A blog reader suggested that the clerical collar has become the symbol of abuse and corruption 😞
I agree that many, many bishops and priests have greatly tarnished the image and reputation of the priesthood – and indeed the clerical collar.
I have been verbally abused on the streets of Dublin for wearing my collar. I was followed by a group of university students calling me “Paedo Priest.”
It has never happened to me in Belfast or Northern Ireland.
I will let readers answer the question today: “Is the clerical collar now a symbol of abuse and corruption?”
WHY I WEAR THE COLLAR
I wear the collar for two very clear reasons
1. As a WITNESS to the existence of Faith and Jesus.
2. As an INVITATIONto anyone and everyone to approach me if they want to or need to.
And, I do not at all mind being a lightening conductor for those who need to express hurt andangerat what the Church has done to so many victims.
CAN I SHARE A STORY?
I had arranged to meet a Dublinpriest for lunch at Buswells Hotel in Dublin.
He was there first and dressed in mufti and was angry that I was wearing a collar – he thought it would draw attention to us.
After lunch, he offered to walk me back to my car on Stephens Green.
As we walked up Grafton Street, a young man approached me and asked me if I was a priest.
I told him I was.
He told me that he was a university student from France and was also diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and that he had left his medication at home in France that morning and was now beginning to feel very unwell. He thought that with me being a priest, I might be willing to help him.
I put him in my car and drove him to a hospital A&E and stayed with him until they called a psychiatrist and sorted him with his medication.
I dropped him off at the hostel he was staying in and gave him my contact details in case he needed any more assistance.
The following day, my Dublin priest friend called me and asked me not to say, “I told you so.” And he did say that he had gotten the message.
A collar or vestments do not make the priest.
But symbols do talkmaybe more than ever. In this very secular world, signs of the overlooked sacredhave their place?
(Ouest-France) – Father Pierre de Maillard, from the traditionalist Christian community Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), is appearing before the Court of Assizes in the Vendée, at La Roche-sur-Yon. There are 27 victims, some of them still minors, who accuse him of rape and sexual assault between 1995 and 2020.
In order to accommodate more than 50 plaintiffs, they once considered relocating the trial to a hotel for more space. It is finally taking place in court at La Roche-sur-Yon (Vendée), in the Court of Assizes, where Fr. Pierre de Maillard, 57 years old, will appear from Monday, May 22, to Thursday, June 2, 2023.
In nine days of hearings, the court will have to determine whether or not he is guilty of the charges against him: rapes and sexual assaults, especially on minors, aggravated by abuse of the authority conferred by his role as a cleric, as well as corruption of minors.
Twenty-seven plaintiffs, currently 14–40 years of age, claim that these events took place between 1995 and 2020, “mostly in the Vendée,” according to public prosecutor Emmanuelle Lepissier.
An Investigation Conducted From the Vendée
It is in an SSPX priory in Bocage in the Vendée, at Saint-Germain-de-Prinçay, that Pierre de Maillard was assigned since 2010, when the first complaint was lodged with law enforcement in Herbiers, on July 9, 2020.
A second complaint followed on July 11. The investigation was then entrusted to the research brigade in La Roche-sur-Yon, which identified 19 victims at first.
The accused was even confronted, but no one went to see the authorities.
Meanwhile, “isolated” by the Society in a priory in the south of France, at Montgardin (Haute-Alpes), Pierre de Maillard was placed under arrest on Oct. 12, 2020, then indicted and imprisoned.
During the course of the investigation, a total of 27 victims reported the events in the Vendée — in the priory of Saint-Germain-de-Prinçay and in children’s homes — but also in Ain, Gironde, Charente-Maritime and Yvelines, according to the assignments and relocations of the priest.
In Belgium and in the east of France, where Pierre de Maillard also worked, the investigations did not reveal anything. The priest faces up to 20 years in prison. Contacted by Ouest-France, Bernard Maillard, attorney for the accused, did not wish to comment.
Some Victims Question the Responsibility of Other Actors
The oldest claims date back to 1995, two years after the ordination of Pierre de Maillard, in 1993.
