Today, the Rome-based advocate consigned a letter to the Father Immediate of Mount Melleray Abbey, Dom Michael Ryan, OCSO, who is the Abbot of Bolton Abbey, County Kildare.
In light of the status of the Father Immediate in the Cistercian tradition — given canonical effect in the Cistercian Constitutions — it is important that the Dom Ryan was formally notified, and given the opportunity to ameliorate the situation at Mount Melleray Abbey, before the matter is brought to a Rome-based Tribunal. In due course, I will have no problem in providing you with the finalised letter, once I receive a copy.
However, I feel it is important that readers of your blog — particularly those who have come forward and given important information are aware their leads are being actioned. Unfortunately, due to the lockdown in Ireland, people were unable to get to see notary publics to swear additional affidavits, and for their identities to be authenticated in order to commence the canonical process in Rome. But, the delay has been a great blessing as more people have come forward and given huge amounts of useful information.
It is important to stress that I have not seen the finalised version, however, having reviewed the first draft — the letter makes clear to Dom Ryan that it is known this is not the first occasion the allegations concerning Purcell have been brought to his personal attention. I suspect because there was no follow-up for some time there was a growing relief that we were not going to pursue the matter in Rome, however, they were gravely mistaken. Of course, this is speculation on my part, but I think it is well-founded speculation.
Within the letter Dom Ryan was apprised that should the allegations be proven before a Dicastery of the Roman Curia — they are so serious that Richard Purcell would face immediate dismissal from the monastic/clerical state. Dom Ryan was further apprised about the choices that faced Gregory Collins (formally of Glenstal Abbey when his activities at Dormition Abbey were brought to the attention of the Holy See) were quite simple: resignation or laicisation.
He should infer these will also be the options given to Purcell should the matter go to Rome. As was pointed out in the letter to the Abbot General, the Holy See, in light of the fall-out from the McCarrick Rreport, will not tolerate this kind of behaviour.
The very fact that the letter was sent will drive a limited number of your readers, insane. Fortunately, they are a tiny minority, but often it is these individuals that make the most noise. But, they singular fail to appreciate that nobody forced Richard Purcell to go to the Boilerhouse; nobody is forcing Purcell to remain a monk, priest, and the Abbot of Mount Melleray Abbey. He is free to leave the monastery and the obligations of the priesthood at any time. This is a simple truth.
Of course, we will have the nonsense about the Abbot carefully discerning before his God, and the usual intellectually indolent attempts to defend the indefensible. Sadly, these individuals fail to appreciate that if you had told me Purcell had been whoring around with women, I still would bring the matter to Rome to have him removed; because this is a form of behaviour that is wholly unacceptable particular from a Cistercian Abbot. Also, they have no idea about what is contained in the affidavits, and about the information we have received.
Within the letter extensive reference is made to the caller who provided you with the information about of the alleged reckless profligacy of Purcell during his tenure at Mount St. Joseph Abbey. As you believe this individual is a priest; his particularly trenchant comments about Eamon Fitzgerald and the election of Purcell as the Abbot of Mount Melleray Abbey are also referenced.
Abbot Ryan was reminded that he needs to formally notify Bishop Alphonsus about the allegations and the bishop needs to remove the priestly faculties of Purcell within the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore; that Purcell should step aside as abbot while he is being investigated and an interim superior appointed.
There was also commentary about the on-going failure of the Abbot General to deal with the situation, and Dom Ryan, needs to involve Abbot of Cîteaux, Dom Olivier Quenardel, because of same.
The letter conveyed our strong desire for this matter to be addressed informally, i.e., the resignation of Purcell as the Abbot of Mount Melleray. However, if Abbot Ryan is smart (and I sincerely hope he is a discerning individual) he should infer and make it clear to Purcell that this matter will escalate, and it would be better if Purcell diffused the situation, voluntarily.
As ever, you have my consent to publish this e-mail on your blog.
PS: An academic I know in the United States is looking at your blog, because he finds it fascinating from an anthropological perspective how the chthonic (a buzzword I am told in anthropology) realities of Irish religious life are played out on your blog.