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.
Brendan Coffey To “Sarah” 17 Oct, 2020, 6:26 am
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.
Brendan Coffey To “Sarah” 19 Oct, 2020, 2:39 am
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?