Bishop says he accepted priests’ denials of abuse

By Stephen Kurkjian and Matt Carroll
Boston (MA) Globe
July 9, 2002

New Hampshire Bishop John B. McCormack acknowledged under oath last month that he accepted without question the denials of two priests in the Boston Archdiocese that they had molested youngsters despite receiving repeated sexual abuse allegations against the men.

McCormack also said he did not think he was obligated to inform authorities about the allegations against the Rev. Ronald H. Paquin and the Rev. Joseph Birmingham because as a priest he was not covered by state law at the time requiring reporting of sexual abuse of minors, according to a transcript of the confidential deposition obtained by the Associated Press.

McCormack, who served as Cardinal Bernard Law’s top deputy for investigating clergy abuse before being named bishop of Manchester in 1998, was deposed in connection with a civil lawsuit filed by three men who allege they were sexually abused by another Boston-area priest, the Rev. Paul R. Shanley.

The lawsuit accuses Law, McCormack, and several other top archdiocesan officials of failing to stop the alleged abuse by Shanley, who was indicted last month by a Middlesex County grand jury on charges of raping three youths during the 1980s while assigned as pastor of a Newton church.

Although the suit focuses on Shanley, Boston attorney Roderick MacLeish is seeking to show that archdiocesan officials put children and youngsters in harm’s way by failing to properly respond to sexual abuse allegations made against priests in their charge.

Questioned by MacLeish, the attorney for the alleged victims, McCormack acknowledged that he had accepted Shanley’s explanation in 1985 that he had been quoted out of context in a speech Shanley had made stating that when adults have sex with minors, children are often the seducers.

McCormack said he was wrong to have accepted Shanley’s account that he was only speaking about child prostitutes. ”I saw Paul as a person who was an honest guy, who was always trying to help the church reach out to the alienated, the marginalized,” McCormack said during the deposition held June 4 in Manchester. ”I had no reason to think that he was, when he reported to me, that he was being dishonest. In hindsight, I do, but then I didn’t.”

The AP said the transcript of McCormack’s sworn testimony was provided by Massachusetts sources. The public release of the information is likely to prompt a response from Superior Court Justice Constance M. Sweeney, who is overseeing all civil cases involving alleged sexual misconduct by Boston archdiocese priests.

Sweeney has denied media requests to obtain transcripts of depositions taken in the civil case involving convicted pedophile and defrocked priest John J. Geoghan, saying the sworn testimony by Law and other archdiocesan officials could only be released 30 days after the deposition was complete.

Sweeney is likely to toe the same line with all sworn testimony involving clergy sexual misconduct suits in which depositions have not been finished, according to some attorneys involved in the cases.

McCormack’s deposition will be continued at a date yet to be determined.

According to selected portions of the transcript, which the AP released last night, MacLeish spent most of the deposition questioning McCormack about his handling of allegations the archdiocese had received about Paquin and Birmingham.

In an account previously reported in the Globe, McCormack said that he had confronted Paquin in 1991 about information he had received from a priest who alleged that Paquin was having inappropriate contact with a Haverhill youth.

”I spoke with Father Paquin. He assured me there was no sexual contact, that this was a boy he had known, that he was trying to be helpful to, so I took him at his word,” McCormack said. Paquin was indicted last month by an Essex County grand jury for having sexually abused the youth.

McCormack acknowledged in the deposition that he did not question Paquin’s account even though he had ordered Paquin removed from a Haverhill church in 1990 after receiving credible allegations of abuse from two other youths.

McCormack also dismissed the concerns of a Gloucester parent who asked in 1987 if Birmingham, who until recently had been assigned to his parish, was the same priest he had heard had abused children elsewhere.

Church officials received abuse allegations for years against Birmingham, who died in 1989. The Globe has previously reported that at least three people say they told McCormack, or that McCormack knew, that Birmingham was abusing children during the 1960s and 1970s.

McCormack said he confronted Birmingham at the time, and Birmingham assured him he was ”clean” of any problems.

