Sean Jones

My Kerry clerical connections have told me in recent times that the bishop RAY BROWNE, made Sean Jones sign an affidavit before ordaining him.

I’m told that in the affidavit he had to swear that what was being said about him on this blog was untrue.

I’m further informed that there are priests in Kerry who have been assigned to keep a very close watch on everything?

I have never heard before of a priest having to sign a pre ordination affidavit.

RAY BROWNE was obviously covering his “flank”.


But as me Da used to say: “When you’re used to wearing shoes it’s hard to go in your bare feet”.

Browne is not liked in Kerry. He has the personality a turnip – and that’s been unkind to turnips!


Cuthbert Madden

Seminar: Some insights towards applying the vision of Vatican II into monastic life

I was surprised to be asked to give a paper during the Abbots’ Congress on the question of applying the vision of the Second Vatican Council to monastic life today – but after some consideration I thought that I should at least try!​ I am not an academic, I am a simple abbot who is trying to understand what is happening in the community committed to his care – so please do not expect a thoroughly researched paper: these are some reflections based in my experience as an abbot for the last eleven years.​ In these reflections I have tried to explain why I think that the documents of the Magisterium have something to contribute to our search for an appropriate contemporary expression of the monastic instinct.

My abbacy has been marked by two phenomena which I have sought to understand: the sexual abuse of children by monk-priests of the community and the departure from monastic life of men who have been solemnly professed, and in some cases ordained, for ten or more years.

The day after my election in 2005 saw the arrest of the first of two monks who were eventually convicted of the sexual abuse of minors.​ In the last eleven years other offenders in our community from the past have been uncovered.​ I have repeatedly returned to two questions: ‘what led to this offending?’ and ‘how was it possible for this behaviour to go unchallenged?’​ My hypothesis is that there was something gravely disordered in the communion within our monastic community.​

Whilst I expect that some men in the monastic community will leave during the course of their postulancy and noviciate or at the end of their period of temporary vows, I do not expect men to leave in significant numbers after Solemn Vows.​ At the time of my election nine men in a community of 92 were living away from the community and its works and others have left subsequently: why?

Needless to say, I cannot give a clear answer to the questions I have asked – but asking these questions led me to search for some understanding – and I would like to share the fruits of that search.

Perhaps naively I assumed that the unsettled state of the Church and of the world from the 1960s onwards was to blame for the problems I was seeing in the community.​ I also noted the increasing size of some communities which returned to the structures and practices of the 1950s.​ I wondered whether the Second Vatican Council might be part of the problem.​ But then I started analysing the data in my own community.

I have to tell you that I can now trace the sexual abuse of minors by members of our community back to monks who were professed in the 1920s.​ I have met with and listened to some of the survivors of abuse who were abused by members of the community in the early 1950s.​ The sexual abuse of minors in my community is not a post-Vatican II phenomenon.

I have researched the departure of men in Solemn Vows from our community since 1885.​ Only 5 monks left from Solemn Vows between 1885 and 1940.​ Then a change occurred and men started leaving after Solemn Vows.​My analysis shows that the largest percentage of departures was from monks who made their Solemn Profession in the decade 1951-60.​ One third of monks making Solemn Profession in this decade eventually left monastic life.​My hypothesis is, therefore, that there was something wrong in monastic life in England, perhaps in the West, before the Second Vatican Council.​ This was a controversial hypothesis in my own community where the 1950s were regarded by many older brethren as the golden years from which we have now fallen away.

In this context it is helpful to read the four volumes of the Congressus Generalis de Statibus Perfectionis (First General Congress of the States of Perfection), which was held in1950.​ This Congress considering Religious Life describes many of the issues which are by convention associated with the years following the Second Vatican Council.​ By way of a few examples it describes the intrusion of the world into the cloister and into the cell, the refusal by religious to account for the expenditure of money, and a personalist account of obedience in which the superior has to earn the respect of the monk or nun before obedience to instructions follows.​I suggest that the General Congress of 1950 makes it clear that religious life in the Catholic Church was already in ferment in the 1940s: in this respect my own community was simply part of a more widespread picture.


It is interesting that Dom Cuthbert says that he has considering

1. The abuse of children by priest monks.

2. The departure of monks with solemn vows.

The day after his election four monks were arrested.

And it’s interesting that he points out the problems of the 1940s and 1950s rather the 1960s.



It is now 78 days, over 11 weeks since Purcelk was reported to his abbot general, Father Imnediate and Phonsie.


This is the RCC way.

Jesus wept!


Catholic boarding school at the centre of a child sex abuse scandal is banned from taking new pupils as it’s accused of failing to safeguard and ‘promote the welfare of students’


By Sarah Harris for the Daily Mail 28.11.20

Enforcement action against Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire launched 

School was accused of failing to safeguard and ‘promote the welfare of pupils’ 

Ampleforth last night attacked decision as ‘unjustified’ and said it would appeal 

A leading Catholic boarding school at the centre of a child sex abuse scandal has been banned from taking new pupils.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday launched enforcement action against Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire.

The school, which charges £36,486 a year for boarders, has been accused of failing to safeguard and ‘promote the welfare of pupils’ and will be prevented from taking new pupils from December 29.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday launched enforcement action against Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire.

Ampleforth last night attacked the decision as ‘unjustified’ and said it would appeal.

The Independent Schools Inspectorate visited the school in March 2018 and found a ‘number’ of independent school standards (ISS) were not being met.

Ampleforth College, which boasts alumni including actor Rupert Everett and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, submitted an action plan – which was rejected by Mr Williamson.

Ampleforth College, which boasts alumni including actor Rupert Everett and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, submitted an action plan – which was rejected by Mr Williamson (pictured)

Ofsted carried out an ’emergency inspection’ in September, which found failings around the ‘welfare, health and safety of pupils’, the safeguarding of boarders and the ‘quality of leadership’.

Eton will hold a review into its practices and culture after a senior teacher was this week found guilty of sexually abusing four boys.

Headmaster Simon Henderson yesterday expressed his ‘unreserved apologies’ to the victims in a letter – and his regret that the culprit had not been caught sooner.

Former teacher Matthew Mowbray is facing jail after he preyed on the boys in their bedrooms at the £42,000-a-year boarding school. Mowbray will be sentenced at a later date.   

The enforcement document said ‘the St Laurence Education Trust, the proprietor of Ampleforth College, is required to cease to admit any new students to that school, and this relevant restriction shall apply immediately after the expiration of the 28-day period for making an appeal’.

