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BYRNE’S RESIGNATION – WHAT IS THE REAL STORY?

ROBERT BYRNE

COMMENTS FROM YESTERDAY

PAT SAYS

I asked one English priest about this. His answer:

Byrne should never have been appointed a bishop in the first place.

He is an Oratorian, and all the English Oratorians are odd balls, nut cases, and Latin Mass fetishists.

Also, most of them, if not all of them, are of the antique disposition.

He probably was appointed in the wake of the canonization of John Henry Newman.

Byrne is a dresser upper and not a pastor.

If he gone for financial ineptitude and nervous collapse, he couldn’t be much of a man. He is only 66, and Hexham and Newcastle is hardly the most challenging of dioceses?

Or is there a secret scandal that is being covered?

If so, it will not be that he has fathered a child 😀

I don’t know if religious order members should be appointed as diocesan bishops?

Byrne will now spend his time flouncing around in purple and lace, presiding over Latin Masses, etc.

This is a case in which he should not be allowed to wear Pontifical gear!

105 replies on “BYRNE’S RESIGNATION – WHAT IS THE REAL STORY?”

Nervous collapse sounds such an Oratorian thing, like an attack of the vapours and Victorian -style invalidism.
As Newman said of (I think) Fr Faber, when summoned to his death bed yet again,
‘How often is Faber a-dying?’

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There will be layer upon layer as to why Bunty Byrne has decided to throw in the towel. But, anybody in Brum could have told you that this man was not suited to be a bishop. He was lazy and self-satisfied when the Provost in Oxford (easily done in that culture), useless when an auxiliary in Birmingham, and overwhelmed when in Newcastle. It calls in to question the judgement of the Papal Nuncio etc. Anyhow, he needs to be sidelined and left to get on with living a fiction of a bishop’s life in the Oxford Oratory and just wandering around the place just giving a bit of corpulent colour to traditionalist events. I just hope that they are more judicious and careful in their next appointment in H&N, The people there deserve it. Papal Nuncio, please note !

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What are you like Patsy, you’re desperate and salivating hoping that there is some scandal over the resignation of this Bishop just because he’s a trad. If he’d been one of your own lot woke, poly poncho wearing call me Bob type there would be no word of it. I hope you all get a gunk. You really are a naughty bold boy.

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We’re getting you a drag queen story hour and a new litter tray for the furries for the holiday season, babe. xx

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10.53: Are you not the drag queen with a burning tongue?? On the eve of Christmas, you, like the queen of Sheeba are laughable…laughable…frilly alb type.

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Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)
11:46 ‘I hope you all get a gunk’. (Whatever that is).

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Gunk is an Ulster Scots word.
gunk ~ v. shock, mortify. n. a shock of disappointment; a jolt to one’s pride. gunked taken aback, mortified (esp. al gunked; badly gunked). (Also begunk; begunked.) [perh. f. OSc. guk foolishness, behave foolishly, w. infl. f. gowk (SND)]

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No religious house would accept a diocesan priest coming in as abbot/superior, so why do religious order men become bishops?

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Dear Pat, Sometimes your pronouncements drive me up the wall, and some of the comments you publish shock and scandalize me, but I have to admit that a lot of what you say has more than a grain of truth. I too have grave difficulties with the church and its modus operandi at times, but since I am a sinful human being, I am not so self righteous as to expect perfection in other human beings. I have my blind spots and my shortcomings and I fall far short of perfection, so what right have I to look for perfection in others? No man appointed to the Episcopate deserves or merits the appointment, and each brings a fallen humanity to the post. Some indeed are full of Hubris and have plotted an connived to get the post while others are simple men who take on what has become an impossible task. I myself was invited to the Navan Rd big house some six years ago and asked to take on a diocese. I turned down the offer, not because I have any major skeletons waiting to jump out of the closet but because I couldn’t bear the scrutiny of a hostile media which would analyze and parse my every past action, and I couldn’t take on a clergy who seem to regard any appointee as a party line intruder. To my certain knowledge I was the third one to refuse the diocese in question. At 64 years of age who in their right mind would want the problems that beset every Irish diocese at this time?
The model of church which proposes a bishop as an absolute decision maker has to go, if it doesn’t the church itself will die. Pat, I love the church and I continue to give my life in its service. I am now 70 and will soon retire, I could like Paul claim that I have run the race, but the feckers keep moving the finishing line. Dermot Farrell is floundering in Dublin and his priests are at the stage of murmuring dissent, he is in danger of mutiny. Building hope needs more than 30 aul ones gathered to take decisions in a parish.

