Amy Martin is one of the poorest Irish episcopal appointments in recent years – if not the very poorest!
He is a “sissy” in a man’s job.
With the Irish Catholic Church in meltdown there was never a more important time to have a gifted man and a man of substance.
We needed double cream.
We’ve got skimmed milk.
Amy is allowing men like John Gates to bully the very ones who have kept the church going for the last 70 years – the elderly.
Anyone know which watch Gates is wearing?
What kind of “man” would pick on old, infirm people to bully?
And why is Amy so weak when vulnerable people continue to be hurt?
Any cleric abusing his parishioners even verbally should be challenged by the bishop and if he continues to do it he should face disciplinery action – up to and including dismissal for gross misconduct.
The problem is that the church and bishops and priests have been allowed to be exempt for so long from employment law.
FIVE REFUSED ARMAGH?
Is it really true that 5 people refused Armagh before CANDIDATE 6 – Amy accepted.
ROME – In the latest sign of papal outreach to the transgender community, Pope Francis has written to an old friend in Argentina to say that he is praying for her and the women who will move into a new condo complex she built to help transgender women living in poverty.
Formally called the Costa Limay Sustainable complex for transgender women, the new building has 12 studio apartments and is part of a permanent housing solution for around a dozen transgender individuals between the ages of 40-70 who are currently in situations of poverty.
It was inaugurated last week in Neuquén, Argentina, by a Discalced Carmelite nun by the name of Mónica Astorga Cremona, who serves as the superior of her community in Neuquén.
Speaking to Argentine news agency Telam, Astorga Cremona, who has ties with Pope Francis going back to his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires, said she received a letter from the pope backing the initiative.
According to the nun, she had written to the pope telling him about the inauguration of her new housing complex, and received a reply telling her that, “God who did not go to the seminary or study theology will repay you abundantly” for the work she has done.
In the brief response, Francis told her that he is praying for her and the transgender women she is assisting, adding, “Don’t forget to pray for me. May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin guide you.” Born in Buenos Aires in 1967, Astorga Cremona, 53, lives in the cloistered monastery of Santa Cruz and San José de Neuquén, where for the past 14 years she has worked with transgender women, encouraging them to stop addiction and helping them to get out of prostitution by teaching them other trades.
After receiving her habit at the age of 20, she immediately went to work with young drug addicts and alcoholics, and for years has also ministered to prisoners in the area.
The new complex in Neuquén was built on land donated to Astorga Cremona’s monastery by the district and was funded by the local provincial government.
Many of the individuals who will now be living there had been prostitutes and had been living in situations of poverty, selling themselves to get by, however, with quarantines imposed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, those who were prostitutes have been unable to work.
Built by the Provincial Institute of Housing and Urban Development, the complex is located in Neuquén’s Confluencia neighborhood and was immediately handed over to the Order of Discalced Carmelites for administration.
An initiative of Astorga Cremona, who is often referred to as “the nun of the trans” due to her work with the transgender community, the project took roughly three years to complete.
It consists of a two-story building with six 430.5-square foot apartments on each level, as well as a multipurpose room, a large park to be used as a vegetable garden and space for recreation and parking. Each of the apartments also has a kitchen, a bathroom, heating and a hot water tank, as well as a balcony and a small internal patio.
In total, the complex cost around 27.6 million pe sos to build, amounting to just under $380,000.
“This must serve as a kickoff,” Astorga Cremona told Telam, “because if a nun could make her dream a reality, then how much more can the government do!”
Astorga Cremona cut the ribbon to the new complex during an inauguration ceremony Monday, Aug. 10, alongside Neuquén governor Omar Gutiérrez and the city’s mayor, Mariano Gaido. As part of the inauguration, Astorga Cremona accompanied each of the new tenants to their doorstep.
“They couldn’t even hold the key because of the crying,” she said, noting that one of the individuals told her the bathroom was bigger than the entire house where they used to live.
According to Astorga Cremona, the new condos are not “a refuge nor a trans home,” but they’re houses given as if they were a loan, “as if it were a rent, but without paying anything and without installments.” Those who comply with the regulations, which are the same as any rental, are able to stay for life, however, those who disobey will be given three warnings before getting kicked out.
Four of the new tenants have moved in with their partners, however, Astorga Cremona insisted that if they die, their partners will be asked to leave, as the complex is specifically set aside for transgender individuals.
Without having to pay rent and with a food basket and a non-contributory pension, some of the tenants are able to get by without working during Argentina’s quarantine during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Others have begun making food, sweets, and preserves to sell while they wait to resume their jobs in different professions, such as hairdressing, or caring for the elderly.
Pope Francis’s letter to Astorga Cremona is not the first time the two have corresponded. They have history dating back to Francis’s time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, when he would visit her while traveling to Neuquén.
“He never opposed what I do, and for me it is a great support,” she said, recalling one visit from then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in 2009 in which he told her not to abandon her “border work, which the Lord gave you,” and to contact him if she were ever in need.
The word “border,” she said, has a lot of meaning in the Catholic Church, particularly when it implies working with people who have been “discarded” by society, and “with whom few want to get involved.”
According to a 2017 census, transgender people in Neuquén have a life expectancy of around 45, with only five percent making it to 56 or older.
Since his election to the papacy in 2013, the two have stayed in touch. Astorga Cremona said that when the pope responds, she usually receives an email with a picture of his hand-written letter, as Francis does not personally use a computer.
In a letter received from Francis in 2017, the pope had told Astorga Cremona that he was praying for her and her convent, and on another occasion, he wrote expressing opposition to discrimination against transgender individuals, saying, “at the time of Jesus, lepers were discarded like this.”
“Sometimes I ask him how to do it when they say ugly things to me,” she said, noting that Francis repeatedly tells her not to stop praying and to continue with her work, and assures her that he is accompanying her.
It is very good that Francis is encouraging the ministry to the transgendered.
They are a very much misunderstood and shunned community.
They have very special needs and deserve that we give them a lot of love and respect
The transgender Road is a very difficult road to travel down.
I have a little experience of ministry to this community.
They face a lot of rejection from society and family.
Francis’ compassion for these folk is deeply at odds with his support for McCarrick.
FATHER PAUL PRIOR RETURNS TO CAVAN MINISTRY.
Fr Paul Prior has been appointed as a temporary curate of the parish of Glenfarne, Co Leitrim in Kilmore diocese.
He is living at his home in Ballyconnell and commuting to Glenfarne.
