An open letter to Fr. Ger Fitzgerald
“Beginnings are always difficult. One often struggles to find the correct words to begin a story, to instantly captivate the audience and to give the subsequent tale its full impact.” (Ger Fitzgerald)
My first introduction to Fr. Ger occurred in May 2020 when he sent me a private message on Facebook. Ger was interested in a history post that I had done on a certain 19th c. historical figure from Co. Clare. My post included an image of an antique letter written by this particular baronet whom Ger idolised. Ger was very anxious to see the letter which was in my possession and asked if he might call over to have a look at it. We set up a time, and when he actually saw the letter and held it in his hands, he became very emotional. Afterwards, he sent me another message to thank me and asked if he might get a frame for it. Ger eventually explained to me why the baronet who wrote the letter was so special to him. After much thought and discussion with my husband, we decided to gift the letter to Ger as it meant more to him than it did to us. When I told Ger the news, he was overjoyed and told me that he was crying from happiness. I believe it was a turning point in his life.
Ger and I began to message each other more frequently, and we discovered a mutual love of history. We made plans to explore old houses and historical places of interest. Sometimes these trips were with friends, but for the majority of these trips, we were alone.
As we got to know each other better, an emotional bond developed between us. Most of our messages were about history related subjects, but as time went on, we began to tell each other more personal things. I have always been a forthright person; I wear my heart on my sleeve. I do not believe in hiding the truth. I told Ger a lot of things about my past including the fact that my ex-husband physically and verbally abused me. I also told Ger about my current marriage which, on the whole, is a very unhappy one and has been for quite some time. He told me that I was very courageous for telling him. He also promised that he would never abandon me…
In March 2021 when Ger’s affair with Yvonne Drake became public knowledge, he sent me a message explaining that some “evil vindictive people” had gotten him into trouble. Of course, I wanted to help him. The Fr. Ger I knew could not be capable of telling me lies; after all, he was a priest in ministry! Being the “good Catholic” that I am, I stood by him and offered him my support.
When he was forced to leave his position in Cloughleigh and went back to live with his father (who has recently died) and his brother, he had plenty of time on his hands. We began seeing each other more frequently and spent much time texting back and forth to each other. I will never forget my birthday in 2021—the birthday that my husband forgot. I messaged Ger about it and he felt so bad for me that he offered to take me to a very special place that I had been wanting to see and which was a few hours away from my home. What started as a horrible day ended up being one of the best days of my life. I still get teary eyed when I think about it. There were many other memorable days for me with Ger, such as the incredible sunrise we shared together at a location which was very special to him. The night before the sunrise, Ger spent the night at my house in his own room. Ger spent the night at my home on many occasions. It started after Pat Buckley started blogging about him. Ger was in a very bad emotional state because of the blog, but I think that he felt safe in my home where he was offered food, rest, emotional support and a comfortable room of his own.
I spent so much time with Ger that I know what foods he likes, his favourite music, I know about his fears, I know a little bit about his childhood (which he does not like talking about), I know which books he likes, and I even know what songs he wants played at his funeral. I began to understand Ger the man, who just happened to be a priest. While he did perform some of his “priestly” duties in my home (I prefer not to give any details), he became much more than a priest to me. I can honestly say that I grew to love him. I accepted him with all his faults and weaknesses (God knows I have my own) and the relationship continued to grow until about August 2021 when an incident happened while we were out with a mutual friend. I behaved very badly and, in fact, was quite rude. This happened as a result of my insecurities and I did apologise for it profusely, but I think this incident marked the beginning of the end. The irony here is that Ger himself can behave very badly and yet he always held me to a higher standard! We continued to see each other regularly up until around January 2022 when his father died.
One of the things that disturbs me about my relationship with Ger is that the lines were blurred. I first knew him as a priest in ministry and then as we grew closer, the lines were crossed and he wasn’t a priest to me anymore. After all that has transpired between us, I don’t think I can ever trust another priest again. I go to Mass occasionally, but when I hear the sermons from the pulpit, I feel that what is being said is hypocrisy. Ger was very good at giving sermons; he is intellectually very smart, but how can you stand up at the pulpit and preach a message about Christian values and virtues when your own life is filled with controversy?! Is it only about the message and not the messenger?
So much has happened between myself and Ger that I could very well write a book about it.
I gave Ger many gifts over the last two years: books, historical letters, clothes, etc. The gifts were given because I cared about Ger and wanted to make him happy. He repeatedly told me that he was broke, that he couldn’t afford things. I took him at his word. When we went out, it was mostly me who paid for meals. It now appears that during the time of our relationship, Ger had a five-figure sum of money in “savings”, the details surrounding this are still unclear and I do not intend to say any more on the subject.
Ger, I am asking you to come clean. Free yourself from all your secrets. You can be very selfish at times and I don’t mean about money. You have much to offer. I know you did a lot of wonderful things in Cloughleigh before your relationship with Yvonne. You can still make a life for yourself. Go get a degree in history and publish the book you have been writing. Find someone to settle down with. You did some very bad things to me including threatening to call the guards on me, lying to me, and slandering me via the third-party person that you know. You tried to stop the truth from coming out on the blog. I don’t know if I ever really knew the real you. Maybe I knew some small part of the real you but it wasn’t enough. In order to get things Ger, you need to give of yourself… I tried to give you all that I could (and I don’t just mean material items) and you treated me at times in a very cruel and callous manner. You need to acknowledge what you have done and somehow try to make amends for it. You are unfit to be a priest now. Accept it and move on. The diocese is offering me a modest number of therapy sessions but it will never be enough to heal the gaping wound in my soul caused by you. I forgive you for the deep hurt and pain that you have caused me, but I will never forget it, and I certainly will not allow you to hurt anyone else while you are still a priest and getting a “generous” salary from the RC church.
I care what happens to you Ger. I truly do. I am sorry that I had to make this public, but you left me no other choice. Stop getting other people to clean up your messes. You are a grown man and need to take responsibility for your actions. It is long overdue. You may not be a priest for much longer but you can create a new life for yourself. Meanwhile and in spite of the great difficulty, I will try to move on with my life. I will always remember the many deep conversations and good times that we had together. They meant a lot to me. I truly hope that one day you will live an authentic life outside of the church and that you will find lasting peace within yourself.
Every single word of the letter above was written by “Carole” without any input for me.
This is a wonderful and inspiring letter.
It blows any attempt by Ger or anyone else to label Carole as “a woman scorned” completely out of the water.
I have only gotten to know Carole over the past 10 days.
She has been ruthlessly honest with me about her life and her talents and faults.
She is intelligent, spiritual, and self examining at every turn.
No harm to you, Ger – this woman was way out of your league.
She emerges from this with grace and finesse as well as hurt, disappointment and sadness.
Ger should take her advice, get out his priesthood cocoon, and grow up in every sense.
Carole, like so many other women, has been cruelly treated by the Roman Catholic Junta.
Fintan Monahan is a snake!
Carole emerges from this as a giant.
Ger and Fintan emerge as pygmies.
AND, BY THE WAY GER AND FINAN
We need to know where the FIVE FIGURE BANK SUM came from.