24 hours after the resignation of Richard Purcell as Abbot of Mount Melleray the Abbot General of the OCSO Cistercians has resigned on “health grounds”

Fitzgerald himself is a former Abbot of Mount Melleray.

He is also the man who told me on the telephone of the incident in Roscrea kitchen involving Purcell and a Killaloe priest.

The Cistercians have brought forward their General Chapted from September 2023 to February 2022 to elect a new Abbot General.

In my opinion the Richard Purcell Affair has caused not only his own resignation but has been responsible for the fall of the Abbot General.

Only those on the inside know the whole story

In any event, the cat is very much among the Cistercian pigeons as we speak.

Could more heads roll over the Purcell Affair?

Inside and outside the order.

Why has the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore not issued a statement on Mount Melleray.




Dear Bishop Alphonsus,

I direct your attention to the announcement made yesterday morning that Fr. Richard Purcell has resigned as the Abbot of Mount Melleray Abbey. I took no pleasure in reading the news.

However, it is long overdue, because Fr. Purcell’s scandalous lifestyle has been known about for a considerable period of time. In fact, he was NOTORIOUS within the Diocese of Killaloe. And, he was notorious in your own diocese; however, you overlooked this reality with wilful and deliberate intent. Hence, you were part of the problem and not part of the solution.

The announcement on the website of the Order Cistercians of the Strict Observance is an exercise in obfuscation. It is also a demonstrable example of an egregious and unacceptable cover-up. I submit that the Apostolic Visitation of Mount Melleray Abbey was a sham. I would further submit that this so-called “visitation” was a half-hearted and ignominious attempt to salvage the utterly compromised and utterly discredited Abbot General, Dom Eamon Fitzgerald. Why do I make this assertion?

Because, it can be irrefutably established that Dom Eamon Fitzgerald, OCSO, knew that Fr. Richard Purcell was sexually active as a monk of Mount St. Joseph Abbey. And, he did so for a considerable period of time.

On September 13, 2020, at 6.39 p.m., Dom Eamon Fitzgerald called me [Pat Buckley], and we had a free-flowing conversation lasting eighteen (18) minutes and (39) seconds about Fr. Richard Purcell. Dom Eamon admitted to me [Pat Buckley] that Purcell had been sexually active at Mount St. Joseph Abbey, and he [Fitzgerald] further acknowledgement that they [the Cistercians] had hoped it was a one-off.

As I have made clear in the past due to the advances in mobile (“cell phone” for my American readers) phone technology it would be and deeply imprudent of Dom Eamon Fitzgerald to deny the conversation and what he admitted about Fr. Purcell on the evening of September 13, 2020.

Bishop Alphonsus: did the two (2) visitators of Mount Melleray Abbey: a) the Abbot of Tilburg, Dom Peeters and, b) Mother Fourmentin, Abbess of Arnhem, know about this conversation. And, did they interview Dom Fitzgerald about same?

Did Dom Peeters and Mother Fourmentin visit the Dublin-based “Boilerhouse” with a photograph of Fr. Purcell?

Did Dom Peeters and Mother Fourmentin ask the proprietors of this house of ill-repute if they recognised Fr. Purcell from his frequent visits in the past?

And, if they did visit the Boilerhouse: did they ask any of the patrons present if they recognised Fr. Richard Purcell and/or know about Fr. Purcell’s known proclivity for barebacking? Because you are probably innocent “barebacking” is the term of reference for unprotected sex, i.e., sex without a condom.

Did the Dom Peeters and Mother Fourmentin review the accounts of Mount Melleray Abbey? Did they review the credit card statements?

Did Dom Peeters and Mother Fourmentin ask Richard Purcell about how he paid for his visits to the Boilerhouse? Presumably, he must have paid with cash in order to avoid creating an electronic trail that could be picked up by forensic accountants and/or officials from the Charities Regulator, or indeed any abbot or abbess that might have investigated Mount Melleray Abbey.

It is, of course, noteworthy that the allegations that I have repeatedly made against Fr. Purcell were not explicitly DENIED. And, it is also the case that Dom Peeters and Mother Fourmentin were never going to find any corroborating evidence; because, the visitation was instituted to beget/facilitate an agreed outcome.

In light of the allegations that I have repeatedly made against the now Fr. Purcell, I find it surprising that I was not contacted. I could have provided Dom Peeters and Mother Fourmentin with the identity of the ex-seminarian from the Diocese of Killaloe who alleges that he had consensual anal sex with Richard Purcell at the Boilerhouse. The said ex-seminarian recognised the now Fr. Purcell from a retreat conducted by the latter when the former was a seminarian in Maynooth. 

Bishop Alphonsus, you have known about these allegations for some time. In fact, you were among the first to know. In fact, like a white sepulchre you have overlooked a significant sexual scandal within a monastery within your own diocese. Moreover, you afforded to the now Fr. Purcell every opportunity to minimise and dilute the severity of the scandal by permitting Purcell to celebrate the Eucharist beside you at functions within the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore. Therefore, instead of being part of the solution you were part of the problem. You let your animus towards me cloud your judgement to the detriment of the greater good of Mount Melleray Abbey and the diocese that was entrusted to your pastoral governance by Pope Francis. And, that raises serious questions about your integrity.

