I have never been in the military and have never engaged in armed combat.
But I suffer from some PTSD that goes back to 1978 – 1983 – the time I sent in St. Peter’s parish on the Belfast Fals Road.
Occasionally I wake up in the middle of the night shouting and shaking. Last Monday night was one of those nights.
People staying in the house have heard my nocturnal shouts.
In my scary dreams I am back in the presbytery and various things are happening.
I am back in my bedroom and two drunk priests are outside in the corridor, kicking my door and regaling me with songs that might come from Rugby changing rooms.
Or I am in the kitchen having a meal with the housekeeper and a priest is shouting “I thought I told you not to feed tramps here”.
Or I am the ground in the dining room and a priest is kicking me.
Or I am in a priests room discussing a possible pastoral project that he opposes. I ask him what Jesus would think. He replies “How dare you drag the fucking Word of God into this”.
Or I am praying in the cathedral and two priests are on the altar making masturbatory motions at me.
Or I am sweeping the street outside the presbytery and two priests are at the window laughing and giving me two finger salutes.
This PTSD does not affect my ordinary everyday life but it makes those occasional nights very deeply unpleasant.
There is domestic abuse in presbyteries too!
Why have I been affected like this?
First of all I was a young priest, believing in the essential goodness of priests and what was happening to me contradicted what I deeply believed.
Secondly, I was working hard with and for the parishioners and my ministry was so intensely resented.
Thirdly, being from Dublin I had no local family and friends and the experience was so isolating.
And what made things worse, no one believed me, not fellow priests, not parishioners and certainly not the bishop.
You only really get to know these guys when you live with them and observe how they operate closely.
And you really expose their vicious side when you challenge them in any way.
Wait to see the clerical response I will get to this piece today.
They will say it was I who was the abuser, not the others.
They will say I am lying.
They will say I’m not right in the head.
And God knows what else they will say.
That will be further clerical abuse. But then they are experts at abuse, are they not.
No priest every sexually abused me.
But a number of them abused me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
They say I am anticlerical.
I wonder why?
46 replies on “PTSD IS NOT RESERVED TO SOLDIERS.”
Kilmore clergy changes are out…..lots of moves
The catholic tradition of priests living in one residence is very unhealthy. Parochial Houses, Presbyteries etc are not healthy places for young catholic clergy.
In the Anglican church and other denominations, clergy usually have their own individual house and do not share it with another priest. Usually they have families, and so they would just have their wife and children there.
I remember visiting my local young vicar who came to our parish as our assistant curate. He was married with two young children, and the vicarage was full of kids toys, books, and baby food. It was a great atmosphere.
I have the feeling the clerical celibacy of the catholic church causes problems, as the church thinks that celibate clergy means they can save money and lump all priests into one house, which causes so many problems.
Probably now in 2019 with the priest shortage, parochial houses are quieter, with maybe just one resident priest.
Reading what Bishop Pat went through in his Belfast parish has shocked me. I have never thought a catholic priest would suffer like Pat did at the hands of his fellow priests of the same parish.
Does this still happen in 2019? Are catholic clergy being bullied and tormented by their senior clergy in parochial houses, presbyteries in 2019?
If they are, why not just provide one house per each priest, as they do in the Anglican church and other protestant churches. The catholic church could afford it. One house for the parish priest, one for the curate etc.
Pat. They make me sick. God will not forget your treatment. He will hold them to account.
I have just read your second book from Kindle today and it has helped me tremendously. Thank you.
I will be in touch later this week as discussed on the blog yesterday for further guidance.
God bless you and thank for all that you do.
Dirty oul, filthy oul, bone-idle-oul Roman Catholic priests wtih lazy-oul, useless oul, bone-idle- oul, revoltin’ oul,…Oh come the hell off it, Bishop Pat!
These men are of no use to anyone, but themselves, and their self-aggrandising theology of priesthood.
And YOU should know.
Pat, thank you for being so honest publicly about this. I too get this after being a novice in a religious order.
The Cathbots are going to be out in force today as a result but once again you give them an opportunity to show how these holy Catholics treat people.
You’re annoying all the right people 😉
LikeLiked by 1 person
They have been sending negative and abusive comments all night.
I have exposed a personal wound on today’s blog.
I’m not going to allow clerics or others to mess with them.
If people throw p poo n venum
at you on here how are people in parishes treated. Get yr head red teddies hi
I can well believe that these things happened to you, + Pat. The ignorant, boorish, alcohol fuelled, hypocritical, arrogant, muscular christianity, foul mouthed behaviour of clergy is something that I, too, have witnessed and experienced in the past. Whilst the parishioners saw one side of the priest, you and I being inside the clerical circle are able to see the other side. And it is not pretty.
