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SEX ABUSE DEBATE GETS HEATED IN RAPHOE DIOCESE AND FANAD

FATHER CON CUNNINGHAM WAS ALLOWED BY THE BISHOP OF RAPHOE TO REMAIN IN MINISTRY FOR 16 YEARS AFTER IT BECAME KNOWN HE WAS A SEX ABUSER!

IRISH TIMES

Con Cunningham (83), a former priest, has been sentenced to nine months in jail for indecent assault of a child, at Donegal Town Circuit Court. Photograph: Joe Boland/North West Newspix

An ex-county Donegal priest who was held in “highest esteem”, who had “simulated sex” with a young girl in his car, was jailed for nine months at Donegal Town Circuit Court, yesterday.

In jailing 83-year-old Con Cunningham, Glen Road, Carrick, Judge John Aylmer said he did not accept that the offences were at the “lower end of the scale”.

The judge said while no penetration had taken place the ex- priest had simulated oral sex and had pushed the child’s face into his crotch until he had satisfied himself.

He had left the child to experience smells and stains and bruising to her genital area from “similar simulated sex”.

The judge said the defendant had climbed on top of the girl and a “significant level of both force and violence” was used.

He accepted that no alcohol was involved which would be an aggravating factor.

The judge said that given the defendant’s position of authority as a priest and accepted by the family, this was “a grievous breach of trust against the young girl and her family”.

And the effect on the victim was on-going after 43 years and the offences were on the higher end of the scale.

Mitigating factors were his plea albeit it late, his age and the fact that prison would be “onerous” on him, although he was a “fit” person.

The defendant had been of previous good character and had no previous or subsequent matters.

The ex-priest was now on the Sex Offenders Register and had a significant “fall from grace”.

Indecent assault

Cunningham, of Glen Road, Carrick had pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault against the female on dates between January 1st, 1976 and December 31st, 1976 at a location in Donegal.

The defendant also pleading guilty to a similar third count that occurred at an unknown location between Donegal and Dublin on dates between January 1st, 1976 and June 30th, 1977.

At an earlier sitting Patricia McLaughlin, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said Cunningham had begun the abuse, when the girl was less than 10 years old, by sitting her on his knee and tickling her in front of her mother who was happy with the attention the girl was getting. It later progressed to rubbing her breasts and getting on top of her in his car while both were clothed while making grunting noises and it was clear he was satisfying himself, the victim said.

Judge John Aylmer initially imposed a sentence of 15 months but suspended the final six months and the ex-priest was bound to be of good behaviour and keep the peace on his own bond of €100 for a year.

Defence counsel Peter Nolan said “apart from this appalling matter he was held in very high esteem by his parishioners”.

He handed in a number of references and testimonials which showed “Fr Cunningham to be an exemplary priest”.

The ex- priest understood that what he did was “vile and wrong” and has “remorse for the fact that he ruined this girl’s life”.

It was a total and utter breach of trust taking advantage of a child and he full accepted that fact, the court heard”.

Donegal people were very disappointed with the statement of the current bishop Alan McGuckian which read:

“The bishop have an extensive interview with Greg Hughes on Highland Radio last Friday answering questions about Con Cunningham. There will be no further statement at this time”.

Parishioners of Carrick were very angry that for 16 years after allegations Con Cunningham was allowed to celebrate Mass, weddings and funerals.

The clergy and the Gardai were told he was still in ministry and did nothing about it.

Parishioners are angry with McGuckian for failing to apologise to the two Martin sisters who were Cunningham’s victims.

They are also angry that McGuckian has not shown his face in Fanad where the abuse occurred.

The PP Fr Pat McGarvey did apologise at Sunday Masses.

The late bishop, Hegarty, totally mishandled the Cunningham case – sending the priest for therapy but not informing the Gardai.

Bishop McGuckian made a fool of himself by saying that the duty to report to the Gardai did not crystallize until 2017.

