The Irish Examiner

BETWEEN 1914 and 1915, the Jewish Czech writer, Franz Kafka, wrote the mesmerising novel, The Trial.

Today, 100 years later, it illuminates the connection between bureaucracy and power.

In The Trial, a young bank official, Joseph K, is arrested for a crime that doesn’t seem to exist. He is taken to a quarry outside of his town and killed.

The word ‘Kafkaesque’ is overused by journalists, but it is appropriate in describing my experience when attempting to ‘excommunicate’ myself from the Catholic Church. Attempting to leave this immensely powerful organisation is like being locked in a crystal maze with no exit sign in sight.

Ostensibly, my official attempt to depart from Catholicism started last October. But the philosophical quest began 18 years ago. As a young boy, the Catholic Church was vital in shaping my cultural and intellectual identity.

There was a picture of the Sacred Heart in my bedroom. Every night, until I was eight years old, my brother and I would kneel and say prayers before sleep.

A decade of the rosary was said in the family when someone got sick or when there was a crisis. As a small child, one Lent I attended mass every single morning. My uncle is a practicing Catholic priest in Limerick City. And my father still has many close friends who are priests. All of them are good, decent, honest men, with strong moral convictions.

Historically, even for all its failings, the Catholic Church played a positive role in people’s lives.

The rhythms and rituals of prayer divided the day into sections that gave people meaning. The introspective space of a building provided a place to seek spiritual comfort, to create community networks, and to enable people to believe in the idea of a cohesive society with a shared sense of purpose, rather than a cluster of random individuals.

I recall these positive outcomes, because it’s insulting to the generation that came before my own to somehow believe that their value system, which derived from Catholicism, can now, rather facetiously, be seen as farcical.

However, these positive traits, were, over time, supplanted by an obsession with power.

I made my First Communion in 1992.

This was just one year after the arrest of Father Brendan Smith, the notorious paedophile priest whom the Catholic Church initially protected, but who was eventually convicted of several, depraved sex crimes on innocent children: first in Northern Ireland, in 1994, and then again in the Republic, in 1997.

From aged 12, I had no belief, whatsoever, in the concept of a divine being.

By the time I was in my 20s, I was a militant-atheist.

And after my close reading of the ‘Ferns’, ‘Murphy’, and ‘Ryan Reports’, I was fully convinced that this was not an organisation I wanted to be associated with in any way.

It came as a huge surprise to me, then, last October, after I wrote to Reverend Fintan Gavin, the assistant chancellor of the Dublin Dioceses, asking if I could formally leave the Catholic Church, to be told that it was impossible.

The official reply I received mentioned that, in 1983, the Vatican brought in a law that allowed members to defect.

The measure was implemented, I was told: “to ensure that any marriage entered into after formal defection would be valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church.” I’ve read this part of the letter many times and it still makes no rational sense. It’s the kind of absurdity one finds in a legal document: where words become so ambiguous that they cease to have meaning.

However, there was some information that confirmed what I was looking for. Fintan Gavin reiterated that since canon law was changed in 2009 “those [former] defections do not have legal effect.” In other words: the Catholic Church refuses to allow its members to walk away voluntarily.

When one has no affiliation — culturally, spiritually, or otherwise — to such an organisation, it’s easy to read this letter with a dose of Father Ted-style humour. But while the Church and State are completely separate — in terms of the common law in Ireland — that relationship has never been as simple as either the Irish government, or the Catholic Church, presently define it.

Since the founding of the Irish State, in 1922, the Church has provided a free service to the Irish government: a de facto, bureaucratic invisible hand to keep the population under control. If the Soviet Union had the Cheka to enforce public morality through fear, Ireland had priests and bishops. The costumes may have been different, but the theme remained the same: unquestionable, totalitarian power.

While these methods of coercion were never legally recognised in the Irish Constitution, the country was, one could argue, unofficially a theocracy until the early 1990s.

Helen O’Shea, the current secretary of Atheist Ireland, who was able to formally defect from the Catholic Church pre-2009 — before the law was revoked by the Vatican — says that in the interests of democratic accountability the Irish state must operate in a consistent manner for all its citizens in terms of religious freedom.

“[Many] Irish schools are almost exclusively controlled by Catholic management. And when places are limited, a baptism certificate is often required. This is unacceptable in a supposedly non-theocratic state,” she said.

“Atheist Ireland are currently investigating setting up a website, so people can document their wish to leave the Church formally. It’s very ignorant [of the Church] to insist on membership when an individual requests the opposite,” said O’Shea.

