MY BELFAST EXPERIENCES 1978 – 1983

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ST PETERS BELFAST

PRIESTS – ESPECIALLY IN DOWN AND CONNOR – WHO DO NOT LIKE ME FOR EXPOSING THE TRUTHS ABOUT THEM ALWAYS TRY AND DEMEAN THE TIME I SPENT IN DIVIS FLATS WORKING AMONG THE PEOPLE.

Today I am writing a brief account of that time and I challenge anyone to come forward with EVIDENCE to contradict my account.

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MC KINLEY

I went to Divis in the summer of 1978. The administrator Fr. Vincent McKinley was off on the sick and the senior Fr. Joe Mc Gurnaghan was On holidays.

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MC GURNAGHAN

I was met and welcomed in by the curate – a Derry man named Jimmy McCabe. McCabe was a holy and spiritual man who prayed and spent his time visiting homes. He was a chain smoker.

I discovered that McKinley and McCabe – even though they had three meals a day together – had not spoken for 14 years!

The other curate was a Salesian called Jimmy Burns who did great work with the young people.

The lifestyle in the presbytery was at least 4 *

Four course lunch everyday with soup laced with sherry, meat main course with red wine, desert and coffee laced with brandy.

Even though McKinley was the chairman of St Louise’s girls school he was was banned by the principal Sr. Genieve for feeling up the girls and lady teachers.

McKinley said a private Mass in the Tridentine Rite every morning dressed in black vestments.

He looked after the money and admin but did very little pastoral work.

McGurnaghan did absolutely nothing except saying one Mass a day. He only left his room for meals and spent all his time listening to classical music and sipping Remy Martin VSOP cognac.

Soon after I arrived McKinley did his knee serious damage on the golf course. I visited him in hospital, drove him about and every evening I gently massaged his injured knee with oil.

We were quite close and he admired my preaching. He used to invite older diocesan priests to come and here me preaching.

At the end of my first year McKinley sent for me and told me that the senior curate McGurnaghan was jealous of our close working relationship and we would need to be more remote with each other. I had no problem accepting that.

About the same time I was thing very hard about how I could transform Divis Flats in some way to give the people hope. I was already chairman of the Divis Residents Association which was resented by my fellow clergy and indeed by the paramilitaries.

I decided that we would clean up the flats, approached the Housing Executive and was given loads of free paint, brushes, shovels and pain brushes.

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Up to 500 people, mainly women and children, joined me and in a few weeks we had the whole area transformed into a very respectable looking neighbourhood.

I then organised a week long Divis Festival to celebrate our success with bands, various acts and all kinds of food and drink.

Things inside the presbytery became unbearable because of the resentment of McKinley and McGurnaghan and I was banned from the priest’s dining room and ate with the housekeepers.

One night McKinley knocked me to the floor and gave me a severe kicking.

He and McGurnaghan used to kick my bedroom door late at night and sing obscene rugby songs.

All the time Bishop Philbin expressed no disapproval but actually encouraged me to keep the young people out of the hands of the paramilitaries.

Then Cahal Daly came in 1982. McKinley and McGurnaghan reported me to him for causing disruption.

Daly listened to them, transferred me to Kilkeel and then to Larne and in 1998 told me I had to leave the diocese.

I refused and still live in the church house in Larne. I am in Larne for 35 years now.

McKinley and McGurnaghan were out and out clericalists who resented the pastoral work and social work I was doing.

They made my life hell.

In the RC church if you are at all different and want to work among the ordinary people they accuse you of promoting yourself, disobedience, letting the side down etc.

Thankfully I have had great pastoral and spiritual freedom for the past 33 years.

“The closer you are to the church the further away from God you are”.

71 thoughts on “MY BELFAST EXPERIENCES 1978 – 1983

  1. Hi Pat what you say says allot. Why were the boys jealous. What did they think their role was. Church has to start with the people hi. Did ya ever think of getting those tv types to take the story on as a project but

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    1. Begorrah and top of day to ye, me auld Fly hi but. Hi Fly, I’m a very lonely man and I know you and me would be good together. I saw ye in the Centra the other mornin and the way ye were horsing that breakfast roll down yer neck hi but. And all them “hi’s” and “hi buts” are even more wild sexy when ye hear them in real life than readin them on Bucko’s blag. Fly as the wee song says “I be so good for you” hi but hi.

