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???


An awful lot of fuss about Dom Richard Purcell. Question is, “was he worth it?” In other words, he must be quite a big boy to be so popular with so many bottoms!


@9.39am. I can attest that Rawhide has a big penis, but I wouldn’t categorise it as very big. It’s big, just big and very hard. He fucks like a man who has been storing his load for a good few days and needz to shoot it fast. It’s no nonsense fucking, bang bang bang and cummmmmmmmmmm. I had him in the Boiler House. Funny, Earl Collins, another regular in that establishment, was there the same night. But he’s a total bottom.


It’s not good enough, Sean! You’re not trying hard enough, Sean! You’re on life-support and I’m jumping up-and-down on your chest, Sean!
If it’s not Catholic… it’s Protestant! **** I’m always right… and when I’m wrong… I’m still right!


The latest published report (in 2018) by the RCC’s national safeguarding report reveals that restrictions have been eased somewhat and he is again allowed to attend some school events.
“There is one monk living in Glenstal against whom allegations have been made (respondent); these were related to his life prior to coming to Glenstal. He has accepted his guilt, and there is a detailed safety plan in place under which he is supervised.
This plan is reviewed annually and there is regular communication with the civil authorities in two jurisdictions relating to the monk’s movements.
Part of the safety plan has been
informing the parents of the students in the Abbey School of his residence in the Abbey.
A monk has been appointed to the role of Advisor to the respondent. He has attended National Board training for this role in 2017, which he found to be relevant and helpful. He has been undertaking this role for a number of years and is happy to continue to do so. He sees this role as an expression of his being a confrere to the respondent.
For his part, the respondent monk is very compliant and co-operative. He was provided with an opportunity to respond to a questionnaire issued by the reviewers, within which he stated his satisfaction with the care and management of his situation. Given the proximity of the Abbey to the school, contact with students is not allowed. In 2013 there was an appropriate slight relaxation of restrictions, which allows him limited supervised access to some school events which are public.”


Based on that stuff alone, Glenstal should have been suppressed and its school closed on safeguarding grounds.

Was Glenstal itself ever subject to a Visitation? If not, why not?


Of course, after ten years of being Mark Kirby’s favourite, chances are another monk in Kirby’s affections replaced Dom Benedict, and this led to the complaint and whistleblowing. I think this is the more likely scenario, Bp Pat.


Brother Cassian Maria von Trapp features quite prominently in the more recent pictures of Silverstream.
For Cistercian monks whose life is supposed to be based on manual labour and self-sufficiency, they seem to have plenty of time for walks and having their pictures taken.


