Categories
Uncategorized

45 YEARS OF PRIESTHOOD – WHAT I’VE LEARNED.

In a few weeks time – on June 6th I will be 45 years ordained.

I was ordained on the Feast of Pentecost in 1976 by Michael Russell, the bishop of Waterford and Lismore in Waterford Cathedral.

Bishop Russell 1920 – 2009

My friend Monsignor John Shine always told me: “every time I meet Bishop Russell he always asks for you”.

I am more happy to be a priest now than I ever was and I’m very grateful to God that he gave me the grace of perseverance.

A small number of those I was in seminary with have died. RIP.

My ordination class consisted of six of us.

One, Joe Seery, of Ennis has died. He had big problems in priesthood.

One, although a deacon, never got ordained after a pastoral placement in his diocese of Westminster.

Two, Joe McCarthy and John Flynn left the priesthood and married or took lady companions.

Another one, Oliver Curran is a very conservative pastor in a southern diocese in the USA.

And then there’s me.

My spirituality has undergone a total change in those 45 years.

My early spirituality was all about Calvary and suffering. It was a dark, painful spirituality that left me joyless.

But since undergoing therapy in my late 30s and early 40s – a therapy with a profound spiritual aspect to it, I have moved away from Calvary towards an Empty Tomb spirituality.

That has brought calm, depth, joy and optomism with it.

I have abandoned all legalism and have embraced, instead, a spontaneous and charismatic spirituality.

In practical terms I no longer believe:

1. That Roman Catholicism is the one true church / religion.

2. That any man is the vicar of Christ.

3. That proesthood should be all male.

4. That imposed celibacy is of God.

5. That sexual morality is the primary form of morality.

6. That contraception, homosexuality and masturbation are sinful.

7. That virginity is superior to marriage.

MY EXPULSION BY DALY:

Looking back I no longer see my expulsion from the clerical club by Daly was a disaster.

I believe that God used Daly to set me free.

I certainly have been a happier and freer priest in the 35 since the Daly thing happened.

When faced with a decision I no longer have to worry about bishops, canon law, diocesan regulations etc

I simply have to ask myself: “What would Jesus do? What would Jesus want me to do”?

I feel I’ve kept the baby and thrown out the dirty water.

I can concentrate on:

1. My relationship with Jesus.

2. My love of the Mass and the Sacraments.

3. My inspiration by Scripture.

4. Serving people as best I can.

5. Having freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

I am no longer a slave in the Babylon of Roman Catholicism.

I have the freedom of the sons and daughters of God”.

Has my journey been difficult at times?

Big time.

Would I want to do it all again?

No!

Have I made mistakes?

Barrells full.

Am I hopeful about the rest of the joyrney?

Yes.

What is the reason for my hope?

A man called Jesus of Nazareth.

54 replies on “45 YEARS OF PRIESTHOOD – WHAT I’VE LEARNED.”

Dear +Pat,

While I do not always agree with the extremes you go to, and I do sometimes throw in a challenging comment I respect your position. I see your spirituality as Jesus in the temple, upturning the tables and reminding everybody as to what the temple ought to be.

People say strange stuff on your blog. You are often criticized but there is a truism. There is a cohort in the Catholic Church that are disenfranchised. You are their pastor. Even for those of us who have fallen out with the church for a time or felt that the church was too impersonal or harsh, you have been a light in those dark times.

We all have a place in God’s plan. I do not believe that the plan is homogenized. I do think that life teaches this lesson, and that those who cannot hack the idea of variation within the church are the people who are too immature, closed off from the world and irreconciled within themselves. We normally make those people bishops.

Keep up the challenge +Pat. God worked through Daly to make you a minister to the outcast. God has a plan for you. Try to forgive Daly for his role in that plan. He thought he was punishing you – little did he know he was forming you into God’s hands on earth.

Your brother in Christ. +The Holy Goat.

Like

@ 8:44 am
MMM, be very careful or you’ll be Bible bashing before too long! Pax.