Previously, a website,, assisted Catholics in leaving the Church.

From 2009,’s members could download a form, have a small dialogue by email with their local dioceses, state why they wished to leave, and finally defect. In the first few months of the website’s existence, 12,000 people downloaded forms from it. As Canon Law changed that same year, however, the website had to cease operating, which it did in 2011.

According to the 2011 census in Ireland, 277,000 people declared themselves of no religious orientation.

That was a 44% increase on the previous census in 2006.

Which brings us to the question: should the Irish government implement a facility that allows Catholics to formally disassociate themselves from their former Church?

The more I thought about this issue, the more appropriate it seemed to bring this matter to the Irish government.

But the reaction I received from various departments was clouded in more bureaucracy than the Church.

When I asked the Department of Justice if such a facility could be set up, they replied that: “The State has no role in determining the rules and regulation of different religious denominations, including the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church. All citizens are equal before the law of the State, regardless of religious affiliation or non-religious affiliation.”

Similarly, the Data Protection Commissioner offered little wisdom, when I asked if it was appropriate that the Church be allowed to hold onto thousands of documents that contain false and misleading information.

Having raised this issue several times on social media, I then received a number of comments, likes, retweets, and emails, from fellow atheists, who shared their frustration at being prevented from leaving the Church.

One 34-year-old Dublin man, who wished to remain anonymous — but who provided me with adequate documentation backing up his claims — said that in Austria, where he currently resides, the state provides a service for citizens who want to leave the Catholic Church.

In both Germany and Austria, the Catholic Church imposes a 1% mandatory tax on all its members. This man explained how, as an Irish citizen, he was able, just last month, to officially leave the Catholic Church with the help of the Austrian government.

“[In Austria] the state provides information online about how to leave the Catholic Church,” he said. “I was able to register that I was officially leaving the Church, simply by returning a completed form.

“The state also provided an online system, where you can register as having left the Church. I really don’t see why this same criteria could not be implemented in Ireland.”

After a plethora of predictable and stale replies from official governmental channels, I then contacted all the political parties in Ireland.

Just one party, however, showed an interest.

Joe Higgins, of the Socialist Party, says that the Catholic Church should “remove members from their ‘lists’ if they don’t consider themselves a member anymore.”

Deputy Higgins then brought the matter up in Dáil Éireann, on my behalf.

Deputy Higgins sent a written address to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, asking if he could consider extending the Freedom of Information legislation to cover records, such as baptismal certificates, that are currently kept by religious institutions.

The Department replied that: “A new Freedom of Information Bill is expected to be enacted before the end of the year. It might be the case that some religious institutions, or additional bodies run by religious congregations, providing a service to the public, could be prescribed as Freedom of Information bodies under section 7 of the [new] Freedom of Information Bill, when [it is] enacted.”

I then contacted the editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper, Michael Kelly. He said that he would not comment, because he had “little faith that the article would present a fair assessment”.

Seamus Aherne is a practicing priest of 41 years, and a member of the Association of Catholic Priests. I asked him if he was in favour of the Church making it easier for Irish citizens who want to leave the organisation. He said: “In regard to the State, people note on their census form what their affiliation is or isn’t. That is the official State paper.”

Finally, he said: “We won’t be grieving. It isn’t important. There is no restraint. There is no one forcing you to belong [to the Church], JP. I am not coming after you. Don’t make it a problem.”

My journey, therefore, to leave the Catholic Church, is still, I believe, in its infancy. And there is still much work to be completed. But I do feel that I have come to some conclusions, thus far.

Namely, that if the Vatican wants to hold me ransom as a member of their Church — even if it is against my will — it bears no legal rights over me as an Irish citizen. So, in theory, I should not be bothered if the Church refuses to delete my name off their list in an official capacity.

But do we, as citizens, really see everything in such black-and-white legal terms?

And do we equate civic morality and human identity only with legal pieces of paper?

Has the abuse of power within the Catholic Church ever happened in a legal manner? Were the thousands of mothers who were sentenced to a life of labour and guilt inside convent walls for decades — for simply procreating — sentenced in a courtroom with a judge? Were thousands of young children subjected to years of torturous sexual abuse by members of the clergy with the backing of the law? As I’m sure you are aware, these questions are all rhetorical. But this next one is not. And it’s worth giving serious consideration: Does the present Irish Government not owe its citizens — given the unique relationship that existed between the Roman Catholic Church and the Irish State — a more thorough form of assistance to help them redefine their secular identity in an official capacity?