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Pity you didn’t take Killaloe.. thats the problem when able men turn down appointments .. we are left with Deenihan, Monohan, Phonzie et al.. for.. decades

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Interesting how the Vatican’s daily bulletin no longer stipulates whether a bishop resigns because of section 1 – reaching the age of 75 or section 2 for some other reason of canon 401. A section 2 resignation often had the whiff of a scandal about it.

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That’s because you can assume they’ve all got a whiff of scandal about them since John XXIII ordered them to deal with kiddy fiddlers in house and it turned out so well.

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Resignation of Byrne has a strange whiff about it – not ill health but the burden of office, what the feck is that all about?
What was he like when auxiliary in Birmingham?
Did he really impress that much in Birmingham that they thought – this guy is so on the money that he can run his own diocese?
Love to know what Brum clergy think? I got the impression today that Brum clergy are shocked and trying to get the party line rehearsed so they can roll out some bollox.
Brum sent up Dunn to H&N – he took his lady friend with him and died in the saddle – I’d say the burden of the office killed him – he seemed unhappy and not a bit clueless.
Brum send up Byrne and he quits – can’t be good for clergy morale.
Dec of Ant and Decs brother died recently and wonder he was a portal for some serious dosh coming into the diocese and maybe with his death drying up?
Hope the truth outs – something odd happening – seems like Francis bit his hand off at 66 FFS!!

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He has now qualified for his pension, wants to enjoy himself without having to continually look over his shoulder to cover up for himself and/or his subordinates.

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The Order of Bishop should no longer be part of the church , and each Parish govern itself .What is so special and needed in having Bishops like this ?

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With all the problems they cause why does the Church need Bishops ?
Could there be a future for a church without Bishops ?

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Did Vigano Just Deny Francis is the Pope? If so, is he still a Catholic? In a letter published over a month ago, Vigano appears to have denied that Pope Francis is the pope in response to a letter asking him if Francis is truly the pope. The article reviewed may be found here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/

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Popes are two a penny (sometimes three). It has never mattered in essence, how many Roman popes there were, at a time: at best it turned out a quite good thing at that time only.
Trying to justify ones continuing promotion of the concept of Rome as church seat (by contrast with simply biding ones time like Amans here) would be either a well meant calling out of some moral usurpers in person and position, or a distracting side issue from concrete gravest ills.
Popular and commercial perception may see a non-Roman as not entitled to any opinion. And Vigano has always been the arch company man. He has always thought the one pope-one church model was the only right one. In my youngest day (the so called “bad” days) in south easternmost England, popes were the laughing stock of good catholics.

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Vigano isn’t a well man. His content free screeds are a good example of what poor mental health can do to a priest (a bishop should be the fullness of the priesthood). Byrne is a duller variant on that despite the gear. It’s surely good that he’s thrown in the towel. Too many bishops are useless but are stuck in ‘full steam ahead, damn the torpedos’ mode. If he wants to show off his purchases at the best clerical tailors, why not? Better than continuing to make a mess in office.

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He doesn’t belong to a religious order – Oratorians are secular priests.
He’s been unfairly vilified for following safeguarding procedures by suspending a priest from ministry (who then committed suicide) and for downsizing the episcopal residence.
He’s unwell, so has stepped down for his own health and the good of the diocese. Give him privacy and pray for him.

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If it is “nervous collapse” why is he being publicly shamed for stepping down by this blog? Would you do this for a bishop who resigned with cancer or had had a leg amputated? Mental health is as much a health issue as physical health.

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I’ve been a mental health nurse for 25 years and can assure you that the words ‘nervous collapse’ are not a diagnosis and in fact don’t exist.
You’ll find them in the literature of Victorian professional invalidism.

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12.44: You’re dancing on the head of a needle, nurse! Would you accept “nervous breakdown” as a valid psychiatric concept? I do. I know. So does my counsellor. So does my Psychology Reference Book!! Stop being silly.

