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FATHER TOM DOYLES RECENT LECTURE ON WHAT THE SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS HAS DONE TO THE RCC.

I’d like to point you today to a resource Ruth Krall has told me about: as the video at the bottom of the posting indicates, recently, a lecture that Father Tom Doyle gave last month at Gonzaga University has come online in video format. The lecture is entitled “What the Sexual Abuse Phenomenon Has Done to the Catholic Church,” and was presented under the auspices of Gonzaga’s Flannery Lecture series.

Drawing on his thirty-five years of intense involvement with the abuse problems of the Catholic church, Tom Doyle focuses on the ways in which the abuse situation reveals something intently concerning about systemic corruption within the Catholic institution itself. His thesis is that the abuse phenomena are “deeply embedded in the very fiber of the institution itself.”

Here are some excerpts that will, I hope, pique your interest in listening to the lecture in its entirety:

The existence of sexual abuse in truth is a plague and the evidence of a profound contradiction that reaches to the fundamental core of the institutional Catholic church. And the contradiction is this — and it’s something that for the thirty-five years of my involvement, I still find impossible to wrap my brain around it: On the one side, we have the church, described as the mystical body of Christ, the people of God, the source of our earthly happiness, and the gateway to our eternal happiness.

And at the same time, it’s the church that has given us one of history’s most stringent and restrictive codes of sexual conduct, and taught us that even the slightest of violations can result in eternal damnation. This is the message we’ve received from the clerical leaders of the church. And at the same time, this church that has promised us salvation, earthly happiness, and tranquility if we obey the rules, has committed and systematically enabled the commission of acts against the most vulnerable in our midst, acts that are deemed by most if not all societies as the most horrific and disgusting that can be perpetrated on another human being. And I’m referring, as you know, to the sexual violation of children, of minors, and of adults.

But the focus has been on children, who have been the least able to defend themselves, the least able to process and understand this horrific violation, and the ones who have carried the damage and the scars into their adult life, hoping and praying and wondering if there was ever going to be any relief. …

This is the contradiction that we’ve lived with. It’s a chasm between the ideals of the Christian life and the betrayal of these ideals by those whom we’ve been taught to believe are Christ’s visible ministers to us (starts at about 13:15).

And:

The system cannot fix itself. And almost from the beginning, the victims have realized that waiting for the institutional church to respond to them in a compassionate, supportive way, and to look at itself to try to find realistic explanations, have been a waste of time. Unlike any other destructive challenge the institutional church has faced, this time, the victims and the laity have emerged as the leaders and the force for both enlightenment and change. …

The scourge of sexual violation and its systemic enabling, its cover-up, the complex web of untruths, have revealed a harsh reality that has afflicted the people of God for centuries. First, sexual violation and other forms of corruption are deeply entrenched in the clerical culture, a culture that protects the clerics rather than the victims. Who are the clerics? Priests, bishops, cardinals, popes.

Second, the constant obsession of the hierarchy with protecting its image, its stature, its power, at the expense of the victims, has had the opposite effect. And it has, in fact, produced an erosion of the trust and the respect that they have depended on. This reality has revealed a much different church than that of Lumen gentium, of Mystici corporis, of the Catechism, the code of canon law. … You contrast the soaring mystical rhetoric in Lumen gentium or even Mystici corporis of Pius XII with the undeniable behavior of the institution over the past three decades that we have seen, and it’s the contrast that’s impossible to not only swallow but to comprehend.

The history of sexual abuse, denial, and cover-up, has been embedded in the clerical culture that has not only protected but enabled it, and this culture is no longer capable of hiding, controlling, minimizing, or eradicating it. Nor is it capable of continuing to sustain the myth of clerical superiority based on the magical thinking about the nature of sacred orders (starts at about 19:24).

As I listen, I think of a strong parallel between what Tom Doyle is saying here about the abuse horror show as a dark kairotic moment showing us what has really been there all along underneath the high-faulting magisterial rhetoric about the church and its mission, and what we’re now discovering in the U.S. about what our purported democracy has done and has been capable of doing from its inception.

