Dear Bishop Tom,
Recently, I have been contacted by people within the Diocese of Meath. They have asked me to bring to your attention their on-going and legitimate concerns about safeguarding at Silverstream Priory.
They highlight that on the homepage of the Silverstream Priory website there is a statement about Dom Mark Kirby. But Dom Mark Kirby, we are led to believe is no longer resident at Silverstream Priory. I would respectfully submit that the non-prosecution of Dom Kirby following an investigation by An Garda Síochána should not be a cause of public celebration. The fact that the file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions was confirmation that the investigating police officers felt there were sufficient evidence to justify a prosecution.
Furthermore, the statement makes reference to a canonical investigation involving Fr. Kirby. Who conducted this investigation? Was conducted in accordance with the dictates of Canon 1717? Why did the Diocese of Meath not make a public announcement about the canonical and police investigation into Dom Mark Kirby?
Why did you Bishop Deenihan, not preventatively suspend by Decree the priestly faculties of Dom Mark Kirby? I know for a fact that your predecessor incardinated Fr. Kirby into the Diocese of Meath from the Diocese of Tulsa by Decree. Do you deny this reality? Is it the case that a priest of the Diocese of Meath, credibly accused of misconduct is permitted to do what he likes with impunity with the approbation of his Ordinary? That is a reasonable inference take in light of the known actions that have taken place on your watch in your diocese.
Thus, it is legitimate for people to know where Fr. Mark Kirby, a priest of the Diocese of Meath, is residing at the moment? Also, where is the whistle-blower, Dom Benedict Andersen at the moment? Is Andersen still in the United States? Are Kirby and Andersen functioning as priests? Do they have letters of good standing from you as their Ordinary? Who has responsibility for the oversight of these priests while they are outside Silverstream Priory?
Who is ultimately responsible for safeguarding at Silverstream Priory? Is it the new superior, the French national, Jean-Pierre (Basil) MacCabe?
Why are Fr. Kirby, Fr. Andersen, Fr. MacCabe, and Fr Houser not listed as priests of the Diocese of Meath? I am told by a distinguished Professor of Canon Law that it is not possible for a monastery of diocesan right to incardinate clerics. Therefore, these priests are clerics of the Diocese of Meath, which makes you, Bishop Deenihan, their Ordinary, vicariously liable for their actions. Is this a proposition you want to have tested in the Irish courts should an accusation of misconduct be made against one of the priests and monks of Silverstream?
I have previously highlighted my legitimate and well-founded concerns to you about the presence of boy scouts at Silverstream Priory.
For the avoidance of any and all doubt I am NOT accusing any monk of Silverstream Priory of sexual misconduct involving a minor; I wish to be absolutely and unequivocally clear on this point.
But, if an accusation of sexual misconduct involving a child is made against a monk of Silverstream — who is responsible? According to The Property Registration Authority of Ireland, Silverstream is owned by a Trust (St. Finian’s Trust) constituted to oversee the property portfolio of the Diocese of Meath. Ask your legal team to advise you about vicarious liability. Again who is responsible? Is it the current superior, the one who has only recently arrived from France, who has not been publicly named as the superior? Why the secrecy surrounding his appointment?
Why does the safeguarding link on the website of Silverstream Priory automatically lead to this webpage: https://www.meathsafeguarding.ie/
Is the link to the “Meathsafeguarding webpage” a tacit acknowledgement that the Diocese of Meath is ultimately responsible for Silverstream Priory and for all its safeguarding issues; but is it a reality that the Diocese of Meath wishes to remain occult?
Bishop Deenihan, I note you are the Chair of the Council for Education of the Irish Bishops’ Conference. Is safeguarding and the application of same within your own diocese something that you do not take seriously? I think it is a legitimate question because the chronic and on-going lack of transparency and the obfuscation surrounding everything to do with Silverstream Priory. Has nobody within the Diocese of Meath learned any lessons from the sexual scandals involving children that have befallen the Irish Church in the last three decades? Respectfully, I submit the answer to my question is: NO. Because if safeguarding was taken seriously on your patch, I would not be writing this e-mail to you this afternoon calling out this unacceptable lack of oversight.
It is respectfully submitted within the present that safeguarding (or the lack thereof) within Silverstream Priory is one that needs to be immediately addressed. A positive first step is to acknowledge that there has been a failure of oversight of Silverstream. Thereafter, the person(s) with responsibility for safeguarding at Silverstream can be identified and their contact details posted on the webpages of the Diocese of Meath and Silverstream Priory.
In conclusion, I would be grateful for a prompt acknowledgement of the present either from you personally and/or the head of safeguarding within the Diocese of Meath at the earliest convenient moment.
In particular, I would wish the reply to clarify: (1) who has overall responsibility for safeguarding at Silverstream Priory; (2) whether or not the priests of Silverstream Priory, are incardinated as clerics within the Diocese of Meath; (3) the exact addresses and locations of Fr. Kirby and Fr. Andersen, the missing monks of Silverstream; and (4) who has safeguarding responsibility for these clerics who are residing outside the Priory.
As ever, because I believe transparency is good for the Church, I will post this correspondence on my blog and along with the reply from the diocese.
+ Pat Buckley
The Silverstream problem has not gone away and WILL NEVER GO AWAY until the gaping injustice against DOM BENEDICT ANDERSEN, the esteemed co founder of Silverstream, is resolved.
Kirby. Deenihan, Purcell, Coffey and Porn Again Elijah all conspired against Dom Andersen and continue to conspire against him.
Hang down your head Tom D