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FORMER SEMINARIAN OF SAINT PATRICK’S SEMINARY SPEAKS OUT.

Dear +Pat,

I apologise for the delay in submitting the following, but between moving, work and other mattes, I had to check everything just to make sure that there is no reason to doubt the veracity of what is printed.

In 1994, 5 students went to St Patrick’s College, Thurles for training to the priesthood – 1 student from the Dioceses of Killaloe, Limerick and Clogher and 2 from Raphoe.

They began in September, and by Christmas, 2 had left, leaving just Killaloe, Limerick and 1 from Raphoe from the original batch.

It was well known that ‘pranks’ would be played on the new students – a seminary hazing shall we say.

As these students were newbies, they were responsible on a daily basis to ring the bell in the morning to wake everyone up, again for morning prayers, Mass, breakfast, each and every lecture, prayers, meals, study etc…short of ringing it for toilet breaks. Each student had a rotational week of doing this and only the newbies were to do it.

Within the 1st month of being in the college, the ‘medical exam’ was to take place, and each student was called to a room in which the local GP was present, and the explanation was that the medical was required (which was suspicious as one of the pre-requisites in the application process was an up-to-date medical exam – 14 days before going to the college) and it consisted of dropping the trousers and jox, at which point the GP felt the testicles and then signed a document which found its way into the office of the college president – then Fr Christy O’Dwyer.

The student was sent to Fr O’Dwyer by the GP, and the student then signed the official book of registered students – he could now do so having being medically assessed as being male (in line with Canon Law).

There were cliques in the college, and one of them was effectively the Presidential Pryers…..and they could take a dislike to a student, make up stories about them, report it as fact back to the willing ears of the President and inevitably that student could be summoned to the Presidential suite for interrogation etc….however the Pryers were never held accountable or otherwise for their shit-stirring lies, and indeed caused many a vocation to be lost to an Irish diocese.

It is interesting to note that out of the 5 that made up the Pryers at that time, only 1 of them has since remained in the priesthood, and from what I understand, he is as much a shit stirrer now as he was then, and also a bully, and has managed to continue in his ways.

Anyway, the ‘Henry’ as it is known, was coming up at the end of October, and before that, all students and only some of the priests would go to the fields to harvest the potatoes for the local Erin soup factory (with some for the college of course).

As many who have done this in their time know, it is a back-breaking job, tedious and if the weather is not good, it makes it a harder and dirtier job than perhaps it could be.

The new Dean of Formation was Fr Colin Bergin (now married) and he ended up being upended and having the clay dirt being poured all over him and at different stages throughout the day, the 5 new students also got upended and had the same done to them…but they were not allowed to leave and get washed or changed so they would be walking around with the dirt clay for the whole day.

This was considered good fun and shur didn’t everyone have to go through it as a form of initiation, and then there was the ‘Henry’ which can only best be described an act of public humiliation of the new students in front of the Archbishop, President and all other staff members in the college.

It was degrading, soul-destroying and the fact that it seemd to have the imprimatur of the hierarchs was also questionable and worrying.

In one week alone, one of the newbie students, only too well aware of the pranks carried out on all other students, decided to have his post held at the local post office in Thurles, and in going to the post office one day, was noticed by the Pryers.

It resulted in his room being literally cleared out of all that was moveable, and transferred to the college attics by use of the lift. When the student returned to the room, only with the kindness and support of another student did he manage to track his stuff down, and for the next 2 hours, brought it all down to this room in rote, as the rooms could not be locked.

2 days later, after evening prayer, same said student found a pigs head in his bed, and he eventually found out what he was being punished for….

His birthday was that very day (turned 21) and he decided he did not want it to be known as there would be possible theatrics etc, and so he had his post kept in the post office to avoid it being found out.

The Pryers had noticed and somehow obtained access to the personal (and supposedly confidential) files of thstudents and realised the birthday and its significance, and being pissed off at the thought of losing out on a prank, rewarded the student with a pigs head in his bed for his 21st…as you do.