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    2. Evenin Fly hi.
      Holy smoke hi fly butt there’s a member of the kooky kollard klub
      masquerading as me @ 5:29pm. Crack batty or Lilly the pinky or Kerry aye aye must be back on the job.
      You can’t be praying and holy on Sunday, live in silent bullying for the week
      and be tellin others how to live and love God. Walk the talk or say nathin.
      Christians are called to be saints. Be who Christ’s calls us to be; paradigms of charity.
      Bye bye fly hi.

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  2. Legend!

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  3. Pat, have you figured out what went wrong with Scottie Day the other day?
    I mean to say, all the wee Scotties had been clamouring for months and months to have their own wee Day all dedicated to them. And when the long awaited Scottie Day dawned, not hardly a single wee Scotch bonnet could be heard or seen at all.
    In fact, it could be said that Scottie Day collapsed around their swollen wee Scottie kankles like a big pair of tartan knickers that the elastic had snapped in!
    I heard the Daily Mirror had a couple of reporters poised at their keyboards to begin dishing out the riveting torrents of sordid goings on by strapping big caber-tossing Braveheart type clerics.
    It’s a mystery, Pat, och aye the noo. Did they all go off on a wee excursion to the outer Hebrides and there was no WiFi? Maybe a wee gang of haggises gnawed through the internet cables in Dunkeld?
    We dinee ken, Pat and maybe we never will.

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    1. Several factual articles were sent to Pat but they weren’t published. The Scottish Church is in a total mess.

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      1. Of course, I can believe that, but surely nothing tops the KOB scandal?

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      2. So, big J, in other words it was such a confection of vicious claptrap and libellous fantasy that even Buckley was afraid to touch it!

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      3. Yes the Scottish Church has a Big gay problem and loads on c/o offices but it is the proof needed as they have closed in and saying nothing.
        But they are now walking on eggshells as they are getting watched and people write to the Bishops at their home address not to the offices as the Bishops never see them.
        Edinburgh , Glasgow, Paisley , Greenock, Galloway and Motherwell however it takes time.

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  4. I love the last sentence of your blog, Bishop Pat.
    Sad to say, but most priests, through that unholy vow of episcopal obedience, have made the Church their God rather than the God of the Church.
    What a waste of one’s life! 😡

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    1. M. Carta,
      Obedience? Are you speaking theologically, canonically, legally, spiritually, or militarily?
      Muddled, confused, irrational bluster wouldn’t pass muster in First Arts summer exam.

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      1. Nor would your conceited post.😆

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    2. The vow of obedience to the bishop in absolutely no way competes with the obedience every ordained minister from the Pope down owes to God alone.
      Only in the warped, bitter and mulish mind(s) of “Magna Carta” – whatever that is – is there any issue.

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      1. 6.20
        Of course there’s ‘no issue’… just as there was no issue when Fr John Brady, under obedience to his bishop swore two sexually abused 14 year old boys to secrecy, under threat of excommunication, and allowed Fr Brendan Smyth to abuse other children sexually.
        Yes, of course there is no issue.

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      2. 6:20 pm
        So why the systemic institutional cover up of child rape, as well as other other morally corrupt criminal behaviour covered up by clerics for clerics? Where’s obedience to God in such carry on?

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  5. Two vicious old bastards. At least you managed to obtain some reparation of sorts by way of church house for their disgraceful treatment.
    Moreover, I imagine all the censored comments indicate there is still plenty of the same mentality masquerading as holy men in the church today.
    Also, Bp Pat, it seems things are beginning to catch up with the church in Poland following the “Tell No One“ documentary.

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/revolution-poland-nation-confronts-priestly-abuse-074815590.html

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    1. Yes. Catholic Poland is exploding. All of these bullying and abusing clerics need expodure and given the boot.

