As a curate, I had a very good parish priest in Canon Walter Larkin when I was in Kilkeel in 1983 and 1984.

Larkin had been the ferocious president of St Malachy’s College, Belfast – feared by teachers and pupils.

When he became a PP he was feared by his curates.

When I was being  “bold boy” in Belfast priests used to say to ne: “If you’re not careful you’ll end up with Walter Larkin on Kilkeel”.

And that’s exactly where Daly sent me in February 1983.

And to make it worse, Larkin and Daly were classmates.

I arrived in Kilkeel and went to Walter’s house to introduce myself.

He answered the door, grunted at me, and pointed me to his large, very bare dining room.

“Well, Buckley, what do you think of me” was his first words

I answered, Walter I dont know you, but I have heard you are very difficult to work for”.

“Have you now”, he answered.

Then he said: “You know all the priests are waiting for us to fight with each other”, he said.

I said: “Perhaps”.

Then Walter stretched out his hand towards me and said: “Let’s fool them and be friends”.

We did become friends.

We had very long talks about spiritual matters. And when he was dying he sent for me.

As I sat with him at his death bed Daly walked into the room and was not happy to see me. It had been two years since Daly sacked me.

My fellow curate, Denis Newberry, who had been Walter’s head boy in St Malachy’s was afraid of his life of Walter.

I wonder was Walter a mathematician? Below are some of my pay slips Walter gave me – full of fractions and maths.

Both Walter and I were strong people and he very wisely recognised the way to treat me was man to man and it worked.

A good boss will not be a bully. He will be a team leader that allows the members of the team to use their talents.

It goes to answer those clerics who say I fought with all priests.

Walter was the toughest. We got on well because we had mutual respect.

Walter was afraid of going to hell when he died.

When we met he used to say: “Pat tell me why I will not go to Hell”.

I spoke to him about God’s infinite and mercy and the fact that when God forgives our sins he forgets them too.


Walter was the grandson of Margaret Tinneny of Belturbet and the son of her daughter Annie Casey of Belturbet and James Larkin. He was raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Although he planned on a career in medicine, after his graduation from Queen’s University in Belfast he responded to the calling to enter the priesthood.

Walter was ordained a priest at Maynooth, County Kildare in 1940.  He said his first Mass in the old Catholic Chapel behind the railway station in Belturbet.  His older brother Michael, who by that time was himself studying for the priesthood, served at his First Mass.

From 1945 until 1970 Walter was assigned to Saint Malachy’s College in Belfast in various positions and spent many years as President of the college.  In 1970 he left the college and became the parish Priest of Crossgar after completing his assignment there he served as Parish Priest of Kilkeel.  On April 6, 1988, The Very Reverend Cannon Walter Larkin, a priest for 47 years died of emphysema at Upper Mourne, Kilkeel, County Down.  He is buried there.

JP 11


Lovely story Pat. Thank you for sharing. The fact that he called you when he was dying, that says so much about your friendship.
It’s funny isn’t it how (some of) these old tough guys were soft at heart.
With reference to the last blog, I would also be interested in going on a priests retreat led by Pat. After the lockdown naturally.


Forgive me please but I would like a retreat with Bishop Pat again in Scotland. One of the brethern suggested Grantown-on-spey yesterday as a venue and I know he likes a wee dram as he rung me last night. You would be particularly welcomed by the Grant distillery in Rothes whose relative became an English bishop.


Thank you. I’m more a brandy than whiskey man but I do like a dram. I like the single malts, Talisker, Lagavulin etc.


He always celebrated it. He hated Missalettes but he allowed me to introduce them. When I went there lay readers did not exist. But he allowed me to introduce them also.


I thought it rhymed with “beer” but that’s just me.

No doubt explicit accuracy as to figure work is the product not only of not having an electronic calculator but also the wish to appear straightforward in an atmosphere where he has often been accused of cheating people.

I read your contrasting account of the clergy at Divis. Anyone who has been badly mentored before they get to Walter’s is going to lump Walter in. Some must have been a big trial to Walter having come from another PP.

