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ARE PRIESTS IN DANGER OF BEING ATTACKED, HURT OR KILLED?

SUBMITTED BY A READER

THE SAFETY OF PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS.

DAVID AMESS

The tragic and senseless murder of the MP for Southend West, Sir David Amess, in what appears to be a terrorist-related attack is truly shocking. The late politician was a devout Roman Catholic, who was murdered while holding a surgery for his constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

One MP has described the level of abuse hurled at MPs and their parliamentary aides as an “epidemic”. In what could be described as a portent of his own death, Sir David Amess, wrote recently that an attack on a politician “could happen to any of us”. This is not surprising when you read that a former parliamentary adviser who worked for Yvette Cooper, MP, says she received around 50 death threats each week. In a response to his killing, the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, MP, has ordered an urgent review of the security of MPs.

On June 11, 2002, a man armed with two rifles entered Conception Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Missouri killing two monks and seriously injuring two others before killing himself.

Following the publication of “The Murphy Report” in 2009 into clerical misconduct of the Archdiocese of Dublin, just after “The Ryan Report” priests reported that they had been subject to verbal harassment/intimidation in public and some reported they had been spat upon.

In America, following similar public scandals, priests also reported similar levels of public harassment. And, some Orthodox clergy have been confused for Roman Catholic clergy and were the subject of harassment and abuse from members of the public who enraged at Roman Catholic clergy.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year, following revelations of further clerical scandals that in Canada “four Catholic churches and an Anglican church were burned to the ground, the first churches to be set ablaze or vandalized to begin a summer of such desecration. Suspicious fires then broke out across the country. In all, at least 56 churches have been set aflame or vandalized, according to the True North Centre, which is mapping attacks on churches”.

On October 11, The Los Angeles Times, reported that a charge located on the edge of Chinatown in LA was defaced with “with anti-colonial slogans on Monday in an act of vandalism that police are investigating as a hate crime”. And, this seems to be continuation of similar acts of vandalism of churches in California.

So for today’s blog, I am asking priests and religious who read this blog to comment on their own personal safety.

Have they ever been physically assaulted?

Have they been injured and/or received an injury that was so severe it required immediate medical attention including hospitalisation?

Have they ever been threatened with violence?

Was the threat of violence a one-off occasion and/or part of an on-going campaign of harassment/intimidation?

Do priests/religious need to have self-defence training?

Should a priest/religious carry a can of pepper spray for their personal safety?

Is it conceivable that a person who is so enraged by the historical failings of the church could contemplate murdering a priest in revenge, and act accordingly?

Are these realities that are contemplated by clergy/religious on a daily basis?

Should all presbyteries have CCTV installed to ensure both the security of the property and the safety of clergy and those who work/volunteer within the parish?

Our readers of the blog aware of any initiatives that have “ecclesiastical approval” that have at their core the health and safety and personal security of priests/religious?

I would be interested to read additional comments and observations that I have not included in the blog, because this is a wide-ranging and complex issue.

PAT SAYS

I have been verbally attacked on the streets of Dublin.

I have been spat upon and struck on one or two occasions by drunks at a Traveller wedding.

When I came to Larne in 1984 two gunmen came to shoot me at my home. Thankfully I was out.

The following day the police arrived with bulletproof glass and a Walthar automatic pistol.

Thankfully I have never had to use it.

With all the abuse and corruption I think that there is an increased danger to priests.

Thats why many of them dont wear clerical collars.

104 replies on “ARE PRIESTS IN DANGER OF BEING ATTACKED, HURT OR KILLED?”

I presume that’s why a lot of the priests in Maynooth don’t wear clerical dress, either out of shame or for fear of lay staff/lay students who roam the college campus.

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According to this blog tgljere are all hay down there having orgies, woukd you there that looking for a shag?

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Pat I was attacked in England outside my front door. The Bishop and VG plus the local Dean couldn’t give a toss. It made me feel isolated and afraid. It contributed to further hralth issues as I never got over it. If you can do the job in hand then fine in their minds. If you can’t fulfill your duties you are totally useless in their eyes which contributes to your sense of feeling useless. Before the trolls jump on the bandwagon it can make you feel suicidal.

