A Reader writes

Dear Bishop Pat,

Further to our exchange of WhatsApp messages, I write outlining a sequence of events that took place during my recent visit to Rome because you wish to utilise the correspondence for a blog posting. As a consequence, I am going to be careful, because we are dealing with very sensitive matters. I am mindful of the on-going sectarian divisions in Northern Ireland and the extreme sensitivities surrounding the situation in Iran at the moment.

Following a concelebrated Sunday Eucharist in a church near the Vatican, a number of the priests and pilgrims along with myself had breakfast. Midway through, we were engaged in conversation by a young woman of Middle Eastern appearance. I noted that she wore a crucifix so I presumed she was a Christian. However, as the conversation developed, it transpired that she was from Iran and that she was a Muslim. When we learned this fact all of us were surprised because the wearing of the crucifix by Muslim is akin to apostasy. And as the conversation developed, I was not surprised to learn that the woman in question had cut her hair in an act of solidarity with the protesters in Iran. As the conversation unfolded, I felt sufficiently comfortable to ask about her wearing of the crucifix. She replied that she saw Jesus as a figure of liberation, so for her, the cross did not have any salvific/theological significance, however, wearing it was a profound political statement. We have this opinion of Iran being a deeply religious country, but it seemed to me that secularisation is well-developed, and the younger generation are rejecting the faith/religiosity of their parents.

Some minutes later, the woman in question asked about our countries of origin. When I replied that I was from Ireland, she immediately steered the conversation to Bobby Sands. To my absolute amazement, she told me that Bobby Sands has become a significant almost totemic figure in the political protests currently taking place in Iran. He is seen as somebody who took a principled and ideological stand for the greater good of his community at a terrible personal cost. His willingness to sacrifice his life in the pursuance of the cause of Irish freedom has real resonance with the young people of Iran who are seeking greater liberty in that country. I have been struck by many of the interviews with young people from Iran that have been broadcast on the BBC that they are willing to die to achieve greater personal freedoms. Also, they make no reference to invoking the divine when they make these kinds of statements. And for that reason I can instinctively understand why Bobby Sands has gained such traction in that country, but I appreciate this is possibly pure supposition on my part.

It is, however, the case that Bobby Sands is not an unknown figure in Iran. There is a street dedicated to his memory in the capital, Tehran, where ironically the British Embassy is located. Also, his memory was invoked by the Iranian regime to serve its own political ends, so he is not a remote figure. On the island of Ireland, Bobby Sands is a deeply divisive figure. To some, he is a convicted criminal and a terrorist; to others, he is a martyr for the cause of Irish freedom and unity whose heroic sacrifice will be perennially recorded in the annuals of Irish history. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see how his contested legacy has been transformed to become a positive and inspirational force for good by a younger generation of Iranians. That, too, is a paradox of our age.

Bishop Pat, I am, however, mindful that you have a personal interest in Bobby Sands, because you were one of the priests who ministered to him in prison. Of course, I would never ask you about your relationship with Sands, because I presume you heard his confession. Also, I am sure you also tried to persuade him to end his hunger strike. But I did some research on Google this morning and I was surprised to see an interview with you talking about Sands referring to his hunger strike having a salvific/Christ-like quality. Therefore, I am of the view that you should contact a professional historian to give a detailed account of your interactions with him because we are dealing with a significant and important figure and period in Irish history that should be recorded for posterity. You too, are not going to live forever!

My conversation with the young woman in Rome was all too brief. Rightly or wrongly, I took the inference that Bobby Sands is an important and inspirational figure for young Iranians as they struggle for greater freedom in Iran. I, too, also took the inference that Sands in Iran is a secular Gandhi-like figure devoid of any theological significance.

Enclosing link to your interview below

With best wishes,



Dear Reader,

Thank you for interesting correspondence.

I have never forgotten my encounters with Bobby Sands and his NINE companions.

One Sunday I said Mass in the prison and a prison officer asked me to take Holy Communion to a prisoner in the hospital wing.

It turned out to be Bobby Sands who had the strongest of possible Catholic faith.

After giving him Communion I asked if we could talk.

He replied: “As long as you’re not going to preach at me”.

I reassured him that preaching at people was not my style.

We had a very long conversation and after that I went in to say Mass for the ten of them every Sunday.