How many of your fellow curate class (or PPs), in their prior home life, their schooling and seminary training were taught to try to analytically apply principle in relating, to maintain good boundaries and dynamics? To know what is baggage and what is not baggage.

Me & God had a thing going since my infancy (I am a meditative type) but no-one gave me sensible answers about “what next” (and I did ask) (my parents having been left in a similar position). Completely secular teachers taught me a lot of Scripture.


Walter’s greatest trial of a curate was Fr. George McLaverty. He drove Walter round the bend. Will blog about him 😁


The good old days if and as they were. I’m surprised you still have that “old stuff “ I’d have burned the lot. Nice one today hi


Yeah, maybe bishops do listen to what is published here. We haven’t heard much out of Littletwat / twit / wank in the last week or so. Maybe + Wilson has had a word with him after hearing about his ridiculous antics, theology, liturgy and ecclesiology here on + Pat’s blog. Yeahhhh !


It sounds to me + Pat that you get mentioned by quite a few bishops in various meetings. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve read on here reports that + Vinnie has referred to you at a meeting, and you seem to have been a AOB item at a Scottish bishop’s meeting with his staff. Good. It means they are either reading or getting reports of what is being said on this blog, and that means that they will watch themselves, because they know that you and we are watching them ! That, it seems to me, is the only way to hold them to account, because we know from past experience that they have, and will continue, to try and work in the shadows and hide stuff as much as possible. So we will keep watching, dear bishops !


As Bishop Pat reflects on his great memories and I hope some of that are Good he never forgets

Today here is a memory for you and please sing along.

It is never to late to Love and he will always love you with his big heart.

Many Blessings sadly due to covid 19 we cannot get into celebrate.

Happy memories.


That time of the bullying, all powerful, parish priest who was able to terrorise curates if he was so inclined, with little recourse for those who were being bulled, was outrageous and completely unacceptable. It was condoned by bishops who would send curates to angry and bullying parish priests in order to get them sorted out and made compliant and plaintiff. I’m sure that’s what that little nasty twerp Daly was doing, making up for his small stature and his own inadequacies. Mind you, at the time, similar things were happening in other walks of life. I am hoping that this kind of thing is still not alive and kicking in the Church, and if it is curates have the balls to kick back and dish it out in response, and ways of addressing it through the proper channels. However, what I have intuited over the last few years of reading this blog is that there is still bullying in all sorts of forms going on in parts of the Church, particularly in seminaries. That can be overt bullying of the old fashioned type or more insidious psychological, emotional and sexual bullying and intimidation. Of the type we have seen reported from Maynooth. I’m shocked and outraged that such behaviour is still alive and kicking, and that is only the stuff that we know about. Rest assured there will be lots more, effectively camouflaged and hidden from view. It simply should not be allowed to happen, and if there is one good thing about + Pat’s blog it is that this kind of stuff can be revealed and reported here. As another commentator has said, the bishops know that we are watching, and we know that they are watching us. Hopefully, that is a thorn in their side that makes them sit up and take some notice.


There are PP’s of small stature today who bully their parishioners, especially elderly folk, to help them get over their small man syndrome.


I remember my pp shouting at a parishioner in the sacresty around 6 years ago, he really roared, and the parishioner was visibly embarresed. There were other people present. I politely asked Father to accompany me to his office, closing both sacresty and office doors behind us. Once summoned to his office I made it perfectly clear that if he ever did anything like that again, or that if I got wind, then I would inform the Bishop.
The walls are thick and so are the doors, but everybody was aware of what was said. We are a real family at our parish and families have their upps and downs all the same, it’s life.
He apologised to the parishioner a short while later and he even thanked me a week or so later over a Guinness.
He gave me the odd rollocking when I was growing, which I am now grateful for as this allowed me to grow in so many ways. Our relationship is a true Father and Son one. He is a wonderful parish priest and a great champion for the marginalised and I thank the Lord for giving such us a genuinely caring and down to earth priest.