Like

@11:08: I doubt it! But:
“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose…….!”
(The Merchant of Venice. Wm Shakespeare)
I’d like to think I can appreciate some of the “good stuff” in Scripture, but just as ‘one swallow no summer makes’, I’m obliged to ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’, for there’s just ‘too much chaff among the wheat,’ ……..to mix up a few metaphors!
MMM

Like

Congratulations Pat. A huge achievement.
You have displayed more Christianity than all the false hypocrites put together.
God has given you the strength to expose them and they are terrified. You have suffered dark days because of Daly and others but the truth will always prevail. While the evil tramps who wear the collar will be dealt with you know your mission shines bright and true. Victims owe you a great deal of gratitude.
While the rotten core of the roman Church destroys itself from within you know you’ve been on the right side all these years and must have no fear of what’s in store when you go to god.
As we all must do. The man above watches every and knows everything and While the perverts and hypocrites may escape punishment in this life they can’t escape him.

Like

There were blessings of love in Germany yesterday. The pope has spoken of double life pastors wounding the church. The good pastors should not be ignored.
Do some people focus more on the Calvary double life crucifying pastors instead of the Easter resurrecting Christian pastors?

Like

@12:03 pm

MMM, I love it…! LoL.
Doubt no longer but believe.
The ‘good stuff’ in scripture is Jesus Christ…! Taste and see that the Lord is good.
But make sure not to overindulge on the new wine…! The summer is coming…

Like

I, too, am very much looking forward to the summer. Love the light — shun the darkness. Love conquers all x
“Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying: ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness…’ ”
John 8:12
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth, Lord.”
John 17:17

Like

Congratulations Pat on this milestone in your life. I’m not far behind you, ordained on the same wonderful feast of Pentecost. So many changes have occured that have shaped, changed and challenged us. Some challenges have brought personal traumas, hurt, pain and confusion, perhaps requiring therapy and counselling. Spiritually, we’ve all had to relearn and rediscover a realistic form of prayer, reflective ministry and a new and better way of being a priest. While you postulate your vision that suits you best, it’s not the pathway I would follow, even though I have jettisoned much of the harsh, hurtful and destructive moral teachings of the church. I respect them but take people as I find them and try to help them to discover the beauty, uniqueness and goodness of their own humanity. In many ways, fulfilment has happened: in other ways, today’s environment is not supportive of priesthood, church or ministry and therefore I would probably not choose the same vocation. I am grateful to God for the amazing opportunities given to me – sacred almost – to give something meaningful and worthwhile to others. While I admire your personal strength to stand alone and be yourself, I am often saddened by the constant judgments you make about Catholic clerics, often hounding them in a gleeful and sinister way. That is a choice I would not make and we all could find reasons to be unkind and nasty but such an approach is counterproductive. In priestly ministry, if Christ is not at the heart of our lives, we will fail and be unhappy, perhaps untruthful and unfruitful in our ministry. The years of ministry bring both blessing and curse, the blessings being predominant. God keep us steady, focused and more pragmatic and realistic in our future years.

Like

Congratulations on your upcoming sapphire jubilee. It has been a bumpy forty-five years, but you have come through it all and made something of your life. In addition, you have become probably the most read and influential blogger on the island of Ireland. Well done!

Like

+ Pat, you have a very worthwhile ministry, not least this blog which is able to hold the feet of clergy and bishops to the fire, most often because of their own misdoings and their desire to coverup the truth of what is happening in their ranks. That is very valuable. Whereas before we just had the wool pulled over our eyes, now these priests and bishops who are intent on wrongdoing, criminal abusive behaviour, dishonesty, coverup etc, now have to look over their shoulders because they will be called out on this blog. You have earned the right to be fearless, having stood up to that little nasty shit Daly, having had your own trials and tribulations, and having had all your own dirty laundry washed in public, so much so that you are untouchable and there is nothing they can threaten you with or do to you. That gives you a very strong position from which to exercise this valuable role. In addition, I believe, quietly and without fanfare, you are kind and charitable to lots of people in difficulty. So, hold your head high. You have done well. Far better than so many clergy and priests who continue to live lives lacking integrity and honesty, and who continue to be dysfunctional crooks.