Later in his exchange with MacLeish, McCormack acknowledged learning of another complaint against Birmingham. Asked whether he contacted the unidentified Gloucester parent with that information, McCormack said he could not recall having done so.

McCormack acknowledged having reservations about Birmingham, but said he advised the man not to worry about Birmingham and said he saw no need for him to raise the issue with his son.

”I can’t explain why I didn’t tell the full story,” McCormack said.

Sweeney had issued no formal order prohibiting the release of the depositions taken in the Shanley case. But J. Owen Todd, an attorney for the archdiocese, said he believes that a Massachusetts Appeals Court order last month referring all civil cases involving clergy abuse to Sweeney prohibited the leaking of depositions taken in the Shanley case.

”I am astonished by what’s happened here,” Todd said, adding that he was certain that Sweeney would hold an immediate hearing regarding the disclosure of McCormack’s deposition.

MacLeish last night vehemently denied being responsible for providing the transcipt. If the deposition was provided by an attorney, he or she could be held in contempt by Sweeney, MacLeish noted.



The current fay clergysex scandal involving Silverstream and Kirby, Mount Mellary and Purcell, yhe Domicans, the Redemptorists and many others is not new.

The above story and videos is a similar US story 28 years old.

It involves priests, monks and bishops engaging in high level promiscuous sex.

And it involves bishops, priests and abbots doing cover up jobs.

At the moment the Abbot if Glenstal is the temporary superior of Silverstream.

There are claims that Purcell was involved with two Glenstal monks.

Coffey- cough it up!

Coffey has allowed Kirby back to Silverstream.


And, according to a Meath PP is sitting on further information about Kirby and his past.

This is not good.

This is cover up.

This blog is in possession of.much information sent to us by a number of people including a diicesan priest who currently resides in Rome and has known of the Kirby Problem for a long time

Instead of covering up the Kirby and Purcell situations should be quickly resolved.

Otherwise, people from these men’s pasts will come forward. To this blog.


Same old excuses.
I didn’t know it was illegal.
I didn’t know it was a sin.
I didn’t have to report it.
This is exactly why these bastards have to have the threat of prison time hanging over them to force them to act like responsible adults.

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What is it about sex that makes it intrinsically human and at the same time a weapon of mass distraction. How does using Jesus as a front come into the picture. The popular devil is a construct but the real adversary needs to cross examine the accused hi

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Fianna Fail and the Catholic Church all over again, thank God they are on the way out, I’ve yet to see a starving Irish Priest, De Valera or O’Keeffe. I’d be interested in seeing Eamonn’s birth cert, It Was A Spanish Sailor as Roddy Doyle would say!


They bled the country white, stolen money, stolen babies, dead babies, mass emigration, starvation, deprivation, poverty, destitution, bigotry! They are a cancer in our society.


Thanks, 09:00, for reminding me that none of those problems exist in the lovely new Ireland.


McCormack should be in jail if there was any true justice – for his covering up – an utterly loathsome reptile of an excuse for a man. Rotten and filthy piece of sh** and hell won’t be full until he is in it.
At the same time, I’m not totally convinced by Seamus McCormack. He blows his own trumpet a whole lot – what a helluva guy he is.
He rolled over too easily for Bastard McCormack. Why in the hell didn’t he tell Bastard McCormack to go and f*** himself and stay in the parish? He had all the peoples support, or so he says?
If he truly believed in the priesthood he would have fought tooth and nail against the alleged injustices to him of McCormack and that other dirty corrupt pr*** Arseneault!!
Our own priest spoke out very strongly about the scandals. The bishop didn’t come gunning for him or tell him to shut up.