– ” … the bullying, all powerful, parish priest who was able to terrorise curates if he was so inclined, with little recourse for those who were being bullied” If that was true of Pell’s earlier superiors like he says, nonetheless the moment he was deemed worthy of promotion he should have had the sense of responsibility towards the small (whom it is about after all) to shop Little & Mulkearns in 1996 (metropolitans needn’t have wished for any more power then) (it may be Victoria would have got the pair off the hook but Pell would have put himself and his institution in the clear and he didn’t)
– bishops and archbishops are nowadays in turn bullied by minders / meddlers / centralisers on behalf of various “arms” and opaque quangoes
– look how we are treated by government and big commerce
We small christians are going to have to invent the principle of principle out of thin air, once we get fed up of being manoeuvred by those who in turn are manoeuvred by someone else.
Average priests and bishops (like Heenan) in the 1950s to 1970s wanted to reform the bad dynamics of the goons, but the goons then had a “better” idea: let’s abolish belief, instead! Never mind the bait – just switch switch switch.


I agree, though I wonder where and when the Parish Priest says Mass. Every day the celebrant is Littleton, and if the PP is present at all, he doesn’t concelebrate. I doubt Littleton would care for that, and maybe during the current lockdown, it is considered far too dangerous. Anyway, not my parish, though I know the church, so I really don’t care; he is Canon Hebborn’s responsibility.


Well, really, I think if you want to talk about immaturity you have perfect example in Farmer’s Boy Littletwat / twit / wank. I mean, all that dressing up, prancing around, and high pitched pontification. The boy needs to grow a set of balls and man up a bit. Please !


In the Church World Wide today we celebrate the Sacred Heart so why should we not celebrate.
Tomorrow I hope father Littleton is in White Vestments for the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
You seem obsessed by Father Littleton.
And can I correct another wrong item Pat Buckley is NOT excommunicated from the Catholic Church Daly cannot do that NO Bishop can it has to be Rome.
I am surprised Pat never corrected that.
Be interesting to see if Bishop pat sends for the next Bishop of Down and Connor on his death bed.
At least today there has been one Good Priest Canon Larkin but Bishop Tony Farquhar is nice too


In RCC Canon Law one becomes automatically excommunicated by becoming a bishop without a papal mandate. The consecreating bishop is also automatically excommunicated.

I do not respect RCC law.

It has no meaning to me.


Nice story, Pat. I too have happy memories of martinets who had hearts of gold, and were marked out – in contrast to so many clergy – by absolute moral rectitude, often living austere and simple lives. I am reminded for instance of Henry Dodd at Corpus Christi, Covent Garden in the same period whose kitchen facilities were a single cold tap over a butler’s sink. Needless to say both church and presbytery have had a fortune spent on them since, and – I believe – Old Mother Burke has been to visit.
Incidentally – if you will forgive my impertinence – your pay slips don’t look too bad at all if you were getting everything else provided. At the beginning of the eighties i was doing a professional job in London for 4K GROSS.


@8.20am Didn’t know there was an English RC episopal link to Grants Whiskey. Which bishop as there were a few Grants. Good blended whiskey.


Charlie. Family left millions to the diocese and still does on his instructions. Every bottle of Grants sold profits the Catholics to this day but not in Scotland where they produce it. A scandal


Is that Charles Grant who was present at all the sessions of the Second Vatican Council. Pope John XXIII promoted him. Charlie loved two things in life, cigarettes and Hennessy Brandy. The irony was he couldn’t abide the liquid that got him his place in the world so to speak.


The gable wall is all that’s left now
The old thatched cottage has fallen down
I dry my eyes as I fondly remember
The days of long ago when I was young

In my fathers house we were poor but rich in love
No TV but music there was plenty of
And my mama hummed the old melodies and we all sang along.
In my fathers house when I was young


Well, remember Black Lives Matter. Francisco is probably trying to be nice to him. He might claim that he is a victim if he’s kicked out unceremoniously.


11.50: But It’s YOUR IMNATURITY I’m referring to at 11.34. YOURS. You have an infantile, unhealthy, ridiculous hang up and paranoia about Fr. Littleton..GROW UP BOY…Yes, YOU.