Pat Buckley’s Question: Why does Glenstal think it can do differently than other organisations, corporations and bodies?
My answer: YES. Because, we are dealing with the patronising disposition of unaccountable power — a term utilised by the previous Anglican Bishop of Liverpool when he published a report into the Hillsborough Disaster on behalf of the UK government. It is a characterisation that I think can be accurately and fairly ascribed to Abbot Brendan Coffey. The late Dom Bernard O’Dea, OSB, a monk of Glenstal that I greatly admired and respected once told me on a walk that a Benedictine Abbot/superior was only one step away from a Hitlerian authority.
Pat Buckley’s Question: Is Coffey the defender of the accused and the inquisitor of the victimised and truth tellers?
My take: YES, because ultimately Dom Mark Kirby was permitted to return to Silverstream Priory and now continues his role as superior with Elijah Carroll being nothing more than Kirby’s patsy. Harsh but true.
Moreover, the fact that Kirby was permitted to return to Silverstream shows an appalling lack of judgement and insight on the part of Coffey and the Bishop of Meath. It was also an insult to the whistle-blower and a cynical way of attempting to undermine his credibility. There are many suitable locations where Mark Kirby could have sheltered in Ireland even in the midst of the pandemic. I am reliably informed that attempts were made to have the whistle-blower take refuge at Mellifont Abbey. Of course, that begets the obvious question – why did the whistle-blower have to leave Silverstream, and why was Kirby not ordered to go to Mellifont? Yet another question for Abbot Coffey — one of course that will not be answered.
In the future, Abbot Brendan Coffey should NEVER be appointed to any supervisory/administrative/investigatory role because of his disastrous and shambolic handling of the Silverstream Priory. Of course, in light of what has befallen Coffey — I think he is probably going to graciously decline any request made in the future. Of course, the mess that is visitation of Silverstream Priory is also the responsibility of the two other visitors — one of whom is hopelessly morally compromised, Richard Purcell. A review of the visitation report raises more questions than answers. Pat Buckley does have a copy.
Surprisingly, the concerns at Silverstream were referred to the judicial competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rather than the Congregation for Religious. The former congregation never refuses jurisdiction in any matter, but the referral to the wrong Dicastery is illustrative the shambolic handling of the complaint. The involvement of Coffey in the visitation at Ampleforth Abbey has now raised legitimate questions, about the treatment of Abbot Cuthbert Madden.
Pat Buckley’s Observation: Coffey has also become the ARCH DEFENDER of Abbot Richard Purcell of Mount Mellerary?
Now, this is the most interesting the questions posed by Pat Buckley. Why was Brendan Coffey, OSB the Abbot and Ordinary of Glenstal Abbey seeking an exculpatory statement on behalf of Abbot Richard Purcell, OCSO? Could it be the case that Abbot Richard Purcell did have consensual anal sex in the monastery guesthouse of Mount St. Joseph Abbey with an ex-priest of the diocese of Killaloe? Could it be the case that Richard Purcell did have consensual anal sex with an ex-seminarian in the Boilerhouse? Could it be the case that Richard Purcell has been quite active on the Irish gay scene for a number of years, and has been utilising Grindr? Could it be the case that Richard Purcell has a number of now hidden Facebook friends who are also well-known and active on the Dublin gay scene?
And, were these allegations was known to Abbot Brendan Coffey? Why did Coffey not for a moment — contemplate in light of Collins’ known behaviour in Glenstal contemplate for a moment that the accusations on Buckley’s blog about Richard Purcell — were in fact, true? Pat Buckley over the years has the very nasty habit been proven accurate.
Again, why would a Benedictine Abbot [Coffey] be seeking an exculpatory statement on behalf of a Cistercian Abbot [Purcell] — a monk a different monastic house in a different monastic congregation?
Why did Coffey not suggest to Purcell that he [Purcell] should make a statement publicly denying the accusations instead of soliciting the statement from the Silverstream whistle-blower? Was that too obvious?
Did Coffey solicit the statement from the whistle-blower directly on behalf of Richard Purcell? Did Coffey solicit the statement on behalf of the Abbot General of the Cistercians, Dom Eamon Fitzgerald? Coffey acknowledged he was making the request on behalf of a number of Irish dioceses and a number of monasteries — again, why did Coffey make the request? Who was Coffey protecting or attempting to protect? Why was Coffey so keen/willing to protect Purcell? These are only a fraction of the questions that could be put to Brendan Coffey about Richard Purcell. This is the story that keeps on giving…
I never thought I would find myself in agreement with anything Pat Buckley might write, however, Brendan Coffey would be much better staying at home in Glenstal Abbey and attempting to keep his own house in order. There are, however, legitimate questions about his knowledge of Gregory Collins and his transition to become a minister in the Anglican Diocese of Chichester. And, those questions will be addressed in due course.
If Coffey and Purcell had any integrity and moral decency they would both resign, immediately.


Your question: Could it be the case that Abbot Richard Purcell did have consensual anal sex in the monastery guesthouse of Mount St. Joseph Abbey with an ex-priest of the diocese of Killaloe?
Did you not previously post that you had a sworn affidavit to say that you have proof of this or have misunderstood this post and previous postings?


Speaking of “Patronising disposition of unaccountable power” — a term utilised by the previous Anglican Bishop of Liverpool…
Which Liverpool High Anglican vicar does this Dr Peterson from Prisoner Cell Block H behave identically to?
I’m sure you will agree this is the spitting image of him! 🤣
Dr Kate Peterson “Assists” Queen Erica


I also entered a seminary to train for the priesthood. I will not say what seminary or what country. What happened in my case was truly appalling. I did not play any game to be ordained. People off this blog and on this blog know my story. Those members of the ‘twat society’- be very careful with initials, nicknames or first names. We seek justice!!!


If this is who I think it is: what you went through was absolutely shocking mate, horrendous!
You are in my prayers.
Stay strong my matey.