Communities of clergy, be they secular priests living together in a presbytery and sharing a common life, or a religious community, should be places of peace, love, prayer, calm. But, so often they are exactly as you have described. I found that I was in communities of priests who were, in themselves as individuals, very damaged and dysfunctional individuals, with all sorts of personal problems. Thrown together, these handicaps just seems to be multiplied, and the results were damaging for all around. The atmosphere was definitely one of bullying, and if you became the focus for that, for example if you were the youngest and newest and most inexperienced, then life was not pleasant. Bullying comes in all sorts of guises, be it in anger and foul language, even physical violence, or in more subtle ways or even as micro bullying. People can shout at you, or just freeze you out. They can belittle you. Or, as in your case, they can resort to physical violence. Both you and I have experienced these things in various ways, and yet we have survived.
The root cause of this behaviour is that the men involved were dysfunctional, damaged, unhappy, lacking integration and emotional maturity, living in a clerical culture the put them beyond reproach or accountability, and damaged by the emotional, psychological and sexual damage that was done to them by that clerical culture. Sounds familiar ? And what else did people like that end up doing ? Yes, these are precisely the people coming out of the same clerical culture who inflicted even worse than bullying on the young and innocent.
I’m sure that behaviour like you and I have described is still alive and kicking in presbyteries and religious communities. It’s one of those hidden cultures and ways of life that people don’t know about, and which stops people from complaining about, because if they do then everything that they value and rely on will be taken away from them. A perfect storm. One day somebody will investigate this kind of clerical behaviour and the damage it inflicts on clergy themselves, never mind about the collateral damage to the Church and to the innocent. I suggest that bishops take a look at it themselves, and grow a pair of balls to confront and sort out this kind of behaviour. But, they won’t. They will just bury their heads in the sand, and consign it to the ‘too difficult’ and ‘pending’ box.
What a disgrace, Bp Pat. At least you’ve had the chance to show them up for the middens they are. Leo Varadkar did too (despite forced apology).
Hi Pat if I knew then what I know now. Abuse is more than physical or sexual. As you say affects can last years. I’ve been known to do the odd shout in the night myself. There’s lots I can think of but sometimes it’s hard to pin down the exact cause. Church and world needs to be made safe for the future but
Roman Catholic priesthood in its present form is an unhealthy, dysfunctional, damaging and dangerous state of life. We see the evidence, which has caused so much collateral damage, particularly to those who are the most vulnerable and innocent. Whilst clergy and bishops themselves may be blind to this, it is interesting to note that in recent times independent and secular authorities are beginning to take an interest and to intervene in the dysfunction of the clerical world and to ask awkward questions and to bring their behavior to task and judgement, particularly in the areas of clerical sexual abuse and its coverup. I think that priests and bishops should take note of this, and begin to ask what it is about their life and the clerical culture which is so damaging, and to begin to address those issues. If they do not, then others will do it for them. If a culture and way of life leads to criminal behavior, then it is the duty of the state to intervene. The Church, priests and bishops are not immune to the law and its judgement. As + Vincent and + Longley have found out to their cost, with both irrevocably damaged and going nowhere. Both, sadly, seem to think that they can just breeze along, with the odd ‘sorry’ thrown in, and promises of doing better in the future. But, it doesn’t have the ring of truth about it. They cannot see beyond their own little clerical world. But, others looking in see an awful lot that is wrong and what needs to be done.
All you say is true.
In some cases they do not even say sorry.
Nobody has ever said sorry to me for my non sexual clerical abuse NSCA
And, by the way I am not a victim of this abuse. I am a survivor of it.
+ Longley’s recent pastoral letter in which he said ‘sorry’ was a litany of transference, glossing over the grave inadequacies and incompetences in safeguarding that have taken place over the last number of years under his leadership, and which were severely criticised by IICSA, who said that while they did not know of any abuse that took place because of this chasm of care and attention to safeguarding, they could not be sure, and that time would no doubt tell. + Longley then goes on to outline in great detail what they are doing now, belatedly, and once the horse has bolted, and once they have been caught out (although he claims that they knew about the inadequacies already – so why was nothing being done, you might ask ?), as an attempt to minimise and transfer the huge deficit in care and attention to duty under his leadership. And, to add insult to injury, he piggybacks all this on the ‘wonderful news’ of the canonisation of Newman, who is largely an irrelevance to the vast majority of Catholics in the world, and only has minor appeal to the rarified Oxbridge tendency of the Church, which includes + Longley himself ! I despair at the lack of accountability, the unwillingness to take responsibility, and the alacrity with which these people gloss over what is their fault and responsibility. It comes across as outstanding arrogant and careless, and indicates a complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of these matters. Which, by the way, IICSA does understand, and I suspect we have not seen the end of this. And, by and large, what apples to + Longley also applies to + Nichols – in spades !