Challenging power in society usually starts with a symbolic gesture rather than an immediate change to the law.

Which brings us back to Kafka and The Trial. The central theme of the book explores the extent to which power relies on the absolute complicity of its victims. Kafka’s genius as a writer was his foresight in comprehending that human beings are amalgamated into pieces of data: usually without their consent or knowledge.

In Kafka’s eyes, bureaucracy itself is not the person we should blame. The buck stops at each individual. And until we live in a society where each person is fully prepared to state publicly their belief system — be it cultural, sexual, or religious — an egalitarian Republic exists in writing, but certainly not in practice.

Yes, the State must take responsibility. But, as citizens, we must let the State know what kind of freedoms we expect as individuals.

That is why we elect them as our representatives.

This seemingly insignificant list of de facto Catholics — located in some computer hard drive that no Irish citizen is allowed to access — does, I believe, yield an enormous amount of power: far more than the Catholic Church, or the Irish Government, for that matter, are prepared, or want, to talk about.

But let us begin the conversation now.


So there is a new papist bishop of cork? So what?

A canon lawyer from Dublin – a “safe man” – with a vow of obedience to popes etc.

They say he is a nice man?

They used to say Eamon Casey was a nice man, did they not?

He turned out to be a Jack the Lad and a paedo.

They are all “nice men” – too nice to challenge, too nice to tell the truth, too nice to upset the apple cart.

But we have seen how quickly their niceness is exposed.

Appointment a thousand nice men will not save the RC project.

It is rotten to the core.

And finally the Irish people see that.

I do think the Irish Government should force the RC project to maintain a public list of those who wish to terminate their connection with it.

I would formally place my name on the list.


I never understand why people seek a place in canon law to disassociate from the Church. Do not use the church’s instruments to disassociate. Simply write to them informing them that you are disassociating from the Church as per your Constitutional right. Canon law states that no element of canon law can override civil law.
Additionally write to them with a request that any file on you be destroyed as per GDPR. Your name may be retained in baptismal and other sacramental records, as a justifiable element of historical recordings. However they are obliged to edit these entries to record your departure from the church. They might even record it in the deaths ledger dated on the day you disassociated [That last cynical comment is a sign that I hung out with Tommy D when he was still in Cork].
Any way, The Dub can’t be as bad as the mumbling ghost Johnny the B*st*rd. Popular with the people, transparent to his priests [by that I mean the priests know him for what he really is].


I personally and the blog readers would love to know what the real John Buckley is like.
I met him recently and he was on a charm offensive.
What is the real man like???


Met Bishop Buckley few times but never spoke. From what i heard re his treatment on deaf community was one of total ignorance & his attitude was left to be desired. One deaf representative moaned in the past re Bishop Buckley even called him an idiot as one area of is responsibility includes national chaplaincy for deaf people. He hadnt a clue as they said. They knew more about him cos they dealt with him in past discussions but unlike me who met him couple of times. He seems to be nice on the outside to me that’s all there is to. I would suspect that he would cover up as regards to abuses. Think he knows more than we do. If anybody who is on charm offensive, be on your guard as it reminds me of Cardinal Dolan who was all charm offensive.
An outsider in Cork and Ross diocese gee? It seems CC hadn’t learnt anything. One lesson that i learnt is to never trust the CC at all. That outsider is a safe hands a canon lawyer which means he will defend the church at all costs- protecting the institution that is the church at the expense of abused kids- sad inn’t?.
Canon law doesnt mean anything to people out there except for religious priests/Nuns as its more like club rules as we are not bound to. More i see is the CC as a business run or an organization whose internal rules are man made. Dont see them as religious organisation at all. Its all business reeks with money and power – you or me are irrelevant to them (top tier of the vatican or bishops for that matter).
In ten or twenty years time, they might survive with less money, less priests, less power. pews might be empty.


That sounds like him. All charm, no substance. When the going gets tuff he hunkers down and waits for it to go away – all the time ignoring the problem.
In the Maynooth chronicles he has ejected plenty of honest men for speaking up – by bringing a problem to him they became the problem.
He is famous for hospital rounds and funeral visits – forgetting to check if the person is Catholic or not. There’s been several complaints of him taking over removals when not wanted. He even once was asked to leave a hospital bedside only to take over the man’s removal only days later; mid service so the family could not intervene. Afterwards he justified it as him just doing his job.
He’s a good politician with the laity but not humble in a one-to-one encounter. Sadly your descriptions of Cathal Daly come to mind.