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12.02
12.02
Do you not sleep?
It is your Parish and YOUR pastoral Council should have CCT in ALL Church property.
It is shocking the attitude of the Bishop, Dean and VG.
But YOU should have CCTV installed more so at your front door.
I am more shocked that you do not have CCTV.

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11.47: Really? So, a drug addict should be publicly beaten and thrashed because of harm he/she may have caused a family? An alcoholic should likewise be publicly hung or beaten because he/she has caused death? Horrendous as any crime of abuse is or a fatality caused by the recklessness of a drunk driver, we cannot create lynch mobs dishing out their punishment. What s chaotic and anarchic society we’d have, you idiot!! We have a court system which exacts proper justice. The civil courts should be the only arbiters of justice, not mobsters like you.

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7:30
Yes really. And you may have to read the original comment to see your man was talking about the attitude of the church to him.
I apologise. If I had realised you were too stupid to understand I would have put an idiot warning at the beginning.

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12.02
Father the sad part here is feeling suicidal as NO one would wish that thought on anyone if they are Christian.
Sadly you look to blame someone else and here we have it the bishop, VG, and the dean lets not forget the Diocesan staff who really have a responsibility for Health and Safety.
The problem is YOUR Leadership and your advice as i think you may have a one man band Parish if not you should ask all your Pastoral Council to resign as it is their duty to protect YOU, the Church and diocesan property, however they have failed if in 2021 you have NO CCTV and even from an insurance point you should have CCTV and an Alarm System.
I can imagine you have a stand alone microphone from the 90’s rather that one attached to your vestment and more than likely NO Audio visual at all and you will be away the Government was giving big money for the changes.
Father to be honest what you really need is a transfer to another parish and I am sure HR would assist you with this as you sound very vulnerable if you are having suicidal thoughts.
And irrespective of what you think about your Bishop the last thing he want is clergy funerals.
Time for a change Father for the GOOD of you and that horrendous Parish that does not have CCTV.
ps the Church can claim CCTV back from HMRC and cheaper Insurance as well.

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Oul gossip Alert @ 5:2pm
I knew it was too good too last you’re back to your favorite word Sadly. As for you going on and on about CCTV which you mention four times and then give us your advice as if you were an expert in running a Parish which you are not leave that poor priest alone the very last thing he needs is advice from you.

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12.92, everyone has a choice in life, you should of made them regret that decision one way or another…
More than one way to skin a cat, lessons sometimes need to be thought!

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Yes, indeed, there is always the potential for someone to fatally hurt a cleric or religious, mostly as an anger at church abuse scandals. I am sometimes very afraid to open my doors at night: thankfully I have an intercom with a screen, so I can chat before I open the inner door. I have lots of passing by callers. I live and work in an area beset by drugs: I know some of them from loitering in the Church grounds: have spoken with them but am nervous as they have called looking for money. I no longer meet people in my home: I use the parish centre and only when there are other people or groups around. We are very vulnerable as clerics and can easily be accused of wrongdoing by any person we meet alone. In the days following the Murphy Report, I had awful things said to me, understandably, but very unnerving. There’s a latent aggressiveness towards and a hatred of organised religion, Catholicism particularly that is very disconcerting. But there is also a viciousness on some media platforms which incites hatred, violence and aggression towards the establishment, of which the Church is part. Our own politicians receive some horrendous hate mail. We have indeed to be mindful of safety at all times, sadly. Violence and hatred never solve anything and can never be excused on any grounds. Never.

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Interesting how you don’t mention any way the church could make amends for the aggressions it has committed against children and other members of society.

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11 49: Sure why not talk about the horror of the troubles in N. Ireland, the holocaust, the Khmer Rouge, Stalin, the disappeared from The Troubles….etc…we could refer to all horrors. Fool. The blog today is A LEGITIMATE QUESTION WHICH NEEDS TO BE ASKED. We have discussed the horror of child abuse many times before and will undoubtedly do so again. READ THE BLOG..and try to stay with the issues, however intellectually challenging for you. .