I did celebrate the Sacrament of Penance with them and of course I cannot discuss that.

But I am totally convinced that Bobby Sands was morally of a very clear conscience.

He said to me:

“Two seconds after I die I will open my eyes and will be looking into the eyes of the only man who will ever completely understand me”.

I do NOT believe that the Hunger Strikers deaths were suicide.

And Bobbs Sands in particular absolutely believed in the words of Christ:

“No man can have any greater love than to lay his life down for his friends”.

Having used every other means at his disposal to defeat what he saw as his nation’s conquerors and torturers, he was left with only one last weapon – his life.

I did not share all Bobby’s political beliefs but I admired his naked courage.

Afterwards I attended the Hunger Strikers funerals and suffered serious opposition and persecution from my fellow clergy for doing so.

The Northern clergy, with a few exceptions like Des Wilson and Joe McVeigh, were very anti Republican- SDLP supporters.

I was not particularly Republican but was acting totally out of compassion and care for my people.

Where the people are, the priest should be standing with them in solidarity.




From a blog reader


3 store rooms


Sitting room and en suite bedroom


Reception area

Dining room

Drawing room

3 male toilets

3 female toilets

Disabled toilet


Strong room

Laundry room

Ironing room


Food pantry

Utility room

2 offices

Boiler house

Meeting room






Sitting room


Master en suite bedroom

2 en suite bedrooms




In his tribute to Ambassador Treanor the Roman incumbent of Armagh says that Noel Treanor is now embracing THE MINISTRY OF DIPLOMACY

“At this time, there are many challenges to be faced across Europe and at global level and the ministry of diplomacy within the Church serves to promote the pursuit of justice and peace in the world”.(sick)

How in the name of all that is holy, does living in a Brussels’ mansion, eating caviar hor d’oeuvres, drinking pink champagne, in various embassies and Michelin starred restaurants suddenly become a MINISTRY !!!

Is it based on that piece from the Gospel that says

“I send you out like Princes among the plebs. Carry a full purse of Euros and a Gamarelli haversack. Only salute the rich and famous on the boulevards. Whenever you go into a house, make sure it is a rich man’s house. If Michelin standard, eat what is set before you. Let your first words be: “I’m here to collect Peter’s Pence”. If a man of wealth lives there he will write a big cheque. If not leave that house and shake the shag pile off your feet and say to that house: “It will worse with you than in the Tuam baby home”.

If Noel’s new appointment is a ministry

1. Is burying babies in sewerage tanks a MINISTRY to poor, unwanted children?

2. Is money laundering in the Vatican Bank a MINISTRY to rich con men?

3. Is imprisoning and slaughtering native children a MINISTRY to indigenous people?

4. Is making pregnant girls convent slaves a MINISTRY to women?

5. Is shagging a cleric in a monastery kitchen a MINISTRY to priests?

6. Is sticking your ass out in a Boilerhouse a MINISTRY to bishops?

7. Is sacrificing your wallet and car a MINISTRY to rent boys?

8. Is making an American woman pregnant a MINISTRY to depressed divorcees?

9. Is taking Class A drugs in forest cruising areas a Ministry to young rural males?

10. Is showing your genitalia on the nocturnal Internet a MINISTRY to teenagers?

11. Is having say sex on an altar a MINISTRY to seminarians?


Amy is one of those in the RCC who invent new notions in order to justify church behaviour that is not of God and not according to the mind of Christ.

Jesus NEVER INTENDED a Vatican State, a Vatican Bank, a Vatican Museum, a King Pope, His church owning trillions and trillions, papal nuncios, bishop’s palaces, etc

All these things are the inventions of men – a minority of men who have hijacked His church and like in the Temple turned it into a den of thieves and robbers.

The RCC is not organised and run according to the mind of Christ and His New Testament teachings.

It is simply an international conglomerate based on money, power, control and corruption of every kind.

On one occasion a man asked me:

Bishop Pat, is it possible that the Anti Christ is an organisation and not an individual”?

My answer:







A Belfast priests says he saw Noel looking at a £15,000 desk in Ballinderry Antiques and when he went back to the shop a few days later it was gone?

Did it end up in Lisbreen?

Naturally speculation is now rife as to who might succeed Our Noelle at Lisbreen.


