JOHN PAUL LYTTLE originated on the Isle of Wight but had Belfast family.

For whatever reason, he moves to Belfast to live with his granny in Whitehouse, Belfast.

He entered the seminary in Belfast to be a priest for Down and Connor diocese.

In the Belfast, he went out at night to the gay cruising areas to get “action.This was well known to his fellow seminarians.

At some stage, the PP of Whitehouse – the convicted Fr James Donaghy – where his granny lived got him drunk and ttued to sexually seduce him.

He says he repelled Donaghy and thought it was terrible that Donaghy got him drunk and tried to seduce him.

Soon afterwards, JPL left Belfast and ended up in Oscott Seminary. He also appears to have time in Wonersh and Allen Hall ?

At this time, he had been accepted by Bishop Crispin Hollis as a seminarian for Portsmouth.

In Oscott, he ended up in the bed of the seminary rector.

Hollis dismissed him from Oscott. The seminary rector was “reassigned”.

He spent some time with the Capuchins in Donegal and Africa and with another religious order.

He reappeared in London in the home of Fr Ray Lyons, who had been suspended and reinstated and was acting as a school chaplain.

One evening, he came home with some young men from a gay bar. They were drinking on the upper floor of the house, and JPL fell from the window and suffered life-threatening head injuries.

The three young men in his company were not charged with any crime.

JPL remained seriously ill in the hospital, and it was feared he would not survive.

As it happened, he had a miraculous or semi miraculous recovery, surprising all the medics.

He next appeared as a volunteer minister to the marginalised on the Portsmout diocesan website and wearing a clerical collar.

Then, out of the blue, Bishop Egan ordained him hurriedly and on a week day.

We next see him turning up in a Reading Parish where he was assistant priest and hospital chaplain.

It was in Reading that he invited a young policeman to the parochial house for dinner. The PP was away for the night. He plied the young man with alcohol and tried to seduce him. He had told the young man that he watched gay porn, was always horny and masturbated a lot.

The young man fled the house and reported the incident to the police and Bishop Egan.

The young man remains completely dissatisfied with Egan and the diocesan safeguarding.

JPL was on the move again.

He was saying that he was conducting research for Bishop Egan.

Eventually, Egan arranges for him to live in a church house in Fareham. Portsmouth in the parish controlled by Canon John Cooke.


JPL is drinking in a local pub from 1.30 pm daily.

In the pub, he meets a young part-time barman and his long-term girlfriend.

JPL invites the young barman for dinner and drinks.

After dinner, a gramme of cocaine is produced, and JPL and the barman share it in a room with a prominent crucifix on the wall.

JPL then tries to seduce the barman. The barman refused his advances and leaves very hurt and angry.

The barman contacts me, and I inform Egan, safeguarding abd Canon Cooke in Fareham.


1. Why has Bishop Egan continued to let JPL live in diocesan properties that he uses for drinking, drug taking, and attempted sexual assault?

2. Has Egan referred JPL for detox and rehabilitation?

3. Does Egan not realise he made a massive mistake in ordaining JPL and that he should be laicised?

4. Is Egan or other clerics compromised by JPL either by being involved with him or JPL having the dirt on them?

5. Does Egan and Cooke not realise that if JPL harms anyone after they have been made aware of everything, they leave themselves open to serious litigation?

6. Is Egan and others going to allow this to continue until someone, either JPL or another, is seriously injured or killed?





Dear Philip,

Today, I received another complaint from a young man about the sexual behaviour of your priest, JOHN PAUL LYTTLE.

This young man went to the presbytery in Fareham, where you have placed John Paul.

He was given alcohol and cocaine in a room with a crucifix on the wall.

Later, John Paul attempted to sexually seduce him.

The young man, a heterosexual with a long-term girlfriend, refused the sexual advances and immediately left the presbytery.

He was very shocked and shaken and told John. Paul so by telephone.

As bishop, why are you tolerating these situations by which John Paul Lyttle is using church property to perpetrate the crimes of attempted sexual assault?

Surely this makes you an accomplice before, during, and after the act?

You are supplying him with the premises and an income with which to carry out these acts.

Surely this leaves you and the diocese open to litigation by his victims?

John Paul is drinking daily in pubs from 1.30 pm in the afternoon to late at night.

He is also taking Class A drugs like cocaine.

If he is an alcohol or drug addict he obviously needs a serious and immediate intervention and rehabilitation and treatment.

As his “Father in Christ,” this too is your urgent duty.