Like

9.00am. How dare you refer to The late Cahal Brendan Daly, former Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland but more importantly the Voice of God.

Like

@ 6:57 pm

“Mon dieu!”
“So, God speaks in an Northern Irish accent….and…not in a still small voice…”
“Mais oui” ” au fait” “pot pourri” “au contraire”…

Like

Great personal piece today, Pat.
Congratulations on 45 years of priesthood. You must have learned the ropes at this stage!
Little did Cahal Daly or Michael Russell know how the Lord would use you in ministry.
The Holy Spirit moves in mysterious ways.
I have two follow up questions on today’s article:
1) Re charismatic spirituality- were you, what the Pentecostals/charismatics call,
‘baptised in the Holy Spirit’?
2) Can you ever envisage returning to the RC fold if invited to at some time in the future?

Like

I use charismatic in the general sense.
I was never baptized in the spirit, apart from Confirmation.

I dont expect any such invite and Im happy where I am.

Like

BVM
The Catholic Church does not send out invites to anyone.
Invitations are open to all through the RCIA approach or the normal route for cradle Catholics
The doors are open to all and all you need to do is follow the rules.
We will all meet in the Fathers house where there are many rooms.
Bishop Pat does not need an invitation as he does more in a day than some ordained Clergy do in a decade.
Remember Lizzy opens Parliament at 11.30 for all those who is into the Monarch.

Like

Well Pat you have had a rewarding and challenging journey. Suffering-not to be glorified included. Would I do all I did again?. Probably to get me to where I am now Most of my journey happened by accident. I reacted on the spot to what was there. Sometimes this this was a wise choice sometimes it was not. We all come from a perspective where hindsight is a great virtue. If I had started with what I know now I’m not sure where the road would have lead. May God guide all our journeys.

Like

HOW-HI FLY

Bethehokeys hi can you believe the Bish is 45 years collared.
Sure it’s a life sentence if ever.
Better than any ball and chain.
All the Bish is missing is the orange jump suit.
Or the black and white stripes of able-bodied prisoners breaking rocks.
The TRUTH Sets Us Free…
May The Force Bless Us Keep Us…+

Like

There are pluses and minuses to going it alone.Jesus had 12. He sent the others out in twos
Problem is when the system becomes reality instead of a vehicle of opportunity. Fek this Im getting two serious in me old age. Keep suckin diesel..

Like

Going it alone can be very hard. Its not for everyone. Its not for the faint-hearted.

As my granny used to say: “The auld dog for the hard road”.

“an sean-mhadra don bhóthar crua”.

Like

HOW-HI FLY.

Begorra hi Jesus had 12 but one was doing
the work of the divil on the qt.
There’s always the one fly there’s always the one.
The system needs sorting big time.
If you keep sucking diesel you’ll be buzzing to beat the band.
The Bish is on the unleaded kerosene Jet A-1.
May The Force Bless Us…+

Bye Bye Fly Hi.

Like

“I have moved away from Calvary towards an Empty Tomb spirituality.”
There was definitely an era in Ireland of a imbalanced focus on Calvary and the suffering. Countries like Austria and Poland have a more balanced view on the celebration of the resurrection.

Like

May I also congratulate you for your forty-five years of being your own man, regardless of what Rome or Jesus said. I regard you as more of a pre-Christian Greek or Platonist than a Christian and your life with your partner confirms that fact. Christianity had such a murky beginning in real politic that it makes no sense. There was no feminine goddess for God the Father ever to bring forth God the son, and Rome only settled on that compromise by making the Galilean such a deity because he preached a wonderful but impossible faith about giving away all one’s goods, loving one another and turning the other cheek, a father killing his own son to assuage the insult given to him by the creatures he was supposed to have created. Read the Dundalk man, Peter Brown, The body and society; Men, Women and sexual renunciation in Early Christianity, and his life of Augustine of Hippo. You have ignored all this male power crazy stuff encouraged by the Emperor Constantine and clerics like Augustine. You are more like like that other great Celtic heretic, Pelagius, who resisted Augustine snare of ‘original sin’ which delivered Irish people into the hands of those who never even attempted to follow the doctrines of the Sermon on the Mount: for them it was always love provided it didn’t have to be reciprocated as with children and the Church for its congregation; money was their interested in. So I salute your independent spirit which has done more to end Rome’s tyranny than any other Irish man I can think of. Long may you set such an example. The truth will indeed set us free.