The candidates are divided into two corrals – within the diocese or without the diocese – with from without the diocese the more likely.

The name of Michael Router, the auxiliary in Armagh has been bandied about.


Word among the clergy is that Our Amy and Router are not the best of pals and Amy might like him gone?

Router is part of the Cavan clerical mafia – one of Seanie Brady’s men.

He was a reputation for having a Cavan temper too ?

Then there is talk of Alan McGuckian being transferred from Raphoe?


Alan is quite a nice man. At an ACP conference a few years ago he was one of the few priests to speak to me.

He seems to have become very serious and somewhat overburdened since he became a bishop.

It can’t be easy dealing with an RC diocese these times with so many problems and scandals.

Alan will be 70 in February.

Mind you, D&C could get a lot worse than Alan. He is sincere and says his prayers.

Of the recent bishops of D&C Philbin. Daly and Walsh were already bishops.

I think that Donal McKeown who will soon be 73 is too old?


Donal was a nice man as a priest. He has changed since becoming a bishop – and not for the better in my view.


That could happen. But D&C is quite a senior diocese?

God save us from Joe McGuinness of Clogher, a long term bishop wannabe

It could be a surprise priest from some other diocese or religious order.


I think a D&C insider is highly unlikely.


In fairness, Timmy has proven him to be a very able and popular PP in St. Mary ‘s in Belfast.

In one sense it does not really matter who comes as the job description is – “the management of growing decline”.





This is the job Noel has wanted forever.

He is coming to it late as he turns 72 next month.

But hey! Better late than never.

I’m sure Noel popped a Dom Perignon when he got the news of his new appointment.

Followed by a Chateau Petrus over lunch

Noel should never have been a priest or bishop. He does not have a pastor’s heart.

He is a desk man.

He should have joined the Irish civil service in the department of Foreign Affairs.

He also has an autistic personality which disables his ability to communicate with other people at an ordinary level.

Noel is a very cold fish. I find coldness one of the worst faults in a priest.

Noel covered up for gay and straight misbehaving priests in D&C and was totally lacking in compassion for priests struggling with problems or ill health.

And he was very cold in his meetings with those priest’s victims.

Like the rest of his Irish colleagues Noel has simply presided over decline.

He does leave a very plush palace behind for his successor and a very highly organised set of diocesan offices.

He was and is good at admin.

But bishops, priests and deacons are not called to be admistrators.

They are called to be pastors.

One of the scandals of Roman Catholicism is the number of clerics doing desk jobs – when those jobs should be done by competent lay men women.

In his 14 years in Belfast I have never met Noel Treanor.

He has never done me any harm that I know of?

Noel’s life and career highlights the old expression:

“He went out to do good – and he did well”.





At least 11 people have made complaints to Cork’s Cloyne diocese since 2013 alleging abuse or inappropriate behaviour by priests, a new report has found.

Since the previous review in 2013, a further three priests have been removed from ministry due to concerns raised about them, bringing the total to five priests now suspended, some permanently.

Among the complaints made, Cleric 1 received a complaint about “his use of the internet some years ago”. Allegations against Cleric 2 “relate to a time prior to his studies for the priesthood”. Cleric 3 was accused of abuse retrospectively which was investigated by An Garda Síochána and assessed by Tusla.

An anonymous letter was received alleging “inappropriate behaviour” by Cleric 5, but “due to the priest’s ill health and the absence of a named complainant, little could be done about the matter”. The priest subsequently died.

Cleric 6 was long deceased when an allegation of retrospective abuse was made about him.

Clerics 7, 8, and 9 visited the diocese on different occasions from their base abroad, and complaints received were notified to the priests’ home Church body.


Nine priests accused in 9 years. That’s one a year in Cloyne.

There are 26 dioceses in Ireland.

I wonder what the figures for the 26 are?

You would have thought that all the bad publicity and imprisonment of priests would have made any priest with such inclinations to avoid acting out.

But I suppose the intensity of the addiction for some is so strong that nothing would hold them back?


CLOYNE is the diocese where one of its parish priests had sex on the church altar with a young man – reported to have been a Maynooth seminarian.

The parish priest in question has died since the incident.




A question from yesterday’s comments

Jesus instituted the Breaking of the Bread / Eucharist at the Last Supper on the night before he died.