Many of us did not see the underbelly of our democratic society because we inhabit its privileged center. We have been unwilling to listen to the testimony of those for whom our democracy does not function in the same way it functions for us — notably, people of color and other people dwelling on the margins of our society.

In similar fashion, until we began entertaining seriously the testimony of victims of the Catholic clerical system — notably, victims of clerical sexual violation, and also LGBTQ Catholics, and Catholic women — we could be satisfied with the soaring mystical vision of the church and its clerical leaders offered to us by documents like Lumen gentium and Mystici corporis.

For many of us, no longer. The scales have fallen from our eyes.

PAT SAYS

This video – it’s really worth watching it all – will summarise for you what the SAC sex abuse crisis has done to the RCC.

Tom Doyle is a wonderful man and a true priest.

Had he kept stum he would have gone to the very top. He is a canon lawyer.

But Tom decided not to sell his soul to the devil.

He put victims before personal deferment.

As a result he has suffered rejection, verbal abuse, clerical hatred etc.

But he will go to God with a clean conscience, a pure heart and a non-polutted soul.

I’m sure that Tom has imperfections like all of us.

He is a shepherd who decided not to run with the wolf pack.

67 replies on “FATHER TOM DOYLES RECENT LECTURE ON WHAT THE SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS HAS DONE TO THE RCC.”

Very powerful stirring stuff. Thank you, Pat. This is hope for the future not cover up merchants such as Elsie Nichols, the posturings of the Ordinariate or the new trad priestly sisterhoods favoured by Egan, Davies and McMahon – who now at least should know better. We can be brave and bold like Father Doyle by engaging the Gospel with reality ie the world which Jesus came to save. The Gospel is to be lived not surrounded by candles and CENSED for feck’s sake! That reminds me: what did I do with that seventh candle I was saving for Elsie’s visit? The way things are going, perhaps it won’t be needed.

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The crime of child abuse used to attack any last remnants of the old religion, nice try wannabe C of E agnostic not in poor taste at all or lacking empathy with victims

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As you are posting at 3:42 pm in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon, I guess you are a priest. It’s still a bit early for Hollyoaks, though not for a restorative G & T. Whether I join the Anglicans or the Order of the Golden Dawn makes no difference to the problems inherent within the Roman Catholic Church. Nor is my personal happiness at stake here. If you have nothing to say, Father, then do what most clergy do when confronted with uncomfortable truths, and say and do nothing. That you actually believe you are insulting me with your pathetic Anglican jibe is only indicative of the tight circle of sanctuary queens from which you gain your delusions of grandeur. As for your acolyte at 4:20 pm, if I wanted to join the dear old C of E, I should do so, but in any case do not regard them as a race set apart, especially as they are generous in their welcome. I don’t think the victims of clerical crimes are as much interested in my capacity for empathy as that of Church leaders such as your Archbishop. By claiming that abuse crimes are being used to attack the old religion, you seem to forget that these crimes actually happened, and that people will form their own judgments about apologists such as yourself who appear to put the reputation of the Church before the welfare of the victims. By all means call me a wannabe Anglican if you feel that it lets you and your tribe off the hook – but you are mistaken, Father.

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Typical RCC twisting of facts-the victim is the problem-not the RCC! If they had a heart or an ounce of human decency the lecture would have been on — ‘What the RCC has done to the innocent faithful? And how can we drastically change the damage we have done to victims.’ —
+Pat, God forgive me, but I actually felt a jolt of happiness seeing the recent news-article calling for Elsie’s resignation for his catastrophic safeguarding failures. He put it all on Jane Jones and now it has come back to bite him, twofold!
Well done IICSA – you are truly heaven sent and will be such a MAJOR part of the healing process for both victims of abuse and their families.
God bless x
And +Pat, this blog is shinning the light where it needs to be shone; keep up the good work.