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2:13 No. It doesn’t mean anything.
I will repeat: nervous collapse means nothing and describes no known psychiatric syndrome.

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Byrne is known as a right old gossip in Brum – you know, your secret is definitely not safe with him. Stab you in the back and front.
Why was he made a bishop in the first place is the mystery – some kind of payback after Popes visit – Oratory on Hagley Rd is den of vipers and the Queens reign supreme – maybe he contained this drama and wanted his just reward.
He was bitching years ago that Brum would be making redundancies after a weird recruiting drive when they started employing everyone and his dog and got in their CEO and HR but also loads of others – Byrne was right they are making people redundant now!!
Brum does churn out the bishops and Abbots – that fella Gunter the Munter is a ridiculous appointment- can barely wipe his own arse and weird with a capital W.

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7:45 Care to explain how the abbot of Douai can in any way be described as ‘churned out’ by Birmingham? Birmingham what? Council? University?
Take all the time you like.
As I said to you recently on this blog we all know that queeny bitchiness is your stock in trade and so you don’t need to make fake connections between dioceses and religious abbots to make bitchy comments about their alleged sexuality.
Just let your grievances out. Oh, and if he turned you down while on the mission obviously that was the right decision. 😂

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Has he thought of doing stand up comedy?
Nobody of that tendency ordained in Ireland?
He would have been aware of abuse but it’s in other countries?
Jesus, no wonder the numpties who comment here say ridiculous things, obviously it’s endemic

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Why can’t we just accept that the ministry of bishop may not have been for him? At least he resigned and will return to his community that he loves. The issue here is a classic one where the church takes men from religious communities and makes them bishops but it’s not what they ever wanted. Let’s remember they are first religious, then priests and lastly bishops. Their vocation was to be a religious man, brother friar or monk. The enter a religious order, then a seminary. This may happen more often especially with the clergy shortage and the amount of moral crisis in the church.
Maybe one day the religious will be left to be religious and to follow their actual vocation and not be forced to sort out the diocesan mess.

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You mean like we should accept that so many bishops didn’t know that child abuse was illegal?
The clergy can’t fritter away their credibility and then expect to have anything they say accepted.

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The fact that Francis accepted his resignation (as a fairly young and presumably capable bishop) and that his resignation announcement lacks are concrete reason, thus leaving the lay faithful of his diocese in the dark, tells me that Byrner has some skeletons in the closet. All will be revealed in any case

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I suspect that the answer is quite prosaic: H&N was for years a big Vatican 2 liberal diocese, and the clergy resented a conservative bishop being appointed. It’s also declining after the collapse of heavy industry, so there are loads of churches where the population have moved out. The priests were just able to be intransigent and make his life a misery. Combined with VG scandals, and the prospect of another decade of fighting a losing battle, it’s no wonder he jumped. My only surprise is more diocesan bishops don’t!

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This sounds about right and would also underscore not being able to deal with the burdens you list so accurately.

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@ 9:37am

I’m sure you’re right, we all know what those polly queens are like, they probably made life untenable for him in that ultra liberal diocese. They wont be satisfied until they get one of their own. The Diocese will continue to disintegrate which is their raison d’etre in the first place.

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A bit like the general population in England and Wales in that respect, 11.06am. Isn’t Mohammad the most popular new baby boy’s nane, year on year?

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It appears that no cleric or bishop can resign his post without all kinds of motivations being attributed to their decision. If I could retire now and seek less administrative duties, I would seriously consider doing so after 45 years. Stay, yes, but leave all administration and responsibilities to someone with better health and with greater enthusiasm and energy. There is something within which says to me “remember your commitment”!! But I know too that I am unable to give in a way I once did. The entirety of ministry against a bleak background is very challenging and I believe there’s nothing heroic or virtuous in holding on to pastoral and administrative duties when you are struggling spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Often, we can be a block to true renewal by simply struggling. So let’s not be so peremptory in judging this Bishop.

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9:45 You’re being ridiculous. If you’ve been ordained 45 years that means you’re at least 70 and have put in a bit more than three years.
Nobody would critcise you for retiring, although I’m sure you’d love them to if it gives another opportunity for martyrdom. 😂

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10.59: Just a correction. I’d willingly retire after 45 years: 4 more to go. I don’t believe in this kind of martyrdom which some believe in by staying on despite my limitations, less stamina, strength and the burden and worry of all administrative responsibilities. I admire the many Priests who, in their late 80’s are still doing some pastoral work but without admin worries. That’s where I’d like to be – not trying for martyrdom but simply being pragmatic and honest.