The bishop after Hegarty, Boyce was also informed.

There is also criticism of the diocese buying a house for Cunningham in 2002 in close proximity to children

Cunningham also had a habit of hanging around the primary school gate at 2 and 3 pm.

In 2009 7 years after his removal for abuse a parent found Cunningham alone in their house with a 9 year old child offering the child sweets and chocolate!

Cunningham also started going to the underage girls football matches and hanging around the dressing rooms!

This case has mishandled and still being mishandled by three bishops, Hegarty Boyce and now McGuckian.

77 replies on “SEX ABUSE DEBATE GETS HEATED IN RAPHOE DIOCESE AND FANAD”

Until the Romanist Church becomes like the Society of Friends (without clergy and hierararchy, and precisely as it was in the First Century , BCE) the filthy Romanist clerical scum and bastardos will continue to prey on the young sexually.

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Surprise surprise, the first comment late last night is from the usual ogre. Well MC the Society of Friends would not want you anywhere near them because you wouldn’t be able to keep your trap shut. You were very happy to train as a scumbag Romanist bastardo yourself until it all went horribly wrong. Shut your noise and get gone.

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9.53: Brilliant. That Magna specimen was indeed happy to begin studies for the Priesthood, his fees undoubtedly paid for by parishioners from his Diocese, book allowance given, food and a good education – well perhaps not ‘good’ – knowing what we now know- until it all went disastrously wrong with him.being rejected and flung out. (Psychological dysfunctionality…). The pain and anger of that rejection still hurts this nasty scumbag. Get therapy Maggie dear. Set up a “go fund me page” and I’ll happily contribute 1c!!

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She’s in her pit or ran out of booze or both as she hasn’t surfaced yet has our Mags. Give it time though for hervro launch her poisonous onslaught

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MC didn’t get very far in the seminary, if indeed he was ever in there. He wasn’t familiar with the elementary differentiation between ‘fundamental moral’ ‘special moral’ which he would have encountered on his first day of theology. He had to ask what special moral was some time ago on this blog.

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Anon@4:20: Irrespective of whatever “kind of morality ” was taught to RC clergy, it seems that many of them didn’t learn very much from it.
MMM

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5.34: The weirder Magna’s posts are, the more Pat is enthralled. Is there something fundamentally flawed in Pat’s intellectual, emotional and spiritual nature that he holds a special place for Rag Mag? Is it a gay gene that propels Pat towards weirdos like Maggie? Just askin….

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5.32
And it took you this long to spot the error.😅
What were you saying? Something about ‘obnoxious’ and ‘moron’?😅😅

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Thank you, +Pat, for drawing our attention to that November 2018 news-report.
Here’s another news-report, of only two weeks ago, regarding firm allegations that Fr Cunningham had also abused two other children; and that those two had met with the then Bishop of Raphoe Seamus Hegarty ,and made a comprehensive statement to him, in 1994. And that in 2002, they had met with Bishop Philip Boyce on a number of occasions, and that they also gave statements to gardai.
https://www.highlandradio.com/2020/01/02/questions-raised-by-sisters-abused-by-priest-in-the-1970s/
And then, a week ago, there was a report that other people had come forward also making allegations against this priest. https://www.donegaldaily.com/2020/01/09/floodgates-open-on-abuse-allegations-by-shamed-cleric-con-cunningham/

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I didn’t know that Rev Ian Paisley was like that when he was younger.
I saw him talk often on tv during the 90s and he seemed calm and reasonable lol. His blood pressure must have been through the roof 😂

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I’m only an ordinary man-in-the-street but as I read through those press-reports I do have to wonder if the way in which that diocese is conducting its affairs might be endangering children; and in a manner which puts the diocese – and its trustees – in breach of Ireland’s Health & Safety laws. https://www.charitiesregulator.ie/media/1078/guidance-for-charity-trustees-july-2017.pdf
The Diocese of Raphoe is registered as a charity (number 7373). Anyone who is living in Ireland and who shares my concerns could write to the Health & Safety Authority asking them to investigate the situation. https://www.hsa.ie/eng/
I’m not being a smart-alec. As we were discussing here a few days ago the child-victims of sex-abuse suffer serious life-changing psychological injury.
Suppose there’d been a great many injuries to farmers because a plant-hire firm hadn’t been maintaining its tractors properly.
The firm would be fined heavily and the individual directors would also be up in court.
Well, this is similar.