Your demonstrable hypocrisy, both personal and ecclesiastical adds significant credence to the calls of the Labour Party for the removal of church patronage in Irish schools. Sadly, you lack the insight to discern how abominable your handling of the scandal has been for the past eighteen months or so, and it has been nothing short of scandalous. If you had any decency you would resign immediately as the Ordinary of Waterford and Lismore.

When you celebrated the funeral liturgy of the late Monsignor Michael Olden and when you ordained Fr. John Dineen, both at Mount Melleray Abbey, you were aware of the severity of the allegations that had been made against then Dom Richard Purcell. You [Bishop Cullinan] were as I wrote previously “complicit in the corporate silence of the Cistercians and their concomitant failure to deal with Purcell”. Hypocrisy, thy name is: Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan.

Thus, the question remains: will you now preventively suspend the priestly faculties of Fr. Richard Purcell within the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore? The actions of Fr. Purcell bring the Cistercian monastic life into disrepute. It is the case that Fr. Purcell is no longer an Ordinary — so will Fr. Purcell be subject to a canonical investigation conducted in accordance with Canon 1717?

This e-mail will be published on my blog. It is been copied to the Irish Apostolic Nuncio and to the Cardinal Prefect of the so-called Congregation for Religious, so that they have “knowledge” of this scandal.

I am copying this to Bishop Erik Varden, because, he, too is also complicit in this cover-up. Because, he inexcusably failed to reply to a letter that was sent to him about the Purcell scandal, so, he, too, is another Cistercian hypocrite.

I am also bringing this matter to the attention of Sr. Eleanor Campion; she is a member of the Law Commission of the Order. Perhaps, she and the other members of the “Commission” may wish to look at the procedures to deal with complaints against abbots and abbesses; because, clearly the current system has not worked, as Dom Eamon “Ostrich” Fitzgerald, has reverted to type when he was the Abbot of Mount Melleray, utterly incapable of making a decision.

It is been further copied to the English-speaking and French-speaking Cistercians, so they can see the real nature of: a) the despicable abbatial tenure of Richard Purcell; and, b) the lamentable handling of a “known” scandal by the Abbot General, Eamon Fitzgerald, OCSO.

Thereby, when they come to elect a successor to Fitzgerald as Abbot General, they will elect an individual who will not (we hope) in the future show the same moral ambiguity and lack of leadership as Dom Eamon. And, who bring about renewal within the Congregation and not be a mindless steward who oversees decline.

Finally, I take great heart that the resignation of Purcell followed the death of Fr. Jean-Pierre Schumacher, the last surviving monk and sole survivor of the assassination of the monks of Tibhirine. It gives me hope for the renewal of the Cistercians. Let us seek the intercession of the Altas Martyrs for the renewal of Mount Melleray Abbey and the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance.

+ Pat Buckley



As of 6 am this morning RICHARD PURCELL resigned as the abbot of Mount Melleray.

The abbot general in Rome published the following statement on the Cistercian website.

So your bosses find you innocent…….

And then you resign for….”personal reasons”..

But sure this is the way the RCC PR machine operates.

The statement is interesting in the words it uses.

Richard Purcell’s resignation is not an occasion for celebrating and rejoicing.

It is an occasion of sadness for the world wide Cistercian order, for that order”s aging and dwindling monks and monasteries in Ireland and indeed for the Irish Catholic Church.

Had Richard Purcell’s resignation come two years ago it would have saved an awful lot of hurt and scandal for everyone.

The fact that it has been allowed to drag on for two years casts a great shadow over the Abbot General Eamon Fitzgerald. We can no longer look upon the Irish Cistercians as Holy men or spiritual guides, for they have all sat back and tolerated the intolerable and thereby have forfeited their right to be regarded as authentically Christian or spiritual. St Bernard of Clairveaux must be turning in his grave.

It also costs a great shadow over the incumbent of Waterford, Phonsie Cullinane, who likes to portray himself as a great “defender of the faith” but who has sat and tolerated this situation in his own diocese for two years – and indeed took every opportunity to invite Purcell to every diocesan event.


Phonsie Cullinane, your toleration of this matter destroys your credibility on matters of faith and morals and you have proven yourself to be a faithless and cynical “clashing cymbal and booming gong”. You are indeed a whitened sepulchre – and everyone in Ireland sees it.


I hope that Richard Purcell is allowing himself to feel and experience all the contradictions and agony of his situation and not hiding in or behind some horrible cynicism or denial.

Maybe he even has a certain sense of relief that it has finally come to a head?

I cannot see Richard Purcell becoming an invisible monk spending his days praying the office, milking cows and shovelling sillage.

