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FORMER BISHOP “APOLOGISES” FOR SEXUAL AND FINANCIAL MISCONDUCT.

Aug 20, 2020 by John Raby, The Associated Press

 
In this Feb. 21, 2005, file photo, incoming bishop of the Wheeling-Charleston diocese, W.Va, Michael Bransfield pauses in his new office, in Wheeling, W.Va. Bransfield, a former Roman Catholic bishop in West Virginia has issued a backhanded apology two years after resigning amid allegations of sexual and financial misconduct, and the diocese said Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, that he has repaid $441,000. (AP File/Dale Sparks)

CHARLESTON, W. VA. — A former Roman Catholic bishop in West Virginia has issued an apology two years after resigning amid allegations of sexual and financial misconduct, and the diocese said Aug. 20 that he has repaid $441,000.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston on Aug. 20 released a letter from former Bishop Michael Bransfield on its website.

“I am writing to apologize for any scandal or wonderment caused by words or actions attributed to me during my tenure,” Bransfield wrote in the letter, dated Aug. 15.

Bransfield said he was reimbursed during his time as bishop for “certain expenditures that have been called into question as excessive.” He said he has paid the money back to the diocese “even though I believed that such reimbursements to me were proper.”

The $441,000 repayment is far less than the $792,638 sought by the church that was presented to Bransfield last November. Current Bishop Mark Brennan said the final repayment was approved by the Congregation for Bishops in Rome and that the money will be placed in a fund to pay for counseling victims of sexual abuse, added to money already set aside by the sale of Bransfield’s former residence.

A church investigation in 2019 found Bransfield misused diocese funds for lavish spending on dining out, liquor, vacations, luxury items and church-funded personal gifts to fellow bishops and cardinals in the U.S. and the Vatican.

The investigation also found sexual misconduct allegations against Bransfield to be credible.


Brennan, who was named West Virginia’s bishop in July 2019, has said the diocese incurred significant expenses arising from the investigation of Bransfield and “various legal issues” involving the diocese. An audit released in February listed spending on investigations and lawsuits at $1.5 million.

The diocese announced in August 2019 it had confidentially settled a lawsuit filed by a former personal altar server accusing Bransfield of molesting boys and men. The filing asserted Bransfield would consume at least half a bottle of liqueur nightly and had drunkenly assaulted or harassed seminarians.

And a lawsuit filed by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey accused the diocese and Bransfield of knowingly employing pedophiles and failing to conduct adequate background checks on camp and school workers. A circuit judge dismissed the suit until the state Supreme Court decides whether it violates rules about the separation of church and state.

In his letter, Bransfield said that “there have been allegations that by certain words and actions I have caused certain priests and seminarians to feel sexually harassed. Although that was never my intent, if anything that I said or did caused others to feel that way, then I am profoundly sorry.”

Bransfield concluded that he hoped the letter “will help to achieve a kind of reconciliation” with diocese followers. The apology was part of the plan presented to Bransfield at the request of Pope Francis last year.

In a separate statement detailing the approved plan, Brennan said the diocese is aware that some individuals also have received a letter from Bransfield. The statement did not indicate what that letter said.

The leader of a national group that supports victims of clergy sexual abuse said Thursday that Bransfield’s letter was “written more as a defense than a true apology.”

“A true apology from Bransfield would not contain any equivocation or whines about his intent being mis-perceived, but a simple and straightforward acceptance of his wrongdoing,” said Zach Hiner, executive director of the St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.


Hiner said the sex allegations against Bransfield “are not things that can simply be waved away with an apology.”

Brennan said Bransfield will received $2,250 in a monthly retirement stipend, far less than the $6,200 typically given to a retired bishop.

“This is in accord with the discretion that I have … to reduce or eliminate additional benefits for a predecessor who did not retire in good standing,” Brennan said.

Brennan said Bransfield also has complied with a request to buy the diocesan vehicle he has been using in retirement.

PAT SAYS

Another case of sexual and financial misconduct to add to the long list of such cases being revealed monthly.

How did Branston get the $ 800,000 in the first place? Was there no diocesan financial oversight.

