FATHER EDDIE McGEE, the press officer for Down and Connor issued a statement to the press last week saying that CIARAN DALLAT WAS NOT THE CHAPLAIN TO ST LOUISES’S COLLEGE BELFAST WITH 2000 FEMALE STUDENTS AND TEACHERS. 

Here is the principal of St Louise’s – MARY MC HENRY thanking “OUR SCHOOL CHAPLAIN FATHER DALLAT” at the school’s 60th anniversary Mass in St. Peter’s Cathedral Belfast!!!



Here you can see FATHER EDDIE McGee CONCELEBRATING THE MASS WITH DALLAT and yet he told the press last week that Dallat was not the school chaplain!!!

Here is Dallat preaching and charming the girls walking up and down the aisle during the Mass!!!

Here is Father Martin Sebastian Graham assisting Dallat at the Mass.

Bishop Treanor says that Dallat is NOT the chaplain to Maghaberry prison!!!

The principal says he is chaplain to St, Louise’s

Father McGee, in spite of celebrating the Mass with Dallat and hearing the principal announce Dall as school chaplain is telling the press he is not the chaplain!!!

The truth is that Noel Treanor, knowing about the parishioner’s pregnancy and Dallat’s reputation among the clergy, is allowing Dallat to “minister” to 2000 females!!!

And Eddie McGee is covering it all up!!!

The words FOX and HEN HOUSE come to mind.

As do the words COVER UP and LIES

You can watch the whole video on St. Peters Cathedral Belfast website by putting in 60th and 13,9.2018.

Dallat, Treanor and McGee think we are all stupid!!!



Daily Mail Thursday 25th April 2019

Qantas has cut Cardinal George Pell from its Chairman’s Lounge – described as ‘the most exclusive club in Australia’ – as he laungishes in jail for molesting choirboys.
For years Pell had been able to hobnob with movie stars, prime ministers and captains of industry while enjoying fine dining and expensive wines on the airline.
The Chairman’s Lounge is an invitation-only club for favoured Qantas customers who are treated to pre-flight massages, seat upgrades and personal service at all times.
Members, who do not pay any fees, simply call it ‘CL’.
It is so exclusive that Qantas will not confirm who is a member, how they are chosen or even how many members there are.

Qantas has cut Cardinal George Pell from its exclusive Chairman’s Lounge, described as ‘the most exclusive club in Australia’ as he languishes in jail for molesting choirboys in the 1990s

Designer furniture and leather lounges adorn the Chairman’s Lounges in each of Australia’s major airports, with top-shelf liquor and five-star food available. Pictured is the Sydney lounge

Pell was jailed in March for three years and eight months after being found guilty of one charge of sexual penetration of a child under 16 years and four charges of committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child.
The offences were committed against two 13-year-old choirboys in the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996 when Pell was the newly-ordained Archbishop of Melbourne.
Pell, the third most senior cleric in the Catholic Church, has always denied the offences and has appealed against the convictions.
Qantas would not comment on the 77-year-old’s Chairman’s Lounge status but it was confirmed to Daily Mail Australia by independent sources he is no longer a member.
It is not known exactly when Qantas cut Pell’s privileges but airline insiders say Chairman’s Lounge membership is largely about ‘commercial relationships’ and a flyer’s expenditure.
The man formerly known as the Vatican’s treasurer will certainly not be flying anywhere for a while.
Losing his Chairman’s Lounge membership is another indignity for Australia’s most reviled clergyman.
After his convictions Pell was stripped of an honorary position as vice patron of the Richmond Football Club which he had held since 1997.

No need for public announcements: A Chairman’s Lounge host will walk up to a member and quietly inform them when their flight is ready to board. Pictured is the lounge in Melbourne

Qantas ambassadors such as Hugh Jackman and John Travolta are members of the Chairman’s Lounge, as are several high-profile media identities. Membership extends to partners

St Patrick’s College in Ballarat, where Pell boarded through the 1950s, removed his name from a building and dropped him as a ‘legend of the school’.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated Pell would be stripped of his Companion of the Order of Australia, an honour granted in 2005, if he loses his appeal.

While Qantas does not reveal exactly how Chairman’s Lounge membership is bestowed, among its beneficiaries are politicians, judges and the chairs and chief executives of companies with major Qantas corporate accounts.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce once told Australian Business Traveller the Chairman’s Lounge was ‘probably the most exclusive club in the country.’
‘Membership is very sought after and it’s a great asset for Qantas to utilise for our commercial endeavours,’ Mr Joyce said.
Frequent flyer points will get customers benefits up to Platinum One status but will not gain entry to the Chairman’s Lounge.
It is assumed most or all federal MPs are invited to join, as are state premiers, the heads of major unions and the occasional senior cleric such as Pell.

‘Membership is very sought after and it’s a great asset for Qantas to utilise for our commercial endeavours,’ said Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce. Pictured is the lounge in Sydney

Qantas ambassadors such as Hugh Jackman and John Travolta are members, as are several high-profile media identities. Membership extends to partners.
Independent senator Fraser Anning said he had been stripped of his Chairman’s Lounge membership after he was censured by parliament for blaming Muslims for the Christchurch massacre.
Senator Anning had claimed immigration of ‘Muslim fanatics’ led to a white supremacist murdering 50 worshipers in two mosques on March 15 and that ‘while Muslims may have been victims today, usually they are the perpetrators.’

The Qantas chairman, currently Richard Goyder, signs off on two-year memberships to the lounge but there is a perception the Irish-born Catholic Mr Joyce controls who gets in the door.
Members are issued with a matte black card which can also give them priority treatment in other parts of airports such as at security scanners.
There are lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.
All are hidden behind smoked glass doors and are usually located near other Qantas lounges.
Inside, the bar opens early and flows freely with champagne and boutique beers.
There is an a la carte menu with table service and for some time the most popular meal has reportedly been the salt and pepper calamari with hot green sauce.
Helpful staff personally inform customers when their flight is ready – there is no need for public announcements.
One member told Business Insider: ‘It’s more like a retreat than anything else.’
Pell’s appeal against his conviction will be heard in June.

George Pell was jailed in March for three years and eight months for sexual penetration of a child under 16 years and committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child.


Currently George Pell is, in the view of the law, a convicted paedophile and sex offender.

That may/may not change at his appeal.

The kind of people who patronise exclusive airport lounges would want to share their space with a sex offender.

It just shows you that when you fall from favour and grace people do not want want to know you any longer.

Of course if there is any possibility that Pell is innocent (I don’t believe he is) he is entitled to full due process..

At the moment being banned from airport lounges is the least of hus problems.

He might soon find himself a “layman”.



New Ways Ministry
24/04/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 24/04/2019 05:57


Fr. Pierre Valkering at the Mass where he came out as gay and announced his book
A Dutch bishop is refusing, at least temporarily, to speak to a priest of his diocese who came out as gay this spring. Meanwhile, the priest has written a letter to the bishop, to parishioners, and to others in the Church further explaining his decision to come out and to publish a book on his experiences.