Throughout the time that I was there, the immaturity of some of these priests-to-be was shocking, and the fact that they got away with it made it all the more reason to have cause for future concern.

Students who were spiritual/religious were disrespected and considered to be a nuisance and in many ways, were undermined, discredited and lied about to the President, and as we are aware heretofore, 1 was falsely accused of theft and had his name dragged throught he local Garda Station….and yet no reprucssions for the instigators.

No-one deserved what they got vis-a-vis the ‘punishment’ handed out by the Pryers, but it was an exercise in futility in making any form of complaint as nothing was done by the President, and if you said anything to your bishop, well lets just say there were plenty of deaf ears at episcopate level.

If this behaviour happened in a workplace, there would be criminal prosecutions left, right and centre…and rightly so.

By his inaction, at the very least, Fr O’Dwyer is culpable of negligence on so many levels, it is frightening to think what he could NOT be charged with….and that is before you would even start with the now retired (but never sober) former priest secretary to Bishop Eamon Casey, the insufferable buffoon that is Clifford.

It is rumoured (and not without basis) that he was so drunk at the ordination of 2 priests in the college, that the relevant bishop for each student quietly ordained them again just to make sure….

I recently became aware of two happenings with staff of St Patricks….

Fr Liam Holmes passed away, and he was an absolute legend to the students as he basically did not give 2 flying ducks for the authoritarianism of the place, and it is well known that of many a Sunday evening, he came back to the college well-steamed and let his non-religious language flow so as to mingle with the prayers of those of us in the Oratory and head Heaven-ways

May he Rest In Peace

PAT SAYS

Irish seminaries in the past, and even still, are places of inhuman cruelty and great dysfunction.

Thurles seems to have been the worst among them?

The biggest unexplained scandal of Thurles remains the TRAGIC DEATH OF OFFALY SEMINARIAN, MICHAEL DEEGAN.

His death cries from beyond the grave for TRUTH and JUSTICE.

For some reason ALL the records of Thurles Seminary have been destroyed.

Or so THEY tell us.

I believe a DEATH and a possible MANSLAUGHTER has been covered up the the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel.

95 replies on “FORMER SEMINARIAN OF SAINT PATRICK’S SEMINARY SPEAKS OUT.”

What century was this? 18th century? 19th century? What authorities were present? What trustees and VDs were aware? WHAT ELSE WERE THE TRUSTEES AND VD’s GETTING WRONG? Those they moulded and appointed, who emulate them, are the ones in charge now. Clearly Dublin had a fit of alertness, relatively speaking, a few years ago.
Evidently Wonersh, Oscott and Valladolid are scarcely better to this day (the faculty being merely less prominent) and in the latter case 50 years ago already. At least Marsden was against bullying and surely his opponents will commend and defend him on that?
In other seminaries I hear of, the training is geared to pulling pranks on their future dioceses more than each other. I think the experience of most of those at my present diocese has been on the fortunate side since ordination.
It’s a great shame young men get told – still – that turning clergy is a better way for them to be Christian. How providential that (like the Old Woman that Lived in the Shoe) Holy Mother Church neglected to “catechise” me.

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Lawyers and doctors have to undergo the same, the impact of which shows.
Then to get on in business locally there are “chambers” or whatever. I have experience of “oaths”. In the US they have their dratted “frats”.
The RC never was sacred in its own eyes. I was taught – plausibly – that God is in believers and even RC that I knew agreed with that.

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I am shocked at that article – Seminary are so supposed to be a place of religious formation, why are they Catholic version of frat houses?
I am a member of the Church of England, and I have had many friends and indeed family study for the Anglican priesthood at Westcott House in Cambridge. If any behaviour like the one mentioned in this article happened at Westcott, there would be hell for those who did the terrible acts.
The Catholic Church keeps revealing surprise after surprise to me. I don’t think I can look at a local Catholic priest anymore in the same way, now I am always thinking of what their “formation” was like?

