WHISTLEBLOWER John Prior, whose allegations of abuse in a Tralee industrial school helped lift the lid on a hidden culture of rape and brutality in the Catholic Church, has revealed the torment he suffered for daring to tell the truth. John Prior, who spent 14 years in St Joseph’s Industrial School in Tralee and was the longest serving inmate of any industrial school in the county, was the first victim of institutional abuse to come forward and tell his story to the authorities. Though his bravery prompted hundreds more to come forward it led to years of misery for John who was vilified for challenging the reputation of the church. Prior was abused in the street and shunned by friends, he received threatening phonecalls and his children were bullied. John Prior described the ordeal of facing the Christian Brothers in Court as “four days of hell”.
“The government say the commission was non-confrontational but they treated me like a dog in there,” he said. “They called me a fraud and said they’d fight me to the very end. They had millions to spend to bring me down. Money was no object because if they beat me they could frighten all the others from coming forward. They fought me and fought me and ripped me to shreds. “Our only way of dealing with what happened to us is to talk about it and all I wanted was for someone to say they believed me. I was abused on the street, people crossed the road away from me. I had a nun spit into my face and say ‘do you realise what you’re doing to the church?'” John Prior said. “The orders should be closed and their assets taken from them,” he said. “I want to see these men in court. They’re paedophiles and they deserve to face the full rigours of the law.” Referring to Bishop of Kerry Bill Murphy’s statement on institutional abuse Mr Prior said. “That letter isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Why couldn’t he have just written to us years ago and said sorry. That’s all we wanted. What he said is too little, too late.” John Prior has called on the diocese of Kerry to hold a special mass at the gave of children who died at St Joseph’s in Tralee’s Rath Cemetery.
Four Christian Brothers charged with sex offences
Four Christian Brothers who worked at St Joseph’s Industrial School, Tralee, appeared in Tralee District Court yesterday charged.
Four Christian Brothers who worked at St Joseph’s Industrial School, Tralee, appeared in Tralee District Court yesterday charged with a number of sex offences against boys in their care during the 1950s and 1960s.
The accused men are Brother Denis Boyhan (69), of the CBS Monastery, Kilkenny; Brother Dan Doheny (59), of CBS Synge Street, Dublin; Brother Conor Lane (82), of CBS, North Monastery, Cork; and Brother John Dermot O’Kelly, of CBS House, Binn Bain, Dingle.
There were 43 charges against Brother Boyhan of indecent assault and gross indecency; eight similar charges against Brother Doheny; two charges of gross and indecent assaults plus a further charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Brother Lane and one charge of indecent assault against Brother O’Kelly.
State solicitor Mr Edward O’Sullivan applied to have the matter adjourned until September 22nd for the service of the books of evidence and that the accused men be remanded on their own bonds.
Mr Ronnie Lynham, solicitor, suggested the case be held in camera and the names of the accused mbt be published in any form which could lead to their identification by members of the public.
Mr O’Sullivan said people involved in the case were all adults and it was a matter for the court to decide.
Mr Lynham submitted that the court had a discretion for the absolute prohibition of the publication of any matter which could lead to the identity of the accused persons becoming known.
Mr O’Sullivan said the crimes with which the accused men were charged occurred 30, 40 or more years ago and the protection of the court was required, not in relation to the identities of the accused men, but so that the victims would not be identified.
Judge Finn ruled that only the names of the victims in the cases not be published.
The four accused persons entered into their own bonds of £200 each and the case was adjourned until September 22nd.
A statement issued by the Congregation of the Irish Christian Brothers stated: “We want to make it very clear that we are co-operating fully with the Garda investigations being carried out as a result of complaints that they have received. The brothers deeply regret the hurt that may have been caused in any school or institution with which they are or have been associated.”
KERRY born campaigner for the homeless Sr Stanislaus Kennedy has confirmed she is the nun given the pseudonym Sr Wilma in the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report but she has insisted she did not know about child abuse at a Kilkenny industrial school.
The commission’s report contains a claim by a voluntary worker who told the commission that he had reported incidents of sexual abuse to Sr Stanislaus.
During their investigations the commission investigated reports of abuse at St Joseph’s Industrial School, Kilkenny and found that the school employed “two dangerous sexual abusers” during the 1970s.
The Sisters of Charity nun, who is originally from Lispole and went on to found Focus Ireland, lived in the convent in the grounds of the school in the 1970s when she worked in the community and ran a childcare course.
According to the commission report, a voluntary worker identified only by the pseudonym ‘Patrick McGovern’ said he had been told that a boy was being molested in the industrial school, in or about 1974.
He claimed he called to the convent one night to tell someone and was “relieved” when ‘Sr Wilma’ came to the door because he knew her.