Like

Pat, all best wishes on this anniversary. Those of us with as many years have much to be grateful for. Regrettably we also feel great disappointment and disillusionment over many issues, changes and crises. These have made living priesthood a hard task. While we know all has changed, almost irrevocably and so dramatically, we try to remain as dedicated as possible. Apart from the horrendous abuse scandals, the pandemic has brought us to radically rethink priesthood, greater lay faithful participation and what parish community is all about. There are those of us – many, many – within the church who, despite enormous questions, doubts, changes and personal difficulties who remain dedicated. It is sad that some who rightly praise and congratulate you on your 45th, have also used the moment to make very disingenuous, untruthful and hurtful comments about clergy in general. We’ve had these arguments aplenty and it’s unjust and most unkind to take cheap shots at us today. That said, may God bless you. Considering your stated commitment and “solid” beliefs, I am surprised that you say you would not do it all over again!! Think you might have plenty of company in this regard!

Like

I mean I would not wish to endure the hardships again. But if God wanted me to, of course, I would.

Like

One thing I have noticed about Bishop Pat v other clergy is that he refers to lay people in a way that speaks of he thinks of them as equals, friends, collaborators and most strikingly of all eager to serve, help and encourage. Bishop Pat is a remarkable thing – a non clerical cleric.
Why do so many, nay all of them, suffer from the disease and affliction of clericalism?
Why is Bishop Pat free of this curse?

Like

It’s like phrase, “radically re-think priesthood resulting in greater lay participation” – lay people are priests they have received a priestly charism through baptism- greater lay participation isn’t a concession by tired and weary clergy who’ve run out of ideas and options – why do clergy patronise lay people like this?
The male, pale and stale power dynamic in the church works against lay people participating – whereas priests like Bishop Pat isn’t trying to lord it over or power play – through baptism we are all priests, prophets and kings.

Like

3.47: You deliberately choose to misinterpret my comment: I merely stated that the pandemic has more clearly focused our minds on the absolute necessity to rethink priesthood AND to reimagine the participation of the lay faithful in ways not done before but which have been spoken abiut. Nothing wrong with this. As you do not know me, let me asure you it’s been my approach for 40 years or more to always respect, affirm and acknowledge the baptismal dignity of each human being, thus endeavouring to involve the faithful to ecercise their “priesthood”. I never bought into the male, stale power dynamic in parishes. Ever. Stop being mendacious. I think you need to open your eyes beyond this blog.

Like

Hi Bishop Pat,

You list 7 points that you “In practical terms I no longer believe”. What do you still believe in?
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Do you believe there is a way that leads to destruction?

Is mise le meas,

Séamus

Like

As I say I believe in and treasure:

The Eucharist.
The Sacraments.
The Scriptures.
The service of others.
The spiritual journey.

We must believe in the way that leads to destruction as Jesus preached it.

The Lord has made it fairly easy for us in giving us the two great commands – love of God and love of others.

So often religion gets in the way of authentic spirituality.

Liked by 1 person

Hi Bishop Pat,
Thanks for your response. Do you see Jesus’ two great commandments as replacing the 10 commandments?
Is mise le meas,
Séamus

Like

“As I say I believe in and treasure:

The Eucharist.
The Sacraments.
The Scriptures.
The service of others.
The spiritual journey.
Paying rent boys to allow me to roger their tight little arseholes.
Being +HIV…..”

Like

i remember the first time i saw you on RTE tv when +pat was protesting with Fr Keane, i think in Maynooth. I didn’t understand the fuss that you made at that time. Now I know. He seems to have an independent streak that RCC didn’t like it.