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Lollard you need to get out more during the day after this recent rubbish you’ve published just now. Is there a shortage of day centres or lunch clubs in your area. Might broaden your horizons

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3.27pm J Lollard
this blog has gotten worse with all gossips, hectoring,self styled bishop B. Thats why i stopped contributing to this blog.
Anyway, i like to reply to your post, my argument re stripping charity status hadnt received well in other catholic forums cos die hard laity dont like it at very much.
The surest way to hit RCC pockets is to strip their charity status so they would pay their tax in full.
Also the question of deference: Dont give any deference to them. If you do then you have given them a full license (tacit permission) to do things that they wanted or licence to get away with anything that they see fit even abusing kids.

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‘It’s all different now’.
No it isn’t, the clergy are still happily protecting criminals and covering up crime.
Incidentally he was truly an exemplary priest, minimising what he did despite the girl getting a bruised genital area.
Why the hell is anyone still sticking with this dangerous, sociopathic cult?

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If something like this is not reported then the bishop or whoever should be charged with perverting justice. Looking at the article it seems to come across as poor auld father hi. There is no such thing as an ex priest

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Hello hi fly.
Begorra fly isn’t covering up a crime another crime.
Are priests above the law of the land or what.
A spell in prison if crime was committed might sort them all pronto.
Bye bye fly hi.

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Magwa, 16th Jan 2020, 11:18 am, wrote, ” … Are priests above the law of the land or what … ”
……..
That certainly did used to be .the case.
You’ll recall that the 2009 Murphy Report concluded that the Garda colluded with the Catholic church in covering up clerical child abuse in Dublin on a huge scale.
Rather than investigate complaints from children, gardai simply reported the matter to the archdiocese.
Senior members of the force regarded priests as being outside their investigative remit. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/nov/26/ireland-church-sex-abuse
And, of course, there was the case of Fr Brendan Smith and the extreme reluctance of the Dublin government to extradite Smyth to Northern Ireland.
Even today, even on these daily blogs here, there’s still a vestige of that way of thinking.
People who rightly call for Police Authorities and Justice Systems to be tougher on criminal cover-ups don’t seem to appreciate that other Authorities, such as charity-regulators and health-and-safety inspectorates, are sometimes better able to investigate awkward situations.
For example, in 2018 England’s Charity Commission stripped Ampleforth Abbey of responsibility for pupil welfare because of concerns about the way that monks dealt with sex abuse allegations. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/03/ampleforth-charity-commission-takeover-amid-concerns-management/
Always remember that there’s one law for the rich, another for the poor, and ten thousand for the rest of us.

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Fly on the wall at 9:13am
Your words bring to mind the current disaster in Liverpool.
How on earth can these people expect to get away with this sort of thing and not eventually be caught out is astonishing.
Pope Francis has spoken about Clericalism and the delusions and phantasies that are held among those clerics who abuse and believe they will be protected at all costs.
Sadly, we hear all to often that they close ranks and do not sparks up when abuse takes place, but they fail to recognise that in not sparking yo that they cause nerves greater damage and ruin the Church in the process. Time and time again, they just do not learn, which is why I suppose some people use the word CathBots to describe them.
He, Pope Francis, commented that clericalism can be like an ‘inner circle’ or an ‘elite exclusivism’ and this is not healthy.

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Yes, Joe. Good posts.

