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.