If these matters continue, it will lead to a tragedy or a fatality either for John Paul or someone in his company.

Can I beg you to act most swiftly on this matter and help John Paul and protect future victims.

+ Pat Buckley

The Oratory



Portsmouth Safeguarding

Canon Cooke PP Fareham.



Now that Egan. Safeguarding and Cooke PP are aware of everything their heads are on the block if somone is HURT or KILLED!!!




“The Catholic Church in Australia has known few more extraordinary figures than George Pell.

A product and priest of the rural diocese of Ballarat, he rose to be not only Archbishop of Melbourne but, extraordinarily, Archbishop of Sydney as well.

It was unthinkable then that the Archbishop of Melbourne would be moved to Sydney.

As was said at the time, “It was an insult to both”.

It took George Pell to break the mould.

With the move to Sydney he was named Cardinal, which brought with it a further enhancement of his Vatican profile.

This eventually led to his appointment as Prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy of the Holy See, charged with leading the financial reforms begun by Pope Benedict and pursued by Pope Francis.

Then his legal troubles erupted in Australia in circumstances that remain unclear.

Pell became the victim of an outrageous injustice as he was convicted and jailed for 13 months before a final vindication.

The spiritual poise and strength he showed through all of this was extraordinary. It revealed a depth to George Pell that often went unrecognised.

Through his legal troubles, he was identified wholly with the Catholic Church and vice versa.

Pell was the Church, and the Church was Pell – big, powerful and heartless in the eyes of many. Partly this was because, in his public persona in Australia, Pell had presented himself self-consciously as the voice of the Catholic Church.

Those who didn’t know him thought Pell heartless and humourless, and his media persona could suggest this.

Yet if George Pell had anything, they were a good heart and a sense of humour. It was a pity that more of this didn’t show in his media appearances.

He didn’t claim to be a saint; he knew he was flawed. But he did claim – and rightly – to be a man of faith and a man of the Church. He once told me how struck he was by the words on the Roman tomb of Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, Vehementer amavit Ecclesiam (Vehemently he loved the Church).

George said however that he’d prefer on his own tomb, Vehementer amavit Dominum et Ecclesiam (Vehemently he loved the Lord and the Church).

There was nothing bland or half-hearted about George Pell: he was strong, even vehement in his faith, his convictions, his likes and dislikes.

He could be a fierce opponent, unafraid to enter the battle.

At times this could make him seem an ideological warrior, which did not serve him well. It certainly wasn’t George Pell at his best.

He was always a polarising figure, stirring strongly contrasting reactions. He had both passionate friends and passionate foes.

In part, this was because his deepest instincts were those of a politician who thrived on opposition and conflict. It was also tied to an apocalyptic view of the world seen as an arena where good and evil, life and death, light and darkness contended.

There wasn’t much middle ground for George Pell, not too many shades of grey.

But that he had unusual gifts of leadership is certain – intelligence, courage, conviction, self-confidence, political nous and tenacity among them.

Though he chose a life in the Church, George Pell would have been a leader in any field he had chosen.

It will take time to assess his legacy in the Church in Australia, which will prove as complex, even as contradictory as the man himself.

For now we give thanks for the gifts George Pell brought to us and the challenges he posed.

And we pray that, beyond all the struggles and sorrows he knew, this extraordinary man of faith and of the Church, our brother George, will come now before the Lord of mercy who will say to him simply (as Julian of Norwich predicts for each of us), “Thanks for all you’ve done”.

Eternal rest give to George, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

  • Mark Coleridge is the Archbishop of Brisbane.
  • The best, most balanced analysis of the case was penned by my colleague Brian Fraga (writing then for Patheos), who considered both what we knew, and what we did not know, about the case. The judicial system in Australia functions so differently from our own that both the easy defenses of Pell and the easy denunciations rang hollow.
  • “In the end, I think we can all take solace that the cardinal received the due process that he had a right to in the Australian legal system, and that the alleged victim was heard and had his complaints taken seriously,” Fraga concluded. “I think that’s all we can definitively say. Because when it comes down to it, that’s all we really know.”


Cardinal George Pell’s death isn’t the end or a celebration for child sex abuse survivors. It’s another hard day.

Today, it is like a radio station in my head, and it keeps on flicking over to different stations and some of them are louder than other stations. I wish I could take the batteries out so there was silence.

“I am definitely triggered.”

Catholic child sexual abuse survivor Julie Stewart wrote these words to me on Wednesday morning just after hearing the news about the sudden death of Catholic Cardinal George Pell

The survivors and victims and complainants of child sexual abuse in the Australian Catholic Church will not dance on the Cardinal’s grave.