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Father at 12:16 should have given more sexual favours in seminary then he may have a parish he doesn’t think is below him.

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9.00… Thus proving your utter stupidity and paucity of intellectual reasoning. Gombeen.

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Legend. That news article then did the rounds as a meme saying the perp should be treated like a clerical abuser – moved to another church so he can do it again.

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1.29
Fascinating. Especially bearing in mind that one Irish institution listed which has been closed for years is given a rating.
What the hell! Or should that be, what the Hull!

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Are lay and volunerable people being in danger of being hurt.? … Do people care when it’s them or someone else… So this blog is questioning priests feelings and their intentions etc whether honourable or not … Your last 100 blogs didn’t cover that aspect…
I wonder why, Buffy, vampire slayer!
Buffy the vampire slayer, can’t wait for priests perspective on this….
Pat, I’ve been beat, attacked, spat on, challenged, ignored and disrespected, patronised etc… you don’t need to a priest for that…
The oldest out of many in hard times lol, play the voilen man…. Its singing here for you!

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A Walther PPK. A friend of mine had one of these sometime ago. He had to hand over all his pistols during the Amnesty of 1996/7 which were on his firearms certificate – he, as was I – totally mortified. He was an extremely sensible certificate holder and all the pistols, riffles and shotguns were always locked away in the safe, with a separate locked compartment for the amunition & black gun-powder which we used to make our own bullets with casings (he held an explosives licence for the gun powder and the primers).
I remember him and I, late in 1996, or possibly early of 1997, sitting in his back kitchen almost in tears as we cleaned the pistols after coming home from the gun club off the Dock Road, Liverpool, for the last time (with the pistols), which were of the specifications which were, from that day, totally banned in mainland U.K.
(The rules and laws are Governed differently in places like The Aisle of Man and Ireland).
I.e. under NO circumstances can ANY member of the public poses a gun / certificate for a gun, for personal protection in mainland U.K. or the Aisle of Man.
In the North of Ireland, though, the rules are Quite different; a member of the public can have in their possession – even carry around on their person, in public (safely and suitibly concealed) have a pistol for personal protection.
Anyway, I remember, technichally, they were illegal to have in our possession in the kitchen, here in Liverpool, back in 1996/7; however, I remember the Amnesty gave at least 6-or-so months for them to be handed in at the local bobby shops.
The old 9mm bullets, .32 ACPs (we only used the .32s on the Walther and another German make pistol) we carefully separated the casing from the lead slugs — with the use of a small table vice, attached to the kitchen table (the casings we wrapped in rubber while in the vice 🙄).
We put the black powder back in the safety container for future ammo presses (we made our own, it was fun that way). The lead slugs were also stored and eventually melted down and used for the Winchester riffle and the .22 riffles.
Not all could be properly “salvaged”, though.
I do remember my teachers complaining that “Some little $h!t has been setting off those little snapper/bangers on the playground” but that these “sounded much louder than normal…” (the primers could not be salvaged, once pressed, — and it is a shame to waste… 🙄).
Now, under these circumstances, it is perfectly normal and healthy to say: “Things were different back then.” X

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You say that people can have guns for personal protection in the North of Ireland. That is pure and utter lies. I live in Letterkenny and there is no way I could have a gun.

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10.16
The poster didn’t say the north west, merely the north of Ireland – Derry, for example.

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2.03: Yes, Yvonne, priests are and can be victims of relentless insults, contempt, sneering and harrassment. FACT and TRUTH. No one is looking for sympathy but TRUTH. While realise g very changed times we are as a group under much pressure for a myriad of reasons. If we want to discuss Pat’s blog for today, let us respect genuine, rational and cogent debate. We as priests know we are under scrutiny but let’s see the real human side of our lives.