‘Mr McGovern’ told the commission that when he made the claim, Sr Wilma told him there was a history of boys and girls making up stories to gain attention.
In statements to the media and the commission Sr Stanislaus has said she had no recollection of the incident referred to in the report and was entirely unaware of any physical or sexual abuse taking place at the school.
In 1941an innocent little baby boy called Joseph Pike was born to an Irish couple. For whatever reason, they could not, or would not keep him and bring him up. So, Joseph ended up in Saint Philomena’s Home in Dublin for unwanted babies. He grew up with a strong Dublin accent.
When he was only seven he was sent from Dublin to Tralee, Kerry to a so called industrial school operated by the Irish Christian Brothers. From the moment Joseph arrived in Tralee he was hated by one of the Brothers = a man called Brother Conor Lane. Brother Lane took exception to Joseph’s Dublin accent. From the day he arrived in Tralee Brother Lane beat him day in and day out.
At the time, St Joseph’s, as it was called was a hotbed of abuse. The boys were abused physically, mentally and sexually every day. Three of the Christian Brothers were particular abusers – Brother Conor Lane, Brother Roberts, who are now dead, and another brother who we must call Brother X who is still alive and against whom various actions are under way.
Boys were beaten every day to within an inch of their death. They were mocked and belittled by the Brothers. They were the object of severe mental persecution. And, every day boys were sexually abused – in their beds and in secret and dark corners inside and outside the building. Brother Roberts specialised in abusing boys at his teacher’s desk in the classroom while other boys looked on in fear. The suffering of the boys in St. Joseph’s in Tralee and akin to the suffering of the inmates in Hitler’s concentration camps. But all this happened in the name of God, perpetrated by so called servants of God and in Catholic Ireland where the government, the Garda and the public simply looked on!
In 1958 Joseph Pike was 16. Brother Lane was still beating him every day as he had done for 9 years. This particular day Joseph was unwell. He had a large boil on his shoulder. He could not eat the greasy food that Brother Lane put before him. Brother Lane beat him in his chair causing the boil on his shoulder to burst internally. Poor Joseph fell to the floor where Brother Lane continued to beat him until he became unconscious. Joseph was taken to the hospital where he later died!
After his death two death certificates appeared – one saying that he had died from “senile dementia”! Imagine a 16 year old boy dying from senile dementia? A second certificate said he had died from septicaemia – blood poisoning. Blood poisoning would be consistent with Brother Lane’s beating causing Joseph’s infected boil to burst internally. After he death the Christian Brother claimed he had died of leukaemia.
Brother Lane admitted he had beaten and kicked Joseph but denied killing him.
In 1996 the Garda launched an inquiry into Joseph’s death. The accumulated dozens of statements from former pupils of Saint Joseph’s. Those men are convinced that there was sufficient evidence in those statements to bring forward public prosecutions. This has not happened.
Friends of Joseph remember him having a very hurried funeral and being buried in an unmarked grave. Brother Lane hypocritically prayed aloud for Joseph’s eternal happiness!
After Joseph’s death, whenever they were asked, the Christian Brothers released Joseph’s surname in a miss-spelt form – calling him Pyke instead of Pike. Some say this was deliberate and it certainly frustrated those trying to search for any relations he may have had
John Prior, a classmate of Joseph’s, who himself was sexually abused in St. Joseph’s, has been championing Joseph’s case for many years now. Through John’s good work, a headstone was erected here in this cemetery. Joseph’s case is still open with the Garda and the happenings are gradually coming into the light,
I am here in Kerry today celebrating this Mass because John Prior could not get any priest in Kerry to celebrate it! When he asked the Bishop of Kerry to provide a Mass he was told “No priest is available”. When he asked the Tralee clergy for a mass they refused and told him that a Mass is available at the cemetery once a year for all those interred there. In the last few days the Bishop of Kerry has claimed that John never asked him for a Mass,
Joseph Pike is not the only child that was abused and killed by the Brothers and Nuns in Ireland. Other children died in St Joseph’s Tralee and were buried in unmarked graves. We don’t even know if death certificates were sought or issued. Some months ago the nuns in Hyde Park Convent in north Dublin sold their former convent and Magdalen Laundry for millions of pounds. To facilitate this financial bonanza for the nuns the bodies of the 150 Magdalens were removed from the convent graveyard and cremated in Glasnevin Crematorium. In this way of course any possible forensic evidence is destroyed. It also emerged that there were no death certificates for many of the dead women. More victims dying in suspicious circumstances, buried in unmarked graves and no death certificates issued. What was going on? And how is it that even now that this information is publicly available the government and the Garda are letting the religious orders away with it?
Every year when we celebrate the feast of the 2000 Holy Innocents killed by Herod on December 28th, we should remember the Holy Innocents that perished in Irish Catholic Institutions at the hands of the so called servants of God. And all these goings on were known to the Irish clergy and bishops and religious superiors did absolutely nothing except to cover it up!
