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Here is an article about his life, death and funeral from the Donegal newspaper THE TIRCONAILL TRIBUNE.


The sudden death of Edward (Ted) Flanagan at his home in Ballywhoriskey early on Thursday morning has saddened the community among whom he lived with his wife Catherine for many years.

He is also survived by his children Edward, Richard, Irene, John (all UK) and Jeremy (Peru), his grandchildren, extended family, neighbours and his many friends to whom deep sympathy is extended. He was in his 85th year.

A celebration of Ted’s life was help at his home on Sunday with independent Bishop Pat Buckley from Larne celebrating the Mass. 

Ted Flanagan, said Bishop Buckley was originally from Ballyshannon and was ordained a priest for the diocese of Clogher. He met and married the love of his life, Kate, and was asked to a meeting at the bishop’s house in Monaghan for a conversation about his future in the ministry. He never did attend and nothing happened.

He went on to continue with his vocation and spiritual work in England, visiting and teaching in prisons and other pastoral work. Ted went into teaching and was also an accomplished musician and singer. For years he was a parish organist.

Bishop Buckley remarked: “Once a priest, always a priest”.

He said the chalice he was using for the Funeral Mass was the one presented to Ted when he joined the congregation in Larne. 

The bishop said that Ted and Kate “had been soulmates for almost sixty years, wonderful years…they were joined at the hip”.

They had a very diverse life and a loving life, enjoying the many good times and successfully confronting the many challenges that arose. 

He said Ted was generous, a man of diversity, study, music but above all else a family man of whom all who encountered his presence could testify.

Bishop Buckley said he and Ted travelled to Lourdes 20 years ago and thereafter he joined his congregation in Larne and carried out many duties, weddings, prayer and reflection and his passing is deeply mourned.

The Mass in the family home was attended by a wide range of people reflecting Ted’s contacts with many different interests. The music reflected Fr. Ted’s personality and his diversity – “Hey Jude”, “Save the Last Dance for Me” among the most popular. Afterwards the mourners, including members of the Flanagan cousins joined the family for food and to reflect on the life and times of Ted and how close Ted and Kate were to nature here in Ballywhoriskey.

This indeed was a most fitting farewell to a man who loved life, his ministry, his family and the Fanad Peninsula.

Bishop Buckley who had visited the family home on many occasions in the past said it was a great honour to be here to say a final farewell to Ted on a Sunday afternoon.

A private cremation too place in Cavan on Monday.


Ted’s passing is the end of an era for his family, friends and neighbours. His charming presence was a light for all. His music and singing entertained many into the wee hours.

Ted was a priest of Clogher diocese and even though he fled to England with Kate there was never any canonical action taken against him. He lived and died a priest of Clogher – and of course The Oratory Society.

On the 50th anniversary of ordination Ted came to Maynooth to celebrate with his classmates. His classmates, including 2 bishops – Lagan of Derry and O’Reilly of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise insist he concelebrate the anniversary Mass with them.

He went into teaching and as well as teaching in schools he taught in prisons.

He, with Kate, brought 5 children into the world – and all have done well – 3 are solicitors, one is in the catering trade and one is engaged on environmental work in Peru.

When Kate had her children raised she went to Hull University to study law and qualified as a solicitor too.

Ted was centre when it came to politics – but Kate was to the very left of the Labour Party in the UK.

In many ways his life was prophetic – a priest, a married man, a father and a breadwinner.

60 years ago he did what the RC church has not really got around to today.

A clerical contributor to this blog has said that Ted and Kate were fond of their drink – but he did not express it in that agreeable way.

They were fond of a jar. Many a jar I had with them. Their houses in England and Donegal were definitely party houses. 

Their hearts were like their mountains in the homes of Donegal.



31 replies on “DEATH OF OUR OWN FATHER TED.”

I find it very impressive that Ted was invited to concelebrate even with two bishops present: perhaps there is hope for the Church yet. RIP.


Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns of Sao Paolo,Brazil who died in 2016 aged 95 was openly critical of mandatory celibacy and wasn’t afraid to share his views. He was the last surviving cardinal appointed by Paul VI . If he ever saw a former married priest attending Mass he was celebrating, he would invite him to concelebrate. He would say that they are still priests and will remain priests.


May he RIP.
Pat, what was that comment about Tullamore last night referring to? The poster seems confused as Tullamore is getting a change.