“Throughout this trial, what will interest the court, the victims and their relatives, is how this could have gone on for 25 years, without anyone putting a stop to it,” said Lionel Béthune de Moro, attorney for 24 victims, along with his colleague, Hugues de Lacost Lareymondie.
“Some victims are critical of what they have suffered, and question the responsibility of other individuals, private or public,” Bethune de Moro explained.
He represents three victims, “who were concerned not to be represented by attorneys for the Society,” de Lacost Lareymondie having represented the SSPX in previous trials.
“The victims were silent, as they often are in this type of case. Suddenly, someone decided to speak,” relates de Lacoste Lareymondie. According to our information, it was within a brotherhood of victims that the silence was broken.
“But almost from the beginning, there have been people, private and public, who knew the facts. The accused was even confronted, but no one went to see the authorities,” clarifies Béthune de Moro
The breakaway Latin Mass group founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre has been involved in a child sexual abuse scandal for decades.
And they have mishandledthe abuse in exactly the same way as the RCC – covering up and moving paedo priests from one place to another.
This challenges the LIE spread by the Latin Mass BRIGADE that sexual abuse is the result of Vatican II.
Paedophilia has been a problem in the RCC since at least the 11 th century
Paedophilia will always exist.
Its how we handle it and what we doaboutit that matters.
A Belfast priest has faced online criticism after hitting out at those who present their children for sacraments but don’t donate to the church.
During a service last weekend, Fr Martin Magill of St John’s on the Falls Road said it was not fair for those who don’t regularly attend Mass to bring their kids for sacraments and then neglect donating to the parish.
Addressing the church’s webcam during the service, he began his homily by calling on its volunteers to “share out their responsibility”, as it was not “fair” that “more and more being asked of those who already volunteer”.
He went on to address those watching the service through the webcam.
“That’s you, the parents who bring your children for baptism, we certainly welcome you.
“Some of you leave a donation which goes to parish funds and some of you don’t.
hink about this, you are taking advantage of other people’s generosity, that’s not fair.
“When I am talking to you, when you bring your children for baptism, you take on the responsibility to pass on the faith to them.
“Simply sending them to a Catholic school and the next time you turn up is for their first confession isn’t meeting that responsibility, at some stage we need to talk about cheap grace.
“Have a look at first communion. We had three classes here on a Sunday. How many of you have been back since?
“Let me address this. I have heard afterwards some parents or some of those who were here used the word ‘disgrace’ when we took up the parish collections.
“Let me say, if we didn’t take up those collections, there wouldn’t be a St John’s church for you to attend for first holy communion.”
Following his sermon, which was broadcast on St John’s Facebook page, many took to social media to express their anger at Fr Magill’s comments.
I agree with Fr Magill’s sentiments.
No one can charge for sacraments. That’s SIMONY!
But let’s be practical. Church buildings cost money to run – lighting, heating, cleaning, maintenanceetc
These things are often paid for by faithful parishioners paying their £5. £10 or £20 per week into their parish
Why should someone, or parents, who never darken the Church door for years and contribute nothing think that they can use the building andits services for nothing?
If they or their families are using facilities, they should contribute.
Especially when they are splashing out big money on things like dresses, suits, hairdressing, limos, restaurant meals, photography, etc.
None of these things would be happening if it were not for the original baptism, confirmation, or wedding.
It’s as if people want to pay for all the accidentals but not for the basis event.
The Bible addresses this issue
1 Timothy 5:18
“Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
When I started celebrating weddings 30 years ago, I left the offering to people’sgenerosity and sense of goodness and justice.
I was utterly shocked by people’s lack of generosity and lack of thoughtfulness.
They would give me an envelope with a Fiver in it – and then spend a £1000 on a helicopter.
Of course, if people are poor, it’s very different.
I’ve taken nothing from such people and paid for a wedding meal for them
But if people are spending £ 30,000 to £50,000 on a wedding and a honeymoon, I will not take a Fiver or it’s equivalent from them.
I‘m more than happy tobe a servant.
But not a doormat.