Brendan, why did you get involved in this mess? You have everything to lose and nothing to gain, Glenstal had survived the ten abusing monks and was motoring on quite nicely until this. What other information do you have on Richard Purcell that caused you to ask Dom Benedict (whom you did not know) to state that he had not had sexual relations with him. For the avoidance of any doubt I do not care a jot for Silverstream or Kirby, I don’t care if Richard Purcell is gay, straight or anything in between, what I do care about are his actions as Abbott of Melleray, my uncle, a good any holy man, spent his life as a monk in Melleray, Purcells actions make a mockery of him, the monastery and the position of abbott, he clearly has no vocation, why are you covering up for him? Are you being blackmailed or bullied, why are you taking such huge risks for Richard Purcell?


Rightly or wrongly, I have inferred that your uncle was Dom Finbar Cashman. He was very kind, erudite, holy and good man. The other superior that was another exceptional individual was Br. Boniface McGinley. He represented everything that was good about Mount Melleray Abbey.

However, I think your questions about Abbot Brendan are entirely legitimate, and more importantly they deserve to be answered. In due course, they will be answered.


Please be careful in your reading of events- while it appears Coffey did try to solicit a statement from Benedict it was not to state that Benedict and Purcell didn’t have sex – at least that’s not how I read it.
I feel sorry for Dom Benedict – his current legitimate grievance with Kirkby/Silverstream has got tangled up in the dreadful mess of Mellerray/Purcell scandal.
Quite why Coffey is seeking any statement at all from Benedict re Purcell is beyond me.


I would assume that Brendan is quite aware that Richard has been active on the gay hookup scene for quite some time.


In addition to those six cases, a fresh report of historical abuse by a Glenstal monk was made in 2014.
The 2018 report by the RCC’s internal Irish safeguarding board said:
“Since the last Review the Benedictines have been notified of one allegation against a deceased member, against whom there were previous allegations. The file on this priest had been examined as part of the first Review published in 2014.
In June 2014, the then Abbot received correspondence from a past student, stating that he had experienced sexual abuse in 1960s by a monk who he did not name; and he added that he did not wish to pursue the matter.
When invited by the Abbot to name the monk, the complainant did so.


Especially in the US, you hear of judging recusing themselves, ie they excuse themselves from a case because of a potential conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.
Given Glenstal’s woeful, shameful history of CSA, plus the Boiler House and kitchen bonking allegations swirling around Abbot Purcell, surely the prudent thing would have been for Glenstal and Abbot Purcell to recuse themselves from a Visitation in a case such as Silverstream’s?


FFS, + Pat, yet another day of Benedictine / Cistercian stuff ? Yeah, yeah, we get it. But nothing is going to happen. I know that, you know that, they know that. The tipping point has not yet arrived. So let’s move on…… Please !


God lads that’s a long Blog today. I’m still in bed here. I’d better drag myself out soon and feed the dog. I myself might have a bit of toast with dollop of jam.


Mark Kirby’s rank has been reduced to an ordinary member of the community.
I also imagine they have settled the matter with Dom Benedict hence the reason for cutting off communication with you, Bp Pat. That would be their first and foremost condition of any settlement with Benedict.
Would these two actions, if somehow confirmed, put your mind at rest, Bp Pat?


This is so confusing? Was Benedict directly in contact with Pat?
Was it not stated in the Sarah WWW correspondence that Pat had contacted Benedict but that Benedict refused to talk and demanded that Pat not contact him again?


When I tried to contact Benedict on whats app he completely deleted the phone number I had for him.

Ii perfectly understand that he has enough on his hands without being in touch with me.


8.35: The man wuth so much to do in his day is still shutting repeat ceal.. 😈😈😈😈😈😈😈☠☠☠☠☠☠👹👹👹… are pitiable. I trust that after last Sunday’s gospel, you are living in su h a way that you “may” hear the wirds “Blessed of my Father” and not “go away from me your hypocrite into the eternal fires …”. The verdict is open. You are behaving if scripture, the admonitions of Jesus apply only to horrible sinners – Abbots particularly. “Get behind me Satan.. “


You still have time to bail out Brendan, don’t let Rawhide drag you down with him! Make Deenihan take up his responsibilities, don’t let him hide behind your cassock


@bishop pat at 10:23 – thanks for the clarification. Some people appear to think Bendict has been in contact with you.


I was told two days ago by a monk that Benedict is angry with me for blogging about him.

I am being kept informed by a monk from an Irish monastery.