I’m sure Paul has suffered in recent years through the Maynooth and Jesuit upheavals. No Christian or decent human being can rejoice in the suffering of another.
But Paul also caused a lot of hurt in Rome and Maynooth. I hope, somehow he will find a way to reconcile all that in the future.
In the late 1980s, several seminary students approached one of their professors imploring him for help, saying they didn’t want to take any more trips to Newark Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s Jersey Shore home, but feared reprisals if they complained to archdiocesan officials.
The Rev. Ed Reading, a priest of the Paterson Diocese, was alarmed when the seminarians told him they felt pressured into sharing a bed with McCarrick and having to undress in front of him, though they did not say he touched them sexually. Reading reported it to his bishop, Frank Rodimer, who indicated he would contact the Vatican’s U.S. representatives.
“Something had to be done,” said Reading, who now works as a substance abuse counselor outside of the Paterson Diocese. “It’s emotional abuse and it’s a power problem.”
About two weeks later, Newark priests told Reading that church officials made an unannounced visit to the archdiocese, apparently to clamp down on use of the beach house. It was perhaps the first attempt to curtail McCarrick’s activities. But like some other actions later taken by priests and church officials, there were no consequences or they were fleeting, as McCarrick took seminarians to the shore home for years afterward.
Church officials have said they knew of no allegations against McCarrick related to the abuse of children until two years ago. But his alleged sexual harassment of adult seminarians was whispered about for decades, based on recent NorthJersey.com and USA TODAY Network New Jersey interviews with former seminary teachers and students, and a former personal secretary to McCarrick.
Reading called the harassment “the worst-kept secret ever.”
Until two years ago, McCarrick, now 90, remained a popular figure, rising to become one of the Catholic Church’s most powerful leaders. But in June 2018, his storied career came to an abrupt end when church officials removed him from ministry, saying they had received credible allegations that he abused an altar boy decades ago in New York.
At the same time, church officials said they had received “three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago” against McCarrick, saying two of the claims resulted in settlements years before. Last year, McCarrick became the first American cardinal to be defrocked, underscoring allegations of the sexual harassment of seminarians that followed him for much of his career.
McCarrick had been revered for his ability to raise money — and the shore house in Sea Girt helped serve that purpose. Several people interviewed said McCarrick was known to take seminarians to dinner with wealthy potential donors who had homes at the shore, parading the young men as the future of the church.
He was promoted to archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2000 and elevated to cardinal months later — even after the Vatican received a written complaint about his alleged abuse of seminary students. Church leaders first moved to limit his ministry in 2008, after the Newark Archdiocese quietly paid two seminarians to settle abuse claims. But McCarrick skirted the restrictions and continued to travel around the world with impunity, representing the church as its emissary.
In 2002, McCarrick had taken a leadership role among American cardinals, becoming the face of the church as it promised to reform itself in the wake of allegations that bishops had been covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests.
But NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY Network New Jersey has learned through interviews and shared documents that McCarrick overlooked abuse allegations made against several priests in the Newark Archdiocese. And the former cardinal is now accused of abusing children himself in three New Jersey lawsuits — including one filed last month alleging he shared children with other priests at the Jersey Shore.
Letters to cardinals
Mark Crawford, now a victims’ advocate, said he met with McCarrick in late 1997 to tell him that he and his brother had been sexually abused and beaten by the Rev. Kenneth Martin, a Bayonne priest who continued working until 2002, when he was removed amid the national scandal.
After McCarrick failed to follow up on promises made during that meeting, Crawford said he sent letters to cardinals across the U.S. in 1998 asking for help. Only a handful responded, and none offered to take action. Several suggested that McCarrick would address the matter.
Mark Crawford ,57, of Avenel, NJ., the NJ head of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, shows letters he received from US cardinals of the Catholic Church in 1998 after telling them in a letter about being abused by Bayonne priest Ken Martin. Photographed at his home in Avenel on 08/05/20.
“It was ‘This isn’t our problem,’ ” said Crawford, who is now the head of the New Jersey chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP.
By then, Crawford, who had considered becoming a priest and knew many clerics and seminarians, had heard rumors about McCarrick’s behavior with seminarians at his beach house. “If I knew, they had to know,” Crawford said of the cardinals.
One of the cardinals who did respond to Crawford’s letters, Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, wrote that McCarrick “is greatly concerned about all these problems and issues, and I know that you can rely upon him to be attentive to these pastoral needs.” In 2013, church officials barred Mahoney from public ministry for allegedly failing to protect children from abusive priests.
Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, who died in 2017, also wrote back to Crawford and told him that “your pain and frustration is familiar to me because I have had to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct by clergy.” He asked Crawford to “pray for the leaders of the Church, that we might do God’s will whenever this awful problem occurs.”
Close up of the letters that Mark Crawford ,57, of Avenel, NJ., the NJ head of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, received from US cardinals of the Catholic Church in 1998, including Cardinal Roger Mahoney (shown on L), Cardinal Law (shown R) and the Vatican (shown center).
Four years later, reporting by the Boston Globe revealed that Law himself had moved abusive priests from one parish to another, accusations that led him to resign in disgrace.
The allegations against McCarrick remained an open secret in the church even after the Newark Archdiocese and Metuchen Diocese paid two seminarians to settle claims against him in 2005 and 2007. Archbishop John Myers was the leader of the Newark Archdiocese by then. McCarrick retired as head of the Washington Archdiocese in 2006 when he turned 75, the Vatican’s required age of retirement. It is not known whether his departure was connected to the payouts.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who took over the Newark Archdiocese from Myers in 2017, revealed the settlements in a written statement in June 2018.
McCarrick’s personal secretary
Months later, in late 2018, Tobin was given an opportunity to examine letters that cast new light on McCarrick’s abuse of power, according to a priest who worked for McCarrick for decades, first as his secretary in Newark and then at the Vatican. Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo told NorthJersey.com that he met with Tobin in late 2018, bringing with him letters he believed would be important in the investigation into McCarrick. They showed that McCarrick acknowledged a “lack of judgement” by sharing a bed with seminarians and ignored restrictions placed on his ministry in 2008.
According to Figueiredo, Tobin said “this was not the time to discuss that.”
The Newark Archdiocese did not address Figueiredo’s claim but issued a statement in an email: “Cardinal Tobin has not seen the contents of the letters to which you refer, and it would be inappropriate to comment on them without seeing them. Information and correspondence publicly released or information still not made public by Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo properly belong to the Holy See to investigate.”
Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, Theodore McCarrick’s former secretary, has released letters written by the former cardinal in 2008 in which he acknowledged sleeping in the same bed as seminarians and had restrictions placed on his ministry.
