Martin O’Brien meets Fr Edward O’Donnell, a priest happy in his ministry and his own skin (2018) Irish Catholic.
Fr Edward O’Donnell, first ever Catholic ecumenical canon in Belfast’s Protestant cathedral, parish priest in one of the North’ s most well to do areas, former private secretary to the late Bishop Cahal Daly, noted homilist, and proud native of Heaney country in south Derry looks younger than most 67-year old men. It may have something to do with his sunny disposition.
Despite the scandals that have engulfed the Church in Ireland and his disappointment at the “grumbles” of some brother priests in the media he is upbeat while not being complacent.
“Of course, there are things that are not right and could be done better. However, I am not disgruntled with the Church, sometimes disappointed, just as I am disappointed with myself, but I am happy, and I hope I communicate that. I am happy in my own skin and with what I do.”
Eddie O’Donnell is grateful that he has been blessed with good health, still not requiring any medication, yet mindful of life’s fragility, reminding me that his father died of an aneurism at the age he is now.
We’re in his presbytery outside St Brigid’s Church in south Belfast, where he has been parish priest for seven years.
He’s grateful that the attendance at Sunday Mass has remained stable in that period, at around 2,000. According to the Down and Connor directory the estimated Catholic population of the parish is 13,500, making it numerically the biggest in the diocese.
It is one of the wealthiest parts of the region but Fr O’Donnell stresses that financial wealth and spiritual wealth do not always go together.
He says that the economic downturn had a more severe effect on his parish than is realised and that parts of it experience “great poverty”.
“There are more ‘newcomers’, immigrants and refugees in a particular ‘end’ of our parish area than anywhere else in the diocese. Many of those people in a very poor situation are not Catholics at all where our parish St Vincent de Paul Society go and minister to those in need and the need is great.”
He considers the biggest challenge facing his parish – and parishes all over Ireland – one that he poses to the parish pastoral council: “How will you preserve the faith in St Brigid’s when there is no priest?”
Yes wee Eddie was Cahal’s secretary and after a while he began looking and talking like Cahal.
What an awful thing for a PP to say.
That he is preparing his parish for eventual priestlessness.
Not much of the virtue of hope there.
Of course, priests are disappearing fast.
But that does not mean there cannot be priests.
There can be part time married and women priests.
But the clerics will be gone.
There is a difference between being a priest and being a cleric.
I always though that Little Eddie would be a monsignor. But he is not part of the Treanor Court and had to be satisfied with being made a Protestant canon.
79 replies on “PRIEST IS PREPARING HIS PARISH TO BE A PRIESTLESS PARISH !”
Here’s one for ya hi. Is he still employed by RC Church What are the workings out of all of this If it has a defined role it could be really good. Now then are the R C getting anyone in exchange. The USS Enterprise and the Klingons come to mind
Very sad. He has 2000 people coming to Mass on Sunday, and he is interested in being a Protestant Canon in their cathedral. If I had that many people at Mass, I would be too busy to even consider such a silly post. I have less than 200 in my place – and it’s a great parish.
2018? You must be really short of material Buckley for your mischief. Fr Eddie O’Donnell is a decent man – a bit uptight – but a good man.
What about saint Coleman’s Lambeg? No PP.
This is all new stuff to me.
Is O’Donnell just an honorary canon in St Anne’s Cathedral? Does he just get the chance to preach there?
What’s the deal here?
He preaches there once a year.
A Catholic cleric preaching in a Protestant church, in Northern Ireland, the world’s greatest bastion of sectarian hate, is a good thing.
I very much doubt that this parish would be without a priest. It is a plum parish, one of the most coveted in the diocese and full of influential and articulate parishoners who would make a terrific fuss.
A country parish or one of the West Belfast parishes is more likely to be left priestless.
He’s looking good for his age, btw.
Have you read any Fritz Lobinger, Pat?
I think the Empty Altar should be essential reading for every parish council!
Some sobering statistics from the US.
The average age of US nuns is 90. They are on the verge of extinction, apart from the traddy nuns, who have plenty of recruits.
When I was growing up the Mercy nuns told me that the nuns were the only part of the Church to have implemented Vatican II in full. That worked out well, didn’t it?
