Saturday, 29 April 2017


Nuns hold all the aces as we fool ourselves into defining Ireland as progressive

RIDDLE me this: how can the National Maternity Hospital’s board lose a prominent member, identified in the public consciousness as someone of integrity who speaks truth to power, and avoid being weakened as a consequence of that departure?
The answer is it cannot fail to be diminished. Peter Boylan was an asset to the Holles Street board, and pressurising him to step down leaves the body looking authoritarian, mulish and dismissive of well-founded public concerns. Meanwhile, many people continue to share Dr Boylan’s scepticism about giving sole ownership and boardroom control of the new maternity hospital to nuns.
Simon Harris needs to take back control. Gifting sole ownership of a €300m publicly funded facility to the Sisters of Charity is not a good deal for the taxpayer. No organisation except the State should own a public facility.
As holder of the purse strings, the Health Minister can stop this flawed proposal proceeding. He should suspend the State’s investment until satisfied the public interest is 100pc safeguarded.
Without doubt, a new maternity hospital is needed, but not at any cost. The new hospital must have a different ownership and board structure. There is still space to change the agreement’s terms, and Mr Harris ought to work towards this before bringing his proposals to Government at the end of May.
Alternatives exist. His challenge is to persuade the nuns to gift, sell or lease the site to the Irish people – one way or another, the State must acquire the land before building there.
Overall, it has been a disappointing week on an issue that will impact on citizens’ health for generations. Dr Boylan’s resignation caused widespread dismay, although he was left in a difficult position when deputy chairman Nicholas Kearns asked him to leave.
The silence from many senior politicians is troubling. The hospital row, despite its religious overtones, has a political element at its core: whether the will exists in Leinster House to tackle unfinished business and divide Church from State.
TDs couldn’t wait to speak out about water charges, but on a matter directly affecting women’s health they are strangely mute. Their reluctance (with honourable exceptions) reveals how little regard they have for women’s health.
Make no mistake, separation between Church and State must happen, and the State will have to drive it – the Catholic hierarchy will not willingly cede power or assets. That’s hardly surprising. But what is not just surprising, but indefensible and illogical, is this simple fact: the National Maternity Hospital at Dublin’s Holles Street is not owned by representatives of the Catholic Church. But the proposed replacement will be. So much for aspirations towards pluralism. We fool ourselves when we define Ireland as a progressive nation.
The nuns hold the aces. They own the land. But it’s high time we had a public statement from the Sisters of Charity specifying why it is retaining the land, or what its intentions are.
The public has every right to be wary of the current deal, both on financial grounds – gifting a €300m public asset to a private group – and on health grounds, giving a potential veto over citizens’ healthcare to a religious group. The Holles Street board is behaving as if Church ownership of a State asset is normal. That is no longer the case. It happened in the past, but such arrangements are no longer acceptable.
As for the board’s peculiar insistence that Dr Boylan’s criticisms equate to disloyalty to the board – in fact, members owe their duty to the organisation and its key stakeholders, ie the hospital and Irish citizens.
It is understandable that Rhona Mahony desperately wants modern facilities for women under her care – it must be professionally and personally distressing to watch patients who should be on an operating table transferred to another hospital, as currently happens. But for Dr Mahony to describe valid reservations as “a storm in a teacup”, “a sideshow” and “a non-issue” is misguided.
The board needs the public to believe it is championing the best possible plan. But the public is unconvinced. Nor is Dr Boylan a lone voice – Professor Chris Fitzpatrick, former master of the Coombe Hospital, has resigned from the project board.
Incidentally, the circumstances surrounding the nuns’ acquisition of this prized land at Elm Park were debated in a Dáil exchange between Dr Noel Browne – a pioneer on the need for separation of Church and State – and then health minister Erskine H Childers on March 15, 1972.
The nuns owned a hospital in St Stephen’s Green, no longer fit for purpose, and were given a State grant to build a new hospital at Elm Park. The religious order agreed to repay the State with the proceeds from the sale of the St Stephen’s Green hospital, but wriggled out of this commitment and kept the money.
Dr Browne asked why it was allowed to deprive the State of sorely needed funds. “Surely this is an extraordinary principle to permit, that an organisation – I do not care who they are, whether they are religious orders or others, lay people do just as good work in hospital services – should be allowed
As holder of the purse strings, the Health Minister can stop the flawed proposal from proceeding, and he should suspend the State’s investment until satisfied the public interest is 100% safeguarded to sell off property, keep the money, and…be given a 100% grant to build a new hospital. Why was it adopted by the minister?”
Mr Childers said: “The Sisters control and operate 1,000 beds in this city in the interests of the poor, the sick, the disadvantaged, the children, the blind and the deaf, and I see no reason why they should not be given the responsibility for disposing of the funds arising from the sale of the St Stephen’s Green hospital in the interests of hospital development.”
Dr Browne said the Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstake was £8m (€9.5m) in debt and tax revenues would have to plug the gap. “In these circumstances, why should special conditions be made in respect of this hospital and not in respect of the many other hospitals that are in just as great need and, indeed, in much great greater need of money than this hospital, because this happens to be a very wealthy order? ”
Mr Childers expressed himself satisfied the Sisters would spend the money well, to which Dr Browne replied: “If they were not the Sisters of Charity, I wonder whether they would get so much charity from this government.”
Some 45 years have intervened since that exchange, along with the revelation of multiple Church scandals. Odd, they haven’t eroded the view in certain circles that Catholic organisations continue to deserve special treatment from the State.