From The Figueiredo Report/ Courtesy of Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo
Figueiredo, who now lives in Rome, posted excerpts from the letters last year on a website called the Figueiredo Report. He said the Vatican has supported his decision to do so.
McCarrick has denied that he sexually abused anyone. His attorney, Barry Coburn, declined to comment for this story.
In one 2008 letter to a Vatican diplomat, which was translated into Italian by Figueiredo, McCarrick wrote that he had “an unfortunate lack of judgment” and “always considered my priests and seminarians as part of my family,” sharing his bed with them as he had done with blood relatives “without thinking of it as being wrong.”
“In no case were there minors involved,” McCarrick wrote. “I have never had sexual relations with anyone, man, woman or child, nor have I ever sought such acts.”
McCarrick indicated in that letter and others from 2008 that he had been directed by church officials to be “less public a figure,” and was planning to comply. The letters also indicate he was asked to move his residence from a seminary to a parish and to make public appearances only when approved by church officials.
Figueiredo said on his website that the restrictions, which were imposed under the rule of Pope Benedict XVI, were not made public, “and despite McCarrick’s promises, he continued his public ministry, including taking a highly visible public role” that included dealings with high-ranking Vatican officials along with “public officials in the United States and around the globe.” After Figueiredo posted the letters, he said, Tobin wrote to him and expressed surprise that he hadn’t been informed about them.
“I had no idea that you had all of this information,” Tobin wrote, according to Figueiredo. “From the excerpts that you had published, I am concerned by your longstanding knowledge of some very grave facts, which you failed to disclose earlier.” Figueiredo said he tried to disclose the letters to Tobin months earlier, and that he had all but forgotten them until allegations against McCarrick became public. And while he heard rumors of misconduct in the 1990s, he said he couldn’t be sure they were true and chalked it up to McCarrick’s having enemies in the church “because he provoked a lot of jealousy and envy.”
“I quite liked working as his secretary,” Figueiredo said. “He was a good role model in many ways. He was always very polite. I can never remember a moment where he shouted. He was gracious and welcoming.”
Figueiredo said he hadn’t heard about the payouts to seminarians until two years ago, when they became widely known. Given the seminarians’ accusations of McCarrick’s behavior, Figueiredo questioned why McCarrick was allowed to stay at a seminary in Rome whenever he visited the Vatican until 2018. Myers, the former Newark archbishop, was also head of that seminary, the North American College, which trains clerics from the United States.
“He knew about the paid allegations,” Figueiredo said of Myers.
In the mid-1990s, when he worked in Newark, Figueiredo said he visited McCarrick’s Sea Girt beach house. The monsignor said McCarrick didn’t go there often but selected seminarians to be invited to the house. Figueiredo said he didn’t witness abuse.
Seminary professor intercedes
Another seminary professor also heard that McCarrick had been abusing seminarians, and said he took steps to intercede. The Rev. Boniface Ramsey, who taught from 1986 to 1996 at the College Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, on the Seton Hall University campus, told NorthJersey.com it was widely known that seminarians had to share McCarrick’s bed at the Sea Girt home.
“There’s always one less bed than there should be so one seminarian has to stay in bed with him,” Ramsey said. “Everyone kind of accepted it. This is what McCarrick does. It’s odd, but that’s what he does. It was said that he never touched anybody. And if he did touch someone, they never said anything.”
In the late 1980s, Ramsey said he took his concerns to the director of the seminary, who had been acting as a middleman in the selection of seminarians invited to McCarrick’s shore home.
“He told me he would not do it again,” Ramsey said. “I believe him.”
After that, he said, McCarrick may have found another way to invite seminarians to his beach house. Ramsey didn’t name the seminary director. The priest who headed the seminary in the late 1980s did not respond to requests for an interview.
In 2000, Ramsey sent a letter to a Vatican representative to sound an alarm. McCarrick had just been appointed Archbishop of Washington, and Ramsey was concerned that his “misbehavior” would continue and be “hurtful to the church.”
Ramsey did not get an immediate reply, and McCarrick was subsequently promoted to cardinal. Years later, Ramsey received a response to his letter, letting him know that it had been received. “Then they knew about it,” Ramsey said. “They didn’t do anything. This had to do with the seminarians and the beach house. We are not talking about child abuse, which we didn’t come to know until just two years ago.”
The beach house
Over the past year, three lawsuits have been filed in New Jersey alleging that McCarrick abused children. The latest, filed last month, accused McCarrick of running a child sex ring with other priests out of a New Jersey beach house — the same Sea Girt home where he allegedly abused seminarians, first as bishop of the Metuchen Diocese and then as Archbishop of Newark.
However, Jeff Anderson, the attorney who filed the suit, later said it’s possible McCarrick had another shore home. The Metuchen Diocese, which McCarrick ran from 1981 to 1986, purchased the Sea Girt home in 1985, several years after the abuse alleged in the suit. It was sold to the Newark Archdiocese in 1988, two years after McCarrick moved there from Metuchen.
This Baltimore Boulevard home in Sea Girt was purchased by the Metuchen Diocese in 1985 and later sold to the Newark Archdiocese. It is where seminarians say that they were invited on overnight stays with former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. It was sold to a private party in 1997. Photo from July 22, 2020.
Thomas P. Costello & Tariq Zehawi
Anderson said he believed McCarrick eventually was “required” to sell the house “because of activities that became known to others.”
The Sea Girt home was sold in 1997 — but property records show McCarrick had access to another shore home for the rest of his time in the Newark Archdiocese. The archdiocese purchased a home in Brick in 1997 and sold it in 2002, two years after McCarrick left for Washington. The archdiocese said in an email that it “cannot speculate on the specific history and purpose of these private properties.”
In-depth: Lawsuit alleges former Cardinal McCarrick ran sex ring for clerics at NJ beach home News: NJ archdiocese limits therapy funding for sexual assault accusers who take church to court Adapting to the pandemic: NJ researchers leading remote response to child abuse during coronavirus Michael Reading, a former priest who was ordained in 1986, said he went to the Sea Girt house when he was a deacon. McCarrick told him that he wouldn’t ordain priests he didn’t get to know, Reading told NorthJersey.com. He reluctantly accompanied McCarrick and other seminarians on a trip to the shore but, having heard rumors of improprieties, made an excuse that he couldn’t stay the night. He went to an upstairs bedroom to change and said McCarrick stood there watching. He finally realized the prelate wasn’t going to leave until he changed into his bathing suit. Later, on the beach, he said McCarrick stuck his hand under Reading’s swimsuit in front of other seminarians. He said they didn’t talk about it and he didn’t know what to do.