Responding to Fr. Pierre Valkering’s coming out last month, the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam said Bishop Jos Punt would not meet with the priest until he has ‘finished his media campaign.’ The suspension of his priestly faculties would likewise remain in place until Valkering was, according to the diocese, ‘truly repentant’ and sought to ‘repair the damage he has done.’
Valkering’s coming out, coupled with the publication of a book in which the priest describes his experiences as a one-time sexually active gay priest, led to the suspension in late March.
To further explain his position, the priest posted a letter online to the bishop, parishioners, and others in the Church. He acknowledged that the book’s publicity came largely from his admission that he had had sexual encounters and relationships in earlier years. These items can be ‘confronting and shocking,’ he wrote, and could contribute to gay-negative stereotypes that provoke judgement. But Valkering clarified that he was now living a celibate life, and ‘would like to devote myself to it with all my heart, releasing everything which does not contribute to that.’
The real problem, according to Valkering, is the culture of untruthfulness which functions in the Church. He wrote:
‘What has become visible in my life has, in my opinion, everything to do with and is partly a symptom of ways of thinking and doing. . . I myself have clearly been untrue but untruthful is actually encouraged by how the church often ‘works.’ Because in order to be able to continue to cherish a certain ideal image of church and priesthood, so when the reality and truth of the lives of homosexual people and certainly those of homosexual priests is brought to light it is considered problematic. That reality and truth is often not or hardly allowed and would rather be left in the dark and withheld.’
This culture is, according to Valkering, what led him down mistaken paths. But now he stands ‘in the light and in the truth’ with his book, such that he is entirely transparent about his life. And it is precisely that openness which prompted such a stern and swift reaction on Bishop Punt’s part. In a secretive, clerical culture, Valkering writes that ‘openness becomes tackled, stealth is rewarded.’
Concluding his letter, Valkering said the pain caused by the events surrounding his coming out and book are hopefully leading the Church to ’emerge stronger and better’ together. In his own life, being open and authentic about his sexual identity and his life is ‘substantially better’ than before. But he apologized as well for ‘what I have done in His and in your eyes’ before ending with an appeal for Punt to reinstate him for Holy Week celebrations.
When news of Valkering’s coming out and book first appeared earlier this month, there were questions about whether or not he was presently committed to celibacy, which could help determine if the suspension was justified or not. Opinions from Bondings 2.0 readers and other observers were mixed. But these latest developments reveal a deeply unjust situation. Bishop Punt’s refusal to meet with a priest he is charged to support is unnecessarily disrespectful. Perhaps the bishop believes the suspension is pastorally necessary or in the priest’s best interests. We cannot know his intentions. But from the outside, the refusal to dialogue appears to be simply punitive.
Valkering’s honesty and authenticity are gifts to the Church. His courageous witness and the witnesses of other openly gay priests are precisely what a deeply broken Church strangled by clericalism, homophobia, and criminality needs. Catholics must stand with our beloved gay priests when they are unjustly treated by Church leaders like Bishop Punt.
Here are two ways you can stand with gay priests:
1. Spread the Wordabout New Ways Ministry’s upcoming retreat for gay priests, bishops, religious, and deacons, ‘All Are Welcome. Are All Welcome?’ with Fr. Peter Daly. Over the course of this retreat, attendees will be looking at a variety of questions pertinent to this moment in the Church, such as ‘Is my ministry welcomed by our church?’ The retreat is designed to assist attendees in developing better self-understanding, spirituality, friendships, and relationship with the institutional Church. For more information or to register, click here.
2. Sign ‘The Gift of Gay Priests Vocations,’ a campaign by New Ways Ministry to show our support for gay clergy and vowed religious who faithfully, dutifully, and effectively served the People of God and to call on church leaders to end the falsehoods about and lift the ban on gay priests. To add your name to this show of gratitude and solidarity, click here.
-Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, April 24, 2019




Father Conor McCarthy, ordained in 2015 for Down and Connor and curate of Larne is rumoured to be planning a marriage soon.

The “bride” to be is another young gentleman according to talk circulating in clerical circles?.

Its quite sad and disappointing that a priest so recently ordained is leaving.

It also brings into question the effeciency of those involved in priestly formation that someone so recently out of the seminary finds himself unsuited to the priesthood.

Conor was appointed to Larne where I live and was sharing a house with a priest in his 70s who could not be accurately described as a party lover.

The parochial house looks like a morgue and there seldom a light on or any sign of life.

I don’t know what Noel Treanor was thinking when he sent a newly ordained priest, fresh out of a seminary community to a premises with the ambience of an old person’s home!

But our old friend Treanor gives the impression that he does not care and does not have a clue!





The Blog has received a report that Father Ciaran Dallat who made one of his parishioners pregnant has been in to St. Louise’s Comprehensive College on the Falls Road to engage is some kind of pastoral work?

Father Dallat made one of his Sacred Heart Parish parishioners pregnant and left her to cope with a miscarriage while he went out for dinner.

After a short time “off the mission” Noel Treanor made his chaplain to Maghaberry Men’s Prison near Lisburn in Co. Antrim.

Since he went there he has been keeping a low profile – organising a prisoner’s choir.

A school source say that he has visited St. Louise’s in recent times for pastoral occasions.

St. Louise’s is one of the biggest schools in the UK attended by 1500 + GIRLS.

Does Noel Treanor know that Father Dallat is involved in St. Louise’s?

The talk among the clergy is that Treanor wants Dallat to return to a parish this year as there are five PPs retiring and one young PP is seriously ill.

In spite of the priest shortage in D&C Treanor still has priests fulfilling office roles – jobs that could be perfectly done by qualified lay people.

It seems that Treanor likes having a clerical court around him.


St Louise’s College is celebrating its 60thAnniversary this year. Mass was held to commemorate the prestigious college’s Diamond Jubilee at St Peter’s Cathedral on Thursday 13 September.

The Mass, celebrated by Father Ciaran Dallatt and assisted by Father Martin Graham, was attended by all current staff, members of the Board of Governors, a representational body of students as well as past members of staff.

Principal, Miss Mary McHenry, paid tribute to the generations of former colleagues, Governors, parents and students who, under the inspirational leadership of Sister Ita, Sister Genevieve and Sister Rosaleen, and in 2005, Mrs McCartan, created a Catholic, Vincentian, Comprehensive College recognised as a centre of excellence for all.

Former A’Level Art student, Leah Davis (pictured below), painted an interpretive portrait of the college’s patron saint, St Louise de Marillac, to commemorate the occasion.

Congratulations St Louise’s and may you continue to be a centre of excellence for future generations.






Contributed by reader. Author/Outlet not specified.

“More on Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican: The Dark Heart of Martel’s Story — Corruption of Pretend Heterosexuality Coupled with Abominable Treatment of Queer People


I have now made my way about halfway through Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican, trans. Shaun Whiteside (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), and am finding the book grim going. It’s, as many commentators have noted, eye-popping, and overwhelming in the detail with which it tells — and documents — its story of corruption. To quote Mary Oliver in her poem “The Chance to Love Everything,” this is for me the dark heart of the story here: it’s a story of incredible corruption running through the governing structures and clerical culture of a major Christian institution, a story that does a very convincing job, I think, of rooting that corruption genetically in the intense homophobia of the governing elite of this institution.
This passage leaps out at me:

It was when I met the cardinals, bishops and priests who worked with him that I discovered the hidden side – the dark side – of his very long pontificate. A pope surrounded by plotters, thugs, a majority of closeted homosexuals, who were homophobes in public, not to mention all those who protected paedophile priests.
“Paul VI had condemned homosexuality, but it was only with the arrival of John Paul II that a veritable war was waged against gays,” I was told by a Curia priest who worked at John Paul II’s ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Irony of history: most of the players in this boundless campaign against homosexuals were homosexual themselves” (p. 194).

This is an important passage, it seems to me. Due to the intense adulation of many media folks of the rock-star pope John Paul II, few commentators have been willing to touch the corruption that surrounded him in his papal court — and the quite specific source of that corruption in the intense, vicious homophobia of many of the corrupt men surrounding John Paul II, who themselves had homosexual secrets in many cases.

While hiding those homosexual secrets, they chose to mount war against the queer community, combating its rights, scapegoating LGBT people — especially for the abuse crisis in the church — and targeting theologians calling for compassionate outreach to queer people.

So much of the corruption in the church right now is rooted in this historical matrix of the papacy of St. John Paul the Great — though it may take many years before people who are no longer blinded by the rock-star glitz of that image-savvy pope to recognize this.

And then there’s this grimly funny passage in Martel’s book:

For conservatives, lending credence to Viganò’s testament meant shooting themselves in the foot, while at the same time risking involvement in a civil war where any means were permitted. There are probably more closeted homosexuals on the right than on the left of the Church, and the boomerang effect would be devastating (p. 52).

Homophobic hard-right Catholics were initially deliriously happy that Viganò was bashing the gays and exposing the gays inside the hierarchy.

Then they realized that the gays included them and their heroes, and they had walked into a trap.

Bash McCarrick, and you immediately have to confront the fact that St. John Paul the Great elevated him to powerful positions — having received reports, we now know, about McCarrick’s sexual propensitiies and activities.

It’s hard to bash the gays in the church when you have people like Raymond Burke at your helm, and when your papal heroes — St. John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI — were surrounded by gobs and gobs of right-wing gay hierarchs.

The commentary of Louis Cornellier in his essay about Martel’s book “L’Église survivra-t-elle à Sodome?”seems to me right on target. Cornellier writes,

[Martel writes,] “Derrière la majorité des affaires d’abus sexuels, suggère-t-il, se trouvent des prêtres et des évêques qui ont protégé les agresseurs en raison de leur propre homosexualité et par peur qu’elle puisse être révélée en cas de scandale. La culture du secret qui était nécessaire pour maintenir le silence sur la forte prévalence de l’homosexualité dans l’Église a permis aux abus sexuels d’être cachés et aux prédateurs d’agir.”
Martel montre même que cette culture du silence, à son apogée sous les règnes de Jean-Paul II et de Benoît XVI, explique en partie une foule de malversations financières vaticanes, les compromissions de divers cardinaux avec les dictatures argentine, chilienne et cubaine et la répression de la théologie de la libération dont les grandes figures, note Martel, ‘étaient des religieux manifestement non gays’ alors que leurs adversaires ‘étaient, eux, des homophiles ou des homosexuels pratiquants.