Steady, steady. Calm down. You might do yourself an injury. Littleton / tit / twat / wank / f**k is an immature idiot. He is so young and fresh that he cannot possibly even know or understand that stuff he spouts. He wasn’t even brought up in the Roman Catholic Church. All he has done is seen something that he thinks he likes and wants to play at, so he goes full tilt in to this traditionalist orthodox nonsense. It is not about faith. It is about him playing around and enjoying himself. Also, it seems to have taken him almost 10 years to get through the seminary. Why ? Because they knew that everything I’ve written above is true, and all this idiot is capable of is doing Roman Catholic pantomime. Why, I ask, should I not have a view on that ? He’s running counter to where our Church is and should be going. This is not a stage for Little Whatever His Name is to play act on. That’s why he needs to grow up ! Talk about maturity FFS !


Priests should be sincere, genuine and respectable. Littleprick is not. He has an air of arrogance about him. His use of the maniple and the pre Vatican II manual actions serve to send a message out to older generations (boomers) that we got it wrong and he has got it right! He has only been a Catholic for 5 minutes and he dares to believe he has a right to teach and we should listen to him! Littleton should be the one to listen!


7.27: I have no knowledge of Fr. Littleton except what I read here. I do not know him personally and do not live in the UK, not do I have any time for his very traditional, conservative spirituality, theology or understanding of Church. However, the ignorant bullying, sneering, nasty name calling and intolerance shown to him is outrageous. If you are a priest, go and fulfil your vision, ministry and creativity as you seem suitable for you and parishioners. But, please, spare us your damned ignorance. Find more worthwhile things to do, whatever you are in life! That will bring you more fulfilment, dearie….


And you are….? + Wilson ? + Hendricks ? Canon Hebborn ? Father Connolly ? Littletwat himself, maybe ? By the way, capital letters are really a sign of instability in the person who is writing.


7.33 No it is not + Wilson, + Hendricks, Father Connolly or Father Littleton
They have NO idea who it is and despite a plea for people to contact the Bishops it seems no one has.


Hi Jim. If you want to remain anonymous, improve your writing style and don’t give the game away by urging people to write to bishops!


Use of capital letters a sign of instability?! Lol. Funnily enough, I started to use capital letters, after, apparently, “Signally failing to report my allegations of abuse [to the Police]” for over 18 months!
But the DOLPHINS in the Mersey estuary seem to be exceedingly overcome with joy and are clearly and visibly extatic over something.
— Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every living thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.


7.33: What are you talking about in reference to capital letters? Your pseudo psychology is very evident. Think you need a reality check.


Pat – you mentioned that God has mercy and so forth, so a person needn’t fear death. How can God just forgive sin without the benefits of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ being applied to the soul?


Pat, Joey Toal once told his Clergy to inform him when you got on the ferry at Larne. He was bishop of Argyll and the Isles then. Was very paranoid about you. He’s moved on since then. Still paranoid. Loves the Tobernor’y


Bishop Toal has failing eye sight and wouldn’t be able to tell Pat Buckley from Boy George. He is a lovely, gentle man and regrets the way he treated Fr Despard and a few other, erm sexual matters in the Diocese. Best all round Bishop in Scotland though after Archbishop Tartaglia.


Welcome back Taggart. Hope you recovered from the COVID. Prayed for you. You are right about wee Joe Toal. He is a good man. Call you over the weekend Fr.


Pat, I never thought I would say this, but I quite like your blog without Magna Carta for the reason that without the distraction the clergy are still showing themselves for what they are by gossiping, bitching and pillorying one of their number.


10.02: Many commentators are non clerical, lace curtain gossipers, disgruntled ex priests and seminarians. There are lots of non clerical bitchy people on Pat’s blog, sadly, you probably being one of them. Sometimes one person responds several times to him or herself.. .bananas!!


Pat, do you know whether the diocesan priests who were teachers and presidents of Catholic schools are able to keep the substantial pensions they earned, or do the dioceses try to take some.
In 1986, when I was a pupil in St Michael’s College the president, Fr Macartan McQuaid said that he and the other priest teachers had to surrender a big portion of their salaries to subsidise the boarding boys’ fees.
One of the reasons the convents are so wealthy is that the nuns pool all their State, teachers and principals pensions. They also scam HMRC via the wheeze of each nun doing a gift aid application when they pay their pensions into the common fund, attracting a 20% top-up from taxpayers.


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