Ignore the haters. Better still, belittle them; I do. It’s dead easy, cos they’re dead stupid. 😀

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5.12: Dead stupid… indeed Mags, just like you – brain dead, drunkards, plonkers, sizzled, twisted…

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They’re all the same.
The abbot of prinknash abbey resigned in the 1990s because one of his young boys went to the papers. Now where is he, after years living in rome off of donations in the plate, he is back at the abbey living in a big house like a gentlemans club saying latin masses in frilly robes.
Interesting that he was abbot at the same time peter ball, the convicted paedophile, was bishop of gloucester just down the road.
They make me sick. There is no hope while they are still running things as a reitrement fund for themselves.

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McGuckian and Boyce have no case to answer here. Both served Raphoe well, Hegarty is more to blame. Boyce has been singled out before unfairly by malcontents. Let the man enjoy his retirement and stop looking for scapegoats as usual.

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Boyce was there most of the time Cunningham was misbehaving 1995 – 2017.

McGuckian went there in 2017.

Cunningham was not charged until late 2018.

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For background information on the Raphoe diocese child sexual abuse and cover ups,
particularly concerning Fr. Eugene Greene, read ‘Breaking the Silence’ by Martin Ridge.

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Poor woman, that eerie man staring at you for half an hour.
They’ve closed down her establishment now as well, so they got their way. Probably to build more houses on.

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There literally isn’t anything which isn’t creepy about Prinknash. To be completely fair the community always had a reputation amongst other monasteries as not being unkind people (certainly never achieved the levels of hysteria Farnborough has reached over the years) but there just has to be something wrong there. As recently as 30 years ago the community was quite large but seems to have had real problems attracting and keeping recruits.
The mythology of the community – of being the convert Anglican community – must be a heavy burden for it to carry and Abbot Upson had ridiculous plans for a mammoth Abbey building.

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You really do need to read the article again. There are many comments on the article from local people. Very much in support of the abbey. Highly critical of the lady concerned.
As of May, 2019 there was an ongoing legal dispute between the abbey and the lady concerned about rights.

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2.15: What a pity for you and with so innocuous a comment. You share the common lie and perception that Priests don’t care. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. And, furthermore this blog is not the centre of our universe. We have more useful and worthwhile things to do than responsd to or satisfy your nonsensical concerns.

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If you have more worthwhile things to do Padre @3.13pm, as you say, then why are you tuning into the blog? If the blog isn’t the centre of your universe then why are you sticking your nose into it? Bishops, VG’s PP’s and CC’s are all gawking at the blog because of curiosity and nosiness. Bishops do gather dirt on their clergy who are mentioned on here and the next thing you know a little note is added to your personal file – every priest has one!

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2.15
Yes, MCH. The Romanists don’t like to be associated with this kind of thing; bad for business.
Which is why the spineless, gutless parasites kept quiet about it for years.

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This is the best exchange ever on this blog. Actually priests do have worthwhile things to do all day – go on Grindr, get pissed, f*ck a parishioner, according to taste.

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@4:36 May I respectfully suggest you read the post for the day before responding to comments. Had you done so you would realise the erroneous nature of your comment.

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4.41 and 5.20: Can you, Magna, rationally explain the hatred in your heart. It is expressed in so ugly, vicious and nasty a way. I wonder is drink responsible for your brokenness? There are centres available where you can receive help. I feel pity for your ugliness within. It can be your ruination.

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5:54pm
May I respectfully suggest the reason for endless abuse cases, cover ups and reports
is due to the clericalist notion that priests are untouchable, above the law, not needing to be accountable.
God has NO favourites…Rom 2:11-13.

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6.43

No, drink isn’t responsible for my hatred of Romanist clerics, though certain clerical imbeciles who post here prefer that narrative, because it means that, at least in THEIR heads, they can dismiss legitimate and accurate criticism of their behaviour.

I hate institutional Roman Catholicism because… Christ! Did you really have to ask? These bastardos have done such terrible harm to the innocent, the vulnerable, and despite their protestations of caring, they really don’t give the proverbial.

