18th June 2021
HE Archbishop Jude T. Okolo
Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland
183 Navan Road, Dublin 7
Republic of Ireland
Via E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and hardcopy.
Ref: Rt. Rev’d Dom Richard Purcell, OCSO.
Respectfully, I direct your attention to the affidavit annexed to the present sworn before a Co. Antrim-based notary public. Therein, a number of allegations of sexual misconduct are averred against the current Abbot and Ordinary of Mount Melleray Abbey, the Rt. Rev’d Dom Richard Purcell, OCSO. During my seminary formation in Waterford, I visited Mount Melleray Abbey on several occasions. It is a place that is deeply close to my heart, and indeed the hearts of a great number of people in Ireland. It is a monastery founded during the persecution of the church in France that has been a source of immeasurable spiritual succour to a multitude of faithful both in Ireland, and across the globe. It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to be writing this letter; it is, in fact, a source of considerable personal sadness.
The Known Misconduct of Richard Purcell.
People active on the Irish gay scene have confirmed to me that Dom Richard Purcell is well-known and has been active on the gay scene for a considerable amount of time. In order to contextualise the present, before these allegations started appearing on my Blog, which led to Dom Richard Purcell changing the privacy settings for his Facebook profile; it was clear that a number of his “friends” were quite active on the Dublin gay scene. As a homosexual man in a civil partnership, who actively ministers to the gay community in Ireland and Northern Ireland, I found this a most surprising characteristic for a Cistercian monk.
Within the affidavit, it is stated that a former priest of the Diocese of Killaloe acknowledged to another priest that he had consensual anal sex with Dom Richard Purcell in the monastic guesthouse of Mount St. Joseph Abbey. In the initial e-mail that I received from another priest of the Diocese of Killaloe reference is made to the fact that Richard Purcell “pounced” on a younger man while visiting “The Boilerhouse” who positively indicated that he was receptive to anal sex. For the avoidance of any and all doubt the said sexual act was consensual. But, the affidavit does not address the significant detail that the younger man who was the recipient of Purcell’s engorged penis after the act recognised Dom Purcell from a retreat that Purcell had led when the recipient was a seminarian in Maynooth.
The indifference of the Abbot General, Dom Eamon Fitzgerald.
As avowed, it is indisputable that these allegations of Purcell’s sexual misconduct were previously known to the incumbent Abbot General of the Cistercians, Rt. Rev’d Dom Eamon Fitzgerald OCSO. His comment to me on the telephone that [the Cistercians] they were hoping that the event in Roscrea was a one-off evidences the wilful complicity of Dom Eamon Fitzgerald in the on-going cover-up of Dom Richard Purcell’s wholly unacceptable behaviour.
It would be churlish and imprudent for Dom Fitzgerald to deny what was expressed within our conversation – as telephone recording technology is now mainstream. However, for the time being, the motivation(s) of the Abbot General of the Cistercians, Dom Fitzgerald, in this matter remains arcane.
Obviously, these events raise serious questions about the judgement and the integrity of the Abbot General of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance and by extension; it raises questions about the governance of the congregation.
By the present, I wish to apprise you that Dom Eamon Fitzgerald upon his election as Abbot of Mount Melleray Abbey, appointed Fr. John Gerard McCallion as the novice master of the aforesaid community. It is not unreasonable to presume the appointment was made by Dom Fitzgerald with the knowledge that Fr. McCallion had been ordered to return to Mount Melleray Abbey having been found in bed with a ten-year-old girl by the then parish priest of Creggan, city of Derry, Fr. Francis Lagan, who subsequently was appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of Derry.
The said same McCallion pleaded guilty on January 25, 1996 to nine (9) charges of indecent assault on three (3) primary schoolgirls in Northern Ireland while ministering as a priest in the city of Derry between May 1987 and August 1988. McCallion was described by the judge as a “sexual parasite” was sentenced to two (2) years imprisonment as a result of his guilty plea. Less than two (2) later on November 28, 1997, McCallion was given a suspended sentence of eighteen (18) months as a result of admitting four separate occasions of indecent assault on a young woman in her hospital bed after a charge of rape was dropped.
Fast forward to December 9, 2014, The Belfast Telegraph reported that McCallion who at that time had fourteen convictions for offences involving children was facing three (3) further charges of indecently assaulting a boy, and one (1) charge of committing an act of gross indecency. When the prosecutors offered no evidence, the judge directed a not guilty verdict.
Thus, rightly or wrongly, it is legitimate to infer that Dom Eamon Fitzgerald is comfortable with the sexual misconduct that is contrary to the expected and vowed behaviour of any Cistercian monk.
The Cover-up Merchant, Dom Brendan Coffey, OSB.
The website of the Congregation of the Annunciation, officially records that the Abbot of the Glenstal Abbey, the Rt. Rev’d Brendan Coffey, OSB is the safeguarding co-ordinator of the aforesaid congregation. Glenstal Abbey, is also renowned for its boarding school.
When credible allegations of sexual misconduct were made against the founding Prior of Silverstream Priory, Dom Mark Kirby, the bishop of the Diocese of Meath, Thomas Deenihan ordered an Apostolic Visitation. Two (2) the three (3) of the people appointed to conduct the visitation by Bishop Deenihan were monks: a) Dom Brendan Coffey, OSB of Glenstal Abbey; and, b) Dom Richard Purcell, OCSO, of Mount Melleray Abbey.