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Bishop Crowley of Middlesborough quit ten years before time, too, citing the pressures of leadership. However, unlike Bishop Billy Bunter and the Philandering Conry, he had the decency to disappear and not hold himself out as a ‘retired bishop’ on the Bishops’ Conference website. Why do they still allow these people to be addressed as bishop and use pontifical regalia?

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If your English priest is correct and it has to do in part with financial ineptitude, does this include the purchase of a bishop’s residence recently ? And the sale of the old bishop’s residence ? What else has he been frittering money on over the last few years ? It really does point to the lack of professionalism and training that parish priests and bishops are given when they take over quite large entities. Just because they are ordained they think / expect that they have instant wisdom in all things. Truth is they probably wouldn’t get a job outside in the real world, so inept are they. This goes back to seminary training, which is lamentable in terms of the academics, formation, maturation etc. All seminary does is confirm the seminarians in the belief that they are ‘special’. Then they are let loose and fall flat on their faces. It sounds to me as though + Byrne is like that. Where will they find someone suitable and able to take over from him ? The Catholic clergy gene pool is pretty regressive and limited. I see little or no talent shining out.

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It’s difficult isn’t it when the queeny clergy on here keep bitching about the salaries paid to CEOs of dioceses.
That’s where you find competence, outside, and not among the crowd of useless lay people looking for church employment because they’re also unemployable.

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Bunty knew he couldn’t run a diocese – he can barely run a bath – he said nothing because of the episcopal pension provision which is significant and a bone of contention among clergy privately but never aired.

He got his pension secured- played the game and now he’s orf!! Hilarious really – like a pantomime or farce.

Brum will welcome him back with open arms whilst birching and complaining about the Queen all day long – oh the clergy never let you down.

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10.26am

Bullshit! Diocesan CEOs aren’t known for their competence – they are Yes men and women who are middle managers lacking imagination or a backbone. You are mistaken – they are hired to take the hit if it goes belly up On safeguarding and bankruptcy.

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11:07 I refer you back to my comment at 10:26 so that you can have a go at understanding (or at least reading) it before attempting to answer.

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This was a total surprise to everyone even the Papal Nuncio who leaves in January for Rome.
The next appointment was for Westminister so bit of a shocker and so quickly accepted.
Maybe some of the Assistant Bishop’s in westminister or Southwark will be appointed late 2023.
It is also a surprise that the firm have appointed an Apostolic administrator rather than one of their own in H & N.
Maybe bunty did not like the Synodal way.

There is no need to mention Hughie’s lover who sadly took his own life.

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There are going to be a lot of clergy repeatedly clicking refresh this evening. But of course they never read the blog.
I think you should put tomorrow’s post out in the morning just to wind them up.

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@ 11:10am

I hope it has some veracity, and is not more unproven gossip, you don’t want to become like the ‘oul gossip’ you know how reliable her gibberish is.

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11:54: Veracity? You believe in a talking snake and a ‘virgin’ conceiving! A bishop and a drag at least have some basis in reality.

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Pat, polyamory is on the rise in all sexual relationships, but predominantly heterosexual. What are views on this?

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Indeed it’s a mystery who will be appointed to Hexham & Newcastle (and Plymouth). Whitmore is newly installed as Rector/PP at Spanish Place, with Canon Taylor (ex-Alice Hall Rector) in residence. I wonder if the Nuncio is being bombarded with great recommendations.
So many awesome Westminster priests are nearing retirement, such as Canons Pat Browne and Terry Phipps. Both unfairly passed over as potential bishops years ago, continuing faithfully in parishes.
Auxiliaries Hudson and Sherrington may finally be promoted. O’Toole is thriving in Cardiff and maintaining his profile as lead-(arch)bishop on evangelisation. Divine Renovation may take off in Wales. Vipers is snaking around as director of evangelisation in Westminster.

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Posh boy Nick Hudson would see Hexham and Newcastle as a banishment. He has lived a comfortable life in the south, including his stint at Cambridge University and a pleasant sojurn in Rome.