I have bills too – electricity, gas, lighting, heating, maintenance, cleaning, and so forth.
Well done, + Pat, on your 25 years as a bishop. And even more years as a priest.
I was ordained some 30 + years ago, and I am now in the process of retiring early.
Lucky, I guess, that I have options and am able to set down ministry in my early 60s.
Why ? Well, you know, at a very practical level I am just tired of the ever increasing demands on me and ever increasing expectation that I simply take on more and more, and just keep going on and on.
All this is from a bishop and diocese that just wants to keep the show on the road and these days has little respect or care for the priests who do the work.
However, more significantly, I have grown and developed over the years and now find myself out of step with so many significant things that the RC Church stands by and teaches.
The Gospel values still stand strong for me, but the institutional Church offends me these days – everything from the clerically dominated hierarchical system of decision making and governance (I’ve already hinted at the distain and arrogance of the bishop and diocese to its priests), to the toxic and damaging clerical culture that leads so many of my brothers in to dysfunction and unhappiness, and a good number of them in to criminality as we have seen in such egregious abuse (and please don’t tell me that this has nothing to do with the way priests are trained, live, function, and fail !).
GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION
Not to mention the hurtful burden of having to carry these sins myself as someone who is a priest of the Church and thereby guilty by association.
I add also the dolt headed intransigence of the Church to seriously consider the role of women in ministry, especially when it is clear that young men are studiously avoiding the priesthood recognising that it is not a way as currently lived in the RC Church to happiness, fulfilment, or even to effective and holy service.
And this especially resulting in people like me having to do more and more.
So, why not ordain women, giving them rightful respect for their undoubted gifts and calling ? Why should I plough myself into the ground when the Church will not help itself ?
CHURCH REJECTING PEOPLE
After many years of ministry, I have found myself required to hold so many people at bay from full inclusion in to the life of the Church, especially the sacraments – so often through difficulties in relationships and marriages. I’m tired of being the gatekeeper who bars the way, and even though I have always been as flexible and compassionate as I can be, there is only so much that I can do.
OUTDATED AND DISCREDITED THEOLOGY OF SEXUALITY
And why do I have to continue to peddle a long outdated and discredited theology of sexuality, which is clearly wrong and hurtful and offensive to so many and keeps them at arm’s length ? So, even though Francis is perhaps making some way forward in some of these areas, it is too late for me and I am hanging up my hat.
Life will be good and positive for me in the future, and I look forward to it.
OTHER PEIESTS TRAPPED INSIDE THE CHURCH
I fear for my brothers who do not have any options but to stay and find themselves subject to episcopal diktats, given even more parishes to run, and have to tacitly support Church policies, thinking and even theology that is clearly wrong and damaging.
I feel some sense of abandonment leaving them to it, but after much time and thinking, I know that I have to prioritise my health and wellbeing right now. I’ve tried hard enough and long enough, but enough is now, and now I am offski !
BISHOP PISSED OFF
The Bishop is pissed off because it presents him with a problem, but he has not the slightest sense of care for me. I’m just a problem for him because I’m puling up stumps.
I’m one sense it is very sad when a priest has to walk away disillusioned.
But, on the other hand, there is so much about the RCC to disillusion people and, indeed priests.
This man is:
1. Tired of ever increasing demands and unrealistic expectations.
One can see how such demands and expectations can be exhaustingand soul destroying.
2. He has experienced his bishop as uncaring.
This very weekpriest, I dealt with a priest who was ill andin need of personal and practical medical support, and his bishop, when told, did not want to know.
I brought the priest for his medical procedure, stayed with him overnight , brought him to his postoperative check up, and left him home again.
More and more, RCC bishops are neglecting their sick and older priests.
3. Our priest correspondent is tired of the whole hierarchical and clerical club that leads to dysfunction, addiction, and sometimes, crime.
4. Our priest feels GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION.
If you stay in an abusive and corruption church and clerical cabal, then you are guilty by association – especially if you don’t publicly express your horror and rejection of what’s going on.
RCC priests, whether they like it or not, are public representatives of a thoroughly evil institution.