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In truth, I don’t think that many CofE Theological Colleges would pass muster. I was at King’s College, London in the 1970s and it was a cesspit! I also have knowledge of Chichester, Mirfield and Llandaff in the 1980s which were similar. Bullying, sexual depravity and mocking of those who tried to persevere in the Christian way of life were all rampant and I myself suffered much spiritual and moral harm at the hands of my fellow students and some of the staff. It was largely because the priests formed in these devils-pots were so warped and morally weak that the CofE subsequently abandoned many of its previously held positions on morality, theology and ecclesiology to become the dwindling mess we have today.

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I can not believe that film, it’s got the Nutcracker waltz playing throughout for a start ! Then one of the scenes is eating not even fasting, and the whole reason is revealed at the end – they want money! As for the old fraud Radcliffe at the end with his arms crossed he’s like something out of another era. Clearly the habit is dressing up as they all seemed to have BHS shirts open neck underneath, what a performance! Sell some books from the library if you’re starving.

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I can’t stand religious wearing a habit over lay clothes. They always look like they’ve got it out of the dressing-up box and take it on and off depending on whether outsiders are around.

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Gosh what are they supposed to wear it over (bearing in mind the needed heaviness for the weather). Serious question BTW . . .

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Ah, of course, it’s all about asking for money ! Well, I know they might be hurting just a little, but do these people not realise that the people they are asking for money are hurting too, and have families, and mortgages, and children, and jobs and redundancy and unemployment……to worry about ?! I suggest that they did in to their undoubted reserves and feel the pain themselves before they go out with the begging bowl, mendicants or not ! And as for all that silliness prancing around in their habits for every activity…..really ! I knew of one young student there who used to go and visit his parents who lived 20 miles or so away and he used to go on the bus in his habit ! What’s all that about ? Cui bono ?

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Thank you @ 10:10 for that information. What a bloody cheek they have at this time to be pleading poverty. when they have over £20 million investments. While pretty much everybody else in the country is having to feel the pain, they have the cheek to do this hard up story. I think it would be good, perhaps, for one of the newspapers to pick this up. I’m sure that video would disappear PDQ.

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I beet you find that video disappears anyway, now that it is being talked about on this blog. They don’t like it up ’em…..

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Just for the record, here are a few other financials that might be of interest in these testing and trying times when we are all struggling, and supposedly in it together:

Westminster: https://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regId=233699&subId=0
£106 million investments and a swathe of other financial assets. And what was the first thing the + Nichols thought of at the beginning of the CV crisis ? …..to cut the pensions of the retired clergy, until he had to backtrack when his intentions were broadcast on this blog….

Birmingham: £68 million in investments, for starters…… https://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regId=234216&subId=0
, although, I’m not aware of + Longley having resorted to pleading poverty. Perhaps he instinctively knows that the perception of people like clergy pleading poverty when they have all this money in the bank doesn’t look good, especially when the rest of us are having to make sacrifices.

What really gets me about the OP Blackfriars video and appeal is that these guys have not got a clue what is happening to people in the real world. They live in a small bubble of Oxford academia and colleges, poncing around like they live in the middle ages in their habits, but do not have a clue what it costs to keep them or where that money comes from. No responsibility. No accountability. No common sense. No grasp on reality. They should be ashamed. That video should be removed. And they should shut the fuck up about hardship until such times as they loose their jobs, are made redundant, have their house repossessed, have to home school kids, need to resort to the food bank, have to queue for Universal Credit, have to worry about where the next meal is coming from…….. Then they can ask us for money.

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If they were living in the Middle Ages they would be only wearing their habits, running a soup kitchen from their monastery and not using mobile phones, social media and computers maybe then they would stop the 1980s Jesuit’s in polyester cowls routine that fools no one

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Yikes, the SJs do have a lot in reserves. Mind you, I think that they do put their money where their mouth is, and do fund a lot of good things, particularly the social justice and refugee needs. So, I’m happy for them to have this and use it well. I haven’t noticed Fr Robinson SJ of Farm Street going on about being short of money. Rather, he’s been out and about talking about the homeless and street people and trying to make plans for them not to have to return to the streets. That’s the kind of stuff we need to be hearing rather than some self-absorbed Dominican nitwits prancing around pleading poverty.