The row over the SISTERS OF CHARITY owning and running the new National Maternity Hospital in Ireland continues.

This is not the first time that these nuns used the state - and were allowed to use it by devout Catholic politicians - and laugh all the way to the bank.

The questions remain:





Thursday, 27 April 2017


Altered image of church as Limerick goes priestless

‘‘ It was excellent, a change from the ordinary Mass. We still prayed. You miss holy Communion all right.

  About 150 lay people replaced priests on altars yesterday morning across the Catholic Diocese of Limerick for the first time in its 900-year history.

  The entirely lay-led Liturgy of the Word morning church events took place in the diocese’s 60 parishes, as every serving priest in the diocese attended a clergy conference with Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy to discuss, among other things, a more inclusive church fractured by abuse scandals.

  Masses took place later in three parishes.

  The practice of lay-led liturgy ceremonies is commonplace in other European countries, but yesterday marked the first time it involved an entire diocese in Ireland.

  Each service saw lay ministers lead congregations in 20-25 minutes of prayer and hymns. The sacrament of Communion was not permitted, as no priest was present.

  The seeds of change began at 10am at the 158-year-old St John’s Cathedral in Limerick city.

  As the church bell sounded, the 200-strong congregation stood up from their seats. But, instead of a male priest presiding from the altar, as has been the norm for more than a century and a half, three local women appeared in front of the marble and alabaster table to lead the congregation.


  It was a “proud” moment for all three.

  “I love every block, and brick, and blade of grass here,” said Caroline McDonagh, who helped to lead her congregation in their faith from the same altar where she was baptised.

  Along with her fellow lay leaders and Eucharistic ministers, Sharon Collopy and Trish Kennedy, she returned the applause the three women received from their fellow parishioners afterwards.

  “It was an honour to be asked to do it . . . and the reaction we got from the congregation, with a round of applause at the end, I think, said it all,” said McDonagh.

  They were “nervous” ahead of their task, but “pleased” their roles were “met with such approval”.

  None of them would go so far as to give their blessing for female priests.

  “I’d rather not get into that one at the moment, to be honest. I’m just very happy that, as a lay minister, I’m fulfilling what I need to do at the moment,” McDonagh said.

  Could she see a day when lay people would fill the entire role of priests, saying Mass, serving Communion and hearing Confessions? “I don’t. But, again, you never know. The day might come, but I don’t think it will in my lifetime.”

  For Collopy, it was “a privilege to be part of it”. She felt no pressure to perform the role of a priest but also said “it is important for us to be here to support the priests, and for me being a woman, being part of this morning’s liturgy, isn’t it wonderful I can be here within my own role – as a woman, as a layperson – who is here to support the priest and support the community?” Kennedy, a Eucharistic minister of 25 years, agreed. “Whatever we can do to support the priests, we are very happy to do it.”


  However, Kennedy believed the congregation missed receiving the Eucharist.

  “They are so used to coming to their daily Mass and having Communion every day, [so] it would have been very strange for them. But, I’m sure that, going forward, there will be a case where you could have a daily liturgy where we won’t have Communion, so unfortunately it’s something that is going to happen down the line.”