I know for a fact that at least one monk is posting to this blog and I would not be surprised that many of the comments are from the monasteries under scrutiny.


Posting on this blog is not unchaste, not disobedient and not a violation of poverty.

Are they going to introduce a new vow – “I hereby vow not to post on Bishop Buckley’s blog”?


It is disobedience to the Superiors who are all united in their instructions not to engage with you in any way.


That would be down to the monk’s conscience.

My monk correspondent has no doubts about doing the right thing.


With no disrespect, bishop, when you posted pictures of deacons’ hairy bums during the summer of love, it did cause me to be unchaste 🤪


Is that you Colman? Are you not busy being a gyrovague? Running with the hare….Surprised you have time to post here… using James the Farmer’s name and all! Be the hokey, he must be angry that his ould lover has been so promiscuous and is now a CoE vicar in Hove.


Ah is that you Colman? Niall Flabby,the ex Franciscan who joined Glenstal for the good life and changed his name to the loftier sounding Colman O Clabaigh. How’s she cutting in Gort, me boyo?


Nor does this monk. I can also tell you that many of the monks (not all of them) are unhappy with the current situation and their annoyance is NOT directed at Pat Buckley.


Here’s the thing. Nobody ever understands how Benedictines work.
The reason Glenstal don’t use Ampleforth canon lawyers is the two communities are not related except in the loose Benedictine confederation.
To make a comparison it is like the many orders of sisters who follow the rule of St Augustine.
Yes, Glenstal will have visitations in the frequency specified in the Annunciation Congregation constitutions. But visitations of monasteries are purely to check the rule is actually being observed and will not cover anything else at all. Yes, you read that right. The only unit in Benedictine monasticism is the individual monastery.
This works better in reality than you would think. In more modern orders arguments can spread, but the Benedictine thing keeps them confined. Unless the monks actually vote for a reform a monastery which really goes off the rails will have members transfer to other monasteries, become notorious and ultimately sink. This may take decades.
Also I feel like I’m missing something about Anselm – they have a monk who has admitted underage sexual activity, has been risk assessed and is following a safety plan with contact with the school restricted or prevented. That’s how it’s supposed to work isn’t it?
Risk management is about identifying and controlling risk, surely?


The question about using an Ampleforth monk who is a canon lawyer as opposed to a canon law student randomer. Surely important matters such as these require advice from a fully qualified, practicing canon lawyer?

The issue with Anselm is why was he rehabilitated and taken back to a monastery with a school attached and some of whose school events he attends.

After all the scandals, is it right to take back a laicised, twice-married, twice-divorced ex-monk, who IICSA reported had two incidents (there may or may not be more), which led to a police caution and dismissal from Downside, though he has had what IICSA called cradle-to-grave support.

What does that say to his victims? Is such a monastery fit to judge another monastery?


@12:09 pm

“It is disobedience to the Superiors who are all united in their instructions not to engage with you in any way”.

Obedience is owed to a superior in everything that is “lawful and just”. Most religious superiors would be unequivocally opposed to any of their subordinates communicating with Pat Buckley, because, it usually evidences that there was something negatively systemic within that religious community that needs to be addressed.

If certain individuals had not brought the behaviour of Kirby at Silverstream and Purcell at Mount St. Joseph/Mount Melleray Abbey — we would all still be in the dark, of course, those individuals would be “obedient”.

Of course, your posting begets the legitimate question — why would religious superiors be united in their instructions not for any individual to engage with Pat Buckley — unless they have something to hide?

People only get in contact with Pat Buckley when there is a cover-up occurring that needs to be exposed. Buckley’s blog has the status of a public confessional for clerics and religious in Ireland, and the fact it exists — I have come to the conclusion evidences what is systemically negative in the Irish church.


You will find the occasional priest, seminarian or monk who prefers to obey God before his superior.


It is why we now have legal protections for whistlebowers in secular employment. Junior monks, curates and seminarians have no such protections nor, in fact, any rights at all.


Isn’t it wonderful to hear that fervent singing of those red blooded, 100% balanced, healthy, normal, born again WASPs! All of them going straight to heaven. Not a single homosexualist among their saved ranks.


5: 49 pm
Be the Hokey a right bunch of happy clappies in a holier than thou huddle and a half.


It might be more appropriate for some members of monastic
communities to keep their pants zipped up rather than trying
to zip up lips within their respective communities to avoid bean spillage.