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1:36
Ahh..no….you don’t say…would he not fit the bill to a tee…like so many others…

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Hudson, perfect criteria. Wide big white teeth smile. Pretends to care. Nichols appointment but soon gets tired of them like Byrne and others . I wish Rome would cop on about Sen Rectors like the disaster queen in Cardiff who pretends to be non Irish.

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Whitmore is actually from the north east, though without a Geordie accent. Fr David Reilly is a real Geordie and a good guy in Westminster, former youth chaplain and now PP.

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Father Philip Dyer Perry is tipped to be promoted to the episcopacy. It has been noted that he has excellent pastoral skills, is highly educated, and is one of +Vincent’s favourites.
A small diocese would prepare him for the higher things he is destined for.

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Disaster nasty queen in Cardiff a product of Cormac. Trace the sewage back to Worlock and Daly.

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The same one who was appointed Dean at Alice Hall, but forced to resign before taking up the post, for being too liberal for some. Remained Staines PP for many years. A breath of fresh air.

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11.49am
Yes because being a Catholic is all about whose going to be a bishop – and nobody’s more important than a priest – utter bollox – nobody gives a flying feck whose made a bishop – it’s irrelevant – they manage decline and firefight their clergy’s tendency to sexually abuse children and then hand that vile crime over to them to cover it up – same old same old.

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12:19 Now don’t overstate it. It’s not all about who’s going to be bishop. It’s also about dressing up, gin and gossip.
Like you say, utter bollox.

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Knowing that will give Pat a boost to keep going as per label on the tin. Keep up the good work Pat. Just worried who will do the needful when you retire or are call to your eternal rest.

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Ah leave poor bishop Byrne alone. That diocese has near 140 parishes, maybe he felt he was not suited to the role of bishop. You must remember pope benedict resigned, nothing spectacular in a bishop resigning. Oxford and the oratory is more comfortable. Plenty fish in the sea yet!!

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God no. Not Whitmore. He is an utter company man. Superficially nice, dull, devoid of personality and any attachment to the real world. Maybe if they merge H+N with Middlesboro, they could have Precious Michael of Clonfert/Galway and whatever you’re having yourself, to advise.

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OVER 300 ABUSE ALLEGATIONS TO DATE AGAINST SPIRITAN PRIESTS
Catholic bishops believe a ‘reckoning’ has yet to take place regarding sexual abuse in the church in Ireland
Patsy McGarry
The Irish Times Tue Dec 13 2022.
“More than 300 people have made abuse allegations against at least 78 Spiritan priests, a spokesman for the religious congregation has said.
He also said the latter figure may increase slightly when all recent contacts have been fully processed. Some people making allegations have done so directly to the Spiritans, while others may have gone to the gardaí, “and we know that a number have gone initially to the independent expert on Restorative Justice, Mr Tim Chapman”, the spokesman said.”
“Meanwhile, at their winter meeting in Maynooth, Ireland’s Catholic bishops committed themselves to engage with abuse survivors “in developing a process of dialogue which will be helpful and supportive of healing”.
https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/2022/12/13/over-300-abuse-allegations-to-date-against-spiritan-priests/

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EVERY DIOCESE & RELIGIOUS ORDER on the island of Ireland needs to be investigated.
Safeguarding MUST be completely independent of the RCC.

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300 plus allegations against Spiritans !! How many more Religious Orders or Dioceses are hiding hundreds of abuse cases?

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There is a formula it goes like this;

Catholic Church plus Celibacy equals homosexuality plus child abuse equals hypocrisy and cover up.

Simples.

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So Irish Episcopal leaders believe a ‘reckoning’ has yet to take place in the church in Ireland. What are they keeping from the public concerning abuse making them believe a ‘reckoning’ has yet to take place?
The Safeguarding review comment seems like more public relations speak, a lame form of reassurance to the faithful and to quell public outrage. Episcopal leaders continuing to hide cases of abuse must resign and face prosecution. Covering up abuse at this juncture in this never-ending saga is totally outrageous and completely unacceptable.

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I’d like to pick Adlo’s brain over this retirement business. He was desperate to hang on to a parish until Longley pushed him in to retirement. He was very bitter about that. So, I wonder what his take would be on a bishop of only 66 deciding to retire of exhaustion and ennui ? Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the Queen Bee’s retirement apartment.