[My rough translation: “Behind the majority of cases of sexual abuse, he (a priest interviewed by Martel) suggests, can be found priests and bishops who have protected the abusers due to their own homosexuality and out of fear that it might be revealed as scandal. The culture of secrecy that has been necessary for maintaining silence about the overweening prevalence of homosexuality in the church has permitted sexual abuse cases to be kept hidden and predators to prey.”

Martel shows, even, that this culture of silence, at its zenith in the papal reigns of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, helps in part to explain a plethora of embezzlement cases in the Vatican, the compromised behavior of several cardinals involved with dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, and Cuba, and the repression of liberation theology, the chief promoters of which, Martel notes, “were religious who were manifestly not gay,” while their adversaries “were themselves homophlies or practicing homosexuals.”]

It’s not the corruption of homosexuality itself, then. It’s not, as we’ve been told for far too long by these very same people in the bosom of the church, the (non-existent) corruption of having a homosexual sexual orientation, of having been shaped queer by God’s hands.

It’s the corruption of pretend heterosexuality coupled with abominable treatment of queer people — all engineered by homosexual clerics posturing as heterosexual — that’s the very dark heart of the corruption within the Catholic institution. So much of the corruption — real corruption, as in Vatican financial shenanigans and policies throwing progressive priests in Latin America to murderous wolves — begins with this dark heart of the story.

While people’s attention has been diverted to the non-existent corruption of simply having a gay sexual orientation, real, toxic corruption has spread through the Catholic institution as closeted, hateful gay clerics have attacked open, self-accepting gay people, while pretending to uphold and live by moral rules they themselves do not live by at all, those mounting these ugly attacks.

And here’s the nadir of this approach to being Catholic at this point in history:

His [Marcial Maciel’s] way of life was also highly unusual for the times – and for a priest. This father – who showed absolute humility in public, and great modesty on all occasions – lived privately in an armoured apartment, stayed in luxury hotels on his foreign travels and drove incredibly expensive sports cars. He also had false identities, kept two women by whom he would have at least six children, and had no hesitation in abusing his own sons, two of whom have since registered complaints against him.
In Rome, where he went often in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, he was welcomed as a humble servant of the Church by Paul VI and as a guest star by his “personal friend” John Paul II (p. 234).

Put the title “Saint” in front of John Paul’s name here, and you’ll see starkly what I mean by corruption running through the Catholic institution, but especially its clerical club — corruption directly related to the attempt to stigmatize as corrupt every human being in the world shaped queer by God’s hands. While the very persons disseminating that toxic message making queer people susceptible to scorn and violence are tightly guarding their own homosexual secrets ….”


At the 60th anniversary Mass for St. Louises in St. Peters Cathedral the principal addressed the congregation and said:

“Bishop Treanor could not be here today so our school chaplain Fr. Dallat will celebrate the Mass”.

So the principal of St. Louises introduced Dallat as the school chaplain.

The Down and Connor press officer Fr. Eddie McGee issued a statement saying that Dallat was not the chaplain and yet he concelebrated the St. Louises Mass!!!

Down and Connor is trying to hide Dallats presence in the school.

There is a bigger scandal behind what’s happenung.

It involves a female!





“Pat, an honest question to learn from the past. What should the church have done to prepare for the sexual revolution which has left a huge percentage of children born into instability and the killing of babies now used as contraception? At the time with their understanding what should they have done”?


I’m not too sure if many people or organisations foresaw the coming of the sexual revolution. And if the RC church foresaw it they would have been condemning it as sinful.

I think the topic is best addressed from the point of view of the RC church’s views and teachings on human sexuality and how it reacted to the sexual revolution.

The Roman Catholic church has always had a flat earth approach to human sexuality – regarding it as bad and sinful and only necessary for human procreation.

It talked about the sexual imagination as being sinful and impure thoughts.

It talked about masturbation as “self pollution” and being a serious enough sin to bring you for hell for doing it once.

It talked about sex before marriage as being a mortal sin and that’s why its priests policed dance halls and rural ditches with the blackthorn stick.

It talked about homosexuality as being unnatural, against the natural law, gravely sinful and indeed a mental illness or disorder.


It regarded women giving birth as being “dirty” and as such a woman had to be “churched” after a birth to be cleansed before she could return to Mass and communion.

It regarded contraception as a mortal sin.

It regarded being sterilized or having “the snip” as being gravely sinful.

It sent pregnant girls and young women to be “imprisoned” in prisons policed by wicked and sexually frustrated nuns.


It ran homes for boys policed by priests and Christian brothers who beat them within an inch of their lives and then raped them.

Archbishop John Charles McQuaid reprimanded newspaper editors for printing adds selling women’s underwear where the outline of the women’s genitalia – the “mons veneris” was visible or semi visible.

Etc, etc, etc.

You might then go on to say that the sexual revolution was necessary because of views and teachings of the RC church and other bodies and societies like it.

There is little or no hope of these RC teachings changing anytime soon – and that does not really matter as they are becoming more and more irrelevant in our lives. 

People have copped on to the RC crowd and they are more and more regarded as corrupt beyond redemption. Jesus himself could not redeem them because they do not see the need for their redemption. In fact they see themselves as having the keys of redemption. Its like Satan thinking he is god!


So let us concentrate on ourselves and our own morality in the context of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

This leads us to see that:

  1. The body is God’s creation as is our soul.
  2.  The body is good – not dirty.
  3.  Sex is good as it was God who created it.
  4.  Sex is for pleasure – and even “recreation” as well as for the passing on of life.
  5.  Homosexuality is a perfectly normal sexual orientation.
  6.  Sex is always good when it is used to convey love and is only wrong when it is the use and abuse of another person.
  7.  Masturbation is perfectly normal. It relieves stress and frustration and in fact the more ejaculations a man has the less chances he has of developing cancer of the prostate.
  8. Contraception is a medical and societal matter and is a matter between the two people using it.
  9. Sterilization and having the snip is a matter for individuals, couples and their doctors. 
  10.  I do not think that abortion is ever a “good”. In certain cases it can be the lesser of two evils.

Many of us who grew up brainwashed into having a negative attitude to our sexuality by popes, bishops, priests, brothers and nuns are in NEED of our own sexual revolution.

We need to integrate our sexuality and our spirituality.

We also need a sense of humour – even about our sexuality. On one occasion Woody Allen was asked if masturbation was a sin. He answered: “Only if its not done properly”.