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Just watched tbe video, very impressed. He is a good priest and understands what Love means.
But the title of the lecture did make me feel a bit uneasy x

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5.45
To me, the word ‘courageous’ better describes Fr Tom Doyle than ‘love’. Yes, of course he is undoubtedly loving, but it required, above all, courage for him to take on the institutional Church back in the 1980s (when there was little widespread knowledge of the criminality that would later, and shockingly, emerge publicly) regarding its history of child-sexual abuse by clerics and religious, and its calculated and systemic concealment by other clerics. Doyle was David to the institutional Church’s Goliath.
I’m disappointed, however, that Doyle did not make even a tentative answer to his own question, on what draws people who are sexually and emotionally immature (or far worse, who are psycho-sexually disordered) to serve the Church as priests or religious. The question is not only highly appropriate, but urgent, since Doyle himself said that, from a clinical perspective, paedophiles experience sexual compulsion up to forty times stronger than non-paedophiles in their sexual prime. This is a startling admission. And it makes his question all the more compelling.
My own tentative answer to this is the pretense of holiness that historically has been promoted by the institutional Church as the real deal: baptism, Eucharist, confirmation; regular Mass-attendance, confession at least once a year, and obedience to a clerical hierarchy. In other words, ‘observance of sacramental ritual as necessary and visible signposts to holiness and salvation’. But historically, there has been relatively little stress on the absolute essentiality of inner and personal transformation to become as Christ-like as possible.
The reliance on external (visible) signs of personal holiness is the rock on which the Church has traditionally floundered, since it pointed away from Christ as the source and summit of grace (despite statements to the contrary) to the institutional Church itself in this role. Even today this stress on externals is commonplace among many Catholics: it can, for instance, be found on some of the spiritually vilest internet sites I have come across, like Michael Voris’ Church Militant. Voris’ rallying cry is ‘extra ecclesiam nulla salus’ (‘outside the church there is no salvation’).
What could be more reassuring to a paedophile seeking admittance to seminary? As long as he shows loyalty and obedience to the hierarchy and sacramentality of the Church, he can feel safe and confident before God.
Is it any wonder, then, that paedophiles, in such numbers, are attracted to the Catholic priesthood and religious life when there is less stress on personal change and more on ritual observance and obedience.

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Agree with A@8:42 Magna. Your analytical insights are revealing and instructive: …… for those with an open mind and willing ability to harness their brains, …..if they have one not impaired by RCC .
MMM

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And came back leading the wolf pack…
I’m looking forward to the comments from priests about how good their liturgies are and how much they collected for Br Kevin, today…

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I have always respected Tom Doyle. He speaks out of truth and integrity. He speaks too from a heart that has been fashioned by the gospel of Christ, but also from a heart touched by the acknowledging of the shattering trauma of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable people. His is an authoritative voice. It is shameful therefore that the Church does not listen to him, that it does not act by his wisdom and learning. Once before in a homily I called for the Church to gather the leaders of support and charity groups dealing with the abuse scandals and expert psychologists and psychiatrists to be brought to Diocesan tables to tell us what to do, to define a pathway of behaviour and action to help us respond fully, transparently and meaningfully to the crisis that continues to unfold. While each Diocese has some excellent advisers and wonderfus lay people on Child Safeguarding Boards – and who do excellent supervising work in parishes – we still need to have a national, independent professional board of advisers, overseers, consultants, carers and relevant professional people to take hold of the management of this issue. I have expressed this in church, at Diocesan gatherings and in public discussion. I only want what is absolutely the best practices – which thankfully our Diocese ensures – but I also want an independent professional body of men and women to be centre stage in monitoring church approach, response and responsibility for its behaviour. I agree with Tom Doyle.

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This is good and necessary hi. But the one thing I say about churches in general is that they are more about agendas than God. Look at Christmas in the marketplace. Churches can learn from commerce. They promote profit. Why th fek can’t we promote God. Perhaps God to many of the flirts in skirts is like an old £5 note. Quaint and interesting but not legal tender hi

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Hello hi fly yesterday.
Begorra fly the flirts in skirts indeed. Quaint and interesting but half a crown cos of one too many not the full shilling. Now one almighty knot is making life difficult for all. Promote God aye fly but Gods getting a bad name. A bit of rebranding might be in order.
Bye bye fly hi.