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Interesting to hear the financial reserves held by English dioceses. I think you said some time ago Bishop Pat that Northanpton was one of the richest dioceses. It’s accounts according to the Charity Commission makes for intetesting reading. It’s in a healthy state but why is William Grant & Sons distillers donating millions to them over the years. Gtants who also produce Glenfiddich are only one of a very few family distilliers left in Scotland.

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I keep saying this here as yet another example of this turns up: the only time human life matters to the RC church is when it is in the womb.

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False dichotomy tactic (or pretend false dichotomy tactic) at 10.24. Doesn’t in fact detract from the main point in the least. At worst, makes it just as plausible. Which of you is playing the moral equivalency card?

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7.11am: Yes indeed, you kerp on saying what you say… LIES of course but lies keep a certain narrative going…Long may the Catholic Church uphold the sanctity of the unborn child. And – if you open your eyes a little beyond your narrow blinkers, you’ll find that Dioceses and individual parish communities support and provide necessary outreach programmes…. but that requires honesty and moral truth….and courage.

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10:39
Are you some sort of a mentor? If so, your power of expression is as common as the proverbial muck. Leave well enough alone. You make him look ridiculous at his age, and probably at yours too.

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8:36am and 10:13am – and what did you two do during the pandemic one wonders? Sat on your fat arses “cocooning” no doubt, skulling booze, stuffing your gobs, watching gay porn and wanking yourselves senseless. ✊🥖💦😩😆

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Senseless is a good word to describe your vulgar emission at 7:47.
At least we know the cause now – projection.

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More on the notorious “Henry” show in Thurles. Maynooth had its own version – the Chubs’ concert – after the nickname cherubs for first year seminarians. The chubs’ concert was a poor quality affair, consisting mostly of drag and innuendo.
In my time in Maynooth in the late 1980s the concert was so lewd and obscene that the priests who watched it from the balcony walked out and the Junior Dean gave an angry talk in junior oratory, saying that he never thought he’d live the day to see such a disgusting performance on the stage of a seminary.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/crisis-in-maynooth-former-thurles-seminarian-describes-serious-bullying-34946592.html

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Frankie Cremin and Corish walked out when the Scottish, Robbie Coltrane lookalike who had been in Osterley came on stage in drag and led the singing of YMCA.
Is that a good enough example for you?

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10.13

Your risible reply confirms you are the mother of all mud rakers.

If that’s your example of lewd and obscene, it says much more about you than the concert. It would have been unlikely that Cremin and Corish would have been able to hear, much less evaluate the lyrics in question. And they were hardly reliable vetters.

However, if it’s an example of good example you are looking for, Msgr Ledwith, who was seated in the balcony of the Aula for a screening of Amadeus, peremptorily left during the early scene of the film where Wolfgang and a lady are chatting under a table.

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Still no answer to the question about Frank Duhig’s denunciation. He had no problem with his hearing.
Who are you, btw? Were you on stage? Why are you so determined to defend that sick parody of a seminary?

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I must be a right fuddy-duddy in finding it a bit off for seminarians to be in drag, leading other seminarians in singing YMCA.

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In Maynooth we thought Thurles was full of bogmen and culchies in cassocks and funny hateens. You wouldn’t have seen the dainty queens of Maynooth out digging spuds.

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Reputedly, one October, Brendan Behan accompanied a friend on a day out which included calling on friend’s seminarian son. Arriving at the college, Behan, on seeing students picking the college’s potatoes, stood nodding his head, saying, “Sure that’s grand for that’s where all the fu***ng priests should be.”

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It’s called the ‘Henery’ just for the record Pat. Named after the hen house in the days of old at the back of the college. Go figure!

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Bring back Littlebollox ! Save Littletwat from obscurity ! Don’t forget Littlecrap ! He’s probably beside himself that a day has gone by without a mention. She loves the limelight, really…!

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10.15: What ignorance, vulgarity and hatred – probably from an altar licking cleric or a sickly, distressed parishioner!! A horrible, nasty comnent. God forgive you. Go and repent, you ignoramus.