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  6. 12.19: Mr. Carta, Pat nor you do not ever represent any priests. You are both blinded by your own smug self righteousness. I accept much that is wrong with the institutional church and with priesthood but I do not nor ever will subscribe to your biased, jaundiced, twisted interpretation of reality. Many priests live faithful lives to Christ and his gospel, often with great difficulties, aware of our own moral sins and failings, but also aware that God is with us in our efforts. My “vow” of obedience to the Bishop did not and will not prevent me from choosing CHRIST first and foremost in my life. And I can speak for the majority of priests I know. I do not consider my life or priesthood a waste of one’s life. (That would have been very true of you had you been accepted!), but your ignorant, hate filled speech and odious contempt you have for priests is rooted in your psychologically, unstable psyche. I thank God each day, that despite my many human failings, I still feel a deep gratitude for priesthood and for the opportunities to do some good for people. Your envy and crass bullying is morally reprehensible. The pain of you being rejected still unfolds in your nastiness. Waken from your drunken slumber, you fool.

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    1. This is a deeply unspiritual comment, a narrow judgmental reaction to Pat’s blog. I’m not sure I belive ‘many’ priests are faithful to anything but their own form of Catholic lite practical agnosticism.I look to the priests for holiness, selflessness and examples of prayer, I don’t really need examples of failings or someone’s version of ‘Gospel values’ ( 1990’s Catholic school Mission Statement nonsense ).

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      1. 5.07: And where might one get “holiness” from except from the gospel of Christ, imbibing its’ spirit, living the gospel in imitation of Christ? Are you suggesting that the icon of priestly prayer, holiness and selflessness is personified in Larne? If That’s your belief, you’re delusional. I believe many, many priests try to live reasonably good lives, albeit with the normal human failings that are part of the humanity we inherit. When you find the perfect priest or church or indeed the perfect Christian, let us know. There are some horrible, disparaging and objectionable comments posted here abiut priests that are not just, fair or balanced. It suits Pat’s vengeful agenda.

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      2. I have never suggested that I am a role model for anything.

        Nor have I ever said that there were no good priests.

        In the priesthood though, I have met some of the most horrible people I ever met.

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    2. Drunken slumber? I would like to see you choose between your bishop and an Irish man’s slumbering manhood.

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      1. I thought you received grace as a freely bestowed gift from God, the Sacraments always give grace to those who receive them worthily, it’s not non specific ‘Values’, the Gospel itself contains teachings and examples not values. In England the priests are very happy to take money to say Masses for the dead though every funeral is white vestments and a celebration of the life, there is no belief in Purgatory at all and everyone is united in laughing at the idea, there is nothing to the Supper of the Lord which suggests the role of propitiatory sacrifice anyway so how can they take the money with a clear conscience ?

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  7. The people elsewhere (and now, emergingly, in Poland) do not feel your ‘deep gratitude for priesthood’, but see it as a social curse used by bone-idle, work-shy, parasitical perverts to self-indulge and to exploit, and otherwise abuse, people, especially children.
    Odd that you can’t see this reality. 🤔

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    1. 11.50: Still on the booze Mags? Your words demean any sense of human decency you may have, which, by your frequent comments, suggest an impoverishment of such, but your hate speech is disgusting and proves that Pat needs you to spout his ideas, thoughts and sentiments. Both of you work hand in hand. It’s sickening. God bless all our GOOD priests.

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      1. 1:45

        ‘God bless all our good priests’? 😕

        That shouldn’t take God long, then.😅

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    2. M. Carta at 11:50. Had you returned from Sunday Mass by the time you wrote that little rant? If so, it did you very little, if any, good. You’d have been better off helping out at a homeless shelter or a soupkitchen run by VdeP.

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  8. I’d love a Westminster day. We really hit the jackpot a couple of years ago with the chubby cleric who was hurled down the Beda staircase by a hunky Australian. I don’t believe I’ve laughed as much since! There is the odd tit-bit about Elsie being pissed off with the ex Anglicans – we like to know the details!