An accompanying letter said Mr Williamson considered the failings to be ‘very serious’.
It added that the school has ‘shown some willingness to improve and has made some progress since March 2018’ – but said it ‘has been too slow’ and ‘insufficient’. 

‘Pervert’, 29, is accused of touching a 13-year-old girl on a Bondi bus and making inappropriate comments in front of shocked commuters

Two weeks ago, Ampleforth was heavily criticised for its response to claims of sexual abuse over a number of years carried out by some of its Benedictine monks.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse highlighted that five individuals – mostly monks – connected to Ampleforth have been convicted or cautioned in relation to offences involving sexual activity with children or pornography.

The report claimed Abbot Timothy Wright, who was in charge of the college from 1997 to 2005, had ‘an immovable attitude to allegations of child sexual abuse’.

A school spokesman said last night: ‘We will be appealing this on the basis that we believe, and have been advised, that it is unjustified and based on incorrect information.’


“The Gay Community” – Gregory Collins OSB


Visitor Brendan Coffey




Priest jailed for theft blames Catholic doctrine, also facing sex abuse charges

JD Flynn

November 27, 2020 at 10:32 am

Denver Newsroom, Nov 25, 2020 / 12:20 pm MT (CNA).-

A South Dakota priest has been sentenced to almost eight years in federal prison, after he was convicted of 65 felonies related to stealing donations from Catholic parishes.

Ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution, the priest said he stole in part because he disagrees with Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.

The priest is also facing federal criminal charges related to child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.

Fr. Marcin Garbacz, 42, (pictured above: photo courtesy of the Diocese of Rapid City) was convicted in March of wire fraud, money laundering, and tax fraud — crimes he committed while serving as a chaplain and Catholic school teacher in the Diocese of Rapid City, between 2012 and 2018.

Garbacz was ordained a priest in 2004.

Prosecutors said the priest stole more than $250,000 from parishes, spending some money on artwork, a piano, a Cadillac, liturgical items, and a $10,000 diamond ring.

In 2019, the priest was arrested at Seattle’s airport, shortly before boarding a flight to his native Poland, for which he had purchased a one-way ticket. He had more than $10,000 in cash in his possession, along with several chalices, diamonds, icons, pens, an expensive watch, along with cufflinks and other jewelery items.

He had withdrawn more than $50,000 from his bank account before the flight, according to court records.

According to prosecutors, the priest snuck into Rapid City parishes in the middle of the night to steal cash donations after Sunday Masses. He replaced the tamper-proof bags in which the cash was stored with new ones he’d purchased online, and told people that his mother sent him money each month. When he bought expensive chalices and other liturgical items, he told people they were gifts, and had false inscriptions engraved upon them as proof.

Before he was arrested, Garbacz had been suspended from ministry, apparently after he was caught stealing roughly $620 from a parish in 2018, and was convicted of misdemeanor petty theft. He was sent by the diocese for six months to a residential treatment program, but left early and then worked as a FedEx driver in Washington.

He reportedly attempted to flee after becoming aware of the federal investigation against him.

At his sentencing Monday, Garbacz apologized to parishioners, and said he was angry with the Diocese of Rapid City and the Catholic Church. According to the Rapid City Journal, the priest said he was upset that Catholic doctrine considers homosexuality to be “intrinsically disordered.”

Garbacz, the Rapid City Journal reported, identifies as gay, and claims he was treated as a “second-class citizen” because of his dissent on the Church’s moral teachings.

After Garbacz was sentenced, the Diocese of Rapid City told CNA that “The diocese trusts in the judicial system and appreciates its dedication in making sure that justice is served in this case.”

Garbacz is also facing charges related to child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.

He has been indicted on sex federal charges, and is alleged to have engaged in sexual conduct with someone a boy under the age of 18 while in 2011 traveling in a foreign country. An FBI agent also discovered, while searching a thumb drive during the financial crimes investigation, that the priest was in possession of child pornography. At least one pornographic video involving a minor appears to have been produced by Garbacz, according to the Rapid City Journal.

It is not yet clear what canonical charges the priest is facing, or if he is expected to be laicized.



1. Why has the announcement that Dom Elijah has been appointed as prior of Silverstream been removed from the Silverstream website?

2. Is all not well between Kirby and Elijah?

3. Is the honeymoon over?

4. Why is Kirby’s personal blog still linked to the Silverstream site?



The RC Church is in serious and swift decline.

There are obviously all kinds of cultural and social reasons for this decline.

But there is one big contributory factor to the decline.

And that is the homosexualisation of the priesthood.

And I don’t mean there are more gay priests.

I mean that more gay priests have no morals and standards and are turning the priesthood into a global gay sauna and knocking shop.

And that takes money – church money – old ladies money.



(Including information from a Silverstream inside source)

It will take Silverstream a long time to recover from the KIRBY SCANDAL – if it ever recovers.

As long as Kirby stays in Silverstream his presence will cast a dark shadow over the place.

We were told that Kirby has come back as an ordinary monk with no authority.

Kirby’s ego and neurosis is so big Silverstream never be a healthy place as long as he lingers there.

He can’t be very happy as the founder and former prior living as a good soldier?

And the new prior, Elijah, is not the brightest or strongest button on the shirt and I imagine Old Kirby will be manipulating him and pulling his strings.

Kirby has had a very varied and questionable past and seems to never have come to terms with his homosexuality.

He tells people he had sex with a woman ONCE to prove he was not gay!!!

He always seems to have needed a young man as a “companion”!

Not that Father Benedict has exposed Kirby’s sexual harrassnent of him the world and it’s mother knows that Kirby is dodgy.

And then of course, there is the big drawer of cash in Kirby’s desk, the spending spree and the un-built church.

And, as for Jesus talking to him from the tabernacle?

If Jesus did speak to him he would say: “Stop harrassing my young monks”.



I’m sure abbots Purcell and Coffey wish they had never heard tell of Silverstream and Kirby?

Since the beginning of the visitation Purcell has been exposed as a sexually homosexual abbot and his neck is on the line.


Brendan Coffey has been shown to be totally incompetent and his monastery, Glenstal, has been exposed as a disaster zone in so many ways.

The Garda and the Charity Regulator are to report on Silverstream.

Silverstream now has an international reputation for homosexual harassment and financial problems.

Silverstream will not last.