Hi Pat. I’m a recovering alcoholic from a certain Scottish Diocese. I was really struggling and I asked my Bishop for help. I was moved to a Parish under the guidance of an older Priest who was a non drinker, but he was also known for entertaining rent boys and for risky sex. I didn’t want to go, but the Bishop insisted and said he’d warned him to keep his hands to himself. As I began detox, he quickly offered me alcohol in return for sexual favours, often wafting a glass of wine or beer under my nose asking for a bj. He’d pleasure himself in front of me and would ply me with drink and fondle me. I left a few weeks later and that Priest continues to operate. I pray that newly ordained brothers are kept well away from him as he likes them young. Thankfully I am clean now and doing well. I met up with him by accident recently and challenged him about what he did to me. He said it was only a laugh. Your experience is not unusual I am sorry to say. Lots of similar issues across Scotland.
Bp Pat, it seems drink and gay sex go together like peas and carrots for most priests.
Fr H….if your account is true, and I have no reason to not believe you, then the priest you mention should definitely not be in ministry and the bishop should see to that. “Only a laugh” is self-justitication and minimisation of serious sexual misconduct, if not assault, and the man should be taken to task. It is the bishop’s responsibility to do this. I well understand that, like most clergy, you are in a very vulnerable position, given the fact that you rely on your bishop for just about everything, but I would encourage you to take this matter further, if not for your sake then for the sake of others to whom this man will be doing the same things. In any other walk of life there would be processes available to people like you to take this forward. In the Church we still rely on medieval, feudal relationships that hinder people being able to address these matters. Perhaps as a way forward, I would take the matter to the Police, if only as an act of gross indecency and disgusting behaviour designed to offend, and fire a shot across the bows of the bishop and this priest. Then the bishop might have the sense to intervene and take some action. Or you could go to the safeguarding people in your diocese or another diocese on the basis that you, a vulnerable adult, was being taken advantage of by this priest. You really do need to some something. Please.
Fr H I do not disbelieve you but find it very strange you call yourself father is you have left then you are joe public now.
I am sure you know Scotland has the TOP safeguarding procedures in place and have been applauded for it although they take NO gratification for it as it was Andrew McLelland a past Moderator of the Church of Scotland and Baroness Liddle who was the people that sorted it all out.
I would be shamed and very surprised if it any of the current Scottish Bishops who has treated you in this way.
However all is not lost as you can report it to the Safeguarding people and this Priest will be suspended pending outcome of it all.
Furthermore you could go to the Police as this could be a breach of trust by this Senior Priest so you MUST report it all not to the Bishop to the Safeguarding Director for Scotland and the Police.
I am shocked that you do not know Canon Law and the Council of Priest.
Glad you have recovered and hope you are helping at Cenacolo.
Dear Fr. H, a very sad story.
Congratulation on your successful battle with alcohol.
I would enjoy speaking to you sometime.
You’re such a great man. I’m in awe of you. Yeah, let’s have a meet really soon. I will get the boat over from Stranraer one of these fine days and take you out for a nice dinner. I might need a bed for the night if that’s ok?
You are a soldier of Christ Pat!
A true soldier of Christ.
Bishop Pat, I have sent a message of concern being felt by parishioners here (Northolt and South Harrow). +Vincent has sent to us that priest from Welwyn Garden City. His lifestyle is self-indulgent and fuelled by alcohol. He is notorious on this blog. Parishioners already know that he expects to be supplied with alcohol when he visits. Why us? I see no reason to block this truthful post. And…he will be in Lourdes for the “pilgrimage”.
I’m sure he’ll need all the booze he can get with moany middle-class north londoners like you for parishioners. Who would go into the priesthood to deal with whingers like this?!
3.19pm get to confession for breaking the 8th commandment!
Archbishop Longley did not approach the IICSA hearings seriously. With regret I admit that I was with a coterie of priests with Longley, in the ante-room before the hearing. I was shocked and still am, by Longley’s cynicism, as he said to his supporting group, that the latin language would be most opportune at events such as this. I was there. The implication is obvious.
You xure are. A deserter.
Pat, Amy is in her delight
To +Vincent Nichols, — please save us from Montgomery. Do not do this to us! We wish to be a living parish here in Northolt. Enough rubbish. Why has Fr. Michael Daley been sniffing around here recently?
Pat, congratulations on deleting insulting comments today. Instead your detractors have resorted to sh*t stirring and the obviously fake comments are
1. The ‘priest’ who claims to be reporting +Longley’s comment at IICSA. Per-lease. No bishop of England has expressed a liking for Latin since 1958 and the hand picked flunkies would not report his comments here for the simple reason that he knows who was there.