  The majority of the congregation, a mix of middle-aged and older people, did indeed miss Holy Communion. One of the longest-serving parishioners, Mary Reale, who also performed a Gospel reading, felt the liturgy was “beautiful . . . but there’s nothing on earth that would replace the holy Mass”.

  She described the downturn in priest numbers as a “wake-up call” for the church. We need more vocations; we’ll have to pray hard.”

  Dominick Lipper (81) was in agreement: “It was lovely, but you miss the Mass, in particular going up to get Holy Communion.”

  John Brennan (67) didn’t miss the presence of a priest. “It was excellent, a change from the ordinary Mass . . . We still prayed. You miss Holy Communion all right; you have to have a slice of bread.”

  Ger Cowhey (85) favoured a “traditionalist” Mass format. “I liked that, but I’d rather have the priest. There was no men there preaching . . . What does that say?” 

However, he was still impressed with the format, and quipped: “I’ll come again. It might not be my thing, but I’ll go along with it.”

  Salvador Slattery (78) was undecided on the “strange” service. “Yes I liked it, it was strange . . . but, I suppose it’s going to be [the] thing down the line. You miss the Communion, the body and blood of Christ, and the priest. Often the priest goes on too long too. I prefer the short sermon, about 10 minutes.”
  Small step
  A diocesan spokesperson said “there are 108 Limerick diocesan priests; 73 are in active ministry, 65 of those in parishes (eight in non-parish roles) and 35 are retired”.’
  Speaking on Limerick’s Live 95FM, Bishop Leahy acknowledged Catholics “will feel the pain of not having the Mass”, but he said he expected more lay-led services becoming the norm into the future.
  “This is a step that we know we have to start moving into. It’s a first step and a small step; it’s not going to happen every week. It’s a first step to training for the future.”


So the cure for the future desert of priests is to withdraw all priests for a day and deprive the people of Holy Communion ???

To me this shouts: GIMMICK !!!

There are fewer and fewer priests being ordained and that shortage will soon be a pandemic.

So apart from ordaining totally unsuitable sexually promiscuous gay men as priests they think the answer is a day of priest famine?

No thought of inviting the 250,000 priests who have left to think of coming back into active ministry?

No thought of inviting suitable married men to train for priesthood?

No thought of inviting women (more than half the population of Catholicism) to offer themselves for priesthood?

Instead - gimmicks ! gimmicks ! gimmicks !

And all this while 50% of the world's Roman Catholic parishes have no resident priest and no accesibility to Holy Communion?

This literally is "fiddling while Rome burns".

The RC Church does not deserve priests.

God and Fate will deprive them of their male pretend celibate priests.

Ii will also help to kill off clericalism.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


FATHER CHRIST DERWIN is leaving the priesthood according to my sources in the Archdiocese of Dublin and Maynooth Seminary.

Fr Derwin has been something of a controversial figure in the context of Maynooth and in the context of various "happenings" in the two parishes in which he has served - Balbriggan and Tallaght.

In Balbriggan the parish priest and the archbishop set up CCTVto watch the comings and goings at the presbytery.

In Tallaght there was a mysterious burglary of the presbytery.

Fr Derwin has also been friends with Deacon Jack "Gorgeous" Byrne and Deacon "King Puck" Jones.

Below we see a picture showing Fr Derwin with Gorgeous and Diarmuid "Coddle" Martin in the sacristy of the controversial Bray parish where Gorgeous served.

We have also learned from Listowel parishioners that Fr Derwin was a regular visitor to Listowel to visit King Puck who is currently the Listowel deacon.

A well placed Dublin priest who drew my attention to Fr Derwin's rumoured departure from the priesthood told me today:

"I think in the departure of Chris Derwin from the Dublin Presbyterate we are seeing the beginnings of the cracks in a very unfortunate situation that Archbishop Martin has been presiding over for a number of years now. 

This situation involves the increasing alienation of the majority of Dublin's priests from their archbishop and the increasing policies of the protection of a small number of diocesan priests and seminarians who have, for whatever reason, enjoyed the protection of an archbishop who seems to have lost the plot.

This situation could easily bring the archbishop into disrepute and could very easily cloud his legacy as well as much the future very difficult for his successor. 

Many priests believe that Archbishop Martin is creating the archdiocese's future scandals by his strange and unexplained policies. Just as we now look back on the reign of McQuaid, Ryan etc with horror and sadness we could easily find ourselves embarrassed by the legacy of the Martin era".