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My real human side is displayed in private and among things and people that actually matter. You have to be careful who your dishing nicey nicey out to, people take the piss or advantage…
that isn’t just a priest or church thing….
All those yrs of abuse I didn’t see those victims get sympathy or a voice..
That’s life, suck it up buttercup!

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9 03 I’m not saying everyone’s corrupt or bad but I’m saying if your a priest live your life, the very morals and principles you preach everyday and see how well that works for you!
Could be amazing, you could be sorely disappointed…. The choice is yours!
Everyone has been bullied either through school or life, I can see how insults might make you question your self worth so deeply when anyone who gets into priest hood has a very false sense of worth they are deeply trying to gratify or desperately seeking gratification, maybe you didn’t get it in school or growing up in family.. you keep looking at it that way, you’ll be disappointed, not disregarding your feelings, your in the wrong profession!

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2:03am!!!
No they are not victims they are responsible for their own actions like the despicable one you were involved with. You also knew what you were doing, so you’re not a victim either. So while you should not be physically attacked you can’t be surprised at the verbal attacks which you have brought on yourself by your own actions, which no respectable woman would have contemplated.

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9.52: Brilliant response to Yvonne – the blameless one who has a hard neck…she should remain silent and seek help.

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7.06
I will Never be silent and I will always have a hard neck and the last laugh. I can assure you nobody is laughing around me!

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7.06
You sound familiar, like you know me personally…
Blameless…? Presumptuous much …. I just get a massive hard on when I leave my name and people leave anonymous comments because they have no balls that pretend they don’t, like most priests .. Bitter much? 😂👏👏👏👏
You don’t know me as well as you think…

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7.06
After denying it, admittimg it and denying it and making that personal comment, annoymously because your and whimp and you know me, I have endured just about everything, with no help or a cry… I can promise you, I am never going away…ye will suffer on this one….
Not in 6 months… 12 months or yrs…
You will wish Ilyou gave that apology and I’m Blameless!
Some things are worth fighting for…
Make me out all you want, I’m going nówhere!

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Highlight he’s views morals principles and promises and what he put into effect, if any at all… Don’t think we need religions help for this one…

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Why do priests not wear a clerical collar out in public these days ? Well, mostly because they know from the look in people’s eyes that they are reviled and seen as suspicious and untrustworthy. They, and the Church, only have themselves to blame for that. For some clergy, they don’t wear a clerical collar because they are worried about being noticed by people they might meet whom they have encountered elsewhere during their extra curricular activities. Ireland is still a small place. As to violence, I doubt if there is any increased threat of violence against clergy when compared to other groups such as teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, social workers etc. I don’t see the evidence for that. So, I think clergy should avoid painting themselves as victims, and calm down. They are more likely to get mugged and beaten for being gay up when out cruising the lay-bys and woods than they are being assaulted on the street or In their home for being a priest.

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9.00am: No priest is painting himself as a victim or martyr. No one. We are responding to a letter sent to Pat. If any priest has experienced abuse or violence, the perpetrator should be brought to justice, just as a priest perpetrator is when convicted of sexual abuse. Pat simply asked the question and no priest feels he is a victim. It suits your agenda to imagine that priests “might” think of themselves as a victims. We’re not stupid or living on Mars!! The majority of us live in the real world are are only too well aware of the reasons for the sea change of attitude towards us. Yet, we will do our utmost to live our daily ministry as best we can. Stop creating illusions and hypothetical scenarios.

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7:03 Y’all do nothing but portray yourselves as victims and martyrs. It’s what all psychopaths do when they face the consequences of their actions.

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The evil old queen was a famous anti-gay priest in Brazil.
Famous Anti-Gay Priest Shoved Offstage During Live TV Broadcast (pride.com)

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9.05: You kerp repeating your hateful sound bytes. Try to be intelligible, psychopath.