Every change in the management of the Roman Strumpet that has come about in the wake of the sex scandals has occurred, not through the consciences of priests, but because they have been shamed and pressured into change.

In a nutshell, they are evil. AND I DESPISE THEM. To what degree? If I saw a Romanist priest burning in his ample body fat, I shouldn’t empty my bladder on him for my relief, let alone for his.

Does this answer your stupid post?😕

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7.20: No Miss Hatred Carta: defensive as usual when challenged abiout your madness and reckless, ugly, dangerous nonsense. As for relieving yourself of vomit and urine, it’s a deep, deep volcanic pit you’d need for the amount within you from drink and inate propensity for evil. God help you, you REJECT, you UTTERLY VILE CREATURE. It’s just amazing how you grow into insanity and ugliness in word and in thought. And were I to find you on a roadway sick, hurt and wounded I’d bring you on my shoulder to the nearest dungheap and dance a merry jig!!

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Magna at 7.20: what an evil comment. You prove yet again that your descent into depravity is happening rapidly. You are a creepy pervert.

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7.20: Magna, do you hate yourself so much that you transfer all your deep seated angst on ithers? A psychologist would have PhD material on your words alone. The epistemology of your illnesses would be a surgeon’s delight in trying to explain your erratic, irrational, mad and dangerous mind. Will you leave your body to the College of Surgeons: they’d have a project for life with ecploring the neuro dynamics of youf mind..As for your heart – that’s already emotionally and spiritually dead! Of no use.

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7.20: Magna, the very nature of your response reveals someone who is deeply unhappy in himself, someone lonely, unfulfilled, in need of human affirmation, bereft of intimate relationships, full of rage, jealousy and irrational hatred. All of these realities ultimately kill the spirit of God within. Your selfish, reckless ego has taken over your life. Ruination and collapse will soon follow. Don’t stand too close to a cliff edge. Please.

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8.34 & 8.43
These posts are a synopsis of all that is morally vile and putrid about the Romanist priesthood. Thank you.
‘Fathers’, please spontaneously combust somewhere very near me when I have an excruciatingly full bladder. I promise not to piss on either of you.

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10.33: The “Poo” Sod Carta is sh***ing in his pants with all his vomit and crap, his face purple with the drink oozing through his pores. Do you still wet the bed Magser? Do you still have a carer calling to clean you up after a long night? You’re a laugh a minute…Your Mumsy is ashamed of you.

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Bishop McGuckian is a good man and has inherited a lot of shit. He’s doing a good job. Bishop Boyce was also a nice and good man and many in Donegal thought highly of him. He also seems to have cleaned up a lot of stuff when he was sent to Newry and the Pope sent him there personally. Some people are judging very harshly. It’s almost like a public stoning.

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3.37

The people over in Fanad would disagree with you about Gutless McGuckian. He seems to be avoiding them. Now I wonder why this is.😰

I know what you are, though: an apologist for these parasites.

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Yup, we’re judging harshly. What his comments should say is, ‘When made bishop of the diocese, I immediately prioritised going through the secret archive and reported all cases of possible criminal activity to the guards’.
That is the only acceptable response to being made a bishop.

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Am I right in thinking, following the Tg4 Finne documentary broadcast last October, the Police were asked to investigate the diocese again?

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4.33: In could have written your predictable comment asking why we l9ok into this bl8g if we are so busy! WE CARE BUSY INDEED. However, occasionally I tune in to this blog to confirm my belief that there are many people like you who hold such contemptible views and hold hatred in your hearts. The reality that people like you exist only increases and solidifies my commitmentbto the ideals of priesthood. So, keep being the ‘encourager’ – not by affirmative words but through your evident hate incitement and ridiculing attitude. Thank God for priesthood and for the many, many committed priests in our midst. Thank God.

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7.49….And may God protect us from your horrible, vile, miserable humanity. What sort of s**t do you live with?