Rembert George Weakland OSB (born April 2, 1927) is

Rembert George Weakland OSB (born April 2nd 1927 is an American Benedictine monk who served as Archbishop of Milwaukee from 1977 to 2002. Shortly before his mandatory retirement at the age of 75, it was revealed in the press that Weakland had conducted a sexual relationship with a male associate, Paul Marcoux, several decades before, and that the diocese had paid $450,000 to Marcoux to settle litigation arising from the affair

Paul Marcoux

Sexual abuse scandal

Further information: Sexual abuse scandal in Catholic archdiocese of Milwaukee

In 1984, Weakland responded to teachers in a Catholic school who were reporting sexual abuse by local priests by stating “any libelous material found in your letter will be scrutinized carefully by our lawyers.”[citation needed] The Wisconsin Court of Appeals rebuked him for this, calling his remarks “abrupt” and “insensitive”.In 1994, Weakland said those reporting sexual abuse were “squealing”. He later apologized for the remarks.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a deposition released in 2009 revealed that Weakland shredded reports about sexual abuse by priests. Weakland admitted allowing priests guilty of child sex abuse to continue as priests without warning parishioners or alerting the police.Weakland stated in his autobiography that in the early years of the sexual abuse scandal he did not understand that child sexual abuse was a crime

Retirement and scandal

Weakland retired on May 24, 2002, at the mandatory retirement age of 75. His retirement was overshadowed by revelations that he paid $450,000 of diocesan funds to prevent a lawsuit.Weakland stepped down soon after it was revealed that the diocese had paid $450,000 to Paul Marcoux, a former Marquette University theology student, to settle a claim he made against the archbishop more than two decades earlier stemming from a long-term relationship with Weakland. Weakland admitted to the affair and apologized after the story broke.He came out as gay in 2009, disclosing his sexuality in his memoir A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop.
Since his retirement, Weakland has twice been invited to move to Benedictine abbeys in the United States, but both invitations were eventually rescinded.

Removal of name from Archdiocese of Milwaukee

In March 2019, it was announced that Weakland, along with former archbishop William Cousins, would have his name removed from buildings in the archdiocese in response to his poor handling of sex abuse cases. The Weakland Center, which houses parish offices and outreach initiatives, was renamed on March 22, 2019.


Some comments submitted yesterday:


I am continuing to receive comments about Glenstal and some members of the community that give credence to Gregory Collins’ assertion that Glenstal is a gay community.

Someone with pubic lice?

Several with “lovers”?

Someone too fond of cameras?

Is Glenstal a posh guest house for mature gay men?

And on the more global scale – is the Benedictine order a mainly gay order?

As my Dad used to say:

“God be with the days when men were men and pansy was the name of a flower” 🤐


The preparation of the Roman case re Richard Purcell is nearing completion and will be lodged in the coming days.



Abbot Cuthbert Madden.

CNA Staff August 26, 2020

The Vatican has ruled that the abbot of Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire, England, should not return to his community, four years after he stepped aside during an investigation into allegations against him.

Fr Gabriel Everitt, the abbey’s prior administrator, announced the Holy See’s decision concerning Fr Cuthbert Madden in a letter to the Ampleforth Society, a 16,000-strong group with ties to the Benedictine monastery.

“The Holy See has studied the case carefully, including the external scrutiny of Ampleforth and the fact that Fr Cuthbert’s mandate as Abbot expires in January 2021,” Everitt wrote.

“It does not support his return to Ampleforth as Abbot or as a resident member of the community but wishes him to be free to live in a Benedictine community of his choice with the consent of the host Abbot.”

The ruling was reported by the British Catholic weekly The Tablet on August 25.
Madden was first elected abbot in 2005, then re-elected in 2013 for a second eight-year term. He stepped aside in August 2016 after allegations of indecent assault were lodged against him, while strenuously denying the claims.

North Yorkshire Police investigated the allegations, concluding their inquiries in November 2016. They brought no charges against Madden.

His case was then examined by the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service Review Panel which did not find any sexual misconduct.

The Vatican had delegated the authority to reinstate Madden as abbot to Fr Christopher Jamison, Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation. Jamison decided that he could not reinstate Madden and referred the case back to the Holy See.
Madden sought to challenge the decision at the UK’s High Court, but his claims were struck out in January this year after a two-day hearing.

Everitt wrote: “The Holy See has now concluded its review of Fr Cuthbert Madden’s case and has tried to respect the rights of all those involved. They observe that Fr Cuthbert has not committed any canonical delict nor been convicted of any civil crime and that while sanctions were not imposed, restrictions were appropriate as part of normal safeguarding procedures. Those restrictions will now be reviewed.”

He said that Jamison was helping to facilitate Madden’s move to another Benedictine community of his choice. He also announced that the election of a new abbot of Ampleforth would take place in 2021.

A spokesperson for Ampleforth Abbey said: “The Holy See has concluded its review of Fr Cuthbert Madden’s case, referred to it by the Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation. It noted that, while it was appropriate to impose restrictions as part of normal safeguarding procedures, Fr Cuthbert has not committed any canonical delict nor been convicted of any civil crime.”

“These restrictions, in line with standard practice, will now be reviewed. Fr Cuthbert sought a review of the process through the English courts who decided that his claims could not go to trial.”

Fr Christopher Jamison, Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation, said: “I am pleased that this matter has been concluded and that Ampleforth can now prepare for the election of a new abbot.”

CNA was unable to reach Madden for comment.

Ampleforth Abbey, founded in 1802, is one of Britain’s best-known monastic communities. Its former abbots include Cardinal Basil Hume, who served as Archbishop of Westminster from 1976 to 1999.

Ampleforth College, an independent school also established in 1802, has produced notable alumni such as Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, Rugby World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio, and actors Rupert Everett and James Norton.

The school was the subject of a highly critical report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in 2018.

Concluding his letter to Ampleforth Society members, Everitt wrote: “At this time, I ask you to remember in your prayers all concerned and to pray for victims and survivors of abuse. Fr Cuthbert would like me to pass on his thanks to you all for your past and continued support of the work of the Abbey and he assures you of his continued prayers.”

“We will now prepare for the abbatial election in January 2021 and I ask for your prayers for Ampleforth as we look to the future.”


Worth Abbey


Worth Abbey and Worth School were initially created as the preparatory school for Downside. In 1995, Father Andrew Brenninkmeyer was suspended following complaints that he had sexually abused other monks, including Father Jonathan Monckton, who left the monastery in 1987 after no action was taken against Father Brenninkmeyer. Father Moncton was not the only complainant.

In 2001, Father John Bolton was suspended for hugging a boy inappropriately. Father John died on 26 June 2013.The headmaster at the time was Father Christopher Jamison, who is currently Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation.