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    1. “… pissed off with the ex-Anglicans”
      Who wouldn’t be? Walsingham thought they’d got rid of the old queens and they all came back ten-fold in the Ordinariate.

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      1. I’m sure if you were in Walsingham this weekend for the Anglican National Pilgrimage there would be no shortage of Queens (and a few Dykes too).

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      2. Quite so @10:36pm. I too have noticed the bizarre phenomenon of Anglican women clergy also sporting the full Tridentine regalia including lace and maniples. They also like the 39 button cassock ( an Anglo-Catholic peculiarity ) though I’ve yet to see one in a biretta or a soup plate hat, as favoured by the queens.

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      3. 11.51pm I have seen some women with said head gear. It’s all about dressing up.

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  9. I’m reliably informed that there are 2 retired Police Officers now turned private investigators, investigating the gay mafia in Scotland, more so
    Paisley, Glasgow and Motherwell. This must have been agreed privately at the Bishop’s conference as they have all been inundated with letters. Watch this space. I also see that the President of the Scottish Bishop’s Conference is a Bishop these days and not Arch for the first time ever. Archbishop Tartaglia was glad to see the back of it and Archbishop Leo Cushley wasn’t voted for. They cannot tolerate one another. Lots of infighting and jealousy. If one becomes Cardinal, there will be handbags at dawn. They’ve issued a clap trap statement saying that the President isn’t the defacto head of the Catholic Church is Scotland anyway these days. Hogwash. Will Vincent let a Bishop be President?

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    1. Oh the top team are fighting lol. Well I am confused. If Cushley is the Metropolitan, how come of of his Bishops is President? Must be a smart arse on here who will know the answer. On a separate note, lots of info was sent to Pat for Scotland’s blog day, lots from brother Clergy, but he chose not to publish it. Are you on the take form the Scottish Bishops Pat? Surely not! Has Fr/Mr Dr Bollan been in touch? Hope he is ok. Are you in contact with Fr Gilhooley (close friend of Cardinal KOB?). Any word on Fr Paul Friel, or any of the other Priests sent abroad by +Phillip?

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      1. None of that. Comments with serious allegations without proof or credible information.

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      2. What about Father (later Canon) Call me Andy Monaghan? Was he also “a friend” of KOB.

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      3. It’s simple. Most countries don’t have a primatial see: the heads of the bishops’ conferences are elected. Any bishop within the conference may be elected chair.
        What’s the difference between a bishop and an archbishop? In fact the historical emergence of the role of a metropolitan archbishop was as a means of administering a group of dioceses from a distance, from Rome’s perspective. From every group of dioceses – and a group could range from three or four to ten or more – one was assigned the role of liaising with Rome when required, for example, in the event of a vacancy in any one of them. This role was usually given to the diocese with the largest city of the region – as the word ‘metropolitan’ suggests, i.e. a ‘mother city.’ So in effect, there’s only a difference in precedence – and that’s not an evangelical counsel, between archbishops and bishops. There’s no reason why the president of a conference has to be a metropolitan.

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      4. Padre L Not someone who is a smart arse but someone who cares for the Church in Scotland and more so my home city of Glasgow.

        They take it in turns at the Bishops Conference and Really + Toal should have been next President but as everyone knows his eyesight is deteriorating and needs a driver with him and therefore Archbishop Cushley was the new boy on the block.

        Archbishop Cushley has enough in Edinburgh to get on with and wants to tackle it and he has Big time and continues to do.

        Archbishop Tartaglia has not got the health and awaiting an Auxiliary if he gets one however Glasgow is not in a good shape the Council of priests are meeting today.

        Fr / Dr Bolan has not resigned he is still part of the diocese of Paisley just like Frank both still on the diocese of Paisley c/o list. and they are not going to rock the boat both living a life of prayer and celibacy.

        Gilhooley thankfully is now in a foreign diocese now.

        Friel is still abroad like many of the others still abroad and + Philip not bothering he just wishes to plod on waiting on the Red Beretta if he gets it.

        Glasgow needs a complete overhaul as clergy changes are jobs for the boys or joined up parishes.

        The New Cardinal or Auxiliary could make changes but thankfully they have not to get right of succession.