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Yes, thank God for all the priests, especially the ones who manage to be noticed all too well; they really do set the Roman priesthood apart from anything else! Than God for them and all they do! The world would not be the same without them!

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Anon@4:20: Irrespective of whatever “kind of morality ” was taught to RC clergy, it seems that many of them didn’t learn very much from it.
MMM

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7.08: MMM – What a profoundly enlightening comment! How many beers did you have on your bar stool to make so amazing a comment? I’m more educated than ever. You’re simply brilliant and your 1st comment for 2020 wows us with its depth and erudition. Can you find something refreshing and inspiring to contribute out of your atheist philosophy because today’s piece is, well……crap.

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7.08: The mighty Mammoth, MMM has risen from his Christmas slumber and his repetitive trashy comments continue. What powerful intellect inspired this trash? Mournful Mickey, go back to slumber in your log cabin. Winter isn’t over yet.

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When I arrived in my first Parish in Glasgow in the late 80’s, the PP told me on my first day not to ejaculate on the sheets and encouraged me to pleasure myself every day to get it out of my system, so I wasn’t tempted with women or men later on. Whilst having a shower one day I found the dirty bastard peeping through a key hole. I used to go to bed with furniture pushed up against the door incase he came in. I asked for a move and when I told the Arch why, he genuinely cared and moved the man elsewhere after putting him in therapy. I left a few years later after finding out that they were all at it.

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Pat, it’s appalling that you are facilitating the awful, horrendous and offensive language of Magna. In all truth, this is hate speech. I am surprised that you are printing this terrible ugliness. You have promised many times that you’d not print Magna’s viciousness. You obviously are not a man of your word.

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Pat what’s all this talk of abuse
As a priest I do not care
I’m really only I interested
In the robes I wear
For I’m a Roman Catholic priest
We helped write the constitution
And if the state comes after me
My bishop will give me absolution
My conscience will be erased
My soul on the mend
I’ll sleep peacefully in my bed
No nightmares that never end
I’ll maybe take some time out
To meditate and pray
But Pat you know that’s a lie
But it’s what I have to say
I’m a faithful cleric if my church
And can do just what I like
Take money off the poor
And use them as my bike
None of my parishioners
Well they just don’t mind
They see me as humble
Mellow. Meek and kind
So it’s best not to worry them
They wouldn’t think it funny
And Pat lets just face it
I’ll always need their money
For how am supposed to live
Such an extravagant life
Oh poor me I’m all alone
Can’t even take a wife
So enough of this talk
Of children and abuse
My parishioners will stand behind me
It really is of no use
And don’t be so quick to judge me
If I may use that pun
This abuse scandal is over rated
It was just a bit of fun
For after all we are special
Blessed, though we may be
And is there really any harm
For a child to sit upon my knee
I’m only trying to educate them
Between what’s right and wrong
Ame check they’re wearing underwear
Or even perhaps a thong
It’s a bad bad world out there
But thankfully we are the light
I am one of the chosen ones
And always do what’s right
You see we are Gods elite
It’s always been that way
And the bishop turns a blind eye
When I go out to play
Now no more talk about us
For really we are all good
And all the faithful love us
As you know they should
We’re not interested in the gospels
Or what they have to say
For we are Roman Catholic priests
Born to rule and play
Pat come back and rejoin us
We’ll teach you some more tricks
And dont worry about accusations
They’re just from jealous dicks
I think I’ll have a little snooze now
Oh what a life I’m livin
Two Hail Marys, one our father
And all is soon forgiven
So close down all this abuse crap
There’s fun for us to do
Whether it’s on the altar
The car or in the loo
For I’m a Roman Catholic priest
The R and C stands out
So Par when you’re ready to come back to the fold
Please give me a shout

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For heaven’s sake, the lyrics are wonderfully truthful, but PLEASE set them to music. (Only promise not through an accoustic guitar. 😕)

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