man rather than the ball. MMM

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  6. What I like best about this blog is the (clerical?) readers who are continually shocked pmsl.
    Seriously why would you keep coming back here.

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    Replies
    1. They just like being offended!

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    2. They neither want to hear criticism nor know a platform for critisim exists... standard stance for those with something to hide

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  7. Pat, I think the Church should have none more to protect Christians against the brutal soviet union that killed far more people than Germany going by government statistics.

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    1. In all of these situations the RC institution protects its own political and financial interests before people.All over the world the RC body has been the friend and supporter of evil regimes.

      The gave Mugabe a front row seat at John Pole's funeral.

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    2. Mugabe was not n the front row, you are very misinformed and peddle inaccuracies

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  8. That is firstly antisemitic to say that there were other victims of WW2 and secondly pat, you are racist to not like Mugabe.

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    1. There were other victims of the war. It is not antisemitic to say that. You think very strongly.

      I dislike Mugabe not because of his skin colour, but because he was a tyrant.

      Your comment is it very intelligent.

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    2. Racist just not to like someone, 11:13???πŸ˜•

      Where did you go to school?

      DID you go to school?πŸ˜†

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    3. Magna @ 14.04 I know you are Pats mouthpiece but do you have to reply to every reply he makes? Can he not answer posts all by himself or are you holding his hand. Pathetic behaviour from both of you. Pat says jump and MC answers How High Pat.

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    4. Silly comment.

      I have never met MC, know who he is or communicated with him.

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    5. That’s your reply Pat, now let’s wait for MC’s supporting your comment.

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    6. Yes.

      I have never asked him for replies, support etc.

      He comments without consulting me.

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    7. Did YOU not go to school either? In this thread I did not reply to ANY of Bishop Pat's comments, but to 11:13's.

      You're related to Loopy Little B., aren't you? The semi-literate blog clown?πŸ˜†

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  9. The Catholic and Lutheran faiths have played a huge role in Jewish persecution. The Christian faithis inherently sectarian which is another reason lazy parents should not be having their children baptised. Only an informed person who knows and who has worked through the issues should be baptised.
    http://www.excatholic.net/antisemitism.html

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  10. "Go out and baptise ALL nations, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." Direct command.

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  11. 14 .26
    You disrespect yourself ...no one else...when you comment on a poster.
    Address the the post or ignore.

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    1. 15.28 When I need advice I won't be asking you. Do you really think i care what you have to say. You talk about disrespect in relation to commenting on this blog - when did the blog suddenly respect people.

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  12. The pressure to beatify Cardinal Hlond shows the power of the big Religious Orders.

    The Cardinal was a Salesian priest, trained at the Order's Mother House in Turin.

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    1. Hlond did not respect the Jews AS Jews, nor did the Chuch. They all acted out of a sense of moral obligation towards the Jews as people rather than towards them as a people of faith.

      Roman Catholicism was a morally reprehensible confection of anti-Semitism, and morally obligated human concern.

      It would be wrong to canonise Hlond, because doing so would seem to legitimize his transparent anti-Jewish bigotry.

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    2. Thanks Anon at 16:50 for probably the best perceptive comment so far.
      WW

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    3. I think it’s more a question of personalities. Cardinal Angelo Amato is a Salesian. He’s retiring as prefect of the congregation for the causes of saints on Aug 31. Perhaps this is his legacy.

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  13. Hlond has to be seen in the context of the times he lived in. His actions were courageous. Jews lived separately and were viewed with suspicion by other Poles. The only occupied people that did not willingly hand over their Jews to the Germans were the Dutch.

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    1. Some of his actions were courageous.

      Many of his statements were antisemitic and horrible.

      Well done the Dutch.

      To have a Saint Hlond would be very backward thinking and movement.

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    2. They have to be taken in context. Anti Semetism was rife in eastern Europe at that time. Locals rounded up the Jews for the Germans.