On 5 June 2018, the IICSA determined that its case study of the English Benedictine Congregation would not include Worth School and Abbey because the evidence in regard of Downside and Ampleforth is sufficient to address the English Benedictine Congregation.


This is the most confusing and worrying case.

Abbot Madden was cleared by the police and by a church investigation and yet he is sentenced to not being allowed back to his abbacy and has to move to a new monastery if the abbot there accepts him!

Is this not a case of sentencing a man who has been found not guilty?

Abbot General Jamieson played a big role in allowing Father Andrew Brenninkmeyer to be missing from Worth for a long time when he was in charge of Worth.



None other than our own tainted Brendan Coffey of tainted Glenstal!!!

Coffey, the Great Inquisitor of Silverstream was appointed the Visitor of Ampleforth in 2018!

Friends and supporters of Abbot Madden are very angry with Coffey.

Purcell Protector Coffey!




Ten abuse allegations made against six Glenstal monks

Four no longer there, one falsely accused, one under supervision, one dead, watchdog says

In general the Benedictine Community in Glenstal Abbey has managed the concerns that have arisen well, the review found. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

Patsy McGarry


Ten allegations of child abuse have been made against six Benedictine monks at Glenstal Abbey in Co Limerick since January 1st, 1975.

The National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) review said that the Benedictine community at Glenstal Abbey “is made up of 27 priests, 10 professed brothers (all of whom have taken solemn vows), and one brother who has taken temporary vows. All of these men irrespective of age or status are referred to as ‘monks’.”

It noted that of the six accused monks “two are deceased”, one of whom had admitted the abuse and was sent for treatment. He was removed from monastic life/the clerical state by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 2007. The allegation against the second monk was received long after his death and its veracity could not be established.

Of the remaining four accused monks, two had left the Benedictines and Glenstal. One eventually admitted abusing a student at the school there 14 years previously. He too had been removed from monastic life/the clerical state by the CDF.

In his case the Abbot had informed the Garda and HSE “in timely fashion” but “there was a delay in the Abbot informing the Board of Management of the Glenstal Abbey School of the allegation received about the monk who had been a member of staff of the school.”

It was alleged the second of these two monks, who has also left Glenstal, “abused an adolescent boy during a work trip abroad”. He has been since granted leave from his vows by Rome and his whereabouts are not known. He is not in Ireland.

The remaining two cases involved monks still at Glenstal. The NBSC review found that “in the case of one of these, the allegations made by a third party have been found to have no basis in fact and appear to have been completely malicious. No complainant has been identified”.

The review continued “it has been an event of great consequence for this monk to have been the victim of a malicious allegation and the reviewers believe that he has suffered a grave injustice as a result of the actions of the third party reporter”.

It said “the sixth monk about whom child safeguarding concerns arose is retired. The matters complained of happened in another jurisdiction almost 45 years ago and have been fully investigated by the civil authorities there and full information has been shared with the An Garda Síochána and HSE in Ireland.” He “is subject to a supervision contract which restricts his movements and activities,” the review found.

In all instances appropriate outreach was made to those making the allegations where that was possible and relevant.

“In general”, the review said, “the Benedictine Community in Glenstal Abbey has managed the concerns that have arisen well and there is no evidence that any child was placed at risk due to any inaction on the part of the various abbots involved”.

It pointed out that the Benedictines had given “particular attention to making their Glenstal Abbey School a safe place for the children and young people.” It described the Safeguarding Team at Glenstal Abbey, comprised of the abbot, the prior, the school headmaster and the designated person, as “an active and effective group that had responsibility for developing and publishing the excellent Glenstal Abbey Safeguarding Children Policies & Procedures 2013 document.”

Confessions of a skeptic Blog

Monday, 16 January 2012

Brother Anselm

The Times has more on Michael Hurt, also known as Brother Anselm.

He taught at Downside during the 1960s but left the order because of “conflict” and worked in adult education in Liverpool before moving to Ireland. In 1996 he rejoined the Benedictines and was accepted at Glenstal as a novice.

He was cautioned by officers from Avon & Somerset Constabulary during an 18-month investigation into Downside. While a police caution does not amount to a conviction, by accepting it, a person acknowledges the offence.

Brother Martin Browne of Glenstal Abbey said: “The allegation for which Br Anselm was cautioned by UK police dates back more than forty years. It is a matter of public record (from many media appearances over the years) that Br Anselm left Downside Abbey in 1970, and was laicised. Many years later, having settled in Ireland, he began monastic life again, entering Glenstal as a novice in 1996.

It is understood that Hurt gave up his role in a chess club for young people after accepting the caution. Fr Bellenger did not name Hurt in his weekend letter to past pupils but referred to “a monk who left this country many years ago” receiving “a formal police caution for the abuse of a pupil during his time at Downside in the 1960s”.

Brother Anselm ran the Glenstal kitchens, feeding 40 monks and their guests with such panache that he published Brother Anselm’s Glenstal Cookbook to acclaim in 2009. The 65 recipes cover traditional dishes such as kedgeree, treacle tart and curries, with illustrations of monks at work and rest.

Brother Anselm and [his brother] John Hurt, star of the Elephant Man and the Harry Potter films, attracted a huge audience when they appeared together as guests on Irish television’s Late Late Show. British TV viewers saw them together on Who Do You Think You Are? when the pair, sons of an Anglican clergyman, investigated their possible Irish roots.

So, let me see if I understand this.

Michael Hurt rejoined the Benedictines in 1996, at Glenstal Abbey. Downside either wasn’t asked about or didn’t disclose his past abuses, and neither did Hurt himself.

Glenstal Abbey has a school attached. Until the police came calling Hurt had access to children. There was lots of publicity about Hurt’s presence at Glenstal and still Downside kept schtumm, and didn’t even slip a quiet warning to Glenstal about Hurt’s past and suggest that he might be best kept away from children.

It seems to me that Downside has been wholly concerned about its own reputation, and wasn’t even prepared to mention a problem to fellow-Benedictines.

I’m not sure what is the word to describe such behaviour, but I don’t think “Christian” comes anywhere near it.