And today they are still covering up. Instead of reaching for their Bible and reading the words “LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME UNTO ME” they are hiding behind Canon law, Civil Law and Ruro 5000 a day lawyers. They are using all their resources to cover up the truth, resist victims and survivors and shelter the abusers. They have conveniently forgotten the words of Christ – “THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE”.
The purpose of this Mass is to:
Remember Joseph Pike and his sufferings and pray for his eternal happiness.
Remember all the other victims that were abused and even killed within institutions owned and run by the Irish Catholic Church.
Highlight the unjust and cynical way the Irish Catholic Church is treating victims and survivors as they hide behind a battery of lawyers and call upon the Irish Bishops and clergy to stop being Pharisees and legalists and approach the whole area of abuse with the truthfulness and compassion of Chrisyn- whose disciples they claim to be.
Call upon the Irish Government to order a full judicial enquiry into all the deaths that took place in these Church institutions and the practice of burying people in unmarked graves without birth certificates.
Call upon the Garda here in Tralee to intensify and renew their enquiries into the murder – for it was murder – of Jspeph Pike.
PLEASE LET ME SLEEP TONIGHT
Throughout this tiny island,
In graves unmarked and cold;
Lie broken bones of boys and girls,
Their stories never told.
Men in black with collars white,
And Brides of Christ as well,
Sent these angels up to Heaven,
But made their short lives Hell.
No teddy bear, no lullaby.
No loving mother’s kiss;
But each night as they closed their eyes
They entered the abyss.
With eyes closed tight no sleep would come,
They listened for the sound;
The hob nailed boot out in the hall,
The handle turning round;
Oh don’t take me take someone else,
They prayed with all their might;
The leather strap the bamboo stick,
The screaming in the night.
And when they left they were not free,
Their minds were never right;
Still God can hear them as they pray,
Please let me sleep tonight.
(Leo Magee. Old Coombe. Dublin.
When I arrived in Tralee to celebrate the Mass at Joseph Pike’s headstone. We discovered the clergy had locked the graveyard gates to stop us getting in.
We got ladders and climbed the wall and had our sad Mass.
Joseph Pike’s fate shows the very evil that is at the heart of the Roman Catholic Church.
I hope God has devised a suitable punishment for all these Brothers, nuns and priests.
For in my wildest imagination I cannot think of one severe and monstrous enough.
A MAJOR garda investigation into the physical and sexual abuse of children at Tralee’s notorious St Joseph’s Industrial School is now underway, The Kerryman can reveal.
Senior gardai from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, who are investigating revelations contained in the Ryan Commission Report, are due to interview a number of former inmates of St Joseph’s in the coming weeks The Ryan Commission Report detailed horrific physical and sexual abuse of boys, perpetrated by 12 Christian Brothers, in the Tralee school in the 30 years prior to its closure in 1970.
A special garda unit, set up by Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern, following publication of the report is now investigating abuse committed in Kerry. Though the 12 brothers who carried out the majority of the abuse at St Joseph’s were not named in the Ryan Commission report it’s known that all but one are still alive. They are understood to be the primary focus of the new investigation.
Several former inmates of St Joseph’s, including the longest serving inmate John Prior whose early testimony about abuse in church run schools helped expose the scandal, have been contacted by gardai and will be interviewed in the coming weeks.
The former inmates assisting the investigation are currently residing in Kerry and Cork.
A major plank of the St Joseph’s investigation is expected to be the death of 16-year-old school inmate Joseph Pike. Pike died in the mid 1960’s just a few days after allegedly being brutally beaten by a brother for eating too slowly.
The special garda unit, commanded by Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne Ireland’s highest ranked operational commander, has been tasked with investigating claims contained in the Ryan report to assess if criminal proceedings can be brought against the perpetrators of the abuse.
Christian Brother taught after breaking child’s jaw
Tue, Jan 10, 2006, 00:00 THE IRISH TIMES
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A Christian Brother who broke a child’s jaw was allowed to carry on teaching for nearly a decade, it emerged today.
The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse is examining allegations about St Joseph’s Industrial School in Tralee, which was run by the Christian Brothers up until 1970.
Brian McGovern SC, representing the tribunal, said there had been documented complaints about a Brother who had been moved to the school despite a series of horrific complaints against him.
The man known as Brother X broke the jaw of a child he was teaching at the Christian Brothers Industrial School in Glin, Co Limerick, in 1961, after earlier pulling hair from a child’s head and beating boys with a leather strap at another Christian Brothers school in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.
He was then moved on to St Joseph’s where he continued to teach.