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Dan was a gentleman. Very kind. Cultured too. But, he did do some questionable things, which were considered quite acceptable back then. He suffered terribly in his later years with mental and depression issues, I guess a lot of it based on what went on all those years ago when he was VG and doing all the covering up. He would, I think, be very much under the spotlight and being called to account for his decisions if he were alive today. Maurice too. What were the previous ones like – people like Dwyer etc ? Did they do the covering up and looking the other way trick too ?

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Dan Leonard survived on a diet of cabbage and yoghurt. I am surprised he was Couve de bon bon’s, right-hand man.

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BISHOP KNESTOUT MADE A PUBLIC SEX OFFENDER PASTOR WITHOUT INFORMING THE CONGREGATION
From George Neumayr
on Facebook: December 12, 2022.
“In 2018, Knestout selected Fr. Wayne Ball pastor of St. Augustine parish in the Richmond diocese despite Ball’s 2003 guilty plea in public sex case.
“Leave me out of your article,” Fr Wayne Ball, pastor of St. Augustine parish in Virginia’s Richmond diocese, barked at me. I had called Ball up to inquire as to whether he and the bishop who selected him for that position in 2018 had informed the congregation at St. Augustine about Ball’s criminal past. In 2003, Ball quietly pled guilty to lewd behavior in a public park after police found him cavorting with another man in a parked car.
I asked Ball if Bishop Knestout, who heads up the U.S. bishops’ “protection” committee against sexual abuse, had apprised Ball’s parishioners of his 2003 guilty plea for a public sexual offense. Ball confirmed that the congregation was left in the dark about that matter, but defiantly said that that didn’t matter given that the judge in the case later “dismissed” the guilty plea and “expunged” his record.”
https://www.complicitclergy.com/2022/12/12/bishop-knestout-made-a-public-sex-offender-pastor-without-informing-the-congregation/

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Didn’t some archbishop in Southwark retire early on account of a heart condition, and 20 some years later is still alive, kicking and well ? McDonnell or something like that. A right queen, but bright and intelligent. I think he’d been rector of Oscott at some stage. He’s still about, doing the odd bits and pieces. I think he made ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue his thing after he retired.

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Hope you’re watching the Maynooth Carol Service???

Brendan Marshall is sitting right behind the celebrant’s chair!!

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The obsession with this carol service every year is very sad and shows how the commenter has never really left school.

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With reference to McCoy… I understand his “youthful preferences” were always well-known and verbally well-documented as “McCoy’s Chickens”, among both priests and lay people for many years! The stark reality is, Bishop Seamus Cunningham was well aware of all of this (even before he was bishop and was then the number 2 in the diocese). But, because McCoy was the “so highly favoured Lady”, Seamus swept McCoy’s indiscretions and abuses under the carpet when they were reported to the Safeguarding Division of the Diocesan Offices numerous times over a number of years. Such concerns were sent to the Safeguarding Division of the Diocese, then under the directorship of another former police officer called Paul Young. These concerns were “lost” or never dealt with, then Paul resigned. Yet another abuse of power from another bishop. Cunningham has a lot to answer for! An now I understand he’s now living in very comfortable retirement on his Bishops’ Conference pension…

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I assume you lot are Catholics. I can tell because many of you are keen to gossip, to criticise and to condemn. You dont know what’s going on with Bishop Robert.

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I have known Bishop Robert Byrne for a number of years. As a priest, he worked in the prison service and was a good friend to me. I must say I was surprised at his appointment as a bishop as I always felt he was too weak for the job despite my respect for him on a personal level. It seems that he MAY have messed up in some way but haven’t we all? I hope he finds his way in the future. On a spiritual level, I do indeed love the oratorian spirituality which in no way needs to be in competition with the newer spiritualities. ANy alleged victims should, of course, have the support that they need and, as +Robert well knows, neither he nor anyone else, priest or not, needs to face the responsibility for any inappropriateness in his actions. That said, he entitled to a fair trial if such is called for and he may, of course be innocent. Indeed, apart from his seeming weakness of character, I have never been aware of any defect affecting his ministry as a priest and I believe he is sincere in his personal faith

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