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    2. It’s high time the chair of the Irish Bishops’ Conference was elected. It’s too much to expect that one person should bear the responsibility for all of his tenure. No. Much better to let a natural choice emerge, especially since the bishops are appointed to their own dioceses rather than elected, as indeed, elected they should be.

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      1. Ways of time those conferences

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      2. If they well democratic they should rotate every three years.

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    3. I suspect that the Scottish Laity network are active on this as they are fed up of being ignored by the Bishops.

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    4. Who’s Will Vincent?

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    5. Big Jimbo you have it wrong that an Archbishop takes it in turn to be President they changed the rules it is going to rotate every three years.
      As for Archbishop Cushley not getting a vote he did not want it as he is trying to get his Archdioceses into order and out of the red and he is doing a good job at that he has got rid of all these Directors unlike Glasgow and its Four Directors all paid well over 75K each.
      As for cardinal it looks like the two current Archbishops are ill one blown up and other thin as a rake and as once said John Keenan will most likely be Scotland’s next Cardinal.
      You are 100% correct about the two Private Detectives working for the Bishops and yet it is right under their noses at Clyde Street however it is likely the people are writing to Clyde Street or diocesan offices and as you all know in every diocese communications go to the chancellor so people should write to the Archbishops and Bishops directly and action will be taken.

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  10. 3.01pm. Pat. As long as you do t print names it’s ok. You should know that.

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    1. True to a certain extent. But if you say a priest in a certain village is abusing boys – and there is only ONE priest in that village. You might as well name him?

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      1. If someone has named a priest as abusing boys in Scotland you need to report it to the Scottish police.

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  11. Phil Macrackin 26th May 2019 — 3:13 pm

    Pat. why on earth did you massage another Priests knee when you knew he was touching up young girls? Oh and when he beat you up, why on earth didn’t you smash his face in?

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    1. At the time I did not know these things about him.

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      1. Massaging his knee? Did your hands wander Pat as I suspect you were suppressing your own sexuality at that point? Must have been hard for you?

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      2. No hands did not wander. I was totally repressed at the time and in any event have never been into silverdaddies.

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    2. Why didn’t Pat smash his face in? Because Pat is soft as shite.

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      1. Pat does not approve of violence. Is that bad?

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  12. I am still astonished that the Glasgow Priest caught on the altar with sex toys (up his jacksie) as per the blog last week is still in a Parish. Read all about it on google. Second chance I suspect. Hope he is ok now and keeping his toys to his bedroom.

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  13. Very Rev Priest 26th May 2019 — 3:22 pm

    Lay off Scottish territory please. Nothing goes on here that is not already being dealt with. We aren’t perfect but we all try our best. Any mistakes are part of our human frailty. Colleagues of mine are ill because of this blog worried that mistakes they made decades ago are going to to be raised. Stop it now.

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    1. Oh, Bp Pat, you’ve touched a nerve! Perhaps “Scotland Day” should be every last Wednesday of the month.

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    2. They should not be worried and as they say a leopard never changes its spot.
      They should have resigned not start worrying now.
      As for the priest he got sex therapy but and given a bigger Parish by + Philip.
      Everyone think + Philip is just plodding along in hope to be Cardinal but that will be interesting as it is Edinburgh’s turn and if that is the case + Philip will go on health grounds looked so tired yesterday at the Cathedral.

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  14. Honest to God, what dysfunction you describe, + Pat. Two men who ate at the same table three times a day for 14 years and did not speak ! I suspect that it is not unusual in shared clergy houses, or indeed in religious houses. I remember as a young priest being in a religious community and being afraid to go the the dining room because of the angry bullying that went on there. You only had to say a word, and someone was down your throat. Angry, disappointed, frustrated, severely dysfunctional men. Some would sulk. Some would just be silent. Some would explode. Some were just rude. Very few were nice and balanced. I got to my senses eventually and left, thinking that I did not want to spend the rest of my life living in that kind of strange and sick environment. Some of these men did good work, and to people outside were seen as holy men. But living with them was a different kettle of fish. Most are dead now. I do wonder if they every found any happiness outside of cigarettes and booze, and just venting their frustrations all the time.