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This is a very inciteful and honest portrayal of the RCC. If only there were more men like Tom Doyle in the ranks. At its very core the RCC is a non Christian organisation. It simply masquerades as one as part of its business plan in order to fleece the sheep. Abuse, corruption and greed are its main goals. Dressing up in fancy garments and lace used to fool us. No more. Going back to yesterdays blog it’s the difference between the gospel lived and the gospel preached. I can sing the sash. That doesn’t make me a loyalist . In the same manner, anyone can preach the gospel of Christ. It doesn’t make them Christian . The exposition of the true ideals of the RCC are filtering out one by one. Christ built his church(a body of people) on a rock the RCC is built on a bed of sand and is crumbling. They use Christ and his teachings to hide, cover up their true evil intent

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Anon@9:14: The malapropism in your first sentence is truly appropriate. I hope the insights gained from Tom Doyle’s valuable contribution will indeed incite many to see the RCC for the man made self serving corrupt organisation it really is.
MMM

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2.56: MMM, while I disagree with much of your opinion, more for the manner of its expression rather than content, I turn to you as you are normally a rational, intelligent commentator and often acknowledge truth, sincerity and genuineness when you see it, even among clergy living out “priesthood”. I am deeply aware of the outrage, anger and frustration of so many re: the church’s handling of the sexual abuse scandals. I know of people who are harmed and hurt for life. I am appalled by the response or non response of church leaders. I despise their behaviour in seeking to protect the institution above the well being of children and vulnerable people. I despise abuse of any kind and where I’ve discovered it – clubs, schools, homes, parishes – I’ve made my concerns known to relevant authorities, something I learnt from my parents in the mid 50’s. I’ve always followed their moral compass – being parents of 7, they knew how to protect their children from any and every harm. I asked bishops once at a meeting why they didn’t have the moral sense of right and wrong as my parents, who didn’t have their academic background? Why, if you are shepherds, did you not recognise the endangerment you placed children in by reckless decisions? Why didn’t you behave like my parents who confronted any person who posed as a threat? The learning curve argument was put forward, to which I responded by saying – “get real”, “grow up” and I walked out in disgust. Each day I have that same gut reaction when I read about and hear of the Church’s continued defense of its abject failure to act responsibly, truthfully and out of genuine concern for survivors. There are days when I feel totally overwhelmed by what has been done within and by church personnel: days when I don’t want any stranger to know I’m a priest: days when shame and disgust cause huge inner turmoil. I cannot say this truth publicly because I’ll be told – undoubtedly today – that, irrespective of my disgust, I’m an enabler, a co-abuser of abuse. Do you know how that accusation can tear the inner self apart? How such an accusation has driven me almost to total despair, to the point of asking “why keep living”? I entered priesthood for one reason only – to be of service to others in imitation of Christ. Allowing for my personal sins, flaws, mistakes and failures, I still keep going because I believe in the commitment I made and because I’m that little bit too old to be of usefulness to anyone else!!! I know of older priests than me who, having served well and faithfully, feel all their life’s work and ministry is undone by the present leadership. What is your perspective on such scenarios? I’ll be prepared for an avalanche of abuse (not from you)!!!

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Anon@ 4:13. Yours is a thoughtful heartfelt comment. Thanks.
In response to your question I summarise the gist of comments I’ve previously made.
I distinguish between a cleric following/promoting religious beliefs per se, and his pastoral supportive functions in helping individuals both in ordinary everyday affairs and leading in the rites of passage. The latter usually stem from his religious role, though much could equally be undertaken by a secular person. I recognise that a proportion of clerics have entered seminaries with altruistic and spiritual motives and despite pressures have maintained high personal standards of religious conviction and pastoral service, even allowing for occasional lapses. To quantify that proportion is a separate debate but yes I believe some have “remained true”, both to their religious beliefs and ideals of service.
I cannot intolerantly condemn ALL clerics for not “speaking out” publicly against ALL abuses, for I recognise their invidious dependent position especially those older with no prospect of independent financial support. I do feel concern for those older clerics of integrity tarred with the blackened brush of the abusers.
I also wonder about clerics, especially the older, who have come to realise that the “institution ” they have served is but a sham in its origins, core beliefs, and it’s self serving organisation. Those who have maintained integrity can but take solace in their past supportive pastoral efforts.
MMM