“I didn’t know there was a way to report anything,” Reading said.
Reading said he distanced himself from McCarrick after that incident — which he believes may have led to his being passed over for a position he wanted and not being assigned to a parish he requested.
Michael Reading’s ordination with Archbishop Theodore McCarrick
“We knew that you needed to be in favor with the archbishop, and I was not in favor,” he said. He eventually left the priesthood over what he called McCarrick’s abuse of power. He told one person about the beach house incident — his former seminary teacher, Ed Reading, the Paterson Diocese priest who went to Bishop Rodimer in the late 1980s.
Ed Reading, who is not related to Michael, said several seminarians approached him about the beach house because he was outside of the archdiocese and not directly under McCarrick. He said they didn’t trust telling anyone in the archdiocese.
“McCarrick was so powerful, if someone confronted him, they would be gone,” Reading said.
He said Rodimer turned “pure white in a kind of shock” when he told him about the allegations against McCarrick. The bishop, Reading said, noted that McCarrick was his superior. Reading suggested contacting the Vatican’s representatives in the United States. Rodimer thanked him “and said he would take it very seriously.”
Reading said he never asked Rodimer about what happened until he visited the bishop at a nursing home shortly before his death in 2018. Rodimer, who was in failing health, couldn’t recall the conversation about McCarrick or whether he went to Vatican officials.
“I hope I did that,” he said, according to Reading.
The McCarrick story covers many decades and many young men were abused.
Many people in the RCC had heard about the abuse and no one did anything.
In the meantime McCarrick got promoted and continued to amass a great deal of money.
He gifted money to prelates in the USA and in Rome and that seemed to buy their silence.
Pope Benedict did put restriction on him.
Pope Francis lifted them!
McCarrick played a major role in Francis’ horrible deal with China.
The story is so big we will probably never hear it all?
More new bishops will be ordained in Ireland this year than new priests, amid a crisis in vocations, a well-known parish priest has warned.
Next Sunday, Archbishop Michael Neary will ordain Rev Shane Costello to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Tuam at Knock Basilica, Co Mayo.
It is understood that this will be the only ordination this year for the country’s 26 dioceses.
“This is not sustainable – we have nobody coming after us,” said Fr Paddy Byrne, parish priest of Abbeyleix and Ballyroan, Co Laois. He described the number of ordinations this year as “abysmal”.
Fr Byrne, who at 46 is the second youngest priest in the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin, told the Irish Independent that the Catholic Church was experiencing a “real vocations crisis” and that this had become clear as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. “In our diocese and in every diocese across the country priests continue to give selflessly and many of them are taking full responsibility of the management of parishes well into their 80s.”
The lack of priests and ageing profile of clergy was accentuated by the coronavirus lockdown because the majority of clergy in many dioceses were over 70 and so had to cocoon.
Fr Byrne stressed that his comments were made as an individual who was “passionate about my ministry, and very worried about my future”.
Describing priesthood as “deeply fulfilling”, the parish priest who will shortly mark 20 years since his own ordination, said this summer he had taken on responsibility for a third parish.
In the past, seven priests would have overseen the running of these parishes.
“In rural Ireland, we have seen the loss of the pub, the post offices and very soon we’ll lose the priest,” he said
The priest has, by and large, always been a good community activist and he meant something to people.
“We know, as a society, the cost of the thousands of funerals that haven’t been able to be celebrated in the way that they were previously because of the pandemic. There is a real need for clergy in Irish society.”
Admitting that many priests were “blue in the face talking about the vocations crisis”, he called for “a radical reappraisal and an honest dialogue about what has gone wrong with vocations of priesthood”.
Acknowledging that Church scandals and a more secularised society have contributed to the problem, he said church leaders now needed to “be honest, brave and courageous enough” to “name new realities”, including the ordination of women as deacons, otherwise they risked being “foot soldiers at a graveyard”.
“The Church has a huge opportunity to be present in the bits and pieces of people’s broken lives and to do that with great fulfilment,” Fr Byrne said.
But it is very sad that we are coming to a moment where the presence of clergy will be no more unless we do something to bring about real change.”
A spokesman for the Irish Bishops told the Irish Independent that the ordination of the new bishop of Achonry, Bishop Elect Paul Dempsey, is due to take place on August 30, while the new bishop of Kilmore, Bishop Elect Martin Hayes, is due to be ordained at the end of September.
What a situation – only ONE priest being ordained for the whole of Ireland this year!
And, there are more bishops being ordained than priests!
More chiefs and fewer indians.
The good thing about this is that it poses a major challenge to clericalism.
In the Anglican Church, as well as having full time priests they have other priests called Non Stipendary Priests.
These men ( and women in Anglicanism) work in various types of jobs, trades and professions. They have their own salaries and do not need to be paid a wage by the church.
The RCC will need to introduce such Non Stipendary Priests who will be responsible for leading worship etc.
The parish committee, made up of lay men and women, can take care of all the admin work alongside a paid parish secretary.
There will still, perhaps, be a number of full time priests and the bishop will be the overseer.
This will lead to a much less clerical church.
And, eventually, the Holy Spirit will see to it that we have women priests.
This will not please the Catholuc Traddies and indeed will affect the RCC’s relationship with the Orthodox Church.
But, obedience to God comes before obedience to men.
There’s a ludicrous puff piece about Enda McDonagh, saying that the clergy of Tuam twice asked that he be their archbishop. What a joke. He never served a single day as a priest in his home diocese but lived a soft life for decade after decade in a huge apartment in New House in Maynooth.
Fr Kevin Hegarty Mayo News
I am sure that his many friends in Mayo will join with me in sending best wishes to Fr Enda McDonagh on his 90th birthday. Enda is a proud Mayo man who for over 30 years was Professor of Moral Theology at Maynooth. Some years ago, in a contribution to a book ‘Bekan: Portrait of an East Mayo Parish’, he wrote lovingly of his native place.
The passion for social justice that animates his theology has its roots in his childhood experience. In the article, he evoked how the trauma of emigration had affected Bekan. Of the 20 who were in his sixth class in 1943 only one remained in the parish. As a moral theologian Enda has an international reputation. Up to the 1960s, Catholic moral theology was dominated by an oppressive legalism. Enda was among those who helped create a theology enriched by human experience, infused by compassion and based on the words and example of Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Testament.
