Dear Bishop Pat,

As a parishioner, former diocesan officer and a retired Catholic Head, I am writing to you to thank you for collating, publishing and thereby recording events in this diocese. Let’s hope it leads to serious action at last!
I came to live in the diocese in 1996, when in my first headship I was involved in loyally rebuilding confidence in a school whose parish priest (and a school governor of course) had recently been arrested for child sex abuse.  We were promised when he was jailed that the diocese would give child protection the highest priority and pass all concerns straight to the police.  How foolish I was to believe this!
I was working for the Diocese when the CRB (now DBS) system was established, I was surprised to hear that a decision had been made to do all clergy CRB checks through a national office, rather than through the local authorities like school staff, governors, and parishioners.

At the time, I thought this decision seemed wrong but imagined it was because they did not trust Local Authority staff not to embarrass clergy over their speeding offences. In retrospect, it looks more like a Criminal Records cover-up system.
In 2017, one of ‘our’ clergy was jailed for sex abuse at Upholland despite having denied it for years and even encouraging his former parishioners to campaign on his behalf .  In 2021, one of our clergy was acquitted of rape having convinced the jury that the act was consensual!  now we have the McCoy case and the antics of Bishop Robert!
It seems to me that nothing has changed since 1996. Promises have been made, repeated and  forgotten, but worse, that children and vulnerable people continue to be abused!  I almost feel that by accepting their assurances, I have been condoning or even supporting abusers!  I don’t know what to think, or do, or even believe anymore.   I am not one of the many victims, but I am ashamed to have been a useful idiot.
So, thank you for what you are doing!  Though I do wonder how you keep faith! I hope you will forgive my email because writing it has helped me to pull my horrid realisation together into a simple account.



Dear Bishop Pat,

I’m intrigued at the latest developments on your blog today, in particular appointments by BBB. The worst one from my perspective, was removing Fr. Dermot Donnelly as Dean, with his replacement being Canon Michael Mc Coy. Sadly, both are now deceased.

Last year, shortly before Mr Byrne’s, resignation, he and his cohorts met in Rome. Quite innocently, having no idea what the purpose of the visit was, I spoke to our PP, Fr Xxxx, after he’d returned home,  asking how the trip had gone. To my knowledge, none of the parishioners knew the clergy were meeting with Byrne. Uncharacteristically, he responded in a very aggressive manner, saying “That meeting was supposed to be confidential”.  Since then his attitude towards me has been distinctly off hand, hence I don’t attend Mass because I too sniff a great big rat. I know the acolytes also included Fr. Christopher Warren, whom Byrne apparently appointed as vice rector and formation tutor to the English College in Rome.


Previously, FCW had been vocations director in H & N and a frequent visitor to Oscott, where Fr. Luke Wilkinson was in formation for the priesthood. He, of course, was ordained by Byrne in Newcastle before being appointed as assistant priest at St Mary’s Hexham. All nice and cosy, perhaps too much so.

There have been several visits to Rome (by groups and individuals from the parish) to see Warren, who has openly expressed his wish/intention to be a bishop. He was very vocally supportive of Archbishop George Pell. You may care to take a look at his Facebook page. He certainly bought into the brilliantly described by one of your bloggers, “swivel eyed traditional nutters” regime, instigated by BB Byrne. It was ‘satin, Latin and lace’ everywhere-to a large extent it still is-at St Mary’s Hexham, with Warren being one of Byrne’s primary prodigies, despite criticism of this from many parishioners who disapprove of the TLM practice, and the lack of female altar servers. RCC traditionalism indeed.

Best wishes,


Hi Pat. I know Chris Warren. He really is a good guy. Disliked the Bishop and ended up where he is because the Bishop saw to it to remove him from the Diocese. I do know priests who have visited him in Rome, and they are strong supporters of transparency and reform in H&N. Whoever has provided this to you is guessing and putting two and two together as they say. Chris was very happy in Hexham, and as he left, Luke Wilkinson arrived. They never ministered together.