Jonathan West at 14:49


Anonymous18 January 2012 at 20:38

I am Michael Hurt’s ex-wife. I discovered papers in the 1980s (when I was divorcing him) which revealed that he had been exclaustrated in 1969 or there a bouts, following his sexual abuse of a pupil. The monastery did not take it to the police as ‘the parents didn’t wish to’!!! he was placed on the DES ‘blacklist’ and sent to Oxford (which was full of Downside alumni!) He applied for laicisation in 1970/1 and they couldn’t get shut quick enough! He then entered his first marriage. I was his second wife. Once I knew about the abuse I did everything I could to bring it to light and have someone act upon it most particularly as he was fighting me for custody of our children. I have never suffered such hate and abuse directed at me. I was called a liar and a bitter and twisted soul.

Anonymous19 January 2012 at 06:58

12.38 – thank you for your posting.

I cannot imagine the impact of discovering that a husband or wife is a paedophile.

You may find this Spectator article about the convicted ‘establishment’ paedophile Roger Took helpful. Took’s wife Pat Cleary spoke out because the media was so disinclined to report his trial.

She explained this when she was interviewed by Woman’s Hour. The effects of the discovery and its impact on her family are clear.


Anonymous19 January 2012 at 19:22

Roger Took
I see the Spectator article has been made unavailable for instant connection – I read it and it was the most horrible thing I have ever seen. I am not suggesting that it shouldn’t be read, but that most of us have no idea how terrifying these monsters can behave. Awful as it is, Jonathan, please continue.

Anonymous19 January 2012 at 20:28

So that we all get it – here are pictures of the establishment paedophile Mr Roger Took before his conviction.

Do we all now recognise the features of a pederast?


So perhaps it is clearer why robust procedures are needed to protect children.

Anonymous11 February 2012 at 17:23

I was a pupil at Glenstal for six years in the late 90’s. I came into contact with Br Anselm on a regular basis and he seemed to be a wonderful man. He loved the monastry and in my time there I never heard any negative comments made by monks, staff or students. Children are cruel, particularly in a boarding school environment, and if his behaviour had ever been inappropriate the whole school would have known, including the parents, and he would have been hounded out. While his “secret” past is certainly cause for concern, I think it is important to remember that people can change and that forgiveness is the backbone of the Catholic religion. Perhaps a little more of this article could have been dedicated to the more positive aspects of his life as supposed to allegations made 40 years ago.

Also, what’s all this about the parents not wanting to prosecute? Seems very unlikely that the police would listen to such a request unless there was some doubt over the allegations themselves.

Anonymous11 August 2015 at 17:53

I too was at Glenstal and like you I never came across any inappropriate behaviour. I too was pretty confident that I would have heard about it if it had been occurring. I read on line in the Irish times May 12th 2014 link here that there were other cases of abuse in Glenstal and I was amazed. Shows how wrong one can be.

It is obvious that Paedophiles thrive because of silence and children’s fear of speaking out. For that reason alone it is important to discuss their modus operandi even if it is 40 years since they were last caught! I am not suggesting that we should not forgive but that must not be at the expense of protecting children from their like in the future. We can learn from the past.

IMOP Downside had a duty of care to alert Glenstal that this monk had previously abused those in his care. The monk in question should also have “come clean” before he joined Glenstal. Perhaps he did and Glenstal chose to say nothing accepting that he was “no further risk”. We shall never know as I doubt anyone in authority would admit to that now. Glenstal should have made enquiries from Downside as to why this monk had previously left the order. That would seem like an elemental, prudent and very obvious step to take with any person’s application to re-join any organisation they had previously been a member of, particularly that of a Christian Monk, normally considered a commitment for life . At worst I wonder if such enquiries were made and the results ignored? I do hope not. Either way there was an obvious failure in care. I know tennis clubs that vet potential members more thoroughly!

As to your comment that “Also, what’s all this about the parents not wanting to prosecute? Seems very unlikely that the police would listen to such a request unless there was some doubt over the allegations themselves.” Doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Firstly the monk, (Anslem) from what I understand, does not deny the charges and did not deny them at the time either so he was guilty of the accusation therefore a prosecution would probably have been successful. Forty years later he “took a caution” which apparently means you admit the offence took place. Secondly the church was held in a higher reverence and even some fear, 40 years ago, indeed even 15 years ago, than it is today. It is quite probable that if the headmaster of Downside suggested to the parents that “they had everything in hand” and that pressing charges was not necessary “and may cause more pain for the boy”, (their son still wished to school there I assume), then it is quite logical to assume, given the times that were in it, that neither the parents or the police would wish to go against that suggestion. Indeed they may all well have breathed a sigh of relief that the matter was over and dealt with so quickly. The monk was gone, the boy could get on with his studies, and the police could go and catch “real criminals”. Look how many times we have discovered it happened with other members of the clergy in the intervening and prior years that we now know of! Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?

Fair play to all11 December 2017 at 12:01

The evidence given my Dom Charles Fitzgerald-Lombard to the Child Abuse Inquiry on 8th December suggests that Downside did tell Glenstal all about Michael Hurt when he wa seeking admission there in the 1990s


Jonathan West13 December 2017 at 11:43

Well, the information obviously wasn’t clear enough for Glenstal to ensure Anselm realised what they were dealing with and to keep him away from children. When the police came calling he was involved in the school chess club.

Anonymous10 August 2018 at 16:23

I was the person that made the comment above dated: “Anonymous 11 August 2015 at 17:53”
This week the report by the UK’s “Independent inquiry child sexual abuse” on “Ampleforth and Downside Investigation Report August 2018” was published. See here:
There are two interesting points in this report that shed light on what Glenstal knew or did not know about Anslem/Michael Hurt.

Point 1. : Abbott Christopher Dillon of Glenstal was in communication with the Abbot of Downside about Anslem’s application and that he WAS told why Anslem Hurt was made leave Downside.