What’s Vat II got to do with anything?
Take off your blinkers. There was more going on in the sixties than this council. And a lot more since, including disillusionment with the clergy over child sexual abuse.
Declan McGeehan – remember that name we will see it in blogs and newspapers in the future.
Vatican Two reaches its fulfilment, the church building is full but the parish priest is looking towards closure but don’t worry they can all go to the Protestant church after all how many times have you heard a Catholic say after being to a service in the C of E “ It’s just like ours”.
Hi, Jim S.! Learn to write sentences.
Stalker I was not on at 6.08 you know those with a Good conscience can sleep at night.
You certainly must come on here to look for me.
You seem a rejected clergy, seminarian or searching for love lol
God Bless You
There is even a learned gentleman who weekly recites anglican Mattins in Latin on YouTube.
It’s a typical devout but boring western style service, but I’ve been delighted to see an Orthodox service in Latin on YouTube celebrated by a Latin professor from Moscow Theological, in a church in Bologna. He used a text translated by Erasmus. Now that was fun, but Orthodox services are always delightful.
( I once found a Canadian Unitarian service leaflet on line completely in Latin. I wish I could find Jewish, Moslem and Zen Latin versions too.)
Rosie is right in a way, Bp Pat, most parishes now expect their priest to be gay and would be quite disappointed otherwise. Soon there won’t be enough of them to go round. Its a shame.
Fr Edward “Rosie” O’Donnell. I’ve updated the camp-name-roll-call accordingly, Bp Pat.
Weather is beautiful in Liverpool, the sun is cracking the flags x
How’s Monsignor Steve Alker doing these days in the ‘Pool ?
Ahh, Mgr Alker is a lovely soul. I saw him sometime last year at a dinner party, he is a chaplain on the cruise ships. He’s got this great glow and buzz about him which lights up the room when he enters.
A lovely soul.
Yep, you are right about Alker. Speaks to anybody about anything. Would do well chatting up all the old ladies on a cruise ship. Irrepressible. But essentially kind. I hope he’s enjoying himself in his ‘retirement’.
This is a serious question. Most, if not all seminarians and would-be seminarians are gay, and it has become a profession that straight men avoid (a bit like nursing, fashion, sunglass shops, flight crew and musical theatre). Despite that the Church says gay men should not be ordained and Dermo Martin deplores “strange goings-on”.
If the cold house attitude persists towards the only seminarians it can attract, how will the Church have new priests?
@9.18, why the preoccupation with priests? We require Jesus alone. He alone us the way the truth and the life. Jesus did nit establish a priesthood.
Lots of male nurses are very caring people and do take great pride in their work and of their care of people. My nan once said to me when she was in hospital, “Oh, that young male nurse has been an angel, very polite and always smiling and making sure we are alright. Would you like me to ask him if he’s courting or not?” She was funny me nanner like that and would just say what she thought lol.
Nurses do not make a public promise to both God and the community to not fall in love, so maybe there is something which can be gleemed from the surface here?
Makong any person promise that they will not fall in love is a big thing to ask, but it could also push some into a corner and effect the way they interact with their parishioners or indeed the others.
The concept of celibacy does kind of put clergy on a pedastil and give the perceverence of being somewhat ‘different’ when in fact we are all the same.
We love, and that means both rejoicing and feeling pain; we long for human intimacy, whether this be plutonic and/ or in the familial sense, but some of us are orientated to that personal intamacy with another person in the very personal sense, this latter is a normal and healthy desire. Its not dirty, but it can get messy lol.
The unhealthiness comes when it is done in secrecy and under the cloak of night; love should be a display of the comittment between the loved and the boved; love is like flower it needs water and sunshine.
Love should not be kept in a dark cupboard and hidden from the rest of the world.
… If you’ve got it, flaunt it lol…
We are made to love and if we are prevented from loving then this can cause issues in how we relate to others around us, and if the person is already stunted in their maturity, then this is receipy for catastrophic disaster.
Just look at the Liverpool decacle now.
A wise comment.
It is nonsense to say that celibacy keeps a man free to love God more. How can it when, as you imply, it keeps him from the love that most imitates that of the Holy Trinity? That’s my theology on the matter.