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This is wonderfully honest, transparent, eloquent, and hard hitting stuff. In our own way on this blog we have touched on all these themes, but this does bring them all together very powerfully.
Going back to IICSA of a week ago and the appearance of our bishops before the inquiry, and contrasting that with the powerful testimony of victims / survivors and those who have been working on their behalf. The contrast was so stark: bishops and clerics squirming, looking awkward, choosing their words as carefully as they could, no doubt after being briefed by their PR, communications and legal people so that they didn’t say too much or the wrong thing, the bishops clear inability to show genuine empathy and sympathy for what had gone on, and the sense that for them they were just longing to get over this business and move on as if nothing had changed. And then being followed by victim / survivors who just told it as it was, and let us see in to the wicked harm that has been done to them. Absolutely shocking.
And still, the Catholic Church seems to be floundering around. The kind interpretation is that they simply don’t know what to do next. The more realistic interpretation is that they do not want to make substantial changes to anything – structures, governance, oversight, training, the clerical culture etc. – but just want to carry on with what they know and are comfortable with. Contrast that with the imagine that Fr Doyle uses of how we now are able to see the underside of the belly of the beast through the eyes of those who have been and are victims of this abuse and other abuses – sexual abuse, LGBTQ community, women, the excluded, the marginalised, the weak and poor, those who have been told for so long that they are not good enough for full inclusion, the divorced, the separated, those in “irregular’ relationships – and it is not a pretty view, and a view that + Nichols et al are desperate to keep as the hidden underbelly rather than let it see the light.
I was struck at the IICSA hearings as to how fractured, compartmentalised, and disorganised is the way that the hierarchy approach this existential matter. Each diocese seems still to do its own thing, each bishop is king in his own diocese and can effectively ignore what national guidelines there are. It’s a mess and a recipe for disaster and obfuscation and coverup.
There is only one way forward, and that is independent, objective and outside governance of this, and perhaps other matters, in the Church. + Nichols and his buddies have failed signally. They seem intent on hanging on and carrying on with what they know and are comfortable with. Well, so be it. But they should be answerable to others outside the Church, who come from a different culture and will call them and their abusive clerical culture to account. It is coming.

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Immaculate Heart of Mary protect this courageous priest. Move the hearts of those slithery deceitful clergy who throw a hissy fit when challenged about their complicity and feign being shocked to the core when confronted with indisputable evidence of corruption and abuse.

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Off topic I know but I’m listening to a BBC podcast featuring Prof Tom O’Connor from the Maynooth History department. Is he still a priest or did he leave?

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Strange that they’ve taken down the database of parishes, that used to include those on secondment or in full-time academic posts like Gabriel Flynn.
He’s still on the solemnisers list but then so are Dwayne Gavin and Robert McGivney.

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6.20: That cynical comment is very childish and rather supercilious. You obviously deliberately misunderstood the context of references to good liturgies and working for Br. Kevin on yesterday’s blog. Those references were legitimate in recognising that, despite the awful abuse crisis, people still hunger for “depth spirituality” and “healing of their own inner hurts”. If good luturgies and reflective prayerful, masses respond to those needs, I make no apology. Thank you Pat for Fr. Doyle’s video. Real change will come about, as in all institutions, when people rise up against the corruption and criminal wrongdoing they see happening. It is imperative for all who work in the name of Christ to only live his “exemplary way of total self giving”. That is something we can each emulate every day. I believe the Church is being brought to a moment where it will, through its leaders having to be accountable, be so shamed, that a new Christ Community will be formed. Each waking moment I am reminded of my deficiencies, flaws and sinfulness before God but also very aware that I can do something useful, different and caringly that I can effect meaningful renewal and change where I am situated and for the people with andvfirwhom I work. Cynicism or barbed taunts or faux outrage have no place in such a venture or dialogue.