11.21 this is because “focus on the things you were trained in seminary” suddenly meant deny those things the bishop’s machine continued to want denied. The degrees of evil and cover up defied expectations. We are all growing more incredulous about the accretions of non-core business that eclipsed faith. Sacraments weren’t such amiable eccentricities after all.
Give him credit for getting as far as he had got when he made these films, several years ago. His entire raison d’etre had been taken away from him by those words, “not to worry” because “we have done this lots of times”. The very sort of people he had looked to as mentors were now admitting what an illusion they had tricked him into. The door had slammed shut on the universe.
His real big mistake was during his childhood in buying into that machine at all. (This all happened to my friend – abroad – as well but he claims to be too busy meeting parishoners’ demands to have time to speak out.)


Joe Coffey was a priest of the diocese of Killaloe for some years before joining Glenstal and becoming ‘brendan’. These are running rings around you Pat. Yes, I said the diocese of Killaloe. What diocese is Roscrea in? Where did the priest you mentioned some weeks ago come from? Why do you think the new bishop of Meath asked Abbot Brendan to look into matters? Because he’s still really Fr Joe from Killaloe diocese the salt of the earth etc etc etc and schooled in diocesan matters. Let’s hope if nothing else the Papal Nuncio is keeping a watching eye on this blog.


“Otherwise, people from these men’s pasts will come forward. To this blog.”
Jaysus Pat you’ll need a Bishop’s Secretary if that happens


Brothers of St John crop up yet again with reference to abuse cases. I looked them up and saw a retreat run by them advertised for boys aged 14-18 called Real Men Wait. Now if that doesn’t set alarm bells ringing ….


That old queen Kirby seems a right chancer somehow, Bp Pat, especially his queer age restrictions on admissions and/or overnight visitors.
Moreover, I wonder how much the ageing actress tapped his aged faghags for and what happened to it all?
Also, has the rancid flower, big +Delia, and wheelchair-bound, +Mandy-Rice Smith, and that other gay old dog, Dom Purcell, completed their so-called investigation or visitation?


A comment from an anonymous poster last week claimed every traditionalist-minded cleric is not heterosexual.

Have the so-called Dominican traditionalists (in reality, a pressure group within the Irish branch of the order) proved to be true to form by introducing, like Silverstream, an age-limit on new recruits?

If so, at least we now know why.


Yes I saw that too about the trads. he is of course wrong Ledworth ,Dury, Marshall etc. none of them in anyway traditional. In fact you couldn’t get anymore liberal and modern than that bunch of faggots.


Your logic is poor.
The comment claimed every traditionalist cleric was homosexual. She/he didn’t claim that they alone were.
Btw, who are Ledworth and Dury? You sound like a homophobic Johnny come lately.


The Bishop clearly is an institution man, through and through, sadly. All of us k is that the one major contributory factor to a breakdown of trust and a lessenung if people attsnding our Churches is the clerical sexual abuse scandals: the time itsemf; the cover ups; the disregard for survivors and families; the lack of transparency that is still a feature of responding to the reality of the abuse scandals, as if nothing has been learned. This Bishop’s behaviour is outrageous, reckless and morally reprehensible. It is he who should be resigning. Some bishops are behaving responsibly and are pro active in ongoing safeguarding matters, ensuring a comprehensive caring policy for victims but they are few. Sadly. The priest in the videos is strong, courageous, honest and a man of conscience. I admire him but the response given to him indicates a moral blindness, a dysfunctionality, a preference for his and the Church’s reputation than true care for victims/survivors. This Bishop and his hench man are the antithesis of CHRIST and HIS gospel. I hope this priest has much inner strength and that this bishop be stood down.


If the nuncio is reading this, he might be interested to know what people thought of his vestments on yesterday’s RTE’s Mass. The front of the chasuble had a very large bishop’s coat of arms – his own, possibly, covering his whole torso. Such self publicism is far from the Gospel of Jesus and closer to medieval mystery-plays attire. Revolting display of self aggrandisement.