So, what is the story / debacle in Liverpool ? Do tell……
There is only one, essential thing for any parish the presence of Christ in the hearts of its parishoners.
That’s really nice and very true, but who is going to keep all the old gals in loving check? And in my own case, who is going to set up the pa system and the bingo machine and change any light bulbs and ensure the heating bills are kept to a minimum whilst maintaining a warm and cosey atmosphere 🐱
We all need a Mother or Father fiqure in our lives. Just like a ship needs a captain I suppose.
Sometomes being a good Father means understanding the loving kind necessity for lite discipline if required.
If my own dad had not been stern with me and my brother whilst we were growing up then we might have turned out differently.
Btw I saw my dad for the first time in 4 years the other day, I’m not sure whether or not it was planned. But if it was it was a proper gooden lol x
11.32, so (sniff) you like ‘lite discipline’? (You from the good ole US of A, hey?!)
We could come to some arrangement over that. The ‘lite discipline’. I have certain skills and accoutrements that could help you reach again the, um, levels of correction you once knew, and hanker after.
Any dolt headed idiot can see that there are going to be fundamental changes in the institutional Church and the clergy. It is inevitable. So, maybe he is right to start to think ahead and prepare his people for what is inevitably going to happen. We need to look for and expect new ways of being Church. The old ways clearly are failing. Anybody can see that. For example, do you really still believe in a stratified hierarchical structure of Church with an absolute monarchical authority at the top ? Do you still believe in excluding women and their gifts from key roles in the Church, including priesthood ? Do you still believe in funnelling seminarians in to a discredited life of mandatory celibacy ? Do you still believe in the discriminatory, prejudicial attitude of the Church to people of different lifestyle and sexuality ? Have a think about those, because they are all going to change, indeed are already changing before our eyes, at least at the level of the people who count, the laity. Maybe this apparatchik from D&C thinks he is preparing his people for other kinds of change, because I guess he is part of the Church establishment and would not want to think about these things, but he better start because it is going to happen.
Have you tried Anglicanism? You’d be happier there, perhaps, and focused more on outward reach rather than on internal theological matters?
I do not know if many readers of this blog reads any other media but let me tell you something from the Church Leaders about Ireland both North and South.
Too many Dioceses.
Too Many Churches and Property.
Lack of Vocations.
Many Priests are Elderly and Clergy in Ill Health.
And off course the ones in the affairs or not living to their vows.
The New Archbishop has a Big challenge and will need to be strong and able as a third of the parishes need to go or amalgamate.
Pope Francis two years ago change the criteria for Monsignors so it maybe the fact of that but no one under 60 is to get the title however this Priest is over 60 so likely be no fancy tiles now.
Very challenging times ahead.
Get your facts right! Learn to write sentences.
Pope Francis’ simplification and regulation of monsignori appointments happened in 2014 – six years ago. It has nothing to do with anything of significance.
Pat, a google search led me to some of your older stuff – the Summer of Gaynooth Love 2016, the Summer of Bill Going Berserk 2018.
What struck me, the comments including your own – the roars of high dudgeon and beside oneself outrage (at one point howls from yourself to Éamon Martin “RESIGN MAN! RESIGN!” over the Shane Halpin/Sean Quinn business) – what struck me is for all the hot air and fury, nothing really happened —NOTHING! NADA! NIENTE! A GREAT BIG ZERO OF NUFFINK. 🧐🤨🤔
I wonder what 2020 will go down as? The Summer of Magna Getting the Boot. Thank God at least for that.
I dont think you can say nothing has happened
The Irish College closing
And it’s not over yet.
No but really, what was all the Bill Mulvihill ballyhoo about?? Nothing happened. And a lot of that stuff was coming down the tracks anyhow like the IC in Rome closing. Maynooth is closing? Tell us more.
What a paucity of real life issues or concerns for a nothing-to-do Bishop. A rehashing of old stuff rehearsed over and over again and again…Then you try to insinuate horrible subliminal ideas about Fr. O ‘ Donnell. You are nasty – Pat. Nasty.
I got yelled at after I Celebrated Mass last Sunday for Preaching for 10 minutes by the PP. I am so sick of him and his controlling ways and Tantrums. It was another screaming match. I was so mad I stormed off and called Mommy as I normally do when I am mad.