The “ontological change” debate ! Even though it is supposed to have happened to me, I never fully understood what all the fuss was about. I guess I had, and still have, a rather low theology of priesthood. Maybe that’s my lack. But, what I do find very difficult is the highly elevated theology of priesthood that so many have, and sadly so many young priests coming out of seminary these days have, and especially those who belong to the orthodox and neoconservative religious orders and congregations – Cong Orats, Priestly Society of Christ the King, O Preams., etc. It has always struck me that this was a devise to perpetuate the superiority of the priest, unquestioned authority, and being set apart. Mostly for the benefit of the priest himself. So, I’m not a great fan of it.
We all know that this kind of priestly mindset fosters a sense of entitlement, and a dysfunctional clerical culture, which has in great part contributed to the abuse in the Church that we are afflicted by. In my book, the Church should be working hard to counter this kind of clerical culture in the way that it trains its young and future priests. However, sadly, we still seem to be wedded to the traditional seminary pathway to ordination, possibly because we are lumbered with huge historical buildings and feel we the need to continue to use them, and so continue with the training culture that they were designed for. There are other models of training and development that we could follow in order to produce the healthy,integrated, balanced priests of the future. Which in my book would include a whole range of priests apart from exclusively celibate males – married, women, alternative sexuality etc.
I have many years experience of being a priest and knowing priests. I know the business from inside. I know the good priests I have encountered, and they have invariably been simple, humble and holy men with no pretensions to bolster their specialness and apartness. But they have been few and far between. The majority of priests that I have encountered have significant shortfalls in their ministry, make up, behaviour and personality. Most are dysfunctional to varying degrees – abuse of power, inability to network effectively and communicate, sense of authority, odd behaviours such as alcohol abuse, smoking too much, eating too much, behaving inappropriately, inability to live harmoniously with others. I have lived in communities of priests which were bullying bear pits (I hear + Pat’s early experiences in the Cathedral in Belfast, and understand what he is talking about !). There is something deeply, systemically dysfunctional and wrong about priesthood as it is seen and practiced by so many priests. It is time for a fresh rethink about priesthood, what it is, what it is for, and how it is lived and practiced, as well as who is called to be a priest.


What a profoundly true and honest comment. It would make an excellent retreat lecture for bishops and priests.


The bishops of E&W have been away in Valladolid for their Spring Meeting. They had in-service training on child protection ! Well, you would have thought that they were already superbly trained by now in the existential threat that is the scandal of child abuse. Sounds like a case of locking the door after the horse has bolted to me.

Bishops, by and large, conform to the cultural scenario described above by @9:49. They come out of a similar culture which colours them all. They are the product of seminaries, priesthood and now episcopacy that is seemingly incapable of thinking outside of the box, and coming up with solutions to the many problems that face them and the Church. Or if they do have any creative and original ideas, they are scared to express them because they want to protect their own backsides. They might say something in private but are very loathe, scared, to express anything in public other than totally loyal affiliation to the current teaching of the Church. It’s all couched, of course, in being faithful to the Magisterium and the Tradition of the Church, so they can feel that they are righteous. But, their main motivation of doing little or nothing is cowardice, and a lack of courage and honesty. And protecting their own arses. I do not expect much to come out of our bishops.


Nope. Did my degrees elsewhere. And they definitely have a superior pedigree to some of the Maynooth ones. And, no, I did not take this from any book. Original thinking and expression on my part. Clever boy, ain’t I ?


We need a ‘Ted Flanagan’ in Clogher today…….it’s in need of a good shake up. All decisions made by a small cohort around the new bishop.


12.28: You call this contribution clever and original thinking!! What better degrees “elsewhere” helped you to produced this originality?? What a load of baloney, as Judge Judy would rightly say !! Think you may need to dust down your brain. The content of your comment has been rehearsed on this blog ad nauseam – tiresome and boring and not at all elucidating….


Fr. John Bollan is a very attractive guy. I can certainly see how he would be sought after by men and women. A real Silver Fox!


Pat. Has Fr John Bollan contacted you again with a statement yet? When are you planning the Scottish blog? Many people up here are shi**ing themselves!


Father Bollan is not prepared is issue a statement. I saw the bishop’s statement and he says he regrets Fr. Bollan’s departure.

I will do a Scottish day but reader’s need to be sure about the claims they make.


I think we can ignore the foolish comment at 2:29pm. Both posts at 9:49am and 11:26 am make valid and powerful points which need to be taken seriously. If there is repetition it is because the issues do not go away or get resolved. @11:26 is quite right that we just go round and round in irrelevance and the reasons for this are as he says. What on earth could possibly come out of Valladolid. Does any bishop ever say what he really thinks?


Any word on new bishop announcement being made tomorrow? Morning mass at 10am followed by press gathering, could this mean that a diocese will have a new bishop tomorrow. Normally embargo until 11am?


7.25: Those who persist in repetition narratives rarely have any “original” or “constructive” to offer by way if vision, new thinking or imagination. I discovered a long-time ago that it’s too easy to get into a habit of criticism, always complaining and becoming disillusioned. I believe in radical, constructive criticisms but when you’re in your 70’s and feeling the weight of challenges, you have to just focus on the daily responsibilities and remain calm, normal, prayerful and hope-filled. I am all too aware of my own limitations. Despite the supposed discontent among parishioners, they’re not always willing to help, volunteer or be imaginative for their own parish. So while I believe in critical analysis, I cannot spend all my time doing so…..


Pat, a comment was made with ref to Tullamore last night. That comment has been taken down. What’s going on?


I hope he all are well hi. For some reason internet would not log posts over the last few days. Seems ok now. Thauld writing finger got a bit of a suntan last few days Bye hi for now but


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