I don’t agree everything on what Pat says. But this blog exposes the hidden side of RCC that we hadn’t seen or heard for a long time. Sometimes, this blog is a judge ,jury and executioner which at certain times he went too far.

Education was the key to understand rcc ways and means etc. It was only last year that i found Rcc too legalistic which jesus didn’t intent to . Ten commandments was enough for me but they went further and became too legalistic .Which rcc have caught themselves chasing their own tail.

One thing struck home for me when a catholic healer from Donegal said churches weren’t there when Jesus went on his healing mission. Most or all of the healings took place outside church buildings which were practically non existent that time. That was interesting part there.

A penny for your thoughts

Like

5.50pm

Calm down dearie, me thinks ya is protesting too much – let’s agree I don’t know you (I never said I did) and you don’t know me hun, but listen yo yourself and your accusatorial language – i didn’t deliberately misinterpret you – judging by your response, I had you bang on.
Thanks for the advice about “opening my eyes beyond this blog’ like I don’t already – hey word from the wise girlfriend don’t ASSUME or ya gonna make an ASS of ya self.
Oh and how about this for an idea I excercised my baptismal grace prophetically by calling out clericalism and guess what it pissed you off.
Game, Set Match I’d Say.

Like

@ 6:09 pm

Lovely jubbly.

The notion that grace is dispensed to the people of God only by a cleric, preferably a priest, i.e. clericalism, is a contagion which is ruining the Church. Keep rattling.

Like

“45 YEARS OF PRIESTHOOD – WHAT I’VE LEARNED.
Post author By bishoppat Post date 05/10/2021
45 Comments”
A comment for every year so far Bishop Pat!
Congratulations on your 45th Anniversary!
Is mise le meas,
Séamus

Like

I’m sad Pat that only 50 comnents appear on your blog for your 45th anniversary and some commenters have responded two or three times – a few using your anniversary reflections as an excuse to “down” and abuse clergy. Shame on them and I pray to God for their conversion. But why so few congratulatory messages with such a supposed large following? Wonder why? Anyway…I restate my good wishes and prayers for you.

Like

Dear Bishop,
Congratulations on your Anniversary.
Glad to see you didnt end up a complete Sycophant. It must have been very hard.
I read your stances and had some
thoughts generated by them
You Write
“I have abandoned all legalism and have embraced, instead, a spontaneous and charismatic spirituality.”
This has its place but there is something to be said for reasonable laws. The Church has been loose with it and many, many have been screwed put of Justice. Not Religous.
In practical terms I no longer believe:
1. That Roman Catholicism is the one true church / religion.
Well it was at one time but its corruptions sadly fractured it. Baptism is still powerfull though and shines through some Seperated Brethren solidly.
2. That any man is the vicar of Christ.
Well you run up against God’s Will saying I want a Rock and then that Rock does Un Christian things.
What does Jesus earnestly want?
It needs a check on its Office by laity.
3. That priesthood should be all male.
Women should at least have a voting voice in Curia. Having a woman in Church
Power wont guarantee righteousness. We have had
assaulting Nuns.
4. That imposed celibacy is of God.
I agree. Imposed inflicts life altering problems.
5. That sexual morality is the primary form of morality.
It’s important. Hollywood has shown us that. Primary..I dont know, I would say One of many vital Forms. It determines identity, welfare, future, trust, procreation, betrayal, people’s time.
6. That contraception, homosexuality and masturbation are sinful.
If used to use or recreate without any intention of commitment.
If the person is bona fide Medically diagnosed as Homosexual, perhaps not but I wouldnt encourage it in teenagers as a try out while they are maturating. It would be dysfunctional and lead to
problems.
7. That virginity is superior to marriage.
I agree. Optional Celibacy can’t be any worse than what we experience with the assumed “Virgins”.

Like

Bishop Pat, my favourite piece written by you. Firstly congratulations on your upcoming anniversary. Secondly, I agree wholeheartedly with the points that you wrote and I just love your honesty.
Yes, God had a different plan for you.

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s