The Irish Times 16.7.19 B Hoban.

The recent Dáil exchange in which Taoiseach Leo Varadkar compared Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to “one of those parish priests who preaches from the altar telling us to avoid sin while secretly going behind the altar and engaging in any amount of sin himself” came as something of a shock.

The immediate reaction was one of surprise and confusion. What was this about? Was Varadkar just tired after a hectic schedule in Brussels? Was he just being smart-assed and playing to the gallery? Or was it that in the heat of the moment the truth came out?

Did we glimpse the real Varadkar, instead of the carefully-constructed media image of a leader happy and privileged to lead the very disparate communities that make up the new Ireland? Was this indicative of what he really thought of the Catholic Church and of priests?


The widespread condemnatory response to his comments was immediate and strong. The reason, I think, was that what he seemed to be saying was not just that the church had a lot to answer for (as we do); or that we should apologise for our failings (which we have) but that behind the facade of condemnation priests were living lives that contradicted what they were preaching.

We know that’s the worst possible accusation against a priest. And we know that tarring every priest with the brush of child abuse is unfair and unconscionable, but this is what the Taoiseach speaking in the Dáil chamber seemed to be implying. Whatever he said, whatever he meant, whatever the provenance of his words, I think this was why the response was so instinctive.

In fairness, the Taoiseach apologised and it was important and necessary that he did so. But it raises other issues. Does he mean it? And can we believe him?

When Pope Francis was here, even though some doubted Varadkar’s sincerity when he praised the contribution of the church in different areas of Irish life, more now wonder whether it was all just PR spin, scooping up Catholic votes before the next election.

So the question remains: is this what Varadkar actually thinks of us?

What Varadkar doesn’t seem to understand is that very few people in Ireland now have no difficulty with lambasting the church for its real or perceived sins and failings (and bishops are included in that) but attacking the local priest is for many a step too far.

Not that priests are not criticised. We are, constantly. And sometimes by our own parishioners. But for others, it’s a no-no.

While the church has lost much or most of its authority in Ireland, and while criticism is devastating and ongoing, at local parish level there is still huge respect for, appreciation of and solidarity with the local priest.

And that’s why Varadkar’s flippant comment has been so devastating.

Over the last few decades, as priests watched television documentaries forensically dissecting the child abuse scandals and as we read the terrible detail of the Dublin report, the Ferns report, the Cloyne report and others, the nightmare question for priests was that as we walked to the altar to say Mass that weekend was: “After what they’ve read in the papers or seen on television, are my parishioners wondering whether I too am an abuser?”

What the Taoiseach seemed to be implying in the Dáil was that this might well be true.

Inevitably Fianna Fáil will make hay on this. The gap between the two main parties is so narrow that even a slight shift will ease Fianna Fáil into the lead and leave Fine Gaelin the confidence-and-supply role after the next election.

What the Taoiseach’s remarks have achieved is that they will awaken and give a focus to the “sleeping giant” of traditional Catholicism.

Catholic votes

The reality is that the marriage equality referendum and the abortion referendum were carried only because Catholics in their thousands voted for them.

But the reality too is that most of the roughly one-third who voted against them were Catholics – and they, along with many Catholics who voted for it, weren’t at all impressed, for example, by the cheering in Dublin Castle for an abortion regime in Ireland.

The difficult truth for Varadkar is that while the new, inclusive Ireland where the marginalised are being brought into the centre has the support of many Catholics, many see the current demonisation of Catholicism as an unfair price to pay for it. And they have votes too.

As Ivan Yates commented on his radio programme (and he knows a thing or two about elections) those Catholics unhappy with the Taoiseach’s loose talk about their priests will be waiting for him in the long grass at the next general election.

While many people admire Varadkar for his ability and, not least, for the new Ireland that is being created on his watch, as I do, it was disappointing that in the Dáil chamber he descended to the mocking and stereotyping of Catholic priests, who have more than most borne the heat of the day.

We deserved better.

Fr Brendan Hoban is a priest of Killala diocese and is co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests


Hoban is basically a priest’s union man in Ireland.

He is always whining on about the bad treatment priests get.

He is a bore!

He obviously wants to preserve the Clerical Club.

Leo Varadaker was quite right to hold up priests as one of the glowing examples of hypocrisy in modern Ireland.

Preaching chastity, virginity, celibacy, anti contraceptionism etc, and having sex with children, men and women, covering up for clerical colleagues etc.

And as for the “Sleeping Giant of Traditional Catholicism”.

Where was that giant when Francis was here and very few turned out to see him?