I believe that this very senior Dublin priest is right.

We are witnessing before our eyes new "dark days" for the Irish Catholic Church.

When these things come to pass we will not be saying: "I TOLD YOU SO".

We will however be feeling sad that reason and right did not prevail and that the Body of Christ was wounded so unnecessarily :-(


Irish Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin says State must have full control of hospital



  An alternative site for a national maternity hospital must be found if a deal whereby the State has full control of the facility cannot be brokered, Labour leader Brendan Howlin has said.

  Mr Howlin was speaking at the end of his party’s conference in Wexford yesterday in response to assertions by the Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, who said the Sisters of Charity, the congregation that owns the site of the planned hospital, would have to apply Roman Catholic teaching in the new facility.


  Bishop Doran told the Sunday Times: “A healthcare organisation bearing the name Catholic while offering care to all who need it has a special responsibility . . . to Catholic teachings about the value of human life and dignity, and the ultimate destiny of the human person.”

  When asked in August 2013 by The Irish Times if St Vincent’s University Hospital would carry out abortions to save a woman’s life, a spokesman said the hospital would “as always be following the law of the land”.

  That statement was made amid controversial comments by then Fr Kevin Doran, in which he said the Mater hospital would not be able to comply with the new Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.

  He was then a member of the Mater hospital’s board of governors.

  He told The Irish Times at the time that “the Mater can’t carry out abortions because it goes against its ethos”, and that he would be concerned that the then minister for health, James Reilly, “sees fit to make it impossible for hospitals to have their own ethos”.

  Board of governors

  Ultimately Fr Doran resigned from the hospital’s board of governors after it decided the Mater would comply with the Act. He said he was resigning, “largely because I feel a Catholic hospital has to bear witness . . . to Gospel values alongside providing excellent care.”The Mater was one of two Catholic voluntary hospitals on the list of 25 approved institutions – the other being St Vincent’s University Hospital.

  Mr Howlin said it may be necessary to transfer ownership of the national maternity hospital to the State.

  “That means the transfer of the site from the ownership of the Sisters of Charity to the State. I think that a deal could be brokered on that basis, with full ownership and democratic control vested in the State thereafter.

  “Or we have to look for another site.

  “It is certainly not acceptable for any doubt to even exist for bishops now or into the future to say that they have any influence.”

  Religious ethos

  Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the proposed hospital had to be free from any specific religious ethos. Mr Martin called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to be “fully transparent’’ relating to the entire process.

  He said the Minister had clearly endorsed the agreement in November, but now appeared to have abandoned that position.

  “The Minister also needs to be transparent in terms of the deal done,’’ Mr Martin added.

  He said the taxpayer should have the investment of huge sums of money reflected in the ownership of any facility being provided.

  He viewed the whole matter with some degree of concern, and took on board the “passionate articulation’’ of master of the National Maternity Hospital Holles Street, Dr Rhona O’Mahony, that without question it was not fit for purpose.


