Dear Abbot Brendan,
In my blog for December 22, 2022 — I posed, in light of information that I had received, the following question, “Did [Bishop Thomas] Deenihan Lie to a French Abbot?”. I enclose the link to same for your kind consideration, which you can read at your leisure.
It is well-known that you have been actively involved in the sorry saga that is Silverstream Priory. When the whistle-blower, Dom Benedict Andersen, wrote his letter of complaint to the Bishop of Meath, Thomas Deenihan, it is a matter of public record that you were one of the visitators appointed [by Deenihan] to conduct a sham investigation.
Why do I refer to it as a “sham investigation”? Because you actively covered-up the sexual and financial misconduct of Fr. Mark Kirby, the then superior. And to add insult to injury, you, Abbot Brendan Coffey, OSB, were complicit in the REAPPOINTMENT of a known recidivist cleric, Fr. Mark Daniel Kirby, OSB, as the superior of Silverstream Priory. By that I mean that you Abbot Brendan wilfully ignored for reasons that remain arcane [for the moment] that Dom Mark Kirby had been credibly accused of sexual and financial misconduct. This is not supposition, because the allegations were investigated by An Garda Síochána and a file was prepared and sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Do you now dispute that reality concerning Fr. Kirby? If so, are you that sequestered from reality?
During the so-called investigation were you aware of these allegations? If so, did you recommend to Bishop Deenihan that Fr. Kirby should be referred to An Garda Síochána?
During the visitation, did you recommend to Bishop Deenihan that he should seek independent legal advice about the allegations? If not; why not?
When the allegations concerning Fr. Kirby were referred to the Irish police, who brought the allegations to the police? Was it you Abbot Brendan or Bishop Deenihan or both of you acting independently?
In light of your qualification in canon law, were you aware that it was canonically inappropriate for Fr. Kirby to be reappointed as the Superior of Silverstream Priory? If so, did you express those concerns either verbally and/or in writing to Bishop Deenihan?
Who ultimately made the decision to reappoint Fr. Kirby as the superior? Was it you or Bishop Deenihan? Or perhaps also your fellow visitator, the disgraced former Abbot Richard Purcell, OSCO, had a hand in this decision?
During this process of decision-making, did you in light of the serious and credible allegations advise (regardless of the police investigation) that Fr. Kirby should not have been appointed?
Do you accept that at that time the appropriate course of action was the opening of a canonical investigation under the provisions of Canon 1717? Did you advise Bishop Deenihan in writing that Fr. Kirby should have been subjected to same?
Would you accept that these matters were ever ventilated in the High Court that using an objective yardstick the advice that you purportedly gave was negligent and wholly deficient? Do you accept this raises serious questions about your probity and character?
Did it suit you to have Fr. Kirby reappointed as superior because you recognised Silverstream was hopelessly corrupt and fatally flawed and you wanted a prompt exit strategy?
Do you deny all the above? If so, would you accept the valid observation that you are also now stand accused of lying like Bishop Deenihan?
Notwithstanding, the above the primary purpose of this e-mail is to enquire: did you have any involvement in connecting Bishop Deenihan with the Abbot of Abbey of Saint-Joseph de Clairval, Rt. Rev’d Dom Jean-Bernard Marie Bories, OSB?
Are you able to explain why Bishop Deenihan “suddenly” reached out to Dom Bories?
Did you, Abbot Brendan, as the former superior of Silverstream Priory, appointed by Bishop Deenihan, because of your status as a Benedictine Ordinary write a letter of introduction to Dom Bories on behalf Bishop Deenihan of Meath?
If you did write such a letter: did you explain to Abbot Bories that the founder of Silverstream Priory was credibly accused of criminal behaviour, i.e. sexual assault and financial misconduct?
Did you advise Bishop Deenihan to lie/be economical with the truth to Abbot Bories — if these difficult issues were raised during the course of any conversation?
Have you been contacted by Abbot Bories seeking guidance on the mess that is Silverstream Priory?
Do you consider that, after almost three years of chaos, Silverstream Priory should finally be suppressed by a Decree of the Holy See?
In light of the known fact that Glenstal Abbey has given sanctuary to a monk who accepted a caution for unacceptable behaviour in the UK – it is legitimate to ask: is it possible that Fr. Mark Kirby, after a sojourn in Holland, is now staying at Glenstal Abbey?
In light of the never-ending sexual scandals that have engulfed the Church in Ireland for the past three decades, what were you thinking about Silverstream at the time?
Would you be happy to have your involvement in Silverstream to be subjected independent scrutiny by officials from the Irish Department of Education? I ask, because you are the abbot of the monastery that runs one of Ireland’s most prestigious schools.
With all seasonal best wishes, I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ
Bishop Thomas Deenihan.
Rt. Rev’d Dom Jean-Bernard Marie Bories, OSB, Abbot of the Abbey of Saint-Joseph de Clairval.
His Excellency, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio to the Republic of France.
Archbishop Antoine Hérouard, Archbishop of Dijon.
Fr. Basil MacCabe, OSB, Temporary Superior, Silverstream Priory.