Where was that giant when the Irish people voted in the most liberal abortion regime in Europe?

Where was that giant when the Irish people voted in same sex marriage?

Where is the giant when your pews are emptying every Sunday?

Hoban & Co are harking back to the priest ridden Ireland.

They are pishing in the wind.

They will be made a thing of the past by the real giant – the giant of the modern, European, pluralistic, open Irish people.

And just as St. Patrick drove the snakes of his time out of Ireland, the new Patrician People will drive out their moral tyrants of yesteryear.

Hoban & Co, your la has tiochied!

And that’s what you deserve.


Exhausting for+Pat?
More likely exasperating to read such trivial lightweight inane comments.
Please Mary dear if you’ve nothing constructive to say: say nothing.
And by the way, I don’t think you’re a ‘Mary’ for a moment. More likely some cathbot cleric!


Pat the lgbt will push it too far in Ireland, targeting children in the new sex education is the final straw, glitter hole and all the trans are exposing to Ireland what the lgbt really is,



‘Targetting children’? By the LGBT?

Er, aren’t you confusing this demographic with one decidedly darker and better-known? Roman Catholic priests?


Poster at 2:18pm

No it’s you who is confused, probably because of your lifestyle. You can not blame all priests because of the few bad ones, who will be dealt with more severely than any civil court can. When they are called to judgement.
Evviva Maria!


You want to answer their early questions with “You were born under a head of cabbage”. 😊



Bishop Pat, that is EXACTLY what my poor parents told me when I inevitably asked, as a precocious boy: how diid you get me? 😅😅

Sadly, I believed the buggers.😕


They teach young children about sex toys and the like, bit different than what you were askin magma


Pat, another of your arrogant, smug, hate inciting g “Pat Says”…. Ignorant, bullying and childish. Fr. Brendan Hoban stands head and shoulders above you in every way, as do many of the priests you condemn. Your blog is no longer a forum for genuine debate, but is now a stage for as much priest bashing as possible. Your themes are now familiar, boring and repetitive. It’s all about what the guru – Pat Buckley – me, me, me….how great I am. God bless all our priests.


7.49: Well expressed. Pat, when offering worthwhile criticisms, occasionally loses all fairness, balance and right judgment. His disdain and loathing for Catholic Priests is totally unjustified. His smug arrogance is nauseating. And there seems little point in trying to engage intelligently or rationally with him as he has his mind made up. He is not an icon of virtue.


Anonymous at 9:44am

I am more interested in considering your “dead” status, which does not bode well for you. I answered your sarcastic and ignorant remarks yesterday you will have to ask Patsy why she did not post my reply. I will repeat The Judgement Seat of Jesus Christ shall manifest my faith, so sorry to disappoint you I have no worries, think of yourself you should have plenty to worry about.
Evviva Maria!



And you’d prefer the blog to be…what? A forum for uncritically lionising men of whom many are a criminal danger to children, and young people?


2.20: Not a forum for hate mongers like you, you despicable human being: only happy when tearing others apart. You may have academic knowledge about the gospels but you certainly don’t live any beatitude or virtue. There is nothing of CHRIST in your thwarted or deranged mind. You belong to the cave of haters. Stay there, fool. Or, if you feel you can.make a useful, worthwhile contribution to reform g humanity, come out of the shadows and reveal your true self to the public or join the miserably failing project called Larne Oratory eatory…..Pat needs c- r-e-a-t-i-v-i-t-y and very fast. Oh, I remember, you are an anonymous under Magna Carta, so I don’t expect courage, integrity or honour….all talk, Magsy dear, no action.


Are we getting a new church state relationship. There is a formal link between church and state in England but sure there’s an stronger shake me hand deal going on Ireland for years. Since and before roman times state used church to control people. Henry 8 knew when he was on to a good thing hi. History moves in circles. Forget the crown and the harp. Put Jesus at the centre if ye remember who he is hi


Brendan Hoban is a superb and a prophetic writer. What he does from within the church, Pat Buckley does from outside.
One of the differences between them is that in his zeal Pat sometimes adopts morally-questionable tactics, such as personally denigrating individuals, including the use of nicknames etc. I don’t believe Pat deliberately chose to minister outside the church, but rather, that in the hayday of autocratic hierarchic church governance, CBDaly made a wrong call.


9.11: Pat is a bully. A classic bully: name calling: ridiculing: besmirching every Catholic priest: no ability to acknowledge tbe good works of other priests: Pat, Brendan Hoban is a true priest. He is a great witness to TRUTH and JUSTICE: Against him your light is very dim.