If the Cistercians or someone else does not offer him a “high office” of some sort (and that would be difficult) I can see him leaving the Cistercians and priesthood and making a name for himself on the Irish organ and classical music circut.

But then, as a private citizen, without ecclesiastical office and obligations, his private life would be nobody’s business.



  • “Blessed is the bishop who makes poverty and sharing his way of life, so that by his witness he is building up the kingdom of heaven.
  • “Blessed is the bishop who is not afraid of tears streaming down his face, so that in them may be mirrored the pains of the people, the hard work of priests, finding God’s consolation in the embrace with those who suffer.
  • “Blessed is the bishop who considers his ministry a service and not power, making meekness his strength, giving everyone the right to hold citizenship in his heart, to inhabit the land promised to the meek.
  • “Blessed is the bishop who does not shut himself up in the palaces of governance, who does not become a bureaucrat who is more attentive to statistics than to faces, to procedures than to stories, who is seeking to fight alongside humanity for God’s dream of justice because the Lord, encountered in the silence of daily prayer, will be his nourishment.
  • “Blessed is the bishop who has a heart for the misery of the world, who is not afraid to dirty his hands with the mud of the human soul in order to find God’s gold, who is not scandalized by the sin and frailty of others because he is aware of his own misery, so that the gaze of the Risen Crucified One will be a seal of infinite forgiveness for him.
  • “Blessed is the bishop who banishes duplicity of heart, who avoids every ambiguous dynamic, who dreams of the good even in the midst of evil, because he will be able to rejoice in God’s countenance, discovering his reflection in every puddle of the city of mankind.
  • “Blessed is the bishop who works for peace, who accompanies journeys of reconciliation, who sows the seed of communion in the heart of the presbytery, who accompanies a divided society along the path of reconciliation, who takes every man and woman of goodwill by the hand to build fraternity: God will recognize him as his son.
  • “Blessed is the bishop who is not afraid to go against the tide for the sake of the Gospel, making his face ‘stern’ like that of Christ on his way to Jerusalem, without letting himself be held back by misunderstandings and obstacles because he knows that the kingdom of God advances in the contradiction of the world.”


These beatitudes were not composed by Francis but he has adopted and recom ended them

The words that stand out:









How do readers feel our bishops in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales fair in living out these beatitudes?




Josephite marriage, also known as spiritual marriage, chaste marriage, and continent marriage, is a religiously motivated practice in which a man and a woman marry and live together without engaging in sexual activity.

Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi lived in a Josephite marriage after they had a family of four children.


A feature of Catholic spiritual marriage, or Josephite marriage, is that the agreement to abstain from sex should be a free mutual decision, rather than resulting from impotence or the views of one party.

In senses beyond spiritual marriage, abstinence is a key concept of Church doctrine that demands celibacy of priests, monks, nuns and certain other officials in the Church. The doctrine established a “spiritual marriage” of church officials to their church; in order to better serve God, one had to disavow the demands and temptations of traditional marriage. This rule was enforced by Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, whose marriage to Cunigunde of Luxemburg was also a very famous spiritual marriage.


Saints Louis and Zélie Martin professed to enter a spiritual marriage, but consummated a year later when directed by their confessor to do so. Of their nine children the five who survived to adulthood all became nuns, including Saint Thérèse de Lisieux.

Occasionally, spiritual marriages may also be entered later in life, with the renunciation of sexual relations after raising a family to fully dedicate oneself to God. In October 2001, John Paul II beatified a married couple, Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini, who bore four children, but later in life lived separately and committed to a Josephite marriage.



These Josephite marriages were invented by the RCC for couples not validly married married in the eyes of the RCC to allow them to live together but not have sex!

In Ireland these relatioships were called “brother and sister” relatiohips. They could live together but not have sex.

They were based on the belief that St Joseph and Mary lived together but never had sex.

But how does anyone know that Joseph and Mary NEVER had sex?

I have no desire to formally deny the “Virgin Birth”.

But the New Testament does speak of “the brothers and sisters of Jesus”

The RCC wants us to believe that they were his cousins and that the translations mean cousins as well as brothers and sisters.

The RCC demands that for a marriage to be valid it must be sexually consummated.

You can even get an annulment for non-consummation and remarry in the RCC.

But they also claim that the marriage of Joseph and Mary was not consummated out of respect to God, the father of Jesus.

This seems to be to be having your cake and eating it.

It’s because the RCC thinks sex is DIRTY and certainly TOO DIRTY for God, Joseph and Mary.

In fact in Confession in Ireland in the old days, refusing your husband his conjugal rights (sex) was a sin women had to confess.

I had ladies in Belfast confess to me: “Far, I refused my old fella his jungle rights”


The RCC maintains that procreation is a wonderful gift from God to bring new babies into the church and the world.

Why did God go to all that trouble to create the miraculous human reproductive system but then send his son into the world by bypassing what he had created and what he called GOOD?

Do we mean the ordinary way is good enough for the rest of us but not good enough for God, Joe and Mary.