Mommy told me to preach for 11 minutes next Sunday and if he says anything then she will come stay for a Week and really make him mad. I usually play my ABBA to calm me down and I am going on 30 now so maybe I just ask for another appointment. But I get so worked up over things and my anxiety takes over. Maybe Mommy could ask the Bishop. I hope this doesn’t continue and that I get to play some bingo tomorrow. That reminds me I have to go now and call Mommy to see if we are going to have lunch at home with nana on Sunday. Nana loves to cook me my favourite meatballs while she listens to super Trouper and we dance in the kitchen. Have a nice week everyone.
Littletwat / tit / prat / nit / nut / wank ???
@ No place like home…
We gather you are on placement in Lydiate then 😂 😂
I never howled at anyone to resign Sir/ Madam.
By your logic in your turgid comment; nothing ever really happens.
Enjoy your narrative….Your very own narrative.
It’s far better than your “narrative” Billy boy. See ya.
Any word on old spunky kecks JP “I-watch-porn-I-wank” Lyttle? Is he still “holed up” – or maybe it’s “up-holed” – in Portchester Fareham?
1.26: We know where your brain is – a permanent feature up your big, filthy a**e. What an idiotic, thick fool you are!
At 4:51pm 😩🤣🙄😆😛✊🥖💦💦
Oh dear,when will the Church learn ?! It’s like dealing with a totalitarian fascist government command economy and society policies that bear little relation to reality and to people. Everybody has to. be squeezed in to a pre-existing model. I’m sure even God intended there to be diversity and difference, rather than forcing everybody to adhere to some male, celibate, frustrated, sex obsessed authority’s vision of the world.
2.58, ah but we’te talking about Amerikay. And Americanos are the ultimate slow-learners.
Look who they elected as presidente.
I rest my prejudice.
You like this blog so often….fetid.
Over and out……
Hey Bill ya got good coffee?
4.12: Are you trying to be a new Magna? Mulvihill, a riddle, an enigma, a bizarre, crazy comment.
Bishop Pat. I’m a first time blogger, but have followed for over a year. Good to be part of your mission. I was thinking about the post last night referring to the young curate in his first Parish who was asked to provide a sperm sample so that the PP
could look at the swimmers under his new microscope, then caught later pleasuring himself whilst watching the young man shower through a key hole. The story did appear to be credible. Then of course there was Taggart’s exclusive on here last year, backed up later by the newspapers, referring to the Scottish Pioneer Priest who took in alcoholics to dry them out, only to offer them booze in return for a blow job wearing leathers. A quick search of the Priest’s name reveals that he was also involved in a bribery scandal with a rent boy, when he gave away Parish money to keep quiet. According to Dr Google, the man is supplying in retirement! Unbelievable. Sources on Google also refer to another Scottish Priest well known for rubbing young lads stomachs and slipping his hand a bit further now and again. He still supplies in retirement too. The Scottish RCC seems to hit the headlines as regularly as the Irish! Are these stories really a true reflection of RCC Priesthood generally? If yes, do you think that most of the perverts are dying off? Do you think that the majority are good, celibate men? Perhaps the problem just as bad everywhere and Scotland and Ireland are just reported more, as most of your followers come from there? Anyway, thanks for allowing me
Welcome. The stories are a a reflection of what is going on. The younger ones are worse than the older. Many priests are stuck in disullionment. The problem is international.
6.10 I am not saying your story is wrong but it shocks me to the core.
I would really be surprised if any the current Bishops of Scotland allow this to happen.
Maybe Bishop Pat could ask them.
Yet the Scottish Safeguarding has got very high standards and was approved by the Government as Baroness Helen Liddle was responsible for the Leadership.
Even write to safeguarding which is based in bath Street Glasgow rather than any Scottish Bishop.
Please contact the Bishops or ask Bishop pat too these two you speak about must be stopped now.
I think the first one is in an order but a Bishop can stop him in his diocese.
And contact the apostolic nuncio too, and any cardinal or archbishop you may know @ 6:57. Isn’t that right, Jim!