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10.15am I think you are the repetitive twit that likes the limelight. You are clearly obsessed and need help of sone sort.

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Nah, I’m just bored, and Littleplonker is a mild diversion from the platitudes of everyday….
He does ask for it, don’t you think, putting himself out there like he does. A bit like those silly OPs. It’s always good to deflate and make fun of people who take themselves so seriously.

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…and if Littlelace can’t hack it, then he needs to take a step back and stop putting his head above the parapet…..

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The Independent article says that if complaints were made to college staff the complaint would be turned back on the sem, with the priests asking “what does that say about you?”
They used to come out with the same shite in Maynooth.
Subsequently, I’ve met more than my fair share of melts and throbbers, but none compare to the headfuckers on the staff of Maynooth.

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10.33 oh you mean like the dialectic at the chapter of faults in some of the sodalities! Must be a catholic thing. (And protestant.)

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Poor Amy Turtle of Armagh has trifling reserves of a pitiful £16.5million. It must be so embarrassing in front of the other bishops.

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Unfortunately you are right in describing the Irish seminaries as being like boarding schools. Until the late 1980s, many of the sems were 17 or 18 year olds, fresh from the diocesan colleges where they had boarded and in which the architecture, food, disciplinine and horarium was not all that different, so they just moving from one school to another one.

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One hopes that dioceses and religious orders don’t just snaffle the lot when they sell a property, but use the proceeds so that they go back in some form to the people from whom the funds came in the past originally – the laity, the community. I accept that some money may well be needed to look after and house ageing clergy and religious, and that is right after the service they have given. I have no problem with these monies from properties being accrued, as long as they go to the same intention that they were originally destined. It’s not excuse, for example, for a bishop to decide that he will renovate and update his palace on the proceeds ! I hear, by the way, that + Nichols drives a hard line with religious orders that sell up property in his diocese, although he has more than once been told to f**k off by the religious, the nuns especially, who hold their ground. He doesn’t like it when they say no !

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Nichols will go ahead with cutting retired priests pension payments from September. He has bided his time and will use the sneaky excuse that some other dioceses have already implemented it.

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12.53: I think you clearly need to take yourself a little more seriously. You have a paranoia about Fr. Littleton. Your absurd, stupid and infantile comments reveals you as stuck in stunted, emotional retardation. Grow up, fool….

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So the same as all the rest then and a lot less than the Jesuits and Dominicans? You wouldn’t believe the amounts CAFOD handle and still use the Catholic schools as a cash cow

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The big question is where is all the money going? Over the last decade or so there has been a wave of convent and other religious house closures, with the buildings sold and their contents auctioned. That process will accelerate sharply, and the patrimony built up in the 19th and 20th centuries will be spent.
It is like a rerun of the dissolution of the monasteries, except that this time they did it to themselves, when they reformed themselves out of existence.
What is happening with the money of these asset-rich but vocations poor orders and dioceses? Clonliffe was sold for €90 million, the forthcoming sale of Maynooth will raise that amount, at least. How much was All Hallows sold for, for example?
Time for a Prime Time/Spotlight investigation, surely.

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1.49: Do you think the religious orders are living in Chateaux in France? Honestly, the rank begrudgery of some is mind boggling!! I am very grateful for the religious orders who educated me and my family and who encouraged usvtobexcel in all ways possible: that was in the 60’s and 70’s: They were strict but super educators. Some of these religious, now in their 80’s are still giving of themselves in parish communities… God bless them.

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They should think themselves fortunate. I had my testicles handled and my butt intimately examined in my medical exam for the RMs.

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1.49: You must remember that many of the Religious Orders are still trustees of their schools and charitable institutions and have contributed millions of Euro into their responsibilities. The money per se is not any individual sister’s possession but is reinvested back to their schools etc….Some of the Orders also have missions in Africa, Asia, India and South America and have invested heavily in their hospitals, clinics, schools, community centres and adult education esspecially for women. These religious orders are prudent with their expenditure. We must also remember that some of the smaller congregations have mostly elderly sisters who need to be in caring facilities. Surely these men and women are entitled to these necessities? I have no difficulty with these religious orders spending some of their assets in caring for their sick, frail and elderly members – the majority of whom have given a life time of total service to our communities.