Maternity hospital critic told to resign from board by text message

 Irish IndependentEilish O’Regan and Conor Kane

  THE outspoken former master of the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, Dr Peter Boylan, has been asked by text message to resign from the board.
  Dr Boylan, who is a strong critic of the decision to allow the Sisters of Charity to own the new €300m national maternity hospital, told the Irish Independent he was asked to resign last Sunday. He said the text was signed by the deputy chairman Nicholas Kearns and the current master of the hospital, Dr Rhona Mahony.
  “I got a text on Sunday afternoon from Mr Kearns and the Master of the Rotunda,” he said. “It is shooting the messenger to ask me to resign. Telling me ‘you are out’ is not going to advance the hospital.”
  Dr Boylan, who is a brother-in-law of Dr Mahony, retired as an obstetrician last year. He said that it is important to have a board with “diverse opinions”.
  THE outspoken former master of the National Maternity Hospital in Holles St, Dr Peter Boylan, has been asked by text message to resign from the board by his deputy chairman Nicholas Kearns.
  Dr Boylan, who is a strong critic of the decision to allow the Sisters of Charity ownership of the new national maternity hospital, confirmed to the Irish Independent last night he was asked to resign “by text” last Sunday.
  He said the text was signed by Mr Kearns and the current master of the hospital, Dr Rhona Mahony.
  “I got a text on Sunday afternoon from Mr Kearns and the Master of the Rotunda,” he said, adding that he has not responded to it.
  It comes in the wake of the outcry over the decision to give ownership of the €300m hospital to the Sisters of Charity, who own the St Vincent’s Hospital campus in Dublin where it will be located.
  Dr Boylan said last night he intends to attend a meeting of the Holles Street board tomorrow afternoon.
  “It is shooting the messenger to ask me to resign. Telling me ‘you are out’ is not going to advance the hospital,” he said.
  He also said the agreement between Holles St and St Vincent’s has not yet been put to the governors, who are the shareholders of the healthcare facility.
  Dr Boylan, who is a brother- in-law of Dr Mahony, retired as an obstetrician last year. He said that it is important to have a board with “diverse opinions”.
  A spokesman for the hospital said last night Dr Boylan was a member of the board at all times during the six-month period of mediation which resulted in agreement last November to co-locate the National Maternity Hospital with St Vincent’s University Hospital.
  “The board was kept fully briefed on all developments by the negotiating team during that period.
  “The decisive final meeting of the board overwhelmingly supported the agreement with 25 in favour, two abstentions (including Dr Boylan) and one vote against.
  “Thereafter the agreement was approved by Government and planning permission was lodged. Last week, some five months after the agreement was approved, Dr Boylan, without warning, consultation with or notification to the board, its chair or the Master of the hospital, went public in attacking the agreement.”
  During an interview, with RTÉ’s ‘Morning Ireland’ last week, Dr Boylan, suggested that the Sisters of Charity would bring a strong religious influence to the practices at the new National Maternity Hospital.
  “The state is investing €300m of your money and my money in a new maternity hospital and it is inappropriate that that hospital should have a strong religious influence, particularly from the Catholic Church, with all its bad history in relation to women’s healthcare,” he said.
  Yesterday Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald called for “the utmost clarity” on the future governance at the new hospital.
  The Justice Minister said the days of “interference by religious authorities” in maternity services are in the past.
  She said she believes there will be “significant progress” in the coming days on the issues that have “arisen” and that Health Minister Simon Harris is working on achieving clarity.
  “What I would say is that the time for interference in any modern maternity hospital for the future, any interference by religious authorities, that time is in the past and for the future, clearly, women and the country need clarity and that’s what the minister (for health) is working to ensure we have,” she said.
  “People want a modern maternity hospital that’s working to best clinical practice and the religious orders and the Church have nothing to do with it or with the decisions that are made for women.”
  More than €5m stands to be lost if the controversial deal to move the National Maternity Hospital to the St Vincent’s campus collapses.
  The public funding has already been spent in preparing to move the maternity hospital from Holles Street to the Dublin 4 site.
  Around €100,000 has been paid to An Bord Pleanála as part of the planning application.
  The board of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group will meet later this week to review its involvement in the project in light of the public outcry.
  Dr Rhona Mahony has said an agreement between the two boards allows for full independence for the maternity hospital and it will provide all services that are legal in the State.


At this stage in time I am really pissed off by the absolute arrogance of the Irish Catholic Bishops and their efforts to force their religion down the necks of the Irish state and people!

If I had the power to do so I would bring in laws that took all institutions in Ireland OUT of the hands of these bastardos.

I would look at how much the state paid them over the years to run these schools and hospitals and how much money and assets they now have and strip them back to the point where they had enough to live on and nothing more.

I would not give the Catholic Church ANY MORE MONEY and I would make sure that they were banished from public life as much as possible.

If they wanted to run Catholic Schools and hospitals I would let them pay for them and make sure that they complied with the law of the land in every respect.

If Catholic parents and patients wanted to support these private institutions I would give them some tax allowances - but restrict these allowances.

Ireland has been a bishop and priest ridden country and THAT HAS GOT TO END!

Let them restrict their teaching and preaching to the private realm - the home, the church and things like Sunday schools. 

Let them STOP telling the Irish State and the Irish People what they can do in bed, in schools, in hospitals.

The morality and ethics of the country should be decided by the vote of the people.

If the bishops and priests want to tell their Catholic followers how to vote etc - that is their business.

I wish the Irish State would get these monkeys off our backs !!!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


Recently I promised that I would write a Blog about my Crohn's Disease.

I was diagnosed with Crohns in 1988 - two years after my major battle with Cahal Daly and I believe that my Crohns was caused, in part, by the stress of that battle and time. 

Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus. signs and symptoms often include abdominal paindiarrhea (which may be bloody if inflammation is severe), fever, and weight loss.[1][2] Other complications may occur outside the gastrointestinal tract and include anemiaskin rashesarthritisinflammation of the eye, and feeling tired. The skin rashes may be due to infections as well as pyoderma gangrenosum or erythema nodosumBowel obstruction also commonly occurs and those with the disease are at greater risk of bowel cancer.[1

I began to have increasing problems with CD and in 1991 was admitted to hospital to have 3 parts of my bowel resected. 

The outlook was not good - surgery every 3 years until all my bowel was gone and after that a colostomy bag for life.

I thought there had to be a better way.

I read in a magazine about Professor John Hermon Taylor who was adopting a whole new approach to CD and its causes. I went to see him in London. This is what the Prof was saying about CD:

Causation of Crohn's disease by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis.

Hermon-Taylor J1, Bull TJ, Sheridan JM, Cheng J, Stellakis ML, Sumar N.

Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) is a member of the M avium complex (MAC). It differs genetically from other MAC in having 14 to 18 copies of IS900 and a single cassette of DNA involved in the biosynthesis of surface carbohydrate. Unlike other MAC, MAP is a specific cause of chronic inflammation of the intestine in many animal species, including primates. The disease ranges from pluribacillary to paucimicrobial, with chronic granulomatous inflammation like leprosy in humans. MAP infection can persist for years without causing clinical disease. The herd prevalence of MAP infection in Western Europe and North America is reported in the range 21% to 54%. These subclinically infected animals shed MAP in their milk and onto pastures. MAP is more robust than tuberculosis, and the risk that is conveyed to human populations in retail milk and in domestic water supplies is high. MAP is harboured in the ileocolonic mucosa of a proportion of normal people and can be detected in a high proportion of full thickness samples of inflamed Crohn's disease gut by improved culture systems and IS900 polymerase chain reaction if the correct methods are used. MAP in Crohn's disease is present in a protease-resistant nonbacillary form, can evade immune recognition and probably causes an immune dysregulation. As with other MAC, MAP is resistant to most standard antituberculous drugs. Treatment of Crohn's disease with combinations of drugs more active against MAC such as rifabutin and clarithromycin can bring about a profound improvement and, in a few cases, apparent disease eradication. New drugs as well as effective MAP vaccines for animals and humans are needed. The problems caused by MAP constitute a public health issue of tragic proportions for which a range of remedial measures are urgently needed.

The Prof put me on Rifabutin and Clarithromycin. I was as sick as a dog for a month and had to spend the month in bed.

Then it all cleared up and for the past 29 In have been in relatively good shape as far as CD is concerned. 

Of course I have suffered the consequences of my encounter with CD and surgery and one of the biggest consequences has been more or less permanent diarrhea. But so what? I am well. Many of the young people who were in hospital with me in 1988 are now dead!

I have written before about my CD in various places and have, as a result, sent many people to the Prof and he was able to help them as much as he helped me, although some people cannot tolerate the strong drugs.

The Prof is now retired from his post as Professor of Surgery at St George's Hospital in London but is still in charge of research into CD. Next year he is bring out a vacine for CD!

He is worth googling.

A younger medic - Dr Jeremy Saunderson of London Bridge Hospital, London as taken over his work. 

The Prof's approach to Crohns Disease is controversial in medical circles. 

All I can say is that he saved me from a lot of suffering, countless surgeries and possibly death.

Of course the nasty comment makers on this Blog will say the Prof did wrong :-)