Mr McGovern asked Br Seamus Nolan of the Christian Brothers if the failure to remove him from teaching duties immediately showed a remarkably uncaring attitude by the Order. “It certainly does. The efforts made weren’t sufficient. It isn’t good enough,” he said.
He told the commission that to his knowledge the gardaí were not informed about the Brother’s activities and that although the Department of Education was aware of him, it eased off after he was eventually removed.
Other Brothers had warned as far back as 1960 that Brother X was unable to control his temper and was capable of doing the most foolish things. He was eventually removed from classroom duties in 1969 and transferred to a Christian Brothers institution in Dublin.
There were eight deaths of boys at St Joseph’s including that of Joseph Pike in 1958. The young boy died in hospital due to pneumonia but had earlier received a severe beating from a Christian Brother at the school.
St Joseph’s received a limited amount of funding from the State and was forced to make up the shortfall through other activities carried out by its staff and pupils, such as farming, carpentry and bakery.
Br Nolan said that in the 100 years of St Joseph’s existence the effort of generosity by the staff there lasted throughout.
He said there had been regular inspections which showed, by and large, there was great satisfaction all round and added that some of the surviving Brothers were still friends with the former pupils. “So it wasn’t all a grim and bleak story though the building may have given that impression from the outside,” he said.
However the commission is investigating several complaints of sexual abuse made against Brothers who worked in the school.
One complainant, John Glynn (60), said he had entered the school in 1949 at the age of two and was sexually abused by a Brother after his first Communion.
“What disgusted me today was that there wasn’t any word of apology. I just find it horrendous they’re still hiding, that the cover-up is still there and that we still have to keep speaking out,” he said.
Mr Glynn plans to give evidence to the commission about the one surviving Brother who abused him.
Boy died after being beaten by industrial school Brother
January 11 2006 12:11 AM
Fergus Black A YOUNG boy died in hospital days after he was beaten by a Christian Brother in an industrial school, it was revealed yesterday.
And another Christian Brother who broke a child’s jaw was allowed to continue a “catalogue of mayhem” in three industrial schools before he was eventually removed from teaching.
The details emerged at the Commission on Child Abuse which is examining allegations about St Joseph’s industrial school in Tralee, which was run by the Christian Brothers until its closure in 1970.
But Brother Seamus Nolan, a member of the Christian Brothers provincial leadership team, said the history of the school was not all grim and bleak and it was regarded as a worthwhile venture.
The commission was told that the boy from St Joseph’s who died in 1958 – named in extensive press reports in 1995 as Joseph Pyke – had become a “cause celebre”.
Brother Nolan told a commission hearing yesterday that it appeared the boy died in hospital. Stories later emerged about a beating he received in the school by a Brother who was in charge of the kitchen. Efforts had been made to find out if the incident in the school had affected his death, but the death certificate later referred to septicaemia and pneumonia.
The commission also heard how an “out of control” brother, referred to as brother X, who broke one boy’s jaw, was allowed to continue to teach in three schools, including St Joseph’s, before being withdrawn from teaching in 196
Brother Nolan said that the man originally worked at an industrial school in Clonmel in 1956 where it was alleged he had pulled a boy’s hair. He was then moved to Tralee in 1961 and then to Glin, Co Limerick the same year before returning to Tralee in 1963.
The incident where the boy’s jaw was broken occurred in Glin and he had also been accused of pulling another child’s hair while he was “out of control” in the Clonmel school and beating boys with a stick or leather strap.
“We have no defence either for his actions or [for] not stopping it,” said Brother Nolan.
When the brother was eventually removed, it was far too late, he said.
Counsel to the commission, Brian McGovern suggested that the methods in dealing with the brother showed a “remarkable uncaring attitude” towards the children in the care of the Christian Brothers. Gardai
Brother Nolan admitted it certainly did. Their efforts in dealing with the problem were not good enough.
To his knowledge, no reports about the abuse were sent to the gardai and while reports were sent to the Department of Education, the department “eased off” and did not really press the matter once the Brother was not involved in the school.
Brother Nolan also told of allegations about two other Brothers, named as L and M, who were over-severe in their use of corporal punishment.
While there were also allegations by former residents of the school of sexual abuse, he said there were references to some “peer abuse” among the boys themselves, but there were no references about allegations against the brothers.
Commenting about the Tralee school, Brother Nolan said an “effort of generosity” prevailed during the school’s 100 years of existence. There had been regular inspections which showed by and large there was satisfaction and some of the surviving Brothers were still friends with the former pupils.
On occasions things were not right but the general impression was the work of the Brothers and the boys in the school was praiseworthy and worthwhile.
Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria took to the skies via a helicopter on Good Friday, April 10, to offer a blessing to the entire Diocese of Peoria as well as to pray for all affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was happy to do something that may give some comfort to people, especially those folks who, on this Good Friday, are scared about their relatives in the hospital,” said Bishop Jenky moments after landing near the Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport.