If you take their pay and benefits you are compromised. Simple!
5. Our priest is tired of being the gatekeeper – of an organisation that rejects various groups of people because of who they are and who they love – rejection that runs contrary to the Gospel and spirit of Jesus Christ.
6. Our priest is tired of being a propagator of outdated and discredited theology.
7. Finally, our priest feels compassion for the many priests trapped in the RCC and not having the means to escape.
ME – 47 YEARS IN……..
Looking back, I think that people like Cahal Daly, unintentionally, did me a great favour.
They maliciously and savagely slashed the ecclesiastical umbilical cord that attached me to the RCC creature.
And while that was, at the time, painful, distressing, and confusing,it was a great blessing in disguise – and leaves me at 71, still a very content and practising catholic (small c), priest and bishop – with no desire or need to “get out” of faith or priesthood.
Andthat’s precisely because I am free of hierarchy, clericalism, and institutional asphyxiation.
In other words, I have “The Freedom of the Sons and Daughters of God.“
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee, green-lit tens of thousands of dollars in payment for the education and living expenses of a former seminarian accused of rape.
After viewing a letter to St. Louis University in Missouri, Knox News reported that the bishop authorized his diocese to pay $48,258 for Wojciech Sobczuk’s 2021–2022 school year costs.
“Bishop Richard Stika’s actions when ex-seminarian Wojciech Sobczuk was expelled from St. Meinrad Seminary are shocking. Immediate placement at St. Louis University at the people’s expense. This is an outrage,” tweeted Susan Vance, head of Tennessee’s Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests.
According to Knox News, “The letter, dated April 12, 2021, is on Office of Bishop letterhead and signed by Stika.”
In 2021, Sobczuk was kicked out of St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana over complaints of sexual harassment. The rector explained the dismissal in a March 1, 2021, letter to Stika:
One student said the Knoxville seminarian, who is Polish, invited him to his dorm room, told him his American accent was “sexy,” and tried to hold his hand, prompting the student to immediately leave. Another student said he was undressing to go to bed when he noticed the Knoxville seminarian gazing at him from his room across a courtyard in the dormitory.
A third student described the Knoxville seminarian’s aggressive attempts to touch him during a visit to the Knoxville diocese, and his suggestion that the two sleep in the same bed. The student also said the seminarian asked him about his penis in messages sent through Snapchat.
Stika told priests in 2021 that the former seminarian had been dismissed from St. Meinrad because of “boundary” issues.
“He just wanted to be a priest, and he came to this country … to be a priest, and his name has been defamed by priests in this diocese, by seminarians, by Susan Vance, who wins the war again,” claimed Stika.
It has been a little bit of time since the Bishop at Larne sent an e-mail asking some questions of the Ordinary of Meath about Silverstream Priory; however, good things come to those who wait.
Recently, it was brought to my attention that in the 2023 edition of the Irish Catholic Directory, none of the priests of Silverstream Priory are listed as clerics of the Diocese of Meath. The only cleric mentioned is the current superior Fr Basil MacCabe who is on loan from a French Abbey, and I am led to understand that is a priest of the Archdiocese of Dijon, due to the somewhat novel arrangement between Abbey of Saint-Joseph de Clairval and the Archdiocese of Dijon.
Who in canon law is responsible for the increase of Silverstream Priory?
It is, of course, you Bishop Deenihan because you are the Ordinary of the diocese! I am reliably informed that a monastery sui juris of diocesan right is unable to incardinate clerics. I am further reliably informed that you have actively dealt with jurisdictional matters concerning the Priory.
Why is the Diocese of Meath obsessed about refusing to acknowledge its canonical and juridical responsibilities for the clerics of Silverstream Priory? What are you hiding?
Why are you so afraid of taking responsibility for the clerics of Silverstream Priory?
Are you concerned about potential liabilities emanating from for the notorious past acts of Fr Mark Daniel Kirby the disgraced founder of Silverstream Priory?
Do you deny that your predecessor Bishop Michael Smith incardinated by Decree Fr Kirby into the Diocese of Meath.