Monday, 24 April 2017


First Irish beatification due next month

The late Jesuit priest Fr John Sullivan, who was raised Protestant, is to be declared “blessed” at a ceremony which will be attended by both the Church of Ireland and Catholic Archbishops of Dublin.
In a year which also marks the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, it is the first ever beatification in Ireland – a major step on the path to sainthood – and will also involve Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
The event will take place on May 13th at the Jesuit’s St Francis Xavier Church on Dublin’s Gardiner Street, a short distance from Eccles Street where Fr Sullivan was born in 1861.
Fr Sullivan was the son of Edward Sullivan, a member of the Church of Ireland and a successful barrister who would later be lord chancellor of Ireland. His mother, Elizabeth Bailey, was a Catholic from Cork.
Fr Sullivan followed the route of privileged Protestantism at the time, attending Portora Royal School near Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, and Trinity College Dublin, before going to London where he studied law.
In 1896, at age 35, he converted to Catholicism, and was ordained a Jesuit priest 11 years later. He joined the teaching staff at Clongowes Wood college, where he remained until his death in 1933 aged 71. He had spent half his life Protestant and half Catholic.
Known for his life of prayer and work with the poor, Fr Sullivan was familiar in the Kildare villages around Clongowes, and spent much of his time visiting the troubled, sick or dying. Even before he died many testified to the healing power of his prayers.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints last year recognised as a miracle attributed to him the recovery from cancer of Dublin woman Delia Farnham in 1954 . One more miracle needs to be proven before he is canonised. It has been emphasised by those promoting his cause how he is “remembered and revered” by both Catholic and Protestant traditions.
Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson said the recognition of Fr Sullivan’s “holiness has a strong ecumenical feel to it, as he never rejected the influence of the Anglican tradition on his spiritual flourishing”.
Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said “the holiness of John Sullivan was the fruit of his education in both Catholic and Church of Ireland traditions”.
Fr Sullivan’s influence even found its way into the political realm in Ireland. Undoubtedly aware that the priest was born in his Dublin Central constituency, former taoiseach Bertie Ahern quoted him in his farewell speech when he stepped down in 2008.


I grew up and went to school near Dublin's Gardiner Street Jesuit church where Father John Sullivan's body is interred.

I often prayed at his shrine.

But I had a very closs connection with Father Sullivan through another Jesuit - Father John Hyde.

John Hyde was a visitor to my family home when I was a baby in the 1950's and actually had the privilege of concelebrating his Funeral Mass.

Father Hyde wore Father John Sullivan's suit after he died. I can remember it was greenn with age.

Like Father Sullivan John Hyde had the gift of healing and I have many stories of those he healed including family members.

I visited Father Hyde all his life and regard him as the inspiration for my vocation.

I regard him as a saint too.

Haven know saintly priests like Father Hyde makes the current situation in the priesthood more sad.


Friday, 21 April 2017



Sex orgies, prostitution, porn: Allegations shake Catholic Church in Italy

Josephine McKenna | Religion News Service

ROME (RNS) — Lurid accusations of priests involved in sex orgies, porn videos and prostitution have emerged from several parishes in Italy recently, sending shock waves all the way to the Vatican and challenging the high standards Pope Francis demands of clergy.

In the southern city of Naples, for example, a priest was recently suspended from the parish of Santa Maria degli Angeli over claims he held gay orgies and used Internet sites to recruit potential partners whom he

The allegations concerning the Rev. Mario D’Orlando were brought to the attention of the diocese when an anonymous letter was sent to a Naples bishop. D’Orlando denied the charges when he was summoned by the city’s archbishop, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, but is now facing a formal inquiry conducted by local church officials.
In the northern city of Padua, a 48-year-old priest, the Rev. Andrea Contin, is facing defrocking as well as judicial proceedings amid accusations he had up to 30 lovers, some of whom he took to a swingers’ resort in France.

Contin was removed from his parish of San Lazzaro after three women came forward with complaints against him in December. Bishop Claudio Cipolla of Padua cut short a visit to Latin America to deal with the scandal.
“I am incredulous and pained by the accusations,” Cipolla said at a news conference last month. “This is unacceptable behavior for a priest, a Christian and even for a man."

One woman, who claims to have been Contin’s lover for more than three years, claimed the priest carried sex toys and bondage equipment, prostituted his lovers on wife-swapping websites and also invited other priests from the area to sex parties.
“Even if, at the end of this affair, there are no legal consequences, we have a duty by canon law to take disciplinary action,” said Cipolla.

He also revealed Pope Francis telephoned him personally at the end of January to offer his support and urge him to stay “strong.”
Since his election the pope has taken a tough line on ethical behavior in the church, though he has also recognized the reality of human imperfection and personal flaws.
In recent weeks the pontiff has spoken out many times against “temptation,” and last week he told a gathering of clergy at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome that faith could not progress without the challenge of temptation.
“Temptation is always present in our lives. Moreover, without temptation you cannot progress in faith,” he said.