His major concerns include the promotion of ecumenical dialogue between the different religious and political traditions in Ireland, the horror of modern warfare, the poverty of the Third World, Aids victims in Africa, climate change and the pastoral care of gay Christians.
A particular interest in recent years has been his exploration of the fruitful connections between art, literature and theology, while respecting the independence of each of the disciplines. He has written that contemplating the creative work of the artist may open one to the wonder of divine creation.
Literary critic Dorothy Van Ghent judged the authenticity of a novel on its depth of ‘felt reality’. There is a ‘felt reality’ about Enda’s theology that is both inspiring and challenging.
He has played a significant role in Irish public life. A close friend of former Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald, he advised him on church-state relations. It is a subject on which he is well informed, as he wrote a doctoral dissertation on it.
When Mary Robinson, another close friend, was President of Ireland, he was her official chaplain. In 2007, he was chosen as a canon of St Patrick’s Cathedral, the first Roman Catholic priest to take such a position since the Reformation. His appointment was an index of his commitment to ecumenical reconciliation in Ireland.
Enda is a provocative thinker, an engaging conversationalist and a generous host. He has a delightful sense of humour, tinged with self-deprecating irony. He is the soul of courtesy. One of his friends, sculptor Imogen Stuart, sums him up well:
“When I think of Enda McDonagh my inner eye sees somebody who radiates a deep joyfulness. This joy I imagine was a quality the early Irish monks had and kept through all their harsh and ascetic lives, and in their tumultuous years of raids and other disasters and which they retained. It shows a kind of spirituality you acquire through loving nature – seeing God all around you – seeing God in all living creatures and having an understanding of human frailty. All this is enveloped by Enda’s intelligence, or better said, wisdom.”
His radical thinking on moral issues has often disturbed Catholic church leaders. For a theologian of his perception and intellectual honesty, the institutional church during the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI was a bleak house. His co-diocesans honoured his stature by twice choosing him as their candidate for Archbishop of Tuam. Unfortunately, the Vatican failed to recognise the stirrings of the Holy Spirit among the clergy of Tuam. Institutional suspicion of his ministry has not embittered him. He has written that ‘harbouring grudges is a human weakness which may become a destructive obsession’. He once told me that if God granted him three wishes they would be, world peace and justice, full reconciliation between the Christian churches, and Mayo to win the Sam Maguire. The last may yet prove the most difficult to achieve!
Enda – ad multos annos.
Enda McDonagh has had a very cosy life. Never in a parish, living in large apartment in Maynooth with all his cooking, cleaning and washing done for him.
He has always hung around with the elite and establishment.
He is the theological darling of the Dublin 4 elite.
He has never been sanctioned by the Vatican like Hans Hung and Leonardo Boff have.
He is a liberal “talker”.
To my mind a true liberal theologian is one that the establishment dislike and punish.
Prophets always pay a price and normally a high price.
Maybe McDonagh was passed over twice for Tuam?
So what? That does not make him a crucified one?
After a life time of observing “liberal talkers” being taken by the hand by by the great and good I am not impressed with that mutual admiration society.
At 11.20 pm last night Saturday) Monty sent me an email.
FROM MONTY TO PAT
I have to ask you why you allow derogatory comments about me on your blog? It is quite distressing.
There are many untruths being bandied about me.
A particular one is the Australian. He had already announced he was leaving the Beda. Not sure it was before he had touched up a nun or pinned another seminarian on the pool table. It was certainly before the incident that has been mentioned on your blog.
I find the untruths said about me distressing. There are lots of false things said about me but it is enough to ruin my reputation. I’m happy to admit my wrongs but untruths are so damaging. Why do you allow such nasty and untrue comments to be published?
Having seen your blog I’m not sure how you will respond. But I’m writing to you personally in a private way.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I replied to Tom next morning – Sunday.
FROM PAT TO MONTY
Thank you for your email. I always reply to emails and letters. Its just good manners.
Maybe you would give me a confidential call in the afternoon or evening and we can discuss.
Thank you for your email. I’m afraid I won’t be calling you. From what I’ve seen, I don’t feel that I could trust you.
As you said, responding is good manners. I could have just ignored your suggestion about a call, but that would have been impolite.
I just wanted you to know the effect the online gossiping about me (mainly through comments) was having on me. I’m just getting on with working in the parish, but your pack mob are not interested in that.
I got the first, unsolicited email from Tom at 11.20 pm Saturday night.
I responded by thanking him for his email and by offering a telephone conversation whereby I could listen to his side of the story and perhaps be more circumspect in the comments I allowed about him.
However, his second email to me at 12: 36 today (Sunday) was very shirty and semi aggressive.
So, instead of reaching out the hand to the outreached hand, Monty said he didn’t trust me and accused the comment makers on here of being a PACK MOB.
Why the change in tone overnight?
I expect Monty had a goodly gin in him when he wrote on Saturday night.
And then on Sunday morning, sober, he decided not to talk but to huff and puff.
Some time ago I was sent a full report on Monty undertaken at the request of his archbishop Elsie Nichols.
If I wanted to be nasty I could have published that report in full. I did not.
In fact I never heard of Monty until Westminster prirsts started commenting on here about him.
The big story was Monty’s unfortunate ” encounter” with an Aussie seminarian in Rome who smacked Monty after he made some “overture” to him. Monty came off worst with a broken limb.
Now Monty tells us the Aussie had touched up a nun and had a scrap with another seminarian over a pool table.
Obviously, the Aussie was very STRAIGHT.
Monty has had a few run ins with Nichols.
Nichols demanded he lose weight before ordaining him.
Monty also annoyed Nichols by gossiping about senior clergy in the bars of Lourdes, especially his nastiness about Bishop Alana Hopes.
Monty does not like people gossiping about him but he himself is one of the biggest gossipers in Westminster.
People who have featured prominently on this blog and got in touch with me and I listened to them and acted on their requests.
But Im afraid Monty showed his true colours on his second email to me.
Jeremy Leatherby: Details emerge of charges against excommunicated priest
Christopher Altieri Catholuc Herald August 12, 2020
Readers should be advised that this story contains potentially disturbing details of sexual abuse allegations.
The Catholic Herald has learned that the Sacramento priest excommunicated for schism earlier this month is accused of grave crimes, including sexual abuse of at least one adult woman, spiritual and psychological abuse, abuse of the Sacrament of Confession and other Sacraments, and multiple violations of the Seal of Confession.