12.58: Sadly, goodness and mercy found their way into Buckley’s and Hourigan’s lexicon and have been pumnelled into meaningless words. They prefer vengeance and vindictiveness. A pair of bromancers acting as judges, jury and executioners of targeted individuals..


Ever heard of fraternal correction and protecting the weak by challenging the strong? Bergoglio invoked this wishy-washy, sentimental “mercy at all costs” idea in the Fr Inzoli case and we all know how that worked out.


Francis is capable of decisive action when it is required. Ask Gerhard Müller or Raymond Burke.


Afternoon Brendan, your behaviour both regarding the Silverstream visitation and Benedict has been quite appaliing, you deserve to have a bright light shone upon you.


If we did not allow light to shine, here, how many more victims and survivors could be added to the list? How many more victims silenced? Crushed? Abused and cast aside?
… Now off you pop- and mind you don’t trip over a whitened sepulchre.

These are the days of Elijah,
Declaring the word of the Lord:
And these are the days of Your servant Moses,
Righteousness being restored…
And though these are days of great trial,
Of famine and darkness and sword,
Still, we are the voice in the desert crying
‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord!’


You see you just sound like you might be Richard P or Brendan Coffey.
While you are reminding Pat and Richard of meaning of the words goodness and mercy, will you also be taking time to write to the Doms and remind them of the meanings of the words – goodness, integrity, truth, virtue, celibacy and hypocrisy.
You might also like to send emails to all the other useless, tosspot Bishops and Doms involved in this case.


2.45: You are so uselessly wrong in your surmising.. I am neither of the men you believe me to be. I am very familiar with conscience, integrity and truth…Pity the artigant, self righteous slops on this blog don’t acquaint themselves with such qualities, including you…


Pat, did you really tell a man that it might be better for everyone that he committed suicide? Sarah whatshername (the canon law student advising Coffey), published on social media that claim by an anonymous person.


Indeed, Gregory Collins was always going around telling everyone what was wrong with them. He did tell at least one monk to go kill himself, that it was God’s will.


I knew Gregory Collin when he was Earl Collins. He would be very capable of making such a vicious comment. He was one of the most supercilious, condescending men I have ever encountered. He was also a frequent visitor to the Crows Nest in Belfast while on leave from his Abbey.
For those who don’t know, The Crows Nest back in the 1980’s was Belfast’s only gay bar.


There has certainly been suicides by monks in monasteries in the UK – the guy at Ampleforth that was outed by the newspapers, and some years ago an ex-abbot of Belmont who killed himself. Both will have been tormented souls and driven by events or by emotional and mental illness to despair and taking their own lives. We should be very careful about being flippant about suicide. It’s a very serious business, and harms so many people who are connected to the person who takes his/her own life for the rest of their lives.


Collins has a tongue that would serrate reinforced steel!! I shudder to think of his fury that his name is being “taken in vain”, his behaviour scrutinised, his dysfunction identified and his character discussed, on this blog. He will be volcanic with wrath. Isn’t it absolutely HILARIOUS? 🤣🤣🤣


Bishop Pat, my mum told me she was awoken around 2:30 am, today, to what sounded like somebody on the roof of her house.
There is nothing of any worth up there.

My friend who lives in L12 found his CCTV camera had been pointed up into the sky last week.
Just thought I’d share this.


1.38: I prefer to take my ideals from JESUS CHRIST than from a lynch mob, frequently spouting their merciless rhetoric on this blog. Nothing wishy washy about mercy – of The Gospel kind of course….And of course, no one who promotes the vision of Jesus does not acquiesce to not calling out criminal, abusive and offensive wrongdoing.


Ah the summer of 2016 – those halcyon days of such carefree, frolicking fun and unspoilt innocence: Horny Andy’s bewitching wee Ultrabrite smile; the jingle jangle of the bottles, on the Trolley Dolly’s trolley, as, Molly Malone-like, she trundled along the corridors, selling her wares of fags, booze, poppers, preservatifs and various eaux des parfums; Gorgeous posing and parading shamelessly in his mankini for select audiences; the raucous bleats of the Mad Puck Goat in full rutting fever; Hugh “the Dog Ate Me Homework Sor” Cowboy Connolly; Mick D’Extractor; Prying Pauline Pastel Pants. Ah those were the days my friend 😌


Oh, I do like my clerics with something to show off, and interesting antics that excite. The naughty ones – as long as it is legal – are far more interesting and entertaining than the whislpy fey young / old fogeys who prance around fussing about lace and vestments and rubrics and pretending to believe in the full rigour of Catholic teaching. So, + Pat, give us lots of loins stuff, please. At least it has a beating heart and a throbbing….well, you get my drift ?!