Speaking of Fr Kirby, where is he at the moment? Is he still in the Netherlands with the nuns? If so — is he there with your written permission?
I am sure readers of my blog will be delighted to see that you were attending the scandal-ridden Silverstream Priory for the first profession of vows of Columba Ryan. Were you hoping that your presence would ameliorate some of the scandal? It is a massive vote of confidence.
However, it would have been better if you had stayed away.
I am delighted to see that Elijah “porn again” Carroll is still a member of the community.
Are you planning to ordain him a Deacon any time soon? If so, I am sure the people of God in the Diocese of Meath might want to be apprised and they might not be too happy.
Looking at some of the photographs, some of the older members of the community look stressed and haggard and the naïveté and zealotry of the younger members is very much in evidence.
I look forward to receiving your reply about responsibility for the clerics of Silverstream, soon.
With an assurance of prayers in this grace-filled season of Easter
Edward, in a moment you will promise respect and obedience to me, as your Bishop, and to my successors. You will become the Bishop’s Man. This is a profound undertaking for which I thank you. Obedience, from ob-audire, means to listen to. You are promising to listen to what God wants of you, not only interiorly through your own prayer and reflection, but externally through Christ’s Church and what legitimate authority asks of you. This is countercultural, for we live in a world that prizes individualism, innovation and initiative. Yet here again, the Blessed Mother is a perfect example. She shews us how to be obedient. For every day She listened out for God’s Word; She welcomed It when It came, believed It, pondered It and put It into practice.”
Without intending to, Philip Egan let it slip what he thinks priests shouldbe
They should become THE BISHOP’S MAN.
Not CHRIST’S MAN.
THE BISHOP’S MAN.
What a disgraceful theology of priesthood Egan & Co have.
But that’s what they expect.
They expect you to be the bishop’s man.
They expect you to say yes, my Lord. Three bags full my Lord.
This was the understanding of priesthood Cahal Daly had when I knew him.
He asked me one day
Do you believe the voice of the bishop is the voice of God?
Cahal, does that mean that when you break wind, God breaks wind?
RC bishops think they are God.
That’s a big part of what has f..cked up the RCC and continues to f..ck it up.
He strikes me as sincere enough.
For his age, he is very naive?
Ithink he will probably sucked into the whole current / Egan thing – especially with his Mammy on the £ 100,000 payroll.
I wonder what the sinful life he lived was – the one he confessed in Westminster Cathedral – the one he cried about for two hours?
Quite regularly, comments such as the one below appear on the blog.
Such comments, in my view, generally eminate from highly exploitative clerics, who try to confuse us on situations that call for “mercy” and situations that call for condemnation.
People on here often say that there are good priests out there.
I’m sure there are.
But since starting this blog, even I have been shocked at the number of evil priests that are out there – and indeed at the depth of their evilness.
A priest having sex upon an altar is an evil beyond evil – not just because of the act itself – but because of the evil affront it represents to God and the Blessed Eucharistic.
A bishop covering up such evil is also evil by association and as an accomplice after the act.
The proper reaction to such an act is not “mercy”. It is moral outrage and condemnation.
An individual seminarian or priest or a group of seminarians or priests, planning or executing the moral and sexual rampage of another is not an act that requires mercy. It is an act that demands moral outrage and condemnation.
The transformation of a seminary into a homosexual whore house – leading to the moral and personaldestruction is not an act calling for mercy. It is an act calling for moral outrage and condemnation.
Do you really think that Ted Mc Carrick has been and is going around seeking mercy?
Do you really think that Richard Purcell is going around seeking mercy?
Absolutely, not !
People like these are the kind that Compline reminds us of – going around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.
Mercy is what the repentant seek.
Mercy us what the humble seek.
Mercy is what the sinner seeks.
The call to practice mercy is indeeda central call in the Christian life.
But as Jesus Himself reminds us; the merciful will have mercy shown to them.
We do not throw the pearls of mercy to the mercilessness, the exploitors, the abusers, the astronauts of evil.
Those? We call them out for what they are.
Even when they mock both us and God with their witch like whimpering of mercy, mercy, mercy…