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Ah priests have being attacked poor babies – perhaps some might get a taste of being beaten black and blue and know what it’s like to be a victim of crime like the hundreds of thousands of victims of clerical child sexual abuse.
At least when they report the crime it won’t get covered up.
Clergy always misread the public mood music – for most, MPs being attacked is an attack on democracy – for some (if not many) a priest being attacked is justice.
Didn’t Jesus say rejoice and be glad when we are persecuted?
‘‘Twas a time when clergy were persecuted for their faith and witness – Blessed Dominic Barberie kissed the stones they threw at him.
Today let’s be clear churches are razed and clergy attacked because of child sex abuse and cover up – they represent an institution that is perceived as evil and corrupt and guess what, it is and what goes around comes around.

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Most Parishes have CCTV if not it is being installed.
most telephone calls are screened and press 1 for mas times or 2 to speak to the Priest say your name then press hash.
Sound like the parish at 12.02 is in the dark ages or not financially secure that they do not have CCTV or Alarms.

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The papers are reporting that Sir David’s Catholic faith may have been a motive for his Islamic murderer. He is therefore a martyr, like the priest in France and throughout the world. Francis wants open borders in Europe (except the Vatican, obviously, where the walls still stand).

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He is also quoted as saying he was born a Catholic and would die a Catholic. It is remarkable how idiocy and Catholicism go hand in hand.

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Yes, he goes to Lampadusa and berates elected European leaders for not taking in more immigrants. He could house many hundreds in the Vatican and in its thousands of properties in Rome and across Europe. But the old hypocrite doesn’t do that.

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He was not a Martyr – most Muslims would’ve had applauded him for consistently voting against the civil partnership act, section 28, same-sex marriage and abortion.

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Not so long ago, I saw an older man with a clerical collar in Tesco’s. The alcohol aisle, needless to say, although he didn’t look like a priest, not queenie enough, more like a dour minister. Seeing a collar is no longer an everyday occurrence in Edinburgh. Most go round incognito.

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10:49 Your comment made me lol and you have how to identify them off. It’s so funny they always claim no priests comment on here when they make touchy old queens outside look like models of reasonableness and negotiation.
It’s years of living alone, never being challenged and having the pay up brigade say Yes Father.

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Oscar Romero was assassinated on March 24 1980. In the film of his life directed by John Duigan, there is a shot of some graffiti daubed on a wall, it reads; “Do the world a favour, kill a priest.” Death squads started to target priests when Romero started to speak out against ‘the Government “, he had been appointed by Rome as their establishment man….he did a complete about turn when he encountered the reality of peoples lives. JP2 summoned him to Rome at one point and kept him waiting for two weeks before carpeting him. Good priests have always been in danger ( many fled Ireland for their lives at a time in history…..) and not always by forces beyond the the organisation that they belong to….The fact that they quietly tow the line keeps a lot of them alive ! ( Not talking of the Irish of course!!). A subject for the interest of the Pontifex Maximus.

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The several priests that frequented the sauna in belfast did not wear their uniforms, and it was not because of safety fears. However they have now set up a daisy chain to protect themselves from scrutiny and attention.

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Not many, if any, are as fearless as you, Bp Pat. Perhaps parishioners should now pay for x-ray scanners and metal detectors to be installed at the entrances of churches and cathedrals.

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I commented recently that a further 122 prosecutions have been started against RC priests in one state in the US after a window for prosecution was opened.
I’m genuinely not being funny saying this but I don’t know how you expect to be treated after your church’s behaviour. That incredible number is the whittled down number of cases likely to end in a prosecution.

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I was in prison some years ago and there was a man on remand for anally and orally raping his 6 month year old nephew – he wasn’t a priest – he would have been torn limb by limb if he didn’t have 24 hour security and been on a suicide watch – prisoners know how to dispense their own kind of justice- it isn’t pleasant but it is a fact of life that ‘nonces’ are fair game – in the criminal word being a grass or a nonce invites retribution – covering it up just as bad (a co-conspirator).
I personally think every cotizen/human being is entitled to walk the streets or prison landings without threat of violence or intimidation however because I live in the real world people who feel aggrieved and affronted by the crime of the sexual abuse of children will take the law into their own hands – and although not legal justice it is a form of justice.
I would expect to see RC clergy attacked and vilified not for their faith and witness of gospel values but for who they represent – an institution identified with sexual abuse of industrial strength – if not truly a Holocaust.