By Deirdre Finnerty

The walls were high and the wrought-iron gates opened on to a long, winding avenue.
At end was a once-grand three-storey Georgian mansion in one of the better-off, sleepy suburbs of Cork city.
It was 1960, and Bridget arrived with a single suitcase and a rose-pink coat with a belt. She felt immediately uneasy.
“Everything was hidden from the outside, surrounded by shrubbery and trees. People couldn’t see in.”
Once through the door, her clothes, her savings book, her small stud earrings and her bracelet were taken from her. She was given a uniform – clogs and a starched denim dress.
Bridget – like the other arrivals – was told not to speak about her life outside. All of them were given a different name. Hers was Alma – but she couldn’t get used to it.
None of the girls had committed any crime. But they had two things in common.
They were all unmarried and they were all pregnant.At Bessborough, the long rooms of the girls’ quarters were on the top floor, looking out towards the cemetery.
The nuns called them all “girls”, but in truth the residents were anything from 13 to 30.
Bridget was 17 when she arrived. She was there because she had sinned, or so the nuns told her, by falling pregnant.
This was a mother and baby home, not a prison. Legally, Bridget and the other girls could have left at any time.
But in practice it wasn’t as simple as that. Any girl who ran away might find themselves rounded up by the police. And in any case, for the vast majority there was just nowhere else for them to go.
Each girl admitted to the home knew they would give birth there and stay until their baby was adopted – as long as three years.
They weren’t allowed outside except for short walks around the grounds and they had to be accompanied.
They were all given jobs. Some worked in the kitchens or in the red-bricked laundry building.
Bridget worked nights in a small room off the labour ward. Even in the quieter times, there was little chance to rest.
“We had to scrub the passageway… a massive wide passage with multi-coloured tiles on it.”
Occasionally she fed babies in a nursery lined with rows of cots. Another nursery held toddlers up until the age of three.
Bridget and the other girls were only allowed to spend about 30 minutes with each child. She doesn’t remember any toys.
“Some of the babies, they’d still hold their hands out. They didn’t want you to let go of them.”Nuns and children at BessboroughWhen a new girl arrived the others would quiz her about what was in the papers, desperate for some connection with life outside.
There were no calendars. All the days merged into one – an anxious wait for the birth and then for the inevitable separation from their children.
The girls signed release forms to allow for the adoptions but they were under overwhelming pressure to do so. They knew they couldn’t return to their families with their babies.
Joan, who worked in the kitchen, showed Bridget her toddler. He had a rash on his face and every day she prayed it wouldn’t heal in the hope that would stop him being adopted.
Another mother, Josie, showed off the intricate cardigans she was making for a small, dark-haired child. The little girl, who now goes by the name Mari Steed, went on to be adopted by a Catholic family in the US.Mari Steed as a toddler (left)June Goulding, a midwife who worked there in 1951, describes in her memoir the procedure for handing over the children.
Without warning, babies and toddlers would be washed and dressed up in new clothes and given to their mothers.
They would walk down a long passageway to a door that opened on to the nuns’ quarters where the children would be taken from their arms.
“The girls stood at the doorways watching this heartrending scene and the mother’s uncontrolled crying could be heard all along that long corridor,” wrote June Goulding.
“I witnessed the horrific ritual that would be repeated for each and every mother and baby in this hellhole.”Escaping to EnglandJust a few months earlier, Bridget had been a teenager in love. They were dancehall sweethearts.
He was a boy from Tipperary and 10 years older. At the weekends she would cycle five or six miles to the nearest dance to see him. “My first love. God, my first lesson in life. I thought he was lovely.”
Bridget was working as a cook in a big house for a racehorse-owning family outside Clonmel, the largest town in the county.
Most girls her age didn’t know the basic facts about sex and relationships. Contraception was illegal. Catholic leaflets encouraged girls to avoid kissing. It was a conservative time.
The Country Girls, Edna O’Brien’s novel about the love lives of two young women, had been banned by the Irish censor, publicly burned and dismissed as “filth”.
“I didn’t know anything about babies,” says Bridget. So when she began to feel unwell, and guessed that she might be pregnant, she had no idea what to do.
Abortion was out of the question. It was against the law and destined to remain so until 2018. But having a child out of wedlock was also a scandal.
“It was worse than murder in those days. It really was an appalling crime,” Bridget remembers.
For unmarried mothers, renting a flat or holding down a job wasn’t an option. There were no state allowances for women raising children alone.
And those children faced the stigma of being “illegitimate”, whispered about and judged by the community.
There was one way out.
Agencies like Miss Brophy’s International Bureau offered Irish girls live-in domestic jobs in the UK. All fares were paid. A girl could set off almost immediately.To Bridget, it seemed like the perfect solution. She would be gone before anyone figured out what was wrong.
Within a few weeks she had a job with a family in Golders Green in north London.
She hadn’t told her boyfriend yet, but she felt sure he would follow her to England. In the event, she never heard from him again.
Bridget barely remembers what life was like with the family. But she felt anxious all the time.
She had escaped Ireland but she hadn’t escaped her feelings of shame and guilt. She needed to speak to someone, she couldn’t keep this secret bottled up.
“I was desperate, absolutely desperate,” she says.
Bridget went to confession at a Catholic church and left feeling relieved.
The priest had told there was a way she could get help. There were people she could talk to, who would understand her predicament. He gave her an address.Piccadilly Circus, London, circa 1960Young pregnant women like Bridget had been escaping to London and other big English cities for years.
There was still stigma in England around “illegitimate” children – and there were mother and baby homes, albeit with less punitive regimes. But Irish women could enjoy a level of anonymity in England that would have been impossible back home.
But there was always disquiet.
In 1936, the journalist Gertrude Gaffney wrote about the “dance hall evil”. “All concerned feel it unfair that they in England should be saddled with the expense and worry of them,” she wrote in the Irish Independent.
By 1955, London County Council had so many Irish babies left in their care that a dedicated children’s officer was appointed to spend six months each year in Ireland to try to find homes for them.
Social workers were said to have used the acronym PFI (pregnant from Ireland).
But there were Catholic charities in England which had a solution. Bridget had been given the address of the Catholic Crusade of Rescue in west London.
A repatriation scheme for women and girls in her situation had been set up in the 1930s by the Irish government, according to Lindsey Earner Byrne, lecturer in modern history at University College Dublin.
One motive was to stop babies from being adopted into non-Catholic families.
Catholic charities in the UK went to great lengths to persuade, and sometimes even coerce, young women to return home.
With no money, no friends and no support, Bridget felt like she had no choice.
In 1960, 113 Irish women were sent back, according to an Irish charity that collated figures in its annual reports. Bridget was one of them.
She was told that a woman wearing a white armband would meet her on the boat, and men in a black car would meet her at the harbour when she arrived.
“I didn’t suspect anything, what eventually happened. Not at all.”
It was a sunny day in August and she was on her way to Bessborough.WilliamThere were punishments at Bessborough. Bridget was made to stand in the corner for hours while heavily pregnant.
Her baby came three weeks early. Her waters broke in the middle of the night and she was shivering with cold.
It was dark. Another girl guided her down to the labour ward.
There was no pain relief and no kind words. Bridget’s baby boy was born on the third day of labour. She was exhausted but loved him immediately.
“I still see him. His eyes were looking around. Very inquisitive, beautiful, perfect baby, blonde, blue eyes and he sort of had hair as if it was combed beautifully.”
Bridget knew she would not be able to keep her son.
She wanted to call him William, a less common name in Ireland at the time. She thought it would be easier for her to trace him later.
But the nuns said Gerard was a more appropriate Catholic name for would-be adoptive parents. In the end, Gerard William was what went on the birth certificate.
For the first couple of days he was feeding well. But on the third day he had difficulty swallowing and started to get sick. So did Bridget.
William’s health worsened and the other girls told her he had been put in the “dying room”.
Bridget’s own health deteriorated too. She says she didn’t receive any medication.
She begged the nuns to send for a doctor for William. They told her he had a congenital defect but Bridget has always believed this wasn’t the case.
“Things stay in your memory that you cannot forget. He was a fighter – a good strong healthy baby, if he had got the proper treatment.”
But she says it took a further 16 days for William to be sent to hospital. He died less than three weeks after that.
Bridget didn’t get to see him. She says she wasn’t told where he was buried or anything more about what had happened.She left the home just a week after William’s death. With no baby to give up for adoption, the home would no longer receive state funding for her.
Bridget remembers being very weak, and hampered by an abscess in her leg where she had been injected. But she knew she would have to find work quickly.
“There was nobody you could talk to about this, absolutely nobody. You had to keep working.”
Bridget didn’t want to admit to her family, who still thought she was in London, what had happened.
She decided to return to London and quickly found another job.
Emigrating, she says, was a lifeline after all she had been through. She went to the library and read all the books that were banned in Ireland.
Bridget married and had three daughters, and got on with a new life.The scandalsBridget’s story is not an isolated tragedy. Her experience was repeated at at least 17 other homes, affecting thousands of women across the country.
In recent years Ireland has confronted the separate scandal of the Magdalene Laundries, institutions where “fallen women” were confined and used as forced labour.
Now the spotlight has moved on to the mother and baby homes.
Over the past two decades Irish investigative journalists have uncovered a string of allegations against the homes, and irregularities surrounding the adoption of thousands of Irish children to America in the 50s and 60s. The film Philomena, starring Judi Dench, intensified attention.
In 2014, a local historian went public with her theory that almost 800 babies could be buried in a septic tank at a former mother and baby home in Tuam in Galway.
The international outcry that followed forced the government to act, announcing a full-scale investigation into 18 homes across the country.
The accusations against the homes include:• Burying babies in unmarked and unrecorded graves
• Coercing women and girls to remain
• Poor medical care
• High mortality rates for babies
• Overwhelming pressure on mothers to allow babies to be adopted
• Emotional and physical abuse
• Illicit adoption; that babies were effectively “sold” to families in the US and elsewhere without proper procedures or consent
• Allowing medical trials without informed consent
• Use of dead babies in anatomical research
• Falsification of recordsSo why did Ireland end up with a system of mother and baby homes?
After independence from the UK in the 1920s, the new state had to decide how to deal with people needing government assistance.
The new government was also worried about sexual morality and unmarried mothers, says Lindsey Earner Byrne.
The Catholic Church had an important role in providing social services for the cash-strapped Irish state.
Officials called on religious orders to set up special homes to deal with unmarried mothers. These mother and baby homes received public funds and were inspected by the state.Bessborough was one of the first.
The house and its grounds were taken over by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1922.Nuns at BessboroughBy the 1930s the order was running two other homes.
Questions were occasionally asked about the regimes in these places. Bessborough was even shut down for a short period in the late 1940s by Ireland’s chief medical officer, after an investigation revealed that 100 babies out of 180 had died in a single year.
There were never legal powers to detain women in the homes, according to Earner Byrne. But official documents made the girls sound like criminals.
“First offenders” describes those pregnant outside marriage for the first time, often judged less harshly than “repeat offenders”, deemed to be “hardened sinners”.
In 1930, the matron in charge of Bessborough said that “a number of the girls are weak willed and have to be maintained in the Home for a long period to safeguard them against a second lapse”.
Many had been referred to the homes by priests or doctors, with the consent of their families, who banished them to institutions rather than risk the stigma of supporting them. Some entered of their own free will as they felt they had nowhere else to go.
It is estimated that somewhere between 7,000-10,000 mothers gave birth in Bessborough, according to journalist Conall O Fatharta who has followed the scandal closely.
Rights groups say that up to 90,000 unmarried women and girls had their babies forcibly taken from them since independence. The true figure will probably never be known.
Tuam, the most notorious of the homes, closed in 1961. Bessborough remained open until the late 1990s.Decades onCarmel is Bridget’s eldest daughter. After growing up in London, she ended up marrying an Irishman and moving to Cork in the early 1990s.
Their bungalow sits on a hilltop. As well as raising their own children, the couple have also fostered.
Standing on the crest of the hill, Carmel could look down on the lough and a well-kept 60-acre estate of an 18th Century mansion.
“I could have moved anywhere around the city in Cork… but I literally circle Bessborough about five, six times a day.”
She heard rumours about this place. But she could never have imagined she was looking down at a place of immense significance for her.Growing up, Carmel remembers her mother’s life as a flurry of activity – meetings and visits and social events. But she always had a sense that there was something in the background, something bothering her.
One morning in 1996, Bridget was visiting and, after being out all day, broke down in the kitchen. Carmel had never witnessed grief like it.
“She couldn’t speak to me, she couldn’t actually get the words out of her mouth to tell me.”
Carmel heard a secret family history. She had a brother who she never knew existed. But that brother was dead.
Thirty-five years on, her mother was still struggling to find the courage to try to uncover the truth.
“It was heartbreaking. She was helpless, she didn’t know what to do next.”
That day, Bridget had gone back to Bessborough but she couldn’t face knocking on the door. A couple of days later, she tried again, knocked on the door and asked the questions she’d always wanted to ask.
The sister, a short, stocky woman with cropped grey hair, took her into a small room lined with folders full of files. Eventually she found Bridget’s.
Then she led her down the avenue, on to a small path, towards a walled off area beside an old stone tower.
This was the Angels’ Plot – an area no more than 500 square feet. Small, plain metal crosses marked the graves of about two dozen nuns.
The sister tapped her foot on a small, unmarked patch of grass, about three-quarters of the way down on the right-hand side.
“Your baby is buried there,” she said confidently.
The nun told Bridget she wouldn’t be allowed to put a marker there to remember William.Decades after Bridget left Bessborough, the home was still taking in young women.
Deirdre Wadding always thought her family loved her unconditionally. But when she became pregnant as an 18-year-old university student in 1981, she couldn’t believe their reaction.
Her mother, who had always been caring and approving, suddenly became cold and distant, a stranger to her.
“That trauma has never quite left me. I was filled with shame and guilt.”Deirdre WaddingHer parents shipped Deirdre off to Bessborough. Arrangements were made so she could continue her teacher training studies while in the home.
Conditions had improved by the 1980s. The food was OK and there was better antenatal care. In the evenings the girls would watch TV in the dayroom. There was no uniform.
Deirdre says the girls could leave the grounds with permission – they could go for a walk to the local shop in the village if they liked. Some had private rooms.
But Bessborough still felt like its own little universe, a house of secrets cut off from the world outside.
Deirdre’s new name was Ciara. A cover story was concocted about her having been sent to hospital for tests. Letters were sent via forwarding addresses so no-one would find out where the residents really were.
For a while, Deirdre shared a room with a 13-year-old girl who sobbed herself to sleep at night.
Even in 1981 the social pressure exerted on girls like Deirdre was immense. It’s easy to understand why they would think there was no alternative but to stay there. Deirdre’s family made it clear she wouldn’t be able to stay in her family home.
She says she didn’t want to give her baby up for adoption, but didn’t feel like she had any choice.
“We believed we couldn’t leave there. If I had walked out that gate, there was nowhere I could have gone.
“That was the level of indoctrination, that was how society worked.”
When the cover story started to wear thin, Deirdre’s father rang the home to see if they could “speed things up”. Her baby was induced three weeks early. It was a difficult birth, a forceps delivery on a metal trolley.
When it was all over, she was delighted to see her son.
“He was utterly beautiful. I was just mesmerised, at the one time just besotted and in love and devastated and distraught.”
That was the last time she would see him for 19 years.
Unlike in Bridget’s time, women in the 1980s did not have to stay there until adoptive parents were found.
Deirdre’s parents collected her just three days after the birth. They left through the big oak doors as if nothing had happened.