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7.57, many (if not most) of the schools you speak of are fee-paying institutions, for the children of the wealthy. They earn these orders a lot of money, which is sufficient for the upkeep of the schools without appealing to the public for donations.
Second, the fact that many of the orders have not just sufficient but lavish financial reserves suggests that their expenditure on ‘charitable’ works is not as liberal as your post suggests; in fact, your post tends to confirm the opposite: ‘These religious orders are prudent with their expenditure.’ Aren’t they just.
I once made a substantial donation to a religious congregation to help finance the rennovation and modernisation of one of its properties. I discovered, too late, that the congregation had millions (literally millions) in reserve.
Never again will I allow pious sentiment to sway my judgement where religious orders are concerned.

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8.55am: I have worked in religious run schools all my life and I can attest to the truth that these orders have ploughed millions into their schools and mission projects. They have supported many school initiatives and have donated money for all kinds of equipment and facilities. When I said they are prudent: They do not waste a penny: every cent is accounted for. I admire the management and leadership they provided and continue to provide.

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Yes of course but they have millions of pounds not thousands and some old chalices in the safe. None of the religious congregations were founded to make money or to secure investments, the Daughters of the cross have got £96 million and no Vocations, they are trustees of two hospices and a home for their retired sisters which is all very appropriate but they don’t need millions to secure any of that for the next fifty years, by 2070 there won’t be any nuns left to divide the money up and the third world isn’t interested anymore

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The Ursuline Sisters of Brentwood have 13 nuns and reserves of £9 m and their Charity Commission docs say they are going to sell more of their properties.

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Anti-semitic hatred, and murderous violence, was very long a feature of Roman Catholicism. In fact, Hitler and Mussolini were baptised Roman Catholics and learned their fascistic, ant-semitic hatred at the feet of holy mother church.
Pope Pius XII, Hitler’s pope, was very useful to the Nazi regime in Germany, since he himself had a history of naked anti-semitism.

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Pope Pius XII was hated by Mussolini for being a member of the Black Nobility if he was Hitler’s Pope why didn’t they meet when Hitler visited Rome? Mussolini was never received at the Vatican. Pius XII did have the early 20th century admiration for German art and culture but not for Fascism apart from Franco who he did publicly support.

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9.25, the truth will set you free, even revolting truth. And the anti-semitic truth of your church is truly revolting.
Without confession of serious sin, there can be no repentance. No salvation.

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9.25, and we all know the murderous, anti-christian violence of Franco, which even you acknowledge the eyetie pope, Pius XII, approved.

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Wee Peter O’Kane is keeping a low profile these days. Tom Surlis has broken off contact with him and his associates. The Dominicans have commenced an internal review, im sure 👄🤫👬🛀

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8.04
Did the Dominicans conduct one when Rev David Barrins OP now in Dundalk joined? He had been a seminarian in Maynooth.

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Yes buts it’s not correct to say that Pius XII was Hitler’s Pope, as a Roman rather than eyetie he did personally support all of the protection offered to the Jews of Rome and Italy and never supported Mussolini. He ghost wrote in German the encyclical Mit Brenddan surge for his predecessor. The only actions that he could have taken would have been to compromise Vatican neutrality he could have excommunicated Hitler and he could have made a clear statement to condemn the concentration camps but those are the only two actions possible but I should imagine the policy of wait and see was followed which is not collaboration or promotion but at the same time doesn’t sit well with the present day but that doesn’t mean he was antisemitic or favoured Nazism

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The culture of abuse at St Patrick’s College, Thurles was endemic it would. I sure that many students in this institution were abused and exploited there. Would it not be appropriate to have a national state investigation into the abuses that took place in these evil places? I certainly would be happy to give such evidence to a national public state investigation into Irish Seminary Abuse. I am confident in the belief that there are silent innocents victims who have been exploited and abuse by those in positions of authority. Is this the next biggest Irish scandal to break? Anon.

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