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.