These videos affirm my view that the institutional Roman Catholic Church, with its clerical hierarchy riddled with clericalism and with corruption of all hues, is irreformable, irredemable, and was never intended by Christ.
Just as no one can serve both God and mammon. If tries to, he will have to serve one over the other, and the choice he will make, invariably and inevitably, will be mammon: for evil, corruption, and vice. And on foot of this, he will, if he is a Romanist priest, have to lie, deceive, cheat and steal (the truth about himself and the unquestioning trust of others) to maintain the pretence of piety, of holiness, and Christlike pastorality.
We often hear that Evil masquerades as light in order to deceive and to damn. When I see a Romanist priest, with his little white collar exposed amid a shroud of black, the meaning of that expression looms larger than ever.
Their souls belong to another, their consciesnes dormant or dead.
The few that manage to redeem themselves from the evil vow or promose made at ordination, to serve the institutional Church through a bishop, are sparse indeed. Father Seamus was one of them; Pat Buckley is another.
If a Romanist priest declares himself good (and most conceitedly do), yet remains part of an institution that is steeped in evil more deeply than most of us know, then that man is a liar, inevitably and, ultimately, pathologically.

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Quite right. I would go further and tell people of all ages not to be alone with one. If they don’t want sex they’ll put pressure on you for gifts or money.


There is therapy availabke – in your case, slow and sustained. We’re talking years. But it’s there.


But there’s nothing available for you, and your kind. Is there, Father?
Except a continued, and quickening, descent into… 😕 Well, whatever it is that awaits at the bottom.


Please God – one day the truth will out and justice will done and coffers for legal defence will run dry (legal aid) and we will rejoice and delight in the jailing of many bishops, senior clergy and other miscreants for obstruction of justice failure to report crimes and aid and abetting fugitives – for no one is above the law or beyond its reach – the law finally caught up with Laurence Soper (an Abbot) it is hot on the heels of many others like him who are simply criminals in dog collars.
In prison they learn a new hierarchy and paedophiles and their accomplices are at the very bottom!!


You know fine whats biting me Patsy, all the anti-Catholic and anti-Clerical garbage on here is getting on my nerves altogether, especially that gombeen always going on about romanists and we all know who she is.


Following this blog for past few weeks has been an interesting diversion. Some matters immediately strike me.
A) An incredible pettiness and very apparent limitations in what appear to be Roman Catholic clergy’s comments. They certainly don’t reflect the New Testament ethos as I understand it.
B) An inordinate preoccupation with clerical sexual impropriety.

My Proddie ID is but a tribal cultural affiliation. I think all its religious guff and practices are pious hogwash. A religion founded by a tyrannical English king is even more ridiculous than that of its papal equivalent!
Culturally, I’m obliged to comply, at least outwardly.
To what extent does this also apply to cultural Catholicism.
Is rosary beads and incense a cultural clutch of nonsense?


No not really most of the posters on here are like you I don’t know about your prody ID but let me assure despite what you read on here there are still faithful Catholics.


3:01 pm

How can any priest or bishop or christian, explain the systemic condoning of behaviors by clerics that are blatantly contrary to the words of Jesus Christ recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke?


I just finished cataloguing Abbot Gasquet’s little book of sermons, Breaking With The Past,delivered in NYC and which concerned the English reformation. Concise and informative. I could not help but think that many ot the anticlerical clerics on this blog would be dismayed by the Abbot’s comments on sacerdotalism as going back to the NT.

BTW to what King are you referring? Henry VIII died a Catholic – somewhat. I just can’t picture Edward VI as tyrannical, but that may be due to childish memories of Disney’s Prince and Pauper. The Abbot mentioned that all the major changes were effected under Edward.

As to incense there’s a story that the monks of Athos accused an Anglican priest of being an RC due to his minimal use of incense.


5:04 pm
Thought so,Bella.
You are making progress, gaining insight.
Keep it up,Bella.


And note the lie Pope Francis told by denying that he had commissioned the counter-enquiry into the Father Grassi.

This man calls himself the ‘Vicar of Christ’, literally ‘Christ’s representative’. Is Christ represented by lying?😕


4.22: Cgrist cdrtainky is nit reoresented by lying – but you (Magna) continually misrepresent everything and everyone by your lying.