From the report:
“44. In 1994, around 20 years after the ban had been lifted, Hurt went to Glenstal Abbey. Glenstal Abbey is in Ireland and, although it is a Benedictine Monastery, it is not a member of the English Benedictine Congregation. By this stage the abbot of Downside was Charles Fitzgerald-Lombard, who told us that he understood that Anselm Hurt had applied to go there as a ‘lay brother’, having unsuccessfully made the same request of Downside in 1992. Dom Charles Fitzgerald-Lombard told us that when the abbot of Glenstal, Abbot Christopher Dillon, asked him for information about Hurt, he had sent him a copy of Dom Aelred’s letter from January 1970, which reported Hurt to the DES. He also sent some more recent notes dated 14 March 1994, which referred to the ban on employment imposed by the Ministry of Education, although stated he could not find a copy of the ban itself.
45. On 18 March 1994, Abbot Dillon wrote to Abbot Charles and thanked him for ‘digging in the past’. He said ‘[i]t makes painful reading and I shall destroy what is specifically damaging to Anselm, as some recent document from Rome recommends’. Neither Dom Charles nor Dom Richard could remember seeing such a document from Rome, but Dom Charles told us that he presumed it was advice from the Congregation of Religious in Rome. Dom Charles told us that in his view this was appropriate because the document he had sent to Abbot Dillon was a copy. He accepted that by today’s standards, particularly in relation to an original document, such advice would seem unacceptable. Similarly, Dom Richard Yeo told us that it would not be appropriate to recommend the destruction of documents.
46. Two years later, in 1996, Abbot Dillon informed Abbot Charles that the abbey was likely to receive Hurt as a quasi-novice with a view to full membership of its community. Abbot Charles was asked whether he thought this was appropriate and said that ‘for a sinner to repent is always something that we applaud’.
48. On 11 April 2001, Abbot Richard wrote to Abbot Dillon of Glenstal Abbey saying that he had no difficulty with Abbot Dillon’s decision to support Anselm Hurt’s request to be allowed to exercise his priestly ministry. In his evidence to us, however, Dom Richard accepted that it was not right to support Anselm Hurt’s return to the priesthood, and told us that he would not write the same letter today. He said that when he had written it he thought that the offence was ‘ancient history’ and, like Dom Charles, felt it was good that a person who had left the monastery should return. He agreed that he did not take account of the ‘safeguarding implications’ of this

Anonymous10 August 2018 at 16:25

Continuation of above post:
51. In March 2011, the police investigated RC-A216’s complaint. RC-A216 stated that he had been too drunk to consent to anything. The police interviewed Anselm Hurt. He admitted supplying home-brew to RC-A216 and that mutual masturbation had taken place. He accepted a police caution, which resulted in his being placed on the Sex Offenders Register.”
Through worldly retrospectacles the decision to ignore Anslem’s past seems now like a poor one made by Abbott Dillon; a decision heavily influenced, I surmise, (having known the man and having always found him to be intelligent and kind), on a Christian’s faith in man’s ability to reform and the Christian’s duty to forgive. What I find less easy to square is a comment made in The Irish Independent 14th January 2012 when the story about Br Anslem was in the news:
“…The current headmaster at Glenstal, Brother Martin Browne, said last night that Glenstal operated totally independently of Downside and had not become aware until last February that an allegation had been made against Brother Anselm…”
Really? That’s simply not true according to this week’s report

The second point is that the report seems to reinforce my suggestion that a reason for non-prosecution at the time of Anslems’ offence may be that the parents did not wish to make a formal charge: From the report:

“…32. The Department of Education and Science (DES) replied to Fr Aelred Watkin on 9 February 1970. They said that a report to the police was expected in all cases in which there appeared to have been a sexual offence against a child and asked if there were any reasons why Fr Aelred thought it inadvisable to inform the police. Fr Aelred wrote to DES on 11 February 1970 and told them that it had not been thought necessary to report the matter to the police because:
i. RC-A216’s parents ‘were not anxious for this course’
ii. Hurt had been sent away immediately
iii. given RC-A216’s age, ‘a certain element of possible willing participation cannot be excluded’
The DES wrote back, noting the reasons given and stated that they did not want to press the matter of reporting to the police any further.”


It is good that Glenstal was given some credit for its general safeguarding procedures.


I do find it strange that a man who was exclaustrated and laicised by the Vatican, placed on the sex offender’s register after being cautioned by the police, and who went on to have two marriages and divorces was taken into Glenstal as a monk.

We are assured that he has never acted inappropriately in the Glenstal school – even though they did put him in charge of the school chess club AFTER Downside had told them all about his past.

In the comments section above one former pupil has said he associated with Anselm in the school.

Professionally such a person should never be accepted in a monastery – especially one with a boy’s school on the campus.

Two questions arise:

1. Did Brother Anselm come with a large dowry?

2. Why does Glenstal think it can do differently than other organisations, corporations and bodies?


The accusations against this innocent monk were appealing.

The accuser should have felt the full force of the law.


Another famous alumni of Glenstal is the former Abbot of the Dormition monastery in Jerusalem who put the monastery and its monks in danger of attack by a Palestinian family.

He made a new career for himself as a COE victory.


Brendan Coffey has a part time job as a VISITATION INSPECTOR of other monasteries like Ampleforth and Silverstream.

He might be better staying at home in Glenstal and keeping his own house in order?

He seems to have rescued MARK KIRBY and put him back in Silverstream while playing a major role in the banishment and impoverishment of the innocent whistle blower monk.

Coffey has also become the ARCH DEFENDER of Abbot Richard Purcell of Mount Mellerary?

Is Cofffey the defender of the accused and the inquisitor of the victimised and truth tellers?

A few months ago I thought that the bad rot had set in among the secular priests.

I am now wondering if what goes on behind monastery walls worse???



Here are two emails from Brendan Coffey to Sarah regarding the Silverstream ill-treatment of the whistle blowing monk.

Read closely and you will see the Coffey tactic.

Going forward  

Brendan Coffey To “Sarah” 17 Oct, 2020, 6:26 am  

Dear Sarah,  

Many thanks for your email yesterday which I think has been a helpful development and a very positive sign. Let me begin by saying I absolutely accept your integrity and honesty in this matter, and I think our engagement might help bring about some improvement and perhaps a way forward in this sorry mess.  

Let me also make clear (as the media reports about Silverstream are all inaccurate) that there are two open investigations. The Charity Regulator is looking at the Priory’s finances. This investigation is almost complete, and they have only one point on which they are seeking further clarification and that relates to a matter of governance procedure, not missing money.  

The police are also looking into Dom Benedict’s complaint, I hope this will not take too much longer. The Canonical Visitation remains open, largely for practical reasons, but there is no ongoing canonical investigation either by the diocese or the Holy See. The Holy See is fully up to date on the present circumstances of Silverstream. The reports in the media suggesting ongoing canonical investigations are simply untrue. There is no possibility that Silverstream will be suppressed, this is all utter nonsense. I just wanted to make that clear. I am in complete agreement with you regarding Fr Benedict’s canonical rights and his current position as a member of the community. You will find that I will always uphold these rights for every member of the community, including Fr Benedict. I have in the past pointed out to Fr Benedict that with “rights” come “duties” and both are important.  