Church officials in both Sacramento and Rome declined to comment on the investigation or canonical process, but the nature of the allegations the Catholic Herald has heard from one of his victims is such, that under Church law, the crimes of which Fr Jeremy Leatherby of Sacramento is accused would be tried in the tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Catholic Herald has obtained several documents supporting her construction of events and showing that Church officials including the Bishop of Sacramento, Jaime Soto, believe she did suffer serious abuse and are deeply consternated by the delay of justice in her case.
The accuser – who has requested anonymity as a victim of sexual abuse and because she and her family have faced threats and intimidation from supporters of Fr. Leatherby – alleges that Fr. Leatherby initially invited her into a “spiritual friendship” with him, modeled on the friendship of Sts. Francis and Claire of Assisi, and then used that relationship to manipulate her, threaten her marriage, and upend her life. She alleges Leatherby frequently used her as an instrument of his own gratification in sexual and other ways over a period of roughly six years, from 2008 to 2014.
The allegations in brief
The accuser alleges that Fr. Leatherby at one point extracted a vow of obedience to him, which he received in an ersatz ritualistic ceremony. The victim alleges Leatherby sheared her hair in another pseudo-ritual, during which Leatherby required her to remove her shirt.
The most bizarre pseudo-ritual the accuser described was what she called the “Mary Magdalen Routine”, in which Fr Leatherby asked the victim to kiss and caress first his feet, and in subsequent iterations of the ritual also his body. At least once, Leatherby brought oils for the routine – supposedly blessed – with which the victim alleges she would anoint his feet.
She alleges that sometimes he would be wearing only underpants, and would be visibly aroused.
“On ‘special occasions’,” she told the Herald, “he would take off everything except his boxers, and the Mary Magdalen Routine turned into something even more disturbing.” Asked to describe Leatherby’s reaction to the performance of the routine on those special occasions, his victim said: “He would get an erection,” and explained that he would ask her “to come all the way up to his groin,” which she did, though she says she never deliberately touched his genitals and he never pleasured himself while in the room with her.
“His birthday was a special occasion,” she said. “Christmas was a special occasion. When he cut my hair off was a special occasion.” That last – the shearing – was one she says he described as “a sacrifice to his priesthood.”
Fr Leatherby’s victim-accuser also alleges that the priest would give her the Sacrament of the Sick, sometimes asking her to remove her outer clothing and foundation garment and unbutton and lower her slacks. He would massage her with copious amounts of sacred oil – at least once on her breasts and very near her groin – saying things like, “These are not my hands, these are Jesus’ hands touching you, healing you.”
A text of the vow of obedience Fr Leatherby’s accuser says he received from her reads: “I surrender myself with my whole heart to your priest, Fr Leatherby,” and, “I place my soul in Father’s hands.”
The victim-accuser says Fr Leatherby told her that, during some performances of the Magdalene Routine, he “could tell she was growing in purity” and “was going to become a great saint and mystic”.
The victim-accuser told the Catholic Herald she was almost unassailably convinced of her abuser’s special holiness. “He kept us isolated from one another,” i.e. the many women – within and beyond the parish – to whom he “ministered” and offered his particular spiritual direction. “I was unable to process, especially because he told me I could never tell anyone about our ‘special relationship’, because no one would understand it. He told me it was my job to protect his priesthood.”
Fr Leatherby responds
Fr. Leatherby has admitted to “boundary violations” with his accuser and another woman. He says he is “profoundly sorry” for the pain he has caused, but denies the more serious charges.
“[W]hile acknowledging that I had done wrong and erred in ways,” Leatherby wrote in a letter to priests published last week to the website of an organisation calling itself the Saint Joseph’s Battalion, “I also categorically deny and want to refute a number of the allegations brought against me.” He said, “Some are of such a nature that I cannot bring myself to believe that she even claimed them.”
Addressing himself in the letter directly to his victim-accuser, Fr Leatherby said: “I hope you will forgive me for the hurt that I have caused you, and I pray that from this moment forward we can both let this rest.”
“I categorically deny any sexual acts between myself and my accuser,” Fr Leatherby specified in his response to the Catholic Herald. “The reference in my letter [another letter he wrote “To Bishop Soto, the Priests and Faithful of the Diocese of Sacramento and Beyond” before Bishop Soto made the excommunication public – ed.] to lines crossed does not pertain to sexual acts.” Leatherby told the Herald: “I respectfully decline to go into detail or address the sensitive allegations in the press as this is not fair to any of the parties involved and the matter is still open with the Diocese.”
“Believe me,” Fr Leatherby wrote in the letter, “there is another side. I could expose much, but have refrained all this time. I don’t want to ruin other people’s lives, marriages or families.”
In response to email queries from the Catholic Herald, Fr Leatherby further stated: “I also, as a Catholic priest refuse to publicly disparage another person.”
Now, Fr Leatherby says he is preparing a petition for release from the obligations of Holy Orders – “voluntary laicisation” as it is sometimes called.
Earlier this month, Bishop Soto informed Fr Leatherby that he had incurred a latae sententiae excommunication when he denied the legitimacy of Pope Francis and declared his belief that Benedict XVI is the true pope. Leatherby also admitted to celebrating the sacraments in violation of the restrictions Bishop Soto had placed on him.
Leatherby told the Catholic Herald he has “ceased holding services since being excommunicated.” He also explained that he “began those services around Easter Sunday to provide the sacraments, especially the celebration of the Mass.” Fr Leatherby said: “There was such a hunger and thirst by devoted Catholics to receive Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Confession, as they consider these more essential than anything else in this world.”
“These Catholics,” he told the Catholic Herald, “did not feel that the Bishop was truly fighting for their faith and Constitutional rights to worship. If scores of people could go to the Dollar Store, Home Depot or the grocery store, hold press conferences or protest in crowds, it was not right (with common sense precautions) that the faithful should be denied that which sustains them spiritually.”
What effect the petition for laicisation will have on the canonical process is unclear, but the Catholic News Agency has reported that the Diocese of Sacramento told the service they would support Fr Leatherby’s petition.
Fr Leatherby has been under canonical process for more than four years. “The last several years I have waited and waited and waited for an opportunity to defend myself against the charges brought against me. I have been told that I would finally be heard ‘next week,’ ‘the week after,’ ‘next month,’ ‘next….’ for nearly four years. All to no avail.”
“All I’ve wanted was a fair, complete and speedy hearing,” Leatherby told the Herald. “I have yet to meet with a Vatican representative to present my case,” he also said in response to the Herald’s questions. “I do not know why the process has taken so long.”