There was a lot of talk and upset among the more conservative faithful a few years ago when a monk of Glenstal who was living in the UK came back to celebrate his mother’s funeral mass. The faithful were upset because the monk priest’s hands touching the scared host were not so clean. It was well knoen that he was living with his Brazilian boyfriend in the UK. Oh the shock for some of the more faint hearted faithful! To think where his hands might have been a few nights earlier. Begob, now there was horror in Bandon and beyond. I’m sure Graham Norton would have a good laugh at that one.


4.15: Are the hands of gay people not clean hands? Your body parts may indeed be filthy, all over, in and out of places…All gay men or gay clerics are not your filthy type.


Lolita, my dear señorita, I don’t have a problem with his gay cum stained hands touching the body of Christ. It’s the poor faithful oned in Harrington st who were so upset when it was reported in polite Dublin society.


Who was the novice who made suggestions that, hmmm, a fellow novice came on to him? And Brendan took charge of the situation to protect the accused and between them saw that the novice in question was shown the door, branding him hysterical. It all happened when young Brendan was a novice too.


Matthew 7:20
A Tree and Its fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven.…


Essentially the Abbot of a monastery is like a Bishop – but within the male religious community (I think in Canon law a religious community is like a mini Diocese). Some Abbots hear the solemn vows of their novices; they used to ordain their monks to the priesthood too (they may still do so).
Monks invented lager and cider! 😃 🍺
Monks, and nuns, were also good herbalists – although they had to be careful here as not to be labelled warlocks or witches 🧙‍♂️
Abbesses, in the middle ages, used to hear the confessions of their fellow Sisters; I think this was the custom back then though – it was the norm.
Have a nifty on Google, the history of monasteries is quite fascinating and makes for good reading you know.
… Then things changed… then came along Silverstream 😂


An Abbot can take the Monks Solemn vows like a few has for Brendan However it needs to be a Bishop for the Royal Priesthood.


@Captain Pugwash
I am not surprised to read that Gregory Collins was frequenting “The Crows Nest” in the 1980s. Your comment confirms that his behaviour as the abbot of Dormition Abbey was not a one-off aberration that was out of character.
So, I further wonder was the previous abbot of Glenstal, Mark Patrick Hederman aware of Collins’ behaviour of frequenting gay bars? If that was the case — who recommended/proposed him as a candidate to be elected abbot by the German-speaking monks of Dormition?


@5.04 Robert, no one proposed or recommended him. He was elected by the Dormition monks who were desperate to find an abbot for their disfuncional community. They knew Earl from a retreat he gave them and he speaks German, an essential requirement. Glenstal had no hand, act or part in the election.


Interesting. Thank you for that information. It is all useful. I was not aware that the now Rev’d Collins speaks German. Again, this is good to know — it makes certain denials implausible.


5.04: Hourigan, you sure seem to be more than aware of gay haunts…Don’t sound surprised!! I am certain now more than ever that you have a fuller panoply of knowledge and experience of the gay sub culture than we previously thought. Your quoting of and referencing to so many places is curiouser and curiouser. Perhaps you are a closet gay!! I merely surmise on your own words alone. You now have a sickening obsession with the sexual adventures of clerics. It help me understand why I believe you’d make a lousy partner or parent.


Your last comment is so weird comment. Why would you even be attempting to understand why Robert H might be a good partner or parent?


5.04: CRAP again. I winder if you exercise as much energy into meaningful works of charity as you do in repeating your comments in m8nks, monks and more monks..I hope you try such noble acts of charity as JESUS asks of us. With your very “busy” (??🤣🤣🤣🤣) work day and the hours spent writing or transcribing essays, I don’t imagine Jesus’s promulgations matter too much. How could they? 😉😉😉😁..You rarely, if ever refer to them.