Elsie is preparing to celebrate her 75th birthday on Sunday 8 November, when she will tender her resignation to Francis.
Here is my “long list” of possible replacements, in alphabetical order.
John Arnold (Salford), 67, – classic Westminster career path, Cathedral Sub-Administrator, PP Enfield, VG, Aux Bishop – low profile, unpopular with Westminster priests.
Mark Davies (aka Dark Mavis) (Shrewsbury) (61) – hard-working, covering a wide patch, welcomed an FSSP ex-Anglican traddie parish in Warrington.
Bernard Longley (aka Bunty)(Birmingham) (65) – followed Cormac from A&B to Westminster, replaced Elsie in Birmingham.
Mark O’Toole (Plymouth) (57) – was Cormac’s Private Secretary, then Rector of Alice Hall, Chair of Evangelisation and Catechesis department, supporter of Divine Renovation Network.
Arthur Roche (Rome) (70) – runs the Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments department, his boss is traddie Cardinal Sarah (real name), Francis cuts out Sarah and goes direct to Arthur, former international skater according to Damian Thompson, could be Westminster caretaker for 5 years.
Marcus Stock (Leeds) (58) – uninspiring, capable, spent 3 months learning how to say Extraordinary Latin Mass in memory of previous Bishops of Leeds, dull on Radio 4 Sunday Morning Service.
John Wilson (Southwark) (52) – double promotion from auxiliary bishop to archbishop, proud Yorkshireman, pal of Arthur Roche.
So Francis has a tough decision. Have I missed anyone off the list? Paddy Power should price them up.


Arnold is a fascist, he even has the Himmler spectacles. Davies has a depressive dark side and isn’t psychologically a well man. Longley is just too sweet on the surface, hates confrontation and gets others to do the dirty work. O’Toole should be written out because he headed up Allen Hall, and served up too many G&Ts to CMOC. Roche just bankrupts anything he is in charge of. Stock is very capable, but oooohhh sssooo serious and boring. Wilson is a bruiser and far too young this time round, he would be there for over 20 years. Who knows whom it is going to be. But one thing is for certain – Vinnie needs to go, so let us hope that Francis will accept his resignation immediately. That would upset Vin, because he really wants to hang on and be indispensable. There will not be many tears shed in Westminster, especially among the clergy, when Vin does go. He has pretty much alienated everybody with this vaunting self-interest and ambition. It’s all about Vinnie, you know ! Always has been, always will be.


1.41pm O Mrs… how very dare you – in prison plenty of time when a bishop joins the fraternity of the fallen in gaol to reflect on whether its better to be a giver or a receiver, passive or active, top or a bottom, a hungry feeder or a dominant top. Spoilt for choice i reckon!!


You hastened the closure of Maynooth and Wonersh, Bp Pat, by your indefatigable probing. Could a similar fate await the whorehouses of Silverstream and Melleray? I wonder.


3.17: A rather terrible over statement. The pharisees would have been glad with you in dismissing the woman caught in adultery. And what of Jesus on the road to Calvary? You’d have thrown boulders, not stones at the woman and placed another cross on the shoulders of Jesus with spiked glass!! Indeed, how easy it is to be condemnatory, dismissive and merciless. The true virtues of JESUS are much more difficult…and we are all lacking in these, all of us. If we begin with the premise that we are each a sinner in some way, we may be less crucifying towards others. Did not Jesus ask that we condemn the sin, not the sinner.


Thats the kind of pious old claptrap that made us slaves of bishops and priests.


especially those who such as Paul Gallagher dispose of our faith as a diplomatic nicety with the “powers that be”


That pious old claptrap also facilitated enabled and perpetuated abuse cover ups and bringing perpetrators to justice. It’s a disgusting shameful toxic mess.