Brendan Hoban and all priests are representatives in their area of the corrupt RC. They are branch managers of RC Incorporated. Their bishops are area managers. The Vatican is world HQ. Frank is the CEO.
You say there are good branch managers?
What’s the point of that when the company is corrupt?
Good people do not work for corrupt companies and carry out company policy.

Now, theres the TRUTH.



Hogan ‘is a great witness to TRUTH and JUSTICE’? Well, here’s a truth he either won’t or can’t acknowledge: most people now are sickened almost to the point of regurgitation by men like Hogan. Worse, this man seems to insist on respect as an entitlement of his ordination to the priesthood, the very rite that had him, and others, abandon God by vowing obedience to a bishop. And it is this betrayal that keeps these men publicly quiet about the mortal sinfulness of the craven institution every last one of these moral cowards serves before God.

How could any intelligent person respect any of these Christ-betrayers?

The sleeping giant of traditional Catholicism? It’s clericalism by another name, and Hogan knows it. And what’s more, looks forward to. The very evil that brought the institutional Church to the huge moral sewer of its own degeneration.

So much for justice…unless clerical privilege, entitlement, status, self-aggrandisement, and all the hedonistic rest, can be counted as justice.


Hoban hasn’t just got it yet. His church and his priesthood have been vilified by the utter corruption of his clerical colleagues and his Episcopal masters.

Every priest is now suspect!


Shows how little you know and that your outpourings are in inverse proportion to your understanding.


Brendan Hoban has rarely put a foot wrong in his glorious career as the chronicler and challenger of the Irish Church in journalism and fiction. Kneejerk reaction such as Pat’s are myopic. Brendan works at the coalface and has some authority to speak of the forces of traditional Catholicism, which by the way he does not equate with illiberal causes. It was not only secularist but also traditional Catholics who votes yes in the 2015 and 2018 referendums, simply because traditional Catholics have a sense of humanity and fairness


Fr Hoban is a fantastic man, certainly no bore. Buckley are you in denial about who you are and how the public actually view you? Are you in a mental state of denial about your complete lack of credibility? Do you see yourself as a victim rather than the victim maker? Pretty sad.


Patsy at 12:40pm
No Patsy that is not the TRUTH. You are the CEO.manager and branch manager of this corrupt false sect operating from Larne leading people to perdition by allowing license for all types of disgraceful lifestyles. Fr. Hoban is above you in every way, God Bless him.
Evviva Maria!


C’mon Bella: +Pat probably didn’t publish your comment ‘cos it’s pathetic idiocy was abusively incoherent, as indeed are many of your efforts.
In simple terms, you seem quite incapable of any insightful contributions concerning your religious beliefs. You repeatedly castigate others, especially MC , hostiley and personally, and boringly regurgitate your small minded insular mantra: Eviva etc.
Would you ever wise up, moderate your comments, and make an effort to at least understand others’ position before, like some yapping wee dog, repeating your typically fixatated comments.


Haven’t you read the comments about the reliability of audits Anon 10:08?
If you’re unable to understand their significance, then just say so, and an attempt to make it easier could be made…….
perhaps with some difficulty, but one never knows!


1.18. Don’t believe everything you hear. Although do report back to us when he arrives.


10:08 A definition of insanity is doing, or in this case, saying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.


Within the sleeping giant we have many loose limbs. As a member of a London parish, I am already fearful because one of your blog characters, has been transferred to us from Hertfordshire. I have been informed that he is quite an ecclesiastical “queen”, and, God help him a drunkard, who expects alcohol sustenance in tbe course of parish visitations. The cardinal doesn’t care about us, the low–down parishioners. (Does he even acknowledge of respect our faith?)


I’m sorry that you are so down hearted. No the cardinal does not care. Latch on to God and trust HIM.


Is he the ex Beda Seminarian that got a hiding from an Australian Seminarian? I hear he is highly critical and vocal against this blog recently. I may be wrong and stand corrected. Does that mean Westminster have announced moves.


Yes that’s him. Was fond of the meadow in Lourdes but was more fond of the bars late at night. When drunk in Lourdes he slagged off his PP’s, senior and fellow Clergy and even worse, the Auxiliary Bishops including the present Bishop of East Anglia.


Yes announced on WGC Catholic Churches website newsletter last weekend. He lasted two years and then only one year before that in Enfield after that. Two parishes since Ordination in 2016


The Cardinal was advised against ordaining this man after the Beda incident and the Lourdes scandal. He took no notice. I blame the people who persuaded +Vin to give him a third chance. God help Northolt and South Harrow. I would hope he isn’t allowed near Harrow School where Churchill was educated.