7.35: You are absolutely correct. The Gospel of Christ does indeed require “praxis”. Praxis is the application of any discipline of learning while “practice” is the repetition of an action to improve skills. Sadly, we have only chosen bits of “praxis” in this blog but no “practice” of necessary life lessons. Regarding the gospel of Christ, the entirery of his gospel must be lived, reflected on and lived. This means understanding the fullness and implications of his admonitions. While Jesus whipped the lash in anger at the money changers and referred to corrupt people as whited sepulchures, brood of vipers, he did so in the hope that some would truly hear the call to conversion, which many did. We do know about Zaccheus and the woman caught in adultery. There were of course many who had a total change of heart when they heard the unsettling truth spoken by Jesus. We cannot ever forget that, when we as Christians act in the name of Christ, we must imbibe his boundless mercy, compassion, understanding and his desire to always see what is best in the heart and soul of people. I have had individuals confess to me some pretty disturbing behaviour but I never left any such person without the hope of new beginnings, renewal and conversion to God’s ways and to a better way of living their humanity. Always, crimunal, abusive and hypocritical behaviour must be named. That I accept. I also believe that I must try to truly be Christ with and for others. Therein lies my challenge and almost impossible task….


@ 8:03 pm
‘ I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me His strength’. Phil. 4:13


That’s strange, having to go to Ireland to enter a monastery when there are so many flourishing monasteries in England. No, wait, scrub that.


You exhibit a large lack of imagination. It’s not a matter of having to go Ireland. In this day and age it’s about wanting to. Grow up.


We hear Fr Columba was into the ould leather and the small bit of SM when he was a Dublin preest. Can you tell us more Pat?


Thore Finger What a tail. Wag wag where is the dog. So what is the bottom line. It would appear the jury has deliberated. What’s the verdict


7:51 PM

Good Evening-How-Hi Fly.
Be the hokey butt whos finger is waggin the doggie woggie tale. Left Mandy D’ at the pier wavin bye byes. Van in once piece. Begorra. Headed back up north in the three wheeler yellow sub. Passed clueless bay kyielmoore over to Larne for stop over.
Then over to Scotties met Jardine over dale and glen then on down to Blunderland.
Who said I am in you you are me and we are one.
Gombeens galore in the kkk worshippers of D’ Golden Willie.
Anyways whether bewitched bothered or bewildered…
May The Force Be With You.+
Bye Bye Fly Hi.


7.33: Robert, there are many things you’re not aware of….the most obvious being the realisation that you are a hypocrite, a self righteous, arrogant condemner. A nasty piece…A blindness beyond blindness..


There, there dear. Take it easy! Feel better now? Just a wee question you might want to consider. Why would he even f*£king care what YOU think?


9.01: Are you a psychologist? That old spin response is worn thin as It’s used so frequently…


@8:16 pm
I feel greatly relieved by your negative sentiments. I was starting to worry that there was not a sufficient amount of invective been directed towards me in recent days. I was starting to worry that I might need to redouble my efforts. Thank you for affirming my good work; trust me, it means a lot! I hope you have a lovely evening!


Borefest isn’t it?
Not surprised that rcc is taking so long. They intend to drag it out as long as they want to. The ball is in their court.
Its finale has signs of becoming a damp squib eh??


Once again I’m crying with laughter at the replies here. Some comments are clearly making mischief, but I always love reading the commenter who says the readers of this blog should learn mercy.
You know if these people were out here in the real world it would be really scary!
Mr Hourigan, you clearly have the ‘faith’ful very rattled indeed and that is a work of mercy in itself, to give them time for amendment of life.


The guesthouse in Glenstale will be more like the Crows Nest.
Think of what that American lady, Domina McCall, who coughed up the cash for it, must be feeling. And Br Emaciated’s nude man painting overhanging thr breakfast table. What a shitfest!


9.03: It’s quite apparent that gospel values are alien to you as is the civil principle of guilty till proven guilty. I am a teacher and I wouldn’t get away with your cruel, nasty shit behaviour.


Did anyone see D”Arcy on the news tonight. What a creep. His need for publicity and having his ego fed brought him onto our screens to tell us about his long COVID.
Stick a sock in it Brian. You’re a pathetic laughing stock.


Wasn’t Paul Nash, presumably the one saying the funeral mass in Bandon, kicked out of Maynooth when he was caught in bed with a guy he brought back to the college? Caught by Tom Duhig. How did they take him in at Glenstale? Was it the “gay abbey” thing?


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