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There is nothing cynical or supercilious about the comment. The fact remains that the priests who are allegedly’toiling’ away in their parishes doing ‘good work’ only undo all their ‘good work’ by not speaking out publicly and denouncing the coverup merchants who govern them.
Every day more and more good men’s and women are leaving the RC church and going back to God.

You can crow all you like about your good works but your good works amount to nothing while you hide behind the corruption of the institute you serve.

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10.28: You can crow all you like about my efforts and condemn me as ‘one of them’ in your cynicism. I don’t care. I know that I try, with integrity and with a good conscience to do my level best for the people in the parish where I am assigned. Thank God their support for the initiatives I take and their continued affirmation and co-operation are a great inspiration to me. Yes, I share the anger of many about the scandals: I am not indifferent: now I try in my ministry to do even better in commitment and dedication. I know your response will be further cynicism and judgment but somehow my experiences have taught me that true, meaningful renewal and change must start from within and from there you hope to effect similar in others. Screaming from rooftops is fine: I prefer to work in my given situation and make it as good a Christian, Christ-like community as is possible where we accept everyone and reach out to all in need. I wish I could be ‘God’ and make all things different. I am trying though……

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Pat for a man as cute and deceptive, career hungry as Elsie Nichols, well the being in the spotlight has been his downfall. The chess moves he made along the Greasy pole of cardinal Archbishop have not been so protected as he thought.
For now he sits at the very centre of two enquires, he was slated in the Birmingham report and now the same in both west minister/ national role.
His foolish pride has caught up with him eventually. I believe we will see movement from the Holy See on this. He has lied under oath at a state inquiry. The evidence that he did not read media reports until 3 days before giving evidence has been a lie. Staff in archbishops house have said he receives a file each week on media clippings/ stories of interest to RCC in the UK and world.
His tenure is coming to a close. He has distanced himself from his priests and his brother bishops. A Priest who works at the conference, the monk is very open about this.

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Pat I’ve heard from priest friend that the cardinal is now dissecting your blog to help find the leak mentioned last week at the inquiry, is this true? Do you get visitors from Lindon ?

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Pat. You’ll need to be careful. If Elsie starts an investigation into the source of the leak you might well find yourself under surveillance. That said if Elsie engages the services of Mr Webb you might well find you become the beneficiary of some tasty scones !!
You’ll just love his Westminster biscuits and his succulent Cardinals Creams.

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He is German. He has zero pastoral/people skills. He is arrogant and pompous; not very well liked by the clergy of Dublin.

He was found unsuitable for the priesthood in a seminary in Germany. He came to Ireland and was sent to Maynooth by Archbishop Martin ( Diarmuid has german connections) . Frank left Maynooth under dubious circumstances in 2015/2016.

He went to live with a priest ‘friend’ in Dublin. A year later he pressurised the vocations director into reaccepting him. He was sent to Rome for a year and is now being ordained.

Many questions remain over him.

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Hello again, Pat.
Slightly off-topic but a good -quality copy of the Spotlight movie – telling the story of how the Boston diocese covered up child sex-abuse and simply moved pervert priests to new parishes – is now up on YouTube.

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3.08: Would you be prepared to sign your name to that piece of slander or to give it in evidence to AB Martin? If you think there are questions, have you spoken to AB Martin? Come out from behind your anonymoity……

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4:17
It cannot be deemed slander because what I have said is factually true. Bishop Pat asked for his background and I gave his background. I have NOT embellished his story in any way. It is fact.
Cry slander all you want 4:17 but nothing I have said to is untrue. Diarmuid has been made aware of this situation by priests of his own diocese but he has not listened to their advice.

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The rector of the Irish College Rome, Mgr. Ciaran O’Carroll will not be there to support Frank’s ordination. Therefore proper canonical protocol is not being followed.

It is very telling…

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12:17
Presentation of the Candidate
Most Reverend Father, holy mother Church asks you to ordain this man, our brother, for service as a Deacon.
Archbishop: Do you judge him to be worthy?
After inquiry among the people of Christ and upon recommendation of those concerned with his training, I testify that he has been found worthy.
This “custom” should be answered by his formation team the head of which is Mgr. Ciaran O’Carroll.