The recent media exposure and reports on this famous Blog have created a complete mess for everyone,  

Fr Benedict included, and it is mostly falsehoods making use of Fr Benedict’s complaints to damage Silverstream and the Catholic Church in general. I am willing to explore with you how we might go about correcting some of these slanderous errors.  

Incidentally, I think Fr Benedict is correct to be worried that the author of this Blog will eventually turn on him. This, unfortunately, appears to be his modus operandi. The author of this Blog would have no time for people like Fr Benedict, for what Fr Benedict believes and holds dear, or for anyone who follows the extraordinary form and would love nothing better than to bring everyone involved into disrepute.  

Let me begin with the feeling in the community of Silverstream. I know Fr Benedict will be reading this and I do not wish to be hurtful to him in what I say, but I need to point out that the community in Silverstream are absolutely furious with Fr Benedict for two reasons. 

 Firstly, they hold him personally responsible for bringing their monastery into disrepute and tarnishing their own reputations and personal integrity by depicting Silverstream as a den of iniquity. 

 Secondly, the use of the term “sexual abuse” in relation to Dom Mark they find unforgivable. They are united in this feeling and this is why they do not communicate with Dom Benedict – they do not want to. 

 This is the present reality I’m afraid and it has nothing to do with any general instruction from me or anyone else. There is a lot of anger and hurt and I think, given the circumstances, this is understandable.  

Your suggestion of a statement to clarify matters is worth exploring. I think Fr Benedict’s identity is already in the public domain, thanks to the contributors to that Blog and so identifying himself is not necessarily giving any new information away.  

I don’t think there is any need to mention that Fr Benedict is not standing for election. The fact is, there is no election and in those circumstances, I think that would appear pompous and rather silly and possibly detract from the rest of the statement. The important element is to clarify the nature of Fr Benedict’s complaint – and especially to clarify what the complaint is not about.  

Fr Benedict never suggested the monks of Silverstream were degenerate and sexually immoral and neither, as you rightly say, did he make a complaint of sexual abuse against Dom Mark.  

The complaint Fr Benedict made was one of financial impropriety, bad boundaries, inappropriate behaviour etc…. Sexual abuse, as you correctly infer, conjurs up a set of possibilities which are of a completely different order.  

I want to add here that I completely respect Fr Benedict’s right to make his complaint and he has every right to be heard and to have this complaint properly investigated. From what I have said here you will see that this is in process and the outcome will be whatever it will be. This is not the point, the point is the distortion, by others, of what Fr Benedict has said and the enormous damage this has caused to reputations and Silverstream Priory. In saying all of that, however,  

I do wish to point out that Fr Benedict has used the term, “sexual abuse” with us during the Visitation. He has used it to the Bishop and to other members of the Silverstream Community. When he explains the content of his complaint it is clear what he intends, but he does need to be more precise in his use of language and terminology to avoid causing misunderstanding and these misleading reports.  

Like you I was inclined to believe an exclaustration of some kind might find a way forward for us, but I found Fr Benedict resistant to this idea when I suggested it. The pandemic is certainly a complicating factor and I do, of course, understand this. So, how can we move this forward.  

I suggest you work on some statement with Fr Benedict. It would need to be very short, because, as we know the media have a habit of editing what is said – sometimes to make it say something else. We will need to think long and hard about the desirability of this statement and the timing, as we don’t want to make things worse. The media advisors of the Diocese will be able to offer advice regarding these elements.  

Above all, it needs to be clear that this is something Fr Benedict wishes to do himself and that it was not suggested or mandated in any way by me or the Bishop. I think this may be a helpful first step.  

There is one other matter and you can speak with Fr Benedict about it and get back to me. Fr Benedict has in his possession a document in French (which has been shared with the Visitation, Diocese and authorities) written by Dom Mark. It is the story of much of Dom Mark’s life. Much of the content of this document already appeared in abbreviated form on the Blog. It tells how Dom Mark was abused as a child, how he struggled with this for much of his life, how he engaged in therapy for an extended period, lost his way in life several times, before eventually getting his life together before he moved to Tulsa and then to Silverstream.  

The document doesn’t really deal with the period of Dom Mark’s life when he knew Fr Benedict and has no direct bearing on Fr Benedict’s complaint. In any case this document is in the possession of the Diocese and the authorities. 

My suggestion is that Fr Benedict should delete this document from his computer as it is inappropriate to hold this kind of material on another person.  

It was deeply wounding to Dom Mark to know that the entire world was reading about his sexual abuse as a child within his extended family. I think you will agree that this was unnecessary and very cruel. 

There has also been a concerted campaign on this Blog recently regarding Abbot Richard, my fellow Visitor. The vile things being said about him are often connected to the Visitation of Silverstream and these attacks only began after the Visitation. I’m not sure if this might also be addressed in some way? I am aware that Fr Benedict is at pains to point out that he did not directly cause any of this and I am willing to accept that, however, it is his material which created this disaster and he needs to take the lead in putting matters right. If this is agreeable, then we can discuss how we might move things forward for  

Fr Benedict. I should add that I am willing to accept now that Fr Benedict is engaging in good faith. I should also add, however, that the monks of Silverstream will need a lot more convincing than I, that this is so. The community has suffered much in recent weeks and their anger is understandable and reasonable. They are a completely innocent victim of all of this. An initial search for the missal you mentioned last evening wasn’t successful. However, in daylight and with more time I expect they will find it for you. Sarah, once again my thanks for your intervention in this most unpleasant business. My hope is that we will together be able to chart some way out of the mess which has been created, as this is to the mutual benefit of all. I will not be able to write such long emails with regularity, for obvious reasons. I hope now, if we are agreed, we can begin to move things forward, each working with our respective constituencies to a common goal. With thanks,  


Brendan Coffey OSB Abbot, Glenstal Abbey Murroe, CountyLimer4ick. 

Going forward  

Brendan Coffey To “Sarah” 19 Oct, 2020, 2:39 am  

Dear Sarah,  

Unfortunately, more material has appeared on the Blog this morning regarding Silverstream in a strange parallel to our communications. I made it clear from the outset that no fruitful engagement is possible between us if this “noise” continued on the Blog  

or in the media, regardless of its origin. Given this situation the only possible way forward I now see is to await the outcome of the civil investigations, which must be nearing their conclusion after so many months, and on foot of these findings take appropriate actions.  

Many thanks for your efforts to resolve these matters,  


Brendan Coffey OSB Abbot, Glenstal Abbey Murroe, County Limerick, V94 A725 Ireland 


I have a number of very pertinent questions for Brendan Coffey 

1.   Does asking someone to delete evidence from their hard drive not smack of the COVER UP for which the RCC is now infamous around the globe? 