For them, as Stewart says, the Cardinal’s death is a very triggering thing. A sombre occasion. A day when the vulnerable child inside them is bursting out again. A hard day.

The toll left behind

Despite the intense loyalty that Pell still inspires in some people, former prime ministers included, there are many, many survivors, like Julie, of Catholic paedophile clergy who feel that George Pell and the Church he stood at the apex of made them feel like they didn’t matter at all.

So, for them, not to mention the men who made direct complaints of historical child sex crimes against the Cardinal himself — only to see him ultimately acquitted by the High Court of Australia — the merest whisper of his name has always invoked a shudder.

Julie is a survivor of Peter Searson, a frankly, repugnant paedophile priest at the Melbourne parish of Doveton, and one of several abusive clergy whom the royal commission found Pell ought to have known about.

Now, I know I absolutely do matter and I make myself matter every single day. I always mattered and I mattered back then too,” Julie wrote.

“Today, I carry a photo of that little girl that loved to dance, and I live today for her.

“I feel joy and happiness for her today and every day after that.

“I will take today as a reflection day on what today represents for me,” she wrote about Pell.

“Not about the death of an individual that is making great headlines.

“Today is about the survival outside of all that noise and the celebration of all the little boys and girls that deserved a better outcome.

“You matter, you always did and you always will.

“My name is Julie Stewart.”


George Pell was an uncompromising defended of the wildly corrupt RCC.

For that alone, he was never my cup of tea.

He had an arrogant and bullying personality – which suited his role as an RCC hierarch.

It was his way or the highway.


I believe that the charges he was found guilty of were UNSAFE.

That is why the high court overturned his conviction.

The overturn did not declare his INNOCENCE.

It declared his conviction UNSAFE.

As I believe it was unsafe.


The cases of the boys who accused him of abusing them when he was a priest was never resolved.

I watched the long interviews of those boys as grown men.

I believed their story.

At least one of them is dead.



He is now dealing with the fullness of TRUTH and JUSTICE.



Yesterday, I heard the story of a young gay Northern Ireland man in his 20s, which made sad.

He is in his mid-20s and has known he is gay for over a decade.

He is from a very conservative rural part of the country and also a part that is fiercely divided between Catholics and Protestants.

He has not been able to tell his parents about his sexuality as he knows that his family would totally reject him.

His father is a large farmer and a very masculine type who is into guns, shooting, hunting, etc.

Years ago, he made it clear to all his children that if any of them came out as gay they would be totally disowned and be struck from his will.

This, his son, lives in absolute fear of his father.

A few of his friends know his story, and for safety’s sake, he socialises in Belfast.

I know from my pastoral experience and from all the people I meet that this young man is by no means alone.

There are many young men and women living a life of fear, especially in rural areas.

Some of them sadly go on to take their own lives.

I fear this for the young man I am speaking of as his house is packed with guns!

I know that Northern Ireland is very conservative, especially in rural areas. People worry a lot about what other people – the neighbours – think about them.

Things in Northern Ireland are even more complicated by the crazy emphasis on religion here.

The Prods are always banging on about Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Catholics bang on about homosexually being a “disorder” and a “serious sin.”

Most young people don’t give a dam about these things but sadly they are living in families and with parents especially who are religiously brainwashed.

Ministers and priests don’t help !

We will not fix this problem in the short term.

In the long term, part of the solution will be destroying the influence religion has on society here.

Modern states should be both secular and pluralistic.

Churches and religions should be treated like private golf clubs – allowed to exist but have so say in society.

Society should have morals and ethics – but not ones dictated by any any religion or other pressure group.

In the meantime, people like the young gay man suffer.

And some will even die !!!





“I am from the Diocese of Hexham and Newcaste andI discovered your blog following the death of Fr Michael Mc Coy and like many in the Diocese I regularly follow your blog and admire your honesty and determination to keep the actions of the Church management out in the open.

With reference to Bishop Robert Bryne .

I wish to share an other example of his total hypocrisy and duplicity .his complete lack of empathy and his mismanagement of the Diocese

A priest reported to the safeguarding department that he had heard of a historic rape by a serving priest of HN. Angie Richardson immediately informed the Police and Bishop Robert but Bishop Robert did nothing to remove the priest.

After meetings, investigations , statements, etc, the victim has had no pastoral support or care. The victim never wanted all the investigations and refused to make a statement to the Police, not because it was a lie but because the pressure, publicity, and trauma involved was too much to cope with.