During the period in which the visitation of Silverstream Priory took place information was provided to me by a number of priests about Silverstream Priory. Of course, around that time, I had received further information about the sexual misbehaviour of Dom Richard Purcell. But, in the paranoid and intellectually indolent mind of Dom Brendan Coffey, he conflated a number of events about Silverstream, Richard Purcell and my blog without a scintilla of justification. And, as a result of same, in an act of incomparable stupidity; he requested from the whistle-blower Dom Xxxxx Xxxxxat Silverstream Priory an exculpatory statement on behalf, and to the benefit of Dom Richard Purcell.
Let us look at this objectively and dispassionately. It is inconceivable and unjustifiable that Abbot Brendan Coffey, OSB, (with a background in Canon Law) a monk of a Benedictine Congregation with the school was seeking an exculpatory statement for the benefit of Abbot Richard Purcell (accused of serious misconduct) from another monk, Xxxxxx xxxxxx who had been the recipient of unwanted sexualised behaviour from Dom Mark Kirby with the approbation/approval of Bishop Thomas Deenihan. All of this was taking place while the complaints made by the whistle-blower at Silverstream were referred to and investigated by An Garda Síochána. It is utterly perverse.
A number of months have now passed since the allegations made against Dom Richard Purcell first appeared on my blog. In that time, a number of concerned people have instructed lawyers, a Rome-based Rotal Advocate, and engaged the services of a Dublin-based Senior Counsel; a leading junior in criminal law who will probably take Silk next year to ensure that what has happened at Mount Melleray Abbey is exposed. This has the potential to create grave scandal both in the biblical sense and, it will further traduce the good standing of the church in the mind of the Irish people.
It would behove everybody involved to examine their conscience. A positive first step would be for Dom Richard Purcell to resign and/or step aside while these allegations are investigated. Under no circumstances should Dom Brendan Coffey be permitted to continue as the safeguarding co-ordinator for the Congregation of the Annunciation. In fact, I would respectfully submit his position as the abbot of Glenstal Abbey is completely untenable; hence, he should consider submitting his resignation.
Of course, I anticipate that people will attempt to undermine the contents of the present by highlighting that I am a schismatic bishop. However, the harsh reality is I have a demonstrable track record in calling out clerical recidivism and wrong-doing in the Irish church. If there was anything untrue in the allegations I have made against Dom Richard Purcell and/or Dom Brendan Coffey both of them would be more than welcome to issue proceedings against me; but they have not done so because they know what I write on my blog is true, and more importantly evidenced-based.
Furthermore, the fact that I have attested to the facts within an affidavit that is replete with supporting evidence as a citizen should not be dismissed. Indeed, the church would be very foolish to ignore the contents of the affidavit, because I can assure you what is coming afterwards will be far more damaging and toxic.
As a fair-minded and reasonable individual I am sending you a copy of this letter as a PDF, which will be followed-up by a signed hardcopy. It is my intention to publish a copy of same on my blog, however, I will not do so — if I receive a request from the Nunciature not to publish same.
The future of the Irish Cistercians is far too important to permit inaction. To this extent, I respectfully request that you transmit a copy of this letter and the attached affidavit to the Secretariat of State of the Holy See with a request that this matter is brought to the attention of, HE João Card. Braz de Aviz the Prefect of the competent Dicastery. I further request that the Dicastery launch an immediate investigation into these allegations, and an important positive first step would be the appointment of an individual by a Decree authorised to conduct an investigation into these allegations in accordance with the dictates of Canon Law, cf Canon 1717, and the law proper of the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance. If, Dom Richard Purcell, OCSO, refuses to step aside, the Dicastery can be invited to render a Decree forcing the imposition of an interim superior on Mount Melleray Abbey, and/or an apostolic administrator for a period of eighteen (18) months.
An important further step would be for the Dicastery to write to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Waterford requesting the peremptory suspension of the faculties of Dom Richard Purcell to minister in that canonical territory.
Respectfully, in Christ, I remain,
Most sincerely yours,
The Oratory Society
“TheBoilerhouse”, a Dublin-based gay sauna for men only aged over the age of (18) eighteen. According to its website: “The building consists of five rooms consisting of a dry sauna, Jacuzzi, steam-rooms, play areas and private rooms”. https://www.the-boilerhouse.com. Accessed: June 18, 2021.
As I knew I would get no response I deliberately sent my letter in a way it had to be signed for. It wouldnt be the forst time they claimed notbto getca letter. They got mine.
My purpose was not to get a meaningless reply from purposeless individual.
My purpose was to make sure the things I wanted to say were firmly on record. Now they are.
The letter was sent with a ten-page affidavit notarised by a duly appointed notary.
I have been advised not to place that affidavit on this blog.
Bit it was emailed to every serving Irish RC bishop in time for their June meeting earlier this month.
Again I wanted people not to be able to say they did not know about the very serious situation I was addressing.
I am not expecting the RCC to do anything about this latter.
This is simply a step in arranging for sources outside the RCC to act in the future.
Having said that a copy of my affidavit is being delivered by hand to the relevant Vatican office.