And to bolster this up they teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary, bypassing her parents Joachim and Anne?

We Catholics are called to believe in:

The Immaculate Conception of Mary


That Mary was FOREVER a virgin.

Does this means that poor old Joe never got his jungle rights?

Of course we are in all this trouble because of ORIGINAL SIN and the ancient belief that the original sin was SEX.

What was it Oscar Wilde that said:

“These is no such a thing as an original sin. They’ve all been done before”.



In the early church the ministeries

that developed quickly and hopefully under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, were: overseers (bishops), presbyters (priests) and deacons.

These were the ministeries that developed in the early church communities.

The apostles were not given by Jesus to individual Christian communities, but rather instead to the whole church – all the communities.

Very few of the apostles played the role of overseer in specific church communities. James was the exception. He became the overseer / bishop in Antioch and was both an apostle and a bishop.

The rest of the apostles had a travelling commission to preach and convert in all the many church communitied: “Go out to the whole world……”.

So it’s ridiculous nonsense for the RC bishops to call themselves the successors of the apostles.

A bishop is simply the senior elder or presbyter in a particular place.

Jesus appointed only 12 apostles.

There are 5,000 plus RC bishops today.


Another “myth” is that Peter was the bishop of Rome.

There were no bishops in Rome in Peter’s time.

It is doubtful if Peter ever was in Rome.

Certainly the “bones” buried in the Vatican are not Peter’s bones.

Why are the Scriptures not enough for RC clerics and Hierarchy?

Why add on unnecessary and unproveable claims.

The papacy is also a political and man made entity.

The bishop of Rome is simply that – the bishop of Rome.


If the RCC wants to reproduce the church Jesus founded why they abandoned the ministry of APOSTLE?

Why not have those eleven the “cardinals” instead of 120 Cardinals?

Why not have Francis and 11 other apostles?

And let the world’s bishops be what they should be – the overseeing elders / presbyters of their local churches?

In the man made history of the church the office of Bishop has been moved from being an everyday pastor to being a BIG KNOB.

Very few of them are real pastors and very many of them are behaving as if they were something special and elevated.

How long is it since you saw a bishop sitting in his cathedral in private prayer?

How long is it since you saw a bishop going into a poor home with a box of groceries and an envelope in his pocket to cover the gas or electricity?


There once was a bishop called Tom,
Who was not even loved my his Mom,
The thoughts of him made her sick,
He was so like her great uncle Dick.



Fr John Mccarthy

After 26 loyal years service as a sacristan Mr Michael Keohane was dismissed by Fr Mccarthy who used the drop in church income to justify the sacking.

But the WRC – Workplace Relations Commission in the Republic found against the PP and ordered that the sacristan be given his job back.

Sacristan Michael Keohane

The WRC adjudicator, Ms Patsy Doyle said: “the justice of this case dictates an order of re-engagement”.

Fr McCarthy had dissed the quarter of a century sacristan by way of a registered letter!

The tribunal backdated the re-engagement back to July of this year.

Ms Doyle found that Mr Keohans “was unfairly selected for redundancy amidst an attempt to address the diminution of income at the church”.

The church

The WRC also found that Fr Mccarthy had cleary excluded Mr Keohane from discussions around his redundancy.

Fr McCarthy was also angry because Mr Keohane had protested at the church gates.

Fr McCarthy said he could not entertain Mr Keohane’s return.

Fr McCarthy is awaiting legal advice as to whether he can appeal the WRC’s judgement to the Labour Court.


For a long time in Ireland bishops have been dictators in their dioceses and parish priests dictators in their parishes.

These “men” were invincible and untouchable.

And the Garda and lawyers and judges let them away with blue murder.

But the times they are a changing.

As the size and influence of the RCC decreases and Ireland becomes moreand more a European democracy the church, its hierarchs and its clergy will become more and more subject to civil and criminal law and its courts and tribunals.

This is a very, very good development.

When Daly terminated me in 1986 I did drag him before the Industrial Tribunal and High Court.

But that was 35 years ago and things were very much not up to scratch.

Anyone who thinks they have endured an injustice a the hands of any one or any organisation should have recourse to civil proceedings.

This now includes the once exempted, Roman Catholic Church and it various “operatives”.



From Attitude magazine.

Born in Germany in 1891, Dora Richter became a trans pioneer in the pre-Nazi era – but her exact fate remains unknown.

This article marks Transgender Awareness Week (13-19 November) ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance on Saturday 20 November.

Hollywood might have you believe that the first trans woman to undergo gender reassignment surgery was Lili Elbe. That was certainly the impression I got from watching Eddie Redmayne in the not uncontroversial The Danish Girl back in 2015.

A few weeks before Lili had her surgery, the lesser-known Dora Richter had undergone the same procedures.

Dora was born into a poor farming family in 1891 in the Erzgebirge region of Germany. From all reports, she always identified as female and deeply disliked wearing men’s clothes. Her family allowed her to live as a female but this was clearly not enough – when she was six, she tried to give herself a DIY version of the operation she would later have: attempting to remove her penis with a tourniquet.