How can a retired bishop be in a financial position to pay nearly half a million dollars back? How has he such a large sum of money in his account?

Its also quite revealing that a bishop’s pension is $ 74,000. Is that the normal bishop’s pension in the USA.

Do our retired bishops have a 70,000 pension?

If their pension is 70,000 how much is their salary?

All interesting questions?

KILMORE, CAVAN

Kilmore recently spent Euro 215,000 on this house for retired bishop Leo O’Reilly

I’m sure there are lots of empty presbyteries in Kilmore?

GALWAY

Galway recently did the same for Dennington

Do we know where Buckley of Cork lives? McAreavey of Dromore, Walsh and Field of Dublin? Lee of Waterford, Murphy of Kerry, Clifford of Cashel? Smith of Meath, Brady of Armagh? Boyce of Raphoe? Duffy and McDaid of Clogher? Jones of Elphin? Walsh of Killaloe? Kirby of Clonfert? Magee of Cloyne?

If they all got 215,000 houses – thats about 3,500,000.

90 replies on “FORMER BISHOP “APOLOGISES” FOR SEXUAL AND FINANCIAL MISCONDUCT.”

The full US bishops pension converts to €63,000 or £57, 000, and that’s without the free housing and expenses. The full salary must be at least $100,000. Wonder what a US cardinal gets?

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Bring no purse, no spare tunic or sandals…

Didn’t Jesus say something like this when he sent out his disciples to preach the good news?

When will Catholics awaken to the fact that they have been had by their clergy, all of them? And for centuries to boot?

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They get a free car too, and medical insurance, which is a massive and costly perk in the US, especially for a retired person.

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2.45

Then let him work for his wages.

Most priests are not necessary for full-time ministry ; this was especially so in the past.

Most priests should be supporting themselves financially I regular employment.

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What the hell does a retired bishop need all that dosh for? Disgusting. The retired priests in my diocese get treated like shite. Once they retire they are of no use. But of course, they have served the Lord. He will provide. No wonder clergy morale is so low.

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I have no regard whatever for Catholic clergy, whether bishop or priest. I have even less regard for the utter fools who fund their indolence and self-grandiosity, despite knowing the utter and crass spiritual vacuity of most of these fraudsters.

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What you cannot see 9:49pm, in your blind hatred and bigotry, is the majority of clergy who serve their people with dedication and devotion, who are not like this corrupt bishop.

We will continue to support our faithful priests for “the labourer deserves his wages”. Your “even less regard” for us is utterly irrelevant. Take your poisonous spite and keep drinking it down. It has no effect on us.

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9.49: As avpruest I thank God that I am still working at 79 years of age. I enjoy goid health. I love caring for people, especially the sick and housebound. My mind is very clear. I am able to cogently and intelligently use my academic qualifications for the well being of others. God is good. Your silly cynicism.us of the hatred, bigoted genre. Stuff it. And, I hope if you reach 79 years of age, you’ll be still standing and not some decrepit, wheel chair bound cranky, spiteful nuisance.

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3.15
‘Stuff it.’? 😲 Really? 😕
I can now see the evidence for all those claims of ontological change at ordination.
Your years of ‘serving Jesus’ have really paid off spiritually for you, haven’t they?
Or maybe it’s just that I struck a very tender nerve with post at 9.49. 😎

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The priest who posted at 3.15 lauds himself by saying that he loves caring for people, especially the sick and housebound. Try squaring this with the last sentence of his post, about wheelchair users. It tells us what he REALLY thinks of the sick and housebound: that they are a bloody nuisance.
Do you tell them this Father, when, grateful in their lonely lives for a visit from the ‘dedicated, hard-working Christman’, they press money into your preying hands?
I’ll bet you don’t.