4 27: and 4.45: If you interpret Jesus’s teachings on mercy, forgiveness, honouring people’s self worth and condemning the sin but not the sinner as claptrap, why would you be a professed follower or a bishop? Why? Upholding these virtues is not in any way to equivocate on abuse, sinful, criminal behaviour or to stand meekly by and say nothing. All issues of abuse must be brought to civil authorities. Always, first and foremost.


There still does not seem to be any official recognition that these places are toxic. If nobody wants to join, then go figure. There is zero awareness that incompetent and inadequate staff together with very dodgy recruits have brought about their own downfall. It wasn’t so long ago that Wonersh put out a highly misleading video of the joys and rewards of being a seminarian. How far that was divorced from reality is evinced now by closure. It might be useful to know what happened to those lads such as gym bunny. LOL


Fr. Tom Doyle, in a recent presentation, posed the following questions:

1) What is the source, the validity and the objective justification for the theological and cultural beliefs about the priesthood, that place it in such an exalted and powerful position?
2) Is there any plausible or credible reason why children, adolescents and women have been given such disparaging treatment through the history of the church?
3) How do the church leaders, bishops, explain the systemic condoning of behaviors by clerics that are blatantly contrary to the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospels?
4) What is the authentic historic and scriptural basis for the traditional beliefs of the office and role of bishops and the monarchical governmental system of the church that justifies the self dispensation from any degree of accountability?
5) What is the authentic historical basis for the belief and practice that celibacy of some of the clergy cannot be changed?
6) Why have the hierarchy down through the centuries been afraid to challenge and reexamine the church’s traditional teaching and beliefs about human sexuality ?


7.23: These are very relevant questions which the church leadership must face, sooner rather than later. These are questions too for priests, who, in conscience, must reexamine and rethink the concept of priesthood, ministry and being a follower of Christ, not the institution. They are hard questions but will, if answered and debated openly and honestly, initiate some new understanding of ministry in the name of Christ. I believe, in fact I know, that the pandemic of this virus has accelerated a necessary questioning of faith, religious beliefs and rituals and of the relevance/irrelevance of the Church community and priesthood. People have found new ways of connecting spiritually and nurturing their own faith or religious beliefs through the internet. A church leadership is absent and disconnected that has turned people to search elsewhere. As a priest, it is a very challenging time and I acknowledge the reality of where we are “at” and I understand the reasons for the criticisms received and why people, once loyal, have relinquished that loyalty. Only the TRUTH will enable those of us who are concerned to begin a process of renewal. A difficult task, perhaps impossible.


The Corrupter of Boys: Sodomy, Scandal, and the Medieval Clergy
by Dyan Elliott
Overview :
In the fourth century, clerics began to distinguish themselves from members of the laity by virtue of their augmented claims to holiness. Because clerical celibacy was key to this distinction, religious authorities of all stripes—patristic authors, popes, theologians, canonists, monastic founders, and commentators—became progressively sensitive to sexual scandals that involved the clergy and developed sophisticated tactics for concealing or dispelling embarrassing lapses. According to Dyan Elliott, the fear of scandal dictated certain lines of action and inaction, the consequences of which are painfully apparent today. In The Corrupter of Boys, she demonstrates how, in conjunction with the requirement of clerical celibacy, scandal-averse policies at every conceivable level of the ecclesiastical hierarchy have enabled the widespread sexual abuse of boys and male adolescents within the Church.
Elliott examines more than a millennium’s worth of doctrine and practice to uncover the origins of a culture of secrecy and concealment of sin. She charts the continuities and changes, from late antiquity into the high Middle Ages, in the use of boys as sexual objects before focusing on four specific milieus in which boys and adolescents would have been especially at risk in the high and later Middle Ages: the monastery, the choir, the schools, and the episcopal court. The Corrupter of Boys is a work of stunning breadth and discomforting resonance, as Elliott concludes that the same clerical prerogatives and privileges that were formulated in late antiquity and the medieval era—and the same strategies to cover up the abuses they enable—remain very much in place.
Publication Date : November 27, 2020


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