Dear Bishop Tom,

Recently, I visited the church of my baptism in Tullamore. It was good to be back in my home turf. I am, of course, aware that Tullamore is canonically within the Diocese of Meath. And, I am further aware that some of your priests (but not all) are very happy to extend a cordial welcome to the Ordinary of Larne when I visit the area entrusted to your pastoral governance.

By virtue of my baptism, I am intrinsically and ontologically connected to the Diocese of Meath, so I was very concerned to read that you are selling some the diocese estate. Like many Irish bishops I appreciate that you are facing tough decisions in order to balance the books. However, I do wonder are you making the right choice?

Is the selling of the land the worst form of short-termism? Would you, my brother Bishop Tom, be better to adopt a wait-and-see approach? After all, the finances of the diocese might experience an upturn, although, I accept that is unlikely! However, do you not think adopting a wait-and-see approach might be more prudent approach? Are you being advised by people that have the best interests of the diocese at heart?

In order to be helpful, I am going to make a suggestion that I respectfully suggest you should carefully consider.

You could render a Decree ordering the monks of Silverstream Priory to celebrate the Divine Office in English, i.e., prohibiting the use of Latin in all liturgical services. You should further insist that the Eucharist is celebrated utilising the New Rite of the Mass, i.e., the missal of Paul VI. Such a Decree would be giving effect to the wishes of His Holiness Pope Francis.


Of course, that would create anarchy within Silverstream Priory. And, if they did not comply in obedience to your Decree, you could petition the Holy See for a Decree of suppression. How about that for an idea?

Once Silverstream had been suppressed then the legal title to the property and the lands that constitute Silverstream Priory would pass to the Diocese of Meath. It is prime land that is ripe for development. In fact, the sale of the land could make the diocese a handsome profit.

This would have a twofold advantage: a) it would remove a major headache that you inherited from your predecessor, Bishop Michael Smith; and, b) I am sure you would take great delight in removing what has been a rich seam of content for my blog.

Of course, if that did become a reality, I am sure you would have no problem in utilising the profits from the sale of the lands at Silverstream to assist with the building of five houses for the poor.

With prayerful best wishes,

Your brother bishop,





“We are left wondering if in reality the permanent diaconate is being introduced by stealth,” said one parishioner.

Members of the laity have accused the Diocese of Killaloe of a “breach of trust” over the ministry of permanent deacons which remains on hold in the west of Ireland diocese.

Plans to train laymen for the ministry were paused in 2014 by the then Bishop of Killaloe, Kieran O’Reilly, following protests by a group known as the Women of Killaloe.

They argued that the role of the permanent deacon is unnecessary as most of its functions can be carried out by a layperson. They also believe that if it is introduced, it should be open to women and men, as it was in the early Church.

Bishop Fintan Monahan succeeded O’Reilly, now Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, in 2016.

However, despite the pause on recruiting permanent deacons in Killaloe, it subsequently emerged that one man from the diocese had already begun training for the diaconate before the reintroduction of the ministry was halted.

The Tablet has learned that a number of lay people in Killaloe are now concerned that this permanent deacon, who was ordained for the Diocese of Cloyne, is ministering publicly in Killaloe, including at liturgies in the cathedral in Ennis, undermining the agreement reached between the diocese and its people.


The offices of Deacon and Deaconess are as old as Christianity.

The three Holy Orders are deacon priest and bishop.

What is all this fuss about in Killaloe?

The previous bishop seems to have halted the ordination to the permanent diaconate as the result of protestations by Women of Killaloe?

Who are Women of Killaloe?

Are they a group of women seeking woman’s ordination?

How does stopping male permanent deacons help their cause?

I am in favour of women’s ordination.

I ordained a woman to the priesthood 24 years ago – Mother Frances.


Now in her 90s she is still on ministry

With the disappearance of priests the RCC needs more deacons.

Surely the Women of Killaloe should be campaigning for women’s ordination?

In 2016 Francis convened a study of the role of Deaconess.

It does not seem to have reported yet.

There will be women priests and deacons in the future – alongside married priests.

Maybe even eventually openly gay married priests.