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Thank you Anon@ 5:43 for your perceptive focus on the reality of this example of a caring RC cleric. Really shot himself in both feet didn’t he? Thing is they just don’t realise how we can see right through their sanctimonious ways. Sounding brasses and empty vessels comes to mind.
MMM

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5.43: My last comment in my posting at 3.15 is meant for hateful begrudgers like you. I sincerely hope that you, whoever you are, don’t end up as a cranky, uncheerful, cynical and nasty, angry old man/woman. You won’t if you keep your anger and hatred at bay. I give thanks to God that I am still in ministry. I am fortunate not to need any money beyond my salary: I am not attached to such. I do not visit the sick, elderly or housebound unless there is a relative, carer or family member present. It is a prudent and wise approach to take. I have specifically asked that no parishioner I vist is to ever offer money. Ever. So, calm down, begrudger.

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8.44

You’re a priest, so of course I believe every word of your self-defensive post.

As MMM says at 8.48, ‘really shot himself in both feet, didn’t he?’

When the genie is out of the bottle, he won’t be put back in. And yours is out and proud.

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No, it was one of JPII’s many poor appointments.
On December 9, 2004, Pope John Paul II appointed Bransfield the Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. He received episcopal consecration on February 22, 2005, from Cardinal William Henry Keeler, with Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick 😆 and Bishop Bernard William Schmitt as co-consecrators.

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8:46, You don’t actually think Popes appoint bishops. Sure, they put their signature and stamp on a little form, but they are unlikely to have ever met the man being appointed. Do you really think Francis ever met Tom Deenihan, did they go drinking together in Dicey Rileys? Did they study together? are they distant relations? is Francis into the GAA?. Bishops are appointed by Nuncios who consult others and then forward 3 names with as much as a comprehensive picture of the incumbent, as possible. Then someone at a desk in Rome goes eenie, meenie, miney, moe, and then comes the news ‘Pope Francis has appointed monsignor XXXX as the new bishop of XXXX…..”

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The shit just keeps hitting the fan for the Roman Catholic Church, doesn’t it?

They say there’s never been so much laughter in Hell. 😀

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7.46 There is a question. What is a good Priest? Have they got Peter Syndrome conditioned into being afraid to stand up and be counted. In this modern world Jesus for some has been turned into a branded product

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What about Bransfield’s non-apology for his non-financial offences? His successor demanded honesty but has been overruled by the Vatican.

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Talking about overreach, PF (reifying absolutist) is getting strident about “reforms that mustn’t be delayed” without regard to the quality of such and no mention of advocating for righting of objective injustices.

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AH! 😳
Who can forget the massive expenditure on his home by that beloved 😍 successor of the Apostles, (Any particular apostle? 🤔) the Most Reverend DAKTUR Noel Treanor DD, Lord Bishop of Down on Connor?

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Apologies!! The one thing they prove is admission of guilt hi. Deviancy in groups such as religious have been going on for centuries. Has anyone isolated the root cause. A job for Sherlock 🕵️‍♂️ hi

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Indeed. Is that why George Carey has lost his permission to officiate, on the orders of the “Church of England” National Safeguarding Team?

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6.55
And is that why sexual deviancy has been going on in the Roman Catholic Church for centuries? Not because offending priests lost permission to officiate, but because they were permitted to continue officiating, and reoffending?
Didn’t Pope Francis himself reinstate in ministry, ironically in the name of mercy, a number of priests who went on to abuse more children?

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In 2007 (when CMOC was 75 and the Pope asked him to stay on), Cardinal Pell was 10-1 for Westminster, with Elsie 2-1 favourite but thought to be too ambitious.

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Lads, the game is up.
Face it, all you priests. You’ve nothing to hide behind anymore. No pretense: of integriy, of holiness, of faith, of prayerfulness. It has all been kicked from under your feet.
You have been exposed for the utter frauds you always really were.
No one has any use for your uselessness any longer. Why would he? No one likes to be exploited, ripped off, lied to, and abused. And this is what you collectively have done to the people you had the affrontery to claim you were shepherding.
Go lads. Just disappear… before the remaining fig leaf covering what little moral dignity is left you is torn away too.
You are surplus to requirements.

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Just to repeat a comment I made recently: the Church of Satan does not accept religious tax breaks and I don’t think has paid clergy.
Satan has the moral upper hand *and* probably a better idea of what an apology should look like.

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Pat, would you mind putting inverted commas round ‘apologises’ in the title because His Excellency has done no such thing? More like a grudging wave of the hand.