When she grew older, Dora – also called Döchen (little Dora) – moved to Berlin. Using her birth name, Rudolph, she worked as a male-presenting waiter or cook, in upmarket hotels during the summer season. For the rest of the year, she’d live as a female.

Although Berlin was soon to be the LGBTQ capital of Europe, Dora was occasionally arrested for the ‘crime’ of cross-dressing – transgender people were considered to be transvestites at the time – and served time in a men’s jail.

Finally, a sympathetic judge released Dora into the care of German physician and early sexual rights activist Magnus Hirschfeld, who ran the Institute of Sexual Research. She was even given special permission to wear women’s clothing.


Dora lived and worked there as a woman, being paid as a housekeeper, for more than 10 years.

Despite Germany now being the liberal Weimar Republic (created after the Kaiser’s abdication following defeat in the 1914-18 war), it was still difficult for anyone to get a job if their gender didn’t match the one they were assigned at birth, so the institute employed a number of former ‘patients’.

Dr Ludwig Levy-Lenz, who joined the institute in 1925, is reported as saying: “It was very difficult for transvestites to find a job… we knew this and were willing to employ [them].

“We did everything we could to give such people a job. We had five maids, all of them male transvestites and I shall never forget the sight when I happened to go into the kitchen. The five girls sat close together, peacefully knitting, sewing and singing old folks songs.

“They were the most hard-working and conscientious domestic workers we ever had and never did a stranger visiting us notice anything…”

Finally, in 1922, Dora had the first of her surgeries. Under the auspices of Dr Erwin Gohrbandt at the Charité Universitatsmedizin, she underwent a surgery called an orchiectomy in which the testicles are removed. The surgeon also began studying the effect reduced testosterone had on Dora’s anatomy.


Another doctor at the institute, Felix Abraham, wrote: “Her castration had the effect – albeit it not very extensive – of making her body fuller, restricting beard growth, making visible the first signs of breast development and giving the pelvic fat pad… a more feminine shape.”


However, Dora had to wait nine more years before having her penis removed and being offered a vaginoplasty, becoming, as far as any surviving records show, the first person to have what was then referred to as a ‘sex-change’ operation. The procedure, which in Dora’s case was carried out by two doctors, including Levy-Lenz, involves the construction of a vagina.

It was this experimental but highly successful operation – with the following publicity – that attracted Lili Elbe to the institute.

Anyone who has seen The Danish Girl knows that Lili’s story did not end happily. Dora’s was at least as tragic.

In May 1933, some four months after Hitler came to power, a mob made up of right-wing students and possibly SS stormed the institute. They seized all Magnus Hirschfeld’s records and ransacked the building. Hirschfeld had already fled the Nazi terror and was living in France.

But Dora was still there – and was never heard from again. It is presumed she was killed in the attack, although it is possible she was arrested and died in custody. It’s not known just how many people were murdered after the institute’s records fell into the hands of the Gestapo and the police.

Although a small number of ‘sex-change’ operations still took place during the rest of the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazi persecution and the Second World War set back transgender – not to mention gay – rights by a generation. However, Dora’s bravery and determination shines like a beacon in those very dark times and she remains a transgender icon.

Her character appears in a 1999 German film about Magnus Hirschfeld whose title translates as The Einstein of Sex but her story deserves a much wider audience.


I find it fascinating that men of science were openly exploring transvetitism and transsexualism at the beginning of the 20 th century – one hundred years ago.

How clever, open and truth seeking of them – when even today many people are so closed minded on the topic.

We are still at the beginning of knowing all there is to know about the complexities of gender, sexual orientation and their psychological roots.

It does NOT HELP when church people promote and insist upon medieval and biblical understandings of this vast area of human knowledge and inquiry.

The first thing we must do when it comes to gender issue is to LISTEN and listen nonjudgementally.

We must also be guided by the scientific and medical professionals in this area.

And, most of all, as Christians, we should have COMPASSION.

“Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his mocasins”.

“But for the grace of God, there go I”.


Lydia Annice Foy is an Irish trans woman notable for leading legal challenges regarding gender recognition in Ireland. In 1992 Foy had sex reassignment surgery, and began a 20-year battle to have her birth certificate reflect her gender identity. In 2007 the Irish High Court ruled that the relevant portions of the law of the Republic of Ireland were incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, but by February 2013 the law had not been changed and she began new legal proceedings to enforce the 2007 decision. As of 15 July 2015, Ireland has passed the Gender Recognition Bill 2014.

Dr Foy, painted the mini portrait below to thank me for my support.




There is no doubt about it than in this 21 st century celibacy should be OPTIONAL and not OBLIGATORY.

The alternative to it is:

1. Good priests leaving forgive and companion ship.

2. Less strong and principled priests leading double lives and living in moral compromise.

And after Rome has allowed so many former Anglicans to be ordained makes the celibacy rule a laughing stock.