This is a very sad story of decades of suffering and death presided over by Catholic church.

Jesus said: “By their fruits ye shall know them”.

What we read above are the fruits of a satanic level of evil.

Which pope was it said that the smoke of Satan had entered the church?

That was ONE infallible statement!



Christopher Lamb in Rome

New constitution means all work of the curia comes under a mission to evangelise, clipping wings of the powerful CDF

Pope proposes radical shakeup of the Roman Curia

Pope Francis greets Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, during the pope’s annual pre-Christmas meeting with officials of the Roman Curia and College of Cardinals
Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media

Pope Francis’ reforms of the Roman Curia will see the creation of a new “super ministry” dedicated to evangelisation that will take precedence over the once-powerful Vatican doctrinal body.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Holy Office of the Inquisition, is the oldest institution in the Curia and known as “La Suprema.” For years, it policed theologians, set out the red lines of Catholic doctrine and gave its rubber stamp to all major Vatican documents.

But according to Vida Nueva, the respected Spanish Catholic publication, the congregation will no longer hold the number one spot in the curia. Under Francis the CDF has already lost significant influence, and the new constitution formally sets out that it now comes under the new mission statement of spreading the Gospel.

The changes are contained in the new Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, Praedicate Evangelium (“Preach the Gospel”) drafted by the Pope and his council of cardinal advisers over the last five years, and which could be published on 29 June, the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul.

The whole thrust of the constitution puts evangelisation at the heart of the Roman Curia’s mission, meaning that every aspect of Catholicism’s civil service, must flow from this.

“Pope Francis always emphasises that the Church is missionary. That is why it is logical that in first place we have put the Dicastery for Evangelisation and not the Doctrine of the Faith,” Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the co-ordinator of the council of cardinals, told Vida Nueva for an article to be published in the magazine on Saturday and seen by The Tablet.

“In this way the Holy Father has sent a significant message of reform to the People of God.”

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, another member of the council of cardinals – which is now made up of six members – stressed that this new department will become the “first dicastery.”

He explained: “The key point in the new apostolic constitution is that the mission of the Church is evangelisation. It [the constitution] puts it [evangelisation] in the centre of the Church and of everything that the curia does. It will be the primary dicastery. The title of the text shows that evangelisation is the number one objective, taking priority over anything else.”

In practical terms, the super dicastery on evangelisation will come from a merger of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, set up by Benedict XVI in 2010 and the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, which oversees the Church in the old mission territories. Known as Propaganda Fidei it is a powerful part of the Curia with a large budget and influence over appointment of bishops. Its prefect is known as the “Papa Rossa” (“Red Pope”).

Another reform set out by the constitution includes the establishment of the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors as part of the curia which would give the Pope’s child protection body greater authority and make it more effective. One of the difficulties the commission has faced has been a lack of any legal status in the Vatican.

Along with its theological work, the CDF oversees the church trials of priests accused of clerical sexual abuse, although it is not clear how the protection of minors body will work with the doctrinal one on this matter.

Meanwhile, Vida Nueva reports that a new dicastery which carries out charitable works in the name of the Pope could also be created in the new constitution.

Francis has already bolstered the charitable office of the papal almoner by making its current incumbent, Konrad Krajewski, a cardinal, although his role is Rome-based and could be expanded. A department based on charity would also demonstrate that bringing the Gospel means words must be accompanied by actions.

“After evangelisation, has to come charity,” Cardinal Maradiaga said.

Founded in 1542, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was set up to spread “sound Catholic doctrine.”

Under the 23 year leadership of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI – it gained a reputation for investigating and disciplining theologians and played a major role in the Church’s internal doctrinal battles.