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The best advice to give a priest is to make sure he has some savings and pension provision and if he is lucky some trickle down of inheritance from family. Because he will be sorely disappointed when he retires. If he’s not a particular favourite of the incumbent at the time he could find himself living in some dump and relying on social security. Be prepared ! The favourites will always be looked after. Happens all the time.

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Yes 11;18. Couldn’t agree more. Unless you are one of ‘the in crowd’ you’ll get tough assignments , all the Will of the Holy Spirit, of course! And then at the end of a lonely working life you’ll be dumped into a retirement home, probably run by the nuns.
You may or may not get a Christmas visit from the bishop who usually can’t get out quick enough but you’ll draw great consolation from his parting statement that you’ll be remembered in his mass at Christmas. Gee,Thanks my lord !
Don’t ask the diocese’s office for anything which might enhance the quality of your life’s condition. You’ll be classed as a nuisance.
But when you die the hypocrisy kicks into play.
They all turn out. Clergy who never once visited you in your infirmary telling all who will listed what a great guy you were. Wonderful caring pastor. Only to be outdone by the bishop’s sermon as he drops in lines about how happy you were in your priesthood, a model priest in the mould of the Cure d Ars, how you accepted Gods Will with humble reservation ( even though it was often informed by spite and vindictiveness from those senior clergy in the inner circle’)
How parishioners ,way back from your first posting starting out , still talked about you with much fondness. Bullshit! How you were prayerful , had great devotion to the Rosary and all that oul claptrap. And then to finish off the panegyric he will commend your soul the loving care of Our Lady Queen of Priests.
And the sad thing is all the poor buggers in the pews take it all in!
A relative of mine once remarked to my late mother after a priests funeral that a few minutes into the bishop’s sermon he was nearly going to get up and leave as he though he was at the wrong funeral. The saintly and virtuous man in the coffin being lauded by the bishop bore no resemblance to the cantankerous drunken old bastard my cousin served under for 10 years as curate. He though he was at the wrong funeral!
I know all this because I had a number of relatives who served in 3 different diocese ( 2 northern and one Scottish)
They all told the same tale. One man was fulfilled in his vocation the other 5 went to their graves feeling they had wasted lives, disillusioned and bitter. Sad really!
However, they can take comfort that John Vianney will sort it all out!

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12:29PM

There you go again Dick always giving out about the clergy, remember there is always two sides to a story. Think of a poor P.P. being landed with a disobedient, impudent and impertinent curate just out of seminary, where their has been no discipline and they do what they want. No wonder they are cantankerous having to put up with these C.C.’s perhaps if they had tried to follow the example of St John Mary Vianney it might have been better. Mary Queen of the Clergy, pray for them.

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2.06
Give over, Barking Bella. And grow up.
You just can’t accept the fact that most priests are modelled more on Judas Iscariot than Jesus Christ.

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I know of a case where a former priest is still living (rent free) in his presbytery and running a business from it!
It seems very unjust to me.
All clergy should pay rent for their living. Retired clergy should save up their salaries to buy a retirement house.

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According to Daniel O’Connor, “Queen of peace media-The era of peace”.
the wicked will disappear from the earth! No need for a pension then!!!

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11.56
The grasping bugger!
So he is accruing a hefty retirement pension AND a pp’s salary? No wonder he came out of retirement.
Maybe he’ll start a trend. 😉

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I’m not sure what kind of pension pot invites an annuity of £57,000 but it must be well over £1 million.
I wonder what the pension provision is for a bishop is in Ireland/Scotland/England?
Do Archbishops and Cardinals get more money, more perks?
Because clergy are public figures and their income comes from donations to a charity why isn’t this information more readily available or disclosed?
One day I hope this information will be disclosed in the name of full disclosure and transparency.
I suspect this kind of transparency will be resisted because if it was known the donations wouldn’t be so generous or might dry up completely!

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According to Daniel O’Connor, “Queen of Peace Media-The Era of Peace”
The wicked will disappear from the world-no need for a pension then!