A number of years ago I married a PP in his late 30s who left to marry.

He was replaced in the parish by a former Anglican with a wife and kids.


What do we do then about a priest who is a good priest and wants to stay but is in love with another man?

In most parishes the parishioners would have no problem with either a heterosexual or homosexual priest with a partner.

My own experience is that people have no problem with me being a partnered priest / bishop.

In fact my partner is regularly invited with me to attend wedding receptions.

It seems that only the episcopal homos suffering from internalised homophobia have a problem with partnered priests?




Dear Archbishop Fisher,


I am Bishop Pat Buckley; I am well-known in Ireland for my independent ministry, having been consecrated a bishop without a Papal Mandate. And, I retain an on-going high-profile as a result of my infamous blog that is well-known as a portal for clerical whistle-blowing.

Mainly, I am contacted by people (often priests) who wish to expose clerical misconduct and institutional wrongdoing. When it comes to publishing accusations on my blog, I take an evidence-based approach, I require supporting paperwork and/or independent confirmation of the accusation(s) by a second person. It is a matter of considerable pride that I am greatly disliked by the Irish Hierarchy and many clergy, because I have consistently highlighted certain matters that they would rather remain occult.

For the past year or so, I have been blogging about the on-going scandal that is Silverstream Priory. This is Benedictine Priory of diocesan right, located within the canonical territory of the Diocese of Meath. Invariably, you will wonder: why I am writing to you on the other side of the world about a monastic scandal in Ireland? The answer: Fr. Richard Abourjaily.


Within the Diocese of Meath, Silverstream Priory is toxic. The invitation issued in 2012 to Dom Mark Kirby by its Emeritus Bishop Michael Smith, to establish his fledging monastic foundation from the Diocese of Tulsa with the benefit of hindsight, I submit, was misguided and ill-judged. More seriously, I have learned, but, I am waiting for proof, that the Diocese of Tulsa, did not warn Bishop Smith about concerns that had been brought to its attention about Dom Mark Kirby. Again, this is an American diocese that has failed to learn lessons of the scandals that have engulfed the Church in recent decades. And that, I submit, is truly shocking. 


Due to my many sources within the Diocese of Meath, I have learned that the then Bishop Smith did absolutely no due diligence on Dom Mark Kirby and his fledging monastic formation. Hence, the current Ordinary, Thomas Deenihan, is reaping the poisonous fruit sown by his predecessor for the reasons that emerge by a careful reading of the following.


In order to better contextualise the present, may I respectfully direct your attention along with Archbishop Peter Comensoli to the eloquent coverage of Silverstream Priory within this article:

The madness that is Silverstream Priory is eloquently illustrated by the book, In Sinu Jesu. Let me cite the description of the work from Google Books:

“In 2007, Our Lord and Our Lady began to speak to the heart of a monk in the silence of adoration. He was prompted to write down what he received, and thus was born In Sinu Jesu, whose pages shine with an intense luminosity and heart-warming fervor that speaks directly to the needs of our time with a unique power to console and challenge”.

It is published anonymously, however, it is the work of Dom Mark Kirby, OSB, with the book being praised by Cardinal Burke, whom I have learned is also a “supporter” of Dom Kirby. So, we have a Benedictine monk and priest, who presents himself as a pseudo-mystic, who, unfortunately, has, according to credible reports, led a life that is completely at variance with basic Christian morality and the evangelical counsels, that he freely embraced at monastic profession and priestly ordination.

It has been independently confirmed to me by priests (note the plural) of the Diocese of Meath that Fr. Richard Abourjaily was present in Silverstream Priory for nearly a year. Hence, the presence of Fr. Richard Abourjaily at Silverstream Priory is an established fact. And, his presence within the Diocese of Meath begets a number of important questions that I now wish to address to you as the Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Questions about Cardinal Pell and Richard Abourjaily.

It is accepted that prior to his ordination as a priest that Richard Abourjaily was seminarian with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). Seemingly, he was dismissed from this Fraternity because he lied about a non-existent health condition. You would accept that this is an accurate statement? If not; why not? This was, however, a portent of him feigning a diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2008 after his ordination as a priest in 2007.

In a cruel twist of faith, the Rector of the FSSP seminary (near Lincoln, Nebraska) that dismissed Richard Abourjaily, I believe was Fr. James Jackson, FSSP, who is now indicted on a federal charge in the United States for possession of extreme images of child pornography. 

Is it true that the FSSP warned Cardinal Pell about the deceit of Richard Abourjaily? I have it on excellent authority that this is the case. I am also told that for reasons that remain inextricable the warning was ignored by Cardinal Pell. Consequently, would you accept that in the thinking of most right-minded individuals it would be reasonable for them to infer that the FSSP warned Cardinal Pell NOT to ordain Richard Abourjaily to the priesthood in 2007?

In light of the above, would you now accept that your predecessor in the Archdiocese of Sydney, Cardinal Pell, inexplicably and unjustifiably ignored these legitimate warnings about Richard Abourjaily?