2.   Do you believe that it is appropriate for a monk or abbot to be engaging in promiscuous sexual activity. 

3.   Can you comment on Dom Gregory Collins’ assertion that Glenstal is a GAY COMMUNITY? 

4.   What safeguarding practice allows a monk previously exclaustrated and laicized for safeguarding issues from another monastery be received by Glenstal as a religious and to be put in charge of the school chess club? 

5.   Is it your opinion that a prior who exposes his genitalia to his inferior monks, visits monk’s cells at ungodly hours and pays off an extortioner is NOT gulity of sexual abuse? 

6.   Is indecent exposure no longer a crime or a moral fault? 

7.   Is it not MARK KIRBY and not the whistle blower who has brought Silverstream into disrepute? 

8.   Why are you trying to elicit a statement from the whistle blower to get you all out of this mess that you all created? 

9.   Are you, Brendan Coffey, a fit person to be the safeguarding person for your global religious order. 

10.               If you are trying to cover up all this Silverstream stuff what else are you covering up? 

11.               Are you calling the Cistercian Abbot General a liar when he reveals Richard Purcell’s activities in Roscrea?  




Sarah is a very strange lady. She is a student of Canon Law and a member of the USA Canon Law Society.

She is the ex representative of the Silverstream whistle blower. Should a student be representing someone?

She is also very emotionally involved with the young monks of Silvdtstream.



Why would a priest or seminarian not report sexual harassment by a superior?

James Martin


James Martin, S.J.

Why would Catholic priests and seminarians be so reluctant to report allegations of sexual harassment or abuse from bishops, priests or religious superiors? This question has been raised repeatedly in the wake of the allegations against Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who on resigned from the College of Cardinals. McCarrick is accused of abusing a minor as well as sexually harassing seminarians and young priests.

Based on my own experiences and many conversations with clergy and members of religious orders over the years, let me suggest six interrelated reasons for this reluctance.

First, there is a fear of being labeled as a “complainer” or “troublemaker” by others in the diocese or religious order. Sometimes simply raising concerns about the actions of a person in power (a bishop, seminary rector, religious superior, teacher or older priest), let alone reporting actual abuse or harassment, is enough to lead some in the institution to critique or even attack a person for “rocking the boat.”

There is a reflexive desire to protect the reputation of the institution to which one belongs.

The most basic reason is a desire to avoid “scandal” in an institution to which people have committed themselves and in which they take great pride. (This is the case not only in the Catholic Church but in other religious organizations as well as secular organizations that have faced abuse cases, for example, Penn State.)

Any case of abuse and harassment, particularly when made public, worsens the reputation of the church, diocese, seminary or religious order and diminishes a person’s positive feelings about belonging to the institution. There is, therefore, a reflexive desire to protect the reputation of the institution to which one belongs. This reflex may be intensified in a person in any official capacity, who, in a sense, represents the institution to the outside world. Those in authority are therefore sometimes especially resistant to hearing bad news about the institution.

The victim may be told, “Just stay away from him.” Or, more simply, “Get over it.”

But there is a simpler reason for the reluctance among some to report abuse or harassment: They understand that for those in charge, it will mean more work—of the most difficult kind. If it is a crime, it means reporting the priest’s actions to civic authorities; if it is inappropriate (but not criminal) behavior, it still means doing many tasks that few people want to undertake, including confronting the abuser or harasser and perhaps removing him from active ministry.

All of this may lead to tacit feelings of “They will hate hearing this” among those who are harassed or abused.

Second, there is a fear of being told not to “take things so seriously.” Especially if the harassment has been continuing for years and is widely “known,” as it apparently was in the case of Theodore McCarrick, others who have been harassed or superiors who have known about it may wave it away or downplay it as something that “just happens.” Or the victim may be told, “Just stay away from him.” Or, more simply, “Get over it.”

Third, there is a fear of being dismissed when one reports it. Many years ago as a young Jesuit, I reported an incident of my being groped. (He had done this before to others.) One of my superiors responded, “I’m not hearing this from anyone else.” I told him, “You’re hearing it from me.” The priest in question was not removed from active ministry for several years.

Fourth, there is a fear of hostility from people with whom you work or, in some cases, live with. This is essential for people unfamiliar with the Catholic world of diocesan clergy and religious orders to understand. Unlike workplace harassment of the sort reported by those in #MeToo movement, priests and religious may not only work with but live with the people they are accusing. (In the case of a monastery, it might be someone you will live with your entire life: Monks take vows of “stability.”) Sometimes, victims of harassment or abuse also work and live with the religious authorities responsible for taking action—in a seminary, rectory, chancery or religious community.

Living under the same roof with your harasser or breaking bread with the person you are asking to confront the harassment can be tremendously stressful. Thus, the person being harassed may say to himself (or herself in the case of women religious), “It’s not worth it.”

Fifth, there is a fear of misplaced sympathy for the abuser or harasser. One may hear comments like this: “He’s done so much good work. Why are you focusing on this one thing?” Or: “This happened years ago. He’s an old man now and not doing anyone any harm. Why are you putting him through this?” Many abusers or harassers are narcissists and skilled at shifting the focus from the abuse or harassment they committed to how difficult their lives are in the wake of dealing with lawsuits or their removal from ministry. In other words: “Poor Father So-and-So.”

Sixth, there is a fear of the reaction from others who did not report the abuse or harassment in the past. Other priests, seminarians or religious who have been harassed (or even abused) and who have not spoken up may feel an intense mix of emotions that sometimes translates into anger at the one now reporting. (As psychologists tell us, that kind of anger is more easily directed outward than inward.) That is, if other priests, seminarians or religious have been abused or harassed, the one who reports it, or even speaks about it, raises uncomfortable questions about patterns of non-reporting.

Taken together, it is easy to see why some seminarians, priests and members of religious orders may be reluctant to come forward about harassment or even abuse at the hands of their diocesan or religious superiors, or other clerics in power. Most of this, as we see, is based on fear—fear within the institution and fear within the person.

Today, I am glad that many are beginning overcome that fear out of love for the church. Because, as the New Testament reminds us, perfect love drives out fear.


In certain ways younger priests, seminarians and monks can be vulnerable adults.

If the person using or abusing you is older or in a position of esteem or power over you.

I believe the Silverstream whistle blower has suffered a great injustice from:

Mark Kirby.

Brother Elijah

Tom Dennis Deenihan.

That injustice must be out right.