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We have an 80-odd year old priest in Liverpool looking after the maternity hospital and his combined parish with offices for Asylum Link.
Could you imagine any of the younger lads envisaging working past 70?
Even supply work or assistanting is in pastoral work is good.

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I get fed up of this idiotic lionising of priests who plod on and on and on. Usually they are a liability, out of touch, out of date, but insist on carrying on because of their exalted notion of their ‘vocation’ and the excuse that there are so few priests. So, they stick their finger in the dike to shore it up, but little do they realise that the dike is going to burst soon even after their efforts. Actually, the effort is more to do with them and their sad state of not having any life or identity other than being ‘priest’. That and they are sad. They deserve, like pretty much everybody else, to enjoy retirement and break away from what they have been doing and live a bit of a life. For their sake and for our sake !

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St Michael & Sacred Heart parish newsletter, Liverpool. Excerpt: Peace Thoughts - 20th August 2020says:

Here are some excerpts from our parish newsletter for this week: St Michael and Sacred Heart, Liverpool. 20th August 2020.
— “Cry out with a thousand cries!
I see the world is rotten because of silence.”
(Sister Catherine of Siena).
— “No one ‘belongs’ to a group – either an organisation or a country – if they don’t take responsibility for forming it’s decisions and then protecting them. As Charles de Montesquieu says: –
“The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.”
(Re: Public/Civil bodies…[sic]).
—-
“A young man eagerly described what what he dreamed of doing for the poor. The Master asked, ‘When do you propose to make your dream come true?’ the young man answered, ‘As soon as the opportunity arrives.’ ‘Oppurtunity never arrises,’ said the master, ‘It’s here already! Recognise that now is the only opportunity you will ever have!’
(Anthony de Mello).
—-
Persistence in opposition of injustice – both moral and illegal – is a basic human tenet. We all have human rights and we must strive to ensure we are all safe from harm and danger.
… Sometimes the greatest dangers come from within the very areas or departments which are supposed to ‘protect’ us!
Sometimes sticking your head above the parapet is necessary to highlight the pitfall; not only for oneself, but for our fellow man and woman.
Love must, and will, conqour all.
(Daisy, after a morning coffee x).

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The bold head on that Drennan, a conniving little snake if there was ever one. He was a disaster in Galway. I was with my sick brother on the Galway pilgrimage to Lourdes a few years back. I have to say the priest’s were grand and very attentive, but that Drennan walked by my brothers wheelchair several days on the way into church, and never once said hello to him or any of the other invalids. Even a smile would have been nice. I remember too, in the airport, he wouldn’t join any of the group in the departure lounge, but went into an adjacent empty lounge, and sat reading until the flight was called. Say what you like about Casey, but he would have made sure he went around chatting to people and having a bit of banter with them. I got the impression from Drennan that we were only the little people to him and he was above us. The man we have at present, Kelly, isn’t much better. He wanted to be Bishop of Galway from the time he could walk. Why, oh why, can’t they make an ordinary down to earth chap a bishop? Do you have to be a cold fish, a snob and detached from reality?

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I applied to study for the priesthood for a western diocese (not Galway). I met several times with the vocation director and he was delighted to have me on board. When I met the bishop he asked where I came from, and that was enough for him. Working class lads don’t get to be priests.

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it’s like when people joined the nuns years ago. if you were from a wealthy family you became a teacher or a nurse, if you were from a poor family, you were put into the kitchen or the convent laundry. scrubbing floors while the wealthier sisters entered the professions.

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5.10
‘Call’?😕
More self-delusion through lionisation of priests.
Everyone else on the planet has a job, but these men think too much of themselves to be lumped with the plebs. So they describe their inclination to the priesthood as a ‘calling’.
In light of what we now know (and have yet to discover) about priests, the notion of ‘being called by God to the priesthood’, can be taken only with a greedy pinch of salt, and a hefty round of bellylaughter. 😅 In fact, to take this delusion seriously is to make more plausible the claims by atheists that God really doesn’t exist, for if he did, he would be a total self-contradiction: why, if he is love, would he ‘call’ men to a priesthood that is self-evidently ‘corrupt, and riddled with corruption’.
It also makes me wonder about the character of that wannabe seminarian. Seriously, why would he wannabe that when he knows what has been going on?
Why indeed? 😕

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In Ireland, many still have the illusion that they are a cut above buttermilk. My mam always used to say the grandees went to Maynooth and the ordinary Joe Soaps went on the missions. It’s a pity it wasn’t the other way around. The grandees would have had the corners knocked off them in the big, bad world and the Joe Soaps would have ensured a humbler church in Ireland.