Cameron @ 6.10 – Google “St Augustines Milton Rent Boy” for further info – some time ago, but the Priest is still around. Google “St Maria Goretti Cranhill Priest Suspended” for another scandal or why not Google “Glasgow Priest sex toy” for another – still in ministry. The Diocese is trying hard to eradicate such behaviour.
The story is factual but instead of adding fuel to the fire, let us pray – it does work you know!
8.18, prayer alone is insufficient, not to mention a moral cop-out.
I’ve never known a celibate gay, priest or otherwise. Mind you; I love reading about all their antics. Keeps the oldies going.
@8.33pm You do really need to get out more and get a life at the same time.
Iain + Philip sent the sex toy priest for counselling and then gave him a Good parish.
The Clergy and laity thought and still do think it is a disgrace.
+ Philip just turns a blind eye as he really has not got the health.
However in his early days in Glasgow + Philip sorted the problems at the Sacred Heart very quickly that + Mario could not do.
+ Keenan is suppose to be the King that is going to sort Glasgow.
Oh yes, the ex VG @ Sacred Heart and his housekeeper scandal. Her granddaugher called him Grandpa and they all lived in the Presbytery. His housekeeper had a spat with a long standing
Parishioner and he threw her out of Christmas vigil Mass! He was due to be appointed Auxiliary Bishop and as a result The offer was withdrawn. +Kennan is camp as Christmas but nice. Bradley should be Bishop. Paul Murray a close second!
Is Kennan +Betty Turpin?
David the Ex VG is still there in Sacred Heart it was the Millionaires son now still C/O Clyde Street.
I do not think + Keenan will be strong enough for Glasgow and Glasgow Priests do not want him.
You having a laugh about P.M. what would happen about the baggage on St. Vincent’s Street..
= Philip is just about to move him out the office and Bradley would he have the health to go around that Archdiocese maybe Bradley as an Auxiliary but do they need an Auxiliary not had one since bishop Renfrew in 1992
+Jim could you possibly fit the +names of any other +bishops into your anonymous post +at 8:38.
You’re not very proficient at adding. So many plus signs
I’m glad you’re back to the woofs, Bp Pat, I was getting bored with all that straight stuff. It’s not the same.
I’m curious about Fr O’Donnell’s ‘sometimes disappointed’ with the Church. I might be disappointed that my lawnmower has broken down, or that my wife burnt the lasagne, again, but ‘disappointed’ with a church and clergy that has raped youngsters and concealed those crimes (thereby enabling additional, and preventable, rapes) seems just a tad inadequate.
Call me fussy, but it does appear a colossal understatement, if you will.
Has Fr O’Donnell no real cognisance of what his fellow priests have been doing? Or doesn’t he care?
Couldn’t he, for form’s sake, have stirred his moral sensibilities sufficiently to say, at least, that he was moderately concerned?
I’m just a man, a plain man.
And I enjoy plain talkin’, by plain talkin’ men.
Yes, I do.
So tell me plainly, what am I to you?
A little bit of Cilla to cheer us ull up during lock down, ey?
Surprise Surprise, Chuck.
9.00pm: I’m curious that you seem to lump all priests into the same category as abusing clerics. That’s a LIE. The majority of priests are as appalled as you are at the abuse of children by clerics. and keep expressing our regret and shame. We will forever be beaten by this horrible truth. I strive, as do many, many of my colleagues to live in God’s ways in service and ministry, taking Christ as our guide, including Fr. O Donnell! We are free to engage in relevant programmes of faith, renewal and ministry. If you can’t accept this reality, tough on you! And YES – we are daily cognizant of the crimes committed on children by colleagues.
10.24, you’re an idiot. I was referring to O’Donell, to no one else.
Can’t you read?
Rosie is preparing her parish to be a pulpit poofless parish, Bp Pat.
10.29, a faith free of poofy pooves is better for all Christians. 😅
Homophobic bile! You do not know what you are talking about when you use the words ‘a faith.’ And clearly, you don’t belong to any ‘faith group.’
Roman Catholic priests are not committed to Christ, but to an institution that ‘is corrupt, and riddled with corruption’.
10.46, can’t argue with that.
Truth is truth.
Can’t fault that argument. 😄