The victim-accuser gave detailed evidence to diocesan investigators in her original report more than four years ago, but told the Catholic Herald the judge in her case asked her very specific questions related to things she had told Fr Leatherby in confidence, sometimes under the Seal of Confession. Correspondence between the victim and the judge, which the Catholic Herald has obtained, is consistent with that report of their transactions.
The interview with the judge in the case was a long time coming.
The victim-accuser only met with him in January of this year. “When I spoke with [the judge],” she said, “I asked him: ‘Why did this take so long? Why are we just here now?’ and he said, ‘That’s a question that I’ve been asking. I’ve wanted this off my plate for forever.’”
The interview with the judge also only happened after a man supportive of Fr Leatherby called on the victim-accuser’s family early of a Saturday morning, saying he “just wanted to talk,” as she recalled, because, he said, the Blessed Virgin had told him to drive six hours across state lines and confront them. This man had ascertained the victim-accuser’s identity, new address, and other highly sensitive personal information. He had threatened both Bishop Soto and Fr Leatherby’s victim-accuser with “exposure” in the press.
It was shortly after the victim-accuser’s report of the incident to local police and the Diocese of Sacramento, that she finally received a call inviting her to give evidence to the CDF-appointed judge. The victim accuser said she believes “that’s what got the ball rolling again” on the Church proceedings.
Whatever the reason(s) for the protracted process, the accused and the victim-accuser with whom the Catholic Herald spoke agree that its duration is intolerable. The Bishop of Sacramento acknowledged the significant strain the situation put on all parties. In a letter dated July 22nd, 2019, Bishop Soto wrote: “I am embarrassed and frustrated that I have not been able to reach a more rapid resolution in the canonical proceeding pertaining to Fr Leatherby.”
Bishop Soto wrote his letter in response to a correspondent with intimate knowledge of the matter, who had asked for public disclosure of pertinent facts including the nature of the allegations against Fr Leatherby. The Catholic Herald has also obtained the letter to which Soto responded. The original letter read, in pertinent part:
You most likely know, as do both [the victim-accuser] and I, that there are other victims of his out there. They too need and deserve pastoral and therapeutic care, but they remain silent, alone and uncared for. Why? Because each of them either thinks they are the only ones, because they do not even know they are victims, or because even if they know they are victims they fear retaliations from the Leatherby family.
There was in fact only one reason [the victim-accuser] had the courage to face the slander and shunning that she expected to receive – and in fact did receive – by coming forward about her abuse, and that was the revelation from another victim that she too was being used and deceived in the same ways. These two women marveled in shared disgust at how he had used all of the same lines, all of the same “saint stories”, all of the same manipulations to make them feel special and loved like no other woman. It was this revelation and this revelation alone that compelled her to put a stop to this man and keep him from hurting others.
And so I beseech you, for the sake of the other victims out there, past and perhaps even current or future, to make known to the public what you know about him. Silence from the Diocese is not only a source of ongoing pain for [the victim-accuser], but it also effectively encourages [Fr Leatherby’s] other victims to remain in silence and it enables him to continue his same manipulations in silence.
Bishop Soto’s correspondent had said that Sacramento diocesan officials had led him to believe there were concerns over how release of information related to the case might affect the Sacramento diocese’s compliance with the privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and that those concerns were keeping the diocese from disclosing details.
In his response letter, Bishop Soto cites “other considerations” including “privacy considerations that relate to [the victim-accuser], Fr Leatherby, and others.” Bishop Soto wrote, “I have resigned myself to this powerless position, with the hope of protecting the good name of others.”
“I have asked my judicial vicar to keep me informed of any communications with the Holy See on the canonical proceeding,” Bishop Soto went on to write. He undertook to have his chancellor be in more regular communication with the victim-accuser as well. “I beg for God’s grace to sustain her through the waiting, and heal her from the abuse afflicted upon her.”
On that point – healing – the victim-accuser says the Diocese of Sacramento has been very supportive: offering consistent and complete financial support for the cost of therapy, from the moment in which the diocese received her allegation and deemed it credible – a matter of weeks after she first brought them her report.
“I have come to rely on the Lord’s promise,” in Mt. 10:26, Bishop Soto explained: “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” Bishop Soto went on to say: “I am grateful of [the victim-accuser]’s courage in cooperating with our investigation and urge her to tell her story for the good of the Church.”
This case is a break from RCC home abuse and deals with RCC hetero abuse.
I have personally counselled women who were treated exactly like this by both diocesan and religious order priests.
I have had such priests get woman to lie on an altar naked while the priest says Mass over them and consecrated the women to God and the sexual service of the priest.
They explained to the women: “If you serve me sexually I will be strong enough to continue doing God’s work!
This Jeremy Leatherby is a sick man and hurting his victim further by calling her a liar and a fantasist.
But I think his Bishop has got the measure of him.
MAGHERAFELT GATES A COVID HERO
We have not talked about the bullying PP of Magherafelt on the blog for a while.
Well, he has now become a COVID HERO and has placed the following pics of himself on his parish website
I’m really glad the holiness and saintlessness of Gates has finally being recognised.
There’s not a rude bone in the man’s body.
EVERYONE in Magherafelt adores him.
Nice designer jacket Johnny. It will go well with the pink shirt in Donegal and at the seaweed baths in Newcastle with Big D.
There are two soul destroying aspects to abuse of any kind.
1. There is the abuse itself.
2. There is the cover up of abuse by bad authorities.
We have seen this millions of times in the RCC – priests abusing people – and bishops covering up for the abusers.
This week we this dynamic in the case of JOHN PAUL LYTTLE – and the covering up of his bishop PHYLIS EGAN.
John Paul got a young man in his Reading parish semi drunk / drunk by giving him wine.
He then tried to seduce the young man by getting him to stay overnight (the PP was away).
He sexualised the conversation with the young man by announcing: “I wank. I watch porn. I’m always horney”.
When the young man realised where Power Bottom Lyttle was going he immediately left the presbytery.
Apart from having endured an attempted seduction by his priest- the young man was further hurt by having his faith undermined.
He wrote to Phylis Egan and told the supreme pastor of his diocese that he daith had been undermined.
What did Pastor Egan do?
1. He refused to acknowledge the injured party’s letter.
2. He refused to answer him.
3. He handed the matter over to an office worker to reply – a Heather Hauschild, Chief Operating Officer of Support and Administration who dismissed the faith aspect and told the victim the matter was over!!!
So now, John Paul can now go back to another parish and do it all over again.
And all will live happy ever after!
