30th October 2020
Dear Dom Eamon,
With deep regret, I write the following e-mail. However, not to do so would be an act of the gravest omission. It is my understanding that you are aware of some of the “issues” outlined, hereinafter. These pertain to the behaviour of Dom Richard Purcell, OCSO, the current Abbot and Ordinary of Mount Melleray Waterford, Waterford.
It is alleged that while as the Abbot and the Ordinary of Mount St. Joseph Abbey, the said Dom Richard Purcell, had consensual anal sex with a priest, who at that time was incardinated in the Diocese of Killaloe. This priest was considering a vocation to the Cistercian way of life at Roscrea. The said sexual act took place in the monastery guesthouse. As the Abbot General of the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance; you do not need me to elucidate that the alleged behaviour of Dom Richard Purcell is gravely at variance with to his solemn religious monastic profession; his priesthood, and the behaviour expected of any Cistercian Abbot.
The name of the ex-priest is known to the scriptor of the present. He has since left the priesthood; however, he did speak about the incident to another priest (in good standing) of the Diocese of Killaloe. The alleged incident is also known to Fr. Aelred Magee of Mount St. Joseph Abbey, and another ex-employee of the Abbey.
It is further alleged that Dom Richard Purcell, has consensual anal sex at so-called “The Boilerhouse”, which refers to itself in its promotional material as “Dublin’s most popular gay bar/club”. This sexual act was with an ex-seminarian, who was studying for the priesthood at Maynooth, who recognised Purcell at the “Abbot” who gave him a retreat while he was a student in Maynooth.
It is my understanding that you have been aware of some of these allegations since the 13th of September. But, it is clear to me you are not aware of the “totality of Purcell’s behaviour”, otherwise, you, as the Abbot General would not have confirmed him as the Abbot of Mount Melleray Abbey following his election by the community.
You are advised that a number of affidavits are currently being prepared that will outline the behaviour of Dom Richard Purcell. These affidavits will be reviewed by a senior counsel in Dublin, who is married to a woman whose cousin was a monk and priest of Mount Melleray Abbey. He is scandalised Purcell’s behaviour; so much so he is acting pro bono in this matter. He has given very clear advice about what steps need to be taken should legal proceedings be issued. He has also advised that this is a matter that needs to be referred to the civil authorities — should you as the Abbot General continue to be passive and permit Dom Richard Purcell to remain as Abbot of Mount Melleray. Nobody wishes to follow his advice. Nobody wishes to bring reputational harm to Mount Melleray Abbey and/or Mount St. Joseph Abbey with its College.
By these presents, I ask that you ring Mount Melleray Abbey and request/demand the immediate resignation of Dom Richard Purcell as Abbot and Ordinary of Mount Melleray Abbey. I request that you discuss these matters with the Father Immediate of Mount Melleray and ensure that an interim superior is appointed by no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon the 3rd of November. In the event that Dom Richard Purcell refuses to resign, I have been advised by an advocate of the Roman Rota – that you should immediately approach the competent Dicastery, the “Congregation for Religious”, and request an immediate Decree removing Purcell as Abbot having consulted your council.
In conclusion, I do not know Dom Richard Purcell; I have never met him; I have no animus towards him. In fact, in recent days, it has become clear to me that Dom Richard Purcell needs professional help; but under no circumstances can he be permitted to remain as the superior at the house of your monastic profession.
Respectfully, I remain,
Mr Hourigan has given the Abbot General and the Bishop of Waterford every opportunity to sort thir matter out internally.
They have failed to do that – for suspect reasons.
Why is Kilkaloe, Cashel and Waterford trying to protect Dickie Purse?
Why is Glenstal and Silverstream trying to protect him?
Is rhe wheel protecting an important cog that should it fail the wheel might cause a disaster?
The mind boggles!
We must now take the issue out of house.
I imagine Robert Hourigan will have something to add.