After reading this blog, if anyone doubted that the Republic of Ireland was a deeply (DEEPLY) confessional Roman Catholic state needs to think anew. The Republic of Ireland state remains subservient to the Roman Christ-betraying whore.😆


Pat, your attempt to throw buckets of cold water on Fr. Gavin’s appointment is disgusting. You’d use any information to down any cleric. You’ve defected long ago and good riddance to you. You caused much division and hatred before you left and continue to do so supposedly in the name of truth and justice. I believe myself that if any Catholic wishes to defect formally, they should be allowed to do so. I believe their wishes should be accommodated. It’s sad people arrive at such a moment but I understand it. Yo use any info you now have to make wild assertions about Fr. Gavin is reprehensible. Your reference in your “Pat Says” garbage aligning Bishop Casey as a paedo alongside Fr. Gavin is a smear tactic on your part and a deliberate, disingenuous effort to many questions in people’s minds. Scurrilous and utterly immoral. You were not always so chaste searching for love – so desist from hovering about other people’s morals or lives. Church your own moral compass. You are the most un-Christ-like person I’ve stumbled upon on social media. God bless Fr.Gavin. You could at least wish to. well Pat and pray for him. I notice all the defects from Roman Catholicism are not heading to Larne. They’ll find much crap there too!! caca in caca…


Buckkey, You’re talking thriugh your hole as usual. Sure have a propensity for suggesting innuendo about Fr. Gavin. Let me assure you Bukko, he will outclass you as a Bishop. Smart, classy, learned, knowledgeable, a linguist, well trained. But most of all he is kind, just, honest, compassionate, and displays great sensitivity for broken people. Bukko, you don’t know him. You are a devious, insidious person. You are a disgrace to the ring of office you pretend you have. Burn that vengeful, evil symbol of a ring.


So happy that you have no nasty things to say about the handsome new bishop. He is not able to change the canon law any more than any other bishop is.


Well he did work at Archbishops House in Dublin where there does seem to be a gathering of “the antique disposition”.
He is also musical.
With so many friends it’s no wonder Gorgeous is semi unassailable.
A Dublin priest suggested yesterday that the Bon Secours Private Hospital in Dublin is advertising for a chaplain and that Gorgeous’ hat is in the ring.
Is it not amazing that Gorgeous’ name comes up so often when those in power in Dublin are mentioned.
Maybe G will be ordained a priest of Cork and Ross???


9.49: Pat, what a complete waster you are. Nothing to do but trawl through people’s lives, full of disparagement, full of vengeance. You are a pathetic idiot. You need psychological help. You are malicious in intent towards everyone Catholic, yet your own life, past and present isn’t exactly virtuous. I truly believe that Satan has a hold on you for the hatred you display. Grow up. Thank God you left the true Church.


Maybe people like to throw dirt and mention Gorgeous in relation to everything on this blog because they know you are obsessed with him and that you will believe anything about him no matter what it is?
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has bowed down to your wishes and is not ordaining him. Why do you feel the need to keep going after him?


He speaks of the Church providing the sense of a cohesive society with a shared sense of purpose. The introspective space of a church building was a place to seek spiritual comfort. Surely, those of us who are disillusioned can still use our churches for these purposes, and leave the rest alone. We still have a shared purpose, ultimate goodness, no matter how often and badly we fall. Let’s be patient with each other, and focus in our own way on what we can do to that end, with what we have to hand.


‘The true Church.’ And the gospel of nice?
The discrepancy between words and actions speak for itself…’Do not be guided by what they do, since they do not practice what they preach’ (Matt. 23:3). That’s why many reproach the true Church and It’s hierarchy.


How desperate you are Buckley for headlines. You’ll do your utmost to attribute sinister and negative motives towards Fr. Gavin. Wouldn’t you just delight in his downfall before his consecration as a Bishop! You are an insidious, vengeful, vile individual. And you want us to believe that you are of Christ? Look into your own heart – whited sepulchre, hypocrite…


What do atheists do when they want to defect from their philosophy? They BELIEVE…..I suggest atheists should stop making an issue out of their baptism. Just get on with your lives. If you’ve chosen to be atheist, I respect your decision but stop making issues out of irrelevancies.