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    3. Pat do you really think the Church, Vatican, us really give a hang what you think or don't think. You are a non entity - have you not realised that by now.

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    4. Why visit and comment on the blog of a non entity?

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    5. Because of Danish bravery over 99% of Denmark's Jewish population survived the Holocaust.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue_of_the_Danish_Jews

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  14. Seen in the context of the times he live in? That's what they said about Sean Brady and others who covered up.

    There is only one context that matters: the Gospel. And it does not sanction anti-Semitic behaviour

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  15. You claim never to have met this “Magna Carta”? Your facilitating and enabling of this person is bizarre. You wouldn’t tolerate anyone else being so nasty and abusive towards your readers.

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    1. I have not published several comments from MC that I regarded as abusive or OTT.

      I have also not published comments trying to provoke MC.

      I will continue doing this.

      MC has some very good thoughts and opinions.

      He knows I want him to restrain himself.

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    2. You’ve never met MC? Yeah, pull the other one!

      You claiming about MC being “provoked” is like the Orange Order claiming it is “provoked” when it parades through a nationalist area! Carta is the victimiser - not the “victim”.

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    3. Empty words Pat, empty words. We don't believe you. We don't trust you or MC. Your defence of him is weird

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    4. I do not have to answer to you!

      Go suck a zub:-)

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    5. I agree with that Pat.
      Many of Magna's comments give interesting relevant information. I appreciate them. Those who disagree either with such info or MC's analysis of it resort to attacking the individual rather than debate the comment.
      At times abusive and OTT, and to be chided for that do continue MC's contributions censored as you deem appropriate.

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    6. Wisp @ 20.25 If you think MC's posts are relevant and interesting then more fool you. Just consult Wikipedia in future because that's where MC gets his info.

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    7. @20.02... what "we" do you represent?

      MC often reflects well, gets personally attacked for it, throws a few insults back and then the provoker says he should be sensored. Most of the time people fully deserve a few words off MC.

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    8. "More fool you": exactly as I said Anon @ 20:49 in my 20:25 comment; attacking the individual.
      Surely you can do better?

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    9. Hammer head langer 21.11 Should have known you would jump to MC's defence - how predictable you are!! But then the pair of you have something very much in common - you Both got the shoe out of the door of the Seminary. Birds of a feather and all that.

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    10. Steady on, Thomas, Paul has no need of a defender.

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    11. @21.55
      A validation of my point re personal attacks. Shame you havevyour facts wrong though. You know it is possible that people just see the church for what it is, there is no prerequisite for seminary rejection.

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    12. Prolix @ 20:25

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    13. Is that who MC is? Paul xxxxx? He used to have a moustache. Was rather soft spoken. Got into a bit of trouble. Details weren’t widely known.

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    14. At 21:11 You mean censured?

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    15. ‘...a few words offf MC’ what does that preposition mean?

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    16. @23.40
      No, I meant censored. Thank you for spotting my mistake though. I'm a wee bit tired tonight.

      Delete

  16. Kerry Diocese 2018 Appointments out:

    Fr. Anthony O Sullivan returns from Sabbatical and during the coming year will supply for priests taking short sabbatical breaks.

    Fr Bernard Healy curate St Johns Parish Tralee to pursue further studies in the Irish College Rome.

    Fr Sean Jones newly ordained to be curate St John’s Parish Tralee.

    Priests of all Pastoral Areas of the Diocese take up different responsibilities outside their own parishes and within the Pastoral Area. This will be decided and communicated locally.

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  17. 22.29 these appointments were on the diocesan web site TWO weeks ago so what is your motive here.
    Oh to likely cause mischief for Father Sean Jones.
    The Papal Nuncio and His Bishop Ray Browne a Canon lawyer think and know he is fit for Ministry as a Roman Catholic Priest for the Diocese of Kerry.

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    1. So cynical to infer the worst of motives. How very ego centric of you.

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    2. 11:42,And your motive in posting was patently altruistic.

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