During the Francis pontificate, the investigations of theologians by the congregation have dried up and the CDF has taken a back seat under a pastoral Pope who wants doctrine applied to the Church’s mission rather than drifting into ideology.

But Cardinal Gerhard Muller, who served as prefect of the congregation under Francis until his dismissal in 2017, argued that his role meant he was responsible for “theologically structuring” the Francis papacy because the first Latin American Pope was “more pastoral.”

This, however, appeared to be an overstatement of his role given that up until 1965 Popes acted as prefects of the doctrine congregation, and it is the Roman Pontiff who has “supreme, full, immediate and universal” power in the Church.

Since his departure from office, Cardinal Muller has become one of Francis’ most outspoken critics.

The new constitution is set to underline the importance of the Vatican and the Roman Curia being at the service of the Pope and local churches, placing diocesan bishops on a par with the prefects of curial departments.

In the decades since the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which envisioned an enhanced role for local bishops and churches, there have been numerous complaints that some officials in the Roman Curia overreached their authority.

Rather than working with local bishops, in years gone by diocesan bishops found themselves being bossed around by Vatican officials, particularly when it came to questions of the liturgy and vexing doctrinal matters.

This Pope made the council’s reforms the guiding light of his pontificate, calling for a “cautious decentralisation” in the Church and handing greater powers to local bishops when it comes to liturgical translations.

The new constitution also envisages putting more laity into positions of leadership – something long talked about – and merging the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Congregation for Catholic Education into one body. There will no longer be distinctions between councils and congregations, which will be known as dicasteries.

But Cardinal Maradiaga made clear the reform has not just been about merging congregations: “the main objective is to underline the importance of lay people in the Church and for the Church.”

The new constitution makes clear that not only clerics need to be in charge of departments (currently there is one lay man in charge of Vatican dicastery – Paolo Ruffini, the prefect of the communications department).

There is also a possible downgrading in the influence of the role of the Secretariat for the Economy, once led by Cardinal George Pell.

Cardinal Pell, now in an Australian prison after being convicted for sexual abuse offences against children, had sought to make himself the “manager of the Holy See” on financial matters. But Vida Nueva reports that on the hierarchal flow chart it now comes under the major dicasteries.

The council of cardinals is due to discuss Praedicate Evangelium, which updates John Paul II’s 1988 constitution Pastor Bonus, during their meeting on 25-27 June.

While it is possible Praedicate Evangelium will be promulgated by the Pope on 29 June, the Feast of St Peter and St Paul, this could be delayed as bishops’ conferences across the world and the Roman Curia have been asked to offer feedback on the draft of the text. These need to be sent through by the end of May.

Significant changes to the text are not expected, as this is the final round of consultation.

“The Pope wanted a long process in which ideas could take off without leaving people behind,” Cardinal Gracias said.

After the new document is published the council of cardinals will continue to advise the Pope on reforms including an update on Canon Law and brainstorm new ideas on matters such as financial management and the role of women.

Cardinal Maradiaga told Vida Nueva that a synod of bishops could be called to apply the “practical ecclesiology” envisaged by the new constitution.

“The Holy Spirit continues to blow,” he said. “It does not take a siesta or go on holiday.


The Roman curia should be abolished as it consists of ambitious men who want position and promotion.

It is also a hotbed of corruption and promiscuous homosexuality.

The RCC should be decentralized with local churches having much more autonomy.

The world’s bishops should have more say and they themselves should be chosen by the priests and people of their diocese.



The Sexual Abuse Crisis is Not a Crisis

Far from being merely a tragic moment in the church’s history, sexual abuse and related cover-ups are the fruits of a systemic disorder in the church: toxic clericalism.

The clerical leadership of the Catholic church has been aware of sexual violation of minors and vulnerable adults for centuries. This tragic reality is a critical problem, even though it has been buried in secrecy. The secrecy ended in the mid-80s, when the media exposed the church’s cover-up of a prolific priest-perpetrator in Louisiana. Often referred to as a “crisis,” it is, in truth, not a crisis. It is something much worse. It is a worldwide manifestation of a complex, systemic and self-destructive condition in the church. It is giving us a view of today’s version of the Dark Side of the institutional church.

The hierarchy has been trying to fix what it considers a temporary problem for more than three decades with no real or lasting success. Despite the countless statements, programs, apologies, explanations and excuses provided by popes and bishops, the toxicity is still very much a part of today’s church. Essential to moving towards any healing is the real acceptance by the clerical estate that the church is not limited to the clergy and those enmeshed in ecclesiastical governance, but is what Vatican II called “The People of God,” of which the hierarchy is but a very small part. Much of the bumbling and even disastrous response thus far has been justified by those responsible as being “for the good of the church.” “Church,” however, has not meant what is best for the entire community of believers. Instead, it means what is best for the image, the reputation, the power and the financial security of the clerical elite. The persistent failure to make it all go away is akin to trying to fix a hardware problem with a software solution.

The gravity of the situation is acknowledged by the civil governments of several countries. This has been driven home in the US by the attorneys general of several states who have launched investigations into the dioceses in their respective jurisdictions. The revelations from the investigations here and in other countries make it quite clear that the problem is not rooted in the dysfunctional clerics who have violated countless vulnerable people. These violations are the tragic symptom of far more serious systemic deficiencies that have made it impossible for the hierarchy to fix what it sees as the problem. Even worse, the powerful influence of the celibate, clerical culture has made it impossible for those in authority to fully comprehend the horrific nature of this deeply rooted threat to the People of God. In short, this is not a crisis with a beginning and an end. The sexual abuse and the hierarchy’s response are glaring symptoms of deep flaws grounded in the nature of the institutional church.

Abuse survivors and countless others the world over have insisted, quite bluntly, that the pope and the bishops stop talking and do something. To date, the hierarchy has responded to this disaster just as they have to so many other crises that have challenged the Church: by having meetings, issuing statements and then having more meetings and issuing more statements. If the problem doesn’t go away, blame someone or something else. A good example of this: In his first public letter on clergy abuse, (June 11, 1993) Pope John Paul II blamed the American culture and secular journalists for treating moral evil “as an occasion for sensationalism.” Such an approach is not only useless, it makes a very bad situation worse.

The hierarchy regularly claims that because of the initiatives it has taken, there is no place safer for children and minors than the Catholic church. The reference is, of course, to the many programs and policies mandated for Catholic institutions that are supposed to provide training about sexual abuse, as well as vetting protocols to identify sexual predators. These all look to the present and the future. While it is true that church leaders have taken these steps, it is also true that they have been forced to do everything they have done. The single most glaring deficiency is the lack of any consistent pastoral care for victims and their families. The many expressions of regret, apologies, promises of change and assurances of deep concern for the victims have no meaningful impact. They have no impact because they are not followed up by sincere attempts to reach out to victims to help identify and respond to the emotional devastation, the betrayal of trust and the profound spiritual damage inflicted not only by the sexual violation itself, but also by the history of rejection and re-victimization by the official church. Victims scoff at the sainthood of Pope John Paul II with good reason. He not only never responded to any of the victims’ pleas, he never even acknowledged them. But far worse was his protection of one of the church’s worst offenders, the late Fr. Marsial Maciel DeGollado, founder of the Legion of Christ. There are many valiant priests and nuns providing very effective pastoral support, yet the church’s ordained leadership simply does not know how to deal with the people whom it has been instrumental in harming. Some would say the hierarchy doesn’t know how, and others argue that even if it did, it either can’t or won’t act.

Popes Benedict and Francis have done far more than John Paul II, but their efforts have clearly been deficient. What more is needed? What should the hierarchy do? What can the People of God do?

First, it is essential to acknowledge the most glaring aspects of causality. The clerical culture, or clericalism, is the most commonly identified contributor. This is a world set apart from the rest of society. It is sustained by the toxic belief that the ordained are not only set apart from lay people but superior to them. This belief fosters the narcissism and sense of entitlement so common among clerics. It also creates a detachment from children, family and the role of intimacy in life to the extent that many clerics simply cannot comprehend the devastation parents experience when their child is sexually violated. It creates, sustains and protects the deference that far too many clerics believe is their due. By the same token, far too many lay people continue to believe that this deference is part of their Catholic belief system. This erroneous thinking is at the root of the failure to demand accountability from the offending clerics and their superiors who protect them. Over the past three decades, the belief in clerical privilege and the related deference has not only been significantly weakened, it has also resulted in hostility towards the clergy and bishops in particular and hostility towards the church itself. Yet despite the dramatic changes in attitude towards the clerical world, the plague of clericalism is still alive and as destructive as ever, especially in certain cultures where the clergy are still protected by an alarming degree of magical thinking.