“This kind of illness brings an enormous fear for our people and our country,” continued the bishop, who donned a mask before climbing into a medical transport helicopter at about 1 p.m. for a 12-minute flight to downtown Peoria and back. “And prayer, no matter who’s saying it, can move mountains. I really felt blessed to be praying with and for the diocese today, and for everyone else in Illinois, our country and the world.”
The aerial blessing was first proposed midweek by Tomas Wojtowicz, a pilot for OSF Aviation — a branch of OSF HealthCare, a system based in Peoria that is owned and operated by the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. When OSF leaders approached the Diocese of Peoria with a suggestion that a priest take a flight to pray for protection against COVID-19, they received a quick response that Bishop Jenky would like to do it. “OSF is one of our greatest Catholic institutions,” said Bishop Jenky of the system that includes 14 hospitals and employs more than 23,000. “Anything the Sisters ask me, I try to do.”
Bishop Jenky was joined in the OSF Life Flight helicopter by Msgr. Philip Halfacre, vicar general of the Peoria Diocese, as well as the pilot and a flight nurse.
Though favourable weather factored into the decision to fly on Good Friday, Bishop Jenky said the day was appropriate.
“This is one of the holiest days of the year, at a time when we’re living something like we’ve never lived through,” he told The Catholic Post, Peoria’s diocesan newspaper.
During the flight to downtown Peoria and back, Bishop Jenky offered a prayer composed by the Vatican for a “Mass in Time of Pandemic.” The prayer reads, in part, as follows:
“Almighty and eternal God, our refuge in every danger, to whom we turn in our distress; in faith we pray look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to health care workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love, so that together we may give glory to your holy name.”
Once the helicopter reached downtown Peoria — above OSF HealthCare St. Francis Medical Center and nearby St. Mary’s Cathedral — the pilot turned to the north, east, south and west. The bishop then offered a blessing out the helicopter window in each direction.
“We blessed, at this holy time of the year, all the faithful and in a particular way those suffering from the pandemic and those who care for them,” said Msgr. Halfacre, who was taking his first helicopter ride. He and Bishop Jenky expressed gratitude to OSF HealthCare leadership for not only making the flight possible, but more especially for the care they are providing and the advice they are giving the Diocese of Peoria.
“They’ve been partners with us all along in how to respond to the present moment,” said Msgr. Halfacre.
“We are not experts on contagious disease,” said Bishop Jenky. “It is a huge comfort to have prudent advice from medical experts and, in our circumstance, from a Catholic hospital system that I completely trust.”
Steve Mattern, vice president of mission services for OSF HealthCare, said the system’s staff is “doing great work” during this uncertain time when there are still “a lot of unknowns.” The OSF facility coping with the most COVID-19 cases is the newly acquired OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Chicago. Mattern said April 10 that hospital has 160 COVID-19 patients, but also has treated and sent home 186 patients.
Whether or not the virus will spread to a greater degree in central Illinois is uncertain. But on Good Friday, the region was covered by prayer from the air.
Bishop Jenky said that, despite a stiff wind, the flight was “very easy and very safe. The pilots and the nurse and everyone were very kind.” Tom Dermody is editor of The Catholic Post, newspaper of the Diocese of Peoria
When Jesus preached to the 5000 the apostles wanted to send the crowds to the neighbouring town and villages to find food to eat.
In response to their faithless request Jesus said to the apostles
“GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO EAT YOURSELVES”.
And we had the miracle of Jesus using five loaves and two fish to feed the 5000.
AND, there was food left over.
I’m a bit pissed off with bishops and priests blessing people from helicopters and pope mobiles and running around the streets with monstrance- like Harry Potter swishing his wand.
The RCC is one of the richest organisations on the earth and most western dioceses are fantastically rich.
At the weekend we saw that the diocese of Down and Connor has an annual turnover of nearly £ 20 million.
Why have we not seen any Irish bishop or diocese donating a VENTILATOR, a respirator or personal protection equipment to their local hospital?
Instead these men are taking to the skies and the streets with their useless blessings.
Why would anyone want a blessing from the area managers of a corrupt multinational – also responsible for worldwide child sexual abuse and cover up?
We all need GOD’S BLESSINGS.
And we get those blessings directly from God.
And we feel very blessed when we witness NHS heroes putting their lives on the line.
And we feel very blessed when we see Christian’s and others putting their money where their mouths are!
During the last great social tragedy in Ireland – the Great Famine – the Irish Catholic Church engaged in the biggest church building campaign in its history.
Facts like these tell us the truth.
Where a man’s treasure is, there will be his heart”.
The heart of the RCC is betrothed to money, property wealth and power.