He told ALL there to celebrate like this whenever they met ‘ in memory of Him.

At this time there were no priests or bishops and the Breaking of the Bread took place in peoples houses.

There were no vestments or altar cloths, no incense and very few if any formalities.

This was also 1200 years before the term “Transubstantiation” was introduced.

The MASS that later developed took decades and centuries of evolution.

The RCC believes and teaches that all this development was on the authority given to it by Christ when He said:

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:18-20).

Not all Christian Churces agree with te RCC interpretation of those words.


Personally, I am very much of the Catholic tradition, and have no essential problems with any of the Sacraments, including Holy Orders.

I agree with the Laying on of Hands and the prayers of ordination associated with that Sacrament.

But I do not agree with the clericalism that has overtaken both the priesthood and episcopate.

Nor do I appreciate that a very small number of Church members – the clerics – have taken control of everything and hijacked everything.

And now they say to the rest of us:

“WE will only give you the Sacraments if you do everything we tell you to do and agree 100% with us and our teaching”.

The Sacraments primarily belong to God and operate as sources of grace at God’s bidding.


If a group of non ordained believers meet together and Break Bread in Memory of the Lord Jesus – is that a true Eucharist?

“Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:18-20).

On the basis if what Jesus said, such a group meeting would indeed attract the PRESENCE of Jesus.

And if the meeting Broke Bread, then surely it would be a Eucharistic encounter?

Personally, I have never attended such a celebration.

But I have taken Communion in the churches of other denominations than the RCC one, and on those occasions I believed that I was in the House of God and was indeed communing with God and my brothers and sisters who were present.


I can of course see the case for in the Cristian Community for clarity and order and basic beliefs and practices.

Otherwise you could easily have ecclesiastical chaos.

But I also think that in the Church there can be too much structure, too many petty rules and indeed one group lording it over another.

To answer the question I was asked that prompted this blog

I believe that if a group of sincere believers left the RCC and chose one of their group to be their pastor, and prayed over that person for that intention then that person would be acceptable in God’s sight as their chosen shepherd.


Such a group could approach an independent Catholic bishop?


And there are out there – various groups of Catholics, not connected with Rome, who claim to have valid episcopal and priestly Holy Orders.

These interesting books are about this issue

Many of these bishops claim to have valid (if not Roman canonical) Holy Orders and their lineages are very difficult to dispute.

Category:Bishops of Independent Catholic denominations (Wikipedia)



“If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.


Those people who are still emotionally or religiously attached to the Roman Catholic Institution are victims of HIS – Herd Instinct Syndrome.

Any rational, thinking person can see that this institution is not of God and is not about God.

It is about money, power, sex and control.

This has been said by others for years and centuries.

But with the explosion of education for everyone, the media and the Internet the RCC, like everything else, has come under massive and intensive scrutiny.

And, has been found greatly wanting.

How can an institution that is about God:

– sexually abuse hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of children all over the world?

– imprison and torture hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of women all over the world?

– sell tens or hundreds of thousands of orphans?

– bury so many children’s bodies in secret graves or disused sewerage tanks?

– rob the poor and side with the rich?

– consign multi millions of people to lifetimes of guilt, convince them that their bodies were vile and that they were bound for eternal flames?

The answer is simple. That institution is not of God or about God.

It is a self perpetuating institution, started and continued by men and designed to mentally and morally imprison the majority and provide a minority with power, control, money and the satisfaction of their desires.


You will note that I used the word INSTITUTION above.

The RCC is an institution that claims to speak on God’s behalf.

But God’s Church, as Jesus reminded us is not an INSTITUTION but rather a KINGDOM – the Kingdom of God.

The late Princess Diana said she wanted to be the Queen of Hearts.

And God’s Kingdom is very much a Kingdom of the heart and hearts.

As Brother Charles de Foucauld once said: “Our religion is all about love. It’s emblem is a heart ❤️ “.

The “CHURCH” is not a building, or an institution, or about priests, bishops, cardinals and popes.

The Church is the Family of God – and every human being living and that has lived is a member of God’s Family.

Out Faith is in our hearts and minds and should direct how we live and how we treat others.

Of course, for us Christians – Followers of Christ – Scripture, especially the New Testament, is vitally important. It gives us spiritual food and guidance.