MY KIND OF BISHOP
Pere Casaldàliga was born on 16 February 1928 in Balsareny, Catalonia, Spain, and grew up on his family’s cattle ranch. He joined the Claretians, entering in the Claretian Seminary of Vic at the age of nine. He was ordained a priest in Barcelona on 31 May 1952.
Casaldàliga moved to Brazil as a missionary in 1968.On 27 April 1970, Pope Paul VI named him Apostolic Administrator of the Territorial Prelature of São Félix. On 27 August 1971, Pope Paul named him prelate of that jurisdiction and titular bishop of Altava. He received his episcopal consecration on 23 October from Fernando Gomes dos Santos, Archbishop of Goiânia.
In the 1970s, the military regime ruling Brazil tried without success to force Casaldàliga to leave the country. His advocacy for indigenous peoples and peasants resulted in repeated death threats, and in 1976 a priest was killed standing alongside him at a march protesting the mistreatment of female prisoners. In the 1980s, he refused to make the required ad limina visits to Rome that bishops normally make every five years. He said he feared not being able to re-enter Brazil and said “The visits were bureaucratic and formal and did not lead to proper dialogue.”
Casaldàliga co-founded the Conselho Indigenista Missionário [pt] in 1972, an organ of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil that fights for the right to cultural diversity of indigenous peoples to strengthen its autonomy.
In 1986, Casaldàliga founded a pilgrimage, Romería de los Mártires, held every five years. It centers on the site where Jesuit João Bosco Bernier was killed at Casaldáliga’s side on 11 October 1976, the Sanctuary of the Martyrs of the “Caminhada”.
Liberation theology movement and friction with the VaticanEdit
In June 1988, as part of a Vatican effort to place restrictions on the liberation theology movement and following its 1985 silencing of Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff, Casaldáliga was called to Rome to be examined by Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger and Bernadin Gantin on his theological writings and pastoral activity.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the Congregation of Bishops produced a statement for him to sign as an acknowledgment of his errors. The statement decreed that he would not add political content to processions, would accept restrictions on his theological work, and only say Mass or preach outside of Brazil, especially in Nicaragua, with permission from the local bishop. He did not sign it.
He summarized his views: “My attitude is a reflection of the view of the church in many regions of the world… I have criticized the Curia over the way bishops are chosen, over the minimal space given to women, over its distrust of liberation theology and bishops’ conferences, over its excessive centralism. This does not mean a break with Rome. Within the family of the church and through dialogue, we need to open up more space.”
Pope John Paul II accepted Casaldàliga’s resignation on 2 February 2005. Anticipating the appointment of his successor, he objected that it would happen without the people of the prelature being consulted. In retirement he continued to live in São Félix do Araguaia, and work as an ordinary priest under his successors.
When the CDF criticized the work of theologian Jon Sobrino of El Salvador in 2007, Casaldáliga responded with an open letter asking that the Church confirm its “real commitment to the service of God’s poor” and acknowledge “the link between faith and politics”. He had Parkinson’s disease since at least 2012 he referred to it as “Brother Parkinson”.
In 2015, Pope Francis consulted Casaldàliga, among others, during the writing of the encyclical Laudato si’
Casaldàliga was the target of death threats, and even assassination attempts, throughout his life. In 1993 Amnesty International showed concern for the safety of Bishop Casaldàliga when landowners hired gunmen to kill him.
In December 2012, Casaldàliga had to flee his home, and the Federal Police hid him for two months after he received death threats from landowners from the region when he helped the Xavante people regain their land.
On 4 August 2020, Casaldàliga was admitted to the hospital for respiratory problems, being very weak due to his advanced state of Parkinson’s disease. He tested negative for COVID-19.
Casaldàliga died on 8 August 2020, in Batatais, in the state of São Paulo.
“Pat, the following is all taken from Dawn Eden Goldstein’s articles about Prior Kirby. Despite the Benedictine vow of stability he has been going from place to place. Did Meath diocese not do due diligence checks?
Father Mark Daniel Kirby was born in Connecticut in 1952. He began his experience of religious life at the age of twenty in a traditional Benedictine monastery. At a certain point, however, he forsook that cloister in favor of a small monastic community that had nightly Eucharistic adoration, the Brothers of Jesus Crucified of Providence, Rhode Island. Eventually the community was absorbed by the Cistercian Abbey of Notre Dame de Nazareth in Rougemont, Québec, and it was for that abbey that Kirby was ordained a priest on November 16, 1986.
At some point after ordination, Kirby suffered health issues as well as what he describes as “burnouts” that led him to modify his monastic observances. He writes, “This led to a prolonged absence from the abbey of my profession and, eventually, to my attachment to the Abbey of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.”
“These were ‘desert years,’” Kirby adds, “full of uncertainties and trials.”
He taught for a brief time and was permitted to serve as chaplain to the nuns of the Monastery of the Glorious Cross in Branford, Connecticut where he could be close to friends and family.
Beginning a Benedictine Life in Tulsa Late 2007 also saw Kirby enter into discussion with then-Bishop of Tulsa Edward Slattery, sharing his desire, as he would later put it, “to live my monastic vocation in daily Eucharistic adoration and reparation, while offering spiritual support to my brother priests.” The bishop responded in February 2008 with an invitation to live in the diocese, and in July of that year Kirby received permission from the Holy See to be released from the Cistercian order so as to incardinate into the Diocese of Tulsa and renew his monastic vows under Slattery’s authority.
Kirby’s renewal of his Benedictine vows under Bishop Slattery took place on April 2, 2009, in preparation for what would be, in his words, “the foundation of a monastery of diocesan right, dedicated to Eucharistic adoration and to the spiritual care of the clergy: the Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle.”
Although Father Mark Kirby enjoyed the support of Bishop Edward Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa, the monk was unable to find a suitable property in the diocese for his nascent monastery. A new opportunity opened up in October 2011 when, having located a rent-to-buy property in the Diocese of Meath, Ireland, he received approbation from the local ordinary, Bishop Michael Smith, to found a monastery there. Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, had only one member besides Kirby when it opened in late February 2012, but that would soon change. By June 2014, it was reported that the monastery had “far too many young monks (plus interested young men) for their meager means.” In the meantime, Kirby’s friend and chief fundraiser David Craig worked to raise the funds so that the monks could purchase the property.”
A Meath priest contacted me yesterday to say, and I quote:
“The name of a certain Ann Corcoran of Dublin 4 in the Mid-Louth Independent article which one of the comments cites as one of four “sod turners” for the new monastic church (which has failed to materialize after nearly three years):