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5.00
Very telling…in more than one way.
If your insinuation is right, then his abscence from this ordination will be understood as a silent protest. However, it may be understood also as a failure on his part to speak out, publicly and loudly, against ordaining someone he may consider unsuited to priesthood.

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And, as this blog has so often demonstrated, he wouldn’t be the first seminary Rector to fail in that regard.

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Proper canonical protocol? Rubbish! Three words you won’t find in the New Testament.
You are using the phrase as a dressed-up expression to mean ‘custom.’

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5:01 am
There is no requirement that the seminary rector would be the respondent to those questions. Any representative of the seminary staff would be acceptable. To appeal to a breach of ‘proper canonical protocol’ to fit this situation shows how wrong you are and how tendentious your post is.

How many ordinations were attended by M. Ledwith in his 12 or so years of president of Maynooth when more than 400 would have been ordained.

Hyperbolic rubbish!

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Lol at a time when all right-thinking people are calling on him to throw himself under the bus, Elsie is (allegedly) looking for someone else to throw under the bus!
That’s right, Elsie, keep digging.
What an idiot.

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Surrounded by middle-aged men who decided they had a vocation to be a deacon, even though the thought had not crossed their minds until their PP suggested it.

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Quite right at 8:49 pm. That is the reality. Whatever the faults and failings of the traditional Catholic priesthood, there is no substitute. We all know that permanent deacons, women priests, married priests and worst of all specially commissioned lay busybodies simply do not cut the mustard. Mgr Lefebvre was partly correct when he saw that Vatican II would entail the destruction of the Catholic priesthood and therefore of the Church as we knew it. He just hadn’t foreseen that the clergy would discredit themselves to such an extent that they became the problem rather than the solution to the problem – so there is no mileage in bringing back Latin and lace; the game is over. Nor do even the most progressive of us really want to turn up at our now stripped and denuded parish church to attend some dreary para-liturgy led by a bossy female in Mary Jane shoes and a tight-fitting alb supported by an electric key-board player.

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6.07: Thank you MMM for your left kind, thoughtful response, affirming too in its recognition that there still are clerics who remain faithful to their commitment, albeit with great challenges. Yes, I feel betrayed to the ground by the horrendous abuse carried out by clerics and know I am in the dying days of a form and module of a Church which seems very lost in its way and mission. Your honest comments, analysis and objectivity helps put some realities in perspective for me. Thank you.

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A@6:36: At nearly 76, if I believed in a God I would thank Him/Her/It that I quit the RCC seminary production system in 1967 after almost six years. Had I remained and been ordained, I have absolutely no doubt that I would have eventually opted out, or been “kicked out!” I say that from experience of the many disagreements I’ve had in my working life with hierarchical management structures resistant to any suggestions of change which might affect their comfortable status quo. Many times, being dependent on continued employment, I felt unable to push questioning dissent and was obliged to ‘shut up.’ But I was a continual thorn in management’s eyes from asking too many awkward questions.!
The RCC like all hierarchical institutions similarly curtails criticism by enforced financially dependent conformity. The reprehensible aspect, all the more evident to atheists like myself, is the way the RCC in addition uses myths of “religious beliefs” to enforce conformity, suppress dissent, and project feelings of self doubt and guilt onto those daring to question it.
Those of you who as clerics have maintained a spiritual and pastoral integrity are to be commended.
MMM

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Pat why did your serving clergy in Belfast hate you when you were a Curate with them?

Very few clergy would have anything good to say about you!
They all can’t be so wrong.

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God is my judge, not the RC clerical club.

I was showing them up as toffee nosed and lazy. Most but not all of them.

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9.25

It’s called ‘Cain and Abel syndrome’.

People often hate those who unintentionally expose others’ weakness (or lack of some sort) through their own shining conduct. I experienced this at school: the clever boy of the class, who made some intensely jealous, and vicious with it. This dislike extended even to physical assualts upon me. How lucky for me, then, that my dad, an ex-British Army regimental boxer, taught his son to fight.

And he taught me very well indeed.😈

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