The clerical culture is protected by mandatory celibacy and the myth that it is universally practiced. This, of course, is dependent on the church’s traditional teaching on human sexuality. This teaching is dysfunctional, confusing and contradictory, and it must be seriously re-examined. Close studies of countless cleric-perpetrators show many to be psychosexually dysfunctional to a serious degree. The connection between the sexual teaching and attitudes they assimilated, and their aberrant behavior must be examined. And such an examination cannot possibly be substituted by the ridiculous conclusion that the entire problem has been caused because there are homosexuals among the clergy.

The more pressing issue is recognizing the systemic roots of the church’s response. This leads to the second necessary demand. “Systemic” means that there are causal factors embedded in the very nature of the church. The most glaring is the teaching on the nature of the priesthood. Countless victims have said they believed priests were closer to God, and many even believed priests took God’s place. This false belief results in what many refer to as the “soul murder” of the victims of Catholic clerics.

This traditional thinking, supported by John Paul II’s emphasis on the unproven theory that a man is ontologically changed at the moment of ordination, must be banished from the contemporary theology of the priesthood. Fifty years ago, the bishops at Vatican II fought to eliminate the public image of the “Church Triumphant” and to re-image priests and bishops not as members of a gilded aristocracy, but instead as humble pastors. This seemed to be catching on, but only for a brief moment. The Polish pontiff, much to the delight of numerous upper-level clerics, began to systematically deconstruct the post-conciliar expressions of the priesthood that placed the church’s ministers with and not above the people. This trend, known as “restorationism” seeks to return to pre-Vatican practices, customs, theologies and liturgy, all of which are heavily infused with the elaborate theology of the exclusivity of Catholicism in general and the orthodox clergy and supportive laity in particular. This is toxic clericalism in action. With predator priests being outed and even convicted and jailed on an increasing basis, sustaining the hope for a return to the gilded age of glorious clericalism is hardly going to happen. Nevertheless, there remain a significant number of clerics and lay people who firmly believe that once homosexual clerics and sex abusers are banished, the church will return to the security and glory of its former days. For some, homosexual clerics have become a convenient scapegoat for those too threatened to confront more systemic issues affecting the hierarchy.

The bishops run the Catholic church. The pope and his Vatican colleagues can issue decrees, laws and policy changes, but they mean little unless the bishops take them seriously. When Pope Benedict visited the United States in 2008, he directly addressed the bishops several times and bluntly told them of their duties:

“Rightly, you attach priority to showing compassionate care to victims. It is your God-given responsibility as pastors to bind up the wounds caused by every breach of trust, to foster healing, to promote reconciliation and to reach out with loving concern to those seriously wronged.”

He made these remarks to the U.S. bishops on April 16, 2008. The day before, during his flight to the US, he also said quite bluntly, “We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry. It is incompatible. Whoever is guilty of being a pedophile cannot be a priest.” It is safe to assume that in using the term “pedophile,” the pope was not speaking in the clinical sense, that is, referring to clerics who sexually violate pre-pubescent children, but rather to those who violate minors.

Pope Benedict gave the bishops a direct order to provide compassionate pastoral care to victims, an order mostly ignored to date. Yet pastoral care has been generously extended by the non-ordained members of the church and by those brave clerics who care more about Christ than career.

To Benedict’s words, add those of Pope Francis. Both pontiffs echo the theme of the bishops’ collective and individual obligation to reach out with loving concern to those harmed. These and similar papal admonitions, which certainly look like direct orders, have remained empty words, never seriously followed by the bishops because to do so poses too great a threat to the hierarchy’s top and really only priority: the security of the episcopal image and power and the neutralization of any threat to what is left of it. This speaks directly to the third essential demand, which concerns the office of bishops and the nature of the institutional church. Sexual abuse by clerics was a deep secret protected at all costs until the secular media set aside their deference for “the church” in favor of reporting truth. The bishops believed—and rightly so—that public knowledge of the extent of clergy abuse would cause scandal among the faithful, whom they wrongly believed could not handle it. The true scandal did not arise from the sexual violation of children and adults. The real scandal came from the bishops themselves through their efforts to hide the problem, then lie about it and finally try to shift the blame to any person, idea or practice they hoped it would stick to.

The third essential demand necessitates the deconstruction of the institutional church as a hierarchical system, given by God to Saint Peter and through which Catholics must pass to attain salvation. This construct depends on the bishops as the pillars of the church insofar as the church rests on them as successors of the original apostles. Protecting the church is the primary value, and by “church” is meant the bishops and their governmental system. Christ’s promise in Matthew 18:6 to those who cause one of his little ones to stumble has never been taken seriously. This step poses a massive threat to the entire hierarchy and to those whose lives and futures are intertwined with upward mobility on the hierarchical ladder. It obviously entails the dissolution of the counterproductive distinction between lay persons and clerics, a distinction that sustains the clerical subculture because it supports the deeply entrenched myth that clerics, simply because of ordination, are automatically superior to lay people. Even this attitude runs into a fundamental threat from a Gospel passage that easily proves its hypocrisy: Matthew 19: “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.”

The persistent teaching on the sacred nature of the institutional church and the clerical elite has provided abusive clerics easier access to potential victims. The belief in practice has meant that it is far worse to question or doubt a rapist who happened to be a cleric than it is to fight him off. Countless clerics took advantage of the false mythology surrounding priests by threatening their victims with God’s wrath should they reveal their “secret.” Some even assured victims this wrath would extend to their parents and loved ones. Far too many innocent victims were burdened with the irrational belief that the sexual assault was their fault, because “priests don’t sin.”

None of this would be possible if the common understanding of the priesthood, of priestly ministry and of the institutional church shook loose the triumphalistic and magical thinking and replaced it with a re-imaged priesthood, church leadership and the church itself in the context of Christ’s words about the community of believers.

These fundamental structural and attitudinal changes are essential, or the clergy abuse nightmare and others like it will keep recurring. People ask when it will be over because they hardly believe the bishops whose assurances have thus far fallen flat. It will be over when the system that created it loses its power. It will be over when the natural, unquestioned tendency of every cleric and lay Catholic, when informed of an incident of sexual abuse, thinks only of the impact on and welfare of the victim and his or her family.

These essential moves are part of a paradigmatic change, and that is dependent more on unfolding history than on verbalized demands. In the meantime, there exists a very real problem that has done unspeakable damage to countless innocent victims, their families, their friends and the people of God in general. The Holy See and the bishops have faced numerous suggestions and even demands for effective action. What they have done over the years has been only marginally effective, so it is time to consider more radical steps. In this regard, I wish to refer to the words of Marie Collins of Ireland. Collins is one of the wisest and most articulate voices for survivors. She served on the Papal Commission for the Protection of Children until she resigned because of the Vatican bureaucracy’s failure to avoid the temptation to interfere. She is also highly experienced and exceptionally courageous. Collins recently offered seven basic steps that need to be addressed at the upcoming papal convocation, if it hopes to have any lasting credibility.

The first condition impacts all others: Stop talking and do something! We have heard everything you have to say many times over. It changed nothing in the past and will change nothing now. Doing something is another matter:

1. Agree on a universal definition of child abuse with worldwide accountability.
2. Create a universal definition of zero tolerance and then apply it worldwide.
3. Change canon law so that it contains a realistic definition and narrative about sexual abuse of vulnerable adults.
4. Enact universal safeguarding standards to which every bishop will be held accountable.
5. Demand that every bishop commits in writing that he will abide by these standards.
6. Enact a universal set of action steps and practical plans to face abuse, which is criminal behavior, and every bishop must be held strictly accountable for enforcing this policy.
7. Effectively respond to clergy abuse, independent of involvement or interference by the Vatican bureaucracy.

The age-old presence of sexual violation by clerics is not a problem from outside the church. It is a terrible manifestation of serious deficiencies in aspects of the church that Catholics have come to believe are unchangeable because of their very nature. Yet Catholics, and especially clerics, must ask themselves if the terrible harm visited on God’s people because of these deficiencies can possibly justify behavior that Christ condemned. The community of believers is grounded in belief and faith in Jesus Christ, not in a man-made political construct the security of which depends on anti-Christian behavior.


We have here a thoughtful consideration of the basic problems confronting the RC church.

Tom Doyle is a wise and courageous priest who has stuck his put very publicly and has suffered for it.

Would that thete was a bit of Doyle in every priest and bishop.

A wise and Christ centred church wouldake him Pope woth one job to do – sort out the problems he has outlined above.



As seminary professors, we have looked upon the last several months of revelations about clergy sex abuse, cover-ups, and institutional infighting with the same disgust and sadness as our sisters and brothers—but we are not surprised. Though we honor and support the many good people who work and study in seminaries, we know that seminaries have played a significant role in the church’s current crisis. It is essential to understand how priests and thus, ultimately, bishops are formed, especially the way they are enculturated into clericalism from their first days in seminary. It is the air they breathe there.