Senior Priests in Westminster are now asking if Elsie is now fit to carry on running the Diocese. This is in light of the abuse Inquiry fiasco and now allowing an Ordination to proceed after strong advice to him against doing so. Now we see another mess developing of a curate transferred 3 times in 3 years. Elsie is now considered a liability and a lame duck. He’s in Lourdes later this week.


‘…but attacking the local priest is for many a step too far…it’s a no-no.? 😕
What a preposterous statement by Hogan! Where have you been, priest? Worldwide, the overwhelming number of clerics who raped children were precisely that…local, with easy access to their prey.
And ‘attacking’ them? Is this, Hogan, how you judge accusations of rape and suchlike against priests?
Careful folks! The pharisaical mindset that protected child-abusing Roman Catholic priests in Ireland, allowing them to rape and sodomise under a cloak of public respectability, is trying to make a comeback.
Leo V. was right about priests in Ireland: they are not to be trusted, so dysfunctional are their lifestyles and the mafia-like institution they serve before God.
The moral default position for any Catholic parent before a Roman Catholic priest should be that this man may be a paedophile, until he convinces me he is not.


@3.44. You seem to jump to conclusions without any knowledge of the facts. Did you know he was moved from Enfield because the powers that be decided to reduce the number of priests from 3 to 2. Out of the two assistants he was the one who could drive and had a car.
As for Welwyn Garden City, the assistant priests never stay there long. The one before him did two years and before him did one year. The one before that didn’t manage a year – he went off with a school teacher, left the Priesthood, got married and had kids.
Enough said.


Not that old chestnut again dear @ 6.27pm. This has been used before to cover up the antics of the Curate on the run. His story is well known in these parts, unlike curates before him they were not the ones getting drunk on a regular basis and criticising fellow clergy whilst off their tits on booze in Lourdes and elsewhere. Think on.


@10.59 you’re the one using the same old chestnut. I’ve never heard such a load of rubbish. This blog states stuff as if they were fact whereas it’s all gossip and innuendo.


You must be easily bored. If there are two things B Hoban is not, they are: insufferable and boring. Have you perused his ecclesiastical historical output? Anyone who can write English as well as he can, and with the edge that seems to come naturally could never be described by any fair-minded person as insufferable or monotonous.


I’ll hand it to Brendan Hoban his writing style is fantastic. I’ve read a couple of his books. I don’t know the man personally but as far as his writing goes, I wish I had the same intellect and style.


At 9:41pm – thanks for that Brendan! Sure you’re a marvellous man altogether. Tis’ an awful pity you were never made a bishop. A terrible tragedy for the Church. Tis’ a Bishop you should have been.


@ Magna Carta 2:18
This made me laugh out loud 🤣

Because here’s the thing. Literally the entire world has moved on. The history is what it is and I find myself wondering how Catholics should respond to the abuse scandal and events in the world around us. And for sure the response isn’t coming on this blog Pat-bashing.
Also I’ve been thumbing through the catechism and I’m not seeing where it says we can be certain of salvation: that’s Protestant ism, and probably even not mainstream Protestant ism.


Dear 6:18 try thumbing your way through the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
The CCC is an eclectic anthology of church thinking on various subjects. It’s primary weakness is that it continues the illusion that everything in it is of equal importance. There is a hierarchy of truths and inclusion therein adds nothing to the status of a point of teaching.


We’ve moved on from those anti-modernist days, thankfully and Papa Sarto’s spy networks. Since then we’ve had Divino afflante spiritu and Vatican II.


Here I am this evening with a good first day over up here on the north coast. Just poured myself a wee evening snifter and am in the big chair and my laughter has started already. The Biblical scholars and catechists who have been busy showing off their scholarship and knowledge in the previous posts are like accountants arguing about the cash flow in the first class saloon of the Titanic. A totally irrelevant exercise.
They would be much better employed putting their best efforts into living their lives by following the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would wish done to you. Less of this claptrap and empty point scoring. In this day and age nobody gives a ####


Love the anology DD!
Accountants on Titanic counting up the sums,
ignore the rising waters creeping up their bums.
Rising even higher, and just before their chins,
“We really need a different slant: we need to save our skins.
We must confuse the punters: It’s not really H2O.”
But all the while the waters rise: they’ll all go down below.
Like king Canute who failed to see,
the Roman church goes blindly on, ” Believe and you’ll be free.
Follow our prescriptions, for we have seen the light.”
Like accountants on Titanic, It’s all a load of cover up… white!


@6.41pm. The senior priests in Westminster belong to the Arch’s Council but then you already know that so why ask.


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