Cardinal Pell speaks of scourge of ‘meth’ in prison
by Mark Bowling
Cardinal George Pell (right) speaks to police upon arrival at the Seminary Of The Good Shepherd in Sydney, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. BIANCA DE MARCHI/AAP/PA Images
Cardinal George Pell has revealed he is ashamed of the Catholic Church for the way it dealt with the “cancer” of child sex abuse in the past. “There are two levels. One is the crimes itself, … and then treating it so inadequately for so long,” Cardinal Pell has said after his acquittal and release from prison, in an interview to be broadcast worldwide by Sky News tomorrow.
Cardinal Pell has spoken about the scourge of child abuse in the Church and how the many failures to act still haunt him today. “I totally condemn those sorts of activities, and the damage that it’s done to people,” he said. “One of the things that grieves me is the suggestion that I’m anti-victim, or not sufficiently sympathetic.” In the interview, Cardinal Pell is understood to speak of his 405 days behind bars, before the High Court of Australia quashed five counts of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the 1990s. He speaks of several inmates he befriended including a convicted murderer, as well as witnessing the devastation caused by addiction to “ice”, or crystal methamphetamine, on fellow prisoners. Since his release from the maximum security Barwon Prison in Victoria on April 7, Cardinal Pell has also penned an Easter message in a national newspaper titled: “In the suffering, we find redemption.”
Cardinal Pell wrote that the sexual abuse crisis damaged thousands of victims. “From many points of view the crisis is also bad for the Catholic Church, but we have painfully cut out a moral cancer and this is good,” he wrote in The Weekend Australian. He said everyone suffers, prompting questions about what to do. “Why is there so much evil and suffering. And why did this happen to me,” he said. Pell labels his initial conviction a disappointment but says he will turn the prison experience to “good purpose”. “I have just spent 13 months in jail for a crime I didn’t commit, one disappointment after another,” he wrote. “I knew God was with me, but I didn’t know what he was up to, although I realised he has left all of us free. “But with every blow it was a consolation to know I could offer it to God for some good purpose like turning the mass of suffering into spiritual energy.”
Soon after his release, Cardinal Pell was driven from Melbourne to Sydney where he has been staying in a seminary.
Given the controversy around him would Pell not be well advised to stop making public statements?
Many people still do not believe he is innocent.
Others say he was a over up bishop himself.
He had had a very good life, has never wanted for anything and in later years went 1st class.
There is just something very uncomfortable about him condemning sex abuse and his church’s handling of it.
Most Reverend Patrick Buckley, The Oratory, Larne. Dear Pat, Thank you for your recent correspondence and for bringing this matter to the attention of the Parish. I am unaware of any application for a grant of any kind, but have forwarded your correspondence to the Diocesan Finance Office for their attention. Yours sincerely, Francis (Very Rev. Fr. F. O’Brien P.P.)
The Diocese of Down and Connor can confirm that on 3rd April 2020, as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response, an automatic ‘small business grant’ of £10,000 from the Department for Economy (NI) was received by the Parish of Larne in error. Within the diocese, this was an isolated incident. Having become aware of this mistake, the Diocese of Down and Connor immediately contacted the Land and Property Services (LPS) to draw this oversight to their attention and to arrange the safe return of the grant.
I did not apply for a grant.
When the details arrived by post I contacted the Government Grant’s department and was told the money went into the Larne Parish Account.
The Larne PP said he knew nothing about it.
He passed my email to him to Bishop Treanor.
FATHER EDDIE MC GEE
The D&C press officer Fr Eddie McGee first said it was for me.
Fr Timothy Bartlett is administrator of St Mary’s, the oldest Catholic church in Belfast, and episcopal vicar for diocesan future planning.
Q. Can you tell us something of your background?
A. I was born in north Belfast in July 1965. The small cul-de-sac I grew up in, just off Alliance Avenue, still has a 30-foot peace fence around it. The Troubles were a huge part of my life growing up. My mum, Alice, and dad, Oliver, were both from Ardoyne and they owned newsagent and ice-cream shops over the years. I am very blessed to still have them in my life. I have one brother, Gary, who is married with three grown-up children (or at least they claim they are grown up!) We are all very close.
Q. What about your education and your clerical career?
A. I went to Christian Brothers’ schools and then to Queen’s University, Belfast, where I was awarded a first-class honours BEd, followed by a MScEd. I was also awarded a Bachelor of Divinity and Licentiate in Sacred Theology from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. I was ordained in 1992 for the Diocese of Down and Connor and taught for 10 years at St Mary’s University College, Belfast. I then spent 10 years as assistant to the president of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Brady. I am still secretary to the Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland. From 2016 to 2018, I was invited to be secretary-general of the world meeting of families and papal visit in Dublin.