2. While ‘Fr’ H’s experiences are indeed commonplace among clergy, his tale sounds much more like feeding a fake story here. The salacious account of multiple abuses with an initial and details of his assignment etc, would make it far too easy for a serving priest to be identified.
Nice try, lads, but some of us are used to clerical tricks. The gambit here is to get a fake story running on Pat’s blog to discredit him.
The horrendous comments I received today, from which I have spared the readers confirm me in my belief that Satan is rampant in the RC church and particularly its clerics.
Satan hates to be exposed.
6:111 The irony of your comment
Pat. As a priest in a big Scottish diocese and with lots of clergy friends in various other diocese I hear all the goss. Knew about KOB and RODDY before the doodaa nit the fan. I know lots of scandal and tittle tattle but have never heard a whimper about Fr H experiences.
Time we have another Scotch day, Bp Pat.
Really 10.03? It was a damp squid last time.
The 5.50pm person claiming to be Fr H is not me. I have taken on board all the comments made and will reflect. I am well aware of Canon law thanks and this incident happened a while back. The Priest in question is retired but still supplies and I know he has his own issues and is being watched closely following arrest, but no charge. I still call myself Fr because I am! I have been getting help from a religious order in Dundee about my drinking and so far so good. I will be in contact Pat, thanks.
The best of luck to you it’s hard to get off it and even harder to stay off it. Don’t replace one addiction with another.
Thanks 7.42. Means alot.
Good. I have 2 spare rooms. Come for as long as you want. I will meet you at the ferry.
Sorry for the delayed reply. I was travelling. I had 2 weddings today. Pat.
Can I come too ?
6.26: Be very careful who you trust with your story. I hope you have one good therapist you can rely on. The sad reality is that, irrespective of profession, when you are broken, few really care. Be very discerning about who you trust. I wish you well and I will pray for you. BE WISE IN WHO YOU ENTRUST YOUR STORY WITH. I was very fortunate in a wonderful therapist who helped me discover my true humanity. From that reality, as a priest, I found great inner peace, healing and strength. That is why I am disgusted when priests who appear disturbed and who struggle in their lives are mostly mocked, ridiculed and belittle. When you discover the psychology of humanity in all its craziness, madness, beauty and potential, we are better human beings. HOLD ON TO YOUR DIGNITY. DON’T GIVE AWAY YOUR LIFE’S STORY FREELY. God bless you.
Pat Buckley why have you started a witch hunt against Fr Montgomery and continue to persecute him. He is a fine Priest and although he has some faults (who hasn’t) he should be allowed to take up hs new appointment without anymore snide comments and unfair remarks. There are some in Northolt who are simply cranks and seem unwilling to accept their new Curate appointed there by the Cardinal. They should be ashamed writing letters to Archbishops House.
I am a priest.
I have to say my experience of being a priest is very similar to yours, sadly. I don’t let it define me, however. I remain a priest because of the wonderful people (non-clerical) I have met along the way.
7.52: I have met some wonderful priests – kind, warm, human and good: others, not so kind. I’ve met some wonderful parishioners who’ve been very nourishing in my life, others have used me!! . We are a mixed bag: lay and clerical: choose friends carefully…..
Pat, Fr Candle is either moving in the wrong circles for gossip or is mixing it because I worked out who the priests concerned were in the Fr H episode immediately The senior priest has been a very naughty boy in the past and the younger guy is now doing well although I would advise he be a little circumspect about some of his present “ political” friends
Pat, you are braver than any soldier who ever walked. You are the bravest soldier who ever lived. The medal hasn’t been invented that belongs on your chest after all that you suffered, after all those evil bastards did to you. You are THE soldier, Pat. You sum up everything that the best soldier can be and should be. They can keep their WWI trenches and WWII beaches. Nothing compares with you, Pat. Your bravery, your courage under fire from all directions. We are in awe. Your name is Legend.
It’s a very strange and often difficult condition. I’ll remember yourself and all sufferers of PTSD in my prayers.
I’ve seen many people “go down” with PTSD. I’ve seen more who’ve lived with it and went on to overcome it.
I’m not a Psychologist but of the people I’ve seen with it two things are present in those dealing with the condition successfully: purpose and meaning.
Purpose being the family Men I’ve known with the condition who suffer from the condition but are socially and economically in a position where they need to function to protect those closest to them. Psychologists are tapping into this concept recently with Trauma Dogs in treatment for PTSD.
Purpose is the next major factor I’ve seen making a change. A lot of Military/Police types I’ve seen tend to suffer worst when transitioning into civilian life. They had endured the symptoms out of ideology and commitment to their goals and comrades.
I’m glad to say that Pat has bucket loads of both purpose and meaning 😂😂😂