Alberto Melloni, professor of church history at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, said there is nothing unusual about scandals in the priesthood.
“There is no sin that a cleric doesn’t commit. Scandals to me seem quite normal,” he said.
“And I think the illusion of stopping scandals through better selection of personnel is not very promising and has not yielded great results. ”
Francis has frequently called for a more rigorous screening process for seminarians, and he has taken direct action when scandals erupt in Italy.
A case in point: When reports of “playboy priests” surfaced in the Italian diocese of Albenga-Imperia in the northern region of Liguria in late 2014, the pope sent a special envoy to investigate claims that clerics had posted nude photos of themselves on gay websites, sexually harassed the faithful and stole church funds.

Two years later the pope replaced the leader of the diocese, Bishop Mario Oliveri.
Austen Ivereigh, commentator and author of The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, said the pope distinguished between sinfulness and corruption and was intent on “rooting out” corruption inside the church.
“The remedy for those who succumb to temptation is forgiveness and a fresh start,” Ivereigh said. “The problem is when priests turn their backs on the people, lead hidden lives and end up justifying their conduct. That’s corruption.
“And it’s only possible in the priesthood because of clericalism. That’s why the pope is so intent on rooting it out.”


These stories keep coming. 

ALL these things are happening in Ireland as well as in Italy. That is:

Bishops covering up for sexually priests.

Bishops accepting sexually promiscuous men for priesthood.

Seminaries accepting and protecting sexually active seminarians - especially when they are gay.

We are well aware of well known situations of this.

Why for instance is Diarmuid Martin Martin and the authorities in The Irish College cutting Gorgeous out of college ceremony pics?

This is obviously an orchestrated effort.

Why ?????????





I came to Toronto, Canada on Wednesday for a week to visit my friends Wim and Sharon whose wedding I celebrated 21 years ago at the Temple of the Winds at Mountstewart in County Down.

We have kept in touch all the years and I have visited them twice in Canada and they have visited me more often.

Wim, who is an airline captain, sent me a ticket for this trip that he had earned with his enormous airmiles.

Wim (70) has had an amazing career. He was born in The Netherlands and joined the Dutch Airforce. Then he moved to Canada and joined the Canadian Airforce. For a number of years he was the personal pilot to the prime minister of Canada.

He then switched to commercial airlines for a number of years and how he pilots a corporate jet for businness people.

We met because he and Sharon were contracted to Airtours Belfast for a few summers to fly passengers from Belfast to holiday destinations like Spain and Turkey.

They wanted to marry in Ireland and were finding it hard to get someone to conduct their ceremony. Their neighbour in Lisburn suggested me. And everything else is history.

Wim is a deeply spiritual man in the non-denominational sense and we have always had deep conversations about things spiritual. 

It has been a bit hectic since I arrived on Wednesday. 

One of the very pleasant things we did was to visit a man called Danny Morrison (87) in his nursing home. He is quite disabled after a stroke but of late he has been writing a book about his many years as a bosun in the Merchant Navy.

There was not a lot I copuld do for Danny. But I found out that he liked the poems of Robert W Service and I read to him the long poem: THE CREMATION OF SAM MAGEE.

Later Wim and Sharon brought me the 90 minute drive into Toronto to have dinner at the revolving restaurant at the top of the CN Tower.

Friday was Sharon's birthday and I treated them to a meal at a nearby Greek restaurant.

Wim had taken a week off from flying to spend with me. He got one emergency call out to fly an organ for transplantation from Toronto to Vancouver - a 5 hour flight each way. I thought that such an important and awe inspiring mission.

Today (Sunday) we are travelling the 5 hours by road to Ottawa where Wim and Sharon have a holiday cottage and where Wim's three children live for a family birthday and reunion.

Also on the list is a large bar-b-que with Wim and Sharon's airline colleages - many of whom attended their wedding 21 years ago.

It's good to get a holiday and a break - especially with treasured friends.

Wim had arranged with his airline to be free for the week I am here. However he got an amergency call out to fly a donated organ from Toronto to Vancouver in his Hawker corporate jet. What a wonderful to be able to do. 

A timely reminder that it is not only priests who are always on call.

But I never regard myself as being "on holiday" from the priesthood. There are always people in airports and on planes to minister to in even tiny little ways.

I am not surgically attached to my clerical collar but I wear it a lot for 2 reasons:

1. To be an obvious witness as a priest.

2. To be available if anyone needs anyone.

Some of the most meaningful pastoral opportunities have happened to me on journies. 

Priests should not be 9 - 5 men.

They should be available 27/7/365 in my opinion.

Greeting to all my loyal readers from Canada.

It's also right to have a good news blog and take a day away from church and clerical scandals :-)