What did Bishop Robert do? Absolutely nothing. He removed Fr John Chlosey immediately, an allegation was reported ( he was later found not guilty in court) and he removed Fr Michael Mc Coy immediately, but he did not remove this priest in question.

Why? Who knows? Probably because this priest is known to be a violent man, a priest who does only what he wants and ignored previous Bishops, a priest who openly lives with his lady friend of over 30 yrs in the presbytery , and who it is known in the Diocese has a daughter and granddaughter by this lady. This priest is still in the parish even though he is now retired. He refused to move out of the house. The priest now in charge of the parish built a wall up to separate the church and house, and Bishop Robert knew all of this. The retired priest holds daily masses in the house for his faithful followers and takes a daily collection . Bishop Robert knows all of this but would not challenge him.

When the safeguarding officer suggested Bishop Robert should contact the victim his response was “Contact my office and make an appointment to see me”.

Unbelievable. No concern, no empathy, no servant of the people, just a man who thinks he is above all and everyone should jump to him.

Perhaps you could invite Archbishop Mc Mahon to re-examine all the cases under Roberts’ watch and take the measures he should have done. “


The RC way of trying to silence dissenters or anyone having the temerity to disagree with the hierarchy no doubt.

I have been intrigued and shocked to read your blog about this individual. It seems we are probably looking at the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and the culture created is dangerous in the extreme. I know from experience the cloak of secrecy is also matched by a wall of silence and until I stumbled upon your blog, had no previous knowledge of the appalling goings on in Newcastle cathedral.

Byrne’s regime is gruesome, sinister, dangerous, and hopelessly outdated. There has been an outcry in my parish about the appointments he made, and it is patently obvious that all had to toe his line or suffer the consequences. Classic bully treatment. The laity has been treated as fools, and if what I read is true, places like Oscott are dens of iniquity frequented by many who should never have been allowed into the seminaries. In the same way as Byrne, given his pedigree, should never have been appointed Bishop of H & N Diocese.

My fervent wish is to see a clear out in our diocese, so any information you can give enabling us to achieve our objective will be appreciated.

The quickest way to empty the pews of already rapidly dwindling congregations is to continue with the regime ( of living in the past promoting Latin Masses), which Byrne created. Using a dead language that the vast majority of today’s youth do not know, let alone understand, will surely encourage them to attend Mass, engage with the Catholic church, or enthral them. Not!

Nutters, oddballs, and weirdos like Byrne and his acolytes need to be stopped. .

Good luck and best wishes.


It becomes clearer and clearer to me that many dioceses in England, Scotland, and Ireland are being very badly run by men who should NEVER have been made bishops.


BYRNE Hexham and Newcastle.

EGAN Portsmouth.

COLLINS East Anglia.

DAVIS Shrewsbury.

OAKLEY Northampton


MR KEENAN Paisley.

TOAL Motherwell.



MONAHAN Killaloe.


MARTIN Armagh.


CULLINAN Waterford.


Many of these men have no real intelligence – even and especially those with academic qualifications.

Nor do they seem to have authentic spiritualities and prayer lives.

Nor a natural common sense.

They are simply “safe” company men devoid of original thoughts and full of a desire for advancement.

Nor do they have genuine moral compasses or a true sense or morality and justice.

“There is neither priest nor prophet to ply his trade in the land.”




Dear Bishop Pat,

Thank you for beginning to shed some light on the unsavoury goings on in Portsmouth diocese.

I was a diocesan employee for many years.

Around 3 years ago, it was decided that the diocese needed a “chief operating officer,” and one was appointed.

The COO is paid £100,000 anualy and is given free reign. There is no supervision of her at all, and she fires all the shots. I found her to be bullying, and with her, everything’s a drama.

Her son will soon be ordained a priest for the diocese. He has appeared on your blog before.


The COO is Heather Hauschild, and I resigned over her.

I was also unhappy with wat I saw as the incompetence of the moderator of the Curia Canon Michael Dennehy – who incidentally was JOHN PAUL LYTTLE’S PP in Reading when the policeman alleged assault took place.


I also believed I was seeing too much corruption and mishandling.

Bishop Egan is a dictator. He holds grudges and treats people very badly. If you cross him, he will come after you.

I remember him dismissing Angela McGrory, the then head of safeguarding, because she challenged him on his handling of an alleged abuse case involving Cardinal Murphy O’ Connor – investigated during te IICSA enquiry.