Q. How and when did you come to faith?
A. Growing up in north Belfast, the fear of someone coming in to our house and killing my family was the first stage of learning how to pray. I was so convinced something would happen to my family if I didn’t kneel down and say my prayers at night that I never missed a night without saying my prayers. If I fell asleep and suddenly remembered that I had forgot to say my prayers, I would jump out of bed and kneel down and say them, no matter how tired I was. I remember being incredibly impressed by the power of the words of the scriptures read at mass and the sermons of the priests. I also had the incredible example of faith and practical kindness to neighbours, friends and those in need of my parents. They just worked so hard and were so full of goodness to others.
Q. Have you ever had a crisis of faith, or a gnawing doubt about your faith?
A. There have been many times in my life when I have wrestled with God. But, intellectually, I can honestly say that I have never doubted his existence.
Q Have you ever had a crisis of faith, or a gnawing doubt about your faith?
A. There have been many times in my life when I have wrestled with God. But, intellectually, I can honestly say that I have never doubted his existence.
Q. Have you ever been angry with God? And, if so, why?
Yes, usually when I didn’t get my way with him, which has been quite often. Though I usually come to realise, in the end, that God knew better than me.
Q. Do you ever get criticised for your faith? And are you able to live with that criticism?
A. There is a much stronger and aggressive anti-faith culture in the south of Ireland than in the north and I felt this on a number of occasions when I worked in Dublin. More recently, the main hostility to faith, or even personality and priesthood, comes through social media, usually from people I have never met and who know very, very little about me.I have to live with it, but I think we fool ourselves about living in a tolerant, inclusive society. There is a new group orthodoxy around and, if you don’t fit in, you can expect to be subjected to very cruel and nasty treatment online.
Q. Are you ever ashamed of your own Church, or denomination?
A. Yes. The abuse of children and our institutional response to that abuse has filled me with utter shame. I also think that our attitude to women and to people who experience same-sex attraction, gender disphoria, or even basic human frailty, at times has been nothing short of shameful. We have much to celebrate in our Catholic faith, but we have to always face up to our dark side.
Q. Are you afraid to die?
A. I am very blessed in that I have never been afraid of death. I also have an absolute faith in life beyond death, a life which, like this one, is ultimately about goodness and love. However, I believe in hell and I fear it. I also believe that there are a small number of people in the world who are truly evil and have freely and knowingly chosen to be so. They’ll spend eternity in hell. But most of us are good people, who sometimes make very bad, or evil, choices. But they don’t define our fundamental character, or choice, and, if we repent, Heaven is ours.
Q. Do you believe in a resurrection?
A. I absolutely believe in the resurrection of our bodies on the last Day of Judgement. I believe we will know each other again, physically, after the resurrection. The risen Jesus ate, drank, spoke, bore the wounds of his earthly body. In death, God does not throw away these unique bodies by which He created us. In the resurrection, they will be risen, transformed and glorified.
Q. Are the Churches here fulfilling their mission?
A. I don’t think any Church can ever say it is fully fulfilling its mission. I think faith and the institutions of faith are going through an unprecedented period of upheaval and change. I remain optimistic that the Church will, ultimately, emerge stronger and more authentically Christian out of this, sometimes painful, process of change.
Q. Why are so many people turning their backs on organised religion?
A. There are two main reasons, though the answer is complex. The first is that many people have not so much rejected Church, or God, as forgotten God in the midst of very busy, stressful and distracted lives. Secondly, as society has become more individualistic and less community-focused, communal worship and belonging makes less sense to people.
However, I believe this will be relatively short-lived, because our contemporary, individualistic, culture is not satisfying our core human needs for belonging, community and worship. The turn back to God will come – eventually.
Q. Has religion helped, or hindered, the people of Northern Ireland?
I am so weary of people blaming religion and the Churches for the ills of Northern Ireland. The Churches almost always, often together, or sometimes prophetically within their own communities, pointed the way to a peaceful, reconciled and prosperous society here, one based on mutual respect.
If you go back to the document of the first historic meetings between Church leaders in the 1970s, in Ballymascanlon and other places, you find the language and vision that would eventually become the peace agreements that give us the relatively peaceful environment that we enjoy. The joint witness and leadership of the Churches here on social and political issues continues to be prophetic, for those who are willing to hear it.
Q. Where do you feel closest to God?
Late at night, before the Blessed Sacrament, in silence and with only the light of a candle flickering gently in the room, wafting away the busyness and stress of the day.
Q. What inscription would you like on your gravestone?
A. “May he live in love!” I find the whole idea of actually “resting” in eternity a little bit challenging.
Q. Finally, have you any major regrets?
A. While I have always accepted not being married as part of my calling to the Catholic priesthood, without resentment, on occasions, I have experienced very, very deeply the pain of not being married, especially of not being a father. There have been times when I have literally grieved over the wife and children that I never had. But that is what sacrifice is about; giving up something good in itself, something you would naturally desire, for a greater love. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a struggle.