With the benefit of hindsight: would you accept that Cardinal Pell failed to conduct his own due diligence on Richard Abourjaily? 

I am informed that Richard Abourjaily is charming, intelligent, highly manipulative, and a pathological liar. Thus, did Richard Abourjaily by the force of his personality inveigle his way into the “good books” of Cardinal Pell? 

In light of the scandals that have engulfed the Church over the past three decades; Cardinal Pell should have been far more prudent when it came to the ordination to the priesthood of a man with a tenous relation with truth, i.e., Richard Abourjaily. I trust you will: a) accept that observation as being accurate and fair; and, b), further accept that with the benefit of hindsight that Cardinal Pell should not have ordained Richard Abourjaily to the priesthood?

A Google search indicates that you Archbishop Fisher then as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney preached the homily at Fr. Abourjaily’s first Mass. You even referred to his false reports of physical illnesses in this homily, saying: “And already in his 28 years, Father Richard has known the Cross. Despite many hurdles of his own, on his long journey to the priesthood, despite sickness and continued treatment, despite a bad knee caused by too many hours on his knees praying, Richard has stuck at it.”  With the passing of time do you regret this action and your words?

Fr. Richard Abourjaily at Silverstream Priory.

Some time ago, I wrote to the Bishop of Meath, Thomas Deenihan with questions that had arisen in light of a conversation I had with one of his priests about Fr. Richard Abourjaily. Some of these questions are repeated herein and expanded.

In fact, I have written to Thomas Deenihan on several occasions about Silverstream Priory. Unfortunately, it appears to be the case that when Bishop Deenihan hears from me, he appears to be suddenly stricken (like a mute of old) with an inability to communicate. His paralysis about Silverstream Priory is troubling. Perhaps, he, (like the rest of the ostriches that constitute the Irish episcopate), is hoping that by ignoring the scandal of Dom Mark Kirby, OSB, it will disappear with the passing of time.

I have independently confirmed that Fr. Richard Abourjaily was physically present at Silverstream Priory in 2013/2014. Fr. Abourjaily was frequently seen on the grounds of Silverstream Priory wearing the traditional soutane; he did so with impunity. He was also seen in the choir stalls of Silverstream Priory during the celebration of the Divine Office on several occasions, as if he were an official member of the monastic community.

The ministry of Fr. Richard Abourjaily at Silverstream Priory.

I am apprised that Fr. Abourjaily was approached by people who were visiting Silverstream Priory when he was out and about to hear confessions, which he did without any hesitation. 

Due to health considerations that have plagued Dom Mark Kirby for years, I have also learned that when he [Dom Kirby] was unable to celebrate the Conventual Mass at Silverstream Priory, it would then be celebrated by Fr. Abourjaily, and, he [Abourjaily] did celebrate the Mass with the public attending on a multiplicity of occasions.

Let me be clear, Archbishop Fisher, I am stating that Fr. Abourjaily publicly celebrated Mass in the oratory at Silverstream Priory, attended by the monks and members of the public with the explicit permission of Dom Mark Kirby. A Laytown-based [Laytown is a town located close to Silverstream Priory] woman has confirmed that she attended a Mass at Silverstream that was celebrated by Fr. Abourjaily. As I wrote to Bishop Deenihan the woman clearly remembered his Australian accent. She also remarked she was surprised that it was not a monk celebrating the Mass. She was very clear on this point. And, I have clarified with the woman the second time that it was Fr. Abourjaily the purpose of this present communication.

So, Archbishop Fisher, were you aware that Fr. Richard Abourjaily received an invitation from Dom Mark Kirby, to reside at Silverstream Priory? 

Were you aware of his extended period of residence at Silverstream Priory since your appointment as the Archbishop of Sydney? If not, when did you first become aware of his residence at this Priory? Is this e-mail your first knowledge of this reality?

Was the invitation for Fr. Richard Abourjaily to reside for an extended period at Silverstream Priory communicated to a senior decision-maker within the Archdiocese of Sydney by Dom Kirby? It is noteworthy to highlight that Bishop Peter Comensoli was appointed to be the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Sydney on February 27, 2014 following the appointment of Cardinal Pell as the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy at the Holy See on February 24, 2014. Hence, the then Auxiliary Bishop Comensoli was for all intents and purposes the Ordinary to whom Fr. Richard Abourjaily was dependent upon for a significant amount of his residency at Silverstream Priory. 

Of course, without being in possession of all the facts, it is probable that when he first arrived at Silverstream Priory, Fr. Richard Abourjaily, was dependent on his Ordinary, Cardinal Pell. Is that a fair summation?

Was this spontaneous invitation brought to the attention of the Bishop of Meath at the time, Michael Smith by Dom Kirby or by any authorised individual within the Archdiocese of Sydney?