Since the arrival of the COO there has been a huge turnover of diocesan employees.

The relationship between the COO and the clergy couldn’t be worse. She treats the priests of the diocese disrespectfully and undermines them.

I had to get out!

There is so much to be uncovered in Portsmouth, and I sincerely hope you keep digging and that priests will be courageous enough to speak out.



Until September 2022, was Cathedral Dean. He is now out of parish ministery completely and is living in a parish presbytery and being funded by the diocese. What happened?

There is talk of financial issues and something about a local undertaker?

Smith is a close friend of Fr Michael Daly, the PP of Parsons Green in Westminster.



FATHER ANTHONY FYK appeared to come out of nowhere. No one knows him, and he has no connections with Portsmouth.


Fr Fyk was a seminarian for a Canadian diocese ans half way through his training when he changed diocese and tomove halfway across the world to be ordained by Egan and lo live with his former seminar vice rector.


These two priests have been business partners for many years and now live together.

They have also bought a holiday home in Spain together.

Fr Lyons is very wealthy and made his money in property before coming to the priesthood.

He was abused as a child by a priest.

Fr Tobin was a painter and decorator before becoming a priest.

Bishop Hollis suspended Fr Lyons from ministry, and Bishop Egan reinstated him. He went on to be a school chaplain in Westminster and was suspended a second time?

After being removed from ministry the second time, Fr Lyons moved in with Fr Tobin, who was PP in Fleet. Bishop Egan said Fr Lyons had to leave the presbytery.

This, I caused Fr Tobin to have a breakdown, and he has not been seen since.

Frs Tobin and Lyons ate reputed to be looking to buy a building in Fleet to open their own church there.

Bishop Egan is trying to laicise them.


Egan intends to reduce the dioceses parishes from 127 to 23.

There will be 23 parish priests and 23 parish bank accounts. All other priests will be assistan priests.

The parish finances will then be all governed by the COO !

The plan is to sell off dozens of parish churches diocesan debt. It costs £ 6 million a year to run the diocesan offices.

The diocese owns £ 400 million in property.

Bishop Egan as a personal secretary and personal assistant paid for by te diocese.

A communications officer paid £ 75,000, and the COO paid £ 100,000.

Bishop Egan inherited millions of pounds from Bishop Hollis from funds ring fenced for the LIVING OUR CHURCH projects. He has spent it all.

Egan has raided many diocesan accounts. On paper they look to have money in them but it’s all gone !

The parish levies have been set far too high, which is a burden on parishes.

Now Egan has set sight on the PRIEST’S RETIREMENT FUND.

The diocese is in freefall. It is a complete mess. The priests are reluctant to cooperate, and it will get worse.

Bishop Pat, if you keep the spotlight on Portsmouth, others will talk.



Dear Pat,

What an overwhelming surprise and support I have received since you decided to place a FALSE blog on my name however from Episcopates, Clergy, Religious, Colleagues and Friends the World over I was flabbergasted.

The situation was totally the opposite to which I thought I would get however the common theme was it shows you the person Pat Buckley is and the low levels that he goes to with negative effect.

I spoke with our KC (not the RCC one) and he said it is not worth even writing a letter as you cannot sue for sawdust and the blog gives you a frill and would give another day’s blog.

They laughed at it even although you say to your bloggers it is a waste of time it still does not stop you from emailing them.

You should think about the concerns you give to others with your inaccurate information or accusations as others are not as strong as me.

However, we are just grateful that we can see Our Lord in others rather than constantly picking on those that struggle in life that being the sick, needy and the lonely as you take great thrills from that nastiness.

However, like your friend Robert Harkins that worked for the DWP and struck more people off and never thought about the families or the children it was all a frill and another one bites the dust well thankfully the SVP is there to help those people.

Everyone would love the luxury and live FREE in a property like a Lord but some of us have principles and the £600 a month for your rent you should give it ti a charity.

To conclude your blog on me was not accurate and false and I have Personal Alcohol Licenses for Scotland and a separate one for England and Wales and you cannot get them with a Breach of Peace never mind anything else and the Three Chief Constables have NEVER objected to my licenses since they were introduced in 2003 and mine is up for renewal this year and will automatically be granted.

As the KC said just ignore it and I did not even read the comments on your blog again and I didn’t ask the KC will we complain to the blog providers and the answer is not worth it as he will just apart another one.

And when you have to go back 15 years to try and get muck on someone it just shows the lowliness of you.

So I will continue to pray for you and all who follow the Blog.

May you have many blessings in 2023.