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I didn’t realise Liverpool was in a state of war, does the newsletter ever give thoughts on why the most Catholic part of the UK has no vocations, an ageing Catholic population and some very extreme pervert priests?

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3.53
Stephen’s only fault here was speaking to those republican fanatics.
Speaking to these people is a waste of one’s good time. They are like Internet algorithms: programmed through brainwashing to act in inflexible ways.

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I suppose my impression of Irish clergy is utterly divorced from reality for it was formed by my youthful reading of Grandmother and The Priests by Taylor Caldwell. The Anglican curate was an effete scholar under the thumb of His Lordship the bishop while the priest was the salt of the earth who could give a good account of himself in a brawl.

I also remembered Ms Caldwell saying that nothing magical ever took place in England, but Ireland was a different story.

Oh, well! As Harry Chapin’s character said, “Reality is just a word.“

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6.36
Oh, no! Wait, please. Ireland is certainly a differnt story from England. And its Catholic clergy are the star turns. 😀
Ireland has the highest accolade for that story: 😉
THE EPICENTRE OF GLOBAL SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN BY PRIESTS. 😈
I’d bet the English are jealous of that. It’s what happens, you see, when a country becomes a virtual theocracy, under the jackboot of Rome. 😕

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whats the story with the young Killala priest friending all the young people on facebook. I find that very very odd. Granted, he may want to get know people. But adding young people with whom he may have no direct connection. odd !

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One didn’t realise there were any young priests in the diocese of Kill-La-La.
Is it Fr Brendan Hogan? He’s a great man for the yoof is Fr Brendan.

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it’s Hoban not hogan. Your mind is probably occupied by Phil Hogan. Will he go or will he stay? I’d say Me-hole is waiting for the EU to push poor old Phil. The drama in Dublin continues

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the HOLY PRIEST is doing the HOLY WORK OF GOD in this way for he is saying to the young peoples suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not doing this JESUS is ANGRY to what you are pointing the finger at in this occasion peopke who do that will have a book thrown at them you wait

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I wish somebody would throw a book at you for your repetitious simplistic references to “holy priests” and constant threats: preferably the full volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica, and from a great height. It might just shut you up.
(Sorry for the aggro chaps, but this eejit just gets me cross!)

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I think the photo of Leo O’Reilly’s brand, spanking new retirement home shows only half the building.

Oh really?

Yes. For O’Reilly.

To the fools and morons in the pews, who willingly (even gratefully) allow themselves to be shafted financially, and in other ways, by these utter, clerical shysters…

HERE’S LAUGHIN’ AT YA! 😅

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I don’t think there is any insinuation. But if Mister Murphy who teaches in the local primary school starts adding teenagers he doesn’t know on his facebook, questions would be asked, why? Likewise, if Garda Murphy adds teenagers, and if Bishop Buckley started adding teenagers from Larne on his facebook, the same questions would be asked. Facebook is a social network where people share and very often over-share information. Why would a priest who doesn’t know you in a personal capacity want access to this information.

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7:00, its like the priests of the 1950’s, wanting to know your business, what you’re up to, and who you’re doing it with. If he added me or any of my children, I would call him out on it and block him. No priest needs to be adding teenagers, or for that matter, anyone who he is not personally aquatinted. These priests think that because they are in a parish they have spiritual responsibility for people in that area. They don’t realise we are a pluralist, modern democracy, and people don’t need ‘father so-and-so’ checking up on them.

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Yours must be a sad existence @ 7:00. Have you nothing better to do than review the friends of someone on a social network? And on top of that, your tendentious and vile interpretation of it all.

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