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    1. Your experiences resonate so closely with my own it’s…it’s almost uncanny.

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    2. They have the internet now, so they will be looking at gay porn a lot. Remember Fr Martin McVeigh… the dirty old man!

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  15. 3.48 same as me Pat! He sounds a right prick! RIP

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  16. Some of the people (not clergy) had concerns about you Pat Buckley back then. You were very full of yourself and egotistical (they wouldn’t have used that word). Quite conceited and craving attention.

    If you really were in the right, you would have stood up for yourself against them. McKinley and McGurnaghan were not good men. Neither are you. Cabal Daly was a pompous little fuss pot. If you had had right on your side, you could have stood up against these dysfunctional men and they wouldn’t have budged you.

    You are too like them. That’s your problem. As bad as they were, you weren’t much better in terms of your own issues and dysfunction.

    A wise old parishioner of St Peter’s said you might have been ok had you had proper guidance. You didn’t get it – we know. But you are not entirely blameless either.

    A lot of your problems were of your own making. And rubbing oil into McKinley’s knee? That’s not just normal!

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    1. Its not normal to massage the injury of a friend or relative.

      I think you must be more repressed than I ever were.

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    2. 7:14
      For Christ’s sake, he was just a young man, and inexperienced! How could he have stood up to two awful bastardos like that?
      Grow up.
      Know what I sense in your post? Cain and Abel syndrome…Father.
      What’s wrong? Did Father Pat’s gospel-centred ministry show you up as well as those two useless turds, McKinley and McGurnaghan, for their indolent, self-interested lifestyles? Hah, hah I think it did. 😅
      And you’ve never gotten over it!! 😆

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      1. “Magna Carta” at 10:17pm, Pope Benedict, whom you ruthlessly excoriate at every opportunity, was only a fourteen year old boy when he – like most German boys – was in Hitler Youth. And you would damn him for it, you despicable idiot.
        Buckley was a grown man – not a young teenage boy. He should have had the balls to stand up to them. And for your information, “Magna Carta”, I’m a great grandfather at this stage. Many of the old parishioners of St Peter’s could see through Pat Buckley.

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      2. 10.17: Maggie, TRUTH and you do not go well together. Like your lord and master, Patsy, you deny the bigger picture and once you have an opportunity to apportion blame on clerics, you engage in an ignorant, objectionable onslaught of hate speech.

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    3. Grandpappy @ 11:02
      Listen here, ol’ timer. By not standing up to them, Pat Buckley did nothing wrong in itself, but Pope Benedict’s wilfully joining an explicitly Nazi organisation WAS wrong in itself since, by doing so, he was publicly acknowledging his support of Nazism
      You don’t ‘get’ it, do you?😕

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  17. 3.48:???????? ……Is this a true statement?

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  18. Pat, the story as relayed by you is a very one-sided story. Yes, you were hurt and wronged, but does it not occur to you that you also were wrong and hurtful to others in your trycculent, obstinate way? It seems very unfair that you incriminate everyone else and lay all blame on them while you fail to own any responsibility for your own awkward behaviour. I think you need to be more honest with yourself. All these years later your need to assert blame on others is a psychologically unhealthy place to be. Surely you have come to some reconciliation in yourself with your enemies!! What did Jesus say.. ” Love one another as I have loved you…even your enemies”. A damn difficult challenge for any of us but you should aim towards this ideal….It becomes tiresome when you repeat only one side of a bigger picture.

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    1. Psychologically unhealthy or sinful ? Which is it?Do you believe in reaching a degree of ‘maturity’ through discussion with a trained psychologist or do you believe that mortal sins are punished with Hell in the next life? You know you don’t believe in Hell and not because your God is too loving to send anyone there, be honest you’re not even a real believer in Heaven.

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  19. Sadly your experience of being bullied Pat continues to this day. Maybe not physical but emotional bullying. Why did two recently ordained priests go to Treanor and ask to be removed from St Patrick’s in Belfast?

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