God Bless

John McCubbin Msc CMS MIH


Yesterday, at The Oratory in Larne, we had the joy of professing a hermit.

Brother John, in his early 70s, a widower, a father, and a grandfather pledged to live the life of a solitary and to give himself over to prayer and God’s service.

He had already been living this life for several years but wanted to formalise it and make simple promises.

We wish him well and ask your prayers for him.





On Thursday afternoon, January 5, 2023, sometime between 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, a gentleman entered our Abbey Church and proceeded to desecrate our main altar. Through the use of a regular hammer and sledgehammer/axe, he destroyed the top of the altar and broke open the mensa stones containing the relics of our altar. He stole our two reliquaries in the mensa stones, both of which contained three relics. He had apparently then moved to the tabernacle, removed the cross on top, removed the tabernacle veil, and then was interrupted. Thankfully, the Blessed Sacrament and the Tabernacle were not damaged. When some guests notified us of the damage, the Logan County Sheriff was called and they came to investigate. By piecing together the testimony from multiple witness who had seen a strange man on campus earlier, we were fairly confident that we had seen him previously in our Church. Out of an abundance of caution, our Academy students were locked down while the investigation proceeded. Ironically, after the deputies had left, the gentlemen in question decided to return to the Church. The Logan County deputies were called and they quickly returned. One of our monks spoke to the gentleman and it became clear he was the one who had done the damage. He was arrested, his vehicle towed, and further investigations are ongoing. One of the reliquaries was found in his truck containing three of the relics, along with the hammer and sledgehammer/axe with marble dust still on them. Throughout this, our monks continued with our regularly communal prayers. Now that the gentleman has been caught and justice will proceed, may we also offer a prayer for him.

Due to the desecration of the altar, Abbot Elijah and the monastic community will undertake the “Public Prayer after the Desecration of a Church.” In accordance with the prescriptions, the altar of the church has been stripped bare and all customary signs of joy and gladness have been put away. Due to the extensive damage to the main altar, the monks will use a portable altar until necessary provisions are made for the repairs.


Catholic church altars are being descreated by;

1. Priests having sex on them.

2. People with mental health issues

3. People who are angry with the RCC over abuse and corruption

We can not blame mentally ill people for attacks on churches and altars.

It is UNDERSTABDABLE that those hurt by the RCC lash out. But violence is not the answer. Victims and survivors must find more clever and legal ways to make the RCC pay.

Priests having sex on altars totally blows my mind.

I can not understand how any priest could do such evil.



As I sit down now to write my reflections on Benedict/Joseph Ratzinger, it is about twenty four hours since his death was announced, and I have heard and read many people commenting and giving their assessment of this man, and of his contribution to the Catholic Church. I think it is fair to say that I am one of the Irish people whose life has been most significantly effected by his attitudes and his exercise of power. I am now into the eleventh year since, under his papacy, I was forbidden to exercise my ministry as a priest, and I will shortly celebrate my seventy sixth birthday. (Sean Fagan was more severely dealt with, but he has now deceased). I wouldn’t even attempt to measure the negative impact his teaching and action had on LGBTQ people, and on those abused by priests and religious. I am focusing on those of us, theologians, priests, religious and lay, who were punished in one form or another for our writings on matters to do with Church teaching and doctrine, and various aspects of the faith.

Not that I had any direct dealings with Joseph Ratzinger. He had left the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by the time they came after me. It was 2012, and he had been pope for about five years at that stage. But the CDF that dealt with me was very much of his making, during his long years in charge there. The then head, William Levada, was not a man who was either capable or wished to do things differently than his predecessor in the office; he carried on exactly as he had learned from Ratzinger. And his successor, Gerhard Meuller, was very much in the image and likeness of Ratzinger. 

There are two things that stand out for me from my experience of what I like to call ‘the Ratzinger Vatican’.

The first was a total conviction about the rightness of their beliefs and practices. They believed they had the truth, the whole truth, and that nobody could argue with them on any matter to do with the faith and the Church. There was a type of ‘contagious infallibility’, which meant that they didn’t feel the need to discuss anything with anybody. They had nothing to learn, and certainly not from people who held opinions that differed from their own. Those people, they believed, were in error, and error had no rights.