Pat, I think you are quite mischievious and disgust g to mention Fr. Gavin’s name in the same paragraph alongside Bishop Casey. An outrageous innuendo and a deliberate attempt to create unnecessary questions around the integrity of Fr. Gavin. It’s immoral and totally un-Christian to imply by association some sinister aspect of another person’s life. You prove your uselessness/deviousness more each day. They used to say you were a ‘nice man..’ hmm..hmm..hmm…


Reading this blog has made me jaundiced and depressed about the church, but the vibes surrounding the presentation of the future Bishop Gavin reversed this morose feeling and made me remember the good side.


9.02: One but of advice. If you want balance, fairness, truth, justice, inspiration, compassion, encouragement – Don’t depend on this blog. It even depresses Satan!! Look to Jesus and his gospel instead. This blog is a vehicle for vengeance and hate incitement.


The Irish journalist, Gemma O Doherty, in a YouTube live stream last night, mentioned the new appointment to the Cork and Ross diocese. She also talked about the current Bishop, and the Catholic Church, in the context of a meeting of anti-corruption Ireland, to be held in Schull, in West Cork, this Thursday evening. The title of her video is ‘Open borders are causing the collapse of Ireland’s housing, hospital, school and policing systems’. Check out what Gemma has to say, from around 1:00:00 to 1:11:00, about the Catholic Church, Cork and Ross and clergy.
Apologies for not providing a link.



Another bit of advice. If you were at the receiving end of clerical abuse, corruption or crime, and if you seek truth, compassion, healing, justice, fairness, balance, encouragement, support and charity, as espoused by Jesus Christ-
Don’t depend on the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, either in Ireland or the Vatican. Most of them don’t believe
in the ‘Father of lies’, yet the catechism claims otherwise. Look to Jesus Christ and His gospel instead.
Don’t believe the Catholic Church spin doctors. They’re spinning for the last 30 years and almost spun out.


They have been spinning a lot longer than 30 years. Maybe 1700 years.


1.34: That’s why I advised a previous contributor to look to Jesus and his gospel……I find my guidance there. And, may I advise you – Don’t allow Pat to use your story and truth for his self aggrandizement. You get ditched very quickly on this blog when your truth is no longer useful.


Baa baa bishop hi. These bishops are sheepdogs hi. They do the will of the shepherd who is God or at least they should do but. Poor baby bishop is new. He does not own the sheep. The flock is a flock of choice and not coercion. Walk with yr feet man. The Euro or Pound stops with thindividual hi


Mornin hi fly.
Beggora fly, there are far far too many baa baas gone missin
and too many sheepdoggies along with their helpers are worse than any black baa baas.
Too many of the collie doggies don’t follow the shepherds whistling hi.
They listen and follow their own flutes and flummox the herd.
Shepherd sheep collies and wolves hi, but whose who?
Bye fly, hi.


Hello Mr. Fly.
Every new babbie gets a slap on the arse at birth, hence the term, cry baby… cry.
Luv, M.



They are starting to spin out of control, Bishop Pat.
Who would have known the rot reached the top?


Thanks for the unsolicited advice.
Not to worry. My story and truth will be in the public domain.
Bishop Buckley can feature it on this blog if he wants to.


A few thoughts:
1. Why, oh why. would someone aspire to be a bishop ? Surely it’s a pile of shiite trouble ? This man would have had the opportunity to say no, but probably thinks he is doing all the right things – obedience to the will of the Church and the Pope etc. – but he will live to regret saying yes, I think. Poor man ! His life will be a vale of tears from now on. Awkward priests, complaining laity, upholding the patently failing teachings of the Church on so many issues – marriage, sexuality, integrity, trust etc.
2. I hope that he is squeaky clean, and also that those around him are squeaky clean. If there is even the slightest whiff of stink, it will out.
3. I pity the poor man.


What an attention seeker you are Pat! What is it about you that you cannot see any good in Catholic priesthood? I imagine you don’t know Fr. Gavin, yet you proceed to cast questions over his integrity and life, suggestion that behind being a “‘nice’” man lurks a sinister being. Your Christianity is most certainly not that of Christ: it’s your version and a very self serving version. All others are wrong, evil, potential abusers, you are the ‘clean’ one!!! A little honesty and humility from you wouldn’t go astray…..lo8k to Jesus. May God’s Spirit be with Fr. Gavin.


That seems to have been something that DM either encouraged or turned a blind eye to?


A little honesty and humility from clergy and hierarchy in the roman catholic church wouldn’t go astray.