Clericalism in seminary formation is explicitly singled out as a problem in the Synod on Youth’s final document, approved in late October 2018, and it affects everyone in the church—it is a systemic and widespread problem. While not new in church history, of course, it is a particularly pressing concern during this time of scandal. Pope Francis has repeatedly targeted clericalism as the great enemy of ordained ministry today. You can easily see the career-climbers he warns about in seminaries. If you want to learn how to work your way into the clerical caste, watch these men. They are learning Italian, wearing cufflinks and cassocks, and don’t at all mind being called “Father,” even though they are still in studies. Along with our colleagues in other formation programs, we have easily singled out seminarians with scarlet fever: while there may be few vocations to the priesthood, there are plenty of ambitious young men aiming for a bishop’s miter.

Clericalism can be thought of as a type of exceptionalism. Seminarians soon learn that the rules and standards, such as mastery of course material, do not really apply to them. As lay faculty members we have both been told, “You don’t vote on our advancement or ordination,” which falls just short of saying “so you don’t matter.” We have had discussions with seminarians who struggle with drinking or drugs and sexual activity that they commit or observe around them. Some are sexually harassed in the seminary, a problem that the case of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has brought to much needed attention. There are few consequences for any of this.

Seminarians know that, given the shortage of priests in the United States, it won’t be long after they’re ordained that they’ll be pastors with a parish of their own. We often heard conversations in the lunchroom that indicated as much: “When I’m pastor, I’m going to put my place on the map.” We heard very little talk of service or shared leadership, collegial relations with parish councils, or facilitating the talents of parishioners. The parish, it was clear, belonged to the pastor and not the people. Once, Cardinal Francis George explained to a group of seminarians in Chicago that Pope Benedict XVI stressed that the role of the priest and bishop was governance, not leadership. This was not unusual. Seminarians are fed a consistent message: their role is to rule over the laity and the religious as a result of their ontological change at ordination, not as a result of their virtue, knowledge, or model behavior. They are being trained to be autocratic bosses, not servant leaders.

One suggested reform, then, is to make an explicit effort to keep seminarians as the lay people they are. The goal of a seminarian’s path is ordination, but until ordination to the diaconate, that seminarian is a lay man. Why are they wearing cassocks and a Roman collar before then? When we asked that question of seminarians and priests on faculty, we were repeatedly told, “So they will get used to it.” Nonsense. This practice amounts to training in clerical condescension and strutting more often than not. It reinforces the hierarchy of vocations that still plagues the church—indicated by the way we say that a former priest is “reduced” to the lay state.

We believe a further step should be taken as well: seminaries should not be strictly and exclusively under the control of the bishop.

But an even more important reform in seminary education and, in turn, parish life, would be to mix men and women in classes. If that sounds radical, it is precisely what the Synod on Youth’s final document proposes: the joint formation of laity, consecrated religious, and priests.

Separating men and women can lead to hypermasculinity and a focus on the “otherness” of priests. This was especially fostered during John Paul II’s papacy, with its near-cult of the priesthood. It also contributes to a related problem nearly as long-standing as the structured church itself: institutional misogyny. We have witnessed seminarians going on and on about how they must keep custody of their eyes so as not to be tempted by women seeking to steal their celibacy. It is the modern version of the ancient Madonna-whore complex. It only takes a few minutes of observing these men in social situations to realize many have no idea how to interact professionally with women.

Mixing men and women, especially in classes, is good ecclesiology and good economics. Many seminaries have already realized that the law of supply and demand dictates that more attention needs to be paid to ministry programs for lay people. Professors cost money, so why not have one course section with one teacher teaching a mixed group of men and women? Given the number of adults who pursue advanced degrees and certificates, it makes no sense to reserve classes just for those who might end up ordained priests. A New Testament class is a New Testament class.

Having women and men sit side by side in formation programs also offers significant intellectual and spiritual benefits. Surely a woman’s voice in a classroom discussion of Scripture will expose a seminarian to ideas and perspectives not his own. And won’t that woman be interpreting, explaining, and applying Scripture in RCIA and other formation programs in her parish? Even in more specialized situations—say, a practicum in preaching and penance—wouldn’t it be helpful for seminarians to hear the perspectives of women as they consider what makes for an enriching homily, or as they prepare to encounter parishioners in the confessional and in sacramental preparation, especially for marriage?

A closed caste teaching a closed caste does nothing but further divide the church. Good priestly formation means men must learn to interact with lay men and women in healthy, professional, and respectful ways. This formation can start in classroom learning as fellow students. Seminary training should also deliberately include supervised apostolic experiences under a lay person’s authority. There must also be sisters along with married and single people teaching their specialties (and paid a living wage with medical benefits so that they can support a family).

This leads to another suggested reform: the professional opinions of religious sisters and lay professors, professionals, and supervisors must be taken into real account when voting on whether a seminarian will proceed in formation and eventually to ordination. Their input must be deliberative and not merely consultative—that is, it must really count. Moreover, a seminary’s board of trustees must have lay members who, again, have deliberative and not simply consultative votes that the bishop is free to ignore. It must be clear to the bishop that even if canon law says he can do what he wants, that may be a bad idea if all or most of the board and formation team vote against a candidate. The Synod on Youth’s final document recommends that women be on seminary formation teams. It does not specify whether or not they should be voting members, though the synod called for greater decision-making authority for women at all levels of the church.

We believe a further step should be taken as well: seminaries should not be strictly and exclusively under the control of the bishop. There needs to be a deliberative board consisting of members of the laity and religious that can regularly and independently audit the seminaries to ensure compliance with standards. Audits, assessments, and accreditations must be reported in a public forum so that people know whether the bishop or seminary is doing intellectual, spiritual, pastoral, and human formation properly. If the bishop fails to do as he should, his right to govern the seminaries needs to be taken away from him and given to a prudent person. If this sounds extreme, it is a paraphrase of canon 30 of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215):

It is very serious and absurd that prelates [bishops] of churches, when they can promote suitable men to ecclesiastical benefices, are not afraid to choose unworthy men who lack both learning and honesty of behavior and who follow the urgings of the flesh rather than the judgment of reason. Nobody of sound mind is ignorant of how much damage to churches arises from this…. Therefore he who has been found guilty after a first and second correction is to be suspended from conferring ecclesiastical benefices by the provincial council, and a prudent and honest person is to be appointed at the same council to make up for the suspended person’s failure.

The laity in every diocese should have a formal role in ending the practice of moving unfit men from seminary to seminary until they find one that will testify they are worthy of ordination. The synod’s final document warns specifically against wandering seminarians (seminaristi vaganti). There is a policy requiring a two-year period after a seminarian is formally dismissed before he can enter another program, but because seminaries rarely formally dismiss men, technically the rule is rarely violated. The failure to formally dismiss students allows bishops to move them immediately to other seminaries. In the eleventh century, St. Peter Damian declared that no priest is better than a bad priest, but today just the opposite sentiment seems to hold sway.

A final suggestion involves John Paul II’s 1992 apostolic exhortation on seminary formation, Pastores dabo vobis, which presents high standards in terms of admissions, behavior, and academics. Consider, however, that the current edition of the American bishops’ Program for Priestly Formation still states only that the admissions process “ought” to give sufficient attention to the emotional health of the applicants, that candidates “should” give evidence of having interiorized their seminary formation as evidenced by their ability to work with women and men, that seminarians “should not” be excused from pursuing accredited degrees, and that seminarians “should not” be advanced if they lack positive qualities for formation. Since bishops can and do offer dispensations from anything that is not mandatory, we maintain that those “oughts” and “shoulds” need to be turned to “musts”—and then firmly patrolled.

Make no mistake: seminaries made sense when they were created at the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century, but they are less than a quarter as old as the church itself. Their programs must not be set in stone, as unyielding as the fortresses where they are currently housed. Seminaries still have a role to play; they should not be abolished. But they should no longer be factories for clericalism, elitism, and misogyny, as they too often still are. It is long past time for fundamental reform.

C. Colt Anderson, is professor of Christian Spirituality at Fordham University. He taught at Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary (1999–2008) and Washington Theological Union, where he also served as the Vice President of Academic Affairs (2008–2012). He was a member of two seminary visitations in 2005. Christopher M. Bellitto, is professor of History at Kean University, and taught at New York’s St. Joseph’s Seminary/Dunwoodie and its lay Institute of Religious Studies (1995–2001). He was part of a contentious layoff of faculty at Dunwoodie