The second one was their complete lack of respect for the people they considered in error. This expressed itself in my case by not allowing me any opportunity to exercise any of the rights that accused people are accorded by the law systems of all civilised societies. I was not allowed to know who my accusers were. (I heard indirectly that I had been accused by a senior member of the Irish hierarchy, but, though I have my suspicions, I don’t know who that was. I was well aware that there were also certain lay and clerics who regularly reported myself and others to Rome in those years but pondering the identity of “reporters” can have a negative effect on the person “reported”). The Vatican authorities did not consider it necessary to meet with me, and to give me the opportunity to defend myself. At no stage did they ever communicate with me directly; it was all done through my Superior General in Rome. And, maybe worst of all, there was no appeal process of any nature.

This was the system Joseph Ratzinger shaped and honed during his years as head of the CDF. (I know it existed long before him, but he put his particular dogmatic and authoritarian shape to it during a time when the world was changing rapidly, and human rights were being recognised widely around the world.

So, do I regret his death? I can’t really say that I do.  But I do say a prayer for him, and wish him eternal peace. All of us, pope and pauper, face the same end, whatever exactly that will be.

I suppose in his later life I had a certain sympathy for him. Contrary to what many commentators say, I have no doubt that he wanted to be pope. His actions during the death and funeral of his predecessor, and during the days before the conclave seemed to suggest that.   But we should be careful what we wish for. He was not able for the task he had so desired, and he had the good grace to resign, for which of course he will be most publicly remembered.  Some of us will have our personal memories.  


I have no direct contact with Fr Flannery or the Association of Catholic Priests.

But I completely disagree with the Vatican silencing and publishing theologians.

It is the theologians’ job to theologise, explore, question, and propose. It can be a vocation.

The bishops, led by the Bishop of Rome, have traditionally proclaimed the things that Catholics are called upon to believe.

But beliefs and doctrines are developing things, and theologians have their role to play in that development.

The Holy Spirit works through all church members – the People of God and through theologians.

He is also supposed to work through the bishops and clergy, BUT so often, the bishops and clergy are not listening 😞

Tony Flannery is so right about the hierarchy, having closed minds and thinking THEY are always right.

It’s very difficult to have dialogue with people with closed minds, as I discovered in my attempts to dialogue with Cahal Daly.

As it says in Irish:

ag caint leis an gcapall agus an capall ina chodladh

Talking to the horse and the horse asleep.

Above Tons says

The second one was their complete lack of respect for the people they considered in error. This expressed itself in my case by not allowing me any opportunity to exercise any of the rights that accused people are accorded by the law systems of all civilised societies. I was not allowed to know who my accusers were. (I heard indirectly that I had been accused by a senior member of the Irish hierarchy, but, though I have my suspicions, I don’t know who that was. I was well aware that there were also certain lay and clerics who regularly reported myself and others to Rome in those years but pondering the identity of “reporters” can have a negative effect on the person “reported”). The Vatican authorities did not consider it necessary to meet with me, and to give me the opportunity to defend myself. At no stage did they ever communicate with me directly; it was all done through my Superior General in Rome. And, maybe worst of all, there was no appeal process of any nature.

When I publicly pressured Daly into giving me a hearing, I had the same treatment as Tony. This was what I was offered:

1. A panel of 10 priests – 7/9 ? chosen by Daly and one chosen by me but from a list provided by Daly !

2. I could not meet the panel, but Daly could !

3. Everyone else could see the file Daly had on me, but I couldn’t !

4. I could not know the charges against me !

5. I could not know or cross-examine the witnesses against !

6. There would be no right to appeal !

The RCC is always preaching about justice and human rights, and yet its own structures and laws are absolutely unjust, and its human rights record is not unlike that of the Taliban and Iran !

I told Daly to put his panel where the monkey put his nuts 🐒 and that I would prefer a trial by the Provos in West Belfast.

Benedict was born in 1927 ten years after Daly.

They were both philosophical and theological dinosaurs.

They were both bullies.

In my opinion, God will have held them to account for the people they hurt and damaged.

If I had my way, they would both be PLOs in Purgatory

(PLO permanent latrine orderly)



A small number of blog readers, one in particular, likes to maintain that after the life, death, and Ressurection of Jesus, a priesthood is no longer necessary.



“A friend of mine who belongs to an evangelical Church was asking me about the Mass. She read a quote from Hebrews, which seemed to say that the Mass could not be a sacrifice. Can you help me in this matter?”

