With Phonsie

The Abbot General of the Cistercian order – Dom Eamon Fitzgerald – has arrived in Ireland and is staying at Mount Mellary.


Dom Richard Purcell was away from Mount Mellary for the weekend and was expected to return there yesterday.

The Abbot General and the papal nuncio, Archbishop Okolo, are in receipt of a formal complaint against Dom Purcell and have been asked to investigate.

Every Cistercian monastery has a “Father Immediate”.

“In accordance with the Charter of Charity, Cistercian communities are autonomous but united in a communion implemented by the institutions of the Father Immediate, the Regular Visitation, and the General Chapter. The Father Immediate is the abbot of another monastery, whose responsibilities include a formal visit to the community every two years. The purpose of this “Regular Visitation” is to strengthen and supplement the pastoral action of the local superior, to correct where necessary, and to renew the nuns’ or monks’ spiritual fervor.

The Father Immediate of Mount Melleray is Abbot Andre Barbeau of Val Notre Dame in Quebec, Canada.

It seems to me that an investigation into a complaint against Richard Purcell would in the first place, be conducted by Abbot Barbeau.



C. 40 Resignation from Office

For a just cause an abbot may submit his resignation to the General Chapter.

When the General Chapter is not in session, he presents his resignation to the
Abbot General who acts as vicar of the Chapter in this matter.

ST 40.A

An abbot is to tender his resignation of his own accord when he reaches 75 years
of age.

ST 40.A.

The abbot having been postulated at an age beyond 75 and whose postulation
has been confirmed shall spontaneously offer his resignation at the next General
Chapter (Decision of the 2014 General Chapter, vote 49.)

ST 40.B
When an abbot offers his resignation the Father Immediate is always consulted.

Careful inquiry is made, if the matter demands it, into the views of the
community. Neighbouring superiors also are to be consulted, if appropriate.

ST 40.B.

If because of an infirmity or other reason (such as imprisonment, banishment or
exile – cf. Can 412 CIC) it is impossible either physically or psychologically for
an abbot to exercise his pastoral function, it is for the Father Immediate, having
consulted experts and obtained the consent of the conventual chapter, to
investigate and verify the matter. If the impossibility is evident he immediately
informs the Abbot General, who with the consent of his council, can remove the
abbot from office.


I have learned from a totally reliable source that the Cistercians have on file a previous sexally related complaint from his time in Roscrea monastery.

Given this, it is rather shocking that he went on to become an abbot!

Considering all of this I believe that Richard Purcell needs to do the honourable thing and resign as abbot of Mount Melleray to avoid further scandal.