And, for those if us from the Catholic Tradition, Sacraments are also important.

One of the problems with the RCC is that the hierarchy and clergy have hijacked and usurped the Sacraments.

The will only share the Sacraments with us on certain conditions – and only if we do everything they tell us to do.

This is not right. And that is why we need a new theology of Sacraments – a theology in which a hierarchy and a clergy cannot come between God and a person seriously desiring a Sacrament.

You can most definitely be a Christian and a Catholic without the RCC institution.

I’ve done that for 36 years now and I’ve helped thousands of others to do it too.

You can be an independent Catholic.

Ok. The RCC will remove your membership card and rip it up.

But in the Kingdom of God there are no membership cards.

Your baptism gives you full membership.

And don’t forget – your granny can baptise you at the kitchen sink and that baptism is as valid- and maybe even more valid – than a baptism at a marble font – by a priest – who is God knows what in his spare time.



The Irish Times Peter Boylan


Recent revelations of the horrific extent and nature of sexual, psychological and physical abuse over decades at schools owned by the Catholic Spiritan order have prompted renewed shock and trauma on the one hand and the standard church response of belated apology and promises of reform on the other.

The horror of clerical abuse has been especially pervasive in Ireland given the extent of the control exerted by the church in this country.

We are familiar with the historical circumstances in which responsibility for and ownership of education and large swathes of health and social care was both ceded to and actively acquired by the church over more than 150 years. I see it as a twin legacy of both colonisation and “Cullenisation”, ie the success of Paul Cullen, the mid-19th century archbishop of Dublin, in fostering and promoting Catholic religious orders in Ireland.


Cullen was instrumental in securing separate and clerically controlled – but state-supported – Catholic education, overturning the aims of the 1831 national school system which envisaged non-denominational tate education. After 1922, the Church’s grip on education increased.

Seven of the largest “public” hospitals in Ireland are owned by private Catholic entities and receive more than €1 billion of State funding each year, and more in capital grants.

Catholic control of the private healthcare sector is even greater. Twelve of Ireland’s 18 private hospitals adhere to Catholic ethos

The significance of Catholic ethos extends beyond women’s reproductive healthcare. We have started a debate in this country about assisted dying, but Catholic teaching holds that this would be intentional taking of life and never permissible. Should a future dying with dignity Act be passed, Catholic hospitals will opt out precisely as they do today on abortion, IVF and contraception.

The Catholic Church is fully entitled to provide health and education, but if it wants a “parallel and alternative option” to that of the State, delivered according to its ethos, it should not be funded by the State.

Peter Boylan is a former master of the National Maternity Hospital


The Irish State should no longer be funding RC institutions, be it hospitals or schools.

The involvement of the RCC in schools, hospitals and other institutions has been a cathostrophic failure and an international scandal.

The experiment of the RCC running institutions that were funded by the tax payer has been a total disaster for over 100 years.

If the state needs new partners in the private sector, those partners need to be beyond reproach and subject to the strictest possible inspection and scrutiny.

The partnership between the Irish State and the RCC has caused untold suffering and misery.


STILL TONE DEAF: U.S. Bishops Elect McCarrick’s Former Secretary and Roommate as Chairman of the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People



 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced they elected Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond as chairman-elect of the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People in a 127-114 vote. Congratulations guys on being completely tone deaf!

Here are a few facts about Bishop Knestout:


No Roman Catholic priest or bishop should ever be allowed to serve on any committee to protect children or young people.

And MOST CERTAINLY no RCC priest or bishop should ever be appointed chairman of such a committee.

The Catholic priesthood and episcopate is now regarded, globally, as a profession that poses a danger to children and young people.

TED MC CARRICK is the most infamous and disgraced Catholic clerical paedophile and ephebophile in the world.

Any male who has been friends with him is, sadly, suspect.

Any cleric who has been favoured, recommended or promoted by Mc Carrick should not be taken into a seminary or ordained either a priest or a bishop.

The appointment of Knestout to this position is a stark and deliberate slap in the faxe to all victims.

His appointment is also the US bishops giving the TWO FINGER SALUTE to their critics.

RCC bishops and clerics simply don’t give a shit about anyone or anything.

They think that they belong to the most important organisation that ever existed and they think that they have God in their cassock pockets.