The quote in question probably comes from chapter 9 of the Letter to the Hebrews, which addresses the sacrifice of Jesus. Verses 25-28 read, “Not that [Christ] might offer Himself there again and again, as the high priest enters year after year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so He would have had to suffer death over and over from the creation of the world. But now He has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sins once for all by His sacrifice. Just as it is appointed that men die once, and after death be judged, so Christ was offered up once to take away the sins of many; He will appear a second time not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him.” Perhaps, your friend may also be thinking of Hebrews 7:27: “Unlike the other high priests, [Jesus] has no need to offer sacrifice day after day, first for His own sins and then for those of the people; He did that once for all when He offered Himself.” To isolate these verses from the rest of Sacred Scripture and simply take them for face value would lead one to conclude that there could be no other sacrifice — Christ sacrificed Himself, it is over and done with, and that is it period. Such a view is myopic, to say the least.

Please note that in no way do we as Catholics believe that Christ continues to be crucified physically or die a physical death in Heaven over and over again. However, we do believe that the Mass does participate in the everlasting sacrifice of Christ. First, one must not separate the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross from the events which surround it. The sacrifice of our Lord is inseparably linked to the Last Supper. Here Jesus took bread and wine. Looking to St. Matthew’s text (26:26ff), He said over the bread, “Take this and eat it. This is my body”; and over the cup of wine, “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” The next day, on Good Friday, our Lord’s body hung on the altar of the cross and His precious blood was spilt to wash away our sins and seal the everlasting, perfect covenant. The divine life our Lord offered and shared for our salvation in the sacrifice of Good Friday is the same offered and shared at the Last Supper. The Last Supper, the sacrifice of Good Friday, and the resurrection on Easter form one saving event.

Second, one must broaden our understanding of time. One must distinguish chronological time from kairotic time as found in Sacred Scripture. In the Bible, chronos refers to chronological time– past, present, and future– specific deeds which have an end point. Kairos or kairotic time refers to God’s eternal time, time of the present moment which recapitulates the entire past as well as contains the entire future. Therefore, while our Lord’s saving event occurred chronologically about the year 33 AD, in the kairotic sense of time it is an everpresent reality which touches our lives here and now. In the same sense, this is why through Baptism we share now in the mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection, a chronological event that happened almost 1,967 years ago but is still efficacious for us today.

The Mass therefore is a memorial. In each of the Eucharistic Prayers, the anamnesis or memorial follows the words of consecration, whereby we call to mind the passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord. However, this memorial is not simply a recollection of past history in chronological time, but rather a liturgical proclamation of living history, of an event that continues to live and touch our lives now in that sense of kairotic time. Just as good orthodox Jews truly live the Passover event when celebrating the Passover liturgy, plunging themselves into an event which occurred about 1200 years before our Lord, we too live Christ’s saving event in celebrating the Mass. The sacrifice which Christ offered for our salvation remains an everpresent reality: “As often as the sacrifice of the cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch is sacrificed’ is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, No. 3). Therefore, the Catholic Catechism asserts, “The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit” (No. 1366).


Very often, the Protestant or Evangelical position is a total misunderstanding of the actual Catholic position.

Catholics actually believe that the Mass is a PARTICIPATION in the once for all sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and a living MEMORIAL of it.

It is clear from the New Testament that Christ did call 12 disciples / apostles to a specific mission – to go out and be preachers, teachers, and baptisers of all the world.

These disciples were distinct from His other followers.


The word priest is ultimately derived from Latin via Greek – presbyter.

The regular Latin word for priests was sacerdos.

With the spread of Christianity, that word was applied to bishops and not priests. Later, it applied to priests.


The word priest was used a long time before the word cleric.

Cleric is a complicated word and represents the development of church structures, church laws, and a separate “caste” in church circles. And hence we talk about the clericalisation of the Church.

I have been a priest for going on 47 years abd 6 years before that in seminary.

I view priesthood as:

1. To lead a community in prayer, faith, and knowledge and to celebrate the Mass and Sacraments for the community.

2. To be a pastor. The word “pastor” comes from the word “shepherd.

In practice, that means to be always with the sheep, watching over them, protecting them from harm, and seeing to their all their needs.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean.

From 1978 to 1983, I was a priest at Divis Flats and the lower Falls Road.

It was at a time of great violence and chaos. Everybody was in great danger 24 / 7.

Every night at midnight, I used to walk around the whole perimeter of the parish – up the Falls Road, down the Grosvenor Road, along Durham Street, and back up Divis Street to the presbytery.

I was only 26 – 31, but I felt a father or big brother’s love for my people.

Since 1986 – 36 years now , I have been able to continue that style of priesthood precisely because I have not been in the clerical club.

The Church is supposed to lead people to Christ.

But the Church and many priests in it have become a massive road block on the way to Christ 😞