Pat, I respect you but you are in demolition mode again today and it leaves you lacking balance. There is good and bad in you as well as the bishops and we are supposed to look for the good each day. Remember Satan is allowed to sift people like wheat, so it cannot be right to be as disparaging as you are.


Pat Mullaney has me destroyed the wee hur after letting Brendan roam around gaynooth seeking someone to devour.


Do not forget the financial abuse victims of maynooth, those who were not awarded a weekly allowance for Cafe Bum Bum and Oak gay bar, Vama remembers them in their prayers every night and holds silent vigils remembering them.


10:51 & 11:06
It sounds as if you couldn’t care less about those you claim are victims and that your rants are nothing more than simmering resentment directed at those you damn.


VAMA needs to rally behind Maynooth Survivors of sexual and psychological abuse . So many men and their Patents and extended family have been destroyed due to Hughie Connolly and Michael Mullaney the most twisted evil predator in Maynooth.


If you have evidence a crime has been committed go to the Garda. Otherwise your allegations are worthless and you sound like a scratched record.


1.35: You are correct. These scratchedcrevirds should go to the Gardai or Tusla. Their contributions on this blog are either serious or false or deliberate trouble making. Seminarians, present or past should act more maturely. If abused, go to the authorities. Now. Otherwise……the scratchiness will be overly tiresome….


Ordain and appoint Gemma O Doherty as the next Archbishop of Dublin.
That lady has more courage than the entire clergy of this country, north or south.


The Gardai and Tusla are corrupt. Ask Sgt. Maurice McCabe. Read Mick Cliffords -‘A Force for Justice’.
Priests, past or present and maturity….! The many articles on this blog and elsewhere, the litany of clerical abuse, cover up and crime, speaks for itself. We’re all suffering from clerical criminal abuse fatigue.


Reverend Fintan Gavin is 40-ish, good-looking, a canon lawyer, diocesan vice-chancellor and the archbishop’s delegate. He’s lovely, and down to earth – although clearly at home talking about the heavens. This chat is, of course, not for publication (I’ll interview him later), but I’m surprised and pleased and warmed that his responses are so candid as I offer my reasons for leaving the church.

At one stage I feel so heartened by his humanity that a voice – my heart? – whispers ”Should I stay?” But I know I can’t. This is not for me, never was for me. As far back as I can remember I disagreed with the church’s teachings about sexuality. If it would just leave that area alone, I believe, it’d be a lot less toxic…

At the end of our ”exit interview”, Gavin acknowledges my logic that remaining in the church while actively opposing its teachings would be like being a member of a political party yet opposing its policy fundamentals. I feel like I’ve won a battle.

Grainne O’Sullivan, one of three founders of Count Me Out,… says of Fintan Gavin: ”He’s a lovely man … He has commended us on our efforts … Once he saw the website he saw we weren’t feeding misinformation and had a very comprehensive FAQ [frequently asked questions section] that we weren’t pushing anyone in any direction.”

However, Gavin believes that Count Me Out, by almost automating the defection process, is in danger of depersonalising it.

Reasons given for defection, according to Gavin, include a lack of faith, or unhappiness with the church’s dealing on clerical child abuse. ”The other category would be those who have difficulty with the church’s teachings and position on homosexuals … and feel that they don’t find a home for themselves in the church.”