When Fr. Richard Abourjaily took up his residency at Silverstream, did he do so with written permission of Cardinal Pell or Bishop Comensoli or was it retrospectively sought and granted? And, did Bishop Smith give written permission for Fr. Abourjaily to reside at Silverstream Priory?

It is my understanding from a Meath-based priest that Fr. Abourjaily was prohibited from presenting himself as a priest under any circumstances while present in the Diocese of Meath. He did NOT have permission to celebrate the Eucharist publicly; he definitely did not have faculties to hear confessions, because he was in a lot of trouble with his then Ordinary, the Archbishop of Sydney. Is that a fair summation of Fr. Abourjaily’s circumstances?

I accept that the information provided by that priest might-be erroneous. However, if that is the case, it begets the following questions.

Did Fr. Abourjaily have a letter of good standing from the Archdiocese of Sydney, when he arrived at Silverstream Priory? 

If, Fr. Abourjaily, was resident at Silverstream Priory with the permission of either Cardinal Pell or Bishop Comensoli, was he permitted to present himself in public as a priest? 

Did Fr. Abourjaily have faculties to hear sacramental confessions from the Archdiocese of Sydney? And, was permission sought and granted from Bishop Michael Smith by the Archdiocese of Sydney for Fr. Abourjaily to hear confessions within the Diocese of Meath?

If, Fr. Abourjaily, was resident at Silverstream Priory with the permission of either Cardinal Pell or Bishop Comensoli, was he permitted to celebrate the Eucharist, publicly? Was he granted permission to celebrate Mass publicly by the Archdiocese of Sydney subject to the further approval of Bishop Smith within the Diocese of Meath?

Did the Archdiocese of Sydney provide financial assistance to either Silverstream Priory and/or the Diocese of Meath or both to support the then Fr. Abourjaily?

Was the Dublin-based Nunciature aware of the presence of Fr. Abourjaily at Silverstream Priory? And, did the Silverstream whistle-blower, Dom Andersen, raise any issues about Fr. Abourjaily to Archbishop Okolo.

The Apostolic Visitation of Silverstream Priory was NOT conducted by two Benedictine Abbots as erroneously stated by The Pillar. The visitation was conducted by a compromised Benedictine abbot, Brendan Coffey, OSB, and a Cistercian abbot, Richard Purcell, and Monsignor Gearóid Dullea, the former executive secretary to the Irish Episcopal Conference. The latter abbot is publicly accused of frequenting a Dublin-based gay sauna, and the Abbot General of the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance, Dom Eamon Fitzgerald, OCSO, has admitted Purcell’s sexual misconduct to me on the phone. I mentioned this purely to contextualise the people who conduct the visitation of Silverstream Priory.

In light of the above, it is inconceivable that the malign presence of Fr. Abourjaily did not emerge as an issue during the Apostolic Visitation. Were you as the Archbishop of Sydney contacted by any of the above visitators about Fr. Abourjaily?

Silverstream Priory is a sad, sorry, and sordid ecclesiastical reality. The failure of Bishop Deenihan to address the scandal is inexcusable. Being blunt, the harsh reality is he [Deenihan] does not wish to move to suppress Silverstream Priory because it would be characterised as “Deenihan is responding to the dictates of Buckley” the Irish Catholic Church really is that petty and narrow-minded, with Bishop Deenihan being that venal.

But, Silverstream Priory and the fall-out from its crazy founding Prior will to continue to come into the public domain until decisive action is taken. The Priory is under investigation by the Irish police and Dublin-based regulator of Irish charities, and there are other matters which may bring it into the public domain again in the not so distant future.

I believe that transparency is good for the Church; hence, I will post this correspondence on my blog. I sincerely hope you will reply with answers to these questions; if you request that your reply is confidential; then, that will be respected. I am known for being a man of my word.

I have no doubt you have the personal contact details of Cardinal Pell; hence, you may wish to forward him a copy of this e-mail for his kind consideration. Also, you may wish to apprise Cardinal Pell that the anonymous editor of In Sinu Jesu, mentioned above, was, in fact, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, who was also somehow the book’s censor deputatus; his wife is also an Oblate of Silverstream. Dr. Kwasniewski met Cardinal Pell at the ordination of two of his friends to the priesthood at Monastero di San Benedetto, Norcia earlier this year; but, his son is a simply professed monk of Silverstream Priory. It is a small, strange and crazy Church. 

However, rest assured, this matter is going to continue to grow more and more toxic until decisive action is taken, i.e., the church deals with: a) Silverstream Priory and, b) Dom Richard Purcell, OCSO.

With prayerful best wishes,

+ Pat Buckley.


Archbishop Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to the Republic of Ireland.

Archbishop Comensoli, Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Bishop Deenihan, Ordinary of the Diocese of Meath.

Abbot Coffey, OSB, the “compromised Abbot of Glenstal Abbey. This is the Abbot of a Benedictine monastery which runs one of Ireland’s most prestigious schools that was part of a visitation that confirmed a sexual predator (Dom Mark Kirby, OSB) and faux mystic as the monastic superior.