O dear. What utter drivel.
I have always been convinced that Timo is gay.
This Darcy like grieving for a never had wife is so cringeworthy.
The driving desire of Timo’s life in the opinion of many clergy is to wear purple.
Why does he not leave and marry and father?
Or become an independent priest and have a partner.
This great SACRIFICING THE WIFE AND CHILDREN ruse is generally to hide being a Friend of Dorothy and to promote clericalism to a great big pedestal.
On another note – as the organiser of World Family Meeting he has left the Irish RCC in millions of debt.
Cardinal George Pell said on Friday that suffering can be offered to God for good, and that Christians see Christ in the suffering, and are obliged to help them. His message came days after his release from prison, and amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
“The sexual abuse crisis damaged thousands of victims. From many points of view the crisis is also bad for the Catholic Church, but we have painfully cut out a moral cancer and this is good. So too some would see COVID-19 as a bad time for those who claim to believe in a good and rational God, the Supreme Love and Intelligence, the Creator of the universe,” Pell wrote in an Easter message published by The Australian on April 10.
“It is a mystery; all suffering, but especially the massive number of deaths through plagues and wars. But Christians can cope with suffering better than the atheists can explain the beauty and happiness of life,” the cardinal added.
Pell was convicted in December 2018 of sexually assaulting two choirboys at the Melbourne Cathedral in 1996. On April 7, the Australian High Court unanimously ruled that the evidence presented during the trial would not have allowed the jury to avoid reasonable doubt and ordered Pell’s acquittal and release after more than 400 days in prison.
The High Court’s Tuesday decision marked the end of a nearly three-year legal process which began in June 2017, when the cardinal was charged with several counts of sexual assault dating back decades. The majority of these charges were dropped before they could be brought to trial. Pell, who was most recently the Archbishop of Sydney before he left Australia in 2014 for a Vatican position as prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, has returned to Sydney after his release from prison.
In his message, the cardinal acknowledged his incarceration, writing that “I have just spent 13 months in jail for a crime I didn’t commit, one disappointment after another. I knew God was with me, but I didn’t know what He was up to, although I realised He has left all of us free. But with every blow it was a consolation to know I could offer it to God for some good purpose like turning the mass of suffering into spiritual energy.”
“The only Son of God did not have an easy run and suffered more than his share. Jesus redeemed us and we can redeem our suffering by joining it to His and offering it to God,” Pell added.
In a reference to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, Pell noted that in times of plague and difficulty, Christians were unique in the ancient world for their commitment to nurse and care for the sick. “Too often the irreligious want to eliminate the cause of the suffering, through abortion, euthanasia, or exclude it from sight, leaving our loved ones unvisited in nursing homes. Christians see Christ in everyone who suffers — victims, the sick, the elderly — and are obliged to help,” he wrote. The Easter message of Sydney’s current leader, Archbishop Anthony Fisher, also addressed hope and the coronavirus pandemic.
“Dare we hope in a world that is suffering? It can seem impossible, even insensitive, to talk of hope when people are sick or dying, anxious or isolated, unemployed or otherwise burdened,” Fisher’s message said. There is, however, reason for hope, the archbishop wrote.
“Think of the countless acts of selfless service we’ve witnessed of late from health workers, neighbours, families, pastors. Think of the novel pastoral responses to this novel coronavirus. In times like these people of faith and ideals really shine.”
“On Easter night the new Easter candle is normally lit and carried into the Church as a symbol of Christ, our light returned and hope restored. This year there’ll be no congregation to light their own candles from it. But already people are demonstrating Easter light in their works of mercy and prayer,“ Fisher wrote.
Cardinald Pell’s release from prison this week has been controversial, and was met with protest in Australia.
Hours after Pell was exonerated, St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne was vandalised. The cathedral’s door was spray-painted with a cartoon image of a devil, along with the message “ROT IN HELL, PELL.” Other doors were daubed with upside-down crosses and the words “NO JUSTICE,” “PAEDO RAPIST,” and: “The law protects the powerful.” Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne told Australian media that while he was upset about the vandalism, he was “not entirely surprised.”
“There remains such strong emotions around all of these matters,” Comensoli told Australian news network 3AW. The cardinal’s Easter message included a proclamation of the Gospel: that Jesus of Nazareth died, and was resurrected bodily. “It was a return of his entire person from death, breaking the rules of health and physics, as Christians believe this young man was the only Son of God, divine, the Messiah…who redeems us, enables us to receive forgiveness and enter into a happy eternity.”
On April 7, the day he was released from prison, the cardinal told CNA that “prayer has been the great source of strength to me throughout these times, including the prayers of others, and I am incredibly grateful to all those people who have prayed for me and helped me during this really challenging time.”