Speaking Notes of Bishop Elect Gavin
A very good morning! It is difficult to express in words, the shock and surprise I felt when the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Okolo told me of Pope Francis¹ wish to appoint me as the next Bishop of Cork & Ross.
I was very happily serving the Church as an ordinary priest in the Archdiocese of Dublin during the last 27 years since I was ordained in various different ministries. And as a North Side Dubliner I would never have expected such trust to be placed in me by Pope Francis by asking me to serve as a humble servant leader, the People of God, the Body of Christ of the Diocese of Cork & Ross.
To be honest, it seems very daunting at this stage and I am very aware of my own human limitations but I have always answered God¹s call, each day, to serve in ways I would never have planned or expected. Thankfully God has always given me the grace and strength to do this, with the help of God¹s people and I am really excited by the challenge.
Journeying towards Cork
Today is about the people of the Diocese of Cork & Ross, one of the largest dioceses in Ireland. I have experienced in Cork people their great sense of community spirit and warm welcome across all the generations of all age groups and places. I look forward to becoming part of your great sense of community and making my home among you. That community spirit is alive in active and faith-filled parishes throughout the diocese as people and priests work together. I look forward to supporting and being enriched by the community spirit here and together in collaborative ministry, getting to know you as I visit and meet and engage with you in the parishes across the diocese.
In recent years I have had two wonderful experiences of priestly ministry here in this diocese. I celebrated, on the occasion of their marriage, the wedding of two friends in the historical setting of Saint Finbarr¹s Oratory, Gougane Barra, in the parish of Uibh Laoire, Inchigeela, a place steeped in the history of our Christian faith lived by people over many centuries.
On another occasion I concelebrated Mass here in the Cathedral of St. Mary and St Anne. I was accompanying, to a very warm welcome here, the Young Adult Gospel Choir from our parish of Our Lady of Victories, Ballymun Road, Dublin. The Gospel Choir led the liturgical music at a Saturday evening vigil Mass while we were here in Cork. The choir was participating in a choral competition as part of the Cork International Choral Festival.
I greet with a heart of love and faith the priests, the permanent deacons, the religious and all the people of the Diocese of Cork and Ross, especially young people and look forward to getting to know each of you as we work together and as I learn from you.
I am conscious of those who have felt let down by the Church and are just hanging in there¹. I encourage you not to give up.
New Ministry
Setting out on this new ministry, I have a lot to learn from you the people, religious, deacons and priests of the Diocese of Cork and Ross. I look forward to listening to you and benefiting from your experience, from your wisdom and guidance.
I look forward to working with other Christian Church leaders to build on the work of dialogue and ecumenism already taking place. I look forward in this City, County and beyond as a good neighbour of engaging also with other faith communities and, on this occasion, I greet people of all faiths, traditions and all who serve the common good in every way.
I cannot pretend that leaving my life and ministry in Dublin will be easy. I want to thank those I have collaborated and worked with in the Holy Cross Dublin Diocesan Centre and the Diocesan Offices and the faith community of the parish of Our Lady of Victories, Ballymun Road where I have served as a priest over the last almost ten years.
I have been blessed always in my family and close personal friends whose love and sacrifices have supported me on my journey as a priest and that support will continue to be very important to me.
I would like take this opportunity to thank Archbishop Jude Okolo, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, for his kindness and advice to me over these weeks and for his presence here this morning and in leading the celebration of morning Mass.
I am very grateful to Cardinal Connell and to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for the many life giving opportunities I have been trusted with in ministry and service in the Dublin Diocese. I want to thank Archbishop Diarmuid Martin especially for his kindness and practical support during these days.
I would like to thank Bishop John Buckley for his genuine welcome and for all his encouragement and support to me over the last two weeks. I know well that Bishop Buckley is a much loved pastor of the diocese during his time as auxiliary bishop and then bishop over the last thirty-five years.
While I wish him every happiness in his well-deserved retirement, I hope that he will be present and active and feel welcome in diocesan occasions and celebrations in the years ahead. I hope to be able to draw on his wisdom and experience.
I wish to express my appreciation to acting diocesan secretary Father Michael Keohane and to the cathedral administrator Father John O¹Donovan and to all here in the Cathedral of Saint Mary and Saint Anne for their work in organising this morning¹s announcement and for their welcome.
I wish to acknowledge the presence of Archbishop Patrick Coveney Apostolic Nuncio Emeritus to Greece, now living in his diocese of origin, Vicars General Monsignor Kevin O¹ Callaghan and Monsignor Aidan O¹Driscoll and the priests religious and so many people of the diocese, including the pupils and teachers from the local parish schools, gathered here this morning.
A splash of holy water¹ as we journey out together
As we move towards Easter we are reminded of how we are all united through our baptism. When I visited it previously, one of the things that struck me about this historic cathedral was the baptismal font which is placed – significantly – at the entrance of this cathedral parish church.
Sometimes, before setting out on a journey, we put our hands in the holy water font maybe at home or we splash those who are about to set out on a journey with some blessed Holy Water.
One of the scripture readings just a few days ago this Lent from the prophet Ezekiel (47:1-9.12) talks about God¹s love and our love as a stream of water, bringing life to all wherever it flows, reminding us of the love and light Jesus brings all of us, especially the weak and vulnerable, those on the margins.
As I, in these very first few significant steps, walk among you and prepare to begin my ministry with you, let us pray for one another. As a gesture reminding each of us of our baptismal call from God I would like, as a help on the journey, to ask Bishop Buckley and others gathered at the font from the local community to bless us, as we bless one another and to Œsplash me¹ this morning with some local holy water, blessed before we began Lent, as we journey out together.
I ask sincerely for your prayers and blessing as we go forward together, remembering one another in prayer.
From my heart, thank you for the warmth of your welcome here this morning. Thank you!


