Hello +Pat

In March of this year (see attachment) a letter was sent to all priests regarding the financial status of the Northern Brethren Fund.

A fund used to support the sick and retired clergy of H&N. The letter suggested that there was an issue with income to the extent that no further financial support would be forthcoming for sick/retired clergy until there was a review of income and remedial action had been taken.

Scrutiny of the latest accounts from the charity commission suggest investments of in excess of £2million and stockbroker fees of in excess of £20k (see attachment)

Following what I assume was disquiet amongst clergy a statement was made by the Diocesan Finance Office proposing to cover monthly payments for 6 months whilst “we devise a policy for provision for retired clergy that ensures equitability, clarity, transparency and peace of mind.” (see attachment)

This raises multiple questions:

On what basis has the distribution of funds been made – who has made those decisions? In December 2021 the Superior of the Fund Fr David Smith (working with a treasurer and one other officer) was replaced by Fr Peter Stott (retaining the treasurer and officer) . In January 2023 a further two clergy were added to the list of trustees.

Why is over £20k being paid in stockbroking fees.

PERHAPS linked to this – the recent investigation for the Dicastery sent out surveys to people and priests.

The survey to priests had three additional areas of questioning: 1. related to the purchase of the new Bishops House 2. related to the availability of Bishop Robert to the clergy 3. related to the care of sick and retired clergy.

This is purely speculation on my part but I believe that these three additional questions would not have arisen unless they had been brought up by the clergy with Archbishop McMahon at the meeting with him in Washington prior to the issue of the survey. Of course the executive summary gives no information which pertains to the data collected from the clergy about this question.

Fr David Smith (a former social care worker? ) has previously wielded a great deal of power in terms of care of the sick/retired clergy and the distribution of NBF funds. Given the statement by the Diocesan Finance Office: “we devise a policy for provision for retired clergy that ensures equitability, clarity, transparency and peace of mind.” (see attachment)

I would wonder on what basis finance has been offered by the NBF and whether the funds were seen by Fr David Smith as his own largesse? I am told (hearsay) that he is a bully who had some sort of hold over Bishop Robert. While that is hearsay I do know that he had complaints officially raised against him.

There are currently in the region of 60 retired priests in the RCDHN – the demand for funds for retired clergy will I would guess be at its peak. How many priests are there really left to retire? Should the capital not be spent now? How many retired clergy are going to need it in the future?

The material I am attaching – with the exception of the charity commission information – is not in the public domain.



This Blog, interestingly has more daily readers in the UK than in any other country.

For instance, by 5 pm. yesterday, these were the visitors’ figures for the UK and Ireland

So, we certainly cannot ignore or neglect our UK readers and supporters.

Furthermore, this blog deals with the sexual scandals caused by RCC bishops and priests.

Such scandals are a huge betrayal of trust to the laity.

But the other huge betrayal of trust to the laity is the all pervading financial scandals in the RCC.

The laity is entitled to carefully supervise the funds that they and their forebears have donated to the Church.

But, traditionally, priests and bishops controlled the funds and told and showed the laity NOTHING.

That has now changed.

The people of Hexham and Newcastle want to know EVERYTHING about what has been happening in their diocese – especially during the disgraceful incumbency of Robert Byrne.


Today’s blog is there to assist the people of H&N.