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anon at 12.47 pm
Interesting that you were in prison although i wont comment cos i dont know as regards to your situation.
Knew a deaf man who was in prison during the troubles as his family lived in the north. He was telling me a story regarding a nonce. That nonce got a savage retribution in return which wasnt pleasant. Eye for an eye etc as prisoners who had a tendency for the backside etc. It opened his eyes re nonces as he wouldnt like to be in this position as that nonce. Prison life was very tough for him cos some loyalists were there. They knew his family name but not his deafness.
Anyway, agree with you re RC clergy who could get attacked just because of their institution that they represent as identified with sexual abuse of industrial strength but NOT their faith. Bishops are protected but not their own priests who walk in the streets unprotected.

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12.47 pm

The sexual abuse of children is vile and absolutely abhorrent! I don’t know whether such perpetrators are bad, mad or both.

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Bishop Pat – do you still have the pistol and bullet proof glass the police gave you?
Was it a policy of the police in NI to dispense guns to people whose lives were at risk of violence?
If it was a policy – is it still one?

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We cannot have mob rule. What’s next? Assaulting social wokers because of Kincora and Baby P? I sincerely hope not and would want the full force of the law applied. Two wrongs do not make a right.

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The psycho who keeps commenting here about social workers, other denominations, etc, in an attempt to divert from the Romanist criminal junta, would disagree with you. In fact I expect they learned their ethics in prison.

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To answer the question you asked, although I am not a priest, yes they are in danger.
Obviously this isn’t right but I don’t really have much sympathy when 100% of their bishops covered up and abetted crime.
I would suggest as a solution that society should force the church to pay taxes, that forensic analysis should take place of its assets including in shell companies and should be taxed accordingly. Refusal to break the seal of confession and failure to report should be criminal offences .
This is plainly not persecution – but hint to the cathbots, if you think these reasonable measures are persecution you’re e spoiled brat.

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9.13
Any ignoramus who claims 100% of any group is guilty of X is equally guilty of gross generalisation and doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. The rest of the nonsense in the post bears it out.

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Point out the word guilty in my post, fool.
You’ve obviously never heard of corporate manslaughter.

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10:07 Thank you for admitting you think the church should continue to hide funds, not contribute taxes, cover up crime and just carry on.
Your hatred for humanity shines through clearly.

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10.23: You sure know how to rewrite comments. I said nothing of the kind. Calling out your hatred and violence against clerics has irked you. Fool! Incidentally, I pay my just taxes!!

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Pat, you do bear some responsibility for the view that it’s ok to promote hatred of priests. Your blog had a poster who regularly advocated it. He appears to have gone which is a plus.

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The reported daily litany of clerical abuse, historical and current, engenders hostility towards the RC priesthood. It can stop. Leave the children alone, and fess up to all of the historical stuff. The power to change the narrative rests solely with today”s hierarchy.

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Pat my absolutely favorite thing is when RCs feel they are being treated unfairly, have no control over this and it’s unjust.
That way they will begin to have some understanding of the effect of their clergy and bishops on children.

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Back in time Christians were attacked for the name of Jesus Now some are being spotlighted for being or allegedly being, shall we say, rather naughty people. There is a message here somewhere. The story of the graven images may not just be folklore

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As a female walking to and work at night subject to sexual harassment and possible rape/ death or being attacked at any given moment… Or hit by a bus… where’s my security? Who will protect me from the big bad world 😂

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Sure haven’t I been insulted attacked and raped, abused, death threats didn’t see anyone coming to help me or the guards… What planet you living on! Priests and bishops ye are a deluded shower…

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And poof just like that the deal of the century broke and killed the church, how many law suits and lives ruined, shits still hanging on for dear life… Deluded… Cunts goin nowhere Pat anytime soon, are you?

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