1:53pm 3:06pm

A sample of spin doctoring and a public relations exercise.
The clergy and hierarchy would do well to splash each other with holy water frequently as they journey out together, for all our sakes.


Dana is probably the best person who ever went for election in Ireland. An amazing sign for this generation and for those of future generations who wondered what happened in Ireland. Our lady has foretold the ‘death of Ireland’. Not surprising considering what the Irish people have chosen.


4.21: Magna: You are the equivalent of muck, pooh, crap, manure….trailer trash. Do you have anyone meaningful in your life apart from the ugliness in the mirror? You would never ever match the decency, honour and dignity of Dana. You’d need a thousand lives, you utter fool.


10.05: Magna, have you looked into the mirror or your soul recently? I doubt it. Dana far syrpasses any beauty, truth, decency and admiration than you’ll ever imagine. As for that mirror image! – close your eyes as the monster of ugliness may bite you.


You mean she is going to sing at some point?😲
I suppose I could offer it up for the souls in Purgatory.😆


‘All kinds of Everything’ 🎶….reminds me of….pooh! 💩
Aha..ever so nice and sweet…! 👼


Fr. Fintan Gavin is a very attractive man……it makes a welcome change to have some eye candy on the bench of bishops. He’ll certainly turn a few heads in Maynooth.


7.10: This is not a pornographic site, pervert! Shame on you and greater shame on Pat..


9:10am 3:06pm
The papal nuncio needs to be very careful who he recommends for the Dublin job. He knows why.


4 23: You can because certain Path that Dana would most certainly not want or desire to be bear you, hear yiu or visit you. She stands way above you with dignity, decency, integrity and Christian virtues. A woman of substance, maturity, intelligence and honesty. She has more admirers than you could ever countenance. You smug piece of hypocrisy. Is there anyone you like apart from the reflection in the mirror? Truthfully! Pat = cheap, shallow and bizarre…


Reading through the comments today is a revelation; a revelation of how shallow Pat is, how unkind, how cheap. He will say anything to grab headlines; has no care for other people’s lives, once his jibes, invective and narratives elicit judgment, harshness, innuendo and gossip. His readiness to subtly suggest badness about others is repugnant and morally defunct. I believe Pat is nasty and as far removed from the CHRIST he reputedly follows as the moon is from my front door. He – Pat – needs a reality check.


The article of today’s blog was written by a man whose close reading of the Ferns ,Murphy and Ryan Reports convinced him to leave the catholic church. Those reports were also the reason why Grainne O Sullivan set up the count me out website in 2010. Today’s blog is not about Fr. Gavin, but illustrates the scandal disciples of Jesus Christ have caused to the body of Christ. The silence of fellow clerical colleagues is complicit. I would think similar reports could be made into every diocese in the country, including Cork and Ross. Maybe the bishop elect could show some initiative and leadership. I suspect it will be business as usual.


Pat you’re melting with sarcasm and evil, really not a nice person. I try to give you the ‘benefit of the doubt’ but you sadly let evil win over you.
Do you genuinely and honestly regard yourself as a Christian?
For the record, I’ve little love for the church with it’s wrongdoing from the past!


Bishop Pat
An academic point which you and your readership would only be too well aware of;
1- Archdiocese of Los Angeles- Catholic population 4,392,000. One Archbishop and 5 Auxiliary bishops
2- Ireland- 2016 Irish census the population identified as Catholic in Ireland; numbered approximately 3.7 million people. with 4 Archbishops and probably over 26 active below retirement age bishops- not to mention the countless bishops in retirement.
The point? Do we need such a massive ecclesiastical structure? Wastage of human and financial resources in duplicating everything is just one argument.
The Roman hierarchy will fight to the bitter end before there will be any such reform.


Good points Natlog.
The wish, and power, to change the hierarchical structure appears to still remain in the hands of the hierarchy, and those aspiring to join its ranks. Since turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, it seems destined to remain as is, at least until the ‘laity’ take control, both by emptying the pews and stopping the cash flow. Stripping the church of assets via severe judicial penalties for current and past misdeeds may evolve as a tactic in a more secular future.
I have no issue with those who wish to practise private or communal faith beliefs, but the acquisition of inordinate possessions, power and privilege